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Ask Slashdot: Options For Cheap Home Automation?

Nonesuch Re:Insteon ISY-994 (189 comments)

The ISY (upgrade to the 994i if you haven't already) has a very nice and fully documented REST interface, included in the base license. There is an optional module enabling it to make calls out to remote network resources and also host web pages internally on the microSD storage card.

You don't need to use their proprietary programming interface. The same PLC or "PLM" (PowerLinc Modem) that the ISY uses can be accessed directly as a serial device if you want to work with Insteon devices at a low level from your own hardware, such as a Raspberry Pi.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Options For Cheap Home Automation?

Nonesuch Re:Insteon vs x10 (189 comments)

The worst part about Insteon devices is that they have x10 support which can't be disabled. It results in devices switching on and off randomly.

This may have been true when Insteon was first introduced in 2005, but has not been the case for at least the past 5 years. No new Insteon devices come with X10 addresses programmed in by default, and Insteon is almost entirely immune to accidentally responding to noise on the power line by switching on and off randomly.

Insteon support site now states "Please note that most new Insteon devices no longer support X10 communication.".

In general, Insteon is not a particularly secure protocol, and is vulnerable to sniffing and replay attacks. If you need devices with stronger security, consider more recent home automation protocols such as Z-Wave.

about three weeks ago

Hackers Steal $5M In Bitcoin During Bitstamp Exchange Attack

Nonesuch Re:Bitstamp hack..... (114 comments)

Yeah, that's good. That way any bank employee reviewing the contents of your box can take your coins and you will never know for years.

Where do you live that "bank employees" can "review" the contents of your safe deposit box?

about three weeks ago

France Wants To Get Rid of Diesel Fuel

Nonesuch Re:It's a trap! (395 comments)

Are there more impurities in home heating oil?

I'm in New England, and like many US states, we have a 25c/gallon tax on '#2 Road Diesel' (tax paid, no dye added), this is always Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD). Generally fuel sold for use in cars is only about 10-15% more expensive than fuel sold for use in a furnace, and most of that is highway tax, not extra distillation at the source.

For Delivery, you can can specify either 'Home Heating Oil" or "Off-Road Diesel". Both are #2 Diesel and contain dye (indicating no road tax was paid), and in most US states, both are at least Low Sulfur, but several states now mandate ULSD for heating oil. There is more margin for variation in the grade of oil sold as heating oil than for off-road diesel, but usually they come out of the same tank & truck. Off-Road Diesel is used for construction equipment, generators, etc. In the winter, when delivering off-road diesel, they might add kerosene and/or additional anti-gel treatment, only because home heating oil is usually stored underground or in a basement while construction equipment and storage tanks are more exposed to the elements.

about 2 months ago

Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days

Nonesuch Re:He tried patenting it... (986 comments)

These strange antics and anomalous test results make fraud the obvious explanation.

Average electricity consumption per capita in the USA is 1683W. For the EU, it's 688W, which makes 2kW ample for a small household. If my electricity consumption went to 1.5MWh/month, I'd start to seriously worry - my electricity bill would be about three or four times what it currently is. According to Wikipedia, electricity in the USA costs 8-17 cents per kWh. That works out at $120 to $255 for 1.5MWh. Do people seriously spend that much money on power each month?

Yes. My monthly usage ranges from 800KWh to 1800KWh (peaks being due to HVAC)

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: An Accurate Broadband Speed Test?

Nonesuch Stream test urls (294 comments)

Netflix offers several test streams for validating your speeds, and Google has a Video Quality Report

I find that the Speedtest.Net results are a realistic estimate of my actual best case upload/download speed, but there are certainly some websites which are much slower to load, for various reasons. If you suspect your ISP is throttling some websites intentionally, you can always browse through a VPN service.

As mentioned previously, local WiFi problems are often the root cause of slow page loads. Go wired. You can also use the network debugging tools built into Firefox (Network Monitor) and MSIE to try to determine what parts of a page are particularly slow.

about 4 months ago

Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

Nonesuch Re:vpn's also get you disconnected (short term) (418 comments)

I used a vpn almost all the time and my line stayed up pretty much 100%.this year when I moved, I transferred CC to my new place and I continue to run a vpn. I now notice, for some reason, that after a few hours, I get a loss of ping to anything. if I stop my vpn, the default router is still unpingable. what 'fixes' it is to reboot the cable modem (and my access pfsense router, which then gets a new dhcp primary addr) and then things are good again for a few hours. not sure if this is related, but if I don't use a vpn, the line stays up for days and weeks at a time. when I use a vpn, I get a few hours at a time.

Check your hardware, including your pfsense and cablemodem.

I'm on Comcast, and I run three VPNs over my residential connection -- SSL outbound from an internal NAT client to my work network for about 8 hours a day, plus a nailed-up outbound IPSEC tunnel to my personal server in Chicago, and I also have a listener for inbound OpenVPN sessions. All this and I've been doing about 100GB/month in torrents, yet my connection is rock solid.

about 4 months ago

Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

Nonesuch Comcast says this never happened. (418 comments)

Via DSLreports:

I reached out to Comcast and was told by spokesman Charlie Douglas that the report is "wildly inaccurate."

