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Comment Good Times (Score 1) 857

My first computer at home was I believe a 286 clone with 20MB harddrive and 5-1/4" floppy, and Amber monitor, which would have been fairly bleeding edge in the mid 80's. I spent a lot of time at my Grandfathers house as well, and I believe he had a lower spec 8088 based PC, with no HDD and dual 5-1/4" floppies. Running MS-DOS 3.x

A couple years later, when I was in Jr. High, I started working at a local TV station as an intern where we used Commodore Amiga's for graphic creation and Video Toaster based editing. The Amiga's really were awsome machines and ahead of their time, with multitasking, graphics, you name it they were a superior machine. Is a shame really what happened with the company and the Amiga dying out.

Around the same time, I saved up all summer from working and bought a state-of-the-art (at the time) Cyrix 486/DX based clone (parts at least, that was my first real PC build, using the case from the 286. Put a SoundBlaster card in it, and outfitted with 8MB ram. Cost me a pretty penny at the time, my mom split the cost with me, and my portion was close to $1000 at the time. Eventually bought a newer color monitor to go with it as well. I was into graphics and 3d rendering and later in High School got into programming with it. I needed the fastest PC I could afford at the time, as I was playing around with POVRay and 3DStudio R2 at the time, so if you know how long it would take to render a 3d ray-traced picture back then, you'd understand, as it was often timed in hours, and on complex images, even DAYS!.

A year or two later, my grandpa realized I was REALLY into computers, and found a second-hand Amiga 3000 for a decent deal, and bought it for me. This gave me the capability to run DPaint on it, and a buddy hooked me up with Lightwave 3D (which I was familiar with from working at the TV Station). I was in heaven.

I was also into BBS'ing back then as well, getting the free PC mags at the store and looking in the back for local BBS listings to try. I still remember plunking down like $200 for a 14.4K modem because file transfers were so slow with our original 2400baud that I started with. That was a good community back then... everyone wanted to help each other. Lost of shareware to download for free. Programming advice, graphics advice, people just learning together and teaching each other everything. Very open and welcoming, not at all like today's online groups.

I had my computer area setup with the PC and Amiga side-by-side, and frequently had them both running working on different things simultaneously though high-school years. I do miss those days. I kept the Amiga until after I got married, and had it for a few years after, but it mostly collected dust at that point. When my wife and I moved out of our first apartment, I figured at the time it wasn't worth anything, and tossed it out.

Those memories bring back an emotion that you just don't get with todays computers and technology. I don't know why, maybe it's because I was young, maybe because it was all new, or maybe because it was like being in a secret club that outsiders couldn't understand. I can't put my finger on why, but those years are full of fond memories for sure.

Comment Re: /. won't either (Score 1) 448

If I had to take a guess, the reason they don't WANT to open it up so the trigger word can be anything is two fold. The first reason is most likely, they want to keep the brand recognition and drill the brand into the users brain on a daily basis. When you have company over, or even by yourself, by using the specific "Alexa"/"OK Google"/"Hey Siri" phrases, it lets everyone around you that can here you know what brand you have, and also reinforces that brand in your own brain on a regular basis, so that you associate the smart home or assistant with that particular brand. ie: marketing psychology and all that...

The second reason rides on the first, that they definitely do not want to you to be able to name it whatever you want, including the competitor's name. Amazon would not want you to call their assistant "Google" or "Siri". Google doesn't want you to call theirs "Alexa". And Apple, I'm sure, already has everyone using Siri brainwashed that the "Siri" name is the best name that could possibly ever be chosen for a digital assistant, and anything else is inferior. :)

I hear that Alexa can let you pick out of 3 names now (changed since original launch), but that is still very limiting, and is an artificial limitation that doesn't make any other sense than for reason #1 I gave on why they don't allow custom keywords yet.

Comment Re:CenturyLink (Score 1) 149

If the city ends up putting it in and it attracts people to hang out there, I would buy a cheap router with a strong antenna and set the SSID to the same one as the public hot spot is using and do the best to overpower the real SSID signal. Don't connect the router to the internet, so it goes no where.

Legally, companies have gotten away with using higher end Cisco gear to send de-auth packets to any wifi that wasn't the one managed by the Cisco controller. This would require some expensive gear to do though.

Comment Re:Or rather... (Score 2) 384

Then your training the AI with the wrong (or at least--incomplete) set of data. You wouldn't train the AI with what markers the human used before the machine was around. You would feed it the history of all the loans made, along with the data from each loan that was collected, and the information about whether it was paid, kept current, or defaulted on and the time-frames for those outcomes, as well as whether money was lost or not and how much if they went bad. Then let the AI make it's own set of determining factors about what loans are more likely to end up in default, and what the risk vs. reward is for giving out such loans on a scale of minor risk to major risk, and decline the more risky ones that have a high chance of going bad.

