May 23 2008

Tables Turned

Category: In The Media,Internet ConnectionsChrisM @ 10:11 am

Long term readers/’real life’ friends will remember that Irina and I used to live in a cottage out in Bourton on the Water, a real picture postcard village in the Cotswolds. At the time, there was no chance of getting ADSL at all, which led to us having two phone lines. One was for normal voice calls, and the other was permanently (24/7) connected to Freeserve on one of their 0808 numbers. Whilst this was never faster than 51.2 Kbps, it still gave me the possibility to leave the PC downloading all day and night, and traffic shaping never seemed to hit their dial up services. Anyway, according to a BBC report, the ratio of broadband:non-broadband customers in the country has swung so far that city dwellers are now statistically less likely to have a broadband connection than their rural brethren!
The section that particularly caught my attention was:

There has been a major drive to bring broadband to every corner of Scotland, partly to sustain the economies of isolated communities where many residents can now work from home.

I really think this sort of thinking should be bought to the attention of decision makers in this country…

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Mar 26 2008

Broad(ish)band Got Narrower

Category: Internet ConnectionsChrisM @ 3:53 am

My current internet connection is normally rated at 128kbit/sec. They have the cheek to advertise this as unlimited broadband. For starters, an internet connection that is no fast than dual channel ISDN, and isn’t capable of playing many online radios does not seem so broad to me. Secondly, their definition of unlimited somehow equates to 10Gb of down or uploads in one month. Once you pass that gargantuan (LMAO) amount, the internet connection is further throttled down to 32 kbit/sec. That is worse than most old 56k dial up connections! All this makes getting the good jobs quite difficult online, as those with faster connections are able to reserve jobs before this PC’s browser has even opened up the initial page.
All said though, we do at least have ADSL here now, I remember when we first arrived it was strictly dial up only, and the large phone bills that would follow a few late nights online. The WiMax trial that was mentioned some 18 months ago was never completed in this area of town, so the only hope really is that the ISP will get a little more realistic in both terms of speed, and also monthly bandwidth caps.

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Dec 19 2007

Internet Reports

Category: In The Media,Internet Connections,Kazakhstan,PersonalChrisM @ 4:25 am

The ISP we now have our internet connection with is called Megaline. Unfortunately, since swapping to their service, everyday sees some downtime for connectivity. Even when all is apparently working, packets are often lost, and I can no longer as open as many simultaneous pages, without time outs occurring. That said, it is a lot cheaper, and although only 1/2 the speed, I do get an allowance of 10Gb/month before they throttle me down to 32Kbit/sec, from 128Kbit/sec.
Anyway, we first have a report on the UK’s lagginess (puns will stop now, sorry), when it comes to very fast internet connection availability. This is no great surprise really, given our history with BT’s (formerly part of the GPO) previous monopoly at nearly all stages of communications. Great investment will be needed to push beyond the current 24Mbps ceiling, and even that sort of connection is only really possibly if you live on top of your local exchange. Until we drop twisted pair copper lines as acceptable, the days of fibre optics into every home are a long way off, unless someone like Richard Branson decides that it is economically viable in areas when other Cable TV operators have avoided.
Globally Maximum Advertised Speeds For The Internet

On a more positive note, here we have an article detailing how broadband internet connectivity (even if it isn’t globally breath-takingly fast) has rapidly become the preferred speed, compared to just four years ago, when most people considered dial up speeds acceptable. No pretty table to illustrate the point this time, sorry.

Finally, on a semi-related matter, the BBC News site had details on how some European nation’s citizens are rejecting land lines altogether, in favour of mobile phones. Although this may sound surprising at first, if you take into account that some of the nations, that were unable to develop as quickly under USSR rule, never had high rates for phone lines into every house, and how competitive some mobile phone network companies are in these markets, to try and get, then keep loyal customers, you can begin to see why having no land line number is becoming more common in some areas. Whether these figures include those that only use phone lines for internet usage, and use mobiles for cheaper evening calls etc, I couldn’t ascertain.

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Dec 03 2007

The Internet Is Dead, Long Live The Internet…

Category: Internet Connections,Kazakhstan,PersonalChrisM @ 4:53 pm

OK, melodramatic post title, but in case it flew right over your head, I’m referring to The King Is Dead, Long Live The King! (or Le Roi est mort. Vive le Roi! (yes, I wikied before posting to make sure I had the correct words 🙂 ))

Anyway, our current internet connection is over priced, under powered, and has a relatively low data allowance per month. This is on an ‘unlimited’ connection. It is currently 256Kbps, which drops to 64Kbps after 7Gb has been downloaded. The new connection will be through Megaline, almost 80% cheaper, and have a monthly allowance of 10Gb. Unfortunately, they only offer 128Kbps on their unlimited packages, and after those 10Gb, the connection is throttled to just 32Kbps – worse than dial up! However, with the money saved, and the extra 3Gb per month, I think we made the right choice.

I’m posting this now in case there is a problem, and we do not get the new connection working once the old one has been terminated – if I don’t post for a while, you know why.

