Wednesday, 02 August 2006, 20:34:06 EDT

We have been upgrading the wireless access points around campus the past few weeks. The new access points are dumb terminals that talk to an access point server. The server manages all aspects of the devices; what ESSIDs they have, the channels they broadcast on, etceteras. There is a software package that is used to connect to the server and manage it, and the devices. The company only provides it for Windows (2000 SP4 and later) and two Linux distributions — SuSE 9.1 and Red Hat WS 3. So, today I loaded Windows XP on a Dell laptop so that I can manage these access points. As I was installing the software I noticed that they wrote it in Java! Why they don't have a Mac OS X client is beyond me. It makes no sense to write something in a language that was designed to generate programs that can run on any platform and only offer it on two. Oh well, maybe one day they will wake up and realize their stupidity.

Since I installed Windows on a machine I intend to use only rarely, I installed the latest Internet Explorer 7 beta. After a little testing, I determined that IE7 will display this site correctly (mostly) if the stylesheet is sent to it. It does what Opera 8 was doing; it shoves the buttons off to the right a little too far, but that is acceptable. So I am not sending the stylesheet to IE7. Internet Explorer 6 and earlier will still get only the HTML.

I don't recommend you upgrade IE to version seven just yet. It will be forced on you soon enough via an automatic update. It is still a beta, and people have had problems uninstalling it. But, if you are an Internet Explorer user, you should soon get to view this site as the rest of the readers do. I still recommend Firefox over IE, but use whatever you like.

Oh, one neat thing about IE7. Its RSS reader functionality supports the "category" element. So if you look at this site's RSS feed (I didn't try the Atom feed) with IE7 you can filter the entries by category. I'm just glad to see that the categories work in the feeds. I wasn't expecting IE to support them. I wasn't sure if they worked at all, but I hadn't taken the time to download a feed reader that is supposed to support them.


The new APs will be a welcome addition! I would bet the company only officially supports three distributions, but can be made to work on almost any configuration. I bet it could easily run on your Mac.

Posted by Mr Frosti on Sunday, 06 August 2006, 20:01:55 EDT.

The end user shouldn't notice any difference in the wireless. We are just replacing older model APs with new models.

I haven't bothered downloading the Linux file. I'm pretty sure the RPM, or whatever, could be unpacked and made to work with unsupported distributions. I just don't care to deal with it.

I doubt it would "easily" run on my Mac. It isn't a single file; nor is it simple software. They just chose a portable framework and didn't do a lot of porting (from my casual observation).

It doesn't really matter, though. The laptop has been in my desk for months. The hard drive wasn't even formatted with any sort of file system.

Posted by James Sumners on Sunday, 06 August 2006, 20:19:55 EDT.