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Comment Re:Can you replace your whole system for that pric (Score 3, Interesting) 380

Other people could use that time for e.g. watching the TV, but is that really any more a valuable way of spending one's time?

Also just because I make "skilled craftsman" type hourly rates (about as much per hour as a plumber) unlike a plumber I can only realistically get precisely 40 hrs per week. Not 39, not 41, but exactly 40 hrs at that rate.

Yes hrs 1 thru 40 I get about plumber income per hour, but as soon as I hit that 41st hour at home, I would have to hunt for a job and in this economy blah blah and with the flexibility required for a second job, and only wanting to work precisely one hour not 20 every week etc, I think I'd be VERY lucky to cashier at quickie mart for $7.25/hr, if that is even possible.

So unless you can actually do it, and you want to, don't assume the cost of a marginal extra hours labor is your regular pay rate. In other words the cost of an hours labor at $job during regular business hours is plumber-ish hourly rate, but at home after hours I cannot realistically earn more than a couple bucks per hour.

Comment Re:Only Minecraft? (Score 1) 380

If it is only for minecraft? If so, and you are trying to pinch pennies, have the kid stop playing minecraft and get a job.

Or do more than minecraft. Home file server to start (try not to turn yourself into a world wide warez site... unless you really want to of course). Then stick some PCI video cap cards in, some mythtv backend software... Add a X10/insteon controller and misterhouse for home automation... Wire up cheap tiny speakers all thru the house and install some jukebox software for whole house audio...

Comment Re:TCO fail (Score 3, Insightful) 380

I hope this guy is not anyone's CPA or handles and sort of financial analysis/projections at his work.

The most likely indication that he is in financial management, is you figure out the aggregate total sum of his, PLUS all involved /.ers hourly rate, and the cost of debating this probably has at least 3 or 4 more zeros than the expense involved. Penny wise and pound foolish and all that.

Everyone at work has had the experience of a two hour meeting with 15 devs at $100/hr to debate exactly how in painful detail the group will pay roughly $5/month for coffee, and whoever saves the most pennies (at a mere cost of $3000 labor) will get some kind of BS award on their annual review. Why if we save 30 cents a year, at a cost of $3000 we'll be rollin in the profits by 1st quarter 12013... of course a real NPV calc based on real rates would make it pretty hard to ever profit off an annual return of 30 cents on a 3000 dollar investment...

The only thing the dude needs to do is:
1) Is it possible? Yes, obviously
2) Is its cost in line for a hobby expense? Yes, its cheaper than golf or watching cable TV or pretty much anything other than watching paint dry. Heck, even then you'd have to buy paint and paint ain't cheap.
3) Is it fun? Well, its probably more fun to host at home, than pay an intermediary to do it for you. Much like its a hell of a lot more fun to cook than order delivery.

So yeah .. just do it.

Comment Re:Banking passwords are overrated (Score 1) 195

and off the money goes.

off the money goes really Fing slowly. There is no technical reason why a credit card payment can't be posted as fast as a charge, for example, in minutes at most. I get an alert when I make a credit card charge and the alerts usually arrive in minutes at most. However, intentionally... probably... my bank's bill pay system takes an absolute minimum of one business day to process a bill pay (sometimes more) and they send email alerts to me both when its set up and on the morning of the actual day of the transfer (at least one day in the future) when it could still be reversed. So if someone broke in and tried to send my whole account to or whatever, I would have instant warning someone is screwing around and at least 24 hours to prevent the transfer.

I use the word "bank" but its actually a local credit union. Maybe some weird credit union reg paid for by banks that CUs must not do instant payments, who knows.

Comment Re:Problem for companies competing internationally (Score 3, Insightful) 159

Software should be sold as a commodity not licensed.

If country A and country B both had furniture business, and exporter Z arbitrarily sold wood at twice the price to country A, in the medium term the price of wood in country A would approach the cost of country B's cheap wood plus trucking wood from B to A, no huge deal.

But if you licensed fine grain furniture grade oak by the individual plank and certain planks could only be used in certain countries... this is the software license problem...

Comment Re:Why so high? (Score 2, Interesting) 159

The USD used to be worth a hell of a lot more than its worth now. Even compared to just recently. One of the many fun side effects of the collapse of empire.

About 10 years ago the conversion from USD to AUD was darn near 60 cents to the buck. So a "$600 USD" thing really should cost "$1000 AUD" because of currency conversion rates. Today the ratio is very near 1:1. But if you've trained the kangaroos or whatever to expect to pay darn near twice as much in AUD as USD, then why not keep doin it if they're dumb enough to keep paying it?

The government involvement is the .gov always gets worked up over black market currency transactions. You go ask them to explain, I donno. Something about pretending to be an unregulated currency exchange. Combined with some weird money laundering possibilities. Also one of many reasons a country crashes its currency (competitive devaluation, etc) is to increase exports. But if the disobedient companies refuse to recognize the new exchange rate, that kinda defeats the purpose, thus they get pissed off. Also there's a lot of game theory in international economics where all the big players (the nations) agree to keep all their minons in check, otherwise things don't go so smooth. So if we start a mini-trade war over crappy web dev software, the aussies might fight back by not selling us Crocodile Dundee sequel movies or WTF they sell us. Probably most (semi-valuable) rocks aka ores of some sort. We probably sell them as much horse piss beer as they sell us so that would break even and not matter too much. So... anyway...

