Daily Archives: 29 June 2004

Blosxoming All Over

You may remember I was looking at different content
management systems (CMS). One that I looked at is called
Blosxom (pronounced like
blossom, as in flower). Unfortunately, it did not meet my needs
because it was very minimalist. That is, there were very few
features that would make it worthwhile switching from
MovableType. But as oftentimes happens on the Internet, I
followed one link that led me to another and I ended up at
Blojsom.

As you may be able to tell from the name, it is based on
Blosxom but adds many of the features I was looking for:
RSS/Atom, comments, trackback, web-based administration,
etc.

I guess this CMS looked so good Apple decided to bundle it
with the coming Mac OS X codename
“Tiger”.
Congratulations to the Blojsom (and Blosxom)
team.

Advertisements

If It Quacks Like a Price Increase

Legislatures are frequently taken to task for creating
stealth tax increases through the use of “fees.” By upping
fees, they can go back to their home states and trumpet how
they held the line on taxes while at the same time increasing
revenues to pay for more government programs.

Well, legislatures aren’t the only ones. Take a look at your
cell phone bill and you’ll see all kinds of add-on fees that
you aren’t told about when you sign up. This article from MSNBC
(see it here) seems to be
saying many of those fees are either mislabeled, vague, or
downright lies. In other words, these private companies raise
the cost of using their services by creating fees out of thin
air (car dealers also do this by adding fees for “license
processing” or just calling it ADM for Additional Dealer Markup
– i.e., profit) and since all of them are doing it, you have no
choice.

I can still remember certain people saying deregulation was
supposed to bring lower prices and more choices. Maybe. Maybe
not. Maybe it depends on whether there is competition or not.
It may be too early for a good determination, but this grand
experiment in reforming government doesn’t seem to be meeting
the stated objectives.

WiFi-Gate

Speaking of not meeting the objectives. I’ve learned a few
things about setting-up and using a wireless network. The first
thing nobody tells you is if you are using 802.11b or 802.11g
(by far, the two most popular and both operating in the 2.4 GHz
band), you have a maximum of three channels to use (1, 6 or 11
in the US). These channels are not supposed interfere with each
other so you should be able to get a good connection if any one
of the three is available.

But if you live in an area with access points already using
those channels, which I do (there are four, including my own),
you will not be able to use your network at all or at the most,
intermittently. I don’t want to point fingers at anyone but
this seems to fall on the lack of planning on the Institute of
Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) who developed the
standards.

Surely it was obvious that three channels would not be
enough. Surely it was obvious that a way of working around this
would be needed. Surely Hawaii is not the most connected places
in the world so I’m not alone in having so many hotspots near
me. Surely the press needs to report these problems because
they are doing a great disservice to the growing number of
people who buy this hardware, only to find it doesn’t work.

Indeed, with the coming of non-compliant “turbo” modes that
bind two channels to get more bandwidth, it’s
getting even harder to get an open channel to use. Further, it
will only get worse as more and more people buy these systems
(turbo or not).

The temporary solution is to move to 802.11a. Strangely, as
the numbering systems works, 802.11a runs at a higher
frequency, 5 GHz, and has 12 independent
channels
(rather than 802.11b or g which has only
three) to work with. The problem is very few companies are
producing 802.11a compliant hardware. And those that do aren’t
exactly spending a lot of money keeping their chipsets
up-to-date (Atheros, one of the
big players in chipsets, introduced their third-generation in
May of 2003. To date, according to a search on the Atheros
site, only Sony is using it in their access points).

So, in the short run, if you live where interference is
keeping you from using your wireless LAN, switch to 802.11a. But
unless something better comes along, even 802.11a will become
crowded. At that point, I don’t know what else can be done.

Aloha!