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1  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Where do you buy your printer ink? on: Today at 01:56:43 PM
Laser printers are the better all around deal in my experience.

The up front prices have dropped considerably- and while the cartridges are more costly they also last a great deal longer- both in page yield and not having a shelf life like ink does.

Many inkjet printers sold today it is literally cheaper to replace the whole printer after the sample cartridges are used up, because the replacement cartridges cost more than the whole printer did. And if you don't use your printer very often, the ink dries up and is wasted.

I've got a Cannon inkjet as well after going HP for years. Every time I need to print something with it, I have to buy new ink cartridges because going years in between has allowed them to dry up and be ruined. Next time I need to use it I'll probably just buy a HP laserjet, that way it doesn't have that dry ink issue and at the same time I can use it for making custom PCBs as well.

2  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Hard Drive SMART Stats - from the BackBlaze Blog on: November 20, 2014, 09:54:38 PM
Because the drive had not run out of spare sectors, and was able to remap 100% of them to spare areas.

I've salvaged quite a few 'bad' devices that way, simply overwriting them repeatedly a few times to brute force trigger the remapping sequence.
3  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Still weird: The mouse is more accurate than a finger on: November 19, 2014, 11:27:55 AM
Question: Is it possible with current Win XP tech to create TWO mice pointers, color coded? Then you leave one up near the top for that stuff, the other does regular stuff? I'm guessing not, but then I wouldn't have guessed virtual desktops either! (Or any of a million other things!)

Seen it, but not using two locally-attached mice. Some of the remote control and conferencing software I've worked with has two visually-different mouse pointers present during a remote session. One is the standard-issue Windows default mouse, which is controlled by the local user operating the mouse like normal.

The other cursor was a different shape and color, and controlled by the person on the remote end of the session. This cursor could operate the computer's controls as easily as the local user cursor could, but usually during a session was simply used as a pointer to indicate where the local user should click due to latency of the remote link making it tricky to doubleclick.
4  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Still weird: The mouse is more accurate than a finger on: November 18, 2014, 06:11:49 PM
It because the size of the fingertip is far larger than the size of a mouse cursor- and you can quickly and efficiently adjust a cursor down to being only a single pixel in size where it can be quickly and accurately aligned by eye using an on-screen grid.

Touchpads you can touch of course, but the finger is rather big and awkward. That's why we have tweezers and pliers for precise stuff, and why devices were using a stylus for a time before touch-friendly UIs were really developed very far.
5  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worm's neurons mapped, simulated in robot on: November 18, 2014, 08:01:47 AM
So they're finally succeeding in something I had tried to do 10 years ago- simulating a neuron map to see if it would imitate the behavior of what it was copied from.

At the time I had no way of obtaining source maps to use, but I was able to create an array of neurons that would interact with each other. Unfortunately there were only two conditions I could recognize- comatose, and seizure.
6  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Please recommend a Canadian domain name registrar to me on: November 15, 2014, 02:35:12 PM
Worth noting- even if you are on a non-US registrar, the big .com .net .org etc TLDs are still managed by US-owned Verisign, and through that route they can simply seize your domain name if you offend.

You need to go to one of the less common TLDs for your domain name with a non-US and prefferably Asian or middle eastern owned domain registration agency in order to avoid American bullying practices when it comes to domain and site seizures.
7  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Speed record by a rocket-bicycle on: November 15, 2014, 10:11:27 AM
Its not really a bicycle though with an engine like that- he couldn't possibly pedal it at that speed with any kind of efect.

No, its really a motorcycle built out of a bicycle frame. One that probably should not be street legal.
8  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Call to arms on net neutrailty on: November 11, 2014, 03:46:58 PM
Cannot trust government or corporate with this stuff.

Though legislation to discourage the exploitation of natural monopolies by telco and internet providers does help to some extent, they will always find ways around it and perpetually play on the slippery slope in order to get what they want through feature creep if it isn't directly okay.

As a service provider, losing net neutrality could theoretically mean that a large provider could make my services unbearably slow since I can't afford to pay any of their 'easements' required to get moved into a higher traffic tier.

At the same time, I am all in favor of local cache installations for frequently accessed content, with associated colocation fees.

In effect, net neutrality needs to stay very carefully focused on forbidding ISPs from requiring consumers or providers to pay an extra fee to access certain types of content.

