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Apple: 75% of Our World Wide Power Needs Now Come From Renewable Power Sources

needsomemoola As Expected (262 comments)

I knew when I saw the title of this, Apple was going to get flamed here by slashdotters no matter what. I was not let down. It's hard for me to understand why good news is turned into bad news on this site so often based solely on a brand name. Is it not respectable that a company with a huge global presence would be striving to be more efficient with the energy they use, and succeeding? Would there be this much flaming going on if it were Google, or IBM, or Samsung?

I do work for many IBM data-centers across the country. Apple use's IBM's products for their datacenters, and I know these servers and storage racks are not power sippers. I find it astounding that they could run one of them (much less all of them) on purely renewable energy. An entire large datacenter of IBM equipment running off solar power and fuel cells is truly a feat I'd love to see in person.

about a year and a half ago
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Quad-Core Stick PC Runs Ubuntu

needsomemoola Re:a new connection format (72 comments)

Screw the keyboard and mouse. Someone needs to take this and integrate it with LeapMotion's motion control sensor. Mount it to your coffee table or put it on your couch and just control the TV with your hands. That's a bit of work, and the controller hasn't shipped yet.... Small set back. Maybe an app for your phone or tablet even would be far better than a keyboard or mouse for a TV interface.

Even cooler would be to (in addition to an app or motion controller) add voice control, maybe something that integrates with Google's Knowledge Graph tech.

Maybe combine the functionality of the two. The problem with voice control is if it's active, you don't want it to respond to everything you say in your living room. Maybe you could have a hand gesture that the leap sensor recognizes where Google's KG starts listening. You could just wave your hand, say "play Fringe" and have the latest episode start playing.

Oh the possibilities. I can't wait for the future.

about 2 years ago
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Who Would Actually Build an Ubuntu Smartphone?

needsomemoola Re:Many of us welcome true mobile computing... (230 comments)

"Mainframes" are alive, well, and pretty powerful depending on your use case. IBM's zSeries is probably the most prevalent. They're nothing to laugh at either. We run hundreds of VMs on the ones we run in our datacenter. They are mostly used for enterprise use, so end users don't really see or hear about the progress and technology behind them anymore since the concept is... like you said, old news as of 20 years ago.

about 2 years ago
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Acer Rethinks the "Tablet Bubble," Launching $99 Tablet

needsomemoola Re:Summary implies that tablets are not a fad (243 comments)

That's true for now, but the lines are blurring. With something like Logitech's smart-cover-keyboard, I can turn my tablet into, basically, a laptop. As tablets get more and more powerful and better accessories come out, I think a lot of people will feel more comfortable throwing out their PC once it's EOL, and not buying a replacement PC, especially people who don't game hard or do mouse-intensive tasks.

I recently picked up a 7-inch tablet, and it's blurring the lines for my phone now. It's small enough to mount or set in my car is a fantastic GPS device, and it has video chat and instant messaging. It does all the things my larger tablet does. So now I have a PC which overlaps with functions of my tablet, and a smaller tablet that does all the same things in more places and a phone that overlaps the functions of the tablets.

I'm curious where it will settle (if it ever does). With projects like LeapMotion.com, even the mouse may be obsolete eventually. Then there's the new phenomenon of HUD glasses and augmented reality glasses that are in the pipe. At this rate we may one day have contacts that display virtual interfaces in front of us that we can interact with directly with our hands and never need PCs or Tablets or TVs or hand-held phones again.

about 2 years ago
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Acer Rethinks the "Tablet Bubble," Launching $99 Tablet

needsomemoola Re:Where did you post this message from? (243 comments)

That could very easily have been dictated through a phone or tablet. I've composed entire multi-page emails by just speaking them. And the grammar of "dictation" is often better than when I type it myself. I can speak a few paragraphs much faster than I can type them. It's less practical for complex punctuation though (parentheses, custom spellings, apostrophes, slang, etc...). And it's certainly not good for programming. But The post by Kergan would be simple to dictate.

about 2 years ago
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Four Cups of Coffee A Day Cuts Risk of Oral Cancer

needsomemoola Re:COFFEE? (151 comments)

