Internet Service & The Little Man Advantage, The Difference A Year Makes, A Blue Spruce & A NIPSCO Yard Light, Chain Saws In The Sky. Doin’ what I Do.

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Greetings to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

Ever had problems with your internet connection? Most likely yes ‘cause many people have. It’s due in a major part to the fact that this thing, this internet thing, was never envisioned to accommodate damn near the whole world, and all at the same time it seems , “just surfing”. Ya gotta love the language created by the development of the Internet. Shewwww, no it’s not really a new language, but it is ‘cause it’s the internet. And all the while those providing such service have forever been forced to played “catch-up” trying to keep enough hardware in place to provide the service they sale and not spend so much money on hardware that they’re unable to make a profit in the ISP Business. (ISP, that’s Internet Service Provider)

We tried to develop an ISP Company from the EastWing back in the early 1990’s but could never raise the capital necessary to secure the equipment needed to start into the business. It took $250,000.00 to get ‘er done, back in the day. The money just wasn’t there to develop the business of an ISP in 1991 Starke County Indiana. Everyone I knew who could invest, thought the internet was a bad investment, and not worth the risk. They were wrong. Now I don’t even have to say I was right here, but I still couldn’t raise the capital. Damn it. It would’ve been such a ride.

At the EastWing, we were connected to a network system prior to it becoming public access. Most people thought that AOL brought the internet to the masses. That was not the case. AOL was just one of the very early internet service providers. They had the capital. I didn’t. No, Al Gore did not invent the internet. As much as he tried to stake claim, it was just not so. The need to create a communication network which would survive a nuclear attack was the real underlying goal which provided the original funding for the research that ultimately created this obsession we call the internet. Actually it was the U.S. Army that funded the very first base research into a more stable way of insuring un-interrupted communications across vast distance, first voice, and later computer. It was that early research that developed into the internet.

Over time we’ve gone from a dial up modem operating at a speed expressed as 8 K. Now that’s the amount of data transferred per second. That’s 8 thousand bits of data per second. That sounds like a lot, but it’s not. The current EastWing internet connection is listed at 10 M. That’s 10 million bits per second. That sounds like a lot, but it’s not really close to the fastest possible. There’s only one problem. There are some times during the 24 hour day that my internet connection operates at or below the 8 K thing. It has to do with the amount of traffic going thru a given point in the equipment handling the load. Much the same way you’ve been stuck in a traffic jam, and eventually it all got past a giver point on the road. So it is with the internet servers and their volume of traffic at any given time. Ya just sit and wait your turn in the traffic jam.

It’s interesting to note that in the very early days of public access to the internet, estimates of volume of use had to be made in order to project hardware needs. The only data available that made any sense at all was to use long distance phone call data. In 1985 the average long distance phone call was 2.5 minutes and the average local phone call was 4.5 minutes.

Now those smart Einstein types out there at Cal-Tech decided that with the know factors for telephone use, the projected used of the internet would be, now are ya ready for this, 4 ½ – 6 minutes per connection. That meant you were projected to log on to the internet, stay connected for 4 ½ – 6 minutes and then log off. Back then nobody ever thought about logging on and staying there. At the time, the 4 ½ – 6 minute projection was touted as being such a scientific marvel of futuristic projections. One writer of the day even called it “A real look into the future of things to come. Projecting the future by mathematical precision.” Boy were they wrong.

Knowing full well the cause of my slow service did nothing to diminish my anger toward the phone company. And so I expressed my displeasure for the service after selecting their “Premium Plan” and paying and additional monthly fee for fast, un-interrupted, high speed internet service. Their apologies flowed like fine wine at the wedding feast, and I was assured the problem with my internet service was being addressed within the company and was expected to be corrected by updating equipment no later than November 30th of this year.

Now it’s one of the very few times I have the “little man” advantage on my side. So I do take advantage. I tell ‘em well all that’s fine and good for after November 30, 2012, but what about all the pain and suffering I’ve endured up to now? Yeah, really, I played the ole “Pain and Suffering Card” on ‘em. I just laid it on ‘em, flat out, and It worked. The operator said “Sir, would you be satisfied with 6 months of free internet service starting December 1st of this year”. I said “oh sure”, and right there, me and that operator, well, me and the operator, we parted friends, at least from my side of the rope, we parted friends.

