Tag Archives: internet

Wide Net Down

I was all geared up for a good rant to our ISP. Fortunately I checked the news first and learned service is down all over the Tri-Cities area.

Thanks to my trusty phone I can check my email when there’s any signal at all. But today’s blog post shall remain pending for a while.

It’s a good day for a long walk!

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” ” Matthew 11:28 (NLT)

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Country IT – Walk #19

On my walks around my neighborhood this week I couldn’t resist comparing old school ways with today’s technology. Have we really advanced all that much? You be the judge:

Firewall

Cloud

 

Gateway

 

 Malware

 

Phishing

 

Server Crash

 

“History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.” Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NLT)

 

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Larry

choose-joy

larry cable guyHey, all y’alls remember Larry the Cable Guy? Okay, after listening to the comedian for twenty minutes his bit got old with me. However, today’s whimper involves my cable internet and phone service, so I’m borrowing Larry CG’s persona.*

Restoring This Old House in particular could provide a month-long series on PBS, HGTV or DIY. So, Old School works well here.

Forget all the ads out there for bundles -and the fine print sales reps don’t mention till the end of the pitch. I’ve checked them all out for our area. Erin must live without her E!-TV, but we save for repairs and upgrades on the property from the entertainment and communications budgets. Utilizing satellite for television, cable for internet and phones we realize a minimum $20/month savings. Just don’t get me started on life without a DVR. Who knew one can’t program a VHS recorder without the remote?

So, our internet, land line and my (unlimited through Wi-Fi) cells services come to us from the wonderful people at “Mapper” Cable Company – who only recently came to our part of the Western Slope.

When I noticed cars stop in the street to talk to Mr. First Tech who was parked in front of the house, I thought, “My, this is such a friendly town!” It was actually the first sign that Mapper service is under par with my previous experiences in Chicago, Phoenix and Fort Worth.

Larry, our third tech in four weeks came in musing how customers don’t understand he’s dispatched from remote parts of the country, so he can’t just swing by to look into their problems too. “They seem to see red when they notice the Mapper sign on the truck,” he went on as he happily accepted some sweet tea. This actually is a friendly town – just sayin’.

So early Thursday Larry devoted himself to confirming Mr. First Tech and Mr. Second Tech’s reports – both now closed as PNF (Problem Not Found). A healthy hour later, he affirmed the frequent crashes I continue to experience are most likely ‘at the pole.’ To be sure he covered all bases he swapped out the modem and router for brand new ones (whoop-whoop) and promised to order a service check at the pole (technical paraphrase mine 😉 ). ‘Guess he liked the tea.

But this morning’s fitness walk complicated the whole unfortunate sequence of events when my flip knife wasn’t on my dresser where it had been Thursday morning – before Larry’s arrival. Seriously, flipping the car, every room, bag, laundry hamper… every square inch I use in the house for two hours didn’t locate the knife.

So try to imagine my reluctance as I explained to Ms Agent at dispatch, “I’m positive Larry isn’t a contractor. I have a keen sense about people. He’s not the kind of guy that would take anything from a customer. He’d been working on the dresser that houses the equipment where I also had the ‘tool’ that’s missing. It’s possible he inadvertently picked it up as he ever-so-considerately cleaned up after himself. I don’t want to generate a report that could ding the man’s record. I just want the tool returned.”

Ms Agent assured me contacting dispatch to reach Larry would be no problem for him or me. I know better. Back in the dark ages I worked dispatch for the same company (before Mapper acquired them). I told Ms Agent how to route a ‘Call Back’ (“it’s an industry term”). Amazed, she thanked me. For a moment I thought, “Cool, not that much has changed.” Then she had to go and say, “Yeah, going old school is healthy once in a while.” Shrew.

So, I no sooner hung up the phone when Girlfriend that had also visited us with Ellie Thursday afternoon, came bouncing up the walk. “Heya Roo! How ya doin?”

Goody, more tea…

The short story, Girlfriend saw the gruesome-looking flip knife on the vanity in the powder room – right where I’d set it so it’s hard, steel edges wouldn’t scratch our nice, oak toilet seat. Knowing we don’t leave things like that laying around for Eight-Year-Old-and-Very-Inquisitive-Niece to find, Girlfriend slipped it into her pocket meaning to hand it over to me. She washed her hands and promptly forgot all about it. Under a deadline, I didn’t walk the neighborhood on Friday, and I didn’t notice the knife missing from where I always, always keep it, on its very own tray on my dresser – until this morning.

