Halt and Catch Fire

In computing, Halt and Catch Fire is a mnemonic for HCF, a code instruction to stop operation. The machine would then need a restart.

Halt and Catch Fire is also the name of a series that ran on AMC. It was a depiction of the how the World Wide Web grew in the 80s and 90s. A fictional series, it follows several characters and their struggles along the way trying to outpace others in development and ideas. Some of the struggles were with hardware and others were with software. It really is fun to see how far we’ve come when we see some of what happened and see some of the hardware that was used then.

It aired for 4 seasons. You can catch all four seasons on Netflix. Here is the trailer for the first season:

Ever think about cutting the cord?

Cord-cutting refers to abandoning cable TV for streaming services. There are so many different avenues to go with this, the Victor crew thought we’d do some exploring into what was available.

One thing you can get is a Roku that you can stream many different channels from. It handles Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus for example. Netflix and Amazon have some crossovers, but Hulu Plus will bring you many current TV shows. Another streaming channel to consider is Sling TV for television shows. You might consider Apple TV instead of Roku. Another streaming device is Amazon Fire TV. There’s also Google’s Chromecast. You may want to find reviews on these devices and make your decision.

Another thing to consider is your Internet connection. How strong is it during peak hours? You can test it at speedtest.net or testmy.net. Do several throughout the day and evening to see how much you can handle. You may need to get an HD antenna to get the major networks in full HD.

You can find more information here.

In the News …

Some items the Victor crew came across this week:

The government has now ruled that sharing passwords for Netflix can be considered a federal crime in the ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Netflix already allows two screens to play in a regular account with two household users. It costs another $2 per month to add two more household members.

The sharing limitations also apply to HBO go.

Avast just acquired AVG. For the uninformed, they are both computer security companies that you can run for free. The companies have been confused with each other in the past because of the similarities of their names (both start with AV.) (There is yet another free antivirus program starting with AV – Avira started in the 1980s in Germany.) Both were originally from the two different cities in the Czech Republic. AVG came first; both were started in the late 1980s.

Ever fall asleep during your Netflix?

What do you do? Start over again? Try to remember where you left off? The Victor crew found there is a solution! It may not be cheap. It may not be easy. But it is a solution!

A while ago we shared with you about the Netflix switch and how you can make the switch to dim your lights and turn on your Netflix. This solution requires a little more technical know-how. Of the knitting kind. You can knit yourself a pair of Netflix socks. There are some unconventional materials in these socks. They need a small microcontroller, accellerometer, LEDs, and battery.

Here is the full materials list for the electronics.
Here is the schematic.
Here is the code you need to program them.

So now that we learned about them, what do they do? They will pause your Netflix if you fall asleep. It senses when you have fallen asleep. If you haven’t moved your foot for a minute, it will pause your program.

Netflix Switch

Netflix has come up with a way for you to hit a switch to turn off lights and turn on Netflix. With just a button. You can go to their website for step-by-step instructions and find out what exactly you need to build it. You can follow their diagram to build yours. No two will look or be exactly alike. They built theirs around the Particle Core microprocessor.

About the switch:


Particle Microprocessor: