Some time before I bought one, I had often wished I had a Travel Router during my travels. And, I know I looked at whether it would be possible to use my Linux laptop as such.
But, then on November 25th, 2011, Black Friday....meaning I was at Chicago TARDIS at the time....I had on the spur of the moment ordered the ZuniConnect ZTRP150 WiFi Travel Router with USB Charging by ZuniDigital from NewEgg.com.
As I recall, it then sat around for months until I finally set it up, in preparation for possible use on my next trip....Gallifrey One in 2012.
The turn hotel ethernet into WiFi for all my gadgets was really nice, since most hotels only allow one device per room to register for its free or pay wireless. (though I heard some allow pay per device....) But, my reasoning at the time was the large number of Eye-Fi cards that I have in my collection, which are unable to connect to such WiFi, even when its free and its just an EULA page that needs to be accepted.
Otherwise, I wasn't too WiFi dependent gadget heavy then....I could use 3G on my smartphone, and my Kindles all did 3G or something (either exclusively or later with WiFi...I had started carrying the Kindle Fire, original, on trips....so it was the first that would benefit from a travel router.)
It was November 23, 2012 that I started my journey into the world of Chromebook (I had preordered it, and that's when it shipped....at first I was traveling with both my Linux laptop and the Chromebook, but for some time now...I've been going with just the Chromebook. Which has been challenging, like now I can't add SSIDs to my eye-fi cards on the road. So, I have to hope that I got the right ones pre-added to the cards. Along with some of the ones I know what will work, like the SSID for my MiFi2200 or later tethering off of my HTC One (I got the 5GB tethering plan, because lower tiers weren't eligible for employee discount and I had been looking to upgrade from MiFi....but hadn't found a reasonable pay as I go, but can't be activated because I don't live in an area that's covered by it.
Though I did consider exiting the Smartphone crowd and getting a contract Mobile Hotspot, but there isn't anything in an Android 4.3/4.4+ equivalent to iPod Touch....or WiFi only smart phone ???
Now, I guess I've been lucky with the ZuniConnect, which has two modes, Router or WISP. It has both a WAN and LAN port, so there's lots of different ways it could be used.
Long before this, I already had a RoadWarrior travel Ethernet cable in my carry on....so I wasn't stuck if the room only had a jack. And, the router mode was all I needed. It was pretty much plug it in and go everywhere that I stayed.
That was until my previous trip....the one to visit my brother and parents for Christmas. The hotel I stayed at didn't have Ethernet in the room. I had never looked at WISP, but knew it was something I was going to need to use eventually.
Well, it was a bust, because WISP is largely a different configuration in the router, because I would see ZuniConnect or something as an SSID sometimes, but not be able to connect to it. Not sure I know how to connect Chromebook to WPS, or if its possible. etc. But, in the end found that the only way to configure WISP is through ethernet. And, none of my devices had ethernet ports. (I'd still be screwed if I had a MacBook Air along....)
So, I made a note to investigate alternative Travel Routers and to acquire a USB Ethernet adapter for my Chromebook, etc. I eventually got both as part of a larger order from Amazon.com on Jan 22, 2014. I got a "Plugable" USB Ethernet adapter, because it was specifically listed as an adapter from Chromebook. And, I got a TP-Link TL-WR702N, Which sounded like it also did all I wanted, had been favorably reviewed and I've been pretty happy with the TP-Link TL-WR1043ND router that handles my Cox connection to the world....doesn't do all the stuff I liked doing with DD-WRT (though I could DD-WRT it)...but its been rock solid, and since I've moved to running nginx reverse proxy on a DMZ host, the 16 port forwarding limitation isn't an issue. QoS might start to become a concern though. But, I still primarily do that through DD-WRT on AT&T connection to the world. Some day I think I want to try pfSense....
But, that hotel stay wasn't a problem since they're WiFi access was controlled by a password that is given out at check-in....so I could connect all my devices to the WiFi without problems.
Anyways....these items sat around in their packages, until the night before I was to depart for Gallifrey One 2014.
The USB Ethernet adapter just worked and wasn't a problem (though I haven't registered its MAC with my network, which only does reserved DHCP ... its on my list to create a guest network, which can be helpful for discovering MAC address of devices that don't have them printed anywhere on them. But, it hasn't been an issue with wireless devices, since those failed attempts show up in my radius log. Which probably also shows up in the dhcp log (I suppose I should set those logs to forward to zen, so I can see them and add them to the appropriate files in CFEngine 3 repository....still haven't gotten cf-runagent working though.)
