Tuesday, 3 July 2012

ADSL Modem Routers Suck!

For a long time I used a ADSL Wireless Modem Router at home.  This device connects to your ADSL Internet connection and provides your home with a wireless connection.  It does the job of sending information to and from your computer and the rest of the Internet (as well as your local network).  The problem is, I seem to go through one of these every 12 months or so.  They wouldn't break completely, but they'd require daily reboots.

Most recently I started a job working from home and the company has a VPN to allow me to access their issue tracking system and source control.  There's been at least two different types of VPN and in both cases my Netgear DGN2000 just could not handle it, requiring a reboot daily, even though the VPN was being made between my computer and the remote network.

I've had two networks running in my house.  A 802.11b/g network to service my wife's old, pre-N MacBook Pro and an 802.11n network being served by my Time Capsule in bridge mode.  Why did I even have to do this?  Again, because the router just can't handle it.  The Netgear DGN2000 is capable of creating up to 4 access points, but as soon as you have any combination of b/g/n the router requires daily reboots.  b/g on it's own is fine and as is n on it's but not in any combination.

Struggling with my work's VPN was the last straw.  So I decided to try something else.  Knowing my Time Capsule is a rock solid WIFI router I figured I should try and eliminate a combined device from the equation.  So I switched out my Netgear DGN2000 and replace it with an Zoom ADSL Bridge-Modem.  This is a fairly cheap device that does one thing, and so far seems to do that one thing very well.  Namely, it provides a connection to the Internet via ADSL, but does not do any routing.  After a little configuration of my Time Capsule, it was easy enough to make that my router and so far I haven't had to reboot anything.   I'm even running the Time Capsule in b/g/n mode and so far haven't noticed any slow down like I would have with the Netgear.

We'll see how long this lasts (so far about 3 weeks up time), but I am feeling pretty confident about my network set up at home now.

Of course, if I had cable in my area then this would be moot as I'd be using that.  Get your finger out Virgin!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Open Web Micro Blogging

I love Twitter.  No, that's wrong.  I love micro-blogging and Twitter seems to be the de-facto standard service for doing that.  It allows me to interact with hundreds of people, many of which I would never have access to.  These relationships can be long term or entirely temporary.  They can be friends, celebrities or companies.

Twitter makes this form of communication and interaction available to everyone with very little effort.  However, it is a centralised service and that means someone else is in control of your data.  Recent developments suggest that Twitter are going to shut down certain clients.  In addition to this Twitter is becoming more and more commercialised with sponsored tweets appearing in your timeline, adverts when you click on links and so on.

So the web should be an open place and resistant to censorship, shut downs and so on.   To create a Twitter-like service that does not depend on Twitter (or any other similar service) you need to decentralise, but that's not easy for people who are not developers or highly technical.  

So how do we do it and, in order to keep the real value of Twitter, how do we keep it easy for the masses to adopt?

Well, I'm not entirely sure, but inspired by the second link above, I've created this community on geekli.st to encourage discussion and perhaps come up with a plan.