The Day When All Tech Went Boom

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of tech.  Though I’m more of a fan when tech works the way it’s supposed to, and isn’t plagued by glitches, or just plain meanness when it comes to working properly.  But today sort of took the cake when it came to tech and me.  And of course, it started early.

When I got to work, there’s a small terminal that I use to bring up reports and print them from the prior day’s information that needs to be catalogued.  I got to work at 7:30a and the last time the terminal had seemingly done anything was an hour prior.  As I went to type in my username and password, I got nothing.  Bupkus.  Nothing was being printed on the screen from the keyboard.  Now with the terminal, it’s basic 1970’s technology in a room of computers that are most definitely from the 21st century.  Yes, it’s a dinosaur held over from a bygone era.  But it’s necessary, as I’m not permitted access to the more reliable (and newer) computers.

Unlike most computers, where there’s a reset button, or the ubiquitous Ctrl+Alt+Del combination would bring solace, this terminal has only an On/Off switch that can be used.  Turn it off, wait a minute and turn it back on.  Usually one gets back to the beginning but today was going to be different.  Three times I tried, and nothing happened.  Sure, there was a green backgrounded ‘CRT’ legend in the middle of the monochromatic screen, but no soap.  I informed the proper person that there was an issue, expected to come back later to find it was fixed, and went on my merry way.

By lunchtime, I had a message from my wife telling me that the automated litter box wasn’t working correctly.  The power light was blinking red, and it wasn’t running or cleaning the box.  I have a security camera set up in the basement to be able to see it at any given time, and checking my phone determined that the rake was stuck in the ‘up’ position near the waste container and wasn’t moving.  Texting back to my wife, I asked her if the box was on or off, since I couldn’t see the light from that angle.  She said she turned it off, as it didn’t seem to be working, so it was better to not have power running to it.  I told her I’d fix it when I got home, rather than having to describe how to fix it herself.  She was grateful and on went my day.

By afternoon, it was getting closer to quitting time.  I happened to see my old bakery manager at the store, and she motioned me over.  Apparently she’d been having issues with her router, and needed technical assistance.  Over the years I’ve fixed her computers, and I even recall setting up this particular router when she got a new one and seemed unable to get it going on her own.  She wasn’t distraught, but she was insistent that she needed assistance sometime today,  I told her I was getting off work soon and I’d see what I could do to help.

Finishing work I headed home and had the litter box fixed in about five minutes.  As I suspected, the rake was stuck because it was trying to lift too much weight.  With each new model that the company puts out, it seems to be using less and less power in their motors.  When it can’t lift the weight anymore it reverses and leaves the pile near the waste box, and continues to pile things up until it gets stuck.  Then the little red light comes on and one hopes that the human will find it before there’s a huge mess.  Depending on where the box is, that’s not always the case.  But I got it fixed and on to the next issue.

My wife informed me as I came upstairs that the Amazon Shows that are upstairs (she has a ‘5’ and I have an ‘8’ on our respective nightstands) were not communicating and when she attempted to have them play music, they responded with something that she couldn’t hear.  Or understand.  So I traipsed upstairs, got them both working and came back down.  At that point I asked if she was interested in taking a little trip with me to see what I could do about the router issue.  My wife hadn’t seen my bakery manager in many years and didn’t mind tagging along.  Too, she had some wine coolers that she decided to bring with her and share while I worked.

The issue with the router wasn’t really all that difficult.  The biggest hurdle for me turned out to be that the router wasn’t hard wired to a computer.  Apparently she was using the router wirelessly to her iPad, her phone and her Kindle, and just needed someone to ‘talk’ to the router to get it reset and protected.  I ginned up a couple of secure passwords, logged into the router’s onboard menu and within about 20 minutes had everything secured.

Upon coming home, it was time to relax.  I wasn’t expecting anything else technical to break and I was blissfully rewarded when nothing did.  June is over, Thursday is over.  On to July.  We’ll see what that month brings.

Lost and Found

When you have a good amount of ‘stuff’, it’s easy to lose things.  Then months (or years) later they’re ‘found’ again when either you or your spouse/partner/SO decides it’s time to do some sorting/cleaning and stumbles upon them.

