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NAP of the Americas in Miami

January 31st, 2013

The BBC has an article about the NAP of the Americas in Miami, USA. Here it is. The NAP is what most routes from Germany go through when I traceroute my Panamanian VPS. Interesting building, it reminds me a little of 151 Front albeit much larger.



January 30th, 2013

I joined IRC in 1994 or earlier. The very first time I used efnet chat network was when my BBS provider had a door to ircII client or something. There I first hung out in #linux or #linuxhelp and someone helped me upgrading/compiling from Linux 1.2.3 to 1.2.13. I left IRC at that and was MUD'ing on ncmud for a long while but when I noticed a slight addiction I left MUDing. IRC was the addiction to heal my addiction.

I spent time in the channels #unixhelp, #unix, #toronto, #germany, #bork, #freebsd, where some more and some less. I was very taken with the #unix crowd and liked being there but admittedly I was always a bit careful because of the chance that I get hacked by someone there (it was a large channel of 100 or so clients). Eventually I left #unix and went totally offline (from the Internet) when I had a new toy. An iBook with built in wireless lan. I spent the Summer of 2000 mostly outdoors riding around wardriving with it.

The wardriving did me no good and I eventually came back online and this time not to #unix but #unixhelp. There was people from #unix there so I knew some people. To this day I IRC on efnet and IRCnet on the channels #unixhelp, #bluenight and #dns. More on this all later.



January 29th, 2013

In Germany the electric grid is becoming more and more decentralized. Solar and Wind powerplants are being created in every region. Wouldn't it then also make sense to also decentralize the computers in germany? I read of all these supercomputer centers, datacenters around regions that serve as Internet hubs that they are having problems getting guaranteed energy, mostly to cool their arrays of server racks. What we need is a distribution of high speed Internet access and put large computers to use at home on a distributed computing effort in my opinion. These computers don't need as much cooling as centralized computers in data centers, saving energy.

PS: I'd like to get away from moving fans to cool computers but rather use LASERS to do that.

So who serves your mail? Perhaps we all need static IP's too, face it privacy is gone anyhow, with static IP's we can receive our own mail and not need large datacenters (and the complexity involved).


Time Machine backup really slow

January 28th, 2013

My time machine backup is really slow. It's been backing up 1.5 days now across two nights and only did 38 GB from 282GB to back up. The drive that it's backing up to I timed with dd command to be writing 121 MB/s (roughly twice of what USB2 is capable of) so it doesn't seem to be a speed issue. iostat is bored:

gaia:~ pjp$ iostat -w 1 disk0 disk2
          disk0           disk2       cpu     load average
    KB/t tps  MB/s     KB/t tps  MB/s  us sy id   1m   5m   15m
   36.46   2  0.09    64.24   0  0.01   1  3 96  1.66 1.82 1.94
   53.00   8  0.41     0.00   0  0.00   2  2 96  1.66 1.82 1.94
   26.46  13  0.34     0.00   0  0.00   1  2 96  1.66 1.82 1.94
   80.00   5  0.39     0.00   0  0.00   1  2 96  1.66 1.82 1.94
   38.00   8  0.30     0.00   0  0.00   2  3 95  1.66 1.82 1.94
   44.00  10  0.43   128.00  16  2.00   2  3 96  1.66 1.82 1.94
   17.65  49  0.84     7.33   6  0.04   1  3 95  1.77 1.84 1.94
   38.00   8  0.30     0.00   0  0.00   2  2 96  1.77 1.84 1.94
   29.82  11  0.32     0.00   0  0.00   1  2 96  1.77 1.84 1.94
   53.00   8  0.41     0.00   0  0.00   2  3 96  1.77 1.84 1.94
Let's see 2MB/s at peak for one second out of ten and on the computer is 96% cpu idle. Something is surely wrong.. I suspect it's doing a lot of small files but even then..

I'm at a loss and googling for solutions isn't working either.


Bought a backup drive

January 26th, 2013

Usually I always buy a backup drive right away. However planning to buy a new wireless timecapsule didn't work out because I'm still expecting apple to release an 802.11ac access point. The current models are 802.11n and less. But since the capsule is only 100 or so euros more than the airport extreme, I'm gonna go with an extreme instead and plug this new harddrive into it. I bought a 2TB external harddrive btw. This will be enough to back up my mac mini with timemachine.


