Better WiFi solution (802.11b) than USB tethering through a smartphone?

Discussion in 'Wireless Internet' started by shannon.jacobs, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. Desperate search, but usenet used to be good for these kinds of topics... Looks almost dead now. But COBOL still lives!

    Situation is that I have an ancient ThinkPad that runs one application thatI still use. I think I'm about to break down and port it to a more modernplatform, but I'm sort of flexible about things (in my twisted way), so I'm considering alternatives...

    Right now, the main hassle is network access. After I run the application, I have to transfer the results to a website. The ThinkPad has an 802.11b card in it, but it has never been able to see external websites properly. (Itworked fine on a wired network, but I shut down my home LAN a long time ago and don't want to set it up again for this trivial purpose.) So the Internet routing I am currently using is via a retired smartphone. The smartphone connects to the WiFi on one side and is tethered to the ThinkPad via a USB data cable... It works, but it's a nuisance to set up each time I need it..

    So does anyone have an alternative approach so that the 802.11b card can see the WiFi network? It seems that this was a capability of the standard, but I can't even figure that out for sure... Under certain flavors of Linux I'm able to connect to the WiFi, but never in a way that exchanges data properly...
    shannon.jacobs, Oct 11, 2015
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  2. shannon.jacobs

    Mr.E Guest

    Look on:

    List your model and check for problems, fixes etc.
    I believe some Thinkpads has to have a different Intel driver for the
    onboard Intel wireless.
    Mr.E, Oct 11, 2015
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  3. What exact model Thinkpad? Any idea what model card is installed?

    I've been substituting Intel 2200BG cards for the old Thinkpads for
    years. The problem is that the BIOS complains that it's not FCC
    approved and will not boot. There are work arounds available:
    I use the "NO-1802" fix.

    Incidentally, the only programmer whom I know that is making tons of
    money only does legacy COBOL programming for financial institutions
    with huge investments in COBOL hardware and custom software. Talk
    nicely when you mention COBOL.
    Jeff Liebermann, Oct 11, 2015
  4. shannon.jacobs

    Jerry Peters Guest

    A friend once explained that he was making more money doing COBOL than
    he could make doing C/C++. I don't think they're training new COBOL
    programmers, and you're right, banks have huge investments in COBOL
    Jerry Peters, Oct 11, 2015
  5. shannon.jacobs

    Jerry Peters Guest

    Hit post too soon,

    What about an external USB or PCMCIA/CARDBUS wireless adapter?
    Jerry Peters, Oct 11, 2015
  6. It's true, but only for the best programmers. Far too many COBOL jobs
    essentially temporary. The larger financial institutions have enough
    COBOL/JCL work to keep a staff of programmers busy. The smaller
    companies do not. The real problem is that companies that want to
    convert their legacy COBOL code to something more fashionable, find it
    difficult to find programmers that know BOTH Ada or whatever, as well
    was COBOL. Of course the company could write specifications that
    exactly define their existing COBOL program, but that would probably
    double their costs and might be difficult to get right. The closest
    I've seen to that working is one company that bought a COBOL to C
    converter, ran the conversion, and had a C programmer try to clean up
    the resultant mess. Amazingly, it came the closest to working of any
    such effort that I've had the displeasure of watching fail. After a
    few such disasters, the pathologically conservative financial
    institutions prefer to maintain their old COBOL code, but on faster
    and faster runtimes and platforms. For example, COBOL.NET, Visual
    Some details:
    I read somewhere that some have a option to run with known bugs fixed,
    or to emulate the bugs exactly as in the original COBOL runtime.

    There's no count for the number of COBOL programmer jobs available,
    but offhand, it looks substantial.
    Yeah, that's what the pundits and alarmists are claiming:
    It's true that you won't find college grads with COBOL training or
    experience. However, you will find plenty of programmers, that after
    10-15 years of experience, have accumulated extensive knowledge and
    experience with all kinds of strange and esoteric languages, which
    often include COBOL. It's also not unusual for a financial
    institution to hire an applications programmer, who spends his first 6
    months on the job learning the exactly flavor of COBOL used by the
    financial institution.
    Jeff Liebermann, Oct 11, 2015
  7. Sure, that will work just fine. Much depends on the Thinkpad. If
    it's so old that the USB ports are USB 1.1, it's not going to work
    very well. It should be USB 2.0. There are a few 802.11g PCMCIA
    cards, but most are Cardbus. USB is generally easier but with Linux,
    you have to watch out for chips with broken or missing drives. Intel
    and Atheros are well supported in Linux. The others, not so well.

    Now, if you want specific answers, kindly disclose the Thinkpad full
    model number and exactly mutation of Linux with which you're having
    Jeff Liebermann, Oct 11, 2015
  8. Well, at least this part of usenet isn't as dead as other parts... Glad to see it, even if I accidentally triggered another COBOL defense. All I'm going to contribute to that topic is (1) Money ain't everything, (2) I'm glad I never did COBOL on a professional basis, and (3) Python is fun.

