Contemplating going wireless…

So, currently I get Internet and television from Charter. We’re on the most basic television plan, which really meets our minimal TV-viewing desires. However, Charter only has the digital signals from a few local channels, and for those that it does have, they’re additionally compressed and have the PSIP data stripped out. (Possibly some of that is in violation of FCC rules, or will be in violation starting in Feb. 2009. But I’m not sure, and I don’t think Charter cares.)

So, despite that fact that wired technology is inherently more reliable than wireless, it appears that if I put up a really big antenna (keep in mind that I’m far from Boston/Providence/Springfield/Hartford, so it’d need to be a really big antenna), I would get better TV service than I currently have. And, I just don’t expect Charter to get any better.

So, I’ve been looking into it, and am now seriously contemplating working on mounting a really big antenna for TV service. Presumably, the initial cost would end up paying for itself eventually because I could stop the Charter TV service.

So, (1) am I crazy, and (2) could anybody recommend a reputable TV antenna installation service? (I may try to install it myself, but I’m not sure I really want to go that route.)

Question of the Day

All laptops have a built-in UPS, and in fact one that generally can last at least a couple hours.

Why don’t all desktops have a built-in UPS? It wouldn’t have to be any bigger than the one that would be in a laptop. Usually, for the same cost a desktop gives you more features than a laptop, and it’s just silly in this day and age for a power failure to take out unsaved work on a computer.

Going infinite on gift cards

Shaw’s, among many other retailers, is offering a promotion where one can buy a $330 gift card at a cost of $300, or a multiple of those numbers, any number of times, the theory being that government economic stimulus payments are often in multiples of $300, and they’d rather you spend it at their store.

I suspect that their POS system would allow one to pay for a gift card using another gift card. Gift card is a method of payment, and the cashier likely doesn’t even see what kind of card you’re swiping to make payment. (They just enter in a $330 gift card activation with a $30 store discount.)

So, I think that it would be easy for one to buy a $330 card for $300, and then on one’s next trip (or right away if one thinks one can pass it by the customer service rep.), use $300 from that gift card to get another $330 card, meaning that you now have a $30 card and a $330 card, for $360 in total gift cards for a purchase of $300. This process should be repeatable as often as you think you can do it without them throwing you out of the store, leaving you with n $30 cards and 1 $330 card, all from an initial $300 expense.

Not only that, but since in Massachusetts the law says they must refund the balance of a gift card in cash if it’s at least 90% used, you should be able to convert all those $30 cards back into cash, more than covering your initial $300 expense.

Is there a flaw in my logic? Is their computer, customer service rep., or manager likely to notice? Is this doable, legal, moral, and/or ethical?