Get Rid of the Clutter in Your Home and Go Wireless

Today’s consumer has two options when defining their home network needs. These options include the traditional wired option, which normally requires the use of ethernet cabling (there are some exceptions), or wireless, which depends on radio waves — better known as Wi-Fi. In days gone by, a wired system may have been preferable because it is was usually deemed faster as well as more secure in terms of others being able to hack into the system. However, while these two reasons for choosing to use a wired system may still hold true, today’s technology tends to bypass a wired world.

I wonder if any of you can imagine your life without your iPhone, Kindle, or a notebook that you can manipulate while you are on the move, be it in a plane or in a meeting. Just think of how different your life would be today if you were still dependent on receiving a call via a corded phone or getting an email lacking even the speed of DSL. Given that, it is obvious in today’s society that if one wishes to own one of the popular tablet devices such as an Apple iPad, the Barnes & Noble Nook, or Amazon Kindle Fire, that their only option is to use a wireless system.

Not that a wired network is all that tough to set up, but consider the variables involved. You connect your computer via an ethernet cable to a router before connecting the router to the Internet. Then, if you wish to add a printer, it also has to be hard-wired and it requires a connection to the router that provides a switch/hub to a wired print server.

All of these connections, plus additional ones for scanners, cameras, etc., result in clutter, especially when some of these connections require that wires be strung between rooms. To accommodate all of this clutter, some users choose to string the wire through their attics, crawlspaces, or to hide the wires behind baseboards. Back in the day, I was teaching computer classes out of my home for private clients, and chose to hide my accumulation of wiring behind the baseboards. Considering that I had set up a server and five independent computers, it was a nightmare when we needed to have the carpet replaced and had to remove all that wiring.

Get Rid of the Clutter in Your Home and Go WirelessSo what do you need to set up a wireless network?

First, and most obvious, is the need for a wireless router.

What you may not know is that, in addition to supporting a wireless connection, wireless routers may also support an ethernet connection or a USB printer connection. For connection purposes, newer laptops come with wireless adapters built into the units, while older ones provide the consumer with USB ports that can be used to add a wireless adapter. This also holds true for your desktop computer, which generally gives you the option of adding a wireless card or a USB wireless adapter.

For those of you among us who love gaming, it is important to also note that gaming consoles, some televisions, Rokus, and tablets can be configured to work on your new wireless network.

What are the benefits of a wireless network?

  • You should find that you will have Internet access from just about anywhere in your home or yard (depending on your setup).
  • You will no longer be forced to purchase expensive connection cables.
  • You will find freedom in the fact that your computers, printers, and devices no longer have to be in close proximity to one another in order to function properly.

Who would benefit most from a wireless network?

  • Those who have homes that were not pre-wired with ethernet cable.
  • Laptop users, tablet users, or users of any device equipped with wireless access.
  • Anyone who wants to eliminate the spaghetti of wiring in their home.

What are the problems with using a wireless network when compared to a wired network?

  • Wireless is less secure and requires more attention to security measures.
  • At times, you could experience slower access to Internet content.
  • Other wireless devices or routers in the area could potentially interfere with your overall experience.

What do I do if I have my office set up in an area where I can’t get a wireless signal?

To solve this problem, you may need to use a combination of wired and wireless technology. You may even have to consider adding a powerline adapter to the mix. I make this suggestion because in my home I found that this worked for us. I have a combination of wired (one printer wired to a wireless print server) and wireless to support all of the devices on my network, including a desktop system that I was required to attach to my router via a wired ethernet connection.

What is Powerline and how does it work?

Powerline comes in a kit and uses the electrical wiring in your house as part of the network. The kit itself comes with two adapters; one of these adapters is used to plug into the network, and the other can plug into the computer, printer, or other device. Once established, the network is then able to bring the two devices together, thus enabling them to create a network connection. With this connection in place, you can enjoy the use of your wired devices without the hassle of installing wiring. However, like everything in life, there is a downside to powerline: it may be slower than a standard ethernet wired network.

