December 11th, 2017

Raleigh ISP options suck (but there’s a bigger problem)

Update (3/18/2011):
My area has recently been upgraded to now utilize TWC’s “wideband” or “extreme” or “DOCSIS 3.0” service, with promised speeds of 50MB down, and 5MB upstream speeds. My own speedtests have demonstrated at least 40MB down and 5MB upstream. My service changed from $50/mo. to $100/mo. While I am still frustrated with both TWC and many of the other issues described in my rant below, I must say that I have no reason to complain about the speed of my internet connection.

——- Original Post below ————-
One of the benefits of having a blog that no one reads (why would you? i never post to it.) is that you can just up and decide to make a complete rant about something you wouldn’t want to bother anyone with on Facebook or some other medium. But anyway, on to my point.

I recently moved out here to Raleigh from San Francisco. (I loved San Francisco, and I know I’ll miss it, but I was also ready for a change after 10 years.) So far, it has really been an easy transition with the exception of one thing: bandwidth, and more specifically, upload speed. In San Francisco, I received a 3MB upload data rate through Comcast. In a July report from the FCC, they defined “broadband” as having a minimum of 1MB upload. Here in Raleigh the best I can find is 0.5MB.

What is going on? This area is supposedly rich in technology, and home to Research Triangle Park, which is proclaims to be a “model for innovation.” I love thinking about all the possible innovation while I sit and wait for hours for files to transfer.

We have several options here in Raleigh, but they are all poor. I chose Time-Warner, but it really didn’t matter. I could have chosen any of three other vendors and I would have about the same download and upload speed as the other one, and pay about the same. Coincidence? I think not.

This also dovetails into a larger discussion of why America still lags so many other countries when it comes to available internet speeds. I also have tremendous faith in the free market. So something is clearly going wrong here. I think this story is a great example of just how wrong things are around here (and I mean the U.S., not just this area.) If that story doesn’t make you hate Time-Warner, then you didn’t read it. (I probably wouldn’t choose them had I read this article before I selected them.)

When you search around through forums, it’s easy to find people complaining about the speeds around here. Even moreso, there are people so very excited that Time-Warner has “plans” to roll-out DOCSIS 3.0 in this area by the end of the year, and even supported with a supposed email from someone internal at Time-Warner. If a better option existed, they would improve their speeds. And probably instantly. I can pay over $200/mo. for a “business plan” to get the speeds that I had in San Francisco and I don’t think I will be seeing a truck coming down the road laying new wires to my home. They are enjoying their position, and abuse their power to prevent others from competing with it… just like the Baby Bells did, and just like other bloated service providers will continue to do in the future.

Since no one is actually reading, I will continue my rant. The sad fact is that the supremely large corporate entities run this country, and the spineless elected leaders we have across both parties refuse to ensure the consumer wins. Ultimately, we all lose. It becomes a matter of power-to-the-government, or power-to-the-corporation, but never power-to-the-people, and that’s all a free market is anyway. Let real competition happen, let bloated companies fail, quit bailing people out, let people lose their jobs so they can join an efficient organization that is producing enough value for consumers to choose their services.

Our political system generates nothing but actors, and our selfish and mindless reality-tv focused heads just grab the prettiest thing at the moment, letting our short attention span move on to the next Facebook post. In return we have this government, this waste, this inefficiency, and a country that is dangerously weak relative to the rest of the world.

But I must be missing something, because I still choose to live here. But I feel like I’m on borrowed time.

→ 11 Comments  Tags: Rants · Tech

Cool iPhone Bike Mount

So maybe I am crazy taking my iPhone to mount on my bike at Burning Man (which, OK, I may not do), but I will say that in the process I found a great thing that’s practically free. My iPhone mount arrived today and fits solidly on my bike, and cost just $7 total (shipping included):
http://www.fatyourwallet.com/universal-bike-mount-holder-iphone-iphone-ipod-touch-p-205.html

Yes, the English translation is weak, the guy is sending it from Hong Kong and hand writes the shipping label, and it takes like 12 days to get here. And truly, the mount can be used to hold any squarish and light device – not just the iPhone. The box reads “Bicycle Phone Holder.” But after mounting it on my bike, it feels quite solid, and I’m looking forward to a test ride. I’ll update this post with a track of my ride if it goes well. Which brings me to a related note.

If you’re ever wanting to track your rides around town using something like MotionX GPS, you’ve spent $3 on the app and $7 for a holder – pretty sweet bicycle GPS tracking tool for $10:
http://news.motionx.com/category/motionx-gps/

Anyway, good stuff.

Is this post really that exciting that it justifies a post after over a year of not writing anything at all on my blog? No, but at least I posted something. I plan to write more soon.

→ No Comments  Tags: Recommendations · Tech

Scary Dog-Like Robot

DARPA (creators of the internet, a surprise to Al Gore), have come up with a robot that is simply scary. Carrying 340 lbs, imagine this thing armed with video cameras, an internet connection, and a few machine guns. Having something like this (or hundreds of things like this) coming into your town would likely immediately kill off a significant percentage in heart attacks alone. Watch the entire video before you decide this is NOT scary.

http://gizmodo.com/368651/new-video-of-bigdog-quadruped-robot-is-so-stunning-its-spooky

Update: After talking about this quite a bit, I’ve decided that this robot’s use in search and rescue alone more than outweighs my “fear” of the robot. Another fun option would be to saddle up this thing and ride it up the mountain yourself!

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