Friday, November 21, 2008

IP switcher

As a manager of a national IP network I find myself constantly changing static IP addresses on my windows XP laptop. Commercial profile managers and switching utilities are available. You can instead just write a simple batch file to configure your network interface.

Here are two that I just created.


netsh interface ip set address name="Local Area Connection" source=static addr= mask=

netsh interface ip set address name="Local Area Connection" gateway= gwmetric=1
netsh interface ip set dns name="Local Area Connection" source=static addr= register=PRIMARY
netsh interface ip add dns name="Local Area Connection" addr= index=2
netsh interface ip set wins name="Local Area Connection" source=static addr=none


netsh interface ip set address name="Local Area Connection" source=dhcp
netsh interface ip set dns name="Local Area Connection" source=dhcp register=PRIMARY
netsh interface ip set wins name="Local Area Connection" source=dhcp

Monday, August 04, 2008

Streetcar is great but is going to take some getting used to. I joined a week ago and have used it twice. First time to take the kids for the Tuberculosis Jab at a clinic in Hangleton. God knows why the NHS decided we had to go there but it seemed like a good first test of street car service. So for £11 I got 4 people there and back and did the weekly shopping. Trying to reverse the car out of its allocated parking spot was the first challenge things were very tight becuase someone had parked a long people carrier in the bay just behind. So grappling with an unfamiliar car I was at one point thinking of giving up. After that it was plain sailing though in future I think I'll book the the manual VW POLO instead of the Golf. The second use was today. I was at work in Kempton and need to get to Newhaven and back. Nearest Streetcar was already booked so I had a 10 minute walk to Devonshire place. Anyway car was great did the job and attempted to return car. Unfortunately some inconsiderate bugger had parked his plumbing bathroom fitters van in the reserved spot even though it is marked as no loading.

So big thumbs down to


83 St James's Street, Brighton, BN2 1TP 01273676971

for doing that. I tried ringing them but just got a fax machine.

Took a little time to convince streetcar to let me just leave car at office, but they did and full credit to them for that.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The shortest measurable unit of time

This was pretty universally agreed to be the 'New York Second'. The time between a New York traffic light turning green and the car behind you hitting its horn. After much research I now believe the "Angel Pause" has it beat. This the time between my bottom hitting the cushion of any type of comfortable chair and my wife finding something for me to get up and do.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


The Digifusion failed on me last Wednesday. Uh oh, Doctor Who episode on Saturday was scheduled right in the middle of the kids bath time as usual. Edict handed down from wife read " fix it or get another one right now!".

So against all my instincts to research the current state of the freeview PVR market on the internet for the next two weeks I instead went to a real bricks and mortar shop. ADSA! Didn't even buy any food just picked up the first thing that had a dual tuner paid and left.

As it turns out, this is a pretty sorted box considering it was less than a hundred quid. Doesn't record the last 15 minutes of what you are currently watching to provide the magic "rewind live tv" facility BUT then it doesn't have to constantly spin the hard disk so it is QUIET! Has series link a fast usable readable Electronic Program Guide (EPG). So far it has felt like a major upgrade in terms of usability and reliability. Coming out of PAUSE mode works flawlessly unlike the digifusion and subtitles are always recorded and there is a 'continue watching from where you last left off' feature for all the stuff you have recorded. I really really like it. You can switch it on set stuff to be recorded really fast compared to the Humax, Digifusion and Sony PVRs that I have used. A win. Wife likes it too!

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Register publishes my thoughts on LLU and ADSL economics and iPlayer bandwidth consumption

For my sins I run a small UK ISP. I am exposed to the Capacity Based Charging model both from BT (via 3rd party wholesale outfit 186K) and from LLU wholesale from Tiscali so I can see some differences. Nevertheless to get traffic from to and from my ADSL clients costs me 10 times as much in cost of bandwidth as to send or receive the same packets to the rest of the world. That includes you BBC. So it costs me probably 20 times as much as it did the BBC to deliver their content. Do I blame the BBC? No I don't. Do I blame BT? you're damned right I do.

As far as I can work out the major component of this bandwidth cost is fibre backhaul from the exchanges. If BT were to sell dark fibre pairs to the LLU players this price would fall though the floor and low contention ADSL would be available to all. But BT won't sell dark fibre because they fear that their ipstream model and 20 century network could be instantly replicated with a vastly lower cost base. Someone tell me why the annual rental of 1 GB wes/les/bes circuits costs a fortune compared to 100Mbps variant (which isn't cheap). It is the same fibre just a different transceiver. If Offcom had made the same pricing model of BT's costs for installing and maintaining fibre as it did for copper pairs in 2000 when LLU started we wouldn't be in this mess now.

So BT you need to upgrade your exchange links. Oh and while you are at it, your central pipes, deliver them as Gig Ethernet not this 655Mbps ATM stuff of yesteryear. Since no one is going to buy a central pipe of that size outside of a known data centre you could make them a few hundred pounds to install instead of the tens of thousands. You could ..but you won't will you? Not until someone makes you. Sad thing is you would end up making more money not less. All those little ISP's could start buying direct from you again. Didn't ADSL competing against your valuable leased line and ISDN business in 2000 show you anything. It was a good thing.

It is the price of fibre between BT exchanges that is the barrier to the UK internet services. I think Easynet was instrumental in getting a better deal with the BES service from BT but what it really showed was that BT will do anything not to sell dark fibre.

As soon as an LLU player could bring on another neighbouring exchange using a properly IP routed mesh topology with 100 times the bandwidth for the same cost as today you would see IP Multicast working. You would see packets for geographically close communications not being tunnelled half way across the country and back. You would have local resilience. ISP's might even run BGP in every exchange with other LLU isps. The UK internet wouldn't depend on a few data centres in London. Local data centres would pop up everywhere. People are used to Latencies of between 30 and 50 ms. But imagine if that was the worst you ever got and now your local VPN traffic got there and back in under 2ms and your London vpn head end was only 5ms round trip.

Ultimately LLU is completely held to ransom by BT determining the price of getting bandwidth to the racks in the exchanges. Unbundle the fibre and all the problems melt away.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Its a strange new world/craft fair

1st things 1st. Happy new year.

2nd things 2nd What is second life all about?
I didn't really know. So I took Linden Labs up on their kind offer of free beer last night and went to have a nose around their Brighton office. After about 2 hours I still only have an impression. Either SL is the cheap 3D universal interface that every one could use to interact/ do business with on line with or it is just a craft fair. That second option isn't how Lindens would recognise it and it isn't meant to be disparaging. There is a 3rd view held by some :- that SL is more along the lines of an open asylum that attracts a disproportionate number of people who need to express themselves in ways normal society would frown upon.

If second life is to scale Linden Labs must allow other organisations to build and run servers located around the globe. In fact Linden Labs themselves should probably give up running the majority of servers they currently do. This is a cost overhead they just don't need. Ownership of protocols and the and the ability to block access to any rogue server as the one and only sanction is all that is required. Probably only allowing legal entities other than individuals to own and run servers would be a useful raising of the bar. Oh and obviously people need a lot more hand holding before they will commit their time and energy to SL. I would say that the majority of the people I spoke to last night don't actually use SL beyond an initial foray.

On a more cheerful note having a poly pin of Harvey's best bitter was a good move and I scored a Linden Labs re-badged Rubick's cube. Also bumped into Iestyn Lloyd from Littleloud whose appearance on ch4 shows that at least someone did something useful last year even if it was just playing dead.