Category Archives: News & Annoyances

Fuck Comcast

Comcast used to give me a static IP address for five dollars a month.  This is exorbitant (as you will see below), but it was paradise to pay compared to what they are doing today.

First a word about IP addresses.

For IPv4, this pool is 32-bits (232) in size and contains 4,294,967,296 IPv4 addresses. The IPv6 address space is 128-bits (2128) in size, containing 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 IPv6 addresses.

So for IPv4 (what is most commonly used still) there are about 4.2 x 10^9 and for IPv6 (newish but growing slowly) there are about 3.4 x 10^38 total addresses.  If we were limited to IPv4 we would be having some minor difficulty getting addresses assigned around the globe.  Mostly that’s not an issue because mostly individual computers sit on local networks and don’t need public addresses.  These numbers are really only about pubic facing addresses.

Think about that scale for a moment.  Let’s look at the math.

340282366920938463463374607431768211456 ÷ 7631836561 = 4.458721884×10²⁸

So, every human on the planet could have their own pool of addresses (just from IPv6 because at this point the IPv4 address aren’t even a rounding error by comparison) and they would get a pool of about 4.5 x 10^28 addresses.  To put that in perspective the weight of the earth in grams is The mass of the earth is 5.98 x 1027 grams.  How much is a gram of dirt worth?  This is the scale we are at with addresses.

Comcast will charge $30 per month for an IP address (a static address).  Let’s break that down.  In order to get a static address you must have a business account which is an increase in your monthly fee of (at least) $5.  Then you will need to pay the monthly fee they charge for the static lease which is now $15.  Finally, you must rent a modem from Comcast at $10 every month.  (I may have those numbers reversed but either way it’s the same math.)

You may think “oh, I’ll save some money and buy my own modem”.  Good thought.  That’s what I did.  But it turns out they are now geared to fuck anyone who tries to escape that fee.  They are currently refusing to assign static leases to customer-owned modems.

They will tell you it’s not possible, but this is what I do for a living.  You can assigned a static lease to any device on your network by several various means, and it doesn’t matter who owns that device, who made that device, or what sort of device it is.  You only need the MAC address of the device (which is easy to provide and which I have repeated offered).

They are lying.  In addition to it being technically possible, I also know this from experience with Comcast.  Remember this is what I do for a living.  I have set up businesses around town with their own modems, with Comcast as an ISP, and with static addresses many times over the years.  I know too of specific business with this arrangement currently.

So, in short Comcast is charging any customer who asks for one thirty dollars for one-tenth of one gram of dirt.

Fuck Comcast.

Share

Windows Hates USB Drives

Not sure why but Windows is always throwing little tantrums when I attach a USB drive.  None of the other operating systems I use complain, but Windows complains nearly every time.  I think it can smell the Unix.

When I first attach a drive it will probably confront me with this terrifying message of doom.

What to do?
What to do?

Continuing without scanning always works fine, but if I should ask it to scan and fix (as they so thoughtfully recommend) I get the obligatory “are you sure?”, because (of course) “Scan and fix” means “scan and… that’s it”.

Er... repair?
Er… repair?

Oh, shit.  They found errors!  Better fix them.  I mean it’s the only option at this point.  (Canceling is just giving up.)

The No Error!
The No Error!

I’m pretty much doomed.  Save yourself!

Share

How to Be Unobvious

A user wrote in because they button they were using to show the Desktop was no longer present.  We all had a good laugh when we saw their attached image.

Original Screen Capture
Original Screen Capture

The problem was were all laughing for the wrong reason.

They were not in fact using the close button on a window to show the Desktop as the above may suggest.  No.  They were actually using the Show Desktop button at the far end of the Taskbar.  We should have been laughing at the oddness of the image.

Take a closer look.

The Minimizer
The Minimizer

In reality it is important to understand what the other is saying.  This will ensure that you are laughing for all the right reasons.

Share

Random Spamdom

You know what’s fun?  Spam!

I think this one was from a politician-bot.

In this awesome scheme of things you’ll get an A just for hard work. Where exactly you lost everybody was on the details. You know, they say, the devil is in the details… And that couldn’t be much more true right here. Having said that, let me inform you precisely what did give good results. Your writing is actually rather convincing and that is most likely the reason why I am taking the effort in order to comment. I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that. Second, even though I can see the jumps in reason you come up with, I am definitely not certain of just how you appear to connect the details which inturn produce the final result. For the moment I will, no doubt subscribe to your point however wish in the near future you connect your dots better.

Any horse lovers out there?

