Tag Archives: Internet

Solving the Communications Problem in the United States

You would think there isn’t one, but in my opinion, there is a very significant problem. Rural areas, and even major cities don’t have real choices for broadband. Cellular Companies are trying to compete to acquire spectrum that has to pass government oversight. Telephone companies are lacking in real standards, and Television services are even worse. Simply put, the Communications system is a complete mess, and this only hurts the people of the country as well as the government. It costs taxpayers, and consumers money, and causes headaches.

So, what would I suggest. Well, I am sure that some people will call me a Socialist for these suggestions, and the big companies that have massive stakes in the infrastructure that they have been failing to keep up will have a problem with my suggestion, but as I said, the consumer and government are the ones to suffer. Nonetheless, here are my suggestions.

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Ultimate Birthday Present – 2012

While I am not a big holiday person (including my own personal one), I figured I will write this post nonetheless. Now, as for the ultimate birthday present, my choice might be a surprise to those that will know me. While the surface of the gift is no surprise, the actual details  will be a bit of a surprise. My ultimate birthday present will be a complete notebook/desktop replacement. Now, in my opinion, a desktop replacement is more than just the PC, but also a full size keyboard, monitor, and storage.

Now, this system will come in a number of parts. This is again because a true desktop replacement needs to be more than just a PC. Also, this system will be very expensive. It’s not any run of the mill $500 PCs I am used to having, so this will be a sticker shock when one reads the price at the end. However, this is why it is called an ultimate birthday present.

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Not much happened today. The landlord came to fix the screen door. It wasn’t serious, although it could have been if not addresses. Part of the hinge was damage from a wind blow a few days ago. I also had problems with my Internet connection, and ended up resetting my router again. I walked the dogs on the treadmill, and then a social walk. They were a bit full of energy, so I walked them again in the early evening.

As for plans for tomorrow, not much is planned. I will be writing a blog posting, but otherwise – just the normal day activities. I will have to make a phone call in the morning, but other that will be all.

Verizon Fiber Optic Services

So, I decided to join 1990, and get premium television service along with my Internet. It also became about the same price to have a landline phone which has already helped. So, what exactly do I have, and what are the good and bad? Well that’s what this post is for. First, let’s find what I have. I have a 25/25MBPS Fiber Optic Line. Going to 15/5MBPS would have only saved $5/month. I also have 190 285 channels, although this isn’t as impressive as it sounds. In addition, I have telephone service with unlimited domestic calling, and incoming calls. So, here is what I think of everything.


The internet service in my opinion is the best value. Of course, you are speaking to someone who is not really big into television, but I will get to that later. I have a 25MBPS internet connection, and this is wonderful. According to the federal government, broadband starts at 5MBPS, and this will seem as if this is the first time in my life, I have actually hit that mark. Currently, not a lot of devices uses it. My PC uses it a lot of course. My home phone uses it for most calls. My cell phone uses it with wifi calling. However, keep in mind that I do not make nor receive many phone calls. I however probably could eat up about 1GB per day which is a big amount. The Internet service is well worth the cost, and may even be able to reduce my cellular phone plan when Andie moves off of my account.


Telephone is the least needed service, however the price difference didn’t justify the removing of it. I have unlimited calling to anywhere in the US. I also have Caller ID, Anonymous Call Rejection, Simul-Ring, and Call forwarding. I can also control a few of the services via an Android app (will discuss later). However, the only thing truly impressive is the bundled price. Once all of the long term promotions end, it may not be worth keeping. There are a few reasons why. First, no matter how much I will beg and plea, I don’t see Verizon changing my CID to show my Google Voice number. This means that I will not likely ever use it as my primary line. At best, it would serve as a fail safe line (when SIP services is down). However, if someone calls my Google Voice number from home, or an N11 number – it will use the Verizon line. 611 for some reason will not work, although I know that the old style POTS supported 611. All telephone services run through the Fiber Optic line, even though it still connects with RJ11 jack.


Television felt as if it was the most misleading. Why. At first, they noted that I can have 190 channels. However, this includes 16 local channels, 7 HD channels that are showing the same content as the 16 channels, 5 channels that are split channels (such as what would be 13.1 in OTA), about 15 local access / public / government channels that seem to almost never have anything on it – therefore useless. It also includes 45 audio music channels which I am sure anyone that has Comcast or Satellite will know these stations. There are 42 channels that have 2 stations (one standard definition, and another high definition). Like the local channels, this is counted as 2 channels. There are about 37 channels that are in standard definition only. So in reality, the 190 channels are actually less than 100. Let’s face it, if two stations have the exact same content on it, this should be counted as the same number of stations.

