Friday, February 16, 2018

Hilton Head Island: numbers; cord cutting; fixed

        Since 2008 more of our species live in cities than in rural areas.  The urban percentage has now climbed to 54% and is expected to be nearly 70% by mid-century.  Yet we are not naturally city dwellers.  Certainly I am not.  We evolved wandering around the savannah, which happens to be the name of the nearest city of any size to Hilton Head Island.
        Our condo is bucolic.  The only manmade objects in view are the marina and boats.
        I wondered how many people there are around here.  
        40,000 people now live on Hilton Head Island.  In 1950 the number was about 3,000.
        Hilton Head is part of what is known as the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort metropolitan area, comprising the two southernmost South Carolina counties with a population of 211,614.  
        The three Georgia county Savannah metropolitan area has a population of 384,024.
        Other than the artificial state line division, it really is one area of about 600,000, which would make it the 94th largest metropolitan area in the U.S.   Spread over five counties, still pleasantly small.

        We are cutting the cord.
        The process has started here in Hilton Head where I get Internet from Spectrum and television via YouTube TV streaming.  I have been watching on my MacBook, iPhone and iPad mini.  For $35 a month with no contract there were about 40 channels.  They just added several more and will raise the price for new customers to $40.
        I am completely satisfied with YouTubeTV.  It has all the channels I want to watch; the picture quality has been indistinguishable from cable TV; and the cloud DVR is unlimited, though recordings are automatically deleted after nine months, and easy to use.
        In Evanston we get Internet, TV and landline phone from Comcast.  Our bill is in excess of $200 a month with frequent increases.  Quite some time ago I telephoned Comcast and asked how much our bill would decrease if we dropped the landline telephone.  I was told that if we did that, our bill would increase, not decrease.   That makes sense:  less service, higher price.
        When you add our two cell phone services, the total is over $300 a month. 
        Cable companies have through lobbyists managed to have near monopolies.  RCN has just started service in Evanston, so at last there is some competition.  
        When I return we will drop Comcast.  Go with RCN.  Use YouTubeTV.  And eventually move our cellular plans to Consumer Cellular.  This will cut our bills for Internet, TV and phone in half.


        Windy here today, blowing 20 knots at 1:30 this afternoon.  I know because my Raymarine wind system told me so.
        I brought the masthead unit and display up to the condo intending to send them to Raymarine for repair, but when I turned on the display and spun the anemometer cups on the masthead unit, they talked to one another and wind speed and wind angle were shown.
        I put them both out on the terrace in the sun to charge for a couple of days, then checked again.  They worked.
        I left the masthead unit on the terrace and walked to the far side of the condo, a distance greater than that from GANNET’s masthead to deck, and still got readings.
        I speculate that although the icon on the display showed it to be fully charged in Marathon, it wasn’t.
        This afternoon the riggers came to fix the masthead tricolor.  I had the man who went up the mast take the Raymarine with him.  Installed it still worked.
        While up there he found as I expected a loose wire to the tricolor.  He tightened the screw holding the wire in place.  The tricolor now works.
        In fact everything works:  wind, tricolor, depth.
        For now.


        The photo is just as it came from my iPhone.