Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Computer nightmare continues

I wish I could say that I’ve begun working from home, but the nightmare of setting up my computer to remotely access corporate servers continues. Or rather, it grows.

After recovering from last week’s computer virus, we had our next hurdle: sporadic Internet connection. After Jacob uninstalled and reinstalled the network driver, we had Internet access for a day. The next day we didn’t. Then, without changing a thing, we had it again. I was thrilled. Maybe the problem went away. But guess what – the following day we again could not connect to the Internet. Intermittent problems are more challenging than continuous ones.

Jacob was stumped by this and I was near despair, so I called the shop that repaired my computer last week. I explained that the whole thing started when I downloaded the CA Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, Anti-Spam, Personal Firewall and Parental Controls software, which comes free with my new Internet provider.

“Uninstall it and see whether your Internet connection works without it,” the technician in the shop suggested. “If it does, load it again and see whether it stops working, and you’ll know the problem.”

Instead of following his suggestion, Jacob and I decided to uninstall all the freeware anti-virus and anti-spyware that the shop had put on the computer last week. Perhaps they were conflicting? Sure enough, with that stuff gone, the Internet connection worked like a charm. I was elated! At last, working from home was two CDs away - the CDs that contained the software I needed.

I decided to stay home this morning and load the Nortel Connectivity VPN Client. I got to a certain point in the procedure, and an error message popped up – something about error during a seek operation. Jacob tried, and then I tried again. Same error. I figured I got a bad CD and called the company’s Help line. The woman I spoke with said she’d send me a link to the FTP site so I could load the software from there. Great!

I next loaded Lotus Notes software. That went smoothly - until I got to the setup screens. To finish the setup, I had to be connected through the Nortel software to the company server. So that was the end of that. I left Jacob with his books and drove to my office, still feeling hopeful that once the FTP link was delivered to my home email address, I would once and for all be done with this interminable setup, and I would finally be able to stay home with Jacob and be a better homeschooling mom.

I left the office early when I saw that the link to the FTP site was in my AOL mailbox. Back at home, I connected to the Internet without a hitch, clicked on the link, and all was going well – until I got that horrid "error during a seek operation" message.

I called the corporate Help line.

Although the guy who picked up the line was very friendly and tried to be helpful, he couldn’t suggest much for a home computer. At work, keeping my computer running was their problem, not mine. At home it was a different story.

“It sounds like there is something on your computer that is conflicting with this software and won’t let it be installed,” he remarked.

“So what would you do if this happened in the office?” I pressed.

“We’d re-image your computer.” This meant they would wipe the hard drive clean and reload the operating system software, plus all the other software.

So that will be Jacob’s next task.


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What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)