I guess I was a bit too sassy in my last column, when I wrote about my attempts to use my brain instead of the Internet.

When two power surges raged through our electrical system, our AirPort Extreme Base Station apparently got fried.

Gasp. We were without the Internet. The nearest Apple store is 60 miles away. Withdrawal symptoms surfaced.

But I wasn’t just worried what I’d do without a Facebook fix every few hours. I was taking an online class. Was I going to have to go to McDonald’s to do my homework?

The Apple corporation does not like to include any manuals with its products. To do so would suggest the products are not as simple to use as Apple professes them to be. The info is all online, which is quite unhelpful if one’s Internet is down.

I did have my iPhone to consult. The tiny screen does not lend itself to fluid reading, and I quickly tire of typing (if it can be called that) on the tiny keyboard. I am due to be upgraded to an iPhone 6, but I suppose if I have to buy a new AirPort Extreme Base Station, the phone will have to wait a bit.


Researching how to reset the AirPort was not reassuring. I found it hard to believe that Apple was still using the old “unbent paper clip pressed into the reset button” technology (if it can be called that). Anyway, it didn’t work. The solid amber light the AirPort had been displaying for hours, I learned, usually meant it was dead.

Indeed, all the usual tricks I employ after power surges didn’t work. Well, I guess it’s basically turning everything on and off — maybe leaving everything off for a while and then turning things back on. Oh, and unplugging everything and then replugging.

There’s no room for me on the Geek Squad, let’s put it that way.

I like technology, and am able to troubleshoot glitches and such, but that’s only because I am willing to hit any key or button that looks remotely helpful. I never worry the computer is going to blow up. The answer must be in the machine, somewhere, I tell myself. I will boldly stick that unbent paper clip into that barely visible indentation, and dare to connect cables to any access point they will fit into.

As I flailed about, trying to resuscitate the AirPort, I somehow realized I could connect the Ethernet cable directly to the computer. No, I didn’t know what an ethernet cable was. I didn’t need to. I just needed to plug it in.

Voila — we were in business once again.


But deskbound. That’s when I figured out that the blinking gray box is a modem. The AirPort is the router, the thing that makes the wireless stuff happen. The ethernet cable usually runs from the modem to the AirPort, delivering the Internet juice. I simply diverted it directly to my laptop — so we had the Internet, but not wireless.

Still, I wasn’t complaining. I was not going to have to exile myself to McDonald’s. I wasn’t going to fail my class. My husband, Paul, and I would enjoy greater togetherness as we shared a single Internet connection, just like in the good old days.

When was that, exactly? 2005?

The weekend was approaching, and we could go to South Portland then to buy a new AirPort Extreme Base Station. Surely we would survive. A friend has been completely off-line since June and is doing fine.

These kinds of technological troubles almost inspire me to do the same. I just read a wonderful mystery set on a private island off the coast of Provence. There is only one Internet connection, through a modem to the computer in the hotel office. Now, that’s the way to really relax while on vacation.

Once a body turns up—murdered—that lack of access becomes a bit of a problem. As it would if I ever decided to go without. I send this column to the editors at the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel via email. They would not be pleased to receive a typed copy. And there’s no way I can compose on an iPhone.


How would I take that online class without a line to get on? Work and family schedules make it impossible for me to take a traditional, onsite class. I’d just have to stay ignorant, I guess.

Before I bypassed the dead AirPort, Paul was without the Internet for an entire day. He claimed, though, that all he was interested in was the weather. “There is a TV newscast at noon,” I reminded him.

He said he had turned it on but got sick of listening to the anchor, and shut it off before the weather came on.

We are spoiled by our ability to get news, weather and celebrity gossip instantly. I wouldn’t say it’s fun to go old-school cold turkey, but it is giving me an opportunity to clear my head — which sometimes does feel a little fried.

Liz Soares welcomes email at [email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.