Internet Speed Tests

Answering a question in the SL Forum Answers, I found that I needed to update an article I wrote on testing your Internet connection to Second Life™. It is creatively titled: Troubleshoot Your #SL Connection. I posted it in October 2011.

At the time SpeedTest.net allowed one to test to a destination of their choice. SpeedTest.net has changed. Now one can only test to a nearby server from a list provided by SpeedTest.net. I suppose the idea is one only need test from your computer to your ISP. I suppose that works for most people. For our testing purpose, it is now useless.

Speed Test – Image by Lunchbox Larry @ Flickr

The article is about specifically testing your connection to an SL server. So, I need a new speed test. I started looking for a good choice to add into the article. I came across LifeWire, which has a list of speed test sites. It shows as having updated 1m/2d/2018.

Those freaking out about being splashed with freedom from the repeal of Obama’s socialist pretend Net Neutrality, you’ll need these sites to see if your connection is being throttled.

From reading the page you’ll see the main interest is in testing the speed your ISP is providing. The question they are answering is, “Are you getting what you are paying for?” So, these sites do not really answer the question we are asking, “How good is my connection to an SL server?”

There is no way to actually get these tests to download a file from an SL region server. But, you can probably find a server in the city where the SL region servers live. Pulling the geolocation of a region server from the viewer’s HELP->ABOUT… sim10446.agni.lindenlab.com (216.82.51.152:13021) I get San Jose, California.

A site named BandwidthPlace.com will let me select a server to test to. That is as good a bandwidth test to SL as we are going to get. You’ll have to check to see which servers your viewer is using, geolocate them, and then find a testing service with a server in that city.

You may have to work through the LifeWire list to find a service that will let you test to the city you want.

Internet Freedom

The Net Neutrality issue has been buried in in Leftist rhetoric. Almost all the coverage has been one sided. I have yet to see any major news outlet actually quote what the roll-back plan is or what the rules will be. Most coverage has been hysterical fluff and misdirection.

Today there is an article in the Wall Street Journal that does a decent job of giving the other side. You can decide how real or fake. I’ll point out most people will have a hard time figuring out the truth after the flood of propaganda they have endured.

The Internet Is Free Again (there is a pay wall) You can find summaries of the article but most are not actually dealing with the substance of the article. They just make assertions and state opinions. So, you’ll have to wade through the bias and propaganda to find the actual content. Plus there are all the #InternetFreeAgain slams from the clueless that have drunk the Koolaid.

The short version of the story is the subtitle of the article: Killing Obama-era rules will remove the FCC as political gatekeeper. The gatekeeper aspect is why I have consistently opposed Net Neutrality in the USA.

Almost all the coverage has been about how the change WILL cost you more money and restrict your access. It is how they motivate the generally apathetic that are not paying attention. Both are lies, but that gets lost in opinion and prediction neither of which can be debated. The hidden agenda that the government had taken control of the Internet to control political content was never mentioned.

Nor do they mention the always increasing cost of government regulation nor the regressive effect on low and middle-income people. The more likely factor to drive up everyone’s cost is government regulation.

So, the deed is done. The FCC has rolled the regs back freeing the Internet. Amazingly supposedly freedom loving people are screaming about that.

Now the political effort from the Left and various misinformed parties is to kill that freedom and give government regulators control over politics on the Internet. Make sure you know real facts before joining any political campaign or movement for or against NN. Way too often the campaign psychologists have figured out how to get people to act against their personal best internet.

Net Neutrality and the Gullible

Ciaran Laval responded to my criticism of his post regarding Net Neutrality in the previous article’s comments. Ciaran opposes the coming proposed Pia-change in the FCC Internet regulation. There is lots to talk about. See which of us you agree with.

The magic of unicorns

The magic of unicorns

I still am not sure Ciaran has read through the FCC document to which the media is reacting. He quotes a point from the FCC’s Myth vs Fact sheet, an accompanying document. I strongly suggest you read it. Ciaran’s one chosen ‘myth’ from 14:

Broadband providers will charge you a premium if you want to reach certain online content.

