June 23, 2014

Monday - Internet and Phone Deals

You Can Feel the Humidity
I can confirm that summer has arrived in the 'tropics" of southern Indiana. The humidity feels much higher than the percentages I see online, 70% plus. Although I remember last winter when I was shoveling snow at -9 degrees I was willing to trade for days like these. Now the hounds and I find it harder to go outside during the day.

I did get some yard work finished over the weekend and also talk to the farmer on Sunday as he raked the hay before baling it into the big rolls. My fears of damaging his equipment were not warranted. He was just going around the rope metal anchor he knew I had because he didn't wan to cut my rope, that I later cut by accident with my metal blade weed eater. I was able to cut all the hay that he didn't and he was able to pick it up and bale it. I also did a little trimming on my overgrown area where I would like to build a backyard campsite.

I have to admit, there is not a lot going on and I wonder if anyone that reads this blog and is retired ... do you ever get tired of just normal days of activity? Day after day after day? It all goes back to that question, am I in a rut and bored or this is just life and I am low keyed content?

I have accomplished things inside though. I have researched new phone and internet service. I am also in the process of uploading my photos to Google's Picasa as a backup. That is a long process.

With the hot temps outside and the hayfield that is now cut ... the hounds and I have completed two daily dog walks in two consecutive days. By the time we finish the 20 minute cruise through the field in the early evening, the hounds are more than ready to get back inside where it is so much cooler. I have also noticed they don't go to the door as much wanting outside with the higher temps now.

Maybe they are not bored but just smart and want to stay inside where it's much cooler.

First issue I needed to get fixed is my internet service. Due to my location I have had two choices. A local company that uses the AT&T phone lines for DSL or  a new provider for Satellite Internet. I have been with the local internet company now for 8 years and have had no complaints, great speed for DSL, until recently. This past January my provider told me they were raising my monthly rate $10, which is their wireless rate without giving me wireless service. Long story short is, after recent discussions with them the real story comes out, wireless is what I pay for but is not offered in my location.

I am now one of their last customers with DSL service. They are no longer the direct company that corresponds with AT&T for connection repair. They now have to call in my request for repair and then that request is passed through TWO DIFFERENT middlemen. The strange thing is and I have told them in those words, that once they raised my rates to wireless service, my DLS has had problems keeping the connection along with a longer time to download webpages or photos. Coincidence? They would never answer that until this past week, when one of the technicians on the phone told me they no longer offer DLS service, they pass it off.

Ah ha ... now I finally got my answer.

Also, due to my location and the amount of trees between their wireless antennas, I cannot get their wireless service that I am paying for. ($39.99/mo). When I discussed their future plans at the luncheon on Friday, it sounds as if I am on my last small thin thread for internet service with them due to available services. There will not be any kind of wireless system installed that can give me a good signal through the trees. They tried a system designed for that with a 50 mile range and had problems due to the barometric pressure.

That leaves me with just one option. Satellite Internet. When I did a search on company names "reviews" ... those reviews vicious! It sounds like nothing works and all the satellite providers do is take your money. Why do I see so many satellite internet dishes around this area then if they are so bad? My neighbor tells me that he has had zero problems with Hughes Net connection and service.

So after some review between Exede and Hughes Net, I have decided to go with Exede (WildBlue) Internet Service. Much faster speed and comes out to the same price as what I am currently paying for an AT&T Land Line and my providers DSL service. They have been voted #1 two years in a row for delivering speeds they advertised. They also have their systems used by the military in field ops.

After 10+ years with AT&T cell phone service I am making the change to Verizon. When cell
phones first came out, in my location AT&T (Cingular) was all that was offered. Yet when I was stuck on I-25 just north of Truth or Consequences NM with a blown VW engine, I couldn't get a signal to call anyone. The only we got a hold of a towing company is that he saw us from the other side of the freeway as he was taking a car to TOC. He came back to get us. It was over 100 degrees that day.

Anyway Verizon is the plan, 4G service in my area and a lot more coverage out west for when I travel. My contract was up with AT&T months ago and I've been going month to month with them with a phone upgrade also due. I was going to wait for the iPhone 6 to come out but after further research the iPhone 5S is all I will need right now. So I decided to change my service now instead of waiting until the fall.

I updated my costs to my financial spreadsheets to see how these two changes would affect my monthly net income before I called to make the changes. Very minimal change for the monthly fee. It's almost a 1 for 1 swap dollar wise and I'll have better service. The only additional fees are for the new phone, new wireless router and activation fees that are paid now.

In closing I will say the past couple of weeks I have felt I need to get more things accomplished each day instead of sitting around reading, internet surfing and napping. It no longer feels like I'm on vacation, like it did the first couple of months I was retired. I keep wondering if this is the life I will have day after day? Sure, it's better than the alternative and much better than having a job you don't like. I just feel at times I need to be doing more.

Can anyone retired that is reading this chime in with some comments? Thanks

Also a bit of financial news here at home ... my monthly costs for groceries have increased a lot since I have added more fruits and veggies in exchange of not buying junk food .... go figure.

Life is good.

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