Wednesday, March 6, 2013


So I'm away from home for work.  Staying at a hotel.  It's a generally positive experience.

I have a few issues.  The internet sucks.  Really, really sucks.  I've been using wireless, which is not password protected but requires you to click agree to their terms of conduct or whatever.  For those of you unfamiliar with the process, after you connect to the network, your OS will usually tell you that you don't have an active connection to the internet.  No apps or services--Outlook (which I don't use), Dropbox, uTorrent, Steam--can connect to the internet.

No, you have to open your browser and attempt to visit a web page so the hotel network can divert you to the aforementioned click-wall.  This presents some issues, because serving a different web page than the one requested by the user is the foundation of many malware attacks, and Firefox won't have it (either by itself out of the box, or with help from NoScript, I'm not sure).  It won't let me see the clickwall, because it knows the internet, and smells MALICIOUS BEHAVIOR.
So I open up a portable install of Chrome that I keep around for such purposes, or for when certain trusted sites just won't work with security plugins I use.  It takes me to the clickwall, because I have not trained it to look for malicious behavior, and once I click okay the network lets me get to the internet.  Dropbox, Steam, et al now work, and I can surf properly in Firefox.

Except...well except that it's really slow.  Really, really slow.  I'm ashamed to post the speed test results.  My cell phone connection is faster.  40 times faster, actually (albeit with a slower ping).  I'm not surprised my cell connection is good, I use it a lot, but I am surprised that the hotel's connection is so awful.  True, it's not password protected, but there aren't many cars in the lot at night.  I don't think many people are staying here.

Did I mention that you have to go back through the click-wall every few hours, to re-connect to the internet?  Yeah, that too.

So the hotel wireless loses on two fronts--the click-wall, and the slowness.  No big deal, I think, I can snag an ethernet cable from work and plug into the wall.  And I do.  But guess what?  Click-wall.


Still.  Seriously.

How slow is it?  Comparable to dial-up.  To slow to watch a YouTube video at it's lowest quality.  Too slow, at times, for email.

So I'm tethering, which my carrier actually detected earlier this night, though I made a few changes and they don't seem to be able to tell now.  Main change, stop using Chrome.  Why?  Because apparently cell phone companies now sniff traffic for user-agent strings, and Chrome's for some reason is a dead giveaway where as Firefox's isn't.  I can't tell you how creeped out I am by them sifting through my traffic, but hopefully it's just a dumb program only looking for user agent strings.  It isn't, but I'll tell myself that lie for now.

Very disappointed in the state of hotel internet.  On the other hand, I'm very, very glad I  have decent cellular data coverage around here.  My network is pretty spotty.

Wow, I spend a few days in a new place and this is all I have to talk about?  Bring a book.  Yeesh.


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