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Comment IoT Profit! (Score 1) 203

Because of this I'm building a LAN of things for my own use. I have no need to stoke or control my woodstove from on the road anyway, but I do like to have as much as possible on my homestead automated and monitored - verily, even stuffed into a database so I can see what the weather has been like at such and such a time over the years and so on.

Works for me - I rarely go out (living in what amounts to the Garden of Eden will do that for ya) - and no one gets my data if I don't want them to.
BUT! Now let's look at why things are the way they are. Artificial scarcity of both IPv4 addresses and um, profits. No one wants to settle for the margin they can get selling you something just once, now. Oh no, we all have to subscribe to almost everything (I Avoid this like the Plague - and do without if I hve to).
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So they have to insert themselves in the loop by owning a static IP and domain. Yeah, some of them are free NOW - how long before you get charged rent to even make your own home work? I'll ignore the snooping for the purpose of making this point. You're willingly handing over control via IoT and anything subscription model. Period. You might not like the eventual results.

You have been warned!

Comment Capped by slow speed (Score 1) 243

I have DSL at 1 Mb up and 4 down (eg ~100kB up). There'd be no point for my ISP to cap what I can do with that (or at least, what most customers could). As a workaround, I built a NAS with a raspberry pi and a 2 tB drive...and I use that for major uploads/downloads overnight, so my main machines aren't tied up. Great for uploads to youtube or my website, and downloads like linux distros.
Being off the grid (solar), I can't leave a gaming-class machine on overnight...and the pi can keep up with DSL fine. Yes, the NAS is slightly slower than ideal, but it works and works - I think I rebooted it last year, maybe not.

Comment Re:Follow the money (Score 1) 229

I happen to have worked on numerous speech recog projects. While it's true that for "random speakers and connected speech", for a single speaker or just a fw on which you could train a little (get them to read a known story, or give you corrections to what your program thought it heard) - a single machine, in the pentium II days was enough to handle about 4 speakers in real time. We did this with a mod from IBM's viaVoice for transcribing doctor's notes way back when, and it worked great. In fact, in a way it's a security feature, as it only will recognize a few different talkers...And with very high accuracy only if they learn to "talk right" for that algo (it's easy, just a tiny pause between words and really say all the syllables in each word rather than slurring it all together).

I still think that routing everything back to some provider's server is evil for the reasons above, and yeah, as you point out - also it adds delay and error issues of its own.

Regardless of whether it's a speech interface or not.

Comment Follow the money (Score 1) 229

Gee, people, this is obvious. The IoT is all about funneling all your stuff into someone else's domain. You don't have your own because we don't really have IPV6 yet, which is in part because the artificial scarcity of IPV4 addresses is a profit center for many, and a bridge a troll can sit under and charge passage fees for. Which could be your personal info (readily converted to $) or just plain rent (pay or your house quits working) down the road. XYZZY "as a service" is a wet dream for many big businesses, subscriptions tend to be a nice safe ongoing source of bucks compared to making useful things innovatively and competitively. Suck it up, or make your own.

I'm making my own - a LAN of things, here on my mostly off-grid homestead, as I have no need to change or monitor things from away from here - I'm retired and live in the boonies, but really, a robot to keep the woodstove going correctly is probably not in my immediate future anyway. I could, I suppose, if I carried a connected device with me all the time (I don't, and I don't go out often, as it's 30 mi round trip to the nearest store of any kind) and do things via emails or something, but the need for that is so tiny it's not on my radar. Running my solar system with backups is. Running the water collection system is. Warning me when my plumbing might freeze is. The idea in my case is to have a life in many ways similar to those who are rent-bound wage slaves, without those two disadvantages in live (having been there too). There's a lot I'll accept in order not to have to kiss butt all the time, even a "lower" standard of living, or to euphemize, living a little closer to the earth.

It's not that I don't like tech. I have way more than most do here, and made my fortune that let me retire at ~ age 45 with it. It's that I do like having control over my own life. Playing with tech is fun, even at > age 65. Having it own you? C'mon. I own my stuff, not the other way around.

Comment Re:Who do they think is going to buy their product (Score 1) 541

Mod parent up. This is the limiting case we're heading for. Not everyone can design robots, or fix them, or be trained to, and we really don't have any smart ways of paying people who can't to just sit around and stay out of trouble, and even if we did...that money would come from...those same corps and people still creating value. They don't win in the long run without a complete re-think of how things are done. And this is from a card-carrying super-capitalist.

Comment Same credibility as a **IA-paid report (Score 3, Insightful) 137

Really, this should be obvious. Outfit that sells stuff pays for a report that says they're being ripped off - likely inflated numbers - as a background to get legislation to tax DVR owners or whatever other skim they can easy-street or litigate from. "Look, we lose x-zillion bucks from every recorder". Sound familiar? Remember the "tax" on blank CD's and so forth, since "they can only be used to pirate"? This is how the big boys operate, we should have learned long ago.