At this point in time, my home wireless system supports three laptop computers, one desktop computer, two Rokus, one Blu-ray player one Apple iPad, one Amazon Kindle fire, a print server for my old HP laser printer, and a color all-in-one printer. Oh, I forgot, I also have a smartphone and my Google Cr-48, which at times I connect through my home Wi-Fi. I don’t know about you, but I can’t even imagine having all 13 of these devices wired by cables.

Comments welcome.

Chris Pirillo on networking:

Secured or Unsecured Wireless Network – Which Should You Use?

You may have seen or read about the report about a Sarasota, Florida man who had an unexpected visit from the FBI in February of this year. The FBI was investigating the man for the illegal distribution of child pornography that was being distributed from the man’s IP address. During the course of the investigation, these facts about the case eventually surfaced, clearing the man of charges.

First there was the fact that the person whose IP address was being used lived on the 12th floor of a condominium building, which happened to face a marina located below the building. The wireless router owner assumed that his signal would not reach over 400 feet away, thus saw no need to password protect his system. In addition, the condominium unit was comprised of older retirees and he thought he had nothing to fear since he doubted that his neighbors would steal his signal.

The FBI placed a trap on his system and discovered someone stealing the signal from a boat docked in the marina. A subsequent search located the culprit and found thousands of pornographic photographs in the suspect’s possession and an arrest was made.

This story brought to light the necessity for securing one’s home router from intruders. Besides people being able to grab your signal at no charge, there is also the problem of slowing down your own network capabilities. As an example, if someone were on your network streaming a video to their system, your broadband connection would slow down. For those of us who use a cabled broadband connection, we know when others on the block are grabbing bandwidth since the Internet appears sluggish.

One of the key ingredients to secure your system properly is to use a password called a ‘key’ to secure your system. Use a key that would be difficult for someone to guess. I use an old phone number including area code for one reason: I can remember what the secret key is.

No matter what type of password you use, the important thing is that you use one and secure your network from outsiders. Having an unsecured network can only lead to problems like the gentleman in Florida painfully learned.

How to Create a Network Between Two Computers Without a Router

LockerGnome reader Frank asks, “I have 2 laptops and I want to share my DSL connection without a router. Laptop 1 has Windows 7 and the DSL connection and Laptop 2 has Windows XP. So, what do I need to do to share my DSL conection between the 2 laptops?”

To start, let’s get one thing out of the way. A router is the absolute best way for most home networks to share a connection to the internet. Yes, some advanced users have an old system set up as a home server and basic router, while others have a more complex network of systems and switches. For the majority of users, however, you really can’t go wrong with a router. These have become very inexpensive over the years.

That said, if you still want to accomplish this with two notebook computers and a DSL modem, you can. Each notebook will require a working Wi-Fi card and your Windows 7 machine will also need an open and working ethernet port.

  1. Connect the DSL modem to the Windows 7 machine’s ethernet port and check connection. If you have access to the web, continue to step 2.
  2. Open the Network and Sharing Center on your Windows 7 notebook and click on the icon called “”Set up a new connection or network.”
  3. At this point you’ll begin setting up what’s referred to as an “ad hoc” network. This is a network that is managed by the computer itself without the need of a router.
  4. Pick a name and enter a security code for your network. The name will be what you look for in the next step.
  5. In your Windows XP notebook, look for possible connections in the wireless manager. You should see the network you just named after a minute or two.
  6. Test your internet connection on the XP machine.

Once these steps are completed, you should have a successful network set up between two machines. Keep in mind that additional firewall protection and other features routers provide may not be available on an ad hoc network.

This is a similar setup to a home network established by putting two ethernet cards in a single machine and connecting another machine or a switch to it. It’s not a well managed network, but resources such as an internet connection can be shared across.

How Do You Turn an iPhone Into a Wi-Fi Hotspot?

LockerGnome reader Greg asks, “Can I share a tethered Web connection from the iPhone with multiple computers?”

