Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Router, New OS(s)

My Phenom II x4 (965 Black Edition=Unclocked Multiplier Goodness) has been giving me wireless problems since I built it. I tried a consortium of pci cards, and a menagerie of usb wireless devices but Windows 7 x64 couldn't do zip with them. All the devices worked fine under Linux, Windows must have been set to boot into useless-mode. There was something in my device list (in control panel) called "Teredo Tunnel Adapter Pseudo Interface" that was giving me a code 10 (device unable to start). After a quick bit of googling I learned that it had something to do with IPv6... undoubtedly Microsoft has found a way to screw that up too. I took it to the knowledge bar at my local Microcenter and after about an hour of troubleshooting we just did a clean install using a different OEM disk (theirs) than I had been using. Now it works just fine with my new D-Link DWA-552 PCI card.

So with a clean install of Win7 I went about configuring the system and downloading all the software I need. Firefox, Songbird, Pidgin, PuTTY, TightVNC, Zonealarm, AVG, about 25GB of games on Steam, et cetera. Having done all this fairly rapidly my NTFS partition was now fragmented pretty severely. After finally configuring all the programs, all my drivers, and everything else I set the machine up to defrag while I ate dinner. There's productivity for you.

So with the new computer fully functional, I set about throwing the obligatory Linux distro on it. I usually go with the latest version of Linux Mint, although I have been known to use Debian. This time I went with the newest incarnation of Backtrack and am liking it so far. It takes a bit of getting used to working in KDE as I've only used it briefly before but I do like the feel of it. After a rather lengthy installation (not ubiquity's fault, I botched up the math while partitioning) I booted into it from a rather flavorless grub compared to Mint's, but who cares? It's a bootloader.

While at Microcenter I also got a new router. My Trendnet router's been giving me nothing but problems ever since I bought it. It's a Netgear WNR3500 and I can conclusively say it's the best thing since sliced bread. Then again my opinion may be slightly biased on account of me being able to successfully forward ports seeming like a miracle. The Trendnet didn't forward ports, it just opened them. Ok for bittorrent, useless for ssh or VNC. So I set up the new router (breeze to configure), and promptly forwarded ports for VNC, SSH, and bittorrent to my torrent-slave/htpc/media-server after already assigning it a static IP address.

What wasn't so easy was installing the router. Previously my modem, router, and answering machine had been in the living room of my house. We have optimum online so the phone service comes out of the modem. The router and the phone were not playing nicely with each other and caused sever static on the cordless phones that made them unusable, and caused the router to randomly drop connections and have really poor signal strength, despite being wireless N. So the modem and router are now in my bedroom. I wanted to keep the answering machine in the living room so I had to run a 100ft phone cable up into my ceiling, through the attic, and into a newly drilled whole in the corner of the living room ceiling behind some furniture (so it's out of view. Kinda tacky to just have wires coming out of the ceiling in random spots).

Now everything is as it should be: Wireless networking on the computer on multiple OSes, New router up and running alongside the modem in the bedroom, and the phone in the living room. With any luck tomorrow I'll add "print-server" to the list of things my P4 box can do.

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