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Ford System Will Warn, Correct Lane-Drifting Drivers

rcpitt What does it do if you miss the Ford dealership? (469 comments)

At oil change time when you go to turn into the Mr. Lube the steering wheel resists, the doors and windows lock, the radio turns to a Ford oil change commercial and you're driven to the nearest Ford dealership

more than 2 years ago

In light of the squeeze in hard drive prices ...

rcpitt Re:Utility software to the rescue... (273 comments)

I've dug through my old floppies for a program a former employer of mine, PC-Kwik, made, but never released that allows swapping an almost unlimited number of floppies in and out in place of more hard drive space... That should hold off the hard drive crunch, for me, for at least an hour or two...

damn - and I just threw out a whole case of floppies - still have some 8" though - do you need some?

more than 3 years ago

In light of the squeeze in hard drive prices ...

rcpitt Moving back down the size line (273 comments)

In light of all the 2-4Tbyte drives that have been coming out, I've moved much of our video off the 200-500 Gig drives and now have a pile of them - seems I might have to start re-using them

more than 3 years ago

Loudspeakers around my home:

rcpitt Re:Define loudspeaker (135 comments)

Having owned a stereo store back at the cusp between tubes and transistors, I immediately classed "loudspeakers" as something you purchased separately, at a premium, and attached to the sound source as one of the options in crafting a custom stereo system. At that time, if they didn't cost at least $100 each, they were not worthy of being in the store, and you were urged to go to Radio Shack or Sears. Those with built-in amplifiers may qualify but I didn't count the two speakers on my desk hooked to my computer as they are neither loud nor terribly good.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: 802.11n Bake-Off Test Plans?

rcpitt Ask the vendors about bufferbloat too (125 comments)

One of the major effects of bufferbloat on wireless is reduced ability to usefully deal with lots of clients connecting to the same AP.

All the major vendors should be aware of what is going on at www.bufferbloat.net and have something in place to ensure that their products will reflect new updates soonest when things get fixed. This is an ongoing problem that crept up on the internet tech community and there is work in progress to deal with it but it will take time.

See (for example) Bufferbloat - Dark Buffers in the Internet, 1/20/2011

more than 3 years ago

Is There a Hearing Aid Price Bubble?

rcpitt Phone app + bluetooth = hearing aid (698 comments)

OK - in-the-ear aids are nice - but (and I don't need a hearing aid) I run around with a blue-tooth headset on much of the time (we have hands-free law for driving here in BC) so...

1 - custom fit? I got 8 different ear moulds for the basic unit - pick one and suffer while my ear adapts

2 - custom frequency response? - Are you telling me that a 1+ GHz processor can't do the math for umpteen different frequency bands and adapt if/when needed?

3 - patents? Digital signal processing has been around for a lot more than 20 years - we used to use the Telebit Trailblazer modem (M68K processor and signal processing chip) back in the mid 1980s - and it broke the audio spectrum down into 256 discreet bands at that time!

So... if you can't afford an in-the-ear unit, someone please do up an ap for the smart phones and bluetooth!

more than 3 years ago

Is There a Hearing Aid Price Bubble?

rcpitt Re:$3,000-$5,000? Really? (698 comments)

love dollar-store batteries :)

you get 90% of the life (some are 100% but some are 50%) for 25% of the price

more than 3 years ago

Is There a Hearing Aid Price Bubble?

rcpitt Recent ad for $500 hearing aid (698 comments)

My wife has a hearing aid - so I'm sensitive to this.

When she got it, we were fairly well off - just sold a company and to be frank, I didn't notice how much it cost.

recent problems with it put me on the front lines - and getting a bill for $800 just to fix is gave me a lot of angst. I have to say I railed at the person on the front counter quite a bit considering I know a lot about analog, digital, integrated circuits, and such - and basically told her that IMHO the components she was quoting as retail in the $3000 range were worth about $10 or less.

Then she loaned us an "over the ear" unit while the in-the-ear one was out for repair - and when I went to give it back, said "keep it" - so confirming that the actual hardware cost is trivial (unit is about 3 times the size of the current one but otherwise similar capabilities - and given the progress in IC units, represents maybe 3 years' progress)

So... when I heard an ad on the radio last week for an in-ear hearing aid for $500, I figured "about time" and so the poster is correct - there is a revolution coming.

Question is - what patents will be held over the heads of those trying to break this cartel - because it truly must be a cartel.

Note that I can now (despite the eye-glass cartel of yesteryear) purchase more than useful eye-glasses in various basic diopters at the local dollar store - to the point where I have enough around the house that I have achieve "maxiumum vapour pressure" of eye-glasses (i.e. there is a pair at hand any time/where I need them)


more than 3 years ago

I say (N. Hemisphere) Fall starts ...

rcpitt 4 seasons - just don't know what order they come (454 comments)

Here in Vancouver, we typically get 4 seasons: too cold, too wet, too dry, just right

We just don't know when we'll get them.

