Moving a computer is enough to wire up even calmest person

December 09, 2006|By ROB KASPER

Over the weekend we moved our home computer.

I thought this would be easier than moving furniture, say lugging a sofa bed up a flight of stairs.

Now I am not so sure.

I think Sir Walter Scott was spot on when in 1808 he wrote "Oh what a tangled web we weave." He was not talking about computers, but it was an apt description of the wires that nested underneath ours.

I am told that wireless is the way to go with computers. I have seen trendy types carrying laptop computers around in their backpacks. They sit in cafes, turn on their laptops and are somehow connected to the cosmos.

I am not trendy; I don't have a backpack. I do have one of those black box computers about the size of a carry-on suitcase. I plug it into an electrical outlet, hit a button and a power light winks on, just like the one on the transformer that runs the electric trains around the Christmas tree. That is my speed.

The wires that came out of the back of our computer reminded me of a plate of spaghetti. They went every which way as they ran toward the mouse, the keyboard, the router, the printer, the telephone line and who knows what else.

The wires worked just fine when they sat undisturbed underneath the computer on the top floor of our home. Then a force that no man can fight -- home redecoration -- swept into my life. An edict was issued that the computer must relocate.

Just before an army of painters attacked the room where it once resided, the computer and its myriad parts took temporary refuge in our family room.

There I hooked it up to a telephone cord that had serviced another relic of modern life, a corded phone. This cord, I later learned, was old school. It did not allow the DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line function, to get up and dance.

As a result, there was a considerable delay between my issuing the computer a command and the computer obeying it. It was like telling your kid to clean up his room. It took a while before there was any action. An e-mail that I sent Tuesday night did not arrive at its destination until Wednesday morning.

Once the painters had retreated and a new desk had been installed, the all-clear sounded and the computer could now take up residence in its new spot.

I started the relocation effort. My wife joined in. Soon we were at odds. I wanted to put the computer under the desk, resting on the floor. She wanted to put it on the desktop. I wanted to snake the wires out of sight, behind the desk. She favored exposing the wires. This tense effort reminded me of our annual marital dance over erecting the Christmas tree.

Before moving the computer from the family room, I attempted to memorize which wire went where. I even labeled some of the wires that looked alike. However, once the wires were freed from their old homes, putting them back was trying.

My idea of snaking the wires behind the desk required getting down on my hands and knees underneath the desk and playing a not-so-entertaining game of hide-and-seek. The router preferred a high perch, close to the ceiling. Accommodating that request called for climbing a stepladder, dropping wires behind a bookcase and playing more hide-and-seek.

The connection for the printer snapped into place easily, but getting another multipronged plug into service required contortions and a flashlight. I think my wife was about to strangle me when she left to run an errand.

In the interim, I was able to hook up almost everything. But one power strip gave me trouble. I couldn't plug it into the wall socket. The space between the back of the desk and the wall socket was too tight to allow my hands to maneuver the plug into place.

When my wife returned, she of the slender hands plugged the power strip in.

Now we are back online, up to speed and still married. We will stay that way, I figure, unless we ever have to move that computer again.

rob.kasper@baltsun.com

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