Posts tagged: internet

Cost savings

By , 2013-04-06 11:23

Lately I’ve been reviewing my finances. I haven’t exactly been frugal over the past few years, and now that I’ve moved into a proper (and considerably more expensive) apartment, it’s time to grow up and take responsibility.

So far, I’ve found the following cost-saving opportunities:

  1. Cancel Bell Fibe TV. As cool as I find IPTV, and despite the convenience of having loads of TV channels with a PVR, the fact is I don’t really watch that much TV. I do most of my media consumption via the Internet (like most other kids these days), and probably 80% of my live TV watching consists of CBC (The National, Strombo) and CityTV (BT, Community, Parks and Rec) – both of which are available in ATSC HD over-the-air here in Toronto. Combine that with XBMC‘s new PVR functionality and there’s no real reason to keep a TV service.
  2. Cancel landline phone. Yes, I still have a landline. Landlines are cool. (I think I see a recurring theme here…) When I was little (and unburdened with privacy concerns) I loved the idea of being listed in the white pages. Later on, the PSTN gained a certain mystery, hearkening back to the days of dial-up internet, phreakers with their boxes, live telephone operators, teenagers wanting their own phone lines, all the way back to the early 20th century. But the fact is that now in the early 21st century, the age of the PSTN is past. I’m not even sure I make one voice call a week outside of work. It’s gotten to the point where I once flashed a CyanogenMod nightly onto my phone and used it for a week before realizing the Phone app was broken. All that and the simple fact that landlines are freaking expensive. Bell wants $28.98/month before tax for “Home Phone Lite“. offers a VoIP number for $0/month.
  3. Be more energy-conscious. For the first time, I have my own hydro bill. I went out and bought a Kill-A-Watt and started checking all my electronics’ and appliances’ power consumption. More on this later.
  4. Move to the cloud. The public cloud, that is. I have a 1U server in a datacentre in Missisauga hosting a few VMs, including this blog. It’s a pretty hefty cost, especially since I upgraded to a more powerful but older server (more incentive for #3). Nowadays a VPS/Amazon EC2 instance can be had for under $20/month, running just about any OS, and with a better Internet connection than one could hope to have privately for the cost.
  5. Cancel personal smartphone. My workplace provides me with a smartphone. When I started, it was a BlackBerry 8830 World Edition, which was super cool – until the iPhone was launched. Since then I’ve switched to an iPhone 4 for work and an HTC Sensation for personal use. Having two phones is great (more on that later) – and I CHOOSE to have 2 phones, either one could do both work and play – thank you very much SAMSUNG. (God do I ever hate those commercials. And TouchWiz. And their poor quality control. And all the cheap plastic and gaudy designs.  I could go on for a while…) Long story short, consolidate on one device, save space in pockets, save <$50/month.
  6. Last but not least, stop buying random crap. I love technology. I love fixing things. I love learning and challenging myself. But at some point, keeping old computers to repair and experiment with Linux can go too far. Like a banker’s box full of possibly working laptops too far.

We’ll see how this goes over the next few months.

Blog and online presence

By , 2012-12-29 23:46

Once again, my dear old WordPress blog has been terribly negelected for the past little while. I do however have good reasons for this.

  1. Life and stuff has been busy this past year. This has given me a lot of new material to write about, but I’ve lacked the will to actually spend time and write any posts.
  2. I spend a lot less time tinkering with computers in my free time. When I do, a lot of it has to do with enterprise software and such which is not as fun to write about.
  3. OSx86 is no longer a part of my day-to-day. Since getting a job, and hence having the $ to be able to buy legit Apple products, there isn’t as much incentive for getting Mac OS X running on commodity PC hardware. Also, I’m not sure I like where Apple is going with their 10.7+ OS releases, so my hackintoshes and real Macs remain on 10.6.x.
  4. There are too many ways to post things on the Internet. Twitter. Tumblr. Google+. Facebook. Pinterest. LinkedIn. WordPress. Posterous. Evernote. imgur. reddit. Springpad. the list goes on and on. I can’t decide what medium to use and what I actually want out of the whole thing.
  5. My Internet “image”.  I have a pretty unique name – pretty sure I’m the only “Matthieu Yiptong” on the planet. So, when anyone googles my name, this blog is usually the top result. Nowadays it’s common practice for everyone from parents to employers to new acquaintances to girlfriends to google peoples’ names. Being slightly paranoid, I’ve been over-analyzing every potential idea I’ve had for a new blog post this year.
  6. Platform choice. This blog probably has more technical posts than anything else. One of my colleagues at work has switched to using MediaWiki for his personal technical documentation. This makes sense because it’s easier to organize and format documentation on a wiki than on a blog. There are even wikis designed for documentation. This may be something to consider.
  7. Domain name. I own, and a few other domains. I’m trying to decide what the url for my blog should be –  whether or not changing it would be worth it and should I decide to change it, if there’s anyway to keep my google ranking and permalinks.

