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Vintage 1960s Era Film Shows IRS Defending Its Use of Computers

fwc You'd think they could fight some fraud too... (146 comments)

Having been the victim of tax identity theft two years in a row, you'd think those computers could be programmed in a way to detect say, multiple refunds going to the same bank account, or the same IP address submitting thousands of returns and shut these thieves down....or *gasp* even perhaps verify the data which is on a return before sending a refund check... You know, to stop the $5 BILLION in tax refund fraud every year....

about 7 months ago

Your Next Car's Electronics Will Likely Be Connected By Ethernet

fwc Re:I'm OK with ethernet in cars (180 comments)

I was recently in Weird Stuff Warehouse in Sunnyvale. I like to walk through the store when I'm in the area just for the walk down memory lane... They have used computer stuff for sale from, well, pretty much the last thirty or so years of computer history.

At one spot in the store, I stopped and picked up a device I hadn't seen for years, and thankfully haven't had to touch one for much longer than that. And then realized that many of my younger networking peers wouldn't have a clue what the heck it was.

What was it you ask? A thicknet (10Base5) ethernet transciever.

about 9 months ago

Your Next Car's Electronics Will Likely Be Connected By Ethernet

fwc Re:Don't quit your day job (180 comments)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't we all hybrid descendants of the Cyclons and humans which fled the Twelve Colonies?

about 9 months ago

New Home Automation?

fwc Re:Future Accessibility. (336 comments)

Remembered one more item...

I personally use insteon for most everything, other than those things which seem better for m-wave - in my case, I use m-wave for door locks, thermostats, etc., which are somewhat slim picking on the insteon side. I like how the insteon works for power control, and m-wave seems way expensive and weird for that stuff.

I haven't yet purchased it so I can't say how it works, but I'm about ready to spring for a Elk M-1 panel in combination with a ISY-994i with their new (beta) m-wave radio. Looks like it should work great.

about 10 months ago

New Home Automation?

fwc Future Accessibility. (336 comments)

I think the biggest thing you can do is ensure that the home is easy to run wires inside the walls and across floor/ceiling spaces without making a big mess. I recently moved into a new-to-me house and have had to do a fair bit of home automation/network refit. In this case, this is a single story home with a full basement. The basement is finished but has a drop ceiling instead of sheetrock. This makes it really easy to run wires throughout the house since you can run the wires in the space between the ceiling and the dropped ceiling and access the space immediately below any wall space. Need to run a cable into a new spot on a wall? Cut a hole in the wall, put a data ring in the hole, then use a flexible drill bit to drill a hole through the bottom plate and the subfloor. Find the hole underneath and use the drill bit to pull the wire up through. Simple. The basement walls are similar as you can access the top portion of all of the walls above the dropped ceiling. This will also work in a 3 story house as well, just make sure you have a full attic or crawlspace which gives you access to the tops of all of the 2nd story walls.

This helps future-proof the house.

I'd also consider/ensure the following:

1) Make sure there is a NEUTRAL at EVERY electrical box, including switches. Makes things lots easier. I've also gotten in the habit of using an additional conductor from the lightswitch to the light in case I decide to install a fan or similar.

2) Have the electrical contractor use the biggest box that will fit in the wall space. None of these cheap 2" deep things. 22 cubic inches is the size for a single gang box. They are roughly 3.5" deep (the width of a 2x4 wall stud). This is to accomodate the much larger volume of a home-automation switch and/or outlet.

3) Consider truss construction in spaces you'll have to run lots of wires through - it solves the issue with too many holes weakening the structure.

4) Take the advice of others on the thread, and do go ahead and install boxes with conduits on at least each wall. The conduits should be at least 3/4" - 1" would be better. If you've got a dropped ceiling or similar, they just need to be stubbed out into the ceiling/attic area. If you're enclosing, then they need to be run to a central closet or similar.

5) Don't forget satellite, cameras, etc. etc. etc. - run boxes/conduits for them as well.

6) In bedrooms, think about where the bed might be placed and make sure you have outlets on both sides of each bed position. In the master, if you know where the bed is going to be placed, consider adding nightstand height switches and/or boxes for automation controllers, cell chargers, etc.

I probably could keep coming up with other ideas, but that are the main ones...

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What's On Your Hardware Lab Bench?

fwc On my bench, yep an oscilloscope. (215 comments)

I design and sell products which generally have a microcontroller at the center. And almost everything is in the digital realm.

Because of the work I do I have a collection of test gear I've accumulated over the years. The things which get the most use? The variable DC power supplies, the multimeters, and yes, the oscilloscope.

The oscilloscope occupies the spot right above where the target sits most of the time. I find it to be very useful to troubleshoot digital realm issues, including things which one would seem to think a logic analyzer would be perfect for. If I'm having a hard time getting two things to talk, say over an I2C bus, I reach for the scope first, since I can see whether or not the lines are toggling as expected. And if they're at the right voltages, and so on. I can also tell if the clock edges are correct and similar. This accounts for like 99% of the problems I run into that I need an external test instrument for.

Yes, I do have various logic analyzers. Two USB ones, a big one I'm about to sell on ebay, and a few more specialized ones (serial protocol analyzer, USB protocol analyzer). Most of the time they sit in their cases on the shelf.


1 year,1 day

The World Fair of 2014 According To Asimov (From 1964)

fwc In the year 2889 (352 comments)

There's a jules verne short story called "in the year 2889" which is a very interesting read as well.. . I'd say in many ways he was describing 2013, not 2889...

Definitely worth the 5-10 minutes to read.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Way To Become a Rural ISP?

fwc Become a WISP (239 comments)

There are a lot of us out there doing exactly what you're wanting to do, using fixed wireless technology typically from Cambium Networks, Ubiquiti, or Mikrotik.

Some links which will help you find people who are doing this already, and are more than willing to help you start down this path follows. Believe it or not, most operators in the WISP industry are pretty friendly and more than willing to help a new wisp get started with advice and the like. - The Industry Association for WISPS.
Animal Farm Users Group
Broadband Heroes Whitepaper
Wireless Cowboys Blog

I'm sure there are others. I'd start by reading what I can, probably joining the (free) email lists on a couple of the sites above, and asking questions. Everyone in the industry was a newbie sometime, and most of us remember what it was like to start out, often with about as much knowledge as you have.

about 2 years ago

University of Michigan Student Wants SafeNet Prosecuted

fwc Re:p2p != illegal (393 comments)

recently had the "file-sharing is theft" discussion with a manager i'm on otherwise good terms with, and the guy doesn't understand how fallacious it is to compare this activity to shoplifting.

Try this: P2P is like carrying something out of the store. Whether or not the action of carrying something out of a store is legal depends on various other things, and very few of them have to do with the actual method of conveying the object out of the store. Yes, P2P can be used for theft, but so can a shopping basket.

more than 6 years ago


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