Comcast sucks, is shady

Comcast sucks. I know, it’s not a very original idea, but today I encountered one more example of just how much they suck, and how shady some of their business practices are.

Where I work, we have Centurylink high speed internet. 50 megs down, 50 megs up. I run a speed test occasionally, just to see. There are several websites that offer this service, and speedtest.net is my go to, but they all pretty much give me the same result: 30-35Mb down, 20-25Mb up. We have a huge, complex, network, including live mirroring to a secondary site. I’m in operations, so I leave QoS issues to the network guys. For me, 30/20 is close enough to 50/50 that I won’t complain.

I was investigating pricing for Comcast Business Class, because I operate this site in the “personal-use” category, which is colored decidedly gray in Comcast’s TOS for home internet. They have a friendly comparison page designed to show you how much faster they are than whoever you use now.

This is what happened when I ran their speed test from work:

Comcast Business Class speedtest

It wasn’t a fluke. I tried it several more times, checking other sites to confirm that I was getting the usual 30/20.

Speedtest.net:Speedtest,.net

I understand that Comcast’s reputation is about on par with the likes of GoDaddy or The People’s Republic of China, but this is a pretty bold skewing of information. To me, there are two things that really stand out about just how shady this really is.

Comcast’s business speed test and Speakeasy both use the Ookla speed test software, but the Speakeasy test provides multiple servers distributed around the country.

Speakeasy:Speakeast

I can connect to the Seattle server and get a best-case scenario measurement. Comcast doesn’t give you a choice of servers. My guess is that they have a single server located in a remote part of Nebraska somewhere that will give you a terrible result no matter where you are.

The biggest problem I have with their credibility is a blurb on the business speedtest site that tells you to use the Xfinity speedtest if you are already a Comcast customer.

Xfinity:Xfinity

Note the ability to connect to a local server. My guess is that the business speedtest only has one server, and that it is located in the middle of nowhere. While this isn’t necessarily an untruth, it is certainly dishonest, and is just one more reason to not trust Comcast.

If Comcast wasn’t the only high speed internet provider in my area, I would chew my own arm off to get away from them. They turn over customer data to the MAFIAA at the first sign of conflict, and are fibbing, if not outright lying, about how they compare to the competition. If you can get your high speed internet elsewhere, do.

The perfect school homepage

As a college student, I am acutely, painfully aware of the failings of landing pages for schools. They are often designed by CS undergrads who can’t tell an image slider from an anus, and they have a nasty habit of making the former look like the latter, while also covering up the one fucking link you actually want to click on the homepage.

This is compounded by the fact that a school’s tech budget is devoted to keeping students from printing out their textbooks, or deleting system32. They can only employ one guy, whose job it is to run around like Lucy in the candy factory turning on projectors for professors that were tenured in when computers were made of vacuum tubes. That guy just doesn’t have time to fix broken links.

But the real problem is that no part in the design process considers why anyone would go to the site in the first place. They just assume that you will end up there and want to look at pictures of students hard at work, or smiling awkwardly around campus. People really only go to a school’s website for a handful of things, so, if you are a CS major working hard on a redesign of your school’s website, I have a new template that you should really consider.

Perfect School Homepage

You are allowed to change the color of the hyperlinks and the horizontal rules, but that’s it. Go nuts with stuff in the “More” section. Make it as convoluted as you want. Just don’t fuck with my trying to get to the Academic Calendar.

Consequently, this kicks off a category on the blog that I am calling “Inspired by XKCD“. I am a big fan, and occasionally get the urge to draw funny stuff on my Tablet PC or put together a quick graphic that illustrates a concept in an effective way