December 27, 2002

Crusing along with DSL, finally

So, some more on DSL woes; at least there's some good news.

First, I'll say this: Earthlink did get this all up and together quickly. I ordered on the 18th, and I had DSL on the 26th. I would have had it the 24th, but my apartment complex decided to close early on the 24th, and I was fixing some tires until late in the afternoon. More on this in another article.

So, I got a new DSL modem, a Broadmax. No idea who makes it really, so there's not much to tell about it yet. However, if you hit it internally using the IP address and \config, you can get the modem to switch from PPPoE/NAT to Bridge. Benefit? It means my modem isn't the PPPoE/NAT link, my local router is -- which is much more flexible. Major good thing: means that all my computers can hook into the net, all of them can also be securely protected, and since I can configure my router to not turn things off, I can access my computer from work if necessary. Major good things. Granted, It still means I have PPPoE, and not a direct link. But I'm still alive and kicking, so there's that.

So, all in all, it looks like this isn't the stab-in-the-heart that it might have been, just a little flesh wound. DirecTV, I still hope you end up having sex with a disgruntled porcupine... but now, I'm hoping for an opposite sex porcupine instead. Feel better?

Posted by Ted Stevko at 02:38 PM | Comments (1)

Pop is not punk. - What music stars are the new punks? - Dec. 26, 2002

Came across an interesting article yesterday: CNN claiming that some pop artists are "the new punks".

For pete's sake, have a little dignity. Stupidity and weirdness do not make one "punk", they make one "stupid and weird".

Punk was about rebellion from the staid & placid society that we'd built; it was recognition of parts of society that we'd most like to forget, the people who were not rewarded by society. The songs were one part of it: you sang honest songs that were true as could be about what was happening. But there were punk writers, punk artists, and people who just lived their lives as punks. Punk was about shocking people with the truth, not only to get attention but to get those "normal" people out of the rut they were in.

Current "punk" artists, like the oft mentioned Sum 41, Offspring, etc. are pop artists with punk melodies used to gain attention and market share. But loud and stupid aren't punk, and their songs aren't about sharing truth and pain, but about annoyances and stupidities. Pain doesn't sell much these days; funny does.

And the article puts up as the "new punk" artists... Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson (for chrissakes....) and Christina Aguilera.

Whitney is a washed-up artist who's also a drug addict, Mariah is a nut case, Michael Jackson is... well... a nut case of a different level than Mariah, or anyone else on the planet, and Christina Aguilera is a pop-star who's image wasn't competing against Britney Spears well, so they switched from good-girl-who-looks-bad-by-accident to bad-girl-who-looks-good-by-accident.

And if any one of them had had a personalized, deep felt song about their pain and anguish and honest feelings, I might even think they'd be punk. But their art is homogenized crap, each and every one.

Punk is dead; don't insult it by stomping on it's carcas and spitting in it's eye sockets comparing Whitney Houston to the Ramones.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 02:08 PM | Comments (2)

December 22, 2002

Ah, the joys of dial-up

Well, I'm currently on dial-up. How this happened, I'm not certian. But the truth is, I really, really hate dial-up. I haven't had to use it in a couple of years, but what with DirecTV leaving me nicely in the lurch, I switched... just in time for the holidays.

So, I sit here in DSL silence.

Even getting DSL isn't going to make this better; I'm finding out about the wonderful experience of PPPoE. It's not pretty.

PPPoE's major disadvantage is that it turns on and off as you need it. Think "dial-in" every time you need it... making the concept of a "static IP" a little strange. As far as I can figure, I'm paying $15 a month for Earthlink to give me the same IP address each time I dial in.

So, in talking with my wonderful sister-in-law, Lara, she informed me that most people use software to keep the connection alive. Joy, my router/NAT addresser doesn't do keep connection alive, yet. I'm hoping an upgrade will do it, otherwise, i'm going to a Linksys and tossing this piece of off-brand crap.

Yeah, it's a joyous christmas. I'm hoping for a happy new year.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 12:59 PM | Comments (1)

December 18, 2002

Death of my DSL: Part I

Well, it had to happen sometime to me: my DSL company is toast. I signed up with Telocity about 2 years ago, and was just thrilled about it. Static IP, 1500/384, and they didn't get panicked about someone putting a domain to their IP.

DirecTV took over the company, and to their credit, didn't change much and kept everything up to speed. I wasn't unhappy with DirecTV; I got what I was paying for, and I was happy with the service.

Naturally, they are going under and require me to go somewhere else. And naturally, the reason it took me a *year* to get DSL at my place is now leaving me with little or no choice.

