Sunday, March 30, 2008

FIOS Actiontec MI424WR mystery

The adventures with my FIOS Actiontec MI424-WR continue. A discussion with Verizon tech support ended with them saying they would check the router and get back to me. I haven't heard boo back from them. But for a while, my sense was that my internet access was more reliable. In hindsight, I think it was simply the placebo effect.

This weekend, the problem has been undeniable. On Friday night, the XBox Live! was going strong, and none of the other computers in the house could get to the internet or even ping the router.

I recalled having read about troubles like mine being caused by a small NAT routing table on the MI424WR. "When the NAT table is overflowed, you will get the "No IP for NAT - connections may fail" error logged in your MI424-WR's security log. During this time, you will unable to browse, ping, or connect to anything until you wait about 3 minutes." (

In my case, I am seeing errors in the security log like, "Blocked - NAT out failed. First packet in connection is not a SYN packet: TCP> on br0log." in my MI424-WR's security log. The error happens even if the firewall is set to Minimum. Also, I have port forwarding set up for XBox and Second Life. Most of the Blocked events are associated with the computer running Second Life. Coincidence?

I'll keep you posted as I try to resolve this mystery. See these other posts on this matter:

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Big Apple

All of a sudden, I am actually reading the NY Times every day.

The Governors, the financial crises, the candidate... rotten or not, the Big Apple is back on my radar! So, I'm wondering what is it like inside the barrel? In the old days, people would be throwing themselves out of windows. No reports of that happening. Instead, I guess they go cry on Oprah about how seven-diamond-ladies are not satisfied with $2 stock.

Regarding the financial crisis, Ben Stein's column in the NY Times today is right on the money.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

How often should you blog?

  1. Once is too often for most blogs.
    • If nobody is reading it, is it actually a blog?
    • If you cannot write, that does not mean you cannot blog. However, text messaging would be better suited for your “talents” and might increase your “readership”.
    • You should be "old enough" to blog. Facebook and MySpace are better suited for the young.
  2. Photos and ads are to blogs what live music is to conversation. Titillation and adsense do not make you a philosopher of note.
    • Unless scandal is your stock-in-trade, less is more!
  3. Ask not, "How often should you blog?" Ask, instead:
    • "Do I have anything interesting to say?"
    • "Do I have any expertise in the matter?"
    • "Do I have a talent for writing a blog?"

Saturday, March 15, 2008

On Eliot Spitzer

This was not to say that [Eliot Spitzer] was anything but sincere when he inveighed against [reprobates]. He could not (from his own knowledge, at least) be aware that he was one also, since it is only with the passions of others that we are ever really familiar, and what we come to find out about our own can be no more than what other people have shown us. Upon ourselves they react but indirectly, through our imagination, which substitutes for our actual, primary motives other, secondary motives, less stark and therefore more decent. Never had [Spitzer's wickedness] impelled him to make a habit of visiting a [whore] as such. Instead, it would set his imagination to make that [woman] appear, in [Spitzer]’s eyes, endowed with all the graces. He would be drawn towards the [woman], assuring himself the while that he was yielding to the attractions of her mind, and her other virtues, which the vile race of [degenerates] could never understand. Only his fellow [whore-hounds] knew that he was of their number, for, owing to their inability to appreciate the intervening efforts of his imagination, they saw in close juxtaposition the social activities of [Spitzer] and their primary cause.

Eliot Spitzer as M. Legrandin in Marcel Proust's Swann's Way.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Trouble with FIOS Actiontec router?

In my last posting, I alluded to networking issues I was trying to resolve by using my Linksys WRT54G as a bridge/switch instead of a router. Well the problems persist, so I can eliminate the Linksys device as the cause.

What's happening is that my FIOS Internet speeds at home slow to a crawl or stop completely for one or more users once someone in the house gets on Second Life and/or XBOX-Live. Second Life and/or XBOX-Live will continue to run, but ultimately performance on those applications becomes unacceptable, and we reboot the FIOS router. It's gotten to the point where we are rebooting several times a day.

The FIOS router we have is an Actiontec router with the latest firmware. When I log in and look at the status of the router, I don't see any issues that could be causing the problem. Traffic monitors are well below the bandwidth I am paying for. The error logs are clean.

At this point, I am ready to call Verizon. I'm not looking forward to spending the time with them on the phone to troubleshoot and resolve the problem. Ideally, I'd like them to replace the Actiontec router.

I'll keep you posted as I try to resolve this mystery. See these other posts on this matter:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How to set up the WRT54G as a switch/bridge

Lots of people report problems with the router function in the Linksys WRT54G. See here for example.

I have a broadband router upstream of my WRT54G, so I thought that I might be able to avoid the network problems I was having by making my WRT54G work simply as a switch or bridge. This is easily done.

Connect a computer to the WRT54G and use a web browser to log in to it. (Device default IP address Default user name blank and password "admin". ) Change the configuration of the WRT54G as follows:
  1. Under Settings/Basic Settings, turn the DHCP server off. CLICK THE Save Settings BUTTON.
  2. Under Settings/Advanced Routing, change the Operating Mode from Gateway to Router (I know, confusing terms). CLICK THE Save Settings BUTTON.
Plug the ethernet cable from/to the upstream router into one of the numbered jacks, NOT the Internet jack.

That's all there is to it. It works like a charm! Devices connected wired-ly and wirelessly are bridged to the network devices upstream and the Internet beyond.

My device specs: Linksys WRT54G, Firmware 8.00.2

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Windows Problem & Solutions

Here's a comment I posted on Preston Gralla's Blog at COMPUTERWORLD. He wrote, "I've pored through hundreds of emails in the Vista "junk PC" lawsuit, and it still doesn't all add up."

Here are my 2 cents on the matter...

It seems that every MS Windows release has been plagued with problems initially (continually?). As long as MS gets away with this and other atrocities against customers (Office 2007?!) MS will continue to commit them.

The Federal government is probably MS's largest customer, and it should use its buying power (in addition to anti-trust enforcement) to keep MS honest.
  • Publish specs in an RFP that the products/vendors need to meet.
  • Make MS compete against Apple and open-source alternatives to win Federal contracts.
  • Put penalties in the contracts for when products fail to perform as promised.
  • Establish a government contracting preference for open source.

Monday, March 03, 2008

More on Office 2007

A correspondent of mine writes, "As you may have read in his review, Mossberg says:"

    If you'd like to get more out of Office, especially in the area of how your documents look, Office 2007 is a big step forward, and worth the steep learning curve it imposes. If you're happy with Office now, or you mostly create plain documents where formatting and design aren't high priorities, it may not be worth the effort to buy and learn the new version.

Two points that the Mossberg review leaves unsaid are:
  • Over time, everyone in the PC world is going to be forced into Office 2007. You can no longer buy the older versions, and you cannot move your older OEM version of Office to a new machine.
  • Most people are too busy to invest the time needed to learn Office 2007. Most companies are not going to spend the time and money to train people.
So, I still think Office 2007 sucks.