Last night I experienced another Kansas Weather Event. Starting to wonder if I had known about these things, would I have called Manhattan, Kansas home?
Last night it was rain, and lots of it. I may as well have been a solid water coming down everywhere....almost the instant it started....I could hear water pouring into my living room. I had towel handy, and the put empty trash containers along the patio door and that kept most of the water at bay.
Carpet was dry by morning.
But, then the inevitable next happened. The power flickered and then went away. I was watching TV at the time (L&O: Criminal Intent). Guess I'll have to pick up the ending later. Things were humming on the UPS. Though somethings bounced...I turned off the TV and the V880N. Seems my HDVI5 switcher isn't on a UPS. So, there was no using things while the UPSs beeped. I thought I had disabled the beeper in the UPS, but maybe it only disables if it knows there's a computer attached....there isn't so...hmmm.
The UPS handling 'lhaven' died immediately. So, no IRC. So, even though the cable modem was still working and lasted more than half an hour. And, the DSL modem never went down. I was quickly without Internet, as computers ran down. And, my wireless access points are connected to desktop UPSs. I think I should move the access point to the PowerSource 400 that was backing up my phone/VoIP/router/dsl.
I went around shutting down some other computers to help stretch the UPSs....
Seems the Lasko floor fan and the Kenmore Envirosense air purifier didn't like being on the UPS...probably the TRIAC to make low speed fan and the simulated sine wave of the UPS output not getting along. I turned these things off. And, then after pacing around for a while, and checking various light sources. And, finding it getting warm and stuffy indoors. I went out and listened on my HT to the weather spotters, and checked out the area.
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July 24, 2003 is the date that I first signed up for Vonage, with them assigning me a local Columbus, Ohio number. The service had been very good, and there were even times I looked at upgrading or adding on to the service.
Then on July 1, 2006, I landed in Manhattan, KS. I had looked before this move whether or not Vonage had local numbers, and they didn't. But, since I was mainly using the service to call long distance to Canada, I felt that I could survive without having a local number.
Problem is that for the extended period that I was out of work, my number had been circulated with many different head hunters who wouldn't stop calling to harrass me...with claims that I must talk to them, and they wouldn't accept that I had a job now. Even the Ohio State government kept calling to harrass me with jobs. Guess they wouldn't accept that I now work for the State of Kansas.
So, I got rid of my Columbus, Ohio number on December 30, 2007. I got a number that corresponded to Oxnard, CA...thinking that my parents could make a local call when they spend a month each year there. Of course, they never did....its I have to call them, etc. still. Plus I suppose, where they are staying...perhaps they still have to pay for local calls. But, it was a big mistake.
Almost immediately I was getting calls for somebody else on this number. It was totally useless, they were all collection agencies and other like calls. And, none of them would get a clue that they should stop harrassing me. donotcall didn't help either. If only I could sue these people for all they were worth for bothering me...with their autodialers that even if I chose the option to tell them that they have the wrong number, they wouldn't stop.
After the latest flood of collection calls coming in over a year after I've had the number, I decided that enough is enough. I didn't want to pay Vonage for a new number, especially since it still can't be a local number, and run the risk of other wrong number activity.... I decided that I would just cancel the service.
So, I called Vonage, apparently I'm supposed to have a PIN. I have no recollection of setting one up back when I opened the account, nor having set one up during my tenure with Vonage. So, I had to answer the account verification question. First they asked why, and I said no local number....the agent put me on hold, evidently to see if a local number could be procured. Not entirely sure if I would've stayed if he were successful.... Then they offered to give me two free months of service (to tell people that my number is changing, etc....which is unnecessary given the situation), and then I can cancel completely after that. They didn't say it would cancel automatically, so I assume they expect me to forget after the two free months....or something. They then there was also an offer to downgrade to a cheaper plan. Also not interested. Finally, it got canceled.
I may seek out another VoIP provider that offers local numbers at a future date, but no immediate plans to do so....
The Panasonic Dect 6.0 Series Cordless Phone seems to have made a big difference in the quality of my other VoIP service. So, guess most of the poor audio issues were due to the Uniden 2.4Ghz cordless phone I was using previously with this service.
Guess this means I don't need two separate VoIP services anymore, and that I can get rid of one to save money....
