Moving Day II: The Movening

By Shamus Posted Thursday Oct 2, 2014

Filed under: Personal 133 comments

Note that the photos in this post are unrelated. They’re just pictures I took while wandering around the neighborhood. Also because I think the Pepsi-door looks kind of strange and cool.

We are moving. Aside from the normal hassle of cramming things into boxes, hauling them somewhere else, and taking them out of the boxes again, I also have to make the phone calls to the utility providers:

The apartment building nearby. They have a really bad case of dish overgrowth.

Me: Hi, I’m moving. Please activate service at my new address ASAP, and discontinue my old address at the end of October.

Gas Company: No problem! You’ll have service at the new place tomorrow.

Me: Hi, I’m moving. Please activate service at my new address ASAP, and discontinue my old address at the end of October.

Water Company: No problem! You’ll have service at the new place within two days.

Me: Hi, I’m moving. Please activate service at my new address ASAP, and discontinue my old address at the end of October.

Power Company: No problem! You’ll have service at the new place tomorrow.

Me: Hi, I’m moving. Please activate service at my new address ASAP, and discontinue my old address at the end of October.

Cable Company: Please hold. Your call is important to us. So important that we’re going to make you wait for ten minutes, just so you we can both cherish the importance of this call.

(Ten minutes later.)

Me: Look, I just need you to activate service at my new address ASAP, and discontinue my old address at the end of October.

Cable Company: I don’t understand. How can you have service at two places at once? Are you two people? I’m so confused. We can’t give you service in the new place until you discontinue the old. We can send someone around maybe in a week or so at the earliest. And by the way, would you like to sign up for cable TV?

My town is STILL coping with the death of downtown shopping. Old shells of long-dead department stores are just now being torn down, three decades after all the shoppers fled to the suburban malls. I think this crater used to be a Woolworths.

As as result, I’m about to go into internet isolation until the cable company locates their technician, sobers him up, gets his creepy 1970-era van serviced, and explains to him how to find my new apartment. If I’m very lucky and nothing goes wrong, I should return to the internet on Tuesday.

I actually went to my cable provider page and logged in. I was thinking maybe instead of transferring service I could open new service, and see if that would sort things out. When I clicked on “Shop for Plans” I got YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO VIEW THIS PAGE. Yes, I’m not even allowed to look at the pricing of new packages while logged in. I mean, I could log out and try again, but their website is ghastly to use and it doesn’t want to show you anything until you’ve created an account. And all they want to do is sell television. Their internet packages are all sort of grudgingly tacked on, and you have to really dig to find a plan that doesn’t include television.

We live in a world where the candle-makers are in charge of selling people electric lights, and it’s pretty clear their heart just isn’t in it.

I respect banks for sticking to an architectural theme and not tarting themselves up trying to be hip and modern.

Shamus! Didn’t you just move? Why are you moving again? Why so suddenly? Why don’t you stay at the old place until you have internet service at the new?

The answers to all of these questions will be explained when I return. I wrote The Twelve Year Mistake during my last moving-based internet blackout, and I think I’ll do a similar thing this time. It’ll give me a way to stave off insanity, anyhow.

What about Spoiler Warning? What about the Diecast? Where’s my free content?

I dunno. I’ll be in the savage untamed wasteland of NO INTERNET this weekend. Maybe the crew will make some content without me. Maybe not. I’ve left it up to them if they think the show is worth doing.

Wish me luck. See you guys in a million years.


From The Archives:

133 thoughts on “Moving Day II: The Movening

  1. Oh god, the internet companies. We switched from DSL to UVerse a couple years ago due to a lightning strike and it was an epic batch of fail that just keeps coming.(Seriously almost 8 weeks to get back online due to incompetence, idiocy, a tech canceling our order because he didn’t want to deal with us which meant we started the process over, and old phone lines (so old we have the 4 prong outlets in some places).)

    May your move be smooth and easy, with the minimum possible of the three Is, incompetence, idiocy, and injury!

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        What the hell is that?Why do you americans have to stick an extra prong onto everything?Here,in europeland the old phones had 3 prongs,and electricity always had 2(except for the old alternating current gadgets,like old stoves).

          1. shiroax says:

            Which part of europeland is that?

            1. 4th Dimension says:

              I would guess British.

              1. Zagzag says:

                Britland indeed.

                1. MichaelGC says:

                  So not really Europland, then.

                  1. Zak McKracken says:

                    Don’t say that!
                    I’m just trying to teach them to accept some basic geological facts, and now you just destroy that in one sentence!

                2. Eruanno says:

                  This is the normal european power plug for most of mainland Europe ->

                  1. Hoist says:

                    Now see that metallic thing between the 2 prongs thats a thing as well, this means that european grounded powerplugs have 3 “things” 2 prongs and 1 ground. So the same amount as the british except the european third does not stick out

                  2. Zak McKracken says:

                    In Germany, that plug uses the two contacts on the side for grounding, in France, there’s a pin in the wall socket that goes into the hole in the plug. Both have depressed sockets, so that the contacts of a half-inserted plug are unreachable.
                    Great, now I’ve spent ours on this page…
                    … I’m so full of useless wisdom now, thank you!

                    Oh, and:

          2. guy says:

            Why is the neutral prong the wrong shape?

            1. Aldowyn says:

              I don’t think there’s really any reason it needs to be round like it usually is in the states.

              1. MetalSeagull says:

                I disagree. It makes your outlets look so surprised. You might even say shocked.

            1. Steve C says:

              Ya… no. I know Brits are really proud of their electrical expertise. Sadly the rest of the world looks at them and shakes their heads. The Brits have some really screwed up ideas about electricity. It’s like Americans and beer- very misplaced pride.

