International Networking–Philippines

Recently I’ve had to pleasure to travel internationally and connect to the Internet from the Philippines.

Initially I expected to have, at most, dial-up networking to a local service provider using a pay-as-you go type of plan. That is what my wife (who is from the Philippines) had before and I didn’t expect any changes.

However I was pleasantly surprised to find that her parents (or actually her family there) had a DSL connection.  It only had not been paid up-to-date.

Next was a wireless router to provide wireless connection.  I had earlier sent them a Netgear wireless router I no longer used (having moved to wireless-N) – however I forgot to include the power-adaptor (Doh!).  So when I went I took along the power-adaptor as well as a separate netgear wireless access point and it’s power adaptor – which was fortunate.

When I connected the wireless router I had sent earlier with the power adaptor I sent with me to what I thought (or ass-u-me-d) was a power converter to 110 it initially worked – until the power adaptor burned out.  The ‘power converter’ didn’t really convert to 120V but kept it at 220V – which promptly burned out the adaptor.

Luckily I had also brought the extra access point and it’s power adaptor (which was compatible with the router I had sent earlier.  I also had a power converter to convert 240V to the 120V which the adaptor expects.

Note that some power adaptors can handle 220V just fine.  The adaptor for my laptop for example handles 220V ok as does the battery recharge adaptors for both my wife’s digital camera and my own D7000 Nokia.  The power adaptor for my son’s leapster however is limited to 120V as is the power adaptor for their DL – and I had to keep an eye that my 5-year-old didn’t try running his leapster off the adaptor directly into household current.

However you may need to have a physical adaptor.  My notebook’s Power adaptor has the typical three-prong-plug we’ve come to expect in the USA.  The power outlets in the home we were staying in in the Philpppines contains the Philippine two-prog outlets (of equal size).  Even without the third prong for ground it would not fit because one of the flat prongs is larger than the other.  An inexpensive adaptor for the physical characteristics of the outlet (if not the voltage) did the trick.

OK so now I had the router running.  But the Internet connection was not working because the bill to the service provider had not been paid. So off my mother-in-law went to pay it off and get it reconnected.  That took two days.  Two days without network!  EEEEKKKK!

Finally getting the DSL working I then went in and configured the router to work with the DSL modem.  Once that was done voila – broadband access. 

Then it came out that the notebook my sister-in-law had left for dead (there) was working after all.  I had looked at it earlier (at home) and the power would not come on – or rather it would come on and then off. I figured it was the power supply or regulator on the laptop.  However it now appeared to work – but nobody had the login password.  So I ran the recovery utility to restore it to a pristine state (I had earlier already copied personal files she had on it to DVD’s using a separate computer.).  And now my nephew had a laptop he could use.  The webcam didn’t work and it wouldn’t properly come out of sleep (don’t know why) but it was functional….

… until about 2 days after it was imaged when it suddenly woudn’t allow any internet access. I finally figured out that the Norton protection trialware had disabled internet connectivity until it ws configured (I hate when that happens).  I knew that if I kept Norton on there it would do the same again in 15 days (but demand payment to a subscription this time) so I removed it and installed Microsoft Security Essentials.  Note that I don’t have anything against Norton – it’s just that I knew my in-laws wouldn’t have the 3,500 Philippine pesos to spare to pay for the subscription – so it’s freebe time.

So now we have broadband DSL in my in-laws house which I can access from the nearby house I am staying in.  It wasn’t as fast as what I was accustomed to but it was sufficient for my needs and a lot more than I expected.

Massively Parallel Reincarnation

Now you heard of re-incarnation right?  Where we live a series of consequetive lives hopefully to learn some life lession in each to reach some higher lever of being…..

Now suppose that’s true – however instead of living lives in a series – one after another.  Reincarnation is massively parallel.   That is we, or a being of some sort, lives hundreds, thousands, millions, hech even billions of lives a the same time.

What is there is only one individual ‘being’ or ‘person’ living billions of lives at the same time, concurently – currently over 6 billion.  So everyone you see – everyone on earth is an incarnation of the same ‘person’ or being.

Your mother and father were simply another ‘incarnation’ or ‘thread’ of yourself.  So is that guy down at the grocery store and the hot chick you saw on the street the other day. Clint Eastwood – another you.  Obama – another you.  Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Che,  – another you.  Mother Teresa – another you.  Jack the Ripper?  Yup you did it!  That kid up picked on in school?  Yourself.

