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* Posts by Ammaross Danan

992 posts • joined 23 Sep 2009

How to stop Apple and Google's great web lockdown

Ammaross Danan

One problem

One problem with a company making (and trying to sell) an HTML5/Javascript "program" is that the entire front-end (and possibly some of the backend) are public-viewable. "Open Source" in the truest sense: readily viewable code. Many companies from a closed-source world will likely do all they can to pull all their "special" functions back onto the server side of things and leave a skeleton of a front end to do input validation and drive the wiz-bang GUI. The great benefit I see from HTML5/Javascript is /more/ than just GUI is handled client-side. Why not do heavy computations and the like on the client? The only real use of the server-side would be data access control and collation. Once the requested data has been found, spit it out in pages (or as a whole, depending on your bandwidth/GUI model) and let the client expend resources to utilize it. However, to retain "company secrets" this will likely not happen where "GPL" isn't whispered. We'll end up with the same state we have today: glorified dumb terminals, with most of the compute power coming from servers and lots of server requests.

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Phone 7: Another Vista or another XP?

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Title

The thing that gets me is the shear ugliness of their "start" screen. A HUGE swath of screen space is wasted because of a tiny right-arrow near the top of the screen. Such a waste! At least put a VERTICAL tile or something there. Perhaps like a vertical stock ticker! There's a thought. And I hope that ugly grey background can be set to a custom wallpaper.

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The True Cost of Desktop Support

Ammaross Danan
Go

Scaled-back skills

While I agree with a proper system management solution being a necessity (automated network auditing basically), knowing that X user has WinXP with the standard corporate stack installed, and is up-to-date with patches, does not help L1 very much if they're the "less-skilled, cheap" support staff. At that point, L1 becomes merely script-readers and glorified reception/routing staff for the L2s. It is this lack of skill that we all bemoan when we get one of these "did you try rebooting it" people when requesting RMAs and the like.

As for budget accounting charged to the help desk budget: does it serve the helpdesk? An IDS/IPS or firewall isn't a helpdesk cost. Antivirus/malware? Sure. Remote control? Definately. Patch management system? No. Why? That would be desktop management people's responsibility, unless you task your L1s with ensuring desktops are patched up. I don't. Servers? Nope. The ticketing software and system auditing software runs in a VM and has little-attributed cost (besides licensing).

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Google Android chief smacks Steve Jobs with Linux speak

Ammaross Danan
Go

Re: Only on IOS

"On OSX I can install what I want when I want and do what I want. No different to Windows or Linux"

Just one question: "Can it play Crysis?"

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Apple rolls out two new MacBook Air models

Ammaross Danan

Just wait

Just wait until the MLC flash has a chip-level error or the like. Sucks that you won't be able to replace the "drive" (or upgrade the capacity for that matter). These look like fairly nice machines for the semi-premium however. If I ever need a laptop-that-feels-like-a-clipboard, might be a consideration. Perhaps.

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Apple MacBook Air revamp snapped, posted on web

Ammaross Danan
Flame

Perhaps

Perhaps the juice being pumped out by one single battery isn't enough to power the laptop, so throw in 3 more batteries (for weight distribution as mentioned earlier), to up the total juice output capacity. Perhaps having 4 smaller, less output, batteries is cheaper than 1 large output battery too? At the very least, perhaps they're trying to avoid a flaming laptop a-la-Dell by distributing potental flares across 4 batteries...

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Sly new tactic sneaks hackers past security dogs

Ammaross Danan

Question is

The article points out that this technique would be especially successful vs hardware-based defenses. Question is, does that refer to a good old-fashioned firewall? The article is too vague to determine more than just that the method involves deep-encapsulation and the like.

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OOo's put the willies up Microsoft

Ammaross Danan
Joke

Title

Just kick them both in the nads and turn in your paper/proposal/et al as an Adobe PDF.

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High-speed asteroid pile-up prompts X-File

Ammaross Danan
Headmaster

Fail

"...to multiply that "almost zero" probability by the "almost infinite" number of pebbles in said vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big Space. Surely, this has to affect the odds"

Sorry, but the "probability" of the initial collision would have to have been calculated using the number of "pebbles" vs the volume of the "hugely, mind-bogglingly big Space." Therefore, would not need to factor in an "almost infinite" number of pebbles a second time.