              The plugs are over-engineered for 99% of residential use. You don’t need a fuse in every plug. You can put a fuse in the socket (Ground Fault Interrupter) and accomplish the same thing for a fraction of the size and cost. And there’s no reason to use a fuse that burns out and needs to be replaced. Use a breaker that can be switched back on. UK automobile electrical systems are a running joke. The entire electrical system of a car shouldn’t die because a taillight went out. Wiring everything in series is not a good idea. A ring-circuit for a house is a nightmare.

              Yes it can be argued that the PLUGS are “better” when examined on their own ignoring everything else. That’s because the plugs have to be. The rest of the electrical system is awful. The thing about electricity is that it’s an entire system and not a single thing.

              Nobody outside of the UK has ever said, “Wow those Brits really know how to make good electrical systems.”

              1. Tom says:

                There are historical reasons for most of the peculiarities of the British system (which has now been harmonised, to a large extent, with European standards).

                A ring circuit isn’t series, it’s still parallel. In fact, in a way, it’s doubly-parallel. It was invented after WWII as a clever way to use less copper than a radial circuit, when the country faced a dire shortage of metals. They even tried aluminium wires for a time, and those really were an utter abomination, although copper-coated aluminium wasn’t so bad. And since wire is still expensive, and houses have ever more sockets, I guess they see no reason to drop the standard, although radials are coming back into fashion.

                Fused plugs are a necessity of the ring system (or a daisy-chained radial, for that matter); because the main breaker supplies several sockets, it has to be rated at the combined maximum load of all those sockets at once (32A usually) – the ring circuit in the walls can handle this current, but it’s higher than the cable on a single appliance can handle – if an appliance goes dead short, the main circuit breaker on the ring main will not trip until the fault current is well above what the appliance wire can handle, posing a fire risk. The fuse in the plug blows before the appliance wire can be overloaded (13A maximum). This has the added benefit that if an appliance does fail, there’s at least a chance that the whole ring won’t shut down as well because the main fuse/breaker’s gone.

                Fuses were used for everything domestic until recently instead of circuit breakers because they’re way cheaper, and also at the time the standard was introduced it would have been very difficult to sufficiently miniaturise a breaker that you could actually fit one inside a plug at reasonable cost.

                1. Asimech says:

                  Can’t speak for other countries, but in “modern” buildings in Finland circuit breakers tend to be limited to 16A and from what I remember the limit for fuse sizes is 16A for residential use unless you have a building-related permit to use bigger ones. (There are three fuses, one for each phase.)

                  1. Asimech says:

                    Checked it, it should be 24 A for the main fuses, not 16 A. Pardon.

                2. Steve C says:

                  Note that everything you mentioned there is a bad thing. Every single aspect of that is bad.

                  Fused plugs shouldn’t be a necessity, breakers or no. If there is a dead short anywhere then it should shut itself off immediately. Tolerances should be tighter. It’s dangerous and there’s no need to wait until it’s *horribly* dangerous. If there is a fault it shouldn’t shut down everything. You shouldn’t be supplying that many amps. Lower-rated circuit breakers/fuses make the entire system much safer and practical plus you can safely use less copper from thinner gauge wire. And saying that circuit breakers can’t fit into the plug is just yet another problem with the plugs. The plugs are a symptom of a more systemic problem.

                  Historical reasons are a non-reason. All sorts of electrical standards have changed drastically over time without it being a big deal. You just say, “these are the standards for new construction” and then it’s done. Knob and tube used to be a thing pre-WWII in North America. It’s still exists in pre 1930s homes. But new anything doesn’t have it and if you renovate K&T gets replaced. It’s not that big a deal. UK could change the standards for new construction, they just don’t because of reasons.

                  It is one bad idea justifying another bad idea, which justifies another bad idea, which justifies another and it keeps going around in a circle like that until back at the first bad idea. It’s like a Monty Python sketch that keeps going on with a chain of, “Well we have to do that because of…”

                  BTW I was specifically referring to UK auto wiring when I referred to series. A taillight could go out and the ignition would stop working. Just google Lucas Electrics. It hasn’t been true for a while but is still a running joke that the Brits don’t know how to wire a car.

                  1. Tom says:

                    Lower rated breakers and thinner wires mean radials going to every socket, which means much greater lengths of wire (and giant fuseboxes with many more breakers, one for every socket – highly inelegant if you ask me), and so still uses more copper in total than a ring final, much more if you have many sockets. Yes, the system was a compromise, yes it’s out of date and unnecessary now, but it does work and is perfectly safe when properly installed, and it is still cheaper than a radial installation. Like I said, radials are coming back into fashion again, they’re just not mandatory yet, as far as I know.

                    1. Asimech says:

                      You don’t run a wire for each socket, you run a wire for each purpose. For example:

                      One set of wires (three phases) for the electric stove (if one exists), one chain for kitchen’s wall sockets, one for the sockets for the fridge and one for lighting.
                      And that’s if you want to play it safe and the kitchen is large enough to warrant its own wiring for sockets.

                      The fuse box may end up inelegant regardless, but electricians aren’t usually there to enjoy the sights.

              2. McNutcase says:

                The defining characteristic of the British is not imperturbability. Nor is it a love of tea. The British are a nation of overengineers. Give a Brit the chance to design a small, disposable gadget, and what you’ll get will be a thing that’s large, boxy, and will suffer no more than superficial damage if used to beat an elephant to death. The Brits loved Nokia phones in the 90s because they were about as durable as your typical housebrick. About as shiny, too, but that was beside the point. They loved Volvos, which were made by wheeling in a large block of steel and cutting bits off until you had a car, none of this newfangled assembly business. The Brits designed the Land Rover, a Jeep knockoff with significantly better longevity thanks to being immune to rust.

                Somewhere in Cryptonomicon are a couple of passages showing that Neal Stephenson understands this aspect of Britishness almost perfectly. The paean to the Vickers machinegun and the musing on the durability of British public telephone kiosks express that facet of the British character very well.

                1. syal says:

                  “and will suffer no more than superficial damage if used to beat an elephant to death.”

