A very frustrating day

The working day started pleasantly enough with a drive North through the snow. A blizzard on the M1 wasn’t exactly great, but the snow covered hills were quite pretty. And I got to listen to the new Mark Tavener comedy serial on Radio 4.

The main reason for going up was to install a wireless network. I’d ordered the kit a week or so ago so it was all waiting for me. I was expecting it to be plain sailing with the network up and running in a few minutes.

Not so. I spent hours trying everything I could think about to try and get the access point to work. For another hour, I logged onto a website and asked for help — and mostly people got me to try again the things I’d already done. Finally, I got on the phone and spoke to DLink tech support, and they first of all sent me down to PC World to buy a crossover cable and try everything all over again. On the second call to the helpline, we went through everything again with the new cable before, a long time on hold later, they finally told me that perhaps the kit was faulty and I was best off returning it to the vendor and getting a refund. And here’s your call number, thank you for calling.

So, with the expectation of a refund from ebuyer.com eventually I made the third trip of the day to PC World to buy new kit, and walked home via a chocolate shop.

And began the process over again. Trying to get the kit to work. Alarmed that some of the bits were missing and the drivers referred to Windows 98. The disk was so shoddy it had no installation routine. I tried everything I could think of, asked friends for help, tried the routines on several different machines including one that actually was Windows 98. Windows XP installations were all a bit sniffy: point the system at the driver and it coldly reports: “this is not the correct driver.”

Eventually, I gave in and phoned the Netgear tech support helpline, and some nice, but very quiet people with American accents first told me to register the product on their website and then phone back. At least with Netgear there wasn’t much holding. Eventually, however, the helpline staff took me back through everything I’d already tried, and a few things a colleague had had a go at as well–and finally told me that evidently the kit was faulty and maybe I should return it to the vendor and get a refund.

This was not a good track record, and took ten hours or more to accomplish. Partly, I suppose, it’s due to the fact that I was deliberately saving money and buying old tech: 11b access points and not the more up-to-the-moment 54g technology. These bits of kit have been gathering dust on shelves for years–hence the W98 drivers and no-one knowing how to fix things.

So I drove home in the driving rain to the end of the World Tonight–and heard a great report from Shrewsbury from voters in the farmers’ market and the WI. I felt moved to suggest it to Pick of the Week.

God, I’m knackered.

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