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The Cable Guy

Got home from work a little early today, starvin' hungry. While I was scarfing down some cappellini and mizithra cheese, I observed out my front window someone in a hard hat up on a high orange ladder, doing something in the wires right across the street.

While enjoying my plate of pasta, I checked my email. Nothing happened. I checked the wireless connection. Strength: Excellent. Just for the hell of it, I plugged in my ethernet cable. Network connected. Still no email. No web.

I looked at my modem. It seemed suspiciously un-blinky. I looked out the window. The guy in the hard hat was making an unusually slow and cautious descent, almost as if he was unfamiliar with extension ladders and overhead wires. I unplugged and reconnected my modem. The lights labeled "Send" and "Receive" remained resolutely unlit.

The coin dropped. I hotfooted out the front door. The slow-moving man had stowed his ladder on a little white cable truck. I tried to see the logo on the side of the truck, but it was old and partially worn off--a former logo, it was. As I made to cross the street and point out that my cable had died, he peeled off very, very quickly. The truck had out of state license plates.

I called Comcast. While I was on hold, I entertained some morbid fantasies about how Comcast sends anonymous slow-climbing subcontractors in logo-impaired trucks to disconnect the high-speed internet service of those who engage in the acquisition of certain current BBC television shows.

Customer service answered. I hit pause on the current episode of Torchwood and described my situation. Well, ma'am we have no record of any service calls on your street today. Yes, we can see that your modem is offline.

I described the formerly-marked truck. Comcast agreed that it was odd. Comcast was mystified. Comcast is sending someone out tomorrow afternoon to reconnect me.

Me, I'm a little nervous. Do you think Homeland Security cares about the torrents?


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 14th, 2008 10:55 pm (UTC)
No, but on a slightly related note, Comcast has been throttling the ports used for torrents for awhile now.

We've had a deuce of a time with them for about 6 to 9 months, and gave up on torrenting altogether about 3 months ago. After a lot of research when it first started happening, we learned all the ways you can get around it (port forwarding, encryption, etc.) but we also learned that Comcast has been systematically engaging in "traffic shaping" for about a year. They aren't as bad as some ISPs out there, but Comcast in particular prevents seeding; the bit torrent we used (Demonoid) had a rating system based on your seeding activity, so if you weren't seeding as much as you were downloading, then your downloads eventually slowed down or stopped altogether as your rating dropped. Other ISPs limit bandwidth, cause unsolvable NAT problems, etc.

Anyway, the seeding prevention thing pretty much shut us down for torrenting, and then Demonoid got nixed, so that put an end to it for us. We haven't had time to figure out an alternative ISP or torrent service but we might give it another whirl soon. Comcast seems to be working their way through a list or something, because not everyone we know who has Comcast who torrents is having a problem.

None of which answers your question, but, you know Freedom of Information and alla that. :)

Info here:
Mar. 15th, 2008 12:31 am (UTC)
Thank you for the info! Great stuff. I remember you mentioning your torrent problems, and I noticed on the last few go-rounds, on certain torrents, I couldn't seed at all. My share ratio never gets above 1.6 or so, no matter how long I leave my computer running and the client active.

What a shame, since not all torrenting involves illegal material.

I'm generally very happy with Comcast and have no desire to go back to a phone-line based service (since I have no more phone line). I'll quit watching television productions altogether before I resort to actually turning on the TV or watching commercials, and if they'd make a commercial-free download available to me for a fee, I'd pay it.

Netflix looks better and better to me.
Mar. 15th, 2008 06:19 pm (UTC)
I wanted to let you know: I've followed your links and done a couple of the things recommended. I'm seeding a couple of torrents at a less than stellar speed, but at least I'm seeding.

Your post also prompted me to have another look at Usenet. It's more complicated than bittorrenting, but the same stuff is out there. I'm trying to figure it out now.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 15th, 2008 06:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah. The guy who came to fix the problem the following day thought nothing of my suspicions.

I keep my tinfoil hat hidden most of the time.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 15th, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)
Hee! Big hair is the answer. That's great.

Mar. 16th, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC)
So, not to sound too technilogically stupid, but, what is seeding and torrenting? (From your more stupid friend...)
Mar. 16th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
I think you mean my more law-abiding friend.

Bit torrents are files that are shared over the internet by means of a clever little protocol that allows one user to collect pieces of the file from any number of other users, in any order. The software then assembles the pieces into a coherent whole.

Torrenting is not, in itself, illegal, but what is commonly shared are copyright materials, such as television shows, movies, and music, so big broadband providers like Comcast do their best to pinch the tube shut.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )



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