The problem I have with network packet loss and resets didn’t in fact get fixed by
the TWC internet speed reduction I talked about previously. However, the real
opportunity of way faster speeds from our ISPs, is being able to drop down from the
top speed tiers and save some money.
I’m still having the network packet loss, retransmits, and general network protocol
ugliness I’ve had since upgrading to El Capitan a while back.
I found some talk about MacOS doing ARP cache validation rather aggressively, in a way
that doesn’t jive with how router and switch manufacturers think it should be done.
Windows doesn’t do ARP cache validation, as far as I can tell. Linux does it, but not
until the ARP cache tables in the kernel get full.
I’ve done all that, and while it might have made things better, it didn’t fix them. At
least not completely:
--- 22.214.171.124 ping statistics ---
2025 packets transmitted, 2015 packets received, 0.5% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 31.179/44.917/66.868/2.885 ms
A half-percent packet loss isn’t bad, but until El Capitan, my packet loss was zero.
I’ve replaced everything except the computer at this point. I replaced the old SB6141
cable modem with a SB6183, capable of 300Mbps throughput. I have switched to a Cisco
RV325 router. I justified that one because it has 14 GigE switch ports
on it, so I could lose the 10/100 switch I was using because I have too much crap on my
desk that I want to plug in. With that setup, the Airport Extreme is no longer in the
network path from internet to this computer, it is no longer routing or doing NAT,
it is in bridge mode. All the cables have replaced with Cat6 cables. (More on this
hardware in another post.)
I still have the problem.
re-loaded MacOS. I had to do that anyway. This machine has been upgraded thru every
release since Lion,
which it came with in 2011, all the way thru El Capitan, and it had some strange
behavior. I also wanted to change the partitioning of the raid array, which can’t
be done with Apple hardware without reloading. So I reloaded.
I’ve also checked as best I can, and none of the other computers have this issue, so
it kind of has to be the MacPro or Time Warner. I can’t check the other two Macs, because the old
MacPro died recently, and the MacBookPro doesn’t have a ethernet port on it, and I didn’t
have a Thunderbolt to GigE adapter until very recently. And I keep forgetting to take
it out and check. I didn’t see it happening to my work laptop tho, for what that’s
It is amazing what a little competition will do. And now it has happened here.
In response to Google fiber coming to The Triangle, TWC changed all their internet
that the “ultimate” plan, that used to be 50Mbps, is now 300Mbps. I had the Ultimate
plan, and had 50Mbps internet. Now I have 300Mbps.
When they changed
my speed, I started having internet issues. The facebook web page wouldn’t always
completely load, getting stuck with empty elements or fail to load more posts as I
scrolled down. Twitter had similar problems. I’d get SSL errors, and websites not
found. Streaming video wouldn’t load on the first
try or would take forever to start. Despite having 300Mbps service, speed tests
showed only 120 or so.
Talking to TWC tech support this morning, they did all the standard things, none of
which worked. But when I
complained about the 120Mbps max speed, they said “Oh, the Surfboard SB6141 is only
rated for 100Mbps, so that’s pretty good, really…” When
I protested that Motorola said
otherwise, the TWC person said that TWC network engineers actually test them,
and the SB6141 is good
for only 100Mbps. There are other Surfboards that are capable of the 300Mbps I’m
signed up for. They pointed me to the supported modems list.
I thanked her for her help, and hung up.
And then called TWC customer support, and downgraded my service to the 100Mbps
tier, which is also $40 cheaper. Downgrading all the way back to 50Mbps was $45
cheaper, and I decided that the extra $5 was worth twice the speed.
And now FB loads reliably in Firefox, which was the web site and browser that
were the most affected before. I scrolled down for 10 minutes and it kept adding
pages at the bottom, which hasn’t worked reliably for a month.
My problems may not be totally fixed. I’m still seeing lots of TCP resets and
retransmissions from Akamai sites. But I’m kind of suspicious that this is a Firefox
browser problem. But that’s another post…
I upgraded the iPhone and iPad to iOS 9 a couple of days after it was available.
I upgraded to 9.0.1 a week later, and 9.0.2 a week after that. I was looking forward
to Apple News as a news aggregator, a place to find news all in one place and have
it learn what I liked and expand my horizons.
I should have known this was not going to happen, but I’m sometimes blinded by
Favorites come in 3 flavors:
News Topics, which I presume are curated topic lists
Publications, like the NYTimes, WaPo, Ars, Quartz, etc
When first used Apple News asks you to pick some favorites from the first two
categories. Then it never shows you anything else.
