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Hilda?  No, but that would be a funny name..  Hurricane Hilda..  heh.


Nope, Miss Isabel is crunching us all.  Cable service went bye-bye about 2pm (eastern time), lost power here about 8:30pm, before that the water level dropped so it took about 10mins to fill the tub with water.  Last I heard, 2/3rds of VA is without power.  (Don't know if I heard that part right, but I know I heard right about over 1.4million people in Va without power).  There are 4 storm related deaths and...  well...  I want my power back and my cable service.  I don't care if anyone else gets it fixed, I just know I want mine!


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Update - 09/18 Thursday


Ok hearing over the past few days about the doom, my whole attitude has been (and has remained) rather simple.  Why worry?  By that I mean that I fail to see the need to go out and by 1,000 batteries, 20 gallons of milk, etc, to prepare for a storm that might hit or might not (or more precisely, might cut off power, or might not).


Here is the logic to pass on to the idiots..  If power doesn't go out, then are you REALLY going to drink 20 gallons of milk BEFORE it spoils?  At 20 days before the longest lasting one spoils, that's 1 gallon per day.  I'd be sick of it before that.  Usually 1 gallon a week is enough for me.  Then, where are you going to store all of that milk?  And if the power DOES go out, you have 48 hours to consume all the milk before it is bad.  That's 10 gallons per day.  I again state about the 1 gallon per week that is good enough for me.  Yes, the 20 gallons of milk is an exaggeration, but you get the idea.


If someone wants to be truly prepared for such emergencies, I say plan FAR in advance.  Over the course of a couple of months, buy some of the obvious things.  Night lights that come on during a power outage.  The more you have, the better.  But when you first start out, put them INTO strategic places.  One near the front door (so people can make it to that point FROM most places in the house).  One near the top of the stairs (for each floor if you have more than a 1 story house).  That way people can make it safely to the first floor and to the front door.  Have flashlights in strategic places too.  Kitchen, basement and closets come to mind.  Batteries?  Ok let's be sensible here, and I mean for real.  By those alkaline rechargable batteries.  The kind where the recharger discharges them and recharges them intelligently to extend the life of the battery, and just have a stock of them sitting around in a designated area.  Have enough batteries to power what you need for 3 days of no power.  Portable radio (or tv), laterns, flashlights and anything else that will make life easier while doing without.  Also try to get and use florescent bulb lights, they extend the life of the battery more.  When possible, go for the LCD lights, the batteries last FOREVER almost.  I think it would take over a couple of days to kill the batteries, where with a regular flashlight, it would take just about 4 to 8 hours.  With a power-loss center in place, it might require a few minutes a week to keep up with.  Just cycle the batteries through the charger(s) so they are kept fresh, inventory your bulbs, and make sure the flashlights are in working order.  Some of that can be done once a month.  Get a grill (propane or charcoal, not electric), and then you can still cook foods.  Make sure to keep your fuel supply fresh.  In your 'power-loss' center, have a stack of paper plates and plastic-wear, so in case you cannot clean your dishes for some reason, you don't have to use dirty dishes.  When you are done with milk cartons (the plastic 1 gallon containers), clean them out and put water in them.  Try to have about 3 days worth available (family of 2 would be 2 gallons per day, 1 to drink, and 1 for washing and stuff), and rotate them by using them.  (Use 1 days worth per week, when you are done, fill those up, put them in the back of the line, and grab the oldest FROM that point).  Water remains fresh, and if you keep 1 in the fridge, you always have cold water to drink without HAVING to use ice.  If you do have to use them during an outage of some sort, you have water to last a few days.  These are actually ideas that could be put INTO everyday life that would seem silly, but when you need them, would be available and already set up for you.


Follow that basic plan and when you know a storm is coming, you just make sure you are well stocked on canned goods (make sure you have a manual can opener), and you are already prepared for the worst.  (I know there are other ideas that would make mine seem petty, but hey, my plan is very simple)  And whenever possible, AVOID USING CANDLES.  Candles require fire, and that increases the risk for burning down the house.  And if you have/use a gas powered generator, please don't be stupid and run that thing INSIDE the house.  Several people died in their sleep FROM the fumes (carbon monoxide poisoning).


