Fiber to my curb

Throwing caution (and non-installable cable) to the wind, I signed up for AT&T’s new fiber U-Verse service this week. As you may remember from last time, a tree had fallen on my potential for cable internet and the estimate to get everything in the neighborhood back up and running was the end of the month. That just wasn’t going to work. It was too expensive to begin with and not having it for a whole month wasn’t sitting well with me. With freakish timing, mere minutes after finding out the diagnosis from Comcast, a rep from AT&T called saying U-Verse was now available in our neighborhood. That’s really all it took.

The install is scheduled for the week of the 20th, but it wasn’t all magic pie and fairy dust getting there. I had to go through four different customer service reps, a couple of calls to a manager and a couple of revisions to my package to get to that point. Seems there was a sticking point about my credit card. I don’t have one. I don’t believe in them, as a principle. They required one for the install, as a security deposit option for the hardware. I gave them my debit card number and apparently they can tell it wasn’t a non-bank issued card. I went round and round with them about it. They kept saying that a “real” credit card is more secure and a bank card isn’t. I pressed the managers on the fact that my “bank card” is in fact a real card that I get cash back on, get points from and has exactly the same consumer protections as a “real card.” Eventually I won and thus the service was scheduled.

What amazes me is the speed and depth of the package. Compared to the Comcast package, it’s really quite stunning. Here’s the break down:

Comcast: 72, including local
AT&T: 200, plus local

Comcast Cable Modem: 5mbps down, 384k/up
AT&T Max Elite: 12mpbs down, 1.5mbps up

Comcast: VoIP, which kills bandwidth
AT&T: Regular phone line, not over the fiber

Comcast: 1 DVR per TV, extra charge
AT&T: 4 Stream DVR. 1 box, 4 TVs, 4 recordings at once.

Comcast: $99 for 6 months, plus DVR charge. $110 now, $160 after.
AT&T: $89 for 12 months ($10 disc on internet). $99 after.

Comcast: wanted to charge $35 to “move” the service.
AT&T: $200 VISA gift card for switching!

Bye Bye Comcast. Hello sweet sweet fiber to my curb!

Of course getting connected again is only part of my house projects. I also hit up Lowe’s for about $100 worth of supplies yesterday.

I replaced a shower head, extended a gutter drain spout, got about a million random light bulbs, got a new dryer vent hood to keep all the little critters out of the dryer (old one broken in the storm), got replacement pieces for things like light fixtures, the mailbox and some furniture and I still have to go back for more later. I’m actually kind of enjoying it. Random patch jobs and little repairs are about the extent of my handiness. I’ll need to defer to the experts (father and father-in-law) to show me the way in terms of installing things like ceiling fans and light kits. But I did hook up the gas washer and dryer, so, really, how hard could that stuff be? lol.

So much to do, so little time.

Big update

So, where were we? Oh yeah, life. Post-storm life has just been moving at an insane clip. The week following the storm, after cleaning up and clearing debris, I spent the remainder of the time packing for our move to the new house. Yes, after all that, we still had to move. Apartment leases are just wonderful like that. Plus FEMA had already reserved our apartment for a displaced family, so we needed to be out as soon as possible. That was OK with me, we were already partially moved anyway and I had the week off (NASA was closed) so it was a good use of my time. So, I packed, cleaned, packed and moved what I could by myself until that weekend when we recruited some help from friends.

Then, last Monday it was back to work for a whirlwind week of catch-up followed by more packing in the evenings. Finally, last weekend we got more help from friends and were able to move the last of the furnature and boxes. We were completely out by the 30th and living in our brand new house. Of course, there are boxes piled up to our eyeballs, but that’s all par for the course.

We’ll be unpacking at least until Christmas. I kid you not.

We’re also having a bit of trouble with the utilities. Seems that cable can’t be installed because the drop from the poll to the neighborhood is lying under a pile of trees and broken fence pieces. Of course, it’s in the neighbors yard, who are renters and haven’t cleaned up anything yet. Comcast doesn’t do debris removal and won’t touch it until it’s cleaned off. So, my options are to wait until the end of the earth for the neighbors to pick up the fallen tree OR find a chainsaw. I’m going with option B. My Sears card is tingling.

Other than that, everything is going pretty well. The house is great. I can’t wait to get unpacked and make it feel more like home. Then I plan on doing all the crazy fun things I can to “hack” the house. I’ve got a 1000ft box of Cat5 and a 30 port switch to wire the house with, instructions to make home made mosquito traps, a bunch of old X10 stuff to install, and plans for building all sorts of crazy things like charging stations and peg board wiring things. It’s going to be awesome.

Matt out.

Why I’m not voting

They both suck. Bailouts suck. I’m pissed off at the whole mess.

Obama’s top contributors:
Goldman Sachs $691,930
University of California $611,207
Citigroup Inc $448,599
JPMorgan Chase & Co $442,919

McCain’s Top Contributors:
Merrill Lynch $298,413
Citigroup Inc $269,251
Morgan Stanley $233,272
Goldman Sachs $208,395
JPMorgan Chase & Co $179,975