I have been using Gmail recently, which seems very nice. The much-hyped 1 GB of space isn't all that important to me, but the conversation threading is really nice. It can be a little creepy at times but I am liking it so far. I have a few extra gmail invites to give out while it is still in beta. If you want one, email me or post here. I will update here if I no longer have any to give out. First come, first served. Update: I am all out. Try requesting a gmail account at the gmail invite spooler.
The Rogers Extreme modem has been treating me well. Ping times are still very low, and I actually experienced a sustained 600 KB/s download while snarfing the Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault demo. Yes, over half a gigabyte was sucked down in around 15 minutes.
I just got Rogers Extreme internet service, courtesy of a Motorola Surfboard Cable Modem SB5100. It is pretty darn fast: a performance test clocked in at 4617 Kb/s down and 702 Kb/s up. Obviously it is not a pure test and many people have obtained speeds that are even closer to the advertised 5000/800 (down/up). The download limit, capped by Rogers, of 5000 Kb/s is, oh, 347 times faster than my trusty modem that I used for four years to connect to qlink. In any case, I think the practical effect will be to approximately double both my downstream and upstream bandwidth, which is always nice.
I played a little bit of Medal of Honor: Breakthrough tonight and noticed some slightly lower ping times than I usually get, often in the 35-40 ms range. I don't think the latency is supposed to be much improved, but every little bit helps with fast-paced shooter games.
The fine print is that you pay $100 (plus the usual tribute to Paul and Dalton) for the modem, which you own. There is a 2-year warranty, however these things will no doubt be obsolete around then. You pay the same $45/month for the service, however this no longer includes a rental, so it's a slight price increase per month, in effect, to cover the cost of the modem and the risk of having to purchase a replacement.
It seems to me that I used to get around 2000/360 (although observations can be misleading), but according to this FAQ on the RBUA site the theoretical limit of my previous modem (a Terayon Terapro) is 14000/14000 (!!!), however we received 3000/384 service. I guess from a marketing perspective Rogers wanted to (a) raise the price 10% or so in as nice a way as possible and (b) conceal the fact that our existing hardware could have done the job. In Rogers' defense, I understand these modems are the better technology (including an even higher maximum speed of something like 30 Mb/s and faster latency) and will be presumably standard issue shortly. Also, it's not quite clear why they would want to get out of the business of renting cable modems, which is surely a fairly lucrative one.
Details aside, for the price of a couple of coffees a month it didn't take me much pondering to choose to double my internet connection speed!
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