Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kideo for June

Some more vids of Gabriel.

Gabe trying to crawl
Silly noises lying down
Satellite baby
What became of the monkey
Gabe in a flat cap
First baby rice
Silly noises and bouncing

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Faster pussycat

Virgin are now trialing speeds via DOCSIS 3 of over 100Mb/s (and touting 400Mb/s as feasible). I'm torn.

On the one hand, these kinds of speeds are exactly what the modern internet is waiting for. By modern internet, I mean a couple of simulaneous high-definition media streams (for comparison, BD bit rates are around 40Mb/s). One isn't enough? I hear you ask - but in my house there's two of us, and occasionally we'd like to watch different content at the same time. Alongside this, a couple of torrents or background tasks soaking up another 20-50Mb/s seems perfectly reasonable to me - not all the time, just some of the time. A sustainable peak 100Mb/s looks like nice headroom for bursty usage that occasionally gets close to that - after all, you'd not expect to drive a car that struggled to hit 70 mph, would you? Honestly, I manage just fine on my "lucky to hit 5Mb/s" connection, just like I manage ok on my pushbike even though my car can top a ton with ease. A 100Mb/s net feed would be like heaven.

On the other hand, the fact it's Virgin fills me with dread. Their AUP and traffic management policy both suck, along with their happiness to give your details to all and sundry while running deep packet inspection on your traffic. Shudder. Let's take their current "XL" 20Mb/s service as an example. If you take their traffic cap in the evenings - 3.5GB before they drop the throttle to restrict your network performance by 75% -  you can max out your connection for the grand total of 24 minutes before they choke your internet for 5 hours. 3.5GB is a lot of data, you say? Sure - but if you're getting an HD feed at BD bit rates, that's 12 minutes of your movie and then you're gasping for bandwidth.

One would hope that on faster lines, their traffic caps would rise (and indeed on their peak XXL product, there's no traffic caps - hooray! but every other plan has one - boo!). However, at this point the numbers just start looking ridiculous. What *is* a reasonable cap when your bandwidth is 100Mb/s? is it 5GB in one block? 10GB? 50GB? Just what the hell are you going to be doing with all that data anyway?

The obvious answer to this question is - binning local storage, and treating the net as a media library. Which is the ultimate end game here, let's be honest. Physical media and local media storage just don't make sense when you can have what you want, when you want, where you want - and who wouldn't want that? Local temporal cache - sure. Plastic disks or tape cassettes? No thanks, I've got boxes of the damn things in my loft.

The real paradigm shifter isn't consumer behaviour though. It's producer behaviour. Always-on video feed from home to wherever you are. Sharing your local CPU resource with the cloud (and potentially monetising that CPU dead time). Acting as a legitimate seed point in a distributed file system. Participating. This is what your machine (or local network) will be doing once everyone has always on connections that approach fractions of a gigabit every second. This is the cool shiznit, and it's not far off.

Of course, the chances of me getting it any time soon are non-existent - from recent experience, I have enough negative telecoms karma to cause any order I place to vanish into another dimension. At least I'll get to watch other folks use the internet like we've always dreamed it would be.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New balls please!

After watching the Mahut - Isner match for a few hours, which is now heading into a third day 
One can't fail but be hugely impressed by their sheer stamina and dedication. They've nearly put as much time into that game as we used to put into a full Kara run when we started playing!

Great to watch, and probably a good place to stop - I'm sure there were a lot of folks in the crowd who needed a wee, a pint and some strawberries.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Teeth and wisdom

I'm not exactly sure what the definition of wisdom teeth is (and no, I'm not going to wiki to look it up, that would be both cheating and a buzzkill).

Gabe's first tooth is now protruding far enough out of his gum to give you a nasty nip when he bites down. it's not particularly visible, but damn can you feel it.

Given teeth and wisdom go hand in hand (or at least, one hopes they do), here are a couple of links to wisdom for Gabe to read when he's older.

May he be as wise in life as I was stupid, and may he never fall flat on his face because he wanted to hold onto a cigarette and a pint of beer more than he wanted to protect his good looks.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Chinese blog spam

When will it ever end? As a father, won't someone please think of the children?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Opening one's eyes

Tonight has been one of those serendipitous occasions where everything one reads is relevant to one's current situation.

Thank you, Fark, for providing exactly the thread I needed.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Easy life

Chores done, clothes put away, dishes clean, garden watered, recycling sorted.

Tune created, Prince of Persia and Metal Gear 4 sampled.

Easy life!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

How to say Incompetent in six easy downpayments

Addendum - Again, after speaking to Colin and David in customer services, they have resolved this issue (and this time within 15 minutes of me contacting them!). These guys rock. If only the rest of the BT customer services could be as effective. 

After the exemplary treatment I've had at the hands of the BT special division who can actually speak english and are obviously based somewhere near this country, I thought I'd keep my bile in check, but seriously - this is beyond a joke.

British Telecom - you are evidently run by a malicious computer with no regard for human feelings. Because if you're not, the alternative is too ridiculous to comprehend.


If you are, then they're doing a fine job.

If you are not (and I honestly hope to god you're not) then WHAT THE HELL.

so after the total trauma that was moving house (see parts one and two here), I thought that since, you know, we actually had a phone line, that would be the end of the worries.

No, says BT. I will ensure that you are totally dissatisfied with the experience. So although I paid for all associated charges and the like, three months ago I got my phone line disconnected. When I finally managed to get through to someone in Bangalore or wherever the hell the BRITISH Telecom (the hint should be in the name, surely) customer services department was, they informed me that I had missed a bill and was late paying it, and had consequently disconnected my line.

Which bill, says I?

The one that we sent yesterday, says the CS rep.

You do realise that we don't have teleporters for the postal service here in England, says I? I haven't even seen the bill yet? and it's Sunday? The post won't arrive until tomorrow at the earliest? Am I making a shred of sense here?

Oh, I understand that, Sir, says the CS rep. However, you were late paying for the line connection charge on your last quarter too, which is why we've disconnected the line.

This is, of course, the line connection charge that had already been waived because I WAS MOVING HOUSE AND THE ONLY REASON FOR CONNECTING A NEW LINE WAS BECAUSE ... WELL ... I HAVE NO GODDAMNED IDEA. But regardless of the logic behind it, I didn't owe any money at all at this point. Having the phone line disconnected was slightly frustrating, to say the least.

Various calls to India in vain,  but a direct call to the folks who originally helped me install the line and the issue was (I believed) resolved, and the line reconnected.

(As an aside - the internet was working just fine during this debacle.)

So this quarter's bill has just arrived. and on THIS bill, I've been charged for late payment (£7.50) and an "other one off charge" - £17.62 for reconnecting the line after the disconnection.

you've just charged me £25 quid because you're incompetent, and obviously have no way of tracking why, when or how any of the actions you take occur. All of the relevant details are in your files. So why charge me? Am I a problem customer? Did I do something to someone in BT in a former life that I'm not aware of?

Assuming that something dubious would happen this quarter, I'd overpaid my bill (I'm not sure if I'd paid 10 or 20 pounds, but I wanted to ensure I was in credit to stop any line disconnections this time around). I guess I'm too much of a cheapskate when it comes to being in credit.

This is not a huge amount of money. I will not starve this month if I need to pay an extra 25 pounds. I will, however, be cancelling the service just as soon as I possibly can because you know what? I'm furious. I'm actually furious. I'm paying for a telephone service that I hardly ever use simply so I can get ADSL and it's raising my blood pressure and shortening my life expectancy, and nothing is worth that.

(Edits have occurred to remove swearing ... I should know better, really.)