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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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Scheduling headaches, etc.
dragon head
I'm irritated with the Microsoft housing services at the moment.

Not included with default furniture: bookshelves. Fuck their furniture rental, I can buy plastic shelves from Target that will serve the purpose just as well for about a quarter of the cost. That's assuming that they don't have enough other shelf space for books, but the descriptions are not encouraging in that regard. Maybe I should see if I get a bookshelf at Microsoft (there was a bookshelf in every office I interviewed in, but I think I get a cubicle) and then hope that nobody minds if I have most of a Terry Pratchett collection there.

Lack of a bookshelf is, relatively speaking, a minor irritant. My check-in time is at 3:00 PM. This is all well and good, but I and two large suitcases will be arriving in Sea-Tac Airport at 11:22 AM. So what can I do with about forty kilos of luggage in the meantime? I hardly relish the idea of sitting out on the front step for most of the day! It wouldn't be a problem with a rental car, but I can't drive and therefore don't have that option available... Maybe a very very short-term rental of a very small storage unit? The fee associated with asking them to reschedule my housing for one day earlier is actually less than that of changing the airplane flight, so maybe I can talk them into that.

What galls me more is the Internet service they're offering. The only information I've got: 128K for $45/mo + $39.95 activation fee + $49.95 technician install fee, the latter of which can be waived if I want to try to install the thing myself. (In an apartment full of computer programmers, you can bet damn well that I am not hiring that technician.) Or, 3M for $65/mo + $39.95 + $49.95. I have no more information than that. Sure, that's 128Kbps vs. 3Mbps, but that is presumably download speed. What's my upload like? What's the actual bandwidth guarantee? What's the uptime percentage they had last year? What's their uptime guarantee? Is this a dedicated subscriber line (DSL), or do I have to share a cable connection so it will never get anywhere near the speed I'd be paying for?

I was told over the telephone that everybody in an apartment can share the Internet cost if everybody wants the service. There's nothing to that effect in the information I was provided. I have a creeping suspicion that if multiple people in the apartment sign up, everybody gets the same access, and they cheerfully multiple-bill for the same service to everybody stupid enough to sign up for it...

I am not happy with the scheduling or the lack of information, and I've sent a (less pissed, more polite) e-mail in response asking for more information. That aside, those activation fees and mothly service fees are a little on the unpleasant side of things (although not that far off the market standard for the faster bandwidth rate, anyway). Anybody near Seattle have suggestions for alternate ISPs that offer broadband to Microsoft corporate housing, with at least 1Mbps download and some rate cheaper than the one I'm being offered?

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Those rates for Internet (download speed and price) sound about like what we pay for cable Internet. If you don't mind potentially being without Internet at the apartment for a week or so before it gets installed, you may want to wait and coordinate with the other people you'll be living with.

In addition to those maximum download rates, there should be a minimum. My roommate and I pay for access via cable at the higher rate which can supposedly go up to 3Mbps. We generally never get more than 400Kbps, which is not much over the minimum. That is, however considerably over the minimum of the lower rate. Even if the minimum of the higher data rate available to you doesn't look like much of an improvement over the maximum of the lower rate, keep in mind that with lots of Microsoft people, everyone will probably be using a lot of bandwidth, meaning you may be better off comparing the minimums than the maximums (which, of course, is what you haven't been given). (It still doesn't make it any less annoying, though.)

I hope Microsoft replies to you more complete information soon.

Not that the way Internet works in an individual apartment several states away from Seattle necessarily corresponds in any extremely meaningful way (except perhaps in cable Internet running closer to minimum speeds than maximum).

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