Years ago, sprint offered satellite internet access in the area. This didn’t take off, mostly due the the fact it required a 50 ft pole to be installed on your roof with what looked like a pizza box on the top. Even when they stopped offering it, they left their equipment on so that the current customers could remain on it even without local staff for the service.
However, my mother subscribed. And it was fast, and reliable, so we kept it. And it had a strong enough signal that when we moved 2 doors down from her we could share the same connection.
Eventually they sold it to earthlink, who has now given up on it, and decided to close it down. So I went shopping for high speed access.
The big issue with this is that I have neither a landline phone nor cable tv. So either way, there would be expenses for either new services I didn’t really need or fees for not having those services.
Interestingly enough, that made it actually about the same price to get a wireless modem. This runs on the cell phone system… allowing me to be online in random places with no wifi, such as parks, amtrak trains in the middle of nowhere in illinois, and random intersections in the middle of mighigan for a quick mapquest reroute… among my recent uses.
And it works really well… though a touch slower than the old access, its fine for general use. On the trip, it actually kept a connection a lot better than trying to keep a voice call on a cell using the same network. My only qualm is that I wish it would connect automatically when I wake my macbook from sleep instead of my having to do it manually, but I can deal with the 3 clicks and 30 seconds of waiting.
Actually, even my mom decided to get one after I let her play with mine for an afternoon.
It amuses me though that this little thing, the size of a jump drive, has a cell number.
Technically, I suppose its data transfers on the cell system get counted like calls, and it probably helps keep everything sane in the cell phone system. But it still amused me that this thing with no screen and only one moving part (a flip up antenna) has a phone number.
I have actually called its number. I had to… just to see what it did. It rings for a while, clicks, rings for a while again, then tells you the wireless subscriber is unavailable and gives you an error number.
It asked me at sign up where I wanted my number, and I almost put some random area code just for my own amusement, but then I feared it would mess up and start having issues, so I decided to leave it be.
Anyway, I figured that was amusement enough. But it gets better.
I’ve started getting repeated emails from verizon…. one every few days… trying to sell me text messaging packages.
Because obviously, I have a number with no package, so I must need one.
Even though the top of the email lists my phone type clearly as usb modem 727.
I’ve been half tempted to sign up for one just to see what happens. But I’m sure what happens is that I get charged for something that isn’t even a possibility to be used. Which could be an interesting tech support phone call…
I wonder what happens when I send my modem a text message….
*grabs for her actual phone cell phone*