May 30, 2008

Upgrade your low-priced router

A few years ago, I bought a router on sale for around $40: the Linksys WRT54G v6. It worked fine until recently when I built a computer for my kids. The router is in one corner of the house upstairs. The new computer was downstairs in the opposite corner, essentially diagonally across the the 3-D rectangular cube that is my house. Consequently, the wireless signal kept dropping on me, which was quite frustrating to my children and me. So I started looking for ways to make the signal stronger. I stumbled across WW-DRT:


DD-WRT is a third party developed firmware released under the terms of the GPL for many ieee802.11a/b/g/h/n wireless routers based on a Broadcom or Atheros chip reference design.

What happens is that you replace the firmware that came with your router and upgrade it to a Linux control platform. Sounded good to me so I check to see if my device was supported. It was, with some caveats:


In all later references we'll call these models "neutered". Why? Because they've had some crucial functionality removed by their reduced RAM and reduced flash memory.
[edit] Linksys WRT54G Neutered Models

Version 5.0 Serial number begins with: CDFB
Version 5.1 Serial number begins with: CDFC
Version 6.0 Serial number begins wtih: CDFD
[edit] Linksys WRT54GS Neutered Models

Version 5.0 Serial number begins with: CGN7
Version 5.1 Serial number begins with: CGN8
Version 6.0 Serial number begins with: CGN9


For more complete information on hardware revisions, visit Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrt54g#Hardware_revisions


On the neutered models listed above, Linksys reduced the flash memory and the RAM compared to previous versions of these models, thus the term "neutered". DD-WRT Micro is one of the only 3rd party firmwares available for these models. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FLASH ONE OF THESE WITH DD-WRT mini. Having said that, if you have one of these neutered models, you'd still be much better off selling it and getting something else that is a supported device.

Looked like selling it was out of the question, so I said what the heck and proceeded with the specific installation instructions found here.

The instructions are pretty simple and worked well, but I have a couple of comments to make so I'll reprint them here:


If you have a WRT54G Version 5 or 6...

1. Download linux_prep_wrt54g.bin

2. Go into 192.168.1.1, click "Administration". Go to "Firmware Upgrade", and select the linux_prep_wrt54g.bin file. (see here for help) Click Apply and wait a few minutes. After you're screen turns white, power cycle the router.

3. Download linux_upgrade_wrt54g.bin

4. Go back to 192.168.1.1. You are now in Management Mode. Select the linux_upgrade_wrt54g.bin file and upgrade.

5. Again, power cycle the router. When restarted, the Power LED should be flashing.

6. Download tftp.exe

7. Download dd-wrt.v23_micro_generic.bin

8. Open the TFTP client (Enter IP: 192.168.1.245 or 192.168.1.1) and upload "dd-wrt.v23.micro_generic.bin"

wrt54g.jpg

9. The router should restart. Wait a moment and than go to 192.168.1.1. If all went well, you should be running DD-WRT Micro.
10. Enjoy your new Linux router and have a Cold Beverage!

Be sure to check out the FAQ as your browser will likely lose its built in IP address. Follow the steps in the FAQ and you'll be fine, with one exception:


I Can't Connect to the Router!
You've simply lost your IP address. You need to manually set these values.
Windows XP:
Control Panel>
Network Connections>
Right Click > Local Area Connection>
Scroll > Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)>
Properties>
Select > Use the following IP Address:>
IP: 192.168.1.99
Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
Gateway: 192.168.1.1

I recommend using IP 192.168.1.101 instead. I had problems with the "99" at the end; I don't know why. Anyway, some additions to the 10 steps above:

2) ...After you're screen turns white, power cycle the router

What happens using IE [***warning: do not use Firefox to do this upgrade***] is that the upgrade progresses and then the browser moves to a "page not found" sort of page, which is a white page with text. "Power cycling" means unplugging the router and then plugging it back in a few seconds later. CLOSE THE BROWSER, reopen and go to 192.168.1.1 to see the Management Mode screen.

8. Open the TFTP client (Enter IP: 192.168.1.245 or 192.168.1.1) and upload "dd-wrt.v23.micro_generic.bin"

If the micro_generic.bin fails to load on 3 tries, be sure to follow the steps listed in the FAQ to reset the IP address of your router.

9. The router should restart.

The router didn't restart for me and I waited a few minutes for it to happen. Eventually, I power cycled it and reopened IE, typed in 192.168.1.1 and lo and behold I saw the DD-WRT router configuration screen. YAY!