"The anecdotal chat room evidence provided is not consistent with our agents’ messages and is not accurate," said Douglas. "Per our own internal review, we have found no evidence that these conversations took place, nor do we employ a Security Assurance team member named Kelly.

Douglas proceeded to state that "Comcast doesn’t monitor users’ browser software or web surfing and has no program addressing the Tor browser. Customers are free to use their Xfinity Internet service to visit any website or use it however they wish otherwise

about 4 months ago

MetaFilter Founder Says Vacation Firm Forged Court Docs To Scotch Review

Nonesuch Re:Do not ever (116 comments)

Despite the presumend good manners in states witout any particular gun laws, I was taught do not show the weapon unless I was going to use it.

Good manners agree with you, but the "brandishing" law varies by state. If they're not directly threatening violence, easiest to just pick up the phone in the room, dial 9-911, and let the situation resolve itself without violence.

about 5 months ago

News Aggregator Fark Adds Misogyny Ban

Nonesuch Re: Sigh (748 comments)

Could also be that the more elder slashdot users are simply retired and/or just generally not as interested in tech news anymore.

Could also be that they just aren't as interested in spending time posting.

I read slashdot about as often now as I did a decade ago, usually logged in, but have moved on to other forums as far as posting goes.

about 5 months ago

Police Using Dogs To Sniff Out Computer Memory

Nonesuch Re:How do you defeat dogs? (415 comments)

It's kinda remarkable how rarely Mythbusters bust a law-enforcement myth, or fail to bust an evasion myth.

The Mythbusters do what they have to in order to keep access to the Alameda bomb range and other law enforcement resources, especially after their little cannonball incident.

about 7 months ago

UK Ballistics Scientists: 3D-Printed Guns Are 'of No Use To Anyone'

Nonesuch Re:But... (490 comments)

Try comparing something more clear-cut: murder rates: it is 4x higher in the US. So you tell me, if you believe your fictional statistic about 8x the violent crime in the UK, but only 1/4 as many people die, that means "violent" crime is 1/32 as lethal in the UK vs the US..

You also have to correct for other oddities, like the distinction between "Manslaughter" and "Murder" in some countries but not others, or how England and Wales primarily publish their "solved" homicide (convictions and similar) rate. If you kill somebody and get away with it, that death doesn't count in the UK.

The USA is not uniform, my home state has a lower homicide rate than the UK. And while America is touted as being socially and economically advanced, there are large areas which lag behind in these areas. If you don't discuss the violent crime rates of the European Union as a unified whole, why do so for the United States? Also, many US states have a higher non-firearm homicide rate than other nation's total homicide rate; even without guns, Americans manage to kill one another at a higher rate than in other countries.

about 8 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Anti-Theft Products For the Over-Equipped Household?

Nonesuch Alarm partition/zone and automatic arming (408 comments)

Aside from the cheapest alarm systems, there is usually an option to have partitions and zones such that you can set the server rack or closet to always be armed except when you are actually working there, so you don't have to rely on your housemates setting the whole-house alarm.

A good alarm system won't

  • prevent

burglary, but will ensure that the intruder spends the minimum amount of time looking for valuables.

about 8 months ago

A Look at Smart Gun Technology

Nonesuch Re:And any idiot with a soldering iron can bypass (765 comments)

A recent report by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states "“almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year.” (Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2013.)

I've never seen a gender breakdown of defensive gun use, but with a lower bound of a half million annual, the 250K number is not unreasonable. Even the extremely anti-gun Violence Policy Center estimates average annual defensive gun uses at around 67K.

about 9 months ago

First Arrest In Japan For 3D-Printed Guns

Nonesuch Re:Do the states that allowed people to carry guns (274 comments)

require the people carrying a gun to also carry liability insurance and carry proof of that insurance with them anytime they are carrying their gun? I hope so, but probably not.

I think that if we are required to carry liability insurance and proof thereof for something as mundane as driving a car we should require the same for carrying something that is designed specifically to kill other people.

Several states do not have compulsory auto insurance, why should states mandate any insurance?

There are multiple facets to the inanity of the "CCW should require liability insurance". One of the biggest is that insurance doesn't cover an intentional act, it covers accidents and similar unforeseen occurrences. No insurance company would underwrite a policy covering "any and all" possible adverse incidents involving carrying a handgun, only unforeseen occurrences.

I think the "free market" could solve the gun problem in the US in a hurry. Insurers would simply make it so expensive to carry a gun that people would have to give up on the idea.

You think wrong. Firearms incidents of the type that could be covered by a liability policy are so vanishingly rare that the actual insurance rates would be minimal. Or do you want to require people to carry an imaginary type of insurance policy which covers all possible liability from carrying a gun, including intentional acts?

States get away with compulsory auto insurance only because "driving a car" is not an enumerated constitutional right, If gov't tried to require mandatory "Speech insurance" for posting on Slashdot and all other public speech, would you favor that as well?

about 9 months ago

DarkMarket, the Decentralized Answer To Silk Road, Is About More Than Just Drugs

Nonesuch Re:People are willing to trust some random softwar (251 comments)

You are naive. This piece of software has probably not seen one single competent analysis even now.

