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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Monty Icenogle's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, January 3rd, 2016
7:29 am
DDOS attacks, why bother?
Welcome to 2016 everyone. Recently, over the past week or so, since at least Christmas 2015, VPS hosting provider Linode has been suffering from long duration distributed denial of service attacks on it's entire network, and I don't mean just 1 datacenter either! These attacks seem to be targeting linode as a whole, with attacks occuring in just about every one of their datacenters. Now in most cases, when a distributed denial of service attack or DDOS attack occurs, it's targeted at a given website or group of related sites. That's bad enough, but now we've got multiple attacks targeting an entire company itself it would seem. This company is a hosting provider, and as such, they host a wide variety of content. Everything from web sites, to VOIP phone systems, to streaming audio and internet radio stations, to databases, and just about anything else you can think of are hosted at Linode's various datacenters. With such a wide variety of stuff hosted, what the hell would cause someone or a group of people to launch a DDOS against an entire provider like that? Clearly it's deliberately targeted at Linode and everything it does, since pretty much all of their geographically diverse locations have been targeted multiple times throughout this ongoing event. I don't currently have anything hosted at Linode, but I know people that do, and I feel bad for them, as they can only wait this out and hope it'll clear up soon. When I did have stuff hosted with Linode, they were a good provider with very good network connectivity and speed, so again I'm mystified as to why whoever or whatever wants to cause this DDOS against an entire provider. What did they do to them? And just how exactly do you prevent attacks like this from effecting other VPS hosting providers or any internet provider for that matter? I hope everything calms down soon, and hopefully we may find out why this attack was initiated to begin with.

Current Mood: frustrated
Monday, October 5th, 2015
2:35 am
An iCloud mail mystery
This is an issue I've had I think ever since iCloud was released some 4 years ago now, but as I'm no closer than I was then to solving it, I'll put it out here on my blog, and see if others may have ideas. Part of a user's iCloud storage is used for their iCloud email account, should they wish to make use of it. I do use my iCloud email account, though not all that often. Currently, when I check to see how much storage various things in iCloud are taking up, most make sense, except for mail. Let me explain. My iPhone backup currently takes up about 609 megabytes of space, which sounds about right, since I do have several voice memos, and various other audio apps that I keep data backed up in iCloud. Plus, I believe iCloud keeps the most recent 2 backups I think it is, so all that data added up would come out to the figure I mentioned above. The mail portion of my iCloud storage though makes no sense whatsoever. At the moment, my iCloud mail contains a total of 4 messages, 3 of which are normal simple plain text emails, that should only be a few kilobytes each. The 4th message does have 2 .xml files attached to it, as well as a plain text description of what the attachment of the message contains. The attachments in all total around 50KB in size. I'd estimate that all my iCloud mail combined should take up maybe 100-300KB total, when you factor in header information, along with the message overhead for the attachments. There's no way for me to see the exact size of the individual messages themselves to be sure, so I'm just estimating based on the message contents. So, if my total iCloud email size is let's say 300 kilobytes, then why does it say that mail is taking up 10.7 megabytes of my iCloud storage! Yes you read that right, with nothing at all in my junk or trash folders, or my sent folder, the 4 messages I have stored in iCloud which are quite small themselves, are somehow taking up a crazy 10.7MB of my space! A while back, I tried to dig into this issue, back when my iCloud settings showed that my mail portion of storage was using an insane 147MB of space. I primarily use my iCloud account on my phone, but when I cleared out all messages from there with no noticeable change, I brought up mail on my mac, and cleared out stuff from there and that did seem to help, as my mail was then only using a few kilobytes of space. I also discovered that notes that you create with the notes app are actually stored in the mail portion of your iCloud storage. This may be different now with iOS9, though I haven't yet tested to be sure of that. Anyway, with no mail at all in iCloud, and with the only thing taking up the mail portion of my storage being my notes from my notes app, the size of mail storage used looked right, at about 90 kilobytes or so. I then sent myself a simple test plain text email, which even with header information and all should be just a few kilobytes in size, and after receiving the message, I was shocked when I looked at how much iCloud mail was taking up, and it had jumped from 90KB, to over 5 MB! Remember that I had not sent myself any attachments whatsoever. I'd literally sent just 1 message with a subject of testing and body of "this is a test message." There's no way in hell that message alone, even with header information and such, would've been 5 megabytes by itself! That message couldn't've traveled through so many mail servers, so as to make the header info of the message 4 or 5 megabytes! I did then send myself a message with an attachment of around 1.5 megabytes, and the storage used after receiving that message jumped up to over 10MB. The message itself again including all headers should have been less than 5MB. I still have no explanation as to why mail storage space is so way off the mark. And as I said, at this very moment, I have 1 message that contains 2 small attachments, and 3 other plain text emails, and my mail storage should not even be close to 5 megabytes, let alone the 10.7 megabytes that it's showing right now! Does anyone have any idea what on Earth is going on with this? I'm not running out of storage or anything, I'm just curious why mail storage seems to store more data then should be there, and what that data could be. It'd be like me withdrawing $60 at an ATM, only to discover my account showing I withdrew $120, even though I know for a fact I've got 60! Strange stuff, and if anyone has ideas, I'll take them.

Current Mood: confused
Sunday, September 27th, 2015
4:50 am
Can blind users upload multiple items to archive.org anymore?
Hi everyone. Today I'd like to upload a couple of collections of audio recordings to the internet archive. Years ago, I did this somewhat regularly, and those recordings of mine are still archived for all to enjoy. Back in 2011, and before, when I'd upload to archive.org, which is the home of the internet archive, the process for uploading was quite simple. You basically would tell the site you wanted to upload some files, you'd then be assigned an FTP server to connect to and upload your files, then you'd return to the archive.org site to finish editing and making your items available. This process was easy and perfect for a blind computer user using a screen reader to get the job done, as I obviously would be doing. However sometime in 2011 or 2012, the internet archive did away with their FTP upload option entirely, in favor of their in browser upload option. This in browser upload option uses flash, and near as I can tell, it's totally inaccessible to screen reader users! They have a non-flash alternative as they call it, but that option gives you no progress on your upload, nor does it allow for multiple item uploads, such as what I would be uploading 100 percent of the time. One collection I want to upload are my recordings from the American Council of the blind convention in 2014, which I attended. This collection has 61 items in it. When the FTP option was around, as it was in 2011 when I last uploaded to the archive, it would've been no problem uploading all 61 items at once, as I'd just connect to the FTP server I was assigned, upload all items at once, then finish editing the description and title and such on the site, and all was good. However now, the task of simply uploading my items to archive.org seems all but impossible! If I try with the flash method, I get an unlabeled button, which I assume is an upload button, but pressing enter or space on it does nothing, and nothing is ever uploaded. I'm very disappointed in the internet archive for doing away with the FTP method of uploading content, especially when it seems like their are no options to allow a screen reader user to upload content to the site now! The FTP method worked, and worked well, why totally get rid of it! And I'm sure not going to upload 61 separate times to the site, that just seems crazy. So my question is, is their any way at all for a totally blind user using a screen reader such as Jaws or NVDA, to upload multiple files to the internet archive at all? I like the internet archive, since it allows me to preserve recordings I've made over the years, while at the same time making them available for anyone to enjoy. I'd like to be able to upload content to the archive again, but I need a good reliable way to upload multiple items at once, as I did many times in the past with the FTP option. Is this possible at all? I sure hope so. The process of uploading content to any web site, should never be inaccessible! Any ideas or comments on how I can get my content up to archive.org, I'd appreciate them!