Final steps:

1) You will have to rename your router's SSID as it's been returned to default values.

2) Re-enable your WEP or WPA keys that wireless computers in your household are using so that nothing will have to be changed on their ends.

3) Go to Wireless--> Advanced settings and look for the Xmit power. The factory default is 28 mW. In theory, you can go over 250 mW, but it's like overclocking your PC's CPU: you'll fry it pretty quickly. I boosted the output signal to 70 then 90 mW to get the output I needed for the computer downstairs. My work was done.

For those of you hardcore gamers or downloading demons, you can also set up priorities for actions, software and computers (I'm not certain about the last one) to make your wireless network work how you want it to. As for me, I simply got more and better use out of my crappy little RAM-challenged router, which saves me the money for a new, more powerful one. If my tweak ends up shortening the life a little, so be it. I've gotten 2-3 years out of it already so I'll come out ahead.

WARNING!!! The actions you take might brick your router. There are numerous methods listed to unbrick them, but it's possible that you might have to run down to the computer store to buy a new one. Just an FYI, so don't blame me if it fails.
My update worked fine, but YMMV.

Good luck and happy routing.

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May 29, 2008

A different sort of church

Gerard Van Der Leun types a post - and a recipe-that brings back memories for me. Memories of pies cooling on the windowsill, or licking the bowl after the dough/batter had been used to make its special creation. Ahh. In fact, eating those tasty treats is what encouraged me to learn how to cook. After all, my mother typically worked 2-3 jobs to keep a roof over our heads; someone had to bake the sweets because it sure as shootin' wasn't going to be her.

Anyway. My mother is still thankfully alive and well and living in Paris with Jaques Brel nearby. However, I surpassed her baking skills years ago, so I'm the one who typically makes the cookies. But I invite my mother over to share one or three with me. It seems like the right thing to do. If you'd like to share such a moment with your mother, father, or someone else close to you, and you've never tried to make cookies before, give Gerard's mother's recipe a try. I'm sure that that special someone will appreciate it. So will you.

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We have the body

Make that bodies. Bikini clad, scifi starlets showing off their figures. Me likey. A lot.

I'll preempt Harvey here. ::hands Tricia a sandwich::

One final thought: over at Rachel Lucas' site, the lovely and talented blogmistress said this:


...and I had a serious problem with the idea that Apollo would ever find Starbuck sexually appealing.

Really? Ever? I present to you the following photographic evidence of why I, a person who dislikes coffee intensely, lust after Starbuck. In my heart, of course, much like our former bunny-chased president, only without all the anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism. more...

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Burn, burn, burn. The planet burns (part II)

Or maybe not

Looks like the Goreacle and his disciples are ready to punish the apostates who refuse to worship at their church. Maybe punish isn't the right word, though. Perhaps I should have said run around shrieking like whiny children who aren't getting their way. From Joe's Blog:


The global warmers are becoming increasingly desperate to prop up their failing prophesy in every way possible. Behaving just as Leon Festinger predicted in When Prophecies Fail. As the earth shows no net warming in a decade and cooling into its 7th year, as new models suggest cooling may continue because of natural ocean cycles, as the sun stays quiet now 12 years since the last solar minimum, usually a signal of cooling, as more and more peer review calls into question the importance of CO2 and of the the accuracy of the models and the entire greenhouse theory because of the failure of fingerprinting, the alarmists begin a frantic effort to save their failing theory. You see so many have won the lottery and want to ensure the annuity checks keep coming.

As we indicated in an earlier blog, they are now busy reinventing old data. NASA and NOAA continually revises old data and makes gross assumptions that always result in more warming. The old reliable radiosonde weather balloon data gets challenged because it (and the satellite derived data) do not show the warming the models and theory predict for the high tropical atmophere. A legitimate scientist would trust the data and assume the models are in error (as models so often are) but to these agenda driven alarmists, the models must be right and the data wrong.

This is science? My degrees must be worthless because this in no way resembles what I was taught.

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Movin' on up...

Congratulations to Cassy Fiano, as she will join the Stop the ACLU blogging team.

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May 28, 2008

A reason to celebrate

Okay, everyone, get ready for Carbon Belch Day.

June 12 looks like a good day for a cookout. For the entire neighborhood.

Update: I see that Ace has some of the same reading habits that I do.

