25,000!

I have officially surpassed the 25,000 visitor mark.  Mazel Tov.

Switching to Cavalier Telephone

As I mentioned in my post about switching to Cavalier DSL, I was very happy with my new Internet speeds, as they had easily tripled.  However, switching to Cavalier telephone wasn’t as smooth.  While I’m very happy with it now, there were a few bumps in the road when I first started.

I had switched over to Cavalier the weekend before Pesach, and I then went away for the entire week.  When I returned home, I saw that we had over 15 missed calls and 7 phone messages.  Each and every single one of them was from a “courtesy” call.  One of the messages left some kind of clue regarding why I was getting so many courtesy calls.  It was Verizon’s business directory leaving a message saying that they were unclear how to place our name in the directory in terms of business category.  I left the guy a long, nasty message saying that I’m absolutely NOT a business customer, and that I have no idea why I’m getting so many courtesy calls.  I also sent an email to Cavalier complaining about how I switch to Cavalier, and I suddenly get all these courtesy calls (yes, I’m on the Do Not Call list).  Their reply was predictable:

I am unsure as to why you have been experiencing these calls.  Your account is set up as a residential account and Cavalier does not sell our customers’ information.

Mysteriously, after this email, however, I stopped getting courtesy calls.  So I’m not sure whats up with that.

The second thing that bothers me about Cavaliers telephone service is their voice mail.  While listening to all those courtesy calls, I wanted to delete the message while it was playing so that I wouldn’t have to hear the whole thing.  However, the way their system works, you can’t delete a message while it is in the middle of playing.    You can fast forward messages, but thats about it.  Who ever heard of such a thing?

The third and final thing that is annoying is their Caller ID.  Verizon must have some kind of exclusive Caller ID list and isn’t sharing it because many of the phone calls I now get show Caller ID’s of either old people who had those phone numbers or no information at all.  For example, when I used to call my house, my full name would appear.  Now, it just says ‘Cellphone  MD.’  Luckily,  they have a page on their website where you can customize Caller ID’s, and once you enter it into the database, it will show up on your phone within a day or two.  A minor inconvenience, but its cool that you can customize how it will look on your phone.

So overall,  I’m happy with my new phone and Internet services.  The DSL is really great, and the phone was only annoying the first week or two.  After hearing about my fast Internet speeds, my dad decided he wanted to jump on the bandwagon.  Because he hosts his own domain and server from home and he connects to his office from home, it is important for him to have fast Internet.  He made the switch, and also noted a great increase in his Internet speed.  However, he also got the one week of telemarketers which mysteriously went away after speaking to Cavalier about the problem.

The great thing is that since I referred him to Cavalier, each of us get a $25 Visa debit card as a referral award.  So if anyone wants to get in on this deal, let me know, and we can each get $25.

Mugging Perpetrator to be Evicted

The latest from the NWCP on the muggings over Pesach:

Over the next week, the NWCP will be involved in resolving issues related to
the events of Pesach. Specifically, the NWCP will join CHAI at a meeting
with the Housing Authority to evict the residents of the house on Clarinth
Road where the juvenile perpetrators of the Pesach assaults reside. In
addition, the NWCP will be meeting with the Assistant State’s Attorney to
prepare for the upcoming court case relating to this juvenile.

Switching to Cavalier DSL

For about a year and a half, I had been using Verizon‘s DSL service, along with Verizon local phone service. With this plan, I was paying approximately $34.95 per month for local and regional phone service (we use cell phones for long distance), along with several calling features. Additionally, I was paying $14.95 per month for my DSL (for the first year; it was $17.95/month thereafter), which gave me maximum speeds of 768k down/128k up. While this was admittedly slow, it was really all we needed.

In the last several months, we were considering upgrading our Internet speeds. One suggestion we got was to go with VOIP. The problem, however, was that we heard too many negatives about VOIP to be able to strongly consider it. The usual complaint with VOIP was the frequent internet downtimes and subsequent phone downtimes.

