1406: "Universal Converter Box"

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby sorceror » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:32 pm UTC

No PS/2 or AT keyboard connectors? I'm trying to de-mothball my old maxed-out 486 system, and even with an adapter they old motherboard does not like PS/2 keyboards. Tends to freak out and emit a hysterical string of beeps.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Carteeg_Struve » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:40 pm UTC

Am I the only one who was disappointed that after "Token Ring" there wasn't a loop with elvish scripted labeled "Tolkien Ring"?

Now we just need a driver required to run this off of a computer that comes with a 3 Wood.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:54 pm UTC

I somewhat agree with Randall on the limited number of USB plugs mentioned, there are too many of them. On the other hand they should be clearly marked worst offender (especially with their name starting with "universal"). I think he's also missing many audio plugs of various widths.
Neil_Boekend wrote:
3rdtry wrote:The fuel output would be considerably harder than the rest. While synthetic fuel exists, you still need input products, and I don't see any holes on the left for coal, natural gas, biomass or hydrogen. The only way you could create fuel seemingly out of nowhere is by absorbing and converting the air around the converter box, or by converting energy (from the 120v input) into matter, both of which are far beneath the capabilities of our technology.

There is an air intake at the back. CO2 and H2O + a whole lot of energy + a dash of magic => fuel.
To improve intake efficiency it could have a particle accelerator to create the energy it needs instead of dumping that much N2 and O2. You wouldn't like the energetic efficiency though.

Are we assuming it's unleaded? I don't think they sold unleaded petrol in the age of 87 and 91 octane fuel. For 93 you could probably take your pick.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby danbert8 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:03 pm UTC

I wonder if it supports 4k and 3D...

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby JudeMorrigan » Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:07 pm UTC

taemyr wrote:
Fobs wrote:Gotta say. Macro USB made me laugh.


Yes, we are all familiar with Micro USB. But Macro USB is impossible and has never been observed.

What you did there, I see it. Well played!

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby squall_line » Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:25 pm UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:Are we assuming it's unleaded? I don't think they sold unleaded petrol in the age of 87 and 91 octane fuel. For 93 you could probably take your pick.


"The age of 87 and 91 octane fuel" is the modern age, here in the United States, where this comic is written. We use the AKI, which is an average of the RON and MON, whereas UK, Europe, and other places that refer to gasoline as "petrol" use RON, which is generally 6-8 points higher.

With recent changes to formulation and the ridiculous "use corn for automotive fuel instead of for human food" requirements here in the U.S., 91 is about the highest most people can expect to find any longer; 87 is the new standard, and it's really just 84 octane blended with ethanol to get it to somewhere in the 87 range. As someone with a high-compression engine in his motorcycle, I'm not entirely pleased with the loss of 93 octane and the addition of ethanol to almost every fuel blend level.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby suso » Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:54 pm UTC

sfmans wrote:The folks who sorted out the connectivity between various synths, sequencers, and other electronic sound devices before MIDI came along deserve a special section in the Music Hall Of Fame ...


Right on. Its pretty amazing that MIDI has required so little revision in its now 30 year history. Obviously they designed it well.
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Coyne » Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:59 pm UTC

Ummm...question: I've connected the USB connector to a wall power source and I'm using the 93 octane setting to fill my tank. But it is filling very slowly. Am I doing something wrong?
In all fairness...

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby ctdonath » Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:08 pm UTC

Essah wrote:what if you need to convert between 2 types that are on the same side of the converter box?

That's what I found funny about the USB plugs: they're all on the same side, contrary to the point of USB being a decidedly one-way master/slave cable; putting 'em all on the same side amounts to a slave/slave/slave/slave configuration.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:08 pm UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:
Neil_Boekend wrote:There is an air intake at the back. CO2 and H2O + a whole lot of energy + a dash of magic => fuel.
To improve intake efficiency it could have a particle accelerator to create the energy it needs instead of dumping that much N2 and O2. You wouldn't like the energetic efficiency though.

Are we assuming it's unleaded? I don't think they sold unleaded petrol in the age of 87 and 91 octane fuel. For 93 you could probably take your pick.

Of course I assume it's unleaded. I honestly can't remember ever seeing leaded fuel at the pump. If a car is so ancient that it needs lead there are these small bottles of "loodvervanger" (lit. trans: lead replacement) to add to a full tank. Even that ain't tetraethyllead, it's methyl-tert-butylether so that doesn't contain lead either. Methyl-tert-butylether contains no atoms not in air (only C, H and O in a specific configuration).

