Happy Pi Day

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yogi
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by yogi »

Way back in the days after I first obtained a drivers license, I would take road trips just for the fun of it and to acquire experience. A few times me and some buddies went to and through Gary, Indiana which was just across the Illinois border and on the lake. It was also where the giant steel mills were located at that time. We could see the enormous blast furnaces from the road and vaguely take note of some guys working there. If you thought Arizona was like working in a kiiln, you actually could do such a thing in Gary, Indiana at one time. Those steel mill workers deserved every penny they earned is all I got to say.

The high school I attended had a few different curriculums to choose from. There was printing, architecture, crafts ( which had a lot of shops), and then the college preparatory path which I chose. The school was public and all male. It went coed after I graduated so that there were no home economics classes to take even if I wanted one. For some reason they did have a typing class, which I took the first year I was there in order to get out of study period. LOL Thus, you could graduate from this high school and go right into an apprentice program in one of the trades, in the printing business, or architecture. Us college prep guys were totally unprepared for the real world and only acquired some mental skills. Sad to say that didn't do me any good in college, but there were other issues too.
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Kellemora
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by Kellemora »

I got my first car, a 1946 Ford Deluxe that I restored, starting when I was 14 years old. After I had it running like a top, and got much of the body and interior work done on it, I drove it around on our property quite a bit.
Dad even used it to go on a fishing trip with us kids, just because he wanted to see how well I got it running.
He of course got insurance and license plate on it first.
I was already driving tractors and trucks between our farms on the road, so did so in the car a few times for business purposes, which still kept it legal, according to dad that is, hi hi.
After I got my drivers license, I too drove around, a lot, and put on a 100 miles every Friday night making the rounds of the fast food joints we all did back then. Got a 55 Ford Custom, and then switched to Chevy's after that, with a 62 Chevy Bel Aire.
And of course, I went hog wild after that with a 66 Impala SS, 68 Camaro, and many other muscle cars.

I was normally off work on Tuesdays, and back then, businesses were glad to show you around their facilities, so you could see how they made things. So I made a habit of having some factory to tour every Tuesday for years.
I saw a lot of factories who's methods could have been improved greatly by some of the things I learned. But you don't dare mention anything to anyone about it, and probably a lot of what I learned would be totally hush hush today between competitors.
But I was in a business, the Florist, where we traded the ways we did things, and often taught other designers how we did it, so they could pass on our methods to others.
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yogi
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by yogi »

During my first years working at Motorola it was not uncommon for them to give tours of the facility if you prearranged it. I guess they felt confident because Motorola more or less had the emergency radio market locked up. Even if you were in that same business, very few big contracts were given to anybody other than Motorola, for security reasons. Eventually we got into products that the competition was good at making and customers were willing to shop for the best deal. That's when factory tours became limited to non-existent. I don't think cameras ever were allowed for any reason, but some people did exactly what you did by visiting a lot of similar factories and picking up the ideas they saw. By the time cell phones became a product no tours whatsoever were allowed, although I do recall a local TV station being given the royal treatment in return for 60 seconds of air time. It used to be that retired folks got a lifetime pass to enter any of the Motorola facilities anywhere in the world. I was in fact given that pass and still have it in my junk drawer. However, about a year after that I got a letter saying it was no longer valid and I had to go through Human Resources if I needed to get into a facility.

Passing on methods and techniques to other members in the industry would seem like a good idea in that it allows everyone to grow in expertise. The problem with that is some people grow faster than others and it often happened that the inventor or the people with the best ideas could not compete with the corporations that had tons of resources behind them. Motorola ran as a family business for most of my 36 years there, but at the end of my career it was a blood bath of competition. The very existence of the company was at stake, which is why me and 40,000 other folks had to apply for unemployment benefits or lose everything we accumulated over the years.

The first car our family owned was a 49 Chevy Deluxe with an inline six cylinder engine. As you must know that engine was bare bones. It was literally possible to climb in the engine compartment and close the hood leaving room for you to sip on a coke as well. LOL Now and days a toothpick would have trouble finding an empty spot in the engine compartment. I loved the shift being on the steering column and never had 4 on the floor until we got a car with automatic transmission. To me that was no fun at all.
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Kellemora
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by Kellemora »

I know Yogi, the times have changed drastically over the years.

