Posts Tagged ‘internet’


The other day I mentioned that I don’t have internet and am using my phone as a hot spot to connect to the internet. Why? Because big corporations suck.

I’ve been with Comcast (Xfinity) since I moved to Oregon in 2008. They are the only internet company that services my area. Two blocks away I would have options but here, no! Last January they raised my rate to somewhere in the $50 range. Too much for me. For only internet. So I called them and talked to them for over two hours, different departments. In the end, they said I would be granted another two year contract at only $29 monthly. I agreed. Well, they never changed it. And because I was at my daughter’s house most of the time until the end of May, I didn’t realize that they had not lowered the price of my contract. After hours and hours of trying, I still could not get a real person on the phone. I managed to get a real person in a chat through Facebook book but they kept putting me on hold and an hour later some different person would come to the chat and I would have to repeat myself all over again. I kid you not, I followed the chat for THREE DAYS only to never get anything resolved. I was told through a number of organizations that I could get a senior rate. When I finally was able to talk to a real person in November, they told me they no longer had a senior rate. They extended my cutoff date until Christmas and put me into an escalated case file. They were supposed to contact me and straighten out the whole problem with charging me $65 a month instead of $30 and then put me on a reduced rate.

Well, they never adjusted my price. They said I did qualify for a low income rate of $10 per month. It would allow me a higher speed and a free router and modem. One problem. I cannot have been a Comcrap customer for three months. Isn’t that stupid? So now I am without internet for three months until I qualify as a new customer for the low income rate of $10. In the meantime, no internet.

I’m using my phone as a hot spot but I have to watch that I don’t go over the 6 GB limit. I also realized that if I download shows over my daughter’s wifi when I am there, I can come home and watch them here. So that’s what’s in store. As to accessing the blog and Facebook and anything else, I’ll have to use my phone’s data and my phone’s hot spot capabilities. I have unlimited data on my phone so that’s good but only 6 GB to use as a hot spot. So if I am able to manage it okay, I’ll survive until April when I can get the cheap low income rate. Of course, that leaves me without Alexa. I’ve come to rely on her. I have an Echo dot in almost every room. Because I fall so often, I have it set up so I can have Alexa call my daughter or the neighbor or 911. So hopefully, I won’t fall in the next three months.

Sometimes technology rocks. Sometimes it sucks.

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I’m trying to make a point of coming here and writing something or, when I figure out how, sharing a picture or something. That’s what this is. Hopefully, within a week or so, I’ll feel like really writing.

Tonight I am sitting on the couch, waiting to listen to internet radio, something I never do. At 8 this evening there will be a tribute broadcast for Rudy Salas, who for over 40 years, was kind of the father of the East L.A. sound along with his band, Tierra. He was also formerly a member of a very old band, El Chicano. He passed on December 29th. One story that I read, unconfirmed, is that he and his wife were driving from Los Angeles to Texas to visit their daughter. He got tired and they decided to stop for the night. The next morning, his wife woke to find him dead in the bed. It’s a sad story.

Over the past few days, there has been an outpouring of love for him, his family, and for the band. All this, of course, online. I had the pleasure of seeing him perform live a number of times, most memorably to me, at the wedding of a friend. Tierra was not doing weddings anymore but Rudy had promised his best friend’s daughter that he would play at her wedding. This young lady, Dolores, was later my Instructional Assistant when I was teaching. When she married, Rudy make good on that promise. It was an unforgettable event for so many of us to see Tierra performing within just a few feet of us and the band members mixing with the crowd. Rudy even danced with the bride.

Tonight, there will be this broadcast featuring his music and interviews with many of his fans, family, band mates, and others. So I’m ready. I’m waiting. And I’m crossing my fingers I will manage to listen. I currently have no internet. That’s another story. I’m using my phone’s tethering/hotspot function to run my phone, the Chromebook, my Kindle and I’m hoping to connect Alexa to it, too. I really miss Alexa. I haven’t spoken a word since last Wednesday. I used to like chatting with Alexa. I miss it. Anyway, on to internet radio.

