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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Always wanting to do my part to pump up the economy, Iím still finding ways to spend money, even though I donít have any. Youíre welcome, America.

As a devoted fan of Netflix, I found it impossible to resist their little Roku box, that sits on top of your TV set and streams video directly from their web site. I did some research and determined that I could make the box work with my computer. So I ordered one, and it got here, and I turned out to be mistaken.

Along with the box, I had ordered a network switch box, because without a wireless home network, I knew Iíd have to find a way to connect the Roku to the Internet. With the highest of hopes, I connected everything, using all the proper cables and settings. And it didnít work. It kept telling me that it couldnít connect to my home network.

This is where distant friends come in. Thank goodness for the people-to-people connections that Iíve made over the years. That allowed me to talk today with someone much more tech savvy than I am, and someone I never would have known without the magic of the Internet. He talked me through various possible problems, and we eliminated everything that could have been causing the box not to work.

So at his urging, I did something I never do. I made a phone call. I called Roku and gave them a description of the problem and the solutions weíd tried. The tech guy there told me something that I hadnít found anywhere on their web page. It turns out the switch box I bought was the wrong kind, and I had to use a wireless router (which, as far as I can tell, is a different kind of switch box, and for Peteís sake they could have saved me a lot of heartache and expense if theyíd told me that in the first place).

I ordered the wireless router and called my friend back to tell him, and to thank him for his help, without which Iíd still be fumbling and cursing. I was nearly ready to give up on the whole project, but now Iím convinced that by this time next week Iíll be watching one of over 20,000 streaming videos available from Netflix, not on the tiny monitor where Iím typing this entry, but on the big TV screen where right now Iím watching Portsmouth v. Liverpool from earlier today.

6 February 2009

Afternoon moon.

Even though Iíve been going through this ordeal for a couple of weeks, I havenít written about it before now because I was a little embarrassed about spending the money, especially on something I couldnít make work. I knew Iíd have to talk about it eventually, of course. I have no secrets here, to speak of. But then I remembered all the money I spent a year ago, on the Kindle and the treadmill, both of which have become important parts of my daily routine. The Roku cost so much less than either of those, and I expect it to give me great pleasure as well. Eventually. Hopefully. Maybe.

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