Computers are not cooperating
Back in the Saddle
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 8:34 AM
As every computer user knows, there is a special place that’s known as Computer Hell.
As I write this, I am a resident.
But I’m still hopeful it’s temporary rather than permanent.
The problems started about 10 days ago when Comcast had an outage. It was a Friday night. Both TV and Internet service were knocked out.
We weren’t bothered too much.
There was a Netflix DVD that had been sitting around far too long (“Lincoln” stayed at our house so long we considered adoption) and needed to be watched. In this case, it was “The World’s End,” which I can’t recommend. (That series peaked early with “Shaun of the Dead”.)
At any rate, service returned before the movie was over.
But the next morning, our email started acting strangely.
When I tried to forward an interesting article to a friend (honest, it was an article, not a joke or a cat video), the mail server rejected it.
I clicked “Try later,” and moved on. But the outgoing mail continued to be rejected.
Okay, I thought, I’m a Mac user, so maybe this is a problem with Mail for Mac. I tried accessing Comcast.net via the computer’s Safari web browser.
And that’s when things started getting weird.
Safari couldn’t find Comcast. It couldn’t find Comcast.net. It couldn’t find Comcast.com. It couldn’t find Xfinity (the alias that Comcast adopted to avoid complaining customers).
But it could find every single other thing on the vast world of the Internet. Everything. Just not Comcast.
And it wasn’t just Safari. I ran into the same problems using the browser Chrome.
Much of that weekend was spent unplugging modems and routers and computers and such, and by Monday I was convinced we’d have huge problems at the daily newspaper because of the Comcast mess.
Only it turned out everything at the newspaper was fine. Comcast was humming on all cylinders (or whatever Internet companies like Comcast have instead of cylinders).
I could access my email via a web browser at the office. (Through which I learned there were great deals at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and a dozen other places that send junk.)
But at home, Computer Hell prevailed. Or at least Computer Purgatory.
Hoping that I wasn’t alone with the problem, I kept doing searches for “Comcast mail outage” and the like. Nothing turned up.
I was beginning to despair, when about mid-week, things began to change.
Just as I was in the process of once again bypassing the router to connect the computer directly to the Comcast modem, I looked down at the screen and saw that I had received mail.
A bunch of it. It was as if someone had run a Roto-Router through the World Wide Web.
Cool, I thought. Problem solved.
But as anyone who has ever been to Computer Hell knows, it’s never that simple.
I read a few non-junk emails, wrote a quick reply to one, then watched the wheel spin endlessly around.
Turns out, I could receive email. But I still couldn’t send it via my mail software. And neither web browser could find any sign of Comcast.
And that’s where it stands at this writing. I read my email at home. I respond to my email during business hours at the office.
Of course not, but anyone who has ever spent time where I’m residing knows the computer owner doesn’t make the rules.