What the hell is ‘deseret’ anyway?

I barely survived Salt Lake City.  Too many long days and too much travel does that to a person.  I worked most of the day before flying out there, then worked long hours to get as much work done as possible, then flew out after another long day at work.  Sleeping in a strange place never helps you get rest, so that certainly didn't help the situation.  But, I got quite a bit accomplished out there, so I'm happy about that.  Naturally I came back to more emergencies at work and more last minute explosions, but that's become the normal routine for folks in my line of business.  At least there's something to be said for consistency.

Salt Lake City was not as impressive as I had hoped, but it wasn't horrible.  The "downtown" area is spread out, so it made for a new experience when compared to Dallas (which has a very clear centralized downtown area).  In fact, as we were flying in, I was wondering where the city was since there was no single conglomeration of tall buildings.  Compared to the buildings in downtown Dallas, Salt Lake City has no high-rise buildings.  There are some that are 20 stories or so, but, in the scheme of things, they're not impressive.

I did like the lack of a true rush hour.  In the DFW area, 6:00 AM through 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM through 7:00 PM are quite possibly the most infuriating and tiresome times to drive.  There are simply too many people on the road, too much construction that slows down traffic, and the insufferable menace of the stupid Texas drivers.  In Salt Lake City, though, rush hour was not bad at all and was quite comfortable to drive in.  I wish it could be that way here.

The idée fixe with Mormonism is overwhelming throughout the city, however.  Everything is centered around the Mormon church regardless of how hard they try to deny it.  Temple Street is far more significant a road than Main or State, and everything has the undeniable aftertaste of church.

In fact, there's a business with the word deseret in its name on almost every street.  One of the folks who went out there with me constantly joked with me about what that word really meant.  Once we got back to Dallas and looked it up, it became abundantly clear that the Mormon church was large and in charge in Utah and equally so in Salt Lake City.

It's a pity, really, that there has to be an uncomfortably overwhelming religious overtone to everything they do.  The city would be a welcoming place if not for that little issue.

Overall the trip was a success, although I hate to travel on business and planned the trip for maximum work time and minimum rest time.  From now on, I think I'll be a little more generous to myself when I travel so I don't end up as completely fatigued as I was this time.

Detour to Salt Lake City

Pardon the lack of updates over the next few days.  I've been sent to Salt Lake City on business and have an extremely full schedule — making spare time hard to come by.  I'll be back in Dallas at the end of the week and will get back on track with news and updates then.

SpeedStream/Efficient Networks/Siemens – you suck!

I have never had so many problems with a single piece of computer equipment.  Worse than just a being a POS, the manufacturer (SpeedStream which is really Efficient Networks which is really Siemens) is quite possibly the absolute worst company when it comes to customer service.  In fact, I’m confident they call it "customer disservice" specifically because they want nothing more than to royally screw you.

I purchased a SpeedStream 2623 Wireless DSL/Cable Router just over a year ago.  My roommate and I needed to get the DSL shared between our two computers and wanted to share some resources between the PCs.  Wireless seemed the way to go since neither of us wanted to run Ethernet cable all over the house.

Based on the review in and recommendation by PC Magazine, I went with the SpeedStream 2623.

What a terrible mistake!

From the beginning, the thing was nothing more than a progressively worsening headache.  From deficiencies in WEP support to continuous problems with lockups to an inability to reconnect to the DSL service after a reset or reboot, the list of problems grew by leaps and bounds with each passing day.

My roommate, connected wirelessly, continually had problems with connections dropping.  Anytime the router was reset or rebooted (firmware upgrades and solving problems being the two main reasons this happened all the time), it would take several subsequent resets/reboots and continuous massaging of the PPPoE settings to get it to reconnect.  It constantly lost its mind and would grind to a slow crawl (so far as network traffic is concerned).  Take my word for it — the list goes on.

Since I was well within the original 24-month extended warranty period, I contacted SpeedStream for support.  A month later, I had still received no response whatsoever.

So I contacted them again.  Another month went by and I was still waiting for some kind of acknowledgment.

I work in the technology field and am quite comfortable with getting computer equipment to work.  In this case, however, that simply wasn’t going to happen.

I contacted SpeedStream again and asked to have the hardware replaced with the same piece of equipment (I was naive enough to believe that I had purchased a lemon and that another router wouldn’t have all of these problems).

Would you believe that, to this day, I have yet to hear back from this sorry excuse of a company?  The little router that couldn’t is still under warranty, but it’s going in the trash now.  It locked up this evening and not even the external hardware reset button can get it to work.  It’s dead, and that’s a good thing.

And don’t get me started on the DSL modem problems…  Yes, we’re still talking SpeedStream, but I’d rather not suffer through the torment of reliving those problems just so I can tell the story.  Suffice it to say that the company and equipment seem to be religiously consistent.  Take that for what it’s worth.

As for SpeedStream/Efficient Networks/Siemens and the sorry excuse for network equipment they’re pumping out, I recommend you stay as far away from them as possible.  They have no intention of supporting their products regardless of promises like extended warranties (as I’ve learned the hard way), they’re not interested in fixing the problems that are inherent in their equipment (many of the various problems I reported in my messages to them are still unresolved), and my experience seems to indicate that they want nothing more than to take your money and run away.

Take my word for it — stay away from them at all costs.  There are plenty of other products out there that are better supported and less troublesome.

As for PC Magazine and their empty-headed review, they can piss off.  Before you open your mouth and recommend some product, I strongly suggest you actually use the thing for a while so you get an idea of what you’re talking about.  This plugging it in for a day and calling it reviewed is a disservice to your readers.

That’s what severe storms are like

Dallas basically got abused last night by some very potent thunderstorms.  They rolled in about midnight and continued through the morning, finally ending shortly before noon.  They gradually tapered off from severe to a sprinkle during that time.  The storms knocked out power for some 70,000 people and caused significant damage throughout the city — from hail damage to trees blown over (onto houses and cars and a myriad of other things) to wind damage to roofs and fences and anything else that couldn't withstand the 70 MPH onslaught.  We lost power about 1:00 AM and didn't get it back until after 10:00 AM.  The light show was fantastic, though, and a local TV station tracked more than 193,000 lightning strikes during the night.  Rain accumulation ranged from 1.6 inches at the airport to 6 inches in some of the outlying burbs.  At least one death is being blamed on the storms, so it was definitely a night to stay inside.  While I was out running errands this morning I saw downed trees and power lines, limbs and trash and other debris all over the place, and plenty of signs of flooding (an inch of mud all the way across a major six-lane road stretching more than 100 feet).  All I can say is wow!

Get over it already

Yes, I know I've been neglectful of late (since the move).  I've been so busy with work and the real world that I haven't been updating the site as often as I had hoped.  Well, get over it already!  I do intend to get back to regular updates.  I assure you I'll be back to my mouthy self soon (sooner if I win the lottery…).