Saturday, July 16, 2005

Wireless Networking and Walls

One problem with having too much PC junk lying around is finding somewhere to plug it in. One piece of hardware I have had a problem finding a home for is my Linux server. It's only a small desktop PC that normally runs headless but it still produces too much noise to put anywhere in the house. However we do have an outhouse (old outside toilet) which has mains power in it. So my first plan was to connect to the the PC to the wireless network we have at home. I had a spare wireless card which I installed in the PC and then tried to get a signal. I could sometimes see the acess point but I couldn't manage to get a reliable connection no matter how I positioned the antenna. Moving the access point was also not an option because it is an intergrated access point and ADS router and I don't have a phone socket in a better position. Then I had the idea to look at powerline networking (networking over mains), commonly known as homeplug and discovered that they have now come down to acceptable price (20 pounds per adaptor). After a little bit of research I opted for a pair of Acer Homeplug Adaptors from eBuyer. When they arrived I plugged them in they it just work, so now I happily have a reliable network connection between all my PCs.

Friday, July 15, 2005 and Bodington

The current trend in the Bodington community is to try and incorporate preexisting services into Bodington rather than building the extra functionality into Bodington. The hope with this design is that these services can then be interchanged at a later date without too much disruption to the VLE. I have a little bit of experience in this area from the work I did on the Ramble Project which looked at intergration of blogs into a VLE. In Ramble an external blog server was used to provide most of the functionality and then a little bit of code was written for the VLE to allow them to work together. One tool that I think has the possibility for intergration is in the area of social bookmarking. The service leader in this area at the moment is which provides the user with the ability to bookmark URLs and access previous bookmarks from any internet connected PC. My idea is provide the ability for users of Bodington to be able to create a "Social Bookmark Resource" which uses to store all of the data behind the scenes. The way I would do this is uses the concept of tagging where every URL that is bookmarked is tagged with one or more keywords that the user decides are related to the content of the page. So I might tag the URL with the tags javascript, programming & web. Now although most of the tags people use are common there is nothing stopping me from creating a unique tag and this is how I would build the intergration with Bodington. When someone decides to create a "Social Bookmark Resource" in Bodington it has a id associated with it and this combined with the web address provides a unique tag. For example if I create a resource in Bodington at and this resource gets the ID of 342234 then any bookmarks that want to be added to this resource should be tagged with then provides an API through which queries can be made and using this Bodington can ask for all the bookmarks that are tagged with and these can then be rendered within Bodington. This means users who are already using can contribute through thier existing accounts and have the entries they add also show in thier own bookmarks.