College of Marin, from the hills

Macbook and NanoBeam and College of Marin
Macbook and NB M5/15 on the hill near College of Marin

On today’s geocaching hike I carried my NanoBeam M5/16 up into the hills.

Now I am sitting on a hillside, the temp is about 74, a gentle breeze is blowing, and I am connected to the College of Marin network at 40 Mbps. Whoo whoo! A turkey vulture is circling in front of me about 40 feet away! Wow!

The NanoBeam works well for this application because the whole radio is housed in the small dome antenna you see in the picture.  I used it with a power injector wired to a small 12 volt SLA battery. The mast is a piece of PVC tubing.

I bought the NanoBeam back in January to do testing when I was working with a certain local WISP, before learning 1/2 their network operates on nonstandard frequencies.

Time to break it all down though and go have lunch with Julie. Well – it would be better if Julie were HERE instead of work.  <3

Range according to my QGIS map is just over 1/2 mile. The NanoBeam is connecting with very good signal strength to a Ruckus Wireless access point located inside a campus building.

NanoBeam screenshot at College of Marin
NanoBeam screenshot at College of Marin


I am slowly moving away from public / free services and back onto my own servers. About a week ago I installed ownCloud at home, and now instead of 5 GB of Dropbox space I have 240 GB of ownCloud space, and I can easily increase that anytime I want.

If you don’t happen to run your own servers this might not make any sense, but I do, and so far it does make sense to me.

I get space limited only by my hard drive capacity, and I feel I have more privacy.

The more I use it, the more I like it. Since I move around a lot, my Mac always has copies of the projects I am working on. My desktop at home now keeps a local copy of the same projects.  I can create a folder for GIS data and sync it up between the home server, desktop, and laptop, so I no longer actually need a high speed server to deliver data across a 1G network at home. Now I can go back to running a smaller home server that uses less energy; it can spin down its hard drives nearly all the time, and I will never see that lag when they spin up to accept ownCloud updates.

The only downside so far is that my O’Reilly account is linked to Dropbox. I am thinking that I will set up an ownCloud server to be a Dropbox client, and it will serve that directory space to my ownCloud clients. This should make it transparent to my clients without duplicating any files.