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Gaming while Linux

Assuming you've moved onto Linux, you're probably complaining a bit about the dearth of games to play. Oh sure, you've waded into Wine territory to discover the 57 convoluted steps that, if taken properly while holding your breath and rubbing your stomach, will allow you to play a Windows game from within Linux. However, assuming that you'd like to play some native to Linux games, here's a list of 42 such games for your consideration:


To demonstrate the level of sophistication available, we have put together a list of 42 high quality Linux games that all have the virtue of being free to play. To ensure that there is something of interest here for every type of gamer, we have covered a wide variety of computer game genres, including the ever popular First Person Shooters (FPS), Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG), as well as arcade games, board/puzzle games and more.

To be eligible for inclusion in this list each game needed to meet the following requirements:


  • Free to play (no download charge, no monthly charge)
  • Does not require Wine to run. Wine is a compatibility layer for running Windows software.
  • Not in the early stages of development

The only sort of exception we made was to include the game OpenTTD, a personal favorite which we could not see miss the list. OpenTTD needs the MS Windows or DOS version of Transport Tycoon Deluxe. But assuming you already have the game, OpenTTD lets you play it for free natively under Linux.


Our three requirements automatically excluded a whole raft of high quality games that run under Linux. There are a collection of titles where a no-charge client is available for download, but where the game requires a small monthly subscription to play online. Notables examples of games which fall into this category include EVE (a massive multiplayer online game set in a science-fiction based world), Vendetta (a massively multiplayer online role-playing game), and Savage 2 (a fantasy and science-fiction themed game that combines elements of the first-person shooter, real-time strategy, and action role-playing game genres). Subscription based Linux games will be covered in a future article.

Wine has reached a level of maturity that it lets you play a wide range of commercial Windows games. This enables gamers to enjoy classics such as World of Warcraft, the king of the Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (which has over 11 million subscribers), Half-Life 2, Silkroad Online, Planescape, Day of Defeat: Source Steam, Call of Duty 2 etc etc. We'll also cover the world that Wine opens up in a separate article together with commercial native Linux games too.

Anyway, I'll let you check out the list for yourself. If by chance you don't play computer games because they're silly and juvenile, let me state for the record that I pity you. Sure, I didn't know the touch of a woman growing up, but I did figure out to get by the damned Green Dragon in Adventure:


Kill dragon.

With what? You bare hands?

Yes.

Congratulations. You've just killed a fierce green dragon with your bare hands. Amazing, isn't it?

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May 27, 2008

That brown sudsy stuff? I've heard good things about it.

If you're interested in such things, you might want to check out the website Beer Suggest. From their "About" page:


Beer Suggest is a niche community for beer lovers. The goal of Beer Suggest is to provide the most informative beer site on the net. This is a quite a hefty task, which is why we look to you, the user to help build this website.

Beer Suggest compiles beer reviews, brewery info and a list of beer related events. You might want to check it out. Register for free and start rating/reviewing your favorite brews.

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May 23, 2008

Not so tasty. I give it an F-

I see that Jonathan Hawkins has finally decided that, tartar sauce or no tartar sauce, he won't be voting for the shit sandwich Republicans this year, embodied, of course, by the one and only John McCain.

I think it's sweet that he believed McCain on the comprehensive piece of shit "secure the borders first" promise, but I'm glad that he woke up before the election.

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May 21, 2008

In a nutshell

From Linux Opinion comes this little Point-Counterpoint (Jane, you ignorant slut!):


There are two opposing ways to see Linux, and both are true.

The Negative View:


  • Linux has lots of geeky technical issues.
  • Linux geeks are having fun. They don't care about us.
  • Freedom is next to Godliness - let chaos reign!
  • Documentation is boring and only for wimps.
  • Linux is for the high priests and Windows is for the masses.
  • Linux has thousands of great projects - and no management.
  • Linux market share is 1%.

The Positive View:


  • Linux is a fine operating system with a rich set of capable applications.
  • All this is completely free and can be modified as you please.
  • The geek community understands the problems and is rapidly improving.
  • Ubuntu is the new 600 pound gorilla and is setting standards.
  • Major PC vendors are starting to offer pre-installed Linux (Dell, WallMart).
  • Microsoft: quality, security and ethics issues are sending users to Linux (and Mac).
  • Linux market share has doubled in the last year.

I think that the Negative list is missing an item:


  • Linux geeks may never know the touch of a woman

Then again, that might just be me.

Update: Yep, it's just me.

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The end is near

Via Hot Air comes this court ruling: "U.S. currency is discriminatory towards the blind."

Wow. No one saw that coming.

