Rich Warren | Readers’ feedback | Scientific technology


Charles Dickens often serialized his novels in magazines, sometimes providing different endings each month. Has Pip ever won against Estella?

Readers who send emails with various issues often leave us hanging. Have they fallen in love with their ISP or have they been abandoned? Were they able to fix their beloved electronics and keep the romance alive?

  • Here is a happy ending. This involves the Urbana player with ISP and cable issues.

“On June 28, I3 Broadband logged me in. No problem doing that. Good quality internet. Coherent; no spinning wheels.

“Using my router, I’m billed $ 49.99 per month for 200 Mbps of data. No taxes or other fees added if you use your own router.

“Now the ‘good’ part: a week later, I had no internet. I called I3 and spoke to a technician who checked the system on his end. He saw that my position was not online.

“He arranged for a technician to come to my house. The technician arrived the next day, but less than 24 hours later.

“He discovered that an animal had gnawed on a rope that was lying on the ground. He sent a request to make burying my line a priority (I3 doesn’t do this job. I don’t know who does).

“There was a problem accessing the property next door to allow the technician to reconnect me, but he came back later that day, after the neighbor unlocked a gate, to finish the job. He was so sorry it had taken so long.

“He discovered a different way to access the grasp of the utility, saying he could do it faster if it happened again.

“So far, I3 is a winner. With Comcast, I would always try to reach a human (i3broadband.com).

  • The following is a response to my column on recycling from Susan Monte, Recycling Coordinator for Champaign County:

“I enjoyed your article on reuse / repair / recycle options for electronics. I thought you might be interested in receiving the latest E-Guide for Residents of Champaign County, something that I try to keep up to date for residents of Champaign County.

“The latest E-Guide is available on the nonprofit Champaign County Environmental Stewards website: ccenvstew.com/.

“This electronic guide is expected to be updated shortly to include online registration information for the October 16 Home Electronics Collection event.

“To receive the CCES newsletter, sign up by accessing the“ Contact ”tab of the website. There may still be time slots available for this month’s electronics recycling event in Parkland.

  • Here’s a smart question from a reader whose television makes him stupid:

“Who do I go to for training, instructions or home help to access the smart side of the flat screen TV we bought three or four years ago? Although I have tried half a dozen times in the past three or four years, I have not been able to access the “smart” features.

Smart TV is a marketing term and a misnomer. The so-called “smart” part of the television allows access to programming from the internet (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc.) without using an external adapter such as a Roku or an Amazon Fire Stick.

Most smart TVs display optional Internet choices in their setup menus. Then you need to open an account for one or more of the many services. The TV remembers this and automatically connects to the service each time you return.

Some televisions also offer a limited number of ad-supported “free” program options beyond television broadcasting.

Each TV manufacturer handles this differently, so it’s difficult to walk you through the steps. You should be able to visit the store that sold you the TV for a demonstration or schedule a home visit.

  • Correction: I gave the wrong website for Bowers & Wilkins in the last column. It’s bowerswilkins.com. My excuses.

Rich Warren, who lives in the Champaign area, is a longtime consumer electronics critic. Email him at [email protected]

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