* Posts by Grandpa Tom

24 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Feb 2013

Brit Watchkeeper drone fell in the sea because blocked sensor made algorithms flip out

Grandpa Tom


Install THREE sensors for every required measurement. Read all three and believe two of them that have a similar report.

We'll help you get your next fix... maybe, we'll think about it, says FTC: 'Right to repair' mulled

Grandpa Tom

I would also include the right to upgrade. I have a Thinkpad. I wanted to change the WiFi module for a newer version that would support AC version for better performance. What I found is the BIOS had a "whitelist" of component suppliers for that component. Installing the Intel WiFi board DISABLED BOOT.

I was furious. I had only two choices: Modify the BIOS to accept any WiFi component or buy a second WiFi board and dispose of the new intel board.

OK, I took the easy (less risk) path. But I still think the concept of whitelist is very wrong. If I want to install a component that had not been approved by the OEM engineering staff, that is MY risk.

Do I expect Lenovo to test every new upgrade component with every model laptop they shipped? No. That is a huge task without any ROI for them. But they need not shoot me in the foot because I bought something for my machine that they did not sell.

Facebook confesses: Buckle up, there's plenty more privacy lapses where that came from

Grandpa Tom

They just announced a 50% increase in revenue for Q1.

The millennials addicted to their FB account will never learn.

Leave it to Beaver: Unity is long gone and you're on your GNOME

Grandpa Tom

Re: Does Wifi Work?

Not always as easy as you might think..

I wanted to upgrade my laptop WiFi but found that Lenovo {bless their heart} decided to whitelist such components. You change the WiFi board and the BIOS will not run.

I finally found a newer WiFi that would pass the crazy Lenovo white list requirement.

Nest reveals the first truly connected home

Grandpa Tom

Re: Why would anyone PAY for a video recording "service"?

Rather than putting my security video on my own NAS. I installed my own ethernet powered cameras. Used the APP on my Synology NAS to record the video. I did not port forward the video but prefer to review video from my NAS.

All video is available via Nextcloud rather than trusting some paid service.

I have a bluetooth switch on my garage door opener so I can open it with my phone. Considered using a Raspberry Pi on my network to open the garage door but decided I did not want door security available in the internet.

Why are we disappointed with the best streaming media box on the market?

Grandpa Tom

Re: Which country?

If you install KODI on the Amazon Fire 2 you have the best of both worlds. All the KODI features AND Amazon, Netflix, Hulu etc.

Don't bother with the Fire 3 box unless you have 4K display. (Fire 3 is a bit of a downgrade from Fire 2 box).

It's happening! Official retro Thinkpad lappy spotted in the wild

Grandpa Tom

Thinkpad BIOS

I have an old E545 (I'm typing on just now) and I find it a decent laptop *except* that they whitelist the components and don't allow upgrade for things that just need improvement.

My machine needs the improved WiFi (ac compatible). I bought an Intel card and installed it but the BIOS detected the card and refused to boot. Told me to remove the card and reboot.

Not acceptable. If I want to make changes to my machine the supplier should not prevent that.

Tried to find a revised BIOS but no joy.


Nasty firmware update butchers Samsung smart TVs so bad, they have to be repaired

Grandpa Tom

Re: Get an nVidia shield (or your box of choice)

I made similar choices. Have 5 Samsung screens around the house. Four of them monitors connected to Raspberry Pi or Amazon Fire TV box. The single TV is not a smart TV. Just big plasma screen also connected to TiVo and Amazon Fire TV.

None of the screens are internet connected. All the screens have access to video stored on my NAS.

I record those TV shows I wish to watch and play them avoiding commercials.

I can hardly wait for firmware updates to self driving cars...

Surfacegate: Microsoft execs 'misled Nadella', claims report

Grandpa Tom

What about DVT reports?

Intel thermals make the surface machine fail? OK, but the special drivers that Microsoft insisted be installed might cause the failure.

For example: The cooling profile is totally under control of the BIOS and MSFT clearly had control of the thermal design. The volume of air inside the machine and the movement of the chassis (based on fan speed) are the MSFT responsibility.

My question: Whet happened with the MSFT DVT testing? Somewhere inside MSFT some DVT engineer has a thermal profile with a dozen (or more) thermal test points inside the chassis. The report will show ambient temperature (across the entire spec for the product). The thermal measurement (taken with various software stress level programs) will show the thermal margin of the design.

I have done this kind of test on many products. Industry standard techniques using chart recorders and environmental chambers tell the truth.

Toyota's entertaining the idea of Linux in cars

Grandpa Tom

Re: Please keep it simple

I have a completely mechanical 71 El Camino. No bluetooth. No computer at all. Installed a tiny stereo AMP (motorcycle style) to play music from a thumb drive. That and electronic ignition are the only electronic items in the car.

Idle is perfectly smooth. Runs great. Will pass anything but a gas station...

Self-driving car devs face 6-month backlog on vital $85,000 LIDAR kit

Grandpa Tom

Re: Scaleable and Secure?

Yes, there are many issues to be considered that have not been discussed (at least openly).

In light of recent security problems with Windows and WannaCry I would be concerned about keeping the computing features on line.

