Via M10000, video, and a Belkin wireless USB thing

I’ve had a Via Eden M10000 literally lying around since soon after I moved to the US two years ago, and I finally decided that it was time for a full blown home workstation the other day, having got fed up with the small screen on my laptops. Sometimes I really miss my 30 inch monitor at work, and the 24 inch I am using at home is a much better substitute than a laptop screen.

Anyway, getting the machine working was surprisingly difficult given its a three or four year old design. The problems:

  • The PCI 802.11g wireless card didn’t work. In fact, the machine wouldn’t boot with it installed. I suspect this was a PCI version problem, as I have had pain with this card in the past.
  • The PCI 802.11b wireless card I tried next wasn’t much better. The connection would drop out randomly, and the machine would occasionally lock up. This was the card I used as my first access point about six years ago (using hostap), so perhaps its just old. It got swapped out as well.
  • The Belkin USB 802.11g thingie didn’t work reliably. It would stay connected to the network for five minutes before something went wrong. This made me annoyed, especially when it turns out this is because the latest release of Ubuntu (gutsy) installs an old version of the rt73usb driver, which is known not to work with this card. Following these instructions from the canonical wiki which tell you to install drivers from here fixed the problem. Its annoying that Ubuntu ships with known broken drivers though.
  • Next, video. The video card built into the mother board sucks. I’m running a t24 inch LCD at 1920×1200, and there was significant ghosting on the monitor. Additionally, I couldn’t run at 24 bit, I had to use 16 bit because the video card was running out of RAM bandwidth.
  • Not to worry, I installed a Matrox G450 I had lying around, and now the monitor works nicely as well, with no ghosting.
  • Finally, the whole thing is much louder than I expected from an Eden machine (there is a fan on the board, a fan in the case, and the hard disk). Then again, given I built the entire machine for $90, I can’t complain too much.

Conference Wireless not working yet?

So, there are two access points with the ESSID “MySQL-Hyatt” that I can see from my coffee drinking spot here in the foyer. iwlist tells me that they have encryption off, which matches what the conference handbook says should be the case. No DHCP leases are being offered though. I guess that means that the conference network hasn’t been commissioned yet. Oh well.

Update: Oh, it works in the conference rooms, which have a different ESSID.

Conference Wireless not working yet?

So, there are two access points with the ESSID “MySQL-Hyatt” that I can see from my coffee drinking spot here in the foyer. iwlist tells me that they have encryption off, which matches what the conference handbook says should be the case. No DHCP leases are being offered though. I guess that means that the conference network hasn’t been commissioned yet. Oh well.

Update: Oh, it works in the conference rooms, which have a different ESSID.

Unreliable wireless

I’m having a lot of troubles recently with my wireless connection at home being unreliable. It might be related to the 21 access points I can see from my laptop, or perhaps my WRT54G is getting flakey in it’s old age. Anyone have any suggestions on how to debug whats happening? Here’s the big symptom… When it’s in the broken state, my laptop can’t find the access point for my ssid, and ends up picking another.

On home sound systems

My temporary apartment in Santa Clara came with a $500 US Bose alarm clock, which is of interest firstly because it’s an amazing amount of money to spend on something as trivial as an alarm clock, and secondly because it sounds fantastic. It has an impossibly large amount of bass for something so small.

I initially thought I would buy one, but at $500 US, there is little chance of that happening. I also need some way of spreading the musical joy around the entire house before I go crazy, so I suspect that I might just end up with a bunch of Squeezeboxes or equivalent around the house.

More details when I’ve finished surfing and deciding what I want to implement.