Hawking Technology WiFi HiGain Antenna

The more and more I think about it, I start to wonder, “Why should I pay for an internet subscription backhome, when I can get something like this?” But then I of course realize that I must pay my due to the services that I procure. Still a pretty nifty device that I think that I might pick up for when I’m at a location where WiFi is somewhat iffy.

Viva las Hawking Technology!

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“Family Time”

Have you ever been to Kitty Hawk, NC to see the Wright Brother’s First in Flight Memorial? If not, then you have not truly lived I think.
So we took an excusion, approximately an hour away from the house in Corolla Light down the road to the First in Flight Memorial. Interesting place. Interesting to hear about the first flights of Orville and Wilbur Wright on December 17, 1903.
Interestingly enough, the definition of “flight” was something new to me. You would think that to fly would simply mean to take off, and then to land. But I was corrected. It actually means to take off from a particular eleveation, and then land at either a higher elevation or the same elevation — so though you might think that the Wright brothers launched their flying craft from the hill pictured to the right (Kill Devil Hill), it was actually on the flat ground that they launched from. If they were taking off from the hill top and floating down, then it would merely be “gliding”.

Foosball Competition

Well, we figured that we would do something that both Abe and Zachary were good at. That’s right, Foosball. Abe and Zachary have been battling it out, hour after hour, and surprisingly Zachary is doing pretty well. Granted, he can barely see the playing field :-

Okay, so it’s more that Abe and I have been playing a little bit of foosball, and I will definitely say that those that spin their little plastic men have an advantage. But then again it’s interesting to play a nice slow and meticulous game, passing the ball up and down the field, tricking the other teams players, playing on their emotions and slowly sliding the ball into the goal.

I would also like to say that Hector, the goalie on the left side is sleeping on the job and has missed three balls so far this week. 😉

Corona Light… I mean Corolla Light :-)

Well folks, it’s that time of year where I pack my car and hit the road for a week to basically say, “Aiyeaaaaaaaah!” and run away from the world as we know it for a little while to regain my mind and compsure for the next 51 weeks of the year. So we arrived this past Saturday here in Corolla Light as a family and boom, we’re goofin’ off and relaxin’ already. And no, the guy in the picture isn’t me, that would be my nephew Zachary. Anyhoo, if you’re interested, check out Flickr for some more pictures 🙂

iTunes 5.0.1

Update…
We here at the Geek always feel bad when someone isn’t willing to think for themselves and go Googling for a little while before posting a comment or note on a newsgroup, so we thought we’d take a bit of our own medicene. Since taking it, I’ve realized that I sometimes talk in the third person about myself 😉
Seriously though, a little information from MacinChat would reveal that apparently version 5.0.0 had some pretty major issues that included deleting playlists, refusing to transfer music to the iPod purchased from the iTunes music library, etc. For more information, check this out:
Story from MacinChat

[Listening to: Do Not Move – David Crowder Band – A Collison Is Coming – EP (5:25)]

So my question to everyone out there is what really changed between iTunes 5.0 that came out almost two weeks ago and their recent patch update to 5.0.1? Glancing over the EULA it would seem that it has “increased stability improvements” (paraphrased).
Anyone know what they really changed underneath the hood?

[Listening to: Foreverandever Etc. – David Crowder Band – A Collison Is Coming – EP (3:23)]

Google WiFi

After reading through the documentation regarding the Google WiFi service my first thought was that I found it highly interesting and speculative that Google would offer such a service. For one thing, there’s infrastructure to pay for, not only would a company have to procure access points, but routers, switches, bridges, and dark fiber. Granted, it has been rumored that Google is buying this dark fiber, which in turn could mean that the service is already ready to go and they’re still working on how they’re going to perform their light off.

When attempting to get to Wifi.Google.com, I get redirected back to Google. A few more tries, and voila, the Google Secure Access: FAQ.

So essentially what we’re hearing is that Google is releasing a secure way to use wireless. After WEP was found insecure and WPA and WPA2 found to be more protective but still not a lockbox like protocol, Google seems to have put their own out.

So, how does this work?
First step, you download the Google Secure Access Installer. This program then creates a VPN profile that will connect to vpn.google.com.

Okay, that’s great, but what’s this mean to me?
Think of it this way, your data is transmitted wirelessly from your network adapter and is received by your access point or router, bridged to 802.3 (wired networking) and after passing through your home router or internet connection if you don’t feel like sharing your connection, hopping from one router to another until it gets to the server to which you have extended a request for information. The information from the server is sent back to your IP, being routed as it hops back from one server to another until it gets back to you.

What’s this tool do for me then?
It takes your data and like any other VPN, encrypts your data through a pipe of sorts (much the same way that SSH works) and transmits it encrypted through the vpn until it gets to the exit point which in this case is vpn.google.com. Quite clever. Who cares if your access point is running WEP or WPA, when you simply encrypt the data and it is decrypted at the end point. The server request is placed, goes out from vpn.google.com and then is encrypted as it passes back through the network to your home where it is transmitted to your wireless network card, passes through the VPN profile and then is decrypted.

Oh neat, so it’s better?
That’s yet to be seen, however with what Google has done in the past I wouldn’t doubt that they’re using some pretty sweet equations to encrypt the data far stronger than what AES, 3DES or BlowFish will provide for. I’m sure that the NSA is loving this too.

Isn’t it nice how Google is doing this for us?
Here’s the troubling point, if they’re acting as the proxy, doesn’t that mean that perhaps they might start tracking what we look at and that we use outside the browser to target marketing, etc. is a little daunting.

All in all, I’m pretty impressed, clever idea, not necessarily a new one, but it’s a free one that I’m sure CheckPoint and others will not be too happy to have to compete with.

Strange Behaviour of the iPod Shuffle?

Last week my iPod Shuffle 1 GB went berzerk. For some reason all of a sudden it lost half the songs on the drive and additionally would only play through 8 tracks and then hop back to the first of the 8. When attempting to power it off, it continued playing for a good 10 seconds.

So, I went and plugged it back into my computer this evening (since I’ve had a little down time) and it went and pushed nearly half of the music back onto the Shuffle (wow, where’d it go? how’d it get corrupted?). It seems to be working a little bit better, but for some reason it’s not shuffling when it’s put in shuffle mode. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m thinking it might be time to return it and get a Nano.

[Listening to: Shiver – Maroon 5 – Live – Friday the 13th (4:49)]