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The differences that silicon can make to the desktop

Ammaross Danan
Go

vPro

The advantage vPro has is that it's free to use (using Intel's provided software). However, these "business class" machines are usually more expensive and less powerful (cheaper CPU, less RAM) than a common "consumer" PC. The cost difference may be offset by support requirements, however, things such as remote patch installation and remote KVM can be accomplished by having a proper WSUS setup and a VNC-style system in place. Granted, you don't get boot-screen KVM capability, but it's fairly rare (in my experience) that the OS won't boot at all. Usually it's just the garden-variety user-environment virus (you don't give end users admin privs I hope!) that can be wiped by booting into safe mode or (hopefully) caught by your Enterprise AV/Malware program.

In all, I think end-users would be more satisfied with a more-powerful machine with proper setup and config than a vPro-enhanced system. The IT staff would appreciate it as well, as they don't have to field calls of "my computer is running slow" near as much, and would potentially lengthen the computer refresh cycle by a good 6-12mo.

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Microsoft releases fixes for record number of vulns

Ammaross Danan
Go

Title

Adobe Updater downloaded updates for Reader are stored in:

C:\Program Files\Adobe\Reader 9.0\Setup Files

As for Windows vs Linux debacle on "security" based on patch count: tossers. Windows calls them "patches" because they rarely release increased capability outside of major revisions. (Office 2003 to Office 2007, if you can claim "increased capability" in that....), whereas in the *nix/FOSS world, "updates" of minor point revisions are usually "security patches." This disparity and lack of understanding of what the X.XX.XX major, minor, and point-revisioning system actually is representing is a core cause of the fail argument of: "Linux is rock solid! Just look! All they do is update their software with more FEATURES!!! and Windoze just patches their security holes!" Both patch their security holes. FOSS just happens to have the development schedule to do so (arguably) more rapidly. Neither is always a "best" solution. Linux can get a virus just as easily as Windows can. Don't believe me? Send a rootkit to a Linux user and tell them to run it. They won't? Send it to your Grandma running Linux and tell her to run it because you found out her computer had a virus and it will clean it. Sound like the scareware scheme used most of the time in the wild? Thought so.

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Intel reports first $11bn-plus quarter

Ammaross Danan
Troll

SSDs

All from their price gouging SSDs I'm sure. :)

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Small but lethal Lethic is biggest junk mail villain

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Title

You must remember, many "infections" are of the scareware type:

"your computer are infected!!! click here to remove"

Run, Save, Cancel -> Run of course!

"Only run programs you trust. Are you sure you want to run this program?"

Yes.

Boom. Infected.

Thus, the virus ends up being stuck in Application Data or Local Settings and lauched on startup. The vulerabilities you're referring to are most likely the drive-by-download type that use a flash/reader vuln. Few infections I've seen of late are triggered by a true hack/p0wn, but rather are targetting gullible users. Why? Because it's easy to do, and it works remarkably well.

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Apple to lead fanbois 'Back to the Mac'

Ammaross Danan
Flame

One of these days....

One of these days, even when I can afford a Mac, I'll still get a PC. <insert something about application compatibility with work here>

Flame flame flame!

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Hypervisors: grinding through to bare metal

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

"Bare Metal" installs

Last I checked, a Type-1 hypervisor ("bare metal") does not have the capability to display the screen of ANY of the VMs running on the system. Therefore, you would be REQUIRED to run a Type-2 hypervisor to be able to have your OS install moved around with you regardless of your machine. Granted, you save time by only requiring the install of the hypervisor, but then you're stuck with 2 full OSes to manage. That's the problem with XP Mode in Windows 7. All the insecurities of XP (albeit, can be severely hobbled to run only the app(s) in question), plus the Win7 host environment to deal with.

Anyone have a lead on a Type-1 hypervisor that actually allows you to view the screens of the hosted VMs and switch between them? With the Type-2 situation, the "host" OS either does nothing and consumes resources, or (more likely) is used as a production OS which needs patches/updates/reboots. Obviously, reboots means having to (at the very least) suspend the hosted VMs and resume them once the reboot is complete. If one of those VMs happens to be a network service (database perhaps?) then the host tends not to be patched or otherwise configured-needing-a-reboot for large spans of time. Always tricky if the host needs to have a program installed that insists on a reboot to "complete."

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Apple trade marks 'There's an app for that'

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

There's not an app for THIS

Lets see...

Me: "I want an iPhone because I want to do some Cool Stuff!"

Mac Clerk: "There's an App for that!"

Me: "Is there an app for playing flash videos like on YouTube?"

Mac Clerk: "No."

Me: "Can I debug my website's javascript?"

Mac Clerk: "No."

Me: "Can I run Firefox, since it has my life's worth of bookmarks and stuff?"

Mac Clerk: "No."

Me: "Can I at least get a p0rn app so I have something enteraining to do with this stupid device?"

Mac Clerk: "No. But you can get this great Fart App! It's loads of fun! I have 5 on my iPhone4!"

