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@DannyP posted:

Where would one do that? Isn't the Netflix DVD mail service ended or about to end?

My 88 year old Mom borrows them from the library, is that what you do, Mitch?

We still have our (2) Netflix DVD subscriptions (until the end of this month), along with every streaming service known to man.

Getting decent foreign or older (2- 20 years old) movies is impossible on any streaming service, which is why we have the DVD subscriptions. The catalog of available cinema was enormous.

The last two houses I've built have had no communications cables of any kind. We've got a fiber-optic modem, and a wireless router.

Last edited by Stan Galat


OK, I may wax a bit hyperbolic about my age, but when Neil and Buzz were playing around with their Hasselblad,


I was shopping around for mine. I just now pulled it out of the closet and here it is with the same lens the above photo was taken with.


I still had another year to go in school, but was already starting down the path towards what would turn into my life's work. I wonder how many of today's cameras will still be working perfectly 50 years from now. This little gem still runs on its original software and holds a charge indefinitely.

I exaggerated about the music somewhat, too. Big bands were my parents' music, but I would eventually discover bebop and the jazz of the '50s and '60s which I still turn to for solace when needed. And thanks to Pandora, it plays softly in the background when my wife and I settle for our morning coffee.

I drifted away from cutting edge tech when badly burned by the Beta/VHS wars. I have only one shelf of DVD's and think media-less streaming is generally a good thing, if it were not for the tyranny of the providing companies.

Gordon, we dropped cable TV like a hot spark plug several years ago and never looked back. Throw off your chains and breathe free.

No Cat 5. WiFi forever.

Or until the next quantum leap forward.

Stay loose, guys.



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Last edited by Sacto Mitch

My daughter and her husband, Keith,  just moved into their new, custom-built (by Keith) home and when it was newly studded and the electricians were milling about, my son went in and wired every room with data cabling, then went back and installed a full I/O panel and media server.  In his estimation, you can always use data cabling for something and for now it's giving the best I/O performance you can get, especially for streaming.

Gordon's New Router Update:

I modified my new router settings as Danny suggested by separating out a channel dedicated to all of my IoT devices and while it improved things a bit, it wasn't enough to make my front light switches stable, just less unstable.  

So I brought out the "Big Gun" and installed a WiFi range extender (about $40 bucks)  just for the IoT channel and the switches, placed it about ten feet from the mis-guided switches and paired all the IoT stuff to the new channel.  

"Buttah Boom, Buttah Bing!"  

Those suckers have been rock stable since I put in the extender.  So are a couple more IoT devices farther away in the house.  The kitchen stove is probably happier, but I honestly cannot think of a good reason to use WiFi in a stove unless "Alexa" could control it and, thus far, the two of them really don't do much, together.

The "Verizon Whisperer" is as good with Internet of Things and Routers as he is with Carburetors!

Thanks, @DannyP!

Last edited by Gordon Nichols
@edsnova posted:

I continue to be dumbfounded that able bodied people willingly put wifi controls on home appliances and lights.

I'm in between. Since I used to run a computer security office, I'm dubious about having low tech things inside the firewall. However, we bought a fancy touch-free kitchen faucet that came with IOT connectivity and I looked into what it could do.

The big thing for me is we cook steel cut oats for breakfast several days a week. We like them "just right" as Goldilocks liked to say. That means a certain amount of water, cooking time and heat.

Marianne can never remember how much water it takes (it's an odd amount), so I usually do the porridge.

With the new faucet routines, Marianne or I can say "Fill the oatmeal pan" and the faucet dispences just the right number of ounces (or milliliters) of water.

As far as I can tell, the bad guys haven't hacked my faucet yet...

@edsnova posted:

I continue to be dumbfounded that able bodied people willingly put wifi controls on home appliances and lights.

