zen.org Communal Weblog

October 19, 2004

Problems with absentee ballots.

Filed under: — brendan @ 16:36 GMT

We’re hoping our ballots, which were in decent shape, actually make it back and get counted. They were pretty simple, really. Unlike the experiences of some folks.

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Constructive criticism

Filed under: — brendan @ 14:50 GMT

A good friend, when pointed at my new blog, responded with, ”I mean this in the nicest way possible, but you are SUCH a nerd boy!” I’m gambling that my love of my wife, son, and even of lots of different kinds of wine all help me wear a mask hiding this fact. Such a label is one earned through effort, anyway. Kinda like not staring too long at the cool plasma screen in the Sony shop up the road or they’ll call security. No, it wouldn’t really work in our livingroom anyway, but why spend so much time focusing on reality? Besides, there’s a Panasonic plasma TV that’s even cooler. (Insert daemonic laugh here.)

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OED Online Word of the Day

Filed under: — brendan @ 10:46 GMT

When I was in college, I took a cool course about the etymology of words. It touched a great interest I had, and has resulted in me having all sorts of books about word history, the origin of words and phrases, you name it.

You can sign up to receive a daily Word of the Day from the Oxford English Dictionary. (Check out The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester to learn about the history of the dictionary; I got it as a great birthday present and really enjoyed it.) Each morning (relative to your timezone) you’ll get a new word with its complete OED entry, including pronunciation, etymology, definition, and the variety of specific texts that used the word over the last 500+ years. They’re amazing, ranging from swelling to the more recent addition of D’oh.

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Bridging the gap

Filed under: — brendan @ 09:26 GMT

Tucked away next to the PVR box (nay, tv-box) is a nice tiny Linksys WET54G wireless bridge. It’s a device that lets anything become part of a wireless network without requiring you to have a wireless card or other antenna. A random PC can become a wireless PC just by plugging it into the bridge, as long as the PC has an Ethernet port. (A lot of motherboards now include at least one Ethernet port by default, as do most laptops.) The bridge talks through the air to the rest of our network, and a tiny Ethernet cable goes from the bridge into the tv-box. My 7-meter Ethernet cable gets to be put away and restore a little order to our livingroom.

There are minor steps companies like Linksys could take to make their products so much more friendly to non-Windows systems. They seem to assume that most customers are putting the bridge onto a Windows network, with a Windows PC. Gah. So I had to search Google to find the bridge’s default address (192.168.1.226) to configure it. I presume the CD that comes with it has it mentioned in the docs somewhere, but it’s still silly that they don’t make some note of it somewhere on the single-sheet install doc in the box. (I just remembered that .226 was the same default address for the similar WET11 bridge over in the states. A silly number to think I’d remember.) The default password of ‘admin’ could also be included with the install instructions…

Details: Plug it into my laptop, set the laptop’s address to a 192.168.1.* subnet address, point the browser at the bridge, and go through the steps. Pick a name for it (dora, since that’s who P was insisting he wanted to see on TV at the moment), first enable WEP, make it use a 128-bit key and hit Apply to have it actually accept a longer hex key, give it the key, and let the bridge restart. Then change its address and gateway, Apply, again it restarts. Change my laptop back to its correct subnet, again point the browser at the bridge using the new address. Meanwhile go onto our DHCP server, make the bridge get assigned its own specific address, and also add the name and address to our local nameserver. Now tell the bridge to use DHCP to get its address, and again restart. Yeesh. Unplug everything, put it down next to the tv-box, plug the Ethernet cable into the tv-box, and let everything start again. Laptop can ping both Dora The Bridge and the tv-box. Whew.

Next time I can work on this, I should be able to configure channels without worrying about plugging the tv-box into the network. That’s really the big task coming up: selecting “Watch TV” from the MythTV interface and making it actually show a channel. Don’t care what. 🙂

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