Continuing on...


About 2pm, cable tv goes out.  That also means that my digital phone service is gone.  AND the cable-modem service is gone too.  Oh well, just have to deal I guess.  Thank goodness for the cell phone.  (You'd think that cell phone service would suffer too, but I guess the fact that they are towers, probably with mega-battery backups, and probably under ground lines to carry the signal kind of makes a big difference.  I'm not complaining though.)


So about 8pm is when the water pressure drops some.  I run a nice warm bath to soak in, just in case power goes out and I'm not able to take a shower for a few days.  8:30pm, just before I am able to get INTO the bath, the power goes.  Talk about timing.  So I enjoy my bath.  I get out, continue to listen to NBC on the battery powered tv (tube isn't working, so no picture), and switch it to B103.7, which is simulcasting NBC.  On the radio station broadcast, the audio is louder, so I leave it there.


Later on, I go ahead and call Comcast to report the outage (just so it's on record more than to expect a service call).  I tell the operator that the cable is out, and she comments that it's because I have no power.  Well duh, if the cable was there when the power went out, then I wouldn't be calling!  Give me some credit for HAVING a brain.  No, the cable went out about 2pm.  I just didn't bother calling because I wanted to avoid the long phone wait.


Next I call the digital phone service to report the outage, hear the option to get a call back when the service has been restored, SELECT it, and then hold on the line to speak to someone.  I need to know the number to call to activate my remote call forwarding so that I can forward all my land-line calls to my cell phone.  Woman asks me to hold on, then comes back with instructions she is reading.  "Pick up the phone on the line you wish to activate call forwarding from, get the dial tone..."  Hold up..  It's really that simple?  You mean that even though I have no phone service on that line, I can pick it up and get a dial tone so I can activate call forwarding?  No, of course not.  Woman was stupid (forgive my bitterness, but after I specifically told her that my phone line was not working, and that I needed the remote call forwarding information).  She finally asks around and comes back with a local number that I am supposed to call, enter my phone number and passcode, to activate the call forwarding.  I hang up and try that number, and nothing.


Call back, try to reach customer service, but that department is closed at the time.  Try other options, then call REPAIR back.  This woman gives me the same number, but with one digit different.  It's a valid number alright, but I can't seem to remember my passcode.  So I decide that I'll get my phone (that requires AC power), take it out to the car, hook up the DC-to-AC converter, plug the phone up, and go through the memory banks.  (I have the number, passcode, etc, programmed INTO it).  Finally got the CORRECT number to call (it was nothing like the numbers given to me), along with everything else to press, in exact order.  It worked.  Yay!  Now all calls are being forwarded to my cell phone.


Mental note:  Must switch local phone service provider, and soon.  Haven't even had my phone service through Comcast for a year yet, and already lost phone service 3 different times.  Like I said, cable tv goes out, and phone service is gone too.

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Update - 09/19 Friday


No power all day.


Ok so how about on Friday, I went looking around some (not much though).

On the other end of my block, a tree fell FROM one side (space between the street and the sidewalk) to the other side of the street, smashing a car.  It also took out the street light (just hanging on the pole now, and not being held up at its 90degree angle as before), and the livewire for the street light, down to the ground.  Don't even dream of asking me if I touched that wire or the tree.  I treated that area with extreme paranoia.  Me no want to fry.




Continuing up to the end of the block (past natures road block), then turning left, going to the stop sign (where there is a main road, about 1/4 of a mile distance), there is another road block..  Common courtesy of mother nature again.  No cars were injured in that one though.

Ok so backing up FROM that point, there is only one street between my street and a main road.  If you turn onto that street, same block as mine though, there is a tree that fell FROM one persons yard INTO the face of their neighbors house.  The house was not injured, just...  Well...  "Batcave" comes to mind.  Did a great job of hiding the front of the house.

Ok so continuing down that street for a few blocks you get to a parking area for faculty of a nearby high school.  (Or FROM my house, turn right onto the street, going away FROM the road block, and then dead end INTO the school's back yard/fields/etc).  Other side FROM me, there are two trees down.  Poor fence - I don't think it know just what happened.  And that's the smaller of the two trees.  The bigger one, fortunately, fell INTO the open area on the side of the school.


