And when did browsers start rewriting IP addresses to domain names? I could visit my favorite web sites by IP address in principle, but when I type in an IP address the browser turns it into a domain name, tries to load that...and fails, because there's no DNS. WTF?
Verizon has been underwhelming so far, and I even mean compared to other Verizon experiences. At one point they said the line must be bad and they'd send a technician in a couple of days, then put us on hold for 10+ minutes. But how could it be a bad line if we have any connectivity at all? When the guy came back he said that there's an outage (previously he had said there wasn't), so with luck it'll come back on its own.
But if anybody reading this could tell me where to find some DNS servers that I'd be allowed to hit, I'd be grateful. I'm trying to find that on my own, but using the phone is slow going.
"Maddy" claimed that we would have uninterrupted service (aside from the momentary blip of the switch). We lost our connection overnight and the support person I spoke with this morning told me I should expect it to take until 6PM for them to connect us. That's a pretty loose definition of "uninterrupted" -- and that's assuming the claim is correct. By 6PM the business office is closed, so there's no one to escalate to.
The claim that I could create a temporary account and thereby get my router settings last night was, near as I can tell, utter fabrication, though it is possible that "Manu", his supervisor (whose name I couldn't parse through the accent), "Rauel" (this morning), and "Linda" (escalation this morning) were all wrong about that. All of these people told me, last night or today, that I would have to connect a single machine to the modem and setup would be automatic from there, and after that I could put the router back and it would work.
Err, what? Are they claiming that somehow, once I put my password-protected router back on the net, their software is going to reconfigure it? I don't think so. Everyone has been utterly unwilling to just tell me the configuration information I'll need (e.g. DNS servers). I predict that what they are actually going to do is configure a single machine and leave me to fend for myself from there (examine what they did to that machine, use the info to configure the router, and undo what they did to the machine).
"Linda" was supposed to escalate this and said someone would call me back on my cell phone "ASAP", but that hasn't happened yet. (That was at 9:30.) I guess I get to play support roulette tonight when I get home. (I'm posting this via email from work.)
One minor thing in my favor: if I have to connect a single machine to the modem anyway, it's going to be a Mac. I don't know Macs particularly well, but it seems less likely to get me routed to the undertrained, underinformed, English-limited support pool. (This morning I chose "Mac" on the phone tree and got to "Rauel", who seemed to actually know what he was doing -- but, unfortunately, he couldn't make them connect my service.)
If FiOS ever comes to my neighborhood I'll be thrilled. As soon as Verizon switches me over to it, I'm going to turn around and transfer my account to Nidhog (who now does FiOS but not DSL). Nidhog knows how to take care of customers!
We've been having some modem troubles (two modems with different failure modes), so we ordered another recently to experiment with. It looks like we have a family of modems -- maybe a breeding program. given the evidence, I'd have to say that Westel-ness is a dominant gene. :-)
My vet wanted to see Erik recently (just a quick check on something), so while we were there I asked if she could try again to teach me how to push pills into him. (Currently he gets his medicine ground up in canned food, as I seem unable to reliably get a whole pill down.) She demonstrated, then had me try... and she finally said "it's ok; mixing it into the food won't hurt him". I feel inadequate; even my vet gave up on me. :-) (Yes, I have tried that plunger-like gadget. I haven't found the cat treats that have pockets for hiding pills in, but I suspect he's too smart for that.)
A bakery run on the honor system seems not to be loosing money. Interesting idea. (Someone on my reading list posted this link, but I forget who.)
I have a question for the Hebrew-literate. Please humor me. How would you say "I will thank you" (masculine, singular)? I thought I knew, and then I heard a different formation in a song, so I asked a native speaker, who provided a third option. (I think "odecha", song was "odeka", speaker said "odelecha". It's entirely possible that "odecha" is biblical and "odelecha" is modern, but what's with "odeka"?)
We are having weird modem luck. I thought all DSL modems were basically the same, but apparently not. Our old (bought in 1999) modem has started dropping signal -- it's eratic, but when it happens it lasts for a few hours. My DSL provider mailed me a new one (a level of service I did not expect) and it's reliable but universally slow. So our current mode of operation is to use the old one until it drops and then switch to the new one for a few hours. Weird. So I think we need to buy a new modem that is both reliable and fast, but since I thought they were all the same I now don't know what to look for. (We have basic DSL. Someday I hope they well run FIOS to our neighborhood and we'll switch.)
Dani: We're out of (book)shelf space in the library again.
Me: Maybe we should assemble that last bookcase we bought.
Dani: We're out of shelf space in the library again.
Me: You built it and filled it already? So we need to buy more?
Dani: We're out of wall space to put bookcases...
(I assert that he is incorrect on that last point, but it hinges on a dispute between practicality and purity. Or something like that.)
We bought some CFLs (in two different color-tones) to try again, and installed some in the ceiling fixture in the living room (the packaging contained no dire warnings about that, unlike the last one). Freaky white and bright, so some tuning is called for, but there might be a bigger problem: flicker. The switch is a dimmer, but we know CFLs don't dim so the switch is at max. (Truth to tell, we don't dim regular bulbs in that fixture, either.) Does the mere presence of a dimmer switch doom CFLs? That would be annoying.
A couple links:
A few nights ago I made these lamb chops, which I've made before and which are amazingly good.
The ten plagues, done in peeps (from someone on my subscription list, but I've lost track of who). Twisted! Funny!
This morning our new service with Nidhog kicked in. Yay! To the best of my knowledge Telerama is still not back.
