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WonderKaa Superpowers: Activate!

Quite some time ago, I broke the most sacred rule of superheroes and revealed to you, my LJ friends, that I am not merely mild-mannered computer programmer Kaa, but that I had a number of superpowers, as well.

Dubious superpowers, certainly. But superpowers, nonetheless.

Last night I not only revealed my awesome, stunning power of KaZOT at its worst, but outed one of my best friends' superpowers, as well. A two-in-one shot, you might say.

You know (because I've told you, and clearly you all read and memorize every sacred word that I choose to type) that I have been playing around with BroadVoice VOIP phone service. The company sent me a "phone router" that (ostensibly) sits between my cablemodem and my existing router. They sent diagrams showing how to hook it up, and yea verily, it wert simple.

I followed those diagrams to the letter...and nothing happened. I couldn't get my existing router to see the Internet, no matter how many times I rebooted everything. So I called BroadVoice. The young man with whom I spoke listened to my tale of woe and advised me to...do exactly what I had already done. But, hey. I'm nothing if not accommodating, so I did it all again while he was on the phone (Cell phone; if I rebooted the phone router while on the phone...I leave the rest of that sentence as an exercise.). Nada. He said, "I don't know why it isn't working. Most routers connect with no problem whatsoever." He then advised me to try hooking it up the other way: cablemodem to existing router to phone router. We hung up.

I tried that. Nada. So, to lay the problem out before you: I can have either Internet for one hard-wired computer and BroadVoice, or no BroadVoice, but Internet through my existing wireless router. Neither of these is optimal. I want it all: phones, internet, wireless.

I have this friend named Phil. Phil is the one with the superpower I mention above. He has the ability to lay his hands on electronics and make it work. It's the polar opposite of my own power of KaZOT. You might say that I'm the supervillain to his superhero. Unlike most supervillains, however, my power is not equal to his. And this is a good thing.

He questioned me at length about the setup (he pooh-poohed my choice of wireless router, citing anecdotal evidence that D-Link is shit) and determined that I needed a crossover ethernet cable rather than the straight-through ones that I had.

Okay, fine. I went to Fry's *Mecca chord* and purchased said cable (actually, I went twice, because the first time I accidentally picked up the wrong cable, which had the wrong type of connectors on the ends, but that's beside the point). I brought it home.

With great, surging hope, I unplugged everything, hooked it all up as per the diagram, and turned everything back on in the proper sequence.

Nada. The WAN light remained dark and unblinking. Mocking me.

So I called Phil again. He said he would--and I quote--"come over and scare it into working." (He is quite aware of our polar opposite powers, as we have been friends for coming up on 17 years, and he's been coworker and/or boss for about 9 of those.)

Last night, Phil came over. We went up to my office, and I showed him the setup. I had reconnected the computer directly to the phone modem so I could have Internet and phones, but no wireless.

Phil proceeded to unhook it all and set it up exactly as was indicated in the diagram. Anyone else, I would have said, "I tried that; it didn't work." Anyone else, I would have said, "You're wasting your time."

He plugged the crossover cable into the WAN port of my existing (D-Link) wireless router. The WAN light immediately came on and started blinking merrily. Mocking me.

"I tried that!" I wailed. "I had it hooked up exactly that way! And it did. Not. Work!" Phil is used to this from me, and all it elicited was a knowing smile. He said he believed me (Did I mention 17 years?) to the point that he brought Cat-5 cable, crimpers, and even a spare router with him.

I tested everything, and it worked fine. We talked for a while, and he left.

I'll bet it wasn't 20 minutes after he left that--and I'm only guessing this is what happened--his ambiance faded from the house. The power he so easily exudes was overpowered by the weaker, but more insidious influence of KaZOT.

It stopped working. Cold. The WAN light was back to a steadfast darkness. Mocking me.

I rebooted everything in proper sequence. Nada.

I recable. Nada. Again. Nada. In my frustration, I did the only thing left for me to do: I very firmly went to bed.

This morning when I awoke to the melodious strains of NPR, I rewired again, hooking my computer directly to the phone router so I'd have at least one computer on the Internet. I IM'd Phil. Following is a lightly edited transcript of that conversation:
me: Guess what I'm about to tell you. :)
Phil: It quit working.
me: Right after you left. No joke.
Phil: I'll rent you a cardboard cutout :)
me: It's more tempting than you think. :)
Phil: What lights were on?
me: Everything was fine...except it stopped recognizing the WAN.
me: To make sure the WAN port hadn't blown cookies, I plugged the cable modem directly into it. Worked fine.
me: Rebooted everything. Still nada.
Phil: What sequence did you boot them?
me: I'm not sure whether this proves your divinity or my ability to, as Geoff [craftsman] would put it, "fuck up an anvil." :)
me: I unplugged the cable modem, the wireless router and the phone router, then plugged them back in in the same order.
Phil: Do the cable modem, then the phone router, and then the wireless router. That will start them in dependent order.
me: That's actually what I meant, but I'll try again in case I did lose my head in the heat of battle.
Phil: If that fails, leave them off for 5 minutes before starting them
<insert five minutes of hold music here>
me: Nothing.
[Lengthy conversation involving what kind of router to get that would be better than the D-Link model I have now.]
me: Good enough. Thanks for the help. If nothing else we've proven your power over electronics and/or my ... whatever the opposite of your power is. ;)
me: It's my superpower.
me: I should cultivate it.
Phil: Or at least learn to control it :)
me: True.
So, there you have it. Strong evidence for the existence of my superpower, Phil's superpower, or perhaps both.

