Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Monday, March 13, 2006day link 

 I love my freebox
picture I changed my DSL provider, oh, two weeks ago already. And this was by far the easiest and most successful new DSL line I've gotten. When we got the original line here, from France Telecom two years ago, it was a bit of a nightmare. At first they denied it was possible, and it then took several months of headaches before it was there. And it has cost me 72 euros per month.

Now it seems like the lines have been unbundled in this area. Which makes it easier for competitors to offer better alternatives. Which I noticed when several of them suddenly were calling and being very pushy about their offers.

I went with Free, which is probably the most popular. They have the wonderous freebox, which is what arrived in the mail within a few days. A few days later my old line, including the phone line stopped working. I plugged in the freebox instead and, voila, it worked right away.

2Mbits download speed. Which is actually terribly slow, as it would go up to over 20Mbits for the same price, if I just were closer to the phone central. I'm 4km away, which is huge, and which is why France Telecom and other providers previously would start by telling me I couldn't have DSL at all.

For 30 euros per month, those 2Mb down and 1Mb up, plus free phonecalls, and around a hundred TV channels. Phone and TV just plug into that little freebox thing. And I can watch TV on my computer, as it presents the channels as a playlist with video I can play in VLC or a similar program. And a fixed IP number. That in itself cost me 30 euros extra per month from France Telecom.

My only complaint is that some of the routers on the Free network seem a bit overloaded at the moment. Which hopefully they'll fix. But I feel a little more like I'm in the 21st century at least. Now I just need to update my ancient computer.
[ | 2006-03-13 17:06 | 20 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Gold mining New Civ community
Baron Berez has a proposal. Creating a community in Nevada, funded by a gold mining operation, but creating a new kind of community, a new civilization outpost.

Now, in the New Civilization Network there has a been a few proposals on the table over the years, aiming at creating some kind of community. NCN is about creating a different kind of world, and if it shouldn't be just talk, it makes sense for somebody to do it for real somewhere. But how? It seems like an attractive idea at first. Buy a desert island in the South Pacific, or some large piece of land far away from everything, and start over, and do things the way they should be done. But how exactly is that? Who decides how that is, and how do they decide? How does it get funded?

How to organize it still remains to be seen. But maybe Baron has an approach for the funding. 20,000 acres in Nevada that he acquired mining rights to at some point. Surveys have shown that there's around 1 million ounces of gold to be extracted from there. An ounce of gold goes for around $560 at the moment. It isn't a sure thing, of course. And it will cost significant money to set up the mining operation.

Baron is a shrewd businessman and investor who has done well. I don't know the details, but obviously he's somebody who doesn't have to work for a living. He's also about retirement age. And I guess he's more keen on doing something that leaves a bit more of a legacy.

The project needs some start capital to get going. $350,000 to set up an initial mining operation, to verify that it is viable, and to set up the legal stuff. 35 parts of $10,000 Baron is thinking.

But then the idea is that a significant portion of what would come in, 25%, will be directed towards creating a community, focused on building an infrastructure of sustainable and emerging technologies. Solar, wind, waste recycling, etc.

Can this work? Well, why not. It could be a very exciting project. If enough people get around it that find it exciting, at least. And if the plan is put together well.

There's a lot of unknowns there, of course. Lot of issues of who decides what, and according to which principles. A few major disagreements can throw off a thing like that. How would the community work? Would the investors have the final call on what goes? Would Baron? Is it a democracy? An anarchy? A corporate structure?

Does anybody think it is worth the trouble?

What I proposed to Baron was to just put it forward in a blog, and see who salutes it. Which is what I'm doing here too. A project like that needs to be able to withstand a bit of public scrutiny. Plus, it goes nowhere unless a group of people will find it exciting.
[ | 2006-03-13 20:03 | 5 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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