Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:express train to bankrupt (Score 1) 110

by crow (#47927347) Attached to: Logitech Aims To Control the Smart Home

I think for most people this sort of thing doesn't make sense, but there are a few places where it does:

*) Security. If you're paranoid about break-ins, being able to monitor your home remotely can bring some peace of mind.

*) Stalking your family. The same security features will sell to anyone that wants to know what their family is doing when they're away. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; think of baby monitors and such.

*) Remote management. If you have a property like a vacation home or are just away from home a lot, being able to remotely manage the heat and air conditioning is a huge benefit. This also brings in the potential to do things like automatically disable the air conditioning if a door or window is open. I would love to have a thermostat that would display "close the sliding door to activate the air conditioning."

But yes, for most people, there is no need for any of this.

Then again, I would love to have automatic blinds that open and close based on such criteria as sunrise/sunset and weather. In the winter, I want the skylight blinds open during the day and closed at night. In the summer, I want the reverse. All the window blinds should close a half-hour after sunset by default (or maybe I would find something else makes sense).

Comment: Re:Sharing channel == worse picture quality (Score 2) 79

by crow (#47889669) Attached to: L.A. TV Stations Free Up Some Spectrum For Wireless Broadband

Possibly, but more likely they're dropping their subchannels that were ignored by everyone anyway.

Most broadcasters use their physical channel for one HD logical channel and several SD streams. For example, 4.1 might be HD CBS, 4.2 might be the same thing in SD, and 4.3 might be continuous weather. If they drop the SD channels, they can probably fit in both HD channels with little degradation.

Comment: Copyright violation? (Score 5, Interesting) 230

by crow (#47857277) Attached to: Comcast Using JavaScript Injection To Serve Ads On Public Wi-Fi Hotspots

Does this violate the copyright of the sites the user is visiting? By modifying the content stream, they're creating a derivative work without authorization.

On the other hand, user-controlled plugins and ad blockers do that all the time, so I wouldn't be too quick to make that argument in court.

Comment: Re:Working from home (Score 1) 161

by crow (#47719673) Attached to: Calif. Court Rules Businesses Must Reimburse Cell Phone Bills

Yup. EMC provided me with an ISDN line and later reimbursed me for my Internet expenses when they switched to VPN. I think it was just a few years ago that they stopped reimbursing, saying that home Internet is now normal, and the VPN use doesn't increase the cost.

My phone has always been paid for by the company. If they stop paying for it, I stop using a cell phone.

Comment: Re:Phones + 1 laptop. (Score 3, Insightful) 260

by crow (#47717217) Attached to: How many devices are connected to your home Wi-Fi?


I'm so glad that I wired our house for ethernet. Granted, WiFi wasn't quite up to speed fifteen years ago, but ethernet is rock solid.

Wired on ethernet, we have:
*) My laptop docking station
*) My wife's iMac
*) network laser printer
*) game console
*) MythTV DVR
*) Blu-Ray player
*) HDHR Prime TV tuner
*) OBI100 phone adapter

The WiFi has just one phone and one tablet except when we have guests, though I also have an ethernet outlet in the guest bedroom.

It was interesting to retrofit the house's wiring for ethernet. Mostly it was a matter of using existing phone or coax cables to pull new cables and converting the old single-purpose outlets into multi-outlets. Most place I put in two ethernet, one phone, and one coax. The coax has been a complete waste, but otherwise it was a great plan.

Comment: Municipal elections are *more* important (Score 4, Insightful) 190

by crow (#47584995) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Fight Against Online Voting In Our Municipality?

Municipal elections aren't less important than the Presidential election. On a per-vote basis, they're much more important. Your vote makes much more difference in a local election. The choice you make are much more likely to have a real impact on your community.

The problem with municipal elections is that it's much harder to learn who to vote for. You have to do real work to figure out who the candidates are and what they stand for.

Note: I'm an elected municipal official, so my opinion is a bit biased here.

Comment: Re:Obvious (Score 1) 163

by crow (#47584935) Attached to: Fooling a Mercedes Into Autonomous Driving With a Soda Can

I'm more thinking rural freeways like you have in the West. As long as you check for construction first and don't get unlucky with a deer, you're probably fine unless the paint goes wrong (as may be the case in post-construction sites).

Actually, there already are automatic braking systems for things like deer, and I would guess that that would be included.

One big point here is that we're a lot closer to autonomous driving that most people think.

Comment: Obvious (Score 5, Interesting) 163

by crow (#47584087) Attached to: Fooling a Mercedes Into Autonomous Driving With a Soda Can

They've had adaptive cruise control for a long time now that will slow you down so that you don't rear-end anyone in front of you. In theory, you can set it at your favorite speed, and then ignore the foot pedals until you reach your exit. I haven't used it, so I don't know if it handles stop-and-go traffic jams or things like that.

Now they have automatic lane centering. The car uses cameras to read the paint stripes and keep it centered in the lane. Because it's not a general system for autonomous driving (and the obvious liability if it crashes), it shuts off if you let go of the steering wheel.

Combine the two, and you have fully autonomous highway driving under regular conditions. You just have to fool the sensor, and sensors are easy to fool.

What's interesting is to learn what conditions it won't handle.

Comment: Who were they calling? (Score 1) 419

by crow (#47557983) Attached to: A 24-Year-Old Scammed Apple 42 Times In 16 Different States

So they weren't calling the bank, but obviously they were calling someone. Did the store employee actually speak with someone, or did he manage to fake the call entirely? Presumably he had an accomplice who was pretending to be the bank. Did they track down and arrest that person? I didn't see it in the article.

Comment: Solar power? (Score 1) 260

by crow (#47511019) Attached to: Google Offers a Million Bucks For a Better Inverter

An inverter converts DC power to AC power. The most obvious use is for solar power. For rooftop solar arrays, you want efficiency, but you don't care much about density. In many cases, you have a small inverter under each panel, and size isn't an issue. But if you could get a few percent more AC out for a given DC in, that would matter.

On the other hand, if you want a solar-powered Chromebook, the inverter could be a deal-breaker on the weight. I'm guessing it's applications like that that have inspired this challenge. They want a Chromebook that you leave out in the sun to recharge. Or something similar.

Or maybe they have some other crazy idea I haven't thought of yet.

People are always available for work in the past tense.