I have wifi on half a dozen lights in the house. The reason isn't so I can sit on my arce to turn on/off the lights. It is so I can set up schedules for the different lights so when I'm out of town the lights turn on/off to make it look more like someone is home. It is also so I can make sure one or more lights are on when my wife and I come home after a dinner or other event if it is past the time one of the preset schedules ends. I also have the garage doors on wifi so I can open or close them from wherever. This helps so when my CRS acts up I can check to see if I remembered to close the garage door. I can also open it for a neighbor if I need them to get a package off of the porch and put it in my garage so it doesn't get stolen. My smoker is also on wifi so when I put a brisket on the night before I can check/control the temperature when I first wake up or the next morning if I need to run errands. There are a lot of reasons to control things with wifi that don't include jut being lazy.

I'm on the fence on this, for the record we don't have any I-O-T devices.

We don't have Alexa or Google Assistant or any of that. If I want music, I go to an app on my phone or the TV and turn it on. I do have internet-connected cameras that I can view from anywhere, and a weather station with temperature sensors in the house and the garage that I can also check from anywhere and make sure my pipes don't freeze.

If I forget to turn the outside light on, I walk in the darkness. And if somebody REALLY wants the stuff in my house, they can have it. That's what insurance is for.

I do like gadgets, but I haven't quite jumped on this particular sea of them.

The big thing for me is we cook steel cut oats for breakfast several days a week. We like them "just right" as Goldilocks liked to say. That means a certain amount of water, cooking time and heat.

Two words for you: Instant Pot.

1T butter

1 Cup Oats

1.5 Cups water.

Set the IP to Risotto. 14 minutes.* Melt the butter. Pour in the oats and stir until they’re all coated. Pour in water, seal lid. Wait. Decompress naturally.

Perfect oats, every time.

* Small adjustment in the water qty and the time make a big difference. But once you get your preferences dialed in, it’s totally repeatable.

I, too, make steel cut oats 2-3 times a week. Being single, I eat the first batch warm, then 2 more go in the fridge and get warmed up with half/half, maple syrup, and cinnamon.

Steelcut oats, huh? A remote controlled smoker. I guess I'm out of step with the times!

FTR my reference to "able bodied" was not to call out anyone as "lazy," but to recognize a legitimate use case for this gimcrackery. We do have a programmable thermostat.

I also have a couple of timers that plug into the wall that get lights (or the Christmas tree) plugged into them. So far I've usually remembered to leave the porch light on when Karen and I go out for dinner in the spring and fall.

To me, the revolution in "smart" home goods feels like the touchscreen-in-your-car imperative: It's not really better than what came before, but it is what's available, and it does tell various private parties what we're up to—often in very granular detail. I don't really care about my privacy; I don't live that interestingly anymore. But I also don't feel like working to broadcast my boring life directly to GE and Bosch, either.

In fact I lost the taste for setting stuff like that up about the time when overclocking a Celeron got you Pentium II speeds for half the price.

Maybe it is I who have got lazy.

@Stan Galat posted:

WiFi thermostats, and yes - it's about laziness. I turn the upstairs off and on as guest come and go, wherever I happen to be.

Porch lights belong on dusk/dawn sensors. Seriously - they're LED. How much power do you think they use?

A smart faucet?

I use the dusk/dawn sensors on all of the outside lights also. That way i never have to remember to turn them on. I forgot about the thermostat, I have that one too. I adjust the thermostat when we're on our way home from out of town since it is usually set to different temperatures when we're gone.

We have several Amazon Echos kicking around, mostly to call up Amazon Music or Sirius/XM channels (I’ve listened to XM radio for over a decade) or even as a lowly intercomm between the house and shop.  We also have encrypted door locks and a few WiFi enabled light switches.

I think it’s cool to walk into my shop and simply say, “Alexa!  Play the Margaritaville Channel on Sirius  XM” and she does.  Don’t like that?  Ask for a different channel or volume up or down and she does.  Want WGBH Radio?  Just ask.  Want to know the decimal equivalent of 7/64’ths when your hands are full of tools and stuff?  Just ask.  And that’s just the entertainment stuff.