                  I’m left to wonder how much of that attitude originated in the East India Company.

              3. Fists says:

                The USA are actually very good with beer, by virtue of their size and low taxes there are many brewers that make high quality beers and they’ve been leading the way since people got sick of lagers a couple of decades ago.

            2. Zak McKracken says:

              1:05: If you put a continental (at least a German) plug halfway in, the only thing you can touch is the ground contact. So unless the appliance on the other end is broken, you can’t touch a live wire, not even with the thinnest fingers or using a piece of wire.
              The guy might be referring to some of the flat adaptors you can buy in Britain — they’re not safe! It’s actually hard to find proper ones that also support standard safety contacts, and we ended up ordering a bunch from Germany.
              2:05: putting a fuse in each plug: Weeell, I understand why you’d do this, with the prehistoric (quote from a London electician)installation in many houses in Britain. The fuse box in hour house is a fire hazard, so additional safety measures are required to bring it a bit closer to “proper” safety. It’d be much safer though, to have proper wiring everywhere, though, and then the plug wouldn’t need to compensate for that.
              2:40: Those colours have been continental standard for some time before the UK adopted them.
              3:15: Continental European plugs have that slack as well. Plus a separate piece to bear the load should anyone pull the cord.

              The mention of the ring circuit explains to me all of those (many!) red, always-live wires I’ve seen in older houses, connected to each ceiling light and wall socket with no apparent function.

              I do like how flat the plugs are, though, because you can put a cupboard in front of a plug in the wall with no problem. Continental plugs take a lot more “vertical” space, and the same goes for extension cables etc. At the same time, this means that adapters to continental plugs need large amounts of space while adapters to put UK plugs in continental sockets can be quite flat.
              I do not like that many plugs are designed so that their cord points up when plugged into a standard wall socket (continental ones can be put in either way). Also, while the plugs are nice and flat, there’s no equivalent to these things:
              (sorry, the English article had no images of the power strips). Those are extremely handy if you’ve got lots of small devices that don’t need a ground contact.

              1. Asimech says:

                Also, at least in Finland, the modern sockets have shutters like in Britain, except that they only open if something enters both of the holes at the same time (the ground being two prongs that come out from the sides of the sockets).

          3. Mersadeon says:

            Well you ARE with Europe, not of it. Right? ;)

        1. 4th Dimension says:

          Those stoves don’t have three prongs because they are old. Those are triple phase plugs. Essentially each three pronged plug is equal to three double pronged plugs (three phases vs one), and thus they can carry much more power, and stoves need it.

          As to why they need more it’s either Americans always having to one up the world.
          Or it’s usual British sillines:
          “Say Casters have you seen the new International standards that those Onion chompers are working on? They are entirely too sensible aren’t they?”
          “Certanly Reginald, but once the French fail as they should they will beg us to give them our standards, and they will be right properly silly.”

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            I say old because new ovens dont require so much power to burn your meal to a crisp.They can do it with just one phase.

          2. Zak McKracken says:

            In Germany, Stoves are the one thing that requires either three-phase AC (lots of individual wires, to be connected by hand) or three individual (normal) sockets, which need to be on separate fuses.

            This is a difference in how you connect them but otherwise amounts to the same thing: Each 230V-plug in your house is just one pair of a three-phase triplet at 410V and with 120° phase difference, and there are three separate circuits in every house, so you can just put them together again.
            I have yet to see an all-electrical stove/oven that could make do with less than 3kW (the upper limit for domestic 230V AC appliances).

        2. Volfram says:

          2 wires for data(signal+ and signal-, just like on USB, I believe), 2 for electricity. Most phone cords only have the data wires.

      2. Yup, that’s the one. Some of the jacks are that, some are normal, and we now have one shiny new one (they had to run a new line for U-Verse). As for why there are 4, aren’t there four wires in a phone line? (I might be horribly wrong, but it would make sense)

        1. Peter H. Coffin says:

          Two wires per line, but even back in the 1940s houses were all wired for two phone lines by default. Why? Foresight and four-conductor cable was much stronger when strung overhead than two-conductor, and if both lines weren’t in use, you had spare wires to use in case one of the pair you were using failed for some reason. Just swap to a new wire without having to string new stuff.

      3. DIN aDN says:

        Next search ‘Russian phone plug’ [the old-style one], and then ‘South African electric plug’.

        There are some amazingly chunky connectors out there.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          I like type K out of all of these the most.

          1. Tom says:

            Is that because it’s the only one that makes a happy face? :-) Hey, actually it looks just like Finn the Human!

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Yes,its so happy and cute.More dangerous stuff need to look that friendly.

          2. urs says:

            I live in Kland but most of our electr(on)ical applicances have C or F. Which makes these moments of having brought a German power strip to a Danish computer-or-whatever so so so annoying -_-

            also, what? “[…]used almost exclusively in Switzerland, Liechtenstein & Rwanda[…]”

          3. tmtvl says:

            When I first came to Japan from Belgium I was aghast to find that I needed an adapter to recharge my phone, to recharge my laptop, to plug in my desktop,…

            But now that I know I can use computers from the U.S.A. I might buy a lappy from System76.

        2. Tom says:

          Most of those standards are just really old. Everything was chunkier in the old days (except US mains plugs, which have seemingly always been really flimsy – slightly alarming, considering that US equipment uses about double the current of UK/EU stuff). Just dig up the computer you were using five, ten years ago, and try to use it – it’ll feel huge and unwieldy.

    1. Not just the cable cos.
      Sometimes it seems certain companies do not want you as a customer.

      Websites that makes it annoying or difficult to shop, I’ve seen this numerous times and it makes me wonder each time “Do they actually want customers or not?”.

