Arri Eye View

What I see is what you get (occasionally)

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Letter to AT&T inspired by their performance in Prudhoe Bay, AK

13 May, 2011 (20:41) | Decategorizable | 1 comment

Hi,
I work in Prudhoe Bay, AK. It is an oilfield. A very unique area indeed. We are at work more than half of our lives and use/depend on our phones to a high degree. In my case I am 700 miles from home while at work. Most folks working here are farther away from home than I.
The AT&T network in Prudhoe Bay has been dismal since I came here nearly 3 years ago. Now it has become unacceptable. Your competition is kicking your tails. Coverage is marginal on the entire west side of the field. But signal strength is not the issue I have. The data network is the primary reason I am your customer, but,  All the other networks here have essentially 3G class service. Yours claims to be “Edge” but the performance is far less than that. At best under good signal conditions the data network is so slow that you often wonder if it is working at all.
Let’s use a common example, getting the current weather conditions in a weather app. It’s a very small amount of data yet is takes usually 10-15 seconds to get an updated weather conditions. At home the same task is virtually instantaneous. ALL data tasks are so painfully slow in Prudhoe that I/we often don’t even try. Meanwhile my co workers are streaming video.
Not only is it painfully slow if it’s working but often the data network simply disappears, reappears, stalls, etc. It’s incredibly flakey. The rest of the time we get the “Couldn’t Activate Cellular Network” alert. This afternoon the Edge indicator would lit but there would be network performance of zero. Completely stalled all afternoon.
This has become unacceptable. It’s especially hard to take when everyone else NOT on AT&T can reliably stream video such as from YouTube.

Consider this a formal complaint that the entire AT&T network in Prudhoe Bay, AK has unacceptable performance.
Local companies ACS and GCI both have decent performance in the same areas.
Verizon is coming to AK and I’m going to look into switching if their performance is what it should be.

For me to remain an AT&T customer you are going to have to give me a compelling reason to stay. Keep in mind we depend on the network as a connection to our lives while we are at work. It’s important that it function. Rumor has it you may be upgrading the Prudhoe bay network.
Is this true? Be specific and honest. By when?

Even though this is not a big market for you consider that most folks working here have spouses (with phones) so that might almost double the number of customers. Then add in possible kids phones so I think it’s a safe bet you can triple the number of phones of your customers here. But the kicker is that they are scattered all over the USA and the UK and some other nations. Word of mouth has effects. Think on that.

Thanks for your time,
Patrick

Light House Hangout – way overdue

11 July, 2009 (21:10) | Decategorizable |

Well yeah I haven’t posted since January. Why do you ask?

Fact is I’ve been a little short on enthusiasm for everything, not just this blog. Many a time I have looked at the page with it’s dusty old post and sighed. And I didn’t do anything about it.
My work took a turn away from the direction I had hoped for. Guess I let it get to me.

Another project that wanted to get done but didn’t get enough energy applied was the place I was supposed to be building in SL. I’d chip away a little here and there when I was home but it still took me months for a one day build. Ah well. The knee slapper to that is it still isn’t done! At least I can show you the broad strokes so far.

The point of this plot of land was to have a good vantage point to hang out in. The execution changed over time but the concept remained the same. Lighthouse seemed to fit the bill.
lighthouse_001
lighthouse_002

The view is the best part though. From here you can see most of the region, can hit most anything with one of Itazura’s Freeze Pulse Rifles, and can just be an all around nuisance to others if you wanted to. ! But that would be bad so we don’t.
lighthouse_003
On the center isle. you can see the Destination Station. A facility that has over a hundred destinations in SL displayed on panels. There is a representative image for each. One click and you get info and a Teleport Link. Great way to explore.

Also on the list of things yet to do is boulders and landscaping for the base, fix up or change the lobby, get the screen up and a system for selecting movies from a list. I have a number of short movies on a server, just need a way to play them. As usual I get to learn a few more things about setting this sort of stuff up in SL before it’s all over. So don’t hold your breath waiting for it!

Come on down to Corona Cay, relax, set a spell.

Trust me! (Podcasts and Podcast Novels you should hear)

18 January, 2009 (20:05) | Decategorizable |

I really like podcast novels and some podcasts. I think you should like them too. Or at least check them out to see if you like them or no.

