Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Unchained - I've Gone Wireless

Woohoo! I've gone wireless!

I mentioned in an earlier post last week that I purchased a new laptop, and it arrived more quickly than I thought it would. I spent a few hours Thursday and Friday evening transferring the files from my desktop to my laptop. In the process, I learned how to use my iPod as a hard drive. Or course, over the weekend, my friend pointed out that if I had purchased a router ahead of time, I could have hooked up both computers to the same network and then transferred everything over directly. But such is life.

After doing a bit of research online, I decided to purchase a Linksys Wireless-G Broadband router. The reviews were somewhat mixed on all of the routers, including that particular model. So, rather than order the router online, I purchased the router from my local Best Buy. I paid a few dollars more for the router, but I figured it was worth not having to deal with the hassle of shipping the product back if it turned out to be defective.

The product came with an installation disk. And it was supposed to be a quick and easy setup process. After an hour of rebooting and re-installing the software, I finally gave up and called an IT friend. He tried to walk me through a manual setup process, but that didn't work. Sigh. The online user reviews at cnet.com warned me about Linksys' poor technical support. But desperate times call for desperate measures. So, I took a deep breath and dialed the customer service hotline. Of course, they were experiencing unusually heavy call volume. And they suggested that I visit their website to download their Easy Connect software. "Sets up and configures your Internet connection and wireless home network as well as diagnoses and fixes wireless adapter installation issues!" Um, yeah right. Just like the software on your installation disk?

But I was on hold for a while, so I figured it couldn't hurt to download the software and at least try it. And amazingly enough, it worked! The utility even configured my security settings. Now why didn't they just include the online utility with the product instead of the installation disk software?!?!?

Lesson learned. If you're having problems setting up hardware or software, it's always a good idea to check to see if there are any helpful updates or utilities available online at the vendor's website.

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