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The Telecom Digest for Mon, 05 Apr 2021
Volume 40 : Issue 95 : "text" format

table of contents
The best rural internet providers of 2021
AZ: Wickenburg internet provider interest survey launched
Re: Corrections and Questions – 10 Home Office Tech Essentials (& Where To Get Them)

Message-ID: <20210404195550.13A9D770@telecom2018.csail.mit.edu> Date: Sun, 4 Apr 2021 19:55:49 +0000 (UTC) From: Moderator <telecomdigestsubmissions@remove-this.telecom-digest.org> Subject: The best rural internet providers of 2021 A good rural internet connection can be hard to find, but there are a few that offer quality service at a decent price. Here are the ones we'd recommend. By David Anders Living in a rural or suburban area has its advantages, but one potential downside is a lack of internet options. For some, broadband service may not even be available at all. But the FCC and internet service providers are looking to change that and close the digital divide by expanding broadband connections to many rural areas that have long gone underserved. https://www.cnet.com/home/internet/best-rural-internet/
Message-ID: <20210404201306.84FE1770@telecom2018.csail.mit.edu> Date: Sun, 4 Apr 2021 20:13:06 +0000 (UTC) From: Moderator <telecomdigestsubmissions@remove-this.telecom-digest.org> Subject: AZ: Wickenburg internet provider interest survey launched The Town of Wickenburg with the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce is working to bring a modern infrastructure upgrade of fiber-based internet services to Wickenburg. Together they have reached out to Zona Wyyerd, which is a fiber-based internet services provider that operates in Peoria, Surprise, Buckeye and El-Mirage. This is an alternative to Cox and Lumen/Centurylink and provides phone, router/wi-fi, speeds (upload and download) up to ONE GB, no data caps, vacation services, free support and training for streaming services. https://wickenburgsun.com/news/37510/wickenburg-internet-provider-interest-survey-launched/ ***** Moderator's Note ***** I think home users are going to be demanding more of their local governments going forward: the COVID-19 pandemic caused so many users to work at home, that they've become much more knowledgeable about data service, and speeds, ... and cost. Municipal broadband is a win-win-win from a politician's perspective: it's a painless money tree that bears fruit every month, without fail, AND it garners lots of votes, AND it attracts high-end W-A-H users such as Lawyers, Accountants, and other professionals who pay their Broadband and their tax bills without question. Bill Horne Moderator
Message-ID: <20210404202958.GA31996@telecom.csail.mit.edu> Date: Sun, 4 Apr 2021 20:29:59 +0000 From: Bill Horne <malassQRMimilation@gmail.com> Subject: Re: Corrections and Questions - 10 Home Office Tech Essentials (& Where To Get Them) I apoligize to the Telecomd Digest readers. I have noticed some errors in the post I sent yesterday, and I hope this post will make my remarks more clear. I also noticed that I used too many "bold" or "italic" formatting marks, so I'm going to cut way back on them. I'm sorry if I seem strident, but there's a good reason: in the late 90s, I broke my leg very badly, and had to work from home for almost a year. I learned a lot about the equipment needed to be productive, and even more about the tricks you need to know about when doing your job from home, and I like to spare others the need to learn it all the hard way like I had to. Bill Horne (Remove QRM from my email address to write to me directly) On Sat, Apr 03, 2021 at 10:40:46PM +0000, Bill Horne wrote: > > 10 Dual Monitors I forgot to mention that you can usually borrow someone else's monitor to test if you like the look and feel. It's also an easy way to find out if your system can handle two monitors, if you already have a spare video jack available. > > 9 Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse: I also forgot to mention that the most important "ergonomic" change you can make is to have your keyboard at the proper position, which is almost always below the table-top. Your elbows should be at a right-angle to your upper arm when you position your hands over the keyboard, so you're less tempted to rest your palms on the table while you type. Most tables made for use as workstations have a keyboard shelf to make this easy. > 8 USB Hub There's a great money saving idea: get some longer USB cords for the hub, so that you can place phones, tablets, etc., at arm's length while they charge. Not only will it keep unused devices from crowding the oh-so-precious deskspace near your keyboard, but the cords can be replaced cheaply and quickly if a USB plug gets bent or crushed, and the hub won't be any the worse for wear. > 7 Laptop > No matter what use you intend for a laptop, please learn from my > mistake, and get one with the touchpad and mouse-keys mounted out of > the way of the keyboard. [snip]] If you are in this situation, as I am, you might be able to work around it. I have a laptop with an hdmi port, which I can plug in to my TV set so as to use the TV as a giant screen. It's a bit of a hack, and takes a while to get used to, but I can set the laptop on the table next to my easy chair, and use a wireless keyboard to do my work: I have a Logitech keyboard with a built-in mouse pad that's NEXT TO the keyboard, instead of in front of it. There's a bigger point here: working at home is all about being willing to try different things and innovate to get what you want. > 6 USB Webcam With Built-In Microphone I also forgot to mention that when you use a headset with its own mic, you'll need to get in the habit of testing the audio connection before joining a video chat. Zoom, and the other video services I've used, make it easy to switch from the built-in mic to your headset mic when you are in the "test" screen. > 5 Bluetooth Headphones > > ... be sure it has a separate "MUTE" switch on the headset or the > cord, where you can jump in to make a quick remark without having > to run back to your desk to unmute. ... There's a problem I