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Comment: Re:Surface is crap, according to our real world us (Score 1) 321

by spiffydudex (#47110593) Attached to: I Want a Kindle Killer

Sounds like your company purchased too early. The original Surface tablets were utter shit, any half baked IT person would've seen the signs when it was first released. Dated processor, terrible battery life, and practically no storage unless you spent about $200 more for the "upgrade" to 128GB. I completely understand if the CEO thought he was awesome and purchased 10. Bleh...terrible IT decision makers.

I just purchased a Surface Pro 2, and I replaced my troubleshooting/carry-around laptop. While I am not a huge fan of the Metro interface, it does make sense from a tablet perspective. I have a USB adapter with 3 USB ports when I need a Ethernet or multiple USB ports when I need connectivity, but it doesn't come out of my bag all too often. I average about 5-7 hours of battery life, but its hard to tell because the device quickly goes to sleep when not in use.

I do wish that the keyboard cover contained an external battery and was weighted enough to hold the Surface without using the kickstand. Besides that I have yet to find any major flaws with the device.

Comment: Re:Forget ratings, measure ROI. (Score 1, Insightful) 302

by spiffydudex (#44651703) Attached to: Obama Seeks New System For Rating Colleges

Its been an interesting trend. When the Government offers more money, the tuition magically increases due to "higher costs". We all know that the costs have not increased that much. Fuel costs have stayed the same for roughly 7 years now. Why are institutions increasing the cost of education? Because they can and the government will gladly give out more student loads through Sally Mae. Plus with the added factor of the current "College Craze" the demand for seats is ever growing so there is really no stopping the bloated machine.

Comment: I worked at a Rural Wireless ISP (Score 3, Informative) 239

by spiffydudex (#41908549) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Way To Become a Rural ISP?

I worked at a wireless ISP that serviced roughly 200 customers that were completely unreachable by traditional means. The location was set in the mild to medium forested areas of East Texas. We had a 30Mb pipe that worked quite well for our network we never saw it start to "peak" or be overtaxed. Being that we were on the 900Mhz spectrum, the fastest anyone could run at was 1.5Mb/s - 2Mb/s.

Here area some of my thoughts regarding setting up your own ISP.

1) It is completely doable. However, there are two roads to take. You can do it on the cheap, or you can do it the way that will stand time. My company chose the method that stood throughout time. What I mean is, we were not using off-the-shelf radios. We rolled out the network using the 900Mhz Motorola Canopy equipment. We used outdoor rated cable that had separation of twisted pairs and grease filled interior to prevent water issues.

Our main competitor, who worked on the north and west side of the city went the opposite route. He chose to use cheaper 2.4GHZ equipment, primarily PTP bridges.

2) The technology is out there, you just have to find it at a price that you are willing to pay. When I was servicing the radios, they would cost roughly $350 new from Motorola just for the endpoint Subscriber Module. We instead purchased refurbished models for almost half the price at $200-225. The Access points and other major equipment will set you back, IT IS NOT CHEAP.

3) Backbone and network structure. We may have over engineered our network, but we felt it was necessary to keep subscriber information private. We had a small cisco switch that at each access tower that would assign VLAN to each subscriber module. On the internal side of the switch, the VLANs were removed and went into a bulk VLAN that was specified for that tower. No other subscriber could see any other one without first going to "The Internet". We also created a Management VLAN, so we could service and access the management interfaces on each of the Backhauls and APs. Latency across the network averaged about 50-150ms.

4) Please for the love of all that is holy, do not, run your own Email server. It is a absolute pain in the ass. I was the person who was in charge of ensuring that the systems in place stayed running. This meant, DHCP, DNS, HTTP, Email Services, and Management interfaces.

Remember Virtual Machines are your friend. Buy one or two hefty servers and backup the VMs to each other. That way if you have an outtage, you can get the VMs back up in running in about an hour.

DHCP - Since we had a bit of a robust network, we had different subnets for each of our towers. In total we had about 18 subnets that each had different purposes. This tool helped like the charm that it was. http://phpdhcpadmin.sourceforge.net/ At the time the logout system was broken, however, I patched the code to disable the login/logout functions and wrote a script that would automatically give me the next available IP address.

DNS - No fancy tools here, I mostly just let it roll and didn't touch it. I only touched DHCP when we added a hosted website.(which later went to rackspace)

HTTP - Simple, run Apache, set and forget.

Email Services - Complete Pain In The Ass. No really, I'm not joking. At the time, the powers over me, decided that we would give our customers up to 5 email addresses. So I setup a linux server in that ran Postfix, Dovecot, ClamAV, Squirrel Mail. It provided IMAP, POP, SMTP and SSL(if wanted). At the time, when I arrived the server was already in place and running. However, fast forward, 3 months, and someone decided to run "updates" on the server. Breaks all of the packages, settings, the whole shebang. Not a fun week at all.
Besides that, there were also issue with SPAM. We would constantly get blacklisted by various servers.

Management Interfaces - This was where the heart of out network lay. I have one word, Cacti, http://cacti.net/ For wireless this was a God-send. As you could get information about the RSSI, Jitter, Signal Strenth, ETC about each device all nice and neatly laid out for you. I am the guy who developed the Google Maps plugin for Cacti. http://forums.cacti.net/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=33716 At the time there was no way to visualize Up/Down statuses and other things across a real map. This was the thing that really helped boost our ability to manage the network.

4) Would I do it again, Absolutely. It is great fun managing your own network, knowing that any problem you encounter is probably a stupid mistake you personally made. It a great way to sharpen your teeth and grow technologically in a new direction.

All In All, It Is Doable, It Is Hard, It Can Be Done.

Comment: Start Scubbing (Score 4, Informative) 131

by spiffydudex (#40150147) Attached to: Political Campaigns Mining Online Data To Target Voters

For those of us who wish to use social networking and other friendly but intrusive aspects of the web...If you haven't already, you better start scrubbing your visible online information. Reduce your online presence.
A good place to start viewing your publicly available information is http://www.pipl.com/

From there you can decide whether or not it is acceptable information and take the appropriate measures.

Comment: Re:I've used a fair variety of mobile OSes now... (Score 3, Interesting) 131

by spiffydudex (#37552614) Attached to: HP Touch Pad Still Popular<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... With HP Employees

I agree, the interface is great for doing everyday tasks. Love the simplicity in the email client. The only thing I did was disable the logging and increase the CPU to its standard 1.5ghz. The Pad is rock solid and for around 250$ you can get a 32gb model second hand. Great Deal in my opinion. Some may comp,ain about the lack of apps. Yes, the WebOS store is young. However, Games aside, I haven't found an app that wouldnt do what I needed productivity-wise. Now with Cyanogen claiming they want to be able to dual boot WebOS and Android, its just icing on the already delicious cake.

Comment: I fail to see why Apple REQUIRES a CC (Score 1) 283

by spiffydudex (#35833906) Attached to: Apple Faces Class-Action Suit For In-App Purchases

This has perplexed me since I first bought an IPod 4th gen. Why on earth are you required to attach a credit card to an account? I fail to see the need for it. As far as kids racking up bills...That would immediately solve the problem. All the kids would have access to are the free apps. Heck, even something similar to the way Android handles app purchases.

I've owned an iPhone 3GS and now I am using a Samsung Captivate. Personally, I know iPhones are "Hip" but, if I were buying a phone for my kid I'd take the Android system. Simply because of the way Google handles app purchases and transactions.

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