Comment Re:Bipolar transistors (Score 1) 74

Mips or flops/watt, and easy-cheap manufacture. I did some work in the real bipolar world, from discrete to ECL to - IIL (integrated injection logic, a TRW thing)....it was "hot stuff". Easier to make complimentary cmos such that you can make an inverter with just two transistors tieing the gates together - gotta drive both high and low some way. Enhancement mode CMOS is a lot easier to do that with.

Comment Re: I was born with the microprocessor (Score 2) 74

Could but usually doesn't. As the hardware was more costly and slower, and labor relatively cheaper, mainframes ran in some sense "better" code with far less bloat and frillage. An A was just an A (ascii or baudot or ebcdic) - not a picture of a letter in some font taking many times the bits to store and draw for just one example. Audio or video which were (And still are) largely irreducible to small bits/second were right out for real time use.
Mainframes had "acceleration" hardware to compensate. Line printers took a few bits and did the drawing parts (as did plotters for other uses).
Now phones and modern PCs use accelerators for crypto, audio and video codecs, and for sure, don't bit bang the screen pixels.
This leaves enough CPU, admittedly faster now - to handle crap interpreted scripts, HTML rendering...a long list of silly stuff.
And no matter how much faster CPUs get - or in a possibly more important measure now, mips/watt - rather than code efficiently and use a low power cpu, we just accept shorter battery life, as the periodic table for some reason isn't driven my Moore's law - no new more electropositive or negative elements are to be found, period. (I see what I did there). No matter how much, we still waste enough to want more for the same results.
I'm enjoying my lawn. Having started with a PDP-8s, and today just working with all of the might of intel, down to arm (pi-3) and esp-8266 and teensies, this is a new world. But you still get more out of things if you write good code than most others would.

Comment Re:USPS (Score 3, Interesting) 239

In the boonies, where many of us heat with woodstoves, snail mail spam is called "free fuel". Some of us even write letters (though I tend to print mine as my handwriting isn't great, or maybe even include a gasp - paper check - for record keeping that doesn't have bit-rot and isn't subject to hacking quite the same as e-transfers are. Selection bias much?

Comment Re:USPS (Score 2) 239

I get more and more of my Amazon stuff via USPS, and it's a good deal, it seems. for all concerned. The USPS has to drive the route anyway, so why not carry something? On our rural route, UPS, FedEx etc can't make money, UPS in particular has a bad attitude as mentioned elsewhere and a high rate of damage to the product. I'm not sure how Amazon actually gets things to the local USPS so fast - clearly they didn't just mail it, as regular mail is never "two day" around here, but I'm getting the stuff on time. Fedex has been super good from McMaster-Carr, sometimes under 20 hours from mouse click to delivery - in good shape and with good attitude - on *ground* shipping. I also have no clue how they manage that, other than that McMaster has warehouses all over. And they are good the few times Amazon uses them. But really, in my case nothing beats the USPS these days (wasn't always so, they don't like big stuff) "out here". My mail persons are all nice as can be, know where to leave stuff if I'm not home (will even lock it in one of my cars if it seems valuable), don't get fiddly about details and make me go somewhere (at my further cost) to get what I already paid to have delivered to me. One of my mail people is a retired physicist doing it "for fun" and often drops in just to chat about my physics work. It's another world from what most city folk experience. We'd really hate to lose them "out here". No way Amazon is making money off me. A small order every few days on prime - if you figure the UPS rates *I'd* pay, prime pays for itself in a month or two. Maybe that's what's driving them.

Comment Re:Drug delivery device (Score 1) 312

Of course they are a drug delivery device. One with far less damage than combustion versions, and easier to taper off with. I was an utterly addicted 3-pack a day smoker of full strength cigarettes. At age 62, couldn't make it up a flight of stairs - yes, they are bad for you. Vape, less bad. Smoking == stupid, I agree. But if you were addicted at age 14, it becomes hard to stop, and there's tremendous medical consensus that it's about the hardest addiction to kick. (having kicked a few others, I agree with scientific consensus on this) Been vaping, gradually diluting the nicotine fluid with USP glycerine for two years now. And now I can RUN up and down the stairs. Anecdotal, but I feel like it's winning. And damn, with the cost of cigs what it is and the cost of juice - it paid for itself in a month (fancy temp controlled rig and a few months worth of juice cost less than a month's cigs).
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I'm dead sure, having tried a few, that those e-cigs at the convenience store are BAD, and maybe worse than plain tobacco. It's easy to cherry-pick data, ain't it - troll.

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