Of wifi and Pirates

Part of the process of bringing Hal to life is registering it. When registering an Apple product it prompts you to name it. The default is your name which is a little boring. As Karen and I thought about what to name our iPad I jokingly told her we should name it Hal from the computer in 2001 Space Odyssey. I thought it ironically fitting that since there’s so many things it doesn’t do I could just imagine the iPad saying, “I’m sorry, Dave. I can’t do that.”
We had a good laugh over it and the name stuck.

As a matter of fact we were just about to discover one of the things it didn’t do.
When I opened the web browser it just sat there. No web page, no hint of web page, just blank. I checked the settings to make sure I was connected to my wireless network. Yup, it was. I tried to connect to iTunes and the App Store. No dice.
We googled to see if this was common and our hearts sank as we read that many iPad owners were having trouble connecting to wifi. Well heck!
Karen got the idea to see if she could connect her iPhone to my wifi and discovered she couldn’t. Hmmmm, so maybe it’s not the iPad.

I powered off and on my router and something odd happened. Just as it came back on the iPad web browser came to life and there was a web page… mostly. After only a second it stopped loading. I cycled the router again and each time got the same results.

Five years before, when I first set up my Netgear router I enabled the WEP security. The performance was hideous. I thought there was something wrong with it, but found out that adding wifi security was a big drain on performance. After a while I decided I couldn’t deal with the slow connection and turned off the security.
I didn’t think about it again until last year when I noticed my neighbor had a odd looking antenna jury-rigged next to the backyard fence. It wasn’t a TV or radio antenna and I began to wonder if they were tapping into my wifi.
Since I don’t use my wifi often I’d forget about it, but when I’d see that strange antenna I’d start thinking about it. So, as I was experimenting with why Hal and Karens phone were struggling I decided to secure my wifi again. Problem. I couldn’t find the instructions. If I wanted a secure network I’d have to get a new router.

Being the analytical type that I am, we came up with a plan to determine where the problem lay. I looked up a few places between home and the router store that offered free wifi. We’d take Hal and seek out some free wifi and if Karens phone could use it then so should Hal. It didn’t hurt that these places also offered breakfast and coffee.
So, the next morning we headed out and that’s when something both funny and annoying as heck happened.

As I backed out of the driveway I notice a car parked in front of my house. Hmmmmm… Then I saw that there was someone sitting in said car. This earned a ‘Hmmmmmm’ and a yellow flag (as opposed to a red flag, but that was coming). I decided I’d back up until my drivers window was next to the mystery cars drivers window and the person in it knew I was aware they were camping outside my house.
But, as the mystery person came more into view to my angst I see they’ve got a their laptop open and are surfing the fricken net! On my wifi!
Oh that tares it. Hal working on wifi or not, I’m getting a new router.

MacDonalds wifi was a bust and we moved on to Barnes and Noble, but they weren’t open and we weren’t getting a signal. Next was Starbucks and we hit pay dirt. Hal logged on to their wifi and flew through the internet with no trouble at all.
As I breathed a sigh of relief I experienced a moment of Positional Good‘ as someone walking by noticed Hal and commented on how cool the iPad was.

Now I have a new and secure wifi network, Hal zips through the internet, and when I figure out how to get him to make coffee all will be right with the world.


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