Saturday, February 6, 2010

Wireless Excitability

I feel like I have a new computer these days. We've only ever had dial-up since getting our first computer 10 yrs ago. Out here in Swan, our options for high speed spervice are more limited. They won't lay (put up? put down? Not sure where they put them, actually!) cables for high speed acess because we don't have a minimum of 1000 people that would use them. I think someday that may change, if cable themselves don't become outmoded. Residents have been pretty much been limited to using satellite for higher speed internet. I checked into that and found it was expensive because you have to buy the equipment. And from what I heard, the speed increase wasn't that terrific.

I've been frustrated by our slow speed internet at times, although not as much as Will is. He would usually remind me about every other day how backwards we were by still being on dial up internet and how life-limiting that really was! Paul and I have had cell phones since 2001 and 2002. As time has gone on I've really come to despise paying for a land line when we already had phones. But I needed the land line to operate the internet. I remember calling US Cellular about 2 years ago, asking if they had any type of cell phone that we could run our internet through. They said no, but they were working on it!

So, anyway, two Saturdays ago Paul and I were running errands all day long and we had a little time to kill before picking Ben up from respite care, so we went into a US Cellular store, just to see what our options were. Long story short, we came out of there with an air phone! It's a "phone" that plugs into the computer. We love it! We are operating at much higher speeds than dial-up allowed and now we can watch videos and see pictures that friends email us.

I've been paying $15 a month for my Iowalink mail account for over 5 years. I never had a problem with them until last fall when their spam filters refused to allow a lot of mail to come through. Sometimes it wouldn't send my mail, either. So I ended up re-activating my yahoo account and primarily using that. But Yahoo mail was frustrating to me on dial-up because it would take SO long to load everything. So, now I've dropped my Iowalink service and I'm using only free Yahoo, which loads ever so promptly now.

The air phone costs $50 a month. For that we get 5Gs of use. I think that's quite a bit. We'll see how we did at the end of this billing cycle, anyway! Our land line ran us $42 monthly. So, it made the most sense to drop the landline to pay for the air phone. So, we also bought an additional phone, which will increase our cell phone bill by $10 a month. We need something for the boys to be able to use for times that both Paul and I are gone from home. Will was so excited when we brought that home and immediately appropriated it as his own. He took it to church the next day and began collecting all his friends' numbers. I had not planned to get him a phone until he started driving alone, despite his pleas otherwise for the past couple of years. But this works out. It's a simple, no frills phone and I blocked texting capabilities!

So, we're all happy here! The only people not happy are those at Iowa Telecom. When I called to cancel our landline the girl I spoke with really tried to talk me out of it. I suspect she gets quite a few calls like mine. She reminded me that if I called 911 on a cell phone and couldn't speak, nobody could get to me. But if I called on a home phone, then 911 could immediately dispatch help. I can see the possible validity of that if I lived alone, but I don't. I told her I was willing to take my chances with that one. She then felt compelled to tell me about her aunt who fell in her home last year and whose life was only saved by the fact that she was able to call on her home phone and summon paramedics. Without that,she would not have lived. I told her that was a nice story, but I still wanted to cancel. With a heavy sigh, the gal then went through my service and commented that we currently had the $21 no-frills package. What?! I've been $42 a month for 5 plus years now! It turns out that half my bill is TAXES! I did not know that. Boy, if I wasn't going to cancel already, I surely would have cancelled then! Our cell phone plan is the $69 a month plan and I pay about $81 a month, so the taxes on that are not nearly as high as the landline's. Grrr...

So anyway, the Heywood House is completely wireless now. I think I have a little more spring in my footsteps knowing just how in step with technology we are now. And oh yeah - I have a really happy 15 year old!

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