      1. ET says:

        Worse is companies which have their entire product catalog online, yet require you to purchase in person, with a human! ^^;

        1. James says:

          This is funny to me beacuse since switching back to BT internet (British Telecom: Primarily land-line provider but also a major internet provider with a small TV service option) i’ve had literally no issues and even upgrading to fiber was painless, the man arrived early on the correct day, installed the thing and was done in under an hour.

        2. Chris says:

          Oh no, worse is when you can’t cancel in a store, and can’t cancel over the phone except between 9am and 5pm (which is when I’m at work) and they manage to keep you on hold longer than your 45 minute lunch will cover. And then after you have finally, “successfully”, canceled they keep billing you. ..AT&T thrives on human suffering.

    2. Trix2000 says:

      I’ve so far had a surprisingly decent experience with Comcast’s service… EXCEPT for the continuous promotion of their TV/package deals.

      On the plus side, they apparently stopped calling me about it (which was irritating, to say the least) around the time I started recognizing and ignoring their numbers. On the minus side, I almost can’t go a week or two without seeing something in the mail from them… and it’s ALWAYS some offer about TV/phone (I do all my billing online).

      Someday they need to realize that many people are getting everything that want from their computers/smartphones, and trying to sell additional TV/phone service is not only pointless but annoying.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        My service with them is good too. I feel obliged now to point it out whenever the topic is discussed because we all know complainers are over-represented on the internet.

        Even yesterday, I’d gone a couple of months without paying them. I meant to catch it up on payday but forgot so my browser redirected me to the “Please pay your bill” page. I called, there was a quick convenient option for paying exactly what I was behind and within probably 3 minutes my internet was working again. Utilities won’t let you go as long, won’t give you as much warning if you forget and when they turn it off, its at least a couple of hours before its turned on again.

        I also had a good moving experience with them. Internet transitioned exactly when it was supposed to.

        Outages are rare and I’m finding my bandwidth to be increasingly reliable. Plus, I’ve not had trouble finding a “just the internet please” package. We only have one competitor but thats enough to get Comcast to keep my price down. I’m paying 40 bucks for 50Mbps service (yes I know, Europe does it better, blah blah. Must be nice to all live close enough together for that to work).

        In my case, its actually the power company that has the obnoxious phone system. Lots of unskippable messages you have to sit through and its all too easy to press the wrong button and have them just hang up on you. Its about 5 actual minutes if I do nothing wrong. Comcast takes about 90seconds.

        EDIT: Ok so its 3 minutes 50 seconds but thats keeping in mind that I have the menu and all my info memorized and I skip the few places its allowed.

        1. Abnaxis says:

          I’ve never had good service with them, across many moves in many different cities. It finally got to the point where I would prefer a downgrade in speed and switch to DSL over buying Comcast any more.

          They’re the sole option in my hometown, and from what my folks tell me they haven’t improved much over the years. Where I live now, the city is big enough for competition, and I’ve heard that people get better service. I think the individual branches get their shit together when there’s actually a possibility of losing customers due to shoddy service.

      2. HiEv says:

        I work in the Comcast Business technical support division, so it’s really interesting being inside the sausage factory and seeing behind the scenes.

        Anyways, you can opt-out of those mailings and/or phone calls here:

    3. General Karthos says:

      I love that everything above this, in response to Shamus being without internet for several days (or longer) is related to electrical wiring, and what’s the “best” and “worst”.

    1. Nick Pitino says:


      I actually knew exactly what that was before clicking on it.


  2. Phantos says:

    This article demonstrates exactly why we need net neutrality.

    Do cable companies like this sound like the kind of people who should have free reign over the internet?

    1. ET says:

      How are CEOs supposed to buy their third yacht if they have to provide good customer service? :P

  3. Deoxy says:

    A whole weekend with no internet?!??!!

    You’ll live. It’ll be good for you. Of course, I wouldn’t say that if it were happening to ME, mind you… heh heh.

    Actually, it did happen to me a few weeks ago (fun story – no moving involved), and it wasn’t so horrible. Broke out a board game to play with my kids, even. It was fun. (When it wasn’t busy sucking the life out of the universe.)

    1. shiroax says:

      I had to go about 2 weeks with no internet. I almost bankrupted myself buying books, because what would I do, something useful?

      1. syal says:

        I once went 72 hours without Internet. I was awake for 6 hours of it.

    2. Epopisces says:

      Before getting a laptop I had to go without internet for a week and a half during a move. My desktop was an oversized monstrosity, but without internet I was going crazy (this also predates smartphones being on my horizon).

      So I did what any sensible guy would do. I lugged the entire desktop tower, monitor, keyboard, and mouse into Panera Bread to use their free wifi.

      All that work + paying for a soup of the day? Worth it for internet.
      The look on the store manager’s face? Priceless.

    3. Zak McKracken says:

      Last year, we went to Cornwall and found a place not just without internet but also mobile reception.
      Next time, we’ll plan our holiday to have more time in that place.

    4. Henson says:

      Hey, remember the days when going on the internet meant you couldn’t use the phone?

  4. Volfram says:

    I can’t speak much to other providers, but I have Century Link(partly thanks to a deal they have with the owners of the apartment complex where I live, partly because they’ve historically provided great service wherever I’ve seen), and their customer service has been almost universally excellent.

    I believe it took us 3 or 4 days to get internet hooked up when we moved in. In the meantime, I polished off a couple of books and anime I’d been meaning to get back to. The price is fairly low(Comcast sent me an ad offering to reduce our download speed by 50% for only double our current payment), and even though I couldn’t actually log into the page until most of the first month had passed, when I called customer support they said not to worry about it and that everything would work out fine.

    Spoiler: everything worked out fine.

    Century Link’s service has been generally solid. There were a couple of weeks last month when it was abnormally slow, but it’s back to normal now, and I’ve never had it up and go out for reasons at their side of the pipe.

    The router can be a little iffy at times. If I didn’t have the severe budget restrictions I do have, I’d jump for the advanced model.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      “I believe it took us 3 or 4 days to get internet hooked up when we moved in.”

