Saturday, October 27, 2012

An Upgrade, and a Growing Pain or Two

Since we are located away outside of civilization, and the telephone lines here are really cruddy, and there is no cable service, we have been using satellite Internet for the last several years.  It is not cheap, but the service was pretty good, and the speed wasn't bad.
On Friday, the Hughes installer paid us a visit.  Hughes had launched a new communications satellite a few months ago.  This bird can provide much faster Internet, compared to the old one.  We ran some speed tests before the upgrade, and we were getting just under 1mb/s download rates.  After the upgrade, we are seeing 8mb/s and more.  To top it off, they didn't raise the monthly price.  We just had to pay for installation.  That was about $200, because the installer had to relocate the dish, so we could "see" the satellite.  But once he got done - Hoo-wee!  Fast Internet, at last.
The growing pain I mentioned had to do with the SPOCS Brain module.  In order to read the download capacity remaining from the satellite modem, SPOCS was reading the web page from the modem, then picking out the FAP-remaining number for publication.  Hughes totally redesigned the modem web pages, so we had to re-educate Brain.  We also had to tweak the CRON entry that starts up WGET to read the modem FAP page into a file. 
Now it works great.  One bug appeared...if you look at the SPOCS log, you will see where Brain spat out a bunch of FAP readings into the log, before we got that bug fixed.
We have updated SPS_BRAIN1.C over at SourceForge.  We also recommend the Hughes "Gen4" Internet.

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