I’ve been a tech geek my entire life. Memories from childhood always included a computer or console of some variety. Given my age that’s something hard to do, I was born in 1973 just before all this technology took off, so it’s a little surprising to me that even though I love technology I tend to be a bit of a luddite.
I rarely jump on the latest new tech. I sit, wait, and figure out how it will fit in my life; whether or not it’s something that I even need. I’ve never owned a DVD player. When we made the switch from VHS to DVD I built a home theatre computer to play them. Why buy a standalone player when I could build a computer to play and record? And it worked. Sort of. This was in 2000 just as dedicated PC’s started to be used in that role. Things were kludged together and made to work.
I didn’t have surround sound until my addiction to racing games forced me to. I think the problem was, in my opinion, badly setup systems. I would watch a movie at friends and the dialogue would be at a good level but anything actiony would be deafening.
“Isn’t this awesome,” they would yell at me over the roar. I would politely smile and nod; not really hearing what was said from the noise.
I had assumed this was just bad technology as every system I heard was the same. When I finally picked one up I ignored the base configuration and set the center channel at a higher level than all the others; instant legible voices, non-deafening explosions. Of course that is all in a storage locker right now, setting it up after every move is not going to happen. TV speakers and headphones work well enough until we get a house.
On computer networks I have stayed the hell away from WiFi. Putting my data in the air for any h4x0r w4r dr!v!ng jerk to see? Nope, keeping my computers on happy little cat5 cables because that is how it’s done. Git off ma lawn!
With my first smartphone I begrudgingly picked up a wireless router and promptly forced it onto a 1 megabit/second limit and didn’t let it see my wired network. PARANOIA! Years later I picked up my first laptop as I was moving in with Iris for the “trial run” to make sure we could tolerate each other (spoiler: we can). With that purchase I was forced to open up the WiFi so the laptop could see the network. I started down the road that led to this last weekend.
Whenever I setup the tech stuff I always, and I mean ALWAYS, use cat5 for the network when possible. It’s just the way I do it. Stable and more secure. But every install ends up with cable spaghetti that needs to be hidden. I could easily make my own cable lengths and do it right but every install for the last 2 years has been with the knowledge that a move will happen at any time. Rather than possibly waste cable I hide the mess in the TV stand behind a row of Xbox game cases. But it’s there, and as a telecom guy I can hear it hidden away, mocking me.
With the latest move into the rental condo I ran into a problem. Where the TV and cable modem were going was on opposite ends of the room. I looked at solutions, running cable along the wall being the easiest, but I didn’t like any of them. On Monday I did what had to be done.
My buddy Mike loaned me a WiFi module for the Xbox. I grabbed the dongle for the TV. I setup the cable modem and router tucked up against the wall behind the chair.
I went wireless.
On Wednesday I picked up a USB WiFi stick for Opus, the desktop PC I built in 2007. He’s old but I built him strong so he’s still very capable. He’s always had cat5 running into him, but being in the second bedroom right now cat5 is just not going to happen. So I did what I had to do and made him wireless. He seems ok with it, but this morning I found him quietly locked up needing a reboot. He does that from time to time, old age and all. I’ll assume its normal and not a tantrum from the WiFi setup.
The worst thing with all these changes is that it’s quite simply the prettiest install I have done in the last few years. Everything is nicely tucked away out of site. It’s the beauty of the gear on display without wires. I wonder if cat5 will show its head again.
The luddite died a little bit more this week.