Before I begin to suggest a method for accomplishing what I believe Greg is asking for, I’d like to state up front that Greg lives outside of the U.S. and I’m giving this advice with the assumption that he has an account with his carrier that allows for this kind of use. There are a few methods to go about accomplishing a shared Internet connection through the iPhone or iPad with other devices in your home.

First, there is a built-in feature on current iOS versions that turn your iPhone in to a personal hotspot. Using this method, you can connect up to five devices to your iPhone and share your data connection with them. Keep in mind, though, that many carriers and plans have caps on the amount of data you can send and/or receive. This limit can easily be hit using a notebook or desktop as they are written with a data frugal mobile device in mind.

Another method of accomplishing this is through an app available for jailbroken iPhones called MyWi by a company named Intelliborn. MyWi is a tethering app that turns your iDevice into a portable Wi-Fi hotspot. This connection is both secure and can be customized to fit your needs. For example, you can set the Wi-Fi channel to avoid conflicts with other networks.

It will require you to jailbreak your iPhone, which may or may not be allowed by your local laws and regulations, so please check prior to taking this action. Jailbreaking is not recommended for anyone who isn’t absolutely comfortable with the idea of possibly voiding their warranty and “bricking” their phone. “Bricking” is a term used to describe a phone that is inoperable due to corrupted or otherwise dysfunctional software. If you are okay with the risks involved, Intelliborn has a step-by-step guide to enabling your iDevice for MyWi installation here.

Researchers Provide Insight Into The Impacts Of Too Much Communication

There should be an image here!Individuals within a networked system coordinate their activities by communicating to each other information such as their position, speed, or intention. At first glance, it seems that more of this communication will increase the harmony and efficiency of the network. However, scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that this is only true if the communication and its subsequent action are immediate.

Using statistical physics and network science, the researchers were able to find something very fundamental about synchronization and coordination: if there are sustained delays in communication between just two or three parts of a system, performance of the entire system will eventually collapse. The findings apply to any network system where individuals interact with each other to collectively create a better outcome. This ranges from a flock of birds suddenly dodging to the right in one unified movement to avoid a predator to balancing load in large-scale computer networks to the spread of a rumor throughout an online social network.

The findings were published last month in Physical Review Letters in a paper titled “Network Synchronization in a Noisy Environment with Times Delays: Fundamental Limits and Trade-Offs.” The findings were also highlighted among the Editors’ Suggestions for that week.

Previous studies by the researchers have revealed that the minute interactions between neighboring individuals, referred to as nodes, are the foundation for overall network performance. The fast, accurate, and balanced movement of information between neighboring nodes is what prevents the birds from scattering and allows a story to accurately spread on the Web.

But, as is frequently the case in real-world scenarios, what happens when the information from your neighbor is not up to date? What occurs when there are delays in the transmission or processing of the information between neighbors? The researchers utilized stochastic differential equations, a type of mathematical equation used to model the time evolution of complex systems with random variables, to determine what happens when delays are input into the system.

“When there are no delays, the more you communicate with your neighbor, the better global performance becomes,” said corresponding author for the paper and Associate Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy Gyorgy Korniss. “If there are delays, for a while performance will increase, but even if you work harder to better communicate with your neighbors, eventually performance will decrease until it reaches zero.

“Understanding the impact of delays can enable network operators to know when less communication effort can actually be more efficient for overall performance.”

Their equations show that the larger the delay between nodes, the faster the overall coordination of the system will deteriorate. The work also reveals that, even with delays, there is a window of time where increasing communication will improve performance.

But, after a point, you also need to know when to “shut up,” Korniss explained. After a certain period of poor communication, he said, no matter how fast or accurate you attempt to make your future communication, all communication is counterproductive.

“Our conclusion that coordination can sometimes be restored by decreasing node connectivity offers an important perspective on today’s world with its abundance of connectivity in social and technological systems, raising the question of their stability,” said study co-author Boleslaw Szymanski, Rensselaer’s Claire & Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor of Computer Science. Szymanski also serves as director of the Social Cognitive Network Academic Research Center (SCNARC) at Rensselaer.

