Ah, memories! These days, setting up hardware on Linux is often easier than it is in Windows. Lots of drivers are built-in and auto-detected, and many are provided through a distribution channel that makes it almost as easy.

Wireless networking, however, is a bit of a throwback to the old days. Half the hardware doesn’t have Linux drivers, and half of the devices that do require you to hunt for the driver — based on the chipset, of course, not on the name or model number on the box — and compile it yourself. (At least these days, you can sometimes run a tool to adapt the Windows drivers if there’s no native Linux option.)

The steps I actually needed to take to set up wifi on my Fedora 13 desktop probably only amounted to about 10 minutes. Unfortunately it took a lot of false starts to get there. I had installed a Zonet ZEW1642 PCI card, which my initial research suggested would be supported by the built-in rt2860 drivers. As it turned out, it wasn’t that simple. Continue reading

Portable cellular phone tower on wheels.As near as I can tell, there were two main wifi networks at the San Diego convention center this year: “Comic-Con 2010” was open and free…and bogged down. It was enough to post snippets of text one line at a time, but it took forever to start the console for Cover it Live, though, and it wasn’t worth it for uploading photos.

AT&T also had a wireless network, but it required you to either be a customer already or buy access. One of the perks of U-Verse service: free access to AT&T wifi hotspots! Since only paid customers were using it, it was a lot faster. Faster even than our home internet access, in fact.

This was in the lobby, hallways and meeting rooms at the convention center itself. I never really tried to access wifi on the exhibit floor (who has room to sit down, other than people staffing a booth?), and didn’t spend much time on my phone either, except for sending and receiving text messages.

Over at the Hilton, however, access was virtually nonexistent: No wifi as near as I could tell, and even phone access was spotty. I saw people texting in the Indigo Ballroom, but the ones nearby were all on iPhones (AT&T) or Verizon. I had absolutely no T-Mobile signal in that hotel, even though it was perfectly fine everywhere else. Katie had the same problem at Indigo last year, and we were hoping it might have improved. No dice.**

One reason I didn’t worry too much about having constant net access: I spent way too much time last year online. Liveblogging aside, this year I wanted to focus more on actually being there. Last year I posted about 30 messages a day to Twitter. This year it was closer to 10 posts total.

So of course, now I’m spending lots of time after we get back writing things up…online.

*Yes, I know the photo is of a cell phone tower, not a wifi hotspot, but I didn’t take any pictures of wifi routers and this is the next best thing.

**Actually, there was a whole booth full of dice, but it was over on the main floor.

»Full index of Comic-Con posts and photos.

I have to confess: I’ve started seriously thinking about a netbook.

Not that I actually need a netbook. I’d only really end up using it for conventions that I’d want to post live (which would probably boil down to Comic-Con International), and I have the ability to do that using either my G1 or the laptop.

Long-time readers (all five of you 🙂 ) may remember that last year I agonized over upgrading my phone to something with real web capability until they announced wifi, and I just lugged the laptop around. Which worked fine, but it was heavy, especially the day I was also carrying around Comic Book Tattoo.

Of course, now I can use the G1 to post to my blog, or Twitter, or Facebook, or (almost) anywhere else even without wifi.


  • Typing on that tiny keyboard is slow. Not as slow as the onscreen keyboard, but still a lot slower than typing on a full-sized keyboard. Then again, netbook keyboards are also smaller than standard, so it might not be much of an improvement.
  • There’s no easy way to transfer photos from another camera. I can only think of two ways other than using a computer as an intermediary: use a Micro-SD card with adapter in the camera, or get a card reader that will clone data from an SD to a Micro-SD.

The camera issue shouldn’t bother me. Chances are I’d just end up doing what I did for WonderCon this year: post the occasional phone pic to Twitter and then upload the good photos to Flickr each evening. Just like I’d mostly be writing brief posts from the convention and detailed posts at the hotel.

Not my book, but the same page that she signed in mine.But then I remember the post I made on the Tori Amos signing last year. After the signing I was so hyped that I found a table, set up the laptop, banged out a blog post, hooked up the camera and added a couple of photos…and the post ended up getting linked on a major Tori fansite, producing a traffic spike so big that not only is the following day still this blog’s busiest day ever, but that post, even though traffic fell off over time, is the 8th most-viewed post on the site over the past year.

Still, the promise of another 15 minutes of blogfame isn’t enough to justify several hundred bucks. (Though the < $200 models that pop up on Woot from time to time have been tempting.) So I’m making an effort to practice typing with the G1, both the physical and on-screen keyboards. I’ve got Twidroid and I Tweet for posting to two Twitter accounts. I’ve got wpToGo to simplify blogging. I’ve got a plugin that will automatically liveblog using Twitter, which I still need to test.

It’s just a matter of making full use of the tools I have, rather than running after the latest cool toy.

Update: I posted this last night, but somehow it ended up backdated to the day I started it on May 20. I think wpToGo must have set a publishing date when I posted the draft. Yes, I started this post on my phone.