Nov 272017

If you followed the Fritter back in the days when I was living in the Florida Keys, slowly making my way down from Key Largo to Marathon, and eventually Key West, you well know I had one ongoing battle which about drove me crazy.  Everywhere I lived, be it marina, rv, apartment, trailer trash, I had one common problem…finding fast, affordable, reliable internet.  It was easily the most flusterating issue I had, and never really got settled.

At the marina in Key Largo there was public wifi but it was slow, poor connections, and not fit for all day use.  I broke down and got a hotspot with Verizon.  It had a decent enough connection but was expensive and limited to 12 gb a month.  I’m a very heavy user burning through 30gb a month easy.  I kept the hotspot when I moved to Marathon and supplemented it with the rv park where I was staying which had some public wifi in it’s rec room but it wasn’t reliable enough to be of any real use.

When I moved to Key West and took an apartment on Stock Island, I continued to struggle with the hotspot.  The signal was pretty weak and the marina itself had some marginal public wifi but it was pretty undependable.  Eventually I moved over to the marina from hell where the public wifi was usable so I dropped the hotspot to save some money.  But the HWSNBN came in and the free signal went away along with the free use of the bathrooms.

From there I headed to the other marina where I bounced around with everything from Beacon WiFi to Xfinity from Comcast to trying to hack any signal I could get.  Beacon, who brags they specialize in marina service rarely worked and in one three week period got their routers fried by lightning 3 straight times.  Comcast was no more better.  Being in a marina with dozens of other signals like vhf radios, radar, and having the Sheriff Office next door made getting a decent connection impossible.  I finally settled on another hotspot set up, this time with Sprint.  It was expensive but it did offer more data.  Still, the signal was weak and slow.

Talking to any of the marina staff was a waste of time.  They did not care nor did they do anything to improve service.  Most of the liveaboards who stayed at said marina sold their souls and credit cards to Comcast for broadband, something I was not willing, nor could afford to do.  I was reduced to running to the fast food places which had free internet at decent speeds, but had to buy their crappy food in order to be allowed to sit there for an hour and try to get some work done.

At the trailer trash, despite the drunken riots and ugly, noisy hookers running around, at least the place had a decent hookup with Comcast so it made things a bit easier.  But, staying there became dangerous.

As I moved around Key West whilst living there I had a hard time getting a decent cell signal in many places on the island.  Right down town along the harbor had no signal whatsoever.  Sprint offered little support other than to say they were working to build more towers.  I could take a boat ride 10 miles out to some of the outer islands and get a more better signal than I could in the middle of old town.

So, when I left the Keys and did some travel, I still had Sprint which sufficed for the most part.  In Pa. the broadband was pretty strong and fast so I rigged up a wifi router to catch the signal.  But good wifi is no reason to stay in Pa.  My first foray into Maui worked out pretty well.  The condo where I was renting had good wifi through Spectrum Time Warner and it sufficed during my stay, so I dropped Sprint to save some money.  Of course I had to leave when the lease ran out so back to square one.

Last summer when I was back in Pa. I decided to go ahead and get the new T-Mobile Old People’s plan.  At $50 a month it gives one unlimited everything including the ability to tether the signal to one’s computer, a feature I have been wanting for years.  And to date T-Mobile has proven to be well worth the money.  In fact, I am on said plan right now as I type this soon to be award winning blog post.  Why, you may ask?  Don’t you have high speed broadband wifi at your new digs in Paia?

Yes.  Yes we do.  And it sucks.

Again, said wifi is with Spectrum but out here in the village the service sucks big time.  I am constantly getting kicked off the network, the signal fades in and out, and it brings back all the bad memories of trying to maintain a simple GODDAMN connection to the internet, where I make a living.  I’m not sure if it’s the router, Spectrum, being out in the sticks or what, but it’s getting flusterating again.

When it works, it works great.  Fast speeds, good connection, but lately especially, it’s unpossible to keep a connection.  It’s especially bad when trying to view or upload video.  Video is a bandwidth hog but given how common it is today, it should not be this slow and intermittent.

I can use T-Mobile without much problem but T-Mobile throttles speeds down to 3G level which is the equivalent of dial up nowadays.  It’s usable but if I need to move a large file, do an update, etc. it can take forever.

And it’s all about to get worse.

When the FCC gets rid of Net Neutrality next month, thanks to the trumpenführer and this rancid piece of shit, the internet as we know it will be gone.  Download speeds will be even slower, internet access will be more expensive, and good luck finding your favorite sites.  If the ISP providers don’t like a site, or don’t get their ransom payments, said sites will be hard or impossible to find.  Needless to say, the Fritter will most likely be pushed further into the background.

There are petitions and calls and pleading to the FCC to not end net neutrality but the rancid piece of shit is solidly in the pockets of companies like Verizon and Comcast who stand to make big profits from all this.  Calling and complaining will do nothing.  It’s a corporate dictatorship we live in now.  Profits are everything.  Freedom of choice is nothing.

So, for the moment I will continue to squeeze by with the crappy wifi here at the house, and supplement it with my T-Mobile plan until the government takes it all away.  I was hoping all the problems with getting an internet connection which was reliable, fast and affordable was over and done with.  But I have a feeling things are going to get worse once the FCC gets their way.

I have no idea what will happen with the Fritter or any of the other sites I host.  By Darwin’s beard, I’ll be damned if I will pay any ransom to any ISP provider just to get the same service I have now.  Mayhaps some miracle will occur and net neutrality will stay in place, but I doubt it.  When there are profits to be made, common sense and the good of the people goes out the window.  I’ll keep going for as long as I can. We’ll see what happens.

Capt. Fritter