Friday, September 23, 2005

We're Back (Part I)

Well, we're back up and running here at Linux & Things. Yes, I found a fix for my computer problems. More on that later. You'll remember that on Sunday I found my Fedora Core Linux computer hung on boot-up. Well to top that, on Monday I found that we had no Internet service from Comcast. Analog cable? Yes. Digital cable? Yes. Internet? No.

  • Monday Night: Call Comcast. Inform them of the problem. Schedule a visit for Tuesday. Give them cellphone number to call if no one answers the door -- sometimes you can't hear people knock, and the doorbell doesn't always work. Interesting point: Comcast records show that the line to the house from the street was laid in 1991.
  • Tuesday: Find note on door from Comcast saying, "Sorry We Missed You!" Call them, express displeasure, reschedule for Wednesday.
  • Wednesday: Tech comes, looks inside house, decides problem is outside. Schedules visit by outside tech for
  • Thursday: Outside techs trim some excess cable on the side of the house. Still no signal. Call Comcast. They tell us there top tech will arrive on Friday, and make the enigmatic comment that "Five homes in your neighborhood have been fixed."
  • Friday: Top-tech arrives. He actually knows his stuff, and quickly determines that the problem is in the underground line from the street to the house. Remember, it was laid in 1991, before anyone thought of high-speed digital cable connections. Especially cable connections that require a significant amount of traffic upstream, from the house back to the cable companies servers. In fact, they still use that cable, but only for runs of less than 100 feet. In our case the run is 207 feet. (Hey, I live in East Bowie, what can I say?)
    Top-tech strings a temporary cable, much thicker than you're thinking, from the box on the street to the house. They'll come by and put in a new cable in a couple of weeks. The cable runs in the trees between houses, so I can mow the lawn without having to move things around.
    All the Comcast people were responded promptly (except on Tuesday) and were polite. Unfortunately, not all of them knew what they were doing. Remember those five houses in the neighborhood that were "fixed?" I don't know what was wrong with them, but I can hazard a guess.

In all this, I manfully resisted the urge to mutter the magic words: "Did you know Verizon is laying optical cable around here?"