Monthly Archives: November 2004

Speed 3.0

Generally speaking, I’ve had very good DSL service from
Verizon, as compared to (hawk, spit) Time/Warner Oceanic
Cable (see my last post about Verizon

Recently, Verizon offered an increased speed to 3.0mbs
down / 768kps up for $10 more than I’ve been paying per
month. While it isn’t the 15 mps that I’ve been hoping for
via fiber, it is a doubling of speed so I decided to sign

This is where it gets difficult. Verizon is apparently
divided up into at least three different divisions. They have
one each for telephone, Internet, and wireless. While you
would think, being one company, their sales people would be
able to provide seamless service across all divisions (or at
least be able to transfer me to the next division, as
needed). But, you would be wrong.

Perhaps I assume too much, in this world of instant
access, that communications across divisions shouldn’t be an
obstacle. But in my case, it seems to be.

I called the local Verizon sales office to sign-up for the
higher speed DSL and to also enroll in a special “package”
deal that includes long-distance. Said package would give me
the speed increase but actually cost me $2 less, in total per
month, than I am paying now.

After answering all kinds of questions about the package I
was told I would need to call another number to sign-up for
the DSL but that she could do the package sale. So we go
through that process, which included my switching from
another long-distance carrier to Verizon. Unfortunately,
somewhere along the line the Verizon sales person got the
wrong telephone number to switch over.

I didn’t know about the wrong number until I tried to
switch carriers (which required going through a third-party
verification service) and they wanted to confirm the number I
was changing service on. Of course, the number they gave me
was wrong so I was told the transfer would not go through and
I had to call Verizon back again.

So, I did. Of course, I didn’t get the same sales
representative that I talked to earlier so I had to
re-explain what I wanted to do. The new sales person said he
needed to let the original sales person know about the
problem and that she would need to call me back in five

I waited an hour and then decided to call the Internet
division so I could at least get the DSL speed increase
set-up. That was done in less than five minutes so Verizon’s
Internet side seems to be running just fine.

As of four hours later, with no call back from the
telephone division I decided to call them and explain, for a
third time, what I wanted to do. This time, the person taking
the call had no problem is setting up the long-distance

I hope, all is now well. I can see the speed increase
already and tested it at
(one of many places to test transfer speed). Although I’m
only averaging a little over 2.0mbs it’s still pretty fast.
But I guess I’ll have to wait until the bills come to check
to make sure everything requested was done.


Lycos Spams Spammers

This BBC
says Lycos Europe (no, I don’t know why there isn’t
a US version) has a screen saver

endlessly requests data from sites that sell the goods
and services mentioned in spam e-mail.

Lycos hopes will it (sic) make the monthly bandwidth
bills of spammers soar by keeping their servers running
flat out.

The net firm estimates that if enough people sign up and
download the tool, spammers could end up paying to send out
terabytes of data.

Signs of the Times

Two weekends ago the city did some road work near our
house. The work, which consisted of paving the an
intersection about block away, required the temporary closing
of the road. So, the workmen setup a five foot high by five
foot wide sign saying, “Road Closed.” You would think this
would be enough for cluefull people to know that, you know,
the road was closed and you should take an alternate

But no, at least 20 or 30 drivers, over a period of about
three hours, drove around the sign. Of course, having driven
around the barrier they found the road closed and impassable.
But if that wasn’t enough, one person, driving a Range Rover
complained so loudly about not being able to drive on the
road that I could hear her from about 75 feet away.

Clearly, these people have no business driving a two-ton
projectile known as a motor vehicle. These kinds of people
make me think that we need better licensing procedures.
Presently, once you pass the drivers exam, you never
again need to prove you know how to drive safely
Maybe making it tougher to keep a driver’s license isn’t the
best solution but I don’t know of any better way to keep
these people off the road. If not for our safety, then
for their’s


A Very Spam Christmas

Keeping in mind the sources for
, it says that in the weeks running up to Christmas,
expect the percentage of spam emails to hit 90 percent of all
email. If that weren’t bad enough (if true – ed.), spammers
have been working overtime with social engineers to find new
ways to get you to click on their emails/links/fake e-card
Christmas greetings/phishing attacks.

As they used to say on that old TV show, “Let’s be careful
out there.”

Programming Note

Tomorrow is a national holiday (Thanksgiving) so I will be
off. In addition, I will be taking Friday off so there will
not be any post until next week Monday.

Have a Great Thanksgiving, Everyone –

IE Innovations: Not Invented Here

I’ve talked about various browsers based on the Internet
Explorer engine. One of those was called MyIE2. It had tabbed
windows, mouse gestures, and other stuff that should be in IE
already (but isn’t since MS stopped development awhile

I haven’t been over to their site for awhile and wouldn’t
have had it not been for a link in an
article on the Mozillazine site
that says the MS Director
of Windows Product Management uses something called Maxthon. It
seems MyIE2 changed its name to Maxthon and has found a
following, including the MS Director.

In reading the interview though, I found it interesting
that the Director seems to be saying MS doesn’t need to
update IE because third-party developers are providing the
innovations for them and in any case, mainstream end users
don’t see a need for advanced features like tabbed windows

[Question:] How does Microsoft feel about third party
browsers such as Maxthon and Avant Browser, which integrate
much-demanded features with an IE engine underneath. Does
Microsoft feel this is pulling users away from IE, or
adding more of an IE user base? Isn’t there a risk by
pushing third-party browsers and making users more
comfortable with a non-IE interface?

[Answer:] There you’re only look at one dimension, which
is the dimension of features. You’re saying, “If I can get
tabs in Maxthon, well I can go get tabs in Firefox,
therefore I am going to switch.” But that does away with
all of the security stuff that we’ve just talked about, all
those processes, the maturity of IE itself and the IE
rendering engine, the compatibility with Internet sites,
the compatibility with corporate applications – many of
which use custom ActiveX controls that wouldn’t run in
Firefox in the first place.

Within the enterprise you’re probably not going to see
enterprises shift over to a tabbed browser on behalf of
their users. Individual end users might decide “Hey, I like
this feature and I’m going to go for it.” But
on balance, I don’t think you’re going to see the
mainstream end user jump to tabs or jump to any other more
advanced feature in the browser
. For those
users the browser is the Web site that they visit.[emphasis


I posted last week
about some Lexmark printer drivers
apparently phoning home. This week comes
the revelation
that at least some Xerox color printers,
and perhaps Canon also, encode your printer’s serial number
on all printed pages. The coding is then used by entities
such as the US government to track documents back to
particular owners. Such tracking is aided by Xerox in that
they (Xerox) voluntarily provides their customer database to
government workers. Is this a GoodThing?