Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tech - Love/Hate

Sometimes I go through these flurries of tech upgrades. I get tired of squeaking by with old versions at home, or I figure out something new that I absolutely can't live without. Then, I am completely obsessed in getting it all to work. That's what I have been doing for the past 24 hours. I just moved into a house, and I got this idea that I needed to have speakers outdoors. Then, I decided I wanted to get my stereo and my computer connected, so I could play my iTunes in the living room. I got some advice from Apple expert and friend, Ethan, on what I needed to buy to make it all happen. I ordered the stuff and waited for it to come in. I expected it to be Apple-easy to install and get going. But, there were some glitches and the install was a little bumpier than I would have liked.

I had not been using wireless at home, just a cable modem hooked via Ethernet to my iMac G4 desktop. So, first thing I needed to do was get some wireless flowing in the house. I purchased an Airport Extreme base station, the new 802.11n version. It allows you to hook up your cable modem and other devices via ethernet or usb. So, I got the wireless going pretty easily and quickly.

Then, I went to install 2 Airport Express stations, one connected to my stereo in the living room and one to some powered speakers in the back of the house. This is where the trouble began. It was unclear in the Apple documentation that I needed to use a wireless computer to add these devices to my network. I thought that my desktop, connected to the Extreme base station, would allow me to join these devices. But, no.....I needed to get my hands on a laptop. After getting one from school, getting the admin login stuff worked out, installing the new Express and AirTunes software...I was finally able to use the Airport Admin Assistant to join the devices. I first had some problems getting on my network with the laptop, because it wasn't recognizing my network pw, but after I installed the new software on the laptop, I got a different dialog for entering the pw, and that worked.

Another thing that was confusing was the usage of the new Airport Utility 5.0 on my desktop to set up the Extreme base station. It is a great interface, but at first, I didn't understand the difference between the old Airport Admin Utility and the new one. And, it took me a while to comprehend why the Admin Asst didn't work from my desktop, thus the laptop resolution above. I'm using the school laptop now, but I can tell that it won't be long before I break down and buy myself one, even though I reallllllly don't need it. I do think that it is an oversight on Apple's part not to allow the wired computer the ability to join wireless devices, as if it were on the network via the Extreme base station.

I also spent some time upgrading my apps this week. Turns out, Adobe CS2 requires 384MB and my iMac only had 256. That blew, but I bought a memory upgrade. It took a while to figure out which I needed (try Silicon Mountain, it actually helps you figure out what you need). And, it was delivered quickly. Then, I found the support docs at http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=26239 that told me how to install the memory. Sweet...now, faster computer, upgraded apps.

But, these things take time, and I spent a good amount of my day stressed out and confused. There are resources online, but I found that since the Extreme Base Station was so new, the Apple site didn't have clear, up-to-date instructions. It all works now, though, and it feels like an accomplishment, no matter how minor. But, I've got sweet music playing all over my house and yard now...Party Time.

1 comment:

Susan Weill said...

If you think you (who understands techology much better than most of us) have a love/hate relationship with it, please have pity for the rest of us. Oy vey.