Saturday, September 11, 2004

God of the wireless

Once again, The Wombat proves himself master of technology.

After a few nights of beating my head against drivers, PCMCIA slots and setup programs (that used the wrong meaning of the phrase "setting someone up"), The Wombat is doing web from the front porch, without the long blue cable snaking from the corner of the living room, through the domain of The Evil One, under the screen door and out to The Wombat's outdoor office/weight training grotto. Like any wonk, I would like to say that I conquered the wireless setup through use of brains and skill. I would also like to say it didn’t take two days. More to the truth is perseverance and a lucky guess. I backed off from the attempt to do all the setups at once, backed up to an older driver, and actually (gasp) read the instructions. That at least got the laptop talking to the base. But the rest of the network still spurned my advances. I followed the usual steps (turning various options on and off, etc.) then I saw this thing called Enable LMHOSTS Lookup. It was on. I turned it off. Shazam.

Simple, right?


Not willing to leave well enough alone (and wondering what will happen on Monday when I plug this thing into a Cat5 network and try to talk to the ADP Lightspeed network), I researched LMHOSTS. Interesting. No LMHOSTS file on the PC. Was this lack of file the cause? Looked at the HOSTS file. No entries. Hmm...

Turned LMHOSTS lookup back on. Rebooted. Worked fine. So it wasn’t LMHOSTS. What was it? Remember the scene from the movie The Longest Day where the two prototype Tommies are trying to get a stalled Bren Gun Carrier to start? This fine Scottish clansman comes upon the scene, passes on his grandmother’s theory that the cure for anything mechanical is to give it a good bash. He then clubs the machine with a Sheleighly ... and it starts right up. Methinks that changing this setting was a sort of a bash with a Sheleighly that knocked the TCP/IP settings around enough to convince them to cooperate. Of course, just as I was writing that last sentence, the connection went down. Couldn’t get it back up. Then noticed the card and base were on different channels - no clue which one changed. Interesting.

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