      Thats considered excellent service?My god,your companies are even worse than I thought.

      1. Volfram says:

        3-4 days from when I first called up Century Link, which wasn’t until I’d moved all my stuff in.(I moved in the day the apartment opened up, roommates took a few more days to make it over.)

        You’ll note it’s only a day or to slower than the water company. I was able to use internet at the apartment office until it was hooked up.

    2. MelTorefas says:

      Wow, lucky you! When my folks moved to a town 25 minutes from where they were before, I helped them get stuff set up. They use Century Link. They were told their phone and internet would be ready on the 17th of that month (their moving day), only to find when they got there, it wasn’t. I got on the phone for them to figure it out (they’re in their 60s and had other things to be doing).

      Turns out the tech never actually sent their order through, just exited out of whatever screen they were on so it got cancelled. I was on the phone with them for over an hour, and while the tech I talked to was super nice and helpful, it still took them about a week after my folks had moved to get the service turned on.

      1. Volfram says:

        Well, you got a bad tech. It happens, and that tech has probably had a talking to.

        “Super nice and friendly” describes all of the support representatives I’ve ever talked to there, so that’s a plus.(One helped me with a router feature they don’t officially support.)

        We’re moving again in about a month to a different unit in the same apartment complex, so I guess I’ll find out how efficient their location transfer services are when that happens.

    3. Zak McKracken says:

      Most providers I’ve had sop far were very quick and helpful to connect me, including free (and reasonably competent) hotlines.
      (Except for Talktalk in the UK. TalkTalk does not want customers — took two months to acknowledge that there was still no connection).

      Their real faces only show when you want to terminate a contract. The only one who didn’t give me trouble sop far was Telekom (formerly state-owned German monopolist, now just barely the biggest German supplier), and that’s just because of some heavy-handed legislation to keep them from abusing their former monopolist position. Every other provider: PITA. Including completely ignoring and re-dating faxes and letters in order to force me into another three months of contract for connection to a place I didn’t live in anymore.

  5. krellen says:

    Utilities are heavily-regulated, often publicly-owned monopolies. The regulations and public accountability ensure they deliver this kind of service.

    Cable and internet are not yet recognised as utilities (as they should be), and most regions have only a sole provider, so we have unregulated monopolies beholden only to private shareholders ensuring our access to the internet. This is not the case in most other developed nations, which is why pretty much every other developed nation has better internet access than the US.

    Also, this would be a great time to play some Wasteland 2, Shamus.

    1. ET says:

      Yeah, I’m lucky we’ve got a publicly-owned telecoms provider in my province. Otherwise we’d have a monopoly provider. This being the same company which fired something like 50% of its tech support across the country, to increase profits. :S

    2. Wide And Nerdy says:

      I’m happier with my internet than my utilities.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        Also, that anyone could want the internet to be a public good after seeing how much the government is already willing to abuse its access disgusts me.

        We’d get something analogous to what happened in 1961 when an FCC regulator said: “I understand that many people feel that in the past licenses were often renewed pro forma, I say to you now: Renewal will not be pro forma in the future. There is nothing permanent or sacred about a broadcast license.” Television was a public good, and broadcasters owed the public for the airwaves they controlled. “I intend to see that your debt is paid with service.” And then made good on his threat leading to decades of tepid television.


        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Privately owned with government control is the best solution,I think.Private ownership allows for competition(which translates into better deals,bunch of promotional stuff,lower prices,etc),and governmental control prevents the establishment of monopoly zones.

        2. Counterpoint: The Learning Channel used to be run by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and NASA. NASA even distributed the content at no charge via satellite. The programming focused on educational content and learning through the medium of television.

          It was privatized in 1980. Now, it’s responsible for such intellect-enhancing fare as “Ballroom Bootcamp,” “What Not To Wear,” and “Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo.”

          Also, who could NOT want the internet to be regulated as a public utility after looking at its history of customer abuse, rate hikes, lies about data caps, lies about maintenance, no advances in speed/bandwidth, and abuse of the court system to prevent municipalities who voted to create a public internet service provider from doing so?

    3. Zak McKracken says:

      The way it went in Germany is that there _was_ a state-owned monopoly (on Mail, Phone and Internet), then that was broken up into a few parts (two of them DHL and T-online/T-mobile…). Initially, prices came down really fast as competition grew (Telekom being chained by law to give competitors acces top their own lines etc.), Telekom was still the priciest. These days there’s a healthy amount of competition and all, prices are muuuch lower but service levels are abominable (though not too much worse than when everyone worked for the state and performance mattered little), and it seems like the companies are trying to buy each other up until the pendulum swings back to monopoly, only a private one this time.

      At least the situation of who owns and operates the cables and who is ISP seems to be much better than in the US, but let’s see where this goes in a few years.

  6. No internet for a whole WEEK?

    Don’t die, Shamus. Don’t die.

    1. ET says:

      As long as he’s got a good weapon, he’ll be able to fight off the hordes in the non-internet wasteland. :P

      1. ehlijen says:

        Unless it breaks on the first swing.

  7. Stratoshred says:

    See you on the other side.

    1. MichaelGC says:


  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ah,the joys of monopoly.This is one of the few things that makes me glad I live in this country instead of yours.Just a few days back,out of the blue,my isp/cable provider offered me an upgrade in speed,available channels AND their new phone service AND all for less money than I was paying them before(which already was pretty cheap).They sent a guy next day,and i was without the internet for maybe an hour(including removal of all the old modems and decoders and installation of new ones,all for free).So yeah,living in a place where you have figuratively dozens of isps is paradise.

    “I dunno. I'll be in the savage untamed wasteland of NO INTERNET this weekend. Maybe the crew will make some content without me. Maybe not. I've left it up to them if they think the show is worth doing.”

    Oh dear god,its gonna be anarchy!End of the world!Game over man,game over!

