Dialup going, going.....

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Dialup going, going.....

Post by Admin on Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:27 am

Ok, I am out in boonies. No DSL, no cable, no WISP. There is dialup, satellite, and because I am couple miles as crow flies from an interstate hiway, there is mobile broadband.

Even using NO SCRIPT, AdBlockPlus and ImageBlock (all extensions for Firefox) dialup is slow. NoScript is only thing that makes dialup usable for anything but POPing email via an email client. especially helps cause websites leach visitors resources and bandwidth trying to run crazy numbers of scripts in back ground, most that dont benefit the visitor. But still any website with numerous photos one doesnt want to block, like Ebay or Amazon or most shopping sites, is super slow to load completely.

Also due to dwindling numbers of users, dialup isps have went belly up by the score, and those that remain are increasing cost and limiting hours per month allowed. Strange as it may seem, AOL and Netzero offer about best deal without hard time limits per month. If you hunt enough on AOL website, they offer a $4.99 basic dialup account, though they offer many different levels at higher prices. And AOL now lets you cancel online, no more arguing with somebody in India paid to not let you cancel. But they require their crapware to connect. The third party linux workaround to connect to an AOL account called Penggy no longer works. It hasnt been updated since turn of century and AOL now uses a different protocol. Netzero is raising their price for dialup account to $11 in July. The old Lindows/Linspire linux Netzero software works. If you can find it, if you can install it and get it to run on whatever modern linux distribution you can find. And if you can find the file and manually update to include at least one current local dialup number. Linspire disappeared long ago, they had special deal with Netzero. Though linux is linux so Linspire software still works on modern linux distributions, and the Netzero bar disappears when it connects and logs you in. Only works with paid account or the ten hour free accounts when they are having a free weekend, if they still have such things.

But my local telephone company keeps raising price of landline that I only use for dialup. No landline, no dialup. So even with the el cheapo AOL dialup account, still putting out total of $30 a month for dialup.

I had been supplementing dialup with Virgin Mobile usb mobile broadband modem and pay as you go data. 1.5gb for $25, any remaining time expires after 30 days. I was grandfathered in, but right after I signed up, they changed the rules for new customers. You have to agree to autorenewal of the 1.5gb when you run out of data or when 30 days are up. Dont want to autorenew, you have to go through hassle of deleting your whole account and reregistering when you want to use it again. The next step up is like 5gb for $55. You can still renew it at will, I mean let it run out, then months later buy some more data without having to cancel and sign up again.

Ok, from my experience with Virgin, I figured out most people on dialup basically use 1.5gb to 2gb data. I almost got through whole month on 1.5gb data via Virgin once I figured out to use NO SCRIPT to keep websites from sucking down on MY darn expensive mobile broadband bandwidth running hidden scripts for their profit but that did me no good whatsoever. That is using web like I do with dialup. No flash, no video. You dont really have any more total bandwidth than dialup, just it isnt bottlenecked to tiny stream like on dialup. So for example a search on ebay doesnt take 15 minutes for all the gallery thumbnail images to load.

Then after lot searching and rejecting couple third party flybynight resellers of Sprint mobile broadband data with more gotchas in their TOS than I have ever seen, I saw Wallyworlds Straight Talk mobile hotspot. No usb modem, just stupid expensive $80 wifi hotspot gizmo you have to buy. But their data is reasonable. Starts with 1gb for $15 that any unused expires in 30 days, then 2gb for $25 that expires in 30 days, then 4gb for $40 that expires in 60 days. Ok that 60 days to use the data is very interesting. Means if you can get by with 2gb per month, you effectively pay $20 a month for it. You could round robin those 4gb cards into equivalent of 3gb per month for $30 if you needed more. Yeppers, that 60 day limit is handy.

so I bit, even after reading of people getting dud hotspot gizmos and of Straight Talk being might inaccurate metering data usage. Just got the 1gb in case I didnt like it, the data card isnt refundable, just gizmo is refundable. Well it was pain getting gizmo registered and account established. I knew not to use the 800 number to India if at all possible. But their website just isnt functional with dialup connection. I had a friend in another state register my gizmo and establish my account since she has DSL. It works but I am still not sure how accurate the metering of data is. I have another week or so where I can return the gizmo to Wallywart for a full refund (they give you 14 days from day of purchase). I will know by then. Mine does use Verizon network which is much faster than Sprint network Virgin used. I am happy with it, just depends on their honesty per data metering. And how the gizmo holds up. So far gizmo seems to do well, it gets bit warm to touch but not hot. I will update on how its working out again in future.


Last edited by Admin on Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:07 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Dialup going, going.....

Post by Admin on Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:55 am

Oh, since the ST hotspot connects to computer through WIFI, needed a WIFI adapter on my desktop. Silly me, saw a generic $3(shipped) usb adapter that said it worked on linux. Got it after 3 weeks on slow boat from China (needed it before I bought the hotspot). Works fine with XP using included windows driver. But the included linux driver had to be compiled. Luckily I had recently had to compile a dialup modem driver so had everything necessary to compile from source installed. Then got to reading on web that this driver only compiles on 2.6.x linux kernels. Needs to be patched to compile on newer 3.x.x kernels.

