Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Internet: the final chapter

Gosh, I'm so happy! But, oh, I'm so sad! Here's my story. Told with the ending first. Just so those of you not interested in our continuing saga of Internet access can stop reading after the next paragraph and still know how everything turns out. If you do stop reading now, though, you'll miss the pictures at the end. :-)

Conclusion: We have hi-speed Internet again! Yay!! Bye-bye dial-up, hello 1mb download speeds...whee!

Introduction: The neighbor up the hill from us is a former ham radio operator with a 70' tower on his hill. The local rural wi-fi company contacted him a few months ago asking if they could put one of their transmitters on his tower to enable rural wi-fi Internet access for the area. He said "yes" and many of the surrounding folk have been able to get access other than dial-up for the first time.

Chapter 1: Early last week, we had the wi-fi technician from this rural wi-fi company out to our house to "sniff" for the signal transmitting from our neighbor's tower. If the signal could be detected, our Internet access problem would be solved. If no signal was found, satellite with a 2 year contract (or dial-up) would probably be our only option.

We found out that the transmitter on our neighbor's tower transmits via 'line of sight', meaning our receiver has to literally "see" the transmitter, and, alas, due to the canopy of the huge Douglas Firs between our two properties, this wasn't occuring. At the end of the day, the wi-fi installer dude went away saying it couldn't be done. I said goodbye to him feeling more than a little dejected, but, believing fully in his inherent goodness, knew that he would continue thinking about it after he left and call again later with an alternate plan.

Chapter 2: Sure enough, last Wednesday we got a call from the wi-fi company saying that wi-fi installer dude (bless his heart) had come up with another idea and wanted to try installing a second transmitter much lower on our neighbor's tower, in an attempt to transmit below the canopy of the trees. Excellent plan. So, on Friday, wi-fi installer dude returned to install the second, lower transmitter and then came to our house to "sniff" for the signal again. Success - the signal was found, the speed is excellent, and it looked like all would be working perfectly upon installation.

Chapter 3: Right about this time, I had to leave for an appointment, and handed over the installation reins to my husband. He had come home early from work so he could be here to answer any questions the installer might have in my absence.

When I got home about five hours later, Jim was giddy with Internet connection satisfaction. It was up and running! Due to the fact that our home office is on the opposite side of the house, though, some adjustments had been made and they had opted not to try to run cable through, over, or under the entire house. This seemed reasonable. The two of them, Jim and the wi-fi installer dude, installed the receiver, ran cabling from it underneath the deck, up the wall, into the laundry room and attached it to a wireless router on top of the cabinets in the laundry room. Sheesh, this country living is complicated. The laundry room? But, ok...this doesn't impact doing laundry in the slightest, and we can't see the router, except at night in the dark, when you can see a small green glow up in the left corner by the ceiling.

But this is the part where things get a little dissapointing for me. I don't want to be unthankful or grouchy, but when I had left earlier that day, I had been told that the receiver, a fairly large, square piece of white plastic attached to a gray, metal post, would be installed on our roof. Off the ground. Possibly still within sight, but nevertheless, not anywhere we might trip over it or otherwise be impacted by it. Wrong! Here it is:

Of all the places that it had to be installed, on 7 1/2 acres mind you, it is on the side of the deck railing at hip level, well within sight of the entire landscaped side yard and garden. Not on the roof, not on a pole, not in any of the fields, not on the garage, noooo....right smack dab in the small part that we look out on daily, hourly, maybe more. We can't grow anything around or in front of it to hide it, as this would stop the whole 'line of sight' thingy. And it's brilliant a beacon. It could only be more obvious if it blinked and emitted a loud beeping sound.

Afterword: And so, in the immortal words of Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones, "You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need." We needed Internet access and we got it, and mighty speedy at that. I am very thankful.

Jim has offered to paint it brown for me. Though, he warns, this could impact the speed. :-)

And now, here's a gratuitous close-up picture of broccoli for you - to make up for me blogging about feeling sorry for myself over something stupid:


  1. Oh Crap...I would still let Jim paint it!!! A little bit of sacrifice in the speed would be worth it. But you do know that in no time you will be so used to looking at it that you won't even see it. You have High Speed internet...(little happy dance for you!)

  2. That box is pretty uggo. Men. Maybe you could crochet a box cozy, kind of like the ones that cover a tissue box?
    That is some awesome looking broccoli, thank you for that.

  3. I was *just* having a conversation on another blog about crocheting a suet holder for the birds (, so maybe I could crochet an internet receiver cozy at the same time. Great idea, Michelle, you're SO helpful!

  4. I'm sure you could download a pattern of one of those ladies with the Scarlett O'Hara gown.

  5. High speed internet? What is that? There is no such thing here in my woods. You are sooo lucky. I am happy for you though. I'm with Judy, a little happy dance for you!

  6. Ha! I bet you won't even notice it after a while, and it will become an interesting conversation piece for when you have visitors. Now you guys have to start thinking of weird things you can tell people when they ask what it is.

    One of my biggest fears with moving someplace real rural is losing fast internet--how sad is that?!

    And, yeah, that broccoli looks sooo good. Yum.

  7. On the bright side, at least it's not one of those huge ugly dishes you used to have to put in your yard if you wanted tv reception in the country!

  8. Well, I'm glad you have internet! I hope we don't end up stuck with dial-up after we move.

  9. Just focus on that cool barn in the won't even notice the big honkin' thing after a while. Maybe you can move it at some point???Maybe crocheting is in your future! Ha ha!

  10. Yay!! Wi-fi installer dude! Kudos for him for not just leaving and never thinking of you 'wi-fi-less' again.

    I love it when people use their noggins to try to figure out another way to make something that seemed impossible, possible!

    Yay for you, back doing high speed again! That means we'll see more photos, right? hehe

    Suggestion for your big white wi-fi thingie. Try food coloring. It stains things really well(like egg shells for Easter), but because it's natural, it shouldn't block receptions/transmissions.

    And if the food coloring starts to fade, it's easy to re-stain it again.

    Congrats on the news!

  11. Absolutely - crochet an Internet receiver cozy! In fact turn that darn thing into a piece of art! Good thinking Danni!

  12. Okay, I have a suggestion here. What about placing a nice, wooden, thin lattice behind it and planting a lovely clematis. It could twine in and around and you could just be sure to keep it off the 'screen' part so it wouldn't interfere with signal? However, I am glad you have fast access now. Broccoli. I have never tried it. It can't be as good as Peanuts, but it might be a nice change. Happy Valentine's Day!

  13. Our dish for the tv is also in a place where I can see it and i don't like it!! Oh can't have it all!
    Thank you btw for your friendly comments re. my sweet daughter. Yes, she is really a very good girl. She is a joy to watch and she grows up to quickly....
    Have a nice Valentine's Day!

  14. Things like that happen in the country. For three years we had a cable wire hanging loose. We kept backing over it with our trucks. Finally the wire cracked from the stress. The cable company came out and replaced the wire and then a week later came back and buried it.

    I doubt some brown spray paint will impact the speed very much. Go for it!


  15. We will be in your shoes in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully our "wi-fi dude" can find a fast signal too...

  16. Just letting you know I have an award waiting for you at my place.


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