For quite some time, I've been running WRT54GS routers....that I had hacked to run Sveasoft Alchemy...eventually reaching 1.0 release and then pretty much doing very little to.
Originally, I had gotten a WRT54GS v1.1 that I upgraded, and used with my Roadrunner Cablemodem service. Later word came out that newer WRT54GS had less memory than before, and were switching to non-replaceable OSs. So, I started keeping an eye out for older WRT54GS routers...to get as a spare. One day in a Wal-Mart, I was going through the WRT54GS's on a shelf...when way at the back behind the newer v5 stock, was a v2.0. Well, I had to buy it right then and there.
Later when I moved to Manhattan, KS...I was presented with the opportunity to go dual WAN. Well, wasn't my intent, but I was forced into it. So, not wanting to mess up my 'cable' configs. I set up the backup WRT54GS for DSL use.
And, things have been humming along pretty well, with the two WRT54GS routers and the running of both Cox and AT&T broadband.
That was until last September....I was trying transparent proxy and ended up bricking the WRT54GS for DSL. So, I started looking online for a new router to replace the WRT54GS that would be better than what I had now. One of the key features of Sveasoft is the better QoS...which was important since I was doing a lot of VoIP (having at the time both Lingo and Vonage, since neither had Manhattan, KS numbers...they have since gone away...and its just Broadvoice now. But, I've been thinking of getting another....) But, I had turned of QoS on the cable one, because I found that it was affecting my ability to see the speed improvements that Cox had been making to it. So, I had already started looking at what next after WRT54GS....but now with a bricked router, things were more urgent.
So, what I did was order a pair of Buffalo WHR-HP-GN (with dd-wrt) routers from Amazon, using Amazon Prime...on September 9, 2010.
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This afternoon's tale starts on Tuesday, November 8th.
At about 9:30am, I get an email from Cox about Wednesday's EAS test for 2pm EST....shouldn't be a problem, won't be home and nothing should be recording then...
Then at about 11:30am, I start getting pages that my Cox connection (among other things) has gone away. Well, the other things were because without Cox...there's no DNS or NTP...so things that tested or depend on that also failed. Though monitoring from work just showed Cox down.... At least I still have DSL....tweak some stuff back to being DSL centric, and bounce my cable modem a few times.... I had switched away from being DSL centric after a recent significant DSL outage.
Eventually cable service comes back, and I think all is good. Though I don't notice that not everything in nagios has cleared. And, when I come home...I find that I still have no Cox internet service.
I turn on the TV to see if I'm at least getting a signal....but I only checked the channel that was default...didn't check further. I then get on with Cox to find out why my service is down.
Strange that I often have trouble right around bill due time. But, I use EasyPay, so they automatically get paid. And, this month the auto-pay date is November 9th. New bill came out around October 27th (in fact later when I got confirmation that they had processed the payment, that's what it said). Always interesting that they allow so little time between sending the bill to when it needs to get paid. Its probably to keep us from dropping services between getting the bill and paying it. Like dropping Movie Pak....a while back they moved BBC America to the Movie Pak, so I had to add that to my service quickly....but sometime later they moved it back to the Variety Pak...so I should probably drop the Movie Pak...but I never seem to get around to it. I don't watch anything else in the Movie Pak (but at least I do from the Variety Pak.)
But, I check and account is current. I also got alert from bank of the pending charge too.
So, I get on with Cox support to find out what's up or not....and after they get my account information, come back saying a technician call is needed and say the earliest is Thursday between 1-3pm. Ok...then I'm asked if there's anything else, and I'm disconnected.
Seems like that's one way to avoid the National EAS test....
I had turned the cable modem on and off a few times, with longer off times, and checked connections and such...to no luck, but couldn't recall if I left it on or off overnight. When I get up...there's still no Cox Internet service. I restart the cable modem, and presto...I have service.
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Years ago, I had installed Skype on various computers thinking that I'd jump into the whole using my computer for VoIP calling either as a supplement to doing VoIP using ATA's or successor. It revived buying webcams and/or headsets on my newer computers. I bought a webcam for my dad. But, he never used it.