Driving around the general area though, there were about a gazillion branches laying around the streets and peoples yards.  I don't think anyone had any to fall INTO their house FROM a nature-made hole.  So that was good.  Power out everywhere.


Ok so returned home, and needed a way to recharge/power the laptop and a tv.  Well, a few months ago, for about $5, I got one of those multi-detachment-tip; multi-voltage-adjustable laptop power supplies that plugs INTO the cigarette lighter.  It was a great deal (normally those things go for $35+, and the one specifically for my laptop runs about $90/$100).  So got that plugged in and charging up.  I pulled out the little power converter that I have (supports up to 300watts, 600 peak).  Blew 2 fuses trying to help a neighbor use their coffee making - only to discover that no, it really does take up more than 300(600peak) - it takes 800 constant.  So had to play fuse juggling to REPLACE that fuse, and used that to plug in a dc charger for my laptop.  Meanwhile, grabbed the alligator clips to hook up to the battery, and ran an extension cord INTO the house and watched good ol' nbc.  Then figured, "screw it" and brought the laptop back INTO the house and plugged it up to.  Thank goodness I have dialup access as a backup method of connecting to the net.


Well, that's how I managed to keep power for Friday.



Later on, I put the converter INTO the car using a cigeratte outlet to power it.  (Lock doors with car running to keep the battery FROM draining too much).  After awhile, I got a bit greedy.  Had the tv and laptop hooked up, decided that a lamp (60watt light I think?) wouldn't hurt since the tv was 53watts.  Ok that was all fine.  It was when I hooked up the charger for my cell phone that things started to happen.  The ac converter flipped FROM a green light to a red light.  I presume this means overload and it shuts down as a warning.  Since that has happened just for plugging something in (that was still within the wattage), I just went, flipped it off, then back on, and went back to what I was doing.  A few minutes later, it happened again (everything went dead).  Only this time, the fuse blew, so I was left with two options.  Either plug it up to the battery directly or just give up.  Ok, it was pure darkness outside.  Someone could easily sneak up to the car, grab the ac converter and dash off before I even had time to get out there to have a look.  Too risky.  During the day I can see easily so hooking it up to the battery then is no problem.  So I delegate the usage of power on the laptop and cell phone, and when it reaches a certain point, I just cease usage.  That, and listening to the battery powered TV (screen doesn't work, go figure), and that was my night right there.  Oh well, not like I was suffering, just not enjoying the use of electricity.

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Update - 09/20 Saturday


Cell phone rings at 9am - it's a call being forwarded FROM my land line phone.  Comcasts automated system is calling me to tell me that my phone service has been repaired.  Yeah right.  I pick up the line, and it's dead.  To give you the short version of it all, if the house has no power, then the phone line won't work.  So basically, Comcasts digital phone service requires you to have power to have phone service.  I might still hate Verizon (aka Bell Atlantic aka C&P, formally a part of AT&T, whereas AT&T has been bought out and is now owned by Comcast...  Go figure), but at least Verizon will give you a dial-tone, no matter if you live in a cave or in the middle of a nuclear power plant.  I call Comcast back, SELECT the option again to be notified of repaired service, and opt to speak to a representative.  A whole lot of good that did, no power in the house means no phone service.  That makes a whole lot of sense, where Comcast is quick to tell you that they consider the phone service very vital and important (what if you need to make a 911 call?), but if cable tv goes out, then your phone service is gone too.  How does that make sense?  And how am I supposed to call them to tell them that cable is out?  Sheesh.  I could spend an entire thread on this, but you get the idea.