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Technology can be such a pain, but then it can be amazing, too. I used to be pretty good at figuring things out on my own. When I got my first desktop computer in 1993, within just a very few hours, I had it all set up, working, and I was able to get around very comfortably and I had not ever used a computer before that day. I think it took me about three hours to set it up and get on it and feel rather comfortable. That was in the days of Windows 3! A very long time ago. I could also set up whatever electronics we had in the house and get them working just fine. I could figure it all out and make things do what I wanted them to do.

That was then. Now, well in the past ten years at least, I’m not very good at it. Or rather, I should say, I’m not wanting to figure things out on my own. I’m tired of it and it is getting to the point where it takes too long to figure out how things should work and how to get them to work that way. For example, the laptop I use now is running Windows 8. I never got around to upgrading it to 10 because I was using a Chrome Book at the time and because I really wasn’t feeling up to finding out how to do the upgrade and then do it. But now I can’t find the charger for the Chrome Book so I got out the older laptop. So I am thinking that Google, in all its wisdom, should figure out a way for us to make it look like we want it to look without needing a Ph.D in computers. I use the thumbnails on the home page to navigate to different sites. However, I accidentally deleted the one for Google search. Now I can’t get it back. You can’t add thumbnails because they are determined by how often you use a site. So Google search should be up there but I think that because I removed that thumbnail, it won’t create one for that site, even though I use it a gazillion times a day. Apparently, there is no easy way to do it. Some people on the public forums say you can deleted your browser history, restart the browser and then start from scratch. Do I want to do that? Does deleting my browser history mean that it deletes my passwords? Because if it does, that kinda screws me because I don’t remember my passwords. The browser does it for me. So Google needs to find a way for us to do that simple thing. Don’t you agree?

But then this morning I was reminded of one of the good things about technology. An old friend from high school (yeah, about three lifetimes ago) posted a question about one of the teachers at our high school. You know how something gets in your head and you can’t get it out of your mind until you figure it out? Well, he was trying to remember the first name of one of the English teachers at our high school. I knew it and posted it for him. So I think it’s pretty neat that he could go on and post his question at 9:43 and I could answer it when I went online at 10:02. It’s one of the things that makes the internet amazing. It lets me keep in touch with people from all over. If I can’t be in the same room talking to an old friend, I can still feel like we’re in touch and have a few laughs and share some memories. (Thank you, Al Gore! 🙂  )

So I guess I won’t throw the laptop out the window. I’ll continue to be frustrated because I can’t get the thumbnails that I want back on my screen. I guess I could wait and see if my son can figure it out when I see him in a couple of weeks but then I would have to bring the laptop and I wasn’t going to take it on that trip. Hhm. I’ll figure it out, I guess.


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Years ago, in what seems like previous lifte time, I was a member of one of the first social media attempts, Gather. It was promoted to me as a place where writers could post their work and get feedback and develop collegial relationships. I was really into developing my writing so I joined. I enjoyed it but there were so many people there for many reasons other than for writing. There were photographers sharing their work; foodies sharing their insights; technical types imparting their knowledge; and so many people just there for the points and money. Yes, it was a site where members could earn points for the content they posted and the comments and views their content garnered. Points could be turned in for cash (via PayPal) or gift cards. So, as you can imagine, there was a lot of junk there, too. I did develop some wonderful relationships which are still some of my closest friends although I have never met most of them. And I am happy to say that a few are still my most loyal blog readers. At one time, there was a group of us that met through Gather that all started or revived blogs. Most are no longer blogging but we are still in touch via Facebook.

Facebook brings me to another point about Gather, which is actually what inspired this post. Recently, one member has started a Facebook group devoted to finding old Gather members so everyone can get in touch with old friends. It’s a great idea for a lot of the old Gather members. The site, you see, disintegrated rather suddenly. The whole thing was sold to a Japanese company that promised they would maintain the site and develop it further. They didn’t. And then there was a lot of fighting and “ganging up” on some members and then it was suddenly shut down with no notice. I stopped “gathering” quite awhile before that happened. Someone emailed me and said it might happen so I went in and cashed in all of my points and never looked back. Unfortunately, I was naive enough to think that the content would remain online so I didn’t back up any of my stuff. I lost a lot of my writing and a lot of pictures that I no longer have anywhere. I still have my friends. There was a group of maybe fifty or so of my closest “gatherites” (Spell Check is going crazy on this post) that remained in touch. One member, Lydia, who some of you might remember died a couple of years ago, bought membership on another site where she started a group for us to keep in touch and post our stuff or just “talk to each other.” I no longer remember the name of that site or if it is even around anymore. And if it is still around, without Lydia, I’m sure our slot was not paid for so isn’t there anymore. More of my stuff lost! I don’t care so much about that as much as I care about losing the conversations and the memories we shared, especially with the members that have passes as there have been five or six that I can recall that have passed.

