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Shower Thoughts

Building a NonMesh Home Mesh Network

Speaking of my WFH game…let’s chat about wifi. Specifically, the easiest way to blanket your home in wifi. So you can get some of these new MESH NETWORKING systems that cost a few hundred bucks…or you can build your own using some older tech. Specifically, the old Apple Airport tech.

Here at Casa PDX, we have two Apple Airport Extremes (AAE). One in the office and one in the TV/Living/Dining area. Originally we had one AirPort Extreme in the office and used that throughout the house. It worked fine, but the front of the house was getting slow speeds on the 2.4ghz network while the office was blazing away at 5ghz. That’s fine for iPad surfing, but once March hit, we needed some better speeds in the front of the house (Zoom at the kitchen table anyone).

So I bought a cheap Netgear (NG) wireless access point to try and help. Wired the NG to the AAE via a very cool tool, a NETGEAR Powerline Adapter (more on this later). The two routers did not play well with each other.

After some additional research, I purchased a second used/refurb Apple AirPort Extreme. I removed the NG box and did a full reset on the home network. Setup AAE 1 and then plugged in AAE 2. HOLY POOH. Damn Apple, your hardware/software game is awesome. This thing basically connected itself and just joined the network. It acts like a mesh network. Same Network Name, same security, switches between hardware with no issues…it’s amazing.

Only downside (for me) is getting your hands on the hardware. Apple stopped making the AirPort Extreme a few years ago and now you have to find them third-party (eBay, CraigsList, NewEgg, etc.) and they are still not super cheap. But if you only need two to blanket your house, you should consider this solution.

Back to the NETGEAR Powerline Adapter (NPA)…this is another amazing product. If you have a home with good copper wiring, and you want to network your home without running CAT-5, take a look at this. The main AAE is in the office, but so is one NPA and the other NPA is in the TV room with the other AAE. The TV, AppleTV, Xbox, and blue-ray player are essentially all hard-wired to the main network via copper power lines and the NAP. They are getting full speeds. It is awesome. In addition, we are not over taxing the wifi. Finally, you can add NPA boxes to the rest of the house as needed without running any new wires.

You can find NETGEAR Powerline Adapters on Amazon and used Apple AirPort Extreme info on Apple’s support site.

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Shower Thoughts

As a human male…

As a human male, I appreciate that almost every time I use the restroom, there is the opportunity to play a game of bullseye.

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Shower Thoughts

Blue Skies and Airplanes

It wasn’t until the third grade that my family discovered that I could not see objects in the distance. Anything farther than 2 feet away appeared blurry, out of focus, and not very sharp or crisp. This made reading the board (chalk at the time) difficult, but I didn’t know that.

On our way back from my grandparents home in downtown Los Angeles, my parents pointed out the car window and asked me, “Michael, look at that airplane. Do you see how low it is?” I looked in the direction they were pointing, but struggled to identify an airplane against the sky blue background. That’s how my parents and me found out I couldn’t see. That week we went to the eye doctor, who confirmed my poor vision. Glasses were ordered and at the age of eight, I was the first and (I think) only kid in my third grade class wearing glasses. I have needed glasses just to survive ever since. For the past thirty-five years, I have not been able to see an airplane against the background of the sky without them.

DSC09459-Montez-_Vision_Before
How I saw the world without wearing glasses.

That all changed on May 31st when I had photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) eye surgery. Overall, the surgery is pretty painless and quick. However, the healing process is lengthier than LASIK eye surgery (the more commonly known laser eye surgery). It’s been a few days since the surgery and I can see pretty well. I am testing at 20/20 vision as of this writing, but the it’s going to be a few weeks before I stop seeing halos and ghosts and experiencing chronic dry eyes.

“I had worn glasses since the fourth grade, it was part of my character and definable look, but I thought it would be cool not to have to wear glasses and feel around for them in the morning.” Weird Al Yankovic

Matrix_Kung_Fu

Remember in the movie The Matrix, when they would upload different instructions into Neo. Now you can do kung fu, now fly a helicopter, etc. Being able to see across the room now feels like that. They uploaded the instructions for me to see 20/20.

It’s been a pretty incredible experience. One day you are reliant on something to the point of life or death. Then, suddenly, the need is gone, lifted like a curse. I feel very lucky 1) to be able to afford such a luxury, 2) live in a country where such a luxury is even available, 3) live in a time where the science exist to correct this type of deformation, 4) to have lived with a family who was interested in my vision in the first place.

The reality for a lot of children in the United States of America is that they don’t know that they have poor vision. Even if they did know, their families are in no position to purchase yearly eyeglasses and costly eye exams. In addition, these children are more likely living in poorer neighborhoods with poorer schools lacking resources such as paper and teachers. Last December (2017), I came across this report on the Newshour about a program in Baltimore where every child in elementary school gets an annual eye exam and a new pair of glasses if needed.

The organization supporting Vision for Baltimore (featured in the Newshour video) is called Vision to Learn and they are headquartered in Los Angeles, CA. As of this writing, they have provided over one-hundred and thirty-thousand (130,000+) children with the glasses they need to read, write, and learn. Please consider adding Vision to Learn to your annual list of organizations that you donate to.

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Shower Thoughts

Food on Planes…

Thank you to the person who brought smelly cup-o-soup onto the hermetically sealed tube we all share the same air with. In the future, if you could just bring your own microwave and perhaps a fish dish to reheat on the plane.

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Shower Thoughts

Thoughts on collections

Why do I want to start a collection of 60s records? What would the criteria be? Rock, folk, pop? How do you decide? Why do we even collect stuff anyway? The only thing I have successfully collected all my life is calories. I keep them in storage as fat.