Friday, October 26, 2012

Insanity is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over …

The Internet is a vital part of my manner of living.

I don’t receive paper bills or statements or notifications or paper anything from anybody who allows me to avoid that paper deluge.

Most of the organizations I need to depend upon for my daily life to proceed normally offer a paperless option.

That is a good thing for me.

It probably is a good thing for the planet.

It is a good thing until those occasions when I decide to spend more than one billing cycle in France.

But wait; it is still a good thing.  There is the Internet.

However it is that I choose to run my paperless life in Seattle, I can also run my paperless life in Paris.

It requires an adjustment of mailing addresses for the little unavoidable paper that still trickles down the postal chute, but other than that nothing needs to change.

So say the travel guides.

And there is no reason to believe that that isn’t so.  I mean Paris has an advanced electronic infrastructure. 

All I should need to do is check into my apartment and sign on to the apartment provided Wi-Fi link and be good to go for the duration.

Or so say the travel guides.

I stress tested that premise in 2010 when I went to Paris for an extended stay.

On that trip my landlord needed me to be in three different apartments.  He could not accommodate my dates of residence with one property.  So I was going to have a chance to stress test the premise three times.

In all three cases I unplugged the Ethernet cable from the Orange box and plugged it into the wireless router that I had bought specifically for the Paris sojourn.

I had brought a portable wireless router because, all things equal, I wanted to be on my own custom-secured network not on an ostensibly secured network provided by my landlord.

In the first apartment I had to configure the portable router.  I hadn’t even opened the box until I got to that first Paris apartment.

The configuration was such a no-brainer that in moments I was up and running on the Internet.

I had to wrestle with the fact – I learned during the process of wrestling – that Orange made port 25 a non valid outbound email port for any but their own customers. 

That fact caused a lot of gnashing of teeth until it was discovered, but, once discovered, I contacted Comcast and they told me about a secret other port.

Since I knew how to assign another port to the outbound server, it was only moments and, voila, I could send email.

In the other two apartments the process was the same, albeit easier, the outbound port problem having been previously fixed.  I just unplugged the Ethernet cable from the Orange box and plugged into my router and I was up and running.

The came 2012.

My wife and I spent two weeks in March in one of the apartments that I had occupied in 2010.

To show what a paltry life I lead, a high point of anticipation for arrival day was, will that same process still work?

Within minutes of our arrival I had unplugged the Ethernet cable from the same Orange box that I had unplugged it from in 2010 and plugged it into the same wireless router that I had brought with me in 2010, and, again, it worked flawlessly.

My paltry life had been immeasurably enhanced.  

That connection worked for two weeks. 

It worked for two iPhones and one iPad. 

There were no PCs on this trip.

So when I recently returned to that apartment that Mysti and I had occupied in March it never crossed my mind that the same set of simple actions would generate a different result.

Not so fast.

To Be Continued

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