Communications At 95033
modern communications options around Patchen
After a recent miscommunication, it seems fitting that I should elaborate on what might seem odd behavior for someone who has spent their entire adult life working in the high-tech world. I once complained to my old friend from southern Indiana, that he never answered his phone. His response was, “I pay the damn bill so I decide when to answer it – anyhow I don’t want to hear from the likes of no city folks”. My problem is a quite different one, although at times I could see his point.
It’s the 21st Century here, only a few short miles from Silicon Valley, but at times it seems like the 19th. Patchen is hidden from all the cell towers by mountains and even Google Fi[i]Google Fi combines access to the towers of T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular but none work reliably here. can’t help. “Wifi calling”[ii]Cell phones can connect to the Internet using IEEE 802.11 wireless from a router, then connect from there to a cell carrier – thereby avoiding any towers. means you can call using the Internet but only if you have a solid connection. We have no cable available[iii]Comcast stops less than 50 yards from Patchen.. Landlines are rapidly going away[iv]Landline connections from Verizon were acquired by Fronteer a few years ago, which is now eliminating rural service, and AT&T has already discontinued ADSL here., and satellite[v]Satellite Internet service is available – except of course for locations on north-facing slopes, away from their geosynchronous satellite antennas in the Southeastern sky. doesn’t work here. I even waited in line for a year for Starlink[vi]… Elon Musk’s SpaceX venture to become available, only to find out that “obstructions”, like tall trees, result in significant interruptions in service. Our only choice is one of the “Line-of-sight”[vii]Localized RF connections from companies like Etheric and Cruzio all require “Line-of-sight” to a dedicated antenna, making most of them prohibitively costly. RF antennas, located on a mountaintop, 4 miles away. It sort-of works, except when it rains, the wind blows, or the gods are out so sorts.
As a bit of historical perspective, the telephone worked really well for 150 years and it still does, within limits and for fitting purposes. For sending birthday wishes to Aunt Mini in Wisconsin, that personal touch cannot be beaten, but increasingly that is where its usefulness begins to diminish. The voice-to-voice telephone and the modern VOIP equivalent of face-to-face have always had limits in terms of misunderstandings, which get amplified by today’s fast pace – as in “I thought you said you were going to pick me up at the airport”, or “I said shut up, not stand up.”
It is hard to imagine running a business without email. At this writing, it is possible only in two states (Arizona and Florida) to book an Uber by voice telephone. Even then you need to have a cell phone to receive Texts to complete the transaction. Imagine trying to get your Senator on the line to complain about your taxes or calling Amazon on the phone to have your groceries delivered. Some sectors of the economy seem to be catching on quicker than others. Restaurants are far more adept at taking orders online and delivering them than is the medical services sector at making appointments.[viii]Sutter Health has made major strides recently but most of its affiliated service providers are dragging their feet.
I could say that it is refreshing to be isolated from the thousands of marketers who have collected the only phone number I have had since 1969, but meanwhile, I miss plenty of important voice messages. I encourage everyone to start with a Text or Email so I can return their call later. I must apologize to those who are justifiably annoyed when they cannot reach me directly. I think the problem will continue to ease over the next 150 years, much the same as with the telephone over the past 150 years.
Written: March 11, 2022
Published: March 11, 2022
Reader feedback always appreciated[ix]thoughtful commentary perhaps more so than shallow thoughts
|↑i||Google Fi combines access to the towers of T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular but none work reliably here.|
|↑ii||Cell phones can connect to the Internet using IEEE 802.11 wireless from a router, then connect from there to a cell carrier – thereby avoiding any towers.|
|↑iii||Comcast stops less than 50 yards from Patchen.|
|↑iv||Landline connections from Verizon were acquired by Fronteer a few years ago, which is now eliminating rural service, and AT&T has already discontinued ADSL here.|
|↑v||Satellite Internet service is available – except of course for locations on north-facing slopes, away from their geosynchronous satellite antennas in the Southeastern sky.|
|↑vi||… Elon Musk’s SpaceX venture|
|↑vii||Localized RF connections from companies like Etheric and Cruzio all require “Line-of-sight” to a dedicated antenna, making most of them prohibitively costly.|
|↑viii||Sutter Health has made major strides recently but most of its affiliated service providers are dragging their feet.|
|↑ix||thoughtful commentary perhaps more so than shallow thoughts|