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A riled-up geek

Friday, March 7th, 2008

This is a bit off my usual topic, but I can’t help it. Connectivity is important, and I’m pissed off.
Recently, Comcast bought our ISP, which was called Insight. Earlier this week my cable modem flipped out (that’s a technical term) for a while, and once the dust settled I had a new IP address on a new network– apparently, Comcast’s network. And suddenly a whole slew of things stopped working. I managed to get basic connectivity working again by resetting my cable modem and router and rebooting my computers.

I guess many people who read my blog don’t know this, but I’m a serious geek. A few years ago I had to trim my stable down to two computers. Before that, I had an array of mostly older equipment that I tinkered with all the time, and used mostly to explore various operating systems. It was difficult to part with so many computers, including a NeXT box, but I managed. So now our network contains Sarah’s computer and my two systems. I have things set up so I can connect to my computers remotely (using Remote Desktop on the Windows machine, and ssh or other tools on the FreeBSD box).

To make a short story long, since Comcast took over, I’ve been unable to connect to my computers remotely. I e-mailed them to ask if they’re blocking any ports, and they informed me that what I’m doing is “advanced” and that they don’t support it. The thing is, I’m not asking them to help me set this up. It was working fine until they subjugated my connection. I’m just asking if they are blocking any ports. So far, I don’t have an answer to that question.

Here’s the thing. It’s not the end of the world that I can’t connect to my own computers, remotely. There’s no real reason I *have* to be able to do that right now. But I want to, and I am riled up on principle. You can’t come into my home and put locks on my doors and windows and not give me a key. This is the virtual equivalent. If Comcast won’t let me use my connection as I see fit, I’ll find another ISP who will.

10 Responses to “A riled-up geek”

  1. furiousball Says:

    Oh I totally know the magnitude of your geekiness.

  2. Jon Says:

    I’m a bike geek, but I don’t speak the computer geek language very well.

    However, that said, I support your position fully. Having service modified without consent is unacceptable. Drop the idiots and find another ISP.

    BTW Pictures of the soon-to-be Clubman are up on my blog.

    Jon

  3. Dan (on bike) Says:

    Problem is, I’ll bet your other options (DSL, WiMax) are doing the same thing. I’ve moved much of my stuff (email, feed reader, bookmarks, documents, photos) to web hosted services so that I can get to my stuff from anywhere. My computers have become overpriced thin clients. Of course, now I have to worry about either trusting their backups or setting up alternatives.

  4. Marty Says:

    Well, I think that the interwebs will work better if you firewire your scizzy so you can get to the hypertexted earl. or something.

    Actually, being a Comcast-hater, I can imagine that you are in for a lot MORE headaches until you escape. Their idea of ‘your rights to access’ are a lot different than any other ISP I know – instead of providing you the bandwidth and being done with it, they try to not only regulate HOW you use that bandwidth, but also try to manage how you use the web.

    If you can get it, I highly recommend getting FiOS service from Verizon. Not only is it a LOT faster (20Mbps vs. Comcast’s 6-10Mbps), but they aren’t making you use their browser interfaces, their applications, their shitty software. Just plug in the router and go to town. I can’t say that there won’t be any problems working remotely because I don’t do it, but I am fairly confident that it will be a LOT easier than dealing with Comcast.

    Oh, and Dan had a good idea about web apps. Gmail is great, and there are a ton of other services out there if you need them.

  5. John Says:

    Kind of make you want some revenge, doesn’t it? Bastards.

    Good true story. A few years ago, someone cut into the local cable tv yard and hacked all the cables connecting the building to the dishes outside. They think it was a disgruntled customer who had a confrontation with the company’s security force. They were making the rounds demanding to go into people homes to check if they had illegal equipment on the network. If they were refused entry, they would cut the outside wiring.

    Ahhh sweet revenge.

  6. ComcastCares1 Says:

    On behalf of Comcast, I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. I would like to reach out to my executive contacts to look into this for you. If it’s okay with you, will you please send me an email with your account information?

    Thank you in advance for giving us the opportunity to assist.

    Sincerely,
    Mark C.
    Comcast Executive Offices
    We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com

  7. Dave Says:

    Whoa – Comcast is searching blogs to find disgruntled folks? I don’t know whether to be scared or impressed. I’ll go with “skeptical” until we hear more. The “send me an email with account information” sends a bit of a flag…
    Good luck. Michael –
    d.

  8. MRMacrum Says:

    What Dave said. Scared or impressed. Either way the comment made an impression.

  9. Apertome Says:

    I’m a little freaked out myself. I’ve contacted “Mark C.” via e-mail, even though my situation has been resolved by other means, just to see if anyone actually responds to that comcast.com e-mail address.

  10. Marty Says:

    Yeah, let us know if he is a real person or just a scam. But if it’s true, kudos to them … although the fact that there is someone doing this is evidence of how bad their service is.

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