Pittsburgh FiOS Firmware 1.6.2

By on Mar 31, 2009 | 0 comments

The latest firmware update for the FiOS set top boxes, 1.6.2, is set to be rolled out in Pittsburgh on April 7, 2009. It was designed to fix some issues/bugs, including: – Improved SD picture quality/sharpness on HD boxes. – Less audio hiccups – Improved multi-room DVR streaming performance. Many other updates will be included. Reports from customers in other areas say this firmware also includes an updated mini guide and faster response times.

XM Radio Flat Out Lies To Subscribers

By on Mar 16, 2009 | 4 comments

Back in January I started to receive these emails: Dear Steven Charles, Because you are a valued customer and you enjoy listening to XM Radio online, we are offering you a special opportunity to continue to listen online at no cost if you extend your radio subscription now with one of our longer-term plans. On March 11, 2009, the XM Radio Online listening platform will be upgraded to a higher quality digital audio and no longer included as a part of a base subscription at no charge. If you extend your service now, you can continue to listen online FREE for the length of term you choose — but only if you act quickly. Rest assured, your new order will not preempt the introductory subscription period. Upon receiving these emails I decided to extend my plan to a 2 year plan, because obviously I prefer to use the premium web stream of the service. After 3 calls to XM Radio, it has come to my attention that what they said in those emails is not true at all. There is absolutely no way that they can/will give you the premium stream for free. The first two times I called they blamed it on technical difficulties. But this third time, they finally admitted that I would have to pay more. Legally, I would assume they are required to give the premium stream for free as they stated in the emails. I will look in to this even further to see what the deal is, and what can be done to XM for flat out lying to...

FiOS vs. Comcast, Latency Test (Part 1)

By on Mar 9, 2009 | 3 comments

In my last blog post, Juanus had some questions regarding latency concerns with FiOS. I said I would do some simple ping tests for now to try and give some answers regarding the FiOS latency. At work (a few miles from my house) we have Comcast business services, so I ran a quick comparison of the ping times on 3 of the speedtest.net servers. My location is Pittsburgh, PA. I would like to do some more testing, but these are just my initial ping results. I will also post the speed test results below. These tests were all done 3 times on each server and averaged. As you can see below by the initial ping tests, all of them are in favor of FiOS. This is just a simple test and definitely not 100% acturate but they give a general idea. To get optimal results it would have been best for me to think ahead and get some results from my home before I canceled Comcast. But like I said before, my office is only a few miles away so it should be relatively close to the same. Frederick, MD server: Comcast: 38ms (16.6mb down, 1.37mb up) FiOS: 28ms (14.6mb down, 3.56mb up) Advantage – FiOS Greensboro, NC server: Comcast: 101ms (13.4mb down, 1.85mb up) FiOS: 89ms (20.2mb down, 4.21mb up) Once again, advantage – FiOS San Diego, CA server: Comcast: 187ms (10.3mb down, 1.15mb up) FiOS: 179ms (19.87 down, 3.63 up) Advantage – FiOS For those reading this, if you have any specific servers you would like me to do ping tests on just post a comment and I will try it on both Verizon FiOS and Comcast Business...

The FiOS Installation

By on Mar 5, 2009 | 15 comments

Yesterday I had Verizon come and install FiOS. Like I said in an earlier post, I had their television, internet, and phone services installed. I will try to be as detailed as possible so that any questions you may have with the install process can be answered. The tech was scheduled to come to my house between 8am and 12pm. He called me around 8:45am saying he would be at my house in 10 to 15 minutes. As for the times, don’t expect them to come around 8. They don’t start working until 8am and have to get their van ready and travel from whichever location they work from. In this case, he came from the Robinson call center. He arrived at my house at 9am. He told me he had enabled the service at the closest hub and that he would have to run the fiber from the pole in my back yard to the house. Before starting that, he asked to come inside and look where all of the boxes would be installed including the router, which has a major part in the whole setup. I showed him around where the 4 hd boxes went (including the home media dvr) and where the router would be installed. I then took him to the basement to show him where the cable is split throughout the house and to decide where the ONT would be installed. The ONT is a box that houses the connections from the outside and has a built in battery backup for if the electricity ever goes out. The battery lasts about 6-8 hours, depending on the phone usage during a power outage. It also has an emergency battery built in that can be enabled by the press of a button for 15 minutes of call time just in case the main battery runs out of power. I asked a lot of questions and was told by Chad, the installer, that the internet will only run for 5 minutes after a power failure and is then disabled to save battery backup power for telephone calls. The majority of my 5 hour install was running the fiber and installing the ONT. After that was completed it went fairly fast. While he was installing the fiber and ONT I offered to place all of the boxes for him. I set all of the boxes in place and connected them to the LCD’s. I just didn’t connect the coaxial cable or plug in the power until he had everything switched over to FiOS. The difference in signal could possibly damage the boxes if connected too early. He walked through the house again and replaced the ends of all the coaxial cables because they were all fairly old. He then tested the signal of each cable and connected them to the boxes. He really appreciated that I placed all of the boxes in position because it cut back on install time a good bit. And he was also happy that everything was moved out of the way for him in the basement. All of the signals were perfectly fine, which I was happy about, because when I had Comcast they were mediocre at best. All he did was replace the splitter in the basement and replaced the ends of all the cables as I stated earlier. Before the boxes are activated to do anything he needed to plug in the router. It assigns an IP address to all of the boxes throughout the house. He has an install program that was run off of a flash drive. During that time we set up all of the boxes and verified that everything was correct. I accepted some license agreements and set up the router password and the primary email address and password. I asked him about the software and if we actually had to install anything on my computer and he told me no, and that if i really didn’t want it we could just stop after a certain step because the actual activation of the boxes and everything was completed. Before the Verizon router was placed I asked if we could just use my existing dlink router and he said no because it was going to be connected with coaxial cable. I didn’t have a problem with that. I disabled the wireless on the FiOS router because i still planned on using my own. I set up my dlink router as a network bridge. I wanted to use mine because I have a gigabit network at home and my dlink is a draft N router with gigabit switch. My dlink router still connects everything like it used to. The wireless is still the same. The only difference is the dhcp is run by the FiOS router instead. I just set the ip address of the dlink router to one in the range that the FiOS router was assigning and I connected the 2 together using the LAN ports not the WAN port. Most people when doing something like this make a mistake at that point and try to use the WAN port, but it won’t work correctly that way. The installer left at about 2pm, right before I started setting up my dlink router. Getting my wireless set back up took only about 15 minutes, and at that point everything was finished. Before he left we tested all of...

Cassel and Vrabel go to KC, for practically nothing

By on Mar 1, 2009 | 0 comments

There have been a lot of deals going on the last few days in the NFL, but this one has to be the craziest of all. I will start off by saying I am not a New England fan. But, I can’t help but wonder what they were thinking to do this trade… Cassel and Vrabel have been traded for the 34th pick in the NFL draft. That’s not even a first round pick… What makes it a little more ironic is the fact that they went to KC. You know, the team that Bernard Pollard played for last year and injured Tom Brady. They are giving up some great players for so little. I just don’t understand it. I do want the NFL to be a little more even though. And this “trade” will at least help the Kansas City Chiefs a lot. I can see them getting 6 to 8 wins this year because of this trade alone. They probably won’t make the playoffs, but just about anything is better than a 2 win season like they had last...

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