What’s this about Net Neutrality?

As a professional in the field of web hosting, I see the effects of our current lack of Net Neutrality every day. It’s not immediately apparent to the average individual, but companies that are hardest hit (Netflix for example) are starting to change that, such as with their recent decision to start calling out ISPs in their “we’ve got to reduce your video quality” message. In response, Verizon has come back with legal threats and claims that the issue is the path Netflix chooses to use to get their content to Verizon’s network. This is only true in that Netflix could “choose” to cave in to Verizon and pay more to directly connect to their network. To help you understand why, I’ll need to explain a bit about how the internet works.

On the internet, there are three types of providers. The first is the service providers like Google, Netflix, GoDaddy, and any number of other service networks. Second, you have the “interconnection” networks who you’ve probably never heard of but make up the backbone of the internet. Last, you have so-called “eyeball networks” who deliver service to the average consumer, the “eyeballs” at the other end of the internet from the servers. The first and last groups (service providers and eyeball networks) pay the middle group for access to the internet, and generally for more than one connection, to which more are added each time bandwidth needs require it.

Now as a service provider, when I start to get to ~80% of my connection capacity, I add additional links (fiber optic cables connecting my equipment to the interconnection network). The costs of these links are generally proportional to the amount of money I make off of the customers requesting this data (my customers). The ISPs like Comcast and Verizon are also paying these interconnection networks for access to the internet, likely at similar or even lower cost-per-connection rates compared to what I pay. In this way, we’re equals and everything is neutral. Now, lets say that I’ve been upgrading at that 80% capacity number on a regular schedule (this is what Netflix does) but my customer’s ISP has just been watching their upstream links hit 90%, 95%, 100%, and finally start losing packets. This is because your ISP thinks that by doing nothing, they’re not “throttling”, so they’re not breaking any rules. What’s happening here is that Verizon’s customers are requesting more data than Verizon wants to pay to be able to handle, so they want to charge Netflix and the other service providers to connect directly to them instead, thus bypassing the interconnection network.

The eyeball network is trying to get money at both ends of their pipe, once from their customers, and again from the companies their customers use. This extortion shakedown is only possible because you, as the customer, can’t see the state of Verizon’s external connections and they don’t think you’re smart enough to realize what they’re doing. Netflix is trying to inform you (though I’d have been more specific about the issue being Verizon’s interconnections, not its core network) and Verizon doesn’t like it at all. Fight back, contact your congressperson, tell them we need Net Neutrality. If you don’t, the monopoly currently providing you internet service will continue to do this until services like Netflix are impossible to run at a reasonable cost.

Nag’s Head in 24 hours.

I’ve been in Nag’s Head for just a bit over 24 hours now and thus far it’s been the best Nag’s Head trip yet. Lets start at the beginning… Deer in a bag. Fucking deer in its fucking bag made me have to do a pirouette in my fucking car on the driver’s side tire, then some kind of double hamstring somersault backflip and ended up in the next lane over doing the speed limit. Totally sweet dude. Once we got here shit got real and we got as obliterated as possible for maximum debauchery. There was some crazy girl, but that problem was solved in short order. Today there was a liberal smattering of rock band, outlet mallification, and beachgoing X 2. The first beach trip (among the day walkers) was pretty much a bust, there being a distinct shortage of surfable waves, however the second trip made tonight worthwhile. I got to the beach around 3 am and immediately noticed that I was surrounded by phytoplankton. Every movement, no matter how deep under water, caused a flurry of tiny green luminescent organisms to fire their biochemical caches and illuminate the immediate area, giving a net effect of glowing water. My friend Scott happened to bring a boogie board and was floating, so I became one with the ocean and learned to float too. After a liberal period of stargazing, I began to pay attention to the ocean’s warm embrace and happened to notice a clicking sound underwater. It was probably a good minute before I realized that the rhythmic clicking I was being subjected to wasn’t one of my friends, but was in point of fact dolphins. I was hearing dolphins talk to each other. I know this description doesn’t really convey the beauty I experienced today, but I wanted to record it regardless. Fuck you.

