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Comment you might, actually (Score 1) 670 670

Consider the following cases:
1) You want to hot-swap your keyboards and have the adjustment carry over between keyboards.
2) You want to switching between host terminals and virtual machines and have the adjustment carry over into the various VMs.
3) You want the adjustment to affect the BIOS as well.
4) Your keyboard is on a KVM switch and you want the change to affect multiple computers that may be running different OS's.

In the above cases, it would be handy to have a physical "bump in the cable" adapter.

Comment a bit too harsh (Score 1) 163 163

Bugs happen. If you've got code that seems to work and then you investigate and it doesn't work on one particular brand of drive, it would be a reasonable suspicion that there is something funny with those drives.

Given the fact that multiple Samsung drive models were failing but multiple Intel drive models were *not* failing under the same test (from the linked article), the developers could be forgiven in suspecting there was something wonky going on with the Samsung drives.

Comment fairly common to blacklist devices (Score 1) 163 163

hardware firmware is commonly buggy. Device drivers often have to work around buggy hardware, so blacklisting devices for various functionality is not at all unusual.

If the code seems to work with other devices and breaks with a new device, then the first instinct is going to be to assume the new device is doing something wrong.

Comment Not quite that trivial. (Score 1) 1146 1146

As others have said, calling the police is not going to help. They can't exactly roll out a pair of RF direction-finding vans and triangulate the position of the drone operator. They might if you're lucky send some officers by in a few hours to take a complaint, and then most likely not do anything with it unless they get dozens of other complaints in the same area.

What we need is a net gun that will disable drones without endangering people.

Comment 486 running DOS to drive a fusion reactor (Score 1) 617 617

Back in 2000 I wrote some code to do some funky control systems stuff for a Tokomak nuclear fusion reactor as a research project. We happened to have a spare 486 with DOS and Borland C available that had a decent A/D and D/A converter board installed. This actually turned out to be really good for realtime code because you *knew* there was nothing else running on that system.

I had to rewrite the drivers for the converter board because it couldn't give the performance we were looking for--the settling time for the A/D conversions was too long. I figured out a way to interleave the A/D and D/A conversions so that the hardware delay for one also provided the required delay for the other, essentially doubling the sampling rate relative to the stock driver.

These days it'd probably make more sense to use an Arduino...

Comment Have you tried TeamViewer? (Score 2) 173 173

For your main goal of being able to log into your parents' machines, have you tried TeamViewer?

As for setting up VPN, I think you should be able to do it relatively inexpensively with something like a couple of consumer-grade routers running DD-WRT. The one at location B is set up as a VPN client, and the one at location A is set up as a VPN server. You might want to set up address ranges for DHCP at location B such that they're part of the network at location A but not assigned at location A. That way you can avoid needing to do NAT at location B as well as location A.

Comment roads for access to fields, not homes (Score 2) 285 285

I live in the Canadian prairies. Around here we have a whole grid of gravel roads (roughly every mile or so). These roads are not for providing access to homes, but rather for providing access to *fields*.

Back in the day farms were a lot smaller than they are now. Since then there has been a lot of consolidation, so they could probably remove a bunch of roads going in one direction (north/south or east/west) but they'd have to leave the roads going the other direction to continue to provide access to the fields.

Comment there is some very reliable hardware out there (Score 1) 86 86

I worked on a telecom switch that ran processing on cards that had two CPUs in lockstep. If the output of the two ever differed the card was taken out of service and its last transaction was rolled back. Memory contents were stored in at least three places at any given time. The dataplane was inductively coupled to avoid the possibility of DC current damaging things.

We replaced it with commodity hardware and smarter software. It wasn't *quite* as reliable, but it was a whole lot cheaper and the speeds ramped up much faster.

"Facts are stupid things." -- President Ronald Reagan (a blooper from his speeach at the '88 GOP convention)