    Good luck with your move Shamoose.I dont envy you at all.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Oh damn it,Ive triggered moderation at just the perfect time!Me and my obsessive south park linking.

    2. Volfram says:

      We get occasional offers from Century Link for service upgrades. Part of the problem is that I’m already on the best plan they offer in our area.(including a 60% discount.)

      They have a DV recorder they’ve been pushing lately(Century Link Prism if you want to learn more), but I always say “I don’t need TV, I have THE INTERNET.”

      Seriously, I only ever watch broadcast TV when I’m at my parents’ house watching (American) Football. I have no idea how channels work anymore.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Ah,but see,when they introduced this new three way combo of phone/tv/net they didnt offer just that as the only alternative.We couldve just as well improved our old package free of charge(new modem that counts as a wireless router instead of the two separate things,and a new tv decoder) and at lower price.And they do this pretty regularly every couple of years.

        See,my country has a bunch of competing companies that constantly try to one up each other.Im currently at the most expensive one(about $15 for 40mb/s internet)because they offer the best tech support(almost every breakdown is fixed in less than a day).

        No wonder that people in my country have cell phones and internet even when they are homeless.That is not a joke,Ive seen homeless people charge their phones with car batteries.

        1. Volfram says:

          I’ve heard-tell rumor that Comcast has connections with politicians in-office, which is one of the reasons the Oligopoly is allowed to persist: it’s a state-sponsored monopoly by a company that’s been in hot competition with EA for “Most corrupt corporation in the US” for the past couple of years, and with the improvements made to Origin recently they may steal the crown within a year.

          There was a small town that was planning on putting in municipal internet that would compete with Comcast. Comcast leveraged some of their connections to get that shut down.

          Seriously, Comcast sucks. I’m with Century Link almost more because they have the distinction of NOT being Comcast as I am with them because of the good experiences I’ve had.

          Honestly I’m not sure right now whether I hate Comcast or Sony more. On the one hand, Comcast is more openly and consistently abusive to their customers. On the other hand, at least they’re open about being abusive, vs. Sony who will happily do exactly the thing they promised not to do.

        2. Cuthalion says:

          Im currently at the most expensive one(about $15 for 40mb/s internet)

          *SPEWS DRINK*

          I paid $35/mo for the first year on a special offer for just “standard internet” at about 10mb/s. This year, the promo was over so I signed up to add TV for a total of $52/mo (it would’ve been like $65 if I hadn’t added TV, because nonsense?). And it’d be $10/mo more if I hadn’t provided my own modem and router.

          So, $35/mo for first year and $52/mo for second (with TV I don’t use! haven’t even plugged it in!). I am one of the lucky ones. And this is in an apartment complex that has a choice between two providers instead of just the one!

          I repeat: in my country, I am one of the lucky ones.

          1. Eruanno says:

            I think my connection costs about 50 bucks/month for 60mbit down/10mbit up internet and IP phone thingamajigs. American internet costs are kinda silly ;o;

          2. Zak McKracken says:

            Be happy they let you use your own stuff. In the EU there’s currently a big discussion because many ISPs force customers to use the provided router (with custom firmware, no security updates provided and minimum funcionality) “” makes maintenance and troubleshooting easier for them.

  9. SteveDJ says:

    Maybe you should have posed as a different person, signing up for new service in the new location. You could’ve sounded like you were shopping around (i.e. looking at Dish, phone DSL, etc) and gotten a really good introductory price at least for a few months.

    Then, just cancel service at the old place. Oh, wait … that might be worse…

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:


      Final statement in three weeks?Bwahahahaha!!!

    2. James says:

      Don’t Americans have the power to ask their bank to just refuse to pay direct debits? cus i have in the past done that to avoid dealing with annoying “why are you leaving” phone calls.

      “im just leaving ok! god!

      –also in the UK it is usually only that bad no demanding of reasons, atleast in my experience–

      1. 4th Dimension says:

        Maybe because the utility company will continue “providing the service” and sending you the bills as per contract. And when you don’t pay they can sue you for not paying? Or something as silly as that. It would all be settled in the court in the customers benefit, hopefully, but it would be a gigantic hassle.

        1. Felblood says:



          No, they wouldn’t sue you for a judgement.

          They would just report the non-payment to the credit bureaus.

          I wish some of my creditors would try me in court.

      2. Abnaxis says:

        Failure to pay bills like that shows up on your credit score if the utility reports it.

        At least with gas, electricity and water. I’m pretty sure cable can report it too.

  10. guy says:

    Now watch as they keep charging you for the service you disconnected at the old place.

    Also, this comment is being displayed above a comment posted 9 minutes earlier.

  11. James says:

    The last time josh was allowed to make content without Shamus they played the multiplayer Half Life mod and insanity occured.

    Maby this time josh will do something more insane, i dunno.

  12. Richard says:

    This is one of several reasons that I’m glad I live in a civilised country.

    Last time I moved house, I called the Internet company and said:

    “I’m moving to X on Y. Can you transfer my internet on that day?”

    They said “Yes, it should be working the afternoon of Y.”

    And you know what? It was!
    – and that was the former monopoly supplier as well.

    1. Ian says:

      I had a remarkably similar experience. They said no problem plug your phone in when you get there and we’ll phone you when the line has been activated.

      I got there plugged it in and it was already working with my internet.

  13. rofltehcat says:

    I guess it is because water/electricity/gas are paid largely by consumption whereas with internet service you could (theoretically) try some kind of double-usage scam.

    Of course going through the hassle to even try to get internet in two places for a few days while only paying for one simply isn’t worth it but in their mind it is apparently possible. Let’s hope you get service back soon. One would assume switching should be as easy as the technician deactivating your old service on his laptop directly after activating your new service. But I guess that would be too easy.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Dont know about usa,but here you can buy either a preset number of gigs to use,or a flat rate for a month.And they dont care how many people use that flat rate,since I got myself a cable modem/router combo,so I share it with a few people.It still works like a charm.

