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Back in the land of the living…

I am with Sky for most everything – net, TV, landline… Now the modem/router has been “on the blink”* for sometime and finally joined the digital choir invisible on Saturday. So I’d got a TP-Link replacement. Top-notch piece of kit. Think fine – set it up – and all that – easy as falling off a log. Except I tried everything short consorting with wiser heads and virgin sacrifice**.

It turns out – and at no point did Sky or TP-Link make this clear that Skynet** only works with Sky modem/routers. And I’d spoken to Sky and they’d only told me to get a new gizmo – they didn’t tell me it had to be a Sky one! It was only later when my wife howled at them they said, “Er…” So had to buy one from them. I had originally thought they might replace their hardware buckshee but we seem these days to live in the land of negative customer loyalty. I mean they offer reduced deals for some months to new customers but if you have been with ‘em for years they couldn’t give a toss. I don’t like that. And they are all at it. BT, TalkTalk and all the rest of ‘em.

So, I’m back online. Thank the Gods of TCP/IP!

If anyone in the UK needs to buy a pretty high-spec wifi modem/router which is really nearly new then I am your man.

But being de-netted was dreadful. It was almost like being dead. It was like I kept on thinking things like, “There’s gotta be a solution online”. Then, “Oh bugger!”. It was like having a Speccy without a tape recorder. And it was really pissing me of because of my recent getting of a new laptop (8Gb Lenovo S440 with a Core i5 CPU). I was peeved.

*a techie term meaning roughly, “Circling the drain in the House of the Fucked”.

**Problem is round here there is no way to find three wise men and a virgin so no second-coming for us.

***For that is what I call it.


  1. hubris69 says:

    Is exactly the same with TalkTalk, their routers/modems or you canst GTFO; cann’t pick up the wireless even if you stand in front of it with your phone/laptop/tablet…cheap arse POS…

  2. John Galt says:

    Which is why some of us have backup solutions in the form of a Pay As You Go 3G/4G Wireless USB dongle which can be enabled pretty quickly and pretty cheaply.

    My 3G backup dongle from 3 Mobile is £10 for 1GB of data over 30 days, so as an emergency backup there when needed it is ideal. It doesn’t replace your Sky landline, but it’s better than nothing.

    Three Mobile Dongle

    I’ve got a similar solution in Malaysia, but it’s half the price and 4G.

  3. Sam Duncan says:

    Ouch. TP-Link is quality stuff but, hey, Lord Amstrad has to eat, you know.

    My connection went down for a day or two a couple of years back, and I hadn’t realised just how much I’d come to rely on it. I had a computer for 15 years before I got an Internet connection. What did I do with it?

    It really brought home to me how much these things have gone from being universal Turing machines, capable of doing anything the user wants, shipped with programming languages as their operating systems, into communications devices: glorified TVs and phones, even the ones that aren’t explicitly sold as such. And I’ve been sucked into it (almost) as much as the next guy.

  4. Julie near Chicago says:

    Heh! JG, nothing, but NOTHING, replaces a land-line … but thank whoever’s on the lookout Upstairs that AT&T has finally seen fit to produce a dongle that works with the Mac! (Course I got suckered into buying an AirBook to go with the dongle, but hey…. Still, it’s only 11″ and lots easier to lug around than the 17″. OTOH, why does it make me think of the lady who saved $ 15 on her new dress so naturally she spent $ 1500 on the new purse, shoes, and hat to go with it?).

  5. Julie near Chicago says:

    Oh, and congrats, Nick. Now you gots your Dream Machine and even a way to tune in, turn on, and hopefully NOT drop out! ;)

  6. NickM says:

    I dropped out years back ;-) You are right about landlines but BT (who still have a virtual monopoly) can’t be arsed to fibre my street. The Cu phone line is on poles so it should be simples with no need to dig. But…

    I shall bear it in mind but I have no, I repeat no, mobile coverage where I live. You see folks with their mobiles holding them at weird angles half-way down the road. And 4G! And if someone gets two bars it’s like, “Woo hoo!!!”.

