Saturday, May 31, 2008

Don't pay the ransom...

I've escaped. Not only have we been struggling to plant some beans, we bumped into a strange computer problem this week and I haven't been posting nearly enough to satisfy my compulsion.

Apple has automatic upgrades for their programs (similar to Microsoft), which generally run unseen in the background and work great. But when they released a whopping new upgrade to the operating system software - Leopard - it weighed in at 420 MB. Along with some other smaller upgrades our two computers had some heavy lifting to do - and some bandwidth to occupy.

Only on satellite like Hughesnet, they frown on bandwidth hogs. Fair enough. (In fact, it's called Fair Access Policy]. I don't download movies so it was no biggy. But when you do suck up too much time on the system you get a "timeout": for 24 hours your max speed is about the same as dialup on a bad phone line. It took me minutes to open AgWeb, for example.

So when my Mac tried to download the elephantine file, it tripped the penalty and we could barely get our mail on Thursday. Before I could figure out what the *&%$^ was going on, Jan's computer tried the next night and locked us up again. I've canceled the auto update for the time being, and if I get up at 3 AM and manually download the files, I can workaround the FAP limits (no restrictions from 3-6 AM).

We come out of the penalty box this morning sometime, and with the gentle floods we received last night, I seem to have some time to get some serious posting done, so check back later today.

Thanks for reading.

As for the beans, the news is less good...


Unknown said...

There is a way to have the Mac software update to occur at a specific time. See the wikipedia entry

and see section on command line of softwareupdate with the unix cron system (cron allows one to schedule at specific times any action).

Hope this helps,
John Blue

John Phipps said...


Thanks for the pointer, but I'm afraid the info is over my head. I still don't see how to get the updater to check at say, 0300.

Nor do I trust myself to fiddle around with the cron code, so for this one monster update, I'll just get up.

Unknown said...

I feel your pain, John. I, too, was enslaved to HughesNet for about three years. Suggest you get hnFapMon or Fap Monitor both of which are free. Find them at

Be careful at that forum. You'll learn a lot more about your sat connection than you ever wanted to know!!