Saturday Posts . . . and update

Update:  We managed to figure out a way to keep our internet connection at home, but at a drastic loss of connection speed.  No more online gaming, streaming video or Skype phone calls for a while.

But, as I said – we do know that Cox is getting competition in this area finally.  Even better, the competition is Craw-Kan – a customer-owned Co-Op that my dad has been part of for over 20 years.  He gets his electric, cable TV, broadband internet,  AND his house and cell telephone through them, and because he’s an owner, he gets a DIVIDEND CHECK back from them every year.  Oh, yes – we’ve already contacted them and asked to be informed the minute they are able to connect to our address.

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Simple economics . . .

Well, it looks like my run as an internet blogger is coming to an end, due to simple economics.

When we first moved to this area, we had a fairly reasonable rate for internet service, and we were happy enough with the provider that when I cancelled my cell phone we called them up and got internet phone for the house, using the same number.  The main problem is that they have been the only broadband internet provider we could use in this area.

Over time our internet cost has escalated to where it is no longer affordable.  It is now nearly 50% higher than it was when we started with them, and the quality of service has declined noticeably.  The last 3 months in a row, the bill has gone up every month.  There is another provider that has started moving into the area, but they can’t provide service to our address yet.

So, I’m going to call Cox in a few hours, to see if we can get a slower package, or find some way to reduce our bill.  If we can’t, it will be time to pull the plug on our internet, and that might take our phone with it.

Hey, Microsoft – – KMA.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Microsoft is starting to make “reservations” for the free upgrade to their Windows 10 operating system.  They are telling everyone with an authenticated Windows OS (at least those that are still supported) to make their reservations now.  There is a little Win10 app that appears in your system tray.

I have no intention of upgrading to Win10.  When I get my laptop fully set up, my desktop is going permanently offline.  So, I invested the time in finding out how to hide the notification/app.

Every time this damned computer re-boots itself, that notification/app appears back in the taskbar.  Microsoft is NOT taking “NO” for an answer.

So I’m publicly telling them to KMA – Kiss My ********.   Give me a way to say “NO THANKS” and banish the damned thing forever, please?

I’m an EXPERT at…

Yes, I’m an expert at … … … bad timing.

Note to my wife:  If you read this before you leave your conference to return home, please call me ASAP so I can ask you an important question that will help speed setting up this laptop!

Last night when I started working on getting my laptop set up, one of the first things I wanted to do was install Firefox and sync the settings to what I’m running on my desktop.

Naturally, it didn’t work.  Oh, I got Firefox installed.  I got the Sync account set up and logged in for both computers, but none of the settings would transfer.

After about 15 minutes I clicked on the right button to find out that Firefox had the Sync servers down for scheduled maintenance.

What was that old saying on the early arcade video games?  Oh, that’s right “Thank you for playing, please try again.”  Or something like that.

*sigh*  Oh well, I guess it’s just a subroutine of the game to help me learn to have a more centered “Zen” attitude.  Something along the lines of, “Just because it doesn’t happen when you wanted it to, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to happen when the time is right.”

But, hey – – – I have music without headphones again!  It’s been years!

Better internet connection . . .

We now have a better, more stable, slightly faster internet connection.  The reason is the result of a problem that was noticed over the weekend.

You see, the connection we used to have came from a pole that was on the south side of the street on the south side of our house.  The run from that pole to the side of our house was at least 40 yards.  Over the weekend, we noticed that it had started to droop – badly.

Monday morning, it was sagging low enough that it was causing a problem with the BIG RIG truck traffic that uses the street along the south side of our house.  So, I called in to the cable internet ISP and told tech support that we had a problem.  They took note of it and said that the earliest they could guarantee someone would arrive to work on it would be Thursday (yesterday).  But, they made a note of the special situation (traffic problems) and said if someone could come out sooner they would.

