Nat’s Mac

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Well, what do you know. Nat got a Mac. A 12-inch PowerBook. I’ve been jelous of the one Seth had so many years ago I finally got one. True, it is a loaner from work but I’m trying to do as much as I can on the new Mac.

There are some things that I really like. First, everything just works. I’m not sure how to describe this but I installed OS 10.5 with virtually one click.  And everything works. The sound works, the video works, the hot keys work. The wireless networking remembers all my informaiton and I just automatically connect to the network where ever I go. Installing software couldn’t be easier (except for Debian pacakges) and everything looks nice. I find myself doing something and unexplicably saying “boom.”

And I never turn the machine off, it just goes into suspend. There is a guy at work and he hasn’t rebooted in over 30 days with his notebook and he only rebooted to get system updates. I’m having a pretty good time with it.  Steve Jobs just might be on to something.

The only think I don’t know is what software I should be installing. I have FireFox but that’s it in terms of additional software. Does anyone recommend anything I should get?

Total White-out Snow Storm

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We are having a hell of a storm here today. There is total white-out conditions for driving almost everywhere along a 100 mile coridor along the Wasatch front.

I was foolish enough to go out to lunch today. Four of us braved the 5-foot visibility to drive 1 mile on back roads to the Thanksgiving Point Dinosaur Museum for a taco salad. It was an adventure, which is a euphamism for stupid thing to do. We drove at about 2 mile per hour totally unable to see the street at all. We navigated based off memory, feel and some light posts that were on both sides of the road.

I would post a picture of the snow storm but it would look like a plain white photo. Like those jokes you would do as a kid “I drawled a polar bear in a snow storm!”

If the weather keeps up I’ll be spending the night at work. We’ll see how it goes.

Stereo Conference Room Phones

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I actually had this idea about a year ago and I just re-thought of it. Funny how stuff like this keeps coming up.

I’ve been in quite a few meetings lately and by quite a few I mean that out of a 40 hour work week I’m spending about 33 of them in meetings. Some of these are done via conference calls in large rooms with 10-15 people.

If anyone has ever been on the other side of those calls it can be very frustrating especially if people talk too quiet or if multiple conversations are going on at the same time. So I thought that it would help to have two conference phones on the table and to listen in two receivers so one could triangulate where the sound was coming from and follow multiple conversations.

Given today’s technology I’m sure someone like Polycom could build that into its conference phones. They wouldn’t even need two phone lines. Just digitize them, compress them, transfer them as a bit-stream using SIP or something then decode the channels at the other end.

I’m going to try it though, put two phone on the table in one room and listen on two phones at the other end and see what it is like.

IPCop Server Death

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I came home last night from work and discovered that I had no internet access at home, which also meant that my home phone didn’t work (I have VoIP). Nothing quite like walking in the door after a long hard day and having to diagnose network problems.

I figured it was something simple like rebooting the cable modem but when I got down in the basement and rebooted the modem the lights came on but there was still no internet traffic I took a step back. Cable modem: running. 24-port switch: running. Wireless Access Point: running. VoIP box: running. UPS: running. Firewall: uh oh. The friendly faint red glow from the blow-hole fan port wasn’t on. The firewall server just wouldn’t turn on.

I cracked open the case, dug around and found a dead power supply. It really was dead. So I faced a decision on whether to replace it or not. I voted not.

I’ve decided to acquire a LinkSys WRT54G router and replace the firmware with DD-WRT. I think the main reason for this is not because I have something against IPCop, because I don’t. I love IPCop and I run it at work. I’m switching becuase I want to save electricity and money. It also removes some options and flexibility but you have to weigh all the issues and make a decision.

Since my wife made me get rid of all my old computers I now have a perfectly good IPCop firewall machine with 3 NICs and a bad power supply.

Let me know if you want it–it’s free.