Sunday, November 14, 2004

Read an article about Firefox in the Washington Post today which mentions a few tidbits of info such as typing in "about:config" in the address bar to access all the options one can change. Decided to type in "about:mozilla" and got this interesting page and quote:

And so at last the beast fell and the unbelievers rejoiced. But all was not lost, for from the ash rose a great bird. The bird gazed down upon the unbelievers and cast fire and thunder upon them. For the beast had been reborn with its strength renewed, and the followers of Mammon cowered in horror.

from The Book of Mozilla, 7:15

Just did a search and there are other "about:" commands. Try "about:cache" or "about:credits" for instance. Or for the minimalist, "about:blank". Here's another good one, "about:plugins".

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Continue with technical problems. Tried to burn some DVDs with my Sony DRU-530A recorder. Using updated Nero 6, I started getting "Power Calibration Errors". Did some research and discovered these occur because of media incompatibilities. I had recently upgraded the firmware to the latest version 2.1c. After further research, I downgraded to 2.0c and what do you know no more media errors. I did an online chat with Sony support and suggested they look into this issue. We'll see.

I discovered that one possible reason for the failure of one of my Dell Truemobile 2300 routers was an overnight power failure/surge. Grrrr. Pepco has ruined a lot of electronics over the years even though I use high quality surge protectors.

I purchased a new SMC 2682w USB Wi-Fi G dongle to try out. It seems to be working okay except that it seems to fluctuate wildly with its signal strength. None of my other Wi-Fi devices seem to do this. My Dell laptop is rock solid. It doesn't seem to affect my connection but it's a little disconcerting. I've contacted SMC support. I think it may be a driver issue? The driver is only at 1.05. Room for improvement there?

Friday, November 05, 2004

Argh!. Technical difficulties today. Went to use the upstairs computer rig and found that my Wi-Fi connection was down. Proceeded down to the cellar to check the cable modem status. Rebooted the cable modem checked the wired access on the downstairs rig which was okay. Then checked the dining room Dell laptop Wi-Fi connection and there were still problems. Sheesh. Twelve hours ago everything was working fine. So I reboot the Dell Wi-Fi router and still have problems with the laptop. I finally try changing the channel on the Wi-Fi router from eleven to six. Recheck the laptop and everything starts working.

Back to the upstairs rig which is a bit tricky since I use an identical Dell Trumobile 2300 as a wireless bridge. I try resetting to defaults and then load up saved config file. Still no dice. I try resetting again but nothing happens? I start to notice that when I plug in router that after a brief flash of the LAN led's that no lights appear for power, wireless, etc. Start to wonder if the router is somehow hosed?

Finally call Dell and tell them about the power issue and they agree that it sounds like the router has gone bad. How do these things go bad all of a sudden? There are no moving parts? Anyway, they're going to overnight a new one. Given this state of unconnectedness upstairs, I pull out an SMC USB wireless adapter. This fires up quite easily and once I get the config with my wep enabled network I'm on the net again. Since it's only 802.11b and my net is now 802.11g, I think about an upgrade. I notice a nice 802.11g USB dongle at the SMC website and check out some prices. I find one at J&R for about $40 after rebate. So I order it.

I think I'll bag the wireless bridge for a while since it can be a real hassle to debug sometimes. I will test out the replacement Dell router and then set it aside as a backup for the main router. I think this is a cleaner simpler setup.

I have to wonder how everything went haywire in the span of twelve hours without any obvious causes? I did notice when I was scanning for my wireless network that a second network was showing up intermittently. I suspect it may be my new neighbor trying bring up their own Wi-Fi net? This may be the reason I had to switch channels?

[Listening to: Track 2 - Unknown Artist - The Dowland Project: Care-charming Sleep (03:57)]