Monday August 14, 2006

A confused day. The arrival of items like broadband tends to confuse things, especially priorities.

I got to the house good and early, shortly after eight o’clock this morning, to be sure I was there to receive the package containing the new wireless broadband hub, a hub phone, and the software needed to hook it all together. Of course, by getting there early I ensured that the package didn’t arrive until noon. That’s the way of it with delivery services these days.

It was one of those explosive packaging jobs. You know the kind. You start with a parcel and a clean, tidy kitchen. As you unravel the secrets of all that plastic and cardboard packaging to get at the things inside a slow explosion takes place so that, by the time you’ve finally isolated and extracted the goodies, your nice clean, tidy kitchen is completely obscured with bits of packaging of the kind that you know in your heart of hearts you’ll never get back together again and yet can’t discard in case you need to return the product.

I shall tackle the reassembly of the parcel, sans product, tomorrow. Meantime, I took advantage of the convenient fact that the kitchen won’t go anywhere overnight, and isn’t going to be used, so all those bits of litter on the counters don’t really matter.

The rest of my working day was spent alternating between getting the broadband connection going and finishing the back bedroom. I completed the latter but I fear the former defeated me. It didn’t help that the supplier had problems on its helpline, preventing me from consulting with an expert for one vital piece of missing information. I got to the end of the day without completing the installation, and quit, leaving the hub connected to the exchange line because there’s a possibility that activation of the broadband facility wouldn’t be completed until eight o’clock this evening. There’s no direct, easy way that the ignorant user can determine when the process at the exchange is complete other than trying, repeatedly, to get the connection going.

My poor computer is left in a fragile state. I’m hoping that, tomorrow morning, I shall be able to disinter the dial-up connection so’s I can upload my journal entry. Then, so Graham tells me, I have to disable the dial-up modem so the wireless broadband side can work.

That may be so. I’m going to get the first coat of paint done in the ghastly pink bedroom finished before I get all confused with technology again, though. I have a deep and over-riding need to eliminate pink that is far more important than boadband just now. I really, really want to get this painting job done and intend to put broadband aside until I’m finished.

One highlight of the day was an unexpected birthday gift from a friendly reader [thanks!] of downloads that will give me working public domain copies of XEDIT and REXX—a text editor and scripting language I loved when I was a working man and have missed dreadfully ever since.

Don’t worry about it if you don’t know about these technical things. All it means is that, when time permits, I shall have the pleasure of exploring and re-aquainting myself with a way of programming that I used to love. I’ll enjoy that. If I can get it all to work, and uncover my old skills, I shall have a set of tools that will make my online journal keeping easier and less time-consuming. Most important of all, I shall have a few days of delightful tinkering, in the course of which I shall need to learn new things and re-learn old things. Brain exercise, in other words.

As you get older the opportunities for fun brain exercises don’t come along every day. You need constantly to seek them out for yourself, of course, but receiving a major set of them as a gift out of the blue is a blessing. A blessing on which it’d be hard to set a value.


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