Monday, February 24, 2014

netflix/comcast agreement, traceroute, &c


is an interesting article.   It discusses the deal between netflix & comcast announced over the weekend & how video quality is influenced by the interconnection of netflix & comcast via the third party CDN's.    

Additional background:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Saving on cellphone data with Google's Data Compression Proxy, thanks to Ilya Griporik and RepublicWireless

Understanding Google's Data Compression Proxy

Posted by vailgm in republic on Feb 7, 2014 4:18:30 PM
Garett Vail is Republic’s Vice President of Product Management. He recently landed an interview with Ilya Grigorik, the Chrome web-performance guru at Google who opened up about the recently released ‘Data Compression Proxy’ feature in the Chrome mobile browser. Read on for the official scoop!


Google’s llya Grigorik and his team have recently released a ‘Data Compression Proxy’ feature in the Chrome mobile browser that allows faster, safer and for some, cheaper mobile web browsing. This is the wireless equivalent of scoring an on-field interview with a Gatorade-soaked Pete Carroll after his team has won the Super Bowl. 

Chrome’s Data Compression Proxy is an opt-in feature within the Chrome mobile browser.  When enabled it can reduce bandwidth 50% on average by opening a connection between your phone and one of Google’s optimization servers.  When your device makes a request for data it’s proxied through Google’s server, which then optimizes the content you requested before delivering it to your device.  You can enable this feature within your phone's Google Chrome settings by going to “Settings → Bandwidth Management → Reduce Data Usage” and toggle the setting to “On.”

Chrome Data Management.pngWhy should you care about a feature in Chrome that reduces bandwidth while on an unlimited plan? A couple potential reasons, the first being the impact it has on speed. Ilya will get into that in his Q&A, so we won’t spoil it here. But another potential reason would be the effect this app has on data usage. As our community members know, we’re all about reducing our overall cellular footprint -- it’s where our insanely low cost plans come from! So, any new functionality like this that offers an improvement in your experience AND cell data reduction is worth sharing in our book. Now, without further ado, let’s let Ilya address some key questions about this new and important opt-in feature within your Chrome mobile browser...

GV: We love a good product story.  What’s the genesis of the Data Compression Proxy feature in Chrome, how did it come about?

IG: At Google, speed is a feature. We invest a lot effort into optimizing our own products and we’re always looking for ways to optimize the underlying platform: faster browsers, protocols, new performance standards, and so on. Chrome Data Compression proxy was born directly out of these efforts: we realized that despite all of our best efforts, some sites may simply not have the technical expertise, or the time, to keep up with all the advances, and that’s why we’ve built the service. The Chrome Data Compression proxy allows us to roll out all of the best and latest optimizations we apply on our own products across the entire web and make the mobile web experience more affordable and enjoyable.

GV: What types of data savings, on a percentage basis, should users expect to see on average?

IG: The data savings will vary for each site based on how many of the best practices they’ve already put in place. Similarly, the savings will vary based on user navigation patterns: Chrome Data Compression proxy does not apply for pages loaded in Incognito mode, or pages fetched over HTTPS. That said, where the optimizations do apply, our studies have shown to reduce the size of web pages by 50% on average.

GV: Why should a user, especially on an unlimited data plan like Republic Wireless, use this feature?  Are there benefits beyond saving data?

IG: Reducing the total number of transferred bytes helps improve the page load time and rendering speeds. While there is always an exception to the rule, typically smaller pages are faster pages. Further, aside from bandwidth savings, there is also an extra layer of security provided by Safe Browsing: the proxy will warn the user if it detects a malicious destination.

GV: Will this feature operate any differently if a user is on WiFi vs. a cellular data connection?

IG: No, the same optimizations are applied in both cases.

GV: Can you tell us about Google's Safe Browsing technology, which is part of this update... what should our users know?

IG: Security is one of the core tenets of Chrome and Safe Browsing allows Chrome to notify and warn the user if the destination page has been flagged as a known malware or phishing site: a warning page is shown and the user can make the choice to abort the navigation or click through if they still wish to visit the site.

GV: Does the data management feature only apply to data requests made through Google Chrome, or does it apply to other Google services and/or apps?

IG: As the name implies, Chrome Data Compression is a Chrome-only feature available for Android and iOS platforms. When enabled, unless the request is made from an Incognito window or is going to an HTTPS site, it is routed to the compression proxy which then fetches the content, optimizes it, and returns the content to users device.

GV: Has Google done any cost calculations you'd be willing to share regarding estimated money savings among mobile phone users, for instance, on an "industry average" data plan?

IG: It’s important to keep in mind that there are many markets where data is still very, very expensive. As such, “average” savings will vary dramatically based on which market we focus on. In some countries, it’s not just a question of savings, but whether you can afford the data plan at all.

GV: What other areas of data management should we expect to see the Google team pursue in the future?

IG: The team is always investigating new techniques to improve the compression gains and overall performance of how quickly the page is rendered on users’ devices. Expect to see more savings and faster speeds! Best of all, this is all transparent to the user.

