Sunday, May 19, 2013

Terms of Service Tracker

I'm not paranoid about Terms of Service but it is interesting to see what changes are happening in that area. I used to subscribe to the RSS feed for TOSBack but it dried up almost 2 years ago. I recently came across Docracy.

Here's an example of the documentation they provide:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Don't You Love AT&T/Comcast/Verizon

One morning recently my wife was complaining (rightly) about technology. She uses a Jensen Docking Speaker System with her iPhone for music in the morning. It would stream an Internet radio station for a few minutes then quit for a few minutes. Of course I "worked" on it but I couldn't make it better so she just turned it off.

When I got to the den and started checking my e-mail and RSS feeds, I noticed that the Internet would run for a few minutes then quit for a few minutes. Even DNS lookups would fail. Seemed vaguely familiar.

This persisted throughout the day. The utility companies are in the process of relocating the utility poles on my street so I assumed that AT&T had rerouted my DSL through a congested switch point.

I prided myself in being unusually tolerant but my patience ran out mid-afternoon. I called AT&T's DSL Repair Service. Luckily I had their number in my address book since I couldn't look it up online.

The first customer service representative I spoke to was "Derek" in India. I simply hung up on him. When I called back I got Mario in California. I explained what I'd observed and asked him to check for problems in my area.

Yeah, you guessed it. There were no problems noted in my area. So off he went after my equipment. His eventual diagnosis was that my 9 year old Westell DSL modem was defective and he'd be glad to replace it for $90. I declined.

Amazingly the defective modem healed itself overnight and now my Internet access is fine.

But the point here is how much is such poor operational information costing the carriers in their customer service departments? Wait, though. You and I are paying for the cost of the poor operational information in our ever increasing rates. And since the carriers usually have a government granted monopoly they really don't care.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

YouTube’s HTML5 Player

I'd forgotten about YouTube’s HTML5 player until I came across this Lifehacker post. If you're using a "modern" browser this should work fine.

To turn it on, go to and opt in.

That was easy.