I then heard an ad on the radio for Cavalier Telephone. They promised speeds up to 10mbps for the low price of $25 per month. That was more than what I was paying, so I was reluctant to do anything about it. But then I noticed that their local calling plans were a full $10 less than Verizon, at only $25 per month. That meant that if I switched to Cavalier, I’d pay the exact same amount (before taxes), but get much faster Internet service.

The problem was that we were told that we were a full 17,900 feet away from the Central Office (CO). Cavalier told me that the maximum distance they provide DSL service to is 18,000 feet. Because I was so far away, they said that I probably wouldn’t get speeds of faster than 1mbps. However, they did tell me that they use Verizon’s phone lines to provide DSL service. After speaking with Verizon, they told me that they could guarantee up up to 3mbps.

At this point, I figured I had nothing to lose. Worse comes to worse, I’d have the same speeds as before, and I’d be paying the same prices. So I made the switch.

My service with Cavalier began exactly 8 days later, and after only a minor glitch, which they corrected over the phone, I was online. At a solid 3.4 mbps. Sweet. While that was pretty much the highest speed I attained, I do check my speeds every once in a while, and I average between 1.9 and 2.3mpbs down, and 400k up. As you can see, this is a tremendous difference. I have not experienced any down times since I began service (right before Pesach), and when I watch video’s on YouTube, they actually load to completion without me having to wait for the videos to buffer constantly. I’ve been very happy.

I did, however, have some problems with my phone service, but that will be in my next post, as this one is getting long.

In Honor of Don Imus

Gun Control

After the Virginia Tech massacre, there has been a lot of grumbling from the media about the need for gun control. I think that this is a bad idea.

Cho Seung-hui obviously thought out his plans thoroughly. Had he not been able to get a gun because of gun control laws, he could have easily looked up how to make bombs (McVeigh), used box cutters (9/11), or find some other way of killing.

Virginia Tech has had a policy of having no guns allowed on campus. Had guns been allowed, it is very possible, especially in a state like Virginia where carrier permit’s are easy to get, that a student could have had a gun on them and been able to kill Seung-hui before so many people died.

It is well documented that areas that have banned guns have increased crime. Look at Washington D.C, New York City, the United Kingdom. In each of those places, guns are illegal. And because of that, robbers and murder’s can feel comfortable committing their crimes knowing that their victims are defenseless.

Say no to gun control.

I’m not saying that everyone out there should go out and buy a gun. That is obviously an informed decision that everyone has to make on their own. But a gun control rule in Virginia Tech may have been what led to so many murders.

Update at 8:56pm on 4/19/07:

My own university just sent out a security email to the entire school with links to various safety plans, procedures, and rules.  One of the links was the weapons policy (MS Word document).   In the policy, guns and other weapons such as nunchucks are prohibited.  However, pepper spray is allowed.

Community Meeting addressed Muggings

Here is the letter that the NWCP sent out.  Personally, I think it sounds like they’re using a lot of political speak to make someone happy, but who knows.

On Tuesday evening, April 17, about 100 homeowners in the Upper Park Heights area engaged Mayor Sheila Dixon and Major Keith Tiedemann of the Northwest District in a two hour question and answer session concerning crime in the neighborhood.

Most of the discussion was centered around the recent assaults that occurred on Pesach. The questions were direct and respectful and the answers were honest and informative.

The Mayor pledged her continued attention and support to the Northwest area in this situation as well as in the future. (She has been involved from day one, staying on top of the situation and sending personal representatives to each of the meetings held in response to the assaults.) The Major took full responsibility for the actions of his officers; he has already spoken to an officer that did not respond as well as he would have liked. (Most of the officers who responded performed admirably and are to be commended for their actions.)

The community, in turn, expressed their appreciation to Mayor Dixon and Major Tiedemann. Their message was clear: we appreciate all of your efforts on our behalf, but we need continued help keeping our neighborhoods safe.

On a related note, it has been determined that a particular Assistant State’s Attorney, who has been instrumental in getting strong sentences in previous juvenile cases, will be in charge of prosecuting the juvenile arrested for the attacks over Pesach. The NWCP, the victims, and the Assistant State’s Attorney will be meeting shortly to strategize about the case.