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Showing posts from January, 2010

Who is at 617-588-0005?

Today I got another call from 617-588-0005 today.

I seem to be getting a lot of them, but I finally tracked down who and why. You see I don't ordinarily pick up calls from people I don't know due to telemarketers. But whoever claimed to be calling from 6175880005 was persistant, and so I answered.

It turned out to be a friend who lives in Europe. Yep, it is a US phone number, but he was calling through Skype. It looks like Skype is using 6175880005 for calls from those that otherwise don't have a real phone number.

iPad Thoughts and Dreams

Well we all just learned about the iPad. Here are my thoughts:

Clearly a Kindle killer, and a killer of many iPod Touch competitors such as the Zune.A compelling alternative to NetBooksAll that's necessary for your typical home user.
Aggressive 3G capabilities and pricing.
Do I need another device? I already have a laptop and a smart phone. Really? A third device? Can I get rid of one, please?What is going on with MacOS X? Three versions? Mac, Phone, Pad? How and when will these platforms converge? Is this Apple's way of transitioning off the Desktop paradigm and into a new one?

Backup Drives for your Mac

The hard disk in your Mac can fail at any time. And they often do. I'd guess that the chance of any computer owner having a hard drive failure within the next year is 10%, regardless of the age or brand of the computer.

If your hard drive fails, the odds are very good that you will have NO HOPE FOR RECOVERY. All your photos, music and documents are likely to be GONE FOREVER.

Backup is key if you don't want to permanently lose all your photos and music and other important bits of data. Here's how to do it on the cheap.

Simple and Inexpensive Backup Devices For Your Mac

The easiest way to back up your Mac is via the built in TimeMachine backup program. But to use it, you need to buy an external backup drive first.

An external drive used to backup a MacBook

My recommendation is to buy a USB 2.0 backup drive with 1 TB of storage. They're inexpensive (under $100), they have substantial capacity, and they're very easy to use. Personally, I love the inexpensive but very g…

WIFI Security

My neighbor was asking me yesterday what kind of security I thought he should set up on his home WIFI router.

My answer: it depends!
Best: WPA2 with AESGood: WPA or WPA2 with TKIP or AES
Very Poor: WEPPretty simple, eh? No, not really.

Many old routers and laptops have a crusty old WIFI adapter that won't support the modern protocols. And therefore it is often necessary to use a lesser security protocol.

A lot of old wireless hardware only works with the WEP protocol. Some older 802.11g hardware can use WPA and WEP, but cannot use WPA2. Modern 802.11g and 802.11n hardware supports all protocols.

My general strategy is to do an on-site equipment survey to see what kind of wireless hardware is in use. If there are any devices that require a lesser protocol, I talk to the client to see if it is reasonable to replace or eliminate the old adapters.

My neighbor turned out to have two old laptops with 802.11b adapters that only supported WEP. Therefore, we configured his network for WEP. …

Belkin F5D7230-4 v2000 and DD-WRT

I recently upgraded my Belkin F5D7230-4 v2000 802.11g router with DD-WRT.

For those not familiar with DD-WRT: It's alternative software for a large number of routers. This replacement firmware provides a boatload of features and capabilities that let you maximize your router's potential. After all, the core of a router is a computer.

I didn't have much luck with it with the original Belkin-provided firmware. But with DD-WRT it has been fantastic: fast and stable, with a good range of features.

I was surprised that router is supported by DD-WRT - the v2000 has a limited amount of memory, but sure enough it was on the official support list. With only 2 MB of on-board flash storage, it can't do everything. But with DD-WRT it can do way more than many new, expensive routers.

Limitations of the V2000 with DD-WRT

You should know that there is a limitation with this particular router and DD-WRT. For technical reasons, the old "Cable Modem" port doesn't work. Thi…