The TP-Link TL-WR702N was another story. Again it looks like it needs to be configured manual for WIFi Bridging through its ethernet port, but the ethernet port being dual mode LAN or WAN, its out of scope for its built-in DHCP (which is also disabled by default...) Also of annoyance was that its SSID was fixed, couldn't tailor it to my convention, but rather its own convention ending with the last 3 octets of its MAC. Where the default password is the last 4 octets. It does allow you to change the password, along with other encryption settings, or go open. It has a dropdown list for channel, which had defaulted to AUTO. But, it won't allow you leave the page until its been changed to be the same channel as the selected WiFi. Seems its a flaw with all WISP, that they attach to BSSID.... I have two APs at home, both with the same SSID, but different BSSID (of course) and different channels. Yet, my bedroom is still in a hole....
Could be interesting in a hotel environment where there's going to to be many different BSSID/Channels, which might change throughout the stay.
But, I ran into a problem. I couldn't not get my Chromebook to connect to the Ethernet port. It didn't do DHCP, but Chromebook has options to set things manually, but Chromebook still wouldn't connect. I suspect there's something Chromebook expects to get answers for to determine that the connection makes sense, and the TP-Link doesn't do it. At first I thought the Chromebook was expecting a fully usable Internet connection....which doesn't make sense, since its able to use captive portals, though often the captive portals only block http/https initially, or provide/leak enough to satisfy my Chromebook.... That was until this Gallifrey One trip....
So, I went to another Chicago TARDIS. I originally didn't think I was going to go this year, so I didn't preregister at 2010. But, later when they announced Alex Kingston and Peter Davison as guests...I rushed online, and registered for a Reserved membership. As time went on, other guests were added, such as Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton. Though later I heard Alex Kingston had dropped out. Kind of sad.
I had tweeted wondering if the set of companions would complete, and Matthew Waterhouse would appear. Though how would that work with Tony Lee being a confirmed guest.
As it happened, the day before Thanksgiving...between entering the schedule into my work calendar and deciding that I should put it on my google calendar so that it would appear on my personal cellphone...Sarah Sutton couldn't make it. I don't know if I was disappointed or not, at that moment... but later I was.
So, this year...on Nov 18th, American Eagle added a new direct flight to Chicago. Before there was only the one 07:00->09:05 to Chicago and 19:30-21:15 from Chicago. Not a huge fan of coming in to Manhattan in the evening, since for some reason there's always trouble getting taxi to come get me at night...and the last few times the airport closes and kicks me out before the taxi finally shows up....over an hour after the flight had arrived too. The new flight of 12:40-14:40 to Chicago and 10:15-12:00 from Chicago.
This year I wanted to arrive closer to start of Thursday night activities, so I took the 12:40-14:40 flight to Chicago. This also meant that I could have Thanksgiving dinner in the hotel restaurant this year...instead of trying to get the most I can out of the free pizza at the All-Access/Reserved reception. 2009 I had prime rib, and 2010...well, I was too late...due to various issues, and not just because I came via DFW. Though I heard other people recalling the weather being more challenging last year. Also this year, I went with booking my transportation with Windy City Limos....there was a link from the hotel's site after I reserved the room to do this. There airport shuttle service turned out a whole lot better than the Go Airport Express service I had done in previous years, and didn't cost a whole lot more. First year was $61, second year was $57.20 (they offered me a coupon code...to 'repeat' the same ride, they offered it again this year). I kind of knew that I didn't want to do Go Airport Express again this year. Since, it was shortly after I booked that shuttle, that the credit card I used got jacked. And, I had to wait until after Chicago TARDIS 2010 to get my replacement card. It was part of the reason why I didn't preregister last year.
Going with Windy City Limos was really nice...a black sedan 'limo' where I was the only person going both ways....was quite nice. Even times when there were only a few people in the shuttles, it can't come close. Wonder how this'll impact my future travel needs....
So, arriving plenty early....just slightly before 3pm...but they let me check in right away. Though there seemed to be some question on what kind of room I had reserved, and if I wanted 1 king or 2 queens...or that 2 queens was more likely all that were available. I was sure that in my Starwood Preferred Guest profile, I had set 1 King. But, got 2 queens....on the 11th floor. (later saw Peter Davison trying to get an elevator from this floor....which apparently was the pre-cursor to his 'Aha!' going down later...)
Then set up in the room and wandered a bit, before finally going in and getting supper. I went with Yellowfin Tuna. Which now as I recall, I had had last year....perhaps I should've gone with the Salmon. I also ate good pretty much all through the convention using the hotel restaurant. Has made the adjustment back to home eating rather poor. Thinking I'm going to get a turkey just so that I can have the whole home experience with one anyways. Though think I need to make room in fridge for one.... perhaps I should plan to use other frozen items up first.
Debated whether I wanted to stand in line for reserved tickets at registration....but the crowd sucked me in...though no hassles this year, since I remembered to bring my form this year. Last year I hadn't, but they found me anyways...after showing them my id. I went up to room briefly to revise my schedule and then hit the reception.