Take the Winter Olympics last year - February and we got almost no snow, 20C temperatures and tourists running around in shorts and T-shirts.

Or "Summer" this year - that was an extension of "too wet" until after the middle of August - and now that September is here, looks like it might extend for another month or two.

Snow in May, warm weather at Christmas, love it.

The saying goes - if you can see the mountains it is going to rain. If you can't see the mountains it is already raining.

But I wouldn't live anywhere else.

more than 3 years ago

5.8 Earthquake Hits East Coast of the US

rcpitt timestamps - out by 3 minutes? (614 comments)

Hmmm... first indication I got was a post at 10:55AM (time shows my Pacific time) on Google+ from one Scott Beale

Note that my workstation is locked into NTP (drift of 5.0ms) but in any case I'd expect that Google's servers are too.

more than 3 years ago

Most People Have Never Heard of CTRL+F

rcpitt move to GUI was step backwards (567 comments)

I'll never forget the point at which the GUI took over from the keyboard for such things as bold, italic, and other things. Prior to this - the likes of WordPerfect were fast and efficient word processors because your fingers never left the "home" row and all commands were done with key combinations.

Now - type something, move right (or left) hand to the mouse - highlight - move mouse to menu - select - press mouse button - find "home" row again and start typing.

No wonder kids today use short-forms and misspellings and such In the mean time - I take full advantage of what key-combination commands there are - and get a lot more done

more than 3 years ago

The Most Expensive One-Byte Mistake

rcpitt Might not have been the most costly but... (594 comments)

Ken Thompson, one of the original creators of the UNIX system and the C language was asked what he'd do differently if he were redesigning the UNIX system.

His reply: "I'd spell creat with an e"

one byte - but a world of errors

more than 3 years ago

Can a Monkey Get a Copyright & Issue a Takedown?

rcpitt And if the camera was made by Sony (335 comments)

Then in light of all that has transpired in the PS3 debacle, then Sony would claim they held copyright - at least so opines my cousin sitting here in the room beside me :)

more than 3 years ago

US Congress To Use Skype For Video Teleconference

rcpitt Great - and let Microsoft listen in (96 comments)

in light of Microsoft may add evesdropping to Skype this is a really stupid idea - but then in light of some of the other "ideas" that come out of government in general and this one in particular we should be happy they're not actually going to conference in big business purposely.

more than 3 years ago

Bill Would Make Carriers Publish 4G Data Speeds

rcpitt Re:What about latency? (99 comments)

While you're talking about latency - take a look at Bufferbloat and the stuff pertaining to wireless networks in general and cell-data in particular.

Much of today's cell tower equipment is installed with no queue management turned on - and 100% retry "forever" (or at least a long period of time, longer than the 2 seconds it takes TCP/IP sessions to decide a packet didn't get there and resend, causing cascading congestion) and loads of buffer space to the point where latency is measured in 10s of seconds in some cases.

A carrier that actually takes advantage of the queue management built into the edge equipment can make their network faster and "feel" faster, and cut down on the actual amount of data they carry - but many (most?) don't have a clue.

For those interested in diving deeper - take a look at the Bufferbloat mail list and for want of a better one, this post by Jonathan Morton that speaks of 3G

more than 3 years ago

I Name My Servers After:

rcpitt After I purchase them (722 comments)

naming them before I purchase them simply seems wrong - getting into a whole naming genre - then having to purchase machines that fit their names as they come up on the list.

nope - for me, each machine gets its own name based on the personality it exudes as it gets configured and loaded...

major IBM server for a customer ended up as "rock" - it was big, fast, solid.

another customer simply wanted huge storage and didn't need fast - theirs ended up as "behemoth"

my workstation is the first of many to have an AMD chip in it - so it is "amd"

my laptop is "portapitt" - seems to be a portable extension of me - and several machines have worn this moniker now

others have been "slug" (not my choice of hardware, but the name fit the performance) and "behemoth" (big, ugly brute with rows of disks) richard

more than 3 years ago

I've had a personal email account for ...

rcpitt depends too much on age of respondant (336 comments)

The question should be years, not %

I'm 60 and have had email since 1983 = 41-60%

My son is 28 (i.e. born 1 year after I got email) and has had email since I let him have it in 1990 = 61-80%

The ones I pity are the 81-100% - their parents should probably be shot ;)

more than 3 years ago

Including webcams, phones, etc, I own X cameras:

rcpitt Kodak 6B and 1/2 plate camera plus other relics (248 comments)

Now if you'd asked how many digital cameras - the answer is 4

but I have several boxes of antiques spread around the house - you never know when someone might want to use up some old roll film :)

more than 3 years ago

US Senate Committee Passes PROTECT IP Act

rcpitt And in further news... public votes to (338 comments)

stop sending money to politicians accused of being stupid - tax revolt in "free" world follows political revolt in Arab countries

more than 3 years ago



DNA by CDROM - your computer CD can do diagnosis

rcpitt rcpitt writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Richard Pitt writes "The TRI-CITY news reports that a Coquitlam (suburb of Vancouver) grad student of Simon Fraser University's Chemistry department has spent the past seven years experimenting with using the common CDROM to do medical diagnostics.

