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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair

Regular blog here, 'microblog' there

Many of my traditional blog post live on this site, but a great majority of my social-style posts can be found on my much-busier microbloging site at updates.passthejoe.net. It's busier because my BlogPoster "microblogging" script generates short, Twitter-style posts from the Linux or Windows (or anywhere you can run Ruby with too many Gems) command line, uploads them to the web server and send them out on my Twitter and Mastodon feeds.

I used to post to this blog via scripts and Unix/Linux utilities (curl and Unison) that helped me mirror the files locally and on the server. Since this site recently moved hosts, none of that is set up. I'm just using SFTP and SSH to write posts and manage the site.

Disqus comments are not live just yet because I'm not sure about what I'm going to do for the domain on this site. I'll probably restore the old domain at first just to have some continuity, but for now I like using the "free" domain from this site's new host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

Wed, 26 Mar 2014

Google Starbucks WiFi is strong in Granada Hills

So I'm at the Starbucks at Devonshire Street and Balboa Avenue in Granada Hills, CA, which happens to have Google (i.e. no longer AT&T) Internet service.

I'm getting 8.5 Mbps down, 1.3 Mbps up.

And there are a lot of people with laptops and tablets in here.

That's pretty solid.

If only my local Starbucks would dump AT&T for Google.

I'm not ignoring the fact that Google is able to collect a whole lot of data when you use this public WiFi. A lot of people use Google DNS ( and, which is a genius move because I always remember it), but with Google WiFi they control the whole connection.

(That begs the question of who you trust more -- Google, AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, or another broadband provider, whoever they may be. Or nobody. The Internet is very spyish. We should all probably be using VPNs, and if I understood them more I'd go on about it. Unfortunately, from a sheer competence standpoint, Google ranks pretty highly, though that competence means any evil they are doing under their Don't Be Evil moniker stands a better chance of succeeding.)

Back to Starbucks: This Granada Hills location opens at 4:30 a.m. Monday-Saturday, 5:30 a.m. Sunday. At the risk of stating the obvious, that is mightly early.

Later at same Starbucks: The honeymoon? Over. Speed is down to 1.9 MBps down, 1.4 MBps up. There ARE a lot of people here, so the fact that it works at all should be considered a miracle.