2005-08-17

comcast

In England, I used Pipex, and they were great. Simple, and transparent. They sent you a username and password for your ADSL router, and they mailed you a couple of weeks in advance whenever they needed two minutes' down time at 03:00 on a Sunday.

Now I'm in the US. Land of temperatures in Fahrenheit, non-metric measurement they have the cheek to call "English", 12 hour clocks, primitive banking arrangements (including laughable "security", various unwarranted fees, and continued use of paper checks for funds transfer), parochial date formats (though at least the Asian community is happy with ISO), and all sorts of other non-futurist non-internationalist nonsense.

So I should have expected a backward approach to internet connectivity. comcast have to send a human round to fiddle with cables. They don't tell me how I'd configure my own cable modem, presumably because they insist I use theirs. They make me run some shitty installer (for classic) from 2003, which does unspecified things which I later find includes writing a setuid/setgid executable ~/.netprefs. A file Google seems to know nothing about, but which contains scary strings such as /bin/rm -rf " and /bin/sh " that you just know are being used with system(3). (Why don't script kiddies stick to scripts?)

Did I mention that the installer runs Internet Explorer?

And deletes your VPN configuration? (/var/log/ppp.log should contain the IP address of the server if you can't remember it.)

bash(1) is pissing me off right now – through no fault of its own – by showing that my hostname is now c-99-999-999-999 (where the nines are my presumably static IP address).

While the cable guy was here, I connected my PowerMac to the cable modem. It seemed like a good idea to set up the machine with the biggest display, rather than start with the router, which doesn't even have a display. But when he'd left and I'd caught up on the day's email and was ready to connect the wireless router to the cable modem, I find that doesn't work. Nor does connecting the PowerBook. Google suggests that I'm stuck with the MAC address that was first connected to the cable modem. I haven't found any indication that I can phone comcast to change this, but presumably I can. (Though I have a fear that they'll insist on me having another day off work so they can send a bloody human round.) Using ifconfig en0 ether aa:bb:cc:dd:ee:ff I've been able to connect the PowerBook to the cable modem by taking the MAC address the PowerMac was using (which doesn't seem to be the MAC address it had before the crappy comcast installer. Are they trying to give everyone the same MAC address?)

The only victory I can really claim right now is that I don't have to suffer the indignity of any telephone or TV services. And that 4 Mb/s downstream (not 4 Mib/s; it's somewhere around 4029 b/s) is faster than I had before.

How does one emigrate to South Korea, exactly? "Silicon Valley", my arse. Museum of antiquities, more like. What am I doing here?