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steward
Posts: 25155
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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My local internet has been flaky for months.  I'm using an 802.11 bounce service where a flat panel antenna is pointed at a nearby mountain.  But they've been having trouble and they are trying to fix things.  It has been a serious hindrance to my presence here and for all of the work I need to get done. 

About a month ago I got a blackberry.  I was very reluctant at first.  The idea of paying an extra $40 per month to do email and internet on the tiny contraption seemed silly to me, but several people have told me it was well worth it.  I now agree.  It has easily been worth it!  And I keep finding out new things about it all the time.  It is becoming of greater value to me with each passing week. 

A few days ago I learned that I could "tether" my blackberry to my laptop.  About an hour I activated it.  $15 per month extra, and now the internet is working like it should

I just went and tested the speed.  Not great - but way better than dial-up.  And so far, much more responsive than what I've been tinkering with for the last couple of months.



The only downside is that as long as I'm using it, I cannot use it as a phone.  So I have no phone.  Maybe I'll get a phone line too.

I've used satellite internet from a farm before.  The latency made most web pages slower than dialup.

Just thought I'd share.
 
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Our net service is unreliable too. I make sure I get what I need in the A.M. because it usually goes down in the afternoon. this area is a newly booming suburban area and supposedly there are way more people in the old system then it can handle. I would love to move somewhere where housing additions aren't taking over but I fear my high speed connection to information would be further jeapordized. I'm so spoiled. to think that that is actually one of the considerations for moving. DH needs it for work though, thats my excuse.
 
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Location: Western WA
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For a separate phone service, consider the El Cheapo Nokia pay-as-you-go system.  The phones (WalMart, K-Mart, etc) start at $20.  You buy the cards (practically everywhere) for one month, three months, six months or a year. The longer the card is good for, the cheaper the rate is.

This all sounds chintzy and fifth-rate, doesn't it?

Well, here's the secret:  If you buy a regular cellphone, the system forces you to give priority to THEIR cell towers. And if they don't have any/many where you are, grrrrrrrr!

But Nokia doesn't have any cell towers.  They buy time on everyone else's towers. This means that if there's a cell tower near you, you can use it. It doesn't matter if it's Verizon, AT&T, Cingular, anything.

More and more people are catching on, and they say that they can set their Verizon (supposed to be the best) on their desk right beside their wife's Nokia, and the Verizon phone shows NO service and the Nokia has a full set of towers.

Just for your information...  It isn't like I have stock in the company or anything. But when I can afford my own cell phone, I'm getting a Nokia.

Sue
 
paul wheaton
steward
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Leah Sattler
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well. I guess you should never say never huh? because of this post I may be getting a blackberry even though i swore I would never spend the money. we will likely end up in the boonies soon and may not have access to high speed. I am being dragged kicking and screaming into the modern world. i wouldn't even have a puter if someone wouldn't have given me one and now it frightens me to not have acccess to such quick easy info.  learn to build a geiger counter or cure ham in five minutes at your whim, who can live without that? . I guess that. like it or not I am of the slothful generations that want it all fast and easy after all.
 
Susan Monroe
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Ah, Leah, that's just how it is!

Having the internet sure beats driving to the library (12 miles in my case), filling out a green form for an Interlibrary loan for a book I've heard of, then waiting weeks or months to get it.  Then to find out it wasn't what I thought. 

And having clean running water and electricity IS nice to have. 

Once you're used to having these things, it's hard to do without them.

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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I must say, it has saved me ton on books. I'm a little quirky about library books. I am constantly refering back to my books when I can't remember exactly how something went or some peculiar fact so I like to have them on hand, sometimes just to cuddle with ...just kidding. I  also think about how many people have been handling the library books and I find myself holding my breath while reading to try not to breathe the air and washing my hands alot. Just don't tell anyone I would get slapped with some diagnosis and given meds. I prefer to jsut be called weird. anyway, I dont' find library books nearly as enjoyable as my own which is strange because I am pretty cheap!  the internet gives me endless reading material and there are a million things I wouldn't have a clue about if it werent' for its availability. oh ,and I do really like hot running water. and ibuprofen. and sunglasses.
 