Our insurance company did not allow anyone other than an employee to go anywhere near our storage facilities, back working areas, the boiler rooms, potting sheds, etc. In fact, they really didn't want folks roaming through our greenhouses, and soon they were only allowed to walk through our greenhouse known as the sales house, where we had to build a new type of bench system, and keep some of every item we sold in that sales house.
Although if a customer wanted a lot of an item, we would go get it for them from the greenhouse in which they were raised.
But it wasn't us who laid down the rules, in most cases it was either the insurance company or new laws in the city, or county for that matter.

After grandpa built a subdivision behind us, mainly for his girls to get homes. And later other family members bought homes in that same subdivision. We already had a road that ran from Manchester Road to the back of our property where the barns and stables were.
When the subdivision was built, they added a concrete drive down to our property line, and near the foot of our gravel road.
Since most of the girls, and the relatives who bought in that subdivision all worked at the florist, they took the shortcut down our gravel road to get to work.
It wasn't long before the public started using it as a thoroughfare, despite the fact grandpa had put up signs saying Private Drive, and No Thru Traffic.
That didn't stop folks, so several years after grandpa had passed away, grandma turned that driveway over to the city. They maintained it as a gravel road all the way up until around 1983 when they decided to tar and gravel it. This turned out to give rear access to the shopping center that was built after we sold out in 1984, and prevented a drive on the west side from being added, which would have irked uncle Clarence to no end, hi hi.
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yogi
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by yogi »

I hope that gravel road, which was turned into a public street, was named after somebody in your family. Your grandpa should be the one to be so honored. Nobody today would know who he is other than family members, but it still would be a appropriate landmark dedicated to it's builder. I grew up on Long Avenue in the city of Chicago. It wasn't until I was in high school, or there abouts, that I learned the name was not a description of the avenue's length. It was named after a famous Illinois governor, governor Long. Well, he might have been famous but I still don't know why to this day. LOL

One could travel the entire length of Long Avenue with only a couple minor interruptions, such as a train yard about a mile from my house. But, Long Avenue continued on the other side of that railroad depot. I found the north end of it one day, but never did go to its end on the south. It stretched almost the entire length of the city, and out of the city on the north side. Somewhere about twenty miles to the south of my home it ended still inside the city. Here in O'Fallon the city is approximately 8 miles long and 5 miles wide. Some of the streets inside the city change names for what seems to be no apparent reason. I could see if O'Fallon annexed an existing municipality, which had its own streets butting up against those of ours, the name change would make sense. You don't want to change the name of the street you live on arbitrarily. However, there is no evidence such a thing happened, although it's likely. The style of homes and businesses are identical in spite of the names changing. Leaving the city from my house going east I can travel the same road that has three different names within a three or four mile stretch. There are a few subdivisions in that area so that the name changes might be derived from that. It's just seems crazy to me coming from a long avenue with a single name for it's entire twenty five mile stretch.
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Kellemora
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by Kellemora »

Actually, yes it was. So was the driveway between my uncles house and my dads house when the 4 acres was subdivided.
The drive was to get back to uncle Leonard's house, and Louis's lot.
It was like this
Leonard.....-----.....Louis
Vincent.....-----.....Clarence
Manchester Road. The Dashes were Cacky Lane, named after Clarence's daughter.
And the gravel road was named Harwood Lane. Another of grandpa's daughters married name.

It is not uncommon for a single road to have a few different names as you traverse it.
Manchester Road was once named Market Street as it ran west from the City of St. Louis.
But then they changed Market Street to Manchester Road where it entered the County.

Lindberg Boulevard, is named Kirkwood Road where it passes through Kirkwood.

