Archive

Archive for the ‘internet’ Category

Virgin Media increasing upload speeds

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

After promising to increase upload speeds earlier this year, UK based Virgin Media has started rolling out the upgrade with Enfield, Huddersfield, Sutton Coldfield and Warwick being the first to see improvements. Upload speeds now start at “Up to 1Mb/s” for the 10Mb service, “Up to 2Mb/2” with the 20Mb service, and 50Mb customers receive “Up to 5Mb/s”. All speeds are subject to the usual fair use restrictions, with 50Mb customers throttled to 1.75Mb/s for five hours if they hit 6000MB of uploads between 3-8pm. Even at the throttled speed this is a small improvement over the old upload limit of 1.5Mb/s.

A very nice upgrade for it’s customers, I still wish Virgin would set themselves apart from the market standard of “unlimited” broadband that really isn’t.

Categories: internet Tags: , , ,

Xmarks to end sync services

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s always sad seeing a useful service shut down, especially when it’s one as good (and free) as Xmarks. The bookmark/password/history/tab synchronisation service has announced it is to end operations in January 2011. It appears a failure to turn Xmarks into a financially viable business is the cause, and a buyer for the service could not found.

I’ve used Xmarks since it first became publicly available as Foxmarks, and while the bookmark sync across firefox and safari on Mac and PC was great, the real killer feature was password synchronisation. I’ve recently moved password sync to LastPass for the mobile platform support, but will continue using Xmarks for bookmarks until Firefox sync goes mainstream. Farewell Xmarks, and thanks for the great service.

Mozilla blocks Microsoft’s Firefox plugin

October 19, 2009 Leave a comment

Monday mornings are not known for amusing news, but today is different. I fired up Firefox on my work Laptop and up poped a dialogue warning me that the Windows Presentation Foundation had been disabled.

Firefox_says_NO

The Windows Presentation Foundation plugin caused a stink earlier this year when it was installed into Firefox by a Microsoft update without the users consent or knowledge. Uninstalling the plugin proved initially difficult (later resolved with another update) and last week Microsoft announced it contained a critical security vulnerability.

The block came into effect late Friday, but since I’m a Macintosh user at home I do not (yet) suffer intrusive Microsoft updates that install components without my permission.

iPod Touch 1st Gen to iPhone 3GS

July 3, 2009 Leave a comment

iphone3gs_2upFor the past (almost) two years I have used my iPod Touch every day as a web browser. email client, PDA, eBook reader and even a music and video player. It’s been reliable, flexible and even better once jailbroken. As a computer user who’s experiences started with a one kilobyte ZX81 29 years ago I have never ceased to be amazed at what such a small package could do. Even after all this time I still turn it sideways and wonder how so much power can fit in such a thin case. Just like most of the iPod’s that came before it, the Touch will be remembered as a design classic.

The one thing I have missed all this time was a permanent net connection. The iPhone is an expensive proposition in the UK but I finally succumbed on Tuesday and visited the Apple store at Lakeside Thurrock intent on a 32Gb 3GS. I had initially been contemplating a pay as you go contract for an eye watering £540. This initially sounded a good deal, you put £10 a month credit on the phone and get 500 free minutes. Unfortunately these free minutes are only to other O2 phones and landlines, so it’s not quite as good as it initially sounded. Read more…

How the UK and Sweden are worlds apart in privacy

April 29, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the UK and Sweden have little in common when it comes to the right to privacy. While the UK government continues to push for greater logging of its citizens every action and move, some Swedish ISP’s are deleting traffic data to ensure customers safety.

An article at Cnet makes the point that filesharing is driving the demand for higher bandwidth internet access, and while short term revenues increase due to less bandwidth consumed for the same flat monthly fee it is unclear what effect a large reduction in filesharing would have. I’m betting that my ISP’s pushing of 50Mbit broadband would fail if filesharing stopped today. Maybe that’s why Virgin Media still operates Usenet servers that contain large amounts of pirated content. Isn’t it great when ISP’s say one thing and do the opposite?