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Jul 31 2007

20hrs Of Slow Net Left

Category: Internet Connections,PersonalChrisM @ 4:51 am

So, it turns out our ADSL connection is not quite as unlimited as originally claimed. Once you have downloaded 3Gb in any given month, your speed is then restricted to 64Kbit downloads, and it looks like 32Kbit uploads. On the plus side, it turns out it does not cost anything extra to go up to a 1024Kbit connection, as opposed to our current 256Kbit one.
So, our internet will soon be 4 times faster for the first few days, then 4 times slower (or 16 if you go from 1024>64!) for the last 15Gb or so.
Originally I had thought that the slow connection was due to our modem or their servers playing up, so at least I know there are no issues; I just wish they had told us the full details of the deal before we signed up. However, compared to the months of dial up access to the internet, when we paid by the minute, things are now so much better, here in Kazakhstan 🙂

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Jul 24 2007

Kazakh Company Wants To Invest

Category: Aware Or Conspiracy Nut...,In The Media,Kazakhstan,VideosChrisM @ 12:50 am

Just caught this report over on the BBC World news channel.
Apparently the American government and GreenPeace (for differring reasons) is not very happy at the prospect of KazAtomProm (the Kazakh Nuclear Company) wanting to buy an 8% stake in an American company, WestingHouse Nuclear.
KazAtomProm is a Kazakh state company that produces Uranium. Anyway, here is the report itself…

On a related subject, I found a video on the BBC website reporting that Kazakhstan has announced plans to build a uranium enrichment facility in conjunction with Russia. Here is the direct video link. If that direct link does not work, or you have a dial up connection to the internet, you could try the following official link instead.

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Jul 02 2007

Goodies From Home

Category: Friends,Internet Connections,Personal,WiFi,Windows MobileChrisM @ 1:33 am

As you may have noticed, I have not posted a great deal this past week, mainly because Alex is over here on holiday, and so I used that as an excuse to take a short vacation from the normal daily postings. Hope my loyal readers don’t mind, and that any newcomers will have considered coming back to check for new info…
Anyway, Alex’s luggage was somewhat weighed down by a new router/modem/wi-fi access point. I originally had two, which did not make sense at the time, as I was on dial up access to the internet since moving to Kazakhstan. So, my Mum got one of them for her place (apart from anything else, it is easier to trouble shoot a piece of hardware when you have actually used one before 😉 ), and the other one went to the in-laws, so they could use their PDA downstairs to browse the web. It might never happen, but I liked to give them the choice in the future.
Anyway, the Netgear DG834PN that I ordered seems to do the job, and has a few more toys for me to learn how to use.
Oh, and the little blue flashing LEDs help 😉

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Mar 16 2007

The End Is Nigh…

Category: Internet Connections,PersonalChrisM @ 6:05 pm

Unfortunately, since I ended up re-installing XP just prior to getting my ADSL connection working & therefore downloading a lot of updates, I’ve used up my 700 meg quota this month, so I’m back to dial up for the rest of the month 🙁

Not many UK friends seem to be reading this blog right now anyway, judging from the IP addresses of visitors, so you’ll probably only end up asking my why I disappeared the next time I’m on-line in Messenger, but it was worth a shot.

Before I forget, if anyone knows :
a) Where Windows Update downloads are stored, and if you can simply copy them across from one install of XP to another, to save downloading them all over again
b) Why I’m unable to remember a simple list of two things whilst typing out the first
then PLEASE leave a comment below….

Finally, thank you to the random blokes from Britain who kept me & Ira entertained last night on Skype – I’d just used the ‘Skype-Me’ mode for the first time, and they were looking for people on-line from strange countries to talk to. I’m apparently 46% chav & 31% emo, according to the questionnaires they sent links for!

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Mar 01 2007

ADSL arrived and We, The Undersigned Petition

Category: In The Media,Internet Connections,Kazakhstan,PersonalChrisM @ 2:13 am

Found a link to a UK Government beta web site that held a petition on the price of Windows Vista, compared to USA prices.
This next caught my eye – …..petition the Prime Minister to Recognize Borat As The Leader Of Kazakhstan (!)
This petition should be of interest to AlexC.
This petition will be of interest to John as it concerns proposed legislation on taking photos in a public place.
Here we have a petition that publicly funded (UK) software should be released under a free licence, so the whole nation may reap benefits.
This one came as news to me

Fingerprinting is being introduced in thousands of UK Primary Schools as part of a subsidised library package called Junior Librarian that they have purchased, encouraged by central government. New schools are joining the scheme at the rate of around 20 a week. To date, more than 3500 schools and nurseries (manufacturer’s official figure, given to the Daily Mirror) have fingerprinted and photographed 3/4 million children, ranging in age from 3 to 11; impressionable, trusting and naive. Involved companies have given premier partners with access to their SQL database AND a commercial arrangement for the reselling or endorsement or their products.
This is always done without explicit parental consent, and even in some cases, without parental knowledge.
Schools strongly resist sending parents the opt-in consent slips that are used for just about everything else. Some parents only find out AFTERWARDS

Finally, we have a petition for Seb & any other schmokers out there…

Oh yes, and we finally have ADSL installed at home. I’m going to have to use the internet LESS than I did on dial up, as we only get 700 megabytes per month (up AND download :< ), but it means I can do my work in the daytime, so I'm really chuffed that it has arrived.

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Jan 24 2007

A Little Later Than Intended Again…

Category: Friends,Personal,PicturesChrisM @ 10:14 pm

And this will be a very slow post to load for any other dial up users out there, apologies…
Anyway, without much further ado, here are the pictures I promised a long time ago…

(Taken over Christmas, New Year & a little bit beyond, in Britain & Kazakhstan, on our, Nick’s & John’s camera)

(Click the link below, or the post’s title above to see the pictures, as I’m trying to save some bandwidth on the server)
Continue reading “A Little Later Than Intended Again…”

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