Current Mood: Frustrated
Thursday, June 11th, 2015
12:38 pm
T-mobile does have a hard 4 hour single call duration limit
After doing numerous tests with my T-Mobile service since obtaining it back at the beginning of May 2015, and doing a little research, it seems T-Mobile's network as a whole does have a single call duration limit of 240 minutes or 4 hours. In other words, if you are on a call, no matter if it's T-Mobile to T-Mobile or not, the call will always drop around 240 minutes into it, and you or them will need to call back. If using wifi calling, the duration is 4 hours exactly, but I've found if using the cellular network, the maximum call duration is slightly less than 4 hours, usually between 3 hours 51 minutes and 3 hours 55 minutes. Most users I'm sure will never hit this limit on a single call, but for those times where you may want or need to have a long chat by phone, such as when I was trying to troubleshoot a friend's server issue a few night's ago, it's good to know what the limit for a single phone call on a provider is, since it's never documented. I've done tests on Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and magicjack, and can report the following results. T-Mobile as stated above has a maximum single call duration of around 4 hours, MagicJack has a maximum call duration of 1.5 hours or 90 minutes, and both Verizon and AT&T are truly unlimited, as I've had phone calls up to 9 hours, 10 minutes on Verizon and over 7 hours on AT&T. I also have google voice, and so far, I've had a 3 hour 5 minute long telephone call via Google voice, but I need to do more tests to see what the limit of GV is, if any for a single call. I do wish providers if they choose to have a limit per call, would document this limit somewhere, rather than making users wonder why their calls drop after a given amount of time. After all, they do advertise unlimited voice minutes, so they should in my view state there are maximum per single call duration limits. One nice thing about the VOIP provider call Centric, is that you have a single call duration limit, but it can be configured on a per user basis. So mine I think is currently set for 1 hour, but I can adjust that whenever I please all the way up to a max of 8 hours. And, there are other providers, such as vitelity, that are unlimited. As I learn more provider call duration limits, I'll update everyone.

Current Mood: limited
Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
10:04 pm
Update on my Verizon Wireless call duration issue
OK, since I last reported on my strange issue on Verizon Wireless, where my calls drop at random intervals between about 2 hours 15 minutes and 2 hours 45 minutes, I've run a couple more tests, with very interesting results. Over the last couple nights, I've placed 2 long duration calls to the allstar ham radio network I mentioned in my last post. Both calls were placed after 10 PM PDT. And, get this, both of those calls were able to go well beyond the 3 hour mark, with the first call lasting 3 hours, 16 minutes, before I myself terminated the call, and the second call making it all the way to 5 hours, 4 minutes, before I again terminated the call myself! After the first successful late night test call that lasted 3 hours 16 minutes, I later that day called the exact same place, but this time during the morning, around 8:05 AM, and the call dropped at 2 hours, 14 minutes if I recall correctly. So in other words it seems in my tests so far, if making a call late at night, like after 10 PM, I have no issues making it to, and even exceeding the 3 hour mark, but if a call is placed anywhere during the day, calls will drop randomly between 2 hours 15 minutes, and 2 hours 45 minutes in duration. As I said previously, this is not a signal issue, as I have full solid signal at all times. I still want to run a test with a fellow Verizon Wireless customer during the day to see if a call to or from them will drop as calls to anywhere else do during the day. More updates as I can provide them.

Current Mood: Confused
Tuesday, April 21st, 2015
9:54 pm
Odd issues with long calls on Verizon Wireless with iPhone 6
I noticed something very odd and a bit unusual when chatting with my sister this weekend. After chatting with no issues for over 2 and a half hours, the call dropped without warning. I originally thought it was on her end, that maybe her phone provider has a maximum call duration limit. I was further convinced this was likely the case when it happened a second time, but this time after just 2 hours and 23 minutes of talk time. I thought it was odd that my calls to or from my sister were dropping at random times between 2 hours 15 minutes, and 2 hours 45 minutes, no real pattern to it. For those who may not be aware, some phone providers, particularly VOIP providers such as magicJack or vonage, do have set limits on how long any one single telephone call can be. Some are quite reasonable, while others are rather short. But usually, if a provider has a limit, the call will drop every time at the exact limit, once that limit is reached. In the case of my sister and I however, the call was dropping at seemingly random points, all after 2 hours 15 minutes. To find out for sure if it was my sister's end or not, I decided to test it out myself by calling my backup phone, and keeping the call connected either until the 3 hour mark, or until the call dropped by itself, whichever happened first. The call between my Verizon phone and my secondary AT&T phone dropped after 2 hours 43 minutes. This proved that this was not at all on my sister's end. The next test I wanted to do is to find out if calls I make to other places also drop randomly after 2 hours, 15 minutes or so. So I dialed in to a ham radio link network called allstar, which has telephone access, and connected to a busy node with lots of activity on it. I listened to this until the call dropped by itself after just 2 hours 15 minutes. Later, I called the same system, and the call dropped after 2 hours 42 minutes. Another call to my sister, and that call dropped after 2 hours, 34 minutes.
All of the previously mentioned phone calls were done here at my home location. I figured maybe it was something odd with the local Verizon Wireless cell site perhaps. So to test that theory, today, when I was on the campus of my local community college, located about 2.5 miles or so from home, I dialed into the allstar network again, and the call this time lasted just 2 hours, 18 minutes before dropping by itself as all the other calls had done. But it gets a little stranger still. I just minutes ago looked at my most recent call log on the Verizon Wireless web site, and the call I made this morning to the Allstar network, which my phone says lasted 2 hours 18 minutes, or 138 minutes, shows as lasting 164 minutes, or 2 hours, 44 minutes on the Verizon Web site! Even if I take into account that the first 60 seconds of any call will be 1 minute as far as billing is concerned, the call this morning should've lasted no more than 139 minutes, possibly 140 at the absolute most, yet Verizon's log is saying that call lasted 164 minutes! Just how is that possible? That's a 24 minute difference! My phone just dropped the call, as it'd done with all the others, at the 2 hour, 18 minute point, not the 2 hour 43 or 44 minute point! So this is a very strange and odd issue that I'd like to determine what it's cause is. The next test I want to perform, if I can find a volunteer to help me with this experiment, is to call another Verizon Wireless customer and see if I can make the call last beyond the maximum 2 hours, 45 minutes or so that I seem to be able to achieve right now when calling anywhere else. I should point out here that this call drop issue is not at all signal related, as I've got full signal, no less than 4 bars, during all telephone calls. I'm using a brand new Verizon iPhone 6, that isn't even a month old yet. If calls to a fellow Verizon Wireless user also drop and random intervals between 2 hrs, 15 minutes, and 2 hrs, 45 minutes, then I then somehow need to figure out if it's something odd with my phone, though I'm not yet sure how I'll test that. I'll try and update as I do more experimentation on this odd issue. Thoughts and comments most welcome.

