Monday, November 24, 2003

suboptimal connections

I didn't get a chance to write a weblog entry from home this weekend. I ended up only being in the hometown area for only a little more than a couple of hours, because I was worried that there was going to be a blizzard and I was going to be stranded there. So I ended up driving over ten hours total on Saturday so that I could attend my Cousin Steve's wedding.

I did get a chance to look at my mother's computer while I was home and confirmed my suspicion that her excruciatingly slow Internet connection seems to be the result of a slow dial-up link (and maybe a slow PC). Rural America is increasingly left behind as the web presumes faster hookups. I think my mother is only connecting at 28.8k. For double the cost and a $75 installation fee, I could bump her up to their wireless service which is only 256k.

My mother has got the idea from my sister Faye that one thing she might be able to do to speed up her service is give a call to the technical support people at Faye actually did get some problem she was having with her account solved by calling Of course, that she was able to do this probably has something to do with the fact that she lives in Atlanta and actually gets her e-mail service from My mother's Internet service, on the other hand, comes from a company based in Iowa that I send money to on my mother's behalf every month--it's the only service provider available there because big companies like MSN and AOL don't service rural areas. Given that my mother doesn't and cannot get her Internet service from, I don't think they would be as helpful for my mom as they were for Faye.

The confusion comes in because my mother and sister both use Hotmail, which is, after all, a MSN product. I don't know if my sister Faye has latched onto this and keeps telling my mom that MSN can help her with her connection problem, or if she just told my mom once and my mom skeeps repeating it to me. Anyway, I can't seem to explain to my Mom that even though they both use Hotmail for their e-mail, Faye gets her Internet service from the same company that makes Hotmail and my mother does not, and that what really matters for your connection is the company you use to get your Internet service. I mean, if you understand that last sentence, you understand exactly what I seem unable to convey to my Mom. Let me know if you have any ideas for analogies or whatever that would help my Mom understand why calling the company that makes Hotmail could yield results for my sister Faye but not for me.

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