Monday, January 27, 2014

Good toy, Bad toy, Ugly toy ?

I still have that ring tone on one of my other toys - but not the ones for tonight ...

I had a catalyst to get me setting up something I actually bought a couple of weeks ago.

The problem - to get the Macbook sending the audio over the network without interference I had to change how my wifi works. Everything still happy (come to think of it, I never checked the bluray player) except for the printer/scanner, which couldn't see the wifi because of what I did.

Techie bit - Wifi can work on 2 frequencies. All wifi can talk to 2.4GHz, some wifi can talk to 5GHz. The interference was coming through on the 2.4GHz band, so I moved it to the much less busy band.

The answer is to figure out a different way of connecting things up. Enter the powerline networking.

What dat ?

It's a method of making computers and other things talk by sending signals over the mains cable in the house. In my case, I have signals zinging from internet to the internet box. Desktop and Macbook then talk to the internet box. Now, I have a Powerline box plugged into the internet thingy and it sends signals round the mains wires. I have another Powerline box on the other side of the room, where I can plug bluray player and Xbox into it. That box also happens to have a wifi transmitter, which is what my printer/scanner is talking to.

Confused yet ? Here's how everything eventually connects up :

Desktop -> Router -> Internet
Macbook -> Router -> Internet and audio box
Router -> Powerline -> Powerline wifi -> Printer

Still confused ? I don't blame you. I wasn't confused earlier but I am now.

I was actually pleasantly surprised to see everything (mostly!) working happily together. The 2 Powerline widgets immediately saw each other (no surprise, they'd have been sorted out in the factory). After a quick peek in the manual on the cd, I had the wifi thingy set up to satisfaction. That's a black mark though. I needed the default admin password, which should have been in the paper documentation and not just on the cd.

(I coulda guess actually, it was "admin" "admin" - lol, it's not any more ...)

The next step was to tell the printer about it and (after a reboot), both computers could see it again. Wow. Easy does it. Sorted !

Good toy, Bad toy, Ugly toy ?

Good toy - the Powerline bits and pieces for being supremely cooperative in the set up. They come from the TP-Link WPA4220 kit that was on sale at Shop-Not-To-Be-Named. Actually plug and play and I'm pleasantly surprised. I'd kinda like to speed test it but I think I'd need to get the old laptop out for that.

(I'll advertise and recommend the widget but not the people who sold it ... lol)

Bad toy - Windows 7. I was expecting (needing) to be able scan something in to send off. I can print from Windows 7 but not scan. That's rubbish.

Ugly toy - the Kodak software. It works on the Macbook but I wanted to be able to darken the scan a bit to make the text on the page show up better. Nope. Wouldn't let me.

However ... the Macbook gets a close second to the Powerline kit, as it had no issues talking to the scanner.

Happy days - job done.

Gosh - this is a glamourous life I lead isn't it ? To be honest, I'd rather have been sharing a meal with a glamourous lady and be miles away from tech but there you go ;-)

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