Category: General

Internet Cable Cut

There were numerous headlines over the last couple of weeks about the problems with Internet access in India due to a cable cut. Basically, one of the Fibre Optic lines serving India and the Middle East was severed resulting in reduced Internet service across the entire geography. This brings up an interesting issue. It is amazing that today’s telecom infrasctructure is still so fragile that a single cable cut can have such an impact. Ironically, the original design of the TCP/IP protocol was to allow networks to recover from these kinds of problems. One would hope that we would have enough bandwidth and redundancy to prevent these kinds of problems.

I ran into an Internet that discusses the above cut. Interestingly, it indicates that the problems were all caused by a ship dropping anchor during a storm and severing/damaging the cable. It is amazing that such a simple thing could have such an impact.

Foreclosure Story on the News

On the news, they had a story of a woman who bought a house that was far beyond her means.  Now she is in a situation where interest rates have increased dramatically and she can no longer afford the house.  People are trying to foreclose on the house and she is vowing to fight including barring herself into the house.  Interestingly, in the interview on the news, she says "It is not my fault.  I was pursuing the american dream and was mislead by my mortgage broker and realtor."   Now, is she is making a valid argument?

In my opinion, we all have to take responsibilities for our own actions.  It is certainly possible that the woman did not understand the mortgage, but don’t you think that you would want to understand what kind of mortgage you are committing to before you sign the paperwork?  It is certainly possible that she was mislead by one of the parties mentioned; however, it still sounds like she is blaming people around her without taking respnsibility for her own actions. 

I an into this article on the Internet. It discusses Microsoft’s release process for Windows and suggests that MS might be accelerating the release of Vista’s successor. THis is an interesting statement since MS seems to take forever to release new versions of Windows.

My personal experience with Vista is less than stellar. Everyone I know who has it, complains about it. Worst of all, I tend to help friends and family with PC support and find that I am unable to help with Vista. It is just so different from XP and so confusing. Application compatibility can still be an issue as well. In general, my recommendation to anyone who asks is to bypass Vista and stick with XP. XP certainly has its foibles, but it is a well understood OS. Vista just opens up a new can of worms and confusion, and is less well understood.

Interestingly, I thnk that the new version of MS-Office suffers some of the same issues. One of my colleagues has it and finds it impossible to find the function that is needed. It is totally different and IMO, more difficult to use than the older versions. MS-Office had the same interface for years and power users are familiar with it. Now, trying to simplify Office, they have made it more difficult to use for power users. Again, if given the choice and you are experienced with Office, I suggest that you stay away from it.

British Airways 777 Crash

I have flown on 777’s in the past on trips to Europe and so was surprised to hear about that crash at Heathrow. The news reports were lacking details about what happened and I ran into this article on the Internet discussing the crash.  It sounds like the cause is a bit of a mystery and that the pilots showed incredible skill and bravery in landing the plane with no injuries to passengers or crew.  Kudos to the pilots.  We all take flying so much for granted and pilots are clearly a vital enabler of the safety record.

Open Source Software

I am a big fan of Linux and in fact this blog you are reading today is powered by Linux.  A key element of Linux is open source software.  Essentially, this is software that is publicly available for free and the source code is also available.  The source code is the key and the bug difference between open source and so called closed source is that users can customize the software.  Closed-source software, like say Windows, is tightly controlled and the source code is never allowed out.

As part of my post, I wanted to highlight some of the open source software that I use the most frequently:

Apache  (Webserver)

Gallery (Web photo sharing application)

MySQL (Database, powering this site.)

b2evolution (This blog software)

Squirrelmail (Webmail program)

Postfix (SMTP program for sending email)

Courier IMAP (POP3/IMAP Client)

These are LINUX programs.  Here are a couple of good Windows programs:

Filezilla (Free FTP program)

GIMP (Free competitor to Photoshop)