I can't say that I'm surprised. Ever since I saw Braille drive-up ATMs, I've known that common sense and reason had decided to take a permanent vacation. Also, since websites have been sued under this stupid fucking vague-ass on purpose law for not being blind accessible, I've merely been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Update: Via Gabriel Major comes this link to Hans Bader. Money quote:


The appeals court wrongly gave short shrift to the burden imposed on third parties, suggesting that it did not even need to be considered, even though other federal court rulings recognize that an institution is not required to accommodate a disability or religious practice if doing so would unduly burden third parties. ...As Judge Randolph noted in dissent, “There are approximately 7,000,000 food and beverage vending machines in the United States; by one estimate, it would cost $3.5 billion to retool or replace these machines.”

I'm gonna sue the estate of Gary Gygax for making me like Kryptonite to women. D&D is discriminatory against social misfits and losers because, well, I'll simply ask the clowns in the 9th Circuit to make up some shit for me. It's what they do and they're good at it.

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May 20, 2008

The wasteland that my life was

Via Ken and CalTech Girl comes a quiz on which, pathetically, I scored 100%. I'll admit that there were two skin diseases I wasn't sure about, but I knew for a fact that they weren't D&D monsters. Anyway, here is the result in all of its pathetic glory:











Skin Disease or Dungeons and Dragons Character?



Score: 100% (16 out of 16)


Cal Tech Girl has nothing to be ashamed of because gaming girls, while rare, were a much sought commodity among us basement dwellers. For the record though, I don't quite believe Ken when he says that he knows "doodly" about D&D.

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Hardware issues

So I finally got all of the components for the computer that I'm building for my children. I cheated a little and cannibalized CD-ROM drives and floppy drives (shut up) from some old systems that I'm certain my wife would like to chuck out the window. Anyway, I thought that I'd be clever and pull off the old direct cooling fan as well and simply use that on the new motherboard/CPU combo. Funny thing, though: I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to attach the fan to the new motherboard. I finally gave up and ordered a new one. When it arrived, I discovered why the old fan wouldn't fit. The new fans are freaking ginormous. Two huge levels of radiating fins and a fan that, frankly, I could use as a small ceiling fan, at least in our dog house.

Anyway, I plan to take pictures of my latest PC project and post them here. The first photo will be of the two cooling fans sitting side by side just to give you an idea of how much things have changed in just a couple of years. The rest will be of the entire project, from empty mini-tower to booting the OS.

When will all of this happen? Beats me. Family obligations keep intruding. But my kids are getting antsy and my wife is tired of getting kicked off of her machine. My guess is that it will be sooner, rather than later. Stay tuned.

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Bloggers on the move

So Cassy Fiano has moved into fresh, new, non-Blogsplat digs. Cool. Please update your links accordingly.

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May 19, 2008

For your viewing pleasure

Because I've got nothing -although I'll have a couple of lengthy tech posts up in the near future- today, I'm going to go with what I like, and what I like is beautiful women. Let's find out who the boss is today:

more...

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The sport of kings

So Big Brown is now one victory away from winning the Triple Crown. I hope that he gets it. I remember watching Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed (poor Alydar- would have been a great horse in any other year) all winning the Triple Crown in the 1970s. I got so used to seeing a winner that I forgot how difficult such a feat is. The current period between champions is the longest in history.

Anyway. Everyone raved about Big Brown's huge victory on Saturday. While it was impressive, every race that I've seen since 1973 has been colored by what Secretariat accomplished on June 9 of that year at the Belmont Stakes. I've embedded a video below the fold. For the record, Secretariat won the Belmont by a mind-boggling 31 lengths. Other notable records:


  • Secretariat's Kentucky Derby record of (1:59 2/5) still stands. Also, Big Red ran each quarter-mile segment faster than the one before it.
  • At the Belmont, Secretariat ran the first 1 1/4 mile faster than any horse had run the entire race before
  • Secretariat's record at the Belmont of 2:24 is still the world record for the distance; no other horse has every broken 2:25 at that distance
more...

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May 14, 2008

Burn, burn, burn. The planet burns

Or maybe not. Excerpt:


The global warming gurus assure us that a decade without, you know, global warming, has a perfectly rational explanation, and that humanity's wasteful standard of living is still a sure bet to replace Canadian winters with Las Vegas summers by the end of the century. The Pacific Ocean's La Nina current, a cooler-than-normal expanse of water, is responsible for milder temperatures in the normally balmy equatorial region. China and West Asia have cooled off as well, the WMO reported.

The La Nina current is expected to hang around the rest of the year. After that, we're back on the express elevator to Hades.

