My father has been doing almost all his computing work on an iPod for several years now, ever since he got an iPod pretty much, and was tired with his problems getting a Windows laptop to actually do advanced computing features like connect to the Internet. This has been pretty good for most of what he really needs a computer for --- instant messaging my sister-in-law, taking photos of his granddaughters, and checking in on FourSquare --- although there are some things he'd like to do which he can't without a stable computer base station, like, back up the information on his iPod (and iPhone, now that he has that too).
A couple weeks back my father got, from that strange and misty land of stuff friends (I guess?) were throwing out (maybe?) or something, he got a new Dell Inspiron from like eight years ago. As a computer it's not much but it would allow him to print out stuff without e-mailing it first to my mother, and to deal with web sites that aren't iPod Safari friendly and all that, so he was hoping to set it up. This then produced several frustrating phone calls in which I tried to guess how to get the network fixed over the phone, which never works, and some time in my recent surprise visit back East was spent on the same problem.
The home router insists on having a WEP password which ... yeah, I don't know what it is. There's a password that's printed on the router which I think we would all agree it would have to be, except that this doesn't work. I haven't got any idea what the WEP password should be and if any of the other Apple computers in the household know it, they won't share that information. Logging into the modem's administrative page thingy, you know, 188.8.131.52 or whatever it is, should provide the WEP password except, of course, the username/password we have written down as the access information doesn't work.
So what I'd really like to know is what's going on that my father can't get a computer that's able to connect to the Internet like every other computer in the world is able to. I'm also curious whether he puts all the networking problems on me or whether my siblings are also being pressed into the futile service here.
Trivia: On 28 May 1943 every Ford factory shut down at 2:30 pm, to observe five minutes of silence for Edsel Ford. (The boilers were kept on.) Source: Henry and Edsel: The Creation of the Ford Empire, Ricahrd Bak.
Currently Reading: The Chromosomal Code, Lawrence Watt-Evans. (It's dedicated to Phillip K Dick --- I suppose every post-Campbell author gets the itch to write one --- and there's flashes in which it gets that dizzying uncertain-ground conspiracy-within-conspiracy bit that makes Dick so much fun, but I suspect Watt-Evans is too fundamentally rational to be quite Dickian. On the other hand, all the story elements resolve sensibly, which your really complicated everything's-a-lie story usually has trouble managing.)