And somewhere – somehow this single being is reading and sorting all these live lessons until it reaches some point where it – what?  Reaches some higher level of being?  Becomes a god?  A deamon?  Or just gets bored with this game and goes out to play with it’s friends.

OK well that was just a thought.  I don’t think its true.  Just a mental exercise.

The Dell Inspiron Duo

My Dell Inspiron Duo arrived a couple of months ago.

At first I liked it.  The flip multi-touch screen was handy and responsive.  The Dell Stage software sucked rocks but I expected that from the reviews.

I purchased a license for FrontFace by Mirabyte to replace the slow and unresponsive Dell Stage software which came with the notebook.  FrontFace sortof replaces the windows desktop with one of it’s own designed for tablets – with the large icons and selectables.  You can run all your windows applications in frontface.

It was when I tried to use the bluetooth that I starting having problems.  At first bluetooth wouldn’t work at all – or hap-hazardly.  Since the notebook only had a few ports (a single USB port, no RJ-45, etc…) having bluetooth was important.  However I was able to locate and download an updatted driver which finally got the bluetooth working consistantly.

The next problem was the wireless ethernet.  The Duo boasted Wireless-N which means speeds up to at least (in my opinion) 150Mb/s.  Actual speed was a mere 65Mb – which was very slow when I was hooking up to Wireless N which was, in turn, connected to a gigabit network.

To solve the problem I attempted all the ‘solutions’ in the book.  Checked for interference, distance (5 feet!), settings, etc…  A separate notebook, also with Wireless N, sitting right next to the DUO achieved 150Mb/s easily.

Please note that this has few external ports.  A single USB and that’s about it.  I didn’t want to have to use that single USB for a separate ethernet port (wireless or wired) or go through the bother of a HUB (which would need to be plugged in if I wanted powered devices).  And the low 65Mb bandwidth simply wasn’t satisfactory.

Could not get any assistance from Dell. The service tag (Dell-ish for ‘Serial Number’) seemed to be funky – I could not even enter a ticket on it. 

Phone support is useless to me.  Show someone a screen or error message over the phone.  Try pushing a configuration file through the phone’s pickup.

So third problem – no support.

As a result I returned the Duo back to Costco.  They were quite easy to work with and gave me my refund in cash (since Costco brick-and-motar stores don’t accept Mastercard they could not refund it that way).

After that I started looking for a new tablet again.

Computer Programming Languages – PL/1

One of my favorite computer languages is PL/1  or Programming Language / One.   This was IBM’s attempt to merge the scientific language of FORTRAN with the business language of COBOL and ALGOL to produce a single language which can operate equally in both spheres. 

I started using a derivative of PL/1 produced by Cornell university called ‘PL/C’ (I guess for Programming Language / Cornell).  PL/C used a subset of PL/1 and had the uncanny ability to always compile what was fed into it by taking a best guess at statements and producing ‘output’ statements for the rest.  This was at Bellingham High school where we would write out programs on punched cards to be taken up to the University mainframe for processing.  Later when I worked at the university as a ‘student programmer’ in High School I started using the real PL/1(F) compiler (as well a FORTRAN – never got that into COBOL at the time).

PL/1 is a procedural language as well as a structured language with procedures and functions and statements blocks and ‘do groups’ (think { … } in C).  Comments were in the /* COMMENTS  */ form like C today.

PL/1 supported a wide variety of data types.  Fixed binary, fixed decimal, float binary and even float decimal (which didn’t really exuist) and of course strings (fixed and varying (to a maximum) length).  Static, Automatic, or Based (think pointers) storage.  ?One of the interesting data types was the AREA – which is simply an area of memory and an area pointer – which is an offset pointer into that area.  There was also the TASK and EVENT data types which worked closely with miltitasking (read: multi-threading).

Yes, PL/1 supported a rather primitive multi-threading in the language itself.  The OS supported multitasking of course but usually one could only start a separate task via an assembly language.  PL/1 had a TASK option on the CALL statement which would invoke the subroutine as a separate task (sharing memory).  The EVENT datatype was a means of communicating between the tasks.  Along with the EVENT datatype there was the WAIT statements which would wait (or only check as I recall) for one or more events to complete.

PL/1 also supported the ‘PICTURE’ clause of COBOL as well as the scientific datatypes and functions of FORTRAN (even a COMPLEX datatype for complex numbers).  You could output data with a picture clause or Formatting statements like FORTRAN.

