Updates: Cable TV, Telephone & Internet

Time Warner Cable is no more; TWC has been replaced by Spectrum. [TWC + Charter = Spectrum]

Also, Verizon local landline service is no more and has been replaced by Frontier.

For the past several decades we’ve lived in a GTE/Verizon pocket of Orange County and received our landline phone through them. When I read that Frontier was taking over their local phone service, I decided to switch to TWC — I just had to convince my wife to allow me to do so.

Several friends of ours had TWC phone and it was cheaper than Verizon’s product. Eventually, just before the takeover by Frontier, we made the switch. Uh – oh. The voice service never matched our, especially my wife’s, expectations.

Technicians moved the phone modem’s location — nope. Technicians re-wired the cable in the house — nope. Technicians re-wired the outside connection into the house — nope. And then, a few weeks ago, a technician re-wired the connection from the backyard utility pole to the house — hey, things now work properly.

Yes, our phone is now working properly — no pings, no clicks, no dropouts.

In addition, several months ago I boosted our TWC internet speed to 100Mbps — it increased but never reached 100Mbps. I asked one of the technicians about the situation when he came to work on the phone, but he couldn’t answer why I wasn’t getting the proper speed.

The last guy who came (and finally fixed the phone connection) tested the line at our modem (SURFboard SB6141) and said the signal strength and speed was fine — 117Mbps and suggested that I upgrade my years old WiFi router; the modem itself was fine. OK.

I went online and researched routers and prices and the next day went to Target and purchased a NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Smart WiFi Router (Model R7000). It didn’t take long to replace the old modem and get our phones, etc. connected to the network. The signal strength is such that I was able to disconnect the WiFi relay we had needed to connect while using our devices in our patio/sunroom. In fact, our spare bedroom, wherein sits our exercise bike, has an Apple TV WiFi connection that usually is between 115 and 117Mbps. I just checked the WiFi connection, via Fast.com, of this laptop in our living room — 120Mbps.

So — internet usage is quite a bit faster than before and is more reliable; there are no problems using multiple devices over our network; my terabytes of movies, music, pictures and TV shows stream better from my iTunes media storage drive; pixelization is no longer a problem on the cable television; the phone works. Also, I might add, if you have Spectrum phone service and are bothered by spam and scam phone calls, make sure you get NoMoRobo through Spectrum. It doesn’t get rid of all the calls, but it cuts down the number significantly.

One last word — I just retested our connection and got 92Mbps.

Verizon and Irritation

Verizon. Wired. Cellular. FIOS. Irritation. Sales or not.

When I first moved here, my telephone company was GTE not AT&T. There were no cellphones. There was no Internet, at least, there was no Internet outside of DARPA. And, I had no answering machine on my phone line.

GTE morphed into Verizon and I now have all of the above and much more. De-regulation of the telecommunications industry has helped to make this possible. Some of this has made my life easier and some has also made my life harder. And, some of it irritates the heck out of me.

Remember door-to-door salesmen/women and missionaries? I do and we still have them; they will not stay away, no matter what signs we put on our gates or doors. They are a continuing irritation. Do they really think that by interrupting my dinner or nap, against my expressed wishes on the door sign, that they are going to sell me their product or service or convert me to their particular brand of mythology? They’ve already shown me that they do not respect me or my wishes and they think this expression of their disrespect is going to convince me to buy something from them? I think not.

The same thing happens on the phone. I get calls from people/organizations that I have never knowingly done business with, from people I have done business with and from those whom I have specifically told never to call me again. Most of these calls come from robots. You know the type. You answer “Hello,” and there is a three-second delay while they realize that a phone has been answered and look at their screen to ask to speak to Samuel (only your mother ever called you that and only when she was particularly irked at you). These are all robo-calls, numbers “dialed” in sequence by machine software. (If you are not home, you come home to four “messages” on your answering machine and they are all blank.)

Irritation; extreme irritation.

You speak to them politely and explain that you do not want to talk to or buy from them and ask that they not call again. They call again. You are not so polite this time. They call again and you express yourself in “language that would make a sailor blush.” They call again and you damage your phone as you slam it down. You register with the National Do Not Call Registry. They call again. Get a whistle and blow it, loudly and in their ears.


Verizon seems to be one of those companies that has no respect for their own customers. Not only do we get three or four pieces of mail each week touting their products and services but they’ve been calling us each and every day. Yes, I know we have their phone service and they have a legal right to contact us. But, do they really want to so irritate an existing customer? I’ve asked them not to call; I’ve told them not to call, all in a quiet, calm and reasoned voice. I have just added another Verizon service – Caller ID (maybe their strategy is working). I now know the number from which Verizon’s robo-calls have been originating: 1.410.910.0689. They called today at 10.01 am, yesterday at 10.35 am, the day before at 10.31 am and the day previous to that at 5.15 pm.

I called that number back and, following the directions from their robo-voice, had them take our number off of their calling list; this was yesterday. They called again today. According to the robo-voice it would take up to thirty days for our number to be removed from their list. Efficiency, ain’t it wonderful?

Door Hangers

On another note, β-flat?

Do you ever open your front door to find a door-hanger? You know those irritating ads from your local realtor, gardener, pizza parlor, etc.? Those little notices that tell people that you are not home? I’ve stopped calling them door-hangers and now call them: “Please, rob me; nobody’s home.” signs. How do you stop them? Ignore them and throw them in the trash? Look out for a neighbor and throw away those you see on her front door as she will do the same for you? Call the numbers on the signs and ask that they not be hung on your door? Ha, good luck.

Wait, here’s an idea. If you get robbed, sue the people who announced to the thieves that you were not home.

At any rate, I’m going to start collecting those hung on my front door, or left on my Welcome mat and post them here. Any other ideas?