Naughty Neighbors

A month after getting my first apartment my cable TV service deteriorated. Some channels were worse than others, but all of them had some level of snow or static. I tolerated the poor channel clarity for a while -still euphoric about even having my own HBO and no need to share or compromise TV shows with sisters.

My channels' fuzziness and poor picture quality varied from day to day, which made me think the problem might be temporary. It went on for over two months. I finally called the cable company for service.
A technician discovered an illegal splitter attached to the cable connection on the outside of my building. The cable branched off to feed a house on the other side of a fence. The technician snipped and removed the illegal line and noted the address of my thieving neighbor before he left. Back in my apartment I found that paid, untapped cable channels come in crystal clear.

I imagined how bummed out the cable moochers next door would be when they came home to discover that their cable service was "lacking."

Twenty years later, I was on my first visit to a new client's office. Eddie, my client contact, asked me to check their Internet connection, saying it had slowed to a trickle of its former speed. I checked all four of their computers for services, malware and P2P file swapping software known to be bandwidth zappers.

I was about to advise Eddie to contact his ISP to see about increasing their bandwidth when I logged onto the router for a look. When I saw the wireless connections screen, I couldn't believe what I saw - 53 active wireless connections to their wireless router. There was no problem with the Internet service -it was simply bogged down. Word had apparently gotten out at the huge condo complex next door that Eddie's Internet connection was available for the taking.

I called Eddie over to the screen for a look. The anger in his face faded as we both realized the pleasure we'd have in disconnecting the moochers. I added a WPA encryption to the router's wireless security settings, which would require a password for connections from then on. Before I clicked the "Apply" button, I asked Eddie and his staff to be quiet and opened the office window that faced the condos. I really expected to hear some distant, muffled screams of profanity when my mouse finger ruined free Internet service for an entire complex. I clicked and we listened. We heard only traffic, but it still felt good to watch the connections disappear off the router screen. Instantly Eddie found that his paid, untapped Internet connection seemed lightning fast.

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