11 September 2020

An Update from the I.T. Department

You will notice as you read that I had A LOT of coffee when I wrote this.  Sorry/Not Sorry. 

 Hey, guess what? The internet was broken again today.  What's funny about this is that this morning I thought to myself "The internet hasn't been broken for a while"  Then fast forward hours and voila! my mother-in-law phones.  Magic.

Allow me some nerdery for one moment:  Because of where we live, we can only have wireless hotspots.  Because they're not intended for home use, per se, the connection can get wonky; especially if the network is busy.   

We've tried other wireless providers but because of where we live, the same issue exists. They  share the same towers and/or tower locations so don't believe the hype.  We've tried satellite internet and it was worse, if that's possible.  Cable, etc. internet is not available because of banjoland.  

Now, here's another thing to know: After a certain amount of internet (trying to keep the nerdery down) is used, the internet is throttled. (slowed)  This can be infuriating when you need internet and can't get it.  I mean, it's slower than dial-up and reminds me of my shortcomings on the regular.  

School began last week and the internet was almost useless.  I couldn't work because my work computer requires more than smoke signals from the interwebs.  Out of desperation, I searched for internet providers near me.  (Do y'all know that trick? On your phone: search place or thing "near me" and it will give you results within like a 25 mile radius)  


Everything is done online these days and I don't hate it.  I checked two providers and got a no from both.  Then I tried another company and they said yes.  Hmmm.  Seems unlikely but I scheduled an appointment.  

I told Kevin that the site says we have service here and he was equally as skeptical.  For one, his brother says that he checked everywhere (he didn't) about a year ago.  "Well, that was a year ago..." was the only nice response in my possession.  

But still, I kept my hopes to a minimum.  I'm not a looking forward to something person anyway because I've just had too much life experience.  This kind of hurts Kevin's feelings but there's not much I can do.

The tech was Hours late.  Of course, they give you the "Between 8-Noon" window that everyone loves. I had to actually call out of work, which is weird during the End Times.  At 11:30 am, I phoned the company to make sure it was still a thing.  Again: I am a hope for the best, plan for the worst, keep my expectations low, kinda girl. 

The service rep was LOVELY.  It feels like that doesn't happen often so I felt a tiny glimmer of hope.

Two hours later, the tech got here.  Totally apologetic and helpful.  And all techs are teenagers now. Or is that just me? lolsigh.

He was skeptical about us having service here because of WHERE WE LIVE (ugh) and because it's DSL.  This is dying/dead technology almost as it comes into our house via phone lines.  I had to explain that we hadn't had landlines since 2006 and he laughed "Most people don't".

I used one of Kevin's tricks and asked him "What would YOU do?"  He stalled, "I've never been asked that question before."  I know, that's why it's a great question. (Thank you, Kev.)   He said because it's not MY time being wasted (it's his and he's "Being paid anyway.") and there's no obligation, give it a try.  So I did.

He had to drive a mile and a half to the closest junction to wire it to our house.  This is where I'm thinking "And there it is: the glitch."  Also, I figured he would be here until dark but it actually didn't take very long.  He also came into the house, set up everything and was gone pretty quickly.

Because I'm a nerd, I'm immediately trying all.the.things.  I sent a short video to Kevin of Hamilton playing on my work computer.  "So it works!" he says after immediately calling me.  Just that tiny thing of having Hamilton play on my computer was everything.

Still, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I connected the satellite and it was "Meh, I'll think about it."  I connected the tablets and they, too, were "Meh." Now I'm feeling vindicated in my skepticism.  Then my laptop worked fine so now I was puzzled.  

Somewhere along the way, I realized that it had to be hard-wired.  If I connect via wifi then it's not great.  If I connect via an ethernet cable, then I'm in business.  

It's like a Whole New World.  We could never stream or download television and now we CAN.  It takes a fifty-foot ethernet cable strung across the house but it WORKS so my care level is sub-terrainian.  Oh, and I can continue to work from home but whatever.  I can stream movies.

Back to the internet is broken part.  This is longer than I anticipated. 

