Smudge Shot, Plus Internet Update

First, let’s get you all a kitten picture, stat:

Yes, he’s adorable. And an asshole! But also adorable. As most kittens his age are. And yes, he’s still a kitten until at least late April or early May, which would be our best guess for his birthday. Enjoy these last couple months of his kittenish glory.

Second: An update on my Internet, because I know you care. CenturyLink sent a truck over earlier in the day to work on the line and after an hour or so of fiddling, the Internets speeds are actually what I’m paying for — which is still a pathetic speed, to be sure (6Mbps, same as the last decade) but it’s there. Ironically it is 6Mbps to within .1Mbps; I suppose after all my complaining they really decided to make the effort there. The upload speeds are still awful — .2 to .5Mbps — but for the first time in months I could actually upload a photo larger than 5MB (the picture you see above) without the line crapping out. This is progress of a sort.

Whether the repair sticks is the question. Today was the second time they had someone come fix the line in the last week; the first time the line worked at half speed for a day before crapping out. So we’ll see how the line is tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that. I’d like to be optimistic, but CenturyLink hasn’t exactly inspired confidence recently.

For this reason and for a few others I think I’ll be keeping my new Sprint hotspot. Having what’s essentially auxiliary Internet isn’t exactly cheap, but it will keep me from fuming angrily and impotently when/if the CenturyLink line breaks down, which is kind of its own reward, and in the meantime I can use its (depending on the time of day) two-to-five-times faster download speed (and ten times faster upload) speed for handing certain specific heavy loads. In a perfect world this wouldn’t be necessary, but I don’t live in a perfect world, I live in rural Ohio. I figure this will work well enough until 5G finally shows up here in a couple of years.

In any event: My Internet problems are solved! Sort of! Thank you for coming along on this horrible adventure with me. At least you got a cat picture out of it.

26 Comments on “Smudge Shot, Plus Internet Update”

  1. Congrats on getting back to crap! Had Spectrum get my hopes up today that they were actually going to bring service out here (we’re on dsl right now), and then they did the Lucy on me. :P

  2. Your speeds are now very close to mine except my upload is about 4x faster. Sucks, to be sure, but that is what we have to put up with living in a beautiful area with deer, rabbits and lots of wildlife. I’ll take it.

  3. Tough finding good help—or internet services these days, ain’t it? My wife has a new computer but refuses to cart her’s down to the common room where I catch the house wifi. Most (all-?) of other options seem out of our affordable range. :( And—I ALWAYS stop for kittens. or cats in a window! <3

  4. If you live in rural anywhere, don’t count on 5G. Millimeter wave doesn’t go very far so you need a much higher density of access points, which is only practical in urban areas. The problem is high frequency, from 20ish GHz up to as much as 300 GHz. Foliage blocks it. It doesn’t penetrate walls. Diffraction is more limited.

    Samsung recently tested their infrastructure gear being developed for Verizon and got a range of about 1500 meters. That means an access point every couple of blocks. You can stick them on light poles but that is still a LOT of access points, which isn’t going to happen in rural Ohio. Ulf Edwaldsson, CTO of Ericsson, another network infrastructure provider, was asked about this a while back and replied: “We have never said they would be nationwide rollouts; that would surprise me a lot,”

  5. I live in an urban area (in the middle of a desert) and CenturyLink is just as bad here, trust me. I wouldn’t go back if I got it for free for a year.

  6. ohh horrible rural ohio, ok. I see…my ufo research work had me stumbling over a gigantic piece of material done by ufo researcher john keel in the mid to late 1960s…weird stuff…too….about the border area of west va. with ohio…at point pleasant WV and across the river ohio little town and valley areas. Its been largely covered up by many methods of the (System, or The Establisment,) the old words. I wont burden you with it…I know you are a guy who has his own books to write…but its weird stuff….

  7. For years, our only choice was Comcast. They always lied outright about what we’d get for our money. When CenturyLink got 40 Mbps DSL (and now fiber) into our neighborhood, we made the switch immediately. I suspect our experience with CenturyLink has been better than yours because they’re the competition here.

  8. I would have higher hopes on an upgrade on satellite internet than on 5G. The upgrades to the cell towers are going to take forever, if it happens at all. Cities and states have gotten their fill of the lies of internet providers and are threatening their monopolies.

    It really pisses me off when I am in Europe. They have plain old capitalist competition in their internet dealings and have incredible speed and reliability. I have a farming friend in a remote valley in Norway that can only use the roads three months of the year. His internet works every damn day, though, and at a speed impossible here.

  9. I know it’s tiresome, but keep after them. I had terribly unreliable DSL, and when ATT U-Verse hit my neighborhood, it was almost as unreliable. I put in repair request month after month when it went down over and over, and they finally dug into the problems and found obsolete wiring, bad corroded connections, lack of connections that met wiring standards, and two sections of cable that were full of water. It took months, but they finally sent out the big guns and got it fixed. Persistence pays off.

