Archive for November 2011

Woah. It’s like… the whole internet is at my finger tips…

originally posted at

For the last 6 years I have struggled at home with poor internet. When I first moved into the Cambria townhomes development, things were pretty good but already outdated. We had 2 T1 lines into the park shared over a cable TV system that delivered a wacky bundle of internet service and Dish Network TV over the coaxial cable plant in the neighborhood. This was a poor design choice on the part of Trophy Homes (the builder, since gone out of business I think), since coax has been a second place to fiber for at least the last 10 years when it comes to any kind of wide area network design.

So, of course, after a year or so went by and the houses were filling up, the bandwidth was choking. The provider for the network, a weird Mom+Pop company called Whyr’d, upped the connection to 3 and I think at some point, possibly a 4th T1 line. Each T1 is about 1.5 megabit of capacity so at peak we had about 6 megabit of capacity for the neighborhood (over 200 family units). Of course this wasn’t enough. Not to mention the fact that somehow, despite T1 lines being ultra reliable, in my experience, they couldn’t keep the system working for more than a week or two at a time. Constant outages and poor performance were the norm. Basically I just got used to not being able to use the internet at home for more than the most basic tasks of logging into my work computer or checking email etc.

So after a couple years, Trophy Homes turned over management of the HOA to the owners and bowed out. Soon after the new owner managed HOA took over it started trying to push Whyr’d to adhere to their contract which stated some penalties for outages and stuff. Basically Whyr’d told us to fly a kite and kept coming back with excuse after excuse but never did anything to improve the situation despite numerous options for improvement.

Eventually things got really bad and we decided to cut them off and bring in a new provider. Veracity got the low bid in I guess so they were chosen, mostly because they promised to bring in a 100 megabit fiber link for everyone to use. At the same time it was decided to bring in a real satellite provider and put a dish on each building so owners could have proper TV choices. Unfortunately, at this point, Whyr’d tried to bring up some legal thing about them owning the cable plant between the buildings. Besides being illegal and ridiculous, it was basically the last straw for that company because they went out of business at pretty much the same time we decided to fight it in court. It went to arbitration and, long story short, we won. Unfortunately that process took 2 or 3 years, so in the interrim we had Veracity providing internet service to the park over a huge shared wireless network covering the whole place with like 100 wireless access points and stuff all over. It was terrible. Constant, pervasive packet loss of 5% or more. Even when it was working well, I could only get about 3-5 megabit. The worst part was that since it was all wireless, I either had to have a wireless card installed in every device I wanted to use in my home (expensive and cumbersome) or get a wireless router with 2 radios in it to act as both client to connect to the Veracity network and as an access point for my own use for my wireless devices.

I felt I had no choice but to buy the expensive 2 radio wireless router. I found a good deal on a Linksys E3000 refurb for $99 (normally $160 at that time). It worked well enough but it was basically bombarded with constant traffic from the wireless network everyone was connected to (over 200 other devices I would bet) so it would overheat and freeze up on occasion. Consumer devices just aren’t designed to work in that kind of network. Nothing is really.

So, finally after the arbitration was declared in our favor, a plan was put in place to do fiber connections from the clubhouse to each building. After several months of work, they got the fiber in and sent out word that we needed to schedule to have a tech from Veracity come to our homes and wire in the new connection from the network switch in each building to our network port of choice inside the home.

I jumped on that and scheduled for the next day. I waited with bated breath.

The tech never showed. I called and found that he had gone home sick. So I set another appointment and waited for him again.

Another no-show. Grr. Set another appointment and again, the tech never showed up.

Now I was angry. It had been almost 2 weeks trying to get a simple wire connected into my house. I called and chewed out the customer service rep since they not only had failed to get the tech to show up 3 times in a row, but it turned out that they had no record of ever actually setting any appointments for me!

Well, the 4th time was apparently the charm. Last night he finally came (an hour late though) and took all of 5 minutes to put the connector on the cable and plug the other end into the switch downstairs. Would have done it myself if I knew that was all they had to do.

Anyway, it works:

Great Success!

That’s some serious speed.

Power! Unlimted Power!!

Best part is that is seems very reliable so far. I just hope it stays that way.

So 3 thumbs down to Veracity for failing to properly schedule a technician 3 times in a row, something that should be very easy.

One very big thumbs up for finally providing the speed we were supposed to have 2 years ago.

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What I’m Thankful For This Thanksgiving

originally posted at

My husband, Savanna, Miles, and Avery. My home, my car, food on my table, Savanna’s school and teacher. My mom, dad, Charles and Trish and Asher. James’ family and the two new sister’s we got this year. James’ ability to work like a mad man everyday and be able to pay every bill that is thrown at us. The great gift I have to be home raising my kids. My Heavenly Father and Jesus, my church and all the people in my ward who teach me and my children the gospel. My best friends’ baby girl that she is being blessed with after four sons. My health and my family’s health. My exercising buddies and the motivation I get from them to stay in shape. In addition to these and many, many more, I am utterly and extremely grateful that I am not going shopping on Black Friday. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Top Shot

originally posted at

My sister-in-law, Chevon, and Andy planned a surprise for her husband, James (Andy’s brother). James and Andy love watching the show Top Shot. This is a reality, shooting show. On this show the contestants have to complete different challenges. The week before we went shooting, Andy was busy building things for the different challenges. We went shooting last Saturday morning. It was cold, but the wind made it freezing. The wind also made it a little difficult to get a good shot at times, or at least that is my excuse for missing some shots.
Enjoy the show!
(Hopefully this works.)

My 3 Ducks

originally posted at

For memory sake I wanted to post the pics of each of my kids as The Duck for Halloween. So Cute!

Seasonal Festivities

originally posted at

I would have titled this post “Halloween!!!”, but that would be so unoriginal. Is that a word? Anyway, Halloween!!!. Every year we go to Vineyard Nursery Pumpkinland. They have a corn maze, different farm animals to see, bouncy houses, a playground and a kid friendly spook alley. The kids love it! My mom came with me and she is still talking about how well behaved the kids were. I think it was the only time we have done an activity with no fits or fighting, my kids are getting older I guess.
This year for Halloween I really wanted to make the kids’ costumes. Neither James or I could remember a time when we were kids that we had a store bought costume. Our mom’s always made one or we scrounged something up and put one together ourselves. So I wanted to be creative this year and make something. Now, when I say make I mean I will hot glue or safety pin anything and farm out the rest of the work to more talented people. Savanna wanted to be a Lady Bug, easy! We got a red sweatshirt and wings at DI, felt, headband, pipe cleaners and pom poms at Joann’s, and she owns a pair of red pants. A little glue, some pins and, voila! The sweetest Lady Bug ever! Miles’ was little more challenging, he wanted to be the Eon Kid. Has anyone ever heard of it? My kids are Netflix experts and can log-in, search for and start their movies themselves. The Eon Kid was something they found, an animated super hero/slash robot awesome kid that Miles’ loves. I tried to steer him towards something else for awhile because it looked hard, but he was set on it. We found the suit at DI, (the tag said Shadow Ninja) and an old bike helmet. The “Iron Fist” is my old ski glove with felt hot glued to it. The leg armor are soda boxes painted red. Oh the sacrifice I made for him, all those Vanilla Cokes I had to drink. My brother painted the helmet to match the Eon Kids’ and I think it turned out very cool! Miles was so happy and excited! Avery wore a duck costume we already had, both Savanna and Miles have worn it. All in all I spent $16! I was proud, and they were happy! Trick-or-treating was awesome. They were all well behaved and very friendly, telling everyone thank you and Happy Halloween and Avery would say “quack quack” when she got her candy. Fun Holiday!