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Comment: You'd think they could fight some fraud too... (Score 1) 146

by fwc (#46777735) Attached to: Vintage 1960s Era Film Shows IRS Defending Its Use of Computers
Having been the victim of tax identity theft two years in a row, you'd think those computers could be programmed in a way to detect say, multiple refunds going to the same bank account, or the same IP address submitting thousands of returns and shut these thieves down....or *gasp* even perhaps verify the data which is on a return before sending a refund check... You know, to stop the $5 BILLION in tax refund fraud every year....

Comment: Re:I'm OK with ethernet in cars (Score 1) 180

by fwc (#46373929) Attached to: Your Next Car's Electronics Will Likely Be Connected By Ethernet
I was recently in Weird Stuff Warehouse in Sunnyvale. I like to walk through the store when I'm in the area just for the walk down memory lane... They have used computer stuff for sale from, well, pretty much the last thirty or so years of computer history.

At one spot in the store, I stopped and picked up a device I hadn't seen for years, and thankfully haven't had to touch one for much longer than that. And then realized that many of my younger networking peers wouldn't have a clue what the heck it was.

What was it you ask? A thicknet (10Base5) ethernet transciever.

Comment: Re:Future Accessibility. (Score 1) 336

by fwc (#45947345) Attached to: New Home Automation?
Remembered one more item...

I personally use insteon for most everything, other than those things which seem better for m-wave - in my case, I use m-wave for door locks, thermostats, etc., which are somewhat slim picking on the insteon side. I like how the insteon works for power control, and m-wave seems way expensive and weird for that stuff.

I haven't yet purchased it so I can't say how it works, but I'm about ready to spring for a Elk M-1 panel in combination with a ISY-994i with their new (beta) m-wave radio. Looks like it should work great.

Comment: Future Accessibility. (Score 1) 336

by fwc (#45947319) Attached to: New Home Automation?
I think the biggest thing you can do is ensure that the home is easy to run wires inside the walls and across floor/ceiling spaces without making a big mess. I recently moved into a new-to-me house and have had to do a fair bit of home automation/network refit. In this case, this is a single story home with a full basement. The basement is finished but has a drop ceiling instead of sheetrock. This makes it really easy to run wires throughout the house since you can run the wires in the space between the ceiling and the dropped ceiling and access the space immediately below any wall space. Need to run a cable into a new spot on a wall? Cut a hole in the wall, put a data ring in the hole, then use a flexible drill bit to drill a hole through the bottom plate and the subfloor. Find the hole underneath and use the drill bit to pull the wire up through. Simple. The basement walls are similar as you can access the top portion of all of the walls above the dropped ceiling. This will also work in a 3 story house as well, just make sure you have a full attic or crawlspace which gives you access to the tops of all of the 2nd story walls.

This helps future-proof the house.

I'd also consider/ensure the following:

1) Make sure there is a NEUTRAL at EVERY electrical box, including switches. Makes things lots easier. I've also gotten in the habit of using an additional conductor from the lightswitch to the light in case I decide to install a fan or similar.

2) Have the electrical contractor use the biggest box that will fit in the wall space. None of these cheap 2" deep things. 22 cubic inches is the size for a single gang box. They are roughly 3.5" deep (the width of a 2x4 wall stud). This is to accomodate the much larger volume of a home-automation switch and/or outlet.

3) Consider truss construction in spaces you'll have to run lots of wires through - it solves the issue with too many holes weakening the structure.

4) Take the advice of others on the thread, and do go ahead and install boxes with conduits on at least each wall. The conduits should be at least 3/4" - 1" would be better. If you've got a dropped ceiling or similar, they just need to be stubbed out into the ceiling/attic area. If you're enclosing, then they need to be run to a central closet or similar.

5) Don't forget satellite, cameras, etc. etc. etc. - run boxes/conduits for them as well.

6) In bedrooms, think about where the bed might be placed and make sure you have outlets on both sides of each bed position. In the master, if you know where the bed is going to be placed, consider adding nightstand height switches and/or boxes for automation controllers, cell chargers, etc.

I probably could keep coming up with other ideas, but that are the main ones...

Comment: On my bench, yep an oscilloscope. (Score 2) 215

by fwc (#45477801) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's On Your Hardware Lab Bench?
I design and sell products which generally have a microcontroller at the center. And almost everything is in the digital realm.

Because of the work I do I have a collection of test gear I've accumulated over the years. The things which get the most use? The variable DC power supplies, the multimeters, and yes, the oscilloscope.

