Connectivity's complications

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I almost joined broadband nation, but I proved to be unprepared at the swearing in.

Tired of waiting around while my dial-up modem played its little electronic tune – then waiting again any time I tried to load a web page – I called my cable provider about its free-installation deal.

The worker who showed up popped open my computer and added a component. He unboxed a cable modem that looked like a shark's fin. Then he began unspooling cable, and I showed him where I wanted it to run – under a porch.

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My installer balked. He lacked the tool to snake the cable those 10 feet, and he wasn't up for the crawl. We tried a fishing pole. No good.

We started eyeing other routes. One took the cable up and over a bathroom door molding and then along the baseboard. White on white, it looked OK to me.

Then my wife walked in with a firm veto on aesthetic grounds. Our installer pulled out. We're still in dial-up mode, and rethinking the location of our computer.

Cables have complications even for those who do get connected.

One colleague laments that the sizzling-fast downloads he experienced when he first latched onto broadband have become rare as traffic has picked up. Broadband subscriptions are rising fast, with cable as the current carrier of choice over digital-subscriber lines.

For some consumers, satellite represents another option – though one still better for channel surfing than surfing the web. When we tire of wire, uplinking may gain.

Remind me to choose a dish that blends in with the household decor.

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