Even here, Henley Street is changed to Chapman Highway after you cross the river into South Knoxville.
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yogi
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by yogi »

Single roads with multiple names isn't all that unusual. I agree. It didn't happen very often in the metropolitan Chicago area, but there were some places that clearly marked the fact that you are leaving such and such street and going forward will be called some other street. One of the major arteries not far from my home did exactly that. However, the name change occurred at the border of two adjacent suburbs. That makes sense. The Lindberg to Kirkwood changes also makes sense for the same reasons. Here in O'Fallon it's all the same city, same county, and same state. Only the names have changed for reasons unknown.

I thought it was just me being stupid when we first moved down here. I would frequently get lost and not be very far from home. It doesn't happen as often now, five years into the move, but I do on occasion get disoriented. The saving grace in my travel woes is the GPS built into my clever phone, which also happens to be a navigation device. Dang, they put a lot of stuff into that small package.
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Kellemora
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by Kellemora »

When I first moved down here, before I got a GPS, I got lost more times than Carter's has pills.
A compass is of little help when all the roads go in circles, which most do down here, or like a letter S in the hilly and mountainous areas.

When I lived in an apartment in Kirkwood on Big Bend Blvd. I could go home by taking Ballas Road from Manchester Road to Big Bend Blvd. No problem. If you wanted to go to downtown Kirkwood, you could veer left onto Adams Avenue I think it was.
In any case, since 99% of the traffic on Ballas Road turned onto Adams Avenue, they decided to keep Adams as Y but moved Ballas so it was now a T. So if you wanted to stay on Ballas, you had to slow down to make a right turn from Ballas Road onto Ballas Road. Previously it was hard to make a right turn from Ballas on Adams if you were going North, since it was a Y intersection.
There are several road like that down here too. Going from our house to Debi's sisters house, although it is nearly a straight shot, the road changes names four times. But only because they did like they did with the Ballas Adams Y.
Basically, they straightened the main path everyone used, to avoid left turns across oncoming traffic, and gave the not so commonly driven route a ton of stop signs, even though technically you were on the same road. You had to stop at a stop sign to make a left turn on the road you are already on, hi hi.
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yogi
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by yogi »

There seems to be a theory that if you designed roads so that there were never any left turns the traffic would always flow smoothly. It sure seems that way, but I don't know how practical that would be. I also read about an experiment performed by some school of MIT. They took all the traffic controls off the main roads in some small town. In addition to that they created crosswalks that were diagonal at the intersection of two streets. This did not eliminate the congestion at main intersections, but it did improve the flow of traffic by some large percentage. I don't recall the exact numbers now. Apparently when left to their own devices, drivers will make the right choices and allow pedestrians to cross unharmed. I don't know how many lanes of traffic each street had, but it was the ones with at least two lanes in each direction that saw the greatest improvements. I have a lot of confidence in that experiment because more than once I've been in situations where the traffic lights went out and it didn't seem to produce any gridlock. Everyone was courteous and driving carefully at the intersection. Amazingly everyone stopped before crossing even though there were no signs put up yet.
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Kellemora
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by Kellemora »

There was a new experimental town somewhere named New Memphis, but it wasn't in Tennessee, and I don't remember now where it was. But they had their own laws about that city and one of them was no left hand turns except at controlled intersections, and there were not very many of those, hi hi. You had to make three rights to go left, hi hi.
It could be the same place you are talking about too? Since they had no traffic lights. And I think the controlled intersections were actually bridge like overpasses where you exited from the left lane instead of the right.

Back when I was driving OTR, there was an area down in Texas, wish I remembered what city I was going into. But all big trucks had their own road, like an outer road sorta after you left the highway. Once you were off the highway and onto this road, there were no cars allowed on it, they had their own road next to it. But when I got down near the industrial area, I saw no cars at all. The road for trucks went behind the industrial buildings, and the road for cars was in front of the industrial buildings. It was an interesting set-up there. Keeping trucks off the main drag probably alleviated much congestion too.

