Maceio – took some days off

Posted by – 09/03/2009

I finally took some days off. Those are most needed, since I spent carnival on call at the hospital (argh!)… So Brenda and I decided to spend those days at Maceio, capital of Alagoas state, and a very anticipated vacation. They have a lot of sun and beautiful beaches, enough to fill our week (and get some tan also).

This picture was taken at “Praia do Gunga” (Gunga’s Beach), a charming place with a calm shore, almost like a pool, protected by natural reefs. As you can see, I am having a bad time right now 🙂

Food is excellent, so are the people. But there are some inconveniences (as always). Beaches around downtown are not proper for bathing… They’re fighting a long fight against pollution (and loosing, if you ask me)… Also, Alagoas is a poor state… Our guide said alphabetization covers less than 70% of the people…

Also, network connection is expensive in hotels. Ours charges BRL 1,00 every 5 minutes! And the speed is not the best. They have one of those systems requiring a web authentication before you go. I’ve seem people complaining about this kind of system in Planet Debian before (reference please!) and suggesting Tunneling over DNS as a “fix”. I’ve noticed it would work in our hotel, but I decided to try another approach I’ve already written about: just a quick tunnel over an ssh connection.

I know I told you I needed an authentication before, but that is for the first connection! Yes, once the connection is established, I could just log out (thus stop the charging). No new connections could be made, but the tunnel was already up, so just put everything through the tunnel and I should be fine right? Wrong. I got bitten by a drawback of the technique already pointed in a comment when I first wrote about it: in an error-prone network, TCP-in-TCP slowly dies of attempting to correct itself over and over… and I was using a poorly connected wi-fi (loosing almost 30% of the packets!).

So, I was left with the set-up of a not foreseen tunnel using DNS as the only option… This would take time (and money)… So I decided for a simpler approach: SOCKS proxy. Yes, everything I would do could be done through a SOCKS! So a simple:

bash$ ssh -D 8888 my.remote.location

was all that I needed. That and setting my Firefox to use a SOCKS proxy on localhost:8888 and all went fine. I paid to set-up the tunnel then, once established, I logged out and kept using my tunnel all this time. Simple and effective, and I got some time left to blog about it. 🙂

4 Comments on Maceio – took some days off

  1. spectra says:

    @Rodrigo,

    First of all, Internet connection is almost free for everybody. Charging that much for a crappy Internet connection is an absurd. Also, by what they charge for a room, Internet should be included and have a much better quality.

    Second: if there’s a network, there’s a way. In this sense, I was perfectly legally using their network! They allowed me to make the first connection, in the first place, and, once I logged out, they allowed my connection to stay up. What can I do? 🙂

    Lastly, I don’t know what you’re talking about… Piracy? Come on… this is just a label media came up with… You should know better.

  2. Felipe Mobus says:

    @rodrigo,

    While circumventing the hotel’s billing system is morally and legally a gray area, abusive prices on non-scarce goods/resources is just like abusive taxes: people will evade, regardless of their origin. R$ 1,00 for 5 minutes is outrageous, to the point of being counter-productive, for only people throwing money out the window would be willing to access the Internet at such rates. Given the current economic conditions, I’d bet most wouldn’t – they would just walk across the street, and pay R$ 1,00 per HOUR at the nearest Lan House.

    Also, it makes no-sense from a customer relationship standpoint, given that most other hotels do not charge a dime when they offer wi-fi. In fact, the added public you’d gather by offering free wi-fi easily compensates your costs. That’s the rationale behind free wi-fi at Coffee Shops and the like, and it also works for longer-stay places, such as hotels.

  3. pundit says:

    qualquer semelhanca com hak5-504 nao e mera coincidencia. 🙂

  4. Rodrigo says:

    Shame on us, brazilians… You know you should not do what you did. Even worst is to write about it and trying to show others you are smart enough to use almost free Internet. You can pay for taking vacations to Maceió, but can’t pay R$1 per 5 minutes… You should enjoy your trip instead of taking your time being “smart” and telling others what you’re doing, incentivating them and telling the world that we brazilians don’t care about piracy, being it Windows, Free Internet, MS Office, or whatelse… Very sad 🙁

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