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Comment OpenVPN (Score 1) 173

If "mixed environment" only means that there are hosts running various OS's at both locations, it's fairly irrelevant.

Anyway, I am using OpenVPN for what appears to be a similar scenario--routing traffic between a relative's and my house. I don't have Internet traffic from one site being routed through the other, although the VPN certainly could be configured that way.

I will also echo the previous recommendation for PFSense, which I am using on one side of the VPN (running on a fairly inexpensive ALIX board). On the other side, I'm using an Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite. I can heartily recommend either one, but particularly the EdgeRouter which can't be beat for its ~$100 street price.

Comment Re:Wait for windows phone in 2013... (Score 2) 532

Great, so in 2013, Windows Phones will be able to do what other phones already can today. And of course, the competition will be standing still in the meantime. But Windows Phone will be worth the wait, we promise!

As for Windows Phone 7.5 being "a very good start," it's not a "start." Microsoft has been trying for years to be relevant in the mobile space. So they finally got some of it right on the seven-and-a halfth try? Good for them. (OK, I know that Windows Phone releases haven't been consecutively numbered since 1.0, but you get the idea.)

Microsoft is in catch-up mode, and I expect that they'll stay there, as this time they're not able to leverage their existing monopolies as they were able to do when they initially missed the boat with the Internet.

Comment Re:EHEM -From the creator. (Score 1) 161

It is an impressive accomplishment, and you should be proud of that. It demonstrates initiative, patience, imagination and maybe a bit of ingenuity.

There are some responses here that amount to "BFD" and you would do well to ignore those. There are others that put the scope of such a project in context, comparing it to what an undergrad student might do in a CS or EE class (and without much more experience or education than you have). I believe these responses are intended not to diminish what you've achieved, but merely to point out that it isn't rocket science (if you'll pardon the use of an old expression).

So, while similar things have been done before, it's still a monumental undertaking, and the fact that you saw the project through to completion says a lot. Again, nice job. The world (or at least some of us geeks) will be interested to see what you come up with next...


Comment Re:Old school (Score 1) 161

That's pretty much what we did in a CS/EE class. Designed a CPU from scratch, put the microcode on a FPLA and used a bunch of supporting TTL chips. If I recall correctly, it was 16-bit, but it might have been 8. He has taken it a step further with video output, and that's impressive (at least to me).


Dead Parrot Sketch Is 1,600 Years Old Screenshot-sm 276

laejoh writes "Monty Python's 'Dead Parrot sketch' — which featured John Cleese — is some 1,600 years old. A classic scholar has proved the point, by unearthing a Greek version of the world-famous piece. A comedy duo called Hierocles and Philagrius told the original version, only rather than a parrot they used a slave. It concerns a man who complains to his friend that he was sold a slave who dies in his service. His companion replies: 'When he was with me, he never did any such thing!' The joke was discovered in a collection of 265 jokes called Philogelos: The Laugh Addict, which dates from the fourth century AD. Hierocles had gone to meet his maker, and Philagrius had certainly ceased to be, long before John Cleese and Michael Palin reinvented the yarn in 1969."

Comment Mini-ITX (Score 1) 108

If your CPU horsepower needs aren't massive, Mini-ITX is the way to go. I've recently put together 1U devices for a firewall and a general purpose/file server, and an Asterisk box is on the way. It's hard to beat this form factor for low power consumption, which of course translates into less heat and less noise. The downside is usually cost--Mini-ITX motherboards tend to carry a price premium over their larger counterparts, as do the mobile CPUs which often go with them.

Cases aren't hard to come by; the SuperMicro cases recommended by others seem nice, and while not designed around the Mini-ITX form factor, will probably work nicely with such motherboards. However, I've found that iDOTpc ( has some nice and (relatively) inexpensive 1U rackmount cases in 8", 12" and 16" depth at very reasonable prices. The 8" and 16" models can be configured without a power supply if you intend to provide your own (as some Mini-ITX boards include onboard DC converters and use an external brick).

Then you just need to choose a motherboard that fits your needs. For the firewall I used a PC Engines ALIX.2C3, which is actually not Mini-ITX form factor (it's slightly smaller), but which fit in the aforementioned iDOTpc 8" case with little modification (I had to add some standoffs at appropriate locations and cut up a generic I/O backplate). There are several models in the ALIX family--with varying amounts of network ports, mini-PCI slots, etc.--all of which consume 5-6 watts of power when active. (Incidentally I got mine from,

On the other end of the power spectrum, there are boards that can use mobile dual-core processors from Intel or AMD. I went with an AOpen i945GTt-VFA, which is an Intel Socket M board, into which I installed a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo. Coupled with a pair of SATA drives in iDOTpc's 16" case, the system uses about 40W when idle and perhaps 50W under load. Of course this doesn't run fanless; in addition to the CPU fan there are two case fans (also supplied by iDOTpc) rated at 24.0dBA. The system is still very quiet, especially since the fan speeds vary with the system temperature. Incidentally I procured the i945GTt-VFA from Logic Supply (, although they don't stock this particular board anymore.

There are plenty of other Mini-ITX boards to choose from, with varying amounts of CPU power, I/O capability, power consumption and of course price tags. The most common suppliers seem to be VIA, Jetway and MSI (and even Intel, which offers a very inexpensive board, which unfortunately isn't suitable for 1U installations). And Intel Atom-based motherboards are (hopefully) just around the corner; it will be interesting to see what sort of performance-per-watt they will provide.

Finally, don't let anyone tell you that you shouldn't use a rackmount form factor. Sure, it might end up costing a little more than using desktop parts, but there's a certain elegance about it. It usually doesn't make sense to drive old British sports cars, either, but I'm sure those that do, understand. :-)


Tesla Motors Opens Retail Store 442

Tesla Motors has opened their first retail store front to allow the masses access to their new cars. Of course, this is assuming you can afford the $109,000 price tag. "The company told the Associated Press that it is impressed with demand: it has taken 600 orders for the Roadster and has a waiting list of another 400. CEO Elon Musk owns the first one produced. The fancy showroom near Beverly Hills takes its inspiration from Apple stores, Musk said. [...] The company plans to make a luxury sedan next year called the Whitestar that will come in two versions: an all-electric model that will run entirely on its lithium ion battery pack, and a range-extended vehicle that will also use liquid fuel to extend its range. The Roadster will have a range of 220 miles per charge and the mileage equivalent of 135 miles per gallon."

The Blackest Material 299

QuantumCrypto writes "Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have created 'the world's first material that reflects virtually no light.' This anti-reflection technology is based on nanomaterial and could lead to the development of more efficient solar cells, brighter LEDs, and 'smarter' light sources. In theory, if a room were to be coated with this material, switching on the lights would only illuminate the items in the room and not the walls, giving a sense of floating free in infinite space."

"Sometimes insanity is the only alternative" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.