However, the particle accelerator would be able to create that lead if you really desire tetraethyllead. Just don't do it in my country. I like my air lead free.

Coyne wrote:Ummm...question: I've connected the USB connector to a wall power source and I'm using the 93 octane setting to fill my tank. But it is filling very slowly. Am I doing something wrong?

You might want to set the "magic" switch to "more magic".
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Coyoty » Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:11 pm UTC

Coyne wrote:Ummm...question: I've connected the USB connector to a wall power source and I'm using the 93 octane setting to fill my tank. But it is filling very slowly. Am I doing something wrong?


It's converting electrons to hydrocarbon molecules. It's going to take awhile.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby ctdonath » Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:16 pm UTC

3rdtry wrote:The fuel output would be considerably harder than the rest. While synthetic fuel exists, you still need input products, and I don't see any holes on the left for coal, natural gas, biomass or hydrogen. The only way you could create fuel seemingly out of nowhere is by absorbing and converting the air around the converter box, or by converting energy (from the 120v input) into matter, both of which are far beneath the capabilities of our technology.

It uses the "airplane pneumatic" plug for that. Just sucks up air, extracts moisture and carbon dioxide, breaks those down into C, O & H components, and reformulates it into gasoline.

[pauses, contemplating] And that's why I take jokes/absurdities straight and see where they end up. Why don't we have any machines that DO take atmospheric H2O & CO2 and generate organic fuels suitable for common vehicles? Power consumption might be astounding, but at least try it to prove it's possible, and once it's functional feasibility is just a matter of refinements.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby fatunga » Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:24 pm UTC

I'm showing my age, but where's the RS232 serial connector? Once upon a time it more or less was the universal interface. Hm... Yes, why not again!?

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Envelope Generator » Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:30 pm UTC

suso wrote:
sfmans wrote:The folks who sorted out the connectivity between various synths, sequencers, and other electronic sound devices before MIDI came along deserve a special section in the Music Hall Of Fame ...


Right on. Its pretty amazing that MIDI has required so little revision in its now 30 year history. Obviously they designed it well.


Yes and no. They designed it well for its day but it's getting to be a bottleneck for electronic music production (eg. channel limit, parameter resolution, timing precision) and is in increasingly urgent need of major revision.
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby orthogon » Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:18 pm UTC

ctdonath wrote:Why don't we have any machines that DO take atmospheric H2O & CO2 and generate organic fuels suitable for common vehicles? Power consumption might be astounding, but at least try it to prove it's possible, and once it's functional feasibility is just a matter of refinements.

Well we might not have machines, but these things convert atmospheric H2O and CO2 into organic fuel. They even use solar power to provide the necessary energy input. Admittedly the fuel isn't suitable for common vehicles at present, so alternative designs might be needed.
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby JCCyC » Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:23 pm UTC

If it can't convert 15KHz RGB (CoCo 3, MSX, Atari ST etc) to a modern video standard, I ain't buying. Also, where's the 74,833 different types of DIN and mini-DIN pinouts needed for all flavors of classic computers?

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:26 pm UTC

ctdonath wrote:[pauses, contemplating] And that's why I take jokes/absurdities straight and see where they end up. Why don't we have any machines that DO take atmospheric H2O & CO2 and generate organic fuels suitable for common vehicles? Power consumption might be astounding, but at least try it to prove it's possible, and once it's functional feasibility is just a matter of refinements.


Because the technology required is (currently) indistinguishable from magic. And it's probably going to be more energy efficient to use electricity and/or H2 rather than synthesising medium-length hydrocarbons as an intermediate step...

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby shieldforyoureyes » Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:29 pm UTC

thyristor wrote:Nooooo! Why is the fiber the only cable without a termination?
It could be a SC/APC or even.. an E2000! Goddammit, it was my time to shine here.


Ha, that was my first thought too. If one of the cables is "fiber", everything else (other than diesel, string, & pneumatic audio) could just be "copper".

(Currently use SC & MIC at home.)

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby danbert8 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:29 pm UTC

Of course I assume it's unleaded. I honestly can't remember ever seeing leaded fuel at the pump. If a car is so ancient that it needs lead there are these small bottles of "loodvervanger" (lit. trans: lead replacement) to add to a full tank. Even that ain't tetraethyllead, it's methyl-tert-butylether so that doesn't contain lead either. Methyl-tert-butylether contains no atoms not in air (only C, H and O in a specific configuration).

