Editorial: October 29th 2004
G'Day Blokes and Sheilas!
I have to say that I am very proud of this issue! I was given the opportunity to evaluate a new product from Linksys, and absolutely loved it. On top of that I just really enjoyed writing every section of the newsletter this issue. I am sure you will be entertained and informed.
Thanks to Jack Arrow for the Joke section, that sure bought back some memories, as I am sure it will with my Aussie readers. In fact thanks to all of my readers who welcomed me back after a short absence. There are many things on my plate at the moment, and projects in the works. As always you blokes and broads will be the first to know about them!
So read on. Feel free to send me your comments and before I go let me leave you with this. Boy will I be happy when this US election is over!
Have a bonza day!
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So you have a broadband connection to the Internet (broadband is generally either cable or DSL) and want to connect multiple computers to it. This is when you need a Router!
In layman's terms you can think of your Router as the gateway to the Internet. You plug it in to your Cable or DSL modem and it routes the incoming and outgoing traffic to the appropriate place.
Modern Routers include firewalls and wireless capabilities. With some high end versions including VOIP (like the one I review this issue) and print servers (to share and manage a printer between computers).
Hardware Highlight: Linksys RT31P2 Broadband Router with 2 Vonage Phone Ports
I was lucky enough to be asked to evaluate the Linksys RT31P2, and within minutes of it arriving I had it out of the box and working. This is a testament to the simplicity and Quick Start guide provided by Linksys. Any lay person could achieve the same results. Notably, there was no technical tweaking to be done at all.
As you all know I already have Vonage service but use their standard Motorola VOIP unit. Vonage provided another number for the evaluation of the Linksys product. I was amazed at the crystal clear clarity of the calls I made using the all in one three port Router and VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) unit.
Using one of the routers three ports I was even able to get the Motorola unit to work at the same time! This allowed me to use my existing number as usual. The Linksys unit has two telephone ports for up to two Vonage numbers.
Those familiar with Linksys products will already know that the router has a easy to use web based interface for you to administer settings. Along with the normal Set-up, Security, Applications and Gaming, Administration and Status areas there is a Voice area that at this point does not appear to serve any purpose. Obviously Linksys must be planning for future updates.
The only downside to the Linksys RT31P2 is the fact that it does not include wireless capabilities. Sure this could be added fairly easily with a gateway unit, but wouldn't it have been perfect if this unit included it all?
A quick note to Big Pond users in Australia. The router allows for Heart Beat Signals which Big Pond uses. I am not sure why however, as Vonage is not offered in Australia. Although I know it can still work (I tried it on my recent trip to Melbourne and it worked well).
Testing: Cable versus DSL
I tried the router and phone service on both a cable (Comcast) and DSL (Harbornet) connection. The cable connection was flawless improving the already good quality that the Motorola unit gave. The DSL connection did not have as much bandwidth available, and sometimes with the Motorola unit this was obvious with very choppy sound. However using the Linksys unit the quality again became crystal clear. This was very impressive. The Linksys unit must make more efficient use of the bandwidth available to the VOIP service than when you use a separate Motorola and Router unit.
With Vonage's Premium Unlimited account being offered at only $24.99 and the Linksys RT31P2 available for as low as $39.99 after rebate (at the time of this issue this offer is available at Fry's Electronics) this is an incredible deal for phone service, or even the router alone for that matter.
Manuals and instructions are extremely simple to follow. More importantly my prior experience with Vonage and Linksys customer support have been more than satisfactory. As a package this is a fantastic service that I can not recommend enough. Especially for those of you dissatisfied with traditional Telephone companies.
Visit Linksys Product Specification: Linksys RT31P2 Broadband Router with 2 Vonage Phone Ports
Visit: Sign up for Vonage
Note: I was not paid for this review and yes my Vonage link is linked to a referral program, where I will get a free month as well as you if you sign up using the link. If you do go with the service I would appreciate you using this.
Quotable: Calvin Coolidge said...
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "Press On" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
Software Savvy: Google Desktop
I stumbled upon a new Google Beta project. This one is in its early stages but looks like another winner.
You basically install a program on your computer that will index various files and then include results in your Google searches (if you choose) or you can use a separate Desktop search of just your computer. Currently it only searches Outlook, AOL Messenger, Internet Explorer, Text, MS Word, MS Excel and MS PowerPoint files. However I imagine Google would plan to expand this further.
Google assures you will not lose your privacy, which is always important and nice to know.
It seems that Google comes up with common sense projects that are actually useful to their clients. It is a refreshing concept.
Visit: Google Desktop
The Great Australian Joke: Part One: What Aussie legends are made of...
Jack Arrow, a mate made through this newsletter sent me this thought provoking look at the past. Aussies will love it, others will see a glimpse of Australia. You may not understand it all but you should find it interesting.
What Aussie legends are made of....
I'm talking about hide and seek in the park. The corner milk bar, hopscotch, billy carts, cricket in front of the garbage bin and inviting everyone on your street to join in, skipping, handball, handstands, elastics, bullrush, catch & kiss, footy on the best lawn in the street, slip'n'slide, the trampoline with water on it, hula hoops, stepping in puddles, mud pies and building dams in the gutter. The smell of the sun and fresh cut grass.
'Big bubbles no troubles' with Hubba Bubba bubble gum. A choc-top. Mr.Whippy cone on a warm summer night after you've chased him round the block. 20 cents worth of mixed lollies lasted a week and pretending to smoke fags" (the lollies) was really cool!.. A dollars' worth of chips from the corner take-away fed two people (AND the sauce was free!!) Being upset when you botched putting on the temporary tattoo from the bubblegum packet, but still wearing it proudly.
Staying up late and sneaking a look at the "AO" on the second telly.
When around the corner seemed a long way, and going into town seemed like going somewhere. Where running away meant you did laps of the block because you weren't allowed to cross the road??
A million mozzie bites, wasp and bee stings. Sticky fingers, Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, riding bikes and catching tadpoles.
Drawing all over the road and driveway with chalk. Climbing trees and building cubbies out of every sheet your mum had in the cupboard.
Part Two continues next issue.