Archive for June, 2005
I finally got the time to get together with my good buddy and former roommate, the fire chief of Sunshine, Steve Stratton, and set up a long range link between our houses. He has a T1 line (1.544 Mbps up and down) and I’ve been using my Motorola V551 GPRS for internet access for the past two weeks, which is pretty painful. I used my Mac via Bluetooth to serve up the GPRS connection to my other computers. The rate is 100 kpbs which is not half bad, but the latency is terrible (2-5 seconds), and it doesn’t deal well with multiple transactions.
I bought two LinkSys WAP54G access points, and two enclosed outdoor Yagi antennas (EnteraSys RoamAbout Point-to-Point Wireless: RBTES-BG-Y14M), and actually got the link working nearly flawlessly between our houses, which are over 2200′ apart, with trees partially obscuring the line of sight and energy envelope (big oblong) of the transmission (if both were not obscured, this link could go to 8 km). The link is pretty good, but not quite reliable enough for VOIP (I think the wind moving the trees is causing problems).
The antenna is on Steve’s deck, fastened to the railing using some paper wedges, and the access point is in a baggie on the deck (didn’t have enough antenna wire to put it inside).
This is the view of Steve’s house (the roof, circled in red) from my house out the window.
The other antenna is precariously perched on the window sill inside the house I’m renting.
They’re pointed ROUGHLY towards eachother, but not very exactly. The polarization appears critical, as rotating the antenna about it’s access kills the signal. It’s a very good thing the link worked the first time, as I have no signal strength metering on either access point, so everything is binary (link or no-link).
I added WEP 128 bit encryption so other folks couldn’t tune in (also MAC address control), but I have not yet hacked the firmware to boost transmit power (x4 is possible with these APs, as they use open source Linux, and many have hacked them).
Total cost of the setup: WAP54G ($60 x 2) + Antennas ($62×2) = $244. This is pretty good, because the antennas MSRP are over $280 each.
As of today, I’m a green card holder! The interview process was NOTHING like the movie with Gerard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell. 15 minutes in and out.
The interviewer did note that green cards hadn’t been green in 50 years (they’re beige or off-white).
We were worried that they would a) want to transfer our case to Colorado since we’re living here and b) ask for our original marriage certificate, which we accidentally packed in our household goods, which are still in storage.
In any event, all turned out well, and it was quite pleasant actually. I don’t actually have the card itself, but rather a stamp in my passport saying it’s coming…
A week after closing on our house in California, we put in an offer on a house in Boulder that was accepted. We’re going to be living in the pretentiously named covenant community called “Boulder Heights”, up in the front range (around 8000 ft) off of Lee Hill Road. Our house has tremendous mountain views, and 1.9 acres of nearly flat land on the ridgeline over Lefthand Canyon. It’s all been redone on the inside too, with a nice kitchen, bedroom, etc. Unfortunately, I’ll have to join the neighbouring fire department, as this house will be in the BMFA (Boulder Mountain Fire Authority) district, rather than Sunshine (SFPD).
Shopping for a house in California (Kellyfawnia) is like deciding on which is better, airline food or hospital food. No house that we could afford (especially now!) had all the elements we were looking for, and everything was a compromise. And EVERYONE offered huge deposits and an offer over asking price.
Shopping for a house in Boulder is a real pleasure, with a ton of inventory that’s not moving, and many completely new, redone and great houses to choose from. Putting in an offer at asking is unheard of, but since we really liked the house, that’s what we did.
The house closed on June 20th, and about an hour after the movers left (we cleaned the house for the new owners) we got in the JEEP with our two cats, Boulder and Golden, and drove for 22 hours to Boulder. For reference, the drive was only 20 hours in the Audi in March, even with snowstorms, rain and ice. We drove along 80, and left at 8:30 PM PST and got in the next day around 7:30 PM MST.
I must say, the cats settled down significantly, and although I was unable to drug them, (they wouldn’t eat the cat food I ground up the sedative into) they were very good. This may have been because it was a hot drive, so the cats were cooking in the back of our non-air-conditioned JEEP Wrangler TJ. I soaked them periodically with water which they seemed to enjoy.