Moar IPv6!

So not long ago, I switched internet providers. IPv6 is something I had been using for a while, but my ISP was not providing me with this service. I was using a tunnel provider in order to get that connectivity. It worked well, but since the speeds that ISP was offering were much less (1/5 of the speed I could get from another provider), I switched providers. My new provider actually provides native IPv6 connectivity as well, so I get two big benefits out of this change!

But IPv6 is a two-way street. As a user, I need to have it available (which I do). But the services that I use and sites that I visit need to have it as well. A few major sites have been actively supporting this – Google (and all of the sites they own) and Facebook, being those major players. However, a cable TV network known for being on the cutting edge of technology in its coverage of sports is an unlikely sight in the migration to this new version of the internet protocol.

While enjoying a sporting event through their online viewing system, I also happened to check my router. I was surprised to see a very high speed connection running in IPv6. It’s now very clear to me that this network is providing their live content in IPv6, though their ads still seem to be coming from IPv4 servers.

The cable TV network that I’m talking about is ESPN, with their WatchESPN apps on various platforms. I’ve tried it on both my Apple TV and XBox One, and both use the IPv6 connectivity to stream the live event.

As an early adopter, I’m very happy to see that ESPN (and possibly, by extension, ABC and Disney, though I’ve not confirmed that either of them is using IPv6 yet) has become one of the first major streaming content providers to adopt the new version of IP, and hope that others join soon!

While I’m on the soapbox about IPv6, I’ll mention that almost 4.5% of the worldwide internet traffic to Google sites and services is over IPv6. They’ve had two consecutive weekends reaching 4.4%! Google started this year with about 2.8% of its traffic being over IPv6. Also, according to Cisco, 44 of the top 500 websites in the US (according to Alexa) are currently IPv6-enabled. At the beginning of the year, it was only 28 sites.

IPv6 FTW!

For the geeks of the world, I am happy to announce that my site is now accessible via IPv6. I’ve been waiting for my VPS provider to give me the luxury of having a 128-bit IP address for my server for over a year now (I’ve been using IPv6 at home for the past year and a half). And finally, they announced a new data center choice in the US that is IPv6-capable! And I rejoiced, then immediately made a snapshot of my server and moved it to that location. So here’s to you, if you’re browsing my site using IPv6! I don’t have any plans to do any cool stuff for the small portion of the world that is using IPv6 with me… but maybe that will change at some point.

I’m still experimenting with IPv6 at home. I enjoy the control that using my IPv6 tunnel offers, but I’m not as much of a fan of the fact that it’s still using IPv4 to reach the provider. In contrast, going with my ISP’s IPv6 implementation requires that I relinquish some control over IP addressing for devices on my own network, but gives me a completely native process that doesn’t rely on a third party. But regardless of the connectivity method, my home network is nearly 100% IPv6-capable.

Done with Google Reader

As a long-time user of Google Reader, I was very unhappy when the announcement came down that Google would be discontinuing the service later this year. I’ve faithfully used Google Reader to keep up on news and sports headlines, and various blogs of interest to me for years, for a number of reasons. The biggest was that it was always available wherever I was. I just needed a web browser on a PC, or I could use any number of Android or iOS apps that synchronized with it. And if I read an article in one place, it would be marked as read everywhere else, unlike using a regular RSS reader program/app on multiple devices.

So rather than fall into this trap again by looking for another internet service to provide the same capabilities only to have it disappear months or years later, I’ve instead opted to roll my own solution. A piece of software called Tiny Tiny RSS is a web-based RSS reader. Set it up on your dedicated computer, or if possible (though not supported) your web hosting service, set up a database for it to save everything to, and voila! You now have your own equivalent to Google Reader.

An official Android app is available, along with a handful of third-party ones. iOS only has third-party apps to work with it.

Tiny Tiny RSS can be downloaded from the project website at www.tt-rss.org. Thanks to LifeHacker for pointing out this application, as well as other various online services that could act as replacements for Google Reader.