Mar 132014
1 month, 3 days ago
RF Shall Not Pass

Though I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in wireless networking, I’ve completed a number of projects that required the deployment of wireless access points, bridges, and repeaters.  I’m familiar with the setup and deployment of universal repeaters and the use of custom firmware such as DD-WRT.  I’ve witnessed the effects of environmental factors from building materials, RF interference, proximity and elevation relative to connecting devices and also misaligned directional antenna and

broken connections in the antenna array.

What I had not seen before was something so obvious, it had never occurred to me:  The affect of human bodies on wireless signal propagation.  You often hear about studies which attempt to prove or disprove the effect that radio  has on living tissue – hold your cell phone at least one inch from your ear (yeah, right).

In the midst of an important presentation, where the presenter was to use the wi-fi to put a presentation wireless signal all but disappeared. I had a technical issue with microphone feedback the previous year, so I was really not looking forward to any technical glitches. The technical failure resulted in a poor presentation which reflected poorly on our vendor. Something seemingly so easy to manage created an immediate crisis when it failed. I did not anticipate the need for a hot spare any more than I had foreseen the environmental effect of human bodies on wi-fi access.

Makes you think about where all that radio energy is going. Needless to say, there will be some high gain antenna arrays (and spares) available for 2014.

Now I just need to find an AV guy…



 Posted by at 9:28 pm
Oct 242013
5 months, 23 days ago

So Mavericks Server really made a mess in upgrading my Mac Mini from Mountain Lion.  In the end, the Mavericks upgrade went well.  Trouble began with installation of Server 3.  About half way through ‘updating data’ the system would hang, and then get stuck in the old grey screen of death loop.  Fixing permissions on the system folder solved the boot issue.  Re-run server install, and bang!  Same issue.  Since I only care about the websites, I fixed the permissions again, then renamed the server folder.  Created a new server folder and copied in the contents of my existing web folder.  This time the installer completed (without fragging permissions), and successfully migrated my data… assuming you’re reading this.  I’ll worry about what it got hung up on later… or never.  After all, it’s an OS migration.  Didn’t expect it to be flawless.

 Posted by at 11:37 am
Oct 082013
6 months, 8 days ago

In a post-PC world, my interest in computers and computer systems has been renewed by the abundance of low-cost, yet powerful devices that run variations of UNIX-like operating systems.  Though I am working with the OSX GUI mostly, I find that familiarization with Linux helps me bridge the gap between Windows, Mac OS, Android and allows me to identify and manipulate – copy/modify/etc – shared code.  Though individual command syntaxes vary greatly, their purpose as it relates to interaction of software/hardware components shares a similar logic.  Each process; each subroutine; each byte; can be identified and replicated on the other platforms…

Using a universal or unifying language can deliver the convergence of technology/device that major vendors have missed when evolving their market strategy around “the cloud” – what’s it all about?  In the end, it’s about access to information.

 Posted by at 10:37 pm