In which our wireless warrior finds that some things don't always "Just Work™".
The MacBook comes with a built-in Airport card for wireless networking. This is a bit of a culture shock for me as my last laptop didn't have any kind of networking on-board, never mind the glamour of WiFi. And when I did add a wireless card to it, it took literally days to get going.
My discovery was that when there's an unsecured wireless network around the Mac hooks in and does its thing with no instruction of note from the user - which is great, especially after all the 'fun' I've had in the past trying to get Windows to do the wireless thing.
When I turned on the WEP encryption things got a little trickier. I tried everything Google could find me: there's all kinds of advice out there, mostly concerning little details that surely no one will ever figure out by themselves. I changed the level of the encryption, I tried using dollar signs or not, tried turning things off, turning things on... sometimes it would work for a brief moment, but when I restart to see if it had stuck... it hadn't.
So instead I upgraded the firmware on the router to enable WPA security and leave all this WEP madness behind.
Why didn't I do that sooner? Not only is it a breeze to get the Mac playing nice with the network, but the whole thing is much easier to administer across the board.
When it works, this wireless thing is fun. Blogging from Starbucks - expensive, but good. Perhaps someday some cafe round here will figure out that if they provided free WiFi I'd camp out all day and drink their coffee as fast as they could make it.