I get a lot of requests for help from people who have performance issues with WiFi networks at home and in public. It's often difficult to help because most people know WiFi like they know electricity: as long as it does what they want it to do, they don't think about it.

The MacObserver published a great article yesterday called 4 Wi-Fi Tips from Former Apple Wi-Fi Engineer. This is not a comprehensive how-to, but there is something in the article for many people who think fairly deeply about the WiFi systems they use.

Just to give one example: in the article, Alf Watt says, "Use {the} same SSID for all radios on the same network." I never knew that this mattered. I have 2.4 and 5 GHz networks in my house that have different names. Watt is saying I should not be doing this. So I will have to change this and see how it affects performance.

If you care about your WiFi networks, you should go through this article and see if you can learn something as well.

FiveThirtyEight.com, a website that's part of ESPN Internet Ventures, is one of the coolest sites on the Internet for data geeks. They constantly come up with articles that pique my imagination.

Today they published an article which says that classic rock isn't what it used to be, citing data compiled from "25 classic rock radio stations operating in 30 of the country's largest metropolitan areas for a week in June".

This is a fantastic article, in part because the author, Walt Hickey, built a scraper written in Python to compile the data from public play lists. I have to look back at this data set and get further into how he obtained it.

What I think is missing, however, is data from what gets played on Sirius XM. I think that what they play on Classic Rewind, Classic Vinyl, and Deep Tracks at the very least, should be the counted in a survey like this. I think these channels are as free as possible from the "regional influence" that Walt Hickey discusses about half-way through the article.

Some people also pointed out in comments that Classic Rock isn't a genre so much as it's a radio format. They argue, while the play list changes periodically, based on "some consultant's idea of what does or does not fit this month", the constant is reptition of some timeless classic songs combined with some songs that are better considered flavors of the month.

My kids listen to Sirius XM channels like these when they are travelling with me. But they also listen to 80s on 8, 1st Wave, and Hair Nation, because I think these channels are worth playing at different times of the day. I've become a bit of a classic rock junkie in that respect.

Ted King

During last year's Tour de France, I said that Ted King Should Still Be Riding in the Tour de France because he was eliminated after finishing Stage 4 7.6 seconds slower than the required time. King separated his shoulder in last year's Stage 1, managed to finish Stages 2 and 3 under the time limit, but was eliminated in one of the fastest team time trials in Tour de France history.

This year Ted King is back riding for Cannondale Pro Cycling, and supporting team leader Peter Sagan who is a sprinter and one of the leading contenders for the Green Jersey.

Another reason for me to root for Ted King is that he graduated from Middlebury College, Kathleen's alma mater.

It's a virtual certainty that one of the favorites will win the General Classification, such as Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, or Alberto Contador. But, we'd love to see Ted King finish the race in Paris, and ride as high in the G.C. as he can.

Since the beginning of the World Cup 2014 game between USA and Germany (and again during USA-Belgium), we've seen people report issues with starting to stream the game on AppleTV and iOS.

We believe that this is an issue of the scalability of the connection between WatchESPN and the Cable Providers authentication servers.

We also believe that this backend service is called Adobe Pass, and it is used by many broadcast rights holders in North America and around the world, see What Does Adobe Pass Do, And Why is it Critical to Live Sports Event Streaming?

We were able to get authorized by Verizon to stream the game in about 3 minutes of trying, although it took two attempts to successfully authenticate.

Another alternative for U.S. users is to download Univision Deportes and try it, because they are not requiring authentication for the first round of the World Cup. Here is our guide to Univision Deportes.

We will continue to monitor Twitter and report on our Twitter feed if we hear of more severe problems.

Seven Years of iPhone

Original iPhone Box Top View

On June 29, 2007 at Freehold Raceway Mall in Freehold, New Jersey, I bought the first model of the iPhone that was made available for public sale. We still have that iPhone here today. My son Peter sometimes plays games on it.

I remember saying to my wife Kathleen, "Well, I'm going to go to the Apple Store and if it looks amazing, I may buy one." I ended up paying $599 plus tax for the 8 Gigabyte model.