Hopefully now that I’ve gotten these reasons written down, I can get around to addressing each of them and streamline my blogging/posting/documentation in 2013!

You Will Never Kill Piracy, and Piracy Will Never Kill You – Forbes

By , 2012-12-08 19:50

Interesting article from Forbes. This is exactly the problem with media today.

Piracy is not raiding and plundering Best Buys and FYEs, smashing the windows and running out with the loot. It’s like being placed in a store full of every DVD in existence. There are no employees, no security guards, and when you take a copy of movie, another one materializes in its place, so you’re not actually taking anything. If you were in such a store, you’d only have your base moral convictions to keep you from cloning every movie in sight. And anyone who knows how to get to this store isn’t going to let their conscience stop them, especially when there is no tangible “loss” to even feel bad about.

The is of course some degree of “loss”, but it’s hard, if not impossible, to assign a dollar value to it.Who is to say that a customer, who when placed in this hypothetical store took a copy of every movie, would actually have bought a copy of every movie or any movie at all?

The other problem with the movie industry is that every “legal” way of watching a movie is a pain in the a**. For instance:

Buy a Blu-Ray/DVD (assuming you already own a player)

  1. Go to store/Amazon.
  2. Buy disc
  3. Go home/wait for shipment
  4. Insert disc into player
  5. Watch FBI warning
  6. Watch Trailers (or skip trailers)
  7. Watch movie.

Advantages of this method: You “own” the movie on physical media. You can pass it to your friends, look at the box, use the disc as a frisbee, whatever.
Disadvantages: Physical media. Waiting time. Investment in home video equipment.

Watch in theatres

  1. Look up showtimes
  2. (Buy tickets online)
  3. Go to theatre
  4. Buy/pick up tickets
  5. (Pay extra money for an pick up annoying 3D glasses)
  6. Find a seat in cinema
  7. Watch movie trivia
  8. Watch ads
  9. Watch trailers
  10. Watch movie.

Advantages of this method: Gigantic screen. Excuse to go out.
Disadvantages: Excuse to go out. Overpriced food. Crowds.

Watch on Netflix

  1. Get tablet/phone/Silverlight®-capable PC/approved set-top box or TV
    1. If using Linux (Ubuntu or Fedora), check this out: It popped up in my Twitter feed literally just as I was writing the previous line.
  2. Sign up for/log in to Netflix
  3. Find your movie (hope it’s there)
  4. Watch movie.

Advantages: Watch almost anywhere, almost instantly.
Disadvantages: Limited selection, requires active internet connection, don’t own anything – need to keep paying monthly fee.


  1. Get some BitTorrent-capable device. (PC, Mac, Linux, BSD,  Android, your router, NAS, ….)
  2. Find a torrent of the movie you want.
  3. Download
  4. Watch movie.

Advantages: Own movie forever. Works on any device with proper codecs and processing power. No DRM. Free. Huge selection.
Disadvantages: Morality? Need more hard disk space. Some sites are questionable.

Clearly, “Pirate” is the most viable option. Netflix is a close second, but the inability to watch offline and limited catalogue are annoying.

Existing movie distribution channels are dated, inconvenient and expensive. What’s the solution? I don’t know. But there needs to be a big change in the way Hollywood does business if they really want to “stop” piracy. Not that they really need to, movies are still very profitable despite all their complaints about how piracy is killing them.

Some propose a sort of “Steam for movies“. Others would have Netflix’s model. Others still, iTunes.

I’m both excited and apprehensive about what’s to come.

via You Will Never Kill Piracy, and Piracy Will Never Kill You – Forbes.

A cheaper file transfer method for Canadians

By , 2012-01-15 11:26

Found this somewhere a few months back. Some food for thought.

Canada approves UBB

By , 2011-01-30 20:13

Hello. As you may or may not have heard, Canada has approved UBB, that is, Usage-Based Billing for all ISPs. This means the end of unlimited internet for individuals in Canada.

This makes me incredibly angry, because it’s backwards, it’s anti-competitive, and it’s expensive.

“Bandwidth (computing) or digital bandwidth: a rate of data transfer, bit rate or throughput, measured in bits per second (bps)”

I believe it’s fair to charge for BANDWIDTH. i.e. THROUGHPUT. That’s what actually costs money. If these telecom idiots hadn’t overprovisioned their infrastructure in the first place so that they could scam customers for more money, they wouldn’t have to do this to save their asses.