The work, which is part of SCNARC, could be extended to real-life cases such a social or economic network. An example could be predicting the response of global markets to the trading of specific stocks, according to the researchers. The equations could someday help network operators to get the biggest pay off from each communication and develop an even stronger understanding of the power of the individual in mass communication.

[Photo above by kozumel / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Gabrielle DeMarco @ Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Scientists Develop Device To Enable Improved Global Data Transmission

There should be an image here!Researchers have developed a new data transmission system that could substantially improve the transmission capacity and energy efficiency of the world’s optical communication networks.

Transmission of data through optical networks is currently limited by ‘phase noise’ from optical amplifiers and ‘cross talk’ induced by interaction of the signal with the many other signals (each at a different wavelength) simultaneously circulating through the network. ‘Phase noise’ is the rapid, short-term, random fluctuations in the phase of a signal, which affects the quality of the information sent and results in data transmission errors. ‘Cross talk’ refers to any signal unintentionally affecting another signal.

Now, researchers working on the EU-funded FP7 PHASORS project, led by the University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), have announced a major advance in the potential elimination of this interference.

Traditionally optical data has been sent as a sequence of bits that were coded in the amplitude of the light beam, a system that was simple and practical but inefficient in its use of bandwidth. Until recent years, this wasn’t a problem given the enormous data-carrying capacity of an optical fibre. However, the introduction of bandwidth-hungry video applications, such as YouTube, and the continued growth of the internet itself have led to increasing interest in finding more efficient data signalling formats — in particular, schemes that code data in the phase rather than amplitude of an optical beam.

In a paper published this week in the journal Nature Photonics, scientists on the PHASORS project announced the development of the first practical phase sensitive amplifier and phase regenerator for high-speed binary phase encoded signals. This device, unlike others developed in the past, eliminates the phase noise directly without the need for conversion to an electronic signal, which would inevitably slow the speeds achievable.

The device takes an incoming noisy data signal and restores its quality by reducing the build up of phase noise and also any amplitude noise at the same time.

ORC Deputy Director and PHASORS Director, Professor David Richardson comments: “This result is an important first step towards the practical implementation of all-optical signal processing of phase encoded signals, which are now being exploited commercially due to their improved data carrying capacity relative to conventional amplitude coding schemes.

“Our regenerator can clean noise from incoming data signals and should allow for systems of extended physical length and capacity. In order to achieve this result, a major goal of the PHASORS project, has required significant advances in both optical fibre and semiconductor laser technology across the consortium. We believe this device and associated component technology will have significant applications across a range of disciplines beyond telecommunications — including optical sensing, metrology, as well as many other basic test and measurement applications in science and engineering.”

The PHASORS project, which started in 2008, was tasked with developing new technology and components to substantially improve the transmission capacity and energy efficiency of today’s optical communication networks.

The project combines the world-leading expertise of research teams from the ORC, Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), The Tyndall National Institute at University College Cork (Ireland), the National and Kapodestrian University of Athens (Greece), and leading industrial partners Onefive GmbH (Switzerland), Eblana Photonics (Ireland) and OFS (Denmark).

[Photo above by Stacina / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Glenn Harris @ University of Southampton

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Dr. Mitola And Cognitive Radio Are Featured On Computing Now

There should be an image here!Dr. Joseph Mitola III, Vice President for the Research Enterprise at Stevens Institute of Technology, is the subject of a recent article on Computing Now which details the benefits and development of Cognitive Radio (CR), the intelligent wireless technology coined by Dr. Mitola in 1999.

“Radio communications are becoming increasingly complex as more devices — including laptops, cellular phones, and even sensors — compete for limited bandwidth in various frequency ranges,” says author George Lawton. “In addition, devices must conform in a growing number of ways to user needs, corporate policies, and government regulations. Proponents say cognitive radios — currently the subject of considerable research and early implementation — appear to answer these challenges.”

CR is an emerging radio approach championed by Stevens Institute of Technology in which transceivers are combined with sensors, intelligence, and adaptability. These capabilities will enable radios that monitor transmissions and the network environment and change parameters such as frequency, energy-usage levels, and protocols to adapt as necessary.

