Thursday, March 29, 2007


So, they got a new Dell Inspiring (Windows Vista)1 and a Netgear WNR834B at the office. I'm to downgrade to XP, and set up the new Netgear router.

My expectations:
* Downgrading can be a pain. Vista prevents such things somehow. Like, the XP CD has a forward-compatible check for newer versions of Windows or something. So I brought a Knapp Live CD in order to wipe the hard disk if necessary.
* Installing a router is trivial: you just plug it in, and then do some configuring if you want encryption.

Turns out they forgot to provide an XP CD, so all I have to do today is install the router. I don't mind. I wanted to do that before downgrading to XP, anyway. This way I go home early. (Wrong.)

Anyway, their original setup was:

 Five ethernetted computers
Linksys Switch
Sprint 645 DSL modem.
I'm not replacing the Linksys switch. Sadly, the Netgear software /really/ wants me to. I hate software that thinks it knows anything. So I just go ahead without their lame software.

Netgear WNR834B has five plugs: four ethernet plugs and one last ethernet plug labelled 'Internet'. I believe what I did initially was:
 Netgear's Internet plug
Linksys Switch ---- Sprint 645 DSL modem
Five ethernetted computers
Now the laptop can detect and connect to the wifi network, but no Internet. works for the web configuration on Netgear. I do this and that and so on. Eventually, with Martin's help, I get Internet access via wifi, I believe mostly thanks to changing LAN IP Setup->LAN TCP/IP Setup>IP Address from (which is also the default gateway used by the Linksys switch) to (which is unused). I also changed from the Internet ethernet port to just an ordinary one.

So! Now the laptop has a very slow, port 80-only wifi connection. But it can no longer connect to the web configuration for Netgear. I tried (what it should be), (what it used to be), (what my home Linksys router uses), (combine first and third), (I needed for stuff to try), (I tried everything else already). Nothing works. I can ping, but that's set as the Default Gateway, so of course I can. Probably not the Netgear router I've just pinged, but the Linksys switch.

Botheration. So you know what I go ahead and do? Slow Internet access is all very nice, but I want configurability, so I go in there and reset the router. Stick a pin in that little red hole.

Takes the entire network down. Sorry, guys, were you using that? I mess around with the cords and it gets back up pretty quickly.

But this did fix the problem somewhat for a few seconds. I connected to the Netgear web configuration thing over wifi (but could not connect to the Internet over wifi, unless I'm misremembering) and it's all 'Wanna check for firmware updates?' I say 'Sure.' Then my wifi connection drops. (Oh, yeah, it says not to do that over wifi.) Cannot even /find/ the wifi network. The router has power. It has blinkenlights. But Vista can't see any such network. So I reset the stupid thing again. Taking down the network again, this time in part thanks to my bumping a power cord.

Once the network is back up, I try around for the wifi. Vista can't find it. Not even when I hold the laptop right next to the Netgear router. So I plug the laptop into the Netgear ethernet, and I can connect. I can check the status (and be told that the wifi has such and such uptime (not much yet, but climbing about five seconds per five seconds). So why can't I detect this fabulous network? This is not a problem with Vista. There are other networks around. They're secure, faint, and vanish all together by 5pm, but I saw them. They were around for longer than our Netgear's.

I try messing around with cords. Plug the laptop directly into the Linksys switch. Plug the Netgear router into the Linksys Switch and into the laptop. Two problems: 1. it's not helping and 2. doing things like this tends to take down the entire network.

FINAL STATUS: Unresolved.

I'm stumped for now. Your mission is to reply to this with a simple, effective solution. Simple, effective, /cheap/ solution. Next time I go (when the XP CD arrives from the main office), I'll probably go ahead and bring my laptop (a second opinion on wifi detection), and possibly my Linksys router.

There are only five computers in addition to the laptop, so if I have to switch around the Netgear router and the Linksys switch so the router is the one connected to the modem, that could be feasible, but I think my main issue is:
* Linksys and Netgear both want and changing that caused problems.
* Netgear has decided to stop broadcasting.
(Using JUST the Netgear router seems infeasible, since it only has five plugs total, and we have five ethernetted computers. One plug needs to go to the modem.)

1 By the way, the Dell Inspiron:
* Monitor seems kind of meh.
* Battery life looks to be under three hours, as I recall. It wasn't great, anyway.
* Quiet. Very quiet. Dead silent, most of the time. My old Compaq Presario has been known to wake me up at night with its crummy fan (though it was pretty good when new). This Dell, though...if my laptop became this quiet, I'd go into a panic whenever I entered the room because 'OH, NO! It's off! What happened?'
* Close lid=hibernate/suspend. Open lid=nothing. Press power button=nothing. Unplug and remove battery, put battery back in, and then press power button=ah, good. Later discovering holding down the power button for several seconds is the way to unhibernate/unsuspend=engineers are vile abominations who should never have a thing to do with UIs. or maybe the UI designers did this. Anyway, whoever came up with the idea of my having to hold down the power button to turn the computer back ON is the devil.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

What kind of a crazyhead doesn't check their email for two hours?

