Looking forward to having alternatives to DSL and Cable

You may already know that I am not a fan of Comcast. AT&T is kind of OK but their high prices, relatively slow speeds and lopsided upload download speeds bug me a lot. Recently I’ve begun having issues where the DSL line kind of goes on vacation but kind of doesn’t. Seemingly at random, the DSL light on my 2wire 2701HG-B Gateway turns read and flashes, (Internet light turns off) and then things synch up again. This is usually only enough to cause my surfing to pause, my VPN can most time weather this abuse. When it can’t it’s a nuisance to deal with, especially when conversing real time with someone on IM and then getting pitched off my company network.

I’m really chomping at the bit for either an over the air network or … anybody else to enter the market and give me a choice. I was running through options a couple of weeks ago and found that there is NO choice available in my area.

I’m pretty sure all of these numbers below should be zero for a healthy network. Maybe it’s my modem, maybe it’s AT&T’s network. All I know is that I will have a couple of hours of troubleshooting and chatting with customer service folks ahead of me when it finally ticks me off enough to commit to the mission of getting this addressed (again).

Nearly 30,000 ATM Cell Header errors and 69 ISP Connection establishments in less than a week seems like a bad thing.

Are Dogs worth the Bother / Danger?

First, I have to say that I dislike dogs. Specifically I dislike dogs that can take me in a fight. I have no issues with lap dogs and other smaller pets unless they are yapping at me.

In fairness, my neighborhood is not that bad. We only have 3 barkers around and they at least seem to spend some time indoors so I don’t have to listen to them 24 x 7.

Still, do not be that neighbor! A neighbor with a barking dog is akin to a neighbor who likes to “share” his music with you ALL THE TIME. It’s not pleasant, it’s like living in a trailer park where folks don’t seem to know any better.

Many years ago I wasn’t sure if I was a cat person, a dog person or neither or both. After years of exposure to ill-trained dogs accosting me as a paper boy, as a cyclist (both motor and pedal), as a jogger and of course in the many, many social contexts where “don’t mind Rex, he doesn’t bite”, I have come to the conclusion that I am at least not a dog person. Being around my wife’s cats for so many years has shown me that they are, in every way, a preferred pet for a modern household.

For folks who claim their dogs are clever, I’ll give them that. But I
would also rate dogs as being about as clever as a Vic 20 (look it
up)… with a *lot* of dust on the mother board… in a very humid
location. Sure you can tell it what to do, and most of the time it
will, but every now and then they just.. well.. don’t. Problem is, when they go off, they are designed a) to be outdoors and b) to hunt and kill prey. Neither of those two facets of their nature really blend well with being inside a civilized home.

After reading recently about another kid getting his/her face ripped off by the family pet, and to the tune of the mindless barking of the neighbor’s dog, I became curious about just how dangerous it is to have a modestly tamed but not so bright large carnivore loose in your house.

The statistics I was able to cull indicate:

From CaliforniaDogBites.com (yeah, yeah, I know.. lawyers..):

“Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States seeks medical attention
for a dog bite. There are approximately 800,000 bites per year in
the United States that require medical treatment. Most of the victims
are children, and most of them are bitten on the face. “

From DogBiteLaw.com:

“A survey by the national
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta (“CDC”)
concluded that dogs bite nearly 2% of the U.S. population — more
than 4.7 million people annually.”

It seems that getting killed by dogs is much less frequent than I expected. Most of their impact comes from maiming folks:

“In 2007, there were 33 fatal dog maulings in the USA.” (also from DogBiteLaw.com)

This last is, admittedly, an aberration as I believe it’s double the norm, but I was specifically looking for 2007 info where I could find it as I believe that would be the most recent year for which statistics would be available and published.

To be fair, the sources above are biased. Looking at another source you can see a spin put on the statistics that have them appear much less menacing. Of course, my point is that dogs are an anachronism, something we should have left behind when we invented doors. Whether someone is injured because a dog is attacking them or just bowling them over because the animal is big, very strong and not so bright doesn’t really make much difference to the person being injured. And don’t get me started on the damage I see in folks’ homes and cars due to their pets, but that *is* their choice, just like smokers and people who don’t pick up the trash in their homes, it’s a lifestyle choice.

That’s my rant, the sound of barking (and to my mind mistreated) dogs seems to be an inescapable part of suburbia. I really don’t understand the appeal but I suppose I just like to enjoy peace, quiet and safety. Gotta go, my cat wants to be petted…

Galactic Center of Milky Way Rises over Texas Star Party

Combining my love of time-lapse photography with astronomy, this video captures something that is surprisingly not highlighted very often.

In it you can clearly see the center of our milky way galaxy, long considered the entirety of the universe (we are so damn egotistical) rising to zenith over a star party. A star party, for those who don’t know is when a bunch of astronomers, amateur and otherwise, gather together to share equipment, knowledge and the sky with each other. I have yet to attend one of these.

I find the video absolutely awesome. Our own galaxy is roughly 100,000 light years across and that it is just one of about 30 galaxies that comprise the “local group” of galaxies and all this is just a tiny fraction of the galaxies out there… it can make your heart skip a beat just trying to conceive of it at all.

Here is our galaxy for your viewing pleasure.

Galactic Center of Milky Way Rises over Texas Star Party from William Castleman on Vimeo.