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Comment: Re: Are any of them able to use the Skype network? (Score 4, Informative) 280

by Technician (#48177393) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Stop PulseAudio From Changing Sound Settings?

Yes, but not in a very graceful fashion. The one I use on occasoion is as a SIP provider. You can Google the proceedure to use the Skype/SIP gateway.

In a nutshell, the gateway is like dialing 9 on a PBX and outside callers needing to use an automated attendant to reach an extension, so you need to educate your Skype contacts on how to use it.

The cumbersome interface uses a Skype proxy for outgoing calls where the caller is as the caller, and to call in from Skype, you add the poxy as a contact, then when connecting to the proxy, the caller is sent a text that needs to be replyed to with the "SIP extension" you are calling, so it does not support Skype directly. The caller needs two pieces of information to contact you, the Skype to ippi friend, then your sip user ID. For example if I used my slashdot handle, which I don't, my SIP address would be The Skype caller would need to call the gateway Skype2ippi and then respond to the automated text and enter technician to ring my SIP phone.

Outgoing calls are simpler. I enter the full gateway/skype string into the speed dial settings on IPPI, so to call one of my friends, I just pick up the phone and speed dial them. IPPI speed dialer uses 2 digit speed dialing so you can save 99 contacts.

This works great with either a SIP softphone, or a hardware device such as an ATA and analog phone or an IP phone such as one of the Grandstream models.

The service does not provide video, only an audio connection.

Comment: Size vs resolution (Score 2) 213

by Technician (#48110655) Attached to: NASA Finds a Delaware-Sized Methane "Hot Spot" In the Southwest

Like a photo flare or photo of a smoke cloud, this is a single time event sample as far as I can tell. Was there an industrial or transportation accident? Many tests for hydrocarbons are cross sensitive, such as a sensor for Propane will detect gasoline, natural gas, butane, etc. What sensor is used, what is the sample time, what else is it sensitive to, and were there any significant accidents or releases in the area recently? If it was from the soil, soil based sampling should have seen this concentration long ago in gas exploration.

Comment: Re:Self check out (Score 1) 236

by Technician (#48102047) Attached to: Outsourced Tech Jobs Are Increasingly Being Automated

I found the self check out is used by LOWER priced grocers as a way to cut costs and offer lower prices. Supermarkets without self checkout are often much more expensive to provide that personal touch. Natures, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, etc are examples of upscale markets without self checkout. Walmart appears to be the exception in haveing no self checkout and offering lower prices. Communities have a beef with the low rates they pay their staff, but they do have paid staff instead of self check out.

Comment: Outsourced then automated example (Score 1) 236

by Technician (#48101965) Attached to: Outsourced Tech Jobs Are Increasingly Being Automated

A good example of first being outsourced and then automated is telemarketing.

The low level lead generation has been replaced by robocalls. This blight on the phone system makes automated calls very inexpensive for the caller and more expensive for the receiver both in call plan time usage (unless unlimited) and resources (time) of the receiver.

If left unchecked, my phone will go to an automated auto attendant instead of being answered for non white list callers.

It's a sad day when you need a spam filter on your phone to sort your calls for you. The cost is real calls are delayed costing everyone time. I hope robocalls are outlawed soon except for op in, such as appointment reminders.

Comment: Repairs are often bottlenecks (Score 2) 38

by Technician (#48064533) Attached to: Snowflake-Shaped Networks Are Easiest To Mend

Often the reapair is on smaller lower capacity branches that can not handle the load. On a network, this results in slow connections. On a power grid this results in cascading failures of the alternate routes. This is what blacked out the East Coast of the US some years ago. A major line failed shifting the load to smaller lines unable to sustain the load. This resulted in a large area ripping free of the rest of the grid as none of the smaller route could carry the load.

Comment: Apple did us a favor (Score 3, Interesting) 135

by Technician (#48059447) Attached to: Apple To Face $350 Million Trial Over iPod DRM

i for one am glad Apple took this course of action. It made it abundantly clear that DRM is a failed business plan. Between the Mini Disk MO player/recorder with serial copy protection and then iTunes with copy protection, they left a void that quickly became filled with alternatives with much higher compatabiliy. DRM simply meant incompatability to many as the Mini Disk was incompatible with desktop music production. It gave way to simple recordable CD's. DAT tape, competing company, with mandated DRM was knifed in the cradle. In my life I have only seen one DAT tape recorder, but neve any tapes for it. It was pretty much a dead format due to DRM.

The huge public awareness of DRM and incompatibility was presented to the public with iTunes and it's incompatibility with everything else. DVD player could play MP3 CD's and DVD's. In dash car stereos began to support MP3 CD's and some play MP3's on a thumb drive. A few supported an iPod dock, but none could directy play Apple DRM content which made the public aware of the problem.

Apple finally had to support non DRM industry compatability to stay alive.

Thank you Apple for educating the large portion of the public. DRM on music is mostly a thing of the past.

Comment: Re:Define A Toy (Score 2) 209

by Technician (#48013837) Attached to: My toy collection is ...