The same thing has pretty much happened with the Canadians. A decade ago $1.40 CDN bought you a buck, now its darn near parity $1 for $1. In the olden days paperback books and magazines always had something like $4.99 USA $6.99 Canada printed in ink on the cover. Obviously that would be a tremendous ripoff now that $1 equals about $1.

Comment Re:Hmm ... there may be an upside to this (Score 1) 235

LOL I think you're over analyzing this, just search and replace the word "zombie" with "illegal alien" in the quoted description and unfortunately that's a very accurate description of how they're treated here. Unfortunately 1) things won't improve for them until the supply runs low 2) Its still better than back home for their definition of back home.

Rather than invading Iran, the best thing that could happen to the USA (and, frankly, about 99.9% of the mexicans) would be invading Mexico and doing a little regime change.

Comment Re:Whats the internet? (Score 1) 295

Back then everything was done with pseudonyms so you can just switch to a new one and ditch your old identity any time you like.

At least WRT usenet, my ISPs From: lines were in this format:

From: (My Real Legal Name Goes Here)

So, no, its my real name all the time. Not so much for fidonet, etc, of course.

Just for fun I googled and the oldest usenet post I can find (which is weird, I know there's older) is me joining a flamewar in the mid 90s about what numerous Z80 active low control signals do when the CPU is reset and my insisting that having physically done this stuff 15 years previous to the flamewar that the active low control lines drift high and the people who were wrong insisting the control sigs go hi-z aka high impedance / tristate. Almost two decades later and I still don't know WTF those guys were thinking... I was there, man, they don't do that, and no amount of experience or quoting data sheets or books would convince the wrong guys. In summary, we got trolled, I guess.

The irony is there have been so many Z80 clones and Z80 derivatives and Z80 cores inside non-z80 chips like Z80 based microcontrollers and stuff, such that yes on an original date coded 1977 (or whatever) genuine Z80 from Zilog inc I was certainly correct, but there probably does exist some weird thing out there that might tristate the control signal lines while hoping the designer installed sufficient pull up resistors.

Comment Re:Replay attack (Score 1) 235

I wonder what tone would need to be sent to trigger this system, but hey ...

... just turn on your polite scanner or marine radio to the NWS channels and listen next time there's a psuedo-emergency. They have about 100 times as many psuedo-emergencies as real ones so they'll be plenty to listen to. Its not that complicated.

Comment Re:Hmm ... there may be an upside to this (Score 1) 235

Think of it ... zombies don't need health insurance, retirement packages, dental care, medical care, or career prospects. And they're not taxed either.

They also don't take bathroom breaks, don't need time off. Health and safety laws don't apply to them, they're genuinely American (don't forget to bring geo-coded picture of your personal grave), if one or two get caught up in machinery or drop from scaffolding no-one will ask inconvenient questions, and they will work for a few pounds of squishy matter a day that should be easy enough to obtain.

Am I the only one who sees an opportunity here?

Been there, done that, we already have a zillion more illegal aliens than we need here, thanks.

Before I get flamed, note that I don't think its right how they're treated, but I am (unfortunately) right about how they are treated, so keep that in mind while fanning the flames with the race card.

Comment Re:Likely attack vector: NOAA weather radio (Score 1) 235

The exact format is tricky,

Oh spare me. Its about as complicated as an ancient FSK bell 103 modem, like a 300 baud modem. You want a complicated layer 1, try a 56K modem or heck even the PSK / QAM family would be more complicated.

As for your "tricky" layer 2 message format, again, unimpressed.

A really simple hack would be that they system is heavily overused. Every time one divorced parent is 5 minutes late at prisoner exchange time they call the SWAT team to embarrass and punish. Every time a snow flake falls they send a critical warning. Every time a drop of rain falls, a tornado watch alert is sent. Now yes I'm well aware that once in a while there is a REAL emergency. The point being that you don't need a full set of encoders and decoders, because there is not chronological component or hashing or salting or any crypto at all, a simple tape recorder is all thats needed for chaos.

I would not be surprised if "out there" on the net there's a sort-gray-hat ftp site full of wav files ready to play on a smart phone held up to a broadcast/remote broadcast/wireless microphone.

You don't need a EE degree to write your own SAME encoder, nor do you have to attack the geeks simply for being able to do it. All you need is to know how to use google and how to use wavplayer and/or whatever plays wav files on your smartphone, and ...

Comment Re:Helena too (Score 0) 235

Given the incredible simplicity of the SAME protocol I'm surprised that to the best of my knowledge SAME filters are not common in broadcast engineering.
It seems a pretty trivial filter to add to existing phone patch gear, for example, which would utterly eliminate the chance of your hack above.

Are you seeing multiple 2 or so millisecond bursts of adjacent more or less roughly 1500 and roughly 2000 hz? If so, eat them and output zero to the transmitter stream. Something like a phone patch already has plenty of latency for the echo cans so its no big deal to add.

This is so blindingly obvious that you'd think all phone patch gear would have it, so no one talks about it or even puts it in brochures. Or, as usually happens with security epic fails, they don't, LOL.

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