There wasn’t much I could do with Audrey in my network “closet”, so I retired the old girl this weekend. I figure that I’ve gotten my seventy dollar’s worth in the four years I’ve owned it, so it doesn’t hurt too bad.
In its place, I installed a 2001 vintage IBM ThinkPad Transnote. The last time I tried to start this ill-fated piece of technology was over a year ago and it wouldn’t boot. It seems that a deep battery run-down solved its OS problems; this time Windows 2000 started without a hitch.
I knew I’d never be able to wall-mount this goose-necked, touch-screen marvel unless I were able to take off the portfolio cover and paper pad assembly. There are a number of screw covers and tiny screws around the periphery of the case, which I removed. The faux-leather binder and paper pad came off easily. After disconnecting the notepad cable, I connected the battery, plugged it in, and crossed my fingers. The stand-alone tablet booted without a hitch. I was able to use Audrey’s mounting hardware (a $1.29 set of “heavy duty” mirror mounting brackets) to attach the ThinkPad to the wall.
The battery life isn’t great, but I can take it down anytime I need a wireless Windows machine (to test a Web site in IE6 or whatever). Additionally, I loaded it up with free software (Gimp, iTunes, OpenOffice, Arachnophelia, etc), so it’s actually a pretty competent little bugger. And jeer all you want, but at just over 3/4″, this thing is as thin as a Macbook Air.
I got a 2GB pqi memory stick to replace that awful cruzer. Not only is it clean and reliable, it works when plugged into my aluminum Apple keyboard. You can see from the adjacent photo that the USB drive is very small. I had to fashion an appropriate storage case from the plastic packaging (the supplied case is four times the size of the drive). Regardless, this pqi drive solves two recent technology problems nicely!
I finally got around to clearing all the networking gear out from under my desk and moving it into the basement. Audrey even got back in the act as the network admin station! This is the setup: Verizon Westell modem, to a Draytek router/VOIP-controller, and a Linksys router (set up as a simple wireless access point). This article was really helpful getting the two-router setup working properly. Now if I can get all the kinks worked out with the VOIP service, I’ll be all set.
The battery on my mom’s cordless phone is almost gone so it’s time for a new one. She has a 1-800 calling card number and code programmed into the phone, but she lost the print information years ago. So, I used this “Detect DTMF Tones” site to decode recordings that I made of the numbers. Now she can get a new phone (or maybe Santa will bring one) and reprogram the calling card numbers for several more years of telephonic bliss.
We held our first “Cinema al Fresco” movie night at 484 this weekend. The movie was Rififi, which was cutting edge in 1955, but a little meh in 2007. A rainstorm appeared in the last minute, but we were able to ride it out under the umbrella.