Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Getting into gear

After a delay of 24 hours, both the WiFi hotspot and the tablet ordered online from Walmart finally arrived. Of course, no sooner than they had arrived, it became evident that the fine print of the hotspot indicated a $45 a month plan that had 3GB of data and merely slower speeds thereafter on Straight Talk phones. This was something entirely unexpected and had a rethink starting.

The old scheme was to pay $40 a month ($45 after tax) for a Family Mobile cellphone plan and $55 a month for DSL internet. Total $100 a month. The cellphone plan allowed 5GB of high speed data then zero. The new scheme is 4GB of data for $40 plus $45 for cellphone. This is $85 which is $15 less.

Given that YouTube is entirely optional and not something that it would be wise to risk precious data on unless while using an alternate (read free) WiFi hotspot then YouTube isn't going to get much traffic. Basically, there will be way less casual web browsing - which is a very good thing since the internet can quickly become addictive.

The way forward (since being a cheapass is to be recommended) might be to change phone service from Family Mobile at $40 before tax to Straight Talk at $45 before tax and cease using the MiFi pad since a smartphone will work as a MiFi pad. This would have the effect of bringing the cost of phone and data down from $100 a month to $85 a month to $50ish a month. Cost reductions are always welcome.

Certainly the data will be slower after the initial burst of 3GB of "high-speed" data though as 99% of web use is entirely entertainment, this should not matter much. It'd be like the old days of dial-up though having said that, I have yet to encounter 3G in South Carolina. Even the 2G speeds obtained from Family Mobile in SC is way faster than the 2G speeds of Virgin (the previous phone service provider).

So, where is all this leading? It's leading to total mobility. The plan is still to relocate into a converted schoolbus for living and working. Power will be solar and water etc will be taken aboard as needed. Eventually the plan is to roam around the US with a camera, taking photos and uploading them to the travel blog from

Initial testing of the new (read secondhand) tablet and the MiFi pad reveals excellent performance. It might in view of this be a good idea to upgrade the camera system to something that has WiFi so that images can be upoaded easily.

Originally, when purchased, the idea was to have a camera and a couple of lenses that would just be enjoyed. That got perverted by somebody else into a mission to make money from photography. That ended up costing more money than had ever been spent on anything else and never made a profit. Two reasons for that - the first, there's no money in photography and the second - making it a business makes photography unenjoyable. The old gear is contaminated with the bad memories associated with that business. Probably best to sell the whole lot and restart with more modern gear.

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