Where ya been?

Monday, October 7, 2002

They’re going to throw me out of the blogging club if I don’t get my act together. Problem is, Blog Goat, my entry editor, doesn’t work at home or at the office right now. Because of changes to configurations at both places, I can’t upload. And I’ve made other, incomplete changes to the source code, so it’s not simply a matter of fixing this problem and building a new release. That’s what I get for having no version control, I guess. And work’s been crazy lately, so there’s no time during the day to write. But enough excuses…

Last weekend was Upgrade Weekend. First, I added an 80 GB hard drive to our TiVo. It was incredibly easy. Hats off to the TiVo hacking community for all their work. The only snag came when I put everything back together the first time. TiVo started up, then gave me a server error. But, I knew immediately what it was. The How-To made it clear that I needed to have the jumper settings of the original drive set to Master and the new drive set to Slave. When I opened it up, though, the original drive was set to Cable Select, so I assumed I could leave it at that and set the new drive the same way. Boy, was I wrong. :-) I opened it back up, changed the jumpers, and — voila! — An 118 hour TiVo. And happiness prevails throughout the land.

Then I had to get our network setup for the cable modem. I originally thought, since the cable comes in downstairs and the computers are upstairs, that I would use a wireless AP router. Then I would use the APs I already have (set in client mode) to connect to the router. Nope, doesn’t work — not even if the router and the APs are all the same brand. Which doesn’t make since to me. If you’re going to put an AP in a router, why not make it compatible with APs in client mode? You’ve built that functionality in your APs already, why cripple the AP that’s a part of the router?

At the same time I was trying to figure out this wireless thing, I was wondering about the coax cable running from the ceiling in the sun room. I use to think that went to the cable box outside, but now I knew that wasn’t true. So I followed the cable into the attic. Surprise — it connects to a roof antenna sitting inside the attic. That’s right, all this time I’d been playing with bunny ears on my TV, I could have been getting decent reception. Oh, well…

I noticed something else while I was up there. The sun room attic gave easy access to the walls leading into the spare bedroom and the computer room. I could split the cable signal already coming into the sun room and run a line through the ceiling into the computer room closet. So that’s what I did. I put the cable modem in the closet, connected a simple router to that, and connected all the upstairs computers to the router. I also connected the wireless AP I already had to the router, allowing Audrey (with her own AP set in client mode) to connect from downstairs. And happiness prevails throughout the land.

That was a week ago, and everything seems to work fine. We learned something interesting this weekend, though. Angela was making apple butter (using apples from our tree) in the crock pot. She was having trouble pulling up the recipe on Audrey, which sits on the kitchen counter. I played with the settings for hours, but couldn’t get Audrey to connect to the network… until we unplugged the crock pot. Apparently that thing puts out some heavy interference that disrupts wi-fi signals. Funny, that wasn’t mentioned in the crock pot manual. Audrey and the crock pot are much happier now that they are at opposite sides of the kitchen. :-)