Just a reminder that the parents cell phones and internet is on our account.  It's out of my pocket when something goes wrong and I am the IT Department.  Now I have a dilemma. I've solved our internet issues AND I'm still keeping the hotspots until I know FOR REAL that this is going to work. After I know For Real, then I will pare down our internet account so I'm not paying for the cell phone company's Turks & Caicos vacations.

I mentioned to Kevin that I wasn't going to switch the parents because too much hassle.  I have to choose my battles these days.  Kevin balked a tiny bit and I accquiesced: If it turns out the best thing ever then I'll consider it.  It's $45 monthly for DSL versus only $25 monthly for their internet. But the possibility of the internet not being broken again is enticing.  

Then I remembered someone here on the bloggity mentioned that maybe a landline phone isn't a terrible idea for the parents.  It's up for discussion again because we're hearing "She doesn't answer her phone" more and more.  The issue being: one more technological thing to teach them and we would still have to pay for their cell phones. 

Okay, where was I?  Oh, the internet is broken.

My mother-in-law phoned to tell me the internet is broken.  I'd been working all day so I told her I'd be over there in a little while.  An hour and some deep breathing exercises later, I went over.  I masked up because I had just been to my office and we saw the kids this weekend.  She is 100% surprised that a) I masked up and 2) that I went to work.  (she'll regularly ask Kevin "But you showered, you can come in?")

First she said that it hasn't been working for a few days.  When I sternly mentioned for the eleventieth time that she needs to let us know, she amended it to it just started.  "But you just said it has been a few days".  At this point my father-in-law heads outside.  I don't blame him.   Oh and CNN is still on SHOUT.

She counters with "But sometimes I don't realize that it's not working!"  To which, I repeated "But you just said that it's been a few days."  Then I regained my sanity and stopped talking.

I took everything into the shop and fixed her internet.  It was just slow because all.of.the.reasons. However, she does use a truckload of data.  In this instance, she has tapped out all of her data and it doesn't replenish until Monday.  She has her tablet on constantly and usually it's games playing, even if she's not paying attention.  Essentially, she's a pacman of data.  We cannot get her to grasp the whole "Turn it off when you aren't using it" thing.  It's like raising teenagers, for real though.

When you reach a data cap, this is what the teenager at the phone store told me: To circumvent the system, buy a separate SID card and switch it out when the data limit is reached.  GENIUS.  He said that gamers do this all the time so then I felt a little cool. (not really)  Instead of a $35 one-time boost, it's a $20 charge that renews each month if you use it.

With the change of internet provider, I now have spare SID cards.  I switched hers out and declared it "fixed."  Because there is zero way to tell her that she's exceeding her limits without there being some sort of melodrama.  "I'll pay for it"  "I won't play my games" or the chestnut: "It wasn't me who used all the data."  I did remind her that the internet will just be slow now for a while.

Meanwhile, I didn't tell her that I noticed she personal messaged a realtor in Maryland.  Because no, she didn't. The realtor had not responded so that's good.  She had also friended her grand-daughter's best friend's teenaged son.  I'll be undoing that tomorrow.  And her daughter-in-law's (not me) crackhead brother.  (I literally call him "Crackhead Bob."  

Oh, and look, this is what her social media looks like every single time I log into it:


Let's sum up:

Keep trying with different providers in your area if you live in banjoland like I do.  Things do change.

Buy extra SID cards if you have data-limits on your device

If your wi-fi is not great, use an ethernet cable instead. (they come in 50 ft. lengths)

Mask up. Yes, even if you just showered.

This is me when I'm over-caffeinated. 


Swistle said...

I use "What would YOU do?" too!! I love that question. Vets. Plumbers. Electricians. Pediatricians. Dentists. BEST QUESTION

angela said...

At least twice a day my 11-year old yells "fix the internet!" "laggy!" etc. etc. I can. not. fix. the. internet. It is working as designed, thankyouverymuch, your Roblox and Fortnite gaming sucks up all the bandwidth.

But you just reminded me that plugging in via ethernet cable does improve performance! I will dig out a cable and plug his Xbox into our switch today!