June 8th, 2011

krazy koati

And no one heard at all, not even the chair

I've had some vague ideas for iPod-style apps that might be fun to program and of course sell 15 million copies of at $2.99 a pop, so, Thursday evening, set to downloading the iOS Software Development Kit from Apple. This is a huge file; with out exaggeration, it's over four gigabytes. I left the computer on all night and figured by morning ... ah. It was about 1.5 gigabytes done. I left it on while I went to work. Over the day it got to a little over 1.5 gigabytes done. And we were having other network issues; I couldn't, for example, load comics pages in my web browser. That is, I could load everything except the comic strip I wanted to see, because efficient web servers make sure the actual content is the last and most precariously delivered part of the page to be sent.

The weekend I spent with basically no Internet service; there'd be little bursts of activity here and there but, basically, if I wanted more than dial-up speeds it wasn't happening. I called tech support and we went through various rituals of pretend tech support, unplugging and re-plugging things and accidentally hanging up on tech support because I couldn't tell which cable went to the phone and which went to the modem. After about 90 minutes of this the guy gave up and said we needed a new modem which he'd be sending in ``a day or two''.

I did have my own hypotheses about the problems; one would be the ``known'' issues which had produced ``service disruptions'' in southeast Pennsylvania, Camden, Freehold, and Newark. I don't know what Verizon's network layout is like but that seemed like it might blockade where I was pretty well. Another hypothesis: that trying to download the developer kit triggered their Suspicious Activity filters and they throttled us way down as punishment. (Netflix Instant downloads may have helped this.) The tech support guy seemed to not understand either hypothesis and so dismissed them both.

And yet the network bounced back, zippily and very well, come Tuesday morning and before the new modem had arrived. And I downloaded the whole of the developers kit in about two hours (resumed from the partial download).

I think we'll likely use the new modem and keep the old as backup, just-in-case, though the first attempt at simply plugging in the new modem and seeing how it worked actually failed.

Trivia: To reassure members of parliament that the Post Office could manage the volume of letters which low postage rates would create, Richard Cobden informed them that an elephant had recently been sent by rail from London to Manchester at twenty miles per hour. The penny post measure was passed and put into operation for 10 January 1840. Source: A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped The World, William J Bernstein.

Currently Reading: Ever Since Darwin: Reflections On Natural History, Stephen Jay Gould. I didn't realize the five-fold division of kingdoms was so new a thing, relative to when I went to high school.