Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Creating a Universal Wireless Repeater

Everyone once in a while I need to extend an wireless network.  I may be traveling and need to amplify an open wi-fi network.  I may need some additional range at home in some dark corner of my garage or workshop.

Creating a "Universal Wireless Repeater (UWR) is simple.  You only need two things:

  1. an off the shelf wireless router/access-point you may already own
  2. a copy of DD-WRT software (specifically v24 beta). I first mentioned dd-wrt here last fall where I took a $50 Linksys router and made it oh so much better.

A couple of weeks ago I followed the same process to create a UWR using the new v24 beta version of the same DD-WRT firmware.  The UWR is "a device that you can place anywhere and it will wirelessly repeat the strongest signal, onto another wireless network (with or without security)."  Great!! Who doesn't need to do that occasionally?

This time I used a Buffalo wireless router that I bought for $25!  (Incidentally, this same router is available again for $25 here.)  Once you've upload the firmware (being careful not to brick your new router, the whole process takes about 10 minutes.

If you have an old wi-fi router laying around, give it a try!  The instructions are here.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Getting data out of Facebook: Broadcast your Facebook status as RSS

There has been a fair amount of talk lately about the "walled garden" nature of Facebook.  It is, as some have said, the data roach motel...your data goes in, but it never comes out.  For the most part, that's a valid criticism. 

The first hack I've seen for getting data out of the roach motel is over at the "Internet Duct Tape" blog.  Facebook apparently provides an RSS feed for your status, but it's not easy to find and it's not formatted well.  This hack will help you find your status feed, wash it through Yahoo Pipes for formatting reason and come out with a RSS feed that can be added to Twitter or a blog side bar.

It's pretty slick and the first method I've seen for getting anything out of Facebook.


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Thursday, August 09, 2007

What's social bookmarking? Another great video explanation

It's no secret that I'm a fan of social bookmarking services, especially  But these social applications are sometimes difficult to explain.  Lee Lefever has done another of his "in plain English" videos.  This time he explaining how works, which I've written about here and here

If you're already a user and a geekish missionary, add me to your network!  I'm here!  I'd love to better leverage the social aspect of our bookmarks!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Once we pointed to the transcendent, now we point to our loss.

Wired Magazine has an interesting write up on the new stained-glass windows at Germany's Cologne Cathedral. 

Blood-spurting martyrs, biblical parables, ascendant doves — most church windows feature the same preachy images that have awed parishioners for centuries. But a new stained-glass window in Germany's Cologne Cathedral, to be completed in August, evokes technology and science, not religion and the divine.

Stained glass windows used to present biblical narratives and church lessons to help instruct the illiterate and remind people of God.  Now, in Germany, they're being used to point people to technology.

Where once they pointed people to transcendent, eternal realities, now they point people to time-based technologies that may be obsolete before the glass is even completed.  It's pretty sad, but this has always been humanity's tendency: to replace the Creator with the Created.  One might hope, however, that it is not the church that is leading the way.