I locked my keys in the truck today. D'oh! But I was at the library, so, yay! stuff to do.

I called home. My sister and my mom were there, so I left a message on the answering machine. (No, you didn't misread that.) Then I read for a while.

Then I emailed my mom. Then I read for a while. Then I emailed my sister. Then I read for a while.

Then I considered installing TightVNC on the library computer so I could VNC into my laptop and make it start talking, in hopes someone would hear it. But I opted against this. There's no good portable (as in, noninvasive installation like you'd use on a USB memory stick) VNC client for Windows, to my knowledge. So I read for a while.

After about two and a half hours, my mom arrived. So I went home, listened to the two new messages on the answering machine, deleting the second one since it was from me and I was no longer at the library.

This is not the first time I've had trouble getting in touch with people at home. Only my brother and I use IRC regularly, and Miciah's in Germany. Only I use IM regularly. My sister is on PowerPets a fair bit, but that was blocked at the library and I didn't feel like dealing with it. My mom usually checks her email fairly often.

Why can't people be more like me?

When my family visited my brother in Germany, he told us (after all the arrangements had been made) 'The nice thing about your room is that it doesn't have a lock.'

But no one snuck in and murdered us. Or if they did, they replaced the dead person with a good enough imposter that the rest of haven't noticed.

So it's all good.

By the way, my blog layout sucks. Floating images don't stay within the confines of the post div, so I made the label thing clear: both, meaning if the top post is short, the others are forced to be lower than the sidebar. Why do the floating images not stretch the containing div?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A stick figure wearing a hat. Caption: 'Free hat!'So, today I gave blood, and they were all 'Anyone type-B or type-O?' and I was all 'O-neg FTW!' and they were all 'Great, go there' and I did, and I gave double red. Conscription. I'm down with that.
A stick figure wearing a hat. Caption: 'Hero with cancer!'
Anyway, because I gave double red, I got a groovy Red Cross baseball hat. So I can wear it and advertise the Red Cross and people will see me wearing my cool hat and think, 'Oh, look, he must be trying to hide the fact that he's going bald' and then they'll think 'OMG, Luca's in chemo!' and I'll be branded a hero, because people with cancer are heroes.
Only, I don't have cancer and I'm not going bald. But I gave blood doubly, so I am a hero. Props to me. I also got cookies.A partially-blue stick figure wearing a hat. Caption: 'Blood so cold it's blue.'

Alternate post:
So, today I gave blood, and they were all 'Anyone type-B or type-O?' and I was all 'O-neg FTW!' and they were all 'Great, go there' and I did, and I gave double red. Conscription. I'm down with that.

Anyway, because I gave double red, which means they put the plasma back in, and it was cold. Normally, I'm fine walking around in sub-zero (C) temperatures in short-sleeved shirts, but that's because I'm warm and the outside is cold. Here, outside was meh and inside I had cold blood flowing through my veins. While I 'drank' the ice from my orange juice. So next time I'll dress more warmly.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

OMG, it's awesome! I can't see the Moon at all!

Yes indeedy, all those clouds eclipse the Moon really, really well.

You how dictionaries have all the words alphabeticalised? Not so with cookbooks. Some cookbooks (members of what we'll call the 'annoying, but passable' variety) have the recipes arranged by type of food: Breads, cakes (turns out Marie Antoinette was right), cookies, pastas, meats, vegetables, soups, and so on. Now, I think cakes, cookies, and pastas are all breads. I'm also under the impression that some recipes mix multiple ingredients, such as pork (meat) and beans (fruit, but categorised, no doubt, by these books as a vegetable). Still, if I want to make lasagne, and there's a pasta section, I can guess where to look.

Other cookbooks like to arrange the dishes by when the author thinks you should eat them. Breakfast, lunch, snack, supper, or dessert. Usually I can probably guess whether a type of cake is considered by the author to be a snack or a dessert (though I haven't tried), but are hod dogs lunch or supper? Are all cookies snack, or are some dessert? And why the hell does this old bat think it's her place to tell me I can't have pancakes for lunch or pizza for breakfast? Or roast beef for lunch, for that matter? When I make a list of people who should be making that decision, it comes to one person, and his name's not Betty.

'But, ah!' you might say. 'Ah! These books have indexes! Indexes are alphabetical!'
'Tis true. The index is alphabeticalised. But by this I mean 'Pasta' comes after 'Meats'. The index oftentimes is no flatter than the contents itself. Lasagne still comes after Sugar Cookies.

You might think this is what we refer to as a 'Table of Contents'? No, the TOC is at the front of the book and lists only half the sections. I don't mean, 'Only H2 and H3', but 'Only H2 and some of H3'.

There are only three ways to cook: Know what you're doing, trial and error, and Google.

I mostly cook for people who would dislike my taking the second route, so I tend to use Google.

(In the textarea, 'use Google' is wrapped onto its own line and makes me wonder what amazingness such a package could do. Prolly just an interface to the web search. Bah.)

Almost forgot: When you finally do find the lasagne recipe, it assumes you already have pre-cooked noodles. No, dumbass, you're supposed to tell me HOW to cook the damn things. Luckily, my brother noded it years ago.