Time to put Google in the back seat? Go, DuckDuckGo!

“Just google it…”  That all-pervasive, nearly omnipotent, search engine, Google, has morphed into a common-place verb — we all use it, many of us depend on it simply to keep up with happenings on the ‘Net.  Yet it may be time to start demoting Google to a place in “the back seat,” a second-tier position.  Bear with me… my reasoning for this is a bit roundabout, but I’ll get to the point as quickly as possible.

A few months ago, I ran into a pretty astounding book on my local library‘s “featured” shelf, and I’ve told whoever’ll listen to me about it ever since:  The book is “The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You” by Eli Pariser — and, honestly, if I’d’a recognized the author by name as I picked up the book, I probably would have proved its premise by putting it right back on the shelf!  Like many (most) of us, I’m living inside my own “filter bubble,” and, burdened with my own notions, likes, dislikes and opinions, had I known who Mr. Pariser was, I’d have exercised my prejudice and thus would have missed reading an eye-opening book!  Mr. Pariser is a former executive director of MoveOn.org, and of course, every good capital-C-conservative knows as “one of them” — the despised “other.”  Had I known this author for his former association, I would have recoiled from the book with disdain! Continue reading

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Max Mathews, electronic music pioneer: RIP

It’s been a tough year for some of my heroes… I’m at the age when those who were the teachers, mentors and leaders of my college days and young adulthood are themselves fading, passing away.  And thanks to the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-finding ‘Net, it sometimes brings me news of a former mentor who’s seen his last days.

Earlier this year, it was Ken Olsen, founder of DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation).  Just a few weeks ago, another pioneer in technology and the arts passed:  Max Mathews, engineer, acoustician, musician and pathfinder in electronic and computer music, died on April 21st, 2011. Continue reading

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Our turn in the fire…

Our Franktown (Colorado) community has dodged a bullet — a cliched turn of phrase, but I’m sure that many of the homeowners out here to the north and east of the village center truly feel that way.  The “Burning Tree Fire” (how appropriate the name) of March 24th, 2011 seems now to be largely in the mop-up phase, with no damage to or loss of property (homes, barns), and no injuries or loss of life (people or animals).  As I look to the northwest from my home in the Bannockburn neighborhood this morning, I see no smoke clouds or even wisps which would indicate the acreage which burned yesterday.

But of course, it ain’t over ’til it’s over… With the winds continuing today, flare-ups are possible, if unlikely.

Continue reading

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Running out of IPv4 addresses, but consumer gear’s not ready for IPv6!

Hot on the heels of our recent DSL upgrade experience comes this revelation about the state of consumer-grade network gear — DSL & cable modems, routers, etc. — As the world “runs out of” IPv4 (Internet) addresses, the stuff that Cisco/Linksys, Netgear and others would sell us (or our ISPs would provide us) are just not ready for IP version 6… to-wit, from this NetworkWorld article:

When it comes to IPv6 support, consumer home networking gear lags far behind other devices, like enterprise equipment and PC operating systems. Most devices certified as IPv6-compliant by the IPv6 Forum are full of implementation bugs, experts say…

Given that “the givens” for home-based or SOHO network gear are stateful packet inspection, firewall, and NAT (network address translation), it’d be nice to presume that the major manufacturers will start getting this right, sooner rather than later.  I can’t wait ’til we all get to try that upgrade!…

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“If It Ain’t Broke…” — concluded

More Steps to Upgrading My DSL Service

Some folks won’t care, but just to bring this little saga to a conclusion for those of you who do…

The beginning of this story was posted last Thursday evening, when indeed the newly-upgraded DSL service seemed to be pretty much okay, with a few lingering issues.  I had created that post in my text editor, not completely trusting my link’s stability to edit in the WordPress online editor — but with some post-cut-&-paste tweaks, the piece was done and published. Continue reading

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“If It Ain’t Broke…”

Or How I Upgraded my DSL Service in 12 Not-So-Easy Steps

[This is a rather long posting, and a bit geek-techie.  It’s an narrative of my experience with a DSL service upgrade, so I hope it has value for other folks, especially for those looking to upgrade their own Internet service.  And I’m asking for advice at the end, as I’ve got to purchase a new router: What kind of network router is best for VDSL2 service?]

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  Ageless advice from folks who have been there and done that.  I’ve been attempting to apply this wisdom to our home-office Internet connection for over a year now.  Problem was, our DSL/ADSL service from Qwest was acting up, throwing temporary intermittent, but fairly regular, outages (which I’m calling “drop-outs” in what follows) which would last for several minutes before connectivity to the ‘Net would be restored.  Continue reading

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What’s a rockjack?

At some point, someone’s gonna ask… What, exactly, is a rockjack? It never occurred to me until quite recently that someone would ask that… Doesn’t everyone know what a rockjack is?  Hmm… some explaining is in order.

I was raised in the very northeast corner of Oregon, a large area known as The Wallowas (now Wallowa County) — you say “wuh-LOW-a”, with the accent on the middle syllable, which rhymes with “ow!” (as in “ouch!”).  The entire eastern half of Oregon (please, say “OR-ee-gun”, not “or-EE-gone”!), together with that half of Washington, most of Idaho and well into the Yellowstone, has seen a very violent and extensive volcanic history in its ancient past, and the Wallowa country is a fascinating geologic layer-cake.  Continue reading

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