Archive for June, 2012

Networking problem

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Equipment used:
HP Photosmart 7510 (wireless print)
Apple TV (3rd generation)
iPad 3

Intention: to wirelessly mirror the iPad screen on a TV and to wirelessly print files created on the iPad.

The equipment was set up and tested on a home broadband network which was password protected. It all worked perfectly.

At the exhibition venue, the equipment was tested before the event. Their wireless network required a browser to open a splash page which then asked for a username and password. The Apple TV found the network but didn’t ask for a username or password. Similarly, the printer found the network but didn’t ask for a username or password. The iPad found the network and did enter a username and password through a browser. However, none of the equipment could see each other and no amount of configuration helped.

The next morning the equipment was tested again as per the night before and this time, for whatever reason, they could all see each other. For a period of about an hour the wireless connection held. Then I wandered about fifteen to twenty metres away from the Apple TV and printer. When I tried to print a file from the iPad the button was greyed out and I discovered that I had lost all connection with the other two pieces of equipment. No further connection could be established wirelessly no matter what was tried (including attaching an ethernet cable from the network to the Apple TV).

When I returned home all the equipment worked perfectly again using the home wi-fi network.

Explanations given;
1. The printer and Apple TV need static IP addresses.
2. An ethernet cable should be supplied to the stand which then plugs into our own wireless router. The iPad, Apple TV and printer are then connected to that routers network (this would avoid issues involving several routers creating one large network in a venue).
3. Faulty equipment. Forums reveal that Apple TV (3rd generation) is completely unreliable and that the Photosmart 7510 model of printer is equally unreliable for its wi-fi connection.
4. Wi-fi is too complex to guarantee any sort of success in varying situations.

Any confirmation of the above explanations welcome!

The thin edge of technology

Friday, June 15th, 2012

It’s a shocking revelation to discover just how thin our atmosphere is when compared to other distances but because we are immersed in it constantly, we take it for granted and intuitively imagine that its influence extends well beyond  the reality.

It’s the same with technology. Because we use technology every day we unconsciously perceive it as all powerful, indispensable, unquestionable. However, the truth reveals the incredibly thin edge of technology.

Here is an example. I was an early adopter of satnav technology. I was an early adopter because of my needs; physically finding unknown addresses throughout the country. The new technology, with its amazing background of satellites and triangulation, allowed me to find an address without much research. The biggest benefit however was when I was stuck in a traffic jam—a few taps on the screen and an alternative route was immediately planned. I could leave the traffic jam and easily negotiate roads around it. In the atmosphere analogy, I was breathing whilst everyone else in the traffic jam was struggling for breath.

Then the inevitable happened, as technology becomes cheap enough and reliable enough, more and more people use it. Today, satnav is everywhere—phones, tablets, stand alone devices… If I get caught in a traffic jam now, I can guarantee that any alternative route planned will be duplicated across thousands of other satnavs in similar cars caught in the same jam and the congestion will merely get spread across a larger area. Any advantage I had as an early adopter is gone and we’re all back to the position before we started.

Similarly, if a government develops the ultimate weapon, for a short time, it has to be respected and obeyed. Once other governments develop their own ultimate weapons, a stalemate is achieved and no one dares use their ultimate weapon. As a result, older technologies have to be employed such as tanks and artillery. The progress is backwards, not forwards.

So the benefits of technology are conferred to the few and are short lived.

I accept that it could be argued that the original benefit of satnavs is still there: finding an address with ease. But my point is that we become accustomed to that ease and we default to an automatic assumption about how life is lived. The car and the satnav are no longer amazing achievements in human ingenuity, they’re simply a means of getting to work and back. Imagine not having any shoes. Sure, it would be tough adjusting to the absence of that particular technology but we managed for millions of years without them and we can do so again.

There is a myth about technology that I’m only just beginning to deconstruct.

Prometheus movie

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

You’ve got a trillion dollar spaceship that you’re sending on a perilous mission, how do you select your crew? Going by the crew in Prometheus you would trawl the maximum security correction facilities of America until you found the most ill disciplined, mercenary, sex obsessed prisoners who also happened to be biologists and geologists.

But first, you would start your story with a humanoid alien committing suicide in a landscape that could be earth or could be an alien planet that looked like earth, then you would show his/its DNA dissolving into running water (we know it’s DNA because of the double helix – always look for the mark of quality, the double helix!). This image is good because it means the combination of genetics and evolution can explain EVERYTHING that follows.

In the meantime, the humanoid aliens have been leaving invitation cards on earth in the shape of several dots painted onto cave walls in primitive astral scenes. The solar system represented by these dots is eventually discovered by clever humans who think it’s an invitation from the gods themselves. Figuring out that these dots represent a unique configuration of planetary bodies in the vastness of space is like finding a needle in one of the billions of haystacks in the trillions of fields that exist somewhere on planet earth.

Anyway, find it they do and they just can’t wait to get out there and interact with any alien life forms that they come across. So as soon as they’ve had sex and some beers, the crazy gang head out on their motorbikes and hummvies to the dome of mysteries.

In the dome, they argue amongst themselves (boy, who saw that coming?), split up, run away and ignore any technological devices that they might have access to that could help them find their way back to the entrance. The big discovery in the dome is that the humanoid aliens are actually unfriendly towards their children (humans). In filmic terms this is a classic twist. Unfortunately, in plot terms, this is a total fuck up. Things make even less sense now than they did before (which was pretty senseless).

Meanwhile, back at the space ship, a stowaway appears who… ah, who cares, it’s all nonsense so don’t worry about the story.

It all sounds terrible, and it is, story-wise, but the visuals rescue it from ’straight to DVD’ crap. But only just.

By the way, in the ‘operation scene’ this is the only time I have ever seen one of those grabber claws from amusement arcades actually hold onto a prize…