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New Home Automation?

onceuponatime Re:conduit in anticipation (336 comments)

I agree. Cable pulling is difficult. However, so long as the wiring you install is ethernet, you can always break out via intelligent controllers to other sorts of wiring. So you just really need the one sort.

about 8 months ago

Ask Slashdot: State of the Art In DIY Security Systems?

onceuponatime Hydra Control Freak. Completely unknown but... (248 comments)

I developed Hydra Control Freak as a result of a personal security problem I have involving a stalker. It's been evolving over a period of more than 6 years now but for 2-3 years it's been available in product form. I still have problems with the stalker (which is why I'm trying to keep my name out of the main stream a bit) which takes up far too much of my time but it has helped developed the product to be extremely effective.

From a commercial perspective it's been a complete failure, as I don't have the financial resources to market it as product properly and I'm rubbish at marketing (I will be trying to present it from a more grass roots perspective this year targeted more for the self installer). From the perspective of it working as a security device it's extremely effective and it's very flexible. At my place I have a great many cameras and many different kinds of sensors, both wired and wireless. You only need to enter my property a couple of meters and I'm alerted by E-mail alerts, notification systems, wired rows of led lights that blink (One per sensor so I know instantly where people are), piezoelectric beepers and video displays that load up automatically, showing both live and looping event views. At night, the TV turns on automatically as I wired a Phidget to a universal remote control, it switches to the AVI channel and by using a simple javascript program that is subscribed to the websocket interface the HCF provides it dynamically loads the cameras and the looping event view. All I have to do is look at the tv and slam the panic button if it's a bad guy. The system allows you to link devices in the same way over the wan, so I also monitor some clients places via the same system. If someone comes onto their property, their system tells my system, my system loads up their cameras (Triggered by the websocket interface) and my panic button triggers their sirens etc.

The Hydra Control Freak is built as a standalone device into a Sheeva plug. It's written in Java and runs on tomcat7, but I've made it a self contained, plug and play product and not a user hackable product (It supports remote software updates though). It supports the following devices:

* Legacy X10 controller (Started with this)
* rfxtrx433 home automation transceiver from rfxcom (Fantastic for Europe, not usable in the US)
* Phidget I/O controllers, really useful for wired sensors and wired control, can add several of this to one device
* Cameras (Reads MJPEG streams continuously so you have instant alerts with activity that happened prior to the trigger
* http, both inputs and outputs to propagate events, interface to external systems such as iPhone alerting apps and to expand the
    monitoring over the WAN

I tried to make this device so that it was simple to use. To this end I don't support a scripting language for programming it's behavior,
rather I have a state machine/event engine with declarative configuration via web-based guis. However, this is also a failure. In the sense
that it appears that this is not really simple for people, you have to be quite geeky to think well in terms of state transitions, although
my most success has been with just non-tech users where I configure the system for them.

The websocket interface is one of the most exciting features I've added recently. Using that and ajax and you can make pretty much any
kind of dynamic display you like. The HTTP actions can pass over handles on the events to remote devices so that the websocket interfaces
there no how to load up the cameras from the source in response to the events. By using HTTPS I can have a small window open on my machine inside the corporate network and my cameras loads up automatically instantly (In addition to the alerts).

SSL hides the websocket
protocol from the firewalls so that it works flawlessly

If you want to know anything more about the product, you should contact me directly at this point. The website is not updating at this time as I consider how I restructure the sales approach. (tech development with updates is continuing however).


about 9 months ago

Italy Approves 'Google Tax' On Internet Companies

onceuponatime The next step (236 comments)

They only pay tax on profit, before the profit they will pay fortunes in branding expenses to a company in a tax free zone. Just like star bucks.

Next loop hole please....

about 9 months ago

Skydiving Accident Leaves Security Guru Cedric 'Sid' Blancher Dead At 37

onceuponatime Perfectly good nova (332 comments)

Hey, for anyone that likes hook turning. I have a nova canopy for sale, hardly used, maybe only 20 jumps on it :-)


about 10 months ago

Teens Actually Care About Online Privacy

onceuponatime Tom Tom (93 comments)

Just recently, when I went to use the tom tom app on an iPhone to navigate to a contact. It displayed a popup that asked for permission to share your contacts. I refused permission and it removed the previously working navigate to contacts option. Clearly this is just spite as it's not necessary to share your contacts to navigate to it. I don't use navigate to contacts now but if I knew about this behavior before I had bought it I would never buy this app. That's just plain evil and spiteful and nasty.

DON''T buy tom tom navigator!!!!

1 year,26 days
top, New Encrypted Messaging Service From Brokep of the Pirate Bay

onceuponatime Re:OS backdoors (144 comments)

Exactly! If the device itself is compromised you simply can't build a secure service on top of it. End of story.