Current Mood: confused
Wednesday, April 1st, 2015
8:29 pm
AT&T doesn't provide a way for goPhone users to see data usage... Why?
My iPhone 5, which I've had since March 2013 continues to work well, and in the near future, I do plan to sell it, as I've now upgraded my primary Verizon phone to an iPhone 6, and it's working great. Since my 5 is no longer my primary device, I decided that I'd throw an AT&T goPhone sim into it and play around with having a secondary carrier that's prepaid for a bit. The nerd in me loves to compare carriers coverage when I'm able to. The plan that I chose at least for this month, is the $45/month goPhone plan, which gives you unlimited talk, text, and even data believe it or not. But here's the catch. With the data, you get up to 1.5 gigabytes of data bandwidth at speeds up to 4G or possibly LTE speeds. I say possibly LTE, because my iPhone 5 is old enough, it does not support AT&T LTE bands that newer devices will support. I've proven this in a previous experiment a while back. So you get up to 1.5GB of data at 4G/LTE speeds, and anything beyond the 1.5 gigabytes, your speed is reduced to 128kbps until your next renewal, or until you purchase an add-on data package. However you may wish to do it. This is all fine and good, but there is absolutely no way that I can see to see how much data AT&T think's you've used at all! Sure I can reset data usage on the iPhone, but I like to check the actual carrier data usage info, and all other carriers, provide users with this information, but AT&T at least with it's current goPhone plans does not appear to provide data usage information to it's users! If you want to know how much data you've consumed on AT&T's end, you have to actually call customer service! How boring. If they can see it, why can't the user? Just so very odd, and it makes no sense at all to withhold this information from it's users.
Wednesday, March 18th, 2015
3:33 pm
Thoughts on Microsoft's oneDrive cloud storage option
There are many choices when it comes to having access to your data almost anywhere you are. From drop box and google drive, to Microsoft's oneDrive, it seems storing stuff in the cloud is quite the thing to do these days, with plenty of storage options to choose from, and some cloud storage providers offering, or will soon offer, unlimited storage.
Today though I want to discuss Microsoft's oneDrive cloud storage option. I recently began playing with oneDrive after I got word that my local college campus now had access to office 365, which gives you access to a very nice 1TB of online oneDrive storage! After signing up with my college account, I decided to also get myself a personal account as well, for when I'm no longer able to access the college account due to no longer being a student there. The interfaces for the 2 accounts are somewhat different, as the college account is a oneDrive for business account, and my personal account, well it's a regular personal account. With both accounts, my goal, as it would be with any storage provider, would be to upload my various files and data from anywhere. So I've been focusing strictly on uploading files via a web browser. This way if I need to upload a file to my oneDrive that's not on my computer, I can do so from whichever computer I may be using at the time.
The first thing I noticed, is that uploading files to oneDrive with a web browser seems to take longer than I'd expect when using a good uplink to the internet such as my campus network. Uploading files of a few megabytes in size seem to upload OK, but when uploading larger files, such as a file that's 590MB in size, it took quite a while, even though I was on a connection that I know can achieve 40 to 60 megabits upload. Though an actual speed progress bar isn't provided, it felt as though I was only uploading a just a couple megabits per second or so. Sometimes, when trying to upload files, the upload would seem to start OK, but then it would appear to stop with an error, even though the upload wasn't even done yet! I have a collection of larger operating system .iso images that I wanted to upload into my oneDrive account. These files are between 2 and 3.5GB or so in size. I have yet to get one of these files up to either of my oneDrive accounts. Every time I start the upload, it goes for a while, and then just stops for no apparent reason! I've tried uploading from my campus network, as well as from my much much slower home internet connection. I don't know if there's a limit to the size of file I can upload with a web browser, but I'm sure not having luck getting a 3 gigabyte file up to my oneDrive account! I no doubt have the storage. With the personal account, you get 15GB to start out with, but I was able to double that by grabbing the oneDrive app for my iPhone, and having it back up my camera roll to oneDrive. So with 30GB of total space, and over 26GB of that still remaining, there's no reason that I can think of why I can't get my larger 3GB files up to my account. The largest file I've successfully gotten up to my oneDrive account so far is 590MB. I'm also noticing some accessibility issues with the oneDrive iPhone app, mainly often when I try and select a file to open in another app using the built in voiceover screen reader, the app seems to want to select a file other than the one I'm sure I'm selecting! Just yesterday, I tried using my google drive file to upload a 2.8GB zip file, and it uploaded there with no problem. So far, it seems my favorite cloud storage options are dropbox, then googleDrive. But I'd like to see oneDrive work better than it seems to currently, especially since I think you can use it with windows 8.1, and surely you'll be able to make use of it with Windows 10, coming later this year. If anyone has had luck uploading larger file to oneDrive, I'd love to know how you did it. I've tried with multiple web browsers, with no luck thus far.

Current Mood: frustrated
Monday, February 9th, 2015
8:37 pm
Why does some home internet have to be crappy?
As I prepare to start what should be my final semester of school tomorrow, I had to do a little discussion about crappy internet, or at least what I consider crappy internet. You see, the place I'm currently staying at, which I was able to secure just in time to prepare for classes, is at a friend's place that's an apartment complex here in Lancaster. This itself isn't a bad thing at all. The person I'm staying with has internet, but it's not through any of the providers which usually serve this town. My original plan was that if I didn't like the internet offering that's already here, I could just bring in my own internet connection, and in my case that would've been via Time Warner Cable (TWC), as I really wanted to try out their 200 megabit down, 20 megabit upload internet package they now offer in this area. I was all set to do that, until I found out that this complex I guess only allows services via DirecTV, and there is no TWC connectivity anywhere in this complex! So we have TV through DirecTV, which is a satellite provider, and internet through something I've never heard of called Consolidated smart solutions LLC. I'm not even sure how I'm getting physical connectivity, whether it's via wireless or DSL, but I'm thinking wireless, since I know it's part of the deal with direcTV in this complex. The speeds on this internet connection are around 6 megabits per second download, and just 1 megabit per second upload, and that's it! With me doing periodic large file uploads and backups, I'd like to have at least 5 megabits up nowadays, and with me soon replacing a failed 2TB hard drive, I'm going to need to download around 300GB of data from a temporary place I'm storing the old data at. At 6mbps, that's going to take well over 4 days, and uploading that data back to my online backup service so it's safely backed up again, is going to take weeks at 1mbps! If I was going to have an exclusive deal with an apartment complex or the like, I'd make sure the internet was good and fast, at least 25 or 50mbps down, and no less than 5 megabits up, and I'd likely have options for folks to get faster packages if they needed or wanted it. But even crazier than all that, is that in this area, my cellular service through Verizon Wireless, is rock solid, with great full signal levels! And, tests done on my Verizon connection show me able to achieve download speeds of between 21 and 30 megabits per second, and upload of between 14 and 15 megabits per second! Now of course mobile internet speeds are quite variable by nature, but I think something's wrong, when I can achieve better internet in this area on my phone than I can on the apartment internet connection! Of course I'd love to use my phone for doing the large data transfers when I need to do them, but of course I can't do this, because of the data cap I have, and no matter what my cap is, if I were to initiate these transfers via my phone's connectivity, I'd go well over my cap, by many many times, resulting in a bill that would require Bill Gates to come pay it for me!
This is not how I ever imagined internet connectivity options would be. I think if a provider serves an area, it should serve all of said area, and no one should be able to say no you can't serve this complex or anything like that. Because of this, I do believe I currently have no options for true high speed internet other than my phone where I'm at. If only there were a database of places one could go to get true high speed upstream and downstream access to the internet, that would be great. This is 2015, not 2004, true high speed of at least 20mbps should be the norm these days, and really we should have symmetrical internet access, but that will never happen at the consumer level on a wide scale. I'm amazed we ever made it out of the dial-up era, considering no provider seems to want to improve network connectivity anymore. Verizon FIOS, which I had hope for when it was first deployed that I'd get to have my own FIOS connectivity one day, is pretty much done, with no further deployments going on, heck I never even see promos for FIOS anymore! I can't believe a company would want to just stop deploying a technology that has awesome potential now, just as it did then! I know several people that are lucky enough to have FIOS, and I'd love to have it myself, as my friends that have it, usually get rock solid symmetrical speeds that blow away what I can get here. But alas, I guess I'm stuck with my always on dial-up connection, lol. At least I'll get periodic access to the campus network which in most places on campus is 100 meg symmetrical, provided I can get Ethernet access to it. The wireless is a little strange, but that's a discussion for another time.