Letting providers pay to have mirror servers colocated on a particular network is extremely important for overall network capacity and strategy, and allows large providers to mitigate their impacts on the public network by reducing the total traffic generated by them through local and regional service hubs.

Thus, having to pay extra to leave the walled garden of facebook and fox news or to make my sites accessible to people is unacceptable by my book, but at the same time facebook should still be allowed to pay a fair colocation fee to put a local mirror close to a major city in order to improve performance in the region.
9  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: More speed/bandwidth from an 802.11n laptop<-->WiFi Router/Modem connection? on: November 05, 2014, 11:53:39 AM
IME, it's always been very bad to have more than one NIC connecting to the same network, (eg. wired and wireless, 2 x wired, etc).  The system ends up getting confused about where to send things.

Probably requires some fiddly settings to get the multiple connections to load share with each other or you can use something like Speedify or Dispatch.

Using multiple combined NICs is usually referred to as "teaming." (In the NIX world it's also called interface "bonding.}

NIC teaming is not a feature built into Windows 7. There's an "intermediate" driver that needs to be installed to allow teaming. So getting it to work depends on the brand of NIC (and driver) installed - plus a network switch that supports NIC teaming. I know Intel supports teaming on some of their NICs. There are likely other brands that also support it. But I'm not familar with them. (I've been told Broadcom has teaming support for some of its adapters.)

FWIW I've never seen NIC teaming done on the PC level. From my experience it's purely a "server thing." Cool

So...is there anybody out there in DocoLand teaming NICs on their PC or laptop? huh

Note: Windows 7 DOES include the ability to set adapter priority for multiple interfaces.

Using this capability you can set it to use a cabled in connection in preference to the wifi, which makes it so that you can actually be connected to the wifi and the cable simultaneously without issue.I have my laptop set this way, and can plug into the cable for more speed without having to turn the wifi off. The default priority in windows is backwards of course, preferring the wifi over the cable for some strange reason.

What you don't want to do is bridge the nicks in windows when you have more than one connected to the same network, as this results in a layer 2 loop that can and will bring down the whole network.

As for wifi not reaching full speed, a lot of times this has to do with signal to noise ratio. Even though it is getting a strong enough signal, there's too much interference for it to really be heard. OpenWRT has the capability to display the SNR on a per device basis, which is really convenient for troubleshooting situations like this. It also shows transmit and recieve data rates, again on a per device basis.

One last thing to check- you are using WPA2 encryption correct? Wireless N will not exceed wireless G speeds unless it is encrypted using WPA2 or better.

As for IPv6, most of the time it does not matter. However in some cases your system will get a valid IPv6 address that does not have a usable route to the rest of the world. If this happens it will try to use that address since Windows prefers IPv6 over IPv4 by default, and the result is a huge slowdown in browsing performance because it has to wait for the IPv6 attempt to time out before falling back to IPv4.

You could just disable IPv6 until your ISP implements it the rest of the way, or alternately you could change the IP priority so that Windows will use IPv4 in preference to IPv6- eliminating the risk of slowdown without removing your ability to experiment with ipv6.
10  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Emergency Broadcast System ? on: October 28, 2014, 03:25:18 PM
I still think the old fashioned mechanical SD-10 air raid sirens that went off at noon every Saturday post WWII till about 1980 were the most reliable. (A steady siren meant: "alert" A rising and falling tone meant: "Sit down; face the nearest concrete wall; put head between legs - kiss ass goodbye!" as the saying went.

At least with those you could always hook a gas engine or car battery up to them (by design) and get them to work. If the grid is down, all the technology in the world becomes nothing but inert PC boards stuffed with electronics.

I remember the scout camp I went to had an old ambulance siren mounted to the roof of the medical lodge. When it sounded, we were to report immediately to the parade ground unless the weather was severe- in which case the location to report to was the main dining hall.

It was operated off of a 12v battery on a high shelf in the medical lodge waiting room, since the camp was in a remote location and was frequently without grid power after severe storms.

Also there was a 3T22 in the town I used to live in. I only ever heard it signal the alternate wailing fire alarm, but upon finding the type on youtube learned that it also had a steady-high alert as well as a hi-lo wailing signal for air raids. If coupled with the proper power equipment, a horn like that would still be very effective at making sure people know if they need to take action.