Thanks so much to Ilya and the Google Chrome team for spending time to answer our questions and we’ll look forward to their future innovations around optimizing our mobile web experience. As always, we look forward to seeing your questions and comments here.

republic: Understanding Google's Data Compressi... | the republic

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Friday, February 21, 2014

How to Know When It's Time to Quit, thanks to LifeHacker!

How to Know When It's Time to Quit

How to Know When It's Time to QuitSEXPAND
You're thinking of jumping ship. Maybe it's your job, a relationship, a degree, or some other commitment that's both so hard to keep doing and so hard to leave. Should you stay or should you go? Here's how to decide. P

You Know It's Time to Quit When...P

There are certain sure signs that quitting is better for you in the long run. While many of these are common sense tips, it's often hard to look at the situation objectively. Change can be frightening, there are always some positives to hold you back, and quitting often feels like failure—especially if you've invested a lot of effort or time into an endeavor.P
Still, if it's come to the point where you know something has to change, take a step back and see how many of these ring true for you:P
How to Know When It's Time to Quit
You're consistently experiencing more frustration than reward. With any situation, you have take the bad with the good. But if your experience is overwhelmingly negative for a long period of time, you have to consider leaving or some radical change. One unmistakable sign: You breathe a sigh of relief and your life feels instantly better with the mere thought of quitting. Photo by Samuel Mann.P

You can't envision a possible solution or continuing this way. After trying to resolve the issues that have been dragging you down, you still have no confidence things will change. Maybe you've been promised a promotion (that's always fallen through) for years; maybe you're waiting on others to change their habits when it's the last thing they want to do. For some situations, like when you're stuck with a bad manager, you might not have any choice but to quit.P
Spending time on this keeps you from more rewarding endeavors or seriously damages your well-being. Ignore the fear of quitting and consider: Do you think you could achieve a better life for yourself if you quit? Is staying on with a project or social commitment causing you to over-extend yourself?P
On a similar note, it's a huge red flag if your current situation is taking a toll on your mental and/or physical health. Get out of toxic relationships where a partner, client, or boss doesn't appreciate your value. (By the way, it's not normal to lose all your hair or take up drinking at 10am because of your job.)P

You're staying for the wrong reasons. If your decision to stay is based more on fear than on faith, you're probably in it for the wrong reasons, says Psychology Today in an article called Contemplating Divorce. Are you afraid to hurt someone's feelings? Staying solely out of a sense of responsibility? Afraid to admit you just made a bad choice or start over (e.g., a wrong career move and now you have to quit a job you just started)?P
How to Know When It's Time to Quit
Don't think of quitting as either good or bad in itself or a reflection of your self-worth. Many of us have a hard time quitting. For others, change is everything and quitting comes probably too easily. Don't stay or quit just for the sake of it. Photo remixed from an original by Ienetstan / ShutterstockP
One thing that often holds people back is what economists call the "sunk-cost fallacy": The belief that you can't quit because of all the time or money you spent. Beware of falling victim to that kind of thinking.P
Your friends keep telling you to quit. While others' advice alone shouldn't be what you base your decision on, your friends want the best for you and may see what you need to do more clearly than you do.P

Before You Call It QuitsP

By now you may be nodding your head, ready to quit. While there's an upside to quitting (especially if done often), you still want to make sure you're making the right decision.P
How to Know When It's Time to Quit

Make sure you've identified the real causes of your unhappiness. Sometimes it's other areas of our lives that are making us miserable and affecting everything else. Maybe you've just had a series of bad days due to other causes like poor sleep. Or perhaps you're just missing the right tools or skills to finish a job. Identify the real issues before you proceed.P

To make an objective evaluation, keep a diary of events and problems. Tools like the Career cheat sheet can help you figure out if this is really the right job for you. For relationship help, consult this problem-solving frameworkfrom UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center.P
Give it a chance. Many things, like diets, require time to work out. If you just started a job, don't let the newness of it scare you off. If you're an aspiring artist (or someone else who needs to be creative), know that it's normal for your work to disappoint you. "You just gotta fight your way through it," This American Life producer Ira Glass says. Or in the words of Pixar animator Austin Madison, persist.P

Try other solutions. Similarly, make sure you've tried several solutions. If you and your partner are always fighting over the same things, try looking at the situation from his or her perspective, try to communicate differently, read books on the subject, or seek help from a trusted friend or therapist.P

Have a backup plan. Know what you're going to do if you quit and what you need to do to prepare for that. The Quit-Your-Day-Job Checklist, for example, is a 7-point checklist of the stuff you should do before you take the leap to working for yourself.P
After weighing the above, hopefully you can quit or stay on with confidence.P

If you still don't know what to do, find out what you really want with the coin tossing trick: Designate heads or tails for each of your two choices and flip the coin. What did you secretly wish for while the coin was mid-air or when you covered it?P


Discussion and more at:

How to Know When It's Time to Quit

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