Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Captured! Ponytail Doug

Ponytail Doug, our resident Baja Sur IT guy, came yesterday afternoon to give Bob one last tutorial on how to program our Access Points (more on this in a minute) while we’re on the road. This time we only spent about 25% of the time on IT stuff and 75% of the time on Doug’s interesting history – or at least the publishable parts. We learned that in addition to his time operating an ISP company, he also spent time building plastic tubs for washing microchips, building motorized bicycles, building and flying racing airplanes, and building hydrogen fuel cells for cars. You’d be tempted to think these were some tall tales, if he didn’t accompany his narrative with a series of website visits which referenced his work and products. Made us think: you mean we spent all that time doing the SAME thing for 30 years while he was doing all this?! We also finally caught him on camera! Here’s Doug!


Who, by the way, turns 50 today AND became a great-grandfather 2 days ago!

So, what’s an “access point”? Well, to tell you the truth we don’t know, but we have two of them! One is hooked to our antenna, which we have a name for. Can you guess?


The first access point is used to conduct a survey of locally available wireless signals that the antenna, which is supposed to have a one-half mile or more reach, is picking up. The hope would be that at least one signal would be unsecured and usable for internet access. Alternatively, if none of the signals is unsecured then hopefully we can get access to the password, in places like RV parks where there is a signal. We often find the Wi-fi signals at RV parks only serve part of the area; the hope is the larger antennae will improve the signal strength and allow us to sit in our RV and use the internet whether we’re on a beach or in an RV park. Unfortunately this process is not as simple as it is with your laptop. Instead it entails multiple steps in obscure places on your computer, buried deep in various tabs, typing in long complex numbers like and then changing that number to For those who know Bob, you know that he is a generalist by nature, and all this detail work is not his forte. But we both suffer from IAD (internet addiction disorder), so he is trying to focus.


If the configuration of Access Point 1 works, you then connect it via ethernet cord to Access Point 2, which converts the signal to wi-fi so we can both use our laptops in the 5th wheel at the same time. As you know from reading our blog, we’ve spent lots of time (and we’re not going to talk about the amount of money) acquiring good internet service. We think this is going to work for this trip, but we sure wish we could come across an affordable and reliable method of accessing the internet that works in both the U.S. and in Mexico. It’s the latter that makes it hard, but Mexico is such a wonderful place that the hassle is a small price to pay.

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