CR augments RF awareness via a database of licensed users of the slices of spectrum being analyzed, as well as their geographic coordinates. This technology would also detect spectrum users that aren’t working via RF, such as TV broadcasters. “Location awareness is an important new dimension of cognitive radio,” says Stevens Professor Yingying (Jennifer) Chen, “FCC datbases provide a starting point, but high fidelity location accurate to centimeters rather than the ten meters of GPS is an important emerging research area.”

The article goes into detail on the network protocols and methods on which CR is built. It concludes by identifying target markets and traditional technologies that CR may revolutionize. Among these are military uses, particularly for interoperability among radios using different technologies and spectrum ranges. Television is another avenue; “In the UK and the US, regulators are considering opening up TV white space — frequencies allocated to a television service but not used — for unlicensed wireless communications applications.” Cognitive Radio may also be used by cellular providers in dramatically reducing interference.

As evidenced by the array of interested parties in CR, Dr. Mitola and the research being conducted at Stevens Institute of Technology are addressing the needs of industry and providing critical information. In fact, Dr. Mitola recently concluded a European trip in which he delivered keynote addresses to international wireless conferences: SMi International Software Radio conference; and CrownCom 2010 International Conference on Cognitive Radio Oriented Wireless Networks and Communication

“Security and the high costs of porting applications from last years’ handset to the new multicore network on chip offer significant new research opportunities,” explained Dr. Mitola in his CrownCom keynote address.

Joseph Mitola III, Ph.D. @ Stevens Institute of Technology

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Princeton Explains Network Issues For iPad Users And Has Banned The Devices Until Apple Finds A Fix

Several colleges, including Cornell and Princeton, have banned the Apple iPad from connecting to the college networks until Apple can apply a fix. It seems that the connectivity issues involves the iPad not releasing an IP address even when the lease has expired and the device is assumed by the owner to have disconnected. It is because the device does not disconnect that the college networks are concerned since the same IP could be leased to another device.

In an official explanation Princeton states the follow:

When a DHCP client malfunctions this way repeatedly, Princeton blocks the device from using those campus network services which rely on the device’s DHCP client respecting lease times. These include our wireless services. We do this to protect other customers of those services from the disruptions caused by the malfunctioning devices.

Within a few days of the iPad’s arrival, we had seen enough incidents from those iPads already on campus to conclude that there was a problem. Roughly half the iPads atached to our network had malfunctioned in the same way; the symptoms all matched the description above. Because the problems were so common and began as soon as the iPads arrived, we felt it unlikely that the problem was due to customer misconfiguration. It seemed more likely to be an issue common to the iPad/iPhone OS 3.2 platform. We collected technical data and reported the issue to Apple on April 7. Given the symptoms we have seen, we hope that it is due to some bug in iPhone OS 3.2 and can be addressed via a software update.

Since then, we’ve found that we can reliably reproduce the problem by allowing the iPad to lock its screen before DHCP lease renewal time, and then allowing it remain in its “locked screen” state until the DHCP lease has expired. (This assumes the iPad experiences no 802.11 wireless disconnect/reconnect events during that time.) Detailed steps to reproduce the problem appear below.

Some media reports have concluded that Princeton discovered (or diagnosed) a WiFi issue with the iPad, sometimes reporting that the issue Princeton has seen is the cause of iPad WiFi signal issues or connectivity issues others may have described. This conclusion is inaccurate; the issue Princeton has seen is a DHCP client issue. We have not experienced (or diagnosed) a WiFi signal or connectivity issue with the iPad.

But this situation may also be affecting home users as well, according to another report:

As we reported earlier this month, quite a few iPad owners have experienced WiFi connectivity issues with their devices. There seems to be a wide variety of issues, ranging from bad WiFi reception to regular drops on the WiFi connection because of what looks to be a bug in how the iPad connects to some routers.

But there is good news. It seems that Apple will be able to fix these problems with a simple upgrade.