I sigh. Is there an app for causing your iPhone to brick itself? (oh wait, firmware updates....there IS an app for that....)

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WinPatrol blames McAfee for lost business

Ammaross Danan

Suggestion

Perhaps AV scanners should take steps to prevent their signature files from being marked by other vendors, as such is noted as a "common" problem. How, you ask? Simple. Encrypt them. Even an off-by-one cypher should sufficiently scramble any signatures to be unrecognizable by any AV software. It would only be "decrypted" when used to scan, and only partially at that since no partial match means no full match either... Just a thought.

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Malware forces Firefox to save passwords

Ammaross Danan
Big Brother

Title

Certainly. I'm more concerned about virii that rename regedit.exe and the like, and put themselves in its place and simply do their "make sure the computer is still infected" game then continue you on to the exe you were actually looking for....

That a virii tells FF to save your passwords (a noticable thing, albeit subtile) isn't as concerning (see "transparent" virii type above, coupled with a keylogger).

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WD rolls out 3TB today

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

First....

First, who would use a 5400rpm (or even a variable rpm) "Green" drive as their primary system disk? Secondly, does your system even support a 3TB primary drive? Many do not. Lastly, the "green" drives DO have quite decent performance for most takes, easily handling "mp3 playback" and the like. It's definately shooting for an archival drive though, since a 3TB drive is beyond most BIOSes ability to address atm.

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US navy to battle Iranian mini-ekranoplan swarms with rayguns

Ammaross Danan
Go

Title

They did this on the USS Enterprise during WW2. Granted, it took down a fair portion of Zeroes, but, guess what? The ship still sustained heavy damages throughout the war. A small assortment of laser weapons (perhaps 3 per side?) with some method of auto-targetting (the background noise of radar posing a problem in this case) and a means of directing the laser rapidly (deflector mirror of some sort, rather than mechanical turret-style) and you could easily insta-zap hundreds of targets in a matter of seconds. That is, once they figure out that running these things with a nuclear reactor rather than gas-powered turbines is the smarter avenue...

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Western Digital gearing up to sell 3TB drives

Ammaross Danan
Go

Title

The unfortunate truth in the PC world is things get implemented based on consumer takeup. In the fruit world of the Apple flavour, the hardware is unilaterally pushed from the trunk itself. An EFI BIOS is one of the last bastions preventing OSX from easily installing on a PC, which is probably why Steve put it in Macs. However, there are a few boards out there which support EFI, and likely would be able to use such a drive, assuming a GUID-based partition table...at which point it becomes: Linux: Yes. Windows: who knows.

Technology restrained by a monopoly: Intel vs USB3/SATA3 for reference. Fortunately, AMD-based mobos that fully support SATA3, and have a couple USB3 ports, are readily found for <$100. Hopefully EFI BIOS will follow soon.

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Texan smut baron spanked over UK schoolgirl snap

Ammaross Danan

Title

Fully agreed. A Watermark is a great way to ensure that your work is not used without your express consent. Some people feel it defaces their work to have some latent watermark partially obscuring the center (or important) part of their work, but unfortunately, it's practically a necessity. DeviantART is a great place to share images, and I've seen many use watermarks on their posted artwork. Perhaps Deviant, Flickr, et al should help protect their users by defaulting pictures to have watermarks (which can be changed via user setting).

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Anti-virus vendor trio plug website flaws

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Rule of Thumb

Many web developers know it's a good rule-of-thumb to run htmlspecialchars() (PHP) or the like on ANY user-supplied information before displaying it back on a webpage. That they did not for a search string (Symantec) is a VERY serious oversight (at the least). Had it been some field on some obscure form, I might be able to pass it off as an accident...

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Microsoft sends in the tanks against Motorola, Android

Ammaross Danan
Troll

Question

So, the concept of making the emails you have on one's computer be the same list of emails you have on your phone, through a process called "syncing" is patented by Microsoft? Does this also cover the "syncing" of email on a email client and one's email "server" (IMAP) or prevent me from "syncing" with my laptop? Perhaps the language says "mobile phone devices" instead of just "mobile devices."

Mail/Calendar/etc syncing has been done and redone too many times to count. It's utter bullocks to patent such a thing. Might as well draft up my patent for having "code" on a "computer" that performs "operations" to generate a desired "output."

Troll, since that is what Microsoft is (and most companies that have papers with the USPO).

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RIM unveils The BlackPad BlackBerry PlayBook

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Fail

You failed to read the part about the "native SDK" to be released on launch.

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Ammaross Danan
Thumb Up

Title

Congrats, you just defined what "Apple Tax" is.