Comment Re:It's called a "web browser" (Score 1) 156

I have not been able to get the youtube app within Kodi to work for some time. It starts up and then errors out after clicking on anything to play. Has not worked for me for several years.

Luckily I can just back out of Kodi to get native FireTV menu (the platform I have it running on), and use the app from there and it works fine.

Comment Re: DIY? No, more like DOA (Score 1) 156

Actually Genesis was shut down quite a while ago (over a year ago or more). The creator moved on and released Exodus, which is "almost" the same but doesn't support Library integration functions (crippled it).

A couple Genesis forks came out, but the new people trying to maintain those forks have not been able to keep it working as reliable as the original creator and so they haven't been able to get the traction that the original had.

Comment Re:DIY? No, more like DOA (Score 1) 156

The ironic part, is that I own 3 Amazon FireTV's with Kodi installed on them. In fact, that was the #1 reason I bought the FireTV's at all, was not for Prime Video, nor for Netflix (or name your app store app)... But because it runs Kodi rather well for a $40 stick or $100 box. (even less if you wait until Amazon puts them on sale).

Comment Re: Work Mandated Method (Score 1) 247

Flip the situation on them--

Tell them that you don't trust having their network connected to your personal cell phone, as it opens additional attack vectors on your cell phone that you don't feel comfortable with. If they want you to use it to access their email systems, then they will need to install some SDM software on their servers that will allow you to manage the connection to your phone and will also give you the ability to upload/install on their server whatever apps you feel are necessary to keep your cell phone safe.

Then sit back and watch the blank, dumbfounded look on their face...

Comment Re:Why is this news (Score 0) 421

This, I was thinking this too. If you post on amazon review a tech support question and expect ANY response from tech support you are a complete idiot. Sure some companies monitor it closely, but it wouldn't even be the 3rd place for me to go intuitively if I needed support.

second, how many of us have needed support during "off-hours" and just had to wait until the business was open again. Maybe some big big companies have 24hr tech support, but we are talking about a small company, with a product that opens/closes garage doors, what in the world would make you even think that this company is going to have 24hr tech support over the weekend.

We've all had to wait until business hours the following Monday when something doesn't work, it sounds like the person posting was an entitled jack-ass. I get that they might have been frustrated, but that is just the way it is. At least in this case it was something as insignificant as a garage door auxilliary control. The old method still worked fine for the time being, so you've lost nothing but a day or two of not getting it to work. Try and see what happens when your internet connection goes down on a Sat. Unless you are a business customer, you will be waiting until Monday morning as well, except that IS a bigger pain with no internet/VoIP/TV. It is what it is though.

That being said, the old adage that "2 wrongs don't make a right" can also apply to the manufacturer as well.

Comment Re:But if Elon Musk does it... (Score 1) 421

I don't think the manufacturer actually sent code to the device and literally bricked it. It sounds more likely, he figured out the SN of the box, and just blocked connection on the server side. so the device itself still works, but the network connection to the server that it relies on to do it's 'magic' cannot be made. This would make things a bit more murkey in the legal aspect of it for sure, as the box itself has not been altered or tampered with and is the same as when he bought it. The server that the manufacture controls however is not. Although it could be argued that the purchase of device assumes perpetual license to connect to the server services with it, but that isn't always true, look no further than video game makers for examples.

This is also why I don't like these boxes that REQUIRE the use of a server connection to perform functions that they could easily perform direct to the customer's device. It's only so that the manufacturer can keep their grip on you and your data that they do this. They could have easily made the app connect to any IP/port and then clients can setup their firewall to port forward to get to the box directly without the manufacturer being in the middle.

Comment Re:Because you can choose your VPN... (Score 1) 141

Depends on how much bandwidth you have natively. I have 240Mb/s when testing just through my router. However, if startup a VPN, and try another speedtest (same day, similar time frame, trying to see side by side comparisons), I get at best less than 1/2 that, and many times way less than that. Granted, you can still do quite a lot with 50Mb/s but it isn't even consistent, because it depends on what node you connect to, and where they are located. One time you connect and you might get 50, another time, 10, and another location 2-3.

Also, it can add a ton of latency, so for some things like gaming and probably SIP/VoIP and any other latency dependent usages, it can have a really negative effect. It can often feel like you're using a cellular data connection.

Don't get me wrong, I have a VPN subcription for use when I need privacy or P2P/etc. But I don't see running one all the time 100% feasible. I debated for a while having my router connect to VPN so everything on my home network would be protected automatically, but after some testing, I decided not to do it at this point. I may have to relook into that option again with this new ISP rule though.

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