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Comment: Good + easy (Score 1) 189

by fredc97 (#48777819) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Options For Cheap Home Automation?

I use the Smartthings hub paired with mostly third party devices:
Belkin WeMo wall switch to control light fixtures for which you cannot use things like Philips Hue
Philips Hue in lamps without wall switches (now with a "cheaper" white bulb)
Aeon Multisensor, Smartthings 1st and 2nd gen motion sensors, Ecolink PIR motion sensors to detect intruders and turn on/off all the lights
Fortrezz Leak Sensor to detect flooding
Smartthings Power Switch (for lights and general control) and Aeon Labs zwave switch (for A/C unit)
Sonos (pricy but adds a human voice to alerting)
Fortrezz Alarm (for intruders and the flashing light to get attention)
Dropcams (for video feeds or taking pictures based on events)
Smartthings contact switch (to detect intrusion, door knocks and mail delivery)
Netatmo (both in and out) temperature, humidity, air quality to calibrate a central heating system
Nest Protect for smoke and CO alarm (the only one not yet supported officially by Smartthings, but support is coming)

Grand total: about 1500$ in the last year for about 30 devices, no recurring costs. It could have been a bit cheaper and simpler but it's relatively cheap to get a Gates Mansion level of automation. It is so reliable that whenever a light does not switch on (maybe once a week) that my GF will notice it right away.

Comment: Re:for open source, add, don't create. Mac != iOS (Score 1) 299

by fredc97 (#46089731) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: An Open Source PC Music Studio?

I think the person asking the question wasn't looking at Macs due to a cost issue, not necessarily because of iOS

Actually he was not ruling out Macs, nor Windows "I have no preference between open- and closed-source software as an end-user; I just care about the quality of the product."

also "I'm more than willing to do, but I'm not so sure I want Windows 8 and I'm just not sure I can afford to go with a Mac on top of the $600 for Finale."

From what i have just checked you can get a refurbished Macbook Air for 849$ in Canada, add 200$ for Logic and while this is not a bargain laptop it is a decent price for the most portable DAW. He can also get a used Macbook Air or Pro for a lot less.

In music production the laptop is probably not the most expensive equipment: synths, mics, mixers, audio interfaces can all go from a few hundreds to a few grands when you add them all together to get a basic setup.

Comment: OSes versions and general hardware tips (Score 1) 299

by fredc97 (#46088631) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: An Open Source PC Music Studio?

Yes Gearslutz.com is the place to go, many great discussions. Also on the topic, be afraid of the latest and greatest version of any OS, Windows 8.x, OSX 10.9.x as the music companies that produce the DAWs as well as hardware audio interfaces tend to support these versions after a while. I guess they must work hard on debugging their product compared to say game companies which tend to release ASAP then just keep patching them as bugs creep along. A DAW is not a game after all and you probably don't want to rerecord your last day because of a software crash/bug/glitch.

With OSX stick with 10.8.x, with Windows stick with Win7. On the hardware front prefer SSD over HDD if you plan to do a lot of tracks and/or use libraries of samples. Plus invest in RAM, swapping is your enemy to low latency oh and all the crapware and background tasks too. If you want to do music, make it a dedicated music computer.

When you start working in the DAW, just unplug the network because you don't want Symantec updating its definitions or any background process happening when you record that once in a lifetime track.

Read reviews and make note of the hardware setup of the reviewer, prefer tried and tested and supported over latest and greatest but buggy. Try demo versions of the DAW you plan to purchase and make sure you get the concept, each one has a learning curve and some are quite daunting.

Comment: Re:for open source, add, don't create. Mac != iOS (Score 1) 299

by fredc97 (#46088497) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: An Open Source PC Music Studio?

Actually for some great synths look no further than the iPad: Nave, the Yamaha Synth & Pad, Korg iMS-20, iPolysix, iElectribe, Arturia iSEM, iMini and many others. The best with this is that you can drive it using a combo of an ipad USB interface with a Roland UM-ONE (MIDI) interface, this way you can use any synth with a MIDI out to drive the iPad, or if you prefer you can drive it with a MIDI sequencer or a DAW.