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Ammaross Danan

Title

Once you buy the additional connector for $99 (read Sterling if in the UK)

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But it said so in the manual

Ammaross Danan

Title

You mean, turning ON short file names?

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How do you copy 60m files?

Ammaross Danan
Go

RSync

Your problem is solved with RSync (as has been pointed out by many others). RSync is a delta-copying program, which makes successive copies faster/less bandwidth because it only copies changes in files. Great for WAN connections. Not only that, but it has a retry in event of connection loss. If all else fails, you can always restart the transfer and it will make sure all is in sync (in-line verification!).

Linux has its place in the world. It comes into play when you need to do something that your ACTUAL (usually Windows) servers can't.

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Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Title

Does no one actually read the full article? It clearly stated robocopy hosed around 4m files.

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Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Database?

Store 60m files in a database? SharePoint perhaps? Not quite as easy to access/control/backup as an NTFS storage tree. Sorry.

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Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Wrong

Not easy once you try doing a file transfer via rsync through an ssh tunnel, like your suggesting, but the destination server isn't running an ssh server....let alone use / as a path convention.

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Moms stand firm against antenna madness

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Title

Can't sue a telco for not providing coverage. Would be like me sueing my mobile co. for not giving me "emergency services" while I was stuck wedged in a cave 1000ft underground and needed to get help. Burn them! I should have checked the coverage map!

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Automation - one step closer to lights out?

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Title

Perhaps you have stumbled upon why sysadmins take 6-12mo to update/patch their software! WinXP+IE6 for everyone! Why? Because we have automated scripts to manage that (and you don't get a block-all popup requesting authorization to make system changes, Vista/7).

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MS offers Security Essentials to small business

Ammaross Danan
Go

Title

"A full scan on all these machines revealed several virii...."

Isn't that what Scareware does? You have 130 virii infecting your machine!!! Pay me now! Granted, I do agree that /some/ AVs are better than others, free or not. However, a pay-for solution isn't always the greatest either. (Stick Norton Internet Security Suite on your computer and you'll see what I mean)

I do agree, however, that switching from Windows isn't the answer, since virii will follow the users. It doesn't matter how "secure" your system is. Linux can get infected by malware just as easily as a Windows box: "You're infected! Run this program!" (almost) all OSes allow users to install/run software, and it's that ability that gets exploited, regardless of OS. It just makes more sense to make your scamware for the majority, rather than minority.

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Google whacks Spanish TV station in court

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Title

I agree, this ruling is a loss for copyright holders due to the "whack-a-mole" result. If YouTube was more of a no-name, or little-known outlet (as there are many YouTube wanna-bes I'm sure), the copyright holder may not even be aware of the infringement, but still suffering losses or what-have-you because of it. It's only when it's be around the block in smaller channels so much that it makes its way out to the likes of YouTube that the holder even becomes aware of the infringement in the first place. It is a sad day when copyright holders, themselves, have to run a Google-esque indexing/searching spiderbot to sniff out their works on websites.

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Intel trials downloadable CPU upgrades

Ammaross Danan
WTF?

Title

There's a fairly decent example of something akin to this in the wild today: Athlon X3 processors. One core was disabled either for performace/stability issues (most likely) or to provide more X3 processors due to demand. We already see a plethora of motherboards with "unlock core" advertising, and many people attempting such. The core was disabled because it may cause your computer to crash, but people still want to unlock it and get an X4 for the price of an X3. Granted, they don't buy an X3 thinking they're going to get an X4, but it's a hope and they'll likely skimp and attempt and use those savings to buy a slightly better component of something else.

However, I only see this scheme working on laptops. If a desktop is involved, in two or three years, a $50 "upgrade" could be a new CPU that performs better than simply enabling HT on a 2-3yr old processor. I'm sure a QX6600 performs better than an E6600 with HT anyway, and they're even socket compatible. I'm sure some discount store still sells the leftovers (lowest is QX8300 or so now). And mentioning socket compatibility, perhaps this is why Intel changes its socket every year? That AM2+ socket is starting to look better and better.

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DARPA inks 5-year-mission solar strato-wingship deal

Ammaross Danan

Archive

"for instance the internet, intended originally as a military communications system but which is today the mightiest archive of pornography the world has ever known"

With Government backing, it would still have become the mightiest archive of pornography ever known. It just would have been more hush hush (until Clinton or the like got caught surfing it).