Maybe you confused your cocaine for your creamer mix or sugar. I keep mine next to each other bye the coffee machine too. Easy mistake.

about 2 years ago
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Cops To Congress: We Need Logs of Americans' Text Messages

needsomemoola Texting is moving away from carriers (342 comments)

It won't matter. Eventually everyone will be using encrypted texting over data anyway (instead of via carrier texting). If you use iMessage, you're already using encrypted texting over your data connection. These can't be collected (legibly) by carriers. You can also get free texting apps that use data rather than carrier networks. Android users can use Google Talk to IM now as well. Carrier texting is on it's way out, eventually.

about 2 years ago
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New WiFi Protocol Boosts Congested Wireless Network Throughput By 700%

needsomemoola Re:Um... (130 comments)

It sounds like you are running two 2.4 GHz APs then, which means you are using 2 of the 3 non-overlapping channels in the band assuming they are using 1,6, or 11, and not the same one. I would check the channel planning to be sure you're getting the best signal quality. If you're in a busy place (dirty air, high RSSI from other APs around you), you would probably get better all around performance if you use just one AP on the best available (1,6,11) channel. I think the 4200 will let you force n-only for the one. Oh, and if you are in a nice isolated area with no noise around you, set the n-network to use the 40 MHz window to double your throughput for that one (and any new) N device. Make sure the G-radio is not on 6, then the N can be on 1-6 or 6-11.

Then next time you buy something, make sure it's 5 GHz capable. :-D I don't know your local shopping situation, but all the "tech" stores around here (Staples, Best Buy, etc...) have at least a couple models of dual-band USB 2.0 adapters in the $40 range.

This town is a joke if you need real computer parts. We used to have CompUSA, and they had at least most of what I usually needed. Then they went under. Circuit City had some stuff, but it wasn't much, and they went under. We need a Fry's real bad.

more than 2 years ago
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New WiFi Protocol Boosts Congested Wireless Network Throughput By 700%

needsomemoola Re:Um... (130 comments)

One good thing 5 GHz has going for it is you don't get cross-channel interference like you do in 2.4 GHz. So of the 23 channels you have to work with, if you bind 2, or 4, or 8 (apparently), you aren't hurting channels adjacent to that. In 2.4, with 802.11n using a 40 MHz window taking up channel 6 through 11, you're still causing interference for 3-4 and 12-14.

Your point is true. 802.11ac is going to be a pain for people like me that have to provide wireless connectivity for high-density areas and events. And eventually it will be a pain for residential. And home router manufacturers will continue to make bonded channels the default setting to make sure customers experience what they have printed on the outside of the box.

My hope is that they take a IPv6 approach at the next cycle. Set up a band of frequency with a few thousand channels available, more than we can use in the foreseeable future. On /. here I've seen articles about using Terahertz frequencies for this. Once you get that high, surely there's room for a huge number of channels to work with. I don't understand the physics for the idea of THz WiFi though. We know that lower frequencies penetrate and go further (both an advantage and PITA of 2.4), so how can a leap multiple orders of magnitude work? Does the penetration trend continue linearly? Tons of questions I'll probably go Google after this. haha.

As for where you live.... for me, there is not even ONE RADIO on 5 GHz in my neighborhood. I have free reign. I don't even need to channel plan. I just set my router to pick whatever channel it wants. For 2.4 I did a frequency analysis and picked the least noisy. I keep waiting for more 5g APs to pop up. Our local cable company (and DSL apparently) now insist on installing their own hardware (a completely separate issue that pisses me off), and it's ALL 2.4 GHz equipment. Good for me, bad for everyone else. I guess I got mine, Jack?

Another thing to keep in mind is that you only need a 20 dBi (about 20%, relatively) advantage over the next loudest radio on a channel to have good throughput. The idea is to be louder enough to be distinguishable to your client devices (loudest boombox in the room). So as long as the AP density in your area isn't too high, even if there's noise on every channel, you just need to have a signal that's louder for as far a distance as you want to use it. If you want to ensure you get your signal, use multiple APs around your house and plan the channels carefully by surveying what's in the air at each point you place one. If I had a longer house, or more floors, I would probably put in a few myself. Everything is pretty equidistant from a center point as it is though. I've done surveys and channel planning for local businesses though. It makes a world of difference in performance. And if you enjoy puzzles, it can be fun. :)

I just read your correction post. That's pretty much what I was thinking a few paragraphs back.

more than 2 years ago
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New WiFi Protocol Boosts Congested Wireless Network Throughput By 700%

needsomemoola Re:Um... (130 comments)

I actually had the E4200. Nice looking, and worked better than it's predecessor. For a while my Linksys devices would just degrade very quickly, first with constant reboots needed to keep throughput working, then eventually throughput just dropped down to about 1 Mbps. It was ridiculous.

Anyway, on any dual-band router, including the E4200, you can name your bands separately. For me I named them after my pets. That's irrelevant but for this purpose it made sense. I named my 2.4 GHz network "Tigger" which is my older pet, and my 5 GHz network "Autumn" which is my younger pet that will probably live a lot longer and not be weighed down by the problems of her age like Tigger. It's all very poetic, for a pet owning geek, I guess.

Anyway, any devices that is dual-band can see both of them, so I always have those jump on the Autumn (5 GHz) network. Anything that's single-band can only see the Tigger SSID (2.4 GHz). You can leave them named the same, but this leaves it up to the client and AP to decide what radio it ends up using. I liked knowing that I was getting the advantage of my 802.11a/n radio's throughput and low-noise connection. And since 2.4 GHz travels further, when I'm out in the yard or something I can still connect to that with decent strength if 5 GHz is weak that far out.

One of the biggest benefit of this setup is, since each radio is basically "hub" technology (half-duplex, single-bus behavior), I get much better performance in both bands by dividing up the collision domains like that.

As for 802.11n, this is available in both bands, like you pointed out, but by doing the multi-SSID approach, you can decide which band you use your n-device on. For me I decided to disable n on my 2.4 band because I didn't want it to jump up to the 40 Hz window, stomping out 2 of the 3 non-overlapping channels in 2.4 GHz range. On the Linksys you can control this though. Also, if you can disable B w/o disabling G, you should. If there is a devices connected to your 2.4 radio with 802.11b, it will bring all other devices to their knees (B-level throughput) while it's connected. For my 5 GHz radio, I forced N-only so that I know I get the full throughput, and I know that all of my 5 GHz devices are 802.11n capable. This has the added benefit of not allowing devices on that will pull your N speeds down to A speeds.

There's a lot of fun to be had in planning out your wireless network. Lots of manipulation you can do, even on home routers, to get the performance you want. If you really want to have control of what's going on around you, and have lots of money, get yourself a Xirrus Array (XR-1000 is plenty for home use). You can play terrible tricks on your neighbors with deauths and blasting out channels at high RSSI. I don't recommend this, of course.

You might consider looking at DD-WRT for your E4200 if you want to add a ton of cool features that you can't normally get w/o expensive enterprise gear. VLAN tagging, SIP, charge for hotspot, guest network (most have this anyway now), etc....

more than 2 years ago
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New WiFi Protocol Boosts Congested Wireless Network Throughput By 700%

needsomemoola Re:Um... (130 comments)

I've made a most of my purchases with a 5 Ghz radio being a huge deciding factor. It's one of the main reasons I've gone almost all Apple for mobile devices. Every model of the iPad has had both bands. The iPhone finally caught up this year. Most Android tablets have been 2.4 only, which for me was crippling because I work as a network architect for a lot of high-density technical conferences. No matter how many low-power microcell radios you put out, you can't get enough people on with decent performance for a packed arena or auditorium on 2.4. My house is 100% 5 GHz devices now, with 2.4 running only for the purpose of guests being able to use my wireless.

The migration to 5 GHz is happening, and lay people don't realize it. It's hard to explain to a salesman at a vendor booth who has no idea what GHz even stands for, who's complaining his product demo using an Asus Transformer isn't working. I always end up drawing lots of circles on a piece of paper, explaining why the band is so limited, any why the only way it would get better using his hardware in this environment would be if the FCC opened up more channels in that band.

My hope is that in the next couple years, 2.4 is old news. 5 GHz is more than capable of the most dense environments, including airports and concerts. No need for this beating of a dead horse that MIT is doing. I respect them for it, but I hope it's not really necessary.

more than 2 years ago
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New WiFi Protocol Boosts Congested Wireless Network Throughput By 700%

needsomemoola Re:Um... (130 comments)

No. Any AP can use any (legal) channel. In the 2.4 GHz range (802.11b/g/n) this is particularly a problem because of the lack of channels. Anyone with a mobile hotspot is an AP, and they are usually set up to pick the "least congested channel" with no regard for the 1,6,11 rule for 2.4. If you turn on a scanner in an airport you'll se a very ugly picture for the 2.4 range. Tons of overlapping of channels and RSSI levels. With people ignoring the 1,6,11 rule of thumb, if you are on channel 6 (for example), you have interference from APs broadcasting (mostly) from channel 4 through 8. There's no good way to police it in high-density areas. At least in a neighborhood you could track down which house is on which channel and ask your neighbor to use a specific channel. 99% of the time they have no idea what you're talking about.

The solution is for everyone to move to 5 GHz (802.11a/n/ac). It's happening, slowly. The biggest help for this was probably with Samsung and Apple adding the 5 GHz band to their phones this year. Eventually 2.4 GHz will be a relic, I hope.

more than 2 years ago
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Google Doubts Apple Will Approve Its New Maps Application

needsomemoola Re:complain (347 comments)

It seems obvious to me that Apple had to break it off from Google at some point anyway. Using one of your biggest competitor's core features as a core features in your own products is not desirable, especially for a company that wants to have full creative control over their products (from the hardware through the software). I imagine if Google had given turn-by-turn functionality then Apple Maps would be delayed, but this missing feature was starting to become a sore spot for them and iOS users.

I think the new management at Apple is a major contributor to this as well. Steve had this Maps projects going for at least a year or two, so it was inevitable. But based on iOS 6's bugs and the recent iTunes release scheduling change, it was probably rushed. They changed the iTunes release to fit a "ship it when it's done" schedule thankfully. If they had started this before, I imagine Apple Maps would have made it's debut in 6.1 not 6.0.

Also, Apple isn't recreating all of the mapping db information, they are sourcing it from companies that have also been doing it for a very long time (TomTom, Garmin, etc...). This should give them a good jump on implementing features they lost with Google Maps.

I've personally had a very good experience with Apple's Maps so far. It's actually been more accurate than Google maps on multiple occasions now.

more than 2 years ago
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Nexus 7 and Android Convertibles Drive Massive Asus Profit

needsomemoola Re:Reaching the SSH server from a vehicle (232 comments)

Sorry. I meant using cellular data require a cellular data plan ($). I was comparing to using a laptop. Even those with a CDMA or GSM radio don't give you free data.

I was surprised the 7 doesn't ship with a cellular radio, but I suppose the point is cost so it can compete, and that extra hardware drives production cost up. I looked at the Nexus 7 in person for the first time today. It's quite nice and zippy.

For me my iPad has met all my requirements for travel. It's a subjective decision for sure.

more than 2 years ago
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Nexus 7 and Android Convertibles Drive Massive Asus Profit

needsomemoola Re:Reaching the SSH server from a vehicle (232 comments)

If you use cellular in any capacity you have to pay for a data plan. That's one strength of a lot of tablets is that there is a cellular radio built in for you. Most laptops don't have this feature. To me that sounds like a plus for tablets since you can use Wifi and/or cellular (even LTE now, faster than most hotspots).

