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Technology; Love it or Hate It

No, this is not going to be a rant or a whining session. Actually, I
kind of find it amusing. And since I'm waiting for a phone call before I
can continue working, I'm going to kill a little bit of time.

I love my technology, most of the time. But, this week, it seems like
everything is conspiring against me to cause me to really hate
computers. It all started on Monday morning. I was having my usual early
morning chat with masterofmusings, and I got up to go make
myself some breakfast because it was getting close to the time for me to
leave for work. Now, I have to explain my current setup. I have probably
25 feet of cord on my USB headset, which allows me to move around my
apartment and still have my headset on. This cord is made up of one
powered USB cable which allows me then to add an unpowered USB extension
cable, and finally my regular headset. This is really great in theory,
and I've used this type of setup for close to three years now.
Unfortunately, on Monday morning, something decided to just stop on me.
I still have yet to determine whether it's one of my cables or, (and if
this is it I'm really not going to be amused), some of my USB ports on
my PC. But, Windows 7 won't recognize my device. So, tomorrow is going
to be spent doing a little bit of troubleshooting. But, in the meantime,
I decided that I'd use my laptop, and suffer without a long cord. So, my
laptop is set up on a TV tray next to my favorite recliner part of my
couch. It's been there because Bruce has been using my laptop during his
visits, so it was all ready set up for me. But, this brings me to my
next little technical issue.

I honestly have to say that I absolutely love my ISP. Midcontinent communications has
served me well for just over a year now. Before them I went with another
provider who shall remain nameless, and I had nothing but trouble with
them. They'd cut off my service with no warning, and then they'd have to
basically start me over from scratch to get me back up and running. Oh,
and let's not even mention the fact that they were charging a heck of a
lot more for a heck of a lot less speed. But, that's another story. So,
I really like Midcontinent, and I use them both for Internet and for
phone service. I've got two options with them for Internet equipment. I
can buy a router/modem from them, or I can pay a fee each month and
rent. Although in the past year I've given them more than the cost of a
new router in rental fees, I've chosen to do the rental thing. I figure
that way if there's a problem, it's their equipment, so they'll service
it. The thing is though, I'm on my second router. The first one just
kind of stopped working. The signal was being sent out, but my unit was
just not functional. So, after trying absolutely everything, they put in
a different unit. Have I mentioned that they've got absolutely fabulous
people to work with? (And no, I'm not getting paid to talk them up.
GRIN!) This second one has worked perfectly, except for one small
problem that seems to be getting worse over time. The wireless, (which I
refuse to be without), is getting flaky. So, for no reason whatsoever,
it'll just stop transmitting the signal, and the router has to be
restarted to get it to come back. This started to really show itself
during Bruce's last visit. I'd come home from work wondering why I
hadn't heard from him for a few hours, only to discover that he'd been
without Internet.

So, I'm on the laptop in the evenings, which of course, is on my flaky
wireless that I've already had to reset a couple of times this week.
It's too far away from the router to just connect it, at least at the
moment. So, the big question is, what have I done about all these
problems?

Amazon is truly my friend. I've said
it before, but if they don't have it, I probably don't need it. Not only
that, but very long-time readers who go back to my pre-LJ days will know
that Radio shack and I have a love/hate relationship, so I don't go
there unless I absolutely have to. So, I use Amazon whenever I possibly
can. I picked up a couple of things for myself. First, I found a nice
long, one-piece 32-foot powered USB cable. This will alleviate two of
the three connections that I've got in my current setup, and give me my
wired headset back. I also picked up a 50-foot Ethernet cable since I'm
going to have to run it around behind things to get it from the router
to my laptop. This will, at least in the short-term, help with the
dropping wireless system. If I were home during the day, I'd try getting
another replacement router, but that's going to have to wait for a while
longer. Finally, last night, I decided to treat myself with one other
thing. For Christmas in 2008, Bruce got me a pair of Logitech wireless
headphones. They worked well for me, but there was a lot of interference
in my apartment, so there was a lot of static through the headphones. I
loved the freedom they gave me though, especially since I was already
using a wireless keyboard, and it was great to be completely wireless,
and even go into my bedroom if I wanted to and still use my computer.
But, the static was really frustrating to me, so I very sadly went back
to my wired headphones once again.

After talking with some people on Twitter though, I decided to take a
look on Amazon once again, and just see what I could find. I came across
the Plantronics
Audio 995 Wireless Stereo Headset
I was drawn to these for a couple
of reasons. First, it was a decent price tag. $57 for a wireless headset
is very reasonable to me. The ratings were good too. But, what really
sold me I think was the very first review that I read of them. It was a
comparison of the original headset that I had and this one that I was
looking at. According to the review, the static problem may not have
actually been interference in my apartment, but rather a bit of a flaw
with the headset itself. So, I decided to go for it. Since I'm an Amazon
Prime member, I chose the one-day shipping option because that'll mean
that they'll come tomorrow. If I'd been thinking, I would have done the
same thing with my cables rather than having them sent to my PO box, but
I wasn't thinking at that point.

But, I'm really excited about these coming tomorrow. I'll be charging
them up right away, and then connecting them to my desktop in the hopes
that there aren't, in fact, a couple of failing USB ports. I really do
like my toys.