Things to do when you are unemployed

Well I’m still sort of offically employed : my last pay cheque arrives this Friday but I’m laid off.

So I’ve been using an old Toshiba Satellite SA30 laptop running Ubuntu and its OK but its only a 640*480 display and it was getting a bit unreliable. You know when the disk drive starting making twanging noises that its not a good sign.

So I went and bought a new Toshiba Satellite : a L300D-13S. Very nice, 3GB RAM 150GB HD, widescreen, AMD Turion X2.

All well and good but it comes with Vista Home Premium. What a pile of crap.

How can something like that take so long to boot up for Gods Sake. It takes forever to get to the password screen. It drove me mad, and dont even try to work out why applying system patches is rather like watching paint dry underwater.

So I decided to dual boot it with Ubuntu which at least uses the 64bit extensions rather than the 32bit Vista.

So I got that working after fighting with the partitioner and everything was fine. Until I booted back into Vista when the Wireless card didn’t work. Couldn’t get it working so I guessed I’d somehow screwed things up. Rebuilt it using the recovery DVDs which I’d made. Wireless came back for a bit then stopped again.

So I go round and round in circles. Ubuntu works fine on the Wireless. Vista works once then craps out on me each time.

So I dig round and what do I find. Its nothing I’ve done wrong. Its Vista being a total pile of shite.

I used WEP encryption with a 128 bit key on the home wireless. OK I know its crap but its better than nothing and the old 11b PCMCIA card in the SA30 didn’t like WPA.

Of course some moron at Microsoft screwed the WEP encryption on Vista and it looks like it just doesn’t work with 128 bit keys and truncates them at 64 bits. I did seem some advice that says “Upgrade to a Vista compatible wireless router”. I’m sorry? I end up buying a machine with an O/S that I have no choice over and now I’m told to upgrade my router to something that works with Vista because someone somewhere didn’t code something properly.

So I switch everything over to WPA and accept that I’ll have to use a cable to connect the old SA30 to get stuff off it.

Everything is fine until I really push the new laptop which then gets DNS failures and the only fix seems to be to restart the Wireless Access Point. So I drop back to WEP and it seems to be OK but of course Vista wont play. Then I manage to get the same problems under WEP. So I do some digging round and find that my new laptop is running IPV6 which seems to cause problems with the router.

So I turn off IPV6 on Ubuntu and its OK now so tomorrow I’ll put everything back on WPA and see if it goes wrong again.

OK so the Ubuntu stuff is not good – quite why it comes with IPV6 turned on by default I do not know but I’m sure it will be fixed soon. The router is old and I guess it can be excused not working very well. What is totally wrong is the fact that Microsoft can’t cope with WEP using 128 bit keys on Vista. OK I know WEP is broken  but that is NOT the point. WEP is a standard and once again Microsoft have decided that that they know better.

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