If you offer him $10,000 for your horse, he’ll almost certainly probably market it
to you. Other factors, for instance pedigree,
trainer and jockey riding the horse and whether or not the horse
performs well about the turn or on dirt can also be carefully considered
by handicappers of their quest for that win. The one’s which do
win, have reached such short prices, you won’t
ever recover your losses.

Not clear why I would offer someone else money for my horse, but I’m getting pretty excited nonetheless.

Share

Last Gasp of a Dying Breed?

Remember when Sony tapes were relevant?  I had friends, even after the advent of the CD, who would live an die trading tapes.  They would even claim tapes where the only legitimate medium.  I miss those guys.

Oh, wait.  No, I still hang out with them.  One friend in particular still has a massive collection of tapes.  Go figure.

Sony has apparently introduced a new tape technology that makes an impressive expansion in what tapes can hold.  The number 185 TB is being passed around (though it is not clear to me which particular tape is in reference there).

Check it out:

R.I.P. iPod: Sony unveils cassette tape that can hold 64,750,000 songs

Never mind the silly title (iPod = portable digital music player just like Walkman = personal tape player) and the grandiose claims, this is an interesting change in tape storage capacity.  Even if the personal tape player never returns (and why would it?), this will have compelling implications for IT professionals doing backups.

And in case you are wondering why the personal tape players will not return, I offer this gem from them Interwebz:

Ultimate Demotivator
Ultimate Demotivator

Find more here.

Share

The New Disk Utility in El Capitan

Two steps forward, one step back.  Often in computing it’s a way of life.

There are a lot of new features in El Capitan and its related hardware.  If you want to learn about them you can find hordes of information in them Interwebz.  But if you are thinking something might be amiss, you’ll have difficulty slogging through the praises to locate the deficiencies.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple and Macs.  Well, I dislike them only as much as I dislike all computers and operating systems.  Same thing.  It’s just that Mac fans, greater than any other group of technology adherents, have the awesomest rose-colored glasses.

If you gander at this article on the latest version of Disk Utility, you will find much praise.

It made sense that repairing permissions on files for which OS X knew precisely what settings should be in place could fix random faults…. Even so, from all reports, permissions repairs had little real effect for years—it just made us feel better.

So here at work we support more than 200 Macs.  I can assure you that at least some of the time Repair Permissions does actually fix permissions and thus fix issues facing real users.  Yes, that gives me all the feels; but it does that by actually fixing problems.  It is not praiseworthy to remove such functionality.

Have the new security measures introduced in El Capitan removed the need for future permissions repairs?  This remains to be seen.  Nonetheless, it was doing good work.  Whether that work is now unnecessary is yet an open question.

What about Disk Repair?

Select a drive or a partition and click First Aid, and a seemingly much-changed repair operation proceeds.

It doesn’t just seem different.  It works differently and in at least one scenario fails utterly to repair the disk (presumably the partition table).

I used dd to copy a drive from an ssd to a thumb-drive of smaller capacity.  After dd finished it’s copy operation I checked the drive in GParted which reported no partitions.  This was likely due to the partition table including a partition-end beyond the end of the drive.  This is expected.  Just need to repair the partition table.  The drive booted as expected; all the data was good.

I attached that drive to an El Capitan machine and discovered the new Disk Utility.  Being that all the usual repair options were missing I ran First Aid.  That completed successfully.  Nothing was changed: GParted still reported no partitions.

I then attached the drive to a Yosemite machine and ran the old Disk Repair.  This also completed successfully.  The difference of course is that when I checked again using GParted the partitions were listed correctly.

In short, the Disk Utility on Yosemite was able to make the necessary repairs while the new Disk Utility on El Capitan was not.

I don’t know that the new Disk Utility will be of any use to IT professionals.  I recommend you keep a bootable Yosemite around in case you have need for these useful tools.

Share

Random Spamdom

Just a few entertaining spam messages we have received here.

Yes! Finally someone writes about tee inspector.

I don’t know why more people are not writing about tee inspectors.  I didn’t, but now I feel bad for not having done so.  Stay tuned for more tee inspector news.

Fantastic beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a blog site?

The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been a little
bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear concept

Who doesn’t want an apprentice?  Especially one into fantastic beats?  I’m game.

Simply wish to say your article is as surprising.
The clearness in your post is just cool and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.
Fine with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep up to date
with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the
gratifying work.

These words of encouragement bring tears to my eyes.  Of course you can grab my feed.  Unless that’s a euphemism for sex.  Then sorry, I’m taken.

Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted
to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and
I hope you write again soon!

I hope I write again soon too.

Share