How does a podcast work? This has been answered a gazillion times on the web. The short answer is that an essentially radio show is recorded and the audio file is published on a server. You the user subscribe to a podcast using software (such as iTunes) that checks the server for new episodes and if there is one it will download and save it for you. When you are ready you can listen/view the podcast on your computer or copy it to your portable player device (iPod) and experience the podcast wherever you want. The whole system is called an RSS Feed. (Real Simple Syndication) RSS supports any file format, text, audio, video, whatever.

A podcast novel is read, recorded, and released in episodes and distributed via an RSS feed.
Way fun!

So what have I found that is worth YOUR time? Well, I think this list is a great starting place. There are podcasts covering just about any topic you can imagine. You can search within iTunes for many podcasts and there are another bazillion of them on the web. Here are a few and their web pages. Be advised that a show might have a website for the show and the actual feed on another site. This list is of the main sites.
P.S. Everything on this page is free with the exception of Audible.

Podcasts

Black Tie Martini Club
Where our oh so political friend Caleb flexes his incredibly versatile audio production chops, creates smart radio plays and tries to make the world a better place. You can occasionally hear us the friends of Caleb as we voice characters in his plays.

SL Under the Radar
Radar is another exceptionally creative creator who intellegently explores the fascinating world of Second Life.

I Should Be Writing / The Murverse
Mur Lafferty airs her thoughts on writing, her writing, the thoughts of other big name writers, and her podcast novels. The murverse site includes all her stuff.

100 Word Stories
One man’s daily drabbles and also the home of the 100 Word Weekly Challenge where folks like you write and record exactly 100 word stories and vote who’s is best. The Challenges are compiled and released on Saturday.

Escape PodPseudopodPod Castle
All three the brain child of Steve Eley and crew. Weekly short fiction stories and a business model that proves at least some of humanity is worth saving. They pay the authors for their works, we send in donations, and they have positive cash flow. Go figure.
Escape pod for Scifi, Pseudopod for Horror, Podcastle for fantasy.

Sonic Society
Those crazy Canadians showcase the very best of Modern Audio Drama from around the world.

The Signal
An award winning podcast and very ambitious production. All things Firefly and Serenity related.

Podcast Novels by

JC Hutchins
7th Son – The most popular podcast novel in history so far. Highly recommended. Really! Just get it and see (hear actually) why. You can get the trilogy with JC’s jabbering to the audience as it was originally released. Illustrating how/why he created such a following. It’s quite entertaining. Or you can get just the story.

Mur Lafferty
“Heaven” and “Playing for Keeps” and more. Supernaturals and superheros, with hangups. Very fun.

Basil Sands
“Karl’s Last Flight” and “65 Below” and more. Great stories with a military bent and a touch of scifi science mixed on for fun. And from an Alaskan! Now winning awards on a website near you.

Scott Sigler
“Earthcore”, “Ancestor”, “The Rookie”, “Nocturnal”, “Infected”, “Contagious”, and more. The guy with the foresight to be first out the gate with a podcast novel. Comes up with some great stuff. Sportsfi? How can it not be interesting in the Intergalactic Football League? Loved it and I’m not into football.

Christiana Ellis
“Nina Kimberly the Merciless” and other funloving podcasting. Fantastical romantic comedy. So to speak. Fell out of my chair laughing.

Phil Rossi
“Crescent Station” Corruption, scifi, sex, horror. Imagery imagery imagery. Phil’s delivery is unique and visceral. I seriously dare you to listen to this in the dark. In fact I’m going to try it again even if it does creep me out. Phil also wrote and produced all the music. Audio production is all top shelf. These works highly recommended.

Natania Barron
“Aldersgate Cycle” Fun steampunk fantasy in a rich world. A little high adventure, a little scifi, a lot politico. An excellent ride!

Also on my list at Podiobooks.com:

The Immortals by Tracy Hickman
Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword by Tee Morris
Brave Men Run by Matthew Wayne Selznick
Max Quick 1: The Pocket and the Pendant by Mark Jeffrey
MOREVI: The Chronicles of Rafe and Askana – Abridged by Tee Morris and Lisa Lee
A Different Point of View by TD-0013
I Sold The Moon! (A True Story) by Barry McArdle
And on and on and on…

Podiobooks.com
Driven by donations. Here is a huge selection of audio books for your imagination’s pleasure. These guys have standards so there is no crap here. You pick your books, subscribe to them, and select how fast you want it delivered. From one episode a month to all at once (assuming the book is finished).  And it’s all free. Just like Netflix it is easy to have a huge que waiting for you. yum!