And, I've never really used any of the many new webcams I keep buying either. But, recently I've met some friends on line that are into chatting online using Skype. I did do it once, and it was a strange experience actually talking to people....rather than the usual type into a window or web form chatting that I'm accustom to for online chat. But, they weren't into the webcam feature of Skype, so I don't know if I'll ever get to use that part for more than just as the microphone. (Which I might not do, since I bought a headset for one of my computers...)
Meanwhile, yesterday on Gumby....the computer I installed Skype and a(n HP) webcam onto, because ole TARDIS wasn't feeling up to getting new hardware (the plastic tab in some of its USB ports have broken off, though the kind of still work sometimes....not as bad as the old Gumby where the front USB ports didn't work at all anymore....And, I was using a PCCard USB adapter to help...)
Anyways, yesterday I recall seeing this EasyBits Games or something dialog come up, when I was checking some stuff on the machine. It had been up for over 16 (reached a max of 16.8 this time, TARDIS is currently at 35.52 days), but it seemed confused. A java app said it was out of memory, though there was plenty on the machine (over 1900MB free)...so I tweaked its JVM settings. Though later I discovered that PRTG had stopped running at some point. Someday I'll install Nagios, or something and replace that aspect of PRTG that I use. I had switched to running it, because bello-monitors-the.net ceased operation a few months back...and I was using it to monitor the performance and availability of this blog. At first PRTG seemed the solution to doing this...but its more annoying than just works, so I'll probably look at some other online service...
Anyways, suddenly with no explanation my screen went dark and the lights went out on Gumby...a moment later it was booting back up. Nothing in the event log to explain why it had gone down. I came back later to see the finished boot, and dismiss the various dialogs that come up during a boot and see why PRTG was complaining about something I was sure I had told it to stop monitoring (LHAVEN....I haven't finished that post yet). That's when I saw the huge gap in data, and it had apparently stopped working sometime yesterday morning (this unexplained reboot was around 5:27pm).
I vaguely recall seeing a strange dialog from Skype in reference to EasyBits Go games, seemed odd that Skype wanted me to install something like this. And, I have Skype in offline state on this computer...since I had upgraded to Zen...and Skype is online there. But, I dismissed it. I wasn't interested in it. But, later I saw that it had installed itself anyways.
Then a strange Flash Player install dialog, not the usual one from Adobe that comes up now and then. But, it seemed to do the normal Adobe Flash Player install...the except it was the kind that tried to install crapware with it, that you have to figure out the checkbox to uncheck to not get it before downloading it...while needing to check other boxes for it to proceed.
Guess I should've read it, because it was yet another part of the Crapware infestation that was coming to my computer via Skype/Microsoft.
Did a quick google search this morning, and found out how that its realy crapware, because the uninstall doesn't do anything...have to do more complicated stuff to remove it.
Found the steps to eradicate it at: Jeff Duntemann's ContraPositive Diary - EasyBits GO, Skype, and The Crapware Problem
Just firing off this quick blog post and then to reboot....
Wonder if the Free AVG will catch it later, or if I should install something like Norton Internet Security (I seem to have gotten a 3-seat license, but I'm only using it on one computer at the moment....I do need to upgrade the version of Trend that is running on TARDIS, but getting NIS working and not working on Zen has been quite the hassle...so maybe I'm still looking, at least its SONAR isn't going after BOINC like NAV used to on TARDIS....wouldn't be so bad, if it didn't start doing that just after I extended it for another year.)
Wonder if I shouldn't just remove Skype while I'm at it....
....another day that justifies also having DSL service.
Of course, on top of much more downstream and upstream, Cox also has lower latency. However, the thing that would benefit most...I have using DSL, my home telephone service...because I need the availability.
