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Comment I had to stop using them :-) (Score 1) 290

For a few years I tended to use "linksys" as my mobile data ISP, and from my apartment I can usually see 5-10 other wifi nodes, so if my DSL was down or my wifi router was hosed, I could borrow from a neighbor, and vice versa. But when 802.11g came out, and especially by the time 802.11n came out, most of the wifi modems started strongly encouraging users to set up authentication; I don't think I can connect to any of my neighbors' networks any more. (And I eventually had to get 802.11n because the signals seem to be enough stronger that my laptop connections would drop if I was in the dining room where my neighbors' routers would drown out my 802.11g.)

Since then coffee shops have become much more reliable sources of connectivity than random linksys boxes ever were, and I've got data on my phone so I can check email if I have to.

Comment Getting telcos to do the expensive fix (Score 1) 290

Back in the 1980s, I had two phone lines at home, one for talking, one for a modem for work. The modem line started having trouble, and wouldn't sync up at 2400 baud any more, just 1200, and the telco had trouble with my explanation about the problem ("What's it sound like?" "It sounds like }}}iii}}i}}}") so they told me it wasn't a data-rated business line anyway and blew me off. Eventually it reached the point that it sounded like "KKXKKTHKKHKKSSHHHKKXKK" on voice calls, so they came out and fixed the drop line that was rubbing against a tree trunk and after that it was fine. Another friend who did computer connectivity for a university in Utah had to explain to some of the non-big-city telcos what "phase jitter" sounded like.

I've had a bit of dealing with Bell Canada, mostly when customers wanted to put call centers into old fishing villages where anybody still in town would be happy to take a call center job and spoke good English. Most of the problems were just getting cable diversity into places where it had never been needed before and the geography might not support it, but we also had trouble getting T3 lines into some places, because we wanted an actual whole T3 for data, not just a bundle of voice T1s, and there was mux equipment left over from the early days when T1s were bundled into 6 Mbps T2s which were bundled into T3s, so you really couldn't get all the bits for yourself.

Comment Unbalance of caps vs. bandwidth (Score 1) 290

If you're downloading a steady 1 MB/sec (so 8 Mbps, ~half of your 15 Mb/sec "official" cable speed), you'd blow through that 74 GiB in less than an 86400-second day, and hit your 250GB monthly cap in 3 days or so. At 1 Mbps (so FAR less than your 15 Mbps), you'd still hit your monthly cap (though maybe you wouldn't hit 300 GB.) You're probably not going to do that watching TV or downloading movies for yourself, unless you're really watching two full-4.7GB movies a night, but if you're running a good bittorrent connection you probably wouldn't have trouble hitting that.

Hollywood produces about 600 movies/year, so that's a bit under 2 movies/day; you could watch ALL of them on a 1 Mbps download if you didn't mind waiting a couple of days during busy release weeks. (I think that's studio movies, not counting indies that haven't gotten past film festival distribution.) Bollywood produces about twice that many, and the world output is something like 2500 feature films/year. (That's not counting pr0n, or non-studio movies that don't get into theaters, or home movies on YouTube, or whatever... That's a lot larger than Hollywood+Bollywood+Europe+HongKong, and most of it will only get watched on DVD or the Internets.)

Comment Retiring Old Mobile Phone Protocols (Score 1) 290

Believe me, your wireless companies would like to retire the old protocols as fast as they can scrape up the capital budget, at least in the cities and medium-large suburbs, though less so out in the boonies.

The issue isn't just selling you an iPhone N+1 to replace your iPhone N-2 or have your tablet hit your monthly bandwidth cap in 2 days instead of 5, it's mostly that the newer protocols use their radio bandwidth a lot more efficiently, so if they can migrate the 2G and 2.5G users over to LTE or at least 3G, they can reuse the spectrum that's tied up handling older-protocol users.

They'd also be happy to migrate HSPA+ users to LTE, partly because of spectrum efficiency but almost as much because everybody's marketing says that "4G is Much Better Than 3G", so they're stuck scrounging up bandwidth to reallocate to LTE without messing up the HSPA+ users who haven't migrated yet and who might change carriers if their service degrades.

(Disclaimer: I work for AT&T, but not in the cell phone part of the company, this is my own opinion and not the company's, blah blah blah, and as far as I can tell, all the major carriers are roughly in the same bind on this issue, though the non-GSM carriers have extra incentives to move to LTE.)

Comment Two different ISPs at work (Score 1) 290

Until recently, when we started doing some new cloud projects that have their own connectivity, I had two different ISP-equivalents at work. One was the Corporate IT department network, which connects to my desktop, the corporate email, internal web servers, and firewalled access to the public internet, doesn't have any bandwidth limits other than the 100 Mbps wire to my desk, but has a lot of access filtering to cut out NSFW material, including Dangerous Evil Hacker Sites (I do computer security research - that blocks most places that have useful security tools as well as malware and Tumblr/Instagram/Facebook/Dropbox :-) The other's my lab, which has an unfiltered T3 and a couple of fractional T1s we use for testing, and we want to have occasional access to dangerous evil sites, though most of the malware we get is from our test load generator throwing Gbps of ugly stuff at security tools to see when they fall over.

Comment Not close (Score 1) 290

8 Mbps down is 1 MB/sec, so 86.4GB/day, so you could hit a 250 GB monthly data cap by about Wednesday the first week. (I'm running 3 Mbps DSL, but since Comcast keeps talking about data caps, and won't let you run servers at home, I've got no respect for their claims to be 10x faster...) Of course, if they're blocking The Pirate Bay, that cuts way back on their total bandwidth needs :-)

Comment What are you doing with your bandwidth? (Score 1) 290

I'm still running 3 Mbps because I haven't seen a good reason to switch up to 6, even though my wife now has a faster laptop. I can watch TV on it (though watching TV on my actual TV via Tivo and cable works better because they're not breaking the show into little bits and keeping you from skipping over commercials), and I can watch YouTube at high-res, and that's all the media-consumption that I've wanted. Occasionally I want to download Linux distros or something, but I mostly do that at work (where it's admittedly nicer to be on the shared T3 than on the 10 Mbps segment at my desk), and usually I'm only doing incremental updates anyway, so the computer's more of a bottleneck than the download.

