Saturday, March 14, 2009

Feedback

Wow… I’m still receiving feedback from the posts about Windows Live Mail & Gmail, and Outlook 2007 & Gmail. I’m REALLY glad that it works so well for everyone and the positive feedback really helps lift my spirits. Thank you so much for leaving the feedback and letting me know that you’re all able to get it configured properly. :)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Refractor for Prism, Create Web Apps

Ever want to get to your web based services just by double clicking an icon on your desktop? Honestly that’s one of the things that I’ve always wanted out of a web service like Gmail or Twitter, being able to access it in it’s own little application, from an icon on your Windows Desktop. Well with this little Firefox add-on, now you can. You’ll need the latest non-beta release of Firefox, which at the time of writing this, is 3.0.6. You’ll also need to install a Firefox extension called Refractor for Prism.

Refractor for Prism Download

Mozilla Firefox Download

After you install Refractor for Prism, go to your Tools menu in Firefox and choose Convert Website to Application. You’ll be presented with a little dialog, there you can choose various options like making a systray icon, desktop icon and whether or not you want toolbar access in your new custom web based application. The usual option I choose is to have desktop icon access to my web application so that I can easily double click it.

As you can see the frontpage of Neowin might not be the best choice, but you’re able to choose whatever you want, there really is no limit to what you can do with this little addon, and it for me it’s certainly one of the “must install” on any new Firefox installation that I do.

(CNN Live Video Web Application created in Refractor for Prism)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Comcast Rant Part 2

Being as I’m a jerk about high latency and problems with my ISP, hell, that’s what made me change from a terrible ISP to a better ISP, Cavalier Telephone (Which is abysmal, don’t even think about signing up with them), to Comcast (Not as abysmal). The fact that they can’t seem to figure out what’s going on, and despite a tech coming out, three phone calls, maintenance checking it out, claiming they will “Fix it tomorrow”, the problem persists. With Comcast being one of the only viable options for having an ISP aside from dialup at the moment, and even that isn’t too viable, I’m stuck, bent over a barrel.

I’ve had latency issues before with Comcast, all of which seemed to have been fixed on their own, and all about a year and a half into my subscription. How this is happening again, and where to even look for an answer to these issues is completely bewildering, and overwhelming. I’d like to consider myself tech savvy, but I will admit that I’m completely clueless to anything networking, it’s my Achilles heel. I’d be able to deal with it, if for instance, it wasn’t the fact that I play Counter-Strike Source competitively in a clan with possible TWL, CAL, even CPL perspectives. Having a high latency and an unreliable ISP is a killer combination to anything fast game play related.

So why in the hell does Comcast not train their employees to better deal with these issues? I’ve spoken with several techs and all of them tell me that they don’t have the training that high end maintenance and tech support have.

“It makes us look like idiots when we run into problems we do not know how to fix.” – One Comcast Tech

Again I’ll give it time, I’ll keep chatting with Comcast. Squeaky oil gets the grease, so says several people, including my late Grandfather. I’ll continue to write rants, posts, and info as I get them, keeps me from sitting here festering with irritation.

The Comcast Rant

I’m a current Comcast subscriber for a couple of years now, and everything’s been going pretty smoothly, until a few days ago. We’re talking latency issues, ping times shooting up into the thousands, loss of connectivity and so on. So I decided to give Comcast a call, they scheduled a tech for the next day, and he swapped out the modem, which seemed to fix the problem. That is until the next day, it started up again. Latency shot through the rough, online gaming was impossible, browsing websites became a chore.

So then I decide to go back to an earlier idea of the problem, a bad node. Come to find out that hop/node in my trace route test that reports 100% packet loss, according to a few people over at DSLReports.com, is supposed to be there. I’m thinking to myself, alright, I did a trace route test on network-tools.com, and noticed that it timed out on hop 11, right before hitting my IP/Modem. The latency difference between hop 10, and hop 12, was about 200ms. Now if it’s supposed to be there, why is it that the trace route test reports back a hundred or two ms difference in the ping, and isn’t that difference for DOCSIS 3.0, and not DOCSIS 2.0, which I’m now currently on. Oh and the kicker here, I was on DOCSIS 1.0, until they swapped out the modem, which is DOCSIS 2.0 compliant.

Don’t get me wrong, tech support is nice, and it’s nice talking to an understanding individual, even though the problem persisted. I haven’t encountered the latency drop yet today, but it’s still early, and I’m hoping that it will eventually go away on it’s own. Regardless, Comcast is looking into whether or not for sure that HOP that’s reporting a 100% packet loss should really be there or not.

Comcast is already at stretched capacity and the storm on the east coast probably didn’t help much, as other people I’ve spoken to up and down the north east, report the same problem. Will Comcast fix this? Who knows, but if it persists for over three months, I’m switching providers, maybe even going back to Verizon.