Wireless

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! 🙂

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