Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I'm An Artist Too (60)

He's saying "Some people say I have my mother's eyes. Some say I have my father's."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Computer Network, No Strings Attached (Part 2)

A while ago I needed to get a new router. I asked some people what recommendations they might have. I summarized their replies in a previous blog entry. I also said I would write about my decision. Here it is.

I walked into FutureShop looking, probably, for a Lynksys router. When I got to the computer section there was a table with "Open Box" specials. These were items that had been bought, then returned, and being resold at a discount. There was an Apple Airport Extreme. It's normally $199. The Open Box price is usually $179. This one was listed as $149. Plus, I had a gift-card to use at FutureShop. The Apple Airport Extreme ended up costing me about the same as any other N-router. I was also told that FutureShop had a 30 day return policy. So I had a month. So I bought it.

Setup was easy. At first I had a problem getting connected to the internet. It turned out that the cable modem was the culprit. I reset that, and badda-bing, badda-boom! I was on the internet.

I have been very happy with my purchase. The Apple Airport Extreme is a highly configurable router. I was able to give my laptop a static I.P. address. I was not able to do this on the Sympatico router. I was able to forward ports to my laptop. I was able to use several different types of encryption for network security.

Speaking of network security, I did try using an Access Control List, without any form of encryption. I was still able to get on the network even when my network card wasn't listed as one of the permitted ones. That wasn't so good.

My only real problem with it is I'm finding it has variable signal strength. On my Mac, I have a maximum of 4 bars of strength. When I'm in my room, I will have anywhere between 1 and 4 bars inclusive. One minute it will be at 3 bars. The next minute it will be down to 1 bar. 30 seconds later it will be at 2 bars. When it's down to 1 bar, things tend to run pretty slowly.

There could be many reasons for this, such as, I live in a big house, and I might be on the edge of the range. The placement of the router might not be the best. It maybe too close to the computer/monitor in the living room. Perhaps my laptop, when on my desk is sitting around all these other electronic devices which may be interfering with the signal.

I tried connecting a USB harddrive to the router. The data rates were slow. Other than that it worked like a charm. I couldn't seem to share a printer though. That may be because it was a Dell printer that my Mac doesn't recognize.

The Apple Airport Extreme does have one feature that I haven't seen advertised. If I knew it had this, I would have bought it right away without even thinking about another router. It can also act as a bridge. There may soon come a day when I will need a bridge in this house. I finally have one! Of course, when that day comes, I will need to get another router. Well, actually the McQueens will get the router. (They don't need the power and awesomeness of the Apple Airport Extreme. Any G router will do fine.) It's nice to know I can use the Airport Extreme as a bridge.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I'm An Artist Too (59)

This is a picture of me shoveling snow last weekend. A snow storm, dubbed "Big Juicy" [mp3], left 51 cm of snow on us over the weekend.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I'm An Artist Too (58)

This guy is saying "I ordered a tall mocca-frappa-whatsit, but this is ridiculous!"

It's not a drawing showing perspective. It only looks like it is.

Oh, and the cup is from "SunDoes". (Geddit? Geddit? SunDoes? StarBucks? SunDoes? Hah! I kill me!)

Monday, March 03, 2008

A New^H^H^HUsed Way To Buy Music

About a month ago I became quite proud of myself. I stopped buying CDs from major record labels quite a while ago. Since then I've had to download my music using LimeWire or BitTorrent. Unfortunately, I have eclectic taste in music. Few people have the CDs I want. That makes them hard to download.

While browsing Amazon I saw something which changed the way I got music. When Amazon lists a CD, it gives you the option of either buying it from them, or a reseller. When buying from a reseller, you have the option of buying "New or Used."

That's it! Used! I can get the CD, with the cover art without supporting the record company! The CD has already been bought by someone else. The RIAA won't get another cent from this sale!

So I bought a couple of used CDs. One turned out alright. The other one didn't. It's really hard to explain the problem with it. So I'll show you a couple of pictures:

I was in the midst of writing an email to inquire about returning procedures when I decided to look at my bill. The shipping cost more than the CD. So even if I did get a 100% refund, I'd still have to pay more to send the CD back than what I'd get for it.

So I ordered the CD again, from another Amazon reseller. If this one works out, I will have paid the price for the CD as thought I bought it new.

Ugh. At least I avoid giving money to the evil RIAA.