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Save us from our users

Ammaross Danan

Obvious Windows enhancement:

"all non-administrative users were set to the same default password"

Wouldn't the obvious Windows enhancement be a "login as user:" option once you have validated yourself as "Administrator"? 'sudo' comes to mind in the *nix world. The root of the problem is each user has personal preference/config data that, AFAIK, CAN NOT BE CHANGED except by logging in as said user and ticking the boxes for IE9, removing/adding toolbars on the start-bar (who's idea was throwing the language bar on the taskbar by default when installing Office07?), etc, etc, etc.

Fortunately, some relief for this has come to us through Group Policy Preferences, but it's still not enough.

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Jobs takes swing at Google over Android activations

Ammaross Danan
Go

Title

"BTW, I would love to have MORE computers in my front room. If I could Id have a media PC for DVDs, music etc and a nettop for surfing while chilling on the sofa and a powerful one for work/ gaming in the corner."

Fortunately, my "office" is right behind the wall the TV is up against, so a "small" hole and an HDMI cable later and I now have mirrored desktop display to the TV. Oh, with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Now I have a media PC AND the powerful work/gaming one, all on the nice bigscreen.

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Doc develops RSI-reducing rolling mouse

Ammaross Danan
Alert

Ah, but...

But does it come with a charger stand like my MX5000?

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Fear as motivator: why Intel acquired McAfee

Ammaross Danan

Great...

Just what I needed. My HARDWARE to remove "malicious" windows core dlls.

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Phonemakers cry foul on Steve Jobs 'We're all alike' attack

Ammaross Danan
Alert

@Chad

Perhaps your hands are just unusally dry? Skin oil (snake oil too?) has varying concentrations depending on the person. People in the vids may just have a hyperhydrosis issue (as one Apple fanboi that I'm friends with). However, I'm sure it affects pretty much all but the most dry of hands.

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Steve Jobs death-grips iPhone 4 reality

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Bumper

I hope all the "size of the iPhone4" metrics all include the extra bulk the REQUIRED bumpers add.

And I guess it goes without saying that the "sleek" metal casing "Oooh Shiney!" factor can be negated due to a designer piece of plastic being required...

0
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Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Actually

You must live in the SJobs reality, for last time I checked, my RIM device has a plastic-coated antenna (even has a gap in the same place as the iPhone4). I can handle the device any which way I choose without any signal problems. All this could have been avoided if Steve would have just put a plastic coating on his "HAS TO BE METAL" external Antenna. Well, now it IS covered by plastic, in the form of an ugly, bulky bumper.

0
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Apple spews Judas Phone signal bar 'fix' to world+dog

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Last I checked...

So, they're admitting to fraudulantly inflating their cell phone's reception bars to "appear" to have a superior antenna design and resulting reception... Oh, sorry, a "software bug" improperly calculated extra bars... Yeah, "Look I get great reception! Buy an iPhone!" BS.

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Fanbois end Judas Phone 'Death Grip' with, um, SIM tape

Ammaross Danan

It's the Users fault. Always is.

Even with Windows, if you get a virus, it's your fault. It's not the shoddy software that allows virii to auto-install themselves just for visiting a webpage. PDF hacks must be the user's fault for letting javascript run in a PDF....or opening the file in the first place. Well, that's probably how Apple sees it anyway, going off the same line of "logic."

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Animated CAPTCHA tech aims to fox spambots

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

ReCAPTCHA

Re-CAPTCHA fails in that it provides one OCRable word (can be read by computers) and one non-OCRable word, and only truly validates the OCRable word. The other word can be "guessed" and most likely make it past, since the nonOCRable word is unknown. If they cycle "correctly guessed" nonOCRable words through the system, you may have to make your OCR software a bit better, but Re-CAPTCHA's goal is to "translate" the non-identified words, so more often than not, it will assume you guessed correctly.

Fail.

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Jobs tells iPhone users to get a grip

Ammaross Danan
Linux

Clarification

"But it mainly seems to come down to hand size, with the larger span finding an iPhone harder to use (but, if rumour is to be believed, they'll have less need for an iPhone in the first place)."

In order to get the most from this punch-line, I think it should be properly explained to those that don't have the mental capacity to operate a phone without big buttons and or those that require someone else to make it "just work." The rumor in question is the correlation (oh yeah, big words...um "link") between large hands and a certain "male body part" being large as well. In which case, one would not need to compensate (oh big word again..."make up for") for being lacking in a certain "body part's" size, and thus, not have to own the fad fondle-slab.

Hopefully that clarifies the joke, so more than just Droid owners can see the mirth in it.

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US lawmakers grill Apple on location tracking changes

Ammaross Danan
Jobs Horns

The Reply

The reply to such a letter will most likely be written and sent from "sjobs@apple.com" and be simply this bit of wisdom:

It will be safe. Trust Me.

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