Friday we ordered DSL service from Nidhog, a small provider I'd never heard of before Thursday but that said they could get us up quickly. The swtich-over is blocked at Verizon now; the folks at Nidhog thought we might get connected today, but I guess not. (I am tentatively holding a Wednesday appointment with Comcast, but I hope to cancel that.) The person I talked with at Nidhog seemed clueful and eager to please; I imagine that they can pick up a significant-to-them pile of new business if they do this right. I'm all for that. :-)
Several of my coworkers use(d) Telerama and we have a wiki, so naturally there's been some information-sharing. The discussion there led me to discover that Telerama has dropped its price for our service level, yet they never told us or reduced our price. Which, you know, might not be unreasonable (caveat emptor) if they ever actually delivered the promised connection speeds... Well, with luck we'll be done with them soon. The cause of the outage, according to the press, is a $30,000 bill with their provider that they cannot pay. I didn't expect service to come back at all.
This morning I just happened to walk into the building with parent-company's top dog. I took the opportunity to ask, all casual-like, whether their wireless network was open to us. He said something like "it should be; you'll need to get access", and I mentioned that my DSL was out at home and I was hoping to get my iBook on their approved list, and he perked up at "iBook" (he's a Mac snob) and, well, one thing led to another and by the time we had reached the office entrance, I was explaining that I was new to the Mac and trying to find out what all the fuss was about, and he was enthusing about "oh you must try this, and let me show you this, and...", and by the way sure he'd call $IT_GUY and get me onto their network, which he did right then and there.
The signal doesn't reach my desk, but at least now I can go to (or near) their space and get network access, without having to leave the building. Yay!
Meanwhile, Telerama's customer-support number is now redirecting callers to the collections department of their provider. Essentially, they're trying to sic their customers on their source and get us in the middle of a "he said, she said" fight about a past-due payment. (Telerama claims they were cut off with one day's notice. I don't know if that's true, but this just makes them look even more incompetent. Among things, if they had any notice at all they should have notified their customers!) Even if they don't die as a result of this, I think we need to find service elsewhere, and quickly. I wish FiOS was available in my neighborhood.
Our usually-reliable DSL service has been having random short outages for the last several weeks. (Usually 10-15 minutes, a few times a week.) I'm not sure how to test whether it's the DSL service itself or our 5-year-old modem, though, short of acquiring a test modem. So I sent mail to our provider asking if they had other reports and/or debugging hints. (I noticed in passing that their service hours now end at 8PM. I've had productive conversations with them at midnight in the past. Oh well. 8PM is reasonable; I'd just gotten used to hacker hours.)
Ok, Embla is capable of making normal meowing sounds, as opposed to that quiet chirpy thing she usually does. It just has to be Important. Like, say, being trapped between the window and the screen on a cold evening. For calibration purposes, the time a contractor sealed her into a wall she was silent for a long time, even though I was in the room calling her.
(What was she doing there tonight? Well, our sink was plugged up, so we had initiated chemical warfare, but the chemicals gave off mustard gas or something, and we had to open the windows to help with dispersion. I didn't notice the cat on the windowsill when I pushed the window closed later. Fortunately, she was quick to alert me.)
My parents gave us a George Foreman grill. Woo hoo! I wondered if they were fishing for possible reactions at Thanksgiving when they showed us theirs, but it turns out they bought this for us back in August, before we ever saw theirs. I'm looking forward to using it. It looks like a good size for two people.
They also gave me the first season of Babylon 5 on DVD (I suspected they would, so I held off buying it). They gave Dani an anime movie (on DVD) that I have failed to retain the name of. We got my mother a season of X-Files, my father Band of Brothers (but it's been delayed, so we had to give him a promissory), and my sister the Back to the Future trilogy and the first season of Buffy. It was the year of DVDs in our family. :-) (We all acquired players within the last year, so this was forseeable.)
(There were other gifts, but it's not my intention to catalog everything here. I am pleased that almost all of the gifts we brought were well-received.)
Dinner featured a lamb roast (I really like lamb), which my mother hasn't been making much lately. My sister doesn't like lamb, so they threw some chicken into the GF grill for her. It's about as fast as nuking, I guess, but a lot more tasty. My spice cake went over well. My sister seems to have had a Martha Stewart moment; she fabricated a train out of candy, crackers (small ones for wheels), and assorted other stuff. It was novel. Apparently she got the idea out of that Pilsbury cooking magazine that we both subscribe to; I haven't yet read the recent "holiday desserts" issue.
My father is currently wrestling with DSL from Verizon (sound familiar?), apparently the only carrier serving their town. (I just sent email to Telerama to check on that, as he hadn't heard of them.) He had some problems getting it set up, and spent a while on the phone with a guy with a script, and eventually he got a connection. Then he rebooted the machine, and ever since he has been getting an error (number only, no text -- I thought Macs were supposed to be better than that), and no network connection. And whatever is happening is also hosing his modem, so he can't dial out. I hope he's able to get some help from Verizon tomorrow. Dani and I tried to debug it but didn't get very far. Oh, and one oddity: they have to put some sort of special "filter" hardware on every phone in their house because DSL messes up the phone line. I knew that Verizon required something like that back in 1999, but I was told that they'd eventually fixed that. I wonder if, when they enter new service areas, they start by recycling all the hardware they've stopped using elsewhere. :-) (My parents' town only got DSL recently.)
My niece has become rather sullen and rude, particularly in the last year or so, and I don't know why. I hope that going away to college next year fixes it, rather than making it worse.