Friday, December 19, 2008

Dragged out of the Stone Age

At my office, we've had our computers hooked up to a cable modem for years. The internet connection is pretty fast, and it's where I do all of my large file transfers and downloads.

You see, at our home, we only have dialup. "Dialup, J.D.?? What, is it 1995 in your house? Or you don't want to pay the extra few bucks for broadband???"

No, actually, our house is in one of the black-out places where we just don't have wired broadband available. We live about 6 miles outside of our very small hometown. Everyone in town has high-speed internet available (like in our office) but our house is so far out and the area so sparsely populated, that even our local phone company doesn't yet offer DSL or anything else that far out. Verizon doesn't offer it either. We have satellite TV at our house (DirecTV) and we could get it on our dish, but the carrier - HughesNet - is expensive as hell, and they limit your usage. So, that's never been a good option.

So until now, ever since I bought our house 6 years ago, we've had nothing but dialup.

That's about to change. Last week I ordered a new laptop from Dell through our company's special program, and got a loaded-up, whiz-bang of a laptop coming that cost a little over half of what even the special offers from Dell would cost someone on the street. A wireless Verizon air card is built into it, and all I have to do is sign up with Verizon for the internet connection, and I have high-speed anywhere I would get a good cellular signal.

And that includes the house.

So sometime next week when the laptop arrives (my little Christmas present to myself, by the way) and I sign up with Verizon, it'll be good-bye dialup at the house! Finally, it will no longer be necessary to run the 6 miles to the office to pull large files like book/magazine proofs, or internet research. Lots of times I come to the office for hours on weekends simply because it takes too dang long to pull items from the internet for use in my research. Downloading historical books, for instance, has to be done at the office because the files are simply too big for dialup. I'll do book searches when I'm home, but when I find a book on, say, Google Books that I want to download, I have to come to the office to do it.

And having the laptop with high-speed at home will really ramp up my research and writing efficiency. Right now, for simple things such as downloading a historical book that I may only want a couple quotes from, can take hours - find it at home, drive to the office, download the book, find the information... etc.

I have to thank buddy Eric Wittenberg for suggesting the use of the air card - I'd heard about them, but I've been hoping that our phone company or someone would offer DSL in the area where our home is located. Since it still isn't available and it doesn't look as though it's coming anytime soon, it was time to make a change.

It'll be great to get out of the Stone Age at home. Now, if I can just get an engine in my car instead of having to peddle along with my bare feet, I'll really be in the 21st Century... Fred Flintstone, eat your heart out.


  1. Consider yourself fortunate enough to live in an area still so rural that it does not offer DSL!

  2. LOL, Richard, I know. That's one of the trade-offs of living where we do. More Amish buggies go by than do cars :)

    But I wouldn't trade it for anything, high-speed internet be danged.