My Experience Transitioning From Paying for Internet Service to Free Internet Service – Part II

10 Jun

This is the second post covering my experiences transitioning from paying to use my AT&T Internet service provider at home to using free library Internet service.

 

In the Part I post, I covered “Expected Snafus” such as: password issues, library hours, reserving computers, help, my computer background, and I touched upon using a Flash drive and a To Do list. I linked articles in Part I covering these topics in depth which are included below.

 

This Part II post covers problems you might run into at your library branch that make life interesting! I’ve included Updates below.

 

The Unexpected Snafus

Children should be seen, not heard. As with everything, this library adventure has had its negative situations. Take children for example. They haven’t been barred from the library. Perhaps they should be. There is a separate room for them with children’s books but they sometimes stray into the adult computer section – standing next to their family member who is on a computer.

 

Here’s how that went:

Child: bla, bla, bla, bla.

Family member: Shhhhhhh.

Child: bla, bla, bla, bla.

Family member: Shhhhhhh.

This went on for 20 minutes. I felt sorry for the guy sitting next to the chatty kid and I don’t mean the family member! I was on the other side of the computer banks and tuned them out.

 

The computer chairs.  They’re very light weight (you can push them with the tip of your pinky) and they’re comfortable for metal chairs. But, they’re on wheels and they offer no support for when you are trying to get up out of them! Case in point, on one of my visits, an elderly, obese man went crashing to the floor one chair away from me knocking over the chair next to me. He could have landed in my lap. As it was, the noise scared me because I was concentrating on my work. He stayed down on the floor and just about everybody on a computer went over to ask him if he was all right and offered to assist him. He didn’t want any help. Apparently, he was fine. The reference librarian who happened to be a young man, came over and asked the man if he was ok. This librarian was smart to wait – he might have gotten trampled in the mad rush to help the un-chaired man!

 

When Harry Met Sally. My library branch is open every day although the hours change. On Sundays, they open at noon. I went there at 11:30 am on Sunday, thinking it was Saturday. Since the doors were locked, I dropped off an audiobook in the drop slot. I went home and called the library asking why it wasn’t open. I was told they open at noon on Sunday. I said, “Today is Sunday?” Note to self: try to remember what day it is.

 

Finances This is a somewhat more complicated issue. AT&T bundled my landline phone and Internet service together June, 2013. I put it on my charge card. Then, on April 8, I asked that my internet service be canceled, as followers of my blog know. When I checked my statement, the amount for the Internet and phone weren’t there anymore. They disconnected my internet service as I asked and they didn’t disconnect my phone service (Hallelujah!) But what are they planning to do about billing me for my phone service? So, if I don’t get a bill in the mail or some notice soon, I will have to call them to find out what is going on. It would have been nice if the AT&T representative told me what to expect regarding my phone, but she was too busy trying to sell me more products. If all continues to go well transitioning to library computers, I plan to drop my landline phone service too, saving even more money.

 

There were other finance issues that had to be addressed. The question of whether I could or should do financial transactions on a library computer is a sticky issue that I need to investigate. For example, I have a PayPal account. Is it safe to do PayPal transactions on a library computer? How can you be sure someone isn’t standing behind you watching or if the person sitting next to you isn’t looking? This could make you paranoid!  Certainly there are people who use public computers not just at the library but in airports and at Internet Cafes who may feel safer using PayPal via a phone rather than the Internet which is the only way you can use PayPal now.

 

Update

My son told me he did his taxes on library computers and other patrons did too!

 

Benefits of Using My Home Computer Minus Internet Service

 

Since it has turned out that I’m splitting my work between my home computer (without Internet service) and the library computers (with Internet service), I can still enjoy the benefits of working on my home computer such as, getting up to grab a snack, taking a long break and then coming back to it later, listening to music while I work if I feel like it, and, my favorite, putting away the work and taking out one of my exercise DVDs to do a workout! Yesterday I did a 55-minute weight workout and I’m a little bit sore! These things I can’t do at the library!

 

So dear readers, these are my experiences after six visits using library computers. This library is in a good location and in a good neighborhood. It’s certainly not as peaceful and quiet as using the Internet on my home computer but it’s not raucous enough to prevent me from returning.

 

More Updates:

I have now had more than 20 visits using my library’s computers. I no longer feel stressed because I am super organized. I’ve created a To Do list and explain how I use it in both of my articles, “10 Easy Steps Transitioning to Free Internet Service at Your Library” and, “10 Short-cuts Saving Time (and Money) on Your Library Computers.”

 

I had written in this post that you couldn’t listen to music while using a library computer. That turned out to be not true! On more recent visits I noticed that you can use ear buds and a portable CD player. Just don’t play it so loudly that you annoy other patrons! Also, you can take a break on a library computer but you’ll want to make it a short one, like for a bathroom break. The computer screen shows you how to set the screen for “reserved but on a break” so nobody else can take it.

 

Both of the article links above contain valuable, time-saving and money-saving tips that would be worth your time to check out. Let me know what you think of them! Also, let me know if you foresee any obstacles for you if you are thinking of making the transition. Happy surfing on your library’s computers and enjoy the time and money you’ve saved!

Saving time and money is good for your health!

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4 Responses to “My Experience Transitioning From Paying for Internet Service to Free Internet Service – Part II”

  1. Three Well Beings June 13, 2014 at 1:48 am #

    I’m glad it’s working out for you to use the library and cut your cord to the Internet. It’s tremendously funny that you forgot what day it is, though. :-)

    Like

    • Marcella Rousseau June 16, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

      Always happy to give a laugh ; – ) Time goes so fast for me I can hardly keep track!

      Like

  2. Brian June 12, 2014 at 8:32 am #

    Libraries, I would expect, are the more secure places to access the interent. And like being careful where you use a credit card, being careful where you access sensitive accounts is important. Always accessing your accounts from the same place would be a good way to pin down a problem should security problems with your account arise (a public library should be easier to hold to account if this were to happen). Whereas if you use random cyber cafe’s or even random wifi hotspots on a mobile device, you would be opening yourself up to all sorts of problems. That isn’t to say there isn’t remote desktop software running in the background on the library computers, for ‘maintenance purposes’, or even CCTV operating in the room that could be innapropriately used. One precaution is to make sure you log out at the end of your visit, and clear your browser history if possible.

    Like

    • Marcella Rousseau June 12, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

      I would hope libraries are the more secure places but I wonder if it depends on the library and perhaps the funds they receive. I questioned a reference librarian (who handles the computer issues) about how they deal with viruses. I was concerned that I could pick up a virus on a computer on my flash drive. She said they were sticklers for virus protection and the chance was minimal. I also asked if I could run their anti-virus software on my flash drive. She said no. Lately, I’ve been using a different library in another county but still near my house. (One branch is in a big city and the other is in a small town.) I couldn’t delete the history on the computers at this library whereas at the other library, the history was automatically deleted and I’m not sure when; maybe immediately if that’s possible. They are going to do $2 million in changes to the library that doesn’t delete history. I complained to the librarian and ultimately, she shut down the computer, pulled out the plug, and then replugged it. I haven’t seen any other patron be as concerned as me and I feel these folks are not as sophisticated as the patrons at the other branch. I’ve seen several email accounts with users email AND passwords on these computers! I tried logging them out but even that didn’t work. For some reason, my flash drive isn’t working properly anymore on these computers either, so I guess they really need some changes here. Thank you for your thoughtful comments Brian.

      Like

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