Tag Archives: connection

Find New Friends with Invisible Note

For those of you who may not already have enough friends and connections, DreamHost has come up with a new way of meeting people: Invisible Note. If you’re lonely and looking for a completely random person to connect with, this may be the service for you. There’s no stress that comes along with meeting face-to-face, nothing to get dressed up for, and no hands to shake.

When you visit the Invisible Note Web site, you will make up a random email address, consisting of [email protected]. That email will sit in the database waiting for the next person who chooses the same email address to come along. You’ll then be connected with each other. After all, if you chose the same words for an email address, you MUST be compatible, right?

The caveat, of course, is that your real email addresses will be exchanged once you’re matched up with someone. Might I suggest you create a free email solely for this purpose, such as with Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail? You can create something new and make it NOT identify with the real you in any way until such time as you are (maybe?) comfortable enough to share that information with your new pen pal.

I’m not sure, folks. On paper, this may sound like a fun and interesting research project. It seems more like a stalker-case waiting to happen to me, though. What are your thoughts? Will you try out Invisible Note for yourself?

The Future of the Internet


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Over on Lockergnome, Slick asked what our thoughts are on the future of the Internet. With speeds and capabilities ever-increasing, it can boggle the mind to think of what we’ll have available to us in 20 years or so. It will be funny to look back to the year 2010 and think about how SLOW we thought the connections we have now were.

It’s interesting that this question came up when it did. I learned today that Australia is going to be giving all of their citizens fiber-optic connections in their homes. Finland recently said that citizens have the RIGHT to broadband connections. How many other countries will soon realize that the only way to bring their land and their citizens into the future with free and easy access to the Internet?

We already know that the Internet is much more important than eating, drinking, sleeping or having somewhere nice to live, right? Maybe it’s not AS important as those other needs. However, I do think that it’s pretty high up on the list. Wherever you are, you need information. Getting info from the library isn’t practical these days. They’re great, yes, for certain things.

We have knowledge. How are we going to turn that knowledge into wisdom? The future of Internet connections is omnipresent. Anywhere you go and any device you have should be able to quickly connect to the Internet at any given moment of the day, without muss or fuss.

What are your thoughts? What do you think we’ll see in the future as far as the Internet and its connections and speeds go?

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Could Comcast Become Extreme?

Extreme Internet speeds from Comcast will apparently come at an extreme price. To those of us who work from home and rely on fast (and reliable) connections, no price is too high to pay for awesome download speeds. Well, in my case I need superb upload speeds. However, I digress…

Comcast has quietly unveiled an entirely new level of service that will become available in just a few days. Extreme 105 Cable service will offer download speeds of 105 Mbps, and upload speeds of 10 Mbps. Ohhh yeah baby! I can live with those, can’t you? However, as I said, something this extreme doesn’t come cheap. The cost for installation will run $249.00 and monthly service weighs in at $199.95 per month (plus modem rental cost).

There weren’t any official announcements about this service that I have come across. A customer noticed a small advertisement on his recent Comcast bill and called the company to find out more information. The notices on the bills you’re receiving this week aren’t a hoax. Comcast Extreme 105 really IS coming June 1st! Are you going to attempt to upgrade?

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What is Community?


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Not long ago, I had the opportunity to speak at WordCamp. My topic was “Community is already there, inside everyone”. This is something that I am passionate about. Much of my life is devoted to my community, and to the communities of others I choose to interact with.

I have been online for so many years, that I remember when the “Internet” as we know it now began. Seeing an old friend in the audience made me realize that that is what community is all about – getting to know people. The Internet is not so much a series of cables and wires as it is a connection between people.

I remember the first time I sat down in front of a computer to email someone, back in 1992. I sent an email to a person sitting not ten feet away from me. I knew at that moment that my life had just changed forever. It thrills me every day to wake up and check my email. It’s the connections that I make with people from all around the world that still amazes me to this day.

Community is already inside of you. There’s this idea of a Venn diagram out there. These are diagrams that show all hypothetically possible logical relations between a finite collection of people or things. You have these circles, and in between they cross over. I like coffee, and I also live in Seattle. And there are other people who also live in Seattle and like coffee. I also use Mac OS X. How many other people have these same interests?

At that point where everything kind of crosses over is where you find me. It’s who and what I am. I am this person – a walking Venn diagram. We all are. We’re multi-faceted. You carry these things wherever you go. That is community. It’s inside of you, and that’s why you can go from one website to a million others. It’s the experience that it helps you have.

It really bothers me when someone approaches me and informs me that they are going to create a new community, and it’s going to go “viral”. Do they really think all of this will just happen?! It doesn’t work that way, sorry to tell them.

Back in the day, I would connect with people using newsgroups and BBS’. I subscribed to lists of things to do online. It was a piece of text that was the definitive resource of what you could do on the Internet. You could only go to certain places to be able to communicate back then. It’s not that way anymore. Instead of community existing in one little pocket – it’s everywhere!