A pretty good reception this year....there was a strange pizza with chopped celery on it. And, it was pretty bad. During things...Janet Fielding and Peter Davison made visits to the tables, and that was nice. Other guests were kind of making rounds, but they didn't get to every table....eventually, I called it a night.
... Hmmm, was going to start many more pages of this...but no, I'm going to publish now, and write other entries later....that way I at least get some stuff out, despite many technical issues I ran into during and since the convetion....
So, I have put my Epson Perfection V30 scanner away for another year. That's the scanner I bought in a CyberMonday sale immediately upon my return from Chicago TARDIS 2009. So, I guess that means only one thing....I've just come back from Chicago TARDIS 2010, and finished going through all my digital photographs and posted some to my online album and scanned the professional photographs and autographed material.
This time around, I found Chicago TARDIS to be much more enjoyable....despite the hobbling around with the broken toe, and the wooden shoe being kind of slippery on the tile flooring. I only almost slipped twice....once in the lobby and another time in Holy Mackerel.
I finally went to my first Doctor Who Convention....and I got a lot more out of it than I thought I would. Like I got a picture of me with Yee Jee Tso, Paul McGann, and Daphne Ashbrook:
I can't believe I waited so long before going to one....been a Doctor Who fan for like 30 years, since I accidentally tuned into an episode and was instantly hooked. OTOH, it wasn't until moving to Manhattan, KS and going to LISA '07 that the idea of taking vacations and going places and doing Cons became something I was interested in trying.
Also it happened by chance....I remember that I was at Penguicon 7.0 and the thought struck that since I couldn't go to LISA '09 in November, that I should find a different convention that month to go to. And, searching around on google and various other places...I came upon Chicago Tardis. At first it seemed that a really strange weekend to have a convention (except that I've since learned that there's a reason to these dates, like availability and affordability...though guess Doctor Who in Chicago has always been Thanksgiving weekend. Anyways, the more I thought about it...and the more I felt that it was a good idea. So, I registered immediately when I got back from Penguicon....along with other post-con impulse purchases.
It was an interesting and diverse crowd at Chicago Tardis, compared to my only other experiences in attending conventions and conferences...but seems to make sense given the show and probably the time of year that the convention takes place. I don't know if I'll try dressing differently next year.... or stick to my current theme of The Dreamer, the other renegade... The picture I got with Naoko Mori better shows my lab coat ("Dr. E. Amer" - I'm not The Doctor, but I play one in my head).... need to take the plunge and buy yet another scanner. Old flatbed didn't make it when I moved here, and the only other scanner I own is a document scanner that is Mac only (and I don't yet own a Mac). Wonder if I'll stick to plan to learn how to knit...or just buy it?
I also didn't quite shoot pictures as wild and crazy like I did in my youth... while it was good that I had the new digital camera (Canon Powershot SX120IS), I probably shouldn't have gotten it so close to the trip. Still lots of learning and experimenting needed to get used to it. But, the camera did pretty good on the most part.
I also wish I had gotten some other shots with me in them, and had pursued getting autographs and such. If only I was cursed with being so introverted and shy, and also didn't have trouble hearing voices when things get noisy or crowded....
Things were somewhat more expensive compared to other trips, it did help later when I found out about the unofficial consuite, and there was the unofficial dead dog. Plus working all those volunteer hours to get free pizza the last night. Though didn't I swear that I would never do badge checking at on Con' ever again?
But, I went ahead and registered for next year, getting a 3-day reserved this time around. Also thinking next year I'm going to check a suitcase, even if it goes empty on the way there.... should make a note to self that I should consider flying southwest. Wonder if I'll pull off a group shuttle next year, left it to late and then didn't see the replies until even later. Interesting that I saw some of the names in passing there, but didn't connect until now.
Meanwhile, I'm thinking of blowing off Penguicon 2010, and going on the SciFi Cruise. It has been 5 years since I had gone on my last/first/only personal (not a family reunion) cruise. On one hand it is a stumbling issue that its to Alaska...since that's what the previous cruise was to. But, on the other it probably makes sense...especially if they do the tour in Vancouver they are talking about. 8th Doctor was filmed around Vancouver. So far Sylvester McCoy and Daphne Ashbrook are confirmed for the cruise, hopefully Paul McGann can be added and it could be that much more a Doctor Who Movie reunion
I don't know if I can roll my registration to Penguicon 2010, though it probably isn't a big deal since it was paid for using whuffies....though I think that if I don't go, I will want to go back at a future date....to see the various people that I've friended there.
I'll probably decide in the new year....
Meanwhile, the rest of my pics can be found on Picasa Web
Latest Poopli Updaters -- http://lkc.me/poop
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