There I was, scrounging for my Pentax K-7 manual. It was no where to be found. Luckly, Pentax publishes all of their manuals online. However, today the support site was experiencing an issue with the manuals. I could not download the one I needed.
A top the page they have a link for live chat support. Honestly, Dell and HP online chat support reps have poor reputation in my book. It often takes much longer to resolve simple issues via chat rather than calling.
However, in the case of Pentax, the support was quick, efficient and best of all in clear English. The rep I interacted with did not respond using a prescribed script. He honestly read my question and responded concisely and effectively. The full chat is copied below.
Edit: Link provided by Pentax support for the Pentax k-7 Manual: http://www.pentax.jp/english/support/man-pdf/k-7.pdf
Please wait while we find an agent to assist you...
You have been connected to Edward.
Edward: Thank you for contacting Pentax Chat Support. I'm Edward,
and how may I help you?
Stephen Wilson: I'm attempting to download the english manual for
the K-7 however, it's not working. I've tried two different browsers
and checked other sites to ensure Acrobat is installed correctly.
Everything seems to be fine with my system. Is the site having
Stephen Wilson: If the site is having issues, is it possible to get
the manual a different way?
Edward: It may be at the moment. Let me get you a different
link to try.
Stephen Wilson: ok, thank you
Edward: Try this one.
Stephen Wilson: That worked perfectly, thank you!
Edward: You're quite welcome!
Edward: Will there be anything else?
Stephen Wilson: That was it
Edward: Thank you for contacting Pentax, If you are in need of
further assistance, call our technical support center at 800-877-0155.
Pentax Imaging Technical Support
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Broadstripe tech calls customer to see if he’s home but the customer’s VoIP line is down. This is entertaining to me, looking in from the outside. A Broadstripe customer’s internet connection has been down for a couple days. A Broadstripe tech was to stop by and replace the cable modem. Turns out the tech called the house and didn’t get an answer. The tech assumed no one was home and continued to his next call. Well, the customer has VoIP with Broadstripe. VoIP cannot function without an internet connection… That is the very reason why the Broadstripe tech was sent out.
In Reed’s blog post he explains some common complaints with Broadstripe in the Seattle area. In summary, poor speeds, network issues and questionable business practices.
What’s really cool about Reed’s experience is that is was very similar to mine. Though a difference is the cancellation procedure. When I initially canceled my service, they honored my request over the phone compared to Reed needing to fax in his request.
I compared Clear with Broadstripe for about a month. My experience was different with my comparison. I saw poor performance with high bandwidth applications on Clear. In contrast, Broadstripe could handle my needs a little better.
Reed, if you get a chance to see this post, please take at my others about Broadstripe and Clear. I think you will identify with my issues of choosing the lesser of two evils. Also, please check UPTUN. UPTUN is working to improve the situation in the Broadstripe served areas. Lastly, send a link to your post to the Broadstripe Twitter account, @earningstripes. You’ll maybe surprised at how receptive they are to your experience.
Some more general resources for Seattle folks:
Muni Networks http://www.muninetworks.org/
Seattle Gov’s Cable Office http://www.seattle.gov/cable/
According to a thread over at the ClearWire forums, yes.
Engadget broke the ClearWire story today (Sept. 29th).
From my personal experience, yes Clear performs traffic shaping. I should have gathered data while I experimented with the throttling issue. The bandwidth issues I saw with Clear were throttling Bit Torrent traffic directly. This was easily mitigated by enabling forced encryption on the Torrents.
Clear users are seeing the throttling put into place when they exceed 7-10GB transferred in a month. However, I did not see throttling when I exceeded 10GBs. Total bandwidth usage cap seems to be a new issue.
Bandwidth throttling maybe a serious issue for Clear users. For example Comcast has a soft cap of 250GBs a month. This is more than enough for any user, even heavy bandwidth users. The Clear cap is too small for the modern household.
Today, Facebook experienced a two and half hour outage. For sites of this size, it’s a very big issue to be unavailable. An outage translates to lost revenue, a tarnished brand and customer ill will. However, the Sys-Admins mitigated the ramifications of the outage with grace and tact.
The Facebook admins first took responsibility for the outage. Their statement took full responsibility without conditions. Second, the Admins explained the root cause of the issue in enough detail for the average tech savvy person to follow. Finally they laid out their solution in terms everyone could understand. The statement handled everyones concerns in an excellent way.
Read the full statement regarding the outage today.
According to another blogger, Broadstripe spies on its customers. The evidence is interesting but not conclusive.
A key point the blogger makes is traffic being routed through the Washington DC area. The blogger concludes the government must be watching you. Washington DC is the center of our government but not the center for our international or domestic intelligence.
If the Government is spying on you, likely they would do it in non-detectable ways. Most likely mirroring traffic as close to your home as possible. Also possibly, where your cable connection terminates to fiber.
From what I can tell in my own testing is Broadstripe’s network is poorly managed. They have markets all over the nation and probably try to consolidate their access to backbones in order to save money.
Comcast did this for many years in my market. For example, when I was with Comcast for the first couple years my traffic exited the Comcast network in San Francisco. This adds latency to the connection and thus slows it down. It’s reasonable to think that this is what is happening with Broadstripe today.
Odds are, they are not spying on their customers any more than any other provider.
We know they use deep packet inspection to throttle P2P traffic. Something Comcast, qwest and all the others do. We know they gather viewing data via set top boxes (gold mine for advertisers).
So what should we do? Consider the information you want to keep out of their hands. You don’t want them to know your browsing habbits? Use TOR Project. Don’t want them to know what you are using Bittorrent for? Disable DHT and enforce encryption.
Our service providers are spying on us. It’s a fact of our modern digital lives. We can control what information they get. For more information on how to protect your privacy, check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s: Surveillance Self Defense project.
Further reading about Broadstripe’s alleged spying habits:broadstripespies.com
While the FCC has good intentions, they still can’t grasp the true state of broadband in the US. Freepress does a great job of exploring FCC’s broadband tips. Give it a read and share your thoughts with your legislators.
Broadstripe, guys, read and take notes.