What Really Works

Tabasco, apparently, doesn’t. The horses decided that they didn’t mind some chile marinade and started in on the fencing again. We tried some commercial products and they didn’t fare much better. The Neighbor, then, had a brilliant idea of using deer repellent. Hey, an herbivore is an herbivore, right?

It worked perfectly. It has to be reapplied after it rains, but it sure keeps the horses away from the fencing. Lovely!

Today, I had a nice chat with a delightful representative at Frontier, which is the small company that bought all the rural telephone land lines from Verizon. Their idea has been to bring broadband into the areas that were underserved by Verizon. So far, they’ve added close to 200,000 new DSL customers just by updating the wiring. They are within a mile and a half and I have all my fingers crossed, hoping they get here soon.

I know that there are more rural geeks out there, those who believe in the benefits of high tech and yet love the country life. I’d like to hear from you. What are your rural aspirations? Do you believe online gaming and agriculture can exist together? (Farmville, anyone?) I’d really like to know what you think.

Fair Access Policy and Tabasco Fencing

I did something unprecedented yesterday: I took a VoIP call over the satellite connection and it actually worked. There was a substantial delay which made a multi-person conference…interesting, to say the least. But it worked.

Well, it worked until the Fair Access Policy kicked in (about 20 minutes). The FAP limits all users to 300Mb per day. Yes, that’s Mb, not Gb. When it comes to the cutting edge technologies that most geeks love to do online, this is a rediculous limit. I can answer email, use my IM, surf the web, download a few mp3s, and watch a YouTube video or two. Other activities, such as online gaming, downloading video of any serious length, backing up my system online, using VoIP for any length of time, or any of the other things that require serious bandwidth, are completely out of the question.

When I reach the FAP limit, the connection slows to a crawl, about 20K, for the rest of the day. For those who work at home like me, this almost guarantees that the work day is over. (It takes 5 minutes to open an email at those speeds.) This means that I have to be quite careful about what I do to ensure that I can get through the day.

I have two options, neither of which is particularly appetizing. I can save the higher bandwidth items for late night downloading, between midnight and 4 am, or pay $100 for 500Mb per day. I’m not wild about either. Who wants to do work at 3 in the morning?

And now, for something completely different…

Earlier today, the draft horses decided that the main posts holding the majority of the fence in place needed to be trimmed. They took it upon themselves to chew the heck out of them. So, the Sister and I decided that we needed to dissuade such behaviour. At first, we tried a corn oil/black pepper concoction. Sunny hated it but Meme (aptly named since everything is about her) thought that the pepper gave the post a lovely marinade and licked the whole thing before continuing her woody feast. We had to try something more persuasive: Tobasco! We broke into (okay, we have a key) the Neighbor’s house and stole some of the pungent stuff. (Yeah, we’ll be replacing it.) It took Meme quite a bit of pole tasting before discovering that it was no longer quite right. There was then hesitation, followed by some lip curling, and then a lot of lip licking. If looks could insult, we would both have been soundly belittled. As of tonight, the post still stands, whole and complete, and the Belgians are out in the far shelter, pouting.

Through all this, the quarter horse watched in boredom, saying, “Really? A fence post for dinner? You’ve got to be kidding.”