    Now, if they’d run fiber to may area, I’d be a happy man. Maddeningly, there’s a major fiber backbone that runs near my house, but we can’t pull from it.

  10. Merciful heavens, but that is one handsome catten. I know he’s TECHNICALLY a kitten, but his face has matured so much (if not his behavior) that he looks far more cat-like than kittenish. Hence, catten.

    Our pair of sibling cattens are about a year and a half old and are also adorable assholes. One of them (the one named Smudgely, in fact) stole a cooked pork chop right off my spouse’s dinner plate this evening and took off at a gallop for the spare bedroom to eat it, with his brother in hot pursuit demanding a share. Yes, we repossessed it before it had been more than nibbled around the edges, but still.

    I am very glad that you (at least as of this moment) have the internet speed that your provider said they’d deliver, and I hope that continues. Please give Master Smudge a chin-skritch for me while you enjoy your improved connectivity.

  11. I’m so sorry for your internet woes! Hope that this dual method pays off for you. And give Smudge a pat from this random internet stranger– what a cutie!

  12. So, if ‘Lock In’ or ‘Head On’ took place in Ohio, the remote-controlled Threep robots would lose signal and collapse every few minutes…

  13. Forget Norway, my parents in rural Greece get better internet than that for around 20$ a month. For 10$ more, they could migrate to the company that automatically switches you to mobile internet when broadband is slow.
    Just in case you wanted to know how you compare with even the poorest countries in Europe.

  14. FYI: Down here in northeast Tennessee, CenturyLink bandwidth is measured in units of “Grandparent Drools/Min.”

    Also, we want our damned repair truck back. Thank you.

  15. My wife is a retired AT&T employee which gives us their Uverse top tier U450 package for a reasonable price. Unfortunately the Internet speed maxed out at 7/1Mbs as we’d been pushing the usable limits on the end of a long trunk line. However, guys in bucket-trucks have been running around our neighborhood for a month and when I asked one of them what was up he told me they’re running fiber for AT&T. Woo hoo!

    I was also informed that the fiber that would provide access to my home has already been installed on the poles out back, so, curious, I called AT&T. It will be another month or two before the fiber is active, but I was notified that we were currently eligible for an upgrade to 50/10Mbs for $15 LESS than we had been paying. It was done last week and all the tech did was tie in another pair (remember when the highest possible speed EVER on a copper pair was claimed to be 56.6Kbs – and less before that?) and a new gateway modem.

    So we’re getting an average of 35-40 down and a solid 10 up on most of our wireless devices and the full 50/10 on the few remaining devices I have connected to my Ethernet cabling. The best part of this is we can now stream in full, glorious 4K UHD from our Amazon Fire Box to our LG OLED TV and I never thought television could look so amazing. You just want to crawl inside!

    When the fiber becomes available, and if we choose to connect, we will be paying the same price for 1Gbs down and up (synchronized) as we had been paying for 7/1Mbs all those years. Ain’t technology grand? I didn’t ask how long we’ve been missing out on the 50Mbs dl option but it’s probably a good idea to ask your ISP occasionally what they can do for you as hardware and packeting technology is constantly improving.

    And btw, Scalzi, If you have 64Mbs down, I don’t understand why you’re limited to kilobit up speeds. I think you’re getting hosed, buddy; and with a tiny little hose at that! Good luck!

  16. We don’t have cable and can’t even get DSL. The phone company literally laid their cables in a ditch by the road to get up to the top of the mountain where we live. The sad thing is that we can actually see downtown (Rome, Ga) from our front porch, but cannot get internet service by any means other than cell or satellite. My late brother got fiber optic internet in Chattanooga from the city. The other internet services sued to try to stop them. I just love our system, don’t you?

  17. Craig: “It really pisses me off when I am in Europe. They have plain old capitalist competition in their internet dealings and have incredible speed and reliability”
    To be fair, europe has 3.5x the population density of the US, which helps make certain infrastructure questions easier to answer in a capitalistic and profitable way.
    If Bradford Ohio had 3.5x as many residents and Scalzi had 3.5x as many neighbors on his country road, my guess is a competitor would come into the area with better service.

  18. Regarding the backup Sprint solution: some routers support cellular fail-over.

    Never tried it. I’m a filthy suburbanite with fiber.

  19. Congratulations on getting them to actually fix your Internet access problem, more or less. We’re stuck with rural DSL that’s part of a system that hasn’t been updated since its original installation last century. The local phone company has no competition out here in the boonies so although they’ve admitted to multiple issues (water in the cable, corroded lines, obsolete everything) they have no plans to fix anything. At this point the only reason we still use them as an ISP is it’s still really cheap compared to getting a cell phone plan.

  20. First, Yay Smudge! Secondly, you live in Ohio, and you are deserving of your lack of internet connectivity. Hugs and Kisses for that. Dallas, and its environs may not be of best quality, but, hey, ATT is right here and we get much better speed.