tuzemi: (Default)
It has been about 7 years (shit I'm old) but as of today I have no more broadband at home.

The recent storms probably did something such that our cable modem - which was already a bit flaky - completely gave up the ghost. Rather than get a new one we just killed the service. We have already had two days of no broadband and it wasn't such a big deal.

Obviously we still have some kind of connectivity so I can post this: our iPhones work ok for light use. But I still feel like our house is a lot More serene.
tuzemi: (Default)
Not at work anymore!

The crappy thing with being in the "enterprise" industrial space -- and one which honestly is important to the nation's economic future -- is that Everyone Wants To Steal Our Stuff, so we have to Break The Internet To Save It. It was bad enough being forced to run Windows for everything, it was much worse being behind MS IISPROXY which only passes http and https. Now we're sitting behind proxies that block on these categories:


  • Open source and freeware: now I can't check my own bugs on the lunch hour, or look at open-source science software.

  • Social networking: doesn't hit me much, but a lot of others have to use their phones for Facebook.

  • Entertainment: including a surprising number of political blogs. Oh well, I'm likely not voting this year anyway.

  • Network hosting: which also kills a lot of blogs. It's either this category or something else that kills connectivity to my system at home too.

  • Non-IE browsers: so now I finally uninstalled Chrome.



Due to a number of differences between 2010 and now, this doesn't feel quite as isolating as my last job. I've got an iPhone for when I really need to get online. I've got a separate Linux box that I can legitimately use for work purposes, though I could lose access to the Debian repositories at any time; if that happens I can bring my personal netbook in for an afternoon. I've also got lots of interesting work that I can do at home, so I could make some home "research days" and have both the real Internet without too much hassle. Mostly I'm going through some kind of mid-life change where the Internet is much less emotionally interesting than it used to be. A lot of it reminds me now of the constant drone and hum of high school which I desperately sought to get out of. I tossed my Facebook a long time ago. Now I'm thinking of tossing my LinkedIn profile too, but I'll probably wait another year.

With so much effort to reign in the Internet with apparently a lot of public support in most places (yes, people want free music, but they're willing to pay for iTunes if it means those dirty hippies and atheists stop being all visible and shit), I think the pendulum is swinging back to the 1980's model of Locked Up Stuff, except where back then it was typewritten papers hiding in locked filing cabinets now it's Word documents hiding in AD-secured Sharepoint Document Libraries.
tuzemi: (Default)
I'm slowly divesting my Internet experience of Google products (at least those I know of).

I've removed Chrome from everything except one work PC (I've seen many others using Chrome but not Firefox, and the IE is not that great). The bad is speed: Chrome was definitely faster than my Iceweasel (Firefox) 3.6.x. However, installing a local caching DNS nameserver (unbound) has made an improvement at home: Charter's DNS servers are pretty slow up here.

I've made DuckDuckGo-over-SSL my primary search engine. The bang search is pretty neat: "!wiki whatever" takes you directly to Wikipedia's search, "!/. acer" searches Slashdot, etc. Plus I don't have that godawful annoying big arrow pointing to the Google+ profile button anymore.

Next up is an email replacement. I'm thinking about making sdf.org my permanent Internet home. They've been going strong since 1987, and have good support for the text-based tools. And I generally just use my gmail addresses as POP3 servers anyway. But I'm also thinking about getting a permanent domain and hosting mail off my own little Mac Mini in the back room, or maybe running Synchronet in VirtualBox and making a full mini-ISP-plus-BBS. I don't know, still thinking about it.

Google calendar, I'll probably keep for now. It's really just used to sync my iCal to iPhone. Replacing it probably isn't worth my time.

In retrospect, it's very subtle but switching to DuckDuckGo has in many ways made the Internet bigger again. The first few days I felt some annoyance like "I know something is out there and Google would know it", but not really. Most of what I need to find DDG finds pretty well, and it also bubbles up things I'm not used to seeing. It's like my habits got used to the "Google algorithm" and could almost predict the kinds of things it would bring up. I think the people complaining about Google morphing our concept of what the Internet really is may be onto something.

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tuzemi

May 2014

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