Well stupid thing wouldnt patch. Either errored out or hung when I used patch command. So thought what the hey, just try compiling it as is. Threw up bunch warnings, but no terminal errors. In other words, compiled and installed. I rebooted and Slacko Puppy 5.3 saw the wifi adapter and was able to use it. I am not sure if the patch took during one of my attempts, or if maybe some wise Chinese guy that made the driver cd put an already patched driver source file on the cd, or what??? But it works. If buying wifi adapter again, I would have chosen one with a chipset for which Slacko already had driver module. Not that the compiling is difficult, but just lot easier not to have to do it, especially for some stupid little driver. I found wifi adapter for like $6.50 shipped that Slacko could have used with driver module it already had. Extra couple bucks, but lot less hassle.

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Re: Dialup going, going.....

Post by Admin on Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:37 pm

Ah forgot to mention a blog review that helped make up my mind to try the Straight Talk hotspot: http://mrgazz.com/blog/reviews-mainmenu-46/gadgets-mainmenu-178/straighttalk-unimax-u240c-review

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Re: Dialup going, going.....

Post by Admin on Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:37 pm

Ok, enough use to figure that I am going to need around 3GB data per month. Based on it looking like I will use up that 1GB in 10 days. I think they do cheat but not as much as some have claimed. I imagine those using some huge amount data have software phoning home and updating. And maybe malware and who knows what. 3GB will cost me $30 a month doing round robin thing with the 4GB data cards. This is acceptable and comparible to how long 1.5gb ($25) lasts on Virgin. However this is faster connection with less latency than Virgin's Sprint network, this due to stronger signal on Verizon network.

What I dont much like is having to be anal about watching my usage. Its kinda like one of those low hour dialup accounts. But at least this way, I dont have to play several games of solitaire waiting for a webpage to load. I would just stick with Virgin cause I like the usb stick modem much better than the hotspot, but they decided to make it inconvenient in way they sell their data. unless one wants to buy 5GB chunks. Virgin isnt fast enough connection to really watch youtube so even if I wanted to spend the money, I wouldnt come close to using 5GB in a month. 1.5GB not enough, 5GB too much, and nothing inbetween. And nearly all Sprint resellers now want to force you to immediately autobuy a refill when you run out or after the month is up and any remaining data expires. This is to screw users that arent paying close attention. Even Virgin does on the 1.5GB though I am grandfathered in on the 'buy when I want' 1.5GB plan long as I maintain my account (account remains one year past last purchase of data). You still have option to only buy when you want on the 5GB. I am surprised ST doesnt do this. Course eventually price of mobile broadband data will come down and new resellers jump into market with better deals and lower prices.

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Re: Dialup going, going.....

Post by Admin on Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:37 pm

Ok, update. The ST hotspot seems pretty reliable and I am on schedule, going to use around 3GB per month without being super anal about metering my every usage of internet. Only time I had trouble, seems my cat managed to unplug the wallwart from the strip.

Shame I cant use it for any video, but thats life. This at least makes dialup type surfing a whole lot more time efficient. Now to start cancelling all the landline and dialup stuff.

Oh tried buying a data card off walmart.com (they send info necessary via email) and seemed to succeed only to have them cancel my order 10 minutes later saying there was an unspecified error??? Just limped by with dialup until I did my monthly grocery shopping trip to town and bought a card at a brick and mortar Wallyworld. Then found the ST website was so dialup unfriendly that I again had to have my email friend do it for me on her DSL connection. Jeesh, think they would want to make their website lot more friendly to slow connections. But they want one to buy cards ahead of time and put them in reserve. Or else hand over credit card info and they do it automagically. Thats not going to happen... Sure their servers are third world like their customer service, and not all that secure.

But I am happy that any possible padding of usage (if any) is pretty predictable so can count on 3GB data lasting me a month. $30 a month is doable.

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Re: Dialup going, going.....

Post by Admin on Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:05 pm

Ok, lot more experience using it. ST 3G hotspot still working though they have changed something, no way to tell data left except calling customer service... gives error trying to find this in my account. Bleh! sooner chew on rocks than spend huge amount time with customer service.

Anyway I am using 4gb data per month. The 4gb plan you buy is $40 and good for 60 days.

Well saw on ebay a Net10 hotspot. Same parent company as ST. Less than $20 so bought it. Its 4G and on ATT network. This one is faster and tells you remaining data on its own little screen. Battery lasts much better too.

Fine but there is method in my madness. ST has the 4gb plan that is good for 60days. Net10 has a 5gb plan good for 60days. Meaning since 4gb data lasts around a month, I can stagger these plans, so I can use ST hotspot to trigger the Net10 plan and use the Net10 hotspot to trigger the ST plan. No calling customer service and no bothering friends to trigger reserve plan online for me.

Also should mention I finally got rid of my landline and NetZero dialup. Both my local landline company and netzero were inching prices upwards seemingly every month for something not very useful to me. Both were tedious to cancel (especially NetZero) but got both cancelled. I seriously was paying about same for month of landline + NetZero isp service as I pay for 4gb data on the hotspots. And the hotspots are lot more useful.

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Re: Dialup going, going.....

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