A little background: a month or so ago, I set up a 6to4 IPv6 tunnel at home, and set up IPv6 addressing on my home LAN. All the machines on my home LAN are routable on the IPv6 internet now. I put a corresponding tunnel on the router of my development network at work (yes, I properly firewalled both networks).
So, here’s the progression of events today:
- My MacBook is on the dev network at work via wired ethernet. I ssh to my laptop at home on my LAN through the IPv6 tunnel.
- Later, I need to go to a meeting, so I unplug the ethernet cable and turn wireless on, connecting to our corporate WLAN, which has no IPv6 support at all, and connects to the internet via a completely different pipe than the dev network.
- I’m in the conference room downstairs for a half hour during the meeting.
- I come back to my desk, switch off wireless, and plug the original ethernet cable back in.
- A bit later, I switch back to iTerm, and notice the terminal with the ssh session open, which hasn’t timed out on my end yet. Not too surprising, so I go to hit enter a few times to see if it’ll die before I take the more drastic action of closing the window and opening a new one.
- I press enter, and… the other end responds! The ssh session is still alive, despite the fact that I’ve been on another network for a good 30 minutes.
I’m a bit disappointed in the newly-announced MacBook Air. I want one, but… I don’t.
- Super-thin form factor: 0.16″ to 0.76″.
- MacBook Pro-style aluminum case.
- Small size: 13.3″ widescreen display.
- 802.11n wireless (dual-band 2.4/5 GHz).
- Intel GMA graphics (very well supported on Linux, even if it’s not as ‘powerful’ as nvidia/ATI).
- Backlit keyboard.
- LED-backlit display.
- Multi-touch trackpad (though I have no idea how well-supported or useful it’ll be on Linux).
Unfortunately, we have quite a bit of the bad:
- No built-in ethernet (USB dongle sold separately, but that rules out gigabit).
- No built-in optical drive (I expected this; I don’t mind).
- Only one USB port. So if I get the USB ethernet dongle and/or the external USB optical drive, I have to choose which one I want to use. And if I’m somewhere where there’s no wireless, and I have to use a USB flash drive, I have to disconnect the network. Lame.
- Non-user-replaceable battery. (I imagine it’s possible, though somewhat difficult, like replacing the hard drive in my PowerBook was.) This is somewhat annoying for me since I tend to have the machine on 24/7, and as such I’m a bit harsh on the battery (I leave it plugged in while fully charged for long periods of time).
- RAM is not upgradeable (soldered to motherboard). Comes with 2GB standard, so probably not too much of a problem.
- Relatively slow CPU given today’s state-of-the art. (Granted, 1.8GHz dual-core should be plenty for me.)
- The IBM X-series used to use the 1.8″ 4600 RPM hard drives, but switched back to 2.5″ drives because of large performance problems with the 1.8″ drives.
- No dedicated graphics memory (144MB shared with system RAM).
- Only a single speaker (mono sound). Though, do you really notice stereo separation with a pair of crappy speakers about a foot apart?
- A concern: will the laptop hold up? It’s very thin. Aluminum is definitely bendable (as my 12″ PowerBook which no longer sits flat will confirm).
- MacBook-style keyboard. I’m not a huge fan of the keyboard on the MacBook I have at work. I far prefer the keyboard on my PowerBook (and on the MacBook Pro).
I’m not considering buying one now; not only should I not be spending the money now, but I wouldn’t dare buy first-gen Apple hardware. So fortunately there will be time to see if my concerns about the laptop’s durability are warranted, ditto for my concerns about hard drive performance. And it’s possible there might be a refresh in 6-8 months that includes better graphics, more RAM, a faster CPU, or even (however unlikely) an extra USB port or an ethernet jack.
I guess the issue is that I was really hoping for a 12″ (or 13.3″, though I’d prefer 12″) MacBook Pro, essentially an Intel-based replacement for the 12″ G4 PowerBook. I knew that wasn’t what Apple was going to announce, but I was hoping it wouldn’t be too far off the mark.
I’m still undecided, but I’m going to give myself at least 6 months to think about it, and probably more. Likely I wouldn’t buy one until the fall. There’s also the hope that there will be a major MacBook Pro refresh before then that improves the MBP situation a bit. Given the introduction of the MBA, I seriously doubt they’d start selling a 13.3″ MBP, but it’s possible they might somehow make the 15″ MBP more attractive to me. Unfortunately, I just don’t really like the MacBook’s aesthetics; I wouldn’t really consider buying a 13.3″ MacBook for myself. We’ll see what happens, I suppose.
By popular demand, here are a few Airconfig screenshots. Note how the signal strengths are all 100% in my menu; part of the blame lies with the bcm43xx driver’s inability to report proper quality values. (But hey, I’m just thrilled I can use wireless on my PowerBook under Linux with a nice set of free [as in speech] drivers. Yes, consider that a middle finger tossed in the direction of Broadcom.)
Sometime last November or December I posted about GUI wireless networking config options for Linux, and I mentioned I was planning on writing one if I couldn’t find one that met my needs (and actually worked).
Well, I went ahead and did it. It’s not finished. There are things that don’t work yet, buttons in the settings window that aren’t connected to anything, and probably a bunch of error conditions I haven’t handled yet. But it’s starting to actually work for me, and I’m going to start actually using it for day-to-day stuff.
I haven’t made any releases yet, but you can grab it from my Subversion repository (warning: sometimes the server decides to go off into the weeds and becomes unreachable). See the website here for download/install information, and do pay careful attention to the requirements list: older versions of the stuff in that list will almost certainly not work. I’m sorry about the high required versions of glib/gtk+, but I’m not going to try to reduce those until the app actually is “finished” and I have some spare time.
Please look at the README as well. There are a few dependencies that are required that probably aren’t already set up properly on your system. (For example, there are only two distros I know of offhand that package wpa_supplicant with the D-Bus control interface compiled in.)
Note that Airconfig is more or less cross-desktop. It doesn’t require any Xfce or GNOME libraries to function. It might not be particularly friendly (in the blending-in sense) for KDE users, as it does use gtk+. (A small exception: xfce4-dev-tools is required, but only for building from SVN. When I make release tarballs, you won’t even need xfce4-dev-tools.) However, currently the GUI stuff is confined to two files, so it wouldn’t be too difficult to write a Qt/KDE frontend (or even a wildly different gtk+ frontend) for it if you don’t mind that it depends on gobject. That’s probably a project for somewhat far in the future, though (I might do it myself; I haven’t touched Qt since 2.x, and it would be fun to re-learn it).
Anyway, give it a look if you’re interested. I’ve added Airconfig to Xfce Bugzilla, so feel free to report problems there (I greatly prefer that instead of email). I may not get to your bug for a while since there’s still a lot to do.