Hotel Internet Connections

A few months ago, Allen posted an entry at CenterNetworks asking for feedback about what we should expect from Internet connections at hotels. It just so happens that, this evening, I am staying in a hotel in the area around Richmond, Va., which is a rather metropolitan area. When I found out that I was going to have to stay overnight in a hotel, I took solace in the fact that I would be able to access the Internet with, what I assumed would be, a good, fast, reliable Internet connection. Unfortunately, I found that the connection in this particular hotel left a lot to be desired.

I started the evening by connecting to the wireless connection available in my room. I headed over to TNT’s Web site to catch last week’s episode of Leverage, which I missed when it originally aired. For the first 20 minutes or so, the video played fairly well. However, as time went on, it started buffering more and more, eventually getting to the point where it was hardly watchable.

Once I finally made it through, I hooked the ethernet cable to my laptop to try the wired connection. I then headed over to the CBS Web site to try watching some episodes from last season of NCIS (as I’ve mentioned on Twitter, I just recently started getting into NCIS and have been trying to catch up with what’s happened over the last six seasons). I found that the wired connection was actually even less reliable than the wireless connection had been. The video took a long time to load, then started buffering almost immediately. I removed the ethernet cable and hooked back into the wireless network. It got a little bit better, but not enough to make me feel like finishing the episode I had begun.

In all honesty, the connection here is not all that noticeably better than the satellite connection I have at home.

I’m curious what your thoughts and experience might be. Do you think I’m being unreasonable expecting that the Internet connection at a hotel should be good enough to watch online video? In your opinion, is it worth it to have a free Internet connection if you can’t watch online video? Have you experienced similarly disappointing connections in hotels, or do you usually find them to be fast and reliable?

A Sound Business Decision?

A few years ago, a regionally local grocery store chain made an innovative decision to begin offering free daycare within the store. As far as I know, they were the first (and, the only) major grocery chain to attempt something of this nature. The chain is known as Giant Food or Martin’s, depending on where the stores are located, and they are operated out of Pennsylvania. The chain dots most of the central-eastern seaboard from Pennsylvania down to North Carolina.

As I said, they opened centers inside of many of their stores called “Tree Houses”, which were structured environments in which children from ages three to ten could be entertained while their parents did the grocery shopping. Each patron of Martin’s, upon registering with the Tree House, could leave their children with the helpful, capable staff within the Tree House for up to 90 minutes on each shopping trip.

Why Do Web Developers Neglect Their Own Sites?

In the last six months or so, I’ve noticed a rather disturbing trend amongst Web developers and designers: We seem to neglect our own Web sites. There are so many sites for Web developers and designers that go months (even years) without any changes or updates. I won’t link to any in particular, as I don’t want to call anyone out. But it seems to happen fairly universally; moreso among those of us that do design and development as a side business, while working full-time jobs. I know I’ve noticed no less than 10 other Web sites that suffer from the same problem over the last few months.

Rackspace Experiences Two-Hour Power Outage

Rackspace, one of the leading managed, dedicated Web server hosts in the world, experienced a rather major power outage at their Dallas-Fort Worth (TX, USA) data center.

Around 4:15 this afternoon, our Web site at work (which is hosted by Rackspace) stopped responding to requests (at first, I was a little freaked out, because I was running a back-up and thought maybe something had gone awry). I then tried visiting the MyRackspace customer portal to submit a support ticket, and found that it was not responding, either.

I called our point of contact and asked him to look into it. Around 4:40, our Web server was back up and running. Rackspace, however, was still down for a while longer.

Rackspace is keeping customers updated on their blog. At this point, they are saying that everything is back online.

For the last two weeks, Rackspace has been performing tests, upgrades and maintenance to their back-up power utilities because of “anomalies” they’ve encountered. I wonder if this power outage was a result of those anomalies, a result of the upgrades, maintenance and testing or if it was completely unrelated.

Tips for Boosting Conversions

ClickTaleThe team at ClickTale have released a report from data they gathered from users of the ClickTale service. The report highlights tips for boosting conversions on blogs and ecommerce websites.

Some of the tips include:

  • read this and win
  • visualize it
  • put the most important content on top
  • make content pop
  • you ask too much
  • test – repair – retest

Microsoft Releases Vista SP2

This week, Microsoft finally released the second service pack for Windows Vista on Windows Update. The new pack apparently includes quite a few improvements and bugfixes. The most noticeable one, for me, is the fact that thumbnail rendering finally works properly. Although Microsoft denied that this was a bug in Vista for years (claiming it was a bug in the ffmpeg codec, instead), the new service pack appears to have fixed the issue.

Windows Explorer no longer crashes when you have thumbnails enabled, meaning that you don’t need to use an external program like Adobe Bridge to view thumbnails of your photos and videos any more.

What other improvements and fixes have you noticed in the new service pack?