Again With The Why (Not “Y”… Yet)

Why would someone choose the Model 3 over the Chevy Bolt? The Bolt is available now (at least on the West Coast) and has a 200+ mile range. Again, it comes down to these few but critically important differences for me.

Continue reading “Again With The Why (Not “Y”… Yet)”

Comcast Gigabit Pro No-Go

I was intrigued to see if Comcast had Gigabit Pro fiber Internet service in my area, so I called to enquire about it. The CSR opened an inquiry ticket for me and someone called me back within two days and indicated that yes, they did have fiber in my area. The cost would be $300/month + $20/month equipment rental with a 2-year contract, a $500 install fee, and a $500 activation fee. For that I would get 2 Gbps symmetric Internet access! But they would need to do a “walk survey” to verify that my location was suitable for installation. I said go ahead. At this point I was getting excited and starting to plan for all of the great usage I would get out of this awesome bandwidth.

About a week later I got another call back from my rep and he said that the walk survey indicated I was good to go. He would set up a construction survey and within two to three weeks someone would get in touch with me to look at my residence and determine the best way to run fiber into my house! I decided to go ahead and order the network equipment I needed to be able to utilize 2 Gbps symmetrical Internet.

Two days later I got my final call back from Comcast and my rep said that when he submitted the construction ticket, the team got back to him and said there was “not a clear route to be able to provide services to your home.” The voicemail ended with him asking me to call them back in 6 months. 😦

This makes me sad. I realize that the service is kinda stupid expensive but would have been hella awesome nonetheless. I was talking it up to all of my coworkers, friends, and family, and would have been a bit of a word-of-mouth free marketing person (and Comcast desperately needs all the good PR it can get). Unfortunately it is not to be. I don’t believe I was told the whole truth on the telephone as to why Comcast doesn’t want to run fiber to my house. From my bedroom window I can see a marked Comcast fiber location less than 200 feet from my house! The feed into my residence is aerial (on a pole) so there wouldn’t even be a need to dig a trench. And to add insult to injury, I watched three of the four Comcast Metro-E area techs install the Gigabit Pro service at a nearby location on very the same day I got the rejection voicemail! It was apparently only their second install of the service in the area, and I was looking forward to working with them on my install.

It looks like my only alternative now is to get involved with my local government and support the build-out of our own municipal fiber service. In this last election the voters overwhelmingly approved the ability for my town to provide municipal broadband service, and from what I read, we have a feasibility study budgeted for next year. I will be pushing hard for this service to happen. When that happens, Comcast will be permanently losing a subscriber who could have been an early adopter of what could have been an awesome fiber Internet service.

UPDATE 2016-12-12:

I got some more information from inside Comcast via a colleague: the node that supports my house is a secondary node and not capable of supporting Gigabit Pro service, so it turns out the initial survey was in error. However, they will be upgrading it to a primary node sometime in 2017, so we will revisit next year….

Briefly How To Protect Your Civil E-Liberties

Some of you may be more worried now about your privacy and the protection of your civil liberties. I have been a long-time advocate for maintaining private, encrypted communications, and have stayed on top of the technology. Here are some things you should do, right now: Continue reading “Briefly How To Protect Your Civil E-Liberties”

What the Home Needs


I bet your Home product is pretty cool. I want to get one, but you have to do one thing first: make it support multiple users better than the Echo. I don’t want to say “switch profile” or some other nonsense. It needs to automatically differentiate between the voices of our household members. I wouldn’t mind training it. But it cannot simply assume only one person is using it.

Fix that and I’ll get one for us.

Watt-wise router migration

As part of a small project at work, I get to play around with this — shall we say electrically efficient — routing hardware. My reasons for switching (including having a virtualized router that was causing me some headaches) and install notes are basically the same as his, with a couple of exceptions:

  • I like to use ddrescue instead of dd for writing the install image to the USB drive, since it gives me a nice completion percentage and estimated time remaining. (I learned that some old USB drives I have are really slow.)
  • After installation, I tried multiple times to restore my existing configuration. The default console speed on my previous install was 9600, so that needs to be taken into account when connecting via USB serial console cable after the config restores and the device resets. I thought the dang thing was stuck.
  • I had some issues with DNS latency absolutely killing my install and upgrade times. Once I had restored the config, my DNS Resolver sources the /var/unbound/pfb_dnsbl.conf file created by pfBlocker, but since pfBlocker hadn’t been installed or run yet, DNS wouldn’t start, so I ended up installing it before the restore, and then manually running a force update after the restore. That fixed the DNS issues.

After some frustration with stability and latency connecting my virtual pfSense router to my cable and DSL modems, I decided to switch to a physical box. I selected the Netgate RCC-VE 2440 as my hardware platform, since it’s the same box that pfSense themselves use as their OEM bundle. It also checks all the boxes with a dual-core Atom CPU, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, and low-power fanless design. Here’s my first impression and installation notes!

Source: The Ideal pfSense Platform: Netgate RCC-VE 2440 – Stephen Foskett, Pack Rat

All Tesla Cars Being Produced Now Have Full Self-Driving Hardware

I rarely laugh out loud from pure joy, but I did watching this video, several times, in fact. Although the video is promotional and highly controlled, it reaffirms everything I’ve believed about the future of self-driving car technology, and I’m even more excited that we’re in line to purchase one of these cars.

Tesla also says they will demonstrate a coast-to-coast autonomous drive some time next year. I assume this means automatic charging, too.

Self-driving vehicles will play a crucial role in improving transportation safety and accelerating the world’s transition to a sustainable future. Full autonomy will enable a Tesla to be substantially safer than a human driver, lower the financial cost of transportation for those who own a car and provide low-cost on-demand mobility for those who do not.

Source: All Tesla Cars Being Produced Now Have Full Self-Driving Hardware