To make matters worse, channels you would expect to be included in the base package with 190 channels aren’t included. One example was the National Geographic channel. I would get Syfy (formally known as SciFi), however I didn’t find many other channels that would be worth the extra cost. This essentially forced me to upgrade which will give me almost “100” extra channels, but we see how Verizon counts these channels.


There are two pieces of hardware that is required. The first is the router. It is a wifi-N router which is good. It has a non-functioning USB port which I wished Verizon would have activated it so I could use an external hard drive on it. It does support 4 LAN ports which is good. This means I can plug in computers, NAS, and of course my phone. This router is the center point of the FiOS, and seems to be used even for television service to some degree. If I want to use the TV remote app, it needs to use the FiOS router.

The other device is the cable box. This is the cheapest and most basic box set top box I have ever seen in my life. It has a power button on the front, but no display. At least old boxes would have 2 LED numbers with channels in the mid 80’s. Most will have the time and channel, but not this one. On the back is coaxial for older TVs, Analog, Composite, and HDMI. Since the HDMI port on my PC is out only, I had to pull the old 20” CRT television out. It seem to need to do a channel set, and Line, 2, and 3 were set. Channel 2 (what would be CBS) has no picture. 3 is the box, and Line is for the RCA for the DVD Player which is no good.

I was also given an RG6 cable, and HDMI which was good. The RG6 is for the current television while the HDMI should support new TVs. The installer was also kind enough to install a phone jack close the RG6 cable that comes into the apartment. This meant that I could keep the phone access point close to the router and the phone jack which was important to use it to full potential.


Available on Android, and iOS platforms – Verizon offers a means to control the TV, and some of the phone settings from the cellular device, or PDA. Technically, I don’t even need to use the set top box remote nowadays, although it is still active. I could actually change a channel while in the back yard and have it affect the TV in the front room. The app seems half baked though – although serves as a good remote control. I just expected more such as show searching, or reading show info on the device rather than the relying on the TV.

The phone app is helpful if I forgot to turn call forwarding on or off, or if I wanted to turn on/off Do Not Disturb. It will also show a call log, and use the cellular phone’s contacts to give names. However, for the most part, this app has proven nearly useless to me. Again, I would have expected better. They offer Speed Dial, yet – I can’t seem to program that through this app. On a good note, I am able to see CID display show on the television. This is only good with Verizon phone services.


Price is a big disappointment. The price is fair on paper, but as you may have noticed, I feel robbed on how they counted the channel line up. In addition, you are smacked with additional fees that should be included. Here is the cost for the service I currently have (with 285 channels).

  • $105 for the base service price with some price guarantee
  • $10 for wire maintenance (will fix basic jack issues)
  • $10 for the set top box (which should be included)
  • $15 for taxes and fees.

All of this will be an estimate of about $140 so the representative told me. Keep in mind that after you exclude the music channels, and double channels – you are looking about 125 channels rather than 285 channels. Internet only service is about $75 (including taxes). So in reality, it is a nominal fee extra for the extra services. However, I will be finding little justification for it if it rises dramatically. Because of the higher price, I will not be able to get a DVR any time soon (an extra $10), and I can forget the premium movie packages which will cost an extra $60 for the movies.

Justification of the price will include the removal of Clear Wireless ($30) which was the reason of setting Verizon FiOS to begin with. I am now able to use SIP which cost $60 per year, but will allow me to go to the cheapest voice plan with T-Mobile when Andie leaves my plan (which should happen soon). I also have 911 support, and since I now have television service, I can keep up with news, current events, and have no need to increase my Netflix service. In a matter of fact, if the time comes when my queue is reduced, I could actually go to the streaming only plan, and have something worthwhile. I will be reducing my eMusic subscription which will mean less songs per month, but will provide funds to the Verizon service.


I am disappointed in the way they count channels. And with this severe factor where I am getting only half of what I would expect otherwise makes this a less of a value. This is especially true with the current 4:3 television, but in reality it’s not Verizon’s responsibility for giving me a 16:9 television. If there is no reasonable way to get a better TV (which I need any how for Television), I will get one when I can reduce the Fingerhut bill. So, for the price, it is still better than Verizon’s competitor here (Comcast). I seen Comcast’s services, and while Chris and Andie has more TV services, 1MBPS internet, and no POTS for $150 per month (or close to it) means I am getting more value for the money. It would be nice if Verizon did a little more ethical way of counting channels. At least you as the reader will know this ahead of time. It is better than Comcast, so therefore – the best choice if you can get FiOS service.

