Tuesday, May 1, 2012

modern communication is for sissies

And I'm definitely a sissy.

To recap, DSL and cable internet are not available to us at the holler. Our options for connecting to the worldly web are dial-up, wi-fi (via our cell carrier), satellite internet, or a dedicated T1 line.

Dial-up. I honestly think I'd rather just be disconnected from the universe altogether than use dial-up.

With the Wilson booster, we were able to get my cell phone to work as a hot-spot, and Jay was able to actually make calls in addition to eventually receiving his emails and texts (I say eventually because they would usually only appear first thing in the morning), but the speed was painfully slow, and the one phone call Jay did make got dropped. We did keep the booster despite its ridiculous price tag because we figure that some signal is better than none, and we will likely be able to fine tune the antenna over time to get optimal service, at least for making calls and texting.

Just for kicks, I did a connection speed test from my work computer yesterday (I'm right in downtown Los Gatos, and you'd think our connection would be awesome, but we're about a decade behind the times and on DSL). I got a measly 800Kbps down and around 300Kbps up (cue sad face when one must measure something in Kbps), but I at least now know that my standards are low. Using the same test at home where we have cable internet, I got around 10Mbps/3Mbps. Fortunately for me, I'm used to working on the slower connection; unfortunately for Jay, he's used to the higher speeds.

Initially figuring that satellite internet would be much too slow and reading the horrible stories about latency, I dismissed that option almost immediately, but now that I know what my usual working speed is, I think it would probably suffice without too much whining from myself.

WildBlue claims that its newest Exede product has up to 12Mbps/3Mbps  (yea, right), but the data cap is 25GB per month. HughesNet has a daily instead of monthly data cap at 450MB that only applies to down instead of down/up, which I think would be better, but only 2Mbps/300Kbps speed, although that is comparable to what I have at work now anyway. So I've installed a bandwidth tracker on my work computer to see how much data I go through in a month. If I'm way below that, we'll go with Exede; if not, we'll try HughesNet.

Jay has readily concluded that Netflix will no longer be a source of entertainment for ourselves, so it's not like I had to convince him to go without. Although we will likely miss seeing all manner of cutsie animal clips and whatever hilarious nonsense FB friends tell me to watch on WasteTimeTube, at this point in time, we don't see it as much of a loss. I already got over my Hoarders and Intervention and Housewives addiction since we cut off our cable TV service a while back, so it's not like I can't adapt.

I got a couple quotes for having a T1 line installed, but the monthly fee for the most basic service starts at $500 and involves a $350 installation fee and 12-month contract. I briefly considered asking the Boss Man if he'd sport for this fee in exchange for a smaller hourly wage for myself whilst telecommuting, but Jay doesn't think it's a good idea to be tethered to someone else for one of our utilities, and I'm inclined to agree.

This is the closest cell tower at 10.6 linear miles and about 8 miles as the crow flies from us. No bueno.

On the upside, this is the view looking the opposite direction from the tower lot.

I might just have to go park it up there next to the tower on some days and do some work via wi-fi. I could open the back of the Pathy and sit in there with my laptop and plink away doing research. It would be known as Mitsy's Office With A Fabulous View. The locals already think we're weird.

"Hey, it's that crazy lady from California sitting up by the cell tower again!" I'm sure it would be all over Topix. I don't think that because I'm self-centered. I think that because have you ever perused the Topix forum for a small town in the Southeast? It's a virtual water cooler/locker room/gossip haven where you can get all the local dirt on people. Totally entertaining. I'm kinda wondering when our names will show up.

All that being said, I'm very excited about getting a vintage rotary phone. I'm kinda partial to a 70s wall-mount version in order to free up precious surface area in the cabin, but a desk model from the 50s would be totally bad ass.

~ Mitsy


  1. I discovered your blog not long ago and I'm really enjoying reading about your journey (and your gorgeous photos!). My hubs and I are slowly but surely developing an arsenal of homesteading/traditional skills. We are also childfree, so it's totally awesome to find a childfree homesteading blog (there aren't many out there!).

    Hope you find a workable solution to the internet/cell issue! That is probably the one major reason we have some hesitations about moving out to the middle of nowhere.

    1. Hey, thanks, Nicole! You're right about the childfree homesteading thing. Seems to me like childfreedom and homesteading go hand-in-hand, but we're definitely anomalies. Another great blog/site that shares similar views is www.waldeneffect.org, if you haven't already discovered it. Mark and Anna are only about an hour or so away from our homestead, so I'm really looking forward to copycatting some of their pursuits.

      Rural upper east Tennessee is a different planet for sure, but despite our connection woes, I highly recommend it if you're looking for cheap homesteading land!

    2. Yeah, you would think being childfree and homesteading/simplicity *would* go hand-in-hand. I just can't really relate to a blogger whose whole world centers around their 50 kids, so I tend to gravitate towards the ones that don't completely focus on that. I'm probably going to start my own blog at some point soon, so there will likely be another childfree one :-). I will check out that Walden Effect site...thanks!

      Right now we're living on the very outskirts of our medium-sized city (in northern Indiana), so we are at least quite close to the country (and some Amish bulk goods stores). We were planning an anniversary trip to the Smokies/Pigeon Forge area this fall, but decided to postpone it till next year due to time/vacation/money constraints. It looks SO gorgeous down there...can't wait to see it for myself!