Thursday, October 18, 2012

WiFi and beyond

I spent yesterday trying to upgrade a home network. After 5+ years, the old "b" router was crashing everytime certain devices connected to it, and the coverage was never what it needed to be. The primary computers are on wired connections, and would also benefit from gigabit ethernet vs. the 100mbits they were getting.

So it began, router and modem into the basement (various benefits to being down there such as a UPS), and gigabit ethernet was alive in seconds - an improvement beyond expectations, and no more crashing with certain connections. But the range seemed more confined than previously. A hopefully easy sollution, using the old router as a wireless access point. The challenge of getting a cable where it is needed quickly became a issue... So first a test, with wires running down halls, a temporary setup brought perfect signal where it is needed, and 2 discoveries: the router still crashed with certain devices, and more importantly, androids approach to picking a stronger signal is broken - tablets and phones hang on to the weak wifi singnal from the basement rather than switch to the strong signal in front of them.

In the end the router came out of the basement, and all seems well. Lessons learned: watch your bottlenecks, lay cables wherever you can, and while technology is great - think of your weakest link.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hustling Roma

Just about wheels up in Rome. After ~3 days here, I am struck by the hustle of people living here. In the midst of an economic crisis, I encountered plenty of Romans taking pride in their work, and plotting how to get to a better place.

The cab driver on the way to the airport told us of the pain of growing up in the boom, and now be unable to maintain the standards he is used to. In March he plans to move to Canada for a job in the oil industry.

The waiter at dinner carefully guided all the guests through the menu, and seemed genuinely concerned everyone enjoy fine Roman food.

The examples go on, and it is this which seems to give hope for improvements to come. Until then, fingers crossed this country manages to halt its perpetual decline.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

128k feet

Just watched the stratos jump; an incredible feat!

Walking through Rome today, there were several moments of this exact thought - what incredible things can be achieved through focused and determined effort. With the 2000 year old buildings mirroring the record of the day, sieze the challenges ahead and accomplish something amazing!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Flew to Rome yesterday for a friends' wedding, and am sticking around a bit to explore the city. I've been here twice before, and neither trip left me craving to come back. As we walked around today, the thought I settled on was that this city has been in a state of decline for 2000 years. The ancient ruins stick up at scattered street corners, the modern relics of a metropolis dot the landscape (just try and get from the terminal to the train at FCO).

That is not to say that Rome is an unenjoyable city. The food is marvelous, the history is remarkable, and the engineering is astounding.

We had the unique opportunity to tour St. Peter's Basilica with a priest studying here from Kalamazoo. The church can only be described as cavernous. Writing and statues grow in size toward the ceiling to perfectly counter-balance depth of field, meaning that everything appears to be the same size upon entry. The symbology of every item is deep, and designed to reinforce thousands of years of Catholic tradition. Seeing it with the guidance of an expert made itall the more remarkable.

Our meals have been dotted around the city, more on those soon. For the time being, here's my foursquare list of sights on the agenda: