Winter 2005

Trials of the Net

Computing / January 24th

/begin rant

Why does every DSL provider around require your phone number to check availability? I understand that it is the easiest way to determine if service is available. However, as one of a large and growing number of people that does not have, need, or want home phone service, and furthermore wouldn't have a number anyway because I'm moving, it makes it really difficult to find out pricing, plans features, and availability. I have been to way too many web sites, spent way too much time on hold, and spoken to way too many people that are unclear on the concept of "don't have a phone number".

The crux of the problem is that I want to have an internet connection with a fast upload speed, and I want to find the best price since high upload speeds are rather pricy. Finding out what is available for what price is maddening. In the end I'll probably wind up paying too much for crappy Comcast service. They offer the same upload speed I had in Wisconsin as their "premium" service. Even when I called them, the IVR asked twice for my home phone number before even giving me the option to enter a zip code. After waiting on hold for more than fifteen minutes, I was finally connected to a nice woman who was all set to charge me $70 a month for mediocre service when my cell phone battery died because of all of the half hour long phone calls on hold!

/end rant

In the end, I discovered For a rather high fee they provide me with unbundled DSL at the speed I want, there was no hold time to talk to the associate, and the whole experience was remarkably pleasant. If I decide it is too high a price, they offer a cheaper plan as well.


Cool Stuff / January 21st

I thought this Lord of the Rings caption job was really funny.