So I had heard on the news about being able to get free dry ice FROM Dominion Power down at Innsbrook at 1pm.  Got time to kill, so I go to Advanced Auto, where the doors are open but there are no lights on.  Hmmmmm, interesting.  I go in and their computers are working and ringing up things.  So I go to grab the fuses for my car, get new alligator clips (well the kit that hooks up to the battery to give you a cigarette lighter outlet), and go to cash out.  They are using my idea, to use the dc-to-ac converter with a power strip hooked up to it.  So I'm not the only one with brains in my neck of town.  (I would have said my area, but saying as Kim is also smart, I needed to specify)  I left with the alligator clips, a kit of 25fuses (15a, the type that I needed), and a kit that has 8 different fuses, also for my car, with a little piece that helps you extract (and even test) the fuses.  Now, I am prepared for future fuse burning.  Note:  The reason for the new battery-to-outlet connectors was that the old set is falling apart.  Still useable, but would rather use as a backup.


Got home, and replaced the damaged fuses (3 in all).  So now, I hook up my cell phone to charge in one outlet, my spotlight in another outlet, and then the battery hookup to run the converter.  Engine running, doors locked, I go inside to enjoy the tv/laptop some.  To tell you about my spotlight, it has multiple features.  As a light source, it has three options, it can give out either 1.5/3.0 million candlelight power, or a night light.  The night light part is supposed to last for hours and hours, which is useful during a power outage.  I think 15 minutes of 3.0 million clp.  But it also has a cigarette outlet, so that you not only can charge it that way, but can also use it as a source of power.  A way to have some portable electricity!  Yay!   Now, push come to shove, I can hook up the ac converter inside the house, or my cellie phonie.  I know it's limited on how long it can last, but at least it would give me those spare minutes before calling it quits.  If anyone wants one, I got mine at Target for about $45.  It is white with blue rim, 2 bulbs (each at 1.5 million, so both on is 3.0 million), and should be in the sporting goods section.


Heading out to Innsbrook, you'd think that the world was being invaded by aliens or something because people were driving like (a) they had no common sense, (style_emoticons/default/cool.gif never drove before, or (c) thought that they were suddenly more important than everyone else on the road..  The answer?  All of the above.  Anyway, not even bringing up how these jerks were almost causing accidents (and not to mention when I was merging onto the Interstate, I checked my blind spot, saw it was all clear, started to merge INTO the lane, and suddenly there was a car, almost colliding with me)...  Ok so I get there and find out that I'm not the only one who knows the usefulness of dry ice, or at least not the only one to hear about the free ice announcement.  I did hear about the fact that there were some people who did think that dry ice is the same as regular ice.


For those that don't know, dry ice is not really ice as you would normally know it.  It is frozen carbon dioxide (CO2).  The stuff is so cold that if you put it INTO your freezer (when it IS working), it'll cool your freezer down.  Don't touch the stuff with your bare skin though, because it'll burn you.  Yes, BURN.  Drop the stuff INTO boiling hot water, and the water will be chilled in just a few minutes.  Regular ice would cool it down some, but it would still be warm to hot.   Oh yeah, add it to hot water and you also get a wonderful fog effect FROM it.  I should know, I make use of that idea during halloween.  Look at the links at the bottom for more information on dry ice.


Ok so I get there and find out that you get INTO a line to get a number because the dry ice isn't there yet.  The wait is expected to be about 2hrs.  About an hour after I get my number, everyone is is still waiting around.  I see a GROUP of four walking towards their car, and one of the two women is complaining about how she has to wait for 2hrs to get 20lbs of dry ice that is only supposed to last for 2days, and what good is that going to do when she isn't expecting to get power back for 3 or 4 days.  Gee, good point.  So how about if you go ask for a refund on that dry ice that you paid NOTHING for!  Some people really irk me.  Heck, dry ice (last pricing I can remember) runs about 80¢ to $1 per pound, so Dominion Power is basically giving away about $16 to $20 per household.  Excuse me lady, but my butt isn't complaining about getting that for free, given that I know what it can do.  Some people just think that the world owes them something.  From the way she was talking, you'd think that everyone else sitting around had already gotten their dry ice, and that she was being singled out to be told to come back later.  DUH, we were all waiting.  Sorry if you feel that you are above us.  (I am so glad that I didn't speak up to hear, I would have ended up making her feel like a child for her self centeredness).  Ok so a few minutes later, everyone starts leaving.  Reason?  Come back at 7pm, because thats when they expect the truck to arrive.  At that time, it's almost 3.


