Monday, September 29, 2014

Comcast users: disable Gateway Smart Packet Detection [UPDATED]

1 comment:
(This is an update from an article I shared back in 2010)

I just ran across this article.

Apparently, the cable modem that Comcast ships to business internet customers has a "Smart Packet Detection" feature that has a nasty habit of making connections go flaky from time to time. According to one report I read, it was actually causing the router to drop every other packet, which will obviously make your user experience less than ideal.

I'm not sure what this feature is supposed to do, and Googling reveals nothing but recommendations that you turn it off. But if turning it off fixes your problems, then I'd recommend doing it. Comcast's support staff don't always know about this, so they might not tell you to try this unless you're persistent enough to get your call escalated to high-level techs.


It's not just Comcast business customers. As some of you may know, I recently (in July) switched to Comcast internet as a result of moving to a location that has no other high speed internet service. I was seeing all kinds of flaky behavior, typically manifesting as web pages that would hang or take forever to load. The netstat command would show hundreds of connections in the "SYN_WAIT" state, meaning the TCP stack is waiting for connections to be established. This is very similar to the linked article.

After re-reading the article today, I decided to visit the firewall settings on my modem/router (a Zoom model 5352). There was no "smart packet detection" setting, but there were settings for "port scan detection" and "IP flood detection". According to the manual, these settings look for and block that activity on both the WAN (internet) side of the router and the LAN side.

Of course, when you open 30 tabs at once in a web browser (or just one site that has a lot of embedded content), it results in hundreds of TCP connections originating from a single IP address on the LAN. The router is clearly misinterpreting this as an IP flood attack, and it blocks them. When I disabled these features, I once again got the performance I have come to expect from high speed internet.

I sent e-mail to Zoom letting them know about this. I think they need to update their packet-flood detection algorithms. I also think they should have separate configurations for LAN-side and WAN-side detection. I would like to detect and block scans and floods that originate from the internet, but not from computers on my LAN.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Bottoms Up beer tap

No comments:
The Bottoms Up beer tap is a really nifty gadget. And they make a home version as well.

I don't drink anything close to the amount of beer that would be necessary for such a gadget to make sense, but the geek in me would love to play with one. According to the description, it acts as a replacement for the faucet on a traditional tap system. So it should (in theory) be easy for any serious beer-drinking geek to install as a part of a bar or kegerator.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Turn-On - the TV show canceled during its first episode

No comments:
Turn-On (Wikipedia)

[Tim] Conway has stated that Turn-On was canceled midway through its only episode, so that the party the cast and crew held for its premiere as the show aired across the United States also marked its cancellation. Cleveland, Ohio's WEWS-TV did not return to the show after the first commercial break (after "11 minutes", according to Conway). ...

Your show has got to be pretty awful to be canceled before the first episode finishes airing, and for one network affiliate to not even allow it to run beyond the first commercial break.

Of course, having read about this, I now want to see if there's some way I could see it. Although offensive for 1969, I suspect it would be just fine for today's TV audience (on cable and home video if not broadcast TV). Of course, it might not be funny either, but I'd love to see it to find out.

Time: Burger King Japan Unveils Black Burger

No comments:
Burger King Japan Unveils Black Burger

The buns, cheese and ketchup are black
The buns, cheese and ketchup are made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, according to Kotaku.

None for me, thank you. It's an amusing looking novelty, but it doesn't look appetizing in any way.

They've been selling black buns for two years now. I assume successfully, if they're one-upping it with black ketchup and cheese now. But I fail to see why people would find it attractive.

I guess the Japanese are a bit different from the rest of the world....

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Keurig 2.0

No comments:
Keurig 2.0 Brewing System

Brew up to 4 Cups with the Touch of a Button

With just a touch of a button things change.

Now when one cup isn't enough, use a K-Carafe™ pack to brew up to four cups of your favorite beverages at once.

This may be the first time I've ever shared something discovered via clicking on a banner ad, but this looks really awesome.

I've been a big fan of Keurig brewers for a long time, starting when my employer got a first-generation model back when they were only available as rentals from coffee-supply companies.

The product page seems a bit short on details, but I like the idea that they now support extra large "K-Carafe" packs to brew a whole pot at once, and while keeping the system compatible with existing K-Cups. One of the big problems they had with their previous next-generation "Vue" system was that it was incompatible with K-Cups, forcing upgraders to discard the coffee you already purchased.

I'm not going to be getting rid of the unit I've got right now, but when the time comes to replace it, this looks like a really good choice.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Girl gets beaten up by police for talking on a cell phone in school

No comments:
Police Tackle Female High Schooler for Using a Cellphone in School

How many adults does it take to tackle a girl standing only 4'10" tall and weighing just 100 pounds? Well, at Sam Houston High School the answer appears to be three.

Ixel Perez is that girl. She is a 10th grade student at Sam Houston High School in Texas who claims three school resource officers with the Houston Independent School District slammed her to the ground and pinned her head against the floor after she refused to hand over her cell phone.

And the school appears to be standing by their brutality. The girl's mother tried to remove her from the school, to enroll her elsewhere, and the school administration threatened to arrest her if she didn't leave the building immediately. Quoting the original article:

Perez has been suspended until Friday, and her mother says they are still having problems with school staff.

"Yesterday I tried to take her out of this school, looking for another school, but police came in there and kicked me out," Santos said. She said they threatened to take her to jail if she did not leave.

So, is anyone going to file criminal charges here? It seems to me that this assistant principal and the three rent-a-cops are all guilty of felony assault and battery. Will anyone press charges? Will the national media pick up on this? Will the attorney general decide to get involved when a real case of police brutality against a child occurs?

Monday, September 08, 2014

College advice from grandparents

No comments:

In case the link breaks in the future, today's Luann comic features Luann receiving college advice from her grandparents. They are:

  1. Dress nicely. No torn jeans or sloppy shirts.
  2. Take Home Economics. It will serve you well.
  3. Type your reports on quality paper. This impresses.
  4. Join math club. Good boys are in math club.
  5. Have plenty of stamps and stationery for letter writing.
  6. Wear a watch to keep track of your classes.
  7. Read a newspaper every day.

Luann and her mom then make a comment about being out of touch.

Although some of these may be a bit out of date, I would say that most are pretty apt for today as well, perhaps with a bit of tweaking.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

A collection of amusing ALS ice-bucket clips

No comments:
Everybody knows about the ALS ice-bucket challenge. A lot of celebrities have created a lot of amusing clips. Here are some of the most fun ones that I've seen so far.

To start, here's Homer Simpson:

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

BBC declares gardening to be racist

No comments:
Gardening show’s focus on soil-purity, foreign species deemed racist

A soft-spoken BBC radio program that provides listeners with weekly gardening tips has been accused of peddling racism while discussing soil purity and non-native species.

Ben Pitcher, a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Westminster in London, is among others who say Radio 4's "Gardeners' Question Time" promotes nationalism and fascism that is disguised by using coded language about gardening, The Telegraph reported.

So, all you gardeners. You better not remove those weeds or try to fight the kudzu or try to exterminate that colony of fire ants. If you do, you're really projecting racist hatred and bigotry and the BBC will tell the world just what a horrible disgusting person you really are. Don't deny it - we all know that denial constitutes proof.

h/t to Mallard Fillmore: