Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New WRT610N Router and Wireless-G is Better Than N

After unboxing my new WRT610N router and configuring all my various ports and network settings, I replaced my old WRT300N router with it. I went back to my desktop (sporting my new WMP600N card) and noticed that the Wireless-G connection was stronger than the Wireless-N connection. The G connected at a stable 54Mbps and the N was barely stable and around 6Mbps. I changed the 5Ghz settings to N-Only and 20Mhz on channel 153. I adjusted the wireless card to channel 153 and the same thing. By the way, I moved the 2.4Ghz to BG-Mixed and channel 4. No matter what I changed, the G connection always trumped the N. Any ideas? In the meantime, I will just use the old WRT300N as a repeater bridge and use the G connection.

Update: I changed the 2.4Ghz to full Mixed and changed the WRT300N accordingly and now I'm getting 130Mbps, would have like to use the 5Ghz though.

Thanks,
James Hartig

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Superfeedr to the Rescue!

First, I'd like to say that Christmas was a success and I got all that I wanted, which included 2 new 20" monitors, a new graphics and video card and a new router.

After opening and setting up some of the gifts, I got back to work on deVolf's RSS parsing. We needed a way to keep updated on the content of a feed so we can do RSS imports and synchronization with deVolf. What I originally planned was to use Google's AJAX Feed API and we would check that every hour. That would work and I had started writing the PHP class for it, but after searching a bit more, I discovered Superfeedr. Superfeedr allows us to follow feeds and they will stream or send us new content as it arrives on our feeds. Immediately, I started researching and testing out their service. This would be perfect for what we need and I started implementing their PubSubHubbub API.

PubSubHubbub, besides having an extremely long name, is actually very easy to implement. I had a working callback URL and class within 2 hours. In case anyone wants to point out that there are already classes built, don't bother, every deVolf class is built from scratch to ensure compatibility and security.

Superfeedr has some website bugs, but their support has been very helpful and quick. Overall I look forward to finish implementing their service into ours and getting RSS posting into the next deVolf update.

Thanks,
James Hartig

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Posterous Custom Domain Redirect Problems

Anyone with a custom domain for their Posterous blog knows the troubles that you go through trying to Digg an article or submit your site to Technorati. Well the process as gotten much better and I can confirm that Technorati works. There are still problems with most verification, like Google Webmaster tools, because of the single sign-on redirect that Posterous uses. Basically, when you visit say, blog.devolf.com, you are redirected to posterous.com/sso/verify/.... and you are signed in, then redirected back to the original domain. While this is seamless with most browsers, any non-browser crawl, etc just see a redirect page and not the actual content.

I have contacted Posterous regarding the situation and they said; in a very prompt reply:
"This is changing in a release coming very soon"
I was also replied to on Twitter (tweet). I'm hoping they find a workaround and I can continue on with my various activities.

Thanks,
James Hartig

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

deVolf - PTR Records and AT&T is disaster

Almost 2 weeks ago, on of deVolf's user's email server blocked our registration email. I had forgotten to inform AT&T of the new IP that we relocated to when we moved the servers. Greg contacted AT&T regarding the issue last Wednesday asking them to add the PTR records to our static IP. It has been a week with no response back and no PTR records. Greg talked to them and they claimed that there were some "DNS issues". This is completely unacceptable and adding a PTR record should take no more than 10 seconds. The fact that they had not told us of the issues and kept us informed is completely unacceptable. We have contacted them back and I will keep this posted on when we get the PTR records. In the future: call for PTR records, call again, again, and again.

