Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Planespotting in Google Maps’ western suburbs

I love it when you run across stuff like this in Maps:

View Larger Map

That's a United 777, on short final to runway 10 at O'Hare. Looks like he's arriving right around noon. The daily nonstop from Beijing? That's my guess.

UPDATE (23-May): As you may now be saying to yourself, “What 777? Shobe, you hitting the highmaker again?” I’d like to point out that Google Maps updated its terrain photo layer and the 777 moment is lost to the mists of time. I should done an actual screengrab instead of trusting the damned widget to never, ever change. Nice to see Itasca repaved its portion of Irving Park Road.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bandwidth to spare

I grudgingly switched my broadband provider this weekend. I've been a happy Speakeasy customer for years, but ADSL has reached its end-of-life point for residential speed at a consumer-friendly price point, and Speakeasy’s acquisition by Best Buy paradoxically refocused it on business customer packages.

So I’m off to Comcast. I've always feared going back to cable (I still have DirecTV for TV and don’t plan to switch that choice up any time soon), but the bandwidth available at my old DSL+VOIP price point was too much to turn down. (That’s even after the infamous “low introductory rate” expires.) So far the speed test bears this out:

My previous DSL numbers were ~1200 down, ~384 up. I already miss a couple of Speakeasy's VOIP features, such as being able to forward to a different number after a certain number of rings (Comcast call forwarding is all-or-nothing), but perhaps finally switching to GrandCentral as well will give us the set of calling features we’re looking for (but I don’t see any way to migrate an existing number to that service as a starting point, which is kind of a bummer).

As for Comcast’s traditionally bad rap for lacking a shred of grace in customer service: the installer was extremely diligent, got things wired exactly how I wanted them in the house, and even offered to show up an hour early (which worked out well). When the day comes that I'm faced with an actual problem I may change my tune, but so far I’m pretty happy.