Thursday, June 8, 2006

Back on-line in Austin

Our replacement DW6000 arrived yesterday and I installed it last night.  By the time I was ready to commission the modem, though, our HughesNet VAR/ISP, Mobile Satellite, was closed for the night.  Theoretically, they have someone on-call 24 hours for after-hours support, but my calls were never returned.  Between that and the "handling" charge they tacked on to my warranty exchange, I am not happy with them.  I intend to speak with the principal of the company sometime in the next few days about this, but I suspect I will be shopping around again for another ISP when my one-year pre-paid agreement is up.

In any case, I managed to get the modem commissioned this morning when they opened, right before we had to race off to work (more on this in a moment).  During the process I discovered that, had I only realized the PIN used to commission the system originally is permanent, I could have done the commissioning myself last night.  Live and learn.

We are in Austin to help teach the next batch of Red Cross technology volunteers.  Instructor prep starts tomorrow, and class starts Sunday.  However, we learned just as we were leaving for Mexico that there is a ton of work here at the Response Maintenance Center (RMC) that needs to get done in order to be ready for this hurricane season.  They are short handed and behind schedule, so we agreed to come in early to help out for a few days.  We arrived here Tuesday morning and have been working our butts off since then.  We've created 43 "network switch kits," each consisting of two Cisco Catalyst 3560 switches in a flight-ready shipping case, built a dozen or so satellite modem shelves for fly-away satellite kits, run new cables for the 3.8-meter fixed land earth station here, and packaged up dozens of IP telephones.

We had expected to park at the RMC, as we have done in the past, but were told when we arrived that the outside of the building would be spray-painted this week, so we agreed to park off-site (the painters, it turned out, never showed up).  So we are at what is nominally a highly-rated RV "resort" but is really a hell-hole known as the Austin Lone Star RV Resort (map).  We've decided that "lone star" must refer to its rating in an unbiased guide.  Allow me to elaborate:

  • The rate is $53 per night, among the highest we have ever paid.
  • The place is clearly an ex-KOA, with all the hallmarks, e.g. Kamping Kabins.
  • The lone entrance is on a one-way freeway frontage road, necessitating an additional 4-mile merry-go-round loop on the freeway to reach it from nearly anywhere in Austin.
  • The place has security paranoia to the nth degree, including an annoying (and slow) electric gate even in the daytime, and combination locks on the bathrooms and laundry.  This despite that fact that it is not within walking distance of anything, so gate-crashers are non-existent.
  • We did laundry here, only to discover that (a) the washers are an outrageous $1.50 per load and (b) the dryers must be supervised, since they will not allow any more than ten minutes to be purchased at a time.
  • The park is long and skinny -- it is a walk of several minutes to the pool or the front desk from our site.
  • There are myriad signs admonishing people to clean up after their pets (including signs offering a reward of one night's stay for snitching on guests who ignore this rule), but there isn't a single trash can or dumpster in the entire complex.  Apparently, you are supposed to carry the poop from wherever the dog left it all the way back to your own site, to include it with your bagged trash for the daily pickup.  Yuck.
  • There is wireless internet here, but $53 per night doesn't include it -- it's an extra $3.

I'm sure there are other annoying aspects that I have left out.  Suffice it to say, we will not be back.  We are pre-paid through tomorrow morning, and we're leaving here first thing.  Since the painters have not started at the RMC, and they've been forbidden from working next week during the training, we are just going to move there in the morning.  If we need to bail our again, we will instead head over to nearby McKinney Falls State Park.

1 comment:

  1. no no no

    stay at Pecan Grove


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