parts for a long-distance WiFi kit
Wednesday, June 15 2011
I have an MSI Netbook with reasonably-good WiFi range. This came in handy during our stay in Rome, when it proved able to provide us our daily internet via a weak open WiFi router (thanks again, alechiarollaAT-SIGNtiscali.it!). But there have been other occasions when it would have been nice to have a pointable WiFi antenna handy. So the other day I got a USB 802.11n dongle equipped with a detachable antenna that will be part of a long range kit that I will carry with me when I travel. Additionally, I wanted to add to that kit a certain amount of simple collapsible hardware that can be made into a directional parabolic reflector. To get materials for that and other projects, today I drove out to P&T Surplus on the Rondout to look around among their piles of scrap plexiglass and sheet metal. All I really needed was one piece of plexiglass and a piece of bendable sheet metal. I could cut a parabolic slot into the plexiglass, fit the sheet metal into that, and, with a hole to hold the antenna at the parabola's focus, I'd have a collapsible long-range WiFi kit. The only problem is that the piece of sheet metal, even if cut down to the size a 8.5 inch by 11 inch sheet, might not make it through airport security because of its sharp knifelike edges.
This evening I finally managed to get the code working in my Arduino slave controller allowing me to navigate through a series of menus using an IR remote to move a cursor and replace individual digits in a series of delimited default values (time, date, and a variety of cutoff temperatures). Previously I'd managed to get multiple-choice menus working (similar to HTML SELECT menus). Now that I have both systems working with relatively generic code, I could build IR-based menu systems for a variety of applications. As developed, the menus themselves are still displayed in a serial terminal, but it will be easy to migrate them to display in an LCD panel.
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