Category: General

FiOS Gotcha

I previously posted about Verizon’s FiOS service. This is a high speed fibre to the home service offered by Verizon. The service is much faster than cable Internet service or DSL and offers high speed uploads AND downloads.

There was recently an article in the International Herald Tribune. This exposed an interesting challenge of the service. When you sign-up for it, Verizon unhooks the copper connections to your house and so they effectively lock you into the service. This is a very scary case of lock-in since Verizon are the only people who control the fibre access and so they are effectively monopolizing your Internet and phone connectively. The ability to lease copper wires is protected by law; this same requirement does NOT apply to Fibre. It sounds like you can re-connect the copper, but that they discourage this and make it difficult. In many respects, this seems like a step backwards. I am okay with the exclusivity thing, but Verizon should be required by law to re-connect copper. The consumer should not have to fight for this; it should be a basic part of the service.

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Highspeed Internet

I live in MA and am a user of Comcast high speed Internet. The service works fine and provides excellent download performance the problem is crappy upload speeds. I just ran a speed test at Speakeasy and found download speeds of about 5.5 Mb/sec and upload speeds of about 360 Kb/sec. I find the slow upload speeds frustrating. The issue is that I periodically upload data for backup purposes and it takes forever. Fortunately, this leverages a cron job in Linux at 1:00 AM, but there is not reason that it should be so slow. Why do they limit upload speeds so much? I assume that it is a cable bandwidth and/or technology limitation and is frustrating.

What I am looking forward to is FiOS. This is the new broadband to the home service offered by Verizon. It looks very interesting and promises about 15 Mb/sec downloads and 2 Mb/sec uploads, a dramatic improvement over Comcast. Lance Ulanoff from PC Magazine wrote about the installation process. Personally, I really want this service. I am frustrated with the weak upload performance of Comcast and would be interested in trying something new. Unfortunately, FiOS is not currently available in my neighborhood. The reality is that my town is fairly rural and so it is unclear when or even if FiOS will be available in my town. Trust me, the moment it is available, I will order it.

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Roswell Aliens Confirmed

I ran across this which was referred to by slashdot. The story basically discussed a sworn affidavit signed by the press officer at the military base in Roswell. Essentially, he confirmed that it was an alien ship that crashed and that alien bodies were recovered. He claims to have seen the ship and the bodies and that he was instructed to concoct the weather balloon story. Interestingly, the information only came to light after the person died since he forbid the affidavit to be released before his death.

This sounds to be the most concrete confirmation that a UFO did actually crash in Roswell. Of course, this is is also fodder for the conspiracy theory types.

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T-Mobile just quietly released a new and interesting technology on their network. They basically created a way to incorporate voice over IP in their phones by enabling calling over WiFi. What the technology essentially is allow your cellphone to connect to the T-Mobile network over WiFi when a WiFi network is in range and then use normal cellular connectivity when WiFi is not available. Let me give an example.

You are talking on the phone to colleague when the call drops a mile from your house because of poor cell coverage in your neighborhood. Once you get home, your cellphone recognizes your home WiFi network and immediately connects to it. You can not make and receive calls normally on your cellphone using only WiFi with no cellular coverage needed! How cool is that? The technology will also supposably allow you to hand off coverage between the two networks and so if you are WiFi and have to leave, the phone will automatically switch to cellular and your call will continue normally.

This is an interesting technology because it helps T-Mobile with the problem of poor coverage. Where I live, their coverage is the worst in general, but I get almost no coverage at my house. This would be a nice way to enable coverage at my house using my existing network. This could also work in my office where coverage is equally spotty.

I am curious to read the reviews of how well this really works. Here is the first hands review that I have seen:

Engadget Mobile Hands On

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Las Vegas

I travel periodically to Las Vegas for work. It is amazing how developed the area has become. Hotels and restaurants are everywhere. The other interesting point is that it is actually very expensive. In the old days, it was very cheap to visit Vegas with the food and hotel rooms selling for significant discounts versus other destinations. These days that is not the case. The food is as expensive if not more expensive than found in other destinations. In fact a couple of the restaurants that I ate it had prices that were very similar to restaurants in New York.

This brings me to my final question. Does it make sense to pay a premium to visit Las Vegas? I imagine it might if you are a hardcore gambler, but if that is not your thing then I am not sure it is worth. Sure there is alot to see and do, but in my opinion you can over most of the important things in a long weekend. I travel here for work and the more I come here, the more I realize that there are better places to go on a trip than Vegas.

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