Sunday, February 26, 2006

Phew, it's a scorcher

Well, we've made it. After about 24 hours of travelling I'm writing this in Alison's house in Australia. This is gonna be a quick one because I'm absolutely shagged. The 12hr flight was amazingly quite bearable, but the next 5hr flight was pretty crummy cos we didn't get the emergency exit seats. Plus I was too chicken to ask for an upgrade on either, but I doubt they'd have given me one anyway.
 
It was 35 degrees C when we landed in Perth, and it looks set to continue like that. Anyway, must sleeeeeeeep.

Monday, February 20, 2006

BAFTAs

Ha got you! I'm not going to write about the Bafta's at all, and I promise this is the last post today.

I just wanted to say that I saw Brokeback Mountain the other day, and while the scenery is indeed impressive, and it's quite a good story, it is essentially two hours of cowboy mumbling. Seriously, I challenge you to make out a single line of dialogue.

Council tax rises, bird flu arrives, I leave the country

Not long now until these lovely people whisk me away from the damp armpit that is February in London.

I've had to postpone my CCNA resit because I've just got too much to do, and I was a lazy arse at the weekend. By the time I get back from Australia I'll probably have forgotten everything as well, but it beats rushing around like a blue-arsed fly for the next few days.

I've sorted out a visa, ordered money, bought a guidebook, got insurance and found my passport. All I need to do now is pack, figure out how to get to the airport on Saturday, pick up money, eat everything in the fridge, do some washing (best if I do that before I pack) and then we're ready to roll. I'm sure I've forgotten something though, and we haven't even left.

Still looking out for cheap flights to Sydney to go see Helen and an ex colleague of mine, but it's looking decidely unlikely. Plus, after 19 hours of flying I don't think I'll be able to even look at another plane for at least 3 weeks. When's someone going to invent a really fast Train?

Grumble

You see that button on the lamppost, it's used to make the little man go green. So fucking push it instead of standing around wondering why the lights won't change you fucking mong.

Netgear WPN802, do I hear the words damp squib?

Right, I'll try to keep this short and spare you the few days it took to get this working. So in summary:

  • Bought a Netgear WPN802 from Ebuyer.com to replace my piece of shit U.S. Robotics USR8054 (codename "Turdbox")
  • Installation instructions on Netgear - change your IP address, plug in cable to router, configure via web browser
  • Come on, connect, connect you bitch
  • I am typing in http://192.168.0.231, look it's right fucking in front of you
  • Argghhhhh!!
There aren't many things that can go wrong when you have 3 components; 1 working computer, 1 piece of ethernet cable and 1 brand new wireless router. But somehow it managed to.

Anyway, I finally resolved this by upgrading the firmware on the router to the latest version. It shipped with 1.0.4, and the latest is 2.0.6. If it's brand new I don't know how it's already so out of date (lots of fixes perhaps Mr Netgear?). I know a thing or two about computers, I even know what 'firmware' is, but would your average consumer?

So I plug the thing into my Homechoice box, and voila, it's all working. It's been up for over 24 hours now, and hasn't needed a reboot.

There is one small problem though. It seems that I should have read all the technical details a bit more closely, and should really have gone for the next model up. You see, the WPN802 isn't actually a router, it's an access point, and doesn't perform any of the nice routery things you want, like routing, DHCP, firewalling and most importantly NAT. What this means is that my PC is now exposed to the rest of the world like a cheap hooker bending over in a hurricane. It's got the IP address of my Homechoice box, whereas before it was hidden away in it's own peaceful little network.

Another result of this problem is that I can't actually get to the WPN802 again to configure it, at least not wirelessly. It's sort of like an invisible postman in my flat, relaying messages between Homechoice and my computer. But he's too fast and I can't grab hold of him to ask him how the fuck I configure WPA-SK if I can't open the admin screen.

Never mind. At least it works, and the signal's darn strong. Plus it's really shiny, and has lots of blue flashing lights:


What I might do is get a Cisco PIX off the eBay both for use as a firewall, and to play with. Hey, if I'm going for Cisco Certification it's justified right? I may have failed my first CCNA due to the lack of one of these. Although it was probably because I didn't study enough.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

NHS website - approx 3 hour wait

As if the threat of bird flu wasn't enough, it seems unlikely that the NHS will be able to cope. Take a look at their website now on a sunny, cheery Thursday afternoon, with no major health emergency outbreaks. It's a little ill.....



Previously it was a site that you could go to for health advise, and to find your nearest quack.

Update: I'm a tool. I got the address wrong, it should be http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Don't laugh

My word, it's updates galore today.

Still, this was too good to wait. Rob. Kluger. Marathon. Three words that couldn't possibly feature in the same sentence. But I kid you not. For some unknown reason Rob has decided to kill himself for charity, and will be running, jogging, limping, wheezing, crawling and ultimately passing out in this year's London Marathon.

You can sponsor him here. Go on, it's for charidee mate.

Hey Jamie, look at this

Two very amusing Dilbert cartoons that represent what I would like to say to people sometimes.


inokyouwuss, inocuos, innocuous


It may look pretty innocuous but this phone may be a little glimpse into the future.

The Nokia 6136 connects to the normal mobile network, but has WiFi access built in as well, and theoretically will switch between the two without cutting you off. This means that if you're sitting in a WiFi enabled Starbucks drinking your smug fairtrade coffee, you can make a call using VoIP rather than the costly mobile network.

Of course it's not as simple as that. It won't connect to all wireless routers (Cisco and Alcatel only - so we're talking business hotspots here) plus even if it did you'd still need to pay for the WiFi access in Starbucks, or whatever cafe you're in. Contrary to what seems to be advertised everywhere, there is no such thing as free WiFi access in this country.

What I would like is a mobile phone that I can use instead of a home phone, using VoIP, and using my office's wireless LAN, and at any public hotspot I come across, and still be presented with just one bill - for my calls and rental. This is all possible using current technology, but it would require all the telecoms companies and ISPs to work together. So don't expect it any time soon. It may not be far off for France though - I visited France Telecom's R&D centre last year and this is certainly what they're aiming for. What with being an ISP and owning mobile operator Orange it might just work.

Still, it's not all bad. Maybe in this time wireless technology will mature a little, otherwise instead of "I'll call you back, I'm going through a tunnel" will just be replaced with "I'll call you back, I need to reboot my router".

Monday, February 06, 2006

Grumble

Why do people put their phone on speakerphone when dialing, only to pick it up when someone answers?