Ever notice how at “peak hours” the ‘net gets slower? That’s because Rogers or Bell or whoever it may be did not bother spending the money to upgrade the fiber to your local hub. In any other business this is unacceptable (taking into consideration interference and other such factors). I have a 100Mbps network, I EXPECT at LEAST 60Mbps out of it.

Once the physical medium is in place, who gives a damn how much data goes through it? It’s not like there’s physical wear on the equipment. Sure there’s maintenance, but like everything else in computing, it makes more sense to upgrade rather than to repair. So why not make network upgrades, and offer higher speeds at higher prices?

Charging for usage is wrong. Plus they’re making up rules while misusing technical terms. =Double angry.

Vancouver says NO to bandwidth caps!

By , 2010-12-17 20:17

Vancouver’s city council says that Internet traffic metering discriminates against video and audio streaming providers.

Finally, some level of government is taking action against Bell and the CRTC’s decision! For those who don’t know, all of us Canadians are being ripped off by our broadband carriers. They impose arbitrary bandwidth caps and require end uses to pay premium prices for extra speed in order to up these limits.

Now, before you get all “well I never hit my cap, it must be all those BitTorrenting pirates. They should stop complaining and buy movies like the rest of us”, let me point out that there are a many ways of acquiring content with high bandwidth requirements legally online. To name a few, iTunes, Netflix, YouTube, as well as the websites of every national television network and radio station. Not to mention the loads of freeware/shareware and open-source software, digital downloads of proprietary operating systems and productivity software, SDKs, game demos, benchmarks, software updates, and even data transfer for business purposes. The list goes on and on and I won’t bother or even attempt to list more uses.

Point is, what is the purpose of having an “information superhighway” if some users are faced with arbitrary tolls and speed limits in addition to advertising?

How is streaming media supposed to render optical media obsolete if we aren’t free to consume it? How do we keep our systems up to date if we have to count the bytes downloaded for each update pack? How are we to move to video conferencing, VoIP, and social media with horribly limited upstream bandwidth?

Anyway, enough with the negativity. Thanks to Vancouver and, there is a glimmer of hope for Canadian Internet users!

For more info, check out .

via Canada: We might be America\’s hat, but we don\’t like caps.

Weblib – a library of Netbooks

By , 2009-12-30 18:19

I was browsing Facebook today and glanced up at the usually useless “Suggestions” box. For the first time, I saw something interesting. My cousin in France had become a fan of “Weblib”.

Intrigued, I clicked the link. It seems like a pretty interesting concept. To quote their website: “Besoin d’aller sur Internet? Pas d’ordinateur? Weblib vous en prete un gratuitement.” For all you English-speakers, that means “Need to use the Internet? No computer? Weblib will lend you one for free.”

I think that speaks for itself. Not sure what their business model is, but I hope it works, and perhaps we’ll have something of the sort in Canada soon!.

Balloon Boy

By , 2009-10-15 22:34

“Six year old Falcon Heene was found to be hiding in the attic after allegedly being carried away in his father’s experimental balloon aircraft.”


(Images taken from

Today a strange helium balloon was seen floating in Colorado. It was thought that there was a six-year-old boy aboard. The whole Internet watched in awe as the story unfolded. It was found out that the boy was actually hiding in his attic. Now the story is lolz, and has led to some precious tweets such as:

“What did Beyonce say to the parents of the 6-year-old kid that flew away in a balloon? If you liked it then you should have put a string on it.”

“Yo Balloon Boy, Imma let you finish, but Anne Frank had the best attic hideout spot of all time…”

“#balloonboy needs his ass poped…no pun intended lol”

I’ll say it again… what would we do without the internet?

See also: CNN CBC

Bell setting download limits on resellers

By , 2009-08-17 12:40

Looks like unlimited Internet access no longer exists for Canadians (or at least Ontarians, at any rate). The CRTC has approved a petition by Bell to charge small ISPs (TekSavvy, Velcom, Acanac) for the bandwidth they use. These small companies are currently the only way for most residential customers to get true unlimited Internet access at home. The large Canadian ISPs such as Rogers, Bell Sympatico and Videotron all limit their customers’ download traffic, forcing those who need more to upgrade to more expensive service plans. This is absolutely ridiculous. In an age of digital media, where high-bitrate HD content and streaming video are becoming more and more commonplace, along with steadily increasing Internet connection speeds, this is a big step backwards for Canadians. Furthermore, the small ISPs are now at risk of going bankrupt, since their major selling point is their unlimited or high traffic allowance.

Seems the CRTC has failed Canadians once again. Now that I’ve had my little rant, the question is, what can be done to reverse the decision, or to prevent anything worse from happening?


By , 2009-08-04 10:56

Internet connection speed today. If only it were this fast every day.

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