DOUG’S PROGRESS FOR JUNE
Dale Dauten, Syndicated Columnist
THE NEW HD TV
“I don’t know what’s wrong with my television set.
I had it on and the same station was getting
C-SPAN and The Home Shopping Network.
I actually bought a congressman.”
Despite the record heat, and despite losing an assistant who couldn’t take that heat, Doug Walker keeps pressing ahead. He shared this news:
The new Cox HD TV is on schedule:
SILVERIDGE: Is now switched over to Cox HD.
THE RESORT: Will be switched over by mid-July (or sooner).
Doug has completed nearly all the work of updating the green pedestals where the cable is split to go into individual homes. Meanwhile, the “head in,” where the Cox service enters the parks, is complete.
Here are Doug’s photos of the “head in” equipment. (If you’re like me and curious why there’s a TV in a closet, it’s so Doug can see exactly what’s coming into the park and thus can know if the problem is with Cox, a given channel, or it’s something in the park’s system.)
Now that the new HD television has arrived, the next challenge is to make sure the wiring in individual units is good enough to match the new signal quality. Doug sent us a picture of what he can be up against, one unit where someone had rigged a cable connection that resulted in second-rate quality:
In order to take advantage of the new HD quality, the wiring at each unit will need to be tested, and in some cases fixed or replaced.
“A computer once beat me at chess,
but it was no match for me at kickboxing.”
As for the new internet service, we’re still waiting on Cox to bring in their fiber optic cable. However, all the new equipment the parks need has been purchased and is waiting to be hooked up. While we’re not certain when Cox will complete its share of the project, Doug reports that we’re still on schedule for when the new internet will be available:
The new high-speed internet should be available in September.
More on that in next month’s progress report.
MAKING SURE YOU GET THE NEW SERVICE
While Doug is currently working with year-round residents to make sure their individual units have great service, he’s already thinking ahead to how he’ll keep up with all the residents who return in Fall.
Working with the front office teams, there will be a scheduling calendar for your return. When that’s ready, all you’ll need to do is let the office know when you’ll be returning to the park and they’ll put you on Doug’s schedule.
He’s asking that you give the office at least 30 days’ notice of your arrival so he can set up a time to meet with you, test your new service, and get everything working. Having already done this for the HD TV for people spending the summer in the park, he reports this result:
“We get everything cleaned up and… BEAUTIFUL!”
TIME TO HANG UP ON THE OLD LANDLINE PHONES?
Silveridge Residents Have a New Phone Option
Dale Dauten, Syndicated Columnist
It happened in May. That’s when the latest graph of government telephone data finally showed the lines crossing – the number of households with only cellphones surpassed the number that had landlines.
The “landline” numbers shown on the graph count internet-based phones, not just traditional phone service. While these new phones may plug into the wall, they do not use the old system that we grew up with, the one now referred to as “the copper network.” This newer technology uses fiber and cable and is known as VoIP (that stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and the acronym is pronounced like Voit but with a “p” at the end instead of the “t”).
An executive of the United States Telecom Association predicted to the Associated Press in 2015 that soon “There will be so few people on the [copper] network that it won’t be economical to maintain it.”
So, is it time to get rid of the old landline?
The argument for keeping a traditional phone was that it was needed for emergencies – it’s likely to be working if the power went out or if the cell network went down. Plus, the 911 operator could see exactly where the call was coming from.
However, if the call is made from a home phone line that is tied to the internet rather than to the copper network, that address does appear when the emergency call comes in. (The problem with cellphone calls to 911 occurs when the person is outside the home and can’t offer a location.)
So, that just leaves the occasions when the power is out and the internet and cell phones are also out; in that rare circumstance, the landline on the copper network would be advantageous. That argument wasn’t enough to keep this writer paying for a traditional landline. Here’s my experience…
For many years, I had three telephones lines going to my house — the main line for the family and, because I work at home, an office line and a fax line. Then the kids moved away and my wife and I had each added a cell phone, so I eventually it dawned on me that I had five phone lines/numbers for two people. So I got rid of the fax line I hardly ever used, then the family line. But I resisted getting rid of the line into my home office.
After all, it was my business phone number and it felt good to have a “real” phone line for emergencies.
For years I kept paying for that landline. Then my son, something of a techie, convinced me to try an internet-based phone. I bought the unit and he set it up. I had my same phone number switched over to the new service – they call it having your number “ported over.” The total upfront cost was around $120. I still had a phone bill, but far less than the one with the old phone company. (With an internet-based phone you still have to pay some taxes, and I paid extra for special features, like being able to get a text message telling me anytime someone left me a phone message.)
Instead of giving up quality, the sound was better. Further, I can just type in any number into my personal “blacklist” of calls I want to reject. And, if I’m away, I can listen to messages with my cell phone or on my computer.
My bottom line: I’m paying less for my phones and now I have better sound quality and more services. After six years, I can look back and say, I haven’t missed my old landline phone service, not once.
Despite having never regretted my decision, if I were making the choice today I’d make a different one, and that’s explained in the new option detailed below.
A NEW OPTION
Silveridge’s management team has arranged for a phone expert, Mike Irwin of Clear Digital Networks, to take over the phone system at the park. Thanks to the new high-quality internet service now being installed, he’ll be able to convert Silveridge’s old system to one with the latest digital technology.
Mike will be at the coffees in the Fall to give details and answer questions, but here are some answers in advance:
Q: Will I still have my same phone number (the one that uses my Silveridge unit number)?
YES. You’ll have the same number.
Q: What will change?
You can just use your phone as before. You’ll also have Caller ID, Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, and Voicemail (including the option of having your voicemail sent to your email). And, you can choose to make use of many additional features. For one thing, you’ll have the option of routing calls. For instance, you could have a message that says, “For Betty, Press One and for Paul, Press Two.” The system would then route the call to your cellphone or to voicemail or to wherever else you’d like it to go. (And with Mike’s system, all the features/options are included in the standard monthly fee.)
Q: Do I need special equipment and, if so…
Will it be installed or is this a do-it-yourself project?
There is a small unit that connects you to the internet phone system. Mike or one of his associates will install the unit for you and show you how to set up your new service.
Q: What will it cost?
Mike is still working out pricing, but preliminary estimates put it at $20-25 a month, including all features. He’s planning to offer the first month free, which will offset the cost of installation and the unit connecting your phones to the internet service, so the unit/install are basically free.
More on pricing and other details as we get closer to having the service available. When will that be? Only after the completion of the new cable/internet service, so not until late summer.
MEET MIKE IRWIN, OUR NEW PHONE GURU
Mike met his future in Italy – his wife and his career. He was in the Air Force back then, and it became his job to help maintain NATO’s telephone towers that were part of what was called the Digital European Backbone. His towers were in the mountains of Northern Italy, and so was his future wife, Fiorella.
When Mike finished his time in the USAF, he and his bride moved to Los Angeles and he landed a job with the long-distance phone company MCI. One day he was working with a client from Phoenix who was so impressed with his work that she said, “I wish we had someone like you in Phoenix.” Well, Mike knew and liked Phoenix — his brother lived there — so he was quick to follow-up on that idea. That was 1985 and he’s been here since. He and Fiorella have a son, K.J., who’s an Air Force pilot, stationed at the 161st Air National Guard at Sky Harbor Airport.
Mike’s company is Clear Digital Networks, in Phoenix. He tells us he’s eager to come join in at the coffees at Silveridge to share his passion for the latest in telephone technology.