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Comment Re:Laws? (Score 3, Informative) 136

In many jurisdictions it is ILLEGAL for a power-assisted bicycles to exceed 30km/h. If something goes faster and is power-assisted, it is no longer considered a bicycle (or power assisted bicycle), but a motorcycle (or scooter or whatever), and different laws and licensing requirements govern said vehicle.

Exactly. In the United States, the speed limit is 20mph. What you buy is often capable of more than that as a top speed (to deal with steep hills,etc) but the speed is artificially limited

There is also different sub-categories which can vary considerably depending on state
"Electric-assist" bicycle (where the user still needs to pedal to some extent keep accelerating)
"Motorized bicycle" where it can be self-propelled (controlled by throttle) after a the user used the pedals from a stop
"Motor-Driven cycle" can be self-propelled from a start, and often allows a higher top-speed but must be smaller than a motorcycle. Per State, may or may not require a full motorcycle license and/or follow motorcycle safety regulations.

See Wikipedia for more

Comment RSS to email (Blogtrottr) (Score 1) 132


-Email is accessible on all my devices, don't need to install yet another app and don't have to worry about compatibility issues because email is already everywhere.
-They do real-time feeds, which allows me to get get service outage notifications that are only available via RSS to the work pager address *cough* salesforce*cough*
-I can give different sites different priorities. Some sites I read every day, others I only want to check once a week.
Most readers are purely chronological, so I'm forced to ready everything all the time.
-I can delete what I've read, so I don't have to keep stumbling over the same thing and I can easily save what I want forever.
-My email provider [] has an option to automatically delete emails in folders after so many days, which keeps things from getting out of hand.
-They support half-day and daily digests (in addition to realtime), so I am only getting sidetracked reading slashdot once a day without having to worry about missing something.
-Did I mention it's free?

Comment Depends on her skillset (Score 1) 287

It all about her needs and expectations.

When we finally convinced our grandma (now 93) to get a computer for email almost 10 years ago, we initially gave her an older mac thinking it would be easy for her.

However, she has basically zero computer experience so understanding basic UI interfaces is out the window.

However, over time she starting having problems because she couldn't understand how to manage overlapping windows.

She would accidentally minimize a window, couldn't figure out where it went and would open up a new one.

Repeat this 30+ times on a computer with 512MB of ram and you life becomes utterly painful... It would take like 3-5 minutes to open up a new window, because there was like 2GB of swap in use.

I tried to explain to her what she had been doing many times, but the concept of overlapping windows was just beyond her comprehension.

I ended up installing linux on it and hard coding x to run firefox at startup, bypassing a window manager entirely.
When she quits firefox, it kicks her out to the login screen.

That's it. No menu bars,no tabs,no background processes - just one big window.
In this case, KISS isn't just a goal - it's a requirement.

If it's humanly possible to switch to a different program, it will happen with her and she can't figure out what happened.

True, It drives any visitors crazy (until they read the sticky note that says use the guest account that brings up a conventional desktop) but it's has caused the least grief.

It would be very difficult to do something similarly with windows/mac.
I had looked around and there was a number of KIOSK type programs, but they wanted $100+ for the trouble.

All she cares about is her email. I setup the homepage as her email and it auto-logins in with the remembered password.
She doesn't even use Google for searches.

Don't ask me why The Cousins switched her to Google mail (which is a horrible choice because the UI changes every few months and I have to re-explain everything over again). I've tried to switch her back to the simpler thing I had but she doesn't want to budge...

If I were to start over again, I'd probably get her a chromebox (needs a big desktop screen) or maybe an ipad (if she could get comfortable with the whole swiping thing).

If you want a XP like experience, LXDE is really hard to beat (not to mention super lightweight).
Icewm is another option, if you want something that is even simpler with a similar layout.

Comment ScreenConnect (Score 1) 116

I know it's not free, but you can host the software on a linux box (even a cheap VPS will do nicely) and their pricing is *significantly* better than team viewer/etc, especially in bulk,. I also know they offer heavily discounted non-profit pricing.

It's mainly designed for the "run it for a few minutes, solve the issue and automatic uninstall when done" model.
The problem with, is that the person has to read you numbers off the screen before you connect.
With Screen connect, they just run the app and you are automatically connected to the support rep.

I really like the way their software works because you can setup a "one click" installer, send them a webpage to pick a queue or make a separate queue for each rep. It works great between restarts and with UAT, as well has the option of letting you securely store the users password (so you don't have to keep asking them each time and the user doesn't have to tell you what it is either).

Comment Mikrotik (Score 1) 241

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned them yet, but they make damn good gear and very reasonable prices.
There is more of a learning curve to set them up but you can get a router (not just NAT, but with OSPF,BGP, RIP,etc) starting around $40.

I've gone through quite a bit of business grade IT gear, and their interface is still one of my favorites.
I had spent a solid 2-3 days trying to get a port mirroring into a vlan working correctly with a couple of netgear/hp/ciscoSMB switches, but it took me less than 5 minutes with a RB250G (~$40). Define virtual interface, in, out and done.

Comment Re:TOR exit node locations (Score 1) 451

The project TOR was based upon (Onion Routing) that was a research project by the U.S. Navy.

For a quite some time, Tor was getting code contributions/updates from them.

So, at the very least, the US government has known about it's existence from the very beginning.

There is a non-zero probability that there is a backdoor has been put into the TOR system.
As for how likely that is, would be anyone's guess. ::Insert conspiracy theory here::

It is worth mentioning that the NSA *has* been caught putting in a backdoor in encryption stands in the past - see the DES Standard (

Take it as you will

Comment Time Lapse Camera (Score 1) 301

A few months ago, a co-worker had setup an improvised security camera for our by using an old iphone, a power cord, running a free app and some tape.

It was mainly to protect the room which was full of computer equipment (that was going to be deployed at a convention, for a brief time and then brought back).

It was much more amusing to see us going in and out with carts of gear then it was an effective security device, but it would could be used for a lot of fun art/photography projects.

Super easy to setup, free (if you already have the phone) and it's easy to get the pictures/video off it.

Comment Switch to MikroTik/RouterBoard (Score 2) 196

I have been using dd-wrt/tomato for years and I agree with some of the other posters, that development is nearly at a standstill.

IMHO, you should switch to a different platform - MikroTik!

The software is *way* more powerful than dd-wrt, has been more stable and performed exceptionally for me. I must admit, there is a bit of a learning curve but there is a lot of guides out there now and they have added a windows-based GUI, as well as significantly improved their web interface, so most basic stuff is point and click now. You can do some really powerful stuff that you would have to shell out big bucks for a cisco or the like.

They have just released a new model that supports 802.11n, using a internal diversified/MIMO antenna that transmit up to 1 Watt! (Most AP's use a 10th of that)
All for only $59! They make the hardware and the software, so you know all of the drivers are going to work.

You can do stuff like make a separate SSID for guests (without a password), put it on a separate subnet to isolate it from your home network, setup strict firewall restrictions based on bandwith/port/packet shaping rules so they can't run bit-torrent and suck up all your bandwith,etc.

You could also buy a 802.11n router, turn off the router mode (disable DHCP) and just use it as an access point. Boom - you get all of the features of dd-wrt (by still using the old model for routing) but use the new one for wireless access. I've also done that for a number of years and it works great.

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