Sunday 29th November 2009
I'm still accessing the web via a mobile phone dangling off a USB lead, which is a bit frustrating - 3G broadband is absolutely NOT ready for the powerusers (I would count myself that, even though I've been sticking mainly to twitter, email, google reader, and a couple of forums, I've done over 300MB this weekend, and that's without any BBC iPlayer or podcast updating).
I think the most frustating thing though, is the second line support at O2 Broadband. On Friday morning, I was told that they could do nothing further until a replacement O2 Box (I'm not going to call it a router, anything that can't cope with a VPN is not a router) had been sent to me. I was told that I would receive this on Saturday. Amy was doing some overtime, and Saturday morning was fantastic weather, so rather than heading out with my camera as I wanted to, I stayed in, and waited. I checked my gmail, and there was a message from O2. I opened up this message, and it told me that my O2 box had just shipped, and it would be with me in a few days.
I called O2 Home Broadband tech support again, explained things, and the first line support blokey said "I don't know why you were told it would be with you today, there's no way it would be delivered in one day, especially a Saturday". So thanks, Mr second line call centre phone monkey, for telling me lies and costing me a Saturday out of the flat enjoying one of my hobbies. Needless to say, the rest of the weekend has basically involved rain, more rain, and yet more rain. So no wandering around taking photos today.
Excitingly, when the post finally did arrive on Saturday afternoon, I was excited to see a large envelope, addressed to me. My excitement was somewhat tempered, when I opened it up to find a massive envelope. The only explanation as to what was going on was a sheet of paper with my name and address, an O2 header, and "broadband returns packaging x 1". Sorry O2, but I don't have any broadband, and even if I did, I wouldn't be returning it to you. I can only assume that this is for my existing O2 Box. Funny how they can get the returns envelope out in one day, but not a replacement router. Not that I need a replacement router, as both my crappy O2 Box, and my Cisco 877W agree in the fact that the line is not provisioned for ADSL.
Mind you, we may be lucky to still have an Internet in a few years time, if Lord
VoldemortMandelson has his way.
But that's just for starters. The real meat is in the story we broke yesterday: Peter Mandelson, the unelected Business Secretary, would have to power to make up as many new penalties and enforcement systems as he likes. And he says he's planning to appoint private militias financed by rightsholder groups who will have the power to kick you off the internet, spy on your use of the network, demand the removal of files or the blocking of websites, and Mandelson will have the power to invent any penalty, including jail time, for any transgression he deems you are guilty of. And of course, Mandelson's successor in the next government would also have this power.
Also this week, news emerged that a pub has been fined £8000 because a user on the pub's wifi hotspot supposedly downloaded something unlawfully. If I were a coffee shop owner, or pub landlord, or proprietor of any establishment that had installed a wifi hotspot from the likes of The Cloud, or BT OpenZone, or any of the other wifi hotspot service providers, I'd be unplugging them right now. Likewise if I were still lumbered with BT Broadband for my ADSL, and had the homehub, I'd be making damn sure that the BT Openzone half of the router was disabled.
Back when I had BT as my ISP, I signed up to the openzone thing. In a nutshell, your BT Homehub presents a second wifi hotspot, which is encryption (WEP/WPA) free, but you need to sign in to use it. If you provide this service via your homehub, you can connect for free via any other openzone hotspot, or, thanks to a BT/Fonera partnership, any FON hotspot around the world.
This should be a good thing. Ubiquitous connectivity can only improve things.
If, however, you can be fined for hosting a wifi hotspot, even though you aren't even the service provider, then you absolutely should make sure that this function is disabled on your router.
And to think that people look at me funny when I say I do my day to day browsing via a VPN service...