AT&T Bandwidth Caps Will Ruin the Internet

posted in: Technology, The Web | 0

I recently switched from AT&T to Comcast because the former was cheaping out on DSL customers, trying to nudge them toward U-Verse, an alternative that is faster, but more expensive, requiring you to sign up for at least TV service (if not also phone service as well).

I was pleased when I found my new Comcast connection could hit 20Mbps without problem, a speed that was higher than the 15Mbps they advertised.  Nevertheless, it was not long before I found out Comcast had instituted a bandwidth cap of 250GB per month.  If you go over, they do not just charge you, they may actually terminate your service.

Now AT&T has thrown their hat into the ring with their own similar bandwidth cap for U-Verse customers – 250GB, and if you go over, the slap a $10 fee on for each 50GB over (makes me wonder what they’ll charge for 1 KB overage).

The ISPs obviously think they can bully people into sticking with cable TV, because that is what this is really about.  They want us to keep on paying for channels we do not watch and only get because they come with bloated, overpriced packages.  With online streaming (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon OnDemand, etc), we can watch whatever we want, whenever we want, and the big ISPs will do anything to stop us form doing that and costing them money.

Easy Rounded Corners with CSS3

posted in: The Web | 2

One of the common features of web design in the 1990s were boxes with rounded corners floating over beautifully designed backgrounds.  The sites looked nice, but you had to use some trickery to get the look you wanted. Rounded edges on anything required images, usually held in place by table cells.

Well, folks, we are now a decade into the 21st century, and some browsers that shall remain nameless are just now getting caught up on HTML and CSS standards.  With those standards come new goodies that make it easier to display divs rounded edges.

My Boxee Home Media Center

posted in: Free Software, Linux, Technology | 0

Boxee on Linux screenshot

Currently, I do not actually have a home media center, so that title might be a little confusing. I have an old HTPC that is so ancient, it cannot even handle Boxee (which actually has pretty low system requirements). I also don’t have the money to run out and get a Boxee box or upgrade my current system.

What I do have, however, is an Eee PC netbook with a dual core Atom 330 and an Nvidia Ion graphics chip. Boxee runs beautifully on it, and the little 12-inch workhorse can churn out 1080p video without any problem using VDPAU hardware accelerated video playback.

The problem, of course, is that it is portable. My solution was to get a 25-foot HDMI cable and hook it up to my TV whenever I need it. The dilemma then was making each connect as painless and simple as possible.

I wrote two articles that cover the two areas of concern I had: 1. easily and quickly change display settings in Linux on the fly when using an Nvidia driver and 2. getting HDMI audio to work in Linux (to be published next week). I solved both and now have an ideal solution that only cost me $9.

Internet Explorer 6 Still Kicking?

posted in: The Web | 2

I just discovered something shocking when looking through the statistics for this blog.  First, let me disclose that this blog is fairly new, so it is not getting a ton of visitors.  This month, however, I have started to discern trends, and one of them left me puzzled.

6.9% of visitors to this site are still using Internet Explorer 6.  With IE7 now a few years old, IE8 coming with most new Windows installations, and IE9 on the way, this to me is shocking, particularly when alternative browsers like Firefox and Chrome are available.

As a Linux user, updating to the latest browser version is something I do as part of a normal system update.  Windows users, however, are often in businesses and places where they are forced to use whatever the company has installed.  I can only guess that many of them refuse to let IE6 die.  With all of its security problems, poor standards compliance, and slow functionality, I feel for that sad 6.9 percent.

Sexy HTML5 Video Player

posted in: Free Software, Technology | 2

VideoJS player playing some Disney movie

From the sexy tech department comes VideoJS, a nice little drop-in embedded video player that uses HTML5 technology.  The default player looks fantastic, and they also include look-alike player skins for YouTube, Vimeo, Hulu, and more.

It is lightweight, open source, easy to use, supports fullscreen playing, and even has addons for WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and Umbraco.

VideoJS is definitely my pick for the coolest free and open source software of the week.

Web Tip: Sharing Single-Line Code

posted in: The Web | 0

Sometimes, when writing on the web, you need to share a long string of code or even a URL.  You want to emphasize that the information you are showing is meant to be typed on one line, but your blogging software automatically wraps it.

It ends up looking like this:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="templates/<?php echo $this->template ?>/css/template.css" type="text/css" />

When you wanted it to look like this:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="templates/<?php echo $this->template ?>/css/template.css" type="text/css" />