Friday, February 1, 2013

Back Online!

Tremble, peasants! For we here at NosCo once again have fully working internet access!

...Okay, now which button cues the dramatic lightning bolt...?

But yeah. Since Tuesday the 22nd, I've been operating on ever-worsening internet. When it started, it was annoying -- it would go out every half hour or so, stay down five minutes, and then be back up. Yesterday morning, I was lucky if I could get through the three pages required to check my email before the modem pooched. My last comment on the Nexus took five or six reconnections to actually get through.

Turned out to be two issues: whoever worked in the junction box last had made, as the technician put it: "a mess". The co-ax to my apartment was so kinked up he described it as a "zig zag"; and noted that the cable was so bent that the filament or whatever co-ax has to transmit the signal was broken, dropping my signal strength so low that neither modem nor cable box could keep a connection when the wind blew -- which here in the Columbia River Hellhol- I mean Basin, is always.

On top of that, something (or things) in my modem was in its death throes. Hence the worsening performance as time went on. Some swapped junction cables and a new modem later, and here I am again.

I'd love to flip Charter Cable shit over the incident, and go on a tirade about their customer support as so many others have... but I can't in good conscience. Real life issues kept me from getting in touch with tech support until Wednesday of this week (and they showed up to fix it on Thursday, so not bad time); and yes it took two visits to fix, but that was mostly my fault for not testing the "fixed" connection with a sustained download before the guy left. Other than issues with piss-poor reception on my cell phone to call tech support (which they have no control over) I found the entire process straight-forward and simple; and the tech they sent out seemed to know his business.

I have to confess, I did a Google search earlier in the week trying to check for other problems in my area -- local contractors are bad about digging ditches without calling and cutting the regional fiber-op backbone (happens at least once a year, sometimes more) -- and the entire first page of results was nothing but people bitching that Charter didn't fix whatever they had wrong. I was expecting to be left hanging; when he said that the problem was signal strength in the junction box, I figured someone in the complex had tied one too many lines in on Tuesday, and that last straw finally broke the camel's back and we couldn't get cable internet anymore.

I was wrong. They fixed me up, and after catching up on some torrents and downloading that driver update I'd been needing since Thursday (no, no: the last Thursday, not yesterday), she's still running perfectly. Not only that, but the new modem has some kind of enhancements over the old one and my connection now tops out at 2m/bit instead of 1m/bit. Sustained download speeds of 1.9 megabytes a second. Well, it ain't flyin' cars... but that's living-in-the-future enough for me.

And junction box shenanigans and burned out modems are officially considered "not your fault" so it didn't cost me one red cent.

So while anecdotal evidence may still support them sucking, my personal experience now conflicts with that; and I'm pretty happy with my internet service. Still wish I could get the Military Channel and Nicktoons TV instead of eight versions of Telemundo... but that's a rant for another day. I'm just happy I didn't end up having to switch to the local phone company's craptastic excuse for A/DSL; which I had back in '06 -- cannot say I miss those big 30k/sec downstream speeds, either. What? No, I didn't miss a zero: thirty kilobytes a second.

Anyway. Should be posts incoming. As I noted in passing in the NCCS comments the other day, I ended up with a new video card; since my long-serving 8800GTS was on its way to Video-Card-Valhalla. It's the dust. Cakes up the fan bearings, fan stops, GPU fries. Ended up catching a helluva sale on a GTX650ti 2gb; though my old-ass PC doesn't much like the PCIe 3.0 format apparently. Am hoping the new drivers I finally managed to get yesterday will help with that.

I have since assembled a mess 'o screenshots; enough for six or so posts... but couldn't do much with them when I couldn't reliably access Picasa to graft them into posts. Of course now I have to separate them, sort out the ones that aren't suitable for public sharing (I. Admit. NOTHING.), and then arrange thoughts that go with them into semi-coherency for posts... so it may still be awhile.