mamamusings: December 26, 2003

elizabeth lane lawley's thoughts on technology, academia, family, and tangential topics

Friday, 26 December 2003

wavelan wireless cards and os x

I’m a Mac user, which means I’m used to everything just…well…working when I turn it on. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for OS X and an old Lucent WaveLAN card on a PowerBook G3 (bronze keyboard), which is what I had to work with today. We gave Lane my mother’s old PowerBook for Christmas, and after installing 256MB of memory in it today (it only had 64MB), I upgraded it to OS X (Panther)…forgetting that Apple doesn’t support the WaveLAN card, and that the drivers I was using don’t work under OS X.

My first attempt at solving the problem was an open source driver available on SourceForge, with the creative name of “WirelessDriver.” But after multiple attempts at installing, it became clear that it wasn’t going to work. The problems I encountered were described on the forums, but there were no clear answers (other than an oblique reference to needing to do some “kext-fu” — apparently in reference to problems with kext files).

After fighting with it for a while, I followed another link to musox.com, which in turn pointed me to the not open source and not free IOxperts 802.11b Driver for Mac OS X. Worked on the first try, so I cheerfully ponied up the $19.95 before the 30 minute trial period ended.

Moral of the story? Not sure there is one. But I do have one very happy 9-year-old, who’s now happily IM’ing and emailing everyone he knows on his very own laptop.

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the spirit of the season

my kids, wearing disguises

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tangible handiwork

Sometimes I just get tired of being a technologist…spending so much time in front of a screen, typing away, with nothing tangible to show for the effort. Which is why when I get burned out on computer work I tend to turn to real-world crafts. In grad school I took advantage of courses in “Decorated Papers” and “Papermaking” through the MFA in Book Arts program. Here at RIT, I took a woodworking course. But my old standby, the thing I take up when I’m most in need of comfort, is crocheting.

rainyday.jpgMy maternal grandmother (my “oma”) taught me how to crochet when I was very young, starting with simple granny squares. As I got older, I tackled more complex patterns. As an adult, I’ve accumulated a stack of pattern books from Leisure Arts and American School of Needlework—most afghans, with a few hats and scarves and mittens thrown in.

When my brother-in-law passed away earlier this month, I decided to start an afghan for my sister—something to warm her during the cold months ahead. I chose the Rainy Day Blues pattern from Sandy Scoville’s “Warm and Cozy Afghans” ASN pattern book. (The picture on the left is the one from the pattern book.) I’ve made this afghan twice before, once for our house, using Lion Brand Homespun yarn in Sierra—and it’s a much-loved item in our living room. I made another one as a wedding gift for my older stepdaughter a couple of years ago (this one in Homespun Shaker), and she and her husband adore it. This time I chose Homespun Colonial, which seemed to suit my sister.

finished afghanThe nice thing about crocheting—as opposed to, say, blogging—is that I can talk to my family while I do it. I don’t have to shush the kids when I’m finishing a row of stitches the way I do when I’m finishing a sentence of a long post. I can watch television while I do it, too, so over the past few weeks I’ve become quite a Gunsmoke afficionado. (Did you know they run two episodes of Gunsmoke every night on the Westerns channel? Neither did I! But Miss Kitty is definitely my new favorite television character!)

I started the afghan on Saturday the 6th, and finished it last night—record time for me on one of these projects. That’s it on the right, next to our Christmas tree (we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas in our house…) It turned out quite well, I think. And I’ll be able to give it to my sister as a moving-in gift on Monday when she moves into her new apartment.

Tomorrow I’ll stop by JoAnn’s, where Homespun yarn is on sale for $3.99/skein. It takes about 12 skeins to make the afghan, but it’s well worth it for the enjoyment, satisfaction, and lasting warmth it provides.

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Liz sipping melange at Cafe Central in Vienna