My first article about the iPhone was actually about the problems I had activating it, I Got My iPhone Yesterday, Maybe It Will Work Today. This article documents the process of:

  1. traveling around, trying to find a store that had sufficient stock to meet the initial demand, the lesson learned that day is never go to a carrier's store on launch day if there's an Apple Store within driving distance,
  2. going to Best Buy and purchase a Windows XP upgrade because I had been using Windows 2000 Professional, and the iPhone was not compatible with Windows 2000 for syncing purposes,
  3. upgrading a homemade PC to run Windows XP, watch out for SATA disk controllers that are not natively supported by Windows XP,
  4. activating the iPhone, a process that took until 9:26pm on Saturday, due to the scalability issues that AT&T with their custom activation process for the iPhone.

A friend of mine named Mike Kreaden who works at Salesforce.com is running The Western States Endurance Run, a 100-mile ultramarathon conducted on trails between Squaw Valley and Auburn, California.

I remember watching the Western States 100 on television when I was in college about 25 years ago. This is an incredibly difficult race to complete, and anybody who finishes this race once ought to go down in history as a great athlete.

Mike has been an inspiration to me in many ways since I reconnected with him a few years ago. He started a charity called Run for Amma which raises money for cancer research in memory of his mother-in-law, Champa Seshadri. It's a cause that I have supported in the past and hope to donate to again in the future.

Anybody who can hold down a big job at Salesforce.com and find the time to train enough to run the WSER has an incredible work ethic x 2. Good luck tomorrow, Mike. I hope you get the silver buckle.

This morning, Jim Dalrymple of The Loop reported that Apple is stopping development of Aperture and iPhoto, and will focus all photo management development moving forward on the new Photos app demonstrated at WWDC.

As I said in a comment I posted to Jim's article:

Since iOS 7 was released, I've become convinced that Apple had to move in this direction. The vast majority of photos created in the Apple ecosystem are never edited, and aren't as extensively curated by the photographer as was the case even 5 years ago.

So why should the primary photo applications on MacOS X be associated with curating and editing anymore?

--Dave Aiello

I find that neither iPhoto and Aperture are capable of being good Mac clients to iCloud photostreams anymore.

When I get a notification that someone with whom I've shared a photo likes or comments on that photo, I can easily see that on any iOS device. On my Mac I get the notification, but it's next to impossible to click on it and quickly see what the comment was.

I'm ready to separate photo editing and curation from storage and sharing, and I am willing to go to a third party to get editing and curation at whatever level I feel I need. Let's see what develops.

In the aftermath of some gitches that happened when people were trying to tune in to WatchESPN to watch Team USA play Germany in WorldCup 2014, I talked to some people who have streaming infrastructure experience.

A few of those people told me that in order to understand the issues with verifying the subscription status of people who want to access services like WatchESPN, we need to look at an infrastructure component known as Adobe Pass.

Adobe Pass is used by broadcast rights holders such as CNN, Viacom, NBCU, Fox, Disney, ESPN, Cartoon Network and Scripps Networks to validate a viewer's paid subscription to their services via their cable or satellite TV provider. This is enabling technology for "TV Everywhere."

Adobe earned an Emmy Engineering Plaque in 2012 for this technology.

It's totally possible that Adobe Pass was not scaling well enough to serve everyone who wanted to start streaming USA - Germany at the start of the game. That was the initial issue I reported in World Cup Fever Clobbering Cable Providers Authentication Servers, and probably why once I was able to re-authenticate, I was able to stream the game for as long as I had time to sit and watch it.

I had never read the website called Motherboard before, but I stumbled on to an article called The FAA Is Trying to Ban First-Person View Drone Flights and the information they provided about both the FAA's attempts to regulate the use of drones, and the FAA's apparent lack of authority to regulate UAVs make for interesting reading.

According to the article:

Basically, in that law {the "FAA Modernization Act", passed in 2012}, Congress said that the FAA is not allowed to make any regulations that restrict model aircraft that are being flown for hobby use, are less than 55 pounds, operate within line-of-sight of the operator, give way to manned aircraft, are operated at or under the guidance of a national flying club, and are operated at least five miles away from an airport (or with permission from air traffic control). What the FAA argues in the statement {included in the article} is that if an aircraft does not meet all of those provisions, it already has the legal authority to regulate them as it would a normal plane.

The FAA is trying to assert that First Person View flight (FPV) of remote control planes is not permitted under its rules. So it would seem that the FAA considers quadricopters like the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 to be illegal when flown with the FreeFlight app that's available in the iOS App Store and Google Play. As far as I know, this is the main way to fly the Parrot AR.Drone, and it may be the only way to fly it.