Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life

By , on January 1, 2011

Miscellaneous Comment

This post is a list of some things I learned in 2010, with a few comments on what I will change as a result.

  • Some of my most popular posts give information on repairs. These posts have enduring value to the reader who is trying to decide whether he can do a job or is trying to escape a mess that is in progress. It will be tough for me to photograph my work in the middle of the job, because my focus is on success, not documentation. However, my New Year’s resolution is to add photographs to posts on repairs.
  • Rural Americans are always the last to get modern conveniences. For example, we were second to the cities to get plumbing and toilets, electricity, telephones, gaseous fuel, and broadband. One of the last vestiges of technological second-class status in rural America for my wife and me was that our cell phones did not work in our house. Verizon, ATT, and perhaps other vendors have network extenders that act like mini-cell sites, converting your cell signal to an Internet Protocol data stream. For those who have broadband but lousy cell phone service in your home or office, these devices work well. Remember to update the software of your phone before using the extender. With Verizon, you dial *228, then select option 2, “Update Roaming Capabilities.” My New Year’s resolution is to terminate my land line as soon as my Comcast introductory contract ends this summer.
  • Digital television and high definition television are cool. My initial streaming experience was with a laptop, but few of us are set-up for use of a laptop near our televisions and I wasn’t either. The solution was a Roku box for $79. It is an elegant solution to the streaming problem. I bought the mid-level device, which includes the wireless interface. The box is small and fits nicely on the same shelf as the TV and below the screen. My New Year’s resolution is to disconnect from cable TV again when my contract with Comcast expires. I will also drop the number of DVDs that I can borrow simultaneously from Netflix from three to one.
  • The exchange of Christmas cards among individuals is decreasing drastically. Preparing these has been a huge problem for years, because our time off from work clusters at and after the holidays, not sufficiently in advance. My resolution going forward is to write letters around the holidays instead of sending cards.

Happy New Year!

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