First Impression: Verizon FiOS

After dealing with 6 months of terrible and inadequate service from Clear, I have decided to actually use a real ISP. Since I have been living in the current apartment for a couple of months, I would be able to actually choose a land line based service. I had three options. The first would have been Cable Internet from Comcast. The second would have been DSL from a wide range of providers, and the third was Fiber Optic Services from Verizon. Many of the DSL providers were requesting contracts with only a couple not requiring them. Needless to say, I left Consolidated Communications to go with Clear. I wasn’t going to leave one terrible company to go to another one.

I am not a fan of Comcast. They have terrible billing, and customer service – at least from my experience. They also have poor services at least from what I have witnessed with people who have them, and they are definitely over-priced. My brother for example pays more than $100 for his television service that gives out, and requires support at least most of the time I come (I don’t even touch the remote), and for their 1MBPS connection. For this, I find it as appalling.

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Today was a good day. The Verizon technician came about 9:30AM, and finished about 11:00. I had some problems with getting my SIP services running again, but this was resolved, and my ATA resides on one of the RJ45-10M ports. I will eventually need to work on getting everything completely set up, but the idea would be to rely on a cordless house phone while I am home, and therefore demand less on the cellular phone. The house phone as with the cell phone displays my Google Voice number, and this is what I want. Since PBXes.org has proven to be unreliable, I will have to wait until I can set up an IAX server before I attempt to have extensions, and make use of them.

I managed to write a couple of emails, and downloaded a lot of music files. I couldn’t reliably get these songs on the old ISP, but now was able to do that and much more. A video podcast that is almost an hour only takes a couple of moments to download. And of course, I took Talisa for a walk, played with her, and she managed to play with one of the dogs upstairs. She has been testing my patience though, which I am hoping is only a temporary phase.

Continue reading 2011-06-14


Today was a little busy. I had to go to the post office to check my mail, drop off the DVD, and get my SD card adapter. While in Downtown, I picked up a couple of gallons of iced tea. I then returned home, and made a call to Clear which my call got dropped a couple of times. However, I finally got a hold of them, and set forth the means to cancel. I was told it would take 24-48 hours to actually cancel. I was also told that I owned the modem (not that it matters), but later – I received an email with a UPS return label, so they will obviously want the modem that I “own”.

I wrote a couple of emails, and checked a couple of other services. I managed to watch Hulu at 288p video quality with some stuttering. I know I canceled it, but if they are going to be as slow in canceling as they are in service, I will continue to use it (until I get the new service in), and I will probably be billed for the service any how. I did get a hold of T-Mobile, and they not let me have my full speed back. I am not going to be charged overages, but it would make things a little more difficult when I am not home. Once the new service comes in, I should be able to use my service from my phone, and have better than cellular speed (which is the way it should be).

Continue reading 2011-06-13


Today was much like most days. I am still having problems with my Internet connection, and it would seem as if Clear is of little help, or value. I am expecting that I could have the problem resolved (maybe) on the 9th, but there is no promise, and as problematic as this has been so far, I have little confidence that they will do anything. As for plans for tomorrow, I am expecting to have a movie come in, and hopefully – this problem will be fixed. In the meantime, I have to rely on my cell phone for things that are extremely important.


Today was pretty uneventful. I had to work on arranging the apartment as well as unpack. The front room is still a mess, and the center room is starting to feel too small to really use as an effective bedroom, but at least it is there. I am just going to have to move the bed around where it would actually be usable without it blocking the hall to the kitchen. One thing I am definitely not happy with is the fact that music in the front room can’t be heard well in the kitchen unless I dramatically increase the volume which I will tend to respect my neighbors.

And rather than unpacking the desktop, I put it away considering that I don’t have wifi attached to the desktop, and the router is in the kitchen (best reception for the Wimax modem). I also put the monitor, and the ancient TV away. I really need a new TV since the old one won’t even get a reception for the Over the Air television. Otherwise, not much else has happened this day. I watched a couple of shows on Hulu, and bought a lighter to light the stove.

Continue reading 2011-04-02


Today was a bit of a quiet day. I wrote a very long blog post at word.fsp.name about the Comcast acquisition of NBC. I also went to the main street to get some iced tea, and a loaf of bread. I chatted with a friend from Chicago, and dealt with the problems that is becoming Clear. I was able to get the speed, but still have latency issues.

I also needed to drop off some mail which I done, and picked up my mail which wasn’t anything interesting. My music play list has gotten a bit short – just 5 hours on the Nano. I also moved a little of the network around, and unplugged the phone since I can’t get it to work until I can get to 100ms or less. Continue reading 2011-01-19