And they keep trying to sell Digital Phone....they do claim that I can keep my Broadvoice number, which would be a requirement. And, the current bundling savings me a ton of money....at least for the promo period. Hmmm, though its only the Essential bundle of digital phone...which is less services than I get now, including services I want...and normally for much more than what I pay Broadvoice. Though with bundling, it would only only cause my current service plan to go up by a couple of dollars. And, long distance would cost me more....
Wonder when U-Verse is going to get here. Annoying that some units in some buildings can get U-Verse, other units in some buildings have U-Verse. But, it says my unit in my building doesn't exist....yet I have DSL and they send me bills for it, so I surely exist somewhere....
Not sure if I'd go Internet only, or Internet + Phone. Phone seems to be missing one feature.... simul-ring.
Yesterday, I was at home....staycation....when I heard my cellphone ring, and while it was ringing I heard a text message come in. But my home phone, which I was sitting next to, remained quiet.
I have my Broadvoice VoIP service set to simulring my cellphone, so that I'll have the option of answering calls to my home number when I'm not at home. But, name display doesn't carry to the cellphone, so I also have call notification send an SMS with that information. Actually, its more interesting in that I have the SMS go to my iPhone, and the simulring is of my regular cell phone (during a work day, the iPhone is usually dead around 5pm...but I need to be available 24x7). The future of having a smartphone is up in the air, but I'm considering an IPX7 phone to replace my current regular cellphone....
Anyways....I didn't recognize the number (and there was no name for it), so I ignored the call...and it didn't leave me a voicemail. I then picked up my home phone...and got fast busy. Hmmm, wonder when it stopped working?
I tried the usual troubleshooting, reboot ATA, reboot router, modem, disconnect/reconnect, switch from using DSL to Cox, etc. No dice. Checked my account portal, no service outages reported. Tried emailing support to make sure. But, got no response (until after I had resolved the issue on my own).
I'm using BYOD service....when I had originally signed up, I had a D-Link DPH-540...but it wouldn't switch between work wireless and home wireless...at all. No WiFi between home and work, so no expectation of that kind of roaming. But, it didn't just work when I went between the two networks. And, there were other issues.
Since I neglected to get either of the ATAs from my previous VoIP providers unlocked (ATA-186 from Vonage and something else from Lingo.) I went looking for an unlocked ATA on eBay. I originally got a Linksys PAP2, but what I really wanted was the Sipura SPA-3000.... Anyways, I initially set up the Broadvoice service on the Linksys PAP2 and all was good then.
Later I scored a Sipura SPA-3000, and switched to that. The Sipura SPA-3000 has the capability of using a landline either via dial code, as a gateway to VoIP or as backup. The latter two reasons were why I got it. In the event of an Internet outage (or power outage), I wanted to still have phone service...and I was paying an arm and a leg for landline service, but not using it for any other reason...except that naked DSL wasn't available when I moved here. And, I wanted DSL.
I had toyed with the gateway option....being able to call from work, and then relay out to VoIP, in case the urge to call my parents or something when I'm working late ever strikes. It never did, though I've played around with options over the years. I had tried Skype, Fring, Packet8 services....but never actually made the real call.
Anyways..the Sipura SPA-3000 worked well the few times that having it fall back to landline was needed....
Though later, I did switch to naked DSL. So, no more fallback. But, I left the SPA-3000 in place, unchanged...because it was working....
Well, this morning I got up....and I still have no phone service. So, I decided that it might be time to dig out the 'old' Linksys PAP2 and see if that would work.
I did. Didn't even have to remember how to get to the admin interface...forgot that it has a user and an admin, and that default URL is for the user interface. So trying to login as admin wouldn't work. I knew what admin password I had set on it, but I couldn't remember what the user password was (once I realized that was what it was prompting for). Anyways...plugged it in, and it just started working immediately.
Later I verified that all the settings were still right.
Now I'll be able to make (and receive?) phonecalls from my home phone...
Wonder if I need to shop around for another backup ATA.
So, yesterday afternoon...there was quite the thunderstorm.
