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July 25, 2011

Why Don’t You Know These Things!

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

The other day I had a great argument with one of my sons about his laptop.

It reminded me of the arguments I had with my own father, though he was berating me for not knowing more about my car.

Some jackass vandalized my VW bug back when I was in high school. He yanked out all the distributor wires. Gone. Of course the car wouldn’t start, but I had no idea what was wrong. I know that some orange, tubular things were missing. I called them “hoses” but they were wires.

Now, of course, I know what they are. Back then, I didn’t. So I took it upon my father’s advice and I learned how the engine worked, the difference between the generator and the alternator, and other useless stuff that doesn’t apply any more because cars are pretty much computers these days.

Fast forward 30 years.

My son wanted to print something from his laptop. I got his laptop to communicate with the network printer, which is kind of cool: The network printer isn’t on the wireless network but because the Network Gods have smiled upon me, it still works.

Or worked.

Nothing would print from the laptop. So I thought I’d have a look-see.

Turns out, the lad’s laptop wasn’t connected with my household network. Nope, it was connected to one of the neighbor’s wireless networks.

It was useless to chastise him; how would he know? Most people who use computers have no clue how they work or why they do anything. He just turned the thing on, it said, “Wireless network available,” and he click the OK button to connect.

Shove finger in nose, be happy.

That wasn’t the worst of it. I had to toil for about half an hour to get the dumb laptop to stop automatically connecting to the alien network. It was a futile attempt.

Eventually, I discovered that there were two utilities trying to connect the laptop wirelessly: Windows itself and some dumb-ass utility installed by Acer. After killing off the Acer utility, and restarting the laptop, I finally regained control, banished the unwanted network connection, and had the laptop configured.

The lad learned nothing, of course.

Well, maybe, perhaps someday, he’ll pick up one of my books and learn a little about what his computer is doing. Then again, maybe not: They have just made computers too easy to use. Either that, or it’s a conspiracy for computer consultants and repair places to keep the general populace dumb and themselves rich getting paid to fix minor problems. Who knows?


  1. I can understand why people don’t password their network last week I tried to set up a netgear wireless router so I could use it with my PS3. I had it up and running no problems but changing the password for the network or the WAP security password proved to be very difficult. The password for the network was password, and I could not figure out how to change it, it took me and my Dad several hours to figure it out and there were no instructions on how to complete this task, so I can understand why people don’t password them, it is way too difficult and there are several in unsecured networks round here.

    Comment by chiefnoobie — July 25, 2011 @ 3:51 am

  2. I had to sell my house and I moved in January, all because a new neighbour made my life and everyone else’s in the street a living nightmare.
    He stole my internet no matter how many times I changed the password. I watched him crack my modem in under 4 minutes. He used my monthly 12 gigabites in about 3 days. I had to increase my plan to 50 gigabites a month, so we could both have enough. I searched the internet trying new ways to stop him. It disgusted me how much information is out there on how to steal someone’s wi fi.

    Comment by The Gnome Whisperer — July 25, 2011 @ 6:11 am

  3. TheGnomeWhisperer, in that case, what you do is restrict access to the WiFi by using the computer’s MAC address. You tell the Router which MAC addresses are okay and access is limited to only those systems. Then again, if he can crack the router’s password, he could subvert that as well.

    Honestly, if that was my situation, I’d immediately switch to a hard-wired network. I have both in my house, and use the wireless for the cell phones, the XBox, and my laptops. But if I knew I had a squatter, I’d switch to wireless — at least get an expensive router that didn’t have readily-available cracking alorithms.

    Maybe he’s picking up the password because you’re setting it wirelessly?

    Man, that’s a puzzling situation!

    Comment by admin — July 25, 2011 @ 8:04 am

  4. I always set it wirelessly!
    I knew I should have asked for your advice Dan, But I have asked for it so many times I was worried about making a pest of myself.
    What was wrong with setting it wirelessly?

    Comment by The Gnome Whisperer — July 26, 2011 @ 1:08 am

  5. I set mine wirelessly, but I don’t think I have an active snoop in the neighborhood. A friend of mine who wrote a wireless networking security book told me that there is no such thing as wireless networking security. Your neighbor most likely had snooping software and then knew what to look for. Unless you configure your wireless router over an HTTPS connection, the password is transmitted as plain text.

    So, yes, connecting to the router through a wired connection and then setting the password would have foiled the neighbor’s evil plans.

    Comment by admin — July 26, 2011 @ 6:55 am

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