Drink Recipes

2 Parts Apple Pucker
1 Part Vodka
Shake with ice, serve in martini glass

Elaine Fleming's Maragaritas
1 minute made
1 tequila
2 ice
1/4 of tri second
Lime on rim with salt


How Linux is Inadvertently Poised to Remake the Telephone and Internet Markets

I've already talked about the updates to these routers, and I am a Vonage user. Its a bit of a stretch on how to make all this work, but I really like the thinking. It also assumes the ISP's wouldn't find a way to crack down on you using your internet connection heavily?

By Robert X. Cringely

One of the cheapest Linux computers you can buy brand new (not at a garage sale) is the Linksys WRT54G, an 802.11g wireless access point and router that includes a four-port 10/100 Ethernet switch and can be bought for as little as $69.99 according to Froogle. That's a heck of a deal for a little box that performs all those functions, but a look inside is even more amazing. There you'll find a 200 MHz MIPS processor and either 16 or 32 megs of DRAM and four or eight megs of flash RAM -- more computing power than I needed 10 years ago to run a local Internet Service Provider with several hundred customers. But since the operating system is Linux and since Linksys has respected the Linux GPL by publishing all the source code for anyone to download for free, the WRT54G is a lot more than just a wireless router. It is a disruptive technology.

A disruptive technology is any new gizmo that puts an end to the good life for technologies that preceded it. Personal computers were disruptive, toppling mainframes from their throne. Yes, mainframe computers are still being sold, but IBM today sells about $4 billion worth of them per year compared to more than three times that amount a decade ago. Take inflation into account, and mainframe sales look even worse. Cellular telephones are a disruptive technology, putting a serious hurt on the 125 year-old hard-wired phone system. For the first time in telephone history, the U.S. is each year using fewer telephone numbers than it did the year before as people scrap their fixed phones for mobile ones and give up their fax lines in favor of Internet file attachments. Ah yes, the Internet is itself a disruptive technology, and where we'll see the WRT54G and its brethren shortly begin to have startling impact.

You see, it isn't what the WRT54G does that matters, but what it CAN do when reprogrammed with a different version of Linux with different capabilities.

Yes, smartypants, I know that other wireless access points and routers run Linux or can be made to run Linux. It didn't take long for hackers to figure out that Apple's original AirPort access point used a version of the 486 processor and could be convinced to speak Linux. But the WRT54G is different. This is a $70, not a $299 box and its use of Linux is no secret. Linksys, now owned by Cisco, not only doesn't mind your hacking the box, they are including some of those hacks in their revised firmware.

We're not in Kansas anymore.

Probably the most popular third-party firmware you can get for the WRT54G comes from Sveasoft, a Swedish mobile phone software company. Actually, Sveasoft is only kinda-sorta Swedish since the head techie (and for all I know the company's only employee) is James Ewing, a former contract programmer from California. Ewing took time off to visit Honduras where he met a woman from Sweden, and a decade ago moved with her back to Scandinavia, where they live three kilometers from the mainland on an island without broadband Internet service. Looking for a cheap wireless connection much like the one I had a few years ago in Santa Rosa, Ewing discovered through the Seattle Wireless Group web site the amazingly adaptable WRT54G, and has devoted much of his time since to improving the little box's firmware.

If you have a WRT54G, here's what you can use it for after less than an hour's work. You get all the original Linksys functions plus SSH, Wonder Shaper, L7 regexp iptables filtering, frottle, parprouted, the latest Busybox utilities, several custom modifications to DHCP and dnsmasq, a PPTP server, static DHCP address mapping, OSPF routing, external logging, as well as support for client, ad hoc, AP, and WDS wireless modes.

If that last paragraph meant nothing at all to you, look at it this way: the WRT54G with Sveasoft firmware is all you need to become your cul de sac's wireless ISP. Going further, if a bunch of your friends in town had similarly configured WRT54Gs, they could seamlessly work together and put out of business your local telephone company.

That's what I mean by a disruptive technology.

The parts of this package I like best are Wonder Shaper and Frottle. Wonder Shaper is a traffic-shaping utility that does a very intelligent job of prioritizing packets to dramatically improve the usability of almost any broadband connection. If you supposedly have all this bandwidth, but uploading slows your downloading to a crawl or web surfing makes your VoIP phone calls break up, you need Wonder Shaper. At the expense of the top 10 percent of upstream and downstream bandwidth, Wonder Shaper makes brilliant use of what's left over. The result is that not only are phone calls and web serving unaffected by each other but your wireless ISP customers won't have a measurable effect on your surfing, either.