However, the particle accelerator would be able to create that lead if you really desire tetraethyllead. Just don't do it in my country. I like my air lead free.


Leaded gas is still sold for race cars and old piston planes, but that's about it. You can only get it at certain race tracks and airports. MTBE isn't actually a replacement for TEL. Both increase octane, but the TEL is also lubricating and will destroy any modern emissions system. MTBE is only used in areas where ethanol isn't freely available or people want to buy ethanol-free gas.

My big complaint is that you should never have a diesel option with a gasoline fill nozzle. Idiots will put diesel into their cars and mess them up real good. That is one of the big reasons diesel nozzles are physically larger (they won't fit in a gasoline tank hole). The other is to get better flow rates since diesels are usually commercial vehicles with larger tanks.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Michael.K » Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:35 pm UTC

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Michael.K » Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:40 pm UTC

Needs Robertson screwdriver bit.

Also plug for my 1541.
And Commodore Plus/4.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby cct » Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:42 pm UTC

co-ax? especially a vampire tap

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby cellocgw » Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:48 pm UTC

Coyne wrote:Ummm...question: I've connected the USB connector to a wall power source and I'm using the 93 octane setting to fill my tank. But it is filling very slowly. Am I doing something wrong?


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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby cellocgw » Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:53 pm UTC

thyristor wrote:Nooooo! Why is the fiber the only cable without a termination?
It could be a SC/APC or even.. an E2000! Goddammit, it was my time to shine here.


Mr. NitPicky signing in: SC/APC, FC/UPC, LC, etc. are not terminators. They are couplers. If you want a terminator (preferably not one built by Skynet), use a glop of optical grease.
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Mikeski » Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:06 pm UTC

Needs a birdcage hanging on there somewhere.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby jjane » Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:51 pm UTC

gtschemer wrote:Am I blind, or is it also missing two connectors still commonly used today -- 1/4 inch audio, and DB9 serial? :P


I looked for 1/4 inch audio first. But then again, I love my electric guitar.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:53 pm UTC

shieldforyoureyes wrote:
thyristor wrote:Nooooo! Why is the fiber the only cable without a termination?
It could be a SC/APC or even.. an E2000! Goddammit, it was my time to shine here.


Ha, that was my first thought too. If one of the cables is "fiber", everything else (other than diesel, string, & pneumatic audio) could just be "copper".

(Currently use SC & MIC at home.)
I believe it's unterminated fiber by design. As in, for someone who needs an exposed fiber optic cable.
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby mmcmonster » Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:00 pm UTC

Neil_Boekend wrote:
speising wrote:i'm disappointed that all kinds of fuel are on one spout. a converter diesel - 93 octane would be useful.

I am disappointed that there is no 95 nor 98 octane. Modern engines can correct their timing for lower octane levels but older engines would crap out at such crappy fuel.


Is there any vehicle that requires 98 octane? Maybe a race car?

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby squall_line » Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:14 pm UTC

ctdonath wrote:
Essah wrote:what if you need to convert between 2 types that are on the same side of the converter box?

That's what I found funny about the USB plugs: they're all on the same side, contrary to the point of USB being a decidedly one-way master/slave cable; putting 'em all on the same side amounts to a slave/slave/slave/slave configuration.


I think that both of these questions assume that the Universal Converter Box is "sided". If it's truly "universal", it should allow input and output from any one connector to any other connector, regardless of position on the box. Whether or not this is the case is in the mind of the reader; a rounded box or a box with inputs evenly spread along all of its edges would have more clearly communicated this, if that was the intent.

I would like to think that something as fantastical as what this box claims to do wouldn't be so short-sighted as to limit the input/output combinations to a simple "left side/right side" dichotomy.

Also, as an aside, where's the BNC connector? And, does anyone know why F-type is the TV-antenna-connection standard instead of BNC? BNC just seems so much easier to connect and keep secure; It always takes multiple tries with an F-type to keep from cross-threading when trying to make a blind connection with an antenna/cable/satellite connection...

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby robertpfrench » Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:18 pm UTC

You got the good old-fashioned Parallel Port but what about the good old-fashioned Serial Port?

