Category Archives: network

wildblue rolling blackout theory

Melissa and I are currently using Wildblue satellite internet service. Overall, I find it to be a very good alternative to dialup. I get excellent bandwidth and about an 800ms average ping, with no special client-side hardware. Best of all, it’s no more expensive than DSL or Cable internet.

The bad side is that over the last month, I’ve been getting disconnected 1-3 times per night. It’s really kind of out of control. I have a theory about why it’s happening though. Obviously, skip this post if you’re not a geek.


  • Outages can occur with the connection light on the satellite modem (2nd LED from the top) either on or off. Usually the light is still on when an outage occurs, but both do occur.
  • Waiting sometimes restores service with no intervention from myself.
  • Resetting the modem *always* restores service, immediately. (thus, while it could be a problem with my modem, it is at least not a permanent hardware failure of any sort)
  • My router is not at fault. I have stopped resetting my router during outages and now only reset the modem. Resetting the modem itself (but not the router) fully restores service each time I have tried it that way (perhaps the last 8-10 outages).
  • Wildblue is reducing the bandwidth allowances in their FAP by 25% as of today. (the Fair Access Policy is the document that governs the amount of bandwidth you are allowed to consume per 30 day period, based on which tier of service you purchase)
  • Technical support is not at all helpful with these outages, but simply walks me through a modem/router reset. (ie, instead of addressing the cause of the outage, the symptoms are merely addressed) They always manage to spend 20-30 minutes of my time doing this, but never manage to realize that I’ve already been through this with them many times before.

Based on these observations, my conclusion is fairly obvious. The reduction of the FAP tells me that wildblue’s current infrastructure is not capable of managing the load that their customer base places upon it. Just as electricity providers do in the event of a shortage, they seem to have implemented “rolling blackouts” of a sort, disconnecting clients for random amounts of time to artificially reduce load on the system.

While this is just an educated guess on my part, I feel that it’s a reasonable conclusion to draw from the facts available to me. What do you think?

004um update complete

The forum update to the newest version of phpbb is complete. The forum is once again available for use. Please let me know if you notice anything amiss. Thanks!

004um status update

Hey all. As an answer to Elizabeth’s comment, I intend to have the 004um up by Friday. I just have to upgrade the phpbb software and we’ll be back in business. All our information and posts are still intact and safe. I have to hurry, there is much Serenity to discuss. (:

Somewhat useless idea I just had

Lately I’ve been using my cellphone to connect to the internet. It works really well, except for the lag. The lag is annoying, but at least it’s fairly constant. That aside, it occurs to me that it would be really interesting to put a small computer, GPS receiver and a cellphone into a model airplane. You’d have a truly remote controlled machine.

Its only limits would be fuel and cell signal availability (which should be fairly good 100 feet off the ground).

I’m sure something like this would have benefits beyond the wow factor. For one thing, it would be possible for a news agency to stream video from a much cheaper platform than a helicopter. Things like traffic watch, OJ chases and flood recon all come to mind. Another possible application would be an intra-metro delivery service?

The remote newscam idea actually seems plausible. Wish I had the time to develop that one. (:

004um status

I’ve taken the 004um down for the time being. It will be back as soon as possible. Some jackass third party attempted to break into the 004um by compromising one of the themes. It appears that the attack was not successful. I’m going to keep the board down until I know for certain what happened. (this is only my best guess at the moment, based on the error messages I was getting – I’ll research it more tonight from home)

I’ll also be upgrading the forum before bringing it back up, to prevent this from happening again.

Everything is for sale, for a price

I was reading my gmail, and this text ad was on the sidebar. I’m not sure what it means in the grand scheme of things:

Hail the Ides of March

So, do you need a little information on Online Poker? Probably not. But now that I’ve linked the wikipædia page with that link text, like millions of other bloggers are, it will begin to gain googlerank above the sites of comment spammers who are attempting to exploit the bloggoverse for their own gain. Interesting meme, if nothing else.

Other terms of interest to the current googlebomb attempt are viagra and mortgage. Did you go into debt buying viagra, and need a mortgage?

Carry on folks, nothing to see here. Just sticking it to the man.

google’s newest

Google Maps seems to be an excellent mapping service. I haven’t tried its driving directions yet, but the maps themselves seem very welldone.

I asked, Google answered

Over a year ago, I wrote an email to google explaining the problems that I was having with blog spam, and imploring them to do something about this issue. Since they are by far the largest search engine out there, they are the ones with the clout to foil the google rankers.

Now I’m sure I’m not the only one that begged google to fix this problem, but behold they answered anyway. w00t!

Update your blog templates people, the problem should subside soon. Now, whenever googebot see’s “rel=nofollow” attributes on a link, the link won’t count for googlerank. Thus, all links in comments can be munged to include that attribute, and comment links will no longer contribute to googlerank. Problem solved. I’m sure it will take some time for the spamming to stop, but hopefully this problem is out, for the time being.

(personally, I don’t think we’ve had any comment spam here on notblog for at least several weeks…)

internet fixed!

I finally figured out what the problem was with my internet connection dropping constantly. My ISP wasn’t blocking TCP ports 137, 139 or 1025 at their gateway to the internet and worms were having their vile ways with computers in my ISP’s network.

To exacerbate the problem, they had the switch I’m connected to misconfigured so that it forwarded on unknown traffic. Thus, the worm traffic for the whole network was being broadcast over the segment that I’m connected to.

Turns out, microwave internet isn’t that bad after all. Fairnet Wireless isn’t so bad. Their phone support really tried to help me. I don’t know why they didn’t have their stuff configured properly before, but at least it’s fixed now. Preston and Phil were both pretty helpful too, so props to them.

The only thing that really annoyed me was that I’ve spent around 15-20 hours diagnosing this problem, making sure that I’d done *all* my homework on it, etc. I didn’t want to blame them for something that could have possibly been my fault. Then, once I’d done that, I had to diagnose the problem on their end, since they couldn’t seem to. Once it was all done, and I asked if they were going to give me any sort of discount for my troubles, they gave me one month free. A month is nice and all, but I suspect that I just saved them several hundred dollars a month in electricity (it takes power to transmit all that worm traffic constantly), let alone saved them future customer complaints and improved their network reliability.

Oh well. One free month of service, and service that finally works is worth it, I spose. It _is_ annoying being limited to a single broadband service out here in the sticks. I’m just thankful that they are responsive.