KVM Kernel Virtualization in Ubuntu Hardy

I just tried KVM under Hardy (which I’m loving by the way) and had some notes in case any other early adopters wanted to give it a try.

To install it, you need three packages (at least, I did):
sudo aptitude install kvm virt-manager libvirt-bin

You’ll also need to add yourself to three groups:

  • System -> Administration -> Users and Groups
  • Click “Unlock”
  • Enter password, etc.
  • Click “Manage Groups”
  • Under each of the following groups, make sure your user name is checked:
    • kvm
    • vde2-net
    • libvirtd
  • Reboot!

When you get the system back up, the Virtual Machine Manager is under Applications -> System Tools.

Have fun!!!

I’m at a loss for words

I know I don’t update here often, but I just thought it would be pertinent at this particular junction. This blog is a combination of my personal life (usually just the bad parts for whatever reason) and my technological exploits, and today will only be slightly outside the usual realm of nonsensical debauchery. Today, I am happy. There’s someone beautiful and hilarious and brilliant and amazing who has chosen to grace me with her attention. I can talk to her about the most obscure scientific discovery and she wants to know more about it and how it affects the world. Did I mention amazing? I think I did…

But alas, this wouldn’t be a very good post here at redkrieg.com were I not to include something at least remotely technical… This weekend I finished preliminary work on my own thumbdrive based distribution of ubuntu. I wrote my own sexy splash screen and modified the themes a bit. I added all the usual programs that I love, set my defaults the way I like them, and even fixed a few bugs in the latest version (upon which this was based). Since it’s thumbdrive based and I have an amazing thumbdrive (OCZ ATV Turbo), it boots and runs faster than any hard disk install I’ve ever used. Unfortunately desktop effects only work on intel video hardware, but at least I have a persistent partition upon which to store any changes I make to the OS. My 4GB drive should be enough for a year’s worth of work if I stay away from video. All of this is thanks to two wonderful tools. The first of which is remastersys, which I use to turn a virtual machine into a full distribution of linux. Secondly, and just as important to this particular venture of mine is pendrivelinux.com‘s tutorial on turning ubuntu 7.10 in to a pen drive bootable (and usable) distro. Now the tutorial as is has some problems, all of which are in the zip file near the end of the tutorial. Many entries in that file don’t work, and the defaults are not set for a persistent install. Luckily for you, fearless user, I have below the contents of my syslinux.cfg for your internet related needs. Also, you can put anything you want in isolinux.txt.

DEFAULT persistent
LABEL persistent
menu label ^Start Ubuntu in USB persistent mode (saves changes)
kernel vmlinuz
append file=/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper persistent initrd=initrd.gz vga=0x0317 quiet splash --
LABEL live
menu label ^Start Ubuntu in Live mode
kernel vmlinuz
append file=/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper initrd=initrd.gz vga-0x317 quiet splash --
LABEL xforcevesa
menu label Start Ubuntu in safe ^graphics mode
kernel vmlinuz
append file=/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper persistent xforcevesa initrd=initrd.gz quiet splash --
menu label ^OEM install (for manufacturers)
kernel vmlinuz
append file=/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper oem-config/enable=true initrd=initrd.gz quiet splash --
menu label ^Boot from first hard disk
localboot 0x80
append -
DISPLAY isolinux.txt

Have fun. I know I am.

A List

First of all, allow me to preface this with the simple statement that I am drunk. Now that the formalities are out of the way, this is why I’ve brought you here:

Things I’m good at:
Deciding things
Sex (let me know if you need proof on this one)
Picking out women’s clothes (it’s a gift, sue me)
Talking about facts
Anything computer related

Things I’m very bad at:
Convincing girls that I’m worth their time
Picking out Men’s clothes
Talking about feelings
Sharing any interests with anyone of the opposite sex

Arg. Alcohol is awesome.