Thursday morning when I looked out at it, the cable was laying entirely on the ground.  I sort of suspected at that time that the company would need to replace it, even though I still had internet access.

When the technician showed up, he did a quick walk around the house and said that while he could just rehang the cable where it was, he would rather bring it in from the line that runs along the major street to the east of us.  I told him to do whatever he needed to do to make the connection as reliable as possible.  Access to the internet is important to me.

The new line comes off of a pole that is only 15 yards from the house.  That is a major benefit because it puts less weight on the joint at the pole and at the house.  Plus, the shorter distance causes less signal drop due to the native resistance of the cable, so we have a slightly faster and stronger signal.  Life is good.

A $70 lesson . . .

Before I tell you my lesson that I learned yesterday, I need to back up and fill you in on some background data.

It started between 2 and 3 months ago.  The PS3 that we used for both playing video games and watching Netflix streaming videos started misbehaving.  Mind you, it is getting a bit old, so I wasn’t upset about that.  But, there was a mild bit of frustration in it not consistently loading the audio when I wanted to play a video game from a disc.  That was the only time I noticed a problem, and at first it didn’t happen very often, so I waited.

A couple of weeks ago, it had gotten to the point that this same problem occurred about half of the time.  That was annoying, so I decided it was time to replace the PS3.

However, I had what I thought was a bright idea.  Since the old system was working fine for Netflix – let’s use BOTH systems, and put the gaming load entirely on the new system, while continuing to use the old one for Netflix streaming.  The TV had an adequate number of cable connections available to do this, so it seemed a great idea.

Thursday I got a migraine, so wouldn’t you know the new PS3 would arrive on Friday.  I looked into how the data transfer utility on the PS3’s worked, and it looked like something I should be able to handle.  Perhaps if I hadn’t had the migraine, I would have slowed down.

First, I had to do a software update for the new PS3.  That was the first problem – I’d forgotten what the password is to access our wireless router.  Ok, I’ll just reset it.

Wrong.  I’m still not exactly sure what I did wrong (I had a management utility disc and thought I was following directions) – but I managed to kick the entire wireless router off-line.  After phone calls to 4 different IT departments, I learned that I’d have to replace the router to restore functionality.  Meanwhile – we had NO internet access at all.

Why did it take 4 phone calls to learn that?  I’m so glad you asked!  The first phone call was to the tech support line for the company that hosts our ISP.  Because our phone service is connected to the internet service, when they remotely rebooted the modem to try resynching it to the router, it cut off the phone call.

Call 3 was to the tech support line for the company that owned the manufacturer of the router when I bought it.  It was their number listed in the owner’s manual.  But they sold that subsidy 3 years ago, so they don’t offer support for those routers anymore.  They were nice about it, though, and looked up the 800# for the tech support people I did need to talk to.  That was call #4.

Call 4 was nowhere near the pleasure of call 3.  They were rude, and wouldn’t even discuss my problem until they had a database file on me, complete with personal information I don’t usually give to anyone over the phone.  When I finally got to tell them the make/model of the router, they said we’d just wasted all the time making the file (well, that wasn’t their point-of-view, but it is MINE) because it was old enough the warranty had expired.  So they could help me, if I wanted to pay them a set fee per half-hour for live tech support.  I have a personal rule – never pay for anything “by the hour” if you can get it done at a flat fee.  Pay by the hour is a trick shysters use to run up expenses while pretending to be busy.

So, I made a few local calls, and found a replacement router and had my wife swing by (she was out grocery shopping yesterday morning anyhow) and pick one up.  We were back on the internet before noon.

And the lesson I learned?  Never try to do anything that requires concentration and critical thinking skills while dealing with a migraine.  I should have been able to reset those security settings with no problem, in about 5 minutes.

Anyhow, as I type this (about 30 minutes after midnight, local time) the PS3’s are both fully updated, the trophies synched, and the data transfer is about 35% done.  The on-board time estimate to completion is another hour and a half.