Tuesday, 24 July 2012

When the bough breaks

How fragile we are, our lives hanging on such an unconvincing thread; from one end plugged into a wall socket, once used for nothing more complex than a telephone call, now winding around the living room, behind the chairs and the bookcase, to the other end plugged into a router; from which other wires protrude; one to the BT Vision box, another to the Nintendo Wii, one more to the television; wires; wires everywhere.

Kick Ass film
When the router breaks...
On Sunday afternoon I settled down to watch Kick Ass on LoveFilm Instant, or rather with the two hours of streaming my DVD package allows, only to have it buffer then come to a complete stop. Navigating to another page and a check with my daughter - who through BBC iPlayer, ITV player, YouTube, Netflix and so on, can usually be relied upon to be doing something - confirmed she could do nothing either; there was trouble ‘t router.  A reboot later and things were still slow, no chance of video, with occasional outbreaks of adequate performance allowing me, for example, to log on to the BT website and do a speed test. The last time I had such problems I phoned an engineer and we were close to the point where I’d be unscrewing the phone socket, only – thank God - I hadn’t a screwdriver. So with a promise to try this later, I bought a new router instead.

And lo, did the shiny new router provide broadband performance to the speed foretold. This time, well hopefully I’m not on the way to another fried ‘Home Hub’; I don’t fancy the wiring checks required before BT will (presumably) replace it. It was a Sunday, and this being a connectivity problem involving a number of possible suspects, I did the only sensible thing I could do; I mowed the lawn. Try again later, the advice of many, work instead of games; I may be able to play after.

And yea, did the internet return; too late to watch a film, and knackered from gardening, I settled in with the last few episodes of Breaking Bad. Yo, Jesse; at the end of season three he really has broken bad, and it won’t be until Netflix UK start showing series four that I find out what happens next. On television, through the Wii; for Sunday’s challenge aside, Netflix with my help is now as reliable as BT Vision or BBC iPlayer, and this wasn’t always the case. I don’t know whether a wireless Wii is more prone to interference or whether the wireless card was cooked – broken IT appliances often acquire a baking metaphor – but with a LAN adaptor (the console has USB connectors) it worked perfectly, giving me cause to smile… and another wire to worry about.

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