Having a loose computer security policy in your entertainment system is no big deal. But having mission critical functional features that can become faulty by network security penetration is totally unacceptable.

Further, what about lifetime support? Do you have to be concerned about having security updates disappear after 12 years?

Guess I'll stay with my 71 El Camino.

Startup remotely 'bricks' grumpy bloke's IoT car garage door – then hits reverse gear

Grandpa Tom

Better solution is bluetooth. I have a raspberry pi running with owncloud. Could very well connected a relay to the RPI. But a simple solution was to install an off the shelf bluetooth device that connects to my phone when I arrive. No security risks at all.

Western Digital to axe 507 California staffers

Grandpa Tom

Re: Irvine and Santa Ana

Wait a minute. You left out Hwy 87. Yet another parking lot in the morning and late afternoon but this one elevated thru the middle of downtown San Jose.

I drive a sports car and that highway is really *rough* so it's a good thing I can't go faster than 20 MPH.

Got a Fitbit? Thought you were achieving your goals? Better read this

Grandpa Tom

Los HR

I have had a very low HR for all my life. When I was younger I ran 6 miles / day on a regular basis. (Can't do that any longer because of back and knee issues). I'm nearly 72. I walk on my treadmill 60 miles / month on a 10% elevation (as high as my machine will go).

My resting HR as measured by my Polar HR machine and my Dr's HR is normally about 40. Has been around 38 often and low as 36 occasionally.

My cardiologist thinks I'm doing well. His stress test will increase my HR to 130 but I'm pushing hard to get there.

I don't like the strap on my chest that the Polar system requires but I realize it provides the best opportunity for signal so the sensors provide an accurate report.

For me, accuracy is everything. Polar has it.

Hacker chancer looking for $500,000 after offering Clinton emails for auction

Grandpa Tom

With all the IT people reading this thread I wonder why no one has asked about the backup tapes for the server. I'm sure that there are takes squirreled away in some secure off site location. The company that managed the server must have made such a provision.

Wonder if that is where the hacker found all those emails.

NSA eggheads tried to bork Nork nukes with Stuxnet. It failed – report

Grandpa Tom

NORK computers all run CP/M

The bug on the USB stick wouldn't work because all the machines there are still running ancient CP/M.


SanDisk opens for business with point-of-sale terminal SSD

Grandpa Tom

Reliability IS important in a POS terminal.

Bought something at Wendy's over the weekend where the employee had to complete my transaction at the drive up window because her terminal was down.

Chewier than a slice of Pi: MIPS Creator CI20 development board

Grandpa Tom

I have been using the original RPi as a XBMC media center for more than a year. Yes, the lag and sluggishness drove me bats at first but after I used it for a while I adjusted my expectations. I have another RPi for another application and using the desktop is a trial because of the lag. It works, so I use it.

I recently picked up an RPi 2. The difference is night and day. The XBMC interface (now KODI) is faster without any hardware change but adding the RPi 2 hardware makes all the difference. Truly a joy.

Micron embiggens personal SSD for storage-hungry public

Grandpa Tom

So how then did they add capacity? By reducing the 'reserved' flash normally used to allow the controller to do house keeping, wear leveling and maintain good performance and endurance as the drive fills up.

The increased performance spec is nice but how does the new drive perform when it is > 80% filled?

And the winner of the most reliable disk drive award is ...

Grandpa Tom

Re: My experience

Pending sectors are just that: PENDING. Does not mean they are waiting to be reallocated. It means they require further testing to see if they *should* be reallocated. If the firmware tests those sectors and finds them acceptable they are returned for use.

If you have frequent pending sectors being returned to the heap you may have a vibration issue where the drive is suffering "off track writes" making the data marginal to read back. Take a look at your fan mounts and thermal controls in the servers.

Code-busters lift RSA keys simply by listening to the noises a computer makes

Grandpa Tom

Re: Back in the day

Back in the day [70's and 80's] we were coating the inside of plastic CRT terminal covers with SILVER. Uncle Sam knew that you could potentially read the text as it was typed on the display from outside the room.

We offered a cheaper coating (Zink) but that did not satisfy them.

Apple to accept iPhone trade-ins at US Retail Stores

Grandpa Tom
Thumb Up

Re: usa

I just bought an iPhone 5 at T-Mobile. No contract. Their trade in deal for my old iPhone 3GS (8MB) was $25.

(unlocked). Just sold it for $75 on eBay.

787 battery fix approved

Grandpa Tom

Re: Thank you, FAA...

I would like an explanation as to how the engineering change would resolve the safety problems. What was the theory behind the failure? What was the root cause of the failure? How does the change mitigate the failure?

Not going to get me on one of them for a very long time...

Over 100,000 sign White House petition for handset unlocking

Grandpa Tom

Locking Phones

Seems to me that if the carrier wants to sell a phone for cheap (subsidized) and connect you with a two year contract, he is going to get the purchase price of the phone during the life of the contract.

There really is NO JUSTIFICATION for locking the phone. LOCKING should be ILLEGAL. So then if I want to dump my contract and go to another carrier, I can do that by paying the early out penalty and everyone should be happy.

That would make the playing field level for all carriers and promote competition.

Tom S