In my case I have at least a ton of toys. A motorhome counts, so does the solar panel I put on it as I built my own controller. Add in my test equipment and tools that I don't use for employment, my musical insturments, stage lighting and sound equipment I use for weddings and other socail gatherings, etc.

I spend a lot of time playing, so I have toys beyond the internet.

Computers I guess would include annimated Christmas lights, VOIP toys such as integrating a Grandstream phone wiht Google Voice, Talk, Skype, etc, MIDI, recording studio such as Ardour, Audacity, digital photography, etc. Lots of toys. Some I guess could be written off as continuing education, but it's mostly toys.

Comment: Re:I dunno about LEDs, but CFLs don't last (Score 1) 602

by Technician (#48004959) Attached to: The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

The review in question is posted on an internal corporate networking site not open to the general public. To be fair, the review was posted 3 years ago when some bulbs were made of a field of individual 3 or 5mm LED's without a heatsink. The review covered both the bathroom lights and a couple of LED Christmas light strings my daugher put up in her room and left on 24/7 as a night light. In the string of Christmas lights over 1/2 of the blue bulbs were completely dead and the other half varied very much in brightness from full dim to about 1/2 bright when compaired with another string that was stored from the season. We discarded the string in July when it was no longer functional, a string that was in trouble after 3 months and mostly dead at 7 months.

Due to recent changes in technology, and disclosure, the bathroom nightlights were Lights of America, a cheap brand and the Christmas lights are the cheap ones sold at my local Winco Grocery store.

Newer GE bulbs are working great. I've been happy with a energy smart 10 Watt Par 30 24 degree flood I have been testing at my desk. It's been running 12+ hrs a day since March 2 2013. It is very hard to tell it is an LED. It is one of the better incandecant replacements I have found.

Comment: Great oppertunity for education. (Score 1) 71

This could be interesting. I wonder how much the increased access will increase the number of dying officials with a metal box in a security company?

I hope South Africa manages to shed the reputation by their counterparts in Nigeria and close neighbors. I hope they use it for education such as provided by Khan Academy to better themselves.

Comment: Re:I dunno about LEDs, but CFLs don't last (Score 5, Insightful) 602

by Technician (#48002053) Attached to: The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

I write the date on all my bulbs. Failed bulbs are never replaced with the same brand. The theory goes that short life bulbs will be circulated out of service and long life bulbs will remain.

Note to manufactures, to get on my bad boy list, have high premature deaths. To get on my recommended list, be the last man standing in my testing.

Failures fall in two modes. Lumen maintenance and failure. Most LED's dim over their lifetime. I bought a 3 pack of lower wattage "candelaubra lamps and used them in bathrooms as nightlights. I noticed they were quite dim after about 7 months. Used the 3rd bulb as a comparison as I used only two at the time. I photographed the result with a digital camera on manual settings so all exposures were taken with the same setting and posted the result online. You don't want your short life bulbs mentioned by name in a poor review.

My general observations are older bulbs had higher failure rates than the current line as the technology improved. LED's are an absolute must in locations with occasional use such as bathrooms, but often leave much to be desired where they are on 24/7 or 8-12 hours a day. A CFL in a seldom switched location will often have better lumen maintenance than an LED.

Note on the package on LED's, they are most often rated for only 3 Hours a day. For now use them in hallways, the garrage,storage areas, and bathrooms, I am having some great performance on some newer bulbs in the living room, but it is too early to call, but it is looking promising.

Comment: Re:These people are doing it to themselves (Score 1) 907

by Technician (#47995779) Attached to: Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

To show the "Poor" that this impacts, visit youtube and look up some of the Repo Nut videos. Disclaimer, not associated with repo in any way. Found the videos enteratining and informative in the light of the repo industry.

What I found common to most repo's. Homes are upscale suburbs. Cars are NEW purchases, Homes are typically multi garage multi story homes. Hardly Poor that can't afford a used car.

Only a few of the repo's are in poor neighborhoods and at apartment complexes. I do understand some bias is due to the limited market sample size by the few repo people who post videos, so poor neighborhoods and lower repo rates will have repo men without video as a sideline so the sample and demographic may not paint the true picture.

Comment: Re: The review ecosystem is good and truly broken. (Score 1) 249

by Technician (#47964429) Attached to: Small Restaurant Out-Maneuvers Yelp In Reviews War

Word of mouth is still the best. Some of the best movies I have seen have been recommended by friends, not strangers. Same for the best restraunts. My record to date is I have driven 126 miles one way to go to a great annual dinner. It is a great harvest cowboy dinner with fire brewed coffee. The event was never publicily advertised as they had a full house every year. It was a great pit BBQ with beef, lamb, pork, spuds, beans, etc. I go every year.

Comment: Re:Slashdotted (Score 2) 249

by Technician (#47964293) Attached to: Small Restaurant Out-Maneuvers Yelp In Reviews War

Never ate there, but the website survived a Slashdotting.

I like how they thank Yelp for the world wide publicity. Can't pay to get that type of exposure. I will remember them if I am ever in the area. I hope their in restraunt WiFi is as good as their website. If it is, I'm going to hire their IT guy!

Heuristics are bug ridden by definition. If they didn't have bugs, then they'd be algorithms.