Comcastic Adventures: Spiking Your E-Mail

It should come as no surprise that my experience as a Comcast broadband subscriber is matching up with many others: extra-sh*tty. Comcast has been flogged extensively elsewhere about its draconian “bandwidth management” techniques – throttling some traffic, blocking others, and now testing new technologies in preparation for implementing this non-neutral network management practice nationwide. And Comcast is not alone in this trend.

My problem with Comcast, however, has had nothing to do with BitTorrent, Skype, Gnutella, or Lotus Notes. It has everything to do with the most important application for which I use the Internet – e-mail.

The problem began a couple of months ago, when those of us in Champaign-Urbana began to be assimilated into the larger Comcast network-borg. I expected an increase in intermittent service outages, but I did not expect my e-mail to stop coming in. But it did, and after two months of sleuthing with Comcast’s evasive and mostly-impotent technical support, I think I have figured out the problem. Read More

Back from Hiatus

A much-needed break: preliminary exams, teaching new classes, and a wonderful vacation. I’m still struggling to make the transition from “relaxed” to “busy,” though I never really did get away from the latter.

Long story short, “regular” updates to resume in September.

Clear Channel: For Sale?

Interesting stories abound in the news about the world’s largest broadcast/outdoor advertising/live music venue conglomerate entertaining the idea of going private, possibly selling itself out to a “vulture capitalist” firm.

Clear Channel’s official line on the buyout talks is that it seeks to “enhance shareholder value,” which is an eloquent way of saying there’s greed at play, and the typical sources of funding aren’t working out so well anymore. Read More

WordPress Design Challenge

The transition of this site to some sort of content management system is long overdue. There’s too much stuff here now to keep good track of it manually.

I’ve settled on WordPress, given its ease of use and flexibility, and after the learned advice of technically-inclined friends. However, before beginning the actual site migration, it behooves me to cement the design of the new site first.

To tell the truth, I like the simplicity of the current design, though I have plans for the sidebar. What I’d like to do is modify a WordPress theme to mimic what you see now as closely as possible. However, my semi-random hacking at stylesheets and other theme components leads to broken sh*t. Anybody out there with design skillz who can help?