1,000 posts and counting

I got a little alert from WordPress, the folks who manage my blog, that I’d just posted at least 1,000 entries on my blog. Yeah me! Except, except, it took me over eight years to get here. My first blog post was on 23 December 2013, after I’d come back from a business trip to Chitose, Japan. I’d spend nearly three weeks in travel round trip and staying there in support of a computer-generated training exercise. When I finally got back home here in Orlando I spent the following week decompressing and catching up with life before I wrote my first entry in this blog. And then I spent all that time up to this point writing just 999 more blog posts.

This month is the most prolific month I’ve ever had with writing entries. This entry, trite as it is, is my 40th for May 2022. If I’d been writing 40 posts/month over the last eight years, then I’d have nearly four times as many posts at this point in time. And even though this is my 40th for May, May’s not done yet and neither am I. I’ve got a lot more writing ideas running around in the back of my mind, and I mean to let them all come lumbering forth, every last one.

So I’m glad I finally made it to 1,000 posts. It took me long enough. Here’s to the next 1,000, and the next 1,000 after that, and so on and so forth.

foolishly waiting for starlink (since 2021)

On 2 February 2021 I spent USD 99 to purchase my place in the Starlink queue. It was supposed to be the future. This was Elon Musk’s Next Big Thing. Here’s what they said when I signed up.

Starlink will begin offering service in your area beginning mid to late 2021. Orders will be fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis. You will be notified via email prior to shipment, and you will be charged the remainder of your balance once your kit ships.

Your Starlink Kit will arrive with your Starlink, wifi router, power supply, cables and mounting tripod. For more information or to cancel your order, sign in to your account.

The total cost was supposed to be USD 500, so I’d put 20% down, and expected to pay the rest by the end of 2021. Living in Florida, just down I-4 from the Daytona and the Space Coast where Elon likes to launch his Falcon 9s, you’d have thought that maybe Elon might have wanted to put some effort into making central Florida a showcase for Starlink. You’d be wrong in thinking that.

On 21 November 2021 I got this from Starlink:

Thank you for being a supporter of Starlink! Over 14 million people have inquired about Starlink service in their area and today Starlink is available in over 20 countries (and counting).

The Starlink team has been working hard to expand service and increase capacity while continuously improving quality of service. We will be able to accommodate more users per area as we increase the number of satellites in orbit.

Check delivery timelines in your account
Silicon shortages over the last 6 months have slowed our expected production rate and impacted our ability to fulfill many Starlink orders this year. We apologize for the delay and are working hard across our engineering, supply chain, and production teams to improve and streamline our product and factory to increase our production rate.

You can check estimated delivery times by logging into your account page on Starlink.com. You will still receive an email from the Starlink team when your order is ready to ship, and you may cancel your order at any time for a full refund of your deposit.

Latest Starlink now in production
We recently released the latest version of Starlink which was designed for high volume manufacturing. The latest version of Starlink has comparable performance to the previous version and will begin to ship globally next year.

Expanding to more countries across the world
Since our October 2020 launch in the United States we have expanded our service to 20 additional countries: Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Austria, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland, Portugal, Chile, Poland, Italy, Czech Republic, Mexico, Sweden, and Croatia. Pending regulatory approval, we are planning to launch in an additional 45+ new countries by the end of 2022.

More satellites in orbit with newer technology
We recently completed our 31st Starlink launch with our latest generation of satellites that are equipped with inter-satellite laser links, which enable our satellites to transfer data between each other. Once fully deployed, inter-satellite laser links will make Starlink one of the fastest options available to transfer data around the world.

Thank you for your continued support!

The Starlink Team

No delivered kit, just a long email with lots and lots of marketing bullshit.

Then on 22 March of this year, I got this lovely missive from the fine folks at Starlink:

Due to excessive levels of inflation, the price of the Starlink kit is increasing from $499 to $549 for deposit holders, and $599 for all new orders, effective today. In addition, the Starlink monthly service price will increase from $99 to $110.

The sole purpose of these adjustments is to keep pace with rising inflation. As Starlink expands service in your area, you will be emailed when your Starlink is ready and you will have 7 days to finalize your order. You can cancel your deposit for a full refund at any time in your account page.

Since launching our public beta service in October 2020, the Starlink team has tripled the number of satellites in orbit, quadrupled the number of ground stations and made continuous improvements to our network. Going forward, users can expect Starlink to maintain its cadence of continuous network improvements as well as new feature additions.

Thank you for being a Starlink customer and your continued support!

The Starlink Team

Let’s look at those costs. My up-front cost has gone up $50. I suppose I could eat that. But the monthly service is also going up from $100 to $110. Right now my terrestrial provider, Spectrum, is charging me $102/month for a basket full of services, including the house phone. If I were to drop the house line it would drop the overall cost to $80/month. The Internet portion provides 200MiB download and $20MiB upload. I do weekly speed tests and the download speed is always at least 10% faster than the spec. In all the time I’ve used Spectrum as my provider I’ve never seen it go slower than 200. I get great, speedy service. So the price goes up on non-existent service, that may or may not be as good as what I currently have. Such a bargain! But wait, there’s more!

On 23 May, yesterday, I got this last message:

If you are receiving this email, you are currently on the waitlist for Starlink in your area. We are launching additional satellites as quickly as we can to expand network capacity in your region, and will fulfill your order as soon as possible.

In the meantime, we are now offering Starlink for RVs at any destination where Starlink provides active coverage. Currently there is no waitlist – all orders will be shipped shortly after the order is placed, including to “Waitlist” areas on the Starlink Availability Map. You can pause and un-pause service at any time.

Users can expect high speed, low latency internet in areas marked “Available”, and notably slower speeds during events with many collocated users, or during hours of peak usage in areas marked as “Waitlist”, where residential users are prioritized. Prioritizing residential makes it possible to offer Starlink for RVs immediately with minimal impact to the most loaded portions of the network.

You can order Starlink for RVs directly from http://www.starlink.com/rv or by selecting the “+” button under “Your Starlinks” on your account page. To learn more about Starlink for RVs, please read our FAQ page.

Thank you for being a supporter of Starlink!

The Starlink team

In the immortal words of Ukraine’s Snake Island defenders, “Starlink, go fuck yourself!” I don’t own an RV, and even if I did, I would still be royally pissed that I’ve been strung along all this time only to be made this lame offer. At one time I wanted the service, but I’ve just about had all I can take. I now suspect that Starlink is being delayed because it’s not working nearly as well as it was they hoped it would. I have a strong feeling that Starlink is going to be like Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Capability; one long broken promise. I don’t own a Tesla and I never will. I’d love to own an EV, but no way in hell would I buy one from Tesla. In fact, I don’t want any consumer product that Elon Musk is associated with, whether it’s Tesla or Starlink or, who knows, maybe even Twitter. I spent a half century as an electronic and software engineer before I retired, so I know how hard the problems are in these areas. I’m not stupid. I’m just tired of hearing from Elon The Silicon Snake Oil Salesman. And I’m getting my deposit back on Starlink. Enough is enough.