Once upon a time, domestic entertainment systems that received broadcast audio programmes were called wirelesses. At that time the word radio had a technical connotation and was used for experimental things done by boffins.

Later, the word radio came to be associated with the consumer gadget (I suspect this came with the development of transistor radios) which meant that wireless was spare and available to be used for technical things that boffins did. What the boffins did was wireless computer networks.

I must be a boffin; last night there was a wireless computer network in my living room.

Ok I’m not the boffin. The guys who **made** the wireless equipment are the boffins. And, especially, the guys who wrote ndiswrapper which is a wonderful piece of software that works something like the babel fish from the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide. Since companies like Belkin don’t write driver software for their wireless products that work under Linux, the boffins came up with the ndiswrapper-babel-fish thigummy which you stick in the ear of a Windows driver and makes it able to talk to Linux. Hooray for that (even if i did have to upgrade my version of Linus and then apply a patch to the kernel before it would run properly for me).

I just put the pieces together and fiddled about with them. Aah, such fun! People have asked me what I’m doing to celebrate my degree. Answer: wireless networking! Mr Kioko and I have been stomping about the college compound today with a laptop, much to the amusement of the groundsmen, shouting:
“Eleven megabits per second”,
“I’m still getting eleven.. oh! now it’s five”
“It’s gone to two now…”
And so on.

Finally we decided that my house is just too far from the computer lab to get a signal through the metal security bars that all houses have here and which suddenly resemble a Faraday cage. So now I think I’m going to have to save my bean-tins (or eat a packet of pringles) and build a cantenna.

Enough of this geek speek, I’m off to Nairobi with my swimming trunks! 🙂


  1. Cad Says:

    Mad I tell you!
    He’ll be onto theramins, draw-bars and lesley rotating speakers before we can say "Cruising Around In My Light Blue Fiat 500". 🙂

    I sense a happy Dr Skipper.

    "Huzzah!" I say!


  2. Lydia Says:

    Have you seen http://www.thinkgeek.com? One of my students who describes himself as a geek – while I was explaining how the genetic code worked he was simultaneously listening to me and writing a program on his computer that would translate a sequence of DNA into RNA and then the 3letter amino acid shorthand sequence. He was done in time to translate various sentences for the rest of the class at the end of the lesson – anyhow he recommended this website to me as a place where I could buy a cuddle Ebola virus, should you need an ethernet crossover adaptor or httpanties, its all there! :rolleyes:

  3. Dr Mark Says:

    Thanks for that link, httpanties in deed. But Icould have done with that cross over keyring a few times in the last few months!.

    Today I found this site on how to make a
    parabolic reflector for my wifi base station from cardboard and aluminium foil! Just like Blue Peter!

    If only i didn’t have bloody Cisco training this week…

  4. Lydia Says:

    Anticipation can be fun….

  5. The Geek Says:

    Man! I need to take control.

    Yesterday we built, but haven’t yet tested, a brace of parabolic dish reflectors to increase the range on the wireless router.

    When that was done I started to think about classless inter-domain routing, since that’s the first subject in CCNA3 and the exams are due to start today. I got distracted thinking I could write a web page with Javascript that could calculate variable length sub-net masks. Finally went to bed at 2am! Up again at 6 to start the Cisco training for real. My eyes look like "two piss holes in the snow", as Moz used to say in my first year at Leicester Poly all those years ago.

  6. Jan Says:

    HI Mark, so have you seen Penny and is she ok ?
    give her my love.. I am thinking of you all Jan and Steve xxx

  7. Mark Says:

    Yeah, penny’s in the house now. She has been on safari and back. She got food poisoning and ill the night before last but now it’s johnny’s turn!

  8. Chris Says:

    Here are some photos of nice old wireless sets I took in Amsterdam last year (fingers crossed that the URL doesn’t get nuked)…


  9. Thaths Says:

    Wow! You got WiFi working in Tala!! That is so cool.

    PS: Walkng in your footsteps I have shaved my head. 😉

  10. Mark Says:

    Not quite working. But we’re working on it.

    Hey you shaved your head? I wanna see a photo…
    (pauline is saying you have sent her a photo but she can’t get it at the moment)

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