Speed Bump

Tired of SBC/Yahoo! dropping our DSL connection two or three times a day, and slobbering over the promise of 3Mbps, made the jump from DSL to Comcast cable today (our contract was about to expire anyway). Expected the worst, but the install couldn’t have gone smoother (including Le Cable Dude stringing coax to the other side of the house, making child’s play of the impossibly cramped rabbit hole we call a crawl space. 30 minutes later, we’re ripping.

Had heard some bad things about DNS latency issues with cable connections, but so far it’s running like an electric pig slathered in deep-fat-fried butterballs (that’s a good thing). Ran the dslreports speed test just before disconnecting DSL and then again just after bringing up the cable:

SBC/Yahoo! DSL:
622kbps down
309kbps up
57ms latency
Comcast cable:
2956kbps down
1423 up
59ms latency

IOTW, nearly 5x faster in both directions, at roughly the same price. What remains to be seen is whether Comcast will extend the introductory rate indefinitely, as SBC had offered to do.

Compare to average broadband speeds in other countries:

Average broadband download speed in the US is 1.9 Mbps. It is 61 Mbps in Japan, 45 Mbps in South Korea, 18 Mbps in Sweden, 17 Mpbs in France, and 7 Mbps in Canada.

Coda: Called in to cancel the SBC service, and selected “Disconnect service” from the phone tree menu — which of course landed me on hold for 40 minutes. Finally couldn’t wait anymore, so Amy said she’d try it later in the day. She waited on hold for 20 minutes, then hung up and called back. This time she selected “Connect new service.” Big surprise, she was talking to a helpful rep in 2 minutes flat. The rep asked why we were canceling. Amy: “Because the service sucked.” Rep: “So I’ll just write down ‘Customer regrets that they were unable to resolve technical difficulties with the service.'” Amy: “Could you also write that the customer regrets that she and her husband were made to wait over an hour on hold between the two of them?” Rep: “Sorry about that. Amy: “Could you also write down that the customer regrets that AT&T chose to have her listen to “Message in a Bottle” while on hold?” The rep dutifully wrote down her comments, then read them back. “Customer regrets having to listen to Message in a Bottle while on hold.” “Anything else?” “That’ll do it,” Amy responded. And that was that. File under “Reasons why I love my wife, #246.”

Music: Stereolab :: One Note Samba-Surfboard

Karl Rove and the DNS

Want to subpoena some gubmint email? Might be tough if the correspondents are using addresses @gwb43.com (think about that domain name for a second) rather than @whitehouse.gov.

whois gwb43.com

Republican National Committee
310 First Street SE
Washington, DC 20003

Domain Name: GWB43.COM

Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
Republican National Committee dns@RNCHQ.ORG
310 First Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
999 999 9999 fax: 999 999 9999

Record expires on 16-Jan-2008.
Record created on 16-Jan-2004.
Database last updated on 4-Apr-2007 11:54:31 EDT.

Domain servers in listed order:


Who administers TRESPASSERS-W.NET? A little outfit called Coptix. And here’s Karl Rove with a Coptix brochure under his arm. Coptix claims the image has been Photoshopped, the brochure added artificially; Correntwire disagrees.

But let’s not get hung up on the photo. Whether Rove is involved in this or not, the law requires that public business be conducted on a public server. But Karl Rove does about 95% of his email through the RNC-controlled account — which is listed in DNS with a false phone number (illegal). Bypassing government-provided DNS servers gives the RNC the ability to bypass public oversight, to make a quick phone call and change email forwarding options in DNS, or to have email records destroyed, away from taxpayer’s prying eyes. Feeling warm-n-fuzzy yet?

More info.

Thanks Hamrah

Music: Akron/Family :: Franny / You’re Human

Lord of the Flies

Got an inadvertent up-close view into the reality of the internet experience for millions of people today, when I received a fairly typical spam message from a smoking cessation program. But rather than the usual spam-feeding mechanisms used by spammers, they had sent their message out through a Mailman listserve, to which I and thousands of others had been subscribed against our will.

For mysterious/bizarre reasons, the spammer had changed the default Reply-To header from “reply to sender” to “reply to list,” which meant that every screaming unsub request* was re-broadcast to thousands. Apparently not realizing it was a listserve, dozens of recipients thought the unsub requests were directed to them. The thread quickly snowballed into a cavalcade of confusion and name-calling — the blind leading the blind in a flurry of misunderstanding.

*Nevermind the fact that unsub instructions were clearly written at the bottom of each message, people tried the old stand-bys — write in all caps and scream in the message body to be released from the madness… or else!!!

Something perverse in me made me stay subbed for much of the day, just to see how this little Lord of the Flies experiment would play out. Notes: Thousands of people have no idea that responding to a listserve will broadcast your response to all recipients. Repeated “But I don’t even smoke!” messages reveal an apparently deep-seated belief that spam is somehow targeted at individuals rather than carpet-bombed. Each recipient seemed to think that each unsub demand was directed to them – which reveals how many people have never been on a listserve before, have absolutely no idea what they’re experiencing. Everyone threatens to rat the spammer out to their own ISP (“If you don’t stop, I’ll tell AOL on you!”). Even after hundreds of repetitions, people are not able to infer that all replies are being refelected to all — which made me wonder how people get through the day to begin with.

Pasted below – a dozen or so examples of today’s madness.
Continue reading “Lord of the Flies”