Thursday, July 22, 2004


Oh Joy, Oh Rapture!

There's nothing like new toys to distract the liberal militant geek.

Last night I got my Airport Express (2), and my Nvidia Gforce FX 6800 GT.

First, the Airport Express (Check out the product page). It's a really cool device with a couple caveats. First, the good:

The streaming to the stereo is REALLY COOL! The sound quality is better than any of the similar products I've used (iPod Dock, Audiotron, and Airport Express). I suspect it may have something to do with the optical connection.

The devices got onto my network quickly and easily. No problems.

And the bad:
What I wanted to do was run WPA encryption and have the TiVo in our bedroom and living room connected via the airport express. Now, logically (this is the first error), since I can have this thing plug into my network, and share a printer (via USB) or connect to my stereo, doesn't it make sense that I should also be able to use the Ethernet port (making the Airport Express a bridge)? Well, you'd think it would, but you, like me, would be wrong.

In order to get the ethernet port active in other than an access point context, you need to enable WDS (Wireless Distribution System). This means that the Airport Express is cloning the MAC address of my Airport Extreme wireless access point. Here's the problem: When you have both airport express' cloning the same MAC address, it seems like the throughput from one Airport Express to the other Airport Express. Why, might you ask, is this important? Well, remember I mentioned the TiVo's? Transferring files (i.e., programming) between the TiVo's is pretty bandwidth intensive. Sigh. Maybe in the next firmware update.

Epilogue: If you change the multicast rate, it seems to up the transfer rate significantly. Still seems like a hack to me...

OK, the NVidia Geforce 6800 GT. I can say, unqualified, that this is the single best video card I've ever bought. It's amazing. This card was built for Farcry! I've got the game completely maxed out, raised my resolution, and it still runs faster. Freaking cool.

More than any of that, I think the reason why I'm as excited about the card as I am is that it seems to have solved the persistent crashes I was having with my machine. The thing just runs better - maybe my ATi card really was dying. Oh well, at this point, I'm just really happy with it, and it doesn't go much deeper than that :)

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