A couple of weeks ago I was finally able to get an 802.11b AP! For those of you that don’t know much about technology, that’s a base station that allows for a wireless network. With that, I could finally roam the net while being downstairs with Kate watching TV.

Originally, my laptop, which is now so old that I can’t remember how old it actually is. Thats basically enough to say that it’s not a powerhouse. Underneath the laptop is an aging K6-2 450 with 128MB of RAM and smallish 10GB drive. Oh yeah, it has a CD-ROM that has fits and floppy that doesn’t work anymore.

For most of it’s life its been running some sort of windows - beginning with Windows 98. Last or week or so I moved it to linux. Although I was thinking of fedora - it’s what I use on my local webserver - but not only is it big, spanning 4 CD’s, but it’s meant for a computer with decent resources. The distro I decided to try wasn’t particularly fitted for the laptop but I forged ahead anyways. Ubuntu was a very easy install, even for a text install, and it was just 1 CD.

So far I’m liking. Gnome 2.8 is a little annoying for a power user though, having a new window popup everytime you open a folder. Although the two bars take up a lot of space, specially at 800x600, it’s very usefull. The fresh install is a little bare in the programs, but thats what apt-get is there for. And if it comes down to it, I’m not afraid of compiling code.

The surprising thing about ubuntu was that my wireless card was quickly found and configured. I didn’t have any horrible linux driver story coming out of this. Very unlike the first time I played with Red Hat back in the version 7 days when my standard 3com wasn’t working. It was really nifty. The surprising thing was that it was far easier then any of the times I’ve had to setup any wireless networks on a windows machine. The configs in windows just never seem to kick in unless you restart or something - it’s worst when the manufacturers drivers clash with windows xps way of configuring wifi.

And that’s the long way to why I’m now in the posession of a laptop running linux with wifi that works better then windows just to be able to watch ER with my wife in the living room that is downstairs.

February 17, 2005 10:17 PM Gadgets and Hardware


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