Got a knock on the shop door when it’s automatically locked and I’m busy under the car?  “Alexa!  Unlock the shop door!” And she does to let my untrusted neighbor in.  If my trusted neighbor on the other side goes in using his thumb-print, the lock keeps track of who’s using the lock and when.  

Like @Robert M, our outside lights are on smaht switches that operate automatically all the time.  When we headed to Socal a couple of weeks ago, Alexa had already learned our indoor lighting habits and mimic’d them when we were gone.  She also manages our home security system so when we were gone we could see what was happening (nothing, this trip) and when we returned I could turn off the alarm as we approached the driveway instead of charging in and running upstairs to beat the countdown clock.

Things have improved a LOT since I was a Beta-Tester for Dragon Naturally Speaking when I used it for seemingly endless reports back in the 1990’s.  🙁  That was before that company imploded.  Now, voice-to-memo is pretty common stuff and just getting better.

I live with no street lights around me no other houses really close by. And I have ZERO lights on outside the house at night. I LOVE the dark and nothing in it bothers me walking 200 pounds of German Shepherd(s) Good luck to anyone sneaking up in the dark thinking they've got cover.....and I'd have motion lights long before any lights on all night.

I just came back from the cottage this afternoon and we're alongside a certified dark sky night preserve where you can still look up and see a zillion stars at night. The nearest small town has to fight the big box stores who flaunt the parking lot lights bylaw re uplighting and spillage.

The TV remote is the most technology I hope I'll ever need....all the smart stuff leaves me cold regardless of convenience.


You want to see the Milky Way?

I'm sorry, Danny, I'm afraid you can't do that right now.

But Alexa can describe the Milky Way for you. What is it about the Milky Way you wish to know?

Please stay on the line afterwards and complete our customer service survey.

Let us know how your Milky Way experience has been.

And enter your email below to stay updated about any Milky Way news or future Milky Way products that may become available.

Is there anything further we can assist you with now?


Last edited by Sacto Mitch
@WNGD posted:

The TV remote is the most technology I hope I'll ever need....all the smart stuff leaves me cold regardless of convenience.

I was yesterday years old when I discovered there’s a button on the side of my Apple TV remote that I can push and say “F1 Japan Qualifying” and it will automatically open the F1 TV app and play qualifying instead of navigating with the extremely touchy finger controls.

My passion has always been video. From the our 1954 B&W Zenith with connections for video telephone on the back (no joke) to our current 82" 8K TV. I went through about 20 years using high end video projectors for our TVs and switched over to the current technologies of HDTV+ as the flat screens got bigger.

Much like owning a clown car, you really can't justify it other than saying, "I like it." We dropped cable about 12 years ago. I converted all of our DVDs and BluRays to digital files that are served up using the Plex app. We subscribe to Amazon Prime (Hawaii shipping, duh), Netflix, YouTube Premium, and Sling. We switch the Sling subscription from Orange to Blue depending on what sports we want to see. ACC basketball and March Madness are required viewing at our house. The YouTube Premium lets us entertain our grandkids without interruptions and upload our albums to YT music.

For music, I converted all of our old CDs and some old jazz/bluegrass/rock records to digital. I uploaded the unique albums to my YouTube music library and created custom playlists that suit our whims. Otherwise we use YouTube music like we used Pandora or Spotify.  Did I mention that I once had the opportunity to jam onstage with the Kruger Brothers?

For me, it's a wonderful world!

When I was still in the computer storage biz, we absolutely LOVED the Facebooks, Amazons, Spotifys, Walmarts and banks (especially banks) because they kept collecting  more and more data and buying more and more storage!  (just like this site, on a smaller scale)

And on the Milky Way, I was out in Marble, Colorado back in 2018 on a bicycling trip and we had slogged against a headwind, slightly uphill, all afternoon to get to the hotel.  After dinner we hung out for a while and then went to bed early because that headwind kind-of wore us down.  My room mate was a guy almost my age named Charlie and we've ridden together a lot.  