Head back home to wait a little while to return for the dry ice.  Plug up my car to be a power plant again, then hook up the one working phone line to get onto the internet for a little bit.  I'm still trying to figure out why I can't play DVD's on my laptop.  I started going through and uninstalling a few things.  Someone mentioned that MSN Plus 6.0 gave them problems, and I had the MSN basic 6.0 installed.  Uninstalled that as well.  After I went on my uninstalling frenzy, it worked.  That problem taken care of, I just need to go and reinstall things until it stops working, and then get in touch with that software company and let them know that their product is screwy.  (I have a feeling that it's MSN 6.0).  Point of information here, when I say MSN 6.0, I am referring to the messenger, not the ISP service.


So 6 comes around and a few minutes later, I took a few things out of the fridge, made a sandwich, and was putting the stuff back.  As I was about to close the door, the light inside blinked.  My instinctive reaction was to think that I opened the door too much, like a warning light.  And then after that ¼ of a second, I realized, "wait, that means power", but the light had gone back out, leaving me to wonder if I had really seen it.  So several seconds later, the power blinks again, and then another few seconds later, it comes on and stays on.  YIPEE!!!!


A little after 6:30, I get in the car and head back out to Innsbrook to pick up the dry ice.  ("Why?  You have power now." you might be thinking)...  Well for a couple of reasons.  First being that I paid my dues on getting my number and waiting patiently for the stuff only to not get any.  So I figured that I already earned it.  That, and I could give it to the neighbors across the street, who were still without power, and to my aunt, who was coming over to wash some clothes.


Head back out there, not as bad traffic now, and get up to where there are 3 police cars at the front of the line.  Appearently, you need to SHOW them your ticket to get in.  (Glad I held onto mine).  I saw them turn away a car that was in front of the car that was just ahead of me.  (Got that?  If not, I was car #3, they turned away #1).  Went around to the same area, found a spot to park, and grabbed the bag (it's a cooler) and the gloves and stood in line.  The line was set up according to your number.  I had 1639, so I was in the GROUP of 1600's.


Took until a few minutes after 8pm before the 1600's got their turn.  But during this time, as the line would advance forward, we would see empty water bottles (like you buy at the store, with water in them).  Some would be in bunches, some were in singles, but most were on the ground.  Talk about trashing the place!  How rude.  (It gets better, read on).  A lady that was a few feet behind me (and the dude with her) were watching and saw a few people who would SHOW up, park, get out with their coolers (yes, more than the allowed 20lbs worth of storage), and then return to their vehicles a few minutes later, and then they'd leave, obviously with their stash of dry ice.  Some people are just plain inconsiderate.  Here it is, the stuff is free, and it's not like they paid and we didn't..  They didn't pay either.  In fact, we, those in line, paid by waiting for a number, and then by standing in line to redeem our places.  Who is to say that they even had numbers?  (It still gets better)  So it's finally the 1600's turn, I go up, get my bag filled (2 blocks plus 1 scoop of pellets), head back to the car, and when I'm leaving, I see that there is no more line, so I stop and ask if I can go back for some more with the other cooler I have.  "Sure!" so heck yeah, filled up the other cooler to the point that they had to take some out so I could close the thing. (hehehe).  Heading back to the car, I find out that the big trash cans I had been seeing were for everyone to grab free water from.  Yes, those same water bottles that I saw on the ground earlier.  Dominion had not only been nice enough to supply free dry ice to those who needed it, but on top of it, were supplying free bottled water for people to drink while they waited for that dry ice.  And to top that off, they were in cans of ice to keep the water cold.  And what thanks did people give?  They drank the water, left the bottles on the ground for Dominion to clean up, and those were some of the people that waited in line (instead of skipping the line and cutting off everyone to get dry ice when it wasn't their turn).


I swear, it was just horrible.  Dominion went out of its way to provide a courtesy towards the area (good PR, I might add), and instead of being thankful, a lot of people acted like it was owed to them.  Complaining about the wait, leaving trash everywhere, cutting lines, driving like idiots.  It was a shame.  THANKS DOMINION POWER!  I return home, and take the second container (the larger one) across the street, and divvy it up to the different houses (those that were home and accepted the offer of free dry ice).  You always hear/read or even see those that do good deeds in times of need, and no, it wasn't a major accomplishment what I did, but with the world as it is today, it needs more people to do those "little things" that brighten up the day (or night, as it was when I was going door to door).  Hopefully, it helped to make the situation a little more tolerable to have a source of coolness available to them, even if it doesn't help but so much.


