Archive for the ‘Of Magic and Cyberspace’ Category

Gone! No regrets! No remorse! No landline!

Thursday, July 28th, 2022

Goodbye! Over and Out!

You’d think that I’d miss it.  But, I’m here to tell you that after 86 years of being tethered to the outside world via a telephone line, I don’t feel even a twinge of repentance for my decision.  Actually, “our” decision.  Nyel was the one who ordered Starlink so that we’d have a chance at reliable internet.  And he was the one most looking forward to cutting that CenturyLink cord.

So… as of 8:30 a.m. on Monday… tah dah!  My connection to others on this planet is dependent upon cell phone towers and the neat little Starlink dish and router which “beams internet data, not through cables, but via radio signals through the vacuum of space. Ground stations on the planet broadcast the signals to satellites in orbit, which can then relay the data back to users on Earth.”  Do I understand it?  Hardly a word.  So… we’ll see.

Starlink Dish

The only part of the changeover which gave me a momenetary pang — letting go of my landline number which I’d had for 43 years — half my life!  But, in recent years most incoming calls on that number have been sales pitches, donation requests, or spam.  People who really need to get in touch either have a cell number, an email address, or can find me on social media.  Options galore!

Now if I can only remember to keep track of that cell phone…


Things Might Be Looking Up In Oysterville

Sunday, November 21st, 2021

Space-X Starlink Satellite

Until very recently, I had the vague idea that Elon Musk was some sort of exotic scent for men.  Then my cousin got a spiffy job in California working for Tesla and I found out a little more — at least to the extent that the scent exuded by this particular Musk is that of money and cutting edge electric cars.  And now we are hearing about Mr. Musk even closer to home.  Yes!  His Starlink satellites have reached the skies above Oysterville!

According to our neighbor (who, as far as we know, is the first in our area to sign up) the system delivers exactly what its website promises:  Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across the globe. Within each coverage area, orders are fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.”

“It was seamless!” she enthused to us at our Friday Night Gathering.  “No muss, no fuss.  Instantly we were up and running — no problems encountered by our local installer or by us!”  And best of all, the download speed for the internet is 200+MB/s (a figure so vast when compared to our all-time CenturyLink speed of 5.88 MB/s, that I cannot remember the exact number)!!

CardioMems Device

Will we sign up?  The jury is still out.  Mostly because it only makes sense to do that if we bag our landline and current internet delivery service.  We will do that in a nano-second IF Nyel finds that his daily CardioMems report can be sent another way.  Right now, the data from the device that measures and monitors his pulmonary artery pressure and heart rate goes daily via our landline directly to his cardiologist in Seattle.  That communication allows for immediate tweaking of meds, should the numbers so indicate.  The big question:  is there another way that his CardioMems machine can communicate with Seattle?

Fingers crossed!  If our stars are in the right aspect and there is a way to circumvent our landline, we’ll be on the waitlist before you can say, “200 MB/s.”


Cinderella II — the good twin, we hope.

Friday, April 23rd, 2021

Cinderella or me? Hard to tell.


I can’t remember where we left off in the story of Cinderella and her nervous breakdown.  For weeks and weeks Nyel has been in communication with her handlers by email and by phone as they have tried to diagnose the problem.  The bottom line:  she could not communicate with the Mother Ship and Vice Versa.  Time went by and, finally, the Roomba folks sent us a new i-robot — Cinderella II.  But being in cyberhell as we were, she couldn’t communicate with the Mother Ship either.

After talking with the ever-patient techies at and having the problem referred to “a higher level” and yet “a higher level,” Nyel was finally asked AGAIN to find out the firewall settings  from our Modem provider.  I may have reported previously that the provider is CenturyLink (RED ALERT! RED ALERT!) who informed Nyel after a half day on the telephone that our particular CenturyLink Modem has no firewalls.

That, of course, turned out to be untrue. At my suggestion (ahem!) Nyel searched online for the CenturyLink Modem firewall settings, got a long list of them plus a matched list of open and closed ports.  He laboriously wrote out the information (having found no way to send a link or to forward a “legible copy”), sent it to the (apparently) highest level techie trouble shooter at the Mother Ship and voilà!  Cinderella II is hard at it “learning” our house and mapping her routes.

Basically, we are back in the vacuuming biz and can only hope that the situation remains stable.  You never can tell with robots.  And certainly not with CenturyLink.


Cinderella, Roomba Princess

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

Cinderella is definitely a New Age Princess.  Her Fairy Godmother communicates with her through a cyberspace connection and and acts as intermediary between us simple folk and our Roomba housemate.  All directions must come from the Mother Ship where the FG sits at the controls.

As an example, if we would like the Princess to vacuum the living room, we have only to tap a few keys on computer or cell phone.  Within seconds we hear a pleasant five-tone melody from Cinderella’s launch pad and off she goes on a living room cleaning spree.  The process is flawless…  IF we have internet service.

Cinderella in the Living Room

But this is Oysterville.  We have frequent “interruptions” in our cyberspace connection.  As in all afternoon and evening yesterday.  Ordinarily, I would just think of it as a day off for Cinderella.  But yesterday it flat out pissed me off!   So, I removed Cinderella from her launch pad, carried her to and set her in said living room, and pressed her “Clean” button. Voilà!  Off she went.  And went. And went.

First she cleaned the living room.  Next she went into the dining room, then the kitchen.  When her battery ran low, she returned to her launch pad — all by herself and with no direction.  Wow!  An hour or so later our internet servic must have come on just long enough for the FG to tell Cinderella about the orders to clean the living room — an order I had not thought to remove from my cell phone.  So, off the princess went again, this time to clean the living room only.  Again.

Our living room carpet has never looked so good!  And right in time for Valentine’s Day!