Duplicate MAC address on Cable Modem – The Fight Goes On

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TLDR: Arris/Motorola SurfBoard Cable Modems (and perhaps others) are constantly showing up with Duplicate MAC Addresses, even though each manufacturer must only make Single device with same address.

Looks like it is time for another fiasco/fight with Comcast for us, something that has become at least annual affair. It all started about a month ago, when we saw Comcast truck nearby adding another “happy” customer to their poor network.

As expected, our signal instantly degraded to impossible, with even (digital) TV channels disappearing at times and mostly becoming “blocky” with compression noise. Being busy people, we thought “surely comcast monitors their network and will fix it in a week or two”. Alas, nothing like that happened so a week later we called in.

Technician reluctantly showed up another week later – checked the signal to the “Curb” and shockinly proclaim “it is Way too weak, but I Can’t Do Anything“. He promptly left assuring us that “network people will resolve it”.

About another week later I called in for status, and was told there is no status, no issue, no tickets, no problems. Few days later our Internet died completely, with Modem reporting “no signal” at all. This is where more fun started – A Call to Comcast about modem was met with “What Modem? You Don’t Have One on the Account!”. Really? So how come you were happily charging me Overages for months and months? Turns out my MAC Address is used by someone else somewhere on the West coast, and I must urgently take this modem to local XFinity Center. About half an hour drive later, and another half an hour (with screaming child) waiting for service – happy Rep told me “Oh Yea, we see Many people with this issue. For some reason the phone guys sending customers to us, but really there is Nothing we can do either”. Showing happy clerk the receipt for our modem from 2 years ago (which I kept), the physical device, the assurances that it worked fine until few days ago, and even request to check with manager – Resulted in ZERO progress. I left upset and just stopped by the local Fry’s to buy new modem.

Well, guess what – new modem registered fine (for now at least), but still there is mostly No Internet. The signal is too weak and all corporate escalations are not helping so far. Whenever the new modem does work it is very slow and unstable, nowhere near advertised speeds we are paying good money for.

Apparently Comcast is aware of the issue and it has happened to many people, at least since 2011. In fact even though there is Stupid practice of putting MAC Address right on the outside of the box where everyone can just see & steal it while “browsing” local store shelves, we bought ours brand-new from reputable online store (Newegg). This further leads me to think there is manufacturer issue or Comcast simply spoofing these themselves on some older devices?

So chime in the comments if this has happened to you. Perhaps together we can figure out how a brand new sealed modem bought straight from-the-manufacturers-truck still had stolen MAC Address already? Meanwhile there is still no competition offering Internet in our area – seems like Comcast is aware of this and enjoying their monopoly all the way.

PS: I also called Arris/Motorola support on this, they said that it does happen a lot and normally they replace modems for customers, but since I bought mine so long ago they will not replace mine.

USA Today Supports Scam Ads? Is This What’s Next In Online Advertising!?

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Yesterday, while reading an article on USA Today, my eyes gazed over to prominently displayed “News Stories” on the right side of the page. Clicking through seems to reach respectable site, apparently presenting TV affiliated news site, complete with anchor photos, videos and long authentic looking article.

Channel News 4 Scam - Completely Fake News SiteExcept all of that is just an elaborate scheme to try and get gullible consumers to trust this fabricated article. Fancy backend algorithm generates random people names (sometimes for same photos, as I confirmed clicking on similar Ads from another page) and even articles themselves change depending on the area your IP is coming from, to try and get you to think that local reporter is bringing you this important news “information”. Of course the content of the article itself is also mostly fake, and so are all the other links on the page, purporting to be other categories of this “news site”. In reality, these links are just a cheap-trick, redirecting people to unsuspecting sites which are probably paying for “click through”, hoping for quality leads but instead getting ripped.

Live News WSVI TV ScamIn one of the links I landed on a site claiming to be New-York’s WSVI television station. Of course in reality it is just another site scammers generated, and I wonder what real ABC affiliated WSVI station, which actually broadcasts in Virgin Islands, would say about this?

The wares they are peddling are suspicious or worse. The Work-At-Home scam is especially nefarious and I found earlier reference to similar tactics, even infringing on CNN’s trademark logo.

I am pretty sure the $5 cream they are peddling is either unsafe for your skin, or completely inert. And the $9 a week miraculous Insurance they are promising – I calculated that I pay less with respectable Travelers insurance, instead of their “unidentified” company.

How can (supposedly) respectable USA Today newspaper and online site stoop to such low quality advertisement sham? I literally felt that I need to run and tell my children about yet another evil on this planet that they need to protect themselves from.

But I also tried to take a step back and consider if I am overreacting. Perhaps this is the future of online Advertising? Should we just adjust our expectations that anything and everything we click on the web may end up directing us to Insurance site (regardless if we have a car) or maybe Viagra-like cheap pills offer (regardless of….). After all, how else are quality sites like USA Today can support their staff of professional journalists? We always knew that everything we find on the Internet cannot be trusted, right? Why would we ever use Wikipedia at all?

You have to draw your own conclusion, and talk to your own kids. Meanwhile I am uninstalling USA Today app from my iPhone and will think twice before clicking on any link leading to USA Today site – I hope the advertising revenue they got from AdBlade was worth losing all those readers over.

iPhone 3.0, Nintendo iDS and Walled Gardens

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Before you scream – SPELL CHECK, STUPID – The error in the title is intentional. Nintendo’s device should be called iDS, but opting not to alienate Apple they called their “i” device Nintendo DSi.

With an upcoming launch (April 5, 2009) of actual Nintendo DSi device, iphone OS 3.0 Software Announcement EventApple wants to be sure we instead talk a lot about iPhone 3.0 operating system potential features. They are organizing “Preview” event on March 17, but no word yet on when the actual operating system will “hit the streets” as they say (or whether Apple, in a suicidal move, will decide to charge for this upgrade).

There has been a lot of speculation about what the new features should be in 3.0 (and you can try to weigh in). Personally, I hope they will finally address the biggest trouble with the iPhone – The Lack of Communication Features.

There, I said it – for a communications device, it is in BIG trouble with “missing the trend” of how young next generation communicates these days. We all heard enough complaints about MMS, but I really think that is Old-School already. Instead, next-gen use IM these days, and with it, the Video Chat! Seriously, no IM or Voice Chat on iPhone?!

Which brings me to last point of this post – Walled Gardens, again! Knowing Nintendo and Apple, they are likely to opt for “proprietary” software. End result? People on DSi can talk to friends on DSi only, and people on iPhones, with each other, only, etc. This is the ultimate insult, I think, yet one that is very hard to overcome. Not just because of “tradition” at the companies, but also because of the mess with Intellectual Property laws around software.

Maybe Nintendo and Apple can “sign an agreement to open networks”, etc, etc? This is just as bad, as offers no help for Android (G1, and later devices) nor people on Windows Mobile, Palm Pre, etc, etc…

We, The People, want Open Communications Standards! Skype could offer us some hope in the Video/IM arena, but it being owned by eBay and all, makes it unlikely…

Meanwhile, just pick up Xbox Live Vision cam, hook it up to your 360, which is already connected to your Big Screen TV. Now you are ready to experience the future of Video Chat, straight out of Back to the Future 2 movie. Of course walled garden applies, and is escalated by setup complexity (plenty of people with 360 who still can’t connect it to the Internet, even).