25.5.06. Online / Offline / Middle of the Line

I’m still offline at my new home. Curiously, this hasn’t been a huge deal for me, so far. I’m getting home so late (relatively), and then still have to walk the dog (if she stayed home that day), feed her, feed myself, etc. Other factors have been eating up bits of my evenings as well: cleaning out the old place (finally done as of yesterday), getting some finishing-touch little furnishings (one at a time since I don’t drive), and yet-more organizing and layout.

The situation with Comcast has just pissed me off enough that I haven’t wanted to call back to find out what’s next. Part of this is due to the inherent stress of workdays recently. I don’t want to add to the pile with long calls and situations where no one really seems to know what’s going on. But I know I have to, soon. Tomorrow.

I have not had any major beefs with Comcast (and AT&T before them) up to this point. And the whole situation may not be their fault, but rather the fault of bad information and the odd nature of this particular move. But as someone who has been a good customer for so long, I do feel a little insulted that someone hasn’t jumped up and said “hey! you know what, you’re a valued customer and we want to keep you so I’ll figure this out personally.” Not that I expect the average customer service person to care that much, but maybe I could be passed on up to someone who does.

This is a big thing for me right now. If they don’t seem to care, why should I? And if I don’t care, why aren’t I looking for alternatives? I still don’t really want to deal with phone companies and DSL, but I know it’s an option. And as far as television goes: I’ve long known that I need to cut back. As much as I’ve loved HBO and its original programming, I haven’t even noticed that I’ve missed a couple of weeks of the Sopranos now. I get a handful of channels off my antenna. I’m starting to think that maybe an option like USDTV could work too. Dish/Satellite is out. I hate those things and don’t really have anywhere to put the damn dish anyways.

But it comes down to this: I was told what the builder was told. “When the first person in wants cable, we just have to connect it to the building. It’s there and ready to go otherwise.” But now even the landlord / builder are getting the run-around.

This service is supposedly “right there, almost ready to go”. Why can’t I just get it turned on already?

Anyways - thank goodness for Apple’s iDisk service (as part of their .Mac offerings). iDisk can be synchronized and worked with off-line. So I can at least keep my iBook up to date with my plans/actions list and a few other key documents, and I can update source code to work from home by bringing the iBook into work and using CVS. This helps with the offline mode - knowing that some information, including work stuff (useful in these busy times) can be brought with me even if there’s no connection. This is the downside to otherwise wonderful services like Backpack: except for emailing myself a copy of pages, I’m cut off from any information I may be collecting in a system like that.

This is something that I’ve been concerned about ever since Microsoft first started promoting “internet everywhere” inside of Windows. I don’t use Windows, so it didn’t concern me much (but it’s been interesting to see how their strategy effectively made the security problem they wrestle with today). But I always wondered: “what happens if there’s no internet? if the network’s down?”. The Dashboard in Mac OS X 10.4 is effectively useless on my iMac at home now. Not that I’d expect anything different: how can it update its backpack widget and all of those weather feeds with nothing to feed it? It’s just sad though, seeing that computer that is normally so great become so useless without a connection. I can’t upload photos, can’t update my web site, can’t collaborate with musicians, can’t shop for art supplies, can’t check the train schedule, can’t get new documentation, can’t get new music from the iTunes Music Store, can’t manage the Netflix queue that I’m finally going to set up… All of these things, taken for granted. And now, thanks to a stressful and confusing mess, I don’t know when I’ll be able to take them for granted again.