unexpected network issues and hubris
So what exactly happened Tuesday night? Why was there no live stream? Why wasn't the game at least available on WMFO? All good questions. Here's what happened:
First of all, here's a simplified explanation of the way the past audio streams have worked: we have a laptop that we connect to the Tufts intranet (by connecting a network jack in Cousens into a PCMCIA network card in the laptop) or the internet if we're outside the Tufts intranet (by dialing in to an ISP with the laptop's internal modem). Then we take the audio signal we create, and send it through the computer and over the internet/intranet to the Tufts RealServer. Simple. :-)
Now, here was the plan to stream both video and audio on Tuesday night:
Now, here's what actually happened:
- We would take a higher-powered PC (the laptop's CPU and memory wouldn't have been enough to encode video in real-time) and monitor to Williamstown, where we would have a network connection;
- The laptop would go to WMFO, where it would be used as a client, to pull the live audio stream down and rebroadcast it over WMFO;
- Everything would work, and we would do a self-satisfied little dance.
So, chastened and chagrined, I recorded the second half to the hard drive, and it's on the archive page. Live and learn, or so they say. Or, in my case, maybe just live.
- The internet connection at Williams was working, but, having not specifically arranged for anything else in advance, we were (come to find out later) given a "limited-use" IP address. (It basically behaved as though we were behind a firewall.) Oops. This meant that we couldn't normally stream audio, video anything to the Tufts RealServer. We tried to adjust some settings, and quickly figure a way around this, but it became crisply clear that this was not going anywhere.
- Plan B would have been to use the phone line in the Williams gym to dial in to an ISP, and through that connection (which would be outside the Williams intranet, and therefore, not subject to the above restrictions), stream audio (we wouldn't have had enough of a high-speed connection to do video, too) to the Tufts RealServer, from which point WMFO could have picked it up. The problem was that my new, higher-powered PC did not have a modem. No modem, no dialing in. (And, of course, I had a 56Kbps modem sitting in a box at home.)
- Plan C would have been to dial in to WMFO, using the remote broadcast equipment we've been using to initiate broadcasts for 12 years, and broadcast only over WMFO that way. However, in a fit of hubris (Merriam-Webster: "exaggerated pride or self-confidence"), I left the unit at home, thinking, 'I'll never need that.'
- Before, when all else has failed, I have always whipped out the trusty cell phone and called WMFO, and broadcast using the cell phone. Well, guess what? Yep. "No service."
- (There was, actually, if you can believe it, a Plan E, and thanks to Aaron for trying to walk me during the first half through setting up a Shoutcast server. We had all the pieces, but I believe it failed for the same "limited-use IP" reason I described above.)
This page last updated Thursday, February 21, 2002.
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