The Rogers guy came this morning and installed a new modem to replace the old Bell one. Supposedly we will now pay much less for lighting-fast speed. Hope so. Because now we are going down another dark wire-filled rabbit hole.
I know the modern rabbit hole is supposed to be all clean, bright and wireless but that’s not what the technology warren looks like here.
The problem is our speedy new modem has to live beside the TV where the cable outlet is. The old one used to live in the den upstairs out of sight. The new one, of course, needs to be plugged in to an electrical outlet. So, now, we have yet another box with flashing little power-sucking LED lights and another set of wires to add to the giant Condor’s nest behind the TV.
Thankfully, there is no new remote to go with the modem. Because we are already all crazy full up with remotes (see pic above).
The good news is I even know how to use most of them. To watch TV, I pick up the longest one (the one with the most buttons, most of which I don’t know what they do) to turn the set on. I have to point and hold the button down long enough to make sure the remote turns on the PVR as well as the TV, because the remote initializes a two-stage process. (Most of the time this process gets whacked out of sync if the lazy-ass person (ie husband or son) who previously turned off the set did not bother to point the remote at the boxes long enough to turn everything off. When that happens, I have to drag myself over to the actual set and press the correct button to re-sync the pairing. (Not that I am unable to do that, but having to sort of ruins the whole idea of a remote doesn’t it?)
Step 2. Next, I pick up the medium-sized remote (but only if I can find it, since the probability of losing one of the required remotes is exponentially increased with each successive remote added to the chain) and use it to select which feed I want: cable, new Wii, old Wii, Playstation or AppleTV. (There might even be a few dusty Atari consoles and a vintage Ping-o-Tronic lost in there somewhere too)
Step 3. Depending on which feed I have selected, I need to choose the next appropriate remote. The long silver one is the Apple TV one. It is the one we use to listen to our music collection. This process involves making sure we are running iTunes on the computer and the computer is turned on and we remember how to make iTunes share nice and stream over to the AppleTv. (Really gludgy but a few years ago I spent a million hours ripping CD’s onto my computer and figuring out/setting up the sharing protocols. Not changing over now.)
Step 4: If we want home-theatre sound, we have to use the stereo remote to launch the receiver.
BTW, the small white remote in the pic is the old AppleTV remote that Marley chewed up. It barely works but we keep it for backup for when Marley gets hold of the shiny new one. He likes remotes so we also have an embedded dog-proof high-security program (a drawer) to protect all our remotes. We also need to maintain a giant drawer full of different kinds and sizes of batteries.
Today’s modem delivery has created a new issue: the wireless signal appears to degrade a fair amount by the time it reaches Alex’s bedroom where the Main Home Gaming center is set up (another giant Condor’s nest, this one is colourfully decorated with empty pop cans and chip bags). So now, until we can resolve this issue (the cable guy suggested yet another gadget with more wires for the nest, a “wireless” AC router, only $100) , we have installed a five-mile long blue ethernet tripwire cable running from his bedroom, across the upstairs hall, down the stairs and along the downstairs hall, across the family room floor to the modem.
And you thought all that crap behind the TV stand represented the Main Gaming Center at our house? Oh hell no. Think again. We only keep the Playstation around so we can access Netflix. Because who uses the actual TV and cable to watch TV anymore? Oh no. We much prefer to spend half an hour farting around with all our remotes to get to our Netflix so we can binge watch shows. (And since we can never remember the correct userID and password combinations for signing in to Playstation and Netflix, we always have to hunt down the dog-eared piece of paper that will reveal this important info to us before we can start eating our popcorn. All too often, Playstation and/or Netflix decide to go AWOL for critical updates before they will let us watch our shows. By then, it’s 1 am. And we are snoring on the couch.)
On top of it all, we recently installed another set of wires to mirror the laptop onto the TV screen. Yes, I know this trick can be done “wirelessly” but that process involves yet another expensive remote and complicated software programming, and like I said before, we are at our lifetime remote limit and something has to die before we can consider another one.
To mirror the laptop on our TV, we had to buy an extra-long HDMI cable, plus a mini-HDMI to HDMI connector, and since the outdated mini-HDMI port from the laptop wouldn’t transmit sound we added an audio-out cable to the stereo which means I need to deploy the stereo remote to control the receiver so I can get half-decent sound volume. And, yep, there’s another remote control needed for that set-up: it operates the splitter-switcher-gadget for the HDMI cable, since we seem to be running out of HDMI ports on the back of our TV. I am hanging on by my fingernails here. If we tied all the wires together end-to-end we could probably use them to perform a high-wire act across Niagara Falls. If that ever happens, you can watch us on TV. Or Youtube. As long as you can find your remotes. (Hint: one is buried in your couch, one is in the cupboard beside the popcorn and the dog is eating the other one. You’re welcome.)