When I remove all the favorites no new news shows up. I thought some would,
because I’ve marked a bunch of articles as favorites, and you can’t see those or remove
the favorite status if you didn’t also bookmark them. But nothing showed up. I went
6 days wondering why News was always picking the same articles, until I noticed they
were all from 6 days ago. When I added the NYTimes back as a favorite, suddenly there
were 80 new NYT articles for me to read.
This is not what I want to happen. I want it to start showing me some of
everything, and I
mean EVERYTHING, and then slowly remove stuff from my “For You” that I never read ever.
This is not how it works tho.
I originally picked the NYTimes, WaPo, Quartz, Vox, Slate, and “Space”, and “Techology”.
Within 2 days, half the “For You” feed was articles about Pluto and Mars, with the
occasional review of The Martian. The other half were full of GOP presidential
candidates, which is strange because I never read any of them at any time.
So I started over, and picked all the major newspapers. Then I stopped finding any
articles I wanted to read at all. I removed them all, and this is when I noticed
that you have to have some favorites or you don’t get any news at all.
I continue to experiment with it. Maybe the number of the articles I’ve favorited
isn’t big enough. One of the topics you can favorite is called simply “News”, and
that’s the only favorite I’ve selected right now. I’ll see how this goes.
Or maybe my interests just aren’t wide enough and I should go back to reading Slashdot.
Just got back from seeing The Martian, the movie mentioned
two posts back. I’m going to show a serious nerd streak here, but I am what
I liked it.
I liked it. I didn’t love it.
I went into it knowing that it would not be the book, but I was made
a little optimistic by the fact that almost everything in the trailers I saw I remembered
as being in the book. It mostly delivered, tho parts were confusing.
One of the things that is really good about the book is the technical accuracy, while
managing to be a gripping story with drama and suspense. The movie couldn’t have all
that in it, but it went into some of the technical stuff and then did it so badly that
it removed me from the moment.
The other thing I hated was that characters seems to be doing things they weren’t
technically supposed to do. Some of this was just because I knew who said which
lines in the book, and in the move someone else said it. This is minor.
More major is when character roles get mixed up because the big name actor has to have
specific lines, and be the one to save the day. This is standard movie crap and is a
standard gripe of mine. Lewis has
to save Mark at the end, because Jessica Chastain is the biggest name in that scene.
Teddy has to
be the one doing all the new conferences, and gets most of Annie’s good lines, because
Jeff Bridges is the biggest name in the earth part of the movie. Never mind
Beck is the EVA specialist, and Annie is the media relations person. I suspect
that the only reason Teddy didn’t fly up and save Watney himself was because they’d
already made a big deal about the distances and times it took to travel to Mars.
The book doesn’t suffer from “the biggest actor is always better at something than
the person that’s supposed to do it”, because it is a book. The movie does, and I
don’t think it needed to, or should have. I have this same complaint about movies
that don’t come from books, or come from books I haven’t read.
The acting. Matt Damon did a good job of being the optimistic smart-ass from the
book, without being unreasonably happy at all the things that happen to him that
aren’t all that happy. Everyone else delivered, for the most part too.
I am often of the opinion that Matt Damon is right only for certain roles. When
I found out he was cast as Mark Watney for this movie, I didn’t think he was the
right actor. But having now seen the movie, I gotta say: he was perfect.
Ridley Scott made an absolutely beautiful movie. The whole thing was visually
awesome. I also feel like this was the first good movie Scott has made in a while.
Despite the nit picking I do below, I think they did a really good job of removing
aspects of the story in the book to get this to fit into a movie and still be faithful
to the book. We didn’t need the hydrogen scare, or all the time Watney spends in the
detached airlock. The pop tents and all the ways they are used wasn’t needed. It
would have taken a mini-series to do the whole trip to the Schiaparelli Crater, with
the dust storm and the roll-over, and I didn’t miss any of it at all in the movie.
I also liked that Watney just would sit and look at the scenery in his suit, or sleep
under the Rover, even tho in the book it is stated that hey only has 1500 hours of
EVA time. This departure from technical accuracy made me smile, and identify with
Watney all the more, because I would totally blow my EVA time looking at the scenery.
Let the Nit-Picking Begin:
For the most part, it had the things in it that had to be in it. But some of
of what to keep and what to drop for time confused me. There were things
that worked really well in the book, that didn’t work at all in the movie.