I could see that the power was flickering at home, VNC'd to 'gumby'. After a while...it was steady on battery. I went over to 'tardis', and watched the UPS run down and cause it to hibernate. Didn't stay to watch 'gumby', headed in to the hallway to visit with evacuees and then go up to watch the storm....and then see about going home.
As I was leaving I saw that my connection to home had gone away. I couldn't remember if I was going into my home network via DSL or Cox. Though based on available data, looks like it was DSL. Will confirm on Monday.
I had been thinking of getting one of these units for a while, though wondering if I could use just as an AP.
Meanwhile, Cox has been improving its speed...but I wasn't seeing the improvement. Could see the upstream improvement, but not so much with the downstream. Well, its an old WRT54GS v1.1....and I guess I've hit the ceiling on it. Though turning off wondershaper (QoS) made an improvement in speed, though still not the full advertised speed of Cox Preferred. Not sure if that's the local competition or the next ceiling.
So, got to thinking that I needed a new router....after some quick searching around, it seemed too much trouble track down a modifiable router so that I could still have wondershaper... and one that offered improved WiFi (since pretty much can't get them without WiFi). When it occurred to me that maybe I'd just jump and get the Airport Extreme.
Without wondershaper on this gateway, I moved the main upstream hogs to go through the other WRT54GS and Internet connection....the DSL service, where things aren't getting me down....
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In a somewhat planned and somewhat impulse move, I have acquired another scanner. A Fujitsu ScanSnap S300. Noting that I've mentioned that I already own a ScanSnap S300M, it may seem odd...though its more of an annoyance. That I need to buy the same scanner again to use it on Windows.
But, it's a new year and I'm starting to accumulate receipts of stuff I'm going to want to submit for FSA reimbursement.... Had found out last year that I can submit receipts and stuff by scanning and emailing, instead of fax. Since I no longer have a working fax machine, and I'm not sure my VoIP will handle fax. Bringing home my work MacBookPro to do scanning was kind of a hassle, but the FSA money didn't last very long.
This year I've put a bit more into FSA, so there'll probably be more scanning to get the reimbursements. So, I needed to see about having a scanner on my main computer. And, the more I thought of it...the more another scanner like the ScanSnap S300M made the most sense to me.
So, I started watching a few different online sites to see which one had the best deal on the S300. When in an unrelated activity, I found that the price had dropped on Amazon.com....since the other sites hadn't dropped to match, and then noticing that it would possible to get it at home today by Amazon Prime. I went and purchased it.
Now I have to go reboot the computer to complete the installation of the software, before I can test that it works....
Today, I finally pulled the trigger again....and canceled my home phone service. But, I'm keeping DSL.
Originally, when I first moved to Manhattan, KS there were issues on whether or not I could get a local number from a VoIP provider. And, I was interested in the possibility of getting DSL. Plus as it turned out, I had trouble getting Cox Internet. So, I had to use expensive dialup Internet to feed my habit.
Later I went ahead and ordered DSL, after giving up on ever getting Cox. Of course, once I did that, Cox moved mountains, and got me connected. But, I kept DSL because it had been on my list of things to try....to try being dually connected. Which has been fun, so I'm going to continue to do this.
But, since I got Internet service at home...I haven't used the phone part of my home service.
So, I was sitting around this morning, because I didn't have to go into work, looking for little things to pass the time with....so I decided this was a good time as any to finally make that call.
Getting past the automated phone system to a real person was kind of a pain, but once I got a real people the process went surprisingly well.
So, this Friday my home phone service will be no more. It was kind of useless...at over $27 a month for just basic local service, when pretty much all I do are long distance calls (to Canada...to my mom)...hence the value of VoIP. I had rationalized keeping it for when nothing else is available....but having survived a couple significant power outages recently...I decided that it wasn't as essential.
Yes, I expect my DSL cost to go up....by $10....but it is still a savings....that I can apply to other crazy things.
I rated this 4 stars.
I wonder if there'll be more....
Latest Poopli Updaters -- http://lkc.me/poop
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