Monday, June 19, 2006

More Shopping! Now with Your Help!

According to the tracking number, my new computer is in China, and she might have missed her flight. In any event, she should be here by the end of the week. I'd like to have things ready for her when she arrives, including a wireless network. The problem being that I don't know routers from routers, and I have no clue what to buy.

Oh, the other problem is that I'm cheap (or, if you prefer, running out of money because I'm shopping instead of working this summer). So while it would be damn convenient to fork over hundreds of bucks to Apple for their fine AirPort products, I'm looking for a more economical option.

So here is where I ask the advice of the internet. What should I buy?

The iMac (1GHz, purchased summer/fall 2003) doesn't have a wireless card, so either it needs a card or else I need a network that will allow both wired and wireless computers. I'm somewhat leaning towards the latter option because wired is faster than wireless, or so I'm told, and, if that's the case, I'd like to be able to plug the computers in to a wired network when I'm downloading a bunch of stuff.

My interior walls are probably thicker than most but not too bad: drywall over plaster-and-lath. The house is on all one story and relatively small (1400 square feet).

Being able to print from any of the computers to a USB printer would be nice but isn't essential because I try to do all of my printing at work. (Are you familiar with the King Missile song "Take Stuff from Work"?) Similarly, the idea of AirTunes is interesting, but I can't tell whether it's a good idea or just a fascinating gimic. (Or whether it would inspire a chain reaction of more purchases of home electronics.)

Others have mentioned the idea of stealing wireless from the neighbors. Unfortunately, the only neighbor who is likely to have a wireless network and be within range is the sort of person who would keep logs and read through them to see what I've been up to on the internet.