GeekSpeak for 2003-05-16

Geek Call-In

Do you have a problem with your computer? Do you have a local network problem?
Call in during the show, and we will do what we can to shed
light on the issue. Who knows? We might even be able to solve
your problem on air. The Geeks focus on your computer problem and try to help.


Getting a wireless network at the station has been very helpful. Durring the show Dedi is able to look up answers to dificult questions on the fly. And giving out the geeks email address on air has helped to get questions and answers from listeners. The Geek Bit was Sean on ATA (IDE ) and SCSI . John Paso Robles John has problems with his bank’s website. He get’s a message that says that there has been a “CGI Error”. He is using the Opera Web Browser. What is happening? A Common Gateway Interface (CGI) Error is not your fault. The appllication on the web server (that uses the CGI ) is expecting something that it is not getting. It is nothing that the user is doing. It’s the bank’s fault, but there are some things you can try. Sometimes web application developers do things specific to a certain web browser. This, non standard focus, is bad programming. If this is the case you can guess what browser they used for testing. Normally companies test with Microsoft Internet Explorer. Using MS IE might enable you to aviod the programming error. In general, however, your bank needs to fix the problem. At least they can change the error message to try and describe better what the error means. Tom Santa Cruz Tom is outside the range of DSL service at his home on Empire Grade, but wants high speed access on his Mac. What options are available? There are currently not cable modem offerings in Santa Cruz. And a lot of people are two far from their phone companies CO-Location for DSL. So, your options are ISDN or Satilite. Dual ISDN is possable in most places. It is more expensive then DSL and it is much slower. Ask you local ISP for help. Satellite is available for anyone with a view of the southern sky. But Macintoshes are not supported as frequently as Windows machines. MacCentral has an April 22, 2002 article on Hughes-DirecWay offering Mac satellite. John called Hughes and Skycasters about the DW 4020. The speed of this system is 400-600kpbs(KiloBits Per Second) down, and 40-60kpbs(KiloBits Per Second) up stream.

40-60. Hmm….

That’s about twice the terrible upload speed I get through the phone line.
The service through SkyCasters (whom Hughes recommended over DirecWay because I have a Mac) is $119 per month.
Plus, and this is the killer for me, $1695.00 for the equipment and installation. Yikes! For $1000 less you can have a killer PC running your LAN connection, pay the $30 a month in electricity to keep it running all the time, the $60 monthly connect fee, and still be $30 ahead per month.
Plus you can take the PC to LAN parties and game on it!

40-60kbps. Too slow for the price.

The sales rep I talked to at SkyCasters did say they were beta testing Hughes’ newest technology to boost the speed. He said it should double in the next six months or so. So now we’re up to 80-120kbps, which is just below ISDN speed (128k). ISDN through my local ISP cost $80/month, plus another $100 for the hardware. Too bad ISDN doesn’t work up here… yet.
So for now, I’ll be sending and surfing at a blistering speed of 21kbps, 18kbps when it rains. At least, from home.
Another connection I’ve found is Abuche in Scotts Valley. They have a free wireless DSL connection. All it costs is a bagel or hot chocolate! It’s fast, it’s cheap, and if I’m doing a lot online, it’s faster to drive there and connect than to wait for my connection at home. I hope other places follow suite. I know StarBuck’s has the same thing, but it’s around $25 a month whether you use it or not.

WildBlue says they will offer Satellite broadband for Macintosh in 2004.

Satellite for Macs — always the option of a cheap old PC to
run Windoze and the satellite client. My friend Doug sez:

The DirecWAY “personal version” $60 a month only supports PC’s. You can make macs work by turning on “Internet Connection Sharing” on the PC hooked to the satellite and then install a program called “Dave” yes a guy named Dave wrote it, so that’s what he called it. It basically makes the mac look like a standard PC on the network. So, you can share files between the mac and PC, share the internet connection etc. We got more calls, but you will have to listen to the show to get the details.