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Comment Re:Just dumped our U-Verse service... (Score 1) 43

Yes, this is true, they only send you what you are requesting... but they do leave some fixed overhead in their provisioning still over what your internet data plan is. They still need enough overhead for multiple streams, because their DVR can record up to 4 streams at the same time, so if a box was maxing out like this, it would need at least 4x the bandwidth of a single channel. Also depending on the installation, you could have 2,3,4 or more receivers in the house. The setup I had didn't allow each receiver to record 4 channels each, only a single box had the DVR functionality, and the other players shared the recording list...But you could still watch a live TV channel on these other boxes. Not sure how much bandwidth a single HD channel uses, but if you had like 4 channels recording and a couple other receivers watching live TV, you could in theory have 6+ streams coming in simultaneously.

Comment Re:Just dumped our U-Verse service... (Score 2) 43

I had the 18/1 plan as well for several years, and while I didn't have many service interruptions at all, the ceiling on the speed they could offer was a big factor in why I left. Once I decided to cut the cord and not do a traditional TV service, I wanted more bandwidth to make sure I could stream to several TV's simultaneously from HD sources and they couldn't provide much higher speed. And the price for that speed was the price that Comcast was charging for 100/10 service. The speed they can't compete on.

I don't think the IPTV service uses that much bandwidth either, so I doubt their "use the extra bandwidth for higher speed" suggestion will make much of a difference. When I looked at the gateway, I had 2 bonded lines running to me that provided 15Mb on each line, so total to my house was 30Mb/s. The highest speed I got on speedtest was 23Mb/s. If I had both TV's going, I might see my max internet speed drop to like 20Mb/s. This tells me that at most, their IPTV bandwidth was using less than 10Mb/s unless I"m overlooking something.

Freeing up that extra 10Mbs still won't get them anywhere close to what the other guys are able to achieve. Nevermind the pricepoint comparisons, just talking max speed.

Comment Re:Ahead of the game. (Score 2) 92

Just did this about 4 months ago. Cancelled TV and home phone. Switched to Internet only, and added OOMA VoIP service. Saving quite a bit than I was previously paying.

I'm not sure how people are saying that internet a la carte is the same as a bundle price, unless you are comparing non-promo internet pricing to promo bundle pricing. Sure you might not save a hundreds of dollars, but in my case, the tv portion was going to be over $120 after promo pricing, and home phone was going to be $40. This was for the mid-tier channel lineup only, no premium channels.

I also don't think some people take into account the add-ons they end up having, or getting talked into. Sure, in some cases, with promo pricing, maybe TV is only $10-$20 more than just internet, but then when all is said and done, they realize that there is 1 channel that the base tier doesn't include, and move up to the next highest tier, then many want to add on HBO, Showtime, Sports package, or other popular packages as well. Also the monthly rental fees of the set-top boxes, and all the numerous taxes are higher because of the TV service being active on the account that aren't included in the price that is advertised (so they aren't factoring these in).

I think with a lot of people, they see the promo price of the bundle, and their brain locks that price in, "oh, I can get all 3 services for $60/mo!", but if they look at their bill after the first year or two, they would realize that after the special pricing ends, and they are paying all the real prices, and all the "Free HBO for 3 months" is over, with the options that they really signed up for, and they will realize that they are easily paying $150-$200/mo.

Comment Re:Suspicious Claim (Score 1) 237

I read it differently and made a different, but similar, assumption. I read it as: the attackers didn't have inside info on their defenses, but that they were big enough, and lasted long enough, and possibly had various attacks going on, that it was causing Verisign to "reveal their hand" so to speak with their defenses... whether it was all of their defense strategies, or just more than would have liked to reveal is up for interpretation for the story I guess.

Comment Re:Good, Bad And Ugly (Score 1) 194

My comment about OpenDNS was just an example of a service that does what they are proposing already, and is opt-in only, and is not run by the government, and is customizable by the user (or network admin) to select what gets blocked and what doesn't, rather than some secret hidden list of sites. If you don't like OpenDNS, then pick another provider, or run your own DNS server.

I've used it for years without issues. If I have problems or don't like what they are doing, I can always point my home router to a different DNS provider and viola, I'm using a different service. You aren't stuck using them, and they aren't forced on you like is the possible implication of what the article is about.

It is unclear at this point, whether this would be possible to do with the system mentioned. It might be as easy as changing your DNS settings to point to or something... or... they could be checking all outbound DNS requests and even if you are pointing to another provider it will still be blocked. If the worse case scenario, then your only option is to VPN through the blockade to use a different DNS service, which becomes more difficult for average people to do.

Comment Re:Good, Bad And Ugly (Score 3, Insightful) 194

Not much good in this at all. There are already alternative DNS providers that will block most of this stuff selectively by each user. I use OpenDNS myself for this purpose. This is effectively censoring by the government, and nothing less.

