Murphy’s Law

This will reaffirm your faith in Murphy’s Law.

Time Warner recently replaced my cable modem – upgraded for higher performance.

On Friday I went to check the physical install. The modem is down the hill – a quarter mile away – and connects to the house network via a long fiber run.

A long time ago I installed a “remote power rebooter” device for the cable modem so that on those all-too-often occasions when the modem needs to be physically reset it could be power cycled remotely/automatically. Of course the cable guy didn’t plug the new modem into this device, instead he plugged it directly into the wall.

As an aside: the remote control power gizmo I’m using is from Synaccess and it is awesome:

You set this box up to ping a remote address (e.g., and if it loses connectivity it will power-cycle the outlet. So any time my cable modem wedges it gets rebooted automatically when this device detects loss of internet connectivity.

On Friday I should have unplugged the cable modem and moved it back to the rebooter power outlet. But I was literally on my way out of the house to go out of town for the weekend. The Number One Rule of IT was looming large in my mind: “If it’s working, don’t mess with it”.

The cable modem was working. Power cycling it right before leaving seemed foolish. I could fix it at my leisure on Monday when I got back.

Ah, Murphy, I am so sorry I tempted you that way.

Of course within hours of me actually *being* out of town, the cable modem wedged for some inexplicable reason. I had no VPN access to my home network the entire time I was gone. It wasn’t a big deal, but it was annoying, especially since I knew exactly WHY the modem hadn’t rebooted itself automatically after getting wedged and yet I was a few thousand miles away from it to fix it.

Maybe Thoreau was right.