Hard News by Russell Brown

It's grim in Mt Eden

Last week I accepted an invitation from Telecom to come in and hear their side of the story on what they're doing with the network, and particularly on the thorny issue of contention rates. I'll write it up in more detail at some point, but the gist of it is that they're working on it, but, yes, some areas are better-provisioned for DSL than others.

The person I talked to granted that the best-served exchanges were likely to be regional ones where there were only a handful of broadband users hanging off a single inbound circuit. So the exchanges lacking capacity were more likely to be those in high-demand inner-city suburbs? Couldn't say. But the "average" contention rate - across exchanges, I presume - was not 80 or 100, but 33.

What this means in practice has been demonstrated by the ever-helpful Zach Bagnall, who has had his laptop download "a chunk of pseudo-random data from a webserver" every 10 minutes and calculate the transfer rate on a 2Mbit/s DSL connection in Mt Eden. Zach says:

Ran the test for one week and there's the result.

Midnight-9AM: 1-1.5mbit
M-F 9-5: ~500kbit
Other times: ~300kbit

Pretty grim.

Quite. Here's the graph.

Having been through several days in which my Wired Country connection has come and gone (with me going to my backup DSL connection to discover that I don't seem to have a DSL line any more), I'm not inclined to make any grand claims for that either, but at least when it's up it actually performs as advertised.

Anyway, I have a bugger of a head cold, so I'm not up to too much analysis today. (I'm really hoping I'm better for Thursday, when the schedule calls for an 8am flight for two meetings in Wellington, then flying back for the NetGuide Awards and the Damian Marley show.) So perhaps you might like to just watch some video on the boss's bandwidth:

Bill Maher on oppressed American Christians.

Jon Stewart on memos and war dates.

A trailer for the imminent new series of Doctor Who. Cybermen! The Beeb is also offering a different trailer amongst a crop of video downloads - allegedly for your mobile phone or Video iPod - which will play just fine in QuickTime and iTunes if you right-click on the MPEG4 link and save it, then remove the .txt file extension.

And, finally, this is basically worksafe, I think. It's an excerpt froman admirably robust Japanese English-teaching tape which forgoes the customary conversational topics in favour of a lesson in how to talk dirty. Or, rather, "sexy". Yeah, cockpit!

I had a little joust with the Sir Humphreys folks.

Well, I picked the Blues to lose against the on Friday night, which of course ensured that they won. I would however like to point out that Nucifora - to considerable beneficial effect - benched the hapless Lavea, played Nacewa at first-five and brought in Brent Ward at fullback at pretty much the juncture I predicted he would: ie, probably too late to save anything from the season.

On the Public Address leader board, Nic Jones had (for him) a rough week, but stays clear of the field. Karl Woodhead and The Hood advanced on the top slot with 45-point results and the Herald's pesky Alan Perrott snuck a point ahead of me in mid-table. Samuel Flynn Scott of the Phoenix Foundation presumably forgot to file any picks. Those muso bums sometimes forget to even get out of bed.

And I'm still waiting for someone at Blogging it Real to stop complaining about cricket selections and congratulate the Warriors …