Saturday, February 28, 2009

A real MAN!

Loose thoughts by Bjorn Landfeldt

So today I went to Hacking river for some boating. Down at the boat ramp I put the boat in the water and saw that there was a parking spot fairly close to the ramp. As I drive up there is another car coming down to the ramp, queuing up to launch the boat. I drive around and line the car up to reverse into the spot when I see a kid standing in front of it. He won't move and as I get out to tell him to stand somewhere else his dad comes jogging over telling me his son is holding the parking spot. Now this has happened before at the Grays point boat ramp, it seems to be an Australian thing, to place your kid in the street in front of oncoming traffic.

There is an old bloke coming past looking at me, going, "run him over mate", bless him.

Inspired, I yell to the kid (about 10 or so) you had better move or you will be in pain! I reverse and the kid has to move.

I got a laugh when I went past the old bloke who was sitting at a picnic table and told him "I thought bagsing things stopped in third grade"?.

Oh, the joys of mingling with Joe the plumber at the boat ramp.

Australian governamnt just saved a nuclear power plant

Loose thoughts by Bjorn Landfeldt

Now that Senator Nick Xenophon announced that he is not supporting the government's plans for mandatory Internet filtering many people in Australia breathe easier. In a sense, the government should also be relieved they won't have to push this issue further because the ramifications might have been wide spread in retrospect.

Apart from all the issues raised in the debate so far, I was doing what I am paid to do this week, thinking in my office. I was considering the fact that the debate has been so backward looking and the changing face of computing has not been considered. In a world where cloud computing has a credible business model and the majority of our computing tasks may very well end up in the cloud, the filtering problem becomes almost embarrassingly complex. Couple that with the clear trend of video delivery (IP TV, triple play etc.) youtube popularity and so forth, and you have filtering complexity on a scale never imagined.

I a very un-scientific thought experiment, assume there would be a million concurrent data flows (IPTV) and a filtering system would have to determine if the content was prohibited or not by analysing the content. Also assume each process would use 100 W in processor, rack, mother board, memory and disk hardware consumption (oh yes, and the power to run the cooling machinery). Someone would have to produce 100 MW of power to do this filtering and since we have a carbon reduction goal I guess this would mean nuclear (people use the Internet at night and when the wind is not blowing).

It would be interesting to do a thorough study of the environmental impact on Internet content filtering and see just how much pollution senator Xenophon just avoided by waking up.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Beware of TELSTRA knocking on your door

Loose thoughts by Bjorn Landfeldt

SO, last night this young man comes past my house and rings the door bell. In very broken English he manages to tell me he is from Telstra and he is investigating some complaints by customers in my street. I am not a Telstra customer anymore but they manage my underlying infrastructure so I thought let's hear the man out. Over the last couple of weeks or so, I have experienced spurious carrier drops with my DSL modem so I shared this with him when he asked me if I had noticed anything lately. Between drop-outs there has been no noticeable problems. After having talked to him for a while he starts steering the conversation in the well known "I have something to sell you" direction. As it turns out, he just wanted to wast my time extra much by talking about problems in the infrastructure before the sales spiel but this one was interesting.

Knowing that I am using DSL (since I don't have a cable plan with Big Pond) he told me that my intermittent loss of carrier was because DSL is an inferior technology and that I should change to a Telstra cable modem plan instead. There were two reasons apparently, 1) cable modems are always much faster than DSL and 2) I experience loss of carrier because there is so much congestion during peak hours because my neighbours are using all my capacity.

I accept that I live in a city where I cannot even get away from sales reps in my home day or night, but having to endure blatant lies like this is just a sign of corporate management in absolute ethical crisis. I am lucky to understand this and being able to kindly decline but what about all those people who are not telecom people and who actually trust what an old reputable organisation like Telstra tells them? Telstra is so dominant on the Australian market that there is no need to resort to such methods. In fact, they can leave people alone in their homes at dinner time all together and still pay out good dividends.