My parents sold their house (my childhood home) and moved into a smaller place in a seniors-only golf community. Navigating the housing market and the selling process was highly stressful with some ridiculous demands from the buyers and hairy logistics.
An example of the former: they wanted the house professionally cleaned. Now, anyone who has ever stepped foot in "my mother's house" knows what an outrageous demand it was. You could eat off her floors. Growing up, we didn't have a five-second rule--five minutes would have been ok (assuming we didn't get yelled at for leaving a mess on the floor). I distinctly remember being sniped at for dropping an ice cube on the tile floor in the kitchen. I'm of the opinion that the buyers were just trying to get away with anything they thought they could.
An example of the latter: The new place became available July 10 and they had to be out of the old house before the 13th. My folks wanted it painted, so the painters started on the 10th. And the cable hook up was scheduled for that day too. Movers packed on the 11th and moved the boxes and furniture on the 12th. The painters just finished today.
I went over on the 10th to supervise the cable installation, which included a cable modem. My parents are very much of the "email and word processing" mold when it comes to computers, so I wanted to make sure that they got basic internet access. It wasn't clear, based on the conversations I had with my mom, relaying what she was told by Comcast, exactly what they were being hooked up for, especially since the home owners association provided basic cable. I brought over my laptop and didn't let the cable guy leave until he had shown me the internet was working on it. That went relatively well. What didn't go well was that they had been signed up for an HDDVR but didn't have an HDTV. That's one of the things on the "to get" list this week. So, the cable tv box wasn't hooked up.
Also on the "to get" list was a laptop. In the move, they lost a bedroom/office. Taking the cue from my brother, they decided to get a laptop that they could just carry around the house. This also meant a wireless network. On the 11th, I took my mom over to Best Buy to look at laptops. I kept an eye on price and features (remember, they didn't need much) and let her focus on whether she liked the screen and keyboard. They only need a netbook, but those are too small, so we gravitated toward a low-end HP Presario with a 16" monitor. She also glanced at the Macs (which my brother has), but quickly decided that paying the additional $500+ over what we had been looking at wasn't worth it.
We left the store without getting anything. I wanted a chance to check online for reviews, positive and negative, and look at more detailed specs. And it so happened that the model dropped in price by $30 the next day. Cool beans. I also checked out the routers and satisfied myself with the choices at Best Buy. Sure, I could have dug deeper for bargains and saved maybe a hundred bucks, possibly at the cost of several days shipping, but it wasn't really necessary.
On Sunday, I ran my Savage Worlds campaign and since this was a hectic moving day, there was no sense in trying to get anything computer-related done. On Monday, the 13th, I met my mom at Best Buy, we got the computer and a router, and went the new place. The painters were supposed to have been done, but they weren't so the furniture wasn't in place and there were boxes in the middle of the room. None of it actually got in my way, but it added a layer of frustration and discomfort to the activity.
After unboxing and going through the normal new PC rigmarole, I tried to get it working with the modem. And failed. My XP laptop, which I brought as a control, worked as before, but the new Vista machine simply was not getting an IP address from the modem. I rebooted modem and PC. I reset network ports. I ipconfiged my ass off. One symptom of the problem was that I couldn't release the default IP address and kept getting an error related to Loopback Pseudo-Interface 1. I tried various things in various combinations and finally gave up. I unboxed and set up the router. Getting the PC to talk to it was easy and painless. But it wouldn't talk to the modem either. There was cursing.
One source of consternation was navigating Vista. It seems that with each version of Windows, Microsoft was made it more difficult to do semi-advanced network port configuration. Just finding the list of networks was a chore. And of course, their "get connected" wizards were absolutely useless and actually lead me down a blind alley for a half-hour. In some cases, I think they tried to make the language of Vista menus and options more "naturalistic" and less "jargony," but it just made things harder for me. This is not an anti-Windows rant, just a "can we reduce the number of clicks for me to get where I want to go?" gripe.
Of course, I tried to call the cable technician, who had left his number and said to call if there were any problems. Of course, he determined it was a problem with the PC. Of course, I called HP tech support, but after 3 minutes on hold, I gave up. My back was hurting from not having a proper chair and the reception on my cell phone sucked (the land lines didn't get turned up until the next morning and the phones weren't unpacked until the afternoon). I called it a day.
I brought the new PC to my place where I could check it on my router, my DSL modem. And it worked fine. And I was able to download a bunch of updates, including SP2. I also removed crap that comes with new PCs, like the "sign up for Norton" screen that came up every time the PC booted. I also talked to (Friday Night Gaming) Brian about my headaches and his experiences. He had some helpful hints, which I employed.
The next day, Tuesday, today, I went back and tried again. Terri and I brought lunch and after we ate, I went to work. This time, I took a very deliberate approach of turning off the modem and the PC, turning each on in sequence, and hoping. And it worked fine. I was stunned. Emboldened, I disconnected everything again, hooked up the router to the modem, and went through the same routine. And it turned up on the first try. I was relieved. I don't know if the Windows Updates made the difference, but I'd be surprised if they hadn't since the ipconfig behavior was very different. I also don't know how how I was supposed to get it to work if I hadn't had an alternative method of getting online. On the other hand, that doesn't explain why the modem decided talking to the router was ok now.
I spent another hour or so cleaning up the new PC, verifying the signal range, using both laptops at once, and getting my mom started on using the new computer. After helping to clear out some empty boxes, we left and got some ice cream.