Put a smear of your tissue, blood, urine or other bodily pieces (20 to 50 microlitres spread thin and dried) onto a CDROM and put it into your drive. The software presumably uses the laser to do something to it (the article is not specific) but with their software they think they can do diagnosis of all manner of ills.

And you thought the CD was dead!"

Link to Original Source

rcpitt rcpitt writes  |  more than 7 years ago

rcpitt writes "I hate to post a note on an article I wrote — It's not a grow op — it's my business — computers! , but I'm sure there are lots of people reading this that could easily fit into the profile it appears I've been tagged with... that of the operator of a marajuana grow op — due to the large amount (3000+ KWH/month) of power our home uses for my computer consulting business. You see there's all this 18+ Terabytes of eagle video from the Hornby Island live streaming eagle nest site last year — and more this year. 8+ computers with 10 300 Gig hard drives each, running 24x7 Be afraid — be very afraid!"



Network Solutions' Lack of Browser Support

rcpitt rcpitt writes  |  more than 5 years ago I've been running my own DNS servers "forever" - many of the domains are from our days as an ISP back in the late 1980s.

Recently I had to change the IP address of one of my core servers - one of the ones whose address is actually registered so that other domains can have our servers only listed by name in their zone records.

This domain has always been registered with Network Solutions. It's old and stable.

So I logged on to the www.networksolutions.com site and logged into my account - and went looking for the "manage DNS servers" page. All I found were pages that linked to ways to move my DNS to Network Solutions' own DNS - not what I wanted at all!

So I called their support line. A sweet young thing, after walking me through logging in again and clicking on the "Domains" menu item on the left - to display additional menu items. Everything was there except the "Manage DNS servers" item. She read me out the URL that I needed and I manually typed it into the browser bar. Fine - but what about the missing menu item?

She said she'd started a trouble ticket. About an hour later I got an e-mail telling me exactly the same as the sweet young thing had - 'When you login to accouint(SIC) manager, please click on "Domains" and beneath you will see options. the second option will be "manage name servers".' So I sent them a screen capture of my browser window showing that there was no such menu item. Following is what I got back:

Dear Richard Pitt,

The issue you reported to Network Solutions on 2/3/2009 06:25:43 AM and assigned Service Request 1-384655708 has been completed and closed.

This response is regarding your concern that you are unable to see the "manage name servers" tab in your account manager using the browser Mozilla Firefox and IE7.

Our account manager is designed and test in IE6 and some browsers may not present all options. If you need a change made, please call our customer service group and they can assist in performing the name server update.

Thank you for your patience.

We hope this update has been helpful. However, if you have any additional questions, or feel that the issue has not been completely addressed, please do not hesitate to email our Technical Support Department at technicalsupport@networksolutions.com or call us at 1-866-391-HELP (1-866-391-4357). If calling from outside the U.S. or Canada, please call 570.708.8788



Network Solutions Technical Support

Now I don't know about you, but I don't have a copy of IE6 hanging around. None of the Windoze virtual machines I use have it. The one real Windows box I have does not have it.

All have been updated to IE7 but all have Firefox as the default browser.

Don't you think that THE primary domain purveyor on the internet should support something recent and secure, not to mention something that by default supports the latest root certificates for their secure pages.


BBC's DIRAC video codec shown at IBC

rcpitt rcpitt writes  |  more than 6 years ago EE Times has a story today about the BBC's showing their DIRAC codec that they've been working on for years (Slashdot 2004)

From a personal perspective, having recently gone through the technical problems of creating a set-top-box with reasonable expectation of being adopted by industry, I can say that the dearth of good codecs at any reasonable price (taking encoding, distribution and decoding into account) lead us finally to adopt a Linux version of Windows Media for High Def mostly because the encoder and server are "free" with the operating system - and they account for a large part of the investment in infrastructure.

BBC's web site has an excellent overview of the technology that is licensed under the Mozilla Public License, including notes that they have reference implementations non only in software but soon in hardware too, with NuMedia Technology Ltd. having produced such hardware already.

Looks like H264 and MPEG4 will either have to soften their pricing for creation products or open things up more to compete.


Maybe a novel way of looking at Copyright in light of DRM

rcpitt rcpitt writes  |  more than 11 years ago Abstract from my article on FTAA that has relevance to Copyright, DMCA, Digital Rights Management, etc.

If "publishing" (in the context of when the copyright act takes effect for a work) were taken (by the courts for instance) to be defined only as that done without any rights management or extra contractual ties, then all works not so published (with DRM) would then become trade secrets (or something to that effect) and would lose (or never gain) the protection of the government via the copyright act and have to go after civil damages for individual transgressors.

Of Social Contracts and Government Sell-outs

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