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Comment Re:Is that even worthwhile? Serious Question... (Score 1) 105

I'll just add GasBuddy to Greenify's list, and not care.

Why don't I care? Because I'm already sending my GPS coordinates to GasBuddy when I use it, as part of the app's basic functionality. If it wants to gather up some more stats like nearby Bluebooth and Wifi when I use it, I don't care: They've already got the most personal of my personal data.

Comment Re:Passed data with a ton of noise? (Score 2) 373

You're full of shit.

CD-Rs are not bin-sorted in this way. The data that differentiates a "music" CD-R from any other CD-R is mechanically molded into the disc itself at the same that the disc is manufactured.

And so, by the time the molding is done, BEFORE the dye is applied, the sputtering of the reflective coating is complete, and the protective lacquer is applied, BEFORE a batch is ready to test before (possible) batch bin-sorting and silkscreening: The music CD-Rs are already irrevocably music CD-Rs.

The designation is part of the ATIP data. It is as set in stone as any non-recordable, molded/stamped CD ever was -- despite the rest of the contents being recordable.

Comment Re:Don't buy the cheapest cable (Score 1) 373

For mini-jack to dual RCA cable (line level audio) you can absolutely go for the cheapest cable. Sometimes a more expensive cable will have a complicated RCA connector that breaks down.

Some cables are worth more, because of reliability.

My preference is the same as the broadcast standard (where failure isn't an option): Canare. Made in Japan, generally sold in bulk lengths or reels. They've got stuff for 75-Ohm video, speaker, a couple of variations on balanced (for microphones or other), and a cable made for electric guitars which I find particularly reliable.

It terminates like a breeze, isn't alarmingly expensive (though it's certainly not cheap), and interconnects made with it (even plain-old RCAs) tend to last for decades. It survives trucks being driven over it and touring duty of being used and abused on a daily basis, and lays flat by default so that it only becomes a trip hazard if you really try to make it one.

In contrast, I recently sold for scrap a pound or two of cheap/free-in-the-box dual-RCA cables. I was doing some work on my little home theater, and needed 24 sets (12 pairs) of RCA leads to integrate a new project I'd built.

Of course, I had a box full cheap/freebie 3-foot RCA interconnects, all used but neatly-sorted and wrapped, and most of unknown heritage. I dug into that and started hooking up my new kit.

Most of them had only one channel that worked. Some didn't work at all. And most frustratingly, I found that of the many dozens (hundreds?) of feet of cheap RCA cables in front of me, I only had exactly enough that worked reliably to get things connected: Some seemed to work but only did so part of the time, which made me question my own soldering on the project and made trouble-shooting a multi-hour process instead of a hook-it-up-and-go sort of thing.

A wire that doesn't work (or worse, one that only works sometimes) is worth less than no wire at all.

And wire that tends to work tends to cost also more than wire that tends to fail, because (if for no other reason) copper is expensive.

Does that mean that one should spend $340 on an Ethernet cable? No. Does that mean that one should spend $60 or $600 on a short RCA patch cable? No. Does that mean that $10 or $20, well-placed, might garner a much more reliable solution than a freebie RCA? A thousand times, yes.

Comment Re:Don't buy the cheapest cable (Score 1) 373

You don't need cables made out of gold, but you often do need them to conform to the specs. I've had this problem with cheap as shit HDMI cables where my components wouldn't recognize each other until I replaced the cables with monoprice cables. So it's not like I had to spend a ton, but I did have to get actual certified cables.

In days past, I've had issues with HDMI cables. And I don't mean some hodge-podge "the colors were much richer with the expensive wire, and the blacks were more black" I-just-spent-$900-on-a-bottle-of-snake-oil type of issues.

I mean real, tangible brokenness: Green screens, sparklies, failure to sync culminating in 15-minute-long cycles of hard-cycling the cable box, subsequent angry wife -- that sort of thing.

And I'm not even talking about long runs. 6 feet, tops.

So I went to Monoprice, as one does, and ordered a handful of differently-colored (because wiring is easier with colors) heavier-gauge ("premium") cables. And lo, the cables showed up and they were colorful and the wiring began.

Much to my surprise, the new Monoprice cables worked even worse than the old and crappy cables that barely worked previously.

My solution (being of an engineer's mindset) was to look at the new ones vs the old ones. The Monoprice cables were apparently well-constructed with heavy wire, and had ferrite beads. The old ones also appeared to be well-constructed, but with much smaller wire and no ferrite beads.

I decided to minimize these differences. And so, using a sharp knife and a hammer, I removed the molded-on ferrite beads from the Monoprice cables. And the thus-modified the Monoprice cables have worked marvelously and flawlessly to this day.

So is it a matter of meeting spec, or is it a matter of a product that actually works? Was the gear non-compliant, or the cable, or both? (Further: Which end, source or destination? Both ends? Which cable? Are both cables non-compliant?)