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Be careful with using cell phone net. Generally speaking they have a 5GB a month limit on the "unlimited" plan. After you go over the limit cell companies usually charge insane amounts.
 
paul wheaton
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MarkReaves wrote:
Be careful with using cell phone net. Generally speaking they have a 5GB a month limit on the "unlimited" plan. After you go over the limit cell companies usually charge insane amounts.



True.  I have that feature, and I've come close a couple of times.

However!  The new tetherberry stuff sounds interesting:  all the speed and no monthly limits.

 
pollinator
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Location: Oakland, CA
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I would really like to see mesh networking, of the sort built into the XO laptop the OLPC project built, reach its potential in the next couple of decades.

That would need a lot of popular support, though, because such a development would radically de-centralize the information system, with huge political and economic consecquences. Comcast and AT&T wouldn't like it, and probably neither would our intelligence services.

Recent legal precedents have also established that people are liable for damages done through any open wireless connection they maintain, so some technical & social infrastructure for negotiating trust would need to be developed.

But! Such a system would mean your voice & data service would depend entirely on your neighbors, rather than on the owner of the cable box, the switching facility, the cell towers, etc. Most neighborhoods could pitch in to buy a few fiber optic connections, ideally combining connections through a few competing providers and networking with nearby neighborhoods to soften the effects of any outage.
 
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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I have only an HTC smartphone hooked up by a USB cable to either my  laptop or PC for my internet and it works perfecto ...no problems even in this blizzard.

the HTC smartphones have automatic internet where a lot of them you pay extra to get internet turned on on then...i used a blackberry at first and hated it and it was too expensive..so i switched to the HTC ..which costs much less to work and has a great slide out keyboard.

of course i can be online on the phone when i'm waiting for someone at a store parking lot..or whatever..but i also use it as a modem on the laptop and pc and it never misses a beat..

i HAD Hughesnet and it was crapola ..went for 14 mo with hardly any internet ever..and it cost more than my htc..(Alltel)
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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another thing you mentioned was not being able to use the phone when online..i can text or receive calls without losing my internet connection
 
gardener
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Location: PNW Oregon
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I  also think about how many people have been handling the library books and I find myself holding my breath while reading to try not to breathe the air and washing my hands alot.



Regarding 'germs' - I always think to myself I'm strengthening my immune system when I don't shy away from them.  I would become afraid if I were protected - I want slow natural doses please, no-vaccines and no-avoidance or antibacterial products, thank you.  Exercising one's immune system to keep it actively strong seems wise to me.  What doesn't kill me makes me stronger is better applied to germs than heart-break IMHO ♥

----------- Now back to our regular broadcast

Some friends of mine are going through this very issue right now (Internet access in the country).  They have ATT&T and are experiencing the "Generally speaking they have a 5GB a month limit on the "unlimited" plan. After you go over the limit cell companies usually charge insane amounts."  They cannot watch youtube, download files and images (bummer).  They are looking into tethering and other such options.  Satellite is to spotty to be an option.  And it seems that providers are scrambling right now to find new ways of charging for out-of-range internet access.  Hacks are also finding new ways to jack unlimited Net access.

I can't help but agree - I don't ever want to be without Internet, but I want it at a very reasonable price!

I love the info about the Nokia (Thanks Susan)!

And Joel, I hope other options get supported so we the people have better choices.  Any info on how we can support mesh networking?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
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I think one step would be to get together as a neighborhood to form a co-op ISP. A lot of the development that would be necessary might fall into the category of "intentional community," and the struggles that people go to together, and the methods that get them through, will be tremendously instructive.
 
paul wheaton
steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
I would really like to see mesh networking, of the sort built into the XO laptop the OLPC project built, reach its potential in the next couple of decades.



What is that?
 
Jami McBride
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Wikipedia on Mesh Networking http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesh_networking

I thought it worked like BitTorrent, but it's different. 

Very cool.
 
paul wheaton
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Very cool. 

I hope that if they do this that web pages can be modified so that every request has an idea of how big the object is.  And then network links could be connected to a slower land connection with low latency (like a wireless hopper) and a fast connection with a high latency (satellite).  And maybe objects can have an expiration for caching. 

 
paul wheaton
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I have a wireless bounce again:



It was 0.25 for download until it got upgraded.

 
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