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Macworld Expo Day 1 coverage continues as host Tim Robertson and special guest Owen Rubin have a long discussion about not just this years Macworld Expo, but the event of years past. Do you remember Global Village? Do you have a large collection of unused Macs cluttering up your basement? This is the podcast for you, and Tim and Owen wax nostalgia for an hour.

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My Three Days In Hell

On December 4, 1996, in Opinion, by Brian Koponen

It finally happened. I always heard about Internet horror stories but when I went online, nothing happened. The setup was great, I never made a tech support call, and nothing ever went wrong with my modem. Then one day, that all stopped.

My modem is a 28.8 Teleport Platinum from Global Village. I’ve always thought they were a very reliable company. After all, their Bronze modem came with my Performa 550. If Apple likes them, so do I.

My story starts at the Global Village Web site. I was looking around and found a software area. As it turns out, my modem has a flash ROM card in it. That means that you can upgrade the ROM in the modem by downloading some software. The software waiting to be downloaded would make this 28.8 modem into the new 33.6 modem. This seemed almost too good to be true.

I downloaded the software and installed it. Everything seemed to work fine. It did something to the modem and said everything was working fine. I tried to connect to the Internet. Nothing happened. Well, something happened, but it wouldn’t let me connect. The screen said “Establishing Connection” like normal, but then “The connection is not reliable” flashed on the screen and everything disconnected.

This was disheartening. I figured I could fix the problem, so I restarted. When I tried to connect, nothing happened. The next step was to delete some preference files. I trashed a whole bunch of them, restarted, and nothing happened. This was really getting on my nerves. I rebuilt the desktop, nothing happened. Finally, I decided to reinstall the software. All of it.

First, I reinstalled the System Software. Still, my modem would not connect to the Internet. Then I reinstalled the Internet software. My Internet Service Provider (ISP) included installation instructions and four disks with the software on it. I reinstalled everything and set up all of the programs. Assuming I did all of this correctly, I tried to connect. My modem refused to connect.

And that was how my modem sat for two days. It seemed to work fine, but I couldn’t get on the Internet. This taught me an important lesson: One can live without the Internet. I learned I can do other things to occupy my time. One of the largest being doing real work rather than procrastinating. Every time I looked at the modem, I knew eventually I was going to have to fix it.

Then it hit me. I had another modem. The Global Village Bronze was sitting in my basement. Of course, it’s only a 2400 modem, but it would tell me if my modem was broken or if it was the software. I hooked it up and when I tried to connect, the exact same thing happened.

That proved it was a software problem. Informative, but not helpful because I did not know what software was causing the problem. But at least I knew there was hope and my modem was not at fault.

After reading through my ISP instructions twice, and not figuring anything out, I went to bed. When I woke up, I still had no ideas. But later that night, something made me think of passwords. Nothing special about them, but just the word. Finally, on the third day, I realized what I had done.

When I reinstalled the software and reconfigured everything, I forgot that I have two passwords. There is the e-mail password and the PPP (point-to-point protocol) password. In the Config PPP control panel it asks for your password. I had typed in my e-mail password. It was supposed to be my PPP password.

I hope you found my story amusing, at the least. For you Global Village Platinum owners, beware of that upgrade. Be prepared to go through a little turmoil. My modem is now 33.6, but I can’t tell the difference. I still have to wonder what caused the upgraded modem to stop working in the first place. Any ideas?

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