Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for March, 2008

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.

What the heck?

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

Sunday we had sunny skies and temperatures almost reached 70 degrees. Yesterday it was in the lower 30s and raining all day. Then last night we got a bit of snow, and this morning it was back to riding in snow — and ice, since a lot of the rain that fell yesterday froze overnight. As usual, the bike path caused me some problems. As I was going uphill toward the Bypass, the path curved and there was some ice I didn’t see. My bike sort of slid sideways. Fortunately I was able to push it away from me and simply stand up, although even then my feet were slipping. Some people waiting for the bus were amused. So was I, once I determined I was safe. I walked the remaining 20 feet or so of the path.

I understand that nearly 70 degrees the other day was unusually warm for this time of year, but now I got a taste of spring, and I’m ready for the real deal. Although I’d settle for not having to contend with ice anymore — that sure is getting old.

Ride around Lake Lemon

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Sunday was even warmer than Saturday, almost reaching 70 degrees! It was “only” predicted to be in the 50s, and I really missed the mark dressing for my ride — I was way overdressed. I did the Ride Around Lake Lemon loop I’ve done many times before and really suffered on a couple of the hills. I saw quite a few other cyclists, a couple of whom passed me at speeds much higher than my own. It was quite humbling. It was also quite windy outside, which of course made things easier at some times and harder at others.

Aside from a little extra pain, the ride was routine, although I did encounter a train traveling parallel to me and managed to keep up with it, or even go a little faster than it was, for a bit. I was sustaining about 22mph and the train must’ve been going 20. I stopped to take a couple of photos.

Train right next to me

South Shore Drive
Lake Lemon still had a layer of ice on it

Unfortunately my stopping to take photos meant the train got a little ahead of me and then I had to wait for the whole thing to pass at a railroad crossing. The rest of my ride was uneventful, but a lot of fun.

Train at Railroad Crossing
Waiting for the train

North Shore Drive
North Shore Drive

View from North Shore Drive

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