What are they saying? Is this the idea that the ISP’s will charge you more to access Netflix or Hulu? Has anyone ever seen their ISP make such an offer or place such a limit on your service? No. It has never happened.

Ciaran continues quoting from Myth vs Fact:

This didn’t happen before the Obama Administration’s 2015 heavy-handed Internet regulations, and it won’t happen after they are repealed.

Ciaran calls the last part a statement of hope. But, consider. The fact is it did not happen before Obama started trying to put the Internet under government control. But, is the ‘won’t happen’ with a return to a free market Internet just wishful thinking? Or is there something to base it on?

What we know…

There is a saying, “The only thing we learn from history is we don’t learn from history.” That is a paraphrase of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel ‘s comment, “We learn from history that we do not learn from history.” In a longer comment he said, “What experience and history teaches us is that people and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.”

A more telling quote of Hegel’s I like is, “To be independent of public opinion is the first formal condition of achieving anything great.

The quotes don’t mean we can’t learn from history. There are people that do learn from history. We have 6,000+ years of written history. We know what freedom, the free market, and competitive commerce generate. Humans haven’t changed in any significant way in all that time.

So, the forces that keep the Internet growing and prices dropping as speed and quality improved before 2015 will still be in place. So, the ‘hope’ is a well-founded belief and a very probable result.

We also know that government regulation drives up prices, unfairly. The ‘unfairly’ being that because rich and poor have different spending patterns government regulation will affect those groups differently.

A 2016 study of government regulation on prices by Dustin Chambers, Professor of Economics, Salisbury University, titled: How Do Federal Regulations Affect Consumer Prices? shows Poorer Households Spend More on More Heavily Regulated Goods and government regulation drives prices up. Check their methodology before you try and disagree.

More… link below.

Sansar and Blockchain? – Ebbe Altberg

The site The Next Web has an article about how blockchain currency is democratizing the virtual world, VR, and real life. The Sansar Project gets into it because Ebbe Altberg is quoted. Not because Sansar will use a cryptocurrency.

First, do you know what a blockchain currency is? I barely do. Quoting:

A blockchain is a digitized, decentralized public ledger of cryptocurrency transactions. Essentially each ‘block’ is like an individual bank statement. Completed ‘blocks’ (the most recent transactions) are added in chronological order allowing market participants to keep track of the transactions without the need for central record keeping. Just as Bitcoin eliminates the need for a third party to process or store payments, and isn’t regulated by a central authority, users in any blockchain structure are responsible for validating transactions whenever one party pays another for goods or services.

That explanation isn’t all that helpful. If you think of a cryptocurrency as a paper dollar that you print but yet cannot be forged and shows who paid for it and printed it… you sort of get an idea. This is extreme free market stuff and requires a good grounding in free-market economics to make sense.

Dollars

Dollars

Blockchain currencies and other cryptocurrencies depend on complex encryption processes requiring huge amounts of computer time.  No one seems to think about how quantum computing may change the game. So, for now, these new currencies are the hot thing. Hot as in one currency project raised US$25 million in less than a minute.

I suppose it is the freedom from the control of centralized governments where politicians try to control us that makes them so valuable. Continue reading

YouTube Channel Art 2017

Those of us using social media have to deal with companies ‘improving’ things. Which means we have to redo… well, update work already done on THEIR schedule, not ours. Some of us just get to it when we get to it, shift it back to our schedule.

I procrastinate on some of this stuff because I don’t have what I consider important social media advertising. But, every so often I have to update a client. A recent update for YouTube had me digging out the latest on YouTube Channel Art.

The PITA is all the devices that will try to use the same art, desktop, tablets, phones… and then the TV’s. YouTube is competing in the cord-cutting marketplace. So, all sorts of screen sizes are the bane of those of us making channel art.

