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THE WIRELESS TURD
Category: Tech
Friday, April 29th, 2005 @ 11:50 am
Posted By Brent

A number of years ago one of my company's satellite offices closed down and a deluge of its equipment was dumped at our doorstep. Included in this aggregate of crapola was a little turdy Pentium II Compaq Presario 1655 laptop with a broken floppy drive and a shot-to-shit version of Windows 98 on it. Being the bleeding heart Jane Goodall of the decrepit hardware world, I decided to take it under my wing and nurse it back to health while gaining some experience installing and maintaining Linux on a laptop.

Fastforward to present day, and I'm the Linux/Laptop guru that I am, but the other day I got a project at work that involved getting a Laptop running Linux onto our WEP protected wireless network. I sprang into action and learned how to set it all up pretty quickly and was quite satisfied with the results.

Now, armed with the knowledge before me, it was time for me to grab the old Compaq laptop and tackle an even more Herculean project: The Wireless Turd. Actually, after a much needed Linux reinstall on the laptop, getting it onto the wireless network wasn't really all that painful. The real issue was getting it on the network without audibly emitting static, pops, and buzzes out of the laptop speakers every time it would transmit or receive any wireless traffic, and after a little research I found the culprit. Apparently laptops produced before (or before the popularity of) wireless networking failed to shield their PCMCIA slots from wireless devices emitting signals into the chassis of the laptop itself, my turd being one of said laptops. Things like this usually wouldn't bother me, but this shit was loud.

So, what did I do? I shielded the motherfucker myself with aluminum foil.

Not pictured is me electrical taping all seams and the few spots where the paper ripped up and exposed the aluminum foil. I also added another little strip in the exposed gap seen in the second to last picture (the gap you can see the card through).

An unexpected but pleasant side effect was that the full width heat sink was no longer resting directly on top of the PCMCIA housing which previously was heating up my cards so much that it actually fried an ethernet card I had in there once. An unexpected but decidedly unpleasant side effect from this may be that the paper insulation catches on fire and burns down my entire house. The jury is still out on that one.

It seems to work on and off. When it does happen to make noise, it's very, very faint so I'd consider it a success. Maybe I'll go back in later and shield the actual speaker wires to squelch the remaining signal leakage from getting in.




Comments

NAME: LazyAsian
WEBSITE: http://www.lazyasian.com
Monday, May 2nd, 2005 @ 02:46 pm
Exile? You mean the fact that I sold my house, quit my job, and became a complete bum? I'm lovin' it! Having no responsabilities is the greatest feeling in the world.


NAME: brent
Saturday, April 30th, 2005 @ 05:15 pm
How dare you insult me by suggesting a less idiotic and more efficient course of action! By the way, how's the exile going?


NAME: LazyAsian
WEBSITE: http://www.lazyasian.com
Saturday, April 30th, 2005 @ 04:13 pm
This laptop didn't have a USB port?


NAME: pizza party lover
Friday, April 29th, 2005 @ 06:19 pm
yeah


NAME: paris
Friday, April 29th, 2005 @ 03:51 pm
aluminum foil shielding is so hot.


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