Browsing "Internet"
Apr 1, 2013 -

Panera Morning

Gah, another heavy sky day ahead and I was down 45AH this morning. I ran the engine for an hour and gained 7AH, but that still put me at 38AH down and no charging in sight. It was definitely going to be a coffee shop kind of day.

I’d noticed a Panera Bread while running errands the other day, so I headed out there. It’s quiet, the food’s good, there’s power, and I’m even using the wifi since I am going through bandwidth like crazy this month and my cell connection is SUPER slow in Von Ormy (which is strange since I had high speed internet on the beach).

The only downside is that they don’t serve soup until lunch and I didn’t want to be here during the lunch rush, so I’m having to make due with a sandwich when I really wanted a bowl of their broccoli cheddar soup. I may end up taking some to go for my dinner! I did score a free brownie since I had my birthday recently. How lovely of them! It just came up when the gal scanned my card. This is the second or third time I’ve had a freebie in the short time I’ve had and used the card.

It is nice to get an excuse to go out like this, but, really, a little sun would be nice!

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Batteries, Battery Monitor, Boondocking/Dry camping, Communications & Electronics, Countries, Electricity, Internet, Restaurants, Solar Panels, Technical, Texas, Travel, USA, Weather    1 Comment
Feb 27, 2013 -

Thinking About Saskatchewan

It’s hard to believe that I will be back in Canada in about 10 weeks. I don’t really want to think about that, but the fact is that I’m heading for rural territory with no idea of what services, if any, will be available to me. As things stand, I have no internet options whatsoever besides public wifi for Canada since I broke my ties with Telus. I’ve conceded that the only decent Canada-wide plan that would work for me is that offered by Bell with its Turbo Hub, so that’s what I’m looking at getting. I did email SaskTel to see what my hard wired options are and got a stock reply that had nothing to do with my question, as expected. I’d rather stick with a nationwide provider and mobile internet anyway.

When I bought my property, there was zero cell service in the village and for miles around. Now, I’m seeing coverage up to the limits of the community. This gives me hope that a booster would work. I contacted a company that puts together booster systems for folks in rural municipalities to see what they have to offer for my situation and at what cost. At this point, I’m looking at $300 for the Turbo Hub, plus about $70 a month for 10GB (remember I got FIVE GB for that price from Telus), so even if I end up forking out an extra $500 for a booster, I’m still well ahead of what it would cost to get a hard wired connection, if one is even possible.

I want to avoid landing without having a solid plan for getting online even if it takes a week or two to execute that plan. The loose ideaat this point is to get to my property and take a few days to meet the neighbours and establish a good enough relationship to determine if a summer there will be feasible. Who knows, the neighbours could end up being great and offer to sell me power, hard wired internet, water, and access to a toilet for dumping with a macerator, or they could all be horrible people who decide to run me out of town. I just won’t know till I get there.

It is encouraging to see that cell phone coverage map expand exponentially. I’m still seeing a big dead spot around my old homestead in the Gatineau Hills, but that’s no surprise. Saskatchewan is the second to last frontier in Canada (much more so than even Yukon, the NWT, or Nunavut, and just ahead of Quebec outside of the Montreal-QC City corridor)), so I’m gratified to see them moving ahead quickly, with their coverage map jumping in leaps and bounds.

I’m not looking forward to going back to Canada, but I’m slowly taking my head out of the sand about the notion of it. 🙂

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Canada, Cell Phone, Communications & Electronics, Countries, Internet, Saskatchewan, Technical, Travel    3 Comments
Feb 4, 2013 -

Early Morning Visitor

No sooner did I have the front door open this morning (the weather has been lovely enough to just use the screen door all day) and the truck started that there was a knock. Thankfully, I was dressed! I turned off the kettle as it was whistling and turned my attention to my visitor, a French Canadian gentleman with the very, very French Canadian name of Jean-Guy.

He asked me if it was my wifi signal that he had picked up the night before on his booster. I explained that I use Verizon and he noted the info, impressed by the fact that I can use the voice plan in Canada. The cost would be a bit much for someone looking just for email, but it sounds like he uses a lot of bandwidth as he actually understands the concept of bandwidth usage.

I gently told him that I consider using those wifi boosters to seek and use open wifi signals is theft (I put it much more politely than that). I said the same thing to the other French-Canadian couple parked near me. I have no problem with the idea of using one of those to get access to a McDonald’s connection from a parking lot since their wifi is free (no purchase necessary) and it’s too slow to be able to steal any bandwidth worth mentioning. But using one to find a random signal from a house in the wilderness is wrong, as evidenced by the fact that the signal was locked down while he was using it.

He’s essentially traveling the same route as me, but backwards, and is headed for New Orleans, having stopped here to avoid the Super Bowl crowds.

Finally, he asked me an amusing question, do I pass myself off as québécoise or French Canadian? I replied the latter. He nodded in agreement, saying, “Me too! Franco-Ontarians and Franco-Manitobans hate our guts! Here’s a tip: don’t wave a Quebec flag around unless you want to alienate the neighbours!” I suddenly had this vision of him and his wife getting run out of a campground by a bunch of angry non-separatist French Canadians waving dirty sewer hoses!

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Communications & Electronics, Internet, Nice Folks, Social, Technical    4 Comments