I was lucky to have finished on your website yesterday. Our cable Internet went out and was out until like 7:30 pm. Comcast claimed it was a power outage at the repeater that served our area, and it was up to the electric company to get the power restored, and when they did, we would be back up and running again. Sure seems like they could have routed our Internet around a different way, but I guess not the way things are done down here.
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yogi
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by yogi »

I noted that you posted here later in the day than you normally would. In fact I don't recall you ever posting so late in the day. LOL I'm glad to learn that nothing more serious than a power outage was the problem. Routing on the Internet isn't controlled by any one company. The ISP's control how their signals get to the big switches on the main trunks, but that's it. So, if a repeater goes out, there may or may not be another way to get to that big switch. I would think a company like Comcast would have alternatives, but maybe not.

It's very possible you and I read the same story about traffic without left turns. I play a game that simulates a city that you can build from scratch. It is something like Sim City, but it's not. The one I'm playing is made by somebody else. One of the things that can be done is laying out roads of various types. There is everything from a single lane street to a six lane one way highway road complete with on and off ramps. After the city reaches a certain population the traffic patterns start to get complicated. Most of the congestion is at intersections with heavy traffic and cars turning from one main rout onto another. I have in fact constructed intersections without left turns. They look something like a cloverleaf. The traffic volume stays the same or increases but the congestion is no longer at the intersection. It is instead at the third right turn to get onto that intersecting highway. In some cases that helps the traffic flow and in other cases it makes it worse. The best solution generally involves creating a traffic circle at the busy intersection. Then again, this is all a game and a simulation. I don't know how any of that would work in reality, but it is kind of fun seeing how things develop.
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Kellemora
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by Kellemora »

There was a while there when Comcast was intermittent. They had a main trunk line running down Chapman Highway for their commercial businesses, and had a separate trunk line that ran down Eddington Road, to Sims Road, and that is where my connection came from. They have since installed a new trunk line that comes down Maryville Pike to Martin Mill Road, and that is where our feed comes from now.
But if a utility pole gets knocked down, even though the electric may go out, the cable usually stays on.
I never heard of repeaters on cable lines, but I do know there is a booster box at the end of my street for the cable.
Maybe that's the same thing? Maybe not? It has a green LED light on it, and if that light ever turns red, which it has a few times since I've lived here, you'll soon see a Comcast truck there servicing it. I think there is a battery in it also. Driving around, you can recognize these boxes all over the place, and they have nothing to do with the WiFi boxes they have been installing near the commercial areas.
The booster box is about 20 inches tall, 14 inches wide, and 10 inches deep. The WiFi boxes are only like 2 inches thick, 6 inches high, and 4 inches wide, with two black heavy wires, like antenna a presume tacked vertically to the sides of the utility pole. The only light I've seen on them is an orange flashing light which is barely noticeable unless you are right under it.
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Kellemora
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by Kellemora »

Continuing from above:

They have installed some roundabouts here also. At the normally busy intersection, it has actually caused a larger backup than when they had lights. But it did thin down because many drivers avoid that road, and take one a street over, on a narrow street which now has a ton of more traffic per day.

We have some really crazily marked roads here, many of which are in violation of the driving rules and laws. Lots of signs that are technically illegal also in what they tell you to do.

They have taken a few of our four lane roads and turned them into three lane roads with a bicycle path on each side. The center lane is for making left turns only. If you use it to pass someone, you could get a ticket. Also, in a few places where I guess many folks used it as a passing lane, they have now put up plastic poles to put a stop to it.
But there are a couple of areas down here where everyone and their brother drives on the median and uses it like a lane changing ramp, hi hi. The cone shaped medians do run out fairly fast, and a few times I've almost been clobbered by someone reaching the end of the median while beside me and wanting to get over in my lane.
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yogi
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by yogi »

A repeater, technically, only regenerates the original signal and passes it on. That would be like a bridge on your LAN. An amplifier on the other hand does what the name implies; it amplifies. In theory they are two different things, but obviously an amplifier duplicates the original signal while increasing its amplitude. Therefore an amplifier is also a repeater. As far as Comcast is concerned, the amplifier would draw more power than a simple repeater and I can see why they would prefer one over the other. The quality of the signal a the customers' terminal is only an issue if they are paying big bucks for the good service.

