Where’s Shaun?

Hi all,

I know I have been quiet recently.

I have a pretty good series of reasons.  Business has been super up tempo (happens when you have great solutions that work technically and not just venture capital marketing), I was promoted to a Principal (not Principle) with a territory of Most of US (excluding the Eastern Seaboard), my team is three resources down (we are hiring), and I have been traveling like crazy to make it all work.  How much travel.. well I have status on 4 airlines and this is how many nights at just the Marriott Brand of hotels… 149 (remember this excludes conferences as those don’t count)

Not to worry I have:

  • A good 20 blogs in flight (need to be edited for length and ‘Murican).
  • I have been working on a book tentatively entitled “What color is your cloud?”.
  • I have several new pieces of hardware to post reviews and specifications.
  • I have been traveling and speaking like a mad person, expect a few more posts about travel.

Last but not least I have 17 days of use or lose it vacation so I can focus on these kind of side projects!  Yea free time!

So Expect a lot before the end of the year!

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WFH: Internet Speed to slow? Go speed racer go!

I work from home most of the time.  There are a lot of benefits and detriments (different article different day).  Mainly though you learn to self start and try hard not to work all hours and ignore your family.  However, internet access is critical and you don’t want to be faffing about with your main communications channel.

Symptom

I noticed some VOIP issues while also doing screen sharing with Azure resources.  This has been getting worse the more smart home devices are added or when the family starts streaming while I am working.  Analysis led to a few issues.  This post is going to be about Internet Speed.

ISP

I spoiled for ISP choice here in Austin Tx.  I have always enjoyed shopping local and that includes my internet.  My local ISP keeps upping their speed and dropping their prices. They have constant competition from AT&T (Throttle kings), Spectrum (you wanted internet with that?), Google Fiber (you are paying us to sell your info), among others…

The most recent speed bump is 300 down 20 up for the slow speed.  <Warning> Put down your drink </Warning> for $35 a month.  Great news!  More speed Scotty and cheap prices!

When I ran SpeedTest.NET I was only seeing about 130 down and 20 up.  What gives?

Network - Docsis 3.0 speed

Troubleshooting

  • Checked my wifi versus wired – no real difference
  • Checked my Motorola SB6121 logs – http://192.168.100.1 – no errors
  • Checked multiple devices to ensure I don’t have some silly half duplex… nope

Huh.

Let’s take another look at the wiring closet.

  • Router is gigabit into gigabit CAT 5 lines.
  • Machine to machine tests are great.
  • Modem specs – WAIT A MINUTE!  Max download speed 172 Mbps.. and that’s theoretical.  Oh man my trusty woot purchase is outclassed! Time for it go on craigslist!

Time to go shopping!

Side Note: CapEx Money Savings

If you have Internet provided by a cable modem (not ISDN or Fiber) go buy your own Modem.  Why?  It will save you $5 to $10 a month.  That means you can buy a super fast and stable modem and pay for it in hard dollar savings quickly!

DOCSIS 3.1: Out with the old

My old modem was to slow for today’s internet.  The old modem was 8 channels down and 4 channels up and based on DOCSIS 3.0 standards.  A quick google search finds their is a new standard DOCSIS 3.1 which can have download speeds at 2+ Gbps! and is backwards compatible.  I found a great sale on SlickDeals.net via NewEgg  (no tax in TX) and free shipping!  The Motorola MB8600 has 32 channels down and 8 up.  Plus a bunch of smarter technologies to make the network more stable.  The reviews are good, it is supported by major ISPs and it doesn’t overheat like some of the Arris modems.

Installation

Look up ISP phone number before doing anything (network is going down remember?)

  1. Unplug old modem
  2. Plug in new modem
  3. Call ISP
  4. Provide OMS code (bottom of Modem) to ISP
  5. Wait
  6. Reboot modem after firmware update
  7. Reboot router for new IP address.

200

Speedtest.net Redux

Network - Docsis 3.1 speed

Oooo!  one issue down.  Next up tackling those WIFI dead spots!

 

Motivation: Using Passwords to Achieve Goals

Daily focus / self actualization towards goals is something that has long been studied and debated.  Though many find it hard to keep the habit up and soon life gets in the way.   How to keep my focus on my goals?

I have to type my password in multiple times a day.  For years, I have been using my passwords to remind me to focus on goals.  Personal, family, financial, fitness, travel, etc. There is no limitation on what you can have as a goal.

