AlphaNvmerik

= Shawn + Internet

  • I finally took the time to dust the theme off a bit.  The lame looking columns with the overrunning content were kinda off putting and didn’t really represent the amount of time I spend in each of my home-away-from-homes.  I tried to reflect that by giving each of the columns around the same amount of real estate.  I think it worked out pretty well.  It also has the added bonus of being extra friendly to read in the mobile Safari browser.  I’m sure I’ll be needing to make another change soon, I’m sure I missed some sort of key usability problem…

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  • We have had FIOS internet in the House of Many for a while now.  It is pretty awesome.  The internet and phone connection bits are wicked good and basically impossible to beat in our area.  15/2Mbps, hell yeah!  There was no problem with the connection at all.  We had it connected to our own Linksys router, with sweet custom firmware, and life was good.

    Then we decided to go and ruin it by adding video…

    Don’t get me wrong, I think that the quality of standard def TV is far superior on FIOS vs. Regular cable.  Aaaand that’s all the positive thoughts I have to express about the video service.  The FIOS DVR is pretty bad and I miss my Windows XP+Beyond TV setup more and more every day.  120GB of non-upgradeable storage is just the tip of the iceberg.  The menu system is laggy and not well thought out.  Sure, I suppose in some board meeting they went through a list of bullet points that said it needed to have features X, Y, and Z.  Motorola/Verizon did the absolute minimum to pull those off.  I can just imagine how that conversation went.

    Corporate type: We need to have the ability to allow users to select favorite channels.
    Firmware mystic: *waves hands* We could put that in a confusing button arrangement on the remote that will be misunderstood by all.
    Corporate type: Great! Let’s check that off the list and move on. 

    Then there’s the stuttering.  The video will stutter and drop about 5 seconds of content at least once an hour.  Wow, it’s a good thing that I didn’t go with that unreliable satelitte signal that goes out when it rains…  grrr…

    Oh, and did I mention that the boxes (we have two) bug out and need to be unplugged from power every so often?  The damned things will just decide to stop recording scheduled shows.  No red light, no GUI indication that somethings wrong, nothing.  You just show up to watch your time shifted content and it’s not there.  Then after 10 minutes of navigating the horribe menu, you figure out that it’s not a scheduling problem, the box has just silently crapped out again and needs a timeout.  I cannot believe that we have come so far in consumer electronic devices and cannot make a freaking cable box+HDD not crash every week.

    Also, the DVR boxen are fed their network meals (for programming, TV scheduling and the like) by the damned COAX jack.  *Sigh*  Why can’t they get their data via RJ-45 like every other “advanced” media device in the world?  Since they need a COAX connection to do their buggy dance, I also have to use Verizon’s hacked up Broadcom router to serve the House’s internet needs.  In addition to the wireless AP functionality of the router randomly crapping out about once every 2-3 weeks, the router does not play nice with p2p traffic.  

    Note to Verizon: Blizzard uses BitTorrent to update their game World of Warcraft, you may have heard of it.  If your router needs to be rebooted every 8 hours to handle all those extra ARP entries, maybe you chose the wrong device.

    Once again, I am left with the impression that Verizon has great network ideas, but lousy firmware development.  They seem to ruin any resonably decent hardware device by pushing their own f’d up firmware agenda.   They have been known to do this with their cell phones and now I can tell you that they do the same crap with their routers and DVR boxes.

    So, once I was done channelling my inner Kirk (KAAAAAAAAAAAHN!!! *inhale* and VERIZOOOOOOOON!!!), I drummed up a plan that seems to be working out.  I have connected the raw internet feed from our optical network terminal to a switch that feeds their craptacular Broadcom router and a seperate D-Link gaming router.  The Broadcom serves the DVRs, the D-Link serves the house.  It seems to be working great so far.  We can actually do more than a couple things at one with our wicked fast internet connection again.

    Wow, it’s late.  But at least I got that out.  Time for bed.

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  • Added a couple of new sets to my Flickr page tonight.

    Check em out here.

    Shawn and Cyn pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alphanvmerik/sets/72157607070741639/

    Shawn+Cyn Shawn+Cyn Shawn+Cyn Shawn+Cyn Shawn+Cyn Shawn+Cyn Shawn+Cyn Shawn+Cyn Shawn+Cyn Shawn+Cyn Shawn+Cyn Shawn+Cyn Shawn+Cyn Shawn+Cyn Shawn+Cyn Shawn+Cyn Shawn+Cyn Shawn+Cyn

    Kites!: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alphanvmerik/sets/72157607070787433/

    Kites Kites Kites Kites Kites Kites Kites Kites Kites Kites Kites Kites
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