Current Mood: confused
Thursday, February 5th, 2015
9:17 pm
It's been a while, but time to rant about apple a bit
Well I didn't realize I hadn't written on my blog in over 2 years, until tonight. As I think I've said before I'm still very much around, mostly on social media, twitter as well as facebook and audioboom, and every now and then youtube. But I come here to do rants mainly, and tonight I have another one, this time having to due with apple and the long standing bugs relating to its voiceover screen reader on the iPhone that just don't seem to ever get fixed.
One specific bug that really annoys me is when trying to manage storage within iCloud using my iPhone 5. Whenever you go to manage storage, and click on the device who's storage you want to manage, (in my case I only have my iPhone 5), after clicking on the device, voiceover will cause the settings app to totally crash for some unknown reason, preventing me from actually fully seeing the apps and their storage amounts within my iCloud account. I've verified that it is voiceover causing the crash to occur. I've done this by turning off voiceover when going into the area where the list of apps for my device is listed, and the settings app never crashes, yet the moment I activate voiceover, the settings app crashes pretty much every time! Surely I'm not the only blind user experiencing this issue? This has been an issue for I don't even know how long, at least since iOS 8 has been around, and I think before that possibly. My question is what the hell would make the fact that voiceover is active cause the settings app to totally crash? Another random bug which annoys me is when I'm composing a message say using the messages app, and voiceover just out of nowhere crashes and restarts! Thank god it restarts after a crash, but what the hell would make it randomly crash in the first place? I mean all I'm doing is typing! And finally, here's a bug that I believe effects each and every blind person using voiceover on the iOS device. Try going to settings, iCloud, storage, change storage plan. Notice that the prices for each plan read with no issues with voiceover, however the actual storage amounts you get with each plan do not read at aall! This issue started back when iOS 8 was initially released, when apple introduced newer storage options with the introduction of iCloud drive. All a totally blind person can see is prices, but they have no clue what the storage amounts they would be paying for would be! So I happen to know that for $0.99, I get 20GB, but someone sighted had to tell me this, I mean for all I knew I could pay $9.99 and only get 20 megabytes! Of course this wouldn't be the case, but you get the point. This is a very serious bug, and how could it be around for 5 months, and still not be resolved? And what if apple changes their storage options? As of now, blind users, who have to use voiceover, won't be able to even know of the changes! I realize that blind people make up a very small percentage of apple's total user base, but there's more than just 5 or 10 of us, and these bugs should be looked into! I still love my apple products for the most part, but it seems accessibility might be starting to become an afterthought. Very sad, and I really hope I'm wrong. I use to enjoy apple products quite alot, even testing iOS betas such as iOS6 and 7, but now main production releases such as the current iOS 8.1.3 have bugs that should by now be resolved I'd think. Maybe stuff is just getting too complex, I don't know, but I can't understand why voiceover will not read the actual iCloud storage amounts in the list of storage plans, when it reads prices on that screen just fine. So crazy, and I hope accessibility bugs will in fact still get looked at.
Friday, February 15th, 2013
1:45 pm
Technet subscription update
It seems with technet orders, it may be best to place them by phone now. After trying several times to get the order to go through online and not succeeding, I tried placing the order by phone. It takes 2 to 3 business days for the order to process still, but at least I finally have access to the subscription for which I paid. I'm not sure why orders are not processed instantly after you place the order with Microsoft, especially since my expiration date for my subscription is February 12, 2014, which corresponds to one year after the date I first tried to place my technet order. However the order wasn't active until today February 15, so I am actually getting slightly less than a 1 year subscription. And there's no telling when my subscription will actually expire, because when I last had technet back in 2010, the subscription for that actually expired a whole week earlier then the date shown on my technet subscription info page. All I can say is my subscription should expire sometime in February 2014. After the experience I had this time when trying to obtain a technet subscription, I'm having second thoughts about whether or not I want to compliment my technet subscription with an MSDN operating systems subscription. We shall see in the near future what I decide to do.
Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
2:59 pm
Does microsoft not want me to order a technet subscription?
I'm not happy with Microsoft at this point. Yesterday, February 12, 2013, I decided to order a technet professional subscription. I placed the order yesterday afternoon, and got the confirmation email. However at this point my card was not charged. It took over 20 hours before I heard from microsoft, and when I did it was them calling me to tell me they flagged my order for random review, as part of a screening process to help reduce fraud. OK fine. I had two options. One was, that they charge my card right away, but it'd take 5-7 days before I'd have access to what I ordered. Since I wanted instant access, as I should get instant access when ordering something electronically, I opted for the second option, which was that they cancel the order, and then I re-place the order with the same info. That should work well I thought. So the order was cancelled, and I tried to place the order again. As soon as I placed the order, I got the following error.
1072 - We apologize for the inconvenience, but your credit card cannot be authorized for this purchase. Credit card issuers will sometimes decline legitimate transactions if they look suspicious or are outside of your normal spending pattern. This helps protect you from fraudulent use of your card. You should contact your card issuer to assure them that the charges are legitimate and then retry the order again.
I did just as the error suggested, and contacted my card issuer, and they told me that the charge did go through, and I verified this fact. Even still, I tried two more times to place my order with Microsoft, and each time, I kept getting that 1072 error. Yet the charges were processed and currently show as pending. Since I made a few attempts, there are currently over $1,100 in pending charges on my card from Microsoft, yet Microsoft isn't letting my order go through! What is going on here! The card is being charged, and other purchases from other companies are working fine, but microsoft will not process this order now! What can I do here? I don't ever recall it being this hard to order anything, ever! I've tried posting to the technet forums, and hope somehow I can contact Microsoft and get my order processed. I sure as hell am not trying a 4th time to get it to go through, because clearly it won't, and I want to know why, because funds are there, and this should not be happening!