After that, I get back INTO the house, grab a big pot, fill it with water and boil it.  (Water lines are affected in our area, so you have to boil the water before drinking it, to make sure it's safe to drink).  Plan is to let that sit out overnight (with a lid on, to keep those pesty flies out of it), then to run it through a water filtering system (big container that lets the water drip through).  Result is drinking water the next day.  Since power has been restored, I go looking for something to make ice in.  (I turned the automatic ice maker off, until the water is deemed safe again).  Egg holders!  Found 2 of them, one longer than the other.  Run them under hot water and then wipe them off with a paper towel (more to clean the water off than to dry it), and then fill each egg-slot with water.  Pop them INTO the freezer and a little while later, ice!  Yay!   I used some of the water that was set aside before the storm hit to make the first bit of ice.


Enjoyed the tv (no cable, it's still out) and got to watch the season finale of Smallville again (1am), went to sleep shortly after that.  Was nice to sleep in a house that had cooling again.


LINKS:  More information about Dry Ice

I did a search on Google:



Here are the first 6 return hits that I got:

Dry Ice Experiments

Howstuffworks "How does dry ice work?"

Rock-It Science: Dry Ice Experiments

Shipping Samples In Dry Ice

dry ice production and revert recovery systems: Carbon-dioxide- ...

Praxair,Inc. - Carbon Dioxide - Dry Ice Safety

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Update - 09/21 Sunday


Cell phone rings - at 9am - it's a call being forwarded FROM my land-line phone.  It's Comcast's automated system again, telling me that my phone service has been fixed and is now working.  Yeah right.  Still not working.  


Waking up, I go and CHECK on the ice-making department.  Throughout the day, I shake the ice out INTO a bowl and fill the egg-holders back up with more of the purified water to continue the process.  I also boil another large pot of water, since that will have to take awhile to cool down.  My little drinking-water factory, if you will.


So one of my cousins comes over to take a shower (she is stuck without power or hot water), and another of my aunts comes over with spoiling food.  So cooked the food up (pizza, ok.  ground beef (and onions she brought took), added in cheddar cheese, ok...  STEAKS, YAY! hehe).  So after awhile (and a good feasting), my cousin is leaving, and offers a case of bottled water she has in her car.  Well, because of my little factory, I don't need it.  But I take it anyway..  And again, go door to door, giving out water to the neighbors.  I'm sure it's welcomed greatly, as all they have to do is open it and then guzzle it down.  I don't know who of them can do their own little water-purifying, so I can only think that if I were in their shoes, and unable to purify some water to drink, that I would love it if someone brought me water too.  I better stop with the little acts of kindness, they are gonna think I am up to something.


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Update - 09/22 Monday


Cell phone rings - at 9am - it's a call being forwarded FROM my land-line phone.  It's Comcast's automated system again, telling me that my phone service has been fixed and is now working.  Yeah right.  Still not working.


So today, I get online (on the regular computer, yay) and CHECK out another local phone company.  I considered them before when switching FROM Verizon, but at the time they were offering packaged deals, and not basic phone service.  Now they are.  $24.95 includes call hating (aka call waiting), caller ID, call forwarding, remote call forwarding, voice mail and a couple of other features.  $2.00 more and I can have it ring another phone number at the same time and whichever answers first gets the call.  (Hmmm, my cell phone perhaps?  Like perm. call forwarding, but with the ability to answer it on the house line if I'm at home..? hehehe)


$24.95 more, and it includes DSL.  Really going to CHECK INTO that too, because DSL through them is supposedly very reliable.  (Read more about it below)


Today the water restriction was lifted - it's now safe to drink the water directly FROM the tap, without HAVING to boil it first.  Not for me buddy, I'm waiting until tomorrow to reactivate the ice maker, then I'm not throwing away the first 2 batches of ice as recommended..  I'm gonna toss out 4 batches.  And I'm going to wait that 1 extra day before drinking FROM the tap.  Why?  Give the water a fair enough chance to make it through all the pipes so that I know I have clean water on my block.  Paranoid?  Maybe.  Gonna get sick and die?  Not me buddy!