Sunday afternoon as I returned home from work, there was a shoebox on the table of the ‘addition’, the room of the house where coincidentally we seem to spend the majority of our time.  It’s the room that’s off the kitchen, where we eat our meals, watch television (the only tv in the house that’s connected to the cable box) and both of our main computers are.  Sometime in the history of the house (probably the 1950s or early 60s based on both the construction and design choices near as we can tell) this portion was ‘tacked on’ but coincidentally it wasn’t added to the heating system of the house.  It’s the only portion of the house that has insulation in the walls, though it also quirkily has a door to the outside, a stairway to the basement, and another door to the garage.  Probably the main reason we use the room so much is that it has two sizeable bay windows that point to the north and west, and it’s comfortable.  How it ended up not being a place that has a couch, an easy chair and some other function I’m not entirely sure, but it’s been this way for the past 20 years for us.

But of course, that’s not the point of this post, even though I tend to go off on tangents.

The shoebox that was on the dining table, that’s supposed to be the focus of all this, so let’s get back to it, shall we?  After going car shopping Sunday afternoon upon my return from work, I happened to notice it, and being curious, opened it to see what was inside.  Lo and behold, a treasure trove!  Pawing through the contents, I found a bundled CAT5 cable that had been put away some time ago, probably having been shipped with some doodad that required access to either my wife’s computer, or mine.  We have several of these laying about the house, they’re probably 3 ft long, and they don’t have homes.  In another part of the house somewhere there’s a box that has a 200 foot CAT5 cable, when I had a plan to relocate the computers to another elsewhere, so that we could make better use of the portions of the house that are heated in the wintertime, and save money by not using this room so much.  At least that was the plan.  Since the computers are still here, you can tell I didn’t actually DO it yet.  But I’m at least thinking about it.  So, points?

Another item that I discovered was an enclosure that has SONY emblazoned on it.  What could it be?  Why it’s a camera!  Not just any camera mind you, but a SONY Cyber-Shot that I don’t even remember buying, let alone getting an enclosure for.  I looked it up on the ‘Net and it’s about 11 years old.  Unfortunately I can’t turn it on, as it uses a Li-on block battery instead of AA or AAA batts.  It does have 2 memory cards with it, but they’re not the current ‘style’, they’re larger than SD cards.  But they do have adaptors, which I just discovered don’t work with my computer’s multi-memory card reader.  Huh.  Looks like a little more research is going to be in order to get to figure this one out.  Before going to bed, I remembered to look up a picture to see what sort of charger it used, and I remember vaguely the type, so I know what to look for when sorting through my cables and charger boxes upstairs.  I know I’ve seen the type before, just have to relocate it again.  So it will live again!  Muahahaha!  Ahem.

The last two items were ones that I remember having, but for whatever reason were set aside in that box for safe keeping.  One is an ergonomic Logitech computer mouse, the other is a OneTouch™ meter for checking blood sugar.  It has a vial of test strips, that expired in 2012.  So that gives me a time frame for when the box was set aside.  Either late 2011 or early 2012.  7 or 8 years ago.  Which makes sense when you consider how we put things aside around here.  Probably someone was coming to visit, we had things on one table or another and piled them in the box, intending to bring them back out when the visit was over and (as is the case around here a lot of the time) didn’t.  It got lost to the history of this place, and then found when someone got ambitious.

Believe me when I say there are many more boxes of this type hanging around the house.  As I get older, I’m more inclined to seek them out and see what’s inside.  I’ve been thinking more about it lately, in that we have a great deal of stuff, and generally don’t make use of it.  Matter of fact, both my wife and I have storage bins that we pay monthly fees for that are chock full of items from each of our respective parents’ houses, and haven’t made use of, or gone through in 20-30 years now.  We just keep them for sentimental reasons.  So long as we continue to pay the monthly fees, they’re safe.  Once we don’t, well people make tv shows about the adventures of people who buy abandoned storage units.  I don’t think I want my items exposed on television.  So perhaps it’s best that I continue to pay the fee.  Though it might be a good idea one day to go through my items and pare things down a bit.  So someone else doesn’t have to.  Someday.