Can I just say right now how much I hate…

…the Airport Utility (AU) that comes with the Airport Express (AE) base station.

First annoyance is that the damn AE reboots every damn time you change the slightest little parameter. You want to add a new printer? Reboot. Add Windows networking to the shared disk drives? Reboot.

Second annoyance is that the router has to have the .1 address. Too bad I was using for my Linux box, and for the router before. So I had to renumber every reference to my Linux box everywhere on the LAN.

So I got around that crap. The shared printers and disk were working great. But then Vicki noticed that the TiVos weren’t connecting to the network any more. Oh yeah, new SSID. I guess I’d better reconfigure them. That’s when the real fun began.

Real fun number 1: TiVo wouldn’t connect to the new network, because the new network uses WPA instead of WEP. Ok, fine, I thought, I’d convert the AE to WEP.

Real fun number 2: AU will only accept WEP passwords as 13 alphanumeric characters. The usual Apple way of entering a hex string WEP password, by putting a $ at the front, doesn’t work.

Real fun number 3: After rebooting, the Airport Utility says the AE is using WEP, but everything that attempts to connect to it (my laptop and the Tivo) says that it’s still using WPA.

Real fun number 4: Every couple of reboots, the AU says it can’t connect to the AE, and you have to exit it and re-enter.

Real fun number 5: I tried turning off the security entirely. After yet another reboot, the AE refuses to come back up. I power cycled it, and it has a continuously flashing yellow light on the front, which normally indicates an error of some sort. AU confirms that the “error” is the lack of security. That’s fucking annoying.

Real fun number 6: With security turned off, the TiVo says that it can’t find a DHCP server. Since it had no trouble finding the DHCP server before, I assume that’s the AE’s fault.

At this point, I said “fuck it, this sucks”, and switched off the AE and put the Linksys back. The AE is going to go off to the Genius Bar to see if there is some secret way to get it to do WEP as well as a router that costs 1/5th as much does.

If that doesn’t work, I have a plan B: put the AE in pass through mode, and put it, the printers and the disk in the library. That might even improve the reception in the kitchen.

And so it begins…

I’ve started ordering the parts to build my new computer. So far, after a long struggle with Newegg’s refusal to accept either Paypal or the credit card they have on file for me, I’ve ordered the following:

  • 2 Maxtor Diamond 500Gb 15Mb Cache SATA-II drives
  • A Rosewill R5604-TBK mid-tower case with lots and lots of drive bays
  • A Cooler Master eXtreme RP-500-PCAR 500W power supply

Next step is to buy a motherboard/cpu/memory bundle from JNCS. I’ve bought at least three bundles from them in the past, and it’s one way to make sure the components all work together. They’ve got one bundle that I’m leaning towards right now – it has an Intel Core 2 Duo, and 6 SATA II ports on the motherboard. It also has built in video and audio as well as a PCI-E slot, which means I can save some money and then upgrade the video if I need to.

The death of professional bike racing, or the rebirth?

The 2007 Tour de France is over, and what a strange and exciting one it’s been. There are those out there who want to stress the negative – both the overwhelming pre-race favourite Vinokourov and the guy who probably would have won it kicked out of the race. But to me there is much to be positive about.
Continue reading “The death of professional bike racing, or the rebirth?”

New glasses

I got new glasses on Tuesday. I had reading glasses before, but I hardly ever wore them because until recently I didn’t need them unless the light wasn’t very bright. There were only two times I really felt the need – when I was reading in bed, and when I was trying to plug something into the back of a computer. Plus they gave me horrible eye strain if I looked through them at distant things. My eye doctor recommended that I get those no-line multi-focus lenses, because then I could keep them on all the time and they’d be there when I needed them, plus there would be one part of the lens that was good for up close stuff and another part that would be good for computer screens.

Ok, two days on, here are my impressions:

  1. They do fulfil the promise of something I could keep on all the time, so they’re handy when I need them.
  2. There are some things that don’t fit the multi-focal glasses paradigm of “close things are down low, far things are up high” – the one I notice most is the wing mirror on my car.
  3. I’ve got to learn to ignore them, because I think I stare when I’m looking through them. A few hours and my eyes get really dry.

Also, I was walking into work yesterday and I thought something was wrong with my iPod – there was a large dark area on the screen. A little while later, sitting at my desk I looked and was releived to see it was no longer there. And then l saw it again on the way out to the parking lot. That’s when I realized that the clip-on sunglasses that came with the glasses are polarized. D’oh!