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Comment: Change stations on someone else's radio (Score 2) 209 209

This goes back to the early 1980's. I used to hang out until the wee hours with some folks at a local 24 hour donut shop. The owner had rigged-up a stereo inside a locked box, in the back room. It was set to a local "Elevator Music" station, and everyone (even the employees) hated it... but there was nothing anyone could do... until I came along. :)

I used an "FM Converter" (remember those? You could listen to FM thru an AM-only car radio) which I modified for direct audio output from the detector. This fed into a basic amplifier system, and into a home made FM transmitter. I would be sitting in a booth with my friends, and could not only change the station to almost anything we wanted, but also adjust the volume, bass, and treble. They were suitably impressed.

So, each time I'd come in with my device, they'd say, "Here comes OVERRIDE!" (their new nickname for me). I would then proceed to knock out the elevator music, and tune in to the local rock station. Everyone loved it.

I also made a smaller version that I could connect to a Walkman cassette player, and play my music over any other FM radio in range. All it took was a few milliwatts of power. Fun times.

Now I am a Broadcast Engineer... and I get to play with real transmitters and control systems, etc.

Comment: Changing someone else's radio station (Score 1) 145 145

This goes back to my late teens, in the EARLY 1980's. I created a gizmo using various parts and pieces, where I could use it to play any radio station I wanted through someone else's radio. It was most often used at a local 24 hour donut shop, where I hung around with a group of guys until the wee hours. The owner of that store had a radio in a locked box in the back, that piped a local "elevator music" station through the store's speakers. Since it was locked, nobody could change it... until I came along. :)

The idea was simple... I took apart an old "FM converter" (remember those? To listen to FM on an AM-only car radio) and fed the audio output into a homebrew FM transmitter. It was powered by a 7AH 12V gel cell, so it had plenty of power for all-nighters. The guys would really get a big kick out of the fact that I could adjust everything... volume, bass, treble, and what station we heard, from a booth in the lobby. Naturally, the local rock station was the music of choice.

In later years, I adapted that transmitter to work with a "walkman" cassette player, and if a restaurant was playing a radio, I could put my tape onto their speakers for the duration I was there. :)

Now, I'm a Broadcast Engineer, and also a ham radio operator. Hacks are a part of everyday life... but not like this, anymore. I could get away with it when I was a teen, not as a 50-something.

Comment: This *IS* Star Trek! (Score 2) 109 109

The first fan-fiction Star Trek I watched was "New Voyages" a number of years ago. As a fan of Trek since TOS was in syndication in the early 70's (I was only 4 in 1966!) I have to admit, I was quite pleasantly surprised! Then, along came Star Trek Continues, running in pretty much the same vein, and with similar quality to "New Voyages".

As others here have said, this really *IS* like watching "lost episodes" from TOS! Both my wife and I really enjoy this! It is like getting brand new Star Trek stories, again... just a LONG wait between each one.

It is also quite telling, when you see that both of these high-quality fan-fiction productions are actually getting the ORIGINAL actors and actresses to reprise their TOS roles in various ways... this is where "time-travel" stories are actually being used in an enjoyable and meaningful way. For example, "World Enough and Time" (By New Voyages) was only the 2'nd Star Trek story to bring tears to my eyes! (The first was "Inner Light" on TNG.) Yeah, it was THAT good!

I look forward to watching what BOTH of these top-notch fan-fiction production groups do in the days ahead! If the Powers That Be would REALLY PAY ATTENTION, they would see what the majority of the Star Trek fan base REALLY WANTS.

Those "new" movies don't even deserve more than this one-line mention. I only saw the 1'st one. That did it for me. No more.

Live Long and Prosper, New Voyages and Star Trek Continues!!

Comment: Re:The "crybaby" tone (Score 1) 790 790

Yes, that tone sounds very much generated. In fact, on my 150-in-one kit that I had as a kid, I could recreate this very same tone with a 3-transistor circuit. One transistor works with the audio transformer and makes the raspy tone. (Just a narrow-width pulse.) The other two are a free-running flip-flop, at approx. a 1Hz rate to modulate the frequency of the other. A capacitor will "integrate" the squarewaves feeding the base of the audio/pulse oscillator, and this tone is born.

No, the one I am talking about sounded VERY MUCH like a recorded human voice. That is what made it so fascinating.

Perhaps it was unique to the Southern New England Telephone (SNET) system.

Comment: Non-existant phone number sound (Score 1) 790 790

Going back to the old rotary-dial phone days... How about that "awahhhawwwahhhawwwahhhaww" weird sound that you got when you dialed a nonsensical number? It sounded like an old lady's voice... probably recorded onto a tape loop, because if you listened to it for a few seconds, it abruptly started again, and kept repeating for a while. If my memory serves, if you stayed on the line listening to the weird thing for too long, it cut off, and was replaced by a very LOUD "busy-signal" type sound.

Comment: Re:For that matter... phones. (Score 1) 790 790

I did something very similar, only I used the Radio Shack "Telephone Amplifier" kit, with some modifications. ;) One of those mods was to install a NC pushbutton to use for dialing. When I held a "D" cell battery in my hand as a weight, it helped my timing. I used the bottom of the battery to press the button, and it's internal spring would push the battery back up. With just a little bit of practice, I was dialing actual phone numbers, and getting through. :) I amazed my friends by doing this several times as they watched.

Comment: He's busting 'em up! (Mr Data) (Score 2) 412 412

I couldn't pass this one up... Remember when Mr Data played Kolrami, the galaxy's greatest Stratgema player... and how instead of seeking to win, sought to keep the game going indefinitely? :) (The game scene is at the halfway mark.)

"He busted him up!" ;)

Comment: Re:Footshooting... (Score 1) 579 579

I could see lawsuits (class-action) if they try to outright ban homeowners from installing DC power systems in their homes. I doubt they could ever do that.

Making a direct back-feed connection to the Grid illegal? They can most likely pull that off... for a time. An act of Congress could be forthcoming to change that, too. (Remember the old Ma Bell, where you couldn't connect ANYTHING user-owned to their network?)

+ - Laptop destroyed by excessive airport x-rays?

Announcer writes: I have traveled many times with my old workhorse Thinkpad, and never had any problems until Saturday, 11/30/13 in Charlotte, NC. They scanned my computer repeatedly, holding it in the x-ray machine for more than a minute, changing views, etc. When I got home and tried to use it, the CMOS memory was scrambled and now has a lockout password, where none existed before. (Cannot clear it. Already tried.) Has anyone else had their computer hardware damaged by excessive x-ray scans? They also destroyed not one, but TWO PCMCIA WiFi cards. (They no longer detect any signals.) It was all packed securely, and I carried it on, so it was not mishandled. I sent an e-mail to the airport. I await a response. What does the Collective of Slashdot suggest? (Besides replacing the computer. I already know that.)

Comment: Cloud-based OCR? Really? (Score 3, Insightful) 61 61

OK, how long will it take until the DRM running on the "cloud" OCR provider recognizes what's going on, and puts a stop to this? The Mac should be capable of running a local OCR. What happens at home stays at home... what happens "in the cloud" is everyone's business.

Overall, this would be a cool thing to set up... start it, go to work, then come home and have the whole book on your laptop. Just get rid of the "cloud middleman".

egrep patterns are full regular expressions; it uses a fast deterministic algorithm that sometimes needs exponential space. -- unix manuals