Sunday, March 23, 2008

What Works, What Doesn't

That Worked!

It is a sign of our times--and not a good one--that one finds himself amazed and gratified when something actually works as it's supposed to.

A recent case in point: Last week I acquired a new iMac, and am in the process of porting files, adding software, etc. One of the pieces that was missing was an infrequently but well-liked application called RadioLover, which allows one to record internet radio for later listening.

Miraculously, I had the order confirmation from when I had purchased the software in 2003, which included re-downloading instructions. I followed them, installed the software, entered my ancient registration number...and say presto! it was up and running! Strange but true!

That Worked...Eventually

Meanwhile, I spent the better part of two days horsing around with the Apple AirPort Express that arrived in Friday's mail. Not quite the plug-and-play exercise that Apple would have you believe. First, Airport Utility refused to "find" the AirPort Express, which was plugged in some three feet distance. Well, plugged and unplugged, and the iMac was restarted and restarted. Finally I had the bright idea of running the Ethernet cable not from the DSL router to the unfound AirPort Express, but rather from the AirPort Express to the iMac, and, behold, they began to communicate! Thus able to configure the AirPort Express, it was on to creating the wireless network.

That proved more problematic. Actually, creating the silly thing was easy I discovered while doing it over and over and over again. Getting the network to stick around so that I could instruct AirPort to use it was the tricky part. Many attempts, re-attempts, restarts, and words that are inappropriate to the Easter season. By late Friday, I had about decided to pack everything up and ship it back to Apple.

Saturday morning I dinked around with it some more, did a "factory reset" of the AirPort Express, and for no reason that I can think of managed to create yet another network that, this time, appeared in the AirPort menu and seemed inclined to last awhile. Indeed, I was able to get the iMac online wirelessly, even though the AirPort Express stubbornly continued to display a blinking amber light instead of a steady green light. Eventually I got tired of looking at the blinking light, ran AirPort Utility for the 10,000th time, and managed to correct whatever problems it was having.

All seems to be working well now, and the wireless network seems to be working well on my daughter's MacBook Pro as well as the Dell Inspiron laptop I have on loan from my workplace. But what a colossal pain! Occasionally one wonders about Apple's much-vaunted reputation for simplicity!

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