Friday, December 12, 2008

I could gripe about anything - and usually do

I find myself complaining about Switzerland when I speak of living there. While I do have complaints, there is so much that is wonderful about Switzerland. One thing that is really good is their internet - at least compared to Cincinnati Bell's DSL.

I am a telecommunications baby. I worked for AT&T (I prefer to think of it as Southwestern Bell) for 24 years. The company gave me a lot - namely money. I would prefer to give back to the industry by using its technology for phone and internet access vs. using cable.

Switzerland's Swisscom internet has been great. It is reliable and fast. I consistently get 15,000 kbps DL and 1,000 kbps UL. That's pretty fast and I don't even get the full DL speed of 20,000.

Cincinnati Bell's speed is horrible by comparison and very unreliable. As I previously said we got internet access (from CinBell) for while we are in Cincy. Kathleen hooked it up easily enough and our DL speed was around 4,500 kbps and the UL was about 750 kbps. Great I thought. Much better than we had before when living in Cincinnati. The problem has been that it has been an unreliable connection. It's there and then it's not. It makes me want to pull my hair out and I need my hair. Who knows when it will stop growing? I finally called CinBell to complain. 'Let me adjust the frequency, perhaps it was setup incorrectly' they said.

FREQUENCY - Cincinnati Bell speak for speed. More precisely it means to slow things down.

The tech guy - nice enough fellow - adjusted my frequency. I'll just have to see how well it works. To early to tell, but I bet things improve. This is because I meant business, I sounded like someone not to be trifled with, I am a fellow telecommunications baby - NOT! He just slowed my connection. My DL is now about 1,500 with an UL of 450. Uuuughhhh!

15,000 vs. 1,500 - really I can't actually see the difference. At home in Switzerland web pages don't just POP! onto the screen. Here in Cincy they come on screen just fine. But I know there is a difference and that bugs me. Why is U.S. internet so slow when it seems the rest of the world's is so fast? I don't know and don't really want to bother caring. I just want my INTERNET, money for nothing and my chicks for free.

UPDATE 24 HOURS LATER - slowing down the connection seems to have solved the reliability. We haven't experienced any disconnections. We can now watch our SlingBox, use our Skype phone and browse the internet with no problem. Well not exactly... Why is it I can do all of this at 1,500 kbps DL and not the 4,500 I had at the start? This I have a problem with. I am not impressed with CinBell's internet service. It leaves a lot to be desired.

UPDATE SOME WEEKS LATER - ever since CinBell slowed our DL speed our connection was more reliable, but overall still crappy. It still cut out at times and it seemed always when you wanted it most. Often the connection seemed really slow. CinBell should be better than this.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Finally - in Cincy for the rest of the year

It's been a while since I have posted. It isn't any fun being without an internet connection. I think I am somewhat addicted. The internet has become something akin to a utility, no different than electricity, gas or water. I want it. I gotta' have it. We acquired a DSL connection for the time we will be home. With this we can watch TV via a SlingBox (thanks Andy and Janet). We also got SlingMedia's new SlingCatcher so we can actually watch TV on our TV instead of using our laptops. Man oh man our couch is so much more comfortable than an office chair.

Anyway, we have been in-country for a couple of weeks now. We arrived and two days later we drive down to Hilton Head Island to share Thanksgiving with the Dolan clan. Payton got to play with all of his cousins - all nine of them. Well he couldn't exactly play with Cassidy. She's only 3 weeks older than Parker, but she was cute to look at.

Since getting back home from Hilton Head I have made a quick trip to Kansas City. It is a 10+ hour drive from Cincy so I went by myself. I am back home from that now.

Now we can settle in our 'big house' and enjoy the Christmas holidays. Nope, not exactly. Our neighbors had some remodeling done on their house and we were particularly fond of the boxed ceiling trim work they had done in the family room. We have contracted to have the same ceiling installed in our house. We are also having some additional trim work done while we're at it. So instead of settling in, putting up Christmas decoration and other things like that we will be moving furniture around making room for carpenters and painters. The work is scheduled to begin tomorrow and be finished in two weeks. I'll have to be sure and take some before and after pictures.