Today I spent some time getting a wireless card working on my laptop, a 500 Mhz Compaq Armada m700. I paid zero dollars for the laptop and card, the machine definately suits my need and since I'm planning on traveling soon, and being offline, I am trying to get prepared. The battery doesn't work in this machine which is a drawback, since I may not always have good access to electricty and when I land in New Zealand, I'll hve to be careful, since they use a different electrical standard. I was thinking to buy a used laptop from a hardware dealer I've done business with here, but I think I'll wait and buy a native kiwi laptop when I get over there. Sure would be a nice to have a battery though, batteries plus list a battery on their site for like 160, yowza may as well be a million dollars, I'd never consider spending that much on a battery, maybe 30 dollars... or zero dollars, but not that much.
So anyway, the card that I found in the scrap pile is a linksys WPC11 version 4, I did my due dilligence trying to find an open source driver, there was one, but a little to experimental for my taste. The forum on the sourceforge page described some problems using the Linksys card, which uses a maxim radio from what I recollect. So I had to go with ndiswrapper, which I'm not knocking, seems to be a really great project, just didn't want to have to use the windows drivers. But anyway I've only configured ndiswrapper once before, so had to relearn the debian way to do use it, which didn't take long. Now it's working, and I have a pretty good machine to learn and study Debian, work on some development projects and do pretty much anything I want to do, this machine is good enough. When I get settled in New Zealand though, I'm starting to think about creating a development environment, and all that might entail. Also I have rented some VPS instances, and think I'll be able to keep all three of them, and may be able to get a server hosted before I leave.