Linux, politics, and other interesting things
On Thursday my new InterNode ADSL2+ service was connected . I needed to get a connection with a larger download cap and a better upload speed because one of my clients wants me to transfer some significant amounts of data as well as hosting some Xen DomU’s for him. Strangely InterNode couldn’t offer a regular ADSL service but could offer Naked DSL (which means DSL without a phone service on the same pair of wires). So I now have Naked ADSL 2+ although unfortunately the line speed is reported as being 8263/814 Kbps – ADSL2 speed. For the moment this will do, but I’ll investigate the possibility of improving this eventually. Another strange thing about this is that Optus is the carrier for the ADSL line, Telstra is the monopoly telco with the vast majority of local-loop copper pairs so it’s surprising that I end up with Optus owning my copper – the wires in question were used by the previous owner of my house for a Telstra connection!
On Friday I converted my network to using the new ADSL link and on Saturday I got my SE Linux Play Machine online again . I could have managed the transition without ~20 hours of down-time for the Play Machine, but as I only get a few logins per day it didn’t seem to be worth the effort of rushing it.
Also on Friday I got a new 3G modem from Three . They advertise that the USB or PC-Card modem will cost $5 per month on a 24 month plan, but when I ordered it I discovered that as I have an existing mobile phone plan with them the $5 per month is waived. So all that I have to pay is $15 per month for a 1GB data allowance (which is about the best deal available). A client is paying for this so that I can provide remote support for his network. I had previously written about my search for an ideal mobile SSH client , I ended up getting an EeePC 701 which cost $300, an 8G SD card and 8G USB stick (for expanding the internal storage and for moving files around respectively) which cost $83, and now $15 per month over 24 months for net access. That gives a total of $743 for two years of mobile net access. This compares well to the $960 that an iPhone would cost over two years and provides a lot more utility (while admittedly not fitting into a pocket).
Dave Hall  gave me a lot of great advice about selecting and using 3G modems. He recommended that I get the E220 modem as it’s easy to configure (mine was easy on Debian/Lenny but didn’t work with a Debian/Etch kernel as the necessary driver was not available). Three also sells another model the E169G which is apparently tricky to set up. There was one mistake made in the design of the E220, the cable is installed in such a way that the LED which indicates connection status is going to be face-down when connected to almost any laptop which has horizontally mounted USB ports (which includes all the thinner ones).
Here is the PPP chatscript for use with an E220 modem (suggested file name /etc/chatscripts/three):
ABORT 'NO CARRIER'
Here is the ppp configuration file which references the above chatscript:
connect "/usr/sbin/chat -v -f /etc/chatscripts/three"