It's nearly time for the Intel Developers Forum. This mega-event takes place in San Francisco all next week, and Intel -- lovely company, salt of the earth -- is taking me over to cover the gathering of the propellorhead clans.
Which means packing. Which means not only shirts, socks, passport, tickets, anti-hippy spray and the usual paraphernalia of visiting the Left Coast, but preparing the laptop.
Once upon a time, you packed a Dictaphone and a spiral-ring notebook, and you were done. Not now. Thanks to new, convenient, productivity enhancing tools, you now need the right magic on the laptop to access the corporate network from your hotel room, the right tools to do the writing, the instant messenger stuff, email clients... and that's before the personal items. I have a server at home with my CD collection on it in MP3 format -- nothing too excessive, just a couple of thousand tracks -- and it seems a shame to leave home without it, now I have a laptop with forty gigs of spare drive borrowed from Charles on the Reviews Channel.
Which means a quick evening at home exploring the delights of XP-XP networking. XP rises to the occasion by failing ignominiously: with a 100mbps segment and an 11mbps wireless link, it achieves a throughput roughly equivalent to a modem. Something somewhere is very wrong.
Four hours later, it's even wronger. I've reinstalled. I've tried different network cards (doesn't everyone have at least four different makes at home these days? The essential accessory for graceful living, I find). I've been out on the Net reading loads of people saying, "My XP network doesn't!", and tried every remedy known to geek. Nada.
XP is broken. Thanks, Microsoft. I leave the laptop delicately sipping at my well of data, and turn in for the night. Next morning, I check -- and the thing's miraculously sped up over night. All my data's moved across, and the network is running like a well-oiled journalist skipping from bar to bar.
After intensive investigation, I come to the conclusion that the fairies have visited. How appropriate, given the destination. But I have five gigs of weird music ready to accompany my journey into the inner circles of the silicon inferno, and I'm grateful.
But XP, watch out. I'll be back.
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