      1. heroofhyla says:

        Comcast used to be unlimited usage with a “soft cap” of 300 GB (they sent you a letter showing you how much more you were using than the rest of your neighbors and gave you suggestions on how to reduce usage). Now you get 250 GB for your monthly payment, and $10 for each 50 GB you go over.

        1. heroofhyla says:

          Dang it, I used the wrong email address again.

          Don’t have 4 email addresses, kids. It will only bring you suffering.

  14. rofltehcat says:

    I have to say the last picture of the bank is disconcerting. I hope it doesn’t have something to do with the bank foreclosing or something like that :(

  15. MichaelG says:

    Internet isolation? Doesn’t that blighted neighborhood have a McDonalds with free WiFi? Or a library?

    Oh, and Comcast here in Sacamento, California has always been fine. Too expensive ($75/mo), and customer support is a useless phone maze, but the service is fine.

    1. guy says:

      You’re assuming Shamus has a smartphone or laptop. I seem to recall he does not because his power ends at the borders of his demesne.

    2. Lord Nyax says:

      Things are pretty bad in Anchorage as far as internet goes. There’s two providers in town, but neither are the best. The cheapest uncapped internet you can get in $110 a month (for a supposed 10mbs connection, though my personal experience leads me to doubt that a bit). Is your $75 a month connection capped? There is a local package for $70 a month but that caps out at 100,000 megabytes of usage.

      1. MichaelG says:

        The Xfinity speed test to their San Jose server says 16 mbps down, 6 mbps up, and 20 ms ping. It’s really fast enough for everything I do normally. And they say there’s no cap, but I’m sure if you left BitTorrent running 24×7, you’d hear about it.

      2. Eruanno says:

        *spits drink over keyboard*

        110 dollars for 10 mbit?! I pay about half of that for six times the speed! How have americans not gone on riots for this bullshit yet?

        1. IfOnly says:

          Too busy suing the police to get our cars back.

          More seriously, lower population density. I mean, the oligarchy situation isn’t good, but do you know how far away Alaska is from the rest of the US? Not surprised the internet is so expensive there – laying and maintaining that much cable, and in all kinds of weather, is a pain and a half, plus there aren’t many people in Alaska to spread that expense around.

          1. Lord Nyax says:

            It’s true. Alaska has the lowest population density out of all 50 states, with about 1.3 people per square mile. I’m not too read up on the technical details of how Alaska is connected to the rest of the world, but a lot of it is via satelite and bandwidth is at a premium. It’s really frustating, but frustrating in a way that’s understandable, considering the geographical isolation. Apparently we have the slowest internet in the USA. So just remember, if you’re upset with the price and speed of your connection, even if rightly so, at least you aren’t as bad off as Alaska. Or Arkansas: apparently they’re the second slowest.

  16. Geebs says:

    I laughed my arse off. Thanks for that!

  17. Otters34 says:

    Best of luck Mr. Young. Hope everything goes as smoothly as it can. Especially in dealing with the various branches of HassleCorp.

  18. DaMage says:

    A roommate I used to live with just moved into an apartment and when he went to set up his internet connection it took him over a month. I’m in Australia so the names are different, but you understand how these companies suck. The first three companies he contacted (Telstra, Optus and Vodaphone) told him his address did not exist and they therefore could not provide a connection. He lived at 12b, 12a and 12c was listed, but 12b didn’t exist for them.

    The last company (Internode) also said his place wasn’t listed, but they realised it should be and send a technician to check it out. He confirmed it existed and he found out what went wrong. Some idiot had listed that apartment as being in the next suburb over, so when you put the address in you wouldn’t find it.

    In the end he went with the company that had actually bothered to solve his problem. Its amazing how stupid and uncaring some of these gys are.

  19. Abnaxis says:

    I switched providers recently. They’re a direct competitor to Comcast that seemed to focus more on service. When I was considering switching, I went on their website and put in my address to see if they served my area. This prompted the strangest exchange I have ever had with a customer representative. He got the address from the form I filled out, and was just wanting to leave his contact information in my mailbox…at eleven ‘o’ clock at night. It was very awkward when I caught him on my front stoop…

    Anywho, the number he left goes straight to his line, with zero automated tellers. If he doesn’t pick up on the second ring, I leave voicemail and he usually gets back within the hour (or I use the support line that has a teller if it’s an emergency). The company officially supports net neutrality, they sent workers up the poles for reflection issues the same day I complained about less-than-advertised speed, and the only time service has gone completely down was when a gas company dug in the wrong place and cut into their backbone. All for half-Comcast price. I am a happy customer.

  20. Ilseroth says:

    Well time that Shamus can’t be on the site, we need content from other people who post on the site… sounds like a PERFECT time to finish up a certain Shogun play through, eh Josh?

  21. Bloodsquirrel says:

    My theory on why Shamus is moving:

    Disgruntled Skyrim fans have found his address and are planning an attack.

  22. Zaxares says:

    I always hear tales of how the ISP’s in America are NO WORDS CAN CONVEY THE HORROR, because basically in most areas of the country, there’s only one provider, so they really have no incentive to provide good service. They know that their customers are stuck with them. Is it really that bad?

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Check the link SteveDJ gave a few comments up.Short answer is:Yes,it is.

      (ok,Im not the lazy type,so here is that link again)

      1. fdgzd says:

        Holy mother ***** what in Mephistopheles’ 15th puss-stained syphilis-covered circle of Hell is that?! Not even Baal would subject anyone to that!

        1. SteveDJ says:

          Keep in mind … that recording started 10 MINUTES into the phone call!

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            It gets even better when they got the responses from employees.I mean wow.Talk about toxic work environment.

