i was finally able to see the wireless webcam from the outside world, but not after wasting another 45 minutes on the phone with comcast tech support. i couldn't get in touch with the guy i talked to yesterday (his phone was perpetually busy), so instead of waiting i dialed the main line again and got a new person. tom was his name, and i went through the whole song and dance of explaining to him what i wanted to do. tom was pretty much clueless and said he needed to talk to his supervisors first and that he'd call me back in 30 minutes. i told him that was too long of a wait, and he said he could call me back in 10 minutes. "can i just stay on the phone while you go ask?" i told him, before he put me on hold.

after a long wait, he finally came back and told me that as a business customer (the cafe) i wasn't allowed to use residential equipment. this was a complete opposite of what the guy yesterday told me, and i told tom that. i got the feeling that he didn't know how to do a modem transfer and was telling me it couldn't be done just so i would go away. i tried to get him to explain the rule to me but it was obvious he was way over his head. that's when i asked to talk to his supervisor, "the person you were consulting with, could i talk to them? i just want them to explain it to me why i can't do this." he balked at first, but i was pretty persistent, and put me back on hold again.

a few minutes later his supervisor frank answered the phone. i told him the problem, he tried explaining to me why it couldn't be done. one of my options was to make an appointment with a comcast repairman to swap out the business gateway modem with a "residential-style" modem. that's when i went in for the kill. "if they're going to put in a residential-style modem, why can't we just use the one i have right now?" caught in a logic trap, frank finally consented to the switch, but still pushed to have a repair person pay me a visit to replace the modem. "if the new modem doesn't work i'll call and make an appointment. i hate to trouble you guys with more work," i said. frank agreed, and passed me back to tom to make the switch.

i was on the phone for an additional 15 more minutes, as i listened to tom either talking to himself or heavily sighing as he tried to figure out how to make the switch. i was rolling my eyes profusely but kept my cool. i wanted to ask him if he could transfer me to somebody who actually knew how to do this, but by then i'd been on the phone for so long, i didn't want to start over with another new person. finally tom managed to figure it out, and in a couple of seconds he made the switch. the new modem powered up and i was surfing the web. was that so hard?

for there it took me less than a minute to set up the router. next came the webcam, which automatically found a new local ip number once we plugged it back in. i forwarded the necessary ports, and when i typed in the external ip address, i was rerouted to the live streaming video. success! after so many weeks, it's finally working. so basically the problem was the comcast business gateway modem/router. maybe "business" is codeword for any piece of equipment that hinders more than it helps.

with my work finally done,1 i biked back home. first thing i did was to type in the cafe ip address. it was disconcerting seeing a live video feed. i've experimented with webcams myself: long-time readers will remember when i used to have a webcam set up at work. but that was using decade-old technology, capturing a single image every 10 seconds, and then ftping it to my website. i'm just sort of amazed by the progress of technology. and so easy to set up too, provided you're not working with a business gateway.

later i went outside to wash the latest salt accumulation from my bicycle before storing it away in the basement. cleaning would be a lot easier if the hose was connected but we turn off the water to the outdoor faucet during the winter to prevent the pipes from freezing and cracking. earlier for lunch i had a prosciutto and egg english muffin sandwich, while for dinner i had some sushi wraps from my parents' cafe.

1 now that i can see the webcam externally, there's a new problem: the wireless network goes down intermittently. not sure what's going on there, i'm even cloning the MAC address of the initial desktop computer. fix one problem, create another one! the temporary fix for now when the network goes down is to turn the power off and on.