At least. That is what I believe I'd like to see a compelling argument as to this is not the case. The same comment applies to the whisper systems app, what is the argument that implies that the platform itself is safe?

about a year ago

Google Enables VP9 Video Codec In Chromium

onceuponatime Not supported properly by their own browsers (161 comments)

I've been an early adopter of this protocol incorporating it into my security product within a couple of months of it coming out. However, it does appear that VP9 is not supported properly by Google's own browser. Now I've been serving up webm files as files and not via a streaming server so this may be influencial here.

Some things I've noticed (all with serving files not streaming):

* Android doesn't reliably play webm files. It seems to timeout in non-deterministic ways, except if the file is very large in which case it pretty much deterministically doesn't start. On small files it can "sometimes" startup and play when viewed on Android.

* Unless the file is very small then playing back a webm file on Chrome either via the web or via a file URL results in the frame rate dropping. Record video and encode it at 5 frames per second and play it back for a small file and it appears to play back at 5 frames per second. Record 15 minutes of video and it plays only about one frame every second. WTF??

* An early version of chrome played back webm files (Small) with the correct frame rate. Just the other day I installed the latest version of chrome on Linux and now the frame rate is dropped to about 1 frame per second again for all files though. I have to use another machine with an older version of chrome now to play back my video :-(

I can't for the life of me imagine why there are these frame rate problems years after it's introduction, I don't see that with H264 videos. If it's related to playing files that are not served by a streaming server then why pretent that you can play these?
It appears as if they don't seriously address the adoption of this protocol themselves so it's no wonder if others are hesitant.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Open-Source Forensic Surveillance Analysis Software?

onceuponatime Easiest way (131 comments)

The easiest way is to combine it with running an event based system in parallel such as the hydra control freak. This will let you record just the events based on
sensors placed in the correct places external to the camera. You can then view just the events very easily and if one warrants further investigation relate the time back to your 24/7 based recorder. Using PIR, IR beam or other systems in the protected zone will provide much more reliable intruder detection that trying to do video content analysis, particularly at night.

about a year and a half ago

Microsoft Wants Computer Science Taught In UK Primary Schools

onceuponatime Re:Industry wants more users to use products (168 comments)

Exactly! They are falling behind so need to brain wash them sooner.

But I'm fine with it so long as they teach linux 2 years earlier than microsoft products. Maybe even if they teach linux at all, but I've never heard of anyone learning
linux at school at the same time or earlier than microsoft.

about a year and a half ago

Microsoft Sponsors Linux Foundation Event

onceuponatime Why wouldn't they? (134 comments)

Linux is embedded in a great many products in the world and Microsoft collects a lot of money in license fees from those installations. A lot more than 20,000 I'd say.

about 2 years ago

Will Write Code, Won't Sign NDA

onceuponatime Re:Naive, because most investors (especially VCs). (438 comments)

The problem with loser pays is that almost any court case can simply be beyond the means of a small company unless they are able to defer payment of legal first (If he's gambling on being right). So destruction by lawyer firmly remains a viable tactic for big company versus small.

more than 2 years ago

Will Write Code, Won't Sign NDA

onceuponatime Re:Naive, because most investors (especially VCs). (438 comments)

Alternatively make the government pay for all legal fees. After all, they make up the complex legal system in the first place. Maybe if this was in place they would try and make the system simpler. Let the combined cost of the legal system wash out in the tax structure as a cost to society.

more than 2 years ago

Will Write Code, Won't Sign NDA

onceuponatime Re:Naive, because most investors (especially VCs). (438 comments)

Another approach is to regulate that the amount of legal fees paid to each side has to be the same. If one party wishes to spend more on legal fees then they have to supplement the other party by the same amount.

more than 2 years ago

US Judge Rules Defendant Can Be Forced To Decrypt Hard Drive

onceuponatime Re:no 5th? (1047 comments)

9 nanograms of explosive found on his hand :-)

more than 2 years ago

US Judge Rules Defendant Can Be Forced To Decrypt Hard Drive

onceuponatime Re:no 5th? (1047 comments)

The very first person to be jailed by this law in the UK was a schizophrenic who was just stopped randomly at Eurostar border checkout for having a toy rocket from Estes without a rocket engine in it. They claim they found 1microgram or some other miniscule amount of explosive on him, probably when the dogs they train to sniff these things shaking it's fur. Then then wanted to look on his computer at his home and the schizophrenia kicked in and he refused. He was thrown in jail with a years sentence and then after he got out there they committed him to an asylum.

That's my memory of the news in any case. All that for bring an engine-less toy rocket back from France.

more than 2 years ago

US Judge Rules Defendant Can Be Forced To Decrypt Hard Drive

onceuponatime Re:no 5th? (1047 comments)

Unless you are a politician, in which case they just choose to ignore the law.

more than 2 years ago


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