The “Fonz” joke didn’t work at all in the movie. There was no sign saying “Aaaayyy”,
and you can clearly see his face, making Annie requesting a picture of his face a
really buy Jessica Chastain as a misson commander, but otherwise I think she did a
The explosion from his attempt at reducing hydrazine was actually two things in
the book combined in a way that made no sense in the movie. He said the explosion
was from the
oxygen coming from his mask, but I don’t remember him wearing one. Even if he had
been, making water by reducing the hydrazine and burning the hydrogen requires
oxygen in the atmosphere, so a little more coming from his breath wouldn’t cause an
explosion he wasn’t going to have otherwise.
Having said that, I agree the “Great Hydrogen Scare of Sol 37” was too technical to
be in the film. As much as I liked that explosion and his log entry about it, I
would have skipped the whole thing for the movie, and just let him make water without
Why did he have to cut a hole in the rover and make a balloon? In the book it is
because the life support equipment is too tall to fit in the trailer rover. In
all that stuff is outside on the back. They could have left that out completely.
The only possible reason to have it would have been for him to kill Pathfinder with
the drill, but they didn’t do that either.
For that matter, why is “hab canvas” really obviously just plastic sheeting? They
couldn’t come up with something more “canvas-y” looking?
Why does Hermes, a nuclear-powered spacecraft, have
enormous solar panels? It doesn’t need any, it has a reactor for power.
They even mention sealing off
the reactor room when they blow the VAL. Who wasn’t paying attention here.
There was enough drama in the recovery at the end without Commander Lewis having to
horn in on the operation because “I’m not losing another crewman!” I wish the movie
makers could have just trusted that part and let Beck to the job he was the best
I also thought actually doing the “Iron Man” thing was bullshit. There was no
need for it. Again, they should have trusted the story.
Sadly, despite Ridley Scott’s incredible scenery, he doesn’t know how to use 3D any
better than your average movie director. Nothing is added to this film by it being 3D.
The Outright Bad
The character of Annie Montrose was butchered. I understand that you can’t have a
strong female lead dropping f-bombs all over the place and still get a PG-13 rating.
But she could have still been a strong character.
Venkat Kapoor from the book, a hindu, was renamed “Vincent Kapoor” for the movie
and made the son of a hindu and a presbyterian (or was it protestant) in the movie.
In this day and age, when we are trying to
foster acceptance of multiculturalism, this change smacked of giving in to assholes
and bigots. I was not amused, and don’t care that the movie makers don’t want to be
Technical Stuff Even The Book Got Wrong
The two things I know about are:
The atmosphere on Mars is so thin that no sandstorm is ever going to be strong
enough to tip over a MAV, or cause a communication dish to get ripped out and
fly thru the air. Yes, things will get dark and solar panels get covered in dust.
No, they don’t don’t show up as a massive wall of evil coming over a distant
“Hab canvas” would not rip and launch the airlock like a cannon. The stuff would
be designed to give slowly, as a small hole that just gets bigger over time if
not taken care of. The air pressure in the hab would not be enough to move anything
as heavy as the airlock assembly. A rip would just vent all the air around it.
Two Things The Movie Got Right, The Book Got Wrong
Rovers were flatbed “trucks” in the movie. This makes sense. The rovers had no cargo
capacity in the book. Watney had to improvise shelves and stack stuff on the roof in
the book. The pre-supply modules
were landed softly, but would have been scattered around a ways. The crew would need
some way to carry everything back to the site. A flatbed, a trailer, and a crane would
At JPL, they would have totally used the mock-up of the Pathfinder to figure out how
to use the camera to communicate. It was never mentioned in the book. Tho maybe, it
was cut for word count.
2022 Update: Turns out, Irrfan Khan, a legendary Indian actor was supposed to be Venkat.
He had to drop out at the very last moment due to a prior commitment, leaving
the producers in the lurch. They were looking for anyone, male, female, white,
black…. anyone to fill the part. Thus we got Vincent Kapor. ↩
“The Martian”, a book by Andy Weir about an astronaut, Mark Watney, stranded on
the planet Mars when his crewmates leave him for dead in an abort due to a savage sandstorm.
I enjoyed this novel a lot. Weir makes Watney an entertaining character. He’s a
smart-assed, good-natured, optimist who refuses to give up. The science is as hard as it
gets, and is actually exciting at times, when things blow up, roll over, or pop.
I am very skeptical this movie would, or could, be faithful to the book. Which
is a shame. But the first non-teaser trailer came out this weekend, and I recognize
almost everything in it as being in the book. So maybe, just maybe, this movie will
be good. Maybe great.
The teaser trailer:
The official trailer:
And another “First Look” thing:
A couple of random thoughts about this:
They can’t put everything in the book in the movie, there just isn’t time for that.