Everyone does have special cases, but the decision to get a tablet should be decided based on if it meets your needs. As an IT person I have not run into any show-stopping roadblocks. The only annoyance for me (and this is just iPad) is not being able to scan wireless networks with the built in radios. You need to use spectrum analyzer accessory for that.

more than 2 years ago
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Nexus 7 and Android Convertibles Drive Massive Asus Profit

needsomemoola Re:Innovation (232 comments)

I understand the points you've laid out, but i haven't had problems with the "locked down" state of the devices. That's not to say I wouldn't want them to be more open. So far I've only run into one limitation on my iPad (3rd gen) and that's with Apple locking devs out of the API for the wireless radios.

I use my iPad for almost all the same things I use my laptop. And when your a chronic Delta victim, being able to use a tablet in the few inches they give you is better than not being able to use your laptop at all on a 5+ hour flight.
1. email
2. writing documents (bluetooth smartcover keyboard by Logitech works beautifully). 10 hours of battery is better than most laptops
3. watching movies/netflix/shows/youtube
4. terminal/console for configuring network equipment (30-pin->RJ45 adapter and console app)
5. ssh (lots of good clients, some even let you sync session output to dropbox for records)
6. texting - using iMessage or other clients I can text people from 30,000 feet now
7. research - with stuff like Reading List, synced bookmarks, and note taking apps that sync across all my devices
8. etc.... (games, music, video chat, dictation, contact management, social media, navigation, picture management, calendar, ...)

There's really not a whole lot one can't do on a tablet now outside of specialty functions and modifying your local OS (which you can do with a JB/root). The biggest advantage desktops have right now are processing power and the mouse cursor. So stuff like video editing/rendering, while there are apps for it, can't (yet) be replaced by a table running an ARM processor. But even with that, if you're in a pinch or stuck on a plane, there are simple-tech solutions (like iMovie).

I'm curious if people really can't do what they want on a tablet, or if they just haven't taken the time to find out if they can. ;)

more than 2 years ago
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Shake-up at Apple: Forstall Out; iOS Executive Fired For Maps Debacle?

needsomemoola Re:Huge missed opportunity. (487 comments)

Apple wanted Google to add this functionality, but Google made demands on Apple that they would not cave to, such as integrating Latitude with iOS, which would be a slap in the face by their biggest competitor.

Either way, in the end Apple really had to move to their own mapping system because the other big players all own theirs as well (Windows Phone -> Bing Maps. Android -> Google Maps). Being reliant on a competitor for a core function has not always been a good idea (see Samsung v. Apple drama).

And Apple Maps are actually quite good in my experience so far. The art is much nicer than Google's was (on iOS), and the turn-by-turn integration is done very well. The main problem was the terrain mapping in satellite view. Most people are not having the terrible problems that have come to light from the few that have. They instantly had a multi-million person client base when iOS 6 came out (since they can actually get the OS upgrades to customers within hours vs. years *cough* google *cough*). Google and MS have had gradual user growth from their releases. It's not exactly a free pass for Apple, but if they fix the problems quickly (especially considering they have a huge bug reporting audience to draw from), it could end up on even playing field with Google and MS in the maps game.

Timmy apologizing for maps was, IMHO, unnecessary. It's nice to see humility from a company that has historically denied imperfections, but some DB errors in their mapping system is far from the worst they've had (antenna-gate, patent wars, working conditions, and probably more I could come up with). Is he going to apologize every time they have a bug? Ballmer would have to do this the second Tuesday of every month. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry" for each patch.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Does Wireless Gear Degrade Over Time?

needsomemoola Re:Signal isn't chaning, the noise floor is (615 comments)

The other reply to your question (from guruevi) is correct. There's also the problem of "duty cycle" (there are other terms) which is basically how much noise is in the air on a channel. This is basically how much space is between the noise. When you have a crowded room with everyone trying to get online on a channel, they are all waiting for their turn to talk. The fewer people you have, naturally you have more time between transmissions. The more people you have, the less and less time there is between. It's like the difference between speaking slowly and those auctioneer guys who speed right along and are almost hard to understand because there's no space between their words to process what you're hearing. When you get a spectral analyzer out and look at the duty cycle on a channel in a crowded neighborhood (maybe an apartment complex), you'll see many access points (wireless routers usually) on each channel. If you look at say, channel 1, you have a duty cycle for the access points on that channel, and you have contribution to that from overlapping channels (2 and 3). So if you are using channel 3, you are contributing to the duty cycle (thus degrading performance and throughput) of channels 1 through 6. In return, those channels contribute to your noise as well.

