Writer’s Workshop: Close Enough For Horseshoes

Remember when Jay Leno, who hosted The Tonight Show during the OJ Simpson trial, proclaimed Mondays “OJ-Free Monday”? I thought it was a great idea. I think we’ve spent enough time discussing the coronavirus known as Covid-19. So, other than to say that I’m through discussing it, I’m not going to talk about it anymore. Call it “Covid-19 Free Thursday.”

Ever heard the expression “close enough for folk music” or “close enough for government work”? It’s a way of saying, “yeah, we could get it even closer, but it isn’t worth the trouble.” I think that’s the motto of physics professors. My one college class in physics was with a guy who would calculate something and fudge the numbers to where he would get the answer he wanted. For example, he had this elaborate experiment set up to show us how to calculate the value of gravity, which as some of us know is 9.8 meters per second per second. He’d press a button on this contraption which would simultaneously start a timer and drop a metal ball onto a steel plate, which would stop the clock. He did this about ten times and took the average time of the trials, then went through some mathematical gyrations and computed the value of gravity as 13.1 meters per second per second. He then then came up with a plausible but not very likely explanation as to why his result was 3+ meters per second per second greater than what it was supposed to be, and voila! it was 9.8 exactly. Of course, when we tried to reproduce the results in the lab, we had to come up with it exactly and offer no BS stories as to why our results didn’t match.

I got word from the cable company last week that they’d be doing work in the neighborhood and that our Internet service might be interrupted on and off. They always say that it’s to make everything lightning-fast, but I heard there’s another reason: they have to add additional bandwidth so that everyone who suddenly finds themselves stuck at home and wants to stream can do so with few interruptions. They had enough when most of the neighborhood was at work most of the day, but not now. I haven’t seen any degradation of service, but I’m not trying to watch all the stuff I’ve missed since the beginning of time or play video games. Still, the extra bandwidth will benefit me and Mary, because we spend a lot of time on the Internet. So I’m not complaining.

UPDATE: I got a text from the cable company this morning that, “due to circumstances beyond [their] control,” the work has been postponed and they’ll let me know when they plan on coming out.

15 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: Close Enough For Horseshoes”

1. Patrick C says:

We have Xfinity here (aka Comcast) and generally have had no issues. Only thing now is with 2 teenagers stuck at home with devices and the adults working on video calls all day, etc for work, we’re getting close to the newly established monthly data “cap” of 1.2 TB of use per month before I get charged more. I think it’s a scam! A better question I need to figure out is how the hell I’m using that much data. I blame the kids!

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2. Our internet has been randomly turning off and on…I wonder if they’re increasing our bandwidth. That would be a welcome alternative to “shotty internet.”

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1. I hope so on your behalf, especially for Kainoa, who I’m sure would appreciate not having to deal with slowdowns and buffering in the midst of his games…

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3. We are due to re-up with Verizon Fios for our services. Of course, “for a small charge”, we can increase our internet speed to some “lightening fast” degree. I’m thinking about it, not that we really need it, our connection here is acceptable.

They did inform us that they’re dropping HBO and Cinemax, no great loss, can’t remember the last time I went to either one. We have ROKU and can easily get both should the desire arise.

We use Xfinity at work, the service is constantly up and down but, FIOS isn’t yet available in that area. When we’ve had to report service interruptions with Xfinity, it’s a constant…”due to the pandemic situation…” blah, blah and more blah.

Sorry for working the virus into my reply.

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1. So far, we haven’t experienced many slowdowns or outages. Several years ago I was ready to tear my hair out. We had Comcast come out and they ran a new line from the street, and that seemed to fix the problems. It’s been very steady since then.

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4. Our city recently implemented public high speed internet – 1 gigabyte speed! We’re locked into our contract with Xfinity until the end of the year, but we’ll be all over that broadband wagon when our contract is up.
Honestly, though, I haven’t noticed any troubles with lag, etc with more people working from home. Maybe we should take up gaming? Good luck!

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1. Neither have I, but then I don’t know about my neighbors and how much or little they use the Internet for whatever, work-related or otherwise.

The only gaming I do is sudoku, solitaire and Collect The Pops…

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Sounds like a great idea! Hope they get to it soon

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1. I do, too. The way it sounded it might be a while. Wonder what went wrong?

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6. I’ve seen Xfinity and ATT trucks in our area just recently. Maybe that’s the reason.

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1. I think you commented before I added the update: I got a text from Xfinity saying the work had been postponed until further notice. Guess they wanted to upgrade a better neighborhood than ours…

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1. That outage was at a junction (I don’t know the actual name of what they call it) and knocked out a whole area. It had nothing to do with the planned work here; it was just an unpleasant coincidence…

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