Internet for the marginally online

October 20, 2015 — December 29, 2023

computers are awful
computers are awful together
Figure 1

You don’t live in San Francisco? Do you live somewhere with poor technological infrastructure, due to war, poverty or suspect infrastructure spending (e.g Australia,) and hence awful internet? Don’t worry, these and other deficiencies of the differently bandwidthed can be managed.


1 Tools

  • mosh (“mobile shell”) is a remote shell for intermittent connections.
  • the network stack of Wechat is reputed to be robust to network shenanigans: mars, .
  • Prefer file-sync over uploading

2 Downloading big files if you must

2.1 CLI

This was my repeated-timeout download command:

function wget_non_california () { until wget -c --timeout=10 $*; do sleep 10; done }

ChatGPT recommends the following wget options to robustly download:

wget --load-cookies=/path/to/cookies.txt --continue --timeout=30 --tries=0

That --load-cookies bit assumes that we want to download things using a browser session. For that we would need browser extension cookies.txt

2.2 Downthemall

  • DownThemAll! has a more robust download system, and supports Firefox, Chrome and Edge

3 macOS with bad internet

Switching wifi off and on again helps. (detailed version.)

Turn wifi on or off from the macOS terminal command line:

networksetup -setairportpower en0 off
networksetup -setairportpower en0 on

3.1 Flaky finder

I don’t know why this happens, but this is one of the many nasty side-effects of unreliable network connections is Finder flaking out. If your nasty ISP drops enough packets there are a whole bunch of ways that your Mac computer will DOS itself into the ground, because low bandwidth is a state alien to Apple engineers.

Here are some potential workarounds:

Look for misbehaving processes and corrupt wassamajiggies.

Or tell Finder to stop obsessing about fancy network drives that won’t work anyway:

sudo vi /etc/auto_master

In this file comment out /net. Now,

sudo automount -vc