Archives / Search ›

My first x86 box

I bought my first x86 box on Thursday—not what you might have expected, but a Soekris net4801 which currently runs m0n0wall off the 8 MB CompactFlash card that came with my Coolpix 950. (Who said those bundled cards are useless?)

My first x86 box

Steve moved out last week and is now in California, so I needed to replace the OpenBSD box he provided as a router/firewall/VPN server. The Soekris box is working wonderfully so far, and m0n0wall is a work of art—imagine Trac’s capability and elegance for Web-managed SOHO router boxes, in a 6 MB on-disk footprint. The only features I miss are non-server-mode OpenVPN (m0n0wall supports PPTP and IPSEC as well) and being able to address the WAN IP directly from inside (though m0n0wall provides some simple DNS-based workarounds).

My parents are visiting for a few days starting Friday. We’ll be doing lots of maintenance on my condo: repairing and painting walls, fixing kitchen stuff, and so forth. I’ll be upgrading my mom‘s PowerBook to Tiger, getting their backup system set up, and sending them back with a m0n0wall CD for hamton.

I’ve been borrowing an original AirPort base station from ACM for a while, after my Zoom AP gave out. The Soekris box has free PCI and MiniPCI slots I could use for a wireless card, but FreeBSD 4.11 (on which m0n0wall is based) doesn’t support 802.11g and my parents have a spare AirPort Express, with which I can finally replace the ugly, lossy, multi-step process I was using for getting audio to my stereo.

And now back to revising my paper…

Off to ISCA; new iBook

While everyone else seems to be going to WWDC, I’m off to ISCA in Madison. Back on Wednesday; responses to email and so forth may be a bit delayed while I’m away.

Since I figure Apple’s not going to be releasing dual-core G4 or higher-resolution 15″ PowerBook LCDs any time soon (may I be proven wrong at WWDC :), I sold my TiBook G4/800 and bought an iBook G4 12″. Aside from some initial fun getting additional memory to work, it’s been great. I ordered a replacement 60 GB 7200 RPM drive for it, but everywhere has it backordered, and I am not looking forward to taking the whole thing apart to swap drives.

Things I miss so far: extra screen space, more evenly backlit LCD, the PC card slot for getting photos from my camera, and a decent space between the bottom of the keyboard and the top of the trackpad (couldn’t Apple have shrunk the button a bit and moved everything down?). Things I really like: small size and weight, durability, scrolling trackpad, ports on the side, better and faster AirPort reception, and continued realistic 5-hour battery life.