Last week my internet service collapsed. Around 2200 hours, the network went dark. No worries. After a couple days I learned that it would be back in no time. That is to say, sometime between 0300 and 0600. Naturally, I was furious. The thing is that I'm not the account holder, and don't walk around with the requisite information—e.g. other people's Social Security numbers—in my pocket. Eventually, I was informed by snail mail that Comcast was upgrading its service and we needed a new modem. And that was enough to improve my mood according to the, "That makes perfect sense!" standard. Unfortunately, the new modem came with incomplete instructions. No, literally, I figured that out while on the phone with the tech desk. The kind gentlemen kindly ran me through several steps that weren't in the instruction manual while insisting that they were. I nearly exploded all over him, but (A) I need internet access, and (B) there is a link to the instruction manual in the modem software. Unfortunately, you need internet access to get to that manual. Convenient. But we did get the thing running. And here's the result: You get a really good ping, with awesome download and pretty damn fine upload times. But that's all for naught. From the time you enter an address to the time it begins accessing that site, the circle spins for at least five seconds, which is considerably slower than the former modem. Additionally, while the Comcast speed test tells you your rates are awesome, your real rates are a trickle; once connected to a website that previously came up in under five seconds, you wait while the page assembles as if you were on an old 56k dial-up. The new modem is not compatible with my wireless router; it has a wireless router built in. Except that built-in wireless router sucks. With a wireless device sitting four fucking feet away from the modem, you might as well change careers. You could make a fortune as a bookie managing wagers on whether or not a device will actually reach the internet. In the last four hours, I have managed to access exactly three web pages. If this post goes through, that will be four. There is no wireless access outside my bedroom. This is what Comcast calls an "upgrade". Meanwhile, they are installing hotspots that have a malware capability of overriding your computer's settings. Every time I arrive at my brother's house, where my laptop is set to automatically log into his home network, the local Comcast hotspot overrides my autoconnect and forces me to logon to a weak hotspot; the computer represents the difference as 67-80% for the home network when I'm sitting on the back deck, versus 25-39% for the hotspot. In order to access the home network, I must actually delete the uninvited hotspot autoconnector. No, really. I have to erase the thing. And then it reinstalls the next time. It would seem that what Comcast is trying to do is force us off our home networks. If that's the case, they must necessarily have a business model for making even more money by then charging for the hotspot access. That is, the access that they are trying to force people to use by overriding their system settings. And, yes, it would seem this is legal. Comcast has the right to program your computer for you, so that you are bound to them. Even the wired computer takes forever to spin up the internet. Gosh. Thanks, Comcast. I mean, I understood when I found out the new modem was all I needed to fix the problem. Unfortunately, nobody at the office mentioned that fixing the problem meant wrecking internet access so badly that we're now searching for a new ISP.