Monday, January 19, 2009

I know this is boring, but …

… since it has been occupying all of my time, I haven't had much opportunity to stroll around Paris, except to and from the computer warehouse store.

The problems I've been having with the Internet seem to have passed, after months of malfunction—at least I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I finally connected with someone who sounded like a real technician at France Télécom, during banking hours, and after making it clear to him that I was not a standard dolt and that we could skip all the cookbook questions (“Is the PC plugged in?” “Do you see the Web page in front of you?” and so on), we spent considerable time discussing the problem and my test results. He managed to convince me that it might be the router on my side, even though this didn't seem entirely congruent with the symptoms I had seen. It was certainly a possibility, but I considered it remote, since things like routers tend to be pretty simple and should run indefinitely without a problem, and they aren't the sorts of devices where you picture packets being dropped or delayed under normal conditions. Nevertheless, since the line checked out squeaky clean (7900 kbps, only 100 kbps from the theoretical limit), and there weren't too many other options short of asking FT to trace everything on their end, I agreed to replace the router.

Several hours and three days' salary later, I had the router, modem, and hub replaced (I wanted to make sure I excluded absolutely everything at my end). Miraculously … it worked. Download speeds up to 7400 kbps and uploads at nearly 1 mbps. It has been working for several days now, so I am optimistic that the problem is solved. It looks like it wasn't upstream of the DSLAM after all. I just wish I had been able to find a real technician at FT sooner to troubleshoot the problem.

But that was hardly the end of the crises. The Internet problem was my first holiday surprise. The next problem, right after New Year's Day, was the total failure of the desktop machine I've been using. More trips to the computer store, made possible by the kindness of others who were able to buy and loan components to me in order to cobble something together. After several days of work, I got something up and running, although it will be weeks before it matches what came before (installing software is a nightmare).

Oh, and the screen for the Web server failed, too. No replacement for that as yet, but it looks like I might be able to share the remaining monitor for that purpose, for reasons that I'll spare you here.

Then, yesterday, the Web server failed—my fourth holiday surprise, I guess. It looks like a bad disk, but I'm not sure yet. It might be a bad motherboard. We shall see. Looks like I'll be depending on the kindness of others again. In the meantime, I have no Web site and my standard e-mail address ( isn't working.

So I've spent every single day off I had over the holidays resolving one crisis after another, and there are plenty of other unresolved problems. And I don't get paid for days off to begin with (I only had them off because I didn't have any classes).

Anyway, I'll try to post something more Parisian as soon as possible, now that the Internet connection seems stable. Although I don't think anyone reads this blog.

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