Clearly, I have but one option, at this point: Shave my head and trim my beard into a goatee. If I'm going to be a supervillain, Goddammit, I should at least look like one. I already have the white, fluffy cat. All I need beyond that is a British, German or Russian (but not Belgian) accent; woefully simple plans for world-domination; ineffective henchpeople who can't follow the simplest instructions; Rube Goldberg-esque machines designed to kill my opponents spectacularly slowly; and a volcanic island lair. I have always wanted a volcanic island lair.

<goes off to check supervillainrealty.com for available volcanic lair property>
<goes off to careerbuilder.com to post an ad for 'clueless henchperson'>
<goes off to illtemperedmutatedseabass.com to see if they have some that have frickin' "LASER"s on their heads>
<goes off to rubegoldbergareus.com to see the latest in ineffective, tortuously slow methods of killing one's enemies>
<goes off to villainousaccents.com to hire a dialect coach>
<plugs in beard trimmer to charge>

Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  


( 15 hisses — Hiss at me! )
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 9th, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC)
My superpower is the ability to summon cabs with my eyes.

Feb. 9th, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC)
At least yours is useful. And your archnemesis must really be a sad sack: s/he can never get a cab.
Feb. 9th, 2007 03:14 pm (UTC)
he pooh-poohed my choice of wireless router, citing anecdotal evidence that D-Link is shit

Yeah, I'll bet he did. I have one and yea verily it is crap.

I'm thinking of replacing it. What is Phil's recommendation?

I'd ask for your recommendation, but...um...you understand.... :)
Feb. 9th, 2007 03:16 pm (UTC)
Phil suggested the Linksys WRT54GL. It's the same price as the D-Link, but he recommends it highly.

With KaZOT, it might still not be enough, though. I must find a way to regulate the power....
Feb. 9th, 2007 03:20 pm (UTC)
I was thinking of a Linksys, since I had a non-wireless box of theirs before and it performed splendidly. Thanks!
Feb. 9th, 2007 04:25 pm (UTC)
I've never had a D-Link router, but I have 2 dirt-cheap Netgear routers...I don't know the model numbers, but I bought each for less than $50. One's about 3 years old, and one is about a year and a half old.

They both work flawlessly, always install painlessly (I keep one at my grandparents' for wireless access when I'm there), and neither has ever failed.

Go Netgear, they save at +3 vs. KaZOT.
Feb. 9th, 2007 04:31 pm (UTC)
They can't have fricking "LASERS" on their heads, because your presence would cause them to have useless chunks of nonfunctional electronics on their heads instead.

Feb. 9th, 2007 04:36 pm (UTC)
Drat. You're right, of course. Thank you. I'll make you my Number Two. :)
Feb. 9th, 2007 04:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, come on...you need a cane with a big, antiquey-looking knob on it, too!

My husband's superVILLIANpower is to stop car fans from working on any setting other than the highest one. Remind me to never ever let him drive my car again, after I get that fixed.

Mine is growing marigolds in the winter. Every spring, I plant marigolds. I attend to them faithfully. Every year, they die almost immediately. Not a fast death, a slow withering one. Every year, in late fall, three or four bushes of marigolds spring up out of the marigold ashes. I ignore them, refusing to water them or anything, as they are clearly misplaced. Then they put forth maginficent bloom after bloom - a varitable wave of marigolds. Well into December, they burst with color...at exactly the time they should be dead. Most worthless superpower EVER.

So stick with yours. At least it's fun and tech-y!! ;)
Feb. 9th, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, come on...you need a cane with a big, antiquey-looking knob on it, too!

But those normally feature the big, antiquey-looking knob unscrewing to find something suitably high-tech and scary that the cane either transforms into or can do, like a laser weapon or dart blower.

As skreeky so aptly pointed out above, that wouldn't work for me. So the cane would have to be just a prop, and I disdain props. :)

Plus, I'll have the white, fluffy cat, which must always be carried and stroked, requiring two hands.
Feb. 9th, 2007 10:28 pm (UTC)
You'll also need a monocle.

And OMG. Ever hear of the lj-cut tag?
Feb. 9th, 2007 10:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, and I suggest renaming your power. KaaZOT would be much more descriptive, and in line with egomaniacal supervillainship.
Feb. 11th, 2007 05:10 am (UTC)
Don't know if you saw this or not, but thought you and Skippy might enjoy it. :o)

Feb. 12th, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC)
I would just like to point out, because I am this way, that I have had a D-Link wireless router and it has been nothing but a joy compared to the Linksys we had before.

YMMV as always.
( 15 hisses — Hiss at me! )

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