The Specs

A couple of years ago I wrote about streaming to YouTube’s Gaming Channel. See: How To Stream Second Life to YouTube Gaming. At the time I wrote the article I was interested streaming to YouTube Gaming. It wasn’t a guide for making channel art. Somehow I didn’t even get the template I made into that article. So…

There are two YouTube Channel Art formats currently in use. The old style and the current/new style. You know which you are using by whether you have an icon (new) that lets you edit the channel art or hover your cursor over the art (old) to get an edit option. But, the point of Channel Art is to promote your channel to OTHERS. What format are members of your audience using? We can’t know. So, make a choice. I recommend ‘new’ and that is what I’m writing about.

YouTube recommends using a 2560 x 1440 px image. The minimum size is 2048 x 1152 px. Within the image, the minimum safe text area is 1546 x 423 px. The maximum files size is 4MB.

YouTube Gaming Template 2017v3

YouTube Gaming Template 2017v3 – Download Full-Size from Flickr

This image is a template I use to make YouTube channel art. It shows the safe area, the area that will display on all devices, as 423px high. My testing shows it is currently about 320px high, in some cases. I haven’t figured out what makes it smaller or larger. I have art in a couple of places that displays as 320 and 423 high. Both are images that are 2560×1440.

YouTube: No Channel Content

This is a problem that some people have. I’ve run into it. They have uploaded videos to YouTube but their channel is showing no content. WTH!?!

Open your channel and see if you get the message, ‘This channel as no content.’ If so, go to your channel and look for the Customize Channel button. Click it. Now look for a gear icon near the bottom right of your channel art. Click it. Now look for a button labeled Add a section. Click it and add your content. Most of your content will be Video – Uploads.

You have lots of options here. So, you can experiment to get the look you want for your channel.

CPU’s – Intel 8th Generation and Second Life’s Viewer

Technology is advancing. A year ago, I was building my new machine and researching hardware. CPU’s were a major consideration for me. What was the best gaming CPU and what was important for good performance in Second Life?

That last question is a significant point of debate in Second Life. I think it mostly comes from the lack of information about how the viewer works. In SL it seems old information hangs around forever. The viewer is changing just as technology does. Since Oz Linden’s arrival and later promotion to director (?) of Second Life development the backside of Second Life has been getting lots of attention, especially for the last year, 2016-2017

Quantum Computer – Available now online…

So, most of that old information is wrong. In particular, the idea of whether the viewer runs multiple threads. It does.

A thread in computer-geek-speak, is an independent task, like decompressing an image. Other independent tasks would be retrieving the image via download or finding it in the cache.

A CPU can run a single task. We now put multiple CPU’s, called cores, in a single CPU CHIP. So, a single CPU chip is really multiple CPU’s and can run multiple tasks in parallel.

Intel has been steadily improving their ability to task switch. A CPU must pull program instructions and data from computer memory. To speed things up there are subsystems that set up program instruction cues and data cues. What Intel calls hyperthreading is the highly optimized process of switching out data and program instruction cues for one task for another. The effect is a 6-core CPU can perform as if it were a 12-core CPU, almost. It is so close that for most purposes we consider it as 12-core. Continue reading

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update 1709

My laptop and desktop have both updated with a new, big update recently. So, what changed?

Microsoft tells us we can now have 3D models… really!?! There is a Mixed Reality Viewer and a Mixed Reality Portal. The viewer will allow you to view 3D models and turn them 360×360. If you have a camera connected to your computer you can put the model in the image the camera is capturing.

Mixed Reality Viewer – 2017-Oct

Crazy

Microsoft quickly points one to a site they call Remix 3D, to get more 3D models. It requires a Microsoft account. Unless you are particularly alert, you had to open a Microsoft account to get your Windows 10 working. So, for most this won’t be a problem. But, opening a new account is easy. – This MS Account thing is obviously some nefarious plot to enslave the world…  Continue reading