Saturday, April 28, 2012

Picasa now officially sucks big time.

Several years ago I started using Picasa to publish my photo albums to the web and to share them with friends and family. I found it to be an easy to use application for creating albums and a nice user interface for viewing photo albums on the net. Now that Google has basically raped this great photo sharing mechanism and shoved it up the Google Plus asshole I find that the photo viewing online is now mostly unusable and the tight connection to Google+ is totally offensive and counter to the original intention of the site.

I'm now officially searching for a new photo sharing site that doesn't have some corporate ulterior motives to serve their own frigging world domination objective. God it's so f'ing irritating that these companies continually just try to increase their network dominance. It's like we're all caught in this frigging testosterone driven dominance game.

Google is the new Microsoft. The corporation that we all hate because of their focus on world domination. Time to find some new alternatives.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Update on Bell Turbo Hub performance issues

Well, believe it or not it seems that Bell actually does at least try to solve network performance problems. Sometime after I started calling them on a regular basis I seemed to notice some improvements in the network performance. The really long (3 to 10 seconds) delays in connectivity seem to happen much less often, however transfer speeds were continuing to show very inconsistent results which were sometimes simply pathetic (0.1 Mbps). My guess is they either added some hardware to the local tower or tweaked the settings on their systems to provide better response times. One of their techies at one point told me that they can also tweak the antennae arrays on the tower to adjust the signal strength in different directions.

Anyway, at some point they said that the network people have done their testing and the signal strength in my area was ok. So then they started blaming the problem on my hub. They wanted me to take the hub into a Bell store for testing or to take it to a different location to test. Well, I told them that the results are so inconsistent and the conditions here would be nothing like the conditions elsewhere (e.g. internal vs external antennae) that such a test would be useless. Not to mention the fact that I don't have time to do this testing on their behalf. I also pointed out that they are the ones claiming that the problem was with my hub (I still think the hub has nothing to do with these problems) and so they agreed to send me a new router to replace my existing one.

Well, after switching to the new hub a few days ago I still can't really notice much difference. However, I was able to Skype into a conference call that lasted over an hour with only a few drop-outs of more than a few seconds. This is a big improvement from when I started and Skype was completely unusable. My guess is that this was due to tweaking done to their network hardware.

So if you're having problems with your Bell connectivity call them and get them to open a support ticket. Each time you call back give them the ticket number and tell them you want to know what progress has been made. Be polite but persistent. Remind them that you're paying for what they advertise.

If I continue to get less than 1 Mbps download speeds then I will continue to complain that I'm paying for high speed but I'm not getting it. Right now it's hit or miss and things like watching YouTube videos can still be a very frustrating experience.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Technical Note: How to find out what directory a drive letter is mapped to on Windows.

It took me a while to dig up this information so I wanted to create this note to help others find it. Apparently directories are mapped to drive letters on Windows using the "subst" command. So if you want to find out what directory a mapped drive letter is pointing at, open a DOS "cmd" window and type "subst".

Of course this is not the same as viewing network mapped drives. Oh no, let's not try to confusing people by using the same command for two completely different things (read sarcasm here). To view network mappings type the command "net use".

It seems totally bizarre that you can't get the mapping information for a directory mapping from the mapped drive properties dialog. Network drive mappings show up right in the top level windows explorer view of your computer. Ah well, such is the love/hate relationship with Windows.