Community requires tools that can’t be built. It kills me when someone says they built a blog and no one came. Well duh! A blog is just a tool… and if you think a blog is a community, then you too are a tool! Community exists in one place – in your heart. Without that, what is community. Without passion, without connections, without a feeling of belonging – what is there? You cannot build heart. It’s either there, or it’s not. You know you have a community when it takes care of its own.

Without heart, it’s just a set of tools. Anyone can go out right now and set up a website with any number of features. There are tons of tools out there. It’s not the topic or idea that makes what you do valuable – it never is. The tools are a commodity – but you are not. You’re unique. You have your own set of morals, ideals and beliefs. You have your own heart. YOU are the asset to the community you are in, not the other way around.

A community grows its own leaders. The strong voices will be the ones who emerge as the leaders of what you are growing. Even if you don’t agree with them at all times, encourage them. Use your voice and exercise it. Make those connections. Before you know it, you’ll be a leader of sorts, whether you set out to be or not.

Community is the antithesis of ego. Community is inside of you – but it’s not about you. It’s about other’s experiences with you. The strongest voices inside of a community are devoid of ego. The first thing on their mind isn’t themselves.

Community is everywhere, and it starts inside of you.

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How do You Test Mobile Broadband Speeds?


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What tool do you use to benchmark your Internet connection speed? If you’re on a desktop, I know many of you use SpeedTest. But what about your mobile web experience? If you’re on an Edge connection, are you getting true Edge speeds? What about if you’re on a 3G connection, or even wifi?

iNetwork Test began with the creation of a basic iPhone web application that inferentially measured the speed of the network the device was connected to. The interest in the application was overwhelming with over half a million results collected to date. The need for reliable, easy to use mobile network testing solutions is one that will continue to grow as more mobile devices infiltrate the marketplace and newer, faster networks come online.

iNetwork Test is developing a suite of solutions for a variety of platforms starting with the iPhone and Android platforms. These tests are more reliable providing a true speed measurement at the lowest possible level of the stack as allowed by the various software development kits.

This service is free. Simply click “start test”, and a few seconds later it gives you results. It will ask you how you’re connected to the Internet, and gives you a more detailed answer based on your connection type. If there’s a question on whether or not you’re getting the speeds you are supposed to, this service will help. Doing one-offs isn’t really the best idea, because it won’t give you a good representation of your average speeds. Run the test at different times during the day. Try to keep as many variables the same as possible, also.

Also on the site, you can view other people’s connection speed results. Are people in your locale getting the same kinds of speeds as you? If not, you’ll know there could be a problem with your service that may needs to be addressed.

To my knowledge, this service is the only one that works for testing out your 3G and even Edge speeds. Maybe you know of something else? If you do, let me know about it, and I’ll be happy to check it out.

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Pay as you Go Internet… Good or Bad Idea?

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The only truth when it comes to Broadband here in America is that we don’t have enough. One community member wrote in to talk about the fact that he really doesn’t have any options for Broadband, other than Satellite. He generally uses his Internet in the middle of the night, when he isn’t subject to capping. The satellite truly isn’t much better than pre-1993 dial-up speeds. He’s asking about “pay as you go/use” Internet service, and what I think the future of it is.

This is just wrong to me, in more ways than one. For those of us who make our livlihood online, and who use it for more than just email, having limited access is damaging. You wouldn’t think Comcast would do this to you. You also wouldn’t think they’d traffic-shape. You also wouldn’t think they’d pay people to sit and sleep during the FCC hearings.

< silence >

Oh sorry. I was wasting your bandwidth there. I don’t know where my mind is. Do you understand what that could do? Do you get what they’re doing here? I wouldn’t put it past any large ISP to be doing this. It’s scary! If this happens, I can seriously see big companies start coming in to offer service that we need… such as Google or Microsoft. The ISPs would be in serious trouble at that point.

I use cable, because I do get better speeds with it. I have a DSL line that is dedicated to running the Live Stream. Heck, I know people who chose their place to live based on the type of Internet available to them.

Pay As You Go gives you the flexibility to use the Internet as much or as little as you like. You only pay for what you use. There are no monthly charges. Think of it like prepaid cell phone service. It’s the same time of plan and deals.

I don’t know. What do you guys think? If this were available, would you go for it? How reliable do you think it would be? Could Power Users ever be able to rely on it when doing business?

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ISP Tips

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I recorded a video not long ago about Bandwidth Capping from ISPs. I have a top-five list of things to look for when looking for an ISP. Here are some tips sent in by Lundberry to help you choose the right ISP for you.

  • What is there reliability in your area? While this might seem obvious to ask you would be amazed at how many people will go with an unreliable ISP because they are cheap. Is your time worth more than a few extra dollars a month to have confidence that when you go online you’ll actually get what you want to.
  • What is the cost going to be? Is the cost to add a little extra speed and confidence that it will work reasonable and how does that compare to the competition.
  • Do you get what you pay for? When you pay for a 5Mbps connection do you actually get 5Mbps or do you get 2Mbps. These things will have an effect on how you feel about your investment in internet. You need to ask yourself if your using cable how many cable customers are around here and how will that effect my connection speeds.
  • What do you need? Do you really need a 20Mbps connection to do flickr a few times a week. I am surprised at how many people will upgrade to a superfast connection for no reason. You can use that extra money you save to get better hardware which will help you just as much as that speed increase your paying for.
  • Is it Comcast? This one is pretty self explanatory. Though for me Charter is my comcast but I still get raked over the coals in terms of various different things are done to me. For instance the fact that I pay for 5Mbps internet and average about 1Mbps. Or the fact that no matter what modem I use I never can get a consistant connection to the service. Ie. I don’t even get an IP address from my ISP.