"For detecting climate change you should not look at any particular year, but instead examine the trends over a sufficiently long period of time," said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. "And the trend of temperature globally is still very much indicative of warming."

The La Nina current is "part of what we call 'variability,' " he said.

But as Investor's Business Daily wrote in a Friday editorial: "Why can't the Pacific's El Nino current, which played a large part in the warm reading for 1998, simply be seen as a 'variability' and not part of a greater warming trend?" Variability is code for "data that don't support our cause."

Read the rest.

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May 13, 2008

All aboard the no Gates express

Next stop: Linuxville

Check out this article at Tech Radar on one guy's move from Windows to Ubuntu. Except:


One of the main problems with Microsoft's Windows OS is that virtually everything on your motherboard, and anything you want to install, requires an appropriate driver. This used to be the case with Linux, but like Apple’s OS X, a large number of drivers are now built into the Linux kernel.

For instance, once you install Windows, you normally need to install all the motherboard drivers. When I installed Ubuntu, this wasn’t necessary.

Even more impressively, Ubuntu detected my wireless USB stick. All it required was the WPA password and it connected straight to the Internet. In Windows, a specific driver is needed.
...
So far I’m impressed. Setting up Ubuntu has been easier than Windows XP or Vista, and I’ve had to install far fewer drivers. Over the next four days, I’ll find out how Ubuntu copes with a range of everyday tasks, from Internet shopping to productivity and playing games.

Stay tuned for future installments in this series.

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May 12, 2008

Reality check

So some borderline retarded douchbags think that Cassy Fiano is fat? Really? I mean, WTFing really?! I guess that if your ideal woman is one that you can hold up to a light buld to see if she's pregnant, then sure, Cassy might appear chunky. Here on planet Earth, she's actually a lovely, sexy woman, with appealing curves. She doesn't even fall into the Rubinesque category of curvaceous. Anyway, I'll give Cassy the last word:


Um, yeah. Compared to that, I guess I am a whale. Heaven forbid I eat three meals a day, get moderate exercize, and wear a size 8. And I can't help the fact that God gave me really, really big breasts. They started growing when I hit puberty and kind of never stopped -- and they don't get smaller, no matter how much I work out (believe me, I've tried). So, it's a little bit beyond my control.

I lied: I've got some final thoughts on this subject. If your ideal woman is the Skeletor-looking cadavers so prevalent among today's fashion models, who look like they survive on a diet of heroin, coffee and cigarettes, then sure, a real woman will look like someone eating food for an entire Third World nation. The rest of us will continue to enjoy women who actually look like women.

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It's going to get worse

And by worse, I mean colder. Globally. Read the PDF at this link, courtesy -again- of Jerry Pournelle. I've excerpted some of the salient points, but it's worth reading. Anyway:


Do we live in a special time in which the laws of physics and nature are suspended? No, we do not. Can we expect relationships between the Sun’s activity and climate, that we can see in data going back several hundred years, to continue for at least another 20 years? With absolute certainty.

In this presentation, I will demonstrate that the Sun drives climate, and use that demonstrated relationship to predict the Earth’s climate to 2030. It is a prediction that differs from most in the public domain. It is a prediction of imminent cooling.

To put the solar – climate relationship in context, we will begin by looking at the recent temperature record, and then go further back in time.

Then we will examine the role of the Sun in changing climate, and following that the contribution of anthropogenic warming from carbon dioxide. I will show that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is not even a little bit bad. It is wholly beneficial. The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better the planet will be – for humans, and all other living things.
...
When I asked at the beginning of this presentation if we lived in a special time, well that is true in relation to the last three million years. The special time we live in is called an interglacial. Normally, and that is 90% of the time, the spot I am standing on is covered by several thousand feet of ice. Relative to the last four interglacials, we may be somewhere near the end of the current interglacial. The end of the Holocene will be a brutal time for humanity.
...
2008 is the tenth anniversary of the recent peak on global temperature in 1998. The world has been cooling at 0.06 degrees per annum since then. My prediction is that this rate of cooling will accelerate to 0.2 degrees per annum following the month of solar minimum sometime in 2009.
...
We have to be thankful to the anthropogenic global warming proponents for one thing. If it weren’t for them and their voodoo science, climate science wouldn’t have attracted the attention of non-climate scientists, and we would be sleepwalking into the rather disruptive cooling that is coming next decade. We have a few years to prepare for that in terms of agricultural production.

We won't prepare, of course, because it isn't politically expedient. I look forward to President Obamamessiah's State of the Union addresses being given from South Florida during his second term.

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