(Sample of a 3T22 testing all three modes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=md5-fl3VtVc )

And lets face it. In a truely end of the status quo scenario, technology newer than 1960s or so may very well simply not work due to loss of a fuel/energy source or because of damage from EMP or other disaster. Prior to the 1960s, equipment would take a beating and keep right on going, and anyone handy with a wrench could sort it out promptly if there was a problem.
11  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Emergency Broadcast System ? on: October 28, 2014, 01:01:55 PM
Also just found this on wikipedia

In 2008, the FCC began work on another system for public alerting designed and targeted at smartphones, meant to support the EAS. The Commercial Mobile Alert System made its debut in about early 2013 in select states for select events.

Apparently the FCC has already been working on addressing this for some time. So far I haven't heard of anything practical yet other than possibly an email alert or an app that pops up when it receives an alert.

http://en.wikipedia.org/w...ki/Emergency_Alert_System was the page I found it on, this details the current alert system
12  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Emergency Broadcast System ? on: October 28, 2014, 11:55:14 AM
In the US the Emergency Broadcast System *tests* have been around since the old duck-and-cover days and equally useful... IMO.  Teats on a boar?  undecided

Useless or not... shouldn't there be an Internet version as well?  Where most eye balls are these days?

Maybe an annoying crawler that can be stopped or turned off?

Someone would very quickly write up a blocker to can it.

Most of the time though news travels faster over the internet than it does over older types of media- for instance the shootings in Canada recently I heard about it first from people online before the news here even made mention of it.
Consider too, the majority of the broadcast alerts I've heard on the radio are local or regional alerts issued by the National Weather Service to warn of severe weather in the area. An EBS broadcast transmitted the same way would very quickly prompt people to google "local news", which would right away direct them to their local news stations and the emergency notice that they might not have heard the first time. Radio isn't completely obsolete after all, it still holds a lot of ground in the workplace because it allows people to keep up with news and weather as well as rocking out while they get things done.

And you factor in social networks too- someone hears a tornado warning their facebook now says OMG TORNADO WATCH OUT.
People see this and check their own weather to see if they are in danger as well.

Also, services like this already exist. http://www.emergencyemail.org/PublicServices.asp

When a situation arises that would require the EBS or would trigger a NOAA alert, third party services already exist that send email notices containing the alert. With many people's phones able to recieve emails, this would be highly effective to notify a lot of people right away of a developing situation or a hazard they need to take shelter against.
13  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Antilock-breaking (ABS) vs Stabilty Control (ESP) vs Traction Control Video on: October 26, 2014, 12:14:21 PM
My current car has an automatic transmission, and not only have I heard it performing engine braking on its own while in cruise control, but I was successfully able to perform it using the manual override this morning to keep my speeds down and compensate for the loss of braking power.

Automatic transmissions use a torque converter -- oversimplified imagine two propellers in a liquid, one powered, & the other connected to the transmission. A locking torque converter [which most vehicles have nowadays] tries to do just that, lock at higher speeds. A manual transmission uses a clutch, where a disc with a material similar to brake lining on both sides is squeezed by spring tension between the engine's flywheel & the transmission's input shaft. When you step on the clutch pedal you release that spring tension -- the more you press down the more spring tension is reduced.

So... you should be able to see or imagine why a torque converter might be less ideal for downshifting &/or braking. Will it work? Yes, but it's better suited to limiting the gear to a lower range, limiting speed going downhill in the mountains.

And this is one place that automation can improve considerably. On a vehicle where the PCM is able to recognize when engine braking is about to take place, the torque converter can be instructed to lock up and stay locked once the transmission is in a suitable gear. I suspect my car is able to do this, since I've seen it engine braking all by itself while in cruise control and going down a steep hill.

Like so, engine braking with an automatic transmission is as practical as it is on a manual transmission, because the only difference between the two is the slightly higher slip factor resulting from the design.

Designs that don't do that though, you are indeed correct that engine braking with an automatic is less effective than on the same vehicle equipped with a manual transmission. Usually you end up going a gear or two lower into the range of options with an automatic in order to bring the RPM up enough to make the torque converter couple it back to the engine.

And as for engine-braking, I recall him saying that it was to be avoided at all costs, as, not only could it make for really jerky driving and risk hurting passengers' necks, but also, with constant use, it would destroy the transmission as you were making it do something it was not designed to do (it was designed to transfer the engine's energy to push the car forwards, not slow it down).

May sound logical to someone without mechanical knowledge, but say that to a decent mechanic to make him/her laugh. Did he know how unnecessarily hard it would be to manufacture gears that had only one face of the teeth hardened?