Current Mood: angry
Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
12:12 am
When will movie and TV studios finally adapt to new technology?
Hi everyone, and welcome to 2013. Isn't it nice that the world didn't end last month, lol. Well today I'd like to discuss something that a friend of mine and I were chatting about via facebook last night. Why is it that the movie and TV studios don't offer each and every movie and TV show produced in the last 50 years via on demand streaming? For that matter, why don't they even allow said content to even be purchased in digital download form?
Many titles are still not even available on DVD, let alone streaming! During the era of the VCR, the movie industry tried to kill it off, yet it ended up becoming a huge money maker for them, and there was a time when you could find through various catalogs and the like, just about anything from your favorite movie, to that awesome documentary you saw last month on TV on VHS video.
However now, it's very hit and miss what you can find for purchase when it comes to digital download or on demand streaming through services like netflix or hulu.
If these companies truly want to make money, as they always claim they lose money when folks get content via less authorized means, why are they so unwilling to offer their entire catalog in digital form? Nowadays, in my view, much of the movies and TV shows that are put out there, aren't at all very good, with only a few exceptions. But movies and shows of the 1980's and 1990's, were made to actually entertain. Such classics as speed, home alone, short circuit, Honey I shrunk the kids, apollo 13, Independence day, and other movies of that era were actually good and very much worth watching more than just once.
And don't forget the TV shows of the era, everything from Full house, to Bay watch, to Knight Rider, to name only a few examples. I want to see options to purchase as a digital download, as well as a way to stream on demand if that's your prefered way to get content, every single movie and TV show in recent memory, from today's shows, all the way back to stuff from the 1950's, so noone is left out.
Though it took forever for the music companies to realize that they can still make money offering music via digital download, they eventually did it. You can download music you like from sources like iTunes, and you can stream music on demand through services like Rhapsody, Spotify, and others.
Yet the movie and TV content providers seem to be hell bent on not adapting methods of obtaining their content to cheaper, easier methods like digital download or on demand streaming via services like netflix.
Oh sure some content is available yes, but the vast majority is not, and that doesn't seem right to me. With today's technology and services, I should be able to search for a title, and download it or stream it as I wish, no questions asked. I'm not even talking about obtaining it via currently illegal methods, I'm talking about getting the providers to put their catalog of shows, both current and past, on all streaming services and download stores like iTunes and Amazon.
What exactly is the point of being so controlling that you keep content customers want to have from them when it comes to new technology? Is the act of not giving the customer what they want somehow making you money? I and many others would gladly pay for a subscription to something like netflix or purchase content via iTunes for example, which would give the content company more money, but they first need to actually make the stuff available to us in the first place.
Here's an opinion my friend and I both share on this issue, and he says it way better than I can.
For the most part Hollywood has been producing nothing but crap the past 12-15 years, and they are so stuck on remakes and reboots and making sure every movie has 3 or 4 or 6 sequels. Then they don't want to share their crap via streaming.
It's because the movie industry--like the rest of corporate america--is all about making as much money as they can. You'd think they would sell the streaming rights to older stuff at a lower rate than newer, but that's obviously not the case. You and I know what it used to be like back in the 90s, how good tv and movies were back then. How good music was back then. Then we hit the turn of the century and it all goes downhill, fast. Sure there are some great movies made since then and great TV shows, and great music. But not like the good ol' days of 15-20 years ago. It's all about the dumbing-down of our society. Get us to watch stupid TV shows and stupid movies and listen to stupid music, cut our education, and what do you get? Stupid people. Stupid people don't realize they're stupid, and are much easier to control, which keeps them from realizing what's really going on and who really runs our country--the corporations, which we collectively call Wall Street. Wall Street is behind all of this. They are the true puppet masters of our government. Just look at who keeps screwing us around, and who has the most to gain. The corporations. The rich. They're making us stupid by feeding us mindless entertainment--the internet included--which makes us too stupid to know what's going on and therefore too stupid to revolt and remove them from power. Look at the Occupy Wall Street movement in the news last year. Hundreds of people tried, and they were blocked every way possible. 3 corporations own 90% of all the news media in this country, so they can control what they report on and tell us what they want us to hear. When the Nazis told their citizens what they wanted them to hear, we called it Propaganda. In the US we call it news.

