Going wireless on the desktop

Broadband Internet service at the new house comes from Home Telecom in the form of their Velocity Fiber service. They offer up to 1Gbps service, but we opted for the more modest 50 Mbps plan which is more than sufficient for our needs.

Installation at the house went pretty smoothly, but could only be installed at one point in the house in the form of a CAT5e cable. I was expecting something similar to Comcast where the broadband would come in via coax and cable modem. In retrospect, I probably should have asked.

I chose to have the installer put the drop in the structured wiring box, figuring I could route it through the rest of the house pretty easily from there using the CAT5e wiring that was run through the house for phone (there turned out to be some kinks in that plan, but that’s a story for another post).

The room that’s become my office and where my desktop is, unfortunately, doesn’t have a CAT5e drop in it (oversight on my part during the planning process). That meant to get online, my computer would have to go wireless for the first time.

Since I couldn’t find where an older USB WiFi adapter got packed away, I did some shopping around and picked up a TP-Link Archer T8E PCIe card from Newegg. Looked like it would be a decent performer and the reviews mentioning Linux said the card worked fine under Fedora and Ubuntu.

Installation of the card was quick and painless, but I couldn’t get Fedora to bring up the card, even after a fresh install of Fedora 24. The kernel detected the card, but the drivers wouldn’t work with it.

A bit of digging showed the adapter uses a Broadcom BCM4360 chipset, which wasn’t supported by the b43 drivers.

Network controller [0280]: Broadcom Corporation BCM4360 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter [14e4:43a0] (rev 03)

A little more searching brought me to this gist containing a script for installing Broadcom’s wl driver. Downloaded the driver source, compiled and installed, and the WiFi interface popped up. Didn’t even have to reboot the computer. The computer was back online.

The Broadcom wl driver and associated kmod/akmod files are also in the RPMFusion non-free repo, which seems to be catching up with the Fedora 24 release now.

With the proper drivers installed the T8E card is performing pretty well, even with the computer chassis almost directly between the card’s antennas and my wireless router. I’m able to get pretty much the full 50 Mbps from the Internet and can see about 7 other WiFi access points in the neighbourhood. Not sure about what kind of signal strength the card is seeing from my WiFi router, but it’s at least enough for a solid connection. Haven’t tested transfer speeds on the internal network yet but that should still be pretty speedy.


Despite the minor driver snafu, I’m pretty happy with the way the card is performing in the computer and under Fedora. Not quite the “works out of the box” experience I was expecting but still pretty painless.

Moved in, time to unpack

Moving day #1 went off pretty well yesterday, with only a brief interruption by rain towards the end of the unloading at the house.

Got up early, brought the dogs and a few more things to the house, then off to get the truck rental from Home Depot. Got pretty much everything from the apartment loaded up into the truck. Towards the end, I was a little worried we were going to run out of room, but everything that needed to go managed to get onto the truck.

There are still a few odds and ends at the apartment, but those can all be loaded into the cars over the next few days.

Now the process of unpacking begins. Lots to do to get the shack and office set up.

In two weeks, Moving day #2 to get all the stuff from the storage unit to the house.

Count down to moving day

All the painting is done at the house, the second bathroom is all filled in and patched up, and next weekend we’ll finally be moving out of the apartment and into the house.

This past week we’ve been bringing a few things up to the house a car load at a time and working on getting the house ready for moving day. I did the epoxy paint thing to the garage floor today (managed to finish up just as the rain from Tropical Storm Bonnie arrived) and installed the last of the ceiling fans today (four total).

After giving the garage floor a few days to cure, we can start moving things back into the garage.

One fun thing we did to the kitchen island was cover it with chalkboard paint.

Looking forward to getting settled into the house finally.

New mouse

The Logitech MX1100 mouse I had started behaving unreliably on most surfaces, and would only reliably track on the vertical side of the computer case for some reason.

I decided since I had just replaced the keyboard, why not the mouse too.

I wanted something with a similar shape and weight as the MX1100 and ended up going with another Logitech mouse, the MX Master. It’s a wireless mouse that can connect using Logitech’s Unifying receiver (one of those tiny USB dongles) or via Bluetooth.

It looks similar to the MX1100, with a few changes to the buttons and scroll wheels. The top scroll wheel no longer tilts to the left or right. The tilting has been replaced with a thumb scroll wheel. The two forward/back thumb buttons are arranged behind the scroll wheel and the hidden thumb rest button is gone. I find the two forward/back buttons are somewhat awkwardly placed, and aren’t as convenient or easy to press as the MX1100 buttons were.

The battery is built into the mouse instead of the replaceable AA battery in the MX1100. A microUSB port at the front of the mouse allows for charging (charge level is indicated by three lights near the thumb rest of the mouse.

One interesting feature is that apparently the mouse can be used with three separate computers through the Logitech Unifying receiver. This isn’t something I can test out though.

So far the feel of the MX Master is similar to the MX1100 that I’m used to and is pretty comfortable to use. Should be a good mouse to use. Now to get all the buttons set up and usable in Fedora.

Three years

She’sHe not really dead. As long as we remember herhim.
– McCoy, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan

There’s a lot of wisdom collected in Star Trek.

It’s been three years since Theresa died. A lot has happened in the past three years, but she’s never been very far from my thoughts.

The hops tower is on the way to my office, and I usually stop to see how the hops are doing. It hasn’t sprouted any hops flowers since the first year, but the hops continue to grow. One of my projects is to figure out how to assemble the hops tower photos I took from the past year into a time lapse movie.

The memories I have will stay with me, and as long as they do, a part of her will still be around.