Mesh network completed

I’ve finally finished the WRT54G-based WDS mesh network that I’ll be using as the house VoIP backbone. This also lets me avoid ever having to run Cat5 anywhere in the house; if I need non-wireless access somewhere, I just add another WRT54G.

I’ve got four nodes right now (a v2.0, 2.2, 3.0, and 3.1); I think that provides more than adequate wireless coverage for the entire house (and for a 2-3 house radius in all directions).

The computer room node has two wired clients (my iMac and Amy’s PC), and the music room node has the Mac mini, my Windows PC, and the Dell Linux machine (fileserver and backups). The bedroom node will provide Ethernet for the TiVo and VoIP phone. Kitchen/den node will just provide IP for the VoIP phone for now.

I’ll eventually replace everything but the main (computer room) node with Linksys WTR54G “Travel Routers”, as they’re tiny and less obtrusive than a normal WRT54G. They’re very similar to Apple’s Airport Express unit, just $40 cheaper (and they’ll run the Sveasoft Talisman firmware, like my current boxes).

CompUSA Insanity

I headed to CompUSA this afternoon to pick up another Linksys WRT54G wireless router, so I can finish setting up the network in the house in preparation for moving all of our inside phones to VoIP later next month. As I pulled up to park, I noticed a line of about 30 people in front of the store.

“What’s the line for?” I asked the last guy. “Fifty dollar XBoxes” he said.

Wow, not even a $50 XBox is worth having to stand in 95F heat in July in Texas. I went on inside and did my shopping. As I was looking around, they called out three times on the PA, “We have three vouchers for the fifty dollar XBoxes left, if you want one, come to Customer Service.” I guess it wasn’t worth standing in the heat after all…

More OpenSolaris goodness

I’ve gotten the last two OpenSolaris source releases (20050701 and 20050720) to build without a problem on my Ultra 60. Build time went from 4:00 (initial OS release, building on top of Solaris Express) to almost 6:30 (building OS on top of itself, in debug mode) but I had no problems. Looks like they’ve updated the BFU install process to automatically run acr to resolve conflicts.


Sun Microsystems Inc.   SunOS 5.11      mrbill  Jul. 27, 2005
SunOS Internal Development:  root 2005-07-27 [mrbill]
bfu'ed from /opensolaris/mrbill/archives/sparc/nightly on 2005-07-28
Sun Microsystems Inc.   SunOS 5.11      snv_16  October 2007

Misguided cops and Pringles cans

Wow, I didn’t know that owning a Cantenna is illegal. </sarcasm>

When police searched his home, they found aluminum-lined, cylindrical potato-chip containers that some hackers use as crude antennas to help them intercept wireless signals.

Known as “cantennas,” they consist of a Pringles can and some hardware worth $5 to $10 but can be used to amplify a wireless signal several miles away.

“They’re unsophisticated but reliable, and it’s illegal to possess them,” said Lozito of the Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force.

I wonder which has the best signal – sour cream & onion or mesquite barbecue?

wireless networking revisited

Tonight I replaced my year-old Linksys WRT54Gv2 with a brand-new WRT54Gv3, running the Sveasoft Talisman 1.0.5 replacement firmware.

I’ve also got a WRT54Gv2.2 in the music room, bridging the systems in there (Mac mini, AMD Windows machine, Dell SC420 running Linux) to the rest of the network.

With the prior v2 ’54G, I never got more than 1 megabyte/sec transfer rate between the routers. When I upgraded to the v3, that has now jumped to a rock-solid 2.2 megabytes/sec (tested with a 200M file).

I’ll probably make the old v2 unit another wireless bridge in the bedroom, for when I finally get the DirecTiVo in there connected to the network so I can dump shows to the Mac here in the computer room.

It just amazes me

that a $250 TV from Samsung, of all companies, doesn’t come with connection/AV cables of any kind.

This is a really nice unit, though. One good thing about HDTV getting cheaper and cheaper is that SD sets that would have cost $500 or more two or three years ago are now half that price. This TV that we got to replace the 14″ set in the bedroom is nicer than the main television we had five years ago.

I miss the 51″ rear-projection HDTV we had in Austin, but it would have been hell to move and there’s no real place to put it in this house anyway.

More Adventures in Home Ownership

I had to come home from work yesterday when Amy called and said “we have a roof leak.”

Got home, and saw this. Water damage to some of the old paneling on the outside wall, but no problems at all to the ceiling, which was very baffling. We figured that we had a roof leak.

Called the insurance company, and the adjuster came out today. He got up on the roof, and gave it a clean bill of health. They can’t do anything (as water damage without distinct roof damage isn’t covered), but he’s going to call a contractor for us to get an estimate to get the paneling spot-fixed.

We finally figured out what the problem was – leaf buildup on the root caused standing water, which slowly dripped/soaked down through a specific spot on the roof, onto a stud, and onto the wall you see in the pictures.

The solution was fairly easy – we went to Lowes, and bought a folding/telescoping ladder and a push broom. Amy spent about a half hour up on the roof sweeping off leaves (quite a lot of them), almost giving herself heatstroke in the process.

I guess we’ll find out if this was the cause/solution when we get rain from hurricanes in the Gulf in the next few days.