Even now, into my sixty-sixth year on this planet, I continue to work a day job, which means, for me anyway, that this bloggoid stuff gets written in the evening and on weekends, so as not to interfere with actual work time. (It gets released at semi-regular intervals during the day, but be assured that just about everything you see here has been sitting in the can for 12 hours or more. Part of my anti-insomnia tool kit calls for a regular bedtime during the workweek, and that time is 11:03 pm, which gives me an opportunity to see what's new on Meh and shut everything down in the prescribed (and dog-ass slow) Windows 7 manner.

Came 10:45 on Monday, while I was wrapping up my Tuesday bloggage, and suddenly I discovered a Great Truth: the absolute worst time for discovering that the battery on one's uninterruptible power supply has died is at the very moment when the power goes out. It was a very short outage: the clocks on the range and the microwave oven didn't even deign to blink. But the desktop emitted an unhappy beep, and when it started back up again, the UEFI — which apparently is not your grandfather's BIOS — informed me that it had forgotten how to boot up.

This was easy enough to reset, and following a brief interval of "Start Windows normally," Windows started normally. Almost. Down in the lower right corner was the ominous warning: "This copy of Windows is not genuine." The hell it isn't, I grumbled, and wondered if I could hold up the original DVD, or the sticker with the license number on it, and satisfy the lords of Redmond. The message disappeared quickly enough, the most recent wallpaper (Keira Knightley from here down) materialized in the usual place on screen, and — well, nothing else happened. Feeling unworthy, I averted my eyes from Knightley's knees, and my glance fell upon the Motorola cable modem, which has five lights: power (green), network availability (two blue), network interface (green), and actual traffic (orange, blinking).

There were ... four lights.

Blinky, at the bottom of the light column, wasn't blinking. In fact, it wasn't illuminated in any way whatsoever. Before I dialed up Newegg to have another modem shipped — I'm not having my every-day-for-18-years string ended by some farking 60-mph wind gust — I figured the least I could do was call Cox Cable and ask if the whole neighborhood was enduring this same privation.

"They aren't," replied a chap whose ethnicity was unclear but whose shivering was practically audible. Wherever he was, it was nineteen degrees, which ain't no Polar Vortex but which is still chilly. (Predicted low for Tuesday morning: 19° F.) Ultimately, he figured out that the modem was still operating, but wasn't responding to the usual commands; accordingly, he sent the box an unusual command, something akin to the finagling required to provision a network node in the first place.

Orangeness appeared at the bottom of the stack. I was effusively grateful, said so, and rebooted the desktop. No complaints from Microsoft: evidently they were made suspicious by the machine's failure to phone home earlier. But every place I'd checked "Remember me on this computer" turned out to have forgotten me; it's as though the entire Cookies directory had been nuked. Still, that issue would have to wait: it was already 11:09.

The Vent

  1 February 2019

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