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* Posts by Pet Peeve

422 posts • joined 22 Nov 2009

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Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins

Pet Peeve
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Re: (T)rouble, (C)onsistent (P)ain protocol

What in hades are you talking about? None of that makes any sense at all.

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Pet Peeve
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Re: FEC

Doubtful. UDP has plenty of use cases, but error-free connections aren't one of them. UDP is specifically for situations where packet dropping is desirable, such as in real time speech, where if you've dropped a packet, you have no desire to tie up the stream waiting for a replacement - you just fudge the sound and move on.

TCP is really a masterpiece - packet dropping isn't an undesirable event, in fact it happens by design so that the transmission speed adapts automatically to the maximum sustainable throughput. If you actually wanted error correction, you'd probably want to do it at the transport layer anyway - a packet garbled in transmission would most likely have a bad TCP wrapper anyway and wouldn't be presented to the stack to get corrected.

You get these "the net would be better if" things every once in a while, and most of the time, they are about as useful to read as the umpteenth explanation of physics that proves Einstein and/or quantum mechanics wrong.

Mostly, I just want freaking IPV6.

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Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY

Pet Peeve
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Firefox still doesn't run each tab in a seperate process, but they put a stop to the various memory bloat and tab deadlocks quite a while ago. On my mac, the same instance of firefox stays running until I reboot (which is weeks or months apart), and it seems to always release the memory that a closed tab was using.

I think one of the early 20s (24 maybe?) was all about stability stuff like this.

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Pet Peeve
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Irrelevant?

Um, what? Firebug is nearly without peer as far as I'm concerned. I'd like to see some hard evidence that web designers are abandoning firefox before you start throwing around words like "irrelevant". Obvious linkbait is obvious.

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BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff

Pet Peeve
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Re: New batteries...

Whatever the ultimate battery tech is, it's probably no single one of any of these stories, but a combination of bits of all of them. The power to weight ratio on this example is so amazing I'm not sure I believe it - I hope this isn't another "poke ordinary cells to make stem cells, honest!" type paper. And I'd like to know how easy it is to coat something with buckyballs - that sounds groundbreaking all by itself.

On the other hand there has been a lot of progress in battery tech - for example I recently purchased a jumpstarter that weighs less than a pound (the Jackco Zeta), replacing one I used to keep in my car that weighs 25 pounds. And the Zeta works better! I keep the old jumpstarter in my garage to inflate my bike tires (which it is quite good at, at least).

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DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow

Pet Peeve
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The Iranian GPS drone hack is mostly considered an urban legend these days, I believe. Iran loves to make things up, this for example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qaher-313

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LOHAN's stirring motto: Ad Astra Tabernamque

Pet Peeve
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It's pithy, fits nicely on a patch, and "tabernamque" is fun to say out loud. Good choice.

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Indie ISP to Netflix: Give it a rest about 'net neutrality' – and get your checkbook out

Pet Peeve
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Re: ISP level caches are surely one of the first things

By design, it's impossible to cache netflix content at the ISP level.

Well, not impossible as such (there are tools to capture the stream), but not "just plonk some hardware at the border and cache this" easy. And it would probably get you into copyright trouble if you a commercial enterprise even tried it.

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Pet Peeve
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Re: I am not sure that I am with the ISP in this case

Once you have the traffic on your network, it's not an issue. The reason ISPs like Verizon don't like it is because the offset of data coming in to data going out on those links is very lopsided, and that messes up transit agreements and costing.

A balanced link from one ISP to another is consider a wash financially - both sides have equal skin in the game so it's in everyone's interest to keep the data flowing. With (for example) cogent's link to verizon sending 10 times as much to Verizon than it gets back from them, it means that one side has more power than the other, and you're seeing Verizon throw it around. Is that a good thing for the net? Of course not, but it makes Verizon subscribers more likely to give in and get pay-per-view from them instead of getting the same movie from netflix.

Lately, I've been using itunes rentals a lot more for PPV stuff - it costs a buck less than my ISP charges, and because it's downloaded instead of streamed, you get a much better viewing experience all around if bandwidth is an issue. I would really like to see Netflix switch to an expiring-download model for their net-viewable content - it would be no less secure than a stream (i.e. neither is secure at all if you know what you're doing and are determined to snag a copy), it would stop a lot of these problems, and the viewing experience would be better.

Netflix's software is really infuriating in how it buffers - even if you purposely pause the video to let it build up some content, at some point it will throw the buffer on the floor anyway. Just give us the option to let the whole bar fill if we want!

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Pet Peeve
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That's the problem - Netflix doesn't work with small ISPs for openConnect, and even if they did, Netflix doesn't pay for the hardware or pipe for it.

Netflix would be totally on the good-fight side of this if they offered openConnect to everyone (and maybe kicked in some of the operating costs). As it stands, it leave a bad taste in your mouth when small ISPs get ignored like this - it's another strike against them that they shouldn't have to deal with.

Personally, I think they should use services like Akamai, which were built for exactly this situation, but it's possible that the content providers don't allow it. I suspect that IS the case, or openConnect wouldn't need to exist in the first place.

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Vote now for LOHAN's stirring mission patch motto

Pet Peeve
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I think the "various" one best captures the spirit of Lohan, but the Various includes Lester himself - he posted that exact phrase first IIRC, after some similar ideas (I turned it around as "To the stars, with beer").

I am rather fond of "To boldy go where angels fear to tread", but I guess the Reg doesn't have enough infocom fans.

