nicolas @ uucidl

Wireless Internet killed by bandwidth caps

September 12, 2014 by nicolas, tagged log and computers

After using it in Japan, I had a great opinion of LTE technology to deliver internet. Small modems that can be forgotten, an Internet service that could potentially be carried with you and quite good speeds.

So when I saw that here in Germany Telekom was now advertising its LTE services, I was willing to try, with the promise of an increased bandwidth and a wire-free setup. The epilogue is that today we’re back to using DSL.

Testing Telekom LTE Call & Surf via Funk

We tested, and moved out from Telekom’s lowest LTE offering (35€) due to its bandwidth caps being impossible to meet, and additionally to the horribly slow speed you end up with when such bandwidth cap has been reached.

Their lowest offering covers a bandwidth cap up to 10GB.

Overall this option was more expensive than DSL and a great deal slower.

This product is at it is completely broken, unless (and I suspect this is the reason) you have no other choice than wireless internet.

A 10GB bandwidth cap is nowhere near sufficient for a couple with three computers in today’s internet/software ecosystem:

  • Auto-updates (downloads behind your back)
  • Advertisement (especially video ones)
  • Videos
  • Websites such as Facebook or Google maps

Even when deactivating/controlling all this it is difficult not to pass over the cap. And when you do, which for us was after two weeks of use, you end up with mobile <2G data speeds.

Installing Windows 8 on a 2007 Mac Book Pro

June 28, 2013 by nicolas, tagged log, windows and computers

Sometime in late 2012 I bought my very first Windows OS: “Windows 8 System Builder Edition 64 Bit”.

Apple claims that Windows 8 is not supported on my Mac Book Pro. This makes the installation process a bit more manual than usual.

First, in Disk Utility resize your OSX partition and create a FAT partition for Windows 8. This is important because it guarantees your disk has an MBR partition scheme which Windows 8 can work with. Remember not to create partitions from within Windows, otherwise they may not be treated correctly by OSX.

During the installation process, when Windows 8 will let you select its installation partition, select the FAT one and Format it. This will convert it to NTFS and you will be able to install Windows 8 on it.

I bought a German Windows 8 and to my surprise the whole installation process was only available in German. The language packs are not installed by default on the DVD and you will have to download them later.

Once installed:

  • As it was in German, the first step was changing the language to French/English. This (to my surprise) meant installing a language pack, going to the system language display screen and also clicking on a bunch of buttons to ensure the new config is copied everywhere including the welcome screen etc.. It was not the easiest thing.

  • Installing the boot camp drivers: I had to take my Snow Leopard DVD and locate the 64bit .msi then run it in compatibility mode. Then you can upgrade to the 3.1, then to 3.2 then to 3.3. I will then suggest immediately installing the latest NVIDIA driver unless you like horrible video glitches.

  • Also a trick worth noting, if you want to use the Photo application without moving all your files from your NAS to the Pictures directory, you may want to use the “mklink /J” utility to create a junction.

  • One big remaining issue is poor performance with the Broadcom Wifi card

Now for my general opinion about the OS:

I treat most OS nowadays as commodities and none really offend me in any way. Windows 8 is perfectly tolerable, if only spammy: the Metro apps look like glorified Web pages and often include commercials, which is the main reason why I haven’t spend much time after the novelty faded off.

In addition to that, the new applications that Microsoft ships with Windows 8 such as Courrier (for mail) or OneNote although promising were ultimately disappointing or not finished. Courrier does not support POP3 accounts, OneNote does not support printing, which I suppose is on purpose.

All metro apps really try hard to push centralized services like SkyDrive (storage) or Skype etc… With Windows 8, your computer slowly turns into a service advertisement machine. It may be attractive (if you don’t mind the risks of storing all your personal files in a centralized and externally controlled location) however I also would like it to be a bit less pushy and obscure about it.

One annoyance adds to this feeling that a computer under Windows 8 does not anymore belong to you. Windows 8 will quite often interrupt you in your work telling you it will install updates. No pause or cancel button is anywhere in sight, you must clearly obey. This is a major design flaw in my mind for any device or piece of software.

At all times as a user I should be in control. At none should the machine order me around or interrupt me.