Saturday I had another gig involving a Comcast self-install. I’ve not had good luck with those lately, either because the self-install software routine craps out, and/or there were signal issues on the cable feed. I went in with no expectations, just a vague feeling of having to dance the Texas Two-Step with Comcast once more. The gig itself was pretty straightforward: a new client (referral) just purchased a new 20″ iMac G5 and printer and had gotten Comcast HSI with a self-install kit. No legacy machine to deal with, just get all the new stuff up and running.

So after acquainting myself with the household’s German Shepherd, I got to work. I had to put a cable splitter in the line behind the TV so I could run the coax over to where their computer desk was, about ten feet from the TV. Comcast did something right by including a splitter and a healthy amount of RG6 cabling for precisely this scenario. I got the cable modem powered up and connected to the Coax, with all the right LEDs coming to life. This was a good sign (much better than my last Comcast HSI experience).

Next came the iMac. I love iMacs, so self-contained, clutter free, and easy to deal with. This was one of the newer iMac G5s (just before the switch to Intel) that had the built-in iSight camera. During the initial setup, it gave us the opportunity to snap a quick photo to associate with the user account. Very slick! I connected the iMac’s ethernet port to the Comcast cable modem, and crossed my fingers as I slid the Comcast self-install CD into the iMac (“like a box of Chocolates,” my inner voice sighed).

First thing the Comcast CD wanted to do was install Internet Explorer for Mac, as it doesn’t want to deal with Safari. OK, no problem. Then it launched into its provisioning script, which seemed to be moving along well. It went through the account user ID and password portion and we chose an ID and password, which it accepted. At the end of the script, the Comcast utility reported that it was successful. When I clicked the “Finish” button, I noticed the cable modem was restarted, which I’m sure was by design.

For good measure, I restarted the iMac as well. When it came back up, I immediately tested Internet connectivity and could not get anywhere or ping anything. Strange. My assigned IP address wasn’t right – at first it was an invalid 169.x.x.x, then went to a private 192.168.x.x address… it should have been giving me a valid public address. All the right LEDs on the cable modem were illuminated. I must have had communications during the self-install process, as it accepted the user setup info we input. I got Comcast on the phone, and got through to a rep in a couple of minutes. They could ping the modem from their side. I power cycled the modem (and the iMac) a couple more times to see if I could shake things loose. Still not being assigned the right type of address. I was going to attach the modem to my Windows laptop to see if the problem existed for a different CPU… but before I could do that, I noticed that the iMac just got a valid public IP assigned to it. I rebooted it a couple more times, and everything seemed fine. I did some speed tests and the results were typical for Comcast (downstream around 4.5mb, upstream about 350kb). Whatever it was seemed to have worked itself out.

I loaded up the rest of the software the client needed on their iMac, then got their new Epson printer installed. Lastly, I set up separate user accounts for the client and her mother, who would be sharing the iMac, and then setup OS X Mail for each of them under their respective accounts. I wrapped up right at the two hour mark, bid farewell to the client, and still had plenty of time left in the day for my own chores.

[tags]safari,imac,comcast,self-install,hsi,rg6,ip assignment,internet explorer for mac[/tags]