There actually is a mechanical concern to engine braking an automatic now that I think about it. It has to do with the way automatic transmissions shift- using bands similar to brake pads to grab different areas of the planar assembly in order to change the gear ratio without ever actually meshing or unmeshing the gears.

If you apply too much torque to this assembly, it can cause the bands to slip. This results in increased transmission wear and heating, and could indeed ruin the transmission.

However, this only applies to automatic transmissions, and really is only a concern in a scenario where the transmission is already worn out to a point where it is already experiencing internal slippage problems. A transmission that still has plenty of band-meat left and is operating at or above its optimum shifting pressure will have sufficient resistance to internal slip that engine braking won't hurt it any more than smoking the tires at the redlight- because again the tires will lose traction long before anything bad happens mechanically inside the transmission.

Right from the start it needed new brakes, and one of the brake lines got changed at that time because I had to cut the line to get the caliper hose off. But for the most part the only time I even look at the underside of it is when I think there is something odd happening, and having the brake lines rot out and pop like this happens every couple years.

What you need to consider is total age & condition plus the possibility of contaminants. If one PC case fan goes out, myself I'll replace all the others that are the same age rather than assume it was a fluke. If one rubber brake line rotted, assume all are the same age & replace them. BTW, heat + penetrating oil + a crows foot type fitting socket connected to a small impact help loosen rusted fittings. The impact can be key because of the rapid impacts -- not raw horsepower.

I mentioned contaminants... ANYTHING but pure brake fluid [of the correct type for your car/truck] can trigger chemical reactions that will swell &/or eat rubber seals & lines. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Rubber lines rarely go bad -- I can't remember replacing one in years running dealer service. It could be a combination of age & environment, e.g. in the Detroit area winter road salt wrecks havoc, but if you're repeatedly having problems with rubber lines consider the possibility that water or something else has gotten into the brake fluid, &/or that the wrong type of fluid has been added. I have seen where that led to ONE of the brakes locking on -- at high speed! Imagine what happens when a wheel stops turning!

I've never seen rubber brake lines. Its always steel, sometimes copper or plastic coated in a futile attempt to stop them from rotting out so fast. If only I could get stainless steel brake lines without breaking the bank, they'd stay pristine for the entire lifetime of the car.

Usually whenever I have to work on the brakes at all, I'll bleed the system down to nothing and refill it with fresh fluid from a sealed container. Contaminants eat calipers and master cylinders, and even if you keep the system tight they still manage to get in there. Fluid is cheap, and if it keeps me from having to change anything more expensive than the lines I don't mind paying that much.

Money is tight for me though. Simply replacing things whenever I happen to think about it would leave me completely broke. Though I prefer to not have it break in the first place, when you're limited on cashflow its best to stick to if it ain't broke don't fix it. And then make a point of learning how to ride out any failures that do happen, cause it will break no matter what you do it.
14  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Malware blocked at DC !?! on: October 25, 2014, 06:26:50 PM

Hopefully it was a coincidence.

I don't use a router.  Maybe an IE-9 Internet option?

...- but it begs the question of how did those requests get to your computer in the first place.

I know I'm infected with something.  There are Internet Options that cannot be changed.  I have file folders that are not visable.

I had the FBI scam infection a while back.  MBAB's Chameleon killed the process and gave me internet access again but i haven't addressed any damage.

I ran unhide yesterday but found no changes.

I have to ask.

Why would you not use a router if at all possible? They usually include a decent firewall capability to protect your machine from exploits floating around the public network, including inbound UPNP exploits that would trigger malwarebytes like so.

Its just one extra level of protection, allowing you to keep your stuff on a clean network while still being able to access the rest of the world from behind the safety of that firewall only allowing stuff in that you've asked for.

Running without a router, anyone could port scan your system directly or try to exploit it along with everyone else on your ISP by using attacks that work over range broadcasts.

Also no. Internet Explorer has no ability whatsoever to filter your internet connection, other than by relying on sites that Microsoft has programmed it to blacklist.

You need at minimum a decent third party firewall software or a good router to protect your system. The default Windows Firewall is usually wide open by default with several key ports open that cannot be closed including the often abused port 139.
15  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Malware blocked at DC !?! on: October 25, 2014, 09:10:18 AM
Note- the screenshots show that the attacks were directed at port 1900, which is in fact the port used by UPnP.

It is completely possible that this is in fact unrelated to having been browsing DC, and is just a coincidence that the messages popped up with DC open.

