Saturday, 8 October 2011

On the grid

In our previous house Wifi comfortably reached all rooms, and provided some coverage into the garden, but before we moved we were starting to have intermittent problems losing broadband access. We decided that the best thing was to transfer the old equipment into this house and wait to see what happened.

In this house we have almost 2 feet of stone on some internal walls, and there is a longer reach to some parts of the building. We found that we could get a decent wireless signal in most of the main rooms. But it was no surprise to discover that the signal was a bit flimsy in other places. And we continued to have the same intermittent problems with dropping broadband. So we decided it was worth replacing our old Wireless Router / ADSL Modem with separate ADSL Modem, and smarter wireless router.

I'm always a bit wary of fiddling with network stuff. It seems like a bit of a dark art, and I tend to panic and start flailing around when things go squiffy. But for once installing and configuring it all went remarkably well. Credit is due to those who design the software. The only real problem I encountered was that immediately after placing the order I realised that I hadn't changed the default delivery address properly. I had to ring up the supplier and explain that I was an idiot who had moved house. They were very helpful. From then on, everything went pretty much to plan. It has been working for the last week or so, touch wood. And I can prove that by posting this.

Happily, the wireless signal does seem to be stronger in the more distant parts of the house. Also, for whatever reason, we no longer seem to be dropping the broadband connection  occasionally (touch wood again).

Unfortunately, after sorting all that out, I discovered a few days ago that my GPS system for the bike has also gone belly up. I've tried all the obvious fixes, with no result. All I can get is a blank screen.

A replacement will have to wait, so in the meantime I'm trying out some of the alternatives on the smartphone. So far I've only used these while walking, rather than while cycling, because on foot it's easier to fiddle without falling over and it doesn't matter so much when you bump into things.

I'm quite impressed with apps for collecting GPS tracks. There seems to be a decent choice, with each concentrating on a different mix of priorities. I've found one that seems to fit my needs, and which is particularly adept at collecting tracks and transferring them into OSM. This seems like an elegant way of exploiting the technology, and using it to combine a number of different functions into a sensible solution which is easy to use.

However, I'm not so taken with the apps that emulate the functions of a basic cycle computer. A bit like those which emulate a compass or a spirit level, they look lovely. But I don't really understand the point in investing so much effort in getting a relatively expensive piece of complex technology to look and act like a relatively inexpensive piece of fairly simple technology.

1 comment:

Doug said...

Here's hoping the technology continues to settle and work alright so your blogging continues!