Random geekness and other assorted tales

Posted on March 8, 2005

This weekend I finally found the time to replace my Alcatel Eazy Touch ADSL modem, my Linksys Ethernet switch and my US Robotics AP with Huawei’s Aolynk WDR814g, the super duper ADSL2+ Wireless Router/LAN Switch combo which treats my ultra fast 256K/128K ADSL line as it should!
OK, so at least I got read of three boxes and replaced them with a single one, so there!
Up until now it seems to be generally OK, I had to let the former gateway know that the traffic would now be coming from the other interface and it was indeed legitimate, thank you very much; the dns cache had to be told to behave too; the DHCP server was shut down; the gateway also had to stop trying to establish the PPPoE connection, thank you for all your effort, you are now obsolete and, of course, all the IPTables rules on that particular box had to be revised, but other than that everything is A-OK.
What I lost was the fine control I had over the ACLs as I now have generic rules on the router (using the self-assigned term with the due grain of salt) instead of the reliable IPTables and the router doesn’t seem to really know how to talk to dyndns.org to update my domain’s address, even though it says it should (and there is a place to configure it).
I expect these and some other small annoyances to be fixed with future firmware upgrades, though, and the fact that my PPPoE, DHCP and routing (in short: my connectivity) is handled on a dedicated “dumb” box instead of a PC is most reassuring.

On the near (I hope) future my site will also be out of here and on a dedicated server on a place with good connectivity and better conditions for the hardware to live. The geek-nest is getting ready and after some initial hick-ups I now have no fear about any of it (what a dreadful pun… even if only a couple of people will get it).

On a related note, Zeldman’s “Designing with Web Standards” has been my most intense reading material of late and even though I already knew or had a gut instinct about most of what the book explains and proposes it is really excellent material and it helps clarify and cement the ideas on one’s brain. Expect a (not so major as I already have most of it nailed down today) change in the site’s structure soon. Hopefully at about the same time I port it to it’s new “physical” home.
The only beef I have with that book is that the bulk of the first 4 or 5 chapters is spent trying to convince people of the value and correctness of the ideas it conveys. Now while I’m all for branding the clue-stick about whenever it is needed, I do think that to spend so much time hammering over how this is really a good idea and how it will help you live in a better tomorrow is just plain wasteful.
By all means, do tell people that this is a better way. Show them why this is a better way. Teach them to write web sites in a better way. But don’t spend such a big part of your book preaching to them. If they are reading it they already have some idea of how important or good it is. If (like me and so many other people, I’m sure) they already know how good and important this is you just annoy them. If they are skeptical about it give them examples, show them how it works and why it works. Don’t lecture them in a book, lecture them on live lectures, but show them how in the book.
Anyway, as I said, this is my only beef with the book, the rest of it is just great, as I fully expected it to be.

On the gaming front, I’ve tried the “Second Life” and even though it seemed like a fun thing to do I’ve dropped out of it after the trial period. I simply wouldn’t have the time for it.
It reminded me so much of my MUD and MUSH days! It is not actually a game, but more of a virtual environment where the best time I think I would have would be in building things and exploring things built by other people. On the MUD/MUSH days you did it with a text interface and your imagination, in “Second Life” you do it with a full-fledged 3D graphics interface and a powerful building system, but the end result is the same: I already have too little time in the first life, I really can’t handle a second one right now.

“Vendetta Online” now, that’s a different story…
It is in fact a game, even if a MMORPG one, and I have decided to stay with it for the time being. Until now it doesn’t require that much time from me and it does feel good to just jump on the ship and relax while I cruise the galaxy for a while in the evening.
And if I can’t play it every single evening no harm comes to anyone, I just come back whenever I have some time and play whatever I feel like. I can blow some steam on some dog fights or just chill and do some trading or exploring missions. All the time I’m building up my character’s (a single one for now) ranks until I have enough of a standing to get some more interesting options on the game.
Then I’ll have to see what comes about and decide if the little time I have available for it is enough or if I should just quit it. But until that time it does help me relax and I can always just create new characters and remain on the “easy” part of the game…

And on yet another huge subject change: I’ve finally decided to try out flickr on a more serious way. So I am now a paying member and I’m putting some pictures in there, little by little, and I’ll start delving into it’s API to see how far I can go with it in terms of a possible fotolog or even a basic photo-album app.
Let’s see how it goes…

And that’s about it for now, there are many more things I’d like to write about, to help clarify them in my own head, but alas the hour is late for one who has slept as little as I did yesterday and who will (hopefully) be up bright and early tomorrow to go to the gym.
Which reminds me: music is OK while you I am working out, but to really get my mind off the mind-boggling stupidity it is to waste so many hours running in place or lifting heavy things just for the sake of one’s (lack of a) belly, nothing comes even close to sticking some interesting shows on your MP3 player and listening to them.
I mean things like the “IT Conversations” podcasts for example (especially “The Gillmor Gang” regular series and other temporary ones like the “Web 2.0” or the “Accelerating Change 2004” ones).
It engages your mind in a way that no music ever can and so, not only do you end up making your time really count for something worthwhile, but you also don’t notice it slipping by, so when it’s time to hit the Sauna or the Turkish Bath in the end, you actually feel a little sorry that the session is about to end because you will have to wait until next time to get to have so much time to just listen to those shows again.