Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Grand Rapids, Geek Capital...

Wow.. it's still weird to see Grand Rapids mentioned anywhere outside of.. well.. Grand Rapids. Gives me an excuse to take Patty's newly repaired laptop downtown (Go Dell!)

Wi-Fi Networking News:

Grand Rapids, Michigan: The city of many bridges launches its wireless network test today involving 10 companies each running a live demonstration network across part of the city.


Sunday, May 22, 2005

Life without windows (Will it really suck?)

While I am ashamed to admit it, ever since we put the wireless card in Patty's laptop, I find myself using her windows-xp laptop more than I do my linux or mac desktops. Yeah, it feels dirty.. but I'm just too damn lazy to go all the way downstairs just to browse the web. Also, our couches are really comfortable.

Well, I think I just got my impetus to make that walk downstairs: the laptop is going in for repair due to stress fractures on the casing and the inability for the AC power cord to remain consistently connected. I guess I'll see if I can make it through these next few days without the trusty windows box.

I just shuddered...

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Unfinished Jobs (or: How not to iPod your Mercury)

Several months ago I purchased a wired FM modulator so that I'd be able to listen to my iPod in the car like all the cool kids with the white headphones. I finally got around to breaking my car hooking it up this weekend. After a little mix-up purchasing antenna adapters (who knew that my Ford/Mercury factory radio used Volkswagen/Audi antenna ports instead of Ford antenna ports? Silly Ford of Europe), I spliced the 12VDC lines from the cigarette lighter and had CCR pumping through the Cougar's speakers. Sweet. So, being the lazy geek, I had everything working, why try to clean it up? At this point I had:
  • a non-functioning cigarette lighter

  • console panels only partially reattached

  • a bunch of wires running out of the console to the passenger-side footwell

  • the fm modulator sitting in the footwell and power switch jammed between the seat and the cupholder

  • It was nice listening to something different on the drive to work today. Even though I do enjoy Splinter from The Offspring, it got a little old after listening to it for about the last 8 months. What? I already said I was lazy.

    Then this afternoon after work I settled into the driver's seat for a nice round of music on the trip home. Unfortunately, the modulator no longer worked. I know electronics have become disposable, but wasn't 16 hours a bit fleeting? I then realized that in the rat's nest of wires in the passenger footwell, 2 cables that were touching were the spliced 12VDC and ground cables going to the modulator. Oops. Looks like someone's gotta go grab an automobile fuse... and possibly some electrical tape to seal stuff up. Maybe this'll be an impetus to actually finish the job.


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    Saturday, May 14, 2005

    How To Configure WDS on the Linksys WRT54G (updated)

    Awhile ago I purchased this Linksys WRT54G wireless-g router. I got it to replace a Netgear wireless-b router that didn't play real well with the Proxim card in Patty's laptop. This Linksys router is a great little box. Recently, I gave my neighbor's iBook access to my network (I'm sorry, dialup just makes me puke). He got hooked on high-speed internet access, even if it was only available on one side of his house. Eventually he wanted to get his iMac and Tivo on the network, too. The obvious option would have been to purchase wireless devices for both boxes. Unfortunately the placement of these devices was not conducive to communicating with my little WRT. So we decided to have a little geeky fun. He purchased a WRT of his own and we got to work. First step we took was to flash a third-party firmware on both WRT's. We chose HyperWRT since it stays very close to the original Linksys codebase (read: stable operation) and opens up *just* enough of the hidden feature-set of the Linksys firmware to make it useful for us. In our situation, we wanted to explore WDS (Wireless Distribution System). In layman's terms, this would allow our two WRT's to form a huge wireless cloud around both of our houses that appeared to be one Access Point to any of our clients (laptops, tivos, etc.). So any device connected by wire or wirelessly to the WRT in his house would send packets through his WRT which would then forward them over a wireless connection to my WRT and eventually to my Linux router out to the big, bad internet. This extended the wireless cloud of the network and allowed him to connect his iMac and Tivo with regular ethernet, ensuring a cheaper more reliable network connection. Here's an awesome guide on using HyperWRT+WDS:

    HowTo: Configure HyperWRT 2.1b1 with WDS - LinksysOnline.com

    One caveat: If you use HyperWRT for WDS, you have to stick with WEP encryption. Others have reported very spotty connections trying to use the more robust WPA/WDS combination with HyperWRT. If you're set on using WPA, you might want to look into Sveasoft's Alchemy firmware for the WRT. I've heard dubious reports on the stability of the Alchemy firmware, though, so YMMV.

    UPDATE: The LinksysOnline.com link is dead (Thanks, A!). Here's a link to the content of that page via the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.

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    Thursday, May 05, 2005

    Go Hit Yourself With a Knowledge Stick

    I was all psyched about having Patty blog here, too, but she worried that she would dilute my content with a lot of pregnancy posts.

    I have content?

    Oh well, take a gander at her blog, Livin' in vivo Loca. It talks about all of her experiences as a Genetics Geek "enjoying" a first pregnancy. Hey, it's worth it just to hear the discussion about an "anteverted uterus."