Jul 302014

I have this great idea for the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Curse of the Crappy Wifi. Capt. Jack Sparrow spends the entire movie sailing around the island of Key West in a failed search for a wifi signal. Based on a true story.

When tech works it’s great, when it doesn’t, and your livelihood depends on it, not so much. Yesterday started off with yet another day where Beacon, those merry band of internet providers for marinas, failed yet again. The signal has been down for nearly a week now, most likely due to a lightning strike. I’ve made several calls and emails with assurances that scientists were working on the problem but so far, nothing. The last email I got informed me that Beacon was contacting Comcast, the great satan themselves, to look into the problem. Apparently, Beacon uses satan to spread their signal. That instilled so much confidence in me that they would get this thing fixed as you can well imagine. As of this post, I still don’t have internet.

But wait! There is much more.

Yesterday morning I also managed to squeeze out some internet on my iPhone where I discovered that the Fritter along with 5 of my other sites were all down. Hostgator is the culprit in this case so I tried to ascertain what the problem might be. As it happens, Hostgator was smart enough to set up a Twitter account for support and there in all it’s 140 character glory was the ongoing saga of why the sites were down. Seems there were issues with the DNS or domain name servers coming from the program that actually hosts domain names. DNS is the code that points a domain to the website. When it fails, everything fails.
To Hostgator’s credit, they stayed on this and updated through their Twitter account. It took all morning but they did finally resolve the issue and all sites are back up and running, I think.

Which brings us to round three of Capt. Fritter’s day of tech futility.

Sprint, my iPhone provider has not had the best of signals out here on this spit of land on Stock Island. It’s been weak and unreliable at best ranging between decent LTE speed to less than dial up speed 3G. Apps take forever to update and load, webpages even longer, and forget about any video. That ain’t happening.

Well, all this occurring at the same time yesterday really didn’t do a lot of good for my happy joy island attitude. Right now I’m pissed at all things tech. I am at a loss as to what to do about this situation.

Ever since I moved to Key West, getting a reliable internet connection has been next to impossible. Comcast is not going to happen. They are the worst company on the planet and I refuse to tie up with them. Beacon has been unreliable at best and expensive. Plus now that I find they are in bed with Comcast, is it worth it to continue to try and use them? I’ve been reasonably happy with Sprint until lately. I’m not sure if it is the location, maybe interference from the other boats in the marina who have radar, the sheriff office next door, something is blocking the signal. I hope Sprint is not playing around with throttling those of us who use the unlimited plan. That would be most upsetting.

There has to be something more better out there. Open Garden offers some hope for the future but it requires you to be in range of someone else who uses it too. And I am probably the only one on the island who has even heard of it.
I was using Tether a couple of years ago with some success but Apple has left them in the dust with all the new operating systems. Tether no longer works with anything Apple unless you use really old OS versions and an attempt to link to the website shows a blank page so it would appear they are gone.

It’s flusterating as all hell to have all this ability and knowledge to make a living and live a simple life using the inter webs as platform, yet be unable to obtain a simple and reliable signal to get on said inter webs.

There has to be something more better out there.

Capt. Fritter

  9 Responses to “When Tech Fails…”

  1. have you taken your blood pressure lately?
    you may be joining my club.
    and i don’t have NEARLY those many problems to deal with.
    be careful.
    ‘cox’ is our equivalent to your comcast apparently.
    and i am kicked off the internet … “you have been disconnected from the internet”
    at least 3 or 4 times a day. i don’t know if it’s because i’m in a commercial bundle
    through the apartment complex … or what.
    but if i stay too long at it … or if i open too many sites …
    they disconnect me. i have to reboot at the electric source. crazy.
    i called them about it and they were innocent of any such problem. yes. thank you.
    and if i were making my living at it like you are. i’d be LIVID.

  2. RVers are having good luck with the most recent Verizon Jetpack wifi. An older one had problems but the current one is getting rave reviews. Probably an expensive fix, though.

    • I had a Sprint hotspot which worked but was expensive. Other issue…data caps. I’m a very heavy user and cannot be restrained with low data caps.
      C. F.

      • How is T-Mobile coverage down there? I stayed in Sugarloaf Key last year and I think I remember having a good 4g signal. I pay $60 a month for unlimited data and that includes using my phone as a hotspot. Maybe I’ll just have to get down there sooner than later and test the coverage again near the marina…for research purposes of course

        • Unknown. T-Mobile has no store in Key West and the one in Marathon was closed last time I was there. 4 yrs ago. I would do more with Sprint as a hotspot were it not for data caps.
          C. F.

          • I was just doing some searching for some internet solutions for you. I came across a company called freedompop. http://www.freedompop.com I plugged in the address for sunset marina. They sell a wifi hotspot for $20. With that they give you 500mb for free at 3g speeds. I know it’s not much, but it might help ease your data cap a little bit. Looks like Key West only has 3G coverage for them. They also have a premium plan for $20 a month which includes 2 gigs of data. Might be worth taking a look into it.

          • 500mb wouldn’t get through the morning. I can easily burn a gig a day.
            C. F.
            Appreciate the help though.

  3. Sounds like trying to get Internet in Spain. The free wifi sucks at the marina and at most restaurants, if it even works. In order to get and pay for a service, like a USB stick or hotspot, you have to have a Spanish bank account or they won’t give you the time of day. I’m serious…i can’t even PAY for Internet.

    Anyway, glad to see twitter was useful! 🙂 good luck with the Internet, Capt. I understand your frustration.