Frottle is another Open Source product, this one coming from a network of wireless networks in Western Australia. Frottle's job is to cure the hidden node problem that was left unsolved in the original Wireless Distribution System (WDS) 802.11 specification from 1999. Hidden nodes are wireless clients or access points that are out of range from one party in a client-AP data transfer. 802.11's CSMA/CD technology assumes that all parties can listen on the line and avoid collisions. But on a wireless network this isn't always possible, so Frottle uses a token-passing scheme (yes, just like Arcnet or Token Ring) to make sure only one node at a time can talk whether the clients can hear each other or not. Maximum bandwidth is limited but maximum throughput is increased, which is why IBM used to argue that Token ring's four megabits-per-second was more bandwidth than Ethernet's 10 megabits.

Neither Wonder Shaper nor Frottle are the most elegant solutions, but they work well and they work together on the Sveasoft firmware.

The result is a box you connect to power, to a DSL or cable modem and MAYBE to your PC (if all you want to be is a service provider the PC isn't needed) and it automatically attaches itself to an OSPF mesh network that is self-configuring. In practical terms, this mesh network, which allows distant clients to reach edge nodes by hopping through other clients en route, is limited to a maximum of three hops as the WiFi radios switch madly back and forth between sending and repeating modes. If you need to go further, switch to higher-gain antennas or gang two WRT54Gs together. Either way, according to Ewing, his tests in Sweden indicate that if 16 percent of the nodes are edge nodes (wireless routers with DSL or cable modem Internet connections), they can provide comparable broadband service to the other 84 percent who aren't otherwise connected to the Net.

There is an obvious business opportunity here, especially for VoIP providers like Vonage, Packet8 and their growing number of competitors. If I was running a VoIP company ,I'd find a way to sell my service through all these new Wireless ISPs. The typical neighborhood WISP doesn't really want to DO anything beyond keeping the router plugged-in and the bills paid, so I as a VoIP vendor would offer a bundled phone-Internet service for, say, $30 per month. I handle the phone part, do all the billing and split the gross sales with the WISP based the traffic on his router or routers. If one of my users walks around with a WiFi cordless phone, roaming from router to router, it doesn't matter since my IP-based accounting system will simply adjust the payments as needed.

The result is a system with economics with which a traditional local phone company simply can't compete.

That's just one idea how these little routers might be used. The actual killer app will probably be something altogether different, but I am convinced this is the platform that will enable it. And that's because what we are talking about here isn't just what you can do with a WRT54G, but what you will soon be able to do with almost any wireless access point.

The cat is out of the bag. This same firmware runs on Belkin, ASUS, and Buffalotech routers today. The source code comes from Broadcom, not Linksys. Linksys paid a Taiwanese company called Cybertan to customize the Broadcom standard Linux distribution that is given to all manufacturers. Two years from now, the current crop of name-brand routers will give way to dirt cheap generics from China and Taiwan with exactly the same hardware and chips. If you look inside the current 802.11g crop from the big names you have basically two routers -- Broadcom and Atheros. They are all based on reference designs and are essentially identical internally.

A well-funded VoIP company like Vonage could today start WISP-based deployment one city at a time. With newspaper ads and direct mail, they could recruit what would be essentially micro-franchisees, each of which would get at cost a pre-configured router (or my preference -- a pair of routers) and a DSL or cable broadband account. Since each node costs the VoIP provider exactly nothing, the problem of flaky franchisees is eliminated by over-building the network and conscientious franchisees make more money as a result. For $50 down and $30 per month the franchisee makes $93.75 per month (provided they keep the connection up and running). Want more revenue? Put routers in all your stores or delivery trucks or in the homes of your friends in exchange for giving them free Internet and/or phone service. Your take per router drops to $78.75 but your gross profit margins are still more than 70 percent.

Or imagine a school or a church distributing routers among parents or parishioners as a fund-raiser. Let's see how long SBC or Verizon lasts against the Baptists. Now THAT's disruptive.

Original Article by Robert X. Cringely


Best Beef Jerky Ever

I can't get enough of this Beef Jerky that I buy when ever I drive through Bishop, CA. Now you can order it on the web, and if you act quick. You can get a free 1/4 lb of beef jerky with your order. You must call in to get the free jerky. No internet orders. But check out their site and maybe find something you like.

My favorite is Western


Which NetHack Monster are You

So before you read this you have to atleast admit to yourself that you know what NetHack is, and please tell me you have PLAYED IT... back in the day you could waste hours with this...


If I were a NetHack monster, I would be a floating eye. I see and sense absolutely everything that happens around me. I just don't do very much about it.

Which NetHack Monster Are You?

Sadly it said my backup NetHack character was: "If I were a NetHack monster, I would be a water nymph. Relationships are more about what you get out of them, than what you put in. That elven cloak really matches your eyes, you know."


Ever been in Love???


Which Enemy of the Christian Church Are You?

I'm an Atheist!

Which Enemy of the Christian Church Are You?

Take More of Robert & Tim's Quizzes
Watch Robert & Tim's Cartoons


Postal Experiments

I had forgotten about this link for a while, but decided to post it to remind people how fun it used to be to send stuff in the mail. I doubt you would get the same response from the now oh_to_jumpy_USPS but who knows.

