Years I spent doing complicated network demos. The first gen demo box was an asus media PC, a bit bigger than an Intel NUC. It had a WiFi chip and an Ethernet, 2GB memory, and 2 core Intel processor. By squeezing our code and demos into a couple of VM’s on it, and by using multiple AP on the single WiFi, we were able to demo our product.

It was fairly simple (when it worked): plug the Ethernet into the Internet somewhere, it would act as a WiFi AP, route the traffic through our product, and away we would go.

But periodically there was a need for “one more Ethernet”. Maybe to debug it (you would get to a hotel room and, no monitor, have to guess what was going on inside it). Maybe to divert some traffic. But nothing fit the bill of being portal and multi-ethernet.

The other day when I was working on the Starlink router setup, I was challenged to mock up 3 Internet connections. I have a 4-port PCIe card, but to install it in my desktop would mean removing something. I have a switch with VLAN’s available, but that is a pain to configure. Well I suffered through it. But then I had a minor epiphany. I have 1-port USB devices, I wonder if there are 2-port ones? And lo and behold there are. But even better, behold this 4-port Gigabit Ethernet, USB-3 widget. Where where you 10 years ago? And why do I have you now!

Plugged it in, it works. But, the need is no longer there.

Years ago I was required to go to somewhere in western africa, some place that you needed a Yellow Fever shot to enter. Around here the way that is accomplished is you to go to the travel nurse. I did my research, I went, this is the story.

Armed with the knowledge I needed this Yellow Fever shot I showed up. The nurse started to ask me some questions. “Have you ever drank the tap water in China”?, “Have you ever been to Brazil”, that sort of thing. Sure, the answer is yes to all of them, how does this affect my Yellow Fever shot? Finally we are done the questions, she says, here are the 17 shots you need. I’m like, 17? Give me your top 3! I’m no pincushion, I just need the Yellow Fever. OK, no problem she says, but before I give you this, let me tell you a little story.

You see the guy that left before you came in? Well, he has a worm coming out of his arm. Every 3 days he has to come back in here, I take a pencil, we wrap the worm a bit more around it, eventually the worm will be out. Me: “EEEWWWWW. OK, Give me the Worm Shot”. Her: There is no Worm Shot, that’s something you’ll just have to suffer through. Ugh, now she’s messing with me for refusing the 17 shots. Sigh, I will try to avoid the arm worm.

And then she told me something that is with me to this day. “Do you ever put your face in the water when you shower”? Me, of course. She then tells me about this fly that lays its eggs in water, is activated in steam, and inhaled where it hatches. And, it has a huge habitat. Shivver.

So I got the Yellow Fever shot, I got a few of the other top risks (not all 17). And I got ongoing nightmares about arm worms and lung flies. Thanks travel nurse, I’ll go back to you for my covid shot when its my turn for your wry sense of humour in messing with me.

OK, despite history being against me, the snows are off and the summers are on. Usually this is followed by a blizzard and ice rain. Not this year, right?

Will it snow?

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OMG its so quiet now that those spikes are removed. The studded tires are **loud**

Last friday I got the hattrick: in the same day, 3 separate “Sick tires Dude”. So I got that going for me.

So I just finished writing up the install of using a Mikrotik router, installing OpenWRT, and channel bonding Starlink with 2 DSL. If you get a chance, please check it out (and while you are there, hit that bell icon in the bottom right!)

I thought I would explain a bit more about the Mikrotik OpenWRT bit. The router I chose was the hEX S. its a 5 port 1GE, and 1 SFP device. It comes with Mikrotik’s OS, which I guess if you know, maybe you love. I neither know nor love it. So, OpenWRT on it goes.

The upgrade to OpenWRT was not complex, but took forever. You setup a DHCP config file, a TFTP server. You then power it on holding a button, wait for a beep, and release. Or so it says. In practice, you have to release the button at a very specific time which is pre-beep. Eventually, loaded.

These devices are good value. ~ $50, 5 x 1G, modern routing OS. The throughput is not stellar, i benchmarked it out to about 600Mbps, so I think maybe its not ideal for everyone. Still, it will fit this bill.

The application here was to, if Starlink is up, use it, else load balance across 2 DSL links. But now that I got the taste for the OpenWRT on non-wifi router… I’m thinking of bigger upgrade plans at home!

Anyway, read the details here and, as always, comments appreciated.

Phone rings. The red bar indicates its likely spam. Usually I ignore, but this time I decide to hit the ‘screen calls’ button and see what they say. And, wow, I missed a great conversation.

“Hello here’s the chinese notes of future bank give me a call cushy and put you in the cartoon channel championships aren’t you going to be single you won’t enjoy calling the chinese”.

Sign me up, where do I pay?