Laptop overheating solved

My L2000 laptop has been experiencing random lock-ups under Linux for a long time; I’ve been attributing it to kernel issues (ACPI, APIC, sound and network drivers) because said lock-ups do not occur under Windows.

As it turns out, removing one of the two memory modules seems to have solved the problem (more than two days’ worth of almost continuous running and no crash yet!). The comparative vulnerability to overheating is still disturbing, considering Linux is quite aggressive in turning on the fan — perhaps it’s due to Linux’s more aggressive use of available physical RAM: if the other memory module is less well-cooled (the remaining memory stick is 1GB and wider than the 512 Mb I took out) it might be more likely to start randomly flipping bits.

Considering the laptop is certified for up to 2x1GB sticks, it is still a bit disturbing. Perhaps HP fits smaller-sized sticks if someone requested the maximum amount of RAM..

Wireless goodness

Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 Wireless-G MIMO Performance Router and Access Point

At our apartment we’ve been struggling recently with our old Linksys WRT54GC — we bought it almost two years ago for its size (costs the same as the full-sized WRT54G which has two antennas, but is as big as Apple’s Airport Express), but came to regret it in the past few months: the web interface is buggy (it gets really confused when told to change the static DHCP assignment for a MAC that currently has a lease), it gets sluggish over time until reset, and horror of horror, the Nintendo DS won’t connect to it unless wireless MAC filtering is turned off (why should that be ?!)

The open-source DD-WRT supported device page came to the rescue. The Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 has the best range with its built-in antenna, if need be there are open-source firmware for it, and it’s dirt-cheap. Costs $10 more than the non-MIMO version (Linksys wants $30 more), amazing configuration interface (for both static DHCP and wireless MAC filtering, the list of devices currently associated with the router is given and you can just click to add it to the list. Also, the NAT port-forwarding setup lets you group your entries, and is not limited to 7-8 (like the old Linksys; try to add more and it will just silently fail)

Buffalo, you’ve just gained a loyal customer. Thank you! It’s amazing being able to download Solaris 10 and Elephants Dream without any trouble at all, over wireless. And did I mention this thing does not use a silly default SSID? By default they use the MAC address instead. And should you move to a bigger house/office it supports range extenders.