That's why I had asked for screenshots of the message first thing. It just makes it so much easier to figure out where it came from when you have the exact message in hand.

What I would suggest is checking your router settings and making sure upnp is disabled. A lot of routers have it enabled by default because it was supposed to offer a convenient new feature to let your firewall adjust itself on the fly, but in practice it proved positively dangerous to use. Malwarebytes would know this, and block inbound upnp requests- but it begs the question of how did those requests get to your computer in the first place.
16  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Malware blocked at DC !?! on: October 24, 2014, 11:55:11 AM
Screenshots of the offending malware warning?

I'm willing to bet if you're using malwarebytes that it's a false positive.

Malwarebytes tends to be way too aggressive when blocking small hosting providers, and is known to kill entire IP ranges just because a couple of IPs in that range have gotten a bad reputation.
17  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Chip Wars: AMD vs Intel .... GO! on: October 23, 2014, 12:58:44 PM
For the longest time Intel and AMD sort of alternated generations, Intel would make a really good CPU then AMD would make a better one back and forth.

What went wrong is where Intel hit thermal problems real bad on the Netburst architecture and had to take a step back, resulting in the core architecture that has since been improved on in other ways, AMD rode smoothly through that- only to slam into it full throttle with the Phenom.

I've heard from a lot of people that the early Phenom CPUs had the same thermal nightmare issues as the Netburst P4s- issues that I can say from experience the modern Sandy Bridge and Haswell CPUs have no problems with.

But at that point Intel gained a market lead that is forcing AMD to stay in catch up mode, and AMD is not competing anywhere near as well as they used to. The 4th generation I-series from Intel has been worth it in every test I've put them through, combining high efficiency at low usage with high gear computing power for heavy demands.

I hope AMD gets back on top of things soon. Simply because if Intel stays in the lead too long they'll become complacent, and the quality of their product line will drop while the price continues to creep upward. Having a neck and neck competitor in the market forces both companies to be competitive at all times, holding prices down and quality up.
18  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: when will we eventually be able to on: October 22, 2014, 12:15:06 PM
Key notes in this article:

  • Scans a tag on the car and then looks it up in a database to determine the position and angle of its fuel neck
  • Does not work on cars with locking fuel caps- which is highly recommended and commonplace in urban areas to prevent theft.
  • Expensive technology that hypothetically increases convenience without doing anything major to save time. Station must up-front the cost.

Point 1 is another valid solution to what I mentioned before- that the arm must somehow locate where the car is fuelled at, open the hatch and remove the cap, and then insert the nozzle. Simply retrieving the car's data from a database is a valid solution of course, but this adds a tremendous administrative burden in that every time a new model of car comes out the database must be updated to support it. And it will not work at all with vehicles that have been significantly altered- and I know a good many trucks that have relocated their fuel tanks for a variety of reasons.

Point 2 is a problem that could in theory be addressed by having the robot reach around to be near the driver and request the key. But this adds incredibly to the complexity of the system, as the arm now has to be able to reach halfway around the vehicle without hitting it, accept an object from a human, then return it to the human when it is done. Robots can do this part at least, but its not nearly as easy as it sounds from an engineering standpoint.

Point 3 is that there is little to no incentive for stations to actually adopt this. The only advantage is that customers will not have to leave their car to use the system, it does not change the fuel dispensing rate nor does it add any real value to the process. It'd be a different story if it was used on a full service island, since it could handle the fuel while the attendant takes care of other tasks. Or even eliminate the attendant entirely, with the attachment for another $250,000 that allows it to automatically wash the windows check the oil and put air in the tires.

Back to auto-pilot cars...


Let’s Fix It: Let’s End Human Driving

My prediction is that it doesn't end well...

If it were just purely the technology as a tool, I'd be cheering. But it's not. The IoT will ensure it turns into a dystopian, hellish nightmare. And not that the IoT itself is bad - same deal there - just a tool - but I think more than a couple people here know the sinister side of computer control -- the people behind the scenes.

Again - cool technology - but serious doubts about how it will actually be used/abused.

I'm actually okay with elimination of manual driving in daily life.

However, I am not okay with cars that are designed without mechanically linked operator controls. I've seen way too many computer malfunctions to trust a computer driven car that I can't wrench the wheel away from it or stomp on the brake and make it stop before going off the cliff that it can't see.

Long as a car still can be driven on full manual, the convenience of automatic driving makes it worth pursuing.