PL/1 also supported the various file types – sequential, random, indexed, etc…

PL/1 also included (and I think may have introduced) the concepts of exception handling.  This is where the program can set a trap to go off during specific exceptional conditions (like dividing by zero, a numeric overflow, or even the end of a page like this – to print the headings on the next page.:

ON ENDPAGE(SYSPRINT) DO;

PAGENUMBER = PAGENUMBER + 1;

PUT PAGE SKIP(2) EDIT(‘GENERAL WIDGET COMPANY’,’PAGE:”,PAGENUMBER)(X(30),A(22),X(20),A(5),X(2),G(4));

PUT SKIP(2) EDIT(heading…)(…);

END;

The ON ENDPAGE  specifies actions to take when a end-of-page condition is encountered on the SYSPRINT file (back then SYSPRINT was usually the line printer).  PUT PAGE SKIP(2) EDIT says to go to the next page, skip 2 lines and print…

PL/1 also supported automatic conversion. For example if you were to mathematically add a string to a number it would attempt to first convert the string to a number then do the add.  You could then assign the results to a string and PL/1 would convert the results to a numeric string.

PL/1 also had the PUT and GET DATA statement.  A curious statement which allows the user to specify the variable name and alue in the input (or have it shown in the output) like this:

A = 2, B = 2;

This was curious and I don’t think any other language has such a feature.  In fact if you specify the GET DATA(); without any variables  the user can specify any variable in the program.  I’ve only seen this used once – in a rather huge in-migration and out-migration modeling program I was looking once at written in PL/1.

What happened to PL/1?  I think PL/1 was simply ahead of its time and very complex.  PL/1 object programs were rather large compared with other languages at the time – and at this time having a low memory requirement was a premium.  It was also quite complex for the business or scientific user to grasp.

PL/1 is still available.  A company produces a PL/1 compiler for VMS (both VAX and Alpha).  PL/1(F) is also available via the Hercules 370 emulator and I believe MVS.  I believe Stratus also does most coding in PL/1.  I think IBM once had a ‘VisualAge PL/1’ which ran on windows.

Western Terminal System (see other post) also hosted a derivitive of PL/1 called WPL (Western Programming Language).  It was a very limited subset of PL/1.

Just ordered a Dell Inspiron Duo Convertible

 

I’ve been thinking about ordering a new laptop / tablet for awhile now.  I wanted something to keep me ‘organized’.  I had the following qualifications:

  • Portable – small and light
  • Convertible into a tablet or a netbook  So I can enter information (like a posting) and / or use it as a reader in tablet mode.
  • Multitouch – for use when in tablet mode.  Plus I think ‘multi-touch’ and surface is going to be the future.
  • Wireless N Wifi – Fast wireless networking (why else would I have Wireless N in my house?)
  • Bluetooth – for communicating with devices, headsets, etc…
  • Reasonably priced

I’ve been using a older convertible netbook – a Toshiba Portege M200.  at 15” its not a bad laptop and tablet it required the use of a stylish while in tablet mode and I was always afraid of loosing the small, light, $30 pen.  Plus it did not have the ‘flick’ and ‘drag’ which is becoming so common.  Not to mention the fact that one of the USB ports physically ‘broke’ leaving me with a single USB port – usually used for the mouse because typing with the touchpad would find the cursor literally bouncing over the screen as my hands get to close to the touchpad and ‘tap’ it.  Reading a reference book in tablet mode was somewhat awkward. The unit is heavy and to scroll up and down you need to use the stylish.  Once I thought I had dropped the stylish on the bus never to be seen again.

Before the Toshiba I had (and still have) a Fujitsu tablet – even older.  But that had not keyboard which proved frustrating. I am hoping that a tablet I can ‘type’ on via touch with a keyboard would solve that problem.  I wonder of I can get OSX to run on it….

What did I get?  A Dell Inspiron Duo Convertible Tablet. 