I know how this company is set up, and very likely will switch my service to them, because they are dependable.  I know this FROM taking a course about telecommunications, seeing their plant, HAVING a friend who has had service FROM them, and just knowing how the setup is.  It'll be like HAVING Verizons reliability, but without dealing with Verizon.  Literally.  (They actually use some of Verizons current equipment, but at a certain point, it switches off to this other company).


Comcast is going to be hurting real soon.  I've done some of the basic math and FROM the looks of it, cost would about break even, but there would be benefits.


Comcast:  Cable TV & Internet service, multiproduct discount is $16.00.  For the Internet, it's like $42.95/month (modem is owned here, and not leased FROM them, otherwise it would be $47.95).  Ok with that, $42.95 - 16.00 = $26.95.  Ok, currently, I'm paying about $24.95 (or more?  have to check) per month for phone service.  But for the sake of arguement, let's say $24.95 (not counting taxes, etc).  Ok, $24.95 + $26.95 = $51.90 currently for cable modem and digital phone service.  Through the other company, $24.95 + $2.00 (extra option) = $26.95/month for phone service (not counting taxes, etc).  Add in $24.95/month for DSL, and it comes to...  $51.90 (wow).  The DSL is up to 960k upload & up to 960k download speeds.   Currently, via cablemodem, getting at best about 230k/second when downloading.  That is an optimal but not constant speed.  Now I know that the quality of the lines can (and will) affect the reliability of the DSL, but it's not that hard to rewire the house a bit to give optimal in-house reliability.  (All the phone wiring in this house was done by me.  Any time there is a phone problem here, I already know that it is NOT an internal problem - so far, I have always been right about that).  Ok, so even if I get...  Oh..  ½ of the 960k max, that's 480k both ways, more than double the speed.   Gee, which is the better deal...   *bangs hand against chest while yelling "duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" in a monotone voice*


Of course, I won't be stupid about it.  Getting the DSL modem for a month (see if I can trial that sucker first) would be the ideal way to go, because then I can test the baby out, compare speeds, troubleshoot connection and transfer issues, and after a month, if it's not working to my satisfaction, back it goes.  I did that when Verizon managed to sucker a DSL modem in here.  Couldn't get it to connect, when I finally did, it would lose connection easily (I had to actually go INTO my wiring to make an exception connection to make it work better because it was that finicky about a signal).  Finally with a connection, tested it out, and not only was the cable modem service cheaper in the long run, but it gave better performance than the dsl modem.  Hmmmmm, which did I keep?  (duh's again)


Heh, just think, this hurricane is gonna cost Comcast a LOT of customers.  Because a lot of people are already irritated about losing phone service when cable tv goes out, and I'm going to make sure to mention about my switching to a lot of people (and try to rack up referral's to get discounted service teehee)

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Update - 09/23 Tuesday


No 9am phone call today - I gave up on getting that call when service was restored.  Appearently, that automated system just loves to call people even when it's not supposed to, so I decided to DROP off of its list.  Maybe it'll send me a Christmas Card though, if it gets too lonely.


Still no...  Cable TV...  Broadband Internet...  Digital Phone...


Mental note:  Call them on Wednesday to find out what the hold up is.


We got power back on Saturday.  I understand that they have to wait for Dominion to have certain routes of power installed before they can proceed with cable restoration, but since the only people in this area without power are across the street FROM me (a tree took out the wires they need for power, so only they are affected), that means that cable has a path FROM their local central point to here.  Believe me, I'm not on some odd path FROM that main office.  I can actually give you directions (minus distance) to get to my house.


From cable office (office and nerve-point for operations and services), turn left at light.  Take another left at the 6th stop light.  Next, a right at the 2nd stop light.  3rd left, next to last house on right.