    2. swenson says:


      The problem generally is not the techs–when my parents or I have had problems with our equipment or connection in the past and have called them (both of us are on Charter), they’ve been helpful and solved the problems as best they could. The problem is billing and sales. If you want to find out information about the service, it’s a nightmare–they actively try to hide connection speeds, what kind of modems are compatible, monthly caps, anything of actual use. And the price steadily marches up every year. And they constantly are sending you ads, frequently for the service that you already have. And if you call them about anything to do with your service, you will be pressured to add TV (no, sir, I don’t own a TV, that is what the internet is for) or a landline (no, sir, this is the twenty-first century, I have a cellphone). Repeatedly. Every. Single. Time.

      Although, to be fair, my mom has been at war for years with AT&T over various telephone-related problems, so it’s not like it’s only ISPs that can be annoying. And Charter has gotten significantly better lately. You can actually navigate the site these days. But still… the horror stories are absolutely based in fact.

  23. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Well I dont know where to plug this(heh)in that multi thread up there,so Ill just leave it dangling(heh)here at the bottom:

    Giz Explains: Why Every Country Has a Different F#$%ing Plug

    By the way,voltages of 115,127,216 and 400?Double ewe tee eff!

    1. Richard says:

      You do know that the US has no fewer than seven different plugs in common domestic usage?
      Several of which have exactly same rating and purpose.

      The British BS1363 plug and socket (and BS1362 fuse) were designed with very specific goals in mind:

      1) It had to be safe.
      We’re not pussy-footing around with 15A 115V circuits here, my home ring main is 32A 240VAC.

      2) It had to be tough. Dropping it should not break it.
      Beating your neighbour to death with it should only incur a cleaning job…

      3) It had to be easy to manufacture and last a long time.

      4) The sockets should be flush and tidy-looking and not collect debris.

      So, the boffins put on their flat caps and in 1947 they published a design for a plug, socket and fuse that did all this.

      The socket has shuttered pins so little Johnny can’t stick his needle into the live. The 1984 update added plastic coatings so shoving a knife behind a plug and slowly inserting or removing the plug still won’t touch anything dangerous.

      The plug is tough with physically big pins. It’s hard to break and is unlikely to be damaged if overloaded.
      They can be disconnected under full load without damage to plug or socket.
      It’s got a high-rupture capacity sand-filled fuse inside it, so if you wildly overload it the fuse blows quietly and your house doesn’t burn down, even if your wiring is poor.

      It’s such a good connector that there are only 3 different types of plug in common domestic use in the UK:

      A) BS1363
      B) 2-pin “Shaver” socket – enforces use of an individual safety isolation transformer, only type of socket allowed in a bathroom.
      C) Ceeform 16A 1PNE – exterior grade plug and socket, harmonised across the whole of the EU.

      PS: If you have British sockets and plug-in “socket protectors”, destroy the socket protectors and never, ever buy another one
      A BS1363 socket is inherently safe when empty and when a real plug is connected.
      However, using all known plug-in “Socket protectors” will actually expose the Live conductors, and so these should NEVER EVER be used in a BS1363 socket under any circumstances.

      Sorry, but that one is a hobby horse of mine. It terrifies me when I see schools use those things.

      1. Zak McKracken says:

        I actually do like the plug, except for the fact that it’s the least compatible of all European plugs … they seem to have deliberately done that.

        Except: You can of course put a Euro plug in a British socket, by using a pencil to emulate the safety pin (and removing it directly). Helped me a lot :)

  24. evileeyore says:

    You know Shamus you could have had The Wife sign up for the new service. It’s what me and people I’ve lived with have done when we’ve had to move, tag-team bills services.

    1. Zak McKracken says:

      …which means you pay two ISPs until you manage to cancel the old connection. In my experience, that can take infinitely longer than getting it moved.
      … where I come from, though, ISPs often have two or three months notice preiod for cancellations, and they love not noticing you did not miss the deadline…

      1. purf says:

        Where do you come from? Because, “infinitely longer” sounds familiar if you’re not really up on your toes ;) To the point where it felt like the best way to get out of the contract is to refuse paying, move to a (for them unknown place) far away and go LALALALAAAAICANTHEARYOU on their emails.

        1. Zak McKracken says:


          And you can’t just ignore them because they can still sue if they want.
          The last time we had it easy because we just up and left the country. It took “them” a while to understand that they couldn’t continue providing service even if we wanted them to, so that helped.

          Before that: I called the “call if you want top leave” number, they told me they’d give me an offer to change my mind but the cancellation was recorded. Then they didn’t call with a new offer, I called back, they told me they knew nothing about any cancellation but here’s a much better offer, and if I wanted to leave before the end of the year (it was September!), I’d have to send a letter that’d arrive tomorrow. So I faxed them.
          Then they ignored the fax and sent me another “please stay” offer. And called me again, telling me I’d cancelled for the end of March. Luckily I had the names of all involved personnel, most of all the guy who said “oooohh, I’m so sorry!” in a terribly sarcastic voice after I said for the 10th time how they got the termination date was wrong.
          That triggered a very angry letter (proper paper works best), summing up all of their faults (and giving names and dates), and that earned a very short apology and a termination of the contract at the date I had wanted originally. I think they started to become afraid of a lawsuit.
          At least the law is mostly on the consumers’ side in Germany, even if it usually takes a lot before suing starts to make sense.

          1. purf says:

            Well, in my case it’s also a story of how my Verpeiltheit sometimes knows no bounds but when I came to my senses after having lived away from Germany for a longer period that I care to admit and told my provider that I need out, now! they thought it would be cool to not only not thank me for that amount of money I’d basically been donating to them but to also send me some more invoices for the service they had not been providing to me.

  25. Usually Insane says:

    Good luck with moving and your new home, we’ll be here when you get back, take care :)

  26. Volfram says:

    Hey Shamus, remember when you made this post? I made a comment somewhere up there that I’d get back to everyone with my own moving experience RE: Century Link.

    Here’s your results.

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