Dell Inspiron Mini Duo
Key Features
  • Picture perfect. Experience superb visuals on the 10.1-inch HD multitouch display.
  • Converts to your needs. The unique flip-hinge design enables seamless transition between touch and type modes.
  • Your life at your fingertips. The intuitive touch screen and duo Stage software provide quick and easy access to your music, movies and photos.
  • Support for Adobe Flash. View your multimedia the way it was designed to be seen with the fully Flash-capable Inspiron duo.
  • See me, hear me. Stay connected to friends and family with the 1.3 MP Webcam5 and microphone.
Specifications
  • 10.1-inch high-definition display with 1366 x 768-pixel resolution for native HD 720p display and featuring a 16:9 aspect ratio that brings all your entertainment to life in stunning bright colors.
  • 1.5 GHz Intel Atom dual-core N550 processor (1 MB L2 cache, 667 MHz FSB) combines performance and energy efficiency to provide new levels of support for applications like games, as well as Adobe Flash technology for improved access to multimedia sites such as YouTube and Hulu.
  • 320 GB SATA hard drive (5400 RPM)
  • 2 GB installed DDR3 RAM (800 MHz)
  • Integrated Intel NM10 Express graphics with Microsoft DirectX 9.0 support.
  • Wireless-N Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n) for ultra-fast connectivity to home and business networks (plus backwards compatibility with older wireless routers).
  • Bluetooth connectivityenables you to communicate and synchronize wirelessly with Bluetooth-enabled peripherals such as printers and cell phones.
  • Comfortable keyboard that’s 92 percent the size of a standard laptop keyboard with curved keys for a comfortable fit. Also includes a new palm rest that helps resist fingerprints.
  • Stereo speaker with 2 watts of power
  • 1.3-megapixel webcam with digital array microphone

    Dell Inspiron Mini DuoDell Inspiron Mini Duo

    …with just a flip of the screen.

  • Windows 7 Home Premium makes it easy to create a home network and share all of your favorite photos, videos, and music. And you can watch shows for free when and where you want with Internet TV on Windows Media Center. Get the best entertainment experience with Windows 7 Home Premium.

Its portable but not too small.  Convertible from tablet to netbook.  Has a responsive multi-touch. 

Also I have a USB based Card reader and an USB based DVD drive already (which show how much loosing the second USB port on the toshiba really hurt.)

I had thought about an Android-based tablet.  But the ones I’ve seen were too limited in capacity – yes I think that 32Gb is just too small and had a only-touch interface.  I am confortable typing on a keyboard – I still might make the transisition to a ‘screen keyboard’ but not yet.

And it has Windows 7 Home Premium so will fit nicely with my home group at home.  Windows 7 is also supposed to be very ‘multi-touch’ friendly enabling all the ‘swipe’ and ‘flicks’ you could want.

Some may say “well it doesn’t have a lot of punch” to which I say it doesn’t have to have – If I want a lot of punch I have some pretty good ‘punchers’ at home.  In other words: Its not a desktop!  Its not a Laptop! It’s a netbook / tablet!

You wouldn’t want to play any high-graphics games on the little screen anyway.  Or do much hardcode development.

Wired had a scathing review of it – which mostly consisted of ‘It isn’t an Ipad!’.

So I ordered it at Costco for $499 (plus tax).  Costco also has an excellent 90 day return guarantee.

Will follow up this posting after it arrives.  With any luck posting from the Duo.

Gigabit Networking – At home

I recently upgraded my home wired ethernet network to a Gigabit network.    The reason was that I recently purchased a Wireless-N switch/access point and I thought – well 150 or 300Mb wireless speed is nice – but useless if it’s on a 100Mb ‘fast’ network.

So I get together a bunch of Gb switches.  Some netgear switches and a big Dell Managed switch to be the central HUB (Bought it on Ebay).   I setup the managed switch and use it to replace my old 100Mb main house switch and replace some of the remote switches with Netgear Gb switches.

Well first off not all the Gb switches would communicate with the main switch at Gb speed.  the standard cat5 cable between them was to long.   Now the CAT5 cable being used for these long runs was some I purchased at Costco for about $50 for 500’ and I’ll crimp on the end pieces myself using a crimper.   I hop back on Ebay and purchase a couple of 50’ length of CAT5e cable (enhanced) cable for these long runs.

Disaster!  OMG! No Internet!

Then came the snow when I found myself on a bus for 7 hours trying to get home (a trip which normally takes 1/2 hour). When I got home the home network was down – the central switch I bought on ebay had failed.  So I found myself scampering around to replace at least some of it.   I ended up moving my Asus switch/router (and the cable modem it was attached to) and using it to replace main switch to get at least some of the runs going.    The one to my office was critical (I was going to work at home the next day) and a couple others for the wife and TV.  As it was the ASUS router was also a Gb switch.  All this was sitting on a chair next to my little ‘cable closet’ behind the wall.

