The Utilities of Shelter

The Information & Communication Systems

The Way of the Buddha:
Develop Sanctuary With Working Utilities.

Utilities that allow gathering, using, creating and communicating information can transform lives. Here is wisdom.

A quote from my book, Grasshopper StickieNotes, version 9.9.2, which can be found only in the dark moist recesses of my frontal lobes.

Television can deliver entertainment and news. In the KRCE you need either a good directional antenna or a satellite dish and a computer to get good television reception. "Off Air" TV is most likely Channel 10 from Medford (CBS) or it's affiliate from Klamath Falls.

Satellite is expensive to install and to pay the monthly fees. Internet TV and various 'content' companies offer post-broadcast programs and films, essentially for free - if you can afford the speedier downloads that video-over-Internet requires.

The most reliable Internet service in most of the KRCE is offered by Root Automation of Yreka. Root offers several levels of service. I use the lowest at the current price of $39.95/month. The download speed is slow, but videos can be viewed "OK" from both YouTube and NetFlix. In this photo on the lower right corner of the screen is a video I am playing from NetFlix.

I had been given a used, very old, TV antenna and pole. I mounted it to the worker's comfort trailer. In the photo the TV antenna is the one at the top of the pole. It is currently pointed at Klamath Falls for the best reception.

The Internet antenna is the smaller one mounted below the TV antenna. The one-time cost was about $200 for the install of Root's antenna and the technicians' time to optimize the antenna to 'lineup' with the main antenna behind Black Mountain near the Collier's Rest Stop on I-5.

Root strongly encourages you to have a metal pole to support the antennas. If your pole 'snaps' and damages the Root antenna - you will pay $199+ to replace it.

Telephone: You can put in a standard cable telephone if you want to pay the cost. I live right under a power pole with an AT&T cable. I was told by a neighbor that the cost would be about $600 for installation plus monthly fees and all long distance charges. I already owned a cell phone and reasoned it was more than enough for my needs. Trouble is - the cell towers are weak once you get off I-5 in our area. AT&T personnel at a Medford AT&T store said to me, "We can give you a 'booster amp' to help get your signal up.

So, I took the 'booster' home. I am an electronics technician. I know a thing or three about these amps. I hooked it up, following every instruction to the letter. At the next-to-the-last step I ran into a serious problem. The instructions said, "Now call your AT&T Customer Service representative and ask for the 'Booster' service techs. They will help you complete the setup of your booster amp with your computer."

Well, there was the heart of the problem. The booster amp had to be connected by a three foot long cable to my computer. My cell phone could get a cell tower signal only if I got in my car and drove to the top of the cul de sac on Mountain Street - about 600 feet away from my computer, to make the call. Even if I could get enough extension cords to allow me to reach that 600+ feet the voltage drop over that distance would cause the computer to 'burn out' its' power supply. Even if I could buy several power booster transformers to keep the power up to needed levels, it'd still be a 'dicey thing' to get a cell tower signal that I could hold on to.

You see, I had learned by now that silence of five seconds during a call would almost immediately cause the cell tower to terminate the call. I can only assume that the brilliant minds of AT&T had determined through some dimwit social research institute that silence of five seconds, or more, meant someone was 'dead' and therefore not in need of connection to their cell tower. With tears in my eyes, I came to the conclusion that although I was reasonably sure that I was alive, AT&T would probably never be convinced of this.

So, in my best effort to actualize my Polyanna personality, I walked up to the cul de sac that blustery evening and dialed Customer Service. The automated answering service guided me through the five or six options and I finally got to the end and found there was NO way of getting to the Booster Service techs without going through the "0" option - which was the last of the choices. I pushed the "0" and was immediately responded to by an automated voice saying, "You are on the waiting line for the AT&T switchboard.............insert lots of ads for AT&T services..........You are number 27 out of an infinite number ahead of you. Will you hold?" Of course, I said, "Yes". And the voice said, "Your waiting time is estimated at 35 minutes, Thank you for your patience."

I waited; I froze to the wet soil at the cul de sac; I shivered sometimes uncontrollably; but, I WAITED with my teeth being steadily ground down. Finally, a voice came on. I could tell immediately that I was talking with a person whose accent and word usage sounded as if he were from India, maybe even IN India! I'm patient and though still shivering I managed to get him to understand my situation.

To his credit, he KNEW my problem. He said, "Sir, sadly I must ask you one question. Are you calling from a cell phone?" I said, "Yes, it is why I have this booster amp to begin with." He said, "Oh dear Sir, this is the problem. You must have a regular land-line cable telephone service in order for this to work." I said, "I have not seen anything on the Internet site about this nor in the paper instructions in the box and the woman in Medford had not said anything about that either." He said, "I will bring that to the attention of our marketing staff and they may correct it soon." With a sense of total defeat washing over my freezing soulless body, I terminated the call, walked back to the trailer and calmly put the booster amp back in its box. I will NEVER return it to AT&T - their loss!

Cell phones are my only hope here. I have learned to accept that I will have 'hit or miss' connections and that I will be disconnected often by the dystopian gods of cellphone hell.


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