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Comment Re:It's a growing list (Score 1) 375

A number of years back, I had a friend whose personal effects were stolen. Thief apparently gathered enough information to head straight for the RMV and get a new license with their picture on it, causing untold problems, mainly because the thief was a pro, having done this many times. Every time they got into trouble, it would be blamed on who they said they were, not them. Luckily, this person was caught with the forged ID, but it took a long time for my friend to recover from all the damage. Would be interesting to see if this kind of face scanning would help catch such a career criminal.

Comment AppleTalk to StarNet to 10BaseT Ethernet (Score 1) 322

Just be glad that someone invented it! Worked at a company that started with a few engineers and a handful of Macintosh IIx machines on AppleTalk. When we grew to a 10-way AppleTalk network, it was pitifully slow. One day, Joe (his real name ;-), came back with a StarNet controller/hub. A bit of twisted pair later, we had a fast network once again! Not sure exactly how close to Ethernet that was, but it was sure faster than AppleTalk! Later migrated to 10Base-T (and were outraged when Apple's Quadra machines arrived and needed a 10Base-T AAUI adapter costing another 100 bucks!). Having to support multiple kinds of transceivers, including coax probably slowed down the adoption of Ethernet technology. Coax had lots of connector issues, something I still see with my Cable TV installation every now and then. These days, I only use 1000Base-T, because packet LATENCY is much lower, and much of the time that's probably more important than overall throughput being higher. Sure, wireless is constantly evolving and almost can't be avoided with modern mobile devices, but fast wired still seems far more reliable.

Comment You'll never catch me, copper? (Score 1) 282

A couple of year back, this guy drove into the fire department parking lot, brazenly loaded up a reel of copper (wire, I think -- possibly for maintaining the town's antique "Red Fire Box" alarm system?) and drove off with it (not before being noticed either): Lexington man is 'person of interest' in area copper thefts.

Comment Re:Numbers are off (Score 1) 554

I have a Tivo HD that I own. This means I can do things to it, like put in a 1TB drive, so I can keep well over 100 hours of HD programming around. It has a single "M CableCard" in it for $1.50/mo that lets it decode two channels at once. I pay Tivo $99/yr subscription, and the ($220 -- plus $80 for the new drive -- though I still have the old one, kept as a spare) that I paid for the unit is long since paid off by canceling all of my movie channels. The Tivo can use Netflix, Blockbuster, and Amazon for movie content (if I want), not to mention YouTube and other downloadable web videos. It has optical digital sound output, although I didn't use that until recently -- and it's awesome. See any of that in a cable company DVR? Not to mention that my old cable DVR (since returned) drove me nuts trying to properly schedule programs. It would record the same program several times and would often reboot just when I had finally gotten something programmed, etc. Several times I have been at work when I realized I wanted to record something. Tivos do that easily; cable companies should wake up. They just aren't keeping up. So what are they doing? Yes, they're licensing Tivo (albeit a more expensive version) for their customers! I have an old Tivo Series 2 connected to the first cable box we had by a serial cable. Still works wonders, despite being "single tuner". That one has a lifetime subscription, and paid for itself several years ago. It's on my "first cable box", which is free. [additional cable boxes would be $2.95/mo.].

Comment Re:What's the alternative? (Score 1) 554

I thought this would happen with all of the "premium channel" movies on my Tivo HD when I cancelled RCN's movie package, but amazingly, they are still there and playable. It's either a technical oversight on their part, or they're just not quite as annoying as Comcast (or whatever they choose to call themselves these days). I suppose all of these are "gray area" issues, and might be covered in the provider's finely worded "service agreement"?

Comment I'm still waiting for my $50 (Score 1) 711

Seem like you could have it both ways (for instance, report both GB and GiB?). However, I am still waiting for my $50 for all the Seagate drives I bought! NewEgg had all my old invoices online, so I just filed those, but years later, it's still not settled (even if it's a stupid suit). See: http://www.harddrive-settlement.com/notice.htm

Comment Looks ever more like The Time Tunnel? (Score 1) 110

"Measurements indicate that some of the electrical connections could not safely handle the amount of current needed to run at the full 14 TeV..."

So, if they dial it up now, we'll get all those 1960s visual effects explosions: as seen on TV in "The Time Tunnel"? I'm sure that doing effects for those old shows might have been exciting on occasion, but since we're paying for this hadron collider research, I suppose it's counterproductive. The collider now seems like a much better investment than those other billions Congress is busy spending for us.

Comment Re:Moving parts are the main problem (Score 1) 655

I think its unrealistic to expect a consumer level computer system to assuredly last more than 5 years (isn't that the standard depreciation schedule anyway?), especially if you plan to add additional software to it over time (newer software tends to be ever more demanding?). My strategy is to buy cheap (well, if it's not Apple ;-), but reliable (i.e. read reviews) hardware and replace parts, if necessary, in the interim. Buying reliable does not have to mean buying expensive.

As far as drives go, I have a 1TB WD10EACS being beaten to death daily in a TiVo HD (since May 2008) and it's pretty reliable so far, as are all but one of my 200GB ATA drives (works once it starts, but has a flaky spin up -- I suppose I should stop using it?). Many of my older SCSI drives (4GB, 8GB, circa 1995) seem to work as well as they ever did -- I've sold some to agencies looking for replacements in nuclear power plants and similar applications (don't you feel safe now?). However, an 8GB USB flash key I was using became completely inert one day -- and it didn't seem to be a static shock issue. I had an identical 1GB one that worked fine for years, and I went back to that until I got another 8GB one (different brand this time). Didn't lose anything, as it was only being used as a backup device. For unchanging applications that never need updated software, I suppose you could just keep an old system going forever, maybe backing it up just enough (clone drive?) so you could buy a replacement old system on ebay and swap it in if necessary. Works, but it's generally better to "get modern" when possible --- though it never really stays that way for long!

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