Remember how the original Napster allowed users to find music they wanted, even out of print stuff, since fellow users were making it all available to others since the record industry wouldn't do it? Is someone gonna have to set up something like that just for video, so that it can grow in popularity, then get shut down by the MPAA because a service is being offered that gives people the content they want, in a way they want it? That's how Napster ended up, and as we all know, after much bickering, the record industry finally now make their music available both via streaming services and via digital download.
My final thought on this, is what about content that is impossible to find anywhere? Why not make made for TV movies available for download and streaming as well, even if they only aired once. I'll give you a good example of this. In 1996, CBS I think it was, aired a movie called "Special report, journey to mars, a made for TV movie about a first ever manned landing on Mars. It was done in the form of live news coverage of the event. All goes well, until crew members start getting sick, and other oddities start happening. I recorded this movie when it aired, but no longer have the tape I recorded it on. However I want to see this movie again, because I've forgotten much of it, but I recall that I liked it. I've been searching for this movie for years, yet to this day, the only thing I can find on this movie anywhere is a very brief IMDB entry on it. I've never found clips of it, and I've certainly have never found the full movie anywhere on the internet. It's as though I was the only person in the country who watched it!
Where is that movie now? Did it just air one time and then it was thrown away? If so that's very sad, because I'd gladly purchase that movie so I can remember what it was all about. I've written all of this to say to the content providers, don't be afraid to offer your content via digital download and streaming. You can and will make money if you make your entire catalog of stuff available. Just give it a chance, you may just be surprised.
Saturday, December 1st, 2012
12:24 am
Microsoft's Volume activation management tool VAMT being odd!
Welcome to December everyone. Well I'm encountering an issue I've never ever seen before. I normally use the VAMT tool from microsoft to keep track of my windows 7 product keys, and until this evening, I've never had any issues with it. However, earlier, I tried to input a newly retrieved product key for windows 7 professional. This key was freshly retrieved from dreamspark, the program I have access to through my school which allows me to retrieve software for educational use. I actually retrieved 2 separate keys, one for windows 7 32 bit, and 1 for 64 bit windows 7. Neither of these keys will get accepted by any version of the volume activation management tool that I have. I tried with both VAMT 2.0 and the current version VAMT 3.0. I don't want to use the keys I retrieved unless I can verify with VAMT or some other way, that the keys are valid. Since the keys were gotten directly from the dreamspark web store, there's no reason they should not be, but the fact that VAMT refuses to recognize either of them, when I've never had any issues with any other product keys I've had over the years that VAMT supports, is a bit of a concern to me. So I wonder what's going on here?
Friday, October 19th, 2012
4:53 pm
Wanting to Obtain windows 7 volume license keys
For most people, when they purchase a new PC, it comes with windows pre-installed, and they don't usually care what kind of product key they have or how many activations it allows for. However, folks like me, are interested in this sort of thing. Retail product keys for windows products such as windows 7 are most common and fairly easy to purchase from any number of places. The trouble with retail product keys, is there is no way to keep track of how many activations the keys have on them. Microsoft's license agreement states that only 1 key may be used per computer. This would mean that each key should only be able to be activated once. However what happens if you modify hardware enough to cause windows to need to be activated again, as sometimes may happen? Obviously you aren't going to buy a second copy of windows just because you changed your hardware on your PC, and Microsoft no doubt realizes this, and so allows for a limitted number of activations per key. What that limitted number is however, noone knows, since microsoft doesn't allow for any way for owners of retail licenses to check this information. Folks lucky enough to have volume licenses though can check this information whenever they wish. Businesses and organizations can purchase what are known as volume licenses, and if a key known as a multiple activation key is what the business purchased, then it has a set number of activations for the product key they purchased. So for example, if an organization has 20 computers, then their multiple activation key (MAK) will have 20 activations available on it. So in other words, one MAK can be installed on all 20 of the organizations computers. If I was in charge of this organizations tech department, I'd much rather use 1 key on 20 machines then have to have 20 keys 1 per computer, as would be the case if I used retail keys. If I however only install the 20 user MAK key on 12 of the organizations 20 machines, I can use a tool Microsoft provides called volume activation management tool, and add the key to it, then query microsoft, and it will tell me that I have 8 activations remaining on that key. I can then do more windows activations on other computers at a later time, knowing I have the 8 activations available.
This is not possible with retail keys at all. And this is why I'd love to obtain volume MAK keys for windows 7 professional while I still can, if there's any way I can. Windows 8 is being made available to everyone in just a week, and though I've been playing with it for some time now, I'm not so impressed with it that I'd tell my friends to ditch windows 7. Windows 7 is quite solid and stable, but once windows 8 is publicly released next week, it'll no doubt become harder to purchase windows 7 in any form, retail or volume I'd expect.
I do have a tiny bit of experience with volume MAK license keys for windows 7. As a student at my local area college, we do get access to Microsoft's dream spark program, formerly known as MSDNAA, which gives student's and teachers access to a variety of microsoft software. Much of it is retail licenses, but at least in the case of windows 7, each account holder is given access to 1 copy of windows 7 professional who's product key is a MAK product key with 5 activations available on it. Strangely however, the multiple activation key for windows server 2008R2 that I get with dream spark, only allows for just 1 activation! I'm not quite sure why the key doesn't have at least 2 activations on it, but that's how it goes. Back when I had technet back in 2010 the keys I got for server 2008R2 allowed for an incredible 500 activations. Since I have yet to use even one of these, I will probably use my technet key to activate server 2008R2 next semester when I take a server 2008R2 admin class, rather than the key I got from dream spark, since I get just 1 activation on the dream spark key, and my technet key gives me 500, way way more than I'll ever need.
I've never had volume licenses for windows 7 professional other than the 1 from dream spark, because my access to technet was retail and I was not authorized to get volume license products except server products. There is a level of technet subscription that allows for volume license products, but I have no clue how to get that. As I said I'd be interested in purchasing even a single volume license for windows 7 professional so that in case my computer needs re-installation, or a friend needs to re-install windows, I can help them do it, knowing that I have activations available, not needing to wonder if activation will work or not. If anyone knows how I can legally obtain a volume license for windows 7 professional, I would be interested to know. I would want a license for not more than 10 computers. If there's a way I can purchase a technet subscription or MSDN even, that allows for volume license products to be retrieved, that'd work to.
Monday, September 3rd, 2012
5:49 am
Is a microsoft technet subscription still worth having?
Hi all. Today I want to discuss microsoft Technet and whether it's still worth having, given changes that microsoft has made to the program in recent times. Back in June of 2010, I purchased a technet subscription from microsoft for $199 plus tax. This was called technet standard. This level of technet subscription had just been released, and offered pretty much every variety of desktop product from windows to office and more. You didn't get access to things like windows 7 enterprise, but that was OK, my main interest was in checking out the latest version of office and windows 7 for home use. When I first heard about technet a while before I purchased my subscription, there was hardly any difference between the then $349 technet subscription, which was the only one you could get, and the much more expensive MSDN subscriptions that microsoft offered for developers. The differences were mainly in the license terms, and at the time, in fact technet seemed like the better deal, giving you way more for way less. It was almost as though microsoft wanted to sucker you into a technet subscription. You'll see what I mean a bit later. At the time, both MSDN and technet allowed you to retrieve 10 product keys per product, which seemed perfectly reasonable, since the idea is that you as an IT professional would want to test microsoft software on more than one hardware configuration. So knowing this info, and knowing that microsoft had just released technet standard, I gladly purchased my subscription on June 14, 2010. All was fine until around September 15 or so, just 3 months later. At that time, I logged into my technet product keys area to retrieve a key, only to discover that I no longer could retrieve any additional keys for the product, despite me only having retrieved just 2 of what should've been 10 keys! Without warning, the number of keys that could be obtained per product was cut by 80 percent from 10 to just 2! This happened without warning. Now keep in mind, I had always assumed based on what I had read, that one product key could be activated on one computer at a time, so if I wanted to say test windows 7 on 3 computers, I would need 3 of my 10 product keys for that product. I was fine with this logic. But when I saw that products had been reduced to just 2 keys, myself and alot of other subscribers were furious and we flocked to the technet forums for some answers. It was there that I discovered in fact, that each key could be activated more than once, though noone could say for sure just how many times each individual license key could be activated for a product.
This brings up another point. Retail keys for microsoft products, which are most common for windows and office products, do not have a way to check to see how many activations remain for that key, or even how many have been used. On the other hand, if you have a volume license key, for example if you are a business, or have a technet subscription which offers volume license keys, you can see how many activations you have remaining by using a tool from microsoft called the volume activation management tool or VAMT. If you put a retail key into this tool though, for activations remaining, it always will say unavailable. With many users having multiple devices that they may wish to test on, it'd be nice to know how many activations we are entitled to per key. All microsoft will ever say is 1 key per device is allowed, but clearly even retail keys have more than 1 activation allowed for a key, so why not give retail key holders the same info you do for your volume license holders?
Even though I'm only an individual, I have lately wondered what I could do to legally obtain a volume license for windows 7 professional. I have access to Dreamspark, formerly known as MSDNAA thanks to my college, and through that, the windows 7 key I get is a volume license for windows 7 professional. It is a 5 activation MAK or multiple activation key. So at least when I install and activate that key, I know how many I started with, and can check and verify how many activations I have left. But my retail copy of windows 7 home premium? I can't do that! And speaking of home premium, let's go back to technet now. Just this past July, microsoft made even more crazy changes to technet, which I only found out about recently when reading an article about windows 8. Basically as I understand it, they've taken away all consumer editions of products from the technet lineup. This means, that if you want to get windows 7 starter, home basic, or home premium, for example, you ain't gonna be doing that anymore! Want windows XP home to see if that old computer you have still has life? Forget about getting that via technet. So now the only way to get the complete lineup of consumer and business level products from microsoft, is to get an MSDN subscription, the basic operating system one costs I believe around $700! And I have no clue what the product key limits are on technet or MSDN anymore. To me it doesn't seem like technet has any value to it anymore, despite microsoft claiming these changes are being made to maintain the value of the subscription! If microsoft never wanted consumer products in the technet lineup, why were they ever offered? If microsoft never wanted technet users to have access to 10 keys, why didn't they just give them 2 from the start? Many users, myself included, expected 10 keys, then without warning, our keys were pulled from us. and now that products are even being taken away from technet, is there still value in a technet subscription? I'd be particularly interested to hear from technet subscribers. What makes a technet subscription worth having still? And I still would love to know how I can obtain a 5 or 10 user volume license of windows 7 professional legally, so I can install that on my devices, and know exactly how many activations I have left. Thoughts and comments most welcome on this.

