Sharing 3G Internet Via Mesh Networking

As you probably know, my family and I are in Mexico for a few weeks. Because we’re here for close to a month, I’m working full-time for part of our trip while my wife and kids enjoy the goodness that is the all-inclusive Sandos Playacar (we’ll be moving in a villa for the last 2 weeks on the 24th). This lead me to acquire a TelCel Amigo 3G USB stick (comes with 3GB of monthly bandwidth).

Since this is the only constant internet connection we’ll have throughout our stay, I wanted to be able to share the connection so that I can also connect via wifi for our iPhones (unlocked, also set with simple pay-as-you-go local SIMs, but no data) and my son’s netbook.

If you happen to be on OSX, doing so is absolutely dead-easy.

  1. Connect to the internet via your 3G connection
  2. Make sure Airport (wifi) is on
  3. Go to Systems Preferences → Sharing
  4. Select Internet Sharing
  5. Select your USB stick’s hardware from the list of ports in the “Share your connection from” section (see screenshot below)
  6. Check the “Airport” checkbox
  7. Set a network name and WEP password using the “Airport Options…” button

Tada! You should be all set and now be able to see your mac-as-an-access-point from any wifi-compatible devices. Enjoy! :)

Update: Had forgotten to attach the screenshot I mentioned. See below.

Star Walk: Awesome iPhone Astronomy Application

I’ll admit to have been jealous of my good friend Xopher‘s Nexus One phone and its nifty Android-based, augmented reality Google Sky Map. But I knew I’d find a similar one for the iPhone.

Lo and behold, while in Seaside, a friend showed me Star Walk running on his iPad.

One thing the video doesn’t showcase is that the application makes use of the built-in compass, GPS and gyroscope. This lets you simply point your device anywhere and get a picture-perfect representation of what astronomical objects are in your field of vision as well as get all the details you could want about them.

At $2.99 for such a complete app, I think it’s a very good deal and entirely worth the expense.

Copernicus would be stoked. :)

Step into my Office

A view from my "Parc Lafontaine Office"

We, at Automattic, have talked a lot about the challenges telecommuters can face when it comes to health, sanity and sedentism while at our annual meetup. Working from home has a lot of advantages, but it’s sometimes difficult to make a clear transition between work and personal life when it comes to schedule, habits and so on.

Here is what I’ll be experimenting with this week: working from the comfort of my home office in the morning, then take advantage of my lunch break to relocate for the afternoon.

High-speed iPhone/3G tethering, full-featured laptops and long-lasting batteries make these kind of things easily achievable nowadays, without compromising on performance nor productivity. Since I am lucky enough to be provided with all of the tools and flexibility I could potentially need to do so, not taking advantage of them would simply be silly.

The expected work and lifestyle improvements I’m aiming for are:

  • Making the most of my actual in-house environment in the morning as I flow into my  day.
  • Adding daily exercise to my lunch routine, since I mostly walk/skateboard/bike everywhere.
  • Avoiding the common telecommuting pitfall of leading a quasi-hermit-like lifestyle (ie: remember to work from home, not live at the office).
  • A better socio-professional life as this practice will undoubtedly lead me to work from co-working spaces, especially in the Winter when the weather gets harsh.
  • Having a clear cut-off time, personally driven by having to pickup my kids at school (bonus: more exercise too). The latter doesn’t stop me from working longer hours by coming back online during the evening when needed or when I feel like doing so, but having to physically leave my seat is the perfect way to remind me I also have a personal life.

So here’s to committing to and iterating towards a better lifestyle, and thanks Automattic for not only affording me everything I need to do so but for proactively encouraging the entire workforce to find the right work/life balance.

Now, if only those darn bees would stop buzzing around my head… Working outdoors is a risky business, I want danger pay! ;)

Asides:

  • When it comes to focusing, no matter your location, nothing beats a good pair of headphones.
  • When working outdoors, do not compromise on comforts like immediate access to snacks, thirst-quenchers, even bathrooms or you’ll pay for it by having to relocate constantly and your productivity will take a hit.
  • The photo, title and initial location were all inspired by a photo my friend Javier posted on Facebook.
  • This post was written from the said location.

Montreal's Newest Skatepark: Le Taz – Panoramic Views

Here are some quick and dirty panoramic views (QTVR + frames) of the Taz, Montreal’s newest skatepark. Embed VR scenes from the pictures can be found below the gallery.

Construction happened during the Winter, so the even larger outdoors park (94,000 sq/ft) is not built yet. With 83,000 sq/ft indoors, I think we can wait another couple of month. ;)

Sorry for the abysmal quality, but I had more important things on the mind: riding, riding aaaaand, riding! :) Don’t worry, tons of pictures will surface online this week for sure.

Feel free to download the movie files if you want full screen.

Download source

Download source

Seven Things

Well, it had to happen sometime. Eli White (@EliW) was kind enough [aka: I’ll get ya back! ;)] to tag me in his own version of the Seven Things meme going ’round these days.

Meh, why not? So, I now have to detail seven things about me – some random, some weird – then find seven soul to harass with my new found mischievous streak.

Here we go:

  1. First thing first, I’m the proud dad of three beautiful boys between the ages of almost-3 to 9-and-a-half.
  2. I didn’t actually write my first PHP app. I wrote a script to convert it from Perl to PHP for me, around 1998-99.
  3. My favourite place to be is on a half pipe, with my son(s) and bmx/skateboard/snowboard, no matter the location.
  4. Although I live in Montreal, Canada, I’ll never EVER get used to its weather, yet still like it here.
  5. I dug part of our previously 4-feet-high clay basement by hand so I could have a wood workshop in our downtown duplex.
  6. I spent my childhood in France (0-12), teenage in Martinique (12-17) and adulthood in Canada (17-…).
  7. And finally, I hate how English spellcheckers highlight properly spelled words, such as favour, colour, and behaviour. :p

Now, for my preys, aiming for fresh ones:

  1. Pierre-Hugues Pellerin (@pierhugues), who will probably mention Ruby, despite his initials.
  2. François Lafortune (@quickredfox), who could write and illustrate a comic book published only in pure Javascript.
  3. Xopher Murtagh, who can play the trombone and probably find a way to get GNU/Linux running on it, somehow.
  4. Janina Szkut (@nanananini), who could probably mention something about knitting and PAX in the same sentence.
  5. Konstantin Ryabitsev (@mricon), who is probably already teaching four or five languages to his newborn son, who’ll probably read them fluently by age three.
  6. Sylvain Carle (@afrognthevalley), Praized Media‘s CTO extraordinaire.
  7. Evan Prodromou (@evan), who will (and should!) probably mention Laconica.

And to conclude, the complete rules:

  • Link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post – some random, some weird.
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or Twitter.