Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Monday 2/12/2002I'm staring unhappily into the bathroom mirror, and it's not a good start to the week. Due to some mysterious combination of London air, bad living and the stressful business of being, my face has taken to occasional bursts of extreme blotchiness.

Monday 2/12/2002
I'm staring unhappily into the bathroom mirror, and it's not a good start to the week. Due to some mysterious combination of London air, bad living and the stressful business of being, my face has taken to occasional bursts of extreme blotchiness. It can look quite spectacular -- shades of Alfred Bester's Tiger! Tiger! -- but unnerving to others. I'm somewhat comforted by the thought that Darwin had the same problem on his chin and grew that famous beard (which he apparently detested) to cover it up. Today, my forehead resembles a map of the world. Central Asia is a bit indistinct, but the Americas are strikingly delineated. Just my luck. If only I could get the blotches to resemble some long-deceased saint, I could find myself at the centre of a cult. Even get my own show on cable TV. All I'd need to do would be to come up with some ethereal daftness combining eschatology and group sex -- I can always draw the marks on in felt tip. Perhaps what's causing it is my years of exposure to wireless networking rays. In which case, I should be interested in what US network component company Broadcom have just been demonstrating -- 802.11 over wires. Now, I know this is paradoxical. Networking's like that. For example, even the name Ethernet suggests some sort of wireless medium, but for the first ten years or so of its life Ethernet was resolutely cables only. Now we have wireless Ethernet that runs down wires. No, I don't understand either. But it does look useful; you can pipe your wireless network alongside analogue video and audio, and just break out an aerial where you want the signals to radiate. It saves you running another cable alongside and positioning the access point somewhere inconvenient, and should be just what you need if you live in an old house with lots of thick stone walls wherein an incautious wave can be lost forever. It also means that you can pipe a wireless network past a zone where there is another wireless network, and neither of them mind. With AT&T and Intel talking about setting up a nationwide 802.11b public access network in the US and access points springing up from so many other sources, there are going to be some nasty bandwidth turf wars in the future, made worse because anyone using the wireless networking bands has no legal protection against interference. It's going to turn into the Wireless Wild West at some point. Just you wait.

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