List of ways to keep busy while you wait for that next web page to load:
1. Open your screen door as wide as it will go, and see how far you can run away before it slams shut.
2. Read "War and Peace," and then translate it into Sanskrit.
3. Go on a cruise! The Bahamas are beautiful at this time of year!
4. Decide to free yourself from the agony of waiting and chuck your 56-kbps modem for a cable modem which will allow you to surf the Internet at speeds of up to 5 mbps mega-times faster than your dial-up connection.
Until recently, that last item was an impossibility in Payson, as it still is in most places across the United States. Although almost 44 million homes in the United States and Canada are technically equipped to receive cable Internet service, many local cable companies don't provide it.
The Rim country's cable television service, CableVision, now does, under the name Uneedspeed.
But to get that lightning speed, you'll pay the price.
Those who currently have their TVs hooked up to CableVision will be charged $60 for installation, plus $30 for the installation of a network interface card if their computer does not already have one, a $10 per-month modem rental fee, and $29.95 per month to use the service.
Non-CableVision subscribers are required to first sign up for CableVision's basic TV service at about $35 per month, pay an $80 installation fee, foot the $30 network interface card an $10-per-month modem rental charges, and then ante up the $29.95 per-month cable modem use fee.
"The service has actually been available for over a year," Dave Von Doltren, CableVision's director of marketing, said, "but we had a period wherein we had to make some arrangements with Qwest to get some additional telephone lines, because we were growing faster than we anticipated."
Today, about 150 Paysonites are enjoying high-speed Internet access complete with e-mail service, Von Doltren said.
"The actual speed varies with the number of people who are online in your area, but typically the download speed is around a meg-and-a-half, and the upload speed is about a half meg."
While most cable-modem providers offer a dial-free, always-on service, Uneedspeed won't have that capability for another six or 12 months, Von Doltren said, as the current reliance on phone lines is switched completely to cable.
Debunking cable modem myths
In a perfect world, Internet users would all have superfast, always-on connections that shuttle at least 10 megabits (that's 10 million bits) of digital data to their computers each second.
In reality, if you want a broadband connection at home or in your small office, you have two choices: a cable modem line such as CableVision's, or a digital subscriber line (DSL), which has yet to make it to the Rim country. While neither can really deliver Ethernet-like speeds, both make it possible for you to watch video clips, play video games online, or just surf the web. According to the information website www.cnet.com, these are the most common misconceptions about cable modem Internet service:
Myth: Thanks to your TV company, a cable connection is easy to set up and available everywhere you find cable TV.
Truth: In order for you to get cable, your access provider must physically attach a coaxial cable and a cable modem to your computer, which may mean adding that aforementioned $30 network card if you don't already have one.
Myth: With a cable modem, you get connection speeds as fast as 27 mbps.
Truth: You'll probably never get data transfer rates even close to cable's theoretical 27 mbps. For a number of reasons, connection speeds range from 500 kbps to 2 mbps. One big factor is that you share that cable line with other local customers. If you're the only person in your neighborhood online via cable, you may well get that 2 mbps. But as each person logs on, your access speed is divvied up. If one of your co-surfers starts downloading mammoth files, your performance will degrade further.
Ask your cable provider how many other PCs share your cable connection and what will be the fastest connection speeds you're likely to get. And find out if the cable provider guarantees minimum upload/download speeds.
Myth: A cable connection is as safe from hackers as a traditional dial-up modem connection.
Truth: Because you share your cable connection with the people on your block, it's easy for nosy neighbors to peek at your computer files.
One thing you can do right away is disable Windows' file- and print-sharing features. In Windows 95/98, open the Network control panel, click the File And Print Sharing button, and uncheck the two boxes in the subsequent dialog box. In Windows 2000, select Start, Settings, and then Network and Dial-up Connections. Right-click your cable connection, choose Properties, and in the General tab, uncheck the File And Printer Sharing For Microsoft Networks box.
Don't forget to also download the latest security patches for Windows, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Outlook, and make sure you've secured everything you possibly can with a password.
To learn more about Uneedspeed, call 1 (866) 674-1800.