Especially in the cities. Parking in NYC is said to be unbelieveably expensive, and even in an upstate small town I would have no problem at all having my car drive itself to the parking lot at my workplace after dropping me off at the concert hall a few blocks away for a show. Saves me the $10 I would have to pay for parking, and it'd even be able to drive me home again after the show when I've had a bit to drink.

But I'd better be able to take manual control if I see a need to, and it cannot have the ability to ignore that input.
19  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: when will we eventually be able to on: October 21, 2014, 12:57:02 PM
But you open up an even larger security problem- risk of access to your entire account or other people placing transactions on your account that you have no easy way to disprove.

Just to get that tiny amount of security of not getting mugged and ripped off in the well lit and video recorded space of the gas station beside the pump.

Robotic fueling arms probably won't become a thing unless auto manufacturers agree on a standard for the placement of the fuel neck on the vehicle. Right now they are far too varied, a system would have to optically scan the car, try to find and open the hatch, try to find and open the cap, try to insert the nozzle, and the whole time hope that it isn't punching a hole in the car's body or dispensing fuel onto the ground because it missed the opening.

So unless either manufacturers standardize the height, angle, and lengthwise position of the fueling point on the vehicle, you're still going to have to get out of your car anyway in order to place the nozzle into the tank.

An optical based solution would work very nicely here, as it would require that you have already unlocked your gas door to even get access to it, and dirt buildup is a trivial issue because it is in an accessible location where it can be wiped clean if there is a problem reading it. That lets you transfer account info in a manner compatible with the handling of fuel without the wide angle interception risk of a RFID or magnetic transponder package.

20  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: when will we eventually be able to on: October 20, 2014, 06:08:48 PM
That's the beauty of Ethanol. Its a perfect solution... for the people promoting it.

"Its environmentally friendly"

Yet the MPG penalty causes you to burn significantly more GASOLINE per mile, my previous car the difference was on the level of a 25% increase in gasoline consumption as it dropped from 40 MPG to only 30 MPG when using 10% ethanol. Look at that! It takes 15% more GASOLINE when using E10 fuel over straight gas.

"Its cheap and easy to make."

Okay, Ethanol costs somewhere around $3 per gallon to make when done right. And okay, I'll give that a great deal of ethanol is a byproduct of other processes it is a really cheap addition to a tank of gas to keep the price from going to the moon.

But are you really saving money? Not only is there the problem with the MPG penalty, but it really does eat up the car's components and probably is an attempt by someone somewhere to sabotage older vehicles in the country's motor fleet to force people to buy new all the time. You'll spend more on repairs.

Oh and the way the subsidy on ethanol fuel works is the more ethanol they can squeeze into a gallon without breaking people's stuff, the more they get government handouts for helping the environment.

So while the pump is supposed to be dispensing E10, 10% ethanol, in practice it will run as high as 15% without notice.
21  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: when will we eventually be able to on: October 20, 2014, 03:47:48 PM
Before electronic ignition and after they started raising the gas prices if I knew the customer was burning regular in a high compression engine I used to performance time it via test drive.  It would at least not react like a bucking bronco.  But it's not worth the effort if you get some dick who wants the settings "by the book" as you can never get  him to admit the gasoline available when he bought the car is not for sale now.  Thus making the initial timing wrong.  Especially if the cheap bastard is buying regular on top of it.  smiley

Pretty much- and that's why the PCM does what it does. It is able to sense when the engine is knocking and retard the timing all by itself to compensate, finding the sweet spot for the operating conditions of the day.

Its not perfect, but it is better than nothing at least.

I still object to cops having these SUVs and big block sporty cars as their everyday cruisers. They take way too much gas, cost way too much in the first place, and have next to no actual reason to be like that.

Instead cops should be driving a 4 cylinder turbocharged toyota or a 3 cylinder turbodiesel saab, that way the bulk of their cruising time is done with the utmost fuel efficiency while still retaining the kick in the pants for running down fugitives. At the same time the smaller car would hold the road at higher speeds and be less obvious when parked in the bushes on the side of the road for a speed trap.
22  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: when will we eventually be able to on: October 20, 2014, 12:06:59 PM
Even better would be some type of data exchange when the nozzle is inserted.  I guess avoiding an electric current would be paramount with the proximity to the gasoline.  Perhaps some kind of magnetic field data doodad.  Your car would get a record how much gas at what price was added to the tank and the pump would get your ID for debit.

