Scripting News for 5/6/2007

Twitter for coding communities 

A few days ago I wrote that Twitter is a very nice low-tech notification system. I had an application in mind, and put a first step on my to-do list.

I started a new channel called dwcodeupdates. The content in this channel will be of interest to at most 10 people, geekish users of the OPML Editor, but the concept should be interesting to members of coding communities.

I added a hook in my code check-in system. It already had a provision for me to add a comment to each partial release, derived from the outline at the head of every script that maintains a reverse chronology of the changes to the part. In a sense every bit of code is a weblog. I’ve been doing it this way since the early 90s. Here’s a screen shot of a bit of code I started yesterday. And one that was started in 1998.

As I release a change, the system posts a note to the Twitter channel. You can subscribe to if, if you care. Like everything with Twitter, no big deal if you miss something, but it does give you an idea of what I’m doing right now, in a different dimension.

As usual, what’s important are the people.

Dumbass networking question 

Okay, here’s a dumb question about routers.

I have four computers plugged into a router via hard wires, and two computers via wifi. All six computers can see each others’ shared disks, and life is good.

I just bought a printer that works over Ethernet. I want to make it visible to all the computers. All the jacks on the router are used up, so I buy another router, unplug one of the computers, plug it and the printer into the new router. However, the only computer that can see the printer is the one that’s plugged into the new router. None of the other computers can see the printer. Arrgh!

Do I need to find a router with more jacks on it, or is there some way to configure things so that all devices plugged into one router can see all the devices plugged into another?

All the computers are Macs, btw. The original router is a Netgear. I have lots of choices for the new router, the one I’d like to use is a new Airport Extreme that supports 802.11N.

Thanks in advance for ideas.

Postscript: The community delivered the answer in record time. Thanks!!

To the Gates of Hell with McCain 

Amyloo quotes Newt Gingrich as not liking the way debates have been moderated. I sympathize.

In this week’s Republican debate, there was a moment when, if John McCain had his wits about him, he would have punched Chris Matthews in the nose.

McCain had just finished a monologue saying he would follow Osama Bin Laden to “the gates of Hell.” Brief pause, he smiles nervously, and Matthews says “OK,” but the tone was unmistakeable — “what ever.”

It went from reality to parody in a blink of an eye.

Of course McCain delivered the line awfully, he was almost a parody of himself.

The gates of Hell is not the kind of thing you smile about. 🙂

The line would only really work if he could have pulled off a Clint Eastwood deadpan, in the style of Dirty Harry or Fistful of Dollars.

Today’s links 

Nik Cubrilovic is running Vista, exclusively, on his MacBook. Now that’s a first. Never heard of anyone doing that.

An unforseen application of Twitter. 🙂

Markman twitters from Shanghai.

Philosophy from 1998 

9 years ago today: “I can imagine it would be irritating if you didn’t like the dog, but I really do like the dog, especially the way his eyebrows move, so I always watch the commercials when they come on.”

Today’s performance results 

After reconfiguring the network, a two-second job. Voila! It’s much faster. 🙂

23 responses to this post.

  1. Dave Winer does his to-do list on paper, with a pen? Whatever next!


  2. Johan, weird as it seems, sometimes I get more work done with a notebook and Pentel sign pen. Especially when the work involves multiple computers.


  3. Dave, you want a Hub, not a router. What you want to do (IIRC), is set up a DMZ on the second router that includes both the printer and the computer. That way, they’re visible upstream, on the WAN port.


  4. Dumbass networking question:

    What you need is a switch and not a second router. Each router is a separate subnet. So if you get a simple switch (which is cheaper then a router) then just plug the switch into the router via a regular ethernet cable from an uplink port to a regular port (usually the switch’s uplink to a regular port on the router) or between two normal ports with a crossover cable.


  5. I figured there had to be a way to do it, and of course people who read Scripting News would know.

    So where do I get one of these Hubs? Who makes them? Do they have them at Fry’s? Amazon? Does Netgear make them?

    So much jargon. Remember, I’m just a software guy. You have to spell things out for me and T A L K S L O W L Y. 🙂


  6. In some cases, you can get your router to function as a switch. Depends how irritatingly awful the web interface is. ;->

    Zeroconf is setup to look only at one subnet – otherwise it’d end up searching the whole damn Internet for devices…


  7. Looks like Netgear does make them.


  8. Let me make sure I get this.

    If I connect the Netgear switch (above) into the Netgear router, and then connect the Airport Extreme into the switch, they’ll all be on the same subnet, and therefore all the Macs will be able to see each other and the printer?



  9. The other option is to plug the printer into your Airport Extreme base station’s USB port. It can share the printer to all the computers on your network.

    Right now I use an Airport Express for that and it works great – the computers find the printer over Bonjour/Rendezvous, it just works. I just got an Airport Extreme but haven’t set it up yet – I’ll be plugging a USB hub into the router and then plugging another printer and a couple external USB hard drives into the hub – the Airport Extreme documentation says it will share all of them!

