Monday, March 28, 2011

An old friend

In an ongoing effort to keep both friends and people who don't really care up to date with what I and the family have been up to lately, I decided to take my wife and my website,, and turn it from a place were four year old content went to die and make it a one stop shop for following us and our life. Frankly, I would have liked to have used FriendFeed with a custom URL for this, but since it's been bought by Facebook and seems to have been left out to pasture, I decided that a roll your own solution may be just the ticket. Though to be fair, roll your own is a bit of an overstatement.

So, to that end, I dug out and brushed off an old friend, FileNET WCM 5.1, or more specifically eGrail. It may have needed a bit of dusting and removal of a small amount of bit rot, but once it got it back up and running, it felt and still feels like home. I do have to admit, that it has taken me a bit of time to remember all the old tricks, but even after almost 10 years, the software seems as good as ever.

I often wonder what would have happened if FileNET would have kept working on it ....

Anyway, I decided to take the old syndication module out for a spin and so far it seems to be working just great. I already have it pulling in feeds from Twitter and Blogger. Not sure the other feeds I'll pull in, but if it has RSS, then it's fair game as far as I'm concerned.

So far the only real issue I've seen is that WCM seems to expect a single article per XML file. That meant I have to preprocess the feeds using Java, but I had to do something to download the data anyway, so it does seem l be working out. As soon as it's ready, I'll post a link.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I hate it. I really hate it, but after seven years with Speakeasy as my primary Internet provided, I ended up having to switch to Comcast. There was just something increasingly wrong with my old POTS-based DSL line. When I first moved into the new house, I was getting a solid and very reliable 5.1 or 5.2 Mbps. While not the best, it was sufficient for my home office and enough to reliably do Netflix streaming in HD.

But it was definitely expensive. I was spending about $105 per month for the service, which was a bit high. However, it was business class and was running on a dedicated loop, meaning it wasn't sharing the line with my current telephone service.

However, after. Year and a half of service, something went wrong and the speed and reliability began to drop. Toward the end, about the best I could reliably achieve was about 4.0-4.2. I'd lost about 20% of my performance. And that drop was just enough that I could no longer stream Netflix at HD. In addition, with Felicia quitting her job to take care of Alex, we had additional demands on the service.

So, in the recommendation of my brother in law, I looked into Comcast Business service. I ended up with the cheapest package for both Internet (10x2) and basic cable television as well as a telephone line. The true triple play as it were. Now, I did end up opting for the static IP address at $14/month, I think.

All of this together, even with the static IP, ended up being $50 per month less than what I was paying for my DSL line and telephone before. And just as important, it's been reliable so far. I've been with them for going on three weeks now and I can't really complain so far.

As time goes on, I'll try to report back if I see any throttling or bad traffic shaping.