Internet over copper sucks

I am subscribed to the fastest available ADSL 2+ (24Mbps) connection here in Sydney, and my connection at three different houses I’ve lived in has always been unreliable.  Currently where I’m living, the connection actually goes down whenever it starts raining!  😕  It also frequently goes down just at random, when it’s not raining.  P2P seems to worsen the situation (not surprisingly), but usenet is superior anyway, so that’s not a problem anymore.  Granted, I am pretty far from the exchange (~4km), hopefully copper will be replaced with optic fibre in the next decade.

So a while back I wrote a small utility that shows an icon in the system tray reflecting whether you can contact (via ping) a remote host (google, or your ISP’s DNS server, for example).

Online icon: lookalive-up

Offline icon: lookalive-down

Clicking the icon shows your the history of ping times:

Look Alive

It can be run on startup, passing the name or IP of the remote host as an argument.  For example:


You can also specify the period (in seconds) between pings (default is 1 second), so to ping every 5 seconds:

"lookalive.exe 5"

If you have multiple hosts you wish to ping, you can run the application multiple times and a spearate icon in the system tray is displayed for each host. To distinguish between them, you can pass a colour:

"lookalive.exe 5 blue"

Additional arguments allow calling of an external application and/or showing a balloon notification whenever the state changes and customisation of the system tray icon.

Download the utility for free as an installer or as a standalone EXE.

4 thoughts on “Internet over copper sucks

  1. Alex says:

    Would be great if command line options could
    (i) specify background colour (so, could issue multiple of these for different target host, distinguishable by colour); (ii) include the period (seconds) between pings instead of fixed 1 second.

  2. Blomski says:

    24 Mbps, poor thing!!
    I live in The Netherlands and I got 120 Mbps down over copper and 10 Mbps up. Cable TV actually.
    But than again, the infrastructure here is really good.
    And it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or not……

    • Damn there are so many good things about living in Holland, I swear I will move over there one day 🙂 Yes you are right, it’s the quality (and distance) of the copper that matters. I just lucked out in three different houses in a row.

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