Neat little vmware fusion trick

January 24th, 2013

I noticed that typing control-left arrow and conrol-right arrow can switch between main screen and vmware guest. This is fancy and quick. I personally go from OpenBSD to Mac OS X between work and personal time.


Ordered two new books

January 24th, 2013

I have ordered two books, for personal interest:

  1. "Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life, New Worlds, and the dawn of the Virtual Revolution" by Jim Blascovich. I was made aware through this book by visiting Stanford Universities Virtual Human Interaction Lab website.
  2. "Designing Virtual Reality Systems: The Structured Approach" by Gerard Kim. This I picked randomly, I hope it's a good book it has a hefty pricetag.
In another world I was Pi the Druid. This world was called Northern Crossroads MUDD (a multiple user dungeons and dragons game). This game still exists today but I grew out of it. If you're interested you can visit it by going to the MUDD's webpage. I view this game as a forerunner to virtual reality. It is socket based and based off Diku MUDD which was created at a Danish University by their CS department. Everything in the game is ascii based and actions are described by text. I shortly programmed on my own Diku MUDD and it was a lot of fun, so I'm hoping to pick up with virtual reality as the next bridging gap.

Yes well. Virtual reality. It interests me a lot. It scares my mom somewhat as she's worried on mental damage (more of what there is now). But I'm fairly careful I think and one thing that doesn't interest me is horror or anything that would put anxiety on a user of VR. I'm more interested in healing and discovering myself, to explore my own soul from within so to speak and I've done a bit of thinking about the topic. So far I still lack haptic glove and Head mounted display but I'm hoping to get something affordable in the next little while. I have an idea of coupling IOS apps with network communication and virtual reality, I hope to see it through given time.

This reports a little more out of my imagination and my dreams and hopes.


Date correction

January 20th, 2013

I use a script to provide me with a template, to write my articles. I didn't upgrade this script on January 1st so the date erroneously still said 2012. That's fixed now.


This years traffic from Uranus (computer)

January 20th, 2013

Last year I had a snapshot of the yearly traffic of Uranus, this years was all screwed up due to my move to my parents house brought about by the fire in my ex apartment building.

In August you can see the traffic reversed. That's due to the interface not facing the DSL anymore but being behind another router.


Let me explain how the Internet works...

January 19th, 2013

...and how I can work in Canada from Germany.

In order to get Internet to the home we purchase a DSL or Cable link. Sometimes when we're lucky we can even get a Fibre Optic connection directly to the home. Pretend we pay 20 euros a month for this. Where does the money go?

The money goes to the ISP who has to purchase routers and switches, and internal infrastructure and most importantly a link to the outside. There is two types of links that an ISP can connect to. A peering link is one where the ISP usually pays just the connect fees to a peering hub and any traffic flowing between peers on that hub is free at cost. The second link is a transit link where the ISP purchases bandwidth from another ISP. That other ISP then transits the flow of internet packets to another ISP and an internetwork of networks is created. Because the ISP requires great bandwidths the transit traffic is usually pretty cheap.

So pretend you get your email from gmail (google). Google has cleverly situated themselves so that they are available for peering at major peering points so when I traceroute to gmail.com I actaully traceroute to munich at INXS (an exchange point). When I traceroute from my vps the route goes to paris, via DECIX. My ISP probably pays very little for that mail to be checked, but google on the other hand has to foot the bill for email servers and the network from DECIX to Paris. Anyhow this is an example how some services are cheaper than others. If I were to pop my mail from an ISP in Canada it would follow a route over transit providers and it's a bit more than just going over peering points.

Yet there isn't all too many teleworkers like me so the ISP's make a profit on 95% of the population and 5% telework and create costs. Fortunately that includes me. I'm able to use the network here and in Canada because it's all TCP/IP and part of the Internet. The flat fee works because not everyone has to cross the atlantic ocean to get their email, web and facebook. However there is a catch of course. I'm making money in Canada and I have to pay taxes in Germany from the money made, so I'm importing money into the german economy. Or said differently I'm exporting services overseas. Again not many can claim that.

All in all the order of the Internet is pretty fair. Yes fees for the end users could go down but there'll always be peering points and transit providers to upkeep this harmony in the 'net. Remember if a transatlantic cable breaks, there has to be ships ready to sail to repair it. This costs money too. Even though you use only european networks you're paying for those ships that wait until a cable breaks (all indirectly). May not be fair to you but it's fair for the collective, and when you want to use american services you can without creating cost on yourself. It works fabulously IMO.

Further reading:


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