The oscilloscope occupies the spot right above where the target sits most of the time. I find it to be very useful to troubleshoot digital realm issues, including things which one would seem to think a logic analyzer would be perfect for. If I'm having a hard time getting two things to talk, say over an I2C bus, I reach for the scope first, since I can see whether or not the lines are toggling as expected. And if they're at the right voltages, and so on. I can also tell if the clock edges are correct and similar. This accounts for like 99% of the problems I run into that I need an external test instrument for.

Yes, I do have various logic analyzers. Two USB ones, a big one I'm about to sell on ebay, and a few more specialized ones (serial protocol analyzer, USB protocol analyzer). Most of the time they sit in their cases on the shelf.

-forrest

Comment: Become a WISP (Score 4, Informative) 239

by fwc (#41906291) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Way To Become a Rural ISP?
There are a lot of us out there doing exactly what you're wanting to do, using fixed wireless technology typically from Cambium Networks, Ubiquiti, or Mikrotik.

Some links which will help you find people who are doing this already, and are more than willing to help you start down this path follows. Believe it or not, most operators in the WISP industry are pretty friendly and more than willing to help a new wisp get started with advice and the like.

www.wispa.org - The Industry Association for WISPS.
Animal Farm Users Group
Broadband Heroes Whitepaper
Wireless Cowboys Blog

I'm sure there are others. I'd start by reading what I can, probably joining the (free) email lists on a couple of the sites above, and asking questions. Everyone in the industry was a newbie sometime, and most of us remember what it was like to start out, often with about as much knowledge as you have.

Input Devices

New I/O Standard Bids To Replace Mini PCI Express 31

Posted by kdawson
from the lame-name dept.
DeviceGuru writes "LinuxDevices reports that a group of companies today unveiled — and demonstrated products based on — a tiny new PCI Express expansion standard. Although it's somewhat larger than the PCI Express Mini Card, the tiny new 43mm x 65mm FeaturePak card's high density 230-pin edgecard connector provides twice the number of PCI Express and USB 2.0 channels to the host computer, plus 100 lines dedicated to general purpose I/O, of which 34 signal pairs are implemented with enhanced isolation for use in applications such as gigabit Ethernet or high-precision analog I/O. While FeaturePaks will certainly be used in all sorts of embedded devices (medical instruments, test equipment, etc.), the tiny cards could also be used for developing configurable consumer devices, for example to add an embedded firewall/router or security processor to laptop or notebook computers, or for modular functionality in TV set-top-boxes and Internet edge devices." The president of Diamond Systems, which invented the new card, said "Following the FeaturePak initiative's initial launch, we intend to turn the FeaturePak specification, trademark, and logo over to a suitable standards organization so it can become an industry-wide, open-architecture, embedded standard" (but to use the logo you have to join the organization).
United States

+ - Forensics Expert says Al-Qaeda Images Altered

Submitted by WerewolfOfVulcan
WerewolfOfVulcan (320426) writes "Wired reports that researcher Neal Krawetz revealed some veeeeeery interesting things about the Al-Qaeda images that our government loves to show off.

From the article: "Krawetz was also able to determine that the writing on the banner behind al-Zawahiri's head was added to the image afterward. In the second picture above showing the results of the error level analysis, the light clusters on the image indicate areas of the image that were added or changed. The subtitles and logos in the upper right and lower left corners (IntelCenter is an organization that monitors terrorist activity and As-Sahab is the video production branch of al Qaeda) were all added at the same time, while the banner writing was added at a different time, likely around the same time that al-Zawahiri was added, Krawetz says." Why would Al-Qaeda add an IntelCenter logo to their video? Why would IntelCenter add an Al-Qaeda logo? Methinks we have bigger fish to fry than Gonzo and his fired attorneys... }:-) The article contains links to Krawetz's presentation and the source code he used to analyze the photos."
Privacy

+ - Do Not Call Registry gets wake-up call-> 2

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "If you signed up for the federal or your state's Do Not Call Registry a few years ago, you might want to thing about refreshing it. Pennsylvanians this week got a wake up call, so to speak from the state's Attorney General Tom Corbett who kicked off a public awareness campaign designed to remind people what many have forgotten or never knew — that the 2002 law set registrations to expire after five years. That is of course unless you want to start hearing from those telemarketers as you sit down to dinner. Corbett said about 2 million people signed up in the immediate aftermath of the law taking effect and those who do not act by Sept. 15 will have their numbers dropped from the registry on Nov. 1. The Pennsylvania action is a reminder that the National Do Not Call Registry has a five year life span as well. The Federal Trade Commission is set to being a nation campaign in Spring 2008 to remind all US citizens to refresh their federal Do Not Call Registry standing. http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/18066"
Link to Original Source

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