Saturday, June 30, 2007

Replaced my old Vonage box

So, I replaced my old Vonage phone box (a clunky old Motorola thing) with a new Linksys VoIP phone adapter (much smaller and easier to set up).

No internet lag since.

I got the Linksys PAP2 ver. 2.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

That didn't do it

Well, the Vista net connection fix I posted in my last message didn't solve my problem. I still have occasionally awful lag on the web, despite tests showing me getting full bandwidth.

I'm currently testing a new theory: that my old Vonage phone box is slowing me down.

I have one of the first Motorola Vonage phone boxes - before Vonage came packaged inside Linksys cable modems. Currently, the Vonage box lives outside of my LAN. My network goes - internal LAN --> wireless router --> cable modem --> Vonage box.

Right now, I've disconnected the Vonage box, and I'm just running with the cable modem and the router. I'm hard-wired via RJ45 jack on this particular PC (the one with the problems), so as to rule out all wireless issues.

The good news is, even if the problem is with my phone box, a new Linksys Vonage phone adapter is only $50. I was fearing much worse.

Honestly, I hope this is the problem so I can get back to carefree surfing. I pay an arm and a leg for my internet service - I'd like to use it without suffering the urge to punch the screen or throw my tower out the window!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Take Care of Our Veterans

Not geek related, but important:

Dave Matthews Band has started a petition:

We have been disturbed by the stories that continue to surface about the medical care being received by our returning servicemen and women. Supporting our troops entails providing them with the complete, timely and excellent care for injuries they sustained during their military service, at the very least. Providing this care is a moral obligation for our nation and should be our highest priority at home.

As an example of our concerns, recent stories are alleging that some servicemen and women are being misdiagnosed as having pre-existing personality disorders. However, the evidence suggests that they may be suffering from injuries related to their service. This diagnosis has resulted in these soldiers losing medical benefits.

We cannot ignore the possibility of an injustice to any of these veterans. Technicalities and misdiagnosis should not cause them to lose medical benefits. Therefore we ask you to join us in signing the petition below which asks the Secretary of Defense to formally report in detail to the American public on each of the issues raised in these allegations and confirm that all of our servicemen and women are receiving the medical benefits they have rightfully earned. If this is not provided, or if the Secretary of Defense's report is inadequate, we strongly urge that Congress hold hearings to allow our veterans to speak.

This war has many tragedies; we want to do whatever we can to make sure this is not another one. Please join us.

Sign the petition:

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Slow loading web pages with Vista

"Slow and low - that is the tempo!"

Ahh, yes, but Sir Beasties, not when it comes to my internet connection!

I've been having some issues with my internet connection since upgrading to Vista Business Edition last December. Web pages routinely take 8-10 seconds to load, and sometimes don't load at all. Or, sometimes they're fine (this blog input page loaded in .520 seconds - nice). By "slow loading" I mean, the pages display the "waiting for" in the status bar, but hang at that point. The domain name is getting resolved, so I don't suspect DNS problems (though I did try both Comcast's DNS servers and the OpenDNS servers, to no avail).

When this does happen, it is generally without a pattern. It doesn't always happen, and it doesn't always happen on the same sites. Clicking refresh multiple times will eventually "catch" and the page will load at it's proper speed. When I am unable to load a page, if I do a speed test on my connection, it's wide open, getting full bandwidth (I'm on cable and typically pull 8,000 - 12,000 mb/sec).

I tried troubleshooting all the usual suspects. Disabled all of my Firefox browser add-on's. Disabled my virus scanner (I use AVG - though I've read that McAfee Antivirus was causing page loading problems on some Toshiba and Gateway computers, and that removing McAffee fixed the problem). Ran a spyware check. Tried IE versus Firefox to see if this was browser related. None affected my intermittently slow internet connection, which for once didn't look like it was being caused by Comcast.

I found an article via Google that explains how Microsoft's new network stack in Vista is not RFC 1323 compliant. To quote the article:
In a nutshell, websites that don't fully support RFC 1323 or the default Windows Scaling factor of 8 will be very slow or even unaccessible.
See also: Microsoft Knowledge Base article 929868 on the topic, Specs of RFC1323

The article lists a couple options to try:

1. allow the autotuning level to grow beyond its default value when absolutely necessary

Start - Run - type cmd - CTRL-SHIFT-ENTER to bring up console with Administrator privileges. Type:
netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=highlyrestricted
2. disable autotuning altogether.
netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disable
If you need to set autotuning back to normal:
netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=normal
Reboot to enable the changes.

I'm not sure this is the solution, but I'm trying it now. I'm a bit more optimistic than I was when reading the usual canned level 1 tech support answers of "check for spyware" and "disable virus scanners."

Friday, June 15, 2007

XP Web Photo Publishing Wizard - Hack for Vista

Microsoft claims to have discontinued the "Web Publishing Wizard" in Vista, but it turns out, they just renamed it. This wizard allows you to easily upload photos to photo gallery software on your web site. (I use Coppermine photo gallery).

Here's how to reclaim the joys of the Web Photo Publishing Wizard in Vista:

In the registry (or in the .reg file you downloaded from your photo gallery software), find:

and change it to:


To publish to your gallery, install the .reg file if you haven't already. Next, open the Windows Photo Gallery in Vista and select the photos you wish to upload. Under Print, choose Order Prints. Your gallery should show up as a "company" to send prints to. Walk through the rest of the wizard as per usual.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Another reason why Sony sucks ass

I had already sworn off of Sony products when the whole rootkit fiasco happened, but now I have another reason.

I received a Sony LCD monitor as a gift Christmas 2004. It had a 3 year warranty. The thing was flaky as all hell the entire time I owned it, and it finally died a few months ago. I actually got it working again for a little bit, but it recently died again. Won't power on.

Today, I finally got sick of reviving the thing and called Sony to get it replaced.

All Sony warranties are based on the date of manufacture, unless you can produce a dated sales receipt. I got this monitor as a gift. No receipt.

I'm SOL.

I asked the gentleman very politely, "Is it common for your products to die before they go out of warranty?"

Foreign tech support man: "I can not speak to that, ma'am."

Me: "Thank you very much for your time. I'll be sure not to purchase another Sony product in the future!"


God, I hate Sony.