Yes, it will eventually used to block torrent sites, the Pirate Bay, etc. It will be used to block any of the other downloading sites that are available whether they are torrent trackers or straight downloads or streaming sites.

Even more, if riots break out, or dissension protests start up, all of a sudden Twitter and FB will be temporarily blocked to prevent coordination by participants. The US has already done similar to this, for instance in bay area BART stations where they shutdown the cell phone repeaters to prevent communication in the stations when Oakland had riots/protests going on. If UK can do it by simply blocking DNS to these sites, the same results will happen.

Who decides what is considered "MalWare"? What are the criteria? Malware could be the typical kind, but could also include hacking software, keygen apps, apps that the RIAA/MPAA and big-media doesn't like? Everyones idea of what is malware, is probably slightly different. Viruses yes, but not all the others are malware. I know most virus scanners pick up keygen's and other cracking software as a virus even if it's not, but because want to scare away people from using them.

Comment Re:I'm not seeing good explanations here.... (Score 1) 128

I agree with you 100%. As far as I know, this whole story has kind of came up out of no where recently, and I can't understand any of the motivations behind it. Nor can I think of any good reasons to do it. Therefore, I am very leery about the whole idea.

Why is this getting brought up? Who is actually proposing it and pushing for it (besides the handful of tech giants that are known to be evil[TM]).
Why would it be good for US to give up control?
How will it benefit internet users and website owners (the normal sized, everyday website owners that is)?
How will this benefit the internet in general, as far as infrastructure/protocols and managment?
What real benefits would other countries gain in obtaining this control from US (other than obvious nefarious purposes)?

I'm sure there are more questions that need answers, but without any answers or information for these basic questions, I am completely against the idea, I wouldn't want the US to relinquish control of it, an think it's a bad idea. And I'm usually against US government involvement and meddling in most cases.

Comment Re:Channel saturation (Score 1) 160

Yes, that is the understanding of a "All you can eat" Buffet. That's what my understanding of it is when I purchase a buffet meal entrance. If I want to load up 2 mounding plates worth of only bacon, which empties the bacon tray, I can do that, and not feel bad. It's up to the restaurant to monitor and coordinate supplying more bacon for everyone behind/after me that wants some.

I think YOUR understanding of all you can eat buffet is skewed, not the other people that you so righteously called out...

Comment Re:Biggest effect will be on nearby Best Buys (Score 5, Informative) 167

This only works with items that don't have retailer specific model numbers... (I'm looking at you TV's!!). The common ploy for a long time with the big retail chains is to make deals with the manufacturers to basically sell them the items under custom model #'s that are specific to their store. So you'll see the same exact TV at BestBuy will be a XYZ-65-01, and at WalMart it will be a XYZ-65-02, and at Amazon.com it will be an XYZ-65-03. Therefore, even though it's the same device, the model numbers don't match exactly, giving the retailer an excuse to not price match. This has been a standard ploy for a very long time, going all the way back to when GoodGuys and Circuit City were still in business. Not all electronics manufacturers participate in this practice, for instance a Sony PS4 is a Sony PS4 everywhere, but my point is, it doesn't always work.

Comment Re:5,999,999 now (Score 1) 141

I too am in the camp that just switched from ATT Uverse to Comcast within the last 3-6 months.

The reasons were several... First of all, I was paying for ATT Uverse Internet/TV/Phone package, and the bill I was paying was $154/mo (which was their promo pricing still). The promo pricing was ending, and I calculated what the new price would be for all of this, and it was over $170/mo. My family decided it wasn't worth it, and we were 'cutting the cord' for TV.

With that price from ATT, I was getting 18/2 internet speeds (actually got about 23/1.5). They couldn't get me any faster service in my neighborhood, they tried to boost me up to their top teir in my area of 25/2, but the speed went down instead of up. Just to get the 18/2 plan, they had to bring 2 lines to my house and bond them on the side of the house. The non promo price for internet alone was going to be $65/mo.

I switched to Comcast, internet only, and was able to get a 200/10 plan for $70/mo, which isn't bad. When the deal runs out, it will be $90/mo, at which point, I may keep it, or lower it down to their 100/10 plan for about the same price I'm paying now, which is still 4X faster than what I got on UVerse.

I signed up for a 3rd party VoIP provider for home phone, (Ooma in case anyone is interested), and pay about $12/mo for this, instead of the $40 that ATT wanted to charge. TV is being taken care of with streaming services, currently Hulu, but may move around as needs and content change, along with several FireTV boxes running Kodi as well.

Comcast speeds have been great, my actual speeds I'm getting are 240/12, so looking at this, the 'extra' provisioned speed I'm seeing over my advertised plan is more than entire UVerse plan speed! Couldn't believe it, and am happy at this. Plus, right after I switched, ATT announced they were going to enforce Caps, while currently Comcast has their Cap "not enforced" at the moment (for however long this lasts, but either way, staying with ATT would have gotten me Capped earlier anyway).

