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Scheming, The Redmond Monarchy, and DSL | blog.deanland.com

Scheming, The Redmond Monarchy, and DSL

Scheming, The Redmond Monarchy, and DSL

Isnít ìSchemeî an interesting word? If one is ìscheming,î that casts a nefarious light on that person. People who ìschemeî are thought to be in evil cahoots, most likely up to no-good. And yet, a schematic diagram is a necessary element to certain repairs and constructions.

Schema, in the Thesaurus bundled into MS Word, can be a synonym for plan, diagram, scheme, or representation. And used in the singular, no less. I had thought that schema was plural for scheme.

Schema also looks, to those whoíve attended Conservative or Reform Hebrew Schools, like the first word of a rather important and oft-repeated, essential prayer.

The word Scheme is used in many ways. One discusses something being ìin the greater scheme of things.î This would be to imply it is integral, or merely elemental, almost organic in connotation. ìA Grand Schemeî is often used in newspaper accounts of well-planned bank robberies or other ill-doings which require a great deal of planning, research, timing, and interaction.

A person who is described as a ìschemerî is untrustworthy, a schlemiel, or both.

One devises a scheme, which would indicate some formulaic planning, aforethought.

Way back in my other life, a few record guys I knew used to talk about the ìschemersî in the trucking department, guys who could always ìlose a few boxes of cleans.î They spoke of these characters with great respect.

The Microsoft Empire, aka Redmond Royalty

Speaking with a friend the other day about Microsoft, I was bemoaning the fact that so much of the software and programming suites are interrelated, and dependent upon, MS compatibility. To refuse to use MS products (I know a few folk doing just that) is to place some burdens on interoperability and interactivity across any number of platforms.

What bothers me about this is the way MicroSoft seems something akin to a monarchy. It is the ruling royal family of the computerworld. All benefits accrue to it, are designed to function within its dominion, and must be deemed worthy of it. It can trump, crush, adapt, usurp, or overtake (eminent domain?)(pun intended) what it deems fit for such action. And, of course, the Reigning Rulers of Redmond are the final final arbiters in these decisions.

To whom does all this royal countenance afford victory and benefit? To the monarch, King Bill.

And much the way the Brits seem to love their queen, so do many citizens of computerworld love and bow to King Bill. Long live the king. He provideth his subjects with the software that they shall live by. And they are thankful of and to his highness.

I used to make a joke, before the year 2000, about taxes. Say, for example, you had to pay $10,000 in taxes to the IRS. Come the Year 2000, Iíd jest, you would write two checks. One to the IRS, for $5000, the other to King Bill for his fair $5000.

This is unsettlingly reminiscent of a time a few years ago when an Australian friend of ours was sitting with me, my esteemed buddy Pastrami, the lovely Susan, and a few other members of this club of ours. It was at Katzís Deli (the most-mentioned foodery in this blog!). Pastrami could not understand the concept of the Queen, and her rightful royal self. We tried to explain to him that she owns England, the UK is hers. All the subjects who live there are at her behest. The land, the crown jewels, the buildings, they are hers.

She and her family are the reigning monarchy, the royal family, the heirs to the English crown. It is amazing that she and hers are now paying taxes. After all, this is like paying themselves, since their tax dollars go toward the betterment, well-being and protection of what is their country.

Pastrami was aghast at the mere thought of it. So different from his experience, so unacceptable to him the very thought of royalty trumping the average citizen.

I told him it was part of the scheme of things over there in the mother country.

DSL is here!

It is easy to complain about bad experiences. Let me share a good one with you, full of surprises.

I made arrangements to have DSL here at my desk, and available on a few other machines in the office. I am finally going to build a little network here (after years of threatening to do so!), and this was the catalyst that got me going.

So now we have a router, a network interface and ethernet card, a DSL line all hooked and linked, and we are ready to roll.

I ordered the DSL about two or three weeks ago. My ISP, i-2000.com has been wonderful through the process. Starting with my changeover as a 56K ISP and hosting account, their tech support people have been available, easy with whom to communicate, and have answered *all* my many questions.

They sent me a memo with the date and time the Verizon installer would be here to do his part of the overall job. New Yorkers are accustomed to long waits, and Verizon, doctors, dentists, and courtrooms are among the most notorious. Verizon's work order said the installer would be here between 8Am and Noon. At a few moments before 9 there was a knock on the door, and there he was.

Of course Verizon, in its long-standing manner of always screwing up, had given the man the wrong information on building access, entry, line locations, etc. However, this same installer had put the line start terminals at the pole in the nearby parking lot, where all the phone service from to this building supposedly emanates (although we know that there are poles up the street, toward the central office less than mile from here, where some of the service have terminal send-off points). So he ignored the "wrong pole" line, allowed me to show him where on the adjacent roof the main building entry junction is sitting, and where my "central closet" hook up and demarc points are.

He did a great job, and not such a simple one, at that, getting the line in, making it accessable, and ignoring all the incorrect orders and facts on his work order, which could have stalled, delayed, and generally screwed up the job.

What a champ!

Then yesterday the Covad installer came. Also on time. I was his first job of the day. He found the demarc point (oh, yeah: the Verizon installer left me a specific set of instructions and information on how and where the line could be found, which points, next to my PBX box, on the telco M-66 box), and then spent some time figuring out which of the zillion existing lines and old lines and pass-throughs, et al, could go to a jack by my desk, from the central closet (which is clear across the office, the entire length-of-the-building away.

He did just so. He didn't tack on that "extra charge for wiring" even though he did a fair amount of wire running and re-aligning the wire positions to accomodate my wishes (needed to keep some
lines exactly where they were). Then he tested the DSL by using his laptop to connect to Covad, over my DSL line.

Now I needed a Network Interface card to connect to the new router, so the DSL could hit my machine(s). I called Bob from 21st Century Computer (remember, the man who rescued my machine earlier this month?), who had one for me. I almost brought my machine back in for a mini-repair, too. Seems the metal flap on a 3.5 disk had come off of a disk, while in my floppy drive...and I ended up doing team surgery (with office neighbor Peter, the lead surgeon, Linda, the lead physician assistant and OR nurse, and yours truly, team anesthesiologist)to remove the damned thing!

The set up and installation proved to be a formidable task. I ended up speaking with tech support at LinkSys, at Cabletron, and again at i-2000. All of them were helpful, considerate, to the point. Not a one of them was rude, or made me feel like a technodweeb.

So now I have DSL, it is lightning fast, and page-load times are unlike I've ever seen on any of my machines.

Kudos to all parties involved. Everyone did their job, and all works fine. There were tense moments when I was lacking some info, and a day during which I had no e-mail or net access, but that is gone, cured, and life is good!

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