I had been thinking a long time about replacing my cordless phone system at home. Mainly because it was a 2.4GHz system, though I had held off because I the VoIP service that it is attached is kind of noisy and I only have 100 minutes per month with it.
But, I had been eyeballing a Panasonic DECT 6.0 based cordless phone system. Then two months ago, I was at LISA and went on the Fry's BoF. Trying to think of stuff I wanted to buy while at Fry's...I looked at their cordless phone section. And, remembered that I've been wanting to get this system for a while.
I couldn't remember whether I wanted a 3 handset or a 4 handset system, they were all cheaper than online prices I had seen elsewhere....but the 3 handset system was on sale for further savings. So, I grabbed it. Though looks like I wanted a 4 handset system (someday I plan to declutter the other bedroom and make use of it, so a handset in that location would be useful). Guess I'll have to take the expensive route of adding a handset later (though it can't be too much later, in case newer models come out and obsolete the system I have).
Today, I was sitting around thinking of what else I could do to fill out my weekend...and I decided that this might be the day to finally set it up.
Preliminary testing, shows that most of the noise that I experienced with using this VoIP service have gone away.
Guess it makes sense...it is probably hard for a 2.4GHz phone to be clear when surrounded by tons of 2.4GHz WiFi and other devices around my condo.
I had considered other frequencies....but 900Mhz cordless phones are scarce, and I never had much success with them in the past. I already have a Panasonic 5.8GHz cordless phone, which is on my other VoIP service and it works well...but the intent was that the VoIP service that does provide me with a local number should be my primary (and perhaps prompt me to discontinue the other one). And, at the time I was using 5.8Ghz wireless rear surrounds....which the 5.8GHz cordless phone would prevent from working (noted in some previous blog posting).
So, that pretty much left 1.9Ghz DECT as the frequency I hadn't tried yet.
So far so good....maybe if it works out well, it may finally be time to get rid of Vonage....I would prefer to stay with them, since they were my first and other than the lack of a local number (and the annoying calls that aren't for me that I get on it, they way they appear seems to indicate that the person they are calling is continuing to give out this number as theirs)....they've been good.
If I do, I'll probably have to upgrade the other VoIP to 'unlimited' calling. With Vonage I just have the 500 minute calling plan, which is adequate for my usage....but 100 minutes isn't.
This morning I woke to find my DSL modem reporting a speed of 1984/512. Reran the spectrum analysis tool at DSLreports. I shows a theoretical 35xx/818....wonder if I could've really gotten the 6.0/768 tier to at least get the much higher upsteam speed. It would've only been $5 more per month. (The tiers were 1.5/384, 3.0/512, 6.0/768 and the prices were $25/$30/$35).
I graph the SN margin/Line Attenuation along with up/down speed from the modem in cacti....so I see that my SN margin has dropped quite a bit, and Line Attenuation has gone up a little. So I see it started shifting gears around 5:20am.
Using the speed tool, I still can't get the reported speed. But, there is a proportional improvement. But, latency has dropped quite significantly. Better than cable now. Well under 100ms.
Don't know when the current DHCP leases expire, but I reconfigured DHCP to tell my Broadvoice VoIP service to use DSL as its gateway now. Wonder if there's anything else I want shift around....
Back when I first moved here, I wanted to get DSL.... they offered 3 tiers (that I knew of...) 1.5/384, 3.0/512, 6.0/768. Of course, I wanted the top one. But, they said for my area they could only offer me the lowest. But, it was better than dialup (and, I was using AT&T BusinessNet service, at the time). So, I pursued getting Cox HSI at first....because I wanted cable TV more than I wanted a landline. But, I was having trouble getting Cox at the time (though I have it now). So, I did order the DSL.
But, once I did get it...they locked me at 768/384 (for a week I did get 1.5/384, but then there was a storm and service became slow and unreliable...I called in for service and the phone tech. said nothing was wrong at their end, must be my side. During that trouble shooting they lowered locked me at 768k down. Moments before the field tech. showed up service started working again. He said something about replacing a line card or something just before coming over....I tried to get the 768k lock removed, but I couldn't convince anybody by email or phone that they had done this....and kept saying that I should get 1.5 and that it must be my line)....and efforts to upgrade weren't available. Even though DSLreports technician report tool said I could do ~2.0M down (and 690k for up).