That's to my house.  I know they are going to have more direct paths towards the house, so if directions FROM there to here is that easy, then the path for services is going to be just as easy.  And all along that path is electricity.  Geez.  What is Comcast doing, taking an indefinite coffee break?  Come on guys, stop stuffing twinkies up your butts and gimme my cable services back.  With that recent hardware upgrade that left me with horrible (when present) internet access during August, I'd think that it should be a quick fix.  Use the two wires held together with bubblegum method if ya have to, but get my service restored!  You guys need a multimeter to test the connections?  Borrow mine!  I've got two of them.  Maybe they're taking their time so that can slip INTO and abuse the overtime pay.  (Hey guys, a little secret for ya..  You fix my cable and THEN do that.  Heck, fix my cable, knock on my door, and tell me to keep hush hush, and you can claim to take a week of non-stop work.  That's 128 hours of pure overtime right there!  Just fix my service already).




I called up to ORDER the new phone (and DSL) service.  What I am told is that if I make any changes after 30 days, there is a $10 ($10.38?) fee for altering my services.  I generally don't make changes to my service so often, but if I need to change anything, we'll see about that fee.


Anyway, signing up, available options that are included in the package...

Voice Mail

  NOPE, turned that off.  If someone really needs to reach me, then they know how.  If they don't, then is it someone I really want to have reaching me?  Besides, my cell phone has voice mail.  If they don't know my cell phone #, then they don't need to reach me quite that urgently.


Caller ID (with Anonymous Call Rejection)

  Yeah buddy!  Gotta know who's ringing my phone.  And more importantly, prevent saps FROM blocking their number to reach me.  I say, if you want to reach me badly enough, then you'll let that number come right on through.  Otherwise, are you really trying to reach me, or annoy me?


Call Waiting or Talking Call Waiting

  NO!  I dislike call-hating..  I mean call-waiting.  Dang it, I again say, if someone really wants to reach me, then they know how.  Even when I'm on the phone, I can be reached.  So why am I going to accept the call, in the middle of a call, when it might be a call I will regret answering to begin with?  That being the case, well, you get the idea.


Unlimited *69

  Not that I use it much, but this could be useful for when my lazy butt isn't near the caller ID and I need to know who called me last.


Speed Dialing

  I never really did get to using this feature.  Heck, I barely use those handy 1-touch buttons that dial a number for you.  However, I do use that "redial" button.


Call-Forwarding/Remote Call Forwarding

  *mouth drooling*  Heck yeah.  Now if someone is pestering me to death, I can just forward all my calls to...  The local weather announcement!  Maybe they'll get the hint after about 5 minutes.  For real, I tend to make use of this feature.  Especially when a hurricane comes through, knocks out all my services, and I need to use the remote call forwarding to have all my calls sent to my cell phone.  Oh wait, with this new company, I shouldn't have that problem.


Repeat Dialing

  If only I could get this feature installed..  For free..  On my cell phone...


900 Toll Block

  I call 900#'s???  Since when?  Oh well, since I rarely use it, I'll most likely make use of it..  To prevent any pesty visitors FROM deciding to get pranky and calling a 900# or 20 to play a joke on me.

Also opted to pay $2/month more to have what is called a "Cell-Home Connect" - you are given a 3rd phone number (primary and cell phone are the first two numbers), and when someone calls that 3rd number, it rings both your home line and the cell phone.  Which-ever picks up first is the one that takes the call.  I actually see a business application in that too.  (But don't get me started on it).  This actually makes the call forwarding a semi-obsolete idea.  Except that it depends on who I give that 3rd number out to.


For the DSL, I was told that for my distance, I should expect 384k to 512k speeds, but that they would try to give me the full uncapped 960k or as much of it as possible.  (yeah yeah yeah, gimme the 960k speed..  yeah buddy! teehee)  Being able to download nearly 1mb/second...  It'll be sweet.  But even at 756k (¾mb), a full CDROM of information would only take about 15 minutes.  I know I won't get that much luck, but heck, the idea is just wonderful.  Now to start downloading Linux CD's left and right (Linux is free)  Not to use, although it is a better OS, but just for the thrill of downloading at that speed!!!


All this is due to be installed in about 2 weeks.  At this rate, in 2 weeks, I might actually have the cable services restored!

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