Comments welcome.

Source – Princeton

Source – Read,Write,Web

1100 Cities Apply For Google Broadband Testing – What Is The Purpose?

When Google first announced that it was looking for cities in which to test its new broadband capabilities, the assumption was that Google was going into the broadband business. For years we have hoped that Google would some day offer consumers an advertised supported network for cell phones and also for broadband use. The hope was that Google would be offering cell phones and an operating system that the company would offer for free and that we consumers would benefit from the free services that the company would provide.

Reality is that this may not be the case. It seems that the main purpose of the Google broadband experiment is to push the broadband big boys and force them to offer their services to those in rural areas. So what’s next?

Google’s going to start narrowing down the applications into those that are actually feasible, and will then be paying those communities a visit to discuss possible plans with community leaders, political representatives, and various other organizations. They’re hoping to come up with a single name by the end of the year, a city in which the new network can reach at least 50,000 and not more than 500,000 people.

The Google blog site indicates its purpose as follows:

Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make Internet access better and faster for everyone. Here are some specific things that we have in mind:

  • Next generation apps: We want to see what developers and users can do with ultra high-speeds, whether it’s creating new bandwidth-intensive “killer apps” and services, or other uses we can’t yet imagine.
  • New deployment techniques: We’ll test new ways to build fiber networks, and to help inform and support deployments elsewhere, we’ll share key lessons learned with the world. Openness and choice: We’ll operate an “open access” network, giving users the choice of multiple service providers. And consistent with our past advocacy, we’ll manage our network in an open, non-discriminatory and transparent way.

The key word here is ‘experiment.’ It does not seem that Google has any intention of getting into the broadband business.

Comments welcome.


Google blog site

Sony Advice For PS3 Users – Don’t Use The Unit

Apparently users of the Sony PS3 are the victims of a bad update which are causing problems for those trying to log on to the network. Sony is advising users not to use their units until a fix becomes available. Newer PS3 Slim units are not affected. So what happened? It seems a flawed software update is being blamed which cause the following errors:

According to Sony, errors include:

  • The date of the PS3 system may be re-set to Jan 1, 2000.
  • When the user tries to sign-in to the PlayStation Network, the following message appears on the screen; “An error has occurred. You have been signed out of PlayStation Network (8001050F).”
  • When the user tries to launch a game, the following error message appears on the screen and the trophy data may disappear; “Failed to install trophies. Please exit your game.”
  • When the user tries to set the time and date of the system via the Internet, the following message appears on the screen; “The current date and time could not be obtained. (8001050F)”
  • Users are not able to playback certain rental video downloaded from the PlayStation Store before the expiration date.

So until Sony comes up with a new fix, users should avoid the network. It is also unclear exactly how Sony is going to provide the fix for users.

Sony said it would take about 24 hours for a fix to be issued.

Comments welcome.


Wireless Industry May Have To Introduce Tiered Pricing – Cites Data Strain On Network

After years of offering unlimited access plans to their networks, some wireless carriers are reeling from the popularity of mobile devices. In what can only be described as a ‘data rush’, some users may be over welcoming their stay, and causing network slowdowns. When I first read about this problem it reminded me of what Comcast was doing by throttling some users Internet access, because the company felt some users were hogging bandwidth. But is this the real issue or just a smoke screen to raise pricing?

The deal between Apple and AT&T is a great example on how two companies joined forces to offer a closed network to consumers. I am sure that Apple could not of known just how popular their iPhone would be. They also may not of known how many applications would be developed to use with the iPhone, last count I heard was over 100,000 and counting. So in their deal with AT&T, they had a lucrative deal in which consumers would be locked into a two year contract with AT&T and both companies would rake in the dough. But wait. Didn’t AT&T know that people were going to suck bandwidth with all of the apps Apple would be offering?

In a recent article it also states:

Ralph de la Vega, chief executive of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, caused a stir at an investment bank conference last week when he said the company is seeking ways to curb high usage by data hogs — namely, iPhone users. The executive said 3 percent of iPhone users account for 40 percent of traffic.