Update(12/17/09): The PTR have been added today (8 days from when asked). it must have been birthday luck :)

Thanks,
James Hartig

Friday, December 11, 2009

Number 1: State of Grooveshark

My first order of business: The State of Grooveshark. By now everyone knows that I'm obsessed with Grooveshark, but while being their "biggest fan", I'm also their worst enemy. Now, I do not "work" for Grooveshark but I would say that I know more than almost every user out there that uses Grooveshark.  Here is what I think:

  1. Grooveshark is awesome! There are many sites where you can listen to free music and many where you can listen to paid music, but so far, I have found nothing better. Grooveshark has a very simple interface, works on my PS3 (as of last week), will be coming to my mobile phone and runs 8-10 hours a day on my desktop. Overall the experience is good and without my music I cannot work. All good things have to come to an end though....
  2. Licensing. You knew that this was coming. Basically if Grooveshark doesn't have the license for a piece of music and the RIAA scans and finds the song on Grooveshark they send a notice to Grooveshark which, in turn sends a notice to the user who uploaded the song and removes their upload privileges. From their standpoint, under DMCA law, they are required to warn the user because on the second notice, Grooveshark is required to remove the offending account. So in a sense they are protecting the user from him/herself. This has caused an outcry from users because they cannot upload songs (including me and some Grooveshark employees) and they cannot get a VIP refund (see Refunds). Users are also complaining that they never received the DMCA notice, which while Grooveshark says that this is incorrect and they must have; there are quite a few users saying this and thus I must believe it to be true. Which leads into my next point...
  3. Support. Grooveshark is overloaded. They have all their employees working on either new features or bugs and leave Ben up to support. While I try my best to help on Twitter and GetSatisfaction, I'm on the outside and the actual bugs that I can help with are small. I can help users with finding things and learning how to use Grooveshark, but when it comes to a browser problem or bug, I'm basically useless. The GetSatisfaction site is basically useless because the only few people that still actively respond (despite multiple employees receiving a feed of new content) have dwindled down to me and Jay. I discussed a forum a few months ago and it was apparently "close" but I assume with mobile and 2.0 development has ceased. I personally consider support and user-interaction to be the #1 attribute to success and the way the Grooveshark is treating theirs does not lead to success.
  4. New Features are most important. Not. Maybe it is just me, but I consider functionality to me more important than features. Grooveshark may be functional, but there are many shortcomings and bugs. The latest mobile apps (especially for Android) have been plagued with bugs for some users. I understand those things happen at first but some of the bugs I'm reading about shouldn't be happening. Grooveshark 2.0 was a vast and by far the greatest product that Grooveshark as publically released. Now that they are finished with that, why not dedicate some time to fixing some things... There are many small things that I have noticed and most of them; reported:

    • While Grooveshark is pre-fetching a song, hover over the next song in the queue and it appears as if it is the one playing.
    • The scroll bar for the {username} dropdown is cut off the in AIR app.
    • While listening to radio, if you "Frown" a song, it moves to the next song, but "Frown" is not displayed, nor is the song removed from the queue (despite this working in 1.0).
    • Songs randomly cut and move to the next song (note: this could possibly be a Flash bug)
    • When loading stops before finishing (stream is disconnected), the song stops playing and you must go to the next song and back to restart. It should not be hard to realize that the Content-size != Downloaded-Size and you should restart the stream.
    • Widgets do not work if you send them using the Clearspring app.
    • Scroll is horribly inconsistent (could be Flash again)
    • Inconsistent song volume (might be hard to solve but still)
    • Favorites not appearing in mobile app
    • Playlists are not syncing with grooveshark.com despite being updated on mobile app
    Those may seem unimportant and small to all of you, but they add up and most of them are quite easy to fix.
Maybe with me being "out of the loop" I'm missing some major factors, but I don't think so. Those are just my thoughts, whether they are harsh or not..., well they are, but sometimes that is what a company needs. But, what am I saying, I'm a kid, Grooveshark is a company, this won't do much.

Thanks,
James Hartig

Time To Start Over

There comes a point when I had too much irrelevant content and old articles that are since useless to keep. Therefore I have deleted all posts and I will be starting fresh with this post. I have also decided to ditch the hard-on-the-eyes-yet-still-kind-of-cool green stripes. This time I will be more constant, write better articles and keep those labels under control. Enjoy!

Thanks,
James Hartig