Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday morning, February 15. We enter a new day and a whole new system of living. Fiber has been plugged into my house and I didn't even try to get the FIOS tech to say "The house is lit." But I sure did think it. I have to say, saliently, that the tech was great - I gave him access to where he needed to go and he just went about his business. And he was very helpful, very friendly. If he's representative of Verizon techs, they have a good workforce. Your mileage may vary.
Next, FIOS TV. This is going to take some getting used to. I've grown accustomed to DirecTV and now I have a whole new set-up of channels, on-screen menus and a new remote control. But I have some fun new stuff as well. I never connected my DirecTV to the phone line so I was never able to buy any pay-per-view events or movies (incidentally, with all the naughty content on the cabled televising machine, perhaps that should be "pay perv view"). Now I can since everything comes galloping into the house on the FIOS line. Though it's unlikely that I actually will buy anything extra as I'm totally dialed in with Netflix.
Additional coolness enters via the aforementioned remote. With the old system, I'd sometimes gather up three remotes: TV, DirecTV box and DVD player. The tech programmed the FIOS remote so that it controls all three from the one remote. I guess I could have tried programming the Dtv remote but, as you might be able to tell from this post alone, I'm a bit of a creature of habit. One thing that made snicker last night was tuning in BBC America's "Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares." The guide display truncated the final word at the first three letters. I must be a shocking racist. No, I'm not.
I can't say that the picture quality is better but as I watch more, I think I may come to that conclusion. Previously the screen would show some "banding" of colors which may be in the set or may be in the broadcast signal. I'm hoping it's the latter and that FIOS will cure it. I haven't brought myself to the point of spending extra money for HD. It's just not worth it to me yet. If anyone who uses HD has a comment to make, please do.
ADDED: I almost forgot one net little feature on FIOS TV. Widgets. I can call up a weather bug and a traffic report on screen no matter what I'm watching. Weather is good. Traffic, not so much. But I have it dammit!

Now, the fibered up internet. FIOS sets up a router off the cable coming into the house and, not surprisingly in this modern world of hubbub and brouhaha, the router is wireless. So there was no need to run cables all over my house from the router to the desktop. Thank goodness. (pause for breath) Wireless. As much as I love it, getting it all set up and running the way I want it to run is a ... chore. A process. And yesterday I was not having the greatest luck in getting a stable connection that would make
connection automatic when I woke my iMac up. I went into the network control panel this morning and re-jiggered it so I think (I hope) I may have the solid connection form here on out. But I need to reset my laptop and my AirPort Express node from which I run my printer. Ooog. (sigh)
FIOS says it's faster than my DSL but I haven't run any speed tests to see. I have to imagine that it is simply because of the bigger pipeline it is. Of course now that my DSL is moot, I have a DSL modem that Verizon doesn't want back and a whole bunch of DSL line filters that are useless. Which Verizon doesn't want back. If there's a packrat curse of this modern world of hubbub and brouhaha, it's the accretion of telephone equipment that has been rendered obsolete or just passe. Still usable but not particularly wanted. Oh well. Also, my Netgear wireless router is now moot for the time being. I may try to set it up as a repeater to entend the range of the network though. It's too good to lie fallow.
One final note that's not related to FIOS per se: In setting up the new wireless network, I had reason to go into the wireless menu on my desktop which displays the networks whose signals I can receive. I can now see nine networks (one of which may be my AirPort Express). And one network is named "VoteRonPaul." I'm going to guess that belongs to my new next door neighbors.

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