Category Archives: Technology

Technology

So, there it is, I managed one poorly-written but intriguingly structured post, wherein I covered a number of topics, I had the full and earnest intention of doing another (hopefully somewhat better) post the following Friday, and of course there was no post. None more posts happened. Now, there was a surprisingly good reason for that, which is that I got my fibre broadband, which was great, and then I had to connect it to my own Synology router (I believe in accessing my Internet primarily through my own hardware, and using the supplied modem/router as just a modem), a product that I recommend at this point, it has some fantastic features. This was fine in theory, and it had worked well with the Virgin Media cable modem, but… It didn’t quite work with the fibre broadband modem/router. It was odd and unreliable, and definitely not fast (it looked like a DNS problem). So I spent last Friday trying everything, and eventually reinstalled the Synology router completely, and it worked and everything was wonderful and fast, and it was late and I was tired and I didn’t write anything. It’s not an excuse (even if it looks a lot like one), it’s a reason.

The upshot of all of this was that everything works, and this is good. However, the part that I had left out in all of this is that I need to get Ethernet cables to connect everything. I bought a new router (as mentioned), and also a new set of powerline adapters (to use the electrical circuits of the house itself as network cabling), and some Ethernet cables, fast new ones. A quick note about Ethernet cables: The older ones tend to be Cat. 5e, and newer ones, Cat. 6. The difference between them at home isn’t huge (they support Gigabit data transfer speeds) but still, it helps to get the best cable possible. A good explainer of what Ethernet cables are and the differences between them with some easy to follow history can be found here, at tomsguide.com. The entry point for the new Internet connection is in a very different place to the cable jack, so it made sense to rethink the location of the modem and router, while avoiding leaving them right beside the new fibre access point, and the answer would be to run new cables between the various points. I identified the required lengths. In fact, why not choose colours to identify them by purpose? And I would need some of it in white, to run along the skirting boards and be less intrusive.

I checked my usual sites, elara.ie and farnell.com, with Amazon as a fallback in case, and searched for Irish sites which could ship cable (I try to buy locally and avoid Amazon where possible). I found cables.ie, and it had all the cables I was looking for! All of it, and a reasonable shipping fee! Great, so after measuring a few times, a bit planning and dithering, I placed an order. And promptly realised that the basket hadn’t updated some of the amounts before I ordered, and so I got in touch with the site to ask about changing the order. Nothing. I called. A voicemail. I started to get suspicious after a few days, and did what I should have done in the first place, which was to check the likes of Trustpilot, and… Indeed, I should have checked. Not a good place to order anything. I think that I’ll have to accept that with the enthusiastic help from Bank of Ireland’s credit card department, the money is gone. It’s not a lot, I’m just annoyed that I got played. The website really does look convincing! It’s clear, well laid-out, it’s how an online cable store should look!

Ultimately, I got some of the cables I needed from Elara (a bonafide Irish site, and I do recommend them) and then I realised, that if you need something technical, where else would you get it other than Germany. And of course, there is a German site where you can get all of the cables, whatever you’re looking for, all sizes and specifications, of good and consistent quality, at very competitive prices, shipped efficiently. Of course there is, and it is reichelt.com, and they had all of the cables, and shipped them efficiently, and they were delivered promptly. So that, at least, was good. The problem is that now I’m obsessed with Ethernet cables, and of getting all the types and considering all the possibilities of these cables, and I really don’t need to. I just need to connect the boxes and the devices, get some cable ties, and label the cables. You know, it would be great to get some Cat. 6A cable though, in magenta, a colour to indicate how fast that cable is, how well-shielded. Just a bit more cable.

I wrote this last night, with the intention of posting today after a quick proof-read to intervene with my worst mistakes, and in between, cables.ie apparently shipped my cables, from Galway. I have yet to see the goods, they are not with me yet, and it’s still a shoddy, poorly-executed operation.

Addendum: The cables arrived, apparently having come from Germany, Chinese-made, and packed on Monday. I can’t fault them, they’re exactly what I originally wanted, but via a terrible, broken service. It is an almost entirely automated and slow service, which is actually worse than no service at all.

My order, still in progress, even as it sits at the bottom of my stairs in a box.

This is interesting: https://www.dpreview.com/news/5249469104/researchers-release-free-ai-based-fawkes-image-privacy-tool-for-cloaking-faces – a free tool for distorting faces in photos so that they disrupt facial recognition algorithms, while remaining usable for humans. If you’re interested in the notion of the surveillance society or the technology relating to it, then this is definitely one to read.

Programming with JavaScript is what I do for a living, but you can never sit still. JavaScript as a language, the environment in which it operates, the context in which it is used, the ideas and techniques for using it, it never stops evolving. It’s important to keep up.

The next big hurdle is TypeScript, an evolution of JavaScript. I was sceptical at first (it compiles to JavaScript and isn’t used natively – without translation – in many contexts) but it seems to be gaining traction and I think it’s a good gamble to get into it. There’s no harm.

Let’s face it, I frequently get books on new languages and then don’t learn them, which is practically criminal for someone who does what I do for a living. Here’s hoping I’ll see this one through.

(I really, really wanted to learn C. And Objective-C, which I got a start on. I always wanted to learn Python, but… I don’t need it for anything. Go is a big deal for serverside development right now. And Swift. Scala… It seemed like a useful way to get into Java. Considering Rust now, didn’t get the book.)

A conclusion on having switched

This is a follow-on to: Nexus 5 and Android 4.4. In a nutshell, I’m switching back in the next few months. I like the Nexus 5, I like Android, but it’s just not as mature or polished as the iOS experience. There are too many little frustrations. The hardware aspect was definitely a factor in switching; […]

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Nexus 5 and Android 4.4

For anyone who interested in such things (and there are a few of you), here’s what I think of my Nexus 5, and why I switched from iPhone. Maybe it’ll help you in deciding, if you need to, or you’re curious. Note: I originally started this back at the end of April. Since then I’ve […]

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The having of comments

It’s a tricky issue, having comments on your site; it seems straightforward but it’s actually not. For a start, you’re responsible for the comments on your site. If someone defames someone in the comments on your site, and you leave it there, you could get sued for that defamation as much as a paper publishing […]

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Using Twitter

I’ve started using Twitter very recently, and although it probably seems like the sort of thing I would have been all over years ago, I actually didn’t see what I would do with it. But now I do. Twitterhttp://www.twitter.com/Twitter is a rich source of instant information. Stay updated. Keep others updated. It’s a whole thing. […]

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