“If 3 are costing 40 percent, then we’re going to focus on making sure we give incentives to those small percentages to either reduce or modify their usage, so they don’t crowd out the other customers in the same cell sites,” de la Vega said. For the longer term, he said AT&T might consider “some sort of pricing scheme that addresses the usage.”

De la Vega said any new pricing would comply with Federal Communications Commission regulations on Net neutrality, or ensuring that applications and content are treated equally. Internet service providers have faced government scrutiny and consumer ire in previous attempts to limit heavy data usage.

My question would be how accurate are these figures? How can any of us trust anyone in corporate America after the banking mess, wall street fiasco and auto industry ineptness that has cost us taxpayers millions. At a time when we consumers are disgusted with big business one would think they would keep their big mouths shut and ramp up their networks to meet demands.

My feeling is that these people are full of crap and just want to bilk more money from us. What about you? What is your opinion?

Comments welcome.


Will Operation Chokehold Bring AT&T To Their Knees?

Over at The Fake Diary of Steve Jobs there is a protest scheduled for December 18, 2009, Friday at high noon PST. The protest is against AT&T and their remarks that their network slows down because some users hog bandwidth. Recently though AT&T has promised users in San Francisco and New York more bandwidth after thousands have complained of poor service in those areas.

Here is what the protest will be:

Subject: Operation Chokehold
On Friday, December 18, at noon Pacific time, we will attempt to overwhelm the AT&T data network and bring it to its knees. The goal is to have every iPhone user (or as many as we can) turn on a data intensive app and run that app for one solid hour. Send the message to AT&T that we are sick of their substandard network and sick of their abusive comments. THe idea is we’ll create a digital flash mob. We’re calling it in Operation Chokehold. Join us and speak truth to power!

AT&T is labeling this as nothing more than a stunt and is dismissing it. As well they should. After all, users of the AT&T network should feel privileged to be paying for spotty service. Isn’t that the American way? Steal from the consumer to line your own pockets.

What do you think? Will this type of protest get the attention of AT&T or is it just a waste of time?

Comments welcome.


Windows 7 – Watch Out For HomeGroup, Clean Installs From Upgrade Media and Setup A Network Printer

I am going to be quick and to the point. This is from Neowins HomeGroup site:

Remember that HomeGroup works only with Windows 7 machines and it does not support Vista or XP.

If you try to use HomeGroup it will not work with other machines on the network. Unless of course they are W7 boxes.

How to do a clean install using a  Windows 7 upgrade disk:

Here’s how to clean install Windows 7 using Upgrade media and a new or reformatted PC with no installed OS.

First, perform a normal clean install of the OS by booting the PC with the Upgrade Setup disc and stepping through Setup.

After performing the clean install, ensure that there are no Windows Updates pending that would require a system reboot. (You’ll see an orange shield icon next to Shutdown in the Start Menu if this is the case).

Then, open regedit.exe with Start Menu Search and navigate to:


Clean Install Windows 7 with Upgrade Media

Change MediaBootInstall from “1” to “0”.

Open the Start Menu again and type cmd to display a shortcut to the Command Line utility. Right-click this shortcut and choose “Run as administrator.” Handle the UAC prompt.

In the command line window, type: slmgr /rearm

Then tap ENTER, close the command line window and reboot. When Windows 7 reboots, run the Activate Windows utility, type in your product key and activate windows. It should just work.

Oh yeah. I learned this also this weekend. If you want to contact a printer through a print server via a wireless connection try this. Set the printer up as a local printer first. Next set it up as a network printer. Delete the local printer and viola. It worked for me.

Comments welcome.

Neowin site

Supersite for Windows

Netgear’s Network Drive – Will Anyone Buy It?

Netgear is offering a network drive system in which a home user could store all of their documents, photos, music, whatever in one location. The files would be available to all computers on the home network. But there is one question that is tough to answer, and that is: who is going to use it?

