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.
Increase your ADSL speed with the BT iPlate
For those suffering slow broadband speeds over an ADSL connection help may be at hand. The BT iPlate replaces your master phone socket and filters out electrical noise caused by other appliances in your home.
Microsoft and Washington Attorney General target scareware
Fed up with those popup windows warning that your computer is infected/corrupted and only by buying a piece of software can your computer be saved? So is Microsoft and it’s doing something about the problem.
Nintendo reveals the new DSi
Larger screens, two cameras, SD memory support and an MP3 player are some of the features of Nintendo’s latest handheld.
Apple threatens to close the iTunes music store over increased royalty rates
Increased royalty rates could mean the iTunes store would run at a loss if Apple is forced to pay for the increase.
Seagate Freeagent for Mac reviewed
And it’s not brown.
Apple readying more Snow Leopard Beta’s
Hopefully coming to a Bittorrent server soon. Now the developer focus on the iPhone is dropping off Apple is pushing ahead with Snow Leopard beta releases for developers.
Engineering Windows 7: Managing Windows windows
A lot of though is going into Windows 7, hopefully the engineering teams will have more say than the marketing team on what ends up in the final release.
I’m not sure quite where the cause of this problems lies, but I’m experiencing problems with USB flash drives on my hackintosh. I’ve had a Kingston 4Gb stick for a while now that works fine under Windows and has worked fine on Leopard. The last time the device was used with the hackintosh was around three months ago so it’s not clear when the problem started. Every time I try to copy files to the drive the transfer speed is worse than USB 1 spec, and the estimated time to completion when moving 200Mb earlier today was over an hour.
The reason for using the drive again was that two 8Gb flash sticks arrived today and I was thinking of doing some comparisons with Leopard running from Hard Drive and Flash Memory. The Kingston drive went in for some speed tests which turned out to be pointless since both old and new flash memory was appallingly slow. Trying to speed test the new flash drives (Dane-Elec brand) even froze Leopard a couple of times.
A search of several sites turned up many users suffering the same problem under Leopard, and these people are running genuine Apple hardware. I’ve had intermittent problems in the past with things like password prompting when waking from sleep, and it’s difficult to discern if the problem is because I’m running unsupported hardware or a Leopard issue. With many people reporting transfer speed problems after upgrading from 10.4 Tiger to 10.5 Leopard I’m leaning toward Leopard being the problem, so more searching is needed.
UPDATE I tried the same flash drives on my Macbook and got similar results, transfers were no higher than USB 1 speeds. Next test was a Panasonic Lumix camera connected by USB cable, speeds were also USB 1. The surprise was a Kingston 1Gb SD card in an Integral SDHC USB card reader which was transfering at the speeds I would expect, looked around 7Mb/s. Finder reported 900Mb would take less than a minute to copy.
A 60Gb 2.5inch SATA drive in a USB case was also tested and worked very fast, with finder copying 185Mb to the drive in just a few seconds and showing that 2.58Gb would be copied from the drive in under a minute. Looks like the problem is confined to USB flash drives.
If you listen to many ISP’s recently the future of the internet is pretty bleak. ‘Selfish’ p2p users are slowing the service for everyone else, and superfast 20Mbit connections with ‘no boring download limits’ are really hamstrung by speed caps. On top of the virus, spyware and trojan threat the internet might soon just fall over under the ever increasing traffic of Youtube and the countless other video services being unleashed each day.
To get a more honest opinion read the article posted at Ars Technica a couple of days ago. It makes a pleasant change to read an informed and intelligent assessment of what is really happening to internet traffic levels. The summary is that the internet is doing quite well and coping through ongoing upgrades and improvements, but the last mile connections to our homes are in need of upgrading. Our ISP’s control this part of the chain and they don’t seem too keen to spend the money to drag us into the 21st century. When legal video streaming is looking more like the next big thing it’s not going to be a case of if we all need high speed internet, but when.
The American Federal Communications Commission is in the process of redefining what it considers to be ‘broadband’ speeds, to aid tracking the availability of internet access across the USA. Data rates are to be divide into five categories:
- 200Kbps to 768Kbps – first generation data
- 768Kbps to 1.5Mbps – basic broadband
- 1.5Mbps to 3Mbps
- 3Mbps to 6Mbps
- 6Mbps and above
The first of these categories is the interesting one, as anything under 768Kbps will no longer be classed as broadband. Would this mean someone paying for a 2Mbit ADSL connection but getting less than 768Kbit would not be getting what they paid for? I can only hope we get some similar classification in the UK, even if current 50Mbit trials would make the categories already redundant.
Read the full story at Cnet news.com