You'd be surprised. The union of people who are competent with IDA Pro (and similar tools) and people interested in Bitcoin is a surprisingly large set. Find a provable backdoor in an application like this and you've got yourself a very good candidate for at least a DEFCON talk, maybe a job at Matasano.

about 9 months ago

Will Electric Cars and Solar Power Make Gasoline and Utilities Obsolete?

Nonesuch Range? (734 comments)

Are there any non-hybrid consumer cars with anything close to the miles-per-tank of even the worst fuel economy modern gasoline powered car?

Sometimes I will drive +120 miles (in sub-zero weather, or 100F in the summer) to get to a jobsite, work there for 4 hours, then drive back the same day. I can do this and not need to stop for gas, but with an electric car I'd have to hope that the work site has provisions for charging, assuming the car even has a range of 120 miles with the heater or AC running -- Tesla roadster wouldn't make it.

1 year,5 days

Daily Pot Use Tied To Age of First Psychotic Episode

Nonesuch Re:Reefer madness? (382 comments)

Frankly, this "timing is a big fucking conspiracy" card is tedious, which we also see played e.g. by the NRA when tighter gun control laws are proposed after a mass shooting incident. Same thing with AGW, after a destructive hurricane or storm. There is never an "ideal time" to report study results. People who disagree should respond to the substance of the study, including its methodologies and perhaps on the legitimacy of the data. Not "gee why alla sudden so much interest in this seems funny doncha think?"

Since you bring it up, check out the recent FOIA documents obtained by Judicial Watch regarding Mayor Bloomberg's organizations actions in the hours following the Sandy Hook shooting. Specifically, look for this email, sent just after midnight, where they discuss what legislation to try to ram through in the aftermath. There's a good analysis here. Turns out, there really are conspiracies by gun control and anti-drug organizations to "leverage" high-visibility events to "surf in blood".

1 year,17 days

Ask Slashdot: Tools For Managing Multiple Serial Console Servers?

Nonesuch Re:Livingston PortMasters (or similar) (104 comments)

Sounds very similar to what we developed. Parallel evolution? Or just creative re-use of obsolete Portmasters?

When we got more powerful hardware for the SSH bastion host, I wrote a set of daemons and scripts which would maintain one 'screen' session for each console port. At startup it would enable logging, make a 'telnet' connection, and then disconnect the session and leave it idle. When a user wanted to access a port, they'd run a menu tool (setuid launcher and Perl, iirc) that would give them a list of sessions to which they were entitled access, and also show the status of each screen session -- alive, dead, or in use by somebody else. When you attached to a screen, the script would send a 'title update' escape sequence, so with PuTTY your terminal titlebar shows what device you were attached to, no more pasting into the wrong window!

The main reason for using screen was that when you attached to an existing session, you didn't just get a blank prompt like 'tip' or telnet, you were dropped into a session with the latest output on the screen and scrollback available to go back hundreds of lines. So if you were trying to connect to a Cisco router that had just frozen, instead of seeing nothing, you saw the panic message it had last emitted. Also gave an audit log of everything executed on every console, going back basically forever.

Saved the company $$$$$$ with this build, between not spending money on half-ass Digi appliances and faster diagnosis and recovery when devices went braindead (especially in lights-out remote data centers). By the time I was downsized out of the corp, we had 3-4 deployments across multiple cities/countries.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Tools For Managing Multiple Serial Console Servers?

Nonesuch Re:Livingston PortMasters (or similar) (104 comments)

We did the same, but isolated all portmasters on a standalone switch, as the product line has been dead for years and the security in the product was pretty minimal even when Livingston and then Lucent was actually supporting the Portmaster. I think this guy is more asking about the software to handle the connections/auth/logging/etc rather than asking about a hardware solution?

about a year ago


Nonesuch hasn't submitted any stories.



How the Events of 9-11-2001 will affect me personally.

Nonesuch Nonesuch writes  |  more than 13 years ago I don't know anybody who was directly harmed by the events of this past Tuesday, or even anybody who lost a family member. I fly quite often for business and vacations, and in fact I had very nearly taken a business trip to the East coast just last week, a trip that would have taken me through Pittsburg.

After the initial shock was over, I felt that these terrorist hijackings would not deter me from flying in the future. However, the immediate changes to the way air travel is conducted may lead me to curtail my use of commercial aviation.

I do not see the benefit in digging through the carry-on baggage of all passengers, or giving up the choice to carry on my laptop and duffel bag, or taking away my option to carry on a non-threatening swiss army knife or multi-tool. Half of the reason I choose to fly for business is the speed and convenience of air travel without checked luggage. Losing that speed, the convenience, will cause airlines to lose my business.

I'm more fearful of what the airlines, the FAA, and Federal lawmakers will do in reaction to the perceived threat than I am of the terrorists themselves. Perhaps I would feel differently if I had lost somebody in this event, but that would be emotions overruling rationality, leading to rash decisions that would be regretted later, just as decisions currently being made by the legislature and FAA may be regretted down the road.

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