I basically skipped out on the Internet for most of last week. This was mainly because last year's router decided it was no longer interested in putting out a consistent enough signal for my WLAN interface to stay stapled to it long enough to do things like, oh, open a webpage. I am happy when things consistently work, I can troubleshoot them when they consistently don't work, but intermittent functionality interspersed with HA HA ONLY KIDDING makes me want to break stuff. Last year's router is now no more broken than it got to be on its own, but it has been replaced with 2007's never-used router, which was picked up at a Fry's in Vegas for something like $15, preemptively disassembled in case we needed it for a project we were working on that Defcon, and put back in its box still in pieces with a few extra bits attached. All the solder points are neatly covered in electrical tape, and it has red and black wires soldered to the pins of the 5V jack; I guess if we have a power outage we can run it off batteries. Also it works, which is always nice to discover when you put something back together. Clearwire, I take back most of the bad things I ever said about you; you are actually rather fast and reliable when used with non-gimpy hardware. Perhaps this summer we will share the internet on the beach at Oostende after all, with the help of the battery-powered router.
The router needs a name. For the last few years our naming convention has been "places that do not exist" -- thus far Arcadia and Erehwon. I am leaning toward Ruritania or possibly Latveria, though I note that Uncyclopedia's list of nonexistent places includes Belgium
. The humour is hit or miss, but I cannot deny the truth of the following excerpt:
Belgium is the worst place to live during a Zombie Apocalypse due to the fact that there's more dead soldiers buried there than people.
I mean, if you're in Colma
when the zombie apocalypse happens, the odds are stacked against you, but you'll be up against zombie hippies and dotcommers. I suppose our only hope will be if the zombie French and Germans hate each other more than they want to eat the brains of living Belgians.
The other cool discovery, in addition to Working!Router, was the SMT tweezers that I apparently also picked up during that Fry's expedition. These are no ordinary tweezers; they are large and sturdy with a business end that comes to needle tips, suitable for performing reconstructive surgery on fruit flies. I suppose I should really get round to converting a toaster oven into a reflow oven, since I now have most of the other tools I need to do serious tiny-circuitry work. The local hardware store even sells ferric chloride, though not in the handy solution form that Radio Shack dispenses -- no, here it comes in foul-smelling rusty orange lumps and must be weighed out by the gram. I can also obtain a wide assortment of useful acids, bases, and salts, in addition to the standard sodium hydroxide and 30% hydrochloric acid that they sell in the grocery store to clear out drains. I feel like I'm living back in Thomas Edison's day, when you could get kicked off a train for having your chemistry set accidentally set a boxcar on fire.
This weekend was also enochsmiles
' and my third wedding anniversary, which would have been great had I not woken up with some gastrointestinal weirdness that forced me to instead spend the day puking myself stupid. (If you find that resultative construction unusual, I defy you to maintain any kind of intelligence while lurching to the sink every half hour to retch bile.) We are planning to celebrate this weekend instead; it will also be my little sister briaer
's birthday, so that's two reasons to celebrate.
Finally, in the last bit of router-related news, now there are router botnets
. This should surprise approximately no one -- "I bet I can put Linux on that" metamorphosed into "I bet I can drop a botnet on that" some time back, for values of "that" which can connect to the Internet -- but seriously, people, password your fucking routers already.