A couple of weeks go by and I start the project to replace the cables with the cat5E.  Remove a couple of ceiling panels running down the duct work in the basement and ran 2 nice red cat5e cables alongside the ductwork (perfect for a cable run) and at the end – one cable went up, through a hole in the ceiling under a built-in cabinet we were building for the new TV (if we ever finished it) – the other went down and out through an outlet.  I had thought about having a cat5 connector outlet at the wall but then decided to simply run the cable out the outlet to hang loose. I also connected a coax cable running to the Satellite dish to the outlet as well. 

When I was finished this outlet had a phone connection, 2 coax connections (Satellite and Cable) and a red CAT5e  cable coming out of it.  The cat5 cable is then connected to a gigabit switch (which uses it at gigabit speed now – whoo-hoo!), a blu-ray player, a computer (media), a Playstation (2), and a Voip phone device (which in turn is connected to a cordless phone base station).

Later I replaced added another gigabit switch to help replace the main ‘house’ switch.  My wife looked at the cable mess in my little ‘cable closet’ (an area behind the wall behind the furnace) and built in a couple of shelves in a little nook to hold (read: hide) all the equipment (switches, wireless, power strip, etc…) and we organized the cables.

Old Computers – Western Terminal System / Interdata 7/32

 

My first experience with a timeshare / terminal based system was on an Interdata 7/32 running a locally written (at Western Washington University) called Western Terminal System (or WTS).

I started using this in 1976 while a student at a local high school.  Before that my experience was with an IBM 360 over punched cards.

Hardware

The Interdata 7/32 minicomputer allowed up to 1Mb of memory (these typically had 380-odd K – that’s less than a half a single Mb) and 32-bit words and 16 general registers (and I think 8 floating point registers).  One of the neat things about these was that they used an instruction set very close to the IBM 360 models.

In this case they connected from 16 to 20 character terminals up to a minicomputer with about 380K of memory.  Also attached were 4 200Mb disk drive cabinets (that’s a total of 800Mb).

In addition, as I recall the ‘blue’ system had a channel to channel interface with the IBM 360 mainframe.  Later on this allowed students to code IBM Jobs using the terminals and submit them to the IBM mainframe via this interface.  We thought that was kind of cool.

The simh project ( http://simh.trailing-edge.com ) has Interdata simulators for the 7/32, 8/32, and their 16-bit minicomputers as well as an early version of UNIX (the interdata was the first non-DEC platform unix was ported to).  OS/32 (the Interdata/Concurrent OS for the 7/32 and 8/32 and 3200 series) is around.

The Interdata Company was purchased by Perkins-Elmer computers and eventually became part of Concurrent Computers which still exists.  There are still  a few 8/32’s running today in various locations).

Software

The OS was a locally written timeshare system called ‘Western Terminal System’ (makes sense since it was at Western Washington University) consisting (and this is from memory) of a common low-level OS, basic meta-code interpreter, and basic (or WPL) to metadata translators.  It was used basically for CAI (Computer Assisted Instruction) using the Pilot language (all text based of course).  Users were given either a Private or Student userid and a user file.

Each CRT terminal had a 8K partition of memory and a ‘temp’ file of about 300 80 column lines of text (structured as 100 blocks of 3 80-column lines each).  Each user also had a user file of, on average, about 300 lines (also in 100 block of 3 80 character records) – the user file was ‘partitioned’ into seperate files sorta-kinda like a partitioned dataset – there was a directory and ‘data’ area.  And people used to have to compress their files often using a utility.  In addition all terminals shared a read-only ‘public’ file, file, which contains common utilities.

There were utilities to renumber basic files (fixing the gosubs correctly), list file contents, Edit files (line editing only) etc…

The basic language it hosted was a structured basic with do-blocks and the like.

In addition to basic there was PILOT used for authoring CAI courseware and WPL (Western Programming Language) a derivitive of PL/1.  Basic was somewhat integrated with pilot so you could define basic variables, do some simple statements, call basic subroutines.

A few of the terminals were Tektronix 1410 Storage tubes able to display graphics (but to erase anything you had to flash and erase the entire screen) – some of the routines and utilities were written to take advantage of the graphical nature.

Courseware was where you would sit at a terminal and enter the name of a course.  I remember taking their ‘FORBUS’ course which was an introduction to Fortran IV (and in fact that is how I learned Fortran).  They had a lot of other ‘corses’ which people can take, plus a couple of games.  Terminals were in one or two ‘terminal rooms’ which was staffed by student ‘consultants (sometimes called ‘insultants’).