So what really cool stuff are you doing that needs more than 25 Mbps?

Comment What cool stuff do you do with 15Mbps ? (Score 1) 290

I've got 3 Mbps DSL, and it's enough to watch TV on occasion and to watch YouTube at high-res. If 15 Mbps isn't enough for you, you must be doing some Really Cool Stuff with that extra bandwidth, and I'd be interested to find out what it is.

Watching multiple TV programs at once isn't something I count as cool... I suppose "Downloading DVD Linux Distros Instantly" is sort of cool, but I don't do that very often. Not getting enough upstream bandwidth from one service or the other is something I can see making a difference in stuff you can do. The questions I'd have been asking CenturyLink would have been about monthly download caps, and whether I could get a static IP address, and whether they had any stupid limits on running "servers" at home, i.e. whether they're selling a real Internet connection I can do cool stuff with, or just a consumer media consumption delivery service.

Comment Re:1-6-11 vs. 1-4-8-11, B vs. G vs. N. (Score 1) 144

1-4-8-11 is theoretically better for most people than 1-6-11, because you get more useful channels, but unfortunately that only works if you can get everybody to go along. In a business with one IT department you can do it; in an apartment complex with random people you can't stop people from randomly choosing 6. A couple of my neighbors are on 6, one's on 8, one's on 10, a couple of high-power 1s, and usually mine's the only one that goes to 11.

If all of your equipment can support it, there's also slightly-illegal-in-US use of channel 13, or of course the 5 GHz band which has non-overlapping channels and usually nobody actually using it. (Unfortunately, while my router supports 5 GHz, it doesn't support using 2.4 and 5 simultaneously; I suppose I could drag out the old 2.4 travel hub and hang it off an Ethernet port for the older laptop to talk to and switch the rest to 5.)

Comment Misinterpretation *By Linux* (Score 2) 280

Unfortunately, the article's referring to the "misinterpretation" passively, not saying directly who the author is asserting misinterpreted the spec, but I think from context it seems to be saying "misinterpreted by Linux", as opposed to "misinterpreted by lots of cheapo USB devices". It's bad that Linux does that, but it's certainly easier to fix in one place in Linux than going out to lots of vendors putting out equipment with very low profit margins and hope they'll all do the right thing.

I was also a bit confused as to when the article was referring to microseconds (s) vs. milliseconds (ms); I found it surprising that it seemed to be saying that most of the devices responded in under a microsecond, while others were over 10ms.

Comment Logging all queries (Score 1) 122

Obviously they'd be just fine with a process that logs all queries to the database, including who queried it and what they queried, and keeps that log for at least 10 years, and having regular audits of the log files? Because they're not doing anything wrong, so they totally shouldn't mind a bit, right?

Comment My current "Home Renovation" diet (Score 1) 461

I've lost 10-12 pounds in the past month, mostly from lower calorie consumption, habit disruption, and moderate exercise increase. I live in a condo, and the condo board finally got around to doing the roof replacement they'd been planning for a while (with nearly no notice), which meant that we could do the ceiling sheetrock repair that the place has needed after a few years of minor roof leaks, and replace the rug which had long since warn out, and since the ceiling was going to need to be repainted, it was really time to repaint the rest of the place. So we moved all our furniture and junk into storage where we can sort through it, and started talking to contractors, floor people, sheetrock fixers, and trying dozens of different samples of paint that aren't quite the same color of almost-white as the wall [long rant deleted.]

The TV's packed safely away facing a wall, so we're not watching it, and the couch is also packed away. The dinner table's temporarily replaced by a tray table and a couple of chairs. Half the weight loss probably happened the first week, hauling boxes around, but I seem to be eating a good bit less in general, and we've been more likely to have a salad or some hard-boiled eggs at home than to go out for lunch or dinner.

The classic book "The Hacker's Diet - Weight Loss through Stress and Poor Nutrition" really got a lot of things right...

Comment Re:OBAMA STATEMENT VALID (Score 1) 537

Well, yeah. When he said "We need to be more transparent", he meant the American public needs to be more transparent so they can eavesdrop on us without having to spend so much money or violate so many laws.

But Louis Freeh's FBI under Clinton didn't want Americans to be able to use encryption, and Bush's Homeland Security mafiosi wanted to wiretap us without warrants and got a Patriot Act wishlist draft handed to Congress within a week of 9/11, so it's not like there's much different about President Obama except whether he sounds like he feels guilty about getting caught. (Too bad - Senator Obama and Candidate Obama had been pretty decent on privacy issues.)

Comment 1-6-11 vs. 1-4-8-11, B vs. G vs. N. (Score 1) 144

The most common channel choice recommendation is to only use channels 1, 6, and 11, for entirely non-overlapping operations. There's an alternative, 1-4-8-11, that's pretty low interference. Back when people used 802.11b, or most of the time with 802.11g, I didn't get much interference from my neighbors, especially since I picked a relatively quiet channel. But when 802.11n came out, I started getting a lot more interference. Part of that was just changes in what channels they were using, so that helped a bit, but eventually I bit the bullet and got my own 802.11n router (and was startled to find that it didn't do IPv6 yet.)

Google, of course, is smart enough to have allocated channels in some optimal manner to reduce interference between their equipment; I don't know how much they paid attention to what other users were doing.

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