Monday, August 21, 2006

Gotta love Louisiana's infrastructure

Right now, the power is out in our apartment. The temperature has risen above 83°F. Fortunately the sun has gone down (it was 104° today) and there is a slight breeze. Entergy's help line estimates the power will be restored by 9:20 p.m., though I have my doubts.

Oh, how are am I able to blog while the power is out? Well, funny thing about that. The street behind us has power. This is the second time I've noticed the power on the street behind us while our power was off. Anyway, I started up the laptop. It couldn't find our little wireless LAN, but it did find three other nearby networks. Two of those networks are unencrypted. So, yeah, I'm piggy backing on someone else's connection. Is that ethical? Eh, probably not. But they have power and air conditioning and we don't. And they are stupid enough not to encyrpt their connection, so they deserve a little slowdown. (Besides, I'm blogging, I'm not going nuts downloading stuff. The fact that someone could download stuff through someone else's connection is a really good reason to encrypt your wireless network! Be smart, kids, and encrypt!

You have to love Louisiana's lousy infrastructure. I have lived through more power outages here in Monroe in less than five years than in all the rest of my adult years combined. (I did miss the big power outage that hit Toronto a couple of years ago, though, so if I'd stayed up there I would have logged more "outage" hours.)

I suspect the trouble tonight is tree limb related. They don't do a very good job of trimming trees here. I remember in East York (an area of Toronto) that at least once a year the city sent a crew around to cut suspect tree limbs. High wind isn't so much the issue as freezing rain up there. Regardless, there is little care shown to infrastructure down here.

This problem extends beyond power lines. When we had dial up Internet access, we barely got better than a 24K connection. The trunk speed on the phone lines couldn't handle beyond 28.8K, though we never got that. I had a 56K modem. This isn't a fault of the government so much as a fault with the telecoms. The government doesn't give them any incentives to spend on infrastructure, and high speed internet gives telecoms plenty of incentive not to spend money fixing rural copper connections. You can see why I don't trust the telecoms to "do the right thing" with regard to net neutrality...

The roads in Louisiana are notoriously poor. There are precious few sidewalks in this city (everyone drives everywhere, so they figured they weren't needed). Then there's the mess left by Katrina, a mess largely resulting from years of levee neglect.

It's ridiculous that the world's richest country spends so little money in infrastructure. Or, rather, that the world's richest country has areas that spend so little money on infrastructure. Perhaps instead of giving away tax money to the rich the feds could give some money to the poorer states, so that they can improve roads, power lines, etc. <sarcasm>Nah... we all know that it's more efficient to give money to the rich and let it filter down to the poor folk. </sarcasm>

The rain just picked up. It's now poring. It's not looking good for our power coming on by the 9:30 deadline. Better post this before the people whose connection I'm borrowing loser their power.

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