should mention: when you're depending on your local "mute" button to keep others on a video chat from hearing your sink running, you'll sometimes get stranded when a "moderator" mutes everyone on the call to cut down on noise from other attendees. So, if you use your local "mute" button, and then you're asked to say something, and folks don't take the hint of seeing your chair empty or your video off, you'll just have to wait until the moderator figures it out, or until you're done with the sink and can get back to your PC. > 4 Wireless Laser Printer I'm not anti-printer: I'm just reluctant to imply that printing something means the job is done. If you must prepare printed output for someone you can't send a file to, be sure to have the Post office, UPS, FedEx, and DHL drop off points and pickup schedules handy. Be sure to have pre-paid shipping labels ready, along with appropriate envelopes, so that you can be sure whomever couldn't print your paper locally has it in front of them before the associated meeting. Here's another trick you may find comes in handy: if someone calls you up and says that they can't print your presentation, just send them a copy that you saved in HTML format. When they open it, it will come up in their browser, and they can almost always print it from there. There's also another work-around that few people realize is available. If someone can't print your file, just ask them to open up a video conference right then, with just the two of you participating, and then ask them to turn on the "record" feature of the video meeting software, and make you the "presenter," so the video software will record the screen and your voice while you page through the file for their benefit. The recordings come out in mp4 or similar "portable" format, which almost any computer can open, so they can replay the meeting and make all the notes they want before the actualy video conference starts. > 3 Backup Driver I won't add anything here: just remember to rehearse recovering a drive before you need to. [snip] > 0 Last, a couple of "think outside the envelope" options. > > A. No matter how much it costs, pay for the "Within-24-hours"(3) > *ON* *SITE* maintenance for your PC, monitor(s), printer, and > router, and /always/ keep a /new/ keyboard and mouse on hand! You > are *WORKING* at home, not studying computer maintenance! You need > to have someone to call when something breaks! There's something else to consider: you may be able to get your boss to loan you a machine, or borrow one, while yours is being repaired. As I wrote before, you can build a spare machine that's "good enough" to keep your boss happy while you wait. Old, but still serviceable, PC's can be had from a number of sources, sometimes just for the asking. Just set it up and test it in advance: it's all about having options. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - While on the subject of disaster-recovery methods, I'll touch again on the WiFi connections available at many libraries. You might wonder why I don't recommend just going in and signing up to use one of the public computers? Here's why: A. They have AV software and/or firewalls which break VPN's. B. You can only sign up for a limited time: typically, two hours max. C. The three O'Clock schoolkid rush will make the environment crowded, the machines overbooked, and you a nervous wreck. So, I recommend planning to use libraries only for WiFi, and bring a laptop with you. > B. If you work in sales, and are in a state that still requires > ILECs to offer IDSN wired phone service, *seriously* consider > spending for the digital connection. It will be expensive, but > you'll be astonished at the added voice fidelity and clarity > you'll enjoy. Don't hesitate: if it's available, order it > *now*. You'll thank me when you see your income statement, > because it sounds so much better that you'll get better sales > results. OK, I couldn't believe I wrote "IDSN." Sorry. You are looking for an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) Basic Rate Interface (BRI) phone line connection. When you call your local phone company, you might think the job will be easy, but hold on to your hat: they might be overjoyed to hear that you want an "ISDN" line, and might transfer you to the "Business" part of the business office to get one, and then you'll think I'm a rich madman for having suggested the idea, when you get a quote for over a thousand dollars per month for "IDSN" service! Relax, kick back, take a breath, and rest assured that I'm neither rich nor mad: they are almost certainly assuming that you represent a company which wants to rent a "PRI," which is a PRIMARY rate interface used to connect private branch exchanges directly to the PRI interface section of the central office. A "PRI" can handle 23 simultaneous phone calls, and they're very common in big cities where there are a lot of PBX's, and they cost more than any homeowner could afford. Talk your way to the person or group that deals with BASIC rate interface ISDN service. A "BRI" ISDN line includes two phone numbers, and a ~9600 bps data channel, and if your state PUC still has them in a tariff somewhere, the phone cmpany will install one after you convince them you're able to use one. But, here's the catch: ISDN is a DIGITAL service. You can't attach your existing analog phone to it: you must buy and connect an ISDN interface, usually a small router with a "BRI" card installed. Cisco made one, altough I don't recall the exact model number, but it was one of the 2500 series. Why, you might ask, should I go to all that trouble? Imagine someone from your office is on the phone, demanding to know where in the building you are at that moment, unable to believe that you're actually at home. IT HAPPENED TO ME, more than once! That's how good the quality of ISDN phone lines are! You might have to negotiate for a while, but if it's still under tariff in your state, you'll win. Trust me: it's worth it. -- Bill Horne
********************************************* End of telecom Digest Mon, 05 Apr 2021
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