Tiered Pricing for Internet Access Must be Stopped!

 Budget, Computers and Technology, General Ranting, Home Theater Equipment  Comments Off on Tiered Pricing for Internet Access Must be Stopped!
Apr 022009
 

Tiered pricing for internet access based on your bandwidth
usage is right around the corner for many, already in place for some, and
bringing big changes for everyone. Time Warner is the largest ISP I have heard
of going this route so far but more will follow soon.

If you are currently or have been planning on streaming
video from online sources such as Netflix or Hulu.com, you better think again. The
pricing I have seen from Time Warner has 40Gb of downloads costing $40 – $50
per month. That sounds like a lot of bandwidth but if you stream video you are going to
blast past your limit in the first week of
the month.

I always said streaming video wasn’t going to take off for
years to come and this is one good reason why. The kind of bandwidth required
means your ISP is going to need to make some dramatic changes. As pricing goes
up, streaming is quickly going to return to the back of the bus.

If you are using the DirecTV On Demand service, as I am, you
will have a problem under this new pricing. I for one will be unhappy, but that
is pretty much my normal state. I am not using Tine Warner but AT&T will
likely follow suit if Time Warner is successful in putting this new pricing in
place.

If you are currently experiencing a change to pay per byte
internet access speak loud and clear when you dump your ISP. Time Warner is in
the awkward position of losing cable customers and watching its bandwidth use
climb but is that really my problem? I dumped Time Warner years ago because of
terrible customer service, outrageous prices and the final nail, they could
never get me a reliable internet connection. Make a stand for progress and fair
business practices and find another ISP.

Mar 042009
 

I have written several article on the WRT160Nv2 wireless
router from Linksys. The problem appears to be much more widespread that anyone
imagined and Linksys has yet to admit there is a problem.

I don’t get a whole lot of traffic to this blog but my user
base has increased by thousands over the last two weeks, all because of people
looking for a solution to the DNS bug in this router. The Linksys forums are
swarming with upset customers and a total lack of caring on the part of
Linksys.

Linksys was kind enough to send me a new router when I
bricked the first one trying to downgrade the firmware. The new one arrived
with the old firmware and it is running like a champ now. I appreciate Linksys
doing a fast swap for me but it still cost me $20 for shipping it to them and I
was without wireless for a week. That is a major inconvenience not to mention
that the additional cost could have gone to a better router if I had known of
the problems with the WRT160Nv2.

I am not giving up on Linksys, their customer support took
great care of me. I will have to rethink the relationship if I don’t see a fix
from them soon however. Running the older version 8 firmware means I am open to a DNS
security vulnerability. I don’t like that, hell, who would. If you are in the
market for a wireless router, especially a Linksys router, I wouldn’t buy this
one.

Original Article: Linksys
WRT160N DNS Issue Needs a Fix

Linksys WRT160N DNS Issue Kind of Fixed

 Computers and Technology  Comments Off on Linksys WRT160N DNS Issue Kind of Fixed
Feb 262009
 

I received my new, probably refurbished actually, Linksys WRT160Nv2 router two days ago. Linksys had a fast turnaround time and to my surprise, it came loaded with firmware 2.0.0.2 version 8. I connected and configured the router without much fuss and I am happy to say it works!

Linksys has yet to fix or even acknowledge the problem with the build 11 firmware. It seems they are unable to reproduce the problem so it simply does not exist. I can confirm that the DNS problem has been fixed with my current build 8 firmware and even though I am the one who flubbed up the downgrade on the original router, Linksys handled the problem and has me back as a satisfied customer.

Linksys, yes, I am talking to you. Fix the firmware for us so we can have the up to date security we need without losing our ability to use an internet browser.

Original Article: Linksys WRT160N DNS Issue Needs a Fix

Blu-Ray Firmware Updates, A Necessary Evil

 Blu-Ray, Computers and Technology, Home Theater Equipment  Comments Off on Blu-Ray Firmware Updates, A Necessary Evil
Feb 232009
 

Blu-Ray firmware updates are a regular part of life with a Blu-Ray player. Unlike DVD players, where firmware updates were a very rare occurrence, Blu-Ray players require constant updating in order to play the latest movies and the Java based extras they hold. Firmware also updates the audio and video capabilities of the player.

For some of us, the process is as simple as plugging a CAT 5 cable into the back of the player and letting the unit update itself. Others may have to turn their player on, prolonging the already long wait to see the movie menu start. The last way to update the firmware requires the user to either wait for the update in the mail or download it and burn it to a CD. Prior to setting u0p my wireless Ethernet bridge, I was the burn and update kind of guy.

Failure to update the firmware can cause movies to be unplayable or cause all kinds of unforeseen problems. Manufacturers commonly add features which keep the players somewhat future proof. It also allows them to bring a bug filled wreck of a product to market and fix it as they go along. I have not heard of any players that were bug free and just to make you scratch your head, the firmware updates often introduce additional bugs that have to fixed by later upgrades.

The firmware upgrade system isn’t clean or even easy in many cases but it does allow Blu-Ray to continue to grow towards being a mature technology. Updates are a fact of life if you have a player and should be done on a regular basis to ensure your player continues to work properly. I don’t see an end to the update cycle but hopefully, they will become far less frequent in the future.

Windows Vista Actually Works

 Computers and Technology  Comments Off on Windows Vista Actually Works
Feb 192009
 

I have purchased several computers since Windows Vista first
came out, I just made sure they had XP on them or I installed it when the
computer arrived. Last week I got a new (Refurbished) Dell Studio desktop with
Vista 64 bit. The thought of 6 Gigs of RAM got me all geeky and the fact that I
could bump it to 8 Gigs just made it better.

The Quad core processor and the 64 bit Dell meant, even if I
didn’t like it, the computer isn’t backward compatible with XP because much of
the hardware has no XP driver available. Being a geek I bought into the Vista hating
crowd even though I had never taken a serious look at it. I have set up several
Vista computers for friends and relatives and I was always surprised by the
lack of follow up support they needed. The computer challenged seemed to get
along great with Vista.

After getting it out of the box and starting it up it took
about 30 seconds to figure out the navigation. It took another 20 minutes for
me to understand why my technophobic friends didn’t have a problem with Vista.
It doesn’t let them get into things that will screw up the system. That was not
a good thing for me however, I am driven to crack the registry, disarm every
little bit of power sapping programming, and must bend a computer to my will. I am
lord and master of my system and I hate vista… wait, I don’t hate it at all,
in fact I am quickly learning to love it.

Once I did a little research and figured out how to unlock
the OS, I quickly set out to modify as much as possible and in doing so came to
the realization that I really didn’t need to change that much. Vista works
pretty well right out of the box and removing bloat ware was my only real
concern.

I was a little disappointed with the speed of the system, it
wasn’t able to break down the genetic code of my dogs very quickly or even
design a new robot assistant. What it can do, and it does it so well, is run
multiple programs that use a lot of resources individually. To fully test the
system I ripped a DVD, while streaming HD video from my DVR, loaded my 100gigs
of MP3 music into iTunes along with my 80 gigs of movies, all while surfing the
web and watching cats eat spaghetti on YouTube.

Now I feel the power at my fingertips and I am happy, ecstatic
even. Vista works, it works with all of my programs, it works with all of my
hardware, it plays nice with all of my XP machines, and it does it quickly.

I am sure I will find something I hate about it, I always do,
but so far I am only seeing good. If you have been sitting on the fence about
Windows Vista, it is time to dive in and give it a chance, you won’t be sorry.