Keyword Search in the Cloud

Monday, September 7th, 2009

I have almost completely switched over to Safari of Firefox, and have found replacements for almost all my Firefox plugins; but the lack of seamless keyword search in the location bar still bugs the hell out of me, enough to make me switch back to Firefox on occasion just for that. However recently I installed Verizon FIOS and noticed that Verizon’s DNS services intercept failing DNS queries through the browser and replace it with Yahoo search results. This means I can now type “fred brooks” into the location bar, and get a link to the page I need.

Search Results Provided By Yahoo!®

Well, almost. There are two problems:

Mail Troubles

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

For reasons that aren’t exactly clear, most but not all e-mail sent to has not been arriving for the last 24 hours or so. I’m shifting a few things around to try to fix the problem. In the meantime, please try one of my other addresses if you need to reach me.

Hmm, maybe I spoke too soon. In what I can only surmise is simply Murphy’s Law at work, for some reason Thunderbird today started to move all my e-mail into my Junk folder so that wasn’t getting through either. I’ve now recovered that, but bleah. It never rains but it pours.

Hmm, you know. Yes! That’s it! Thunderbird’s spam filters went into overdrive sometime around 8:00 PM yesterday evening and began classifying all e-mail as junk, no exceptions. (Apparently there is one exception: accoounts in my address book are not listed as Junk. That’s why the test messages I sent from me to me still got through.) Now how to fix it?

Irvine Internet

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

I expect to be moving into my new apartment near UC Irvine shortly. (In fact, the movers are here today in Brooklyn to collect our belongings.) Who do people in Orange County recommend for basic home Internet for multiple users and computers?

The local cable provider is Cox. I think the local phone company is AT&T/Pac Bell. (Didn’t we break them up for a reason?) Presumably there are other DSL providers as well.

I want a provider who doesn’t bandwidth throttle BitTorrent, block the sites I can surf, or monitor what I do. A provider that won’t bend over for the RIAA, the Feds, or anyone else who shows up with a scary letter would be nice. I do not need a static IP or to run externally visible servers. Indeed I’d prefer a dynamic IP. I would like to run an open wireless network. What are my best options?

We’re Back!

Friday, October 5th, 2007

Mokka mit Schlag, The Cafes,, and are all restored to service after Wednesday night’s network outage. Please holler if you notice any problems. There may yet be a few glitches.

I still don’t know exactly what went wrong. I do know that at the time the network went down I had Warcraft, VOIP, BitTorrent and this server running simultaneously. However that’s not unusual. Based on what it took to eventually fix this, the mostly likely scenario is that Speakeasy/Covad failed. At one point I thought my internal router from D-Link had failed. I did buy a new Linksys router to replace it (A WRT54G. I wasn’t able to find a 54GL on short notice. :-( ). However installing the new router did not fix the problem. Speakeasy has shipped me a new DSL modem, but that has not yet arrived. What finally fixed the problem was Speakeasy asking Covad to do a “manual rebuild of the circuit”. Previously Speakeasy had done a “rebuild and reprovision” from their end, but apparently Covad can do something Speakeasy can’t. Next time I’ll know to ask for a manual rebuild if the initial rebuild fails. Not that I have any clue what any of this means. However it does seem undiagnosable apart from just doing it. The first two SpeakEasy reps I went through did not suggest the manual rebuild.

Shopping for ISPs

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Speakeasy had yet another service outage while I was in Boston a couple of weeks ago and a smaller one this past weekend. Both times the problem was completely on their end, and the first and more serious one they didn’t notice until I told them about it a few hours into the outage. Now that they’ve been acquired by BestBuy I expect service will only get worse, so I’m looking for alternatives.

The two major providers in my area are Cablevision and Verizon, and they’re both about as trustworthy as a Republican who promises to cut government spending. However, it occurs to me that maybe I can counterbalance them against each other. Is there any device/software which will enable me to bind two separate and independent Internet connections? I’d like my network to use both Cablevision and Verizon or Speakeasy at the same time. If one goes down, the other would shoulder the full load. Otherwise traffic should be split between the two so I get the most bandwidth and lowest latency possible.

To make matters still more complex I want at least some static IPs to run public servers like this one, and I want full control of my local network: no silly rules about what devices I can or cannot connect or whom I can talk to at what speeds.

Of course, I’m not wedded to Cablevision and Verizon. I’d really rather not consider them at all; but I do need to at least have an alternative to Speakeasy ready for the next time it goes down. However if there are other options in Brooklyn, I’d be happy to consider them. RCN does not service this area though; and given my apartment’s non-existent view of any sky, neither is satellite. Possibly other wireless providers might work, but I need heavy bandwidth for web servers and downloading Linux CDs and such, so download-capped plans aren’t very plausible. Any suggestions?

Rebuild and Reprovision

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Sometime last night my Speakeasy ADSL line went down. I could probably check this server’s logs and figure out exactly when that happened. I’m not sure what happened and neither is Speakeasy. I tried the usual tricks: rebooting the computer, rebooting the router, rebooting the DSL modem, plugging a computer directly into the DSL modem without a router in between, verifying router and IP addresses, and so forth; and none of that helped.

What eventually fixed the problem was Speakeasy rebuilding and reprovisioning the circuit. This was something only they could do, and it immediately fixed the problem. Thus the problem seems to have been on their end in their part of the network, not on my end in my LAN. However all their tests from their end showed that the circuit was up and running and the DSL modem was responding properly, so the tech wasn’t sure why that worked.