One system, the ‘white’ system later was later given additional memory and a batch processor which included a Fortran compiler / interpreter.  The batch processor had (as I recall) 109K of memory.

I remember that they used to run SPSS in that small partitition.  The software (and batch processor) was modified so that certain fortran statements (I beleave it was the fortran REWIND 99 statement) would load in a new overlay of the SPSS program.  Output was to a queue or a hardcopy (mostly dot-matrix) printer – which were generally teletype printer terminals.  They were distinctive because they were noisy and when they executed a carrage return the printhead would slam (BANG!) into the side of the print area.  There were a few 1200 baud printers (I think they were DEC).

Later on Western installed a real VAX 780 running a version of VMS.  Soon after that my family moved away and I wasn’t able to access Western anymore.

WordPress and Facebook

Facebook is good – but limited in the nature and complexity of what you can post – it is a social networking site and not oriented toward posting long-rambling articles (like this one).  Blog software such as WordPress give a person a forum to post article (and essay) sized and complex postings (with embedded pictures, video, and general media).

Facebook is, at least for now, the foremost ‘Social Networking’ site.  This is where you and your friends can post messages on your wall, send messages to each other, post pictures, link to videos, and comment on other’s postings. You can also filter who can see which postings.  Its great for interacting with others.

WordPress is one of the most popular Blogging software out there (and free).  With Themes and Plugins you can have a very professional looking Blogsite in a few hours.  Postings are generally ‘public’ and anyone can see them.  Its focus is basically to publish your own articles and allow others to comment (and comment on the comments, etc…).   This site, babbling-geek.com is a seperate WP website with its own DNS address.  You can also create a wordpress blog under the wordpress.com site in just a few minutes and you don’t have to have your own web-hosting or DNS address.

For example right now I am editing this article with Windows Live Editor (part of windows Live) which allows for a word-processor like interface and you can embed videos, tables, pictures, links, maps, etc.. very easily.  You can also edit articles directly on the WP site itself.  But I find using windows live easier.  I used to have a ‘blog’ like site I would edit by typing in the raw HTML codes into a ‘.html’ file – that was much more difficult because I spent more brainwidth on ensuring that the HTML tags were correct and closed properly instead of the actual content.

What if you can link the two?   That way you can post your article-size ramblings and also post them to facebook.  Well between the Facebook API and the WordPress Plugins you can.  There are WordPress plugins you can use to allow you (and others) to post your words of wisdom on their FB walls (also Twitter, and other networking sites).

By opening this article (clicking on the title) WordPress will display a number of icons which allows you to note the article to various social networking sites (such as facebook, Twitter, Wave, etc…).

Scary.  Now I can expose everyone I know to my rambling.  Brahahaha……

Dumping the Cable Company

A couple of months ago we purchased a new 46” LED Samsung TV with an Internet connection.  This could connect to Netflix, Hulu (plus), and a number of other video sources I haven’t look at yet. 

At the same time we had Cable TV.  Pink Floyd had a verse in one of their songs, “200 channels of sh*t on the TV’ which is pretty much true.  With cable you get whatever the T.V. Producers decide you want to see – much like the T.V. news organizations decide what you want to see and hear.  In any case we had Cable T.V. but didn’t watch it much – and didn’t particularly like what was being shown.  We are not that big into the ‘big games’, nor ‘American Idol’, ‘Glee’, or whatever the latest T.V. fashion was.

We get most of our ‘News’ over the net and bypass the editors and filters at the alphabet media.

Also some of the shows are, basically, not good for the kids – I’m talking about the Kids shows.

As a result we decided to end our Cable-TV subscription.  Took our boxes (including the HweD Box downstairs) in and told them to end our cable account (and the $60/month for basic digital cable).  We still deal with Comcast for our internet – hard to beat the great download speeds – and with our increased bandwidth usage we need that.

I was somewhat concerned about Comcast’s 250Gb/monthly limit on bandwidth comcast imposes.  But after monitoring it for a couple of months we are still well under the limit.   We had been over the limit for a couple of months before all this when I left my torrent service running. We’ll see how our bandwidth suffers when we start connecting our refrigerator and toaster to the internet.

Now we use the TV less.  The kids like some of the ‘Netflix’ shows (and series) as well as some of the older shows.  Andrew likes to watch ‘Lost in Space’ of all things.  Yes it’s dumb and campy and corny but it doesn’t try to preach to you or glorify bad behaviour or brat kids.

And the additional $60/month can go to my Ebay addiction.