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My personal (but public) notes about my homebrewing, knitting and other random stuff

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

LANs and lines

I'm slightly confused at the moment (even more so than usual). Here's why...

On Friday we had new windows fitted. Proper, double-glazed ones. All very nice, but unfortunately the workmen seem to have bashed the exterior phone cable while they were at it, leaving us without a working phone line - and hence no home internet connection. I mentioned it to them this morning when they came back to tidy up round the windows, and they promised to have a look at it. On returning home from work a few minutes ago, I discovered that my internet connection is back up and running, but we're still without a working phone. I assume that they tried to fix the broken wiring but didn't do a very good job and somehow only the component of the signal that makes up the broadband connection (I forget whether it's the high or the low frequency bit, or I could be completely wrong about the technology) has been restored. For my immediate purposes it's good, as I tend to make much heavier use of the internet than the phone in any case, while my housemates both use their mobiles quite a bit. However, I guess I may have to call out the BT engineer in any case.

Also on the subject of networks, I had my first LAN party last Saturday. It was hosted at my house, largely because I was the one with the network hub (aka my broadband modem - which still functioned as a router even without the external phone line). There were four of us in total, with 3 desktop PCs and one laptop. The main downside was that we had to use Windows (as that's the only OS the other three run, and I've not managed to get my games working under emulation in Linux) and virtually all my (limited) networking experience is with Linux. After quite a bit of fiddling we managed to get the computers to acknowledge each other's existence. That's when we discovered the other problem.

Initially the idea had been to play a 4-way multiplayer game of Civilization III, given that we're all keen players of Civ (to varying extents - I enjoy it now and then, while my friend Phil is almost fanatically devoted to it). Unfortunately we only had 2 copies of the Conquests CD needed to play a multiplayer LAN game. In the end we set up a game on two computers and used the other two to play a different game - Shogun: Total War. That's also a fine game but had the distinct disadvantage (for me) that I've only ever played it a couple of times, a long time ago, while my opponent was quite an expert at it. Still, I didn't lose nearly so comprehensively in the second battle as in the first. I was still completely massacred, but it showed progress, at least.

It was good fun and I hope to do something similar again, but next time we'll have to make sure that we have enough copies of the same game.
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