MetaFilter — or more accurately AskMetaFilter — is a thing of beauty. Last week, after about a month of noticable deterioration, my DSL stopped functioning almost entirely. I spent three hours on the phone with five different AT&T helpdesk people until they finally decided to send out an engineer. He showed up, plugged something into the wall, mumbled “your modem is broken” and left. They wanted $100 to replace it, which I considered (information super-)highway robbery.

EBay has hundreds of DSL modems listed for a lot less, and I decided I’d get one there. But I didn’t know what to look for. There are a lot of acronyms and whatnot, and I wasn’t really interested in doing hard research and studying for a twenty-dollar piece of equipment that I only need for a few months. So I asked MetaFilter. I got better answers than I expected. Two people offered me free modems. One lived in New Haven and I met him last night.

It works like a charm. The Internet is a wonderful place. Thank you, horsemuth.