A glitch in time, online

Yesterday started off reasonably enough. I had gotten behind schedule on a deadline, but I received a stay of execution — the project manager more or less agreed with changes I proposed that ended up slowing things down.

Settled in to work bright and early. Open the in-progress documents, launch the browser to reach the content-sharing site.

Hmmm. Nobody home. Check e-mail. Hmmm.

I can reach the wireless router (though it’s hard going once I get there; the new interface was written originally in Korean, I think, and rewritten in Estonian before translated again to English). But I can’t get past the router.

Left to right: Microsoft, ZoneAlarm

My usual solution is to kick the modem. Not literally (I had to pay for it). I just go down to the kitchen, unplug the Digit Twins, pretend to wait 40 seconds, and plug them back in again.

Still no good. More troubleshooting-by-walking-around: I went down to the basement to check the TV.

Hmmm — we’re getting cable pictures. We’re just not getting cable data.

Back to the office. I call the cable company. Six voice-mail presses and 20 minutes later, I get a customer service rep whose previous job had been announcing departures at the Port Huron bus station. The outcome: they can’t even see my modem. Earlier service call? Tomorrow between 11 and 3.

I work for a while, rekick the modem (see “superstitious behavior“). Later, breaking from the excitement of actual work, I click a few shortcuts on my browser — and I can get to my blog. Not a cached page, either — the real thing.

I was about to shut off the firewall, as a test, but instead I lowered its setting. Bingo — mail, Google, the whole shebang. So I complained via my Facebook status and got back to work.

Hours passed in which the only thing I looked at online was the Legal Information Institute at Cornell. I went back to Facebook to find a note from Kate. Her partner had fallen victim to another Microsoft security update which just happened to knock thousands of ZoneAlarm users off the internet.

I’m not really that connected — I can go days with my cell phone in the side pocket of my car (which I don’t use every day). I have Twitter, but I’m not sure why: following 10 people isn’t enough, but I have no desire to follow 500. And I believe that a company buying one of those picture-and-text ad on the left side Facebook is doing the digital equivalent of selling leisure suits.

I am glad, though, that I took the time to rant, and that Kate responded. And my wife, who also uses ZoneAlarm, was even happier — because I could warn her about this tiny glitch.

“Lock gates” photo by Simon Lieschke.

2 thoughts on “A glitch in time, online

  1. Dave:

    Thanks for the LII props; your post turned up in one of the Legal Information Institute’s vanity trawls ;-). But the real reason I wrote is that I just spent two hours undoing the damage the ZoneAlarm glitsch wrought upon *my* wife’s computer. She is now a proud Comodo user.

    How do you use the LII?

    All the best,

    Thomas R. Bruce
    Director, Legal Information Institute

  2. I like “vanity trawl.” I can be pretty vain, myself, but I haven’t sent out any trawlers. At least not consciously. Or maybe I’m afraid of what they’ll find…

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