Motorbike Tyres

The bike is in getting a new pair of tyres, the front is getting a bit near the wear indicators for comfort and the rear is quite squared off. What happens over time is that the round profile of a rear motorcycle tyre gets worn off as you ride upright most of the time. After a while this makes it harder to steer as you go over the new square edge.

I’ve decided to go for the new Bridgestone Battlax sport touring tyres the BT-021s front and back. The bike got a pair of their predecessors over 2 years ago and they have been fine for me. The bike was booked in to get the wheels changed with the new tyres but apparently the garage supplier sent BT-020s, so they have a Saturday order in to try and get the bike back to me tomorrow.

There is blurb etc about what they’ve done to develop the tyres, but the main change I can see is that the tread pattern on the front looks more funky.

Monitoring my ISP Stats – ADSL2+ fastpath 3dB profile

I’m beginning to play with this less as I settle on the highest throughput I can drag out of this old copper connecting me to the BT exchange a couple of miles away. What I will try to do in the coming days is match the time I run a speedtest to the stats on the router, the sets below are out of sync by about 15 hours.

Speedtest latest says (picked one of the best from the recent goes):

What is good is that you can see the drop in ping of around 10ms as a result of the removal of interleaving for fastpath. It doesn’t make much difference to me at the moment, but the gamers like it.

Simple stats from the router go like at the moment:

ADSL Link Downstream Upstream
Connection Speed 8427 kbps 1308 kbps
Line Attenuation 46.0 db 23.8 db
Noise Margin 4.1 db 3.3 db

Be broadband have dropped the connection profile to 3dB which is having an impact on errors, but my long line appears to be generally ok and I am watching the more detailed stats every so many days.

Planning website for travelling in Edinburgh on foot

Mental title that, I was trying to come up with a short, snappy title to point at a website that shows you the best route for walking between two places in Edinburgh. is great for route planning when you aren’t using public transport or a car. Google maps are fine if you are sticking to the roads, and traveline scotland is great for public transport, walkit fills the gap for a small number of cities in the uk.

I’d decided I’d walk to Ocean terminal from the office for some exercise, and the directions were great for making sure I got there and back in the shortest distance.

Monitoring my ISP Stats – ADSL2+ fastpath

As I was getting good error stats on my long wire from the exchange, I asked to get interleaving switched off on my line – i.e. fastpath. So with nothing else apart from standard ADSL2+ and fastpath I get:

And I get the following summary from my Netgear DG834PN

ADSL Link Downstream Upstream
Connection Speed 6100 kbps 1157 kbps
Line Attenuation 48.0 db 24.7 db
Noise Margin 6.1 db 6.4 db

Assuming things stay stable (based on the advanced stats) I will go for a lower noise margin profile.

Monitoring my ISP Stats – playing around

I tried to make myself not do it, but I’ve spent the last week playing around with settings on my router and configuration profile settings with my new ISP to wring the most I can out of my internet link.

The fastest I have managed so far is shown here:

The sad thing is is that I’ve been playing with settings so much that I can’t remember exactly what the settings are that produced that result. That said though, the one thing I am sure of is that I have now switched to the Be Unlimited (or Be Home) package as the distance I am from my BT Exchange means that I can’t get the full benefit of the more expensive package, so I’ve downgraded so that I get the same speed for £4 less a month.

To get improved settings I’ve been evaluating what is called fastpath, or interleaving removal. I was reminded reading a post that ADSL technology originated in cable tv over copper, so some of the technologies (like interleaving) are really targeted at video delivery. Leaving TCP/IP to deal with error correction improves latency.

The other thing I have been playing with is signal to noise ratio margin, or at least I think that is what it is. Using a downloaded tool to talk to my router and make it run closer to the wind on this margin ups my speeds to what you see above.


Monitoring my ISP Stats – Demon FUP Cap in action

Had enough so kicked a couple of bittorrent downloads into action and crashed against my 60Gb limit for the rolling 30 days, so I’m now capped to 128k during the day – a slight difference in speed:

Although 128k is the figure Demon quote, you get an illustration above of the congestion on these speed tester sites. Either that or the kids and my proxy server are using bandwidth.

