I had planned to write something else yesterday evening, but found myself in a position much like the young man in the photo above: the vehicle with which I cruise the information highway had broken down.
We live on an acreage in a sparsely populated part of the Saskatchewan prairies where there are not enough homes to interest a big telecom in laying miles of fibre-optic cable. I had service from a satellite company for years, but clouds kept interfering with the signal. A year ago I switched to a service that captures the signal sent from the nearest cell phone tower; it is faster and pretty much problem free.
Except that there was a thunderstorm in the area the night before last that knocked out our power for awhile and when I got up in the morning the modem showed no signs of life. We had to leave for the city and were gone most of the day. When we got home it was too late to contact the dealer who installed the service. I checked everything out and concluded that the modem was truly fried. In the process, I discovered that in rearranging all the cords I had plugged the modem power supply directly into the wall outlet rather than the surge protector. No wonder it didn’t survive the power outage.
This morning I went to the dealer, Thorstad Computer, located in the nearby town of Outlook. They thought that it was probably the circuit protector that had failed, not the modem. They gave me a new circuit protector and a new modem to take home and try; they didn’t even ask me to pay for them until I knew for sure what I needed.
I went home, plugged in both new parts and soon the internet was working again. Then I swapped the old circuit protector for the new one: after a few minutes the internet was up and running again. Next, I swapped the old modem for the new one: once again, after a few minutes all the lights came on and we have internet – with the old parts!
What happened? Did the road trip do good things for the modem? Was there an electronic healing atmosphere in the computer shop? I think it just needed a rest. I did disconnect the power to the modem for half a minute while trouble-shooting last night; evidently that wasn’t long enough.
The good folks at Thorstad say to keep the new parts over the weekend and if there are no more problems bring them back Tuesday (Monday is a holiday here).
We are having the hottest weather of the summer right now. The power was off again some time last night, again this morning (twice) and very briefly again as I was typing this.
The computer is on a battery back up to prevent data loss and get me through incidents like this, but it looks like my confidence in the old modem was misplaced – it was knocked out again by this last blip in the power. I’ve got the new one hooked up again.
There you have it: a play by play account of what it has taken to get back to travelling down the information highway.