Tuesday, May 08, 2012


I discovered the problem on Thursday, April 26, at 5:00 AM. Each morning I connect to my computer at the University and work for an hour before breakfast. On this morning the connection was sluggish for a while then became intermittent and finally failed. I assumed the phone company had a problem and gave up. On Thursday night we could not connect to the Internet. The following morning we had problems with phone calls.

Last Fall we installed a cell signal repeater that gave us cell signal throughout the house and enabled us to access the web through a wireless hotspot.  The system worked flawlessly for months. When I realized the problem wasn't with the service provider I began checking the  repeater, cables and both antennas, internal and external. All appeared normal.

Fortunately I had not uninstalled the antenna that we used for several years. I found a pigtail and connected it to the hotspot and was able to access the Internet. Next,  I phoned the manufacturer and a service agent determined an omnidirectional antenna would probably fix the repeater. One was shipped to me and arrived last Thursday evening. I installed it but the problem remained.

On Friday I phoned the manufacturer a second time and was instructed to return the repeater for exchange. Hopefully, tomorrow or Thursday we'll get the replacement and service will return to normal.

On the bright side there was no charge for the new antenna nor for the exchange of the repeater. We've had Internet access using the old antenna but haven't had phone service for two weeks. It hasn't been an inconvenience. It's easy to get by without phone service but not having Internet access would  be problematic since I wouldn't be able to work from home a few hours each week.

What would I do if I absolutely had to make a phone call before I receive the replacement repeater? A simple solution. Walk to the top of a hill south of the house. I've done it a few times over the years.  The signal is weak but a call will connect.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Reading Sidebar Update

My reading list on the right sidebar has been updated.

Quirk: Brain Science Makes Sense of Your Peculiar Personality - Hannah Holmes. Julie and I read this on our commute to work. In addition to containing research on neurology I found the glimpse into mice research labs most interesting.

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School by John Medina. Another commute read with Julie. John Media was the keynote speaker at a conference I attended in Nashville in March. He is an entertaining speaker and his book was an entertaining read.

Social Intelligence: The Revolutionary New Science of Human Relationships by Daniel Goldman. Julie and I began this book earlier this week.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. A coworker recommended this book. Julie and I will start it later this month.
The War Journal of Major Damon "Rocky" Gause: The Firsthand Account of One of the Greatest Escapes of WWII by Damon Gause. I bought this book based on its size and weight to take on a backpacking trip. Not the greatest book but enjoyable at the end of a tiring day.

Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath by Michael Normal and Elizabeth M. Normal. This book was a concession to the enjoyment of the previous book. I wanted another WWII book. I think it's the first WWII book I've read that was co-authored by a married couple.

Grey Seas Under: Heroic Adventures of a Gallant Ship and the Brave Men Who Battle the Cruel Sea by Farley Mowatt. I'd seen this book on the shelves in different locations and wasn't sure about its classification. I discovered it in the WWII history section but it was misplaced. Regardless it caught my attention. I've read a few of Mowatt's books and decided to give it a try. It was most enjoyable. I'm going to look for another of his books.

Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle by Daniel L. Everett. I bought this book today. I enjoyed an archeology book a few months back and went in search of another. This is not archeology but was on a shelf near archeology and looks intriguing.  From the back cover:
Daniel Everett recounts the astonishing experiences and discoveries he made while he lived with the Piraha, a small tribe of Amazonian Indians in central Brazil.
Daniel Everett arrived among the Piraha with his wife and three young children hoping to convert the tribe to Christianity. Everett quickly became obsessed with their language and its cultural and linguistic implications. The Piraha have no counting system, no fixed terms for color, no concept of war, and no personal property. Everett was so impressed with their peaceful way of life that he eventually lost faith in the God he'd hoped to introduce to them, and instead devoted his life to the science of linguistics. Part passionate memoir, part scientific exploration, Everett's life-changing tale is a riveting look into the nature of language, thought and life itself.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Mea Culpa

Two lessons came my way at work today.

 I am on a hiring committee and was in a conference room accessed by entering a security code into a keypad on a locked door. The first interview had gone well and the second interview was in progress. I placed a hand on the conference table to pull myself closer and felt a small plastic box mounted to the bottom of the table. I was sitting close to a table leg and assume it was part of the leg mount but it seemed strange since the plastic felt unsubstantial. I felt a hole slipped a finger in and touched a small soft easily pressed button. Strange! I knew I had to look under the table after the interview is finished.

 More questions were asked of the applicant and answers given. Then a knock on the locked door. I was sitting closest so I opened the door and greeted two campus police who asked "Did anyone press the panic button?" That solved the mystery of the plastic box with a recessed button!

They indicated they didn't mind responding to false alarms and said the same thing happened last week in parking services.

Today's lessons: First, keep my hands away from the bottom of conference tables; should I idly touch one and discover a small plastic box then keep all fingers from any and all openings. Second, when in parking services complaining about a ticket be sure to be extra nice to the clerks.