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Saturday, January 04, 2003

So I had time today to fiddle with the x86 access point. My raw materials were:
[Micron ClientPro VXE] (64mb RAM, Pentium I MMX 166, PCI and ISA slots)
[Siemens SpeedStream 1023] PCI PCMCIA adapter
[enGenius 100mW 2011CD+] wireless card
3com 905b NIC
[cqure AP floppy]

I started by creating the cqureAP floppy in Win98 using the floppy image and [rawwrite for windows] which worked well. I had to modify the bios settings so the machine would boot off a floppy, which was a pain but didn't take long. With the PCI PCMCIA adapter inside with the enGenius card and the 3com NIC, I booted from the cqure floppy- and got nothing. It didn't recognize the 905b (for whatever reason, 3com drivers aren't usually part of a linux distribution), and saw the PCI PCMCIA adapter not as a PCMCIA bus, but as a network card on IRQ 11.
After much fiddling, with the machine booted into Win98, I did get the PCI PCMCIA adapter working with the enGenius card, but:
•Could not flash the enGenius card's ROM to version 1.4.9
•Win98 didn't see the PCI card as a PCMCIA bus, but as a network card.
Which was all pretty damn annoying. With Intersil's diagnostics I was able to put the card into HostAP mode with the 1.3.4 firmware, but the Powerbook could not see the SSID it was broadcasting. Interstil's utilities for this can be found [here]. It's supposed to include the "WinUpdate" firmware flash utility, but in fact doesn't. I found that the DLink driver package you can download from [here] is far more complete and does have the WinUpdate utility (as far as I have found, the 0.5.1 version is newest). Doing a google search for [prism firmware WinUpdate] will get you a lot of mailing list posts on this. Be sure to backup your old firmware first. I couldn't flash the card because it was telling the system that it was a Siemen's card because of something on the PCI card, and it didn't see the PCMCIA card itself, so the firmware updates for the Sendao/enGenius card wouldn't take on what it thought was a Siemens card.
So if I can get a PCI PCMCIA or ISA bridge that doesn't do something foolish like tell the system that it's a network card, it should work.

1/04/2003 09:15:48 PM ] [  ]


Friday, January 03, 2003

Paying to have your brain turned to tapioca
Well, today I finally up and did it. I ordered cable.
For 5 years or so, I've had MediaOne/ATT's internet service, which has always rocked. I even worked for them for a while. But I'm the guy that didn't have a TV for 3 years, and now even though I am being charged for Basic cable, I don't have a box, so I get...... TNN. And all of the Korean, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish channels. And yes, other than TNN's Star Trek:TNG marathons, that does suck. It's.... un-cable. Cable without the things you get cable for.

So since Chelle is something of a cable junkie, though she would never admit it ("Oh guess what's on! Wait... Dan is TBS cable?"), I finally up and ordered Digital Cable with a decent package, though the pricing here in LA is something above extortion. You'd think that I was having a hazmat team hand deliver polonium each month at this price (though granted, I'm paying about a 1/3 of it now for.... TNN). Thinking about it, for Sci-Fi, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, and Discovery, it's probably worth it to me. Maybe. Not like I watch a lot of TV. Chelle thinks it was a bad idea and I should cancel it, but she ain't the one who hasn't seen South Park in 3 or 4 years. I suppose if I think I can live without it in a few months I'll ditch it.

And Chelle wanted me home at 6.... it's now almost 5, shit. But I just popped 6 months of off and on hard work out of the CD burner here at work, and typing this via the EnGenius wireless card. Life is good.

1/03/2003 04:55:08 PM ] [  ]


Thursday, January 02, 2003

Just saw this: Google has a new like service called [Froogle]. Looks pretty cool, you can search inside results.... I'll have to see if they make an API available for this too. Could be pretty useful. [Google News] has been around for a few months now and is pretty cool, but I still get most of my news from the [Washington Post]

1/02/2003 11:25:33 PM ] [  ]


New Year's Eve was the two of us snuggled in a hotel room, two $1.50 mini bottles of cheap champagne in styrofoam cups, toasting without words, cause we didn't need any. It was just about.... perfect.

Wether the day is sunny or stormy, she's the one I want with me. And she wonders why I'm happy today.

The new EnGenius card I got from, the [2011CD], which isn't even a 100 or 200 mw card, gets a great signal. At work I plugged it in and immediately got an IP address from an AP that I hadn't even been able to sniff a few days before. Pretty cool. Now when I'm in pointless meetings I can get more work done (or [sniff what other people are doing]). Over the holidays I found two new sources of great antennas... and amplifiers... for 802.11 on ebay. Check em out:

[high-gain_antennas] has antennas and 200mW Sendao/EnGenius cards for sale, and had some Linksys antenna kits up a few days ago. I've been talking with him and he's had some good suggestions and comments on the various antennas.

[technolab] has more nice antennas (especially small Yagi directional antennas) amps, and kits for turbocharging Linksys access points.

Maybe I'll get a nice antenna soon... within a few days I might have the $20 Pentium system up as an AP sans antenna using the PCI->PCMCIA adapter card I got and [cqure AP]. Should be an OK interim solution until I can get the Sparc working with NetBSD.

And I have to admit, this teeny [USB GPS] receiver goes on my "i want" list. It works with pretty much any software and is self powered and the size of a quarter. It's one of those things you can do so much with. I mean this cheap, you could get two and have one on each side of your laptop, giving you a differential GPS capability. Something as small as this, you can easily sew it into the strap of your laptop/etc gear bag and plug it in when you need a position fix. There are already XML-RPC and SOAP services that let you do lookups based on GPS coordinates, you could write something in Java, AppleScript, Perl, etc. that finds you the closest gas station, open access point, etc. Tons of them are listed on []. It would be pretty easy for someone to write some pretty killer apps with this hardware and access to services like this.

1/02/2003 11:19:43 PM ] [  ]


Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Oddly enough, I'd only seen the South Park movie once, when it was in the theatres. Last night we just hung out with $20 in Rally's, an itty bitty champagne bottle, and South Park playing on the PowerBook.
Yup, that was pretty darn cool.
Chelle's friend John calling *constantly* was.... disturbing. From what I understand he has a girlfriend and stuff, and now he's calling and calling and Chelle's ignoring him, and he keeps calling.
Normal people don't do that. Well, not unless they're in love. Odd.

1/01/2003 10:59:39 AM ] [  ]