That operator, well to tell ya the truth, I think she could give a crap about me and my problems, she’d just been trained to handle my type problem a certain way. The training was “Give ‘em six months to shut ‘em up” with my type complaint. Tuff job being a complaint operator, having to put up with crap from people with the likes of me.

And so it is this November night as I sit and watch the wind playing upon the final remaining leaf clinging on the very last remnants of summer at the EastWing. The summer time, the way we were in that sunshine of summer. And all the while we feel it slipping from our grasp and fading into the back roads of our memories, memories of the summer time, 2012.

Seems it came and went before ya knew it, October just went away. November is truly the transition month from autumn into winter. December, January, and February are the true winter months. September, October, and November are the real autumn months, with November being the transitional one where we truly go for autumn to winter. And so here comes winter, like it or not, here comes winter. I love winter. But I don’t like that cold part of winter.

Oh the difference a year makes. Last year the fall colors at the EastWing were a sight to behold. This year, not so much so. In fact the lack of fall color at the EastWing was a site to behold. By the end of August the EastWing Maples had started to shut down their leaf factories. It was just too dry to carry on the chlorophyll factories out there at the end of the line. And so the survival of the tree demanded the leaves shut down for the year. The sap ran back into the roots to protect the life of the tree. To live another year being more important than to live another day in the drought of 2012.

By the time the rains came back to the EastWing, it was way too late to make any difference in any of the growing seasons for the things that grow at the EastWing. The single difference being grass. It seemed overnight the grass turned green when the rain returned to the valley very late in September. And so I had to mow the grass one last time. I think I talked about that already so I’m not gona say anymore ‘bout grass cutting, ‘cause me and the grass cutting thing, we’ve had our day in the sunshine of 2012.

It was just a few years after I built my house. Many years before the EastWing addition came along, my Mama gave to me, two Colorado Blue Spruce Trees. ‘Bout a foot & half tall, those little Blue Spruce Trees were when I planted ‘em on the east and west edge of the front EastWing gardens. Twenty years ago, a Mint Tub accident took out the west lawn Blue Spruce. The East lawn Blue Spruce continued to grow. It grew to a height that it overtook my NIPSCO Security Light and completely engulfed the light from the front EastWing garden.

It was truly time for the Blue Spruce to go. I was so surprised when The She said “Guess we’re gona have to have that pine tree removed, ‘cause it’s blocking all the light from the front yard. Ya can’t see anything out in the front yard anymore.” The She calls ‘em yards, I call ‘em the EastWing Gardens.

One of my tax clients is in the tree removal business, so I called the company the very next day. The guy came out, looked at the tree and quoted me a price for removal of the Blue Spruce. I didn’t like the price. Then I proposed he remove the Blue Spruce, the overhanging limbs from an oak tree above the east end of the EastWing and grind a stump in the north gardens, and I’ll do his tax return and pay a little boot. We struck a deal, and so the landscape of the front gardens of the EastWing have forever changed. Forty years of Blue Spruce in the gardens have come to an end at the EastWing. Like everything else in the world, life goes on. No matter who goes to heaven, or who goes to hell, life goes on.

Have ya ever observed the operation of a tree removal company? I’m telling ya, I sat in the EastWing and watched in awe as these young men preformed their normal daily routine. It’s danger personified. Operating chain saws rotating at 16,000 rpm within inches of their bodies. Feeding tree branches into chipper machines that reduce 4 inch branches into flakes instantly, makes ya glad you have your day job. And glad that day job is not removing trees.

It was the first time I’d observed such work, and as such, for the first time gained a true appreciation for those who cut down the trees. I couldn’t do it. Even as a young man, I couldn’t do it. I’m too afraid of height. My goodness, I don’t like to tiptoe, much lessen get into a bucket truck and rise 50 foot into the air just to start to cut the tree from the top down to the ground.

I’m so glad I do what I do. Some people are still trying to figure out just what I do do. I’m not even sure the She knows just what I do. Sometimes, I’m not even sure I know what I do. But it sure is fun to do it every day, and then sometimes, just sometimes I even do it on Saturday.

Stay safe in Afghanistan

From the EastWing, Internet Service & The Little Man Advantage, The Difference A Year Makes, A Blue Spruce & A NIPSCO Yard Light, Chain Saws In The Sky. Doin’ what I Do.

I wish you well,