Our Linksys router bit the big one on Wednesday. It talks to the internet just fine, and it talks to our computers just fine, but it won't let our computers talk to the net. In other words our router isn't routing. I tried a few tricks to convince it to work again (including reset to factory default settings), but it steadfastly refused to cooperate. After a bit of fiddling and configuring, I managed to get both of our desktops hooked up wireless through the D-Link pocket router that I ordered with my laptop computer a couple of years back. Fortunately atara's desktop has built-in wireless LAN, and I had a USB antenna kicking around that I could us on mine. It wasn't an optimal set-up, but it got us connected with the world again.
We stopped at a big-box electronics store on Thursday and picked up a fairly inexpensive Linksys router to replace the one that had died. I brought it home, opened the box, and things went downhill from there. My first inkling that all might not be well in router land was that it did not come with a manual, rather it had a card said little more than "insert the DVD in your computer and follow the instructions that come up on screen." Since I don't have auto-run enabled, I poked around on the DVD for a couple of minutes manually to see if I could find any instructions - even something as basic as a Read Me First.txt file. Eventually I gave up and just ran the Setup utility.
The utility was moderately unhelpful as it stepped me through the basic process of setting up the router. It offered instructions like, "Unplug the cable from your computer and plug it into the plug on the back of the router labelled 'Internet'." Fortunately the diagram that accompanied the instructions was a little more clear. What It meant to say was, "Using the cable that came with this router, connect your router to the modem." Eventually when the whole process failed, it dropped me to a main function menu where, amongst other functions, it had a button to call up the user manual. When I clicked on that, it performed three functions.
1) It attempted to install Acrobat 8 reader on my system.
2) It declared that I apparently already had Acrobat 8 reader on my system.
3) The program aborted, leaving me staring at the desktop again.
I went through the entire install routine again (including the three reboots they suggested - well, they suggested two, but when their software crashed on reboot I took that as an invitation to reboot again). Anyway, long story short, I finally got the LAN portion working, but it wouldn't connect to the DSL modem. Since I had already been at it for over an hour, and atara was beginning to worry that I was going to break something, I decided to call Linksys support.
I may be paraphrasing things a bit, but here are the next (very painful) ninety minutes in a nutshell.
"Hello, Linksys support. Please to be stating the nature of your problem."
"Hi, my router is giving me PPPoE configure errors when I try to connect to the modem."
"Please attempt these fiddly, unhelpful things that are written out in this script."
"Okay, we've been through your script twice and it still hasn't fixed the PPPoE problem."
"Please do not vary from the script. Now in the black window, please type PEE EYE ENN GEE one... nine... two..."
"Yes, yes, you want me to ping the router again, and once again it's not responding to pings after you had me enable the auto DNS settings again."
"please type one... nine... two... period..."
"Okay, we've been through this same cycle three times, each time with you having me unplug the router for longer times between each attempt. It still hasn't fixed the router."
"I have spoken with my team leader, and we are hereby giving you permission to return your router to the store along your original receipt for a replacement."
"... wait, you're giving me permission to return a defective product that I just bought this afternoon?"
"Please hold while I converse with my team leader again..."
What bothered me about this call was not her accent, nor the fact that I had trouble hearing her a few times over the people yelling in Punjabi in the background. My problem was that she had absolutely no technical knowledge whatsoever. When I tried to explain what I had already accomplished with the router, and where I was running into difficulty, she simply shut right down, and then started back into the written script as if I had not said a thing. Every time she walked me through setting up the router's config screen, I had to stop her and remind her that I was on a PPPoE connection, and that we needed to configure the modem -- you know the modem for which this router is giving me errors when I try to connect.
Anyway, stretch that out to 90 minutes in which, to my credit I think, I did not once raise my voice. The next day we returned the router and exchanged it for a (cheaper - bonus!) D-Link, which worked on the first try.
In other news...
One of my guild mates put out a call for a healer this evening. He wanted to get to one of the elders in AN. I figured since some of the others had been kind enough to run me that far last night, the least I could do was help him out. Well, the next time he puts out a call for help in an instance, I am going to be prepared with some questions before I volunteer.
"Is this going to be a PUG run?"
"Is this going to be a PUG run consisting of a priest, a rogue and three death knights?"
"When you said 'help me get to the elder', did you really mean 'full heroic clear of one of the uglier heroic instance'?"
"Are you and the other two DKs who aren't tanking going to behave like idiots?"
Okay, so here's how it went down. I joined the party, and right on my heels three DKs joined the party in rapid succession. The one who I (rightly) assumed was going to be tanking expressed concern over the balance of the group if we were going to be doing a full heroic clear. I complained that I had been told that it was going to be a regular run as far as the elder. After some discussion, I agreed to try and heal it, but I echoed his concern over group balance.
I buffed everyone and we entered the instance. On the first pull, all four of my party members started taking huge swaths of damage. I blew through half of my mana pool trying to keep them up, and ended up taking a lot of damage myself from all of the healing aggro I pulled doing so. On the second pull, the same thing happened again, but this time two of the bugs from that pack peeled off and latched onto me. The tank died, I died immediately after him and it was a wipe. Our first wipe, on the second trash pull.
We ran back, buffed back up, and tried again. Once again, the damage spiked across the board, and suddenly I had critters chewing on me again. I tried to heal through it, but I quickly bit the floor again and the tank died shortly after. He said, "CYA" and quit the group. I said, "Guys, this isn't going to work without some ranged damage" and then I quit the group too. I sent a /tell to the tank to apologize for the fiasco, but he told me "don't sweat it, because none of that mess was your fault. There was nothing you could have done in there." We ended up chatting for awhile, as he turned out to be a fairly mature and well-spoken fellow. He explained that his policy is to drop group after two wipes in a PUG. He had only joined because, like me, he had been brow-beaten into it by a guild mate. He also confirmed what I had already suspected - the three dpsers had been going balls-to-the-wall the moment he pulled, none of them targeting the same mob, and none of them waiting for him to build aggro.
How that usually ends up is as follows:
Tank pulls group.
DPS classes open up on targets not being tanked.
DPS classes pull threat and start taking truckloads of damage.
They either die, or the healer manages to keep them up. In any event, due to the sudden burst of healing, the healer's aggro quickly passes theirs and the healer suddenly has critters chewing on him.
The healer dies.
The group wipes.
Anyway, I remembered why it is that I seldom run PUGs.