Thursday, November 5, 2015

Keeping In Touch With The World

You might not think too much about communicating with the world when you have family at home, but for those of us who are single and only have our dogs, cats or bird to talk to, staying connected is a major part of our day.  It keeps us from going crazy ... mostly anyway.  As I bid a sad farewell to friends Terry and Nick Russell, I felt a sense of disconnection from everyone.  Time to make sure my internet service is not interrupted!!

When I heard that Sprint bought out Clear (my carrier), I've been pretty nervous wondering what service I could get to replace my internet connection.  I have a Sprint MiFi that I use in the rig on the road, but it does not work at my house.  No idea why, there is a tower less than a mile away.  Although I live in the country, there are several small 1-2 acre lot subdivisions around, so you would think SOMETHING would be available.

Here's the list and why NONE of them work ....

AT&T internet .... not available here

Xfinity or Comcast ... you are required to sign up for television also, but I have a fairly new contract with Direct TV.  No TV contract, no internet service.

Sprint ... I already know it doesn't work here and according to the gal on the phone, towers won't have new Sprint equipment that WILL work for several years.

HughesNet ... very expensive, they install a dish on your roof and usage is cut way back if you use as much as I do.

Lastly ..... Verizon.  You can actually get this little Jetpack WITHOUT purchasing a phone.  In fact, this unit was FREE, plus there is a $50 rebate to reimburse you for the taxes (remember it's California) and the $40 connection fee.  That's what I'm using this morning, and I have to say it's working VERY well so far.  I have 14 days to return it if I decide it's not working good enough ($35 restocking fee), but when I pushed a little, I was told I could bring it back in three days at NO charge.
Unfortunately, there is no more unlimited service like my little Sprint MiFi for $60 a month.  I have used that one while on the road for about 8 years.  I was just notified that it will no longer work after November 6.  This new Verizon unit will cost $90 a month for 12 Gb of data, which I can lower if I find that to be too much.  I'm guessing I use around 8-9 Gb.  In the end, if the Verizon works as expected, I will actually save $10 a month and still remain connected to the world.  The isolation factor drops to zero for me.   I just hope it works as well on the road as it does here.

Back to the speaker problem in my house ... the speakers don't work without the wall control.  Wouldn't you know, it came the day my electrical experts Nick and Terry left town.  I thought this would be a piece of cake, but it's more like an overbaked rock hard brownie!!  They are talking Ohms and resisters and impedance ... what the heck is all that?  The setting also depends on how many speakers are connected ... but I have no idea since I didn't do the wiring.  There are five more in my living room ... are they connected to this?  

The place I purchased this from said their support guy would help me if needed, so I'm definitely going to have them on the phone while I try to hook it up.  At least I can't get electrocuted ... Nick promised me there was no power attached to the box.
Just as a general safety precaution, I called in a locksmith yesterday to rekey my entire house.  I've given out many keys over the years, assuming I collected them all.  Since my memory isn't what it used to be however, I figured it's better to be safe than sorry.  Talk about service ... he showed up 30 minutes after my call and took about 30 minutes to complete the job.  At $121, it was definitely worth the peace of mind.  

Today I will return all the electrical parts and pieces we didn't use in the light fixture rebuilds and hit the grocery store.  Miss Terry has given me some great ideas and recipes I want to try!!  Now to get on-line and learn all about impedance!!


  1. Nancy, we've used that exact Jetpack for 2 and half years. We have had very good success. It just doesn't work everywhere. We have had no service in small pockets of Arizonia, no service 60 miles east of Kansas City and a ton of other places. Mostly we were traveling through. My research says that it is the best that is available. You might want to work with Nick this January and have him help you with the wifi booster system he installed in his rig. That will reduce your frustration significantly and the price seems reasonable. Glad it works at your house. Now does it work in Oregon? Jim

    1. I'm glad to know it's a good option Jim. I think the only place Verizon doesn't work is in the Florence Elks Park because it's down in the bottom of a big hole. I have most of Nick's booster system, just need to get the antenna installed. Hoping to get that done in Q.

  2. Nancy, with regard to Verizon. (Note: we have the "twice the data" deal offered last Christmas so we don't adjust anymore, but before that deal we did adjust now and then and I assume it is still as follows....)

    If you have surpassed the 12 gig level, you can increase it even on the last day of your billing cycle and make it retroactive for the entire month, have it prorated from that day on, or at the start of the next billing cycle. However, if you 'decrease' they prorate it from the day you decrease, or the start of the next billing cycle, which ever you choose. You might want to check on this, but I think that is how it works. (if we changed plan now, we loose the 'twice the data' deal so we just leave it at 40 gigs all the time for $150 for the data.) --Dave

    1. That's good to know Dave ... thank you. I'm really hoping 12 Gb will work since I'm the only one using it. A lot of places have good WiFi now, so I'll use theirs when possible.

    2. Plus you are not on the Internet 24 hours a day as Marcia (ok, me too) is. As long as you keep you pictures you post small in size, and you are good about doing that, you should be fine. We also have a Wilson Electronics Sleek 4g (Amazon about $200) which will boost 3G and 4G signals. You HAVE to attach the antenna to something metal via the magnet, and I find that the ceiling fan frames in RV's are typically metal, so I just hang it upside down from the fan frame. :)

    3. Hahaha ... I'm pretty sure I'm NOT on as often as you guys are. I do appreciate the information though. I purchased a booster this summer, just haven't found anyone to crawl on the roof and install the antenna. In the meantime, I can always drive to McDonalds or Starbucks!!