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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Saturday, 24 November 2007

While I remember...

There are a couple of other little bits from the past week that I ought to chronicle, just so I can remember them!

potential prosection...
On Monday, Beth and I took a trip to Stevenage once the children were safely at school, to make some progress with the Christmas shopping. We did well, I think (especially since there are also quite a few birthdays around this time of year, too!) but I was a little troubled on the journey there. I pulled out to overtake a 'slowcoach' doing 35mph on the 40mph zone leaving the town, to see one of those mobile speed camera vans pointing at me. I'm now waiting with bated breath to see if I get the first speeding ticket (and licence endorsement) of my driving career... such a shame.

broken internet... the conclusion!
In more optimistic news, our Broadband now working as it should. I installed a replacement router, and carried out a health check on all the PCs in the house. Speaking of which, Beth's laptop is now working properly! It appears that the Generic Host Processes for Win32 services error message was being caused by an unreliable - and unbranded - PCMCIA network card. I replaced it with a Linksys one that I happened to have spare(!) and it's been behaving ever since! However, the broken internet symptoms were still there. Every time I tried to download anything, it would get to about 800kBytes, and then stop, taking the whole house's internet connection with it. As a result, I had to download my podcasts overnight, when nobody else was using the internet - most frustrating.

Anyway, I finally decided to make another call to Bangalore. Previously, they'd asked me to disconnect everything from the router and see if the connection improved. I plugged it into Beth's laptop, and had a full collection of pings back from Google - no problem at all. £2 of my money spent to conclude that it was probably the router. This time, I connected my Mac to the cable modem directly, and tried to download the updated version of VMware Fusion - 170MB would have taken all night if I'd left it going. I called the Virgin Media helpline again, and eventually got through to someone who talked me through the usual caper - turning everything off and back on again. Once we'd got past that, he asked me to get the unique MAC address of the cable modem, and the NTL number. I told him it had a MAC address, but no NTL number, to which he responded with surprise. I told him it was a Terayon TJ210 and he replied that it should have been replaced when we had our broadband upgraded, since it's too old to cope with the high speed internet connection we now have. It's no surprise - we started off with 192kbps, I think! (Incidentally, there's an interesting list of all the cable modems here)

The upshot of this is that we're back online, with a tiny little replacement cable modem (an ntl:250), and - for now - we have a technologically robust house. I'm thinking of going to static IP addresses (to make the network harder to hack) but that's for another day.. we'll stick with wireless MAC filtering to start with... but enough of this tech speak.

music and radio and the perils of PRS
I was reminded, while tidying the lounge this morning, that I'd received a letter back from Margaret Moran responding to my concerns about PRS. She wrote:

Dear James Hart

Further to the representations I made on your behalf to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in regards to the concerns you raised with me, I have now received the enclosed acknowledgement.

Please be assured that as soon as I receive a substantive reply I will be in touch with you.

In the meantime if you require any futher assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

There was also a copy of the acknowledgement:

Thank you for your letter of 8 October 2007.

The Department aims to respond to your query in full by 16 November 2007 at the latest.

In the meantime, if you have any interim queries, please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 xxxx xxxx

Well.. it's now the 24th and I've not heard anything - I will certainly keep this blog up-to-date with any reply I do eventually get!

Posted by james at November 24, 2007 1:40 PM

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