Great, now I have guilt for ruining Larry’s career. At least I can now narrate in precise detail the whole new brand of frustrated humiliation, trying to contact Ms Agent again – it simply doesn’t happen. Fortunately, Mapper’s Billing Department STILL hadn’t called me back about crediting my account for all the down time. I spun the call so I could include cancelling the Old School, sequestered Call Back order to Larry.

Another Tech will be scheduled to check the pole issue tomorrow. Mapper’s got two strikes and one ball, so we’ll see. Now I must check next week’s schedule for the Elementary and NCIS episodes I missed during the move. Film at eleven…

Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” James 1:2

Joy image courtesy FreshFitnHealthy,  Larry the Cable Guy image courtesy Alchetron.com, Video clip from Toy Story courtesy YouTube

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Roo Unplugged; Month in Review

vega rig

After the grueling weeks of sorting, liquidating, packing and hours on the phone planning, departure day finally arrived. This was no small feat for three women, each with physical restrictions, and my dear Roan who did what she does best, overseeing and helping we weary movers load the trailer.

The first day of our trek from Arlington, Texas to Colorado was actually the third day. The girls had departed Grand Junction early Sunday morning. It was already Wednesday.

Having followed their GPS instructions explicitly from western Colorado (not checking for alternate routes), the girls went due east to Wichita, Kansas and then due south. Compound the additional 238 miles, 3.5 driving hours with a fierce electrical storm and then softball-sized hail. We did not anticipate the storm or the layover in Blackwell, OK.

thunderstorm Iren Petrova

To quote a recent acquaintance, “It got worse…”

Trailer fully loaded, protecting everything possible with construction bags and tarps, checking the vehicles and the load, we noticed a problem with the trailer tail lights. After finding and employing a mechanic, we were finally prepared to depart – after resting up at the local Wyndham.

Following their experiences during the first half of our adventure, I entirely understood my girls’ fatigue by that time. My concerns and sense of weariness seemed trite by comparison. And yet, refreshed and smiling, the next morning we sprang to our tasks and set out on our merry way.

Minutes after leaving, I quickly became reacquainted with a world most of us have forgotten – the world outside of cyber space. {Audible screams as the scene fades to darkness.}

Our driver Electra Bolt (we call her Ellie) asked me to confirm our route. It was a fair question.

We then learned we were already out of range of my new cell carrier, so a Hot Spot also failed to connect my trusty, old backup S3. We tepidly proceeded as Ellie’s GPS directed.

a map

At Amarillo, TX, our first stop for the night, misinformation from the desk clerk disabled me from logging onto the Wifi. Fortunately the cell Hot Spot quickly enabled a connection. I investigated the route and alternates noting them on an app this time. The words “GPS signal lost” on previous excursions still haunt me now and then.

a compass

US-287 (specifying 4 linking turns) to US-50. Check. Approximately 15 hours of driving the Toyota FJ Cruiser and 12′ x 8′ trailer – no view out the back window.

We experienced new visuals on the road without old-school travel guides or printed maps.

buffalo1

Unable to interrupt the unstable GPS on Ellie’s cell we also discovered:

– We could not determine the next fueling station. But we now know the fuel needle drops below Empty before it’s actually empty.
– We did not anticipate the windy, excessively bumpy back roads – but Ellie developed some impressive new grooves on her steering wheel. Erin and I became more limber.
– We could not enlist OK Google to identify the landmarks on the way.
– Unable to explore other food options we settled for what we could see a couple of blocks ahead of us.
– In hindsight we would have done well to research hotels before leaving. We were fortunate to spot a 3-star in Walsenberg, CO. No, we didn’t recall having heard of the town either. Then again, my girls had been five days on the road.

Day Six: Once more unto the breach*, our battle that day was to make it over the Rockies to the Western Slope before nightfall.

Shakespeare might have put our adventure:

If we were mark’d to arrive, we are enow
To do our journey loss; and if to awander,
The fewer women, the greater share of honour.
We few, we happy few, we band of sisters.
For she to-day that shares mileage with me
Shall be my sister; be she ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle her condition…

Forgive me, William.

“For you shall not go out with haste, Nor go by flight; For the Lord will go before you, And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 52:12 (NKJV)

*Paraphrased from William Shakespeare‘s King Henry the Fifth

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