Now what about security? Most organizations require you to change you password every 90 days. That means you can have your goal a quarter at a time. Perfect.

Will it be easy to guess? I mean aren’t you giving away your password strategy on the internet? Not really. I’ll let this xkcd comic explain it: https://xkcd.com/936/

password_strength

Summary: In short changing your password frequently and using it to set goals or remember those you have lost might actually help you exceed your goals.

Happy 2017!

Fitness: Working From Home Treadmill Desk

I purchased a LifeSpan Walking desk almost 4 years ago.  maxresdefaultI use it every day I am home.  I have learned many things over the years but fundamentally it all boils down to this:

Get busy living.  Or Get busy dying.

I work in a tech job from home.  Which means I normally sit the full day and then some.  I decided I wanted to up my activity level and the best way to do that was not only a standing desk but a treadmill desk.

Lots of studies show that standing is better than sitting.  Lots of studies show dubious benefits of treadmill desks.  Those studies all show the same thing.  Treadmill desks are good but not sure how exactly.  LOL.  Sounds like science in action.

The reason I am writing this is because I have decided to replace my desk but keep my treadmill.  The new desk is a Jarvis by Fully (nee Ergo Depot).  Until the end of June you can get 10% off with the coupon code LiveSummer.  Here is a review from the NYT http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-standing-desk/

jarvis-bamboo-contour-silver

If you have ever though of jumping into the standing business.. this is a great desk and a nice discount.

I have a lot more detail on this topic and would be happy to share it.  One thing that I do find interesting.  The treadmill only goes up to 4mph.  However, I spend most of my time at about 2mph.  Listening to calls at 3.2 mph.  Talking on calls about 1.4 mph.  Writing at about 1mph.  And being super focused on my couch.

 

American Airlines Executive Platinum – So close and yet 2016

I travel for work… a lot.  It is a surreal experience to do a trip where you leave early in the day fly across the country and return home the same day in time for dinner with your family.

With just over a week left in the year I am 4 Elite Qualifying Segments (EQS) away from a status with American Airlines (AA) that I have never achieved before.  Executive Platinum (EP). I look forward to EP as it is a status you cannot get with a credit card nor status challenge.  2017 AA is also introducing a new mid tier called Platinum Pro (PP) that slots in perfectly between Platinum and Exec platinum like the Porsche Cayman.  Of note you cannot qualify for PP in 2016.

Why do these two levels matter to me?   AA is the largest airline in the US and they hand out status like candy.  This is very frustrating for those of us who fly for work.  I am always looking for ways to reduce stress and save time.  Professional travelers and there are a lot on AA in Austin, efficiently go through TSAPre Check, board quickly, pack appropriate luggage, sit quickly, and leave the plane quickly.  All of these mean everyone has a better experience.  Those who get the status via a credit card travel infrequently and are just not as fast.  This increases stress.

Oh well, one more trip to go this year and I will see if my loyalty is justified in 2017.  If not, I may become airline agnostic and fly direct whenever possible.  We shall see!

Happy and Safe Travels!

 

Oh for those keeping track of TLAs.  Today’s post has the following

  • EQS
  • AA
  • EP
  • PP
  • TLA – Three/Two Letter Acronym

Casper: 78 rating by Consumer Reports and $50 discount

https://casper.com/friends/shauncassells

Use your link to give your friends and family $50 towards a new Casper mattress.

I purchased my daughter her first big girl bed yesterday from Craigslist and a sweet couple with 5 year old twins moving to Sydney.  Next step is to find a mattress.  I went to Consumer Reports found the highest rated mattress with a score of 78.  That mattress just happens to be The Casper bed.  Easy enough.

Highs

This mattress performed very good in our tests of side and back support. In our durability tests this mattress performed excellently showing only minor changes in performance. The mattress’s surface was excellent at conforming to various shapes, maximizing contact with the sleeper, and it proved to be very stable, limiting the amount of vibration transmitted. This mattress was also more breathable than others potentially reducing perspiration.

Lows

We judged this mattress softer than claimed, and it lacked grips, which could make handling difficult.

Really the biggest issue is not the sleep but lack of handles?  Cool.  I can handle a twin size with no issues.  My Queen sized mattress from NovaForm doesn’t have handles either.

Happy sleeping!  Remember you spend at least a 1/3 of your life sleeping.  Get a good mattress.