today i worked from morning until night finishing off a project for SRM. the weather outside was this gloomy new england overcast that threatened rain but never delivered. i alternated between working at the desk and taking the occasional break where i go lie down in bed and do some brainstorming. the most exciting thing that happened today? i cleared my slow draining bathroom sink with some liquid plumr (sic), the foaming pipe snake. i love that stuff. and nothing more satisfying than unclogged pipes.

when i finally wrapped up the project in the early evening, it felt like a tremendous weight had been lifted from my shoulders, yet at the same token i didn't know what to do with my newly regained free time. i made some dinner, finally digging into some of that specially prepared ground beef i rolled yesterday. i enjoy a good burger every once in a while but there's just too much burger to go around. what even worse is i put a lot of garlic and onion, which taste great, but smells terrible for anyone who dares talk to me within the next few days.

whenever i have the chance to steal some free time, i like to fiddle around with the m0n0wall firewall server i've been trying to set up. i've been rummaging online looking for relevant documentation, but no single place has a complete set of easy to follow steps. i've managed to piece together some useful information from various different sources. the way i have it set up is the internet comes into my place through my cablemodem, which goes into a wireless router. one of the lines of the router goes to my bedroom into an ethernet hub. the m0n0wall machine is connected to the hub. i'm booting m0n0wall off of a cd-rom and using an usb thumb drive to save the configuration data.

i've only gotten as far as the console setup screen (access directly via keyboard and monitor connected to the firewall computer), where i got to assign which of the 2 ethernet port is for the WAN and the LAN. i connected the internet cable coming to the WAN port, and the connection going out to the ethernet hub. i then connected my laptop and my other computers to the hub and tried getting to the webGUI interface through a browser. that's where i hit a dead end. even when i connected the computer directly to the LAN output of the m0n0wall, i still couldn't get a signal.

then i read something about how the m0n0wall machine has to be in the same subnet as my other computers. so i changed the LAN ip address and set up the client address range. then from my wireless laptop i finally managed to gain access to the web interface when i entered the new LAN ip number. if all this sounds confusing and esoteric and technical, i feel the same way. i'm basically just playing around with the stuff, reconnecting and disconnecting, testing along the way. i know very little about networking, but hopefully through trial and error i'll manage to pick up some hands-on knowledge.

i'm still confused about the WAN LAN though. i could only see the web interface if the WAN cable was attached to the LAN output. it sort of doesn't make sense, kind of like having two dueling routers, each one with it's own DHCP server. i'm not even sure how my computers managed to see the internet amidst all this networking confusion. hopefully i can get my hands on a wireless router next week and set it up as a wireless access point (WAP). i could use the wifi router i have now, but i'm afraid to play around with the settings because everything works fine now and i don't want to screw up my own network while testing out the m0n0wall machine.