January 18, 2002

Advogato Entry 254

Oh right.. Things could just work that well for me. Sheesh. Maybe I just need to be patient, but I've been patient for years and years.. It's gone on long enough.

Bah..

Trying to compile a FreeS/WAN kernel on my laptop. Not sure if the modules and stuff are actually being built -- the kernel configurator didn't seem to have any FreeS/WAN-related options when I ran make-kpkg. I'm not sure if the kernel got patched or not..

Anyway, to be of any use, I'll probably have to compile that into the firewall as well. Hmm..

Posted by mike at 09:01 AM Central | Encryption , Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 23, 2002

Advogato Entry 258

Just had about the weirdest day of my life. Second day of classes, and I actually talked.. I'm taking some courses at the business school, and about half of the class is Computer Science students! What the hell? I think I was the only CS major in the previous class I took there.

Bumped into Sarah as she was coming out of a class, and helped her find an office to get a permission number to get into that course.. Showed off where I work, but only for a moment (I didn't really have anything interesting to show off...)

Discovered that Internet Explorer apparently doesn't like self-generated SSL certificates at all... Need to actually pay for a certificate at some point, or find a workaround.

Anyway, it's just been a weird day. I've been overstimulated by the talking in class and stuff.. My courses look to be pretty intensive. I know that my previous classes have been hard, but it wasn't obvious on the first day of class.. I guess I'm not sure how these classes really stack up..

Still waiting on permission numbers for two classes.. Not sure what will happen there.

Gotta cut down on using my laptop for web browsing. Using the scratchpad doesn't seem to be good for my wrist..

Posted by mike at 07:22 PM Central | Encryption , Internet , Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah , School , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 29, 2003

Firewall Fun

I was just looking over at Soekris at their various products. Someday, probably after I get a job again, I suspect I'll plop down some change for a net4521, along with at least one 802.11 card from NetGate or Demarc. I'll need to get a CompactFlash card or a Microdrive too. Also, it might be fun to play with the vpn1211 hardware encryption board. Somehow, I don't think a 133MHz 486 would handle IPSec very well ;-)

Anyway, one nice upside to getting those things would be that I get rid of the big power-hungry computer that is currently routing my Internet traffic. The problems are that it's expensive to get those parts, and I'll lose my print server in the process (of course, it's dumb to have your firewall double as a print server, but I live dangerously. Sometimes. ;-)

Posted by mike at 12:21 AM Central | Encryption , Hardware , Internet , Wireless | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 15, 2003

Ben Dover

Over the weekend, I posted this story to Slashdot. While it seems like just another whiny “I want my open source!” rant, I guess a lot of people missed the point I was trying to get at. And that's understandable, as I only wrote one paragraph worth of stuff when I probably should have opted for two.

As any audio-, video-, or other technophile knows, the FCC has mandated that broadcasters in the United States transition toward digital transmission of television. However, the standard being used in the United States for actually transmitting the signal (how the binary digits are encoded in the air) is not well-suited for city environments. People out in the boondocks 70 miles from a tower will probably get better signal than city dwellers ten times closer. Companies are working hard to tweak their hardware to handle these situations better, but in the meantime, I started wondering about how digital cable will work in the future.

Right now, if you have an analog TV set, you merely plug it in and tell it that it's connected to a cable TV system. Ta-da! It works.

However, digital cable is a completely different story today. You need a digital cable box, and many of those boxes are sub-par devices. When I last used a cable box in Minneapolis, it was impossible to hide or remove unwanted channels&mdasheven channels we didn't receive! The guide would sometimes freeze up while it loaded data, and various other annoyances would bother me from time to time, but I'd deal with it because the guide was better than nothing, and it let me see another two or three channels that I actually liked.

Yeah, most of the channels on digital cable suck, so there's the growing idea that the entire cable TV system will transition to being digital. In some ways that's good, but, as my Slashdot post indicated, this will be another battlegrounds where the media conglomerates are pushing for more and more control.

I'd be perfectly happy if I could only get non-premium channels with a digital cable tuner that I put in my computer. I don't need HBO and certain other channels, and even if I felt the need, they've always been accessed via extra descramblers anyway. However, the prospect of having no direct access to the video stream bothers me. It's hard to describe why, but it's like having someone say, “You can't read this book, you can only have an approved person read this to you.” What is this, the Reformation? Is some distant descendant of Martin Luther going to plaster technical documentation on the Internet now?

I dunno, it just creeps me out. I know that at least one father of a friend built his own NTSC TV set, and it was treasured as a family heirloom. Big companies just seem to be pushing so hard against that idea of individual experimentation that I cringe. The future seems like it's going to turn into another dark age.

Well, maybe it won't happen. While the American people tend to be deaf, dumb, and sheep-like, they do eventually take notice of things when beat over the head with them. We'll see if the public keels over and gives up their VCRs in the coming years.

Posted by mike at 10:02 PM Central | Corporations , Encryption , MythTV , Software , TV , The Media | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)