Roles at The Robotic Frog

* If you don’t know who or what these are, check the Glossary page.


While we were melting down (see previous post), Xubuntu on Defiant* was unable to maintain the wireless connection upstairs. This is two floors above the wireless router; about 60 ft (~18 m). The signal strength upstairs has never been good. The whole Xubuntu thing made HIM* decide to try to fix the problem. HE* did some research and decided to try the Diamond Wireless Range Extender (Model WR300N).

[We have no relationship, financial or otherwise, with Diamond.]

HE chose this one because it was the only one HE found where someone specifically mentioned that it worked with Linux.

This thing is amazing. It’s trivial to set up. It comes with a Windows installation CD. Since we don’t have a Windows machine, we don’t know what that’s all about; we didn’t need it. If we were engineers, this is the way we’d want our stuff to work. We plugged the device into a wall outlet, connected it to Defiant with an Ethernet cable (supplied), and turned Defiant on. The instructions said to bring up your web browser. Ours came up automatically. Click on AutoSetup, choose your wireless network, click connect, and enter your security code.  Unplug your range extender from the wall outlet, unplug the Ethernet connection, plug the range extender back into the wall outlet…and forget about it. You’re done. Less than five minutes. Our signal, according to the wireless applet, normally shows 40%-45%. With the range extender it reads 80%-94%. We’re extremely happy with this device. Recommended!

Content creation

We took the picture of the range extender box shown above. This was our first foray into creating photographic content. It’s not going to win any awards, but we had a fun time with it. We’ll tell you about it next time.


We’re coming to a clear separation of roles at The Robotic Frog. I realized yesterday that it’s simply not possible to control HIM. I can influence HIM, but any thought that I’m in control is an illusion. This became clear yesterday when I lost my connection to the file server. I went to the Computing Center (basement) and to my disbelief, there HE was loading Linux Mint 12 KDE onto Chatterbox*.

“I thought we agreed last week that we weren’t going to load any new Linux distributions for awhile,” I said.

“Yeah, but this looks really cool. I thought we’d give it a shot.”

“You’re nuts! You know that, right?”

“Ummm,” he says and I know I’ve lost him.

See what I mean? I realized at that moment that my role at TRF* isn’t to control HIM. That’s not possible. RoboFrog is our creative-techno-geek-free-spirit. HE’s curious about everything. I think HIS favorite question is, “What happens when we do this?” No, my role is that of writer, communicator, chronicler. And you know what? I’m okay with that.

It isn’t easy, though. HE rarely tells me what HE’s doing or where HE’s heading. And forget about notes. HE’s in the zone; doing his thing. HE seldom writes anything down. That’s why I have to watch HIM like a hawk. Otherwise, HE’s six steps into something and I don’t know how HE got there. Let’s get back to Chatterbox.

Last time, I introduced Chatterbox. I’m not going into another long tale about yet another Linux distribution. He loaded Linux Mint 12 KDE onto Chatterbox without any problems. It’s beautiful. We’ve never used KDE at The Robotic Frog, but wow! There’s a lot to like with it. Sadly, the software installer wouldn’t run. It starts to come up and then disappears. As I said in a previous post, that’s a deal-breaker for us. If the software installer doesn’t work, we immediately dump the distro. HE reloaded Ubuntu 11.10 and I can only hope that, at least on Chatterbox, HE’ll leave it alone for awhile.

We said in a previous post that we like Linux Mint a lot at RFCC*. Our opinion has changed concerning Linux Mint. We’ve had problems with Linux Mint Debian, Linux Mint Xfce, and now Linux Mint KDE. In fairness to Linux Mint, there are many people happily using it. We haven’t tried their main Ubuntu-based distribution recently. It may be perfectly fine. Our concern is that with that much going wrong at Linux Mint, we’re no longer comfortable recommending it.

On the other hand, we’ve had an almost flawless performance by Ubuntu 11.10. This would be the distribution we would recommend for anyone new to Linux.

Next time: creating photos for our blog.

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