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The Fring thing

A couple of days ago, I was browsing the web for new applications I could install on my Nokia E60 mobile phone. That's when I came across an app called Fring. Fring allows you to login to services like Skype, Google Talk (Jabber!), and SIP based services (Ekiga!), and to use your phone as client. This gets even cooler because the E60 has WLAN support built in, so, basically, you get a Skype phone anyplace with free Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, unlike in North America, free wireless hotspots are hard to find in Germany.

Anyway, I installed Fring on my phone, started it with my Skype account, connected to my wireless router ... and waited for someone to appear on my contact list. I'm not a frequent Skyper, so I don't have many friends on my list, but today, Johannes went online, and I immediately gave him a call. It worked surprisingly well, although Fring is still in beta, and Johannes was sitting in his kitchen with three walls between his laptop and router. Admittedly, there was a heavy time lag of about one or two seconds, but it's been hard to tell if it was because of his poor signal or because of the software involved. However, it was great to be able to walk into the living room or the kitchen without problems. I sometimes use Skype with my bluetooth headset, which allows me to stand up from in front of my computer, but I cannot leave the room. Now I can, and I decided to share the fun with you.

Fring is a free service, though I don't know if it will stay that way forever. Probably not, but until then, it's a useful little app that remains on my phone alongside the trusty ICQ client JIMM.

Netgear WG111v2 USB WLAN Stick on Ubuntu

A couple of weeks ago I acquired a new USB WLAN stick for use in my laptop and/or media center PC. Since it was cheap and I couldn't find any negative comments about its Linux compatibility (I just browsed the first couple of google pages -- mistake), I decided to go for Netgear's WG111v2 stick. As I found out here, the stick comes in different flavors, either with a Prism chip, or a Realtek 8187 chip. Luckily, mine had the Realtek chip in it (0846:6a00), so basically everything should work under Linux.

Driver setup went smoothly on my W2K partition, but I had real trouble after booting Linux. First I tried it with Fedora Core 6 which has been a brand new release back then, but couldn't get it to run. Then, after I had installed Ubuntu 6.10 on my trusty ASUS L3500 laptop, I went through it all again, but to no avail.

Just yesterday, I got it to work at last (right after deciding that I sell it on eBay finally -- sweet irony). This blog entry got me on the right track. So, because I searched about every forum on the topic in the past weeks and I found that a lot of people had (or still have) the same problem, here's what I did:

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