You then simply record the audio back into your DAW. It may be not the simplest of setups, but the great music companies of the MIDI era (think 80s, 90s) are creating/recreating many synths on the iPad these days and they sound great (some purists will say they don't but then again, you can't buy any hardware synth for a mere 5-10$ nor can you get decent sound fonts/samples for such a low price).

To be honest i do have some vintage gear: D110, K4r, AX73, D550 and some Proteus' but the iPad is great to try some ideas and if you like the sound, then record it in your DAW!

The sound is the point, how it was created is pointless (but the road to its creation can be fun and rewarding too, but that's another topic).

Comment: Re:knowledge... (Score 1) 454

by fredc97 (#41188565) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Should a Unix Fan Look For In a Windows Expert?

I'd have him sit in front of a Windows machine and tell him: check what's running on that remote server at startup which is not a service and let him demonstrate how he'd use regedit for that.

I'd have him write a GPO that assigns specific computers to a WSUS server with dynamic groups.

Make him read a powershell script and tell you what each line does and for bonus points find the errors placed in the script.

Comment: Google Citizenship (Score 1) 189

by fredc97 (#39194129) Attached to: Schmidt: Google Once Considered Issuing Currency

With the new EULA they will probably introduce a Google Citizenship somewhere in there. This way you could simply sign in to Google+ at the various borders to prove your identity and the border patrol would in return Google your browsing history to see if you pose any threat to national security.

As for Google Bucks well they already have the Google shares which you can buy for their weight in gold and some more.

Comment: Physical media takes a lot of room (Score 1) 312

by fredc97 (#38427992) Attached to: Smallest space my belongings could fit (unbroken):

Add a thousand CDs, two thousand DVDs and you start to fill a room with boxes full of air pretty quickly. Luckily I hope we do get a high density storage system in the future where you can put 1 inch UV ray disks with self scanning rfid tags with inhouse geo location. That would make finding physical media much easier. And for those that say go digital I just ask where do you put your backups ?

Comment: Do VM count toward that number? (Score 1) 374

by fredc97 (#37789462) Attached to: Devices on my home network (less modem):

Here we have :
2 x iPhone 4
2 x Ipad 2
2 x Laptops (MB Air) one is running Parallels Desktop with Ubuntu and Chrome OS
2 x PSPs (Go and 2000)
4 x game consoles (PS3 Slim, Fat, 360, Wii)
1 x TV (LG Smart TV)
1 x Receiver (Onkyo TX-NR)
2 x Skype Phones (one wired, one wifi)
1 x Vonage Device
5 x Wireless Routers (Airport, Airport Express, 2x Dlink, Time Capsule) They are being used as a 802.11N bridge between 2 GigE LANs
1 x Cisco Switch
1 x PIX Firewall
2 x Dumb switches
3 x Desktops (2x AMD Phenom 2, AMD K6, running XP and Win 7)
1 x Media center PC (Win 7)
2 x Network Printers (HP BW and HP Colour)
1 x Apple TV 1st Gen
1 x Chumby 2nd Gen
10 x VMs (only about 4-5 running at at time) running on a Win 2008 Enterprise with VMWare Server 2 running Ubuntu (for DEV), Win 2003 DC, Win 2008 DC, SuSE and OpenBSD plus more Linux & BSD VMs powered every now and then

Comment: If money is not a problem: use 2 devices (Score 1) 398

by fredc97 (#37439338) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Gigabit 802.11N Home Router?

I personally am using a DLink DGL-4300 for Internet routing and the fifth gen Airport Express as an AP, this way I get both more network options on the Wan side AND great Wifi perfs. The DGL-4300 is pretty much impossible to find these day so go with an OpenWRT based router for your routing and use the Airport Extreme 5th Gen in bridge mode (they really improved the power and stability in the 5th gen), plus you get the added benefit of positioning the AP higher (on top of a wooden shelf or on the wall) for increased range.

I live in a downtown area and my neighbours have about 70+ wifi routers I can see (which also interfere), the 2.4 Ghz band is pretty useless nowadays, there is always a clown configuring his 2.4 Ghz on channels like 7, 3 or 9, the 802-11N 5 Ghz range is much less populated and highly recommended in an apartment configuration. Do a proper wifi inventory of your neighbour's use of channels and try to use those which cause less interference, and if all your devices support N just turn off the 2.4 Ghz antenna.

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