Saturday, May 24, 2014

OK, we're officially addicted to broadband

Yesterday morning, I woke up to discover the FiOS was out. No dial-tone on the phones, no TV and no internet. I phoned up customer service (fortunately, we had cell phones!) and reported the problem. A tech came out to fix it today.

We went a day and a half without any connectivity and let me tell you, it sucked big-time. Some of the things we were unable to do without this:

  • Jen was not able to do her college coursework (it's all on-line these days.)
  • It was very difficult to manage household finances. (I needed to use a smartphone to check balances and could not pay any bills.)
  • People calling us were all shunted to voice-mail, which I had to check via the mobile phone
  • No TV whatsoever. Our DVR (leased from Verizon) won't boot up without network connectivity, so no recorded programs. Netflix obviously doesn't work without the internet either. We could play DVDs, but nothing else.
  • Although I was on vacation that day, I planned on periodically checking my work e-mail. I had to do this using my phone. Let me say that sending a significant-size e-mail reply using a phone is a real pain in the neck
  • No computer games. I have a few games loaded onto my hard drive, but they're all pretty old. Every game I play today is hosted on a web page somewhere.

Fortunately, it was an easy repair. The power supply for the ONT (the optical network terminal on the side of the house that terminates the fiber connection) had died. The tech replaced it in about 30 minutes and all was well, but I was unpleasantly surprised to discover how much our lives depend on high-speed internet these days.

Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot that can be done about it. Jen's college work and my financial activity simply can't be done without internet access. And her school work requires a high-speed connection because it involves multimedia and VoIP conference calls. And needless to say, telecommuting is out of the question without high-speed access (VPNs are painful and our corporate VoIP phone system is impossible on a slow connection.)

I suppose we could ditch the VZ-supplied DVR and go with a TiVo, which would boot up without internet access and allow us to play stored content, and we could use it (with an antenna) to get over-the-air broadcasts of local channels. I may have to think about this some more. And I think I need to get some good games loaded onto my Mac's hard drive!

On the other hand, it gave me plenty of time to catch up on my reading.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sign Installer Cited for Violating Rule on the Sign He Was Installing

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Santa Barbara, CA: Dan Greding was installing parking signs with a 75 minute time limit when he got a parking ticket for being parked there longer than 75 minutes - even though he just put the signs up 20 minutes ago.

The judge upheld the ticket, with the argument that he was parked there more than 75 minutes and the signs said so, and he knew about the signs because he installed them.

IMO, the 75 minutes shouldn't start ticking until after the sign is installed because, like most places, you can't be ticketed for a parking violation where there is no sign.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

AP: Keystone XL ad visible on White House website

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The irony is just delicious.

This framegrab image of the White House website obtained by The Associated Press shows an oil and gas industry advertisement that got some prime online real estate for their ad pressing President Barack Obama on the Keystone XL pipeline on the White House’s official website. (AP Photo)

Read the full article here.