While I enjoy simulation type games they are not always a reflection of reality. Some programmer develops the code and whatever limitations s/he may have regarding traffic engineering go into the coding. Simulators used for educational purposes are likely more true to real life, but the ones I've been playing with are just games. There are a few places around here that have traffic round abouts and I never could see the sense to them unless there were maybe half a dozen or more roads converging at the same point. I don't like navigating through them and am constantly amazed at the fact there are so few accidents. I guess drivers become extra careful when placed in confusing situations.
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Kellemora
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by Kellemora »

I still have antenna gain amplifiers, two are in use at the house right now. All they do is inject more power into the existing signal. Basically, if the received signal is under 10 it pushes it back up to 100 by injecting the power somehow.
While a repeater normally listens on one band for a signal, then retransmits it on another band. Almost all ham repeaters have fixed input and output frequencies. So if you want to use the repeater, you transmit on the input frequency, and listen on the output frequency.
I can see both methods being used on Cable as well as in-the-air signals.

Simulation type games, although phun, are nothing at all like a real simulator.
When I worked at McDonnell-Douglas, they had a couple dozen flight simulators for all types of planes.
When they upgrade to newer equipment, they would often move the old simulator down to a recreation area we could go to at lunch if we wanted to. It was in a building far away from the building I worked in, so only headed over there a couple of times when we were given a two hour lunch for one reason or another. Only got to use the simulator twice while I was there, and I crashed both times, and within minutes, hi hi. But some of the guys who had a lot of practice, they could tie up the simulator for a full fifteen minutes, which was the time limit for a person using one.

Hmm, there have been several accidents at the roundabout on the way to Maryville.
Most of them were someone making a right turn on the next street past another entrance street and got broadsided.
Understanding what lane to be in to exit at which road can be more than just confusing.
If you came in on A, and have to pass B, to get to C.
B also exits into C in the outside lane, but so does A exit at C in the left lane.
Now if someone got on at B intending to go to D, they will have to cross lane A which is going right into C's left lane.
If you get on at B and don't want to exit at C, you have to jump over to lane A or you will have to exit at C also.
It is a crazy roundabout. Not the simple one for 3 or 4 entrances and exits that all work from the outside lane.
At this one, the outside lane MUST exit at the next street it comes to. If not, exiting cars will be crossing your path.
As I said, it is a crazy one!
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yogi
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by yogi »

I kind of doubt that the cable company repeaters work like the ham radio ones. For on thing the cable people are using wires for signal transmission and not air space. They also have a much broader bandwidth to contend with and are not dealing with individual frequencies per se. In essence cable repeaters are just passing on the signal to a wired network. You are not tuned into the cable repeater directly at your home, but of course the signal got to your place by passing through one or more repeaters. In the cable world repeaters are there just to compensate for line loss and probably to match impedences too. What you describe for ham radio is more like a duplex transceiver. I think the repeater functions are slightly different in cable verses ham radio.

The traffic roundabouts I've been in only have two lanes at most. I typically stay in the outer lane regardless of where I want to exit. That makes my choices a lot easier even if I do disrupt the incoming traffic by doing so. LOL Here in O'Fallon the two roundabouts I can think of make no sense at all. They are located at the junction of two low traffic residential streets and could easily be traversed without a roundabout. The ones I'm thinking of are in subdivisions and I'd be willing to bet money that their HOA had something to do with installing those obnoxious roundabouts. They make no sense, just like the HOA's themselves.
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Kellemora
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by Kellemora »

I wonder Yogi? I have this box in my basement where the cable line comes in that is powered by a wall wart.
The cable company put it in to boost the signal from 1db up to 5 db. It is just an amplifier.
However, that being said, it had to be on the cable line, after the splitter, to the TV, not on the Internet cable.
Maybe it only works in one direction, I don't know. They installed it that way and said don't mess with it, hi hi.

