It has been a somewhat slow holiday weekend, and I’ve been spending a good-sized chunk of it messing with stuff.
I wanted to upgrade my existing wireless router to something that had dual-band (2.4GHz/5GHz) support, and would also run the dd-wrt firmware. So, thanks to the great Jeff Atwood, I went ahead and ordered a Netgear WNDR3700, got it on Friday, and started trying to get it set up on Saturday.
I like dd-wrt in principle, and I think if you’re willing to put up with it, the firmware offers a very rich feature set. But the documentation could use a lot of work. I bricked the router several times (though I was able to recover it): the instructions on this page work just fine for flashing the factory_NA.img file, but the router would lock up and require a tftp reflash as soon as I tried to flash any other version.
Once I got past that, it took a little more skull sweat (though not quite as much) to get my Maxtor EasyShare NAS working as a CIFS device, and to get a static IP assigned to it. (The dd-wrt docs on assigning a static IP even admit that the assignment process is buggy.)
A little more skull sweat after that and I was able to get the 1 TB drive I’d attached to the USB port on the router mounted using Samba and accessible from both the MacBook and Project e. So now I have about 1.3 TB of network accessible storage, which is nice. Transmit power seems reasonable: I can get a signal on my Evo well out into the parking lot of my complex. (I haven’t tried tweaking the transmit power or other settings for the radios in the router, which is one of the nice things dd-wrt lets you do.) I also like being able to put in three DNS servers; again, acting on a Jeff Atwood suggestion, I downloaded and ran namebench, and added a tertiary name server based on its recommendations.
Ah, but there’s a problem. I want to run a closed network using the 5 GHz radio only (for maximum speed) and an open network using the 2.4 GHz radio (isolated from the main network). It turns out that, while the netbook does support wireless N, the adapter only runs on the 2.4 GHz frequency. So if I want to get top speed on the netbook, I need to get a USB wireless N adapter that supports 5 GHz and is supported under Ubuntu. (I don’t want to go through the whole ndiswrapper thing.) And I haven’t been able to find that yet…
Oh, yeah: I also upgraded Microsoft Office to the 2011 version: prior to all of this, I upgraded the MacBook to 10.6.7, and Office 2011 seems to run much better under 10.6 than the Office 2004 I was using. And I can get rid of the file conversion utility.
Still on my list of things to do before school starts up again, besides updating the Saturday Dining Conspiracy pages:
- root the Evo. But since 2.3 is rumored to be coming down the pike real soon now, I think I’ll wait for that update before rooting.
- upgrade Project e to Ubuntu 11.04. But given the things I’m hearing about the Unity interface, I’m having second thoughts on that. Apparently, you can disable Unity on 11.04, but it’ll be the only interface in 11.10.
- do a BIOS update on Project e. Which isn’t that big a deal, except for the part about preparing a DOS bootable USB disk under Linux or MacOS.
- I still want to work on improving my photo setup so I can take better gun photos. Mostly, I think that’s a matter of building a light box, and perhaps purchasing some additional lights and a tripod.
- I’d like to get part three of “Talkin’ GPS Blues” up before I go back to school.
- I’d also like to get back into the MIT Open Courseware swing.
- I’ve got most of the parts for a dedicated NAS box sitting under a desk, and should probably start trying to assemble that. Missing: RAM, storage space for the FreeNAS OS, and storage drives.
There’s travel in there as well. And somewhere, Mike the Musicologist is snickering at me…