Posts in category 'technology'

  • Nesting...

    Well, with all the hardware for the MythTV project on the way (mostly, anyway… NCIX didn’t have a couple items in stock. Like the TV capture card), it seemed like a good time to get the house in order for the new arrivals. Thus, as a logical first step, I decided it was about time I got my firewall rebuilt and moved all the various networking bits downstairs onto some kind of shelving. The result is this:

    As you can see, I re-purposed an old Ikea shelving unit as a make-shift rack, and then moved all these things downstairs:

    1. Cable Modem
    2. 10Mbs hub (until I get a proper switch for the main house LAN)
    3. 10/100Mbs switch for the MythTV LAN
    4. Firewall

    In case you’re wondering, this gear is all set up like so:

    [[fig:Home Network Diagram]]

    Why so complicated? Well, the primary complication is in my choice to shunt the MythTV stuff onto it’s own subnet. I had a couple reasons for this:

    1. The MythTV frontends will be configured via DHCP and bootp. Putting this on a separate network prevents conflicts with the main firewall DHCP (and any other network-booted devices I may deploy).
    2. I figured a dedicated, switched 100Mbs network for the Myth stuff wasn’t a bad thing.

    Of course, if I had a proper switch which supported VLANs, I could have done this with a single switch, but I wasn’t prepared to pay the bucks for such a device.

    As for the firewall, I ended up abandoning LEAF in favour of m0n0wall, a FreeBSD-based firewall that boots nicely off a mini-CD and writes it’s configuration to a dirt cheap USB flash drive I plugged into the back of the thing (IOW, no more unreliable floppies!). And as a bonus, it has a nice, easy to use web-based admin interface, so no longer do I have to hook a damn monitor up to the thing every time I want to reconfigure things.

  • ARGH!

    I’m writing this entry prematurely, mainly because I’d already written the one for today, and this story needs to be told. At least, IMHO.

    Okay, so, first some background. Yesterday our DVD remote mysteriously stopped working (well, not mysteriously… it had been slowly failing for a while). I tried the obvious and replaced the batteries, but it made no difference. Conclusion: remote is fux0red. Then, today, for some reason, the cable box remote seems to no longer be working properly. WTF?? Lenore then points out that this seems to coincide with my network noodling (as earlier blogged), and so I start to get a little paranoid. Did I wire something wrong? Is there IR interference being generated?? Because, if so, that means heat source, and heat source equals bad.

    So, I begin the investigation. First, I test the remote at various angles. Slowly, I discover that it will only work when I’m standing in a certain position. So I move my body, but maintain the remote position. Doesn’t work. Yup, definitely interference. To verify, I shift the position of the cable box, and then fire the remote straight at it. Works perfectly.

    At this point, rather than doing the smart thing and further investigating, I decide to begin testing solutions. I disconnect my networking job. No help. I disconnect the telephone line. Still no help. I disconnect the laptop cable. I unplug my Palm recharger. Nothing. Now I start to get more paranoid. Is it the wiring in the walls?? In the hopes that it’s not, I start closing blinds on the main floor. Maybe external interference?? It seems unlikely, but you never know… but, still nothing.

    Now things get desperate. I need to narrow down the interference (this after 20 or 30 minutes of frantic confusion)! So, I position my body further from the TV, and find the position where the remote starts working. Then I step further back, repeat. Then I duck down while pressing buttons on the remote. Stops working. Stand up. Starts working. Duck. Works. Stand doesn’t work. What the heck?!? I’m definitely blocking something! So I look behind me… what could it be?!? I check through the kitchen, but there’s nothing obvious there, either. I start pondering cutting holes in the walls.

    And then, I glance at the dining room table, and I notice something seemingly innocuous: the busted DVD remote control is on the table. Facing the TV. With brand new batteries in it. So I decide to turn the remote around. And sure enough, the cable box remote works perfectly. At this point, I yanked the batteries out of the DVD remote in a rage and slammed them down on the table… and what’s Lenore doing? Giggling. Giggling! While I’m trying to save our house from burning down. Well, damnit, the next time you’re suffering from mysterious IR interference, you can just stuff it!