2006.01 Infrastructure Changes

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2006.01 Infrastructure Changes

Tuesday 10 January 2006

Pretty much the first thing taught to new programmers, well to any kind of scientist, is to vary only one thing when trying to solve a problem. I know this, and nonetheless this week I'm changing a whole bunch of things. I can't see the other side (at this point).

The list of things being changed this week include

  1. switching ISPs from a small, local, ISP to a nationwide, soul-less, mega-corporation
  2. Okay, well that happened. To be sure they showed up a day earlier than scheduled, and explained to me that "doing a new install" doesn't actually mean to install a new drop, it means to plug a cable box into the wall. Gee thanks. I'm so happy that I called a human after I booked via the web. I wonder what the person was doing as we chatted; it certainly wasn't taking notes in my account. Today they show up for the rescheduled (original) event, ready to go, and the drill is broken. After a half-hour wait for a replacement, Comcast finally gets things going. Not a warm and fuzzy feeling. But it's up and running.

  3. switching connection from DSL (1.5 Mbps/384) to cable (4 Mbps/350)
  4. Comcast is advertising 6 Mbps, but it turns out that's not city-wide, just in a small downtown corridor. We're getting 4 Mbps.

    But it's not as straightforward as all that. I tried to BitTorrent the latest episode of the fan-fiction "New Voyages" only to be dismayed by a trickle of bits. A bit of research uncovers that I need to set my maximum upload speed to

    (( 350 kbps / 8 ) * 0.7 ) = 30 kbps

    Dividing by 8 converts kBits to kBytes. Multiplying by 0.7 yields 70%.

    which I tried. I've also seen 80% as a better choice. A value of 40 kbps seemed to work a wee bit better, but I'm not sure how to test this reliably.

  5. switching hardware from a vanilla hub to a WiFi NAT router
  6. This went pretty easily, despite the Belkin F5D7230-4 box I scored on eBay. (This is the same box that I've installed for Dziadziu and the in-laws.)

    Unfortunately, this box didn't work right out of the shrink-wrapped package. After a long wait for an Indian tech support person I found out that lots of them ship with corrupted drivers, so I had to download and flash the box. Now both WiFi and Ethernet work.

    Unfortunately, their port-forwarding seems completely broken. I'm running an FTP server here (to let people drop web content off for inclusion in a new site) and it fails with the Belkin box, succeeds without it. Spent an hour on the phone, having a tech run me through all the troubleshooting I'd already done, before she realized her hours of training weren't up to the task. Escalation, but still no follow-up twelve hours later. Oh, I'm so impressed.

    belkin F5D7230-4

  7. switching my domain from where it's been for a decade (Network Solutions) to a registrar with a much better reputation and a much cheaper hosting package (1and1)

  8. switching my hosting situation from a miserly 350 MB to a whopping 5000 MB
  9. That's making me really happy, even though I haven't yet taken advantage of it. I did just finish editing "BM2K5" (a short about Burning Man 2005), so perhaps I'll host that.

It's all very scary at the moment, and I hope it all ends well.

Have you found errors nontrivial or marginal, factual, analytical and illogical, arithmetical, temporal, or even typographical? Please let me know; drop me email. Thanks!

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