The best practice is to keep the overlapping channels clean so that you don't get interrupted by those adjacent channels. The best possible graph you want to see in an analysis tool like inSSIDer on the 2.4 GHz view is 3 humps, spanning channels "0"-3, 4-9, and 10 to 13. In Europe you can use up to channel 14 as well. You'll get in trouble here in the US though. ;)

I'm not really familiar with posting things in /. elegantly, but here's an image of an ideal 2.4 GHz spectrum scan (you can use Wifi Analyzer on Android, or inSSIDer on Windows, or Wifi Explorer on Mac).
http://www.howtogeek.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/wifi-analyzer-header.png

So here's the trick to using JUST 1,6, and 11. Signal strength. You can share channel 1 with as many neighbors as you want, but in order for it to be effective, you need to have roughly a 20 dBm advantage over the signale from the nearest AP using the same channel, in the area you want to use your AP. If you have that much of a difference in signal strength, it's good enough to have a good experience on wireless.

Here's an example where, if the signal from other APs are weak enough compared to your own, it doesn't matter that they are overlapping your channels because you can trump them with sufficient signal strength to talk from your client device to the AP.
http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg286/TGrayman/Axis%20Wireless/crowded-Copy.jpg

So, if you have a scenario like that one, be courteous like the the taller ones and use the proper channels. :)

Here is an idea of what proper channel layout should be. If you have the opportunity to help your neighbors tweak their APs, I'd suggest channel planning it for the benefit of everyone. :)
http://www.horus4it.net/en/images/image002.jpg

I hope this helps. There is probably a lot more I could explain on this but I'm currently working a large event in Vegas and we're currently troubleshooting this very problem. Everyone comes in with a personal hotspot and just stomps all over the free wifi we are providing them. I wish there were a good way to educate people. It's just too technical for the lay person though.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Does Wireless Gear Degrade Over Time?

needsomemoola Re:Signal isn't chaning, the noise floor is (615 comments)

There are 14 channels (frequencies) in 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz). There are only 3 that do not overlap though (1,6,11). The best thing to do if you plan to use the 2.4 GHz range is to run something like inSSIDer and see which of those 3 channels are least congested, then set your router to use that range. The problem with 2.4 is the lack of non-overlapping channels, and the fact that most routers have a default setting to pick the "least congested channel" but not conform to the 1,6,11 standard. So therefore you have all your neighbors congesting multiple channels by overlapping 1 and 6 or 6 and 11, using a channel in between. This is a nightmare for high-density areas (I do wireless for large conferences. It's a huge challenge).

In 802.11a/n (5 GHz), there are 23 channels you can use (depending on if you bond for N or not). This is like comparing a 3 lane highway to a 23 lane highway. Your density capacity is FAR higher than 2.4. The downside is that most mobile devices do not have 5 GHz radios, and 5 GHz, because of the nature of the higher frequency, does not penetrate (giggidy) as far as 2.4 (as you said). From a management point of view this is a benefit, but when you are trying to cover a large house it leads to weak signals at the edges of the house, if you center it. This is a good point to use multiple access points though (routers without the routing in lay terms).

So, the near future for wireless is 5 GHz (or, "Wireless A and N"). 5 GHz is catching on (iPhone 5 and a few Androids and Tablets have it now) and will start to get much busier, but the great thing about that is it's designed for it. The downside to the less-near future is that 802.11ac will add larger bonding in the 5 GHz range, which will lead to less available channels/capacity. We'll see how that goes...

One correction to your comment I have is that N is not 5 GHz specific, and it has not at all changed people from 2.4 to 5. It's only allowed more throughput than G or A did on those frequencies. It's caused more problems than not because of the fact it can use the 40 MHz window, taking up 1 of the 3 non-overlapping channels, pissing off your neighbors.

more than 2 years ago

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