    But as people have said, if you want to use the printer over Ethernet, you want a switch. I recommend getting a gigabit switch if you plan on plugging any of your Macs into it too.


  10. Tom, I have an extra Netgear router lying around doing nothing. It’s new. Still in the box.

    Also, your comment about Zeroconf is intriguing. Is it possible to tell my Macs to look elsewhere for stuff they can share?

    I happen to have five static IP addresses available to me. I could make one of my systems a bridge that way, give it a static IP address and put all the shared resources on it. Might not be easy, but it seems doable.

    I’m figuring this stuff out, *slowly*. (Just turned 52 on Wednesday.)


  11. Jim, thanks for the advice but I want to use the printer over the net, and I’m maxed out anyway, and I want to buy more computers. I need an expansion strategy.

    Can you recommend a gigabit switch?


  12. A switch would be ideal, but since you already have a second home router, and because pretty much every home router also has a small switch built in, try this:

    I am assuming that your new router is plugged into the old router using the port that’s intended to be hooked to the internet. Unplug the cable from that port, plug it into one of the ports on the new router that you’d ordinarily connect a PC.


  13. Others have said this, but you should be able to configure the second router as a switch. Essentially, you want to turn off some of the router functionality of the second one, making it a “slave” to the first one.

    I wouldn’t bother sharing the resources from one system. Even with Macs, that can become a royal pain in the ass. If the printer is networkable, just give it an IP address somehow and let all the connected machines access it that way.

    I think Netgear makes a gigbit switch, but anyone would do. Just get an inexpensive one.


  14. Eas, wowowowowow, that worked!!

    That is so cool. So now I’m using my MacBook Pro with it’s honkin pre-N wifi, connected to my file server that’s hardwired into the Netgear 802.11g router.

    I’m one very happy hub-and-switch nooooob. 🙂


  15. Here’s the perf test with the new setup.

    When I get back from a walk, I’ll test this setup with the printer.


  16. Dave, now I know where to come as a question about wifi config next time I run into an issue 😉


  17. Dave, you don’t need another router, all you need is a ~$20 10/100 Ethernet switch, which should give you another 5-8 ports to use when plugged into your router. Using a router to do the job of a switch is a bit of a waste, unless you actually needed the partitioning, or separate routed network.


  18. You don’t need a hub – you need a switch, that’s all… Plug the switch to the router and use it.

    A switch is like a power cord extension…


  19. I’m glad it’s working. Now that I think about it, when you have a chance, you should see if you can get into the new router’s admin webUI and make sure the DHCP server is disabled, otherwise you might have some odd behavior.


  20. Probably an after thought, but why not buy a printer that joined the network wirelessly? I bought a HP multi-function printer 2 months ago that connects via 802.11g, works beautifully over the network…and yes, my 4 port + Wireless router has run out of cable points as well 🙂


  21. Posted by heavyboots on May 6, 2007 at 11:42 pm

    Actually, pretty much any Mac can share a USB printer connected to it with all the other Macs on the network. I’ve done it at work by accident even. In Sharing, just click the Printer Sharing checkbox. And make sure you have a printer set up in Printer Setup Utility.

    I presume the newer generations of Mac Pros/G5’s with dual ethernet ports can probably do this too with anything hooked to the second port. Haven’t tried that though.


  22. Posted by Justin on May 7, 2007 at 4:44 am

    Get a 10/100 switch for the above reason plus one other very important reason. The more computers you put on that little router and the more files you transfer back and forth you will be using up the router’s cpu and memory. By offloading the switching part of the equation you will increase network performance as well. If the switch is doing switching and the router is doing routing then they can be more efficient.



  23. Posted by Donald Calloway on May 11, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    The solution would be to remove the second router from the equation and replace it with a network switch. Then, disconnect one of the PCs that is currently using one of the four ports on the router and connect the switch to the router. At this point, you have what is referred to as a “router on a stick,” where only one switch is connected to a router.

    Depending on the type of router, this person may have to configure the interface port the switch is connected to from shut to no shut, thus turning on that outbound port for traffic to the switch. An IP address will also have to be configured on the outbound port of the router to the switch so packets can be transferred. The switch may also have layer-3 functionality, otherwise, at layer-2, traffic will be pass through the switch to the printer. The printer will have to be networkable and an IP address assigned to the device, or the MAC address of the printer will have to be configured in the switch’s MAC table for frames to traverse the switch to the printer. The switch may be able to do this itself if it is running a protocol called STP or Spanning Tree Protocol, which uses STA or Spanning Tree Algorithm (Djikstra Algorithm) to make switching decisions over redundant connections to prevent network loops and broadcast storms from occurring. When a host on the network wants to print, packets sent from the host will enter the router, be encapsulated into frames and sent out the inbound interface of the router to the switch where the destination MAC address will be located in the switch’s MAC table and sent to the printer.


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