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Comment: Wet phone lines? (Score 1) 345

Firstly, DSL does not generally fluctuate in data rate unless: 1. There are bad connections between the subscriber and the DSLAM 2. The line was oversold ( customer too far in wire distance from the DSLAM to support the data rate "contracted" ) I have experienced this problem. After complaining for a year or so, my neighbor let it slip that another neighbor accidentally dug up the lines and severed a cable a year or 2 before. The phones were all screwed up for a couple days after said neighbor did his own splicing job and did not get it professionally repaired at the dig site. The wires were all re-assigned at the box at the end of the street. So for a couple days after every rain speeds were awful, but the more you use it the better it would get. This is a classic characteristic of wet lines. If the line were oversold, it would be pretty consistently bad. Upshot is, your ISP may not even be accountable if they don't own the lines and you will likely find disclaimers in the contract.

Comment: Try a fast traceroute? (Score 1) 396

by fredmunge (#39263273) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is an Acceptable Broadband Latency?
This is kind of a simplistic test and I am sure I will be chided for it but if you do a simple traceroute with a free graphical tool like "sam spade" you can get an idea exactly where in the path the latency is. Assuming someone in the next room isn't seeding tons of torrents, assuming you don't have a virus etc etc I think a traceroute would be a next step in troubleshooting this. When you identify the offending hop, you can give the provider the IP address of the bad or overloaded / misconfigured device in the path. Tech support people have no incentive to look at their own equipment and always always always blame the customer first. Sadly they are correct in doing so all too often. Good luck! Mike

Comment: Re:Um... (Score 2) 51

by fredmunge (#38654368) Attached to: Salmon DNA Used In Data Storage Device
My Cod! Could you scale it back a bit? I mean look chum, I'm floundering at trying to figure out how to respond to such humor. But the tide may turn on whether others will lob and stir further responses. Now I'm not trying to be crabby here, nor am I trying to make anemone. But I just haddock respond. Ok, I'll clam up now.

Comment: I get 3 per day (Score 1) 228

by fredmunge (#38315498) Attached to: How many robocalls do you get each month?
despite being on the useless placebo 'do not call' list. These idiots, TECLO in Gresham, Oregon 971-220-1002 do not answer when called. Maybe we need a "do not harass" list (like THAT would do any good either). It would be nice to figure out how to use VoIP software to generate robocalls of your own (maybe this exists?), locate the owner of the company and request removal of your number.......200 times a day if necessary. There's gotta be a (legal) way to get these bastards. This particular one is reported to be a phisher-scammer with some credit card angle.

Comment: WO1U here... (Score 2) 358

by fredmunge (#38139578) Attached to: Ham Radio Licenses Top 700,000, An All-Time High
I see where quite a few commenters don't get the attraction. I witnessed a voice contact from a 10W mobile radio in Vermont, to a station in Japan, with full signal strength at around dusk a few days ago (on 28.4MHz). The randomness of where HF propagation will take your signal and from what country an operator will respond makes voice communication interesting, and for me much more so than a cell phone call or an IRC chat session. Amateur radio was the cause of my interest in electronics engineering in the first place and I have made a career out of it, which has been greatly enhanced by my experience in amateur radio. Indeed there are many professionals among the amateur community. As many others have stated well here, the hobby is rich with many engineering genres and the generous frequency allocations make for a vast playground that truly does advance the "art" that underlies all those ubiquitous wired and wireless communications we take for granted. Digital, software defined radio, analog, microwave, satellite communications, power amplifiers, antenna design etc etc etc. How can anyone call this boring? 73 Mike

Comment: For God's sake cut the guy some slack (Score 1) 395

by fredmunge (#37692556) Attached to: NASA Sues Apollo Astronaut To Return Moon Camera
It sounds like internal NASA politics bullshit. I bet the person at NASA leading the charge to get the camera back would piss themselves at the mere thought of going through the level risk those guys embraced. They would rather have left it on the moon than let an astronaut keep it? IMO that's a tragedy.

Comment: Prior Art Search Step (Score 1) 244

by fredmunge (#37421398) Attached to: Obama To Sign 'America Invents Act of 2011' Today
Exhaustive patent searching in advance of application is the real solution to the problem of knowing whether an innovative idea has been reduced to practice and filed on by someone else. The new rules make searching easier, since no-one can know for sure if the invention existed before but had not been formally filed on. That said the patent examination process should not be burdened with performing the search for the inventor. It is the responsibility of the inventor to determine the existence of all prior art, and now with the new rules, the existence of all previously filed inventions. Obviously the inventor will occasionally miss something in their search that the examiner will catch, causing a bit more work for everyone. On the other hand, some inventors are so paranoid about being first to file, they will slap together an application and file it without giving due diligence to the search step. These new rules are going to exacerbate THAT problem. The real fix would seem to be giving inventors, large and small entities alike, the incentive to do a thorough search of prior art in advance of filing. yes IAAI, 20 issued so far

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors