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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Back On the Air

I'm baaaaack!

There's only one thing that can so effectively shut down my blog:
technology. Or more specifically, trouble with technology. I
sure do seem to have more than my fair share of trouble these

It just the Braille Note M Power again. Last time, I posted
panicked messages each step of the way as new problems occurred.
This time I decided to wait until it was all over. I was having
so much trouble powering up the BN. I didn't want to risk the
battery dying on me as I tried to write a blog.

It started with the wireless connection and spread to the power
socket, on/off switch and reset button. Same trouble as before.
Same thing they already fixed twice. And it all happened yet

Okay, I still admit it was my fault. I'm the idiot who put the
BN on the floor and then tripped over the power cord. I'm the
one who caused the damage. Everything that's been happening with
the BN since January can be traced back to that accident. So
I'm to blame.

Some potential new DBC users may be worried after they read all
that I have dealt with. after all, the DBC uses a Braille Note M
Power, too. They want a good machine and can do without all
this trouble. I don't want them to get the wrong idea.
Really, the BN is a decent and sturdy machine. If you don't
want these hassles, don't put the machine on the floor and then
trip over the cord. Make sense?

Humanware sent me a new wireless card. It's the same type of
card they sent me in March. Again, it wouldn't work. That's
$100 per card that won't work in getting me on the internet.

The break to the power socket seemed worse this time. It was
progressively harder to get the machine to take any power. I've
been causing physical pain to my left hand for the past six weeks
as I try to hold the darn plug in place. More than once, there
was a sudden drain in power that caused the machine to shut off.
I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get it back on. My panic was
extreme when the BN died the day before my midterm exam.
Thankfully, I was eventually able to get it to come back to life
for me.

I was faced with a hard decision. I've had the BN for five
years. That's a bit old for this type of technology. Consider
how much I use the machine, it's safe to say it's been worn down.
The accident seemed to weaken internal components. Humanware
tried to fix it but the same thing kept breaking. Should I
have it repaired again? Would it just break down after a few
weeks or months? Is this thing really worth all the aggravation?

I decided it's not... or at least not this particular BN.
After doing research and talking to the company, I chose to
trade my machine in for a new unit. This is a costly approach
but better than paying full value. With a trade-in, the trouble
from the accident would be solved once and for all.

I called Humanware and ordered an M Power trade-in. Six hours
after they took my money, Humanware announced the release of
their new Braille Note Apex. This is a new note taker that
replaces the M Power. The Apex is smaller. lighter, more
powerful and has many new and nifty features.

So I spent $4,000 on a machine that is now being replaced.

I immediately scrambled to find out more about the Apex and see
if I could cancel my order and change to the new device.
However, as more information became available, I found out the
Apex is not compatible with the DBC. If you want to use the
special features of the DBC, you must have a Braille Note M
Power. Humanware doesn't even yet know if they will make the
Apex work with the DBC in the future.

Once again, I had to make a hard decision. If I had a working M
Power, I'd just sit tight and wait to see if the Apex becomes
compatible with the DBC. But all I have is a badly
malfunctioning M Power. I won't give up using the DBC. It's too
important for me. So I decided to go through with the M Power
trade-in. I know I'm getting an out of date machine but it's a
machine I really need if I'm going to use the DBC.

Humanware told me the new M Power was on it's way. I waited and
waited. I didn't hear anything from UPS and the BN was not
delivered. I had to contact Humanware again. Finally they
admitted the device hadn't yet been shipped.

I was so excited last week when the new Braille Note arrived. I
was giddy at how easily the BN would take in power when I
plugged in the AC adaptor. No more battle... or at least not on
that front.

I still couldn't get the wireless to work on the new machine. I
wasn't worried. I don't know too much about that kind of thing
and figured the setting must not be right. That could be worked
on. Unfortunately the new BN was also freezing up all the time.
I lost several documents when this happened. I was forced to go
back to using the old device and I was not at all happy.

Yesterday, the local Humanware rep came to my house to try to get
things all straightened out. He had a person from tech support
on the phone to assist. They did a bunch of fiddling and
deleting and it looks like they fixed the lockup problems.
Finally some good news.

They also got me set up on the wireless, finally. The card I
bought in March was fine. The one I got in October turned out to
be defective after all. Humanware will replace that card.

I was so happy when the rep left. I thought all was well....
until I tried to get online again and it wouldn't work. I was so
upset, angry and confused. Why would it work for him but not for
me? What did I do that was so different? Nothing, it seemed.

Then I realized that wasn't true. As soon as the rep left, I
put my usual compact flash card in the side storage drive... just
like I always do. It's always in there. I never take it out.

So I removed it and restarted the machine. To my shock and
amazement, the wireless worked. Not just once but again and
again. I could take out the wireless card, put it back in and
connect again. That's something I haven't been able to do since

Just to test, I put the CF card back in the side drive. I tried
to reconnect to the internet but it wouldn't work. Same problem
I've been having for ages. I removed the CF card and could
connect to the wireless once more.

Here's the really painful part: does this mean I've been
struggling to connect to the wireless for 11 months and all I
ever needed to do was remove that CF card? Ouch!

Well, I think I've finally solved the problem. It's all over
now. I'm back in fully force. I'm back on the air. Nothing can
stop me now... or shut me up. Did you miss me?

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely. Good to have you back on the air.