Linksys WRT100 and the Macbook Pro

My parents have a new Linksys WRT100 RangePlus router at home that replaced an old D-Link. The old router had no problem on my MacBook Pro. This new one would always connect but using any service on the web or even IM would be spotty. Oddly, traceroute and the like showed find transmit times but I think it wasn’t able to push more than one kbps or something paltry like that. It was so painfully slow that I coudn’t even access the router’s configuration page via wireless

After fiddling around hardwired, I disabled the “mixed mode” which is basically B/G/N support and set it to B/G support since my laptop in any case is the only device in the network that supports N. Bingo — back and functional. So, word to the wise: Linksys WRT100 does not love the factory settings on the WRT 100.

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Switching to Entourage 2008

Last week I started an experiment to work almost primarly in Mac OS X and put my VMware Fusion Windows XP machine on suspend. Most of the programs that I would have used in Windows like Word, Excel and Powerpoint work fine in the OS X version. The biggest (and worst) stumbling block I’ve hit is Entourage. It doesn’t work like Outlook, and it doesn’t work like a OS X application. It’s not a hybrid either. It’s just awkward to use. Here’s my hit list of issues.

  • While drafting an email, hitting Alt-Delete does not delete a whole word. It just acts as backspace.
  • Pushing Apple-Delete kills the message without warning and doesn’t place it in the drafts or Trash.
  • The shortcut keys between Outlook and OS X are totally different. Apple-1,2,3 to switch between Mail, Calendar, Contacts, etc.
  • Apple-F loads the find menu, it doesn’t forward a message.
  • Calendar allows you to snap items to the 15 minute boundary. It’s really annoying when moving appointments between days. Nobody in their right mind schedules things on a corporate calendar at fifteen minute intervals.
  • On My Computer is hokey. When you send a message it ends up in the On My Computer outbox. That just feels wrong since it’s going to go through my corporate outbox.
  • Reply and Forward flags are not sync’ed to Exchange. Annoying.
  • If you have a contact in your address book, but they’re a corporate contact (e.g. came from your directory service) it always looks up the local contact first even if it’s an Exchange to Exchange message.
  • Using Calendar to schedule meetings is broken. It’s nearly impossible to schedule resources like meeting rooms using it.
  • Hitting reply to an email that came from Outlook, Entourage breaks the horizontal lines that Outlook uses as separators sometimes. Also, the horizontal lines that it uses are 75% width versus Outlook’s 100% width ones. Just odd.

This is a view of coming from a life time Outlook user. Native users of Entourage may not notice any of these things. But native Mac users will given a bunch of the OS X behaviors that it also breaks.

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When VMware Fusion Networking Fails

Every now and then my Windows XP virtual machine goes on the fritz and cannot access the network. I restart Fusion, restart Windows XP, try to reinstall Fusion, changing from NAT to bridged, and back again but nothing seems to work. I’ve run in to this problem twice in the last month, and it was driving me crazy. It would die for a few hours or days and just come back to working as if nothing had happened.

The intertubes were of no help until I stumbled upon a set of tools that ship with Fusion that basically restarts the networking stack (actually I think it’s supposed to restart the entire VM). If you can’t seem to get anything to work on your VM in VMware Fusion, give this shell script a go from the Terminal. If you have HardwareGrowler running, you’ll see it detatch and reattach all the VMware devices.

sudo /Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion/ --restart

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Apple’s AirTunes

I bought a used AirPort Express today and I can’t believe it took me this long to figure this out. AirTunes is a pretty phenomenal concept, but getting the whole set up to run with my WRT54G was painful.

It was unable to run in client mode. I tried a couple of times to get it going through the automatic setup to have it only do AirTunes, but the yellow light kept blinking. In the end, I set up with in WDS mode, which also turned out to be difficult to use. The trick was making sure both the WRT54G and the AirPort Express had the same wireless channel, and when putting the WEP/WPA key in the AirPort Express to prefix it with a “$”. Who knew?

In any case, it’s up and running and amazing. I highly suggest also throwing Airfoil in the mix so you can route YouTube videos and sites like Pandora through AirTunes.

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