In Which I Whine About Slightly Less Convenient Technological Miracles

By , July 28, 2010

This blog and our main Web site come to you via satellite Internet. It’s a less-convenient, far more expensive alternative to on-the-grid Internet services, but for the most part, it works well for us.

As part of a community of users, we bear the responsibility not to use too much bandwidth. For this reason, the provider monitors usage, limiting each account to 2 GB of download capability in a rolling 7-day period. If one exceeds that limit, one gets cut back to dial-up speed until usage drops below a certain threshold. However, there’s a daily “free period” when usage isn’t monitored.That period used to be 12-6am Eastern time, which meant that here in Alaska, the free period began at 9:00 pm. Yesterday I found out through unofficial channels that the free download period has changed to 12-6am local. This explains how I exceeded the bandwidth allowance recently, and why, despite careful usage, I haven’t been able to reduce usage appreciably.

This is going to change things for us. Formerly, we enjoyed the added value of live streaming movies on our Netflix account, as long as we waited till 9:00 pm. Now we’ll have to institute a “midnight movies” feature to our home entertainment. Far more critically, I can’t yet tell what this may do to my freelance Website development, but I guess I’d better be ready to burn the midnight oil on occasion. There are many other changes that this will bring as well, such as staying up or getting up late to download software updates.

Seems like they could have told us! We understand the change, and acknowledge the fairness of it. We had a great “loophole,” and appreciated it while it lasted. Actually, it was a major enticement to use the service to begin with, but now, I guess, it’s done. I just wish the information had been provided by the company before the change! I’m still waiting to see if they’ll bother to tell us at all.

Still, the fact that we have Internet at all on an off-the-grid homestead is pretty cool. Go ahead, call me a whiner. I realize it’s a technological miracle that I can do this at all. The new policy lessens the value of the product, but we still have the product!

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