Hopefully, when the science explanations are stripped out, the book gets short enough
that enough of it stays in the movie to make it a faithful re-telling.
I’ve re-read the book a few times now, and I find myself way more interested in the
Earth side of the book. Maybe because I only need the science and solutions Watney
comes up with explained to me once. Also maybe because Watney is so involved in what
he’s doing, the sense of wonder and amazement is better communicated by Mindy, Venkat,
and the rest.
Real Chicagoans do not to to Geno’s for pizza. It’s a tourist trap.
Chiwetel Ejiofor, a Brit of Nigerian decent, was cast as Venkat Kapoor, an Indian.
In my mind, while reading, Venkat sounded to me like a US native of Indian descent. We
never really get this verified, tho at one point Venkat does say he’s Hindu. Still,
this casting choice seems odd to me.
Anyway. Here’s hoping. Movies have been scarce and have mostly sucked, the last
Updated: Changed videos to new “official” trailers.
Right now, what I want is not world peace. I don’t want everyone to love and understand
each other. I don’t need an end to war. Right now, what I want is a dozen Krispy Kreme
glazed donuts. Then all would be right in the world.
The Squarespace account expired yesterday. So I’ve updated DNS and re-pointed
www.munged.org to this version of the site. The change should only be noticeable
if you happened to be reading it when it changed. Or remember what the site looked
like on SS.
The other change is that it was trivial to import all the old blog posts from
previous blogging systems into this. At least the ones I still have. Most
posts are dreck, but even the new ones are dreck, so I’m still running about
I’ve read a lot of Kurt Vonnegut’s books. I hated them, mostly. But his theme of
“what to do with useless people” is going to become a very import problem for our
society in the next 20 or 30 years. Probably sooner.
This isn’t just truck and taxi drivers. As online stores like Amazon start to
deliver purchases to you faster than you could get to the store to pick them up
yourself, people will be out of retail jobs as well. Factories are already getting
more and more automated. When Apple announce they were bringing some manufacturing
back into the US, what they didn’t say was that almost all of it was going to be
A massive percentage of the world’s population is comprised of people who’s sole
talent is that they can follow directions. Automation will take those jobs slowly,
but surely. The US has a long history of self-reliance, and limited socialized
benefits. The transition to a population largely unemployed will be rough.
Big upgrade today for the Apple devices around Wook Central.
Yosemite 10.10.3 on the Macs. iOS 8.3 for iPad and iPhone.
This isn’t the “Apple Watch” update, that already happened with iOS 8.2. This was
about security and bug fixes. On the Mac it was also about the “new” photo management
app that in a fit of imagination
Apple has renamed from “iPhoto”, to “Photos”. It now matches, in name and icon, the
photo app on iOS.
“Photos” has been working on upgrading my “iPhoto” library to the new “Photos”
library for about a half hour now, and there’s only about 500 photos in it. If
every Lightroom upgrade took that long, they’d each be a two-day process.
No real changes I can see other than that. Which is okay with me.
I “cut the cord” on cable TV about 5 years ago, and have not regretted it.
I cut it because Time Warner compresses almost all channels way more than they need to.
Most channels look horrible with video compression artifacts and jitter.
Cable TV wasn’t worth the extreme money charged for it. It was an extra $120 bux I
could do something else with every month too.
But I did miss out on some shows I did watch. Most of them on HBO. Bill Maher I
usually enjoyed. I watched the Sopranos when it was running. A couple of others.
HBO announced “HBO Now” last month with Apple, and it went live today or yesterday.
I signed up for the free trial, and I can’t imagine I won’t keep it when I have to
pay for it.
Signing up via the Apple TV didn’t work. But I downloaded the iOS app, and signing
up that way did work.
I’d planned on a semi-serious attempt to put all the DemiCon and related photo galleries
back up at WookPhoto, since that’s really what it is there for. I was also going to
re-process all the photos before putting them up, because some of them really got no
love originally. I know more now too, about how to make them look better.
But then Cities: Skylines came out. It was covered by Slashdot, as having sold 500,000
units in the first week. Having once been a fan of Sim City, and hating the most
recent version, I decided to check Skylines out.
I am so addicted, it isn’t funny. Sorry, everyone, who wanted to see the photo
In just a few short works, there’s even a modding community sprung up, and asset
creators have gone nuts for this game too. Gula, who says they were a level creator and
artist on SimCity, has created Gula’s In-and-Out Burger that can be placed in
game. You know I’ve got those all over all my cities.