Date: Sun, 4 Apr 2021 19:55:49 +0000 (UTC)
From: Moderator <email@example.com>
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
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.
Date: Sun, 4 Apr 2021 20:13:06 +0000 (UTC)
From: Moderator <firstname.lastname@example.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.
***** 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.
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
(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
> 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
> 3 Backup Driver
I won't add anything here: just remember to rehearse recovering a
drive before you need to.
> 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
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
> 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
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.
End of telecom Digest Mon, 05 Apr 2021