That way if someone snatched your plate you wouldn't be financing their joy rides as they stuck it on one car after another.

Also I was thinking there should be some way to detect the equivalent of octane in the fuel and adjust the spark advance settings in the ignition computer system.  I have been thinking about that because I see Miami cops tromp on the accelerator and their cruisers sound like crap.  The spark advance is not right.  It makes me wince every time I listen to the engine fighting itself.  No doubt they put low octane fuel in cars with high compression engines.

I don't know how difficult the octane detection would be.  But once known the spark advance intelligence should not be difficult to program.

Or they need to change the air filter- when the cops stomp on it the motor is starved out.

Most ECM engines already try to run the timing as advanced as the engineers at the factory measured that engine design as being compatible with, then retard the timing slightly when the knock sensor registers spark knock or when the crank position sensor registers that the shaft was slowed instead of accelerated- indicating a too-advanced condition.

The way I would do this is attach a QR code reader to the gas nozzle, and a placard containing a user-changeable QRcode right next to the fuel tap. So you insert the nozzle into the car and pull the trigger completely like normal, and it automatically scans the QR code, approves the transaction, and dispenses fuel.

Then people who don't want to participate in this system can simply remove the QR code from the pouch, and if you need to change what account it bills to at the pump you can easily switch QR codes by sliding them out of the pouch and putting another in its place.

Hmm. I wonder if this can be made to work with bitcoin...
23  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: DRM in your coffee maker, to stop you from brewing unlicensed coffees on: October 19, 2014, 11:25:25 PM
I just saw the Keurig 2.0 at walmart.

Can't help but wonder how many people will buy it anyway unaware of the change and the true meaning of the "buy only genuine keurig pods" labels on the package.
24  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: driveless cars on: October 16, 2014, 12:48:57 PM
ofcourse not! we are in a technology forum and I can't believe people are so much afraid of technological advancements!

Because we're rapidly approaching an extremely dangerous state where nobody knows how this stuff actually works or what to do in an emergency if it is malfunctioning.

Take Apollo 13 for example. Cutting edge technology- the very limit of what the 1970s could deliver in order to put man and machine on the moon and return them to earth safely.

Their survival and recovery was only possible because back then engineers made a point of providing manual overrides for every little feature, and designing a system to be as flexible as it was powerful while at the same time keeping complexity to the minimum needed to do the job.

In the end it was still the sheer luck that an identical craft was attached to a ground simulator that a solution to the power supply problems was found, and a carefully metered quantity of ducttape holding their air filter together so they could breathe.

Working in manufacturing like I do, there is a very highly alarming trend in engineering where you see engineers that have little to no hands-on experience with building and using the systems they design. These engineers will make an amazing design in 3D model on their computer, that when it reaches fabrication is quickly determined to be almost impossible to make and even more difficult to repair if anything goes wrong.

Plus modern people seem to have a phobia of instruments and manual override control panels, resulting in a lot of designs simply eliminating these required features in the interest of making it look appealing and cutting costs. Designs reach production all too frequently now that have no room for error at all, if anything goes wrong it instantly goes horribly wrong and ruins everything.

That's my problem with a lot of new technology. I've worked with technology long enough to automatically not trust any piece of equipment that has not proven itself through regular usage and been inspected as far as practical on the maintenance bench to make sure it is defect-free.
25  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: driveless cars on: October 15, 2014, 12:06:45 PM
Fairly sure mechanical controls should be legally mandated, and should remain that way even into an era of automatic driving. There's still a rack and pinion mechanism in case power steering fails or the engine quits.

Brakes are usually hydraulic, boosting is done using manifold vacuum and the electronics for ABS control a sequence of pumps and valves to increase or decrease the pressure as needed for traction control.

If anything goes wrong, manual override is your most reliable ticket out of it.

Also, the electronics of current cars can cause accidents if they fail.

For instance if your car's ABS controller shorts out in icy conditions and slams the brakes full-on causing you to skid into a telephone pole. It isn't impossible in many designs, just highly improbable due to careful fail-safe considerations in the design.

I know plenty of people as well who think a car has to be running for the controls to actually do anything. Part of this is urban myth, the other part is that they physically aren't strong enough to generate the required inputs without power assist when the car isn't moving. My grandma might succeed in steering a car that is coasting to a stop after an engine failure, but she'd be lucky to get the brakes to work much at all without manifold vacuum squeezing the booster for her.
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