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Comment Re:Disable Java* == many broken sites (Score 1) 122 122

OK, so I got the Java* terminology mixed up... with so many variants, it's an easy mistake, so cut me some slack. Why do so many people have to be so bloody vicious? Good grief.

If Java* is left disabled, my bank's WEBsite doesn't work. Facebook doesn't work. Youtube doesn't work. Some online retail sites don't work. The streaming audio from my workplace doesn't work. (We lease a server, it's not our code.) My Web-based e-mail doesn't work... a significant number of sites that I use often, don't work.

So I will still stand by what I originally said, but with some rather brutal public corrections applied.

Comment Disable Java == Broken Websites (Score -1) 122 122

The PROBLEM with disabling Java, is that a significant majority of sites use it heavily... so if you disable it, you cannot even see the content on many of them. THAT is a trend that should be changed! If a user visits a site, and they have their Java turned off, the LEAST they could do is provide a basic HTML version of the site, but no... you get that accursed "Please activate Java to view this site" message.

Comment Change stations on someone else's radio (Score 2) 210 210

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 Let's hear it for continual software development (Score 1) 531 531

Directory Opus. Five major releases on the Amiga; now at release 10.x on Windows.

If you have to use a PC running Microsoft Windows; it is at least nice to have the Linus blanket of a *working*, highly multi-threaded, File Manager written by a competent programmer!

It is better to never have tried anything than to have tried something and failed. - motto of jerks, weenies and losers everywhere

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