Consumer-friendly products suck and post-PC is a fantasy

Summary:While consumers are ready for post-PC, and while vendors are kinda-sorta offering solutions they say are suitable for average consumers, the system is still very flawed.

Anyway, I got down there, ripped out their old router, dug through the insane amount of cables, cleaned the area out, dust-bustered it (removing an amazing amount of dust-- including dust bunnies so large they had their own zip code), and installed the new router.

There was a gotcha, though. The router was across the house from the laptop. There was no wired connection. So 192.168.1.1 didn't work from my iPad. While I could have moved the laptop to the router, Mrs. Force of Nature liked it right where it was, and was unhappy about the idea of moving it.

No problem. There are easy enough ways to initiate a wireless connection.

I knew the default Linksys passwords, so I looked for an open WiFi and finally got into the router. The normal Linksys Web interface was presented -- after a message informing me that if I used the interface, I could break everything.

2012-08-13-linksys

Okay, fine. Since I wasn't sure what special tweaks the Cloud Connect feature would require, I decided not to dive into the Web interface just yet.

The router came with a CD, so I climbed up off the floor, went back across the house to the laptop, loaded the CD into the drive, and let it find the new router. Turns out there were two in the neighborhood. So I went back across the house, crawled back under the desk, found the serial number of this one, got back up, went back across the house, and selected it.

Eventually, the config software decided to talk to the router. But there was nothing of Cloud Connect. I pointed my browser at CiscoCloudConnect.com, where it asked for an account and password. I didn't have one. So I created a Cisco support account, thinking that would do it. Nope, no joy.

I bought this thing, in part, because it had an iPhone management app and no matter where I was, if I got a panicked call from my old friends, I could check and see what was up. So I installed the app. That, too, wanted an account and password.

Nowhere on the Cisco site did it say where to get this.

I've used about a thousand Linksys routers. I'll just log in and poke around. I did. I bypassed the doom and gloom warning message and went to the firmware update section of the router's Web interface and asked it to check if it was running the latest firmware. It reported that the firmware was up to date.

It took another hour for me to find out it was lying.

You might as well keep reading. You know you want to know how this story ends.

Topics: SMBs, Apple, Cisco, Cloud, Consumerization

About

In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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