Diary of a geek

June 2005
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Andrew Pollock


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Saturday, 04 June 2005


Well kind of.

I've been in discussions with Sean Moroney, the General Manager of University House about setting up a wireless LAN.

This morning I went out armed with a couple of laptops and my Linksys WAP54G access point to see how good the signal would be from various parts of the building.

The whole exercise took a lot less time that I expected, and the signal from just the one access point at the top of one of the blocks was quite good, so I reckon about 4 access points strategically placed throughout the building should be enough the saturate it and the surrounding grounds.

[18:16] [tech] [permalink]

Carnage and mayhem

This morning when I went to use my laptop, everything seemed a bit kaput. The wireless adapter was associated with the access point, but nothing was happening. I went to my wired desktop PC and tried to bring up the web interface for the access point, and it wouldn't come up. This struck me as weird. Then I noticed that the stack of computing gear I have crammed into the wardrobe of the study seemed a bit quieter than usual. This was because caesar, my PC which is my "everything" (firewall, ADSL termination point, file server, fax gateway) box was off.

I checked the power to it, and couldn't get it to switch on. If I pulled the power cable and reinserted it, it'd flash some power lights briefly but then die again.

I pulled the lid off, and poked around and concluded that perhaps the power supply had died. Luckily there was a computer fair today, so I headed out there to try and find preferably a new micro-NLX case, as I didn't like my chances of getting just a power supply of the right size and shape.

Lucked out on the case, so I bought a $25 ATX power supply with the intention of using it and leaving the lid off and generally doing lots of dodgey power stuff to power the box from the ATX power supply externally.

Got home, tried that, and a pop and a bad smell later, I declared that if it actually wasn't the motherboard that had been dead before, it probably was now, as the box was still exhibiting the same behaviour with the external power supply.

So I raced back to the computer for a second time, and managed to get there within the last 30 minutes before closing time and bought a 1.7 Ghz Pentium IV Compaq Evo with 256Mb of RAM and a 20 Gb hard drive for $350. I got home, slapped the old hard drive in it, and everything just worked, which was really nice.

I've got to say that apart from the stupid proprietary screws, this box is so nice to work on. You can get the lid off without using any tools, and then the CDROM, floppy and hard drives are on a tray that flips up and lets you get at the CPU and DIMM slots. The hard drive takes some wide proprietary screws that allow it to just slot into a holder for it, that has a quick release catch. I really liked that, and was prepared to put up with the stupid screws for that feature.

The PCI slots are on a riser card, and that is attached to a separate chassis, and you can just rip that straight out, riser and all, and seat the PCI cards comfortably and then reseat the whole box and dice when you're done.

All in all, I think it was a good buy, so if I can get another one as a sacrificial play box at the next computer fair I probably will.

[06:47] [tech] [permalink]

Shotgun wedding

Well not quite.

The job overseas is looking like more of a vague possibility, and so for the potential purposes of visa applications, we have decided to bring forward the date of our wedding to July 23 rather than April 22 next year.

So now we have the joy of trying to arrange a wedding in 7 weeks or something.

[06:25] [life] [permalink]