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Tag: broadband

Techno-whipped? I pity the fool

In our eighth month of bouncing about this expansive and expensive country, Ace and I seemed headed for our most frugal stretch yet – thanks mainly to lucking out and finding some free housing upon our return to Baltimore.

For the first time, in our continuing effort to see America while spending less than what we were while sedentary and housed – about $1,500 for rent, food and utilities – we were looking at a three digit number instead of four.

Now, thanks to my stupidity, and with an assist from Verizon, we’ve blown it, and somebody has some explaining to do.

Before we left on our journey, I canceled my home Internet service (through Verizon) and signed up for wireless mobile broadband (through a different part of Verizon), allowing us to get online no matter where we were for $59 a month – the package they suggested for a heavy user.

It worked pretty great. There were only two or three locations in our 22,000 miles of travels, where service was non-existent or spotty.

I was so pleased, I even eventually sent Verizon the payment they were seeking from me for home Internet service for the month following the date I moved out of my house. It was basically a choice between paying the money I didn’t really owe, being regularly harassed by the credit agency to which they turned the matter over, or spending far too much time on the phone, holding and then some, to try and straighten it out.

All was going smoothly with my wireless mobile broadband — or so I thought until last week, when Verizon informed me that for the past two months I’d gone over monthly limit, and that I owed them more than $400. Read more »

Pigeon tops broadband in data transfer

pigeonYet more proof that technology is for the birds: Carrier pigeons are being used to transfer data between offices because bosses believe it is quicker than broadband.

Computer experts at a South African firm said it took six hours to transfer four gigabytes of encrypted data to a call center 50 miles away.

Unlimited Group, a financial services company, yesterday attached a memory card to the leg of a pigeon called Winston who took just over an hour for the trip, according to the Daily Mail.

Even counting the time needed to upload the data once it arrives, the information shipped by pigeon took under three hours, less than half of what using the Internet — at least in Durban, South Africa — could accomplish.

“It might sound crazy in this day and age, but we’re always looking for new ways to move our business forward and we think this might just work,” said Kevin Rolfe, head of  Unlimited Group. ”For years we’ve struggled with the internet as a method of communication. It’s fine for emails and correspondence, but we need to transfer a lot of data from office to another and find it often lets us down.”

To send four gigabytes of encrypted information takes around six hours on a good day, he said, up to two days if the weather is bad and the service goes down.

“We started looking at other ways to solve the problem and discovered that carrier pigeons could do the job a lot more quickly.”

“If Winston can do the job as efficiently then we’d be silly not to think about using him instead — especially as he’ll only cost us a little of bird seed to run,” Rolfe added.