Footnote: Consequent to this, for my own purposes, I've taken to buying cheap used HDMI cables through Ebay or Amazon from folks who appear to be hard up for cash and are able to take accurate-looking photos. Haven't been let down yet, with my own pile of gear. For my day job, I order from Monoprice as a rule, and haven't had any issues with their "premium" cheap cabling outside of my own system...even for lengthy 45' runs with wire the size of a thumb. It just works, just not for me with my stuff. Deductively, my gear is the problem...but my gear is the expensive part and I'm not looking forward to replacing it any time soon.

tl;dr, If the cabling doesn't fucking work in an application, it doesn't matter how much it cost. And if it does work, it *also* doesn't matter how much it cost.

Comment Re:Very much not new (Score 1) 27

You're right; I was mistakenly conflating Wiegand (the protocol) vs Wiegand (the contact-required card format that defined the de-facto and like-named protocol).

Point remains: Yanking the biometric/Wiegand/prox/NFC/whatever reader off of the wall and poking at the wires still does not gain the attacker access, unless Hollywood.

Also: Wiegand wire (the material that allowed the card to exist) is clever stuff.

Comment Re:Raspberry Pi (Score 1) 157

The issue is video. The issue is also USB (which, by virtue of being USB, is different from "keyboard/mouse").

The wireless video problem is a problem because HDMI doing 1080p is in the realm of 4Gbps, continuous. Of course it can be compressed to be transmitted without wires (hi there, ATSC!), but that always adds latency and (quite often horrific-looking) compression artifacts in the consumer realm. One can reduce the bandwidth requirements by adding latency, or reduce the latency by increasing bandwidth -- such is the nature of perceptual codecs. (There is alleged to be some existing tech from Intel that can do a fair job of this, but it requires line-of-sight. Because, you know, bandwidth.)

The wireless USB problem is a problem because USB devices expect near-zero latency -- and so do you. (Remember, old, slow USB 1.1 predates common wireless tech.)

Don't want to run wire yourself? Fine, don't. It'll be cheaper, better, and faster to hire a local AV company to pull the wire in, and a carpenter to patch up anything they disturb, and a painter to fix what the carpenter didn't do, and a cleaner to mop up whatever residual mess still remains.

Or get another computer -- I understand that some of these are even portable these days (I think they call them "laptops").

Or just muscle up and move the PC for your once-in-a-while whimsical needs.

There isn't anything left to discuss here.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 886

I'll go further and wager that in an average American city, beds are used on average less than 30% of the time. Most clothes are in use less than 10% of the time.

Let's take your model to the logical extreme. We'll share our beds and housing so that we get optimum use from them, as well as share everything that is bulky and seldom used, and carry our (few) our personal possessions on our back in a duffel bag.

Move to a new city? No problem! Clean uniforms are waiting for you there, so there's no need to carry much more than the clothes on your back. Just throw the duffel into the back of the Electric Carriage and be shuffled off to a new place!

Wife and kids don't want to go? No big deal, we'll just share those, too! Just be assigned a new family at whatever sleeping tube structure you decide to call "home," and your old family will await similar and complete male utilization at their old tube structure.

Also: We don't need to own books; we have libraries! We don't need to keep pets; we have zoos! We don't need underutilized personal kitchens; we have restaurants! We don't need personal computers; we have public terminals! We don't need currency; everything is provided for you!

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need!

tl;dr I like owning and driving my car.

(See also: THX-1138)

Comment Re:Raspberry Pi (Score 1) 157

But you can't have it.

There isn't enough bandwidth in the ISM bands to support what you want.

You'll always have to run at least one wire. And by the time you run one wire, you might as well run the rest of the wires that you need.

And then you'll wind up with a solution that always works, instead of a solution that (currently) cannot exist because wireless spectrum is a finite resource and your needs are beyond its capacity.

Comment Re:Very much not new (Score 2) 27

No, you wouldn't -- at least, not with any sensible topology.

The way it usually works is like this: You present your Wiegand card to the Wiegand reader, some magic RF resonance happens, and a stream of bits is produced on a wire.

At the other end of this wire, buried deep in the bowels of the building, is a computer (embedded or not) which verifies that your bits are the correct bits. If they are correct, it closes a relay that makes the door open, and (optionally) signals the reader to provide feedback to the user (blinking LED, sound, etc). If they are incorrect bits, it doesn't do anything with the door, and (optionally) provides feedback to that effect (in the form of a blinking LED, sound, dumping poison gas).

Getting access to the data lines at the reader does not magically equate to physical access to the building, except in Hollywood movies and horrifyingly-bad installations (whereby the insecure reader itself does the numeric verification, and/or uses its own internal relay controls the door).

IOW, you can pry the reader off of the wall and twist any wires together that you want..and nothing happens at all except perhaps a blown fuse somewhere upstream and a headache for whoever has to clean up your mess.

Comment Re:Netflix, Amazon, Hulu (&& wtf is up wit (Score 1) 100

Slashdot's 3rd-party linking is now worse than even CNET, Target, Walmart, etc.

All hail our new corporate overlords. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. The king is dead, long live the king.


The writing has been on the wall for years, now: Why are we still here?

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: #44 Zebras are colored with dark stripes on a light background.