Current Mood: annoyed
Tuesday, June 5th, 2012
12:02 pm
Magicjack saga update: There may be hope yet!
Here's the latest on my magicjack saga discussed in detail in the previous entry. After getting nowhere with online support, I emailed dan at magicjack.com which is the address for magicjack's CEO. This address is monitored by a few people I'm assuming. I gave a detailed description of what my issue was, and after a few go arounds back and forth, I was finally informed that my new iPhone, that is the one I have now, originally registered with magicjack back on January 2, 2012. I also was finally told that it was registered using my gmail address, an account I didn't think I had been using on this phone. I guess because it'd been so long since I registered it, I'd forgotten that I'd set it up with my gmail address and not the old inactive email I thought I'd been using. so what it boils down to is that I mistakenly placed the order for my US phone number, using an account that was on my old iPhone 4, not realizing this of course. A magicjack account can only have 1 device associated with each magicjack app. So I have requested a refund of my original purchase and they tell me I should see it within 3 to 5 business days. Assuming this happens, I can then proceed to re-order a phone number under the existing gmail magicjack account. This actually works out fine, since this is a working email address that won't be going anywhere anytime soon. I'm still not happy that magicjack gives users so little control over their accounts, and you cannot clearly know which device you have on your account, nor can you remove or add a new device. It would also be nice if you could see when your subscription became active, rather than having to email several times to get this info. By the way, the iPhone 4 account which was the account I first ever used the magicjack app on, registered in October 2011. And yes, I do once again have the magicjack app working on my iPhone 4S, obviously using the propper account, using the free magicjack service as it always has been doing. I'll attempt to attach a US phone number to it once my refund comes through.

Current Mood: accomplished
Sunday, June 3rd, 2012
8:19 pm
Magicjack, the worst VOIP phone provider out there!
Good day all. I am very pissed right now at magicjack, the well-known VOIP phone provider that you always see on TV offering the cheapest rates around, like $20/year for a US phone number.
Let me explain my issue. Some time ago, I decided to try out Magicjack's iPhone app. Overall I was amazed how reliable and solid phone calls were, given it was a free service. I had for a while considered adding a US phone number to my magicjack account, since it is only $20 for the whole year. Yesterday evening, I finally purchased the number. After purchasing it, I made a phone call to see if my new number would show up on my friends caller ID. It did not, nor did it show up in the MJ application. So I figured maybe I needed to log out and log back in again. The only way I knew of to do this was to click the forget me on this device button and then re-connect, no big deal, so I thought. Boy was I dead wrong! Attempts to connect to magicjack with the app after clicking forget me on this device resulted in an error saying "Your device is not on this account"
Excuse me, but it sure as hell better be, considering I'd been using the magicjack free service for months on the exact same device! My iPhone 4S did not magicly become another device in a 30 second period!
Complicating matters even more however, is the fact that back when I first registered with magicjack, I used an email address which is now no longer in service. This is the email address I had been logging in to MJ with when using the free service, since once you set up an account, you cannot update or modify it. When ordering my phone number yesterday however, I had the option of adding a new email address, which I did, so that I could be sure I got my order confirmation. Apparently whenever you add an email address like that, it assigns it its own password, though it won't tell you this, unless you request that the password be sent by using the app to say you forgot your password. So basically I now had two email address log ins for the magicjack web site which took me to the exact same account!
Though I could log in to http://my.magicjack.com on the computer and see that I had a US number, using either of the 2 log ins that now went to my account, I could not log in with either address
using the magicjack app itself, so that I could actually use the product for which I had just paid!
Every single attempt to log in with the app would give the your device is not on this account error. Well if my device isn't on the account that had been using magicjack for months for free, then what the hell account is it associated with!
I literally spent most of the night trying to get the magicjack app to connect to my account, but after 7 plus hours, and two attempts at restoring my phone from a known good working iCloud backup, all were unsuccessful! The only thing I did not attempt to do, nor do I want to do this, was to restore my phone as a new phone. My guess is that may fix the MJ app issue, but I cannot afford to do that as I would lose valuable data such as my notes, messages, and contacts among other things.
I should not have to do that anyway. Clearly something on the magicjack servers is associating my account with another device all of a sudden, or it thinks my 4S device belongs somewhere else. Account holders though can not modify any account settings whatsoever! When I used the magicjack app for the very first time last year, I had an iPhone 4, then later got a 4S when I switched carriers. The only thing I can think that may be going on is perhaps MJ's system is trying to now associate my subscription with my long gone iPhone 4! If there were a way to authorize or de-authorize devices on an account, I wouldn't be needing to write this post right now. Magicjack's so-called support doesn't do anything but read from scripts! They don't even have phone support, and it seems there is noone at all that can actually understand my frustration and be willing to try and correct the problem!
I spent 2 hours trying to chat with them today, and all I got out of that was yet a third email address that is now associated with my magicjack account, and just like with the other 2 addresses, attempts to log in to magicjack with the app using the newest address give the error your device is not on this account.
If magicjack would just give it's users more control over their accounts, like most other web sites do, this likely would no longer be an issue. Allow devices to be added and removed at the user's desire, is that so hard?
I should point out here that I do not need, nor do I want an actual magicjack hardware device, I strictly want to use magicjack with my iPhone only, that is all.
So for now I wait and see if anyone higher up at magicjack will actually try and get back to me so I can use the product I put money into. I'm not holding my breath though, and if I feel it necessary, I will have no problem contacting my bank if I have to, in order to get my $20 back, if it becomes obvious that MJ will not allow me to access my own account using my desired iPhone 4S. Earlier this morning, I made a video where I rant in detail about my experience with magicjack. To me, it's sad that magicjack operates this way, giving users virtually no control over their account, and not providing any useful support, yet they still are in business.
When the magicjack app works, it works well, and I honestly hope I'll get to see it work again, but the fact that this kind of a problem can occur, and you as the account holder can't do a damn thing about it, that makes no sense to me.
Here is the link to my video, feel free to share and comment.

