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Blog Archives for March 2011

More Bandwidth!

Saturday, March 19th, 2011 - Comments (0) in Computers, Life, Work

I'm stoked, we're getting more bandwidth at school! One of our internet connections is a Time Warner Cable Business Class cable connection and we're going to be subscribing to a higher tier of service soon. Many years ago, that was the only internet access the school had and as we've expanded we kept this connection because it was pretty cheap and pretty fast.

Over time TWC upgraded their tiers and they were automatically upgrading our account, but I guess they weren't staying exactly current. One night at home I saw a commercial for their service and I took a look at their website. I was shocked to see their basic tier was 7Mb/768Kb while we were only getting 5Mb/768Kb and paying a decent amount for it. We actually decided to go with a slightly higher tier at 10Mb/1Mb. That'll double our incoming bandwidth and still increase our outgoing. The best thing is it costs around a quarter of what we were paying before. Of course they say "up to..." and that the technology is a best-effort, but I have 10Mb/1Mb at home and I get all of it all the time, so I'm hoping it'll work well at school too.

I also met with their government and education rep for our area to discuss possibly going with a 12Mb/12Mb direct fiber connection. This would be far more reliable and obviously way more money. I got some preliminary numbers and it isn't completely unreasonable, however it would require some restructuring of our current data and voice providers. Years ago I inquired about getting a symmetric fiber connection from TWC and was quoted some outrageous monthly cost. It was cost was so high mostly because they didn't have fiber anywhere in our area and it would require a very long pull.

Just doubling capacity on our current connection is awesome, but getting that symmetric fiber connection would be awesome! I'll have to get creative to see if I can swing that one.

Subaru Timing Belt Cover

Friday, March 4th, 2011 - Comments (0) in Cars, Life

A couple of months ago I had some work done on my Subaru Outback because of a failed idler pulley. Well it finally got warm enough for me to get on the ground and take a peak under the car, and I wasn't too pleased with what I saw. There was a piece missing from the rear timing belt cover that exposed another idler pulley and allowed for water/salt/debris to get up in there.

subaru outback broken timing cover

I was kind of annoyed with the dealer that did the timing belt work back in January because I think they should have seen this and done something about it. Seriously, what dealer would not try to sell you another part? That makes me think they either didn't see it, or didn't notice it until everything was back together and didn't want to redo it all.

To replace this cover, you have to remove the crank pulley for the serpentine belt, the front covers, the timing belt and the right-side cam sprockets.

I called the dealer back the other day and explained the situation. They wanted me to bring the car in so they can check it out, so I brought it in. I expected them to take a look and realize how much work would be involved and give me some grief. I was totally prepared to argue that they needed to fix it under the warranty of the last work they did, but I didn't have to. When they were looking at it, they had it for a little more than an hour and changed the cover on their dime with no discussion at all! The guy just came out said I was all set and handed me the keys. They even diagnosed the crunchy axle in the front. I knew the CV joint in one of them was making noise, but I didn't know which one, they told me it was the left one.

subaru outback fixed timing cover

Government Seizing Domain Names

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011 - Comments (0) in Computers, Life

Recently the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been seizing control of domain names in efforts to thwart online copyright infringement. So I guess the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America weren't getting results directly suing their customers, instead they're using their money to lease DHS to do their dirty work now.

So what they do is find domains hosting copyrighted (or other illegal) content and then get some judge who probably doesn't know what a domain name is sign a warrant to take it down. Once they have the warrant they skip over the heads of the registrar the name was leased through and go directly to Verisign, the company that controls the top level domain (.com and .net), and tell them to change the nameservers to ns1 and ns2.seizedservers.com. You can see the default landing page you'll see once your domain has been seized here: http://seizedservers.com/

domain seized

You might have noticed that they're not actually removing the infringing content from the web, it's still available using the IP address of the server hosting it. Many sites of seized domains have simply registered a new domain in a different top level, like .info or .org and are still operating. So it seems like the gov't has a deal with Verisign and not with the companies that run the other top level domains.

What is really scary is what happened a couple weeks or so ago. DHS found out child porn was being served from a subdomain of mooo.com. This domain is owned by the proprietor of afraid.org which hosts the DNS for many of my own websites, including this one. In typical "think of the children without doing any research" fashion, DHS seized mooo.com and redirected it to a landing page saying "this site hosts child porn". The problem is mooo.com and many of the domains over at afraid.org are shared. You can sign-up and register whateveryouwant.mooo.com to point to your website. Many people and businesses used this domain, 84000 sites to be almost exact. So when DHS seized it, they effectively accused 84000 people and businesses of disseminating child porn. Whoops!

Sure, it wasn't on purpose, but being accused of distributing child porn is a rather tough stain to remove and it totally sucks when your own government accidently does that to you.