Welcome to our mistake-by-mistake color commentary for the irregularly scheduled technology upgrade and regularly scheduled frustrating high-tech screw-up.

The goal this time: Install the new modem/router for the desktop computer where the old modem and router were. Remove old modem and router. Also: Do not cause major power outages or explosions anywhere in the neighborhood.

The new modem/router, purchased last November during modem/router sales month at your local modem/router dealer, is still in its original packing box. We have waited so long to open the box — intimidated by its high-tech packaging — that the modem/router is now three generations behind the current models, runs on diesel and is completely obsolete.

It is, consequently, perfect for us.

Supported by my technology mentor Bruce, who has broken computers across multiple regions, we are ready to install and activate. Bruce fearlessly opens the box and we find that inside there is one modem/router, two power cords, three Ethernet cables and four instruction booklets explaining, in multiple languages, what an Ethernet cable is.

We choose the Mandarin version.

The printed and video instructions for the new modem/router both claim that “Installation and activation are as easy as one-two-three,” and they probably would be, except for the first three steps.

Step No. 1 directs us to go to the official modem/router website, where you can log in. Or you could log in if it wasn’t that when you went there, to that site, you found that “the page you were looking for does not exist.” This actually happened and we were surprised that we were not at all surprised.

Also, while we found that this was naturally somewhat discouraging, we felt encouraged because it was not nearly as discouraging as Step No. 2.

No. 2 tells you to key in your account number and zip code. We key in our account number and zip code. They are not recognized. We key in our zip code and account number. Nothing. We key in our account code and zip number. Nada.

We sell the house and move, packing up all our dishes, flower vases and old magazines, so we can get a new zip code. We key it in. Finally, it works.

Step No. 3 now tells us to go to page 6 of the “quick installation guide,” which is so quick because it has no words in it, not even in Mandarin, and just has lots of diagrams that fortunately help us get the dishwasher up and running, in dirty pot cycle.

The quick installation guide does show one diagram that indicates you should connect the coaxial cable to the modem/router, plug the modem/router power cord into the nearest outlet, connect the Ethernet cable from the modem/router to the computer and then connect the computer to the coaxial cable before connecting the Ethernet cable to the ether.

If I’m remembering correctly, Bruce suggested either we stop at this point and try to put everything back in the box and return the modem/router to the store, or we take the easy way out — we bite the damn bullet and get more ether.

 

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