With Comcast, I was able to purchase my modem myself, and own it, instead of the forced monthly rental from ATT UVerse, and the service hasn't gone down in the several months I've gotten it, so it's not all bad. Granded I haven't had to deal with Customer NonSupport yet, but that's never fun no matter who your provider is. Another bonus was my "ping" time went from 32ms on UVerse to 12ms on Comcast, so it's better for gaming and other lower latency activities.

All in all, I'm saving a ton of money for way faster service. Granted some of the saving is from cutting the cord, but even taking TV out the picture, and comparing Internet/phone services, I'm still paying less for much more than I was getting before.

These are the reasons I switched, which made sense for me in my situation in my area. It sounds like different areas have different services for both Cable and ATT offerings though so it might not be the same story everywhere. It seems some areas are lucky enough to have ATT offer >100Mbps plans, which in my area they couldn't even touch. Also, even though I'm in the Bay Area, my neighborhood is an old neighborhood in the suburbs and there is no way Fiber of any kind is going to get brought in anytime while I'm alive, so I'm wasn't going to hold my breath for Google fiber or Fios.

Comment Re:Is this so hard (Score 3, Interesting) 113

You don't need to prevent spoofing, and you don't even need a community black list. Implement this at the carrier and the problem will be done: 1) have service answer call, and make sure user is real and not a robocaller by asking them to press a specific (random) number key... 2) After completion of the previous step, ask the user to state their name. 3) after the completion of the previous steps, then ring the owners phone, and when they pick up, the service will tell them the phone number of the caller, along with a playback of the person's recorded name. 4) you have the option to dump/reject the caller, or allow them to connect. Once you allow the caller through, that person goes through without authentication next time they call (unless you remove them from you whitelist). Non whitelisted number can still get through if they are legit, and numbers that are spoofed still have to go through the process before they make your phone ring. This would kill almost all robocalls and still allow screening of non-robocall sales calls. Problem solved, just needs to be implemented for all phone line types.

Comment Re:Crestron! (Score 1) 18

Crestron integration is already happening with this from what I've heard from others in the industry. It's not native supported by Crestron, but more of a custom hack-together solution, being experimented with by a couple of people here and there but it is happening already, at least on a few programmers test bench (not sure if anything has been deployed in the field or to someones house yet). Same with Amazon Echo integration with Crestron, so you can talk to your Crestron control system and have it do things (which also relies on IFTTT as the middle man).

Comment Re:It can be fine... (Score 1) 536

And I carry around several of the USB-to-RS232 adapters as well and use them in my day to day job ALL THE TIME. I wish they didn't disappear, but I'll admit that the uses for them have shrunk to a very small subset of (usually) tech personel of some type or another. Now, the quality of the adapter can be iffy, as not all them meet exact RS232 spec's and chipsets, so I've also had issues with some that work fine on most equipment, but some equipment won't talk to them because they are out of spec, making having top notch most expensive converters the ones that I have to buy to be reliable across the biggest set of devices.

The mini-phono jack however is not a 'niche' connector used by a shrinking group of computer nerds. It's EVERYWHERE. From day to day use phones, mp3 players, car stereo's, home stereo's, laptops, PC's, and extends into the pro-audio world on everything (well technically pro-audio uses 1/4 phono, but even then, a $2 passive adapter will adapt it to work with 1/8" mini). I even see some devices (Samsung TV's) that use 1/8" mini as a serial port. I've also seen Android apps that let you send serial commands from the headphone jack. So the uses are more than audio as well, even though that is the use case for 99.9% of people.

Comment Re:I've thought about this (Score 1) 120

I researched solutions for Robo Callers, and the best option I could find is a third party box called the "Tel-Lynx Guardian". It plugs in-line between phone and wall (like an answering machine), and answers all your calls for you and requires all callers to perform a one time qualification before they can get through to you. When it answers, it has a automated voice prompts of it's own and requires 3 things. The first time a caller calls, it answers before ringing your phone, and requires the person on the phone to record their name, and the phone number they are calling from (and I believe a random number digit is requested as well to verify it's a human). If the caller gets past those steps, then the device rings your phone, and when you pick up it announces to you the information it collected in the qualification process and gives you the option to dump the call or allow through. Once you let the call through, it adds that caller to a whitelist that is then allowed straight through to your phone from then on so they don't have to jump through the automated system everytime.

The only problem with it, is it only works for landlines and land-VoIP phone service. I almost got one, but recently switched to a new VoIP home service that includes personal black-lists, community black-lists, and NoMoRobo integration, which has helped greatly.

Unfortunately, there are no options for cell phones that I have found, comming short of having your number bounce through a land-line with some type of filtering before going through to your cell. I would LOVE a software version (or implementation at the provider) of the Tel-Lynx device functionality for use with cell-phones, and I think would kill the Robocalling industry.

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