This blog is more of a chronilogical summary of my recent visit to a local starbucks while traveling to visit family in Nebraska. Its amazing how a bad internet connection can influence your search queries and goals for the day.
Any time you are getting something for FREE that there is not an unlimited supply of, its normal that your FREE comes at a cost in performance and quality. The FREE WIFI at starbucks is no exception to this rule.
The previous day I was sitting in this same Starbucks with my over priced coffee ( of which I countered by adding a couple dozen RAW sugar packets and the last of their half / half ), I was the only person there with a laptop using their internet. The location is right off I-80 and not apartments or hotels are nearby meaning I am likely the only person using their internet connection. On the previous day my internet speed was good. 60 Mbits down and 12 Mbits up.
The only reason I was visiting a starbucks was the need for a caffiene fix and internet connection as the family member I am visiting has no internet at their home, and unfortuantely none of their neighbors are running any open networks. Plus my cell phone ( Tmobile has not data service in this area, of which I had to call T-Mobile and open a ticket about this, but thats a story for a different time ) has no data service in the area.
Unfortunately on this day I walked in to find what seemed to be a group of college students or Church group all taking up too many chairs not drinking any coffee, and with a laptop going through videos. Turns out they were uploading their videos to some online site, which meant they hogged up all the available upstream. A speed test confirmed this. 43 Mbits down, 0.01 Mbits up. These kids plus some corporate guy who seemed to be tryin to sync his outlook with exchange server was consuming all the available bandwidth.
This made working on my home workstation through remote desktop near impossible. Mouse movements were delayed by seconds, clicks the same. So all I could do were some google searches locally. My original goal of getting into my workstation remotely and getting some coding done was aborted and changed to finding a way I would never have to endure this kind of experience again.
Google Searches when your internet connection sucks.
The first thing I wondered was how much would it cost to get internet at my host's home. Turns out I can get internet there, but the speeds are nothing to get excited about. 25 Mbits down and no mention of upstream speeds, which usually means they will suck. Business class was out of the question due to cost. I am not paying $300 / month for 100 / 10 internet. I have 150 / 25 at home that I pay $120 / month for. But of course there is little motivation for ISP to build out a network for small communities in Nebraska. Especially when most of the population is retired. I swear anyone with talent and ambition left Nebraska. Its the official place were old people live out the last of their days while yelling at their TV during husker games.
One of my problems at my family's home was the limited number of networks I was able to see. All the ones withing range were secure which brings us to later queries. but there had to be at least one person with an older router who just plugged it in without setting up the security on it ( the kind of thing Old people would do ). As far as I was concerned my internet for this trip was a lost cause, but next time I visit I wanted to come prepared. So I searched for guides on how to convert an old Direct TV satalite dish to use in directional WIFI. Surprizing it doesn't look that hard, just need an external USB WIFI card that supports an external antenna, and some basic hardware. From reading online it seems that such a setup I could connect to networks 30 miles away with good line of sight. But what if I can only find networks locally, and none of them are free. This brings me to my next search.
Turns out hacking WEP, WPA, WPA2 networks is not that hard, just takes the right tools, and the known how. I found an APP for my cell phone, but it only works with older phones that use a specific Chipset for the Radio. My Samsung Galaxy S4 was too new, ( funny as its now 2016 and the GS7 is the current model ). There is a package called BackTrack, but that was discontinued and replaced by a Linux Distribution called Kali. Kali is a bootable toolkit that includes security tools to test your network. But it can also be used by hackers to get into weak networks. Since I am a computer professional having this kind of knowledge is always good, so I plan on downloading this tool and installing it on a USB drive as bootable media.
Notice, Its illegal to hack into a network without permission from its owner. I am writing this just as a guide into what kind of thoughts go through a computer professionals mind when they are stressed by a slow internet connection.
The problem I had now was the KALI Linux ISO files were 2.6 GB each and I was working from a weak internet connection. That and when I tried the direct download route, seemed Starbucks would throttle the connect. So to get around this I used their Bittorrent link. This allowed me to download at close to 4 MB / second. A couple hours later I had both the 32 bit and 64 bit ISOs downloaded.
Now that I have a game plan for attempting to source a better internet connection, The next problem was finding a decent coffee. Guys in my field are highly dependent on cafffiene. After reading online I found that robosto beans have 2x the caffiene as arabica beans, so off to walmart I went to buy some robosto beans. Problem is every single coffee i found at walmart was 100% arabica. I will have to source these magical beans later. There was also deathwish coffee which claims to be the strongest coffee. But at $20 a bag that seems a bit excessive.
Knowing that Opium is sourced from the Poppie plants, what better way to get in a get it done mood than to try to somehow extract this magical drug from some poppie seeds. The funny thing is people have actually done this. Turns out that its perfectly legal to go to some natural food store and buy up a few pounds of Poppie seeds. I can see it now. I need some Sudafed for this cold. "You need to sign for that". I don't want to do that how about 10 lbs of Poppie seeds. "Sure here you go". Then you have to brew them into a tea to extract the opium. People have even died trying this. Never tried this, but its interesting to know that some people have. Of course not so sure any kind of stimulant this powerful is a good idea. I have run into my share of people who try to sell me on their bad business ideas, while wiping the cocaine from their nose. When you are so high, when you can't see the negatives in anything it might not be a good time to write your next business proposal. Talking about the Lambo you are going to buy with the money you have yet to make, from the business that barely conceptionally exists on a paper napkin, and has no capital backing it, is not a a buisiness idea its just the plot of scene in a good comedy.