So the DSL modem went into what turned out to be its death throes last night, its panel of three LEDs raging in a blinky fluttering show of red and orange and green desperation.

I unplugged the thing and let it sit a bit before reconnecting it, but that didn’t help things. Then I pulled out all the ethernet and phone cables and let it sit some more but it seemed the hardware had come to its end at the sad young age of 2.

Too soon. Waaaaaay too soon.

This morning. Nothing. Not even the faintest blip of light emitting diode flashed and so I called AT&T’s tech support and after getting connected to “Jeff” in Banganila and dutifully redoing the steps I’d already done he declared the 2Wire 1701HG Gateway deceased, and without even so much as giving me a chance to grieve over its corpse offered to send me a new and improved 2Wire 2701HG “free” if I upgraded my account… which meant a price bump of about five bucks a month.

No thanks, bastards.

I’m pretty sure they killed it with some sort of self-destruct code sent from an underground bunker in Bangor. Or maybe Bangalore. Damn them.

But I’m not getting suckered into their scheme. Instead I hauled out the old lapper and plugged in a phone line and did the old dial-up thing, the 56K-speed connection screech brrrrp sound bringing back memories of the early ’90s. Then I promptly (meaning “glacially” in terms of surfing speed) found a bigbox store nearby that has the new 2Wire 2701HG unit and I’ll be picking that up today on my way back from a job fair down in Anaheim.

UPDATED (9:33 a.m.): Wow, I actually resurrected the 6-year-old Apple Airport base station that’s apparently too old and obsolete to be effected by AT&T’s Biennial Gateway Decimatrix Pulse. I’m still cruising the internuts at 56K, but at least the lapper ain’t tethered to a phone cord.

UPDATED (3:58 p.m.): New wireless router/modem installed. Ahhhh. Much better.

UPDATED (7:00 p.m.): Might I add that my term “Biennial Gateway Decimatrix Pulse” is my new favorite invention ever. I might even get it put on a shirt.