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Whizbang » Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:21 pm UTC

Needs a soup cable.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby orthogon » Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:32 pm UTC

squall_line wrote:Also, as an aside, where's the BNC connector? And, does anyone know why F-type is the TV-antenna-connection standard instead of BNC? BNC just seems so much easier to connect and keep secure; It always takes multiple tries with an F-type to keep from cross-threading when trying to make a blind connection with an antenna/cable/satellite connection...

In the UK (possibly in Europe more generally) we only use F-type for domestic satellite connections, and Belling-Lee for UHF TV. I think F-types are popular because they're cheap and quick to terminate1. The inner of the coax becomes the centre pin, which is horrible but reduces the BOM cost. The professional connector for UHF and above is the fully-grown N-type, a proper screw-on connector of which the BNC is a sort of semi-pro/quick release version (I believe BNC stands for Bayonet N-Connector). But terminating coax in a N-type or a BNC requires all kinds of fiddly soldering and crimping, and there are an inordinate number of bits to the connector (pins, sleeves, spacers, etc) making them relatively expensive and tricky to fit. A screw-fitting connector is more reliable for a connection that isn't going to be plugged and unplugged frequently; by contrast BNCs generally wobble a bit when done up and this can make the connection less reliable. A compromise approach for a piece of equipment or patchbay that needs to be reconnected frequently is to have an N-type wired in, but attach an N-type to BNC adapter. That way you can connect it quickly and easily, but when the BNC wears out you just need change the adapter, not the permanent connector. I agree than F-types seem prone to cross-threading, but I suspect that's down to them being cheap and nasty with manufacturing tolerances to match.

1 @cellocgw: I know what you're saying, but I think we have to accept that "terminate" has two closely related meanings: "put a connector on the end" and "put a matched load on the end". Or maybe just one meaning "put something on the end".
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:11 pm UTC

mmcmonster wrote:
Neil_Boekend wrote:
speising wrote:i'm disappointed that all kinds of fuel are on one spout. a converter diesel - 93 octane would be useful.

I am disappointed that there is no 95 nor 98 octane. Modern engines can correct their timing for lower octane levels but older engines would crap out at such crappy fuel.


Is there any vehicle that requires 98 octane? Maybe a race car?
Apparently they measure octane differently in Europe than the US, so I suspect 95 and 98 in Europe are roughly equivalent to 91 and 93 in the US.
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby da Doctah » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:11 pm UTC

Michael.K wrote:
keithl wrote:The next year, we wangled press passes to watch the first space shuttle launch and landing. We were with CBS. The record label, not the TV network, but we didn't tell NASA that.


Awesomest story in the history of awesome.


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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby bobmon » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:17 pm UTC

Only two other people have mentioned the lack of DB-25/DB-9 serial ports? How soon they forget....

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby balthasar_s » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:21 pm UTC

sorceror wrote:No PS/2 or AT keyboard connectors? I'm trying to de-mothball my old maxed-out 486 system, and even with an adapter they old motherboard does not like PS/2 keyboards. Tends to freak out and emit a hysterical string of beeps.
Might be an XT keyboard.
PS/2, AT - differnt connector, the same protocol.
AT, XT - the same connector, different protocol.
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby rndmplyr » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:46 pm UTC

Needs a garden hose to hdmi adaptor. I'm not allowed to post links yet, so just google "gardena zu hdmi".

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby HES » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:58 pm UTC

rndmplyr wrote:Needs a garden hose to hdmi adaptor. I'm not allowed to post links yet, so just google "gardena zu hdmi".

So, yeah. These exist.
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby sorceror » Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:23 pm UTC

balthasar_s wrote:
sorceror wrote:No PS/2 or AT keyboard connectors? I'm trying to de-mothball my old maxed-out 486 system, and even with an adapter they old motherboard does not like PS/2 keyboards. Tends to freak out and emit a hysterical string of beeps.
Might be an XT keyboard.
PS/2, AT - differnt connector, the same protocol.
AT, XT - the same connector, different protocol.


No, the PS/2 keyboards - well, one of them, at least - has worked from time to time, so the MB must therefore support the AT protocol - at least some of the time. (Honest to goodness, there are no model indications on the board at all; it's a Socket 3 with ISA and VLB slots, UMC chipset, but no onboard devices except the keyboard port. Needs an ISA card even for serial and parallel ports.)

Did a little research, and I have a new theory - maybe the MB can support XT and AT, switchable, but it's somehow gotten flipped to XT mode. Might get a chance to test that some evening this week...

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby San Fran Sam » Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:43 pm UTC

Sure it is. But can it make a decent cuppa joe?


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