Friday, August 24, 2007

The Black Hole of Electronics

The day after I arrived, Jacqueline & Pierre's grandson, Mathieu, went to use the Internet to send a message to a friend and found that it wasn't working. They have DSL, but a message kept coming back saying that "il n'y a pas de tonalite" (no dial tone.)

I found a wireless signal, but when I asked Jacqueline & Pierre if they had wireless Internet they said no. I asked Jacqueline if we could ask the neighbors if they would be willing to let me have the key code (Mot de passe) and use it for the two weeks I was there. We went to each neighbor to the left and the right of the house, but they didn't have Internet access. I told Jacqueline that it was very strange because wireless signals don't travel that far.

Finally, with Mathieu, we discovered that the wireless signal was coming from Jacqueline & Pierre's "Livebox." Unfortuntely, the Livebox wasn't connecting to the internet. They called their internet service and somehow decided that the Livebox was defective. Unfortunately, because they live on an island, there are no service representatives that come out that far. Finally, after nearly a week, the company sent over a new Livebox via helicopter. Once it arrived, Pierre spent two days trying to get it to work, but it still had the same error message. Finally, they hired the man who owns an Internet cafe in town to come take a look.

As an aside, during this same timeframe, the phones were acting up, with first the phone in the office going out and then the phone in the front hall. Both eventually came back on, but it was very odd. Additionally, the digital camera printer that came with Pierre's Kodak Easyshare camera also went on the fritz.

When the man from the Internet cafe came out, he found that a cable had been placed in the wrong port. Apparently the red cable didn't go into the port surrounded by red (go figure). Once he got everything set back up, I was able to hook up my computer via the wireless signal after getting the key code off the bottom of the Livebox. I was so happy, I thought I was going to pass out.

Unfortunately, my happiness was short-lived. The next day, the AC adapter on my computer broke and I couldn't use it because I had to guard what little battery I had left.

Those Gremlins were somethin' fierce.

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