Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Computer Repair #21

[This post is part of an ongoing series of posts in December cataloging how much time I spend repairing the computers here in the Brain household.]

If Time Warner had managed to keep it together for just one more day, it could have made it through an entire month without a single problem. Alas, today TW had a serious failure and makes it into the December log of computer repairs.

I use a Time Warner Road Runner connection to access the Internet, and have used TW for nearly two years. This morning I tried to open a browser window and got nothing. It looked identical to the problem discussed in Computer Repair #19, so I powered off the cable modem and the router and turned them back on. That did not help. When I tried pinging an outside server like I would get something like this:Sometimes all four requests would time out, but never more than two of the four ping requests would work. The effect was a complete Internet blackout.

I called Time Warner and they told me that much of the area was experiencing this problem. All I could do was wait. The Internet blackout ended at 2PM, so the TW network in Cary, NC was out of commission for at least 8 hours today.

Time spent on this repair today (trying things out on my end, and then calling TW): About 30 minutes. Total time affected by the failure: 8 hours.

If it were an 8-hour power failure affecting that many people, it would have made the news. Since it was a computer failure and computer failures are so common, no one even noticed it.

This is unrelated, but while talking to TW they asked me to reconfigure my network for several different tests and that required several reboots. I noticed this "USB SIRCS" icon next to the Start button in the task bar on two occasions:

I have noticed it previously but have never gotten an image of it. I have no idea what it is. Is it something to worry about? Is is part of a virus or spyware? Is it a random OS burp? How is a "normal user" supposed to know?

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well.
Nice post with awesome points! Can’t wait for the next one.

HP - 17.3" Pavilion Laptop - 8GB Memory - 1TB Hard Drive - Midnight Black

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