Saturday, December 4, 2010

IT Department, Please!

T'is the season for computer problem, it seems -- at least in my house. First, my cable modem's incoming signal went. Then the networking cable we had run between the 3rd-floor cable modem and the 2nd-floor router went bad. And now my desktop computer won't recognize half its memory. If I worked in a regular office, I'd have called the IT department each time. But, of course, being a freelancer there is no IT department.

So I first rebooted the various components of my home network and tested connections with my netbook before calling the cable company. After half an hour on the phone, the verdict was: no incoming signal. This was a Friday morning and the company offered to send a technician out on Saturday late morning. Meanwhile, I had work to do. So I packed up my netbook and took the subway to a cafe with free WiFi to complete a project that needed to get done that day.When I got home, the cable company apparently had fixed the problem from afar. Between the testing, phone calls and travel time to the cafe I had lost 2 hours or so an IT department would have saved me.

Two days later the internet connection on my desktop stopped working again. After more rebooting and testing connections I determined that the cable connecting my cable modem on the 3rd floor with the router in my office on the 2nd floor had apparently stopped working. Instead of calling the IT department, I moved the wireless router up to the 3rd floor, got on the subway and bought a wireless USB connector for my desktop. Then I had to reconfigure the printer to print through a USB connection to my desktop instead of through the network. Another 3 hours or so spent fixing computers instead of translating.

Then both my husband and son were home and using the wireless network, as well. My wireless connection began to slow to the point where I couldn't keep running the multiple applications and online dictionaries I normally use. Solved that problem by telling my son to get off the internet and my husband to work from his office instead of from home. Not really an IT department job, but they would probably have gotten me rewired by now. Looks like I'll have to do that rewiring myself. I'm just not sure how we'll accomplish that on the third floor, since our ladder is not that long (the cable ran on the outside of the building, underneath the new siding we had put on a couple of years ago).

Booting up my desktop this morning, the computer informed me that the amount of memory in my system had changed. Apparently it is no longer recognizing half my RAM. So I'll have to spend part of the weekend trying to address that problem. I'm hoping opening the computer and re-seating the memory will do the trick, but who knows ...

I love being able to set my own hours, decide which projects to take and not having to commute to work, but sometimes I do long for a "real" office with an IT department.

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