10/12/2002 @09:25:31 ^10:27:46

OMFG it's only nine in the morning!

Welcome to the wonderful world of having an internet connection that works at 9am on a Tuesday morning! Yes, cable was installed yesterday, and it is good. I've hardly exploited the possibilities of the connection speed yet, unless you count downloading Alien Vendetta (from gamers.org, txt) in only two and a half minutes (on my old connection it would have taken around fifty) or running an ssh session on triv.org.uk for which the delay between keypress and response wasn't annoying to the point of hair-pulling insanity.

How cable was set up

First of all, I had to get up early and take my desk to bits and move it into the back room. The engineers turned up later, and performed the installation, they were here for about an hour and a quarter. During this time one of them had to go off and get an enormous length of cable, so we stood around for half an hour drinking tea. They were quite friendly people with many humourous stories about previous installations, walls falling down etc. They also told me that if I get a cable splitter I can get the free channels on cable TV from the line, apparently just go to Maplin, they have all the bits...

After they'd gone I put the room back together and eventually arrived at the point where I could try to get the thing to work. Completely ignoring the instructions not to connect the cable modem to the computer until the broadband installer program told me to (well, if I'd obeyed that, I'd've never plugged it in at all, since the installer is for Windows, heh) I blithely stuck the ethernet cable into my network card, causing a load of lights on the card to turn on. Then I installed dhclient, placed the line

iface eth0 inet dhcp

into the file /etc/network/interfaces and typed in the command ifup eth0 to bring up the interface. Typing ifconfig then reported that I had an IP and it turned out that dhclient had rewritten my /etc/resolv.conf to point to ntl's nameservers, so I could do DNS lookups. At this point I was like "woohoo"

The penultimate step was registering the account. I'd quite deliberately copied that URL into IRC the other day, so that it would be in my log file for when I needed it, so I typed it in and followed the instructions. I was happy to see the "modify" button when it went "your username is rob.young2", I was like, no way, I'm not having a number on the end...

So that all went smoothly. When it was done, I was briefly concerned to note that I still couldn't get to any of the usual sites but I vaguely remembered reading that you needed to reload the cable modem's configuration so I did ifdown eth0 then ifup eth0 again, and it worked. So I went on #warwick and shouted about it.

Thanks to Iain Thomas, the guy who really does know everything, for telling me a lot of useful stuff about cable modems and networking and stuff over the past couple of weeks and before, and also to a guy called Robin Walker for the cable modem troubleshooting site (but guess who I originally got that link from, yeah...)

The telephone

One of the advantages, or, depending on your point of view, disadvantages, of this shiny new connection, is that it doesn't use the phone line. However, yesterday in all the excitement something was discovered about the way our phones are wired up that is hilarious.

When we first moved here there was only one phone socket and it came in through the wall above the front door, so the only phone was in the front room. A year or so ago, we had this guy come round to put in some extensions. It turned out that the easiest way to put extensions in without destroying the coving in the front room or having to run cables up the stairs or whatever was this:

Here's the good bit. Note the first phone point is the one in my room. Yesterday, I took the room apart, which included unplugging the modem from the socket there. Later on we find we've missed some calls. But I wasn't on the internet then! What's going on? It seems, if there's nothing plugged into the socket in my room, the phones downstairs on the extensions don't get incoming calls! Heh, so I can still stop people phoning up if I want to, I just pull the cable out the socket in my room. Fantastic, and extremely funny:)