Powerless Days Are Over – Still No ISP

A October snow storm brought wet heavy snow that brought down the power lines. Forcing off gadgets for a short time and then limiting their usage to when I could grab a recharge. Also learned a few lessons about software that needs internet access and devices that are confused when it’s not where expected,

Snowy Trees

Snowy TreesBeing a Connecticut Yankee I was feeling the effects of the freak October snow that clung to all that picturesque New England foliage until the branches came crashing down bringing along the power lines. I lost power Saturday night and the gadget withdrawal began to take effect almost immediately, especially since I didn’t know how long I’d have to rely on batteries but it was obvious it would be awhile.

Luckily by Sunday night I got word that the office had power so I’d be able to start charging things up. Still, it was too hectic in the office to do much leisure surfing or post writing and too damn cold at night to do much except crawl under the covers to keep warm.

The power’s back today but cable is still out so I’m relying on iPhone tethering and Verizon to get connected. Some things I learned already:

  • Windows Live Mesh is great for sinking files between PCs but it apparently needs the internet even for PC to PC syncs. All my PCs see each other, but Live Mesh says they’re all up to date when they aren’t.
  • The iPhone isn’t smart enough to use 3G when it’s wi-fi network has no internet connection. I had to turn off wi-fi to avoid all those server not found errors since the phone saw my home wireless network.
  • My Mac is too stupid to route local or internet traffic properly when tethered via USB to my iPhone (with internet access but no access to home PCs) and connected via wi-fi to my home network (with no internet access). Well, probably not really a Mac specific failing, I’ll have to play around with some routing settings sometime.
  • Crashplan gets lonely. Both my own CrashPlan account and my parent’s account have begun to send emails saying there’s been no backups in several days. Along those lines, I received an email from CrashPlan promoting gift subscriptions. They mentioned a black Friday sale the 25th-28th for existing customers. (I suspect new customers would get similar deals). Their store is currently offering 10% off regular and 20% off gift subscriptions but it may be worth the wait. No special links or coupons, the current deals are in the CrashPlan store.
  • UPSs are good. And after the PC is safely shut down, the remaining juice can recharge phones, iPads and Kindles.

I was pretty well into the Octiober Trail Log when the lights went out so should have that out this weekend.

I’ve also been working to set up pfSense with Dynamic DNS to be able to access multiple servers (or PCs) in the home from the internet. I seemed to have it setup properly moments before the power went out. This one may take a little longer since it’s more involved and I’m still testing need I’ll need full blown internet access for the home network . On the bright side, the extended down time will probably cause Comcast to give me a new IP address which will be a good test of the Dynamic piece. I changed the Mac address spoofed by pfSense for the WAN connection to try an help the process along.

A final thought is that bandwidth caps are really beginning to annoy me. While not usually a problem, the Comcast cap doesn’t allow much flexibility in testing cloud storage and I have tapped the ceiling two months recently. And now being forced to the iPhone tethering I’m approaching the 2GB Verizon cap for that. At the rate I’m going I’ll hit the cap before it rolls to the next month. I do have unlimited data for the phone itself so I use it directly whenever possible.

Hope anyone else in the northeast US is getting back to normal and didn’t have anything worse than an inconvenience that’s forgotten when power is back (and the internet).

One thought on “Powerless Days Are Over – Still No ISP”

  1. Sorry to hear about your loss of power Ray but at least you had options. Loved your list of things you learned and it’s a good reminder of how dependent on technology we have become.

    Stay warm!

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