Bløødy wire-less!

The arrival of the Sony BDP brought unexpected potential to join the 21st century. Not least wireless. Or rather wire-less in my case. I had no wireless router to play with. I was still in fixed PC mode. I had no real need for an expensive laptop with their dinky little screens, poor battery life and inferior performance.

Moreover, a smaller screen would be worthless to me unless I upgraded my reading glasses by a couple of dioptres.  The 24" screen on my PC is fine with only +1 dioptre at arm's length. Reading a book or paper needs a +1.5 prescription and good light.

Like many of my age I am a martyr to lack of accommodation. And I'm not referring to my modest rural cottage. For the majority of us, the lenses in our eyes harden with age until expensive vari-focals are necessary to cope with the growing fuzziness at close range. Ironically, my distance vision has improved to allow driving glasses to be only a very distant memory. I put this down to spending countless hours out of doors (cycling and walking) instead of being cooped up, like a rabbit,  inside buildings.

But I digress:

I went to the city and bought a wireless router and a wireless USB dongle. It didn't work! I tried everything I could think of. I searched endlessly for solutions online. Literally dozens of hours of my rapidly passing life were wasted. Nothing helped. So I bought another USB wireless dongle. That didn't work either! I was a very unhappy bunny!

Frustration at the lack of progress was making me increasingly angry. I was getting more and more paranoid to the point of giving up and taking it all back for a refund. I even started a formal case with the router maker's technical help line. Over a week later I hadn't made the slightest progress! Not one step forwards.

Meanwhile the seemingly pointless search continued online until... finally... I came across a couple of posts on an online forum. It seemed my very popular and well respected firewall was to blame for all my wire-less troubles. I uninstalled it and I had a wireless connection within seconds at the first attempt!

The sickening point of all this wasted time is that the router maker knew there was a long term problem with Zone Alarm firewall blocking their wireless connections. But hadn't said a word to me about it. There is no remedy except to uninstall ZA. Naturally I left my opinion of the router maker's service review website. These businesses are always keen on reviews. Much less keen on the simple truth.

The Sony BDP now had active functions with online music and video readily available. I played with these for a while but my computer could do much the same with much less effort. More importantly I didn't need to sit within sight of an active TV screen just to be able to find my way around the menus and services. I have no use for, nor yet own, a smart phone. So haven't that obvious route available to me.

Having wireless and a much reduced box count on my AV rack made me think. The latest AVRs had wireless too. What did that mean in the context of my near-obsolescent AV system? I had better find out! I started searching the online forums for suitable candidates. One particular AVR seemed to excite the attention of forum members to the tune of hundreds of pages of mostly repetitive discussion: The Onkyo TX-NR818. I was hooked. The poor old Yamaha's days were numbered. As were the Behringer boxes. Or so I hoped.