I spent some time on-line, looking for the type of roundabout they have going into Maryville and didn't see one just like it.
Then too, I might be remembering it wrong also. It's been a few years since I took the route that way.
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yogi
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by yogi »

I'm not all that familiar with cable broadcasts so that I can't speak with any authority. It was my understanding that the Internet and the television and the telephone are all on one wire carrying a high frequency signal. I have all three of those services and am connected to the distribution box at the corner of my lot. Thus all I needed was a splitter to send the signal to the right wall outlets. There is only one type of cable running inside my house which tells me that all three services, TV, phone, and Internet are on that one line. The decoder box ahead of the television extracts the video and the modem on my desk extracts the Internet as well as the telephone audio. When a coll comes over the land line, we get the caller ID displayed on the television screen which is one more reason to believe all the services are on one wire. A 1 dB incoming signal seems kind of low level to me so that it makes sense to amplify it for distribution throughout your house. I can't see why they would amplify just one leg of the splitter output, but as I said 'm not too familiar with how that stuff works anyway.
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Kellemora
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by Kellemora »

When the wife had DirecTV and the Cable was Internet Only, we had a really high speed on the Cable Internet.
But after she dropped DirecTV and went back to the Cable TV & Internet, it was a noticeable slow down, but not enough to complain about.
I use Ooma for my landline service, which is VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol).
After you buy the box, usage is free except for federal taxes.
I can't see paying Comcast an extra 19.95 a month for something I can use for Free, and they don't have the features I have for free either. Now I do pay 9 bucks a month for some special features not even offered by Comcast.

My office is about 200 feet away from the modem and router in the house. I do have a coax running up here, but I don't use it for the Internet. I use my LAN from my office to the Router in the house for Internet. I get much better speeds that way.
Eons ago, when we first got Cable Internet, they did run the Internet to my office through the Cable, but they even said back then, the signal to up here is fairly weak and that was from a 5db tap. After I strung up the CAT5e LAN I found it to be much faster, so went that route ever since.

They have so many different frequencies running on those cable lines, it boggles the mind that they don't have a lot of crosstalk problems.

Our electric company has been playing with Internet over the power lines for several years now, and I think they finally have it perfected enough to sell. They are in the process of getting licensing from the FCC and our City to sell Internet services.
Now I've used the wiring in my house as a TV antenna in times past, it worked only fair, so now I have little antenna boxes that work digitally but pick up the local signals from the air. This way we can still watch something when the cable is down.
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yogi
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Re: Happy Pi Day

Post by yogi »

I never had cable services until we moved to Missouri. The Internet back home was DSL and around 7 mbps peak. I know it's hard to believe but that was sufficient for us even when we had guests visiting. Of course back then streaming video was just getting its legs so that we weren't really taxing the system very much. Also, the nice thing about DSL was that we had Internet access during power outages. The downside was only the battery powered laptops would work, but then we didn't do much computing during power outages. There was a time or two when the phone company also lost power along with us so that cell phones were the only way out.

As far as television goes we had an old fashioned TV antenna mounted on the peak of our roof and aimed at downtown Chicago which was about 25 miles from us as the crow flies. I was able to receive over 60 channels that way - some of them were even in English. LOL Oddly enough when they switched from analog to digital I didn't have any performance issues with reception. I did have to modify the TV receivers, but there was one unmodified TV that could still receive about half a dozen local analog channels. I think only one of those was in English, but still it was very impressive performance.

And the landline was truly a land line. Our phone cables were underground as were the A/C power cables. When we finally terminated service due to our moving I believe I was paying something close to $50/mo. The cable phone charge here is the same as yours, $20/mo. I'm not sure why we still have a land line.

We are at the mercy of the cable company here in Missouri. I think we are too far from STL for an outdoor antenna to be effective, and besides the HOA Gestapo would not allow it anyway. I'm not sure there are any alternatives to Internet access other than cable, or satellite which is poor quality and more expensive. There are two or three companies we can subscribe to but the fees are pretty much standardized. Something about a monopoly I would guess. If all we wanted was streaming, then we can get that from T-Mobile and a few dozen other places. I'm all for it, but then I don't watch TV. It's all my wife's choice. BTW, the bandwidth of cable TV can get to be over 500MHz depending on how many channels you have on that wire.
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