Audible.com
This is THE pay-for-it mainstream source for audio books. Although it takes money I still recommend you get an account going. The selection and production value are top notch.

This list oughta get you started and keep you busy for a while!

Light and the flight from Prudhoe to reality

5 January, 2009 (18:39) | Decategorizable |

Yeah yeah yeah. So I haven’t posted for months. I knew I’d get around to something interesting sooner or later. I just haven’t been feeling all that interesting in recent times

The sun hasn’t been up in Prudhoe Bay since late November. No it’s not pitch dark but still there is no sunup. Not till 1/25. It does get light(er) for a while in mid day but that’s all.
So on my flight home from work I got my first real sunshine in a couple weeks.
I really dig light. Interesting light. I like images of light. Probably why I like lighting for motion pictures. Ya think maybe?

Phone cam shots out the window are what they are but still I was compelled to snap. There is some contagious-euphoria when you are leaving the Slope. It’s a happy plane! Living up there in close quarters takes a toll. It’s nice to go home to normal space. The little things become extra spiffy. Come to think of it, working on a remote location movie gig does the same thing.

So anyway;
Here’s the first sunshine I’ve seen in a while. Hot tips on the Brooks Range.Tips

Sea ice and sun light coming into Anchorage
Sea ice at Anchorage

Anchorage is West of it’s mountains, the Chugach Range. We are blessed often with spectacular low angle light. In winter the sun angle makes for great shadows in the mountains.
End of day light play

I live a short way North of Anchorage. My pileable debris pickup (or any other junk I might be driving) lives in Anima’s driveway while I’m up. Upon arrival I spied with my little eye the neighbor’s tree being accosted by a moose. (Right there, dead center) That’s the level of lower branches. Moose high.
Anchorage has been in a cold spell for a couple weeks. 0 to -30. Makes nice hoar frost on trees and stuff and more interesting light play.
Moose making moose berries out of neighbor's trees

I’m supposed to be a bright guy but often I wonder. Pickup won’t start and move, needs to be plugged in for a while first. Where do you suppose I found the time for this blog post?
Did I luck out on the extention cord length or what?
short cord for a long job

There. Now you have some glimpses at the start of an R&R. (Rest and Relaxation)
ciao,
Arri

End of an age, or at least end of a nice summer.

23 September, 2008 (23:45) | Decategorizable |

It’s been a nice summer in Prudhoe Bay. Certainly better weather than Southcentral AK. I took a few pics worth sharing. I’m geeky enough to think 360 panoramas can be cool. So I hacked out a few shot in July. Just getting around to posting now? What’s up with that? I was having a bit of trouble getting my stitching software to manage a double row array that I had my heart set on seeing. It would stitch parts fine but scramble the whole. (which was somewhat interesting in itself) Well I finally got things arranged properly and the software succeeded in making a 360, 2 row image. There are 60 images in this shot. It is sort of in the middle of the Prudhoe Bay field. There are facilities in all directions on the horizon. This was taken at 9:00 PM 7/20/08. The sun is basically West with the head of the Trans Alaska Pipeline (TAP) and Pump 1 under it. The pipes I’m parked over are headed there too. The big facility to the East is Flow Station 3. Wells feed the FSs, oil is prepped to travel the TAP and sent to Pump 1. 360 from Oxbow Rd

Now in Sept the weather is starting to change and there are some ugly days. This image presented itself during a bout of 30+winds. I thought it was very cool to see as we arrived at work. You could lean on the wind. It wasn’t easy to get braced against a building sufficiently to get the shot. Got lucky here! What do you think? sunup over the CGF

The next day the wind had subsided. We saw this sunrise coming. Several folks paused work to watch it transpire.

This shot really works for me. The reality of it was far more impressive though. This is the largest natural gas processing facility in the world. It’s also darn big by Prudhoe standards! Rumor has it that if/when the gas pipeline project gets built, the new facility will be five times bigger and will use a third of the world’s available steel supply! Wow.
This image makes a bitchen desktop background

And finally here is a shot of the camp that is my home away from home.  About 360 homes away from home to be more specific. This is 8 shots at 7:30 PM 9/13/08. We are losing daylight fast and it’s becoming quite dark. Coincidentally, Anima’s window and mine face each other from our respective wings.
This is a temporary camp for a few years. Housing is a huge problem. The major facilities are vintage 70s and plenty of that old housing is now gone.
Plenty of work needs to be done on the field. There would be a lot more than the 2500 workers in Prudhoe if there were beds. There is a lot of talk about addressing that.