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Tips for Choosing the Best ISP for your Needs

The other night, I was having difficulties once again with my Comcast connection. Within hours, two different people emailed me with their Top Five lists of ways to choose an ISP, and why. Here they are… hopefully they’ll help all of you. This list comes from Azaas in the live community.

  • Don’t fall for marketing. Commercials and trends are not the things you wanna take into consideration when you’re choosing for ISP.
  • Always read very carefully what you’re signing for. I don’t know if that applies to the states,but in Europe many customers have fallen for the “up to x MB ” thing. That means that your net speed can reach that point but most likely WON’T. So many people end up paying more for something that they could have purchased for less.
  • Take the time needed and do a research on how user friendly the ISP is. I was trying to contact my ISP for like 4 hours,through their emergency line, and noone would answer my god damn call. That,trust me when i say,should be ranked as one of the most important things you should be looking at an ISP.
  • Never trust a new company just because it offers great speeds at low prices. What you want is take advantage of the know-how of those old time classic ISPs and not having to put up with the numerous problems a new company will certainly face.If despite that you can’t resist those low costs,take the time and see what people,who are already customers,have to say about that specific ISP. Cost should certainly not be the only thing to take into account when choosing an ISP.
  • Last but not least… always read the small letters. When i dropped my old plan i got a notice that the router they had provided me with should be returned within a week or i’d have to pay a 300 euros fee. The thing is that i was leaving for Greece the very next day,so i had to change both mine and my gf’s plane tickets which had a cost of 420 euros more than what we had already paid.

Cruise Ship Internet

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I’m sorry about the bad image and sound quality. We are on a cruise ship in Hawaii right now. I’m using the Internet via a connection provided to me from Ustream.tv. This is, of course, a mobile broadband connection. I came up with some tips to help you deal with this type of connection, if you ever happen to be on a cruise.

  • Buy larger packages of time. Most cruise ships have Internet available. The company will have packages available for sale. Always go with more minutes.
  • Find a friendly cruise ship. All companies work differently with their connectivity. This company was pricey, so I’m not using their connection.
  • Get a sponsor if you can. I was lucky to have Ustream.tv sponsor me for this connection.
  • Turn it into a business expense. This will minimize the impact of the out-of-pocket cost. So long as I stream live from the ship and do some videos like always… it’s a business expense.
  • Do what you can do offline. Write the blog post out offline, then post it once you get online. Or… get your emails ready to send, then get online. This will save you a lot of time and expense.
  • If you can, rely on your existing phone for your connectivity. Some devices do work as a modem, and will work very well.

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Optimize Your ISPs Slow Internet Connection

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How many days of the year do you complain about your connection speed? How many times do you mutter and groan that you aren’t getting the promised speeds? Here are some excellent tips to help you boost that speed.

  • Schedule your downloads. There are many free download managers that allow you to set up downloads to go consecutively while you are asleep. Otherwise you’d have all of them going at one time, which could result in broken downloads. This is also VERY useful if you have HughesNet and always exceed your download threshold. You can schedule files to download late at night while the threshold is not in place. I recommend iGetter and Free Download Manager.
  • Download items that you visit every day, rather than reloading them. If you’re like me, you listen to YouTube movies in the background of just about everything you do so you don’t have to pay a dollar for the song, but every time you come back to that page it takes a long time to reload. Instead of reloading the page you can download the video with Youtube Downloader and convert it into a usable format, including mp3, with that same program. Flash games can also be downloaded if you’re using Firefox. Wait for the flash file to load 100% and choose File > Save Page As. Then open up the folder you saved and take out the .swf file. Right click the file and choose to open it with Firefox. (You can then delete the folder)
  • Know when to click links. If a page is loaded 100%, search for the next link you are going to use before you start viewing the page. If you find it, open it in a new tab and it can load while you are busy on the first page. If a page is in the middle of loading, but you find the link you want before it’s done, click stop before continuing on to the next link. Unless you know you’ll be occupied for a long time on one page (or away from the computer), don’t try to load multiple pages at a time.
  • Leech!! If you have a laptop and know someone with DSL/Cable or other form of high speed, bring it over there and download as many things as you can to keep yourself occupied while on your slow connection. This may seem like mooching, but you can make it less obvious. Schedule LOTS of downloads before going over there. Then, once you’re there, plug your laptop in, resume the downloads, and do what you would normally do whenever you visit.
  • Increase your cache size. If you increase the size of your cache and put your computer in sleep mode rather than shutting it down every night, frequently used pages will load quicker. To do this in Firefox, go to Tools > Options… > Advanced Icon > Network Tab.

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