November 16, 2003

Score - Mom: 1 Apple: 1 Charter Cable: 0

I recently sent my mother an iMac (the G4 flat panel version, a.k.a. Luxo Jr.). When I called to see if it had arrived, she told me that she had "received the monitor, but where's the computer?"

After a moment of panic, I asked her if the 'monitor' had a heavy, round base.

"Yes."

Welcome to the new world, Mom. That's the computer.

"Ohhhhhh!"

As an experiment, I decided to not tell her to wait for my brother or myself to arrive, and see what she did with it. Well, this morning (the machine has been there two days) I got The Phone Call.

"The Mac is broken."

Had it worked before?

"Yes, and I signed up for the network and eveything..."

What had happened, it turns out, was that my dear mother had opened the iMac and found Apple's famous 'even this kid can do it' setup instructions. So she followed them, and lo and behold, she managed to connect the iMac to the cable modem, boot it up, and give Apple her credit card number for a .Mac account which she thought she needed to connect to the 'network.' But now it wasn't working.

All kudos to Mom; she had, in fact, managed to move the (previously unused) cable modem to a new location, set up the iMac, connect it to both the iMac and the cable in the new location, boot everything up, and get it to work! For some reason, however, the *second* time she booted it, it wouldn't find an IP address. Apparently, in trying to fix that, she was juuuuuust knowledgable enough to get into Location Manager, the Built-In Ethernet configuration, the Internet Connect control panel, and a few other places, and screw everything up. After a half-hour on the phone restoring all of that, it became clear that the reason she'd done all that was that the cable system was refusing to give her an IP address (which matched what she'd said about the cable people asking her for her 'hardware address' and other stuff she didn't know) but in no way explained how she'd gotten everything to work the first time.

I know it had; she has a .Mac account.

So i give Apple full marks, since she did in fact manage to set up the machine (and give them her credit card number); I give Mom full marks for getting online, and I give her cable company the big FUCK YOU for screwing things up and (insult to injury) for their support website telling me I need a Windows-only plugin to read it and that my operating system (OS X or Linux) is not supported.

FUCK YOU, Charter Communications!

Posted by jbz at November 16, 2003 5:03 PM
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