We sent a variety of unpackaged items to U.S. destinations, appropriately stamped for weight and size, as well as a few items packaged as noted. We sent items that loosely fit into the following general categories: valuable, sentimental, unwieldy, pointless, potentially suspicious, and disgusting. We discovered that although some items were never delivered, most of the objects of even highly unusual form did get delivered, as long as the items had a definitely ample value of stamps attached. The Postal Service appears to be amazingly tolerant of the foibles of its public and seems occasionally willing to relax specific postal regulations.

Postal Experiments


Housewarming Party a SUCCESS!

Be sure to check out the pictures. I am going to send an Evite to all those that attended but their system is having issues with that part... here are the pictures.


Denise put some pictures up as well...


Another 50 Questions about me

[ Date ]: Tuesday May 25th, 2004

[ Name ]: T.J.
[ Born in ]: San Diego, CA
[ Resides in ]: San Diego, CA
[ Good student?]: Not really
[ Eyes ]: Brown
[ Hair ]: Whats that?
[ Shoe size ]: 8 (duh I drive a vette!)

Last time you...
[ Had a nightmare ]: Friday
[ Said "I love you" and meant it]: This weekend
[ Ate at McDonald's ]: Yesterday for breakfast... Gasp I love their coffee.
[ Dyed your hair ]: 2 weeks ago... goatee...
[ Brushed your hair ]: Shaved it off today... does that count?
[ Washed your hair ]: Washed stubble before shaving it
[ Cried ]: Feburary - breaking up sux
[ Called someone ]: 3 hours ago
[ Smiled ]: 1 hour ago reading (
[ Laughed ]: This weekend... but not nearly hard enough... need funner things in my life!
[ Talked to an ex ]: Sunday
[ Smoked? ]: Hmm.... long time ago
[ Did drugs? ]: The Doc has me on a couple of them so... Today.
[ Had sex? ]: This weekend

Do you...
[ Sleep with stuffed animals? ]: Curious George
[ Have a dream that keeps coming back?]: Mostly when I have redbull, they have stopped lately
[ Play an instrument? ]: Piano
[ Believe there is life on other planets? ]: Yes
[ Remember your first love? ]: Yes
[ Still love him/her? ]: No
[ Read the newspaper?]: Online /
[ Have any straight friends? ]: Yes
[ Consider love a mistake? ]: No
[ Like the taste of alcohol? ]: Duh
[ Have any secrets? ]: Of course they are... oh wait. Never mind.
[ Have any pets ]: Not yet, want a Cat... but Landlord says... NO KITTY FOR U!
[ Talk to strangers who instant message you]: Never
[ Wear hats? ]: When hiking
[ Have any piercings?]: Nope
[ Have any tattoos? ]: Not yet
[ Have an obsession? ]: Computers
[ Collect anything? ]: Coins, Music Videos, Music, Voodoo Hair Dolls
[ Have a best friend? ]: Yes! Many...
[ Like your handwriting? ]: No
[ Have any bad habits? ]: Yes
[ Care about looks? ]: Yes

[ Dress ]: Dockers, Cool Black Shoes, Polo Shirt
[ Mood ]: Tired
[ Make-up ]: None
[ Music ]: Ready Steady Go... Paul Oakenfold
[ Taste ]: Steak - Bloody
[ Hair ]: Shaved
[ Annoyance ]: The number of cars that drive by my house in the morning!
[ Smell ]: Hazelnut Candles
[ Thought ]: I've wasted alot of time for 4 people to maybe read this?
[ Book ]: Between books, just finished Angels and Demons
[ Fingernail Color ]: None
[ Refreshment ]: Cold Coffee
[ Favorite Celebrity ]: Adam Sandler / Winona Ryder / Rachel Leigh Cook / Jimmy Fallon

Last Person:
[ You Touched ]: Gabe
[ You Talked to ]: Joel
[ You Hugged ]: Lorinda
[ You Instant messaged ]: Meiko
[ You Yelled at ]: I don't yell, I calmly tell you your wrong with a dead stare - That would be the Chevy dealer after having to return my car a 3rd time for the stearing LOCKING UP!

Who do you want to:
[ Kill ]: No comment
[ Slap ]: Those fools at the mall trying to engage me in conversation so they can sell me a cellphone
[ Tickle ]: Nobody right now
[ Talk To ]: Henry Kim

[Teacher]: Mr. Volger (11th + 12th grade pascal and assembler programming)
[Professor]: Mendelson (Great philosophy teacher... except for his passionate distaine of CATS!), and Brian (Data Structures in C++)
[Veggie]: Baby Asparagas with Butter and Lemon
[Radio Station]: 94.9, 105.3, 93.3, 91.1, 94.1, and 90.3 - depends on my mood


What is your Warning Label???