Tree Style Tab

April 27, 2009 Leave a comment

tree_style_tab

I first heard about this Firefox add-on in a recent GRC podcast. Steve Gibson was praising the software saying how much it improved and organised his browsing so I added it to Firefox through the Tools>Add-ons window (search in the get Add-ons tab). You can select where you want the tabs to appear, and also what appearance the tabs should use. The image above shows the metal appearance which looks great with the GrApple Delicious theme. It takes a bit of adjusting to but suits a widescreen monitor very well and allows a lot more visible tabs. The other themes allow even more tabs but us Mac users want a bit of style as well.

Holiday Time

March 26, 2009 Leave a comment

I’m off to San Francisco and Las Vegas for two weeks, leaving in about an hour. The San Francisco hotel has free internet access throughout the building so I might do some posts from there, but the Treasure Island in Vegas want $15 a day for internet access so I can’t see that being used much. Sounds like a mission: find cheap or free WiFi in Vegas.

Apple releases Safari 4 Beta

February 24, 2009 1 comment

safariAvailable now, Safari 4 Beta is a preview of Apple’s next web browser. Boasting many new features and greatly improved Javascript performance the Beta is available for PC and Mac from Apple’s site. As with many of Apple’s other apps this release makes extensive use of coverflow, this time to view tabs and bookmarks. Security update 2009-001 is required to install Safari 4 under Leopard and I haven’t had a chance to test that with my hackintosh yet so I’m unable to comment on the new features. Macworld has a couple of screenshots and it looks good, so it’s time to make a backup and try that security update.

Categories: apple, internet, software Tags: , ,

Removing Google Software Update

February 15, 2009 5 comments

Much has been written about how far Google intrudes into your online privacy. I notice this when I use my Gmail account and have small targeted advertising links at the top of the page. Occasionally they are useful links so I don’t mind the small loss of privacy. That’s all changed with the latest release of Google Earth and Picasa.

I recently mentioned Picasa for Mac as a fast photo viewer and intended to use it alongside Lightroom for browsing photo’s. Google earth has been updated to version 5 adding lots of interesting new features. Both of these apps tie in with the Google Software Updater which is a background task claiming to exist only to regularly check for software updates.

My objection here is a having a resource consuming process that is out of my control and providing a remote service with information I can’t see. Most Macintosh apps have an easily controlled update check that runs at a user configurable interval or on app startup. Even Apple’s Software Update can be turned off easily. Google give you no controll over the update app, and don’t even make it clear that the updater is being installed. Several sites including ArsTechnica and Wired have covered this story in detail so I won’t go into detail. It all comes down to Google’s attitude that ‘it’s in the EULA’ so they aren’t doing anything the user isn’t told about. And we all read EULA’s before installing software, don’t we? Read more…

Virgin Media launches 50Mb broadband

December 15, 2008 Leave a comment

50mb_modemDetails of the trials have been leaking out for a while, and today Virgin Media has launched their 50Mb Cable broadband service. Priced at £35 a month with a Virgin phone line or £51 a month without it’s not cheap, and I haven’t been able to find any mention of speed caps on the web site. It’s hard to believe there aren’t any speed limits during peak hours when the 20Mb service was capped so heavily (down to 5Mb after 3 Gb) but maybe that’s what you pay for. The new service comes with a rather nice wireless N router, although you have to pay a £50 service activation fee so it’s not exactly free.

The most interesting part of this service is the 1.5Mb upload speed. I’ve written about backups on Mac’s and Hackintosh’s several times and the one thing that stops me using online backup services is the pathetic 768kb upload speed of my 20Mb broadband service. Not really an issue at the moment though as I’m not interested in paying more to Virgin Media, and their web site says the 50Mb service isn’t available at my address.

Categories: internet, money Tags: , ,