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Brave Wireless World

Started: 2003-11-14 22:16:15

Submitted: 2003-11-14 22:35:55

Visibility: World-readable

Heading to Café Sole last night after BLUG and seeing all of the notebooks with their wireless Ethernet connections made me drool at the possibility of getting my wireless hardware to function properly, a mere four months after I first acquired it. Someone last night had an older Netgear MA401, which worked fine with whatever prism2 drivers he happened to be using. I mentioned that I had a rev D, which didn't seem to work well for me, and the card's owner said he thought the new revisions switched chips without bothering to tell anyone. This evening I got inspired and decided to see what could be done about it. I wanted to prove to myself that the card really did work, and to have a suitable setup from which I could fully test its greatness, so I installed a slightly extra-legal copy of of a certain mass-market operating system on an extra partition on Elssbett. (Said copy was at least the highpoint of said operating system's evolution; it bears the number of the year everyone thought to be the millennium, and the stability that comes from having something called a "kernel" at the center of one's operating system.) After watching the bars march across my screen for an extended period of time, I had a working install. I played briefly with iTunes Music Store (one of my other ulterior motives for installing the unnamed operating system; none of the other computers which I have access (even those with certain antiquated versions of the unnamed mass-market operating system) to will run it), which looks exciting. I'm especially captivated by the audiobooks; if I ever happen to have a long car trip in my future I'll have to investigate the possibility of some textual entertainment.

(For myself, I'm still inclined to buy music in a box; while I rip all of my albums as soon as I get the shrink wrap off, I still like the physical connection of ownership. And the liner inserts are usually fun. I insist on being able to sample music before I buy it (by "sample", I mean listening to the album five times or so). It's pathetic that it took the music industry five years from original Napster to new Napster and its competitors. But this is the topic for another rant.)

As I expect from the unnamed mass-market operating system world, finding and downloading the drivers was a snap. Properly configuring Ziyal and her 802.11b card was a little trickier, taking maybe five minutes (plus the time rebooting when the wireless driver crashed). Now I'm up and running and loving it. (Here's hoping a certain major fast food company doesn't feel compelled to sue me for stealing its advertising slogan. Loosers.) I can wander all around my apartment typing merrily away at this changelog without having to trail any wires behind me. mmm... wireless nirvana...

like a lot of geeks, I can run risky meatspace things
through my head until a faulty value comes out that
suggests there's no need to actually do them.
- Caleb John Clark, "Linux and the Lady", Salon.com 27 September 2000