    Now on the REAL topic, the ThinkPad in question is an X30. I can get the exact model and specifics tomorrow, but I'm at a different location today. I'm pretty sure that the USB claims to be 2.0 and the internal WiFi card is apure 802.11b.

    The ThinkWiki website link sounds interesting, though I'm pretty sure I've visited it several times already (among a cloud of other websites).

    However, that reminds me to ask about the USB boot procedure... Perhaps I should fork it to a new thread, but I think it's related. To experiment withalternative OSes, I've been using a USB stick, but to make that boot work,each time I have to boot to the BIOS, open up the hard disk devices and move the USB stick above the regular hard drive, and then save and reboot. EVERY time. It says it can save the BIOS settings, but evidently not...

    (Separate question about preparing the USB stick, but pretty sure that isn't relevant. However, so far I've used Lubuntu and some Puppy Linux, though the machine's hard disk is using GRUB with an obsolete Ubuntu as its primary OS.)
    shannon.jacobs, Oct 12, 2015
  9. In retaliation, I can say that:
    1. I am not a programmist and know little about COBOL.
    2. hardware is more fun than software.
    3. Money isn't everything. It's what you buy everything with.
    I have both an X30 and X31 sitting in the closet. Nice small and
    light machines. However, the case is so flimsy that I have numerous
    cracks and glued pieces that it looks like it was made by Dr
    I would guess(tm) that it's an X31 because I don't think the X30 had
    an internal wireless card. The X30 has a single USB 1.0 port, which
    is basically useless. The X31 has two USB 2.0 ports, which should
    work. I'm not sure on substituting wireless cards in the X31. I'll
    have to check what's inside mine.
    I can assure you that the Thinkwiki web site will not wear out from
    your susbequent visits and will still be useful when you return. It's
    not perfect but it's the best that can be found for the older Thinkpad
    Check if it saves the date and time. If not, you have a dead battery.
    There is also a strange zone with an almost dead battery, where it
    saves only some settings. Think about a replacement.
    Jeff Liebermann, Oct 12, 2015
  10. shannon.jacobs

    Jerry Peters Guest

    Yes I know, the company we were working for produced mainframe & AS400
    banking software. We were contracted to a very large bank doing IBM
    assembler programming. I've spent about half of my career working for
    banks, th other half was in manufacturing with some minor stints in
    retail & health insurance.
    I learned COBOL as a college student courtesy of a bank where I had a
    part-time job in programming. Ended up working for them after
    graduating with a BSE. Did interesting stuff like online ATM's back
    in the mid seventies, along with online central files and networking.
    Jerry Peters, Oct 12, 2015
  11. Going inline with some snipping of unneeded parts...

    Definitely says X30 right below the display, and my memory is that the internal wireless card was an option. My fuzzy recollection of seeing an X31 isthat the X31 did say so, but I haven't seen any similar beasts in many years.
    Already found some interesting information there, but the only thread of hope appears to be the firmware upgrade. Exploring that now. Unfortunately, the only candidate appears to be the NIC firmware, which says it's on the X30, while the ThinkWiki website says is the latest... More research, but not sure where?

    My other hopeful thread was manual network configuration, but that doesn't work. It says it has connected to the network, even though it can't see it,but it uses a 10.* IP address, not the 192.* that I tried to specify. Nor can it see the AP that it seems to think it is connected to, and the AP also denies seeing the X30 while it is connected in this state.
    Slight progress there. It definitely does retain its clock settings, and iteven seems to retain the boot order if I reboot directly from the USB stick. Using Yumi on this pass.

    Latest experiments with Lubuntu and Tahr Puppy have all failed, however. :-(
    shannon.jacobs, Oct 13, 2015
  12. shannon.jacobs

    AnthonyL Guest

    Sorry for continuing the OT part of this thread. I set up a small IT
    business in the early '80's and we desparately needed
    multi-user/networking in the days of CP/M (Unix was a bit beyond our
    expertise). CP/Net and RM-Cobol provided a fairly solid platform
    which extended to MSDOS+Novell then Windows+Novell (but not
    Windows+Windows Server). The Cobol upgrades were straightforward.
    Customers were amazed at how much uptime they had compared to some
    other systems they were running. Sadly the front end would not sell
    and the system, still running well, went into terminal decline a
    couple of years back. Young programmers could not cope with the
    discipline Cobol imposed.
    AnthonyL, Oct 14, 2015
  13. I just found my Thinkpad X30 Type 2672-4XU. It has an internal
    802.11b card like this.
    On the bottom, is sticker with the 802.11b and the wireless card MAC
    address. It's running Windoze XP and as far as I recall, the wireless
    card works.
    Jeff Liebermann, Oct 15, 2015
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