Before our college visit to Sewanee, TN, last week, the University of the South warned us not to rely on our cell phones for communication, indicating that service in the town was “spotty.”  It reminded us of visits to dozens of golf course communities where, indeed, service was often unreliable.  We had no problem with service in Sewanee, but we did speak with others who could not raise a signal with Verizon and the other services (we use Cingular).  Advice:  If you are a big user of your cell phone, make sure you add that to your list of criteria when you check out a potential place to live.

Residents complained about poor cell phone service at The Cliffs at Glassy in rural South Carolina (35 minutes from Greenville).  Developer Jim Anthony responded by putting a cell tower in a flagpole at the very top of the 3/4 mile high community.  (photo by L. Gavrich)
    "We can...come up with cooler, more advanced products that will satisfy [subscribers] more."  ---  Mel Karmazin, Sirius Satellite chief executive, predicting consumer benefits from the proposed merger of equals with XM Satellite Radio (Wall Street Journal, A1, today).

    We are dedicated XM subscribers, and on those long drives through the south, XM is a great companion at every hour of the day (what a treat to listen to live Major League Baseball from the west coast at 1 a.m.).  Neither XM nor Sirius was likely to survive without a merger, and yet getting past the regulators will be tough.  We're pulling for them; if nothing else, perhaps the new company can push the PGA to put better announcers on the golf coverage (Channel 146 on XM).  Golf was not designed for radio coverage, to be sure, but they can do a lot better on the pauses between shots than the constant fawning over Tiger Woods. 
    Of course, we should always be careful what we wish for...