I have a love hate relationship with technology. I love it when it works, but oh how I hate it when it doesn’t. Today was one of those days where I couldn’t catch a break and my disdain for all things tech reached a new low.
What started this whole escapade was the fact that I decided to get out of my office and work remotely today. Since my office is based out of my home there are a lot of distractions and I thought working someplace else might help me stay more focused today. So I did my homework and created a list of wireless “hot spots” that I compiled off of the Internet and after lunch went in search for remote Internet access.
The first place I tried, Fido Coffee House, didn’t seem to exist. I drove around and around, but couldn’t seem to find it. The next place on my list was Bongo Java and although I found it, parking seemed non-existent. It was located near Belmont University and most of their traffic must be walk up, so I went in search of other locations. JJ’s Market was a small deli, so parking was limited and the place was small. I was planning on staying awhile and JJ’s seemed to be a little too small to hang out for an extended period. The other places on my list had their share of issues, so I gave up on my list and decided to head to a Starbucks near Vanderbilt. I’ve had good success there in the past, so I headed there like it was my oasis in the desert.
I ordered a double espresso and small coffee and grabbed a table near a window. The Wi-Fi connection is an open bleed from the nearby Vandy campus and I wanted to make sure that I had as strong of a connection as possible. I setup my laptop, connected my mouse and sat down to begin working. One problem – no connection. I tried several utilities but I simply couldn’t find a signal. Crap! I was going to try another coffee shop, but since I had just purchased my coffee, I didn’t think they’d take to kindly to me bringing in my Starbucks. So, I opted to work offline while I finished my coffee.
After doing all that I could off-line, I packed it all up and headed to Bean Central to try my luck there. I didn’t have any success late yesterday afternoon, but I had some new utilities, so I had some hope that I would be successful today. No such luck. There was clearly a problem with the wireless access point and no matter how much I pleaded they would not reset the damn thing. Instead, I was peppered with comments like “You should get a Mac. Heh heh.,” or “Must be XP. Other people haven’t had a problem connecting today.” I won’t go into a lot of detail (say what?!?), but suffice to say that I identified that the problem was clearly with their access point. I do this sort of thing for a living and I have plenty of experience with that model of access point. I tried to work around it, but there was nothing I could do and they were not going to do a full reset for me.
With my day shot and my temper at the boiling point, I packed up and headed over to Bongo Java for one last test. I pulled up in front of their building and fired up my laptop and BOOM connected with no problem. ARGH! I finally had a connection and no time to use it. I had beaten my head against an invisible wall of Wi-Fi all afternoon and had nothing to show for it. I felt like Michael Douglas in “Falling Down,” only I had nothing I could hit with a bat. 😉