Current Mood: angry
Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
2:36 pm
When will consumer internet providers offer good upload speeds!
Hello everyone. Remember to find out what's up with me check me out on twitter and/or facebook. This blog now serves as a rant platform, as it has in the past, and boy have I got one for you today. I'm wondering what it will take for consumer internet providers to offer their customers decent upload speeds, and when I say decent, I mean speeds of 10 megabits upstream or better. You may be asking yourself, why on Earth would anyone want that kind of upload, all people do is receive data, they rarely send anything. While it's true the majority of traffic on residential internet providers is downstream to the customer, there are times, when some customers may want at least the option of a decent upstream link to the internet. Here's my own perfect example.
My current internet connection is AT&T U-verse 6 megabits downstream, and just 1 megabit upstream. I have a collection of operating system .iso images I wish to back up off site to servers I use for offsite backup located in Los Angeles and Canada. Getting the files between the Los Angeles and the Canadian server isn't a problem, because the Los Angeles server is located at a data center so has very nice uplinks to the internet. But of course I must first get my files to the Los Angeles server. One of the 2 files I plan to back up is 2.26 gigabytes in size. If one were to download this file over my connection, it'd take slightly less than an hour to download from the internet. However to upload this file, it takes over 5 and a half hours! And if you had a faster downstream internet connection than I do, as many people do these days, you could download this file in as little as 30 minutes or even possibly less!
Internet providers have done a great job offering download speeds, but they have in my view been very lacking on upload offerings, even using existing technology where better upload can be offered. AT&T U-verse for example offers a top package of 24 megabits down and just 3 megabits up. This despite the fact that the DSL line itself is provisioned for 32 megabits download and 5 megabits upload. They insist on reserving the extra bandwidth for their TV offering, even if you only want internet on your line. Then there's the issue of line capability. In my case, my DSL line can support 35 megabits of download and 9.5 megabits of upload. However even if I wanted that speed, I could not request it, AT&T simply will not offer anything above their 24/3 internet offering. I would even be happy with say a temporary speed increase on upload, where you could get up to your full line capability for a short period of time, say 24 hours or whatever, to allow you to perform a large backup and not have to tie up your connection with that upload for hours on end!
To be fair, a few providers do offer good upload, but I do mean a few. Most notably of course is Verizon FIOS, but sadly I don't live in a Verizon FIOS area, nor is it likely that I will anytime soon, especially given that Verizon at least for now has halted their build out of the FIOS network. In my hometown of Lancaster, FIOS availability is a tease at best. I only know of 1, possibly 2 neighborhoods in Lancaster where you can obtain FIOS service. For those lucky enough to have FIOS service though, it can't be beat. For the same price I pay for AT&T 6/1 internet, FIOS users can get 25 megabits both download and upload, and even faster offerings exist, and are quite well priced. I'd literally do almost anything to live in a FIOS serviced area.
Other providers that offer good upload include Comcast and Optimum online, but I don't live anywhere near where they service. Back to my own current setup, since my line is capable of over 9 megabits upload, why doesn't AT&T offer an option of say a symettrical 6/6 package, something the line could for sure do without issue? At least in that case, the network would be symmetrical. I could upload my previously mentioned backup file in a bit less than an hour, just as I'd be able to download it in a bit less than an hour. Why home internet connections are so asymmetrical in this day in age when some users want to send as well as receive content is beyond me! I have had the chance to connect to a 100 megabits per second symmetrical network. My local college has such a network, and let's just say when I started the backup of the first of my 2 files today, I wanted to find a way to access their network because on their network I could upload all 5.23 gigs of my backup in something like 10 minutes or so! Since it seems so hard for internet providers to even be willing to offer any kind of symmetrical connection for consumers, I can't help but wonder what is the monthly cost for the college's 100 megabit internet connection. I hope that one day, consumers will get decent upstream speeds, just as we were able to be graced with always on broadband in the first place back in the late 20th century.
It's amazing to look back really. In August 2001, when I first got broadband, I had 768kbps download and just 128kbps upload. Later in 2002, I had 1.5mbps down and 384kbps up. In 2004, I had up to 4 megabits download and 512kbps up. I also had a symmetrical DSL connection of 768kbps. Yes even back then I went for the upload where possible. Now a consumer living in my area can get 50 megabits downstream, a crazy increase from 10 years ago, but just 5 megabits for the top upload speed.
5 megabits is a good start, but more can and should be offered to those wanting it. At the very least, if residential internet providers don't want to offer symmetrical speeds to their users, there should be a web site or database where a user wanting to make use of a fast upload pipe can check to see where in their area fast upstream links to the internet are available. I mean I'd think there'd be a market for those wanting a fast upload connection for say a couple hours or whatever. I'd pay someone to be able to use their FIOS connection or the like whenever I want to upload a large batch of data and don't want to tie up my connection for hours. It's hard to find places that have good upload connectivity, but I have seen a few. When I attended a convention in Phoenix, AZ in 2010, I had the chance to access the Sheraton hotel network for meeting rooms as I was helping with streaming of the convention. This network offered speeds close to 20 megabits on upload! Also the Los Angeles county library branch in Lancaster I believe has a good upload pipe, as does the city of Bakersfield network. Besides the local Antelope valley college campus, I'm not sure where else good upload can be found, hence why having a database would be useful.
I hope all has a good day, and hope one day in the next decade, consumers can see decent upload speeds for sending data..

Current Mood: annoyed
Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
1:15 pm
welcome to 2012, I do still exist folks
Hello all and welcome to 2012, which I'm hoping will overall be a better year than 2011 was for me. In 4 days, it will have been a year since I last posted here. This is because most of my writings are on facebook and twitter these days, and with me having access to the iPhone, even my rants are either audio or video postings. That said, I figured I would come back to my long running blog, which this April will be 8 years old already, and give you a bit of an update as to what's been going on with me. Back in February 2011, I left Lee and Veronica's place in Bakersfield, and moved with my sister, where I was most of the year until September 17. During that time, lots of things happened. In April, I took my first ever amtrak long duration train trip up to Fremont from bakersfield to visit my friend Morgan in that area. She was sick a fair bit of the time, so we didn't get to do what we'd planned, but we had a good 24 hour visit. In June, I spent Field day at the Bakersfield radio club w6LIE site. However in late June, the unthinkable happened. My iPhone 3GS, which I had since August 2010, was stolen! I was quickly able to replace it with an iPhone 4, as I was able to get an early upgrade discount. My iPhone 4 worked well, and it even went with me to Reno, NV in July, when I attended my third ACB national convention. However in late August, on August 22 to be exact, my laptop, which was just over a year old and still worked perfectly, fell victum to a break in that we had and was stolen along with my sister's TV! Yeah overall other than my Reno trip, and getting to see my friend Jeremy from high school in August, my summer wasn't all that great. I'm now back in Palmdale, with 2011 having ended on a good note, with me getting an iPhone 4S as a christmas present on the sprint network. I'm hoping 2012 will be a good year for me. I'm also going to try and take college classes either in spring or fall, whichever I can get into. So everyone take care, and I hope your 2012 is a good one.

Current Mood: calm
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