Part of what's necessary for DSL is a switch for your DSL carrier -- not the ISP -- at your local office, called a central office (CO). If a carrier doesn't have a switch, you're toast.

My CO has only BellSouth as a carrier, not Covad. God knows why -- if they had, I'd be there in a second, using their lines and Speakeasy in a second. But no, I'm stuck with BellSouth's lines, and I can't really afford SDSL, which Covad would offer at my CO. Which leaves me the suckiest choice of all: should I go with BellSouth (the ISP), or Earthlink, as my ISP.

Let me tell you, I hate both. BellSouth *actively* pursues people using their systems as servers, and Earthlink uses, God help us, PPPoE, putting them one step ahead of cavemen. Both reduce my outgoing speed, and neither is all that great at service or speed at getting systems up.

But Earthlink offers a static IP, so into the depths I go. Earlier this week, I asked them about this, and I got told -- get this -- that I couldn't get it because *they were out of static IPs for my area*. Literally, I had to wait for a static IP.

Today, though, I found that I could get one again today. So, I signed up. I don't like it, I'm not happy about it, and Earthlink has a *loooooong* way to go to prove they're worth anything.

Pray for my access, good people. I need it. More on this saga as I go.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 05:21 PM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2002

Into Chaos We Ride - INS to register Saudi, Pakistani men - Dec. 17, 2002

OK, I'm getting this feeling of deja vu. Wasn't this how the Japanese internment camps began, foreign visitors having to register? Then American citizens of certian descent? Then into the camps?

I understand the fear; I also understand the consequences of certian actions, and those I fear more.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)

Bill Mauldin, in hospital, looking for WWII vetrans to talk to

The Comics Journal: ˇJournalista!

The one thing I've gotten from my grandfather over the years, besides a problematic and huge self-centeredness, is a book by Bill Mauldin; Mr. Mauldin did comics during WWII for Stars and Stripes, in the field; and his cartoons were from the point of view of the dogfaces, not the upper brass.

He's also won the Pulitzer prize twice, once for his war work at age *23*, and once for his later work. He also was, as I believe off the top of my head, quite reviled by Nixon and on his Enemies' List. He also worked for a very, very long time: he visited and drew cartoons during the Gulf War as well.

In essence, this guy is the tops in cartooning & as a human. And he's sick.

A couple of years ago, he got burned in a household accident. He's living in a nursing home, alone. And he needs your help.

It's been asked if any WWII vetrans can send him letters of well wishes; I'm asking that anyone who can write do so as well.

This is being coordinated by a columnist, Gordon Dillow, at the Orange County Register. If you want to send a card, the address is:

Bill Mauldin C/O Gordon Dillow
Orange County Register
625 N. Grand Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92701.

Gordon Dillow's e-mail address is

Posted by Ted Stevko at 06:06 AM | Comments (5)

A little local news | Metro | Report card Web site

The state board of education decided to report on all of the schools in the state. Natch, they put it online... and were flooded by visits. Well, you can either look at it as interested parents absolutely desperate for finding out more about their schools, or desperate parents trying to make sure that little Madison & Biff, (or whatever the latest hip names for kids are) get into the best public schools.

Get *involved* in your schools. *Go* there. *Talk* to teachers. It's not that hard, people. You know the buildings, you drop your kids off while the big yellow bus roams around the streets looking for spare ones to pick up.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 05:46 AM | Comments (0)

Back in the saddle again...

Sorry about the lack of posts; a ton's been happening the last two weeks, including Thanksgiving, illness, a funeral, Christmas, a new volunteer position, and keeping my job. I'll try and keep up a little better in the future. :)

Posted by Ted Stevko at 05:41 AM | Comments (0)

December 04, 2002

Feelin' better and smiling.

Woof. The flu: don't get it.

Finally today I'm starting to feel normal again. Last couple of days have reminded me of a few things. Not the least of which is, it's getting towards winter. I've definitely got a little bit of S.A.D., "winter blues" for those who don't suffer from T.L.A. syndrome. So I've got a ton of lights on ion my house right now.

But I'm doing a little better. A few things are looking up: I'm about to do a turn as Education Director of the Atlanta Macintosh User's Group, so if anyone's got ideas for educational things, feel free to post. Should be fun.

Also, I've got some interesting things coming up soon, and I hope to get some more posts up on a regular basis and a nice new look.

Fun all around. Stay tuned.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2002

Ugh. Been sick

Sorry about the lack of updates, but I've been sick with the flu. That's kept me off the net for a few days. But I'll put together some stuff over next week. Hope everyone had a good holiday.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)