03 October 2006

Update on yesterday's meltdown

esterday's power failure was preceded by about 30 seconds of fluctuating voltage. I knew that, because I could virtually hear things crackling as the light dimmed and my appliances failed one at a time.

When the power failed completely, it released an electromagnet that holds my door open, allowing the door to close, leaving me in dark and silence, unable to do anything I needed to do. That was both a metaphor and a harbinger of things to come.

Whatever caused the voltage to waver and diminish (rather than shutting down all at once) also destroyed a few electronic things both at home and in the office.

This morning I went down to record something in the Grace to You studio, and I learned that the computer disk and CD writer in the main studio were both burned out, apparently because of the power failure.

You may have noticed also that The Spurgeon Archive reverted this morning to an old version. Some of my more recent graphics disappeared from existence, and, quite unaccountably, a year-old version of my web pages began to display instead of the most recent version.

That was caused, I'm told, by one of the Unix machines in our computer room that powered itself up around 8:00 am and configured itself to serve some old backup files instead of the current stuff. I don't understand anything about Unix, so I can't explain why or how that could happen. But I'm assured it was not a deliberate act of sabotage.

Anyway, that same glitch effectively removed most of the graphics from PyroManiacs until nearly noon PDT.

Meanwhile, the router on my network at home still wasn't working, so at lunchtime I went to BestBuy, bought a new router, and brought it home to install.

My old router was a Linksys® model. It was a snap to install and it worked flawlessly right out of the box until yesterday. But since it went bad so easily from nothing more than a power failure (even though it's plugged into a surge protector and UPS), I decided to upgrade to a slightly more powerful Netgear® router. The package promised a 20-minute installation process, and the store salesperson promised me I would find it even easier to install and more wonderful in practically every way than the Linksys router.

Wrong. It took more than 4 hours to install, because the installation program is designed for someone who knows nothing about computers, so if it happens to crash during installation (which it did four or five times for me) the step-by-step installation program refuses to run at all unless you first unplug everything, reconnect the computer directly to the Internet, and start the whole tedious process back at the very beginning each time.

Even after the install finally completed successfully (on the fifth attempt), the system crashed within five minutes, requiring a complete reboot. And it did this again and again, every time I re-started my anti-virus software. It turns out the router has a built-in "security" system (not mentioned in the "quick start" literature or listed as an option in the install process) which is incompatible with Norton Antivirus. By the time I figured this out, discovered how to turn off the "security feature" and got the router working for longer than 4.5 minutes at a time, it was well after 5:00pm, and I was in no mood to use the computer.

Tomorrow, I'll start on the long "To do" list I made for myself Monday morning.

A whole day and a half shot because of a simple power outage!


Phil's signature


Carla Rolfe said...

Dear Phil,

you may or may not find it ironic that I'm up and reading this at an hour when I am almost never awake. The reason for that is due to a most intense thunderstorm that caused the power to go out, the phone to ring, the kids to wake up and squeal, the dogs to cry and me to jolt fully awake from a dead sleep with one thought:

OH NO, I didn't unplug the modem last night!

I've learned the hard way that if a storm is coming I have to unplug the modem, or run the risk of it being fried. (I didn't know this storm was forecast for today, the weatherman never tells me nuttin'!) Along with the cordless phones, cd players and various other electronics around the house.

All that to say, I'm sorry you've have to deal with this mess, and I've been there too. I hope everything is back to normal today and it's a productive day.


FX Turk said...

Phil --

I sent you something to cheer you up on Friday, and it should be arriving today via Priority mail.

Let us know how it effects the rest of your week.

Kim said...

Technology can be quite maddening.

Andrew said...

I feel your pain. Your experiences are the norm for us here in Brazil. Glad you are back on. I don't comment as much as I should, but I read every post that is written.

Taliesin said...

Phil, I've had a similar experience with Netgear, and in the long run ended up going back and buying another Linksys router because the wireless was not reliable. This was disappointing because about 6 months before I had installed a Netgear router at church and the installation went flawlessly (still works great today). But that was before they added all the "improvements."

I hope everything is back in working order for you today.

FX Turk said...

I also wanted to add that the clown in Phil's latest graphic is the scariest clown I've seen since "IT".

Kay said...

*heartily thanks Frank for pointing that out and awakening memories of deep-seated childhood fears*

C. T. Lillies said...


Do you have back ups? (I learned that lesson the hard way after a lighnting strike.)

If not make some NOW.

Kim said:
Technology can be quite maddening."

Amen to that.


Frank Martens said...

And yet, God is Gracious :)

David Mohler said...

Speaking as the President of a systems integration company here in Dayton, your best bet is to use Linksys at home because it is just works. Netgear is only for Arminians. D-Link is for the unsaved. Cisco is only for the elect. :)

candy said...

Understanding this post was harder than difficult aspects of theology. I was left scratching my head. I am obviously not a computer geek.

Chris said...

That clown's hat looks like a thumbtack.

Phil Johnson said...

Frank: "the clown in Phil's latest graphic is the scariest clown I've seen since "IT"."

Pecadillo says all clowns are scary. Turns out that's a fairly common phobia.

It even has a name: coulrophobia.

You learn something every day.

Andrew said...

It even has a name: coulrophobia.

I have a friend who will not eat at McDonalds because of it.

Kay said...

This just in:

"My Phobia saved my arteries!"

Andrew said...

"My Phobia saved my arteries!"


theinscrutableone said...

Regarding routers, modems, and such, some folks aren't aware that plugging the power cord into a surge protector or UPS isn't sufficient to protect against all electrical surges. In fact, harmful surges can come over your phone/cable/DSL /Ethernet line and damage your equipment. My advice: invest the small $$ (< $10) necessary in a surge protector for your network cables.

Hmmm, this reminds me that the cable guy had me remove the surge protector from my cable modem's cable hookup (the cable that screws onto a round threaded "F-type" or TV connector) the last time he visited. I better put that back on ASAP. :-)


FX Turk said...

The mail.

When does the Mail get to GTY?

Sharon said...

Haven't you been at GTY long enough to earn an office with an outside window?

Deathrow Bodine said...

Ahhh... Unix. You gotta' love it. When everything else breaks or dies... it keeps on ticking, even to the point of picking up the slack from all the junk OSs the fail around it.

Scott Hill said...

that Sugar Krinkles pic is impressive.

Pecadillo said...

Clowns are evil, even Scoopy the Clown.

Taliesin said...

Clowns are only moderately scary. Dummy's (of the Edgar Burgen kind) are just too freaky. Anybody see the Twilight Zone episode where the guy was haunted by his dummy ... I don't sleep for days after watching that.

Now a clown dummy, I don't want to even think about that.

Anonymous said...

When I replaced my ultra-old Linksys router/WAP, I also replaced it with a Netgear (I had one of the original home routers from Netgear, and it was built like a tank and ran forever - I still have it in my drawer, but it's not wireless...). So, I used the very scientific selection process of finding the cheapest Netgear router that Best Buy sells, and bought that one. But, I had a good experience with it - it only took me about 10 mins to get it running.



Terry Lange said...

Speaking of Linksys, I got rid of my WCG200 because Comcast pushed a firmware update here and then when I and others confronted them because our connections would keep timing out every 30 seconds, they denied doing anything and told me and others to call the manufacturer.

I went out and bought a Motorola Cable Gateway and have not had any problems and I was up and running within 10 mins. (sorry Phil!)

A cable gateway is better than just a router because it saves on the expense of having to rent or purchase a cable modem...

Also, the nickname for Best Buy is Worst Buy and I live in the town where HQ is located!