Somewhere around 1:30am I feel my shoulder being shaken and Charlie is there, waking me up and saying, "You gotta come outside and see this!"

So I drag myself out of bed and follow him outside and groggily say, "OK, What?"

Charlie points up to the sky and says, "Just look up."

When I do, I see the Milky Way like I've never seen it before.  It was bright.  It was huge, and it was SPECTACULAR.  I'll never forget how wonderful that was.

@DannyP posted:

NO, NO, NO! Don't you ever look up at the night sky?

Two words for you: light pollution

I HATE light pollution. You can't even see the Milky Way any more.

I live in a town. There are street lights on every other corner and the church across the street has dawn/dusk parking lot lights. I don't have undirected bare-bulb yard lights - everything either points down (can lights in the porch ceiling) or has a downward reflector - but I know where I live. If I need stars, I'll need to move to the country. You will too.

Complete aside - but I lived at 6000 ft in the Southern Highlands in Papua New Guinea for a few years 35 years ago. We were all 100% off the grid, so with no light pollution and very little atmospheric interference the night sky was unreal, so I do know what I'm missing. I'd not get it even if I shut my lights off.

As far as motion sensing lights, I  H A T E them. I've never experienced one set up properly - they are either too sensitive or not sensitive enough. I've got a friend whose house has them set so that every passing car or June-bug doesn't set them off, and everybody ends up walking to the door in almost complete darkness until we're on the porch and the light decides to come on. It defeats the purpose of a porch light - which is to provide a welcoming entrance to people coming to my home.

I'm still not getting a smart faucet.



Wait, you don't mean you're considering going EFI, Mitch?

Sure thing.

I'm just waiting for tighter Amazon-Speeduino integration.

If Alexa can make perfect recordings of my dinner conversations and send them seamlessly to my co-workers (with absolutely no input from me), then it should be a slam-dunk for her to handle requests like, "Alexa, I'm going to the coast this weekend. Check the weather and set up the ECU for strong low-to-midrange torque, good fuel economy in the cruise, and just a hint of burble on the overrun."

It's all good, Mike.


Last edited by Sacto Mitch
@Sacto Mitch posted:


If Alexa can make perfect recordings of my dinner conversations and send them seamlessly to my co-workers (with absolutely no input from me) [edit: Meh...], then it should be a slam-dunk for her to handle requests like, "Alexa, I'm going to the coast this weekend. Check the weather and set up the ECU for strong low-to-midrange torque, good fuel economy in the cruise, and just a hint of burble on the overrun."

It's all good, Mike.


For that, you may need "Super Alexa Mode"

To access this secret mode, you should say:

"Alexa, up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start."

Alexa should then respond with:

"Super Alexa mode, activated.

Starting reactors.

Now online."

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Well, the weirdest skill I've found is I can ask Alexa to start my Acura and she does it via the Acuralink app.  Not that I'm too lazy to find my car fob or anything....

Jus' sayin'.

I've also created a "Skill" for Alexa that arms my security system when I say'

"Alexa!  Shields UP!"

I have to use a PIN to disarm the alarm, which kind-a defeats the whole, "Alexa!  Drop Shields!" vibe, but what'chagonnado?, yah know?

"Alexa, Drop Shields!"

"OK......  What is your PIN number?"

"Alexa!    Mumble, mumble, mumble, mumble,     Mumble, Mumble!"

"OK, Shields down,  Welcome Home!"

She's almost as good as a pair of Jack Russell Terrorists.....

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Update: fixed. There was one ground that was giggling on and off the bolt it was looped on. It was behind the subframe under the dash. After speaking to Greg (thanks so much for the insight), I finally found it by using a flexible camera and work light to put eyes on the wires I may have bumped while disconnecting and reconnecting the switches.

Thanks to all for the great advice!

Here’s the finished product. I even had the radio buttons painted to match the original knobs. Last dash project will be to add original oil pressure gauge next to the Porsche badge.




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