Monday, March 23, 2009

It's All Good....

FOF (Friend of Fiber ;-) ) Brent Faul dropped me a note this morning, saying:
Hi John,

I've been reading your blog since you put it up during the ramp up to the fiber vote. It's been great and I've appreciated your work mightily. I know that you've been connected for a couple of weeks now and I've only seen one brief single sentence comment about your experience with the service. It's so uncharacteristic of you not to comment on it in detail that I find the silence kind of deafening, if you know what I mean. Should I be worried? Is there a fly in the ointment?

I couldn't help but ask!

Thanks, Brent Faul
It's a damn good question...and makes me realize that a number of other people have asked the same indirectly. Paint me chagrined.

Short answer: The service is GREAT.

Long story short: Everything works as I expected/hoped. Nothing to comment on there. The phone has few extra fun frills over the bare bones AT&T line I had. No more weird fax noises and rings that signal nothing but a dead line. The TV service has all the stuff I ever watch and is absolutely crystal clear. The internet, which is the biggest change by far, is blazingly fast and is shifting the way that my wife and I spend our time. More time on the laptops, we watch more video online, and we are looking more web-based streaming video on the TV screen now that we get a smooth uninterrupted play. In short: it realized my every expectation. No big deal. :-) I will sometime soon get around to doing a more fun, tiresomely exhaustive set of reviews of the various services as they currently that I have been appropriately prodded.

But that sorta begs the question of why I didn't dive right in...Well for one thing, I do tend to want to do a thorough take once...and I am still setting up the system to my tastes, rewiring my house and generally keeping things so in flux up that I don't have a stable experience on which to comment. But also, as I told FOF Brent:
1) I was never all that interested in the services. Still am not. The internet side is awful cool and the speeds are very, very nice... but the TV, online stuff, and phone just work. That's nifty. They work great. But they are not exciting (to me :-) ) —Most of what I want to explore that is personally exciting is how I can use things differently because the internet speed lets me do things differently. And it does! Very gratifying. But I am still trying to figure out just exactly how. (I can report that we watch fewer TV shows and surf more...but am discovering that some stuff that I formerly considered internet stuff is now watched on the big screen.)

2) What always interested me most was the way that having community-owned fiber could enhance our community as well as our individual lives. To that end I am distracted from posting on the fiber services by trying to work on a concept we're calling Lafayette Commons — to provide a higher base-level of tools and capacities to folks here in Lafayette. We're starting with a nonprofit Education Edition of Google apps that allows us complete access to the API's, a very localizable widget-based landing page, and the complete suite of Google productivity tools (email, storage, word processing, site construction, spreadsheet, etc. with very nice collaborative functions like intercommunication and version tracking). This can be distributed free to basically an unlimited number of users. To Lafayette.

Lafayette Commons is in what I'm calling "in Delta" in sly reference to the software "in Beta" concept --the tools are pretty much there which distinguishes it from the usual unfinished beta release, but what is not clear is the "delta," the "change" we want to effect. We need a nice big stable of visionaries and practical-minded "project wranglers" to create and localize appropriate tools and interface. This is such a tangle that it is very distracting. (In, admittedly, a fun way.)


Anyhow, Yes I should really do a series of posts on the services available and hopefully soon...but I am going to a conference in DC (Freedom To Connect, F2C) late this/early next week that I hope will refresh me in helpful ways so I doubt that it will all get done this week.

Thanks for the prod, John
And thanks, folks out there, for your patience...and to any intrigued by Lafayette Commons...please get in touch we need lots of people doing lots of different things.


Raymond Camden said...

I'm very interested. Please count me in.

Speed said...

Yes long am I supposed to wait for your views of the DVR? ;-)

John said...

Raymond: Thanks! I'm putting your name on my list. When it gets a little longer I'll try and hold a meetup

Speed: Yeah, Yeah. ;-) I do need to get down to it. Short version: it seems to do pretty much what Cox does. The interface is probably a little clunkier but works. IMHO neither is even in the same ballpark as TiVo (which also could be better but is leagues ahead of the providers; even the first version was better than what providers offer now).

Anonymous said...

can you post a DSL report or something similar bandwidth test for us? i want to see the 50MB speed! the picture too if you can. thx

Speed said...

I'm sorry to hear that the DVR is like the Cox Box. I really can't fathom that in this day and age this kind of junk is acceptable and is used by television providers (unless TiVo has patented all of their DVR innovations and nobody else can afford to include it!!!).
I also want to ask if you've seen any channels added, especially HD. The LUS Fiber lineup on their website still says it was updated Feb 5th. I thought they were going to be adding channels as they go but they may just not be updating their listing? And I wonder if TVGuide or other places are going to start listing them as a provider soon. I tried to check that to see if they have an up-to-date channel listing but they don't show LUS as a provider.
Anyway, thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...


Nick Istre said...

Anonymous said...

can you post a DSL report or something similar bandwidth test for us? i want to see the 50MB speed! the picture too if you can. thx

Hi Anonymous,

Here you go! Though from, not DSLReports.


John said...

Nick, all,

Great, thanks! A friend (Dirk van der Would) from Amsterdam who is involved with their FTTH project has suggested that most hardware/software is not appropriately tuned for our level of big bandwidth. In particular some routers simply can't handle routing from the ethernet side to the WiFi at 30 and especially 50 megs. The guys at LUS have said the same.

So don't trust your wifi, which may happily switch wifi inside your house at 50 megs, to do equally well with routing from the internet...Dirk has done some testing but the two he suggests aren't names I recognize.

Apparently once you get really broad broadband you are in a position to discover new and unusual bottlenecks. Expect a new set of puzzling problems until we locate the new constraints and solve them. (That should be fun. cough. cough) My guess is that your odd speedtest findings are a symptom of the sorts of odd things that might be due to encountering a new and different set of constraints.