Friday, October 2, 2009

Early Morning Internetting

I got up at 4:15 this morning to finish downloading my new copy of Photoshop LE. I had 500 MB left in the download (which I had started yesterday morning at 5:00), and I had to complete it by 7:00 or wait for tomorrow. This highlights one of the most interesting issues we have working our “real life” jobs from the middle of the woods- the satellite internet connection. (I could also debate which of my occupations is actually “real life,” but we won’t get into that.) We have both a certain amount that we can download per day and a certain amount that we can download per hour; if we go over either of those, we get FAPped. (FAP stands for HughesNet’s Fair Access Policy.) If they FAP us, our download speed is dropped to levels worse than 1995 dial-up for a full 24 hours. We’re typically very careful, and it’s normally not a problem. Let’s face it, though, there are four computers up here, and if one of them crosses the line for almost any reason, it’s a bummer of a day. Usually happens once or twice a month. Luckily, downloads of any size are “FAP-free” between 2AM and 7AM, so we get up early to pull down large files for work, Photoshop, etc.

When people find out that Joe and I are doing our engineering jobs while we’re up here, the universal first question is, “Holy cow, you really have an internet connection?” That’s followed very closely by one of two sentences: “That’s really great; do you mind if I check my e-mail?” or, “That’s too bad; it’s nice being disconnected from everything out here in the woods.” It’s surprising exactly how polarized our guests are on the topic. I would say the split is about 60/40 in favor of the folks who like the solitude, but both sides are very adamant.

Unfortunately for our guests who would love to be connected in the middle of the woods, though, it’s nearly impossible for us to offer open access because of the aforementioned FAPping issue. It’s nothing personal!

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