In any case, I know I’m rambling, Gather brought back a lot of memories for a lot of us, not all of them are good memories. A lot of the Gather members no longer want to have anything to do with any of it so it has been interesting to see the efforts of this guy (his name is Thomas) as he attempts to revive the old relationships. I’ve been sort of helping as a Moderator for the group. Mostly, Thomas wants me to help him navigate through some of the stuff he didn’t expect to encounter, such as people who are adamantly against him renewing anything related to Gather. A lot of the problems have revolved around privacy issues that he didn’t anticipate or understand so I’m sort of there to tell him when I think he might encounter some resistance. He kind of runs things by me. I don’t mind doing it. I am sort of in a middle point. I don’t necessarily want to get in touch with any of the members that I’m not now in touch with but I have enjoyed one member in particular who has posted a few of his new writings. I used to really enjoy his stuff so I am glad that I’m reading his work again. And if anyone has saved some of my stuff, it would be good to have that. Yes, we are finding that some people printed out a lot of the stuff and have reams upon reams of Gather content saved.

Anyway, that’s what I’m thinking about today. I’m thinking about a lot of things actually. I’ve sort of been quiet here but that’s because of my glasses. I still don’t have the new ones. They came in but when I went to pick them up they had not made them right so they had to go back so another two weeks of being semi blind is keeping me from a lot of reading and writing, especially online where I have the back lighting to contend with.

That’s it for now. Hopefully I’ll be able to post again later today or tomorrow. And I will be coming around to read blogs, too. I’ve caught up a tiny bit but but there’s still so many I need to read.

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Blogging From A to Z

It all started with computers. The kids used them at school and kept asking if we could buy a computer for our house. It was around 1990. Their dad kept saying no. No computer. He didn’t think computers would be a big thing so we weren’t going to get one. The kids started working on them more and more at school and they even went to Computer Camp one summer. They asked for a home computer again. No way, said their dad. Then dad left. When it finally sank in about two months later, I decided the best thing to do was to change things, move things around so it wasn’t a constant reminder that he was not there. I took out his Lazy Boy chair from the bedroom corner and put it in the living room. Then I got a small desk and put it where the chair had been. Then I made the decision…we were getting a computer. We went out and got our first home computer, an IBM compatible, that was built for our needs. It was January of 1994.

They day we picked up the computer, I told the kids I would put it together that night after they were in bed so they watched a movie in the family room while I looked at all the instructions and a Windows 3.0 for Dummies book I had bought. As soon as the kids went to bed, I opened up the box and proceeded to hook everything up: tower, monitor, speakers. Oh, and of course, the dial up cable so we could get on the internet. Then I put to use what I had read in the Dummies book that evening and turned on the computer. I got a CompuServe account before there were screen names, only user numbers! It all worked and before I knew it, it was daylight! The kids were up and each one got to have a turn at the computer. We had bought a few games for them so they each got to use it for a fun project.

That day I went on the internet for the first time and I have never been without the internet since then. I think it was one of the smartest things I have done. Not only was the computer needed for the kids, it was wonderful for me. During that long, very difficult time of my separation and divorce, internet access was my salvation. I met people online. I began sharing my writing and my poems with people across the country and even met people “in my own backyard” so to speak. That’s what kept me going during the lonely times.

Now, I cannot imagine my life without some kind of access to the internet. I need to be able to blog. And I need to be able to stay in touch with friends around the world. It’s my internet friends that keep me company and that I can “talk” to when I need to.

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