Microsoft tried with its Home Server software, which has not been very successful. Now it is Netgear’s turn to try something new. A recent article states:

The Stora comes with a 1 terabyte drive …

… with space for a second drive that would serve as an automatically updated back-up copy. Its software makes it easy to gather media files and documents from computers on a home network, as well as to share them with any compatible device on the network (it follows the DLNA standard for recognizing and communicating with consumer electronics). It also acts as a Web server, enabling people to access their files via the Net when they’re away from home. Such features may be found on competing products, but Netgear argues that it offers more capabilities for the money.

The company may overcome the ease-of-use problems that have plagued some of its rivals, but the Stora can’t serve as a truly comprehensive digital storehouse because it’s flummoxed by DRM. That means it can’t store authorized copies of Hollywood movies, whether they’re downloaded from an online store such as Sonic’s CinemaNow or transferred from a DVD or Blu-ray disc. All of those files come encased in DRM. In fact, they come in one of several incompatible flavors of DRM.

Drew Meyer, Netgear’s director of marketing for storage products, said the Stora is “not designed to be the portal through which you stream the stuff you buy from the cloud.” Instead, he said, “we fully expect people to rip their Blu-ray discs onto the drive.” Umm, but Hollywood hasn’t enabled disc ripping — in fact, it’s done everything it can to stop it. Witness the lawsuits against RealNetworks and Kaleidescape, two companies that sold products that ripped DVDs into more secure computer files. Meyer may have been stating the obvious — people who want to create home-video jukeboxes can easily find disc-ripping software online. Yet that’s probably a bridge too far for the average consumer. It’s just not as easy to load movies onto the Stora as it is to move MP3 files. And until that day comes, the Stora will have a hard time leveraging the increasing penetration of connected TV sets. I mean, it’s nice to be able to view one’s digital photos on the big screen in the living room, but that’s not as compelling as being able to play any movie instantly from your DVD and Blu-ray collection.

My question is this: Do you use a network with files available to all computers or other devices in your home? If you do, how is it working for you?

Comments welcome.


What Is Keeping Verizon From Being No. 1? Hint: Terrible Phones!

Here in the U.S. we have all seen the Verizon advertisements on TV, which shows a group of Verizon people following around a user. No matter where the user goes there is always a Verizon connection even when someone says that the area is a dead zone. For the most part this is true since Verizon, after its acquisition of Alltel, does appear to have the largest network. So what keeps the company from being No. 1?

Some are saying it is its terrible phone offerings. Compared to the Apple iPhone, Verizon is struggling in trying to offer a comparable phone with its superb service. In a current news article it also states that:

It’s a puzzling situation for Verizon. The wireless carrier has had the most customers of any cellular operator in the country since its 2008 acquisition of Alltel, and it’s widely regarded as having the largest network coverage area. So the fact that it can’t offer its customers better smartphones is a bit of a mystery.

Verizon’s extremely conservative approach to new handsets, the company’s long and rigorous testing procedures and its emphasis on the network rather than the phone has created a portfolio that’s a complete buzz kill, say experts.

“Verizon doesn’t have too many options,” says Michael Mace, a former executive with Palm and Apple who runs a strategy and marketing consulting firm called Rubicon Consulting. “They can’t get the iPhone right now and they can’t take Nokia devices and start promoting them. All they can do all they can do is push the BlackBerry as hard as they can and hope for a new Motorola phone.” (Nokia largely makes GSM phones, which won’t work on Verizon’s CDMA network, though the Finnish phone manufacturer has created a select few devices to run on the Verizon network.)

Not surprisingly, Verizon spokesperson Brenda Raney says the carrier would rather focus on its network than on the gadgets that use it.

“Keep in mind that for Verizon Wireless, it isn’t so much about the device as it is about the delivery,” she says. “We have the nation’s largest 3G network so when we offer devices on our network, customers can be assured that they will deliver as promised.”

So what is important to you? Good, reliable service? Or the style of phone you buy?

Comments welcome.


It’s pretty clear that Verizon didn’t deliberately choose to be the boring-but-predictable, safe but unexciting choice. In some ways, it simply got overtaken by the technology.