More recently there had been upgrades in my area...and technician report had been reporting that I could get better downstream rates. Suggesting the next tier could be fully achieved. This mornings quick check say 3.1M.
So, once again I was browsing the AT&T site to see if I could order an upgrade in my speed. And, this time they showed offers of the 3.0/512 and 6.0/768 upgrade options. I wasn't that daring...I ordered the 3.0/512 tier.
Wonder how long the upgrade will take, and whether it'll mean that I can finally do VoIP over DSL (it works good now over Cox). But, the for consistency in speed and reliability...DSL has been the winner.
Had been putting off closing the card for a couple of years now.... I only used it once in the last year, and pretty lightly in the preceding years, ever since I got responsible with the my use of credit.
Especially since it used to be a FirstUSA card, with an affinity to an organization that it no longer has with (and I am no longer a member of). And, even more so now that it is a Chase Visa...and I'm happy with my Chase Mastercard (and it handles almost all of my needs and has a nice reward program).
So, I called the 1-800 number for 24-hour customer service on the back today....and found that I couldn't call it from my home number (out of the calling area?) So, I had to call it from my cell phone. Then after being on hold for a while, I got an agent and canceled. They didn't give me the hassle that I had gotten when I had canceled other cards in the past. I didn't mention that the reason I don't need it anymore is that I have a Chase Mastercard....didn't have to.
Though I did use it earlier this year, when my Mastercard information had been stolen and used for fraudulent charges, and I had to redirect an online purchase I had made to go to a different card....since I hadn't gotten the info for the new Mastercard yet.
It might be disturbing that this is the second time this has happened with my Chase Mastercard (and I can't recall the last time it has happened with any other card, though I seem to recall that it has happened once before...but the only other incident that is sharp in my mind involved a Visa check card...and I never got any of that money back. And, I didn't know then that I might have been able to use it as a deduction from my taxes....).
But, for now I'm going to stay with Chase for my Mastercard....though co-workers have been suggesting that I go with Citi (and none are the one that left to go work for Citi).
Last night a new credit card arrived in the mail, I dialed the verification number from my phone and got an intercept message to dial 1 first. I didn't think anything of it. The verification didn't happen instantly.....I then realized that maybe the SPA-3000 had routed my call out over landline.
After some reseting and checking things, I went onto the account portal where it reported they were having trouble in Chicago.
Not sure how long I've been without VoIP....because now that I think of it, it did seem odd taht I only got one call from my University on Jan 29th....they usually call daily for weeks when they start their campaign to get money from me.
I think there were other locations for Broadvoice, though I'd have to dig around to find out what those other servers are and find the one with the next lowest ping time. I think it was something like an east coast server and a west coast server....
Think I can remember how to change it....
Today's UPS delivery showed up...and among the items was a Xantrex PowerSource 400.
I acquired this to run the items in my 'network' closet'.
The items in there are my DSL modem, Linksys WRT54GS, Sipura SPA-3000 and the base for my Uniden cordless phone.
My Kill-A-Watt meter had reported the load at 11W, but it doesn't even register on the load meter on the Xantrex PowerSource 400. Wonder just how much life I'll get off of this?
The manual says 8W load will give 55h of run time, while a 25W load will give 15h of run time. Nothing in between...so hard to say how long it'll last really...but it'll be over a day, eh?
I wonder if I'll invest in additional units, to cover my online activities during an extended outage.
Got a voice mail today, that my private phone service is being discontinued -- February 19th, 2008.
I have the option to keep the number by transferring it to Packet8 for $19.95/month + whatever hidden unfees, etc.
Not sure what I'm going to do yet....finding local numbers was a problem when I moved here, but I don't really need another VoIP service. If I could port to Vonage, that would be one thing. But, not really interested in adding Packet8 service.
Plus its just the Voicemail service that I was useing....since I have issues accessing the voicemail for my Broadvoice service using their service....
I suppose I could go back to a regular answering machine...seems the new cordless phones come with these whether you need them or not. Though don't know if getting off of 2.4Ghz is such a high priority. And, I would lose out on getting an SMS at work when somebody leaves me a message....though the WAV file attachment is useless, since the audio is so low and the Blackberry won't play it back natively.
Guess this'll need some more research and thought....
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