too many words by laura lemay

weird signals from space

Last week we had this incredibly enormous satellite dish installed on our roof. It is this giant wart, a huge splotch of a thing, a big grey EYE staring out from the roof into the distance.

Why, you ask? Well, we’ve been kind of dissatisfied with the content offered by our existing satellite TV (600 channels, nothing on), so we thought we’d explore the options for sports and comedy programming from Mars. I hear the Tour De Olympus Mons is just…


Right. Its high speed wireless internet.

I’ve noted before how fabulous it is to live up here in the mountains, with the view and the quiet and the space and the wildlife and on and on and on. But I have complained about the two significant drawbacks: its twenty minutes to a burrito and absolutely, positively, no broadband internet. I can’t do much about the former, but this giant platter of a dish finally solves the latter.

Broadband! broadband! broadband! The dish points to a radio tower across the valley on Loma Prieta, the second tallest mountain in the south bay (the 1989 earthquake was right nearby). It in turn points to Etheric, our new ISP. The connection is symmetric 750Kbps with bursts up to 1Mbit, and its all raw bandwidth, we can still run all our own routing, sendmail, DNS, etc, etc, etc. Etheric only sells to, quote, “elite high-speed broadband patrons.” That’s us. We are l33t.

750K, you say, big deal, everyone in the world has had way better than that on DSL for years and year and cable modems are like 4 and 5 meg, 750K, Oooo — Well, screw you all. I’m so damn happy I could cry.

I can’t wait to start infringing copyright. I barely know what a bittorrent actually is. But right now I need to do the Office Space “gangsta” dance on the 56K modem.