Saturday, June 7, 2008

Letter from CA

I'm writing from the Mountain View library, over the free WiFi network that Google has provided for MV.
MV library is very nice, superior even to Foster City, bigger, better appointed, more computers.
Google Wifi sounds attractive because it's free, they have a secure encrypted version, and they have nodes all over MV -- including one directly across the street from my apt. Sounds great, right? Well there are all kinds of conditionals: the signal works best outside, but if you want to get it inside your house, you need a "wifi modem" to capture and amplify the signal.
How does a "modem" differ from an "antenna," "amplifier," "bridge," or a "wifi wireless LAN ethernet converter adapter card?" I have no idea. But there are apparently only a couple items that will work:
Ruckus Metroflex Wi-Fi Modem and
Peplink Surf 200 Wi-Fi modem
Reading the support page, I see all kinds of comments like:
"I bought the modem and still can't get the signal."
"I get a strong signal but my PC still won't connect."
"I get a strong signal but only intermittently; it's very unreliable."
Anyway I configured a connect profile here at the library for the Google "secure" connection. I'll test it in front of my building. If I can get a strong, consistent signal, maybe I'll invest in a "modem" and try to access it from inside. But what do you bet it turns out to be a crock? There's always Comcast.
Initial search for hotspots at my building revealed DOZENS, mostly secured.
I'm leary of poaching an unsecured node, although I used in FC for 18 months with no apparent identity theft issues. Comments?
Other notes on the move:
Apartment is OK, large spacious with nice appointments, but no in unit washer/dryer or garage. Residents seem mature and reasonably well-behaved, but who the hell knows.
Even with few actual problems, the move was exhausting and depressing.
After years of ranting about the financial foolishness of buying a house, and my dogged determination to live in cheap apartments, I have quite suddenly become intolerant of seedy living conditions: I don't like living around poor people, living in dirty neighborhoods, making the best of crummy apartments, and mouthing platitudes like "people everywhere are all alike, and all deserve respect."
For whatever reasons, my values seem to have finally caught up with the average upper middle class person, viz:
I'm going to drive the extra mile to the nice Safeway, so I don't have to see or be around fat Mexicans wearing huge t-shirts and huge black jeans and braided ponytails and tatoos, dragging their filthy kids around. I'm going to spend the extra money to live in a nice place, around cleaner quieter people, because I don't like seeing trash and plastic crap and kid paraphernalia all around. People everywhere AREN'T all alike, and they DON'T all deserve respect. I may even buy a "nice" car.
I won't say I'm "embracing" it, I see it as more of a capitulation. And I guess all this makes me a big elitist fag. Well, whatever, I have no explanation. That's just the way it is. I await to see what horrible judgement befalls me for being vain and effete. My bet is, no penalty in particular. It may just as likely produce benefits somehow.
I've long held these loosely formed beliefs in social justice that say, "no one gets a Mercedes until everybody is at least fed." Well I see nothing past or present to indicate that that's the way the world works. So why should I be the one stuck out in the cold, stubbornly adhering to some radical fringe viewpoint, and probably suffering considerable detriment as a result? Stupid.
Last notes: transitional periods highlight the things one really values. Over the past 3 weeks, I've learned some of mine:
My coffee machine and good coffee;
Hot water for bathing;
Razor and shave cream;
News radio;
Internet connection, computer and printer;
Preparing my own food;
Clean commodious accomodations;
Peace and quiet.
I wasn't without wheels but that's gotta be up at the top too.

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