Technically speaking, Part IV

When we last left this series, I was planning on changing the location of the router and fiber modem.  Instead, I chose to run my Cat 6 cable to the middle of the house, except in this configuration, I changed the wireless repeater to an access point.  This way, the router, and modem can stay in place, be hard-wired to the computers and the access point will do the heavy lifting in terms of extending the wireless signal to the rest of the house.  I also reset and reprogrammed the repeater to the upstairs bedrooms, and everything seems to be working the way it’s supposed to.

The big test was this past week when we were on vacation.  Before we walked out the door last Saturday I checked, re-checked, and then re-re-checked the system, to make sure there weren’t any drop-outs or signal loss or degradation.  The cobbled-together system worked like a champ.  Our security cameras stayed connected, all the smart bulbs and smart plugs stayed in contact with the router and the router itself, being that it’s connected to the cloud, was accessible to me even on the other side of the state through both my laptop and cellphone.

Even so, while we were on vacation, we stayed in a place that had a more advanced version of a home network.  It’s from Netgear and it’s called Orbi.  In the house, (which is on 2 floors), there was the actual router, and two physical satellites installed on the walls (the outer walls, though it might have been the correct placement for the building) which by my estimation bathed the house in high-speed wifi coverage (what’s now being called WIFI6 or .   The few times I checked the speed on my phone, I was getting throughput in the 650-700 Mbps range, which was more than sufficient for doing things that I needed to at the time, and anyone else using the wifi signal/coverage would have been able to do the same.  As far as I could tell, there was no signal drop, and everything that needed to be connected to the system stayed connected.  Unfortunately, it’s not an inexpensive system, and outlaying $400-$1200 for more advanced wifi coverage for me isn’t an option.

As of right now, my own system is working just fine.   As a matter of fact, it’s working better than I’d anticipated.  Honestly, I’d tried this method once before, purchasing a dedicated access point and installing it in the house about midway, but it didn’t work.  Though as I recall at the time I attempted to do it wirelessly and that seemed to be where things fell apart.  Instead of taking the system a step further and hard-wiring the AP to the router, I gave up.  I went back to just using wireless repeaters, and degrading my signal through the piggy-back system, and making do.

Coming full circle

It’s early Saturday morning, which means my vacation is rapidly coming to a close.  By this time tomorrow I will be tucked into my bed, snuggled under the covers and anticipating (or dreading) going back to work.  I’ve purposefully stayed away from my place of employment so as not to interrupt the flow of work (hopefully) happening in my absence.  I expect things haven’t been going completely hunky-dory.  Certainly they didn’t the last time I went on vacation, and despite my best efforts to be sure my relief had all the tools he needed to get the work done, I expect it’s going to be a wreck when I go back on Sunday.

Needless to say, I haven’t missed being at work all that much.  I do get four weeks of vacation per year and as I’ve said many (many!) times, I’d be content taking two weeks of vacation and just getting paid for the other two weeks.  But my employer prefers that their employees take all of their alloted vacation.  Basically ‘Use it or lose it‘.  So I use it.

This week has not been so much sitting on my ponderous butt, watching TV.  It just so happened that my wife and I had scheduled four medical appointments, and we were on the go for most of the days that I was off.  Monday and Wednesday were the only exceptions, but Wednesday was gobbled up by an emergency dental appointment due to the fact that my wife slightly broke one of her teeth.  So that needed to be attended to.  And was.

Even though I spent some time helping a friend furnish her new apartment, I didn’t necessarily neglect my own domicile.  I ordered 4 large plastic storage boxes from Amazon (actually probably larger than I needed) and have been sorting through some things that I haven’t had use of in several years, that need to be secreted away before something nefarious happens to them.  I have to say I’d be pretty devastated if something did happen to them, and certainly I wouldn’t forgive myself easily.  If at all.  Once I have that attended to, I think I’ll breathe a sigh of relief.  That’s been a long time in coming to get accomplished.  At least when I have need of them again, I’ll know where they are.  I hope.

Anyway, it’s back to work tomorrow.  Only one more week of vacation to take for this fiscal year, then I’ll get another four weeks to agonize over on April 11.  Never ends, does it?

Warming trend

hot-coldThe temperature peaked at 60° yesterday.  Sixty!  Holy crap.  It had been snowing for the previous 3-4 days.  We were up to about 10 inches of snow by Tuesday afternoon.  And now we’re in an unseasonable warming reversal.  And from what I’m seeing through Weather Underground, we’re not supposed to see a high below the freezing point anytime in the next ten days.  Although to be accurate, there are going to be several days in that time period when the daily lows will be in the teens and twenties, so we’re definitely not due for t-shirts and shorts quite yet.  This isn’t Texas after all.

Even so, I would definitely say it’s been a snowy winter.  Most years I only drag out the snowblower a couple of times, but this year I think I had it out almost six times since November.  Certainly to the point where I actually had to refill my gas cans so I could keep it running.  It worked like a champ as well, thirty-one years after buying the old girl from the Red Hook Agway.  I still remember when I got it, just before a big storm at my parent’s house.  I didn’t feel comfortable trying to drag out Dad’s Gravely, so I went to the Agway and bought the floor model.  They managed to deliver it that evening and the following morning there was 15 inches of snow to remove.  Cranked it right up and it’s been working every since.

Having witnessed what Texans have been enduring with their utility bills, I’m grateful I live where I am, even thought the taxes can be somewhat high at times.  Where I live we have a local electrical co-op, so it keeps the utility bills reasonable.  When my wife and I lived on Keuka Lake in the 1990s, towards the end of our stay New York State deregulated the electrical business, and in the beginning we got double shafted (or so it seemed) because NYSEG (New York Electric & Gas) didn’t have any competition yet, so they had the lion’s share of customers.  Where before 1998 you received one bill for generation and delivery of your electricity, after deregulation you received two.  And the new bills added up to way more than the old ones.  For the simple reason that when you’re generating a new bill, there are extra taxes added on, so you end up paying for many of the costs twice.  Which was really, really unfair.  But since deregulation was new, and no other companies were in your area, you were stuck.

I think in the end, just before we moved at times we were paying almost $700-800 in electric bills.  And since we heated our rented house with fuel oil, there was a further $250-300 for filling that tank every 45 days or so.  Even though it sucked moving from there, where we’re living now isn’t breaking our back with utility costs.

Spring is on the way.  But perhaps Winter isn’t quite done with us yet.  We still have a little less than a month to go.  No time to get complacent, eh?