Web Excursions 2021-07-23

A long-term review of Starlinks with interesting details; how discussions on chess got red-flagged by YouTube (and HNers’ attempts to dub such phenomenon; spoiler: they seem settled on “Malgorithms.”


SpaceX's Starlink Review - Four months in

  • Each Dishy is tied to a service address, and if you go more than few miles away, you might not get a connection.

  • the router runs on Qualcomm's IPQ4018 System on a Chip, which is another 4-core ARM CPU,

  • it was fun to see an ASCII-art version of SpaceX's logo when I tried logging in over SSH.

  • It even had this fun little quote as the banner

According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a wifi router should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The router, of course, flies anyway because routers don't care what humans think is impossible

    • [By going] one hop further and tr[y] to access what's presumably the Starlink base station [the user can get a] lovely rendition of the Nyan Cat

  • The dish plus the router consumes almost 100W of power, all day long.

    • Compare that to the 5-10 Watts my cable modem and ASUS router consume

    • 2.4 kWh of daily power consumption means running Starlink 24x7 would cost around $10 a month, on average, in the USA.

  • You can't get a static IPv4 address, if that's something you care about, since Starlink uses CGNAT

    • Carrier-grade NAT - Wikipedia: CGN or CGNAT, also known as large-scale NAT (LSN), is type of Network address translation (NAT) for use in IPv4 network design.

      • With CGNAT, end sites,

        • in particular residential networks,

        • are configured with private network addresses

          • that are translated to public IPv4 addresses

          • by middlebox network address translator devices

            • embedded in the network operator's network,

        • permitting the sharing of small pools of public addresses among many end sites.

      • This shifts the NAT function and configuration thereof

        • from the customer premises

        • to the Internet service provider network

        • (though "conventional" NAT on the customer premises will often be used additionally).

      • Carrier-grade NAT is often used for mitigating IPv4 address exhaustion.

  • On average, over the past few months, I've gotten about 150 Mbps down, and 20 Mbps up, with 40 ms of latency.

  • Right now, the basic Starlink kit is $500, and the service costs $99 a month.

    • Most people will need another $100-200 worth of mounting gear,

    • and if you want it professionally installed, expect to pay a few hundred more


Why a YouTube Chat About Chess Got Flagged for Hate Speech

  • WIRED fed some of the comments gathered by the CMU researchers into two hate-speech classifiers—

    • one from Jigsaw, an Alphabet subsidiary focused on tackling misinformation and toxic content, and

    • another from Facebook.

  • “At 1:43, if white king simply moves to G1, it's the end of black's attack and white is only down a knight, right?”

    • 90 percent likely not hate speech.

  • “White’s attack on black is brutal. White is stomping all over black’s defenses. The black king is gonna fall … ”

    • more than 60 percent likely to be hate speech.

HN Comments

  • We need a word or phrase for this phenomenon, where we attempt to substitute human pattern recognition with algorithms that just aren't up to the job. Maybe there's a ten syllable German word that expresses it perfectly?

    • mellosouls: Not quite the same situation, but "Malgorithms" is used by Private Eye (British satirical/political magazine) to highlight adverts auto-generated inappropriately to accompany articles on news etc websites.