Wednesday, September 14, 2005

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We're back from vacation, and after two days of work, real life is back in full force.

Typically, I come home from work, and then spend time with Ben until I bathe him and put him to bed. We don't even turn on the TV until after he's in bed. It's just a distraction from time with Ben. I have friends and family who are not as fortunate as I am when it comes to family time, and I know that one day I would regret plopping down in front of the great brain sucker instead of living life.

(begin brief foray into computer geekery)

I got a new gadget before our vacation, and tonight was the first chance I had to play with it. It's a wireless router, but I've set it as a wireless access point, since I already had a wired router with all my customizations. It was cheaper to do it that way, as a kit with the wireless PCMCIA card, than to buy just a wireless access point. After the mail-in rebate, I'm only paying $26 for the kit. That's a crazy good deal for an 802.11g router and a PCMCIA card at 54Mbps. Now I can't use the hot computer room as an excuse not to continue revising my novel. I'll use the hot laptop as an excuse instead.

After using a random key generator and turning on the WPA encryption (couldn't get WPA2 going yet), I was connected as securely as I know how. I also cranked my subnet numbers up so that my router only allows the number of computers I have in the house. I'm pulling the plug on the wireless unit when I'm not using it, since our main PC is still connected directly to the wired router. I'm sure I can turn on some IP filtering, too.

(computer nerd speak over)

It's way too late for me to be up.

I live in the Dallas metro area, where reportedly about 50,000 Hurricane Katrina evacuees now live, either in churches, makeshift shelters, or individual homes. Many of them want to stay, and I believe that with time our local job market can handle those who do. I only wish we could give them back what they lost.


Dave said...

Heya Mark,

First of all, sounds like you're a great dad. Don't let anyone tell you different (about you spending time with Ben with NO TV).

Also, as to your comment on my wine blog, I do have a few, relatively sweet wines that I know you'll enjoy. For now, see if you can find a bottle of Robert Mondavi Private Stock Johannesberg Reisling. Outstanding wine, not very expensive and real good chilled.

Excellent news on the new toy too! I use MAC filtering on mine at home so that unless you have MY PC, you can't even get to the WAP.

Have a great one.

Jim said...

WI-FI is the only way to go!

... just wondering... do you really mail in those rebate forms? Those "good deals" sucker me in all the time, but I don't think I have EVER sent in for the rebate!

If you don't mind my prying, what's the story on the novel?

Mark said...

Yes, Jim, I actually mail in the rebate forms, and they actually send money to me! I have forgot in the past, too, and it cost me about $75 total (when I ordered parts for and built my latest PC).

My novel is a mystery set in Hot Springs National Park, and has a start, a middle, and an end. There are lots of gaps to fill. I participated in National Novel Writing Month ( and only squeaked out about 40,000 words. It was supposed to be 50,000 words, all written only during November. Well, that's a killer for me because in November my family does the four-day blowout Thanksgiving eatstravaganza. Since weekends were when I was getting most of my work done, losing that particular four days killed me.

In addition, right now it's written in third person, and switches back and forth between characters when chapters change. I'm kind of wanting to rework it as first-person, but that's going to take a lot of time.

Another problem is that when I went to a writer's conference in Springdale, Arkansas (used to live in Bentonville), thrown by the Tulsa Writer's Guild or some such group, I talked to a published writer who was working on a mystery novel of her own -- also set in Hot Springs. Curses! I offered to carpool with her so we could research our novels, but her husband didn't like the idea. I don't understand why some men think that if you talk to their wife, some kind of hanky panky is in mind. Plus, she was older, so any fantasies about her would most likely entail her baking me a lemon meringue pie.

Anyway, so in talking to this woman, I found out that the FBI has jurisdiction over murders committed in Hot Springs because it's a National Park. Dang! Some of my best characters were county and state cops. In my research, I had even called the city attorney and some detectives for the City of Bentonville (where I used to work as a network administrator and actually got to help with investigations involving confiscated computers) to make sure I was getting the evidence, arrest and prosecution parts right. I don't like to go by what I've "learned" from TV and movies.

Yikes. It's getting late again, and I was just trying to find my novel so I can resurrect it and actually do something with it. It's been almost three years since I wrote it.

You axed. Now you know.

Jim said...

Hi Mark,

I had read your response, but was in a rush, so hadn't got around to commenting yet.

Your novel sounds interesting... I can really relate to the challenges you are facing with the story, because it sounds like you are a perfectionist. I've been working on mine for a year now, on and off, but still haven't gone beyond a lot of notes and a general outline!

I guess that's what's interesting about nanowrimo ... you don't have time to think about perfecting the plot and working out the inconsistencies. Maybe I'll try it some time!

Of course, there are a lot of writers out there who care nothing for plot consistencies and technical realism... most of hollywood's screenwriters, for example.

As to your questions on my blog ... I haven't really worried about the problems with comments on blogspot since I haven't generally had enough comments to make it an issue! Nor have I had much comment spam, which is why I haven't enabled word veri. Of course, maybe if I did turn it on it would make commenting more fun, and I would get more comments!

Alvis said...

Okay, I need to know more about this setting subnet mask numbers higher or whatever.

Mark said...


I e-mailed you, but basically it's all about borrowing bits from the front of the following octet or from the end of the previous octet. So, this gives you subnet masks that can look like: or, for example, depending on what you need to add -- networks or hosts.