So I got myself a desk chair for $5.38 at the Salvation Army thrift store today, and was feeling pretty good about myself for saving money. And then I made the mistake: I went to CompUSA to "just look" for a cheap wireless card. This is like Donald Rumsfeld going to the middle east to "just look" for an easily invade-able country...
I spent $107 on a DLink AirXpert AG520 802.11a, b and g "triple threat" card, which comes with an external antenna on a 5' cable. The cable didn't turn out to be long enough to get the antenna significantly out my window, but it sits on the window sill nicely enough. Had to orient it just right, and tape it down after I got it aligned, but that wasn't too hard. The software that comes with it gives you a somewhat Netstumbler-like functionality for finding networks, and also a simple signal strength bar so you can tune for max signal on whatever AP you do hook up to.
The funny thing though, is how much the difference window open or closed makes. I get about 26-28% signal strength with the window open, only about 14-16% with it closed. Dunno if the window pane has a thin metal insulating coating on it (like a lot of windows with good heat retention properties do) or what. But wow, man. Never in a million years would I have expected that to make a significant difference. RF is endlessly surprising.
And so, I can now mooch my neighbors' wireless connections from the relative comfort of my own desk. And thus, I can work on my computer again. And perhaps get my life back on track. (Waves little flag.) "Yay... yay... yay..."
Now I just need a cheap-ass mouse pad so I have something to use my mouse with. Also, I fucking finally installed PuTTY on my Lose98 box. Good christ, why did I wait so long to do that? Sheesh.
Alright, time to go get (a little) food for the next week, start on laundry, hock my stereo and old ISDN router on EBay to make rent, and then whip out VC++ and lay some groundwork for that file format converter that my consulting job needs...
o/~ "I'm not sick, but I'm not well..."