Month: March 2008

Home Sw-eth Home

When I was a child Lego Technics was about to come and the term “Steampunk” wasn’t even in Gibson and Sterling minds. And that’s a pity because there would have been a lot of fascinating stuff to do like this Dardenbahst. On a complete different steam, I relocated my PC in the living room on a small desk. Unfortunately the phone plug is far away from it so I decided to solve the problem with the homeplug powerline.
Homeplug is a standard that solves easily and promptly the cabling problem in private house, where you are unlikely allowed (by wife or parents) to dig through walls to lie CAT5 cables or, even worse, to leave such cabling on the floor for longer than a couple of breaths.
The homeplug solution creates a network over the power line that are already cabled. The standard is one, but the devices you can shop for have different speeds ranging from 14 to 200Mbits/s (with prices varying accordingly). I opted for a couple of Atlantis adapters at 85Mbits/s and shelled out 85€ for both.
Unlike several advanced technology device, they worked quite “plug’n’playable”. Just plug into the power outlet and connect the patch ethernet cable. Then you have to run the Atlantis utility (Windows only) to set the encryption password.
The only glitch I found is that the utility is supposed to remotely configure any device provided you have its password (printed on the case). I had found no way to do that, so I just temporarily attached the other device to the PC, configured it too and then put it back to it final location. Done.
While talking about cables I had to notice that the small PC desk is not large enough to hide the forest of cabling behind the PC. Power supply, USB connections, ethernet cables, monitor and so on, each device accounts for at least 2 cables. Wouldn’t it be nice if all this stuff could communicate through the homeplug standard? In this way every box would have just the power line.

Oil price vs. $/€ exchange rate

Oil price is monotonically rising, right now is approaching 110$/barrel while just a bunch of years ago it was around 70$. At the same time the $/€ exchange rate is increasing, that is a single euro can buy more and more dollars. Oil market is based on dollars, so comparing the rate exchange and the oil price we can determine whether in Europe the oil price in € should raise or fall. According to this article (in Italian) written by Massimiliano Marzo (who covers an undefined role at Bologna University) oil price and $/€ exchange rate are rather correlated, apparently to keep a steady level so that the oil producers maintain the same value per barrel regardless of the dollar depreciation.