Most buildings here are self contained, can make their own power. Water and fuel is trucked in and sewage trucked out daily.


And if you look close you can just barely see the Brooks Range 150+ miles away on the southern horizon (left side of image).

That’s it for now!

7th Son Obsidian Project

29 August, 2008 (12:31) | Decategorizable |

Backstory:
JC Hutchins wrote and podcasted his excellent trilogy, “7th Son”. You can get it at his site or podiobooks.com. I highly recommend it. It’s a scifi tech thriller adventure rollercoaster fun ride. Very well done.
Two small aspects of the storyline are that part of it happens in the arctic oilfields and the bad guys knock out the power grid of the US, plunging it into darkness.

The Obsidian Project is a bunch of author and fan submitted stories, both audio and video, about the regular folks caught by the tail end of a countrywide blackout. http://jchutchins.net/site/category/obsidian/.
There is some really good stuff there. Check it out.

I submitted this back in April. JC liked it!
Here’s the page it’s on: http://jchutchins.net/site/category/obsidian/page/3/
and here’s a direct link: http://media.libsyn.com/media/jchutchins/05_7SObsidian.m4v

if those links are broken this is a barebones version: Arctic Condition

We had a meeting with JC later on. Way fun guy to talk with! Turns out my submission struck a personal note for him. This meeting took place in Second Life. Very fun way to do such things. I’ll let Nika tell you about it in her blog: http://nikadreamscape.wordpress.com/2008/08/05/jc-hutchins-podcaster-meetup/

And hey look! Here is the audio from the meeting in SL. Huge thanks to Radar Masukami for recording and the time in editing it all together.

Oh wait, I guess you can’t really LOOK at the, um, audio, recording, ah, thingy. Well, there is the audio to listen to anyway.

Play

House crimes

28 August, 2008 (12:03) | Decategorizable |

It all started when I found the dead parrot in my inventory…

Nika & Keeme had just recently landed what they called their Crime House. They used to “borrow” the available prims of someone’s land and rezz their house at some high altitude. After using it they’d leave and un-rezz the house, freeing up those prims again and usually no one would be the wiser.

Now they actually have their own land, the house remains grounded and rezzed 24/7.

I found a dead parrot in my inventory, and left it on their deck.

Keeme retaliated by filling my little beachhouse with signs for their podcast. Thanks to Crap Mariner for reminding me that you can do fantastic things that aren’t possible in RL and why be normal?
So I moved my house, leaving their signs in place and balanced it on top of a pizza box balanced on top of a bench balanced on top of their signs.
(click image to get closer)

Meanwhile back at the Casa Nika/Keeme; I snuck in late and provided them with a new roof adornment!

Silly waste of time? Well, yeah. But it made a bunch of people laugh. Time well spent I say.

Second Life is a platform. You can approach it like a game, and some do. You can use it as a creative platform and wow do folks make good use of that. You can roleplay in ways that just wouldn’t fly in RL, and some do that too. There are several million residents and a large social scene complete with all the human relationship accoutrement. Observing the psychology of it all is fascinating.
Think about this; Here we have a world that you access through a keyboard and mouse and exists only in databases and viewscreens. Or does it?
When we go inworld, we ARE THERE. A good portion of our brain is working as if we are our avatar. And I find the result and ramifications of that incredibly fascinating. The relationships for example are not virtual in the least. Ask anyone that has had one end unfortunately.

I intend to keep on exploring the creations and positive social interaction in virtual space. Pretty much the same as in (what we call) real space. Funny how our brain doesn’t know the difference.

Ever wonder what a nice day in Prudhoe Bay is like?

7 August, 2008 (19:09) | Decategorizable |

360 panarama near Pump 1

click to see me full glorious width

It’s probably not what you think. The weather is very changeable but on a nice July evening it’s sweet. This is a 360 panorama near Pump 1. A stone’s throw from the Arctic Ocean. You can see the two 1 million gallon tanks and the start of the Trans Alaska Pipeline on the right. In the other direction on the left is a drill rig. There are many rigs on the field, just not right here.

The View so far…

29 March, 2008 (13:48) | Decategorizable |

Don’t hold our breath and wait to hear from me or you’ll be turning blue.

That said, I hope to put interesting content here. Stuff worth your time.