I had minor eye surgery this morning, to remove a cataract on my left eye. They replace the lens of the eye with an implant. It's supposed to make your vision nearly perfect. Looking forward to that, because I've been virtually without sight in my left eye for a couple of years. Right now I have a big ugly patch on the eye, but it comes off tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes.
As reported yesterday, I had FIOS installed, and so far so good. It's the most bandwidth I've had into my home and home workplace, ever. I had a T1 line in the mid-late 90s. But this is a much bigger pipe than a T1.
I also bought a relatively high-end cable TV package, hoping to connect that to the new Mac Mini I purchased for this LAN. Another learning opportunity. So far all the recommendations have been for EyeTV HD. It works like a SlingBox, if you're familiar with that. You get a cable that emulates an optical remote control. You paste it to the top of your set top box, and then use the EyeTV software to change channels.
I can't stand the thought of using the crazy channel guide they have in the box. Or have to swtich both the audio and video every time I want to check my email or tweet something while a show is running. I've totally gotten spoiled by having everything flow through the desktop.
Do you find that network installers hate to leave when the job is done? It always goes the same way at my house. When they walk in, they're bored and don't say much. When they finally see how my system is hooked up, they realize that I've got the nirvana they dream of. Yesterday I showed the cable guy how my receiver has a built-in HTTP server. The poor guy was blown away. It made complete sense to him, but his company is apparently far away from offering anyting like this.
This experience with Verizon may be different from my experience with Comcast in Berkeley. I hope so. In Berkeley, I was working on a photo aggregator, and used a ton of bandwidth testing it on five different boxes simultaneously. I never did the math to see how 1000 pictures per day at about a megabyte per, times five computers, could add up to some significant bandwidth (actually it doesn't seem like that much, about 30GB per month). My bandwidth use was enough to put me in the top 1 percent of their customers, and was enough to get them to fire me. Seems kind of senseless to fire your biggest users without at least trying to find out what they're doing.
They were just beginning to make the connection through Twitter that maybe I was honorable, and maybe it might be worth it to have me developing products using their technology. But one end of the company was too far away from the other to make the connection and it blew up.
I've been trying to get onto Verizon's network for a couple of years. Honestly it was part of the reason I moved east, I got the sense that Berkeley and most of the Bay Area was stuck in Comcast hell, and AT&T's mediocrity, and there was no political will to do anything about it. Somehow NYC and a few other east coast cities have managed to get symmetric connectivity to at least some of their citizens.
People don't think about connectivity when they think about booting up a tech culture. But I remember how the Apple II bloomed. The best software was made by people who had one computer, their own personal Apple II. If you saturate a geography with symmetric connectivity, who cares what the rent in Manhattan is. You can live out in the country. What matters, to me, is that gifted programmers just have to scrape up an old PC or Mac to be a server, and any one of them can solve part of the distributed networking problem that intuitively many of us know we have to solve.
The future of technology is in the hands of people who live with its limits. And if you relax the limits for a large number of people, that's when new ideas bloom. The Apple II was like that. All of a sudden the power of a minicomputer could be put on almost anyone's desktop. I made that transition myself, from programming in a university on expensive hardware that was purchased by the DOD, to programming in my living room on my own computer, in a matter of a few years. So did quite a few others, and that's where all the big products and companies of the next generation came from. I'm sure that's how it'll happen again.