Comcast cable internet sucks

Forget about Comcast’s evil internet throttling policies and how they’re destroying net neutrality. Sure, it’s annoying when I’m trying to use Bittorrent to e.g. download the latest version of Ubuntu, but it’s not ruining my life on a daily basis. I’d be willing to let their sins against free culture slide if they would just provide a decent internet connection.

Unfortunately, they don’t. Comcast cable internet is atrocious, slow and unreliable. The only thing I can say in Comcast’s favor is that once I manage to get a download going, it usually goes quickly, peaking around 300 kb/s. That positive is more than outweighed by the negatives, however. I can’t upload anything faster than 40 kb/s on my Comcast cable connection, which is unacceptably slow when I’m trying upload my photos to Flickr, or send copies of songs I’m working on with my band to other band members, or share home movies with my friends. My ping is disgusting: I frequently have to give up on playing online games like Quake 3 / Open Arena because I’m lagging out with a ping of 999 or above. Frequently webpages will take 10-15 seconds to load, and I’m suddenly overcome with nostalgia for my dialup connection. I bet I could get better internet through my cellphone.

Everyone in my apartment complex hates Comcast so much that they’re planning on ripping out all the walls and installing Verizon FIOS. They may have it done by the fall semester, so assuming I renew my lease on this apartment that’ll make me really happy.

I know that ISPs are a monopoly in most parts of the country, but if you can possibly avoid it, *do not* buy Comcast cable internet. I’d even go so far as to select a house/apartment in a part of town that is not served by Comcast cable, if it comes down to that, and you value having a good internet connection. Boycott Comcast cable, not just for net neutrality’s sake, but for your own sanity.

My Creative Commons-licensed photo appears in a Science article

Bill Clinton reaches for something to sign Here’s a nice demonstration of the power of releasing your photos under a Creative Commons license… a photograph of Bill Clinton that I once took is now featured in this month’s Science magazine!

The fellow who wrote the paper was nice enough to let me know about my picture appearing in Science, writing me to say “Hello – I am writing because you kindly granted permission for your photography to be used in a paper submitted to the journal Science.” Yesss! He understood that permission had already been granted 🙂 Too frequently people e-mail me asking permission to use my photographs and such, when the whole point of the CC license was so they could use it without wasting my time, so long as they follow my license terms. Of course in this case he probably didn’t need to use Creative Commons-licensed photos, I’d say he has a pretty good case for fair use here, publishing part of a picture in an academic journal. But hey, whatever.

Check out this nice summary of the article and see how we can teach a computer to recognize Bill Clinton’s face!

P.S. Thanks to Elsa for mentioning the article to me too… it’s always good to know that even if the author had neglected to inform me, my friends would have kept me up to date 🙂