Monday, December 8, 2008

I'm Telling You ... the Cat Did It !!!

The past few days I have been experiencing intermittent internet interference ... in other words - sometimes I can connect to the internet and sometimes not! And thus, I am unable to Gather at will.

This phenomenon has been most pronounced in the late evening and middle of the night hours, after the rest of the crew had gone to bed, and when I prefer to sit and write. I would be surfing along researching topics and clicking on my connections' articles and photos to view, when everything would come to a screeching halt! Not an unheard of issue with Gather, but when I say everything, I mean everything - email, my website, Yahoo and Google too! Nothing was working on down the line from the laptop. It was all gone.

The folks I'm visiting in Denver both telecommute from home offices and they have the highest available broadband tier for their internet connection. For their work they use wired connections for their respective VPN's, but even the wireless router for the rest of the house is just incredibly fast and wonderful to use. It's one thing to watch youTube and promo videos online, but I've even been able to watch full-screen full-length streaming High Def movies on the laptop without any hitches with their connection. Things that just don't do well online back home in the woods. Or I should say, it was wonderful to use ... until Monday night ...

It was around midnight and I was doing the searches so I could post the ♪ Ping-a-long Sing-a-long ♬ for Tuesday when the connection just dropped out of sight. I opened up the Windows control panel and went about checking the connection. It took a a couple tries, but it finally reconnected. Five minutes later it was down again. This time the control panel couldn't even find the router. A couple more minutes and the router reappears. The number of bars on the graph is five (very good connection), but before I can click on the connection all the bars disappear. Then two bars come back ... jumps to four ... down to one ... back to five ... settles on two for a while ... I reconnect. Don't need all the bars, not watching a movie, just doing some searches and hopefully publishing the article.

Got the links I needed so I went offline to write the article. Later, ready to publish. So I open the browser and try to log onto Gather ... can't connect ... check the control panel and the router is no where to be seen ... this time I go check the actual router where it hides in the entertainment console along with the VCR, DVD, TIVO and other assorted new fangled entertainment machinery bearing acronyms, like the box that brings HBO into the house and the other one that plays CDs. The lights were blinking normally, so I opened the cabinet door, reached in and pressed the reset button. The router goes through its gyrations of resetting and reconnecting, and everything looks good. Back at the laptop I again find the router listed, and it and the laptop have already reconnected and are acting like long lost best buddies. Get logged into Gather, open the editor, paste in the article, click to add photos ... and ... and nothing! It just sits there. No little spinning whirlwind on the screen, not even one of those "I can't find that server so I give up" error messages, the window just sat there and did nothing. I gave up, too. Went upstairs, brushed my teeth, and got in bed with my spy novel.

Tuesday night. Another late night writing fest and attempt to post the ♪ Ping-a-long Sing-a-long ♬ for hUMp dAy. Events are a rerun of the night before ... I gave up earlier this time and got to read several chapters from Robert Ludlum before falling alseep.

Wednesday night. The mysterious router disappearances continued ... however, I did manage to get an article posted Wednesday during the day ... but last evening was another repeat performance of the previous two late night adventures in hide-and-go-seek routers ... at this rate I am going to finish reading the spy mystery in record time!

This morning. As usual, I sat down to check my email with coffee before getting started for the day. Coffee was hot and delicious ... the internet connection was cold and bitter ... nonexistent actually, or possibly still AWOL from last night. Other folks in the house are also having problems connecting through the wireless router, though the wired connections in their offices are fine.

So we begin a thorough game of hide-and-seek-router ... while getting in behind the entertainment console and all of those monogrammed boxes of electronic entertainment wizardry ... we are greeted by a flying ball of fur and claws making a screeching and hasty exit from the secret cat-nap place it had claimed between the cabinet and the wall on top of the nest of cables and cords that emanate from the backside of all the monogrammed entertainment boxes!

The cat that claimed this hiding spot is a feisty little guy of about five pounds when soaking wet (and being wet is right up there with having his secret hiding place discovered as one of his least favourite things!) and he is just heavy enough to stretch the router cable and partially disconnect the plugs in their sockets, yet not enough weight to pull the plugs completely out of the wall or router. Coming in from the front of the cabinet to press the router's reset button at night, I was not seeing the cat quietly abandoning his new secret hiding place, and my pressing the reset button was enough to get the CAT-5 cable's plug on the back of the router to realign the connection until the next time the cat crawled back into its hiding place.

Now that the mystery of the kitty connection, or dis-connection as it was, has been solved, I can again do my late night searching and writing unimpeded. The ♪ Ping-a-long Sing-a-long ♬ will resume its regularly scheduled postings later tonight just in time to end the week!

The Culprit - aka Verne Kitty
(don't let the cute face fool you!)

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