Thursday, April 14, 2005

Adventures in Dial-Up

In Yellowknife, I tried to connect to the internet via the hotel's dial-up access. The Windows 95/98 instruction sheet didn't match my Windows XP laptop, but I wouldn't even complain about that. The settings I needed were on the sheet, and I clicked and selected until I had found out where to enter them all, and hit dial. After a distinct absence of dially noises, a dialogue box popped up informing me that my modem port was in use by another application. Odd that, as I wasn't deliberately running anything else. I tried switching the modem to different com ports, but the message when I try to connect did not change.

A troubleshooting problem suggested that my com port was not actually enabled, and explained how to enable it. I'm supposed to right click it in the list of ports, in Device Manager, and select enable. The problem was, that it wasn't in that list. Device Manager lists LPT1, but doesn't list any com ports. I tried a lot of options, with no more success, so I decided to use the traditional turn it on and turn it off again technique. I selected the modem from the same hierarchy in the list and disabled it. That required a restart, which I did. Back to the list to re-enable it, but .. um .. it had disappeared from the list, so it wasn't there to re-enable. All the screens I was working with before gave me no access to the modem, because I had erased it from existence.

In the end, the Install New Hardware routine discovered the perfectly functional modem, and allowed me to install it. It reappeared in the list, and when I clicked Dial, I got a dialtone, followed by beepy dialling noise, modem negotiation, and then the bingy sound of dial up success. Limited success, however. It then rejected the username/password combination (guest/guest, if you ever want to hack in).

I tried again, having nothing else to do. It repeated the previous steps, accepted the password, and announced in the tool bar the existence of a 33.6 Kbps connection. Yippee! Right? Wrong.

I fired up my e-mail program, but it was unable to get the network address for my mailserver. My browser couldn't resolve addresses either. Neither could a telnet-based program. Doing it over again didn't resolve the problem anymore. Neither did rebooting. In fact, every time I rebooted, I had to start over from the disable modem, reboot, reinstall hardware sequence before I could get a dialtone. The front desk didn't answer the phone. The connection status reported "connected," but maxed out at receipt of 303 bytes, and a number of errors. Three hundred and three and no more.

In the morning, I talked to the front desk, and all they could tell me is that the instructions only work with Windows 95/98. I made a brief attempt to explain that the instructions cover connection, and I have successfully connected to the network, but she wouldn't let that be her problem. As far as she was concerned, the internet doesn't work for Windows XP. And where I was concerned, she was right. I wanted to conserve my usual dogged persistence for the job finding mission and not waste it on getting connected. So I'll finish typing this, and then wander over to the Frostbyte Cafe, which advertises free wireless access with a purchase. So think of this as blogging "live, with tape delay" like the Olympics when they are held in a distant time zone.


Anonymous said...

Remarkable patience. I would have given up/become violent with the technology/gone to the pub long ago.

Anonymous said...

I would have been downstairs and made it their problem, as a customer. Because they need to solve problems like that. Or they need to have someone on staff who can. That is their responsibility when providing that service.

Otherwise I would have refused to pay my bill, as they didn't provide the services advertised that I was paying for.

Aviatrix said...

It wasn't advertised, they didn't charge any extra for it, and they specifically said that it was only for Win 95/98, so it was my problem if I wanted it to work with XP.