Being a heartfelt gesture of thanks towards Mr Matthew Webb, underappreciated OSXpert

[Note added September 21st, 2002: There is apparently a new driver – version 2.0 – that is available for users of MacOSX. It’s available here. As of this date I haven’t tried it, because I’m too nervous that it’ll bugger up my connection. If you have tried it, let me know how you got on with it via e-mail.]

[Note added September 1st, 2002: If you are looking for solutions to your ADSL/Alcatel/Jaguar problems, then I would take Mr Webb’s advice and read this extremely helpful guide to upgrading your drivers]

Several years ago, when I was still doing my postgraduate work in Bristol, I had a friend called Louise who was very into the healing arts of Reiki. I’m not a great fan of alternative medicines – I don’t dismiss them out of hand, but I’m a sceptical man. Something has to be plausible for me to advocate it. Louise and I went shopping one day, and returned back to my flat exhausted and grumpy – and my feet were killing me. At this moment – slumped in my sitting room – Louise asked me a very strange question. She asked me, “Would it freak you out if I said I could make your feet feel better from right here over the other side of the room?” My eyebrow stretched so high I thought it might never come down again…

Bear with me, because I’m coming to the point. All regular visitors to over the last few days will be familiar with the problems I’ve been having with the ungodly enemies BTOpenworld and Alcatel. But my story has a happy ending, and it’s all to do with the wonders of MacOSX.2. Last night, you’ll recall, I discovered that there was a fix for the Alcatel drivers that was floating around on a discussion board. A fix which, although it would work, was beyond my technical expertise.

Enter Matt Webb who sitting comfortably in his house in Hammersmith sent me a message via iChat. He suggested that he might be able to fix my ADSL drivers from the other side of London. Would this freak me out? Absolutely. But I went along with it. First I determined my IP address from my network preferences panel. Then I turned on ‘remote access’ in the sharing panel. Then I made Matt an account on my computer and gave him administrator privileges. This took two minutes. And then, while we chatted, he connected to my computer with SSH through my modem, fixed all the files through Terminal, gave a bit of a smiley grin and told me it was finished. We signed off, I restarted my computer with all the cables plugged in – and now I have a fully working broadband connection.

Now I don’t really know who to celebrate here. I’ve got no idea whether or not something like that would have been possible on a standard Windows installation, I’ve got no idea whether the instructions given were particularly clear or ludicrously complicated. I don’t even know whether this is something that Matt feels completely comfortable doing, whether he fixes things like this every day Lone-Ranger style… What I do remember is that old line from science fiction, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.