Saturday, March 06, 2010


I'm working now from an internet connection that comes from one of those newfangled "stick" things. Got it the other day and am still trying to figure out the best way to use it.

Does anyone else use those things?

Is the signal notoriously bad and unreliable? Or is it just me?

I've noticed that my apartment is something of a dead zone for my mobile and that I can't use the phone at all if I'm sitting on the sofa. Standing by the kitchen sink it's better, but still tends to cut in and out.

Now I'm using the internet stick that, I think, works on the same general principle. It works great sometimes, and others it does a variety of weird things.

When it is apparently running the internet, it will open a window that says something like "Connecting to Tim" (Tim is the local server). Then a few seconds later another window will pop up and say, "Error 680, no dial tone". If you click "redial" it just goes away for a few seconds and then comes back with the same error message. If you click "cancel" it just does the same thing. While the error window is up, you can't use anything else, and it keeps coming up again and again every few seconds. There doesn't seem to be any way to turn it off.

All the while it is messing about with all that, the websites I want to open simply won't go. Other times it is as good as using an ethernet cable high speed connection. But there seems to be no way to control the quality of the signal, like right now, it is so low the Blogger window is telling me "Could not contact Saving and publishing may fail. Retrying..." In a few seconds the signal will pop back up. It sometimes helps to shut off the connection and start again.

It is quite frustrating.

I am wondering if I should just take it back to the Tim store in Civitavecchia and tell them it doesn't work well enough for me and can I have something that connects to the landline.

Does anyone else use these things? Any idea how to get it to work better?


Martial Artist said...

Miss White,

I rather strongly suspect that the "connecting to Tim" message refers not to the particular server, but rather to the service provider, the mobile cell phone company, Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM on its corporate logo).

Keith Töpfer

Martial Artist said...

As to ideas how to get it to work better, it almost certainly does use a cellular wireless connection. We live in a condo in a ravine and with a taller apartment building in the one downhill direction, so we are in a "cellular dead zone" and sometimes can, at best, know that someone has called or texted our cellphones. But we cannot make or obtain a connection from within our apartment that is sufficient to read the text or connect to the caller. Rather, we must go out into the parking lot in the complex to have any possibility of dialing out or answering.

As a result I enquired as to whether there were some form of antenna which could be mounted high up on the building and connected by wire to a small antenna in our apartment. I was informed that such devices do exist, although I did not pursue it because we would likely be unable to install it on the top of our building--the other owners don't like to see devices mounted on the buildings.

Nevertheless, they do exist and, if you have the ability/permission to mount one externally on your building (and if that would have a clearer "view" of a nearby cellular antenna array), it might solve your problem.

I should think that the representatives at the TIM store would know how you might determine if (a) such devices are available, and (b) from whom you might acquire one, including installation if needed.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer