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jr conlin
A sad discard from an experiment in natural intellegence.
A sad discard from an experiment in natural intellegence.


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I like watching King of Random from time to time, mostly because he does pleasantly dangerous things and is careful to describe both how to do them and how not to die while doing them. I've noted that he's recently taken to do infomercials for products like this: I'll admit, these devices do look rather keen. They wire up your house and bring the promise of an internet of things to you today. What's not to love? Turns out, privacy and control. Kind of an issue, really.

Well, a lot really. Mostly because I'm deeply paranoid and understand that if I have access to a Thing on the Internet, chances are exceptionally good, so do folks I'd rather not have access to said thing. Bad guys both with and without government oversight can and will do naughty things to you and whatever you give them, so being a bit paranoid is a good thing.

I'll note that I, too, subscribe to Kevin Kelly's Manual First ideal <> (Basically, before you buy something, go read the manual.) In this case, I wanted to know if these things actually need to have a live internet connection in order to work.

In essence, I have some wired devices on my home LAN that are not going outside of the LAN. This means that if I want to do anything with them, I have to find my home IP address, ssh in, and proxy calls to the devices. A bit annoying but I can tightly control these things.

Sadly, looks like the WeMo things require a live connection. <> Basically, if you want them to actually do anything, they have to go through the Belkin servers. Also pointed out here <> with the "SDK" page. Sad that I can't just set up a web page or set of crons to do much of this.

This is even sadder when you consider that they already note a number of security exploits they've patched <> and we know that those are only the ones they know about.

So, yeah. Skip this and stick with arduinos or raspberry pi's for now. Frankly, it's not worth exposing your house to 4chan quite yet.
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+Steve Keller Obviously would enjoy Cat facts and buying lots of Cat products for his construction business.
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Huh, Apparently I can't set my "mood" to nothing.

So, instead, I'll just use an obscene Italian gesture.
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I'm pretty sure the g+ android widget exists just to troll itself.

"Hey! Here's the posts you saw last time you went into g+. I mean it's not like people you know or follow post things here."
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So, for various reasons, I have to use one of the two major Broadband services in my area, and stop using the indie service. This makes me deeply sad for any number of reasons, but the one that absolutely drives me insane is the idea that both large providers have data caps.

Let me note, for the record, that I usually consume somewhere on the order of 15GB a week (spiking up to 25GB during server upgrades), so my consumption is well below either cap. I don't stream music 24x7 and I don't constantly watch 1080i movies in a near lossless format, so I don't expect to be hitting the bandwidth cap anytime soon.

So, why do bandwidth caps bother me so much? Because they're dumb from any rational point of view.

AT&T is a Tier 1 provider. That means that they don't have to pay for transit of their own data (since they own the pipes, so to speak). Comcast is not (officially) a Tier 1, but since they have an effective lock on the "last mile" of nearly everyone's internet connection, and that network is itself interconnected via their own hardware, they also don't have to pay for transit of their own data.

Granted, data transit cost is effectively "How much does electricity cost + depreciation for equipment". Bits, in spite of the hopes and dreams of Software businesses and a few folks in LA, don't actually cause wear and tear. There's some heat generated, but honestly, unless they're abusing their equipment, it's well within the operating range and general lifespan.

So, back to the "cap" idea.

AT&T (the company that pays nothing to send data around, and also gets quite a lot of revenue from you and everyone else for being a backbone) has a rate cap of 250GB per month. Using my handy calculator ( that works out to be around 1.5 days of non-stop internetting at 18Gb per second.

Think about that.

If you wanted to pull down one quarter of the standard drive being sold in most computer laptops right now (1TB), it would take around a day and a half, and then you'd be out of internets for the next 28 days.

The internet would continue to work just fine for everyone else. While you're pulling down that 250GB, things might slow down a tad for some of your neighbors, but not really appreciably so. And then you'd be declared "done" for the month.

Want to go for a higher speed? Say the super zippy 45Gb? Fantastic! For the extra cost, you get that 250GB in about 12 hours and then you're offline for the next 29.5 days. Good investment, huh?

The first of every month must be the worst day in the world to try and do anything on the internet. Granted, I've absolutely never had a problem going anywhere or doing anything on that day, but then, I've only stuck to major and minor services offering various forms of content on those days.

It's like going to a car lot. You're shown a variety of cars. Some are hybrids, some are race cars. Each priced differently. The only problem is that you're only allowed to drive 3000 miles per month.
That's not a problem, right? That's nearly cross country!

Or 30 days of 5 mile commutes. (ok, 22 days of communting, leaving you a bonus of 40 miles for the weekends.)  I mean, 29% of americans commute between 1-5 miles to work <> , so that's completely reasonable, right?

And let's just hope you don't want to drive from SF to LA or anything, because otherwise you're going to have to walk to work a few days.


I wish there was real competition in this market.

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I wasn't really sure what to do with my personal domain (other than use it for email, so I rigged up a crappy link redirecter. I also like the idea of putting my name first when I want to go to places like Facebook. ("Congratulations, Facebook! A URL with your name is available at")

The other odd benefit is that I collect the various unresolved URLs that come in. Why is this interesting? Because I can then see what the script kiddies are up to.

Obviously, most of these attacks are on PHP apps. (Honestly, if you run PHP, never give it write access. To anything.  Ever.)

I'm half tempted to publish the set of URLs just so folks can see what's being probed.
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Friendly Reminder:

This weekend is brought to you by the American Liquor Institute.

Liquor: It's what runs the Internet.

Drink Irresponsibly, then hit Send.
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The only problem with getting Goat Simulator on Steam is that I have to play the far less fun "A Steam Update is Available".
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I am oddly impressed and depressed by how many folks take beverages as some form of religion.

The wife wanted one of those one cup, insta-coffee maker things that uses pods. This is because I don't drink coffee and she doesn't know how to make pots smaller than 4 cups and have it not taste like crap to her.

Me being a geek, I figured i'd go figure out which one would be the best. We went with a Keurig Mini for $80. We also got a refillable pod doo-hickey as well so she can use up the coffee she has or get non pod based coffee distributions if desired. This is because the K-Cup is currently the default standard for packet coffee delivery and I figured it's best to go with whatever the standard happens to be.

Of course, while reading up on all of this, I read the comments.

Yeah, I know, but damn if folks aren't huge snobs.

"Well, if you've suffered brain damage and think that sort of crap is drinkable, fine, but I prefer fresh roasted, hand ground using only Southern American lava grindstones and cooked to a precise temperature of 102℃."

Dude. It's a cup of coffee. It's dried bean soup.

And it's not just coffee. There are wine snobs, beer snobs, tea snobs, even soda snobs. It's fine to have an opinion, I prefer Belgian Blonde Ales, and enjoy Typhoo Black Pekoe tea. I'll guess that you might prefer Indian Black IPAs and Earl Grey. Awesome! At least I know what to order the night before and the morning after.

The human palate and personal taste preference are driven by physiological and cultural experiences and thank Iron Chef, they're going to be different for everyone. Try new things, you may or may not like them. If folks like something you don't it just means they're getting rid of more of that stuff so you don't have to eat it.

But, Holy Cuppa folks, it's just a beverage.
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