Friday, January 1, 2016

Football, money and bandwidth

Football


Sigh! It was not a good night for the Spartans.

Money


I am almost done switching banks.  It took more than a month because one of the life insurance companies wanted "printed checks".  Then I missed the 20th-of-the-month cut-off.  Then they withdrew the premium anyway.  Then I generated an "Insufficient funds" charge.  I hate when that happens.

We should be good now that I can close the other bank account.

Computers

Kubota's big Christmas gift was an X-Box game system.  It would not work until it talked to the internet.

We blew through 13.5 Gigs (of 30 Gigs for the month) two days into the billing month.  Yikes!!!!

I will skip most of the shaggy dog story.  I finally ran into a Verizon technician, Terrell at the Lansing Mall outlet, who was extremely helpful.  He wrote down how to tunnel into the wireless router (http://192.168.1.1 is the generic IP address for a Verizon router, it redirects).  He also gave me the number for tech support, (1-800-922-0204).

I ran into a problem and called Verizon tech support and got a guy named Pete.  He was outstanding and spent nearly half an hour on the phone puzzling his way through my modem/router.  It was complicated by the fact that the model at the ERJ Computing Center is a very low runner for Verizon and he had to blow the dust off of the manual.

Many of the things I should have been able to do, change the password to the wireless network, deny devices access...had been turned off.  I suspect that somebody decided to minimize support requirements for legacy hardware by disabling software features.

Pete and I finally settled on Plan C:  Turn off Wireless Network.  In this configuration the little, black box functions solely as a modem and only talks to the big, clunky computer via the ethernet cable.  It will remain in that configuration until the middle of the month.

More computer stuff


Verizon has a new service called Familybase.  You have to sign up for it (and pay for it) to see what is in it.  It is a dashboard for all of the usage controls I was already paying for.  It could not throttle Kubota's data usage pulled across our wireless network.

I fired up the chat line and Taylor S. spent thirty minutes trying to turn that feature off.  I did not want to be double billed.  He/she was finally able to turn it off after he/she blew away all of the usage controls that were previously in place.

Kubota loves Christmas because miracles occur.  His phone had been hardstopped for data from the phone plan but, miraculously, started sucking data again.  He joyfully consumed $20 of data overage before I remembered to reactivate the data limits.

Data parasites


Pete was on the phone for quite a while and we had a great conversation.  He told me that some of the goofiest Apps use data.  For instance, the "Flashlight App" on most smart phones use data.  Devices like printers often have software....they run updates in the background.   Windows 10 is downloading modules...even though I am running Windows 7 and have no intention of changing.  Ads with dancing balogna and auto-start videos...all gobble bandwidth.

Many folks live in town where they can piggy back on other wireless networks.  I live in the hinterboonies.  I have to pay for every byte.  I guess that means I just have to be smarter and more ontop of my game.

Summary


I am starting the new year with a -$40 balance in my checking account, my new credit card maxed out (0% interest rate), two facets in the house dripping and one of the exterior deadbolts not accepting the key.

On the plus side, God is good, my family is strong, I have two vehicles that run well and the oil tank is full of heating oil.

2 comments:

  1. You have your priorities straight. We have a rule here - there's money in savings and stocks but that's for retirement or a debilitating illness on one of our parts. We live off of our paychecks and if there's unexpected Dad or house expense and we're short, we just don't buy anything new or something we just "want". There's always plenty to heat the house and food for a year. That and our faith is all we need. Happy New Year.

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  2. Yeah, the Spartans took a hard one last night. But, that's SEC football. If it weren't Alabama administering the drubbing I would have been happier, but I detest Nick Saban. I love Alabama, but detest Saban. He's a scalawag.

    Happy New Year, Joe!

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