Mom came over yesterday with her laptop so that I could fix her email account. She’d received no email since I set it up on June 6. 

I know the problem before I start. I had to change the password on the 6th because Mom couldn’t remember the old password. So at some point she got a password prompt and didn’t know the new password. Fine. All my fault. 

This is what troubleshooting looks like. 

I open the laptop and mail client. It says the settings are invalid. Ok. Oops. Mom isn’t connected to my wireless network. I connect her or, at least, try to.  My wifi password is super long, but by my third attempt I know I’m typing it right. The error it is giving is “failed to connect. “. I run the Windows network diagnostic tool even though that never helps. “Try connecting to a wireless network,” it suggests.  Useless. That is what is failing!

Now I pull out my laptop. First I check her email account online. Maybe she’s locked out – I’ll fix the account and forget about her laptop. No dice. The account works perfect. It is certainly the email client. I’ll need to connect her laptop to correct and verify. 

I check my wireless. I have a dual band modem. Only one band is showing up on Mom’s laptop. Hmm. Maybe the two bands have different passwords?  I dunno I only use the one band – the other one. So now I log onto the router. 

Note: I started with her email client then her network settings then her server then my network settings and now my router. I’m far away from the actual problem. This is when Mom goes: “Maybe we should call your brother. He can always fix it.”  I’ve now been taking a while and my stomach is a bit upset. 

“This he can’t fix from work.”  My answer is a little peevish. 

Back to the router. Yep. The two band passwords can be set independently. Great. But…they are both the same. Nuts. Ok. I look at the firmware level. 1.0.  I’ve never updated this thing. Gar. 

Now I’m at the router site downloading the latest firmware –  2013 was the last release. My router is both ancient and out of date. Terrorists have likely been using my network daily. I have to drive to the router to check part of the model number. Mom is watching mystified. I haven’t touched her laptop into over 20 minutes. I insist it is all under control, but I don’t really know that. The firmware update is a shot in the dark. Tier 1 script-like troubleshooting. “Is it up to date? No? Then update before going to step 2.”  The next step would be real troubleshooting. I’d need to consult the event logs and see why the connections were failing, research it on the web, adjust settings and retry and repeat. It would be annoying for what I knew to be, at heart, a bad password issue. 

When I was in the router earlier, I didn’t see the firmware update option. So I look at the instructions on the support site. Nuts. It is a friendly video instead of a document. Grr. I play it. It takes 5 minutes of annoyance before it tells me where the menu option is. On the way there it provides helpful warnings like don’t do a firmware update wirelessly. I have no cable so I ignore that advice. I think it is unlikely the upload will corrupt and if it does brick the router? Meh. It is ancient, I can get a new one. 

Mom notices though and asks if I should plug it in. I wave down the concerns. 

5 minutes later I’m done. The firmware upgrades fine. My settings are retained. My laptop still reaches the Internet. I connect Mom’s laptop with no issue (both bands are no visible). I fix the password in the mail client and download a week of email. 

That was the highlight of my birthday. My upset stomach made the rest of the day unpleasant. 


  • Even simple issues can turn into a pain
  • I bet my router will work better with Windows mobile devices now
  • Having the customer watch you work and suggesting calling your brother for advice is annoying. 
  • Troubleshooting is just chasing the issue from one state to another until it works or you’ve found a bug that needs to be reported. One annoying step at a time. 

Day for Night

Day for Night is my Hip album. 

I was around for New Orleans is sinking and Up to Here. In college I soaked in Fully Completely and Road Apples. I picked up the EP through Columbia House. I was always a fan. Loved the Hip. But not enough to go out to a Roadside Attraction for instance. 

But the the fall of 1994 I was living at home again. I was working at the museum. I travelled to Edmonton and stayed at Paulys and picked up the new release while in the city. And Day for Night was the soundtrack of my year off from university. 

Weird album. The singles had no hooks like earlier Hip singles – it was a move towards more lyricism started in Fully Completely and finished at Trouble in the Henhouse. But the whole album created a feeling and I had the album on repeat for a year. I can still play it and bring myself back to that time. There is a scene in High Fidelity where Rob organizes his albums autobiographicaly. Day for Night is at the centre of my autobiography. 

My first Hip concert was the Day for Night tour. I couldn’t understand most of the on stage rants with the echoes of Rexall, but it was still mesmerizing. My conceptions of a perfect concert are either giant Stones productions or the on stage antics of Downie. 

The video game Doom II plays with Day for Night in the background. Impossibilium, I have no idea what it is about, but for me it is about defending Earth from demons with a BFG. 

That year was a break from life. A break I didn’t see again until 2010 and hopefully won’t see again until retirement. A million things happened during that break then I went back, graduated and got a job. 

Other music that year? John Prine and Metallica’s Black Album. That was the museum. Day for Night was home. 

The final Hip album has now been released. It won’t sit on my psyche like Day for Night – no Hip album will. Nuts. I always thought there’d be another. 

Take care Gord. Hope to see you in July. 

Two interesting Stories

The Rebel banned from Government access. Globe and Mail article

In this age of digital and guerilla journalism, who decides who a journalist is?  Certainly it shouldn’t be the government. If there is to be value in journalism, it must allow for access to the government and criticism of the government. If the government controls access they are controlling more of the message than they should. 

The government are preparing a report, but it should be journalists (legacy and new blogger types) who tell the government what it means in these times to be a journalist. 

And here Apple is opposing a court order to create a back door in their software. Globe and mail link

Neat. Interesting that this went fully public. This is part of the reason why organizations like mine are concerned about any cloud services. (Not that this is a cloud service case). 

Mostly I’m surprised and happy it is necessary. Modern fiction always gives the impression the organs like the FBI and NSA can always easily bypass these controls already. 

Code will be copied. If Apple creates a back door, somehow that will get in the wild. Then all security on iOS devices is ruined. 

On the other hand, if Apple is even able to create such a bypass it means there is a flaw in the security architecture. Possibly unavoidable on a proprietary device/OS like the iPhone. 

The relationship between both stories is that decisions here ultimately impact our ability to have critical debates in the public sphere.