  7. Roue le Jour says:

    My village has no sewers or streetlights, but we have a 3G mobile mast. Ya gotta get your priorities straight. ;)

  8. RAB says:

    Well maybe 3 Mobile is the business, but Vodafone certainly isn’t. I have one of their dongles specifically for use on those weekends when we are visiting my mum in Cardiff, because being 90 she doesn’t have broadband. The reception with it is so poor (one bar) pretty much everywhere we use it, so it is slower than dial up. And when we bought it, it worked like a pay as you go phone, you bung some money on it and when it is used up you top it up, no time limits, but now we find the bastards have changed it to a 30 day limit. Did they have the courtesy to inform us that the’d changed the rules? Did they fuck!

    We were in Cardiff a fortnight ago and of course the money had run out so we had to top it up. This should be a piece of piss online, but not with Vodafone. So we had to ring them up as per fuckin usual. And what do we find? There is a problem with the network. Well when will it be fixed, in a couple of hours? Er no, in two days! Vodafone are utterly fuckin pathetic. I’m gonna get broadband put in my mum’s. I’ll try a 3 Mobile too.

  9. Julie near Chicago says:

    Nick, That article is the first bright light I have seen in many a moon, or millenium. Let’s hear it for DIY and let everyone else do the same.

    This business of depending on The Infrastructure, and The Gov to keep it going, has some huge downsides.

    Congrats to the folks of Lune Valley and B4RN. And thanks to you for the link!

  10. Julie near Chicago says:

    Still, you can’t win for losin’. The AirBook (technically, a MacBook Air) does have the usual built-in local-wireless receiver-cum-modem (Apple calls its system “Airport,” if anybody cares), so you can use public wi-fi and at least any problems won’t be your own. Usually.

    On the other hand, it does NOT have an ethernet port! If you want to use your land-line (thereby saving $ 10/G, but min. $ 50/mo), there’s an adapter you can buy. It requires a software driver. That you load from the included DVD. The AirBook (and I think most Netbooks) does not have a DVD player; one reason it’s so light.

    [At least my little old Acer has a built-in ethernet port. (But its cell-system doesn't work anymore. Keeps dropping the signal. Experts cannot fathom why.)]

    But all is not lost. You can download the driver.

    –IF you’re someplace that either has public wi-fi, or good enough AT&T cell-phone coverage that the AirBook can tune in and not drop out. Which is not everywhere, even in the 80 (driving) miles from Rockford to my former home, and all Near Chicago.

    I’m thinking of going to a system where you engrave your message on a stone tablet using a stylus made specially for the purpose. Has the virtue, too, of keeping msgs short, sort of like the antique method of “texting.” Transmission is via horse-&-rider. Only problem is, where to stash the horse.

  11. NickM says:

    The lack of ethernet on the MacAir surprises me. My Thinkpad has one. Admittedly it shipped with Win8 which I am going to have to whip into shape like a naughty C18th schoolboy. I have also contemplated the tablet computing – in the sense of ancient cuneiform ;-) As to DVD players – external USB ones are cheap. I’m considering getting an enclosure for the DVD from my now replaced Toshiba Tecra M9. I mean yanking it out. I’m also gonna take the HD and enclose that. I am a digital cannibal. My Thinkpad doesn’t have a DVD either so that is my solution for getting my stuff and getting a DVD drive (which I will rarely need but is sometimes vital). I just like to re-use things. There has gotta be some way to USB to LAN. Not neat but… And if it’s USB3 it should be pretty fast.

  12. Julie near Chicago says:

    I’m sure there is. The Ethernet adapter plugs into the USP port on the AirBook.

    The AT&T dongle I got for the AirBook will also take signal off your wireless router, if I understand correctly, and of course the computer uses the radio signal from the dongle. (The USB port is just for power to the dongle.)

    Or–maybe I’m misunderstanding you. Can you ethernet from your Lenovo to the Thinkpad? I’d thought I could just connect up my 2 MacBook Pro’s via USB and they would see each other as peripherals, like an external HD, so I wouldn’t have to copy one to an actual HD and then have the other take the stuff from the HD; but no. Of course Mac has all this sync stuff and whatnot, but I don’t want to mess with that.

    I don’t see why we can’t go back to an earlier, simpler time. IBM 7070, 7094 mainframes. 64 whole K !!!! or even the S/370 & clones, which nobody understood the machines, but 370 Assembly Language is the absolute berries (along with ’94 Fortran IV G or H). Once you understood JCL, which you would suddenly grasp in a flash of insight during your 12-year-old’s soccer game — that would be about 8 years after you got out of the business — Wow!

  13. Welcome back!

    “But being de-netted was dreadful. “

    I feel your pain.

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