Line stats are much the same as before:

ADSL Link Downstream Upstream
Connection Speed 5856 kbps 448 kbps
Line Attenuation 42.0 db 22.0 db
Noise Margin 9.4 db 22.0 db

Me and networks sometimes don’t get on – wifi channels

Well, a few hours after that post about changing wifi channel numbers and I have learned a little more than I expected about WiFi configuration. Turns out that changing the channel number made a big difference to a particular machine on my network, my desktop PC.

The other machines were happy following the wifi around the different channels, but my Dell 5000 (with exactly the same card and drivers as the old Dell 4100) would only work on Channels 1,7,8,9,10,11,12 and 13. As you can guess I was working my way through the channels in sequential order and that big gap at the top lead to all sorts of changes by me to try and trace the problem.

Of course the engineer side of me should have said “The only thing that has changed is the channel”, but I was in there rebooting routers and fixing wep keys. Then I discovered a post about channel powers and worked through the options – that was the issue.

But what was really confusing was that everything else was happy reconnecting, just not the machine I was using. Strange. So I’m sticking to channel 7, which has the best connection speed.

WiFi Survey

While I’m on the topic of networks and the like, I have been reading over the Be Unlimited user forums and someone mentioned clashing wifi channels. I’d thought I was ok as my router does rangemax stuff to adjust and frankly throughput has been fine.

It got me to check though, as I’ve seen the problem at work when our wifi channels clash with wifi networks in the building and houses around us. I had a look in windows xp but it didn’t tell me much about the other wifi network it could see. So I turned back to an old wardriving application I had a great amount of fun with in the past. It is called WiFiFoFum and it runs on my Orange SPV M600, using its built in wifi to do its thing. It lists all networks it can see around – including those that are trying to hide their SSIDs. It logs results to xml files that you can play around with. The real fun bit is when I hook up my bluetooth GPS receiver and it adds latitude and longtitude to the information. I once left this setup running in the car and plotted the results on google maps – cue one mapped list of open wifi between the office and home!

This flushed out an access point running without SSID on the same channel as my setup, plus the other two networks I usually see from home. Time to change myself from channel 11 to one that isn’t used by the other guys.

Monitoring my ISP Stats

I mentioned previously that I’m switching from Demon Internet to Be Unlimited. Speed claims are great, but it is really the unlimited aspect I am going for. With more folk on my network and me playing with new toys, there will be a risk in the future that I would hit Demon Internet’s Fair Usage Policy limit again and I can’t be bothered network shaping.

Anyway, in the last few days I have been monitoring the stats on my Demon connection so that I can get a comparison after the switch. I’ve been given Tuesday 20th May as the activation date, though not a time so that will prove interesting. Firstly for fun, I include a result from Speedtest – an online speed checker. I’m more interested in the change, rather than the actual figure. I try a few servers as the nominal nearest isn’t alway what I get the best result from. The first result is against the Maidenhead server, which gives the best ping.

The second is from the Paris Server, which gives a better download but longer ping.

And finally some of the stats on my line with Demon Internet:

ADSL Link Downstream Upstream
Connection Speed 6624 kbps 448 kbps
Line Attenuation 42.0 db 22.0 db
Noise Margin 6.9 db 22.0 db

From what I read on forums the Line Attenuation makes a difference to the potential speeds in DSL implementations, what I found interesting is that the distance to exchange using an online calculator puts me at around 3km from it in cabling terms, which makes a lot of sense. The BT Exchange is between our and the next villages, and we have a tributory of the river Almond between those too, which will dictate the routing somewhat.

Contact lense visit to Boots Today

Went to boots for a contact lense eye test today. Apparently I’m supposed to get my eyes checked with contact lenses annually but the last time I got them looked at was about two years ago at my last eye test. I’m not on their direct debit scheme because I only wear them on the motorbike, and that isn’t every day of the week.

As I have astigmatism it was a bit complicated last time and the prescription didn’t quite match but things have moved on in the last two years and the new set they have given me to try are excellent. A different make of daily disposables and they have ordered another set that will be even closer to the prescription for my glasses.

The new kind are called 1 day acuvue, I used to have focus daillies. The only tricky thing is that the material of these new ones is floppier and therefore harder to put in but the effort will be worth it for the better clarity. Just took them out after wearing them since midday and they have been superb, very very close to the prescription of my glasses. It was a revelation to see so clearly, without the loss of peripheral vision and the areas blocked out by the thick frames of my glasses (my wife said they were more fashionable).