The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Fear me! For my acane knowledge is beyond your puny non-computer mind to comprehend!

I'm convinced that without outside pressure (like Steve Jobs screaming at you) most programmers tend towards making software esoteric and extremely hard to use. I think part of this is a perverse satisfaction in learning the arcane and having it remain arcane as a way of showing off their obvious intelligence.

Oh, and that false god of “job security” …

To get the wireless network card I have working under Linux, I had to download the linux-wlan package and install it. It was your standard Configure; make; make install installation (with the minor annoyance of having of configuring the Linux source code). And it worked pretty much out of the compiler, and having better things to worry about than the minituræ of linus-wlan configuration details, I left it at that.

Until I found myself at Mark's house tonight, trying to get access to his WAP.

His setup requires WEP. What should be a simple operation of configuring the WEP key (a very long binary number) instead turned into half an hour or so of poor documentation and trying to suss out what it exactly wants for dot11WEPDefaultKeyID and if I need to set dot11AuthenticatoinAlgorithmsEnable1 to true or not. In fact, it took me several attempts to realize that wlancfg wants the data typed in (via stdin) than as command line options (which is how I would expect it to be).

Sigh.

As I was telling Mark, I never bothered to really look into how the software worked since it worked enough for my needs and I have better things to do than tweak obscure settings just to prove my programming machismo. I just want it to work.

I did eventually get on his network, but I'm afraid I'll have to reconfigure everything to get back on my network.

Update several hours later on Friday Morning

Yes, I had to reconfigure the settings to get back onto my own network. And afterwards, I wrote this script that should work to get me back onto Mark's network without me having to reconfigure everything:

#!/bin/sh

wlancfg set wlan0 <<EOF 
dot11DesiredSSID="NOLAB" 
dot11AuthenticationAlgorithmsEnable1="true" 
dot11AuthenticationAlgorithm1="sharedkey" 
dot11WEPDefaultKeyID="1"
dot11WEPDefaultKey1="l33tm@d5k1ll5" 
EOF

dhclient wlan0

But I won't know until the next time I'm over at Mark's ...

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