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Ever wanted to be a Playmonaut? El Reg's Vulture 2 spaceplane sim reveals what it's like

Pet Peeve
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Can you make a video of a simulation run? x-plane is kind of a nightmare to use if you haven't taken a lot of time playing with it, and unfortunately I never got around to doing that.

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Hey Intel – that new Pro 2500 SSD looks awfully familiar

Pet Peeve
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Those power consumption numbers are pretty significant

It's uses half the power of the predecessor when idle? That's excellent.

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Reg Latin scholars scrap over LOHAN's stirring motto

Pet Peeve
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Splorf

"Navis volitans mea plena anguillarum est" made me laugh SO hard. Totally has my vote.

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New Star Wars movie plot details leak, violate common sense and laws of physics

Pet Peeve
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This rumor is completely, to borrow a British technical term, pants.

Leaving aside the expanded universe (and please do, don't want to hear a word about it), are we expected to believe that Han and Leia, fresh off of another love-affirming rescue, just go their seperate ways and don't see each other again for 30 years? Luke and Leia are the only Jedi by blood left as of ROTJ (and do lets not talk about why that's true), so you'd think the two of them would see each other frequently over the years, and at least SOME of the time you'd expect Han and/or Chewie to be around.

This is either disinformation, BS made up by a troll, garbled as rumors often are, or the movie is already messed up. I'm going with door #2.

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LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs

Pet Peeve
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Re: Some additional info

Interesting - does libressl change the default prng engine from ssleay (which openssl has carried around forever) to arc4random if no engine is chosen in the config? RC4 is fine for cyptographic randomness, the way openBSD manages it. Pretty neat, actually.

That said, if they did such an override in the openBSD version, it definitely would explain the behavior change in the portable version, or if some randomizer other than RC4 was selected in configuration.

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Pet Peeve
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Some additional info

if openBSD does reseed a prng when fork() executes, it's undocumented behavior:

http://www.openbsd.org/cgi-bin/man.cgi/OpenBSD-current/man2/fork.2?&manpath=OpenBSD-current&arch=i386&query=fork

The fork man page is pretty explicit about what it resets. You would think it would include this if it actually happened.

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Pet Peeve
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There is no way that the generic posix fork() is going to reseed a crypto package's prng. It could (and probably does) reseed the system random number function, but no crypto developer, sane or otherwise, uses that. See some of my messages above.

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Pet Peeve
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Re: Really?

I get that, but reseeding rand isn't going to help crypto, since no crypto package worth a dime would come within a lightyear of a linear congruential prng, especially one with only 32 bits of state.

Even if openBSD happens to reseed rand (with what? The right answer would be 32 bits of /dev/random), this wouldn't do a bit of good for libressl.

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Pet Peeve
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Actually, using a pid change to indicate a reseed was necessary is a bad practice regardless of OS. Changing it to trap fork in a function was the right move.

Also note - the libressl developers do NOT consider themselves ready for prime time in any OS. They would be the first to tell you that.

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Pet Peeve
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Really?

@Dan55: How would openBSD know WHICH prng to re-seed on fork?

It would have to take a callback to the prng's library for that to happen, and I find it hard to believe that openbsd would add that to a core posix function like fork().

The correct practice would be to have a function that does this work, which calls your prng's reseed function when a fork call returns 0 (meaning you're the child process).

Edit: Ha, you don't mean it reseeds RAND, do you? That would be spectacularly pointless for crypto.

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Pet Peeve
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Re: @Pet Peeve

If the alternative is treating an experimental fork as stable? Yes! Read what I said before being a dick about it.

Frankly, I would have preferred the libressl people started from scratch. They are a very knowledgable team, and I have more faith that they'd do a rewrite correctly than I do of them figuring out and removing all the dumb stuff in openssl. PV

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Pet Peeve
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haha, no.

Maybe if openssl was designed properly to extract platform support from the code, you could easily filter out out the dross. But that's the problem - openssl is an unholy mess in a lot of ways, and it is very likely that libressl will run into these problems over and over trying to figure out what's really junk (like support for platforms noboby's tried to deploy on in a decade and probably don't work if they did) and what isn't.

The scary part is that this was an obvious problem. How long is it going to take to find all the broken edge cases that you don't know are broken until they happen? My understanding is that a lot of the openssl versions of libc calls had additional functionality, or returned not QUITE the same things the libc call did, or handled errors differently. All of those are going to bite libressl in the ass, eventually.

I heard someone say the other day that if you see any linux distro with libressl in their stable branch, that is a distro to stay away from, for years at least, and possibly forever. Security is never proven, only demonstrated over time, and libressl's clock starts from zero. All of that said, the best of luck to them!

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Pet Peeve
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Openssl is infamous for making their own versions of common calls. If all they were doing was implementing missing functionality on a given platform, and only using the homegrown version on that platform (using a function like openssl_printf()) they would be fine, but openssl uses the homegrown version in ALL platforms, and they sneak extra functionality into them too.

So, my guess is that the libressl folks yanked out the special version of fork in openssl, thinking there is no platform they care about where fork isn't in libc. However, openssl's fork was actually just a wrapper that called the normal fork, and then seeded the rng on the child process before exec-ing.

Was this good practice on openssl's part? Hell no, they should have made the extra behavior explicit. But it illustrates the trouble that libressl is going to have getting rid of all those overridden functions - some of them do stuff you still need to do, or have extra semantics that the code itself will need to implement.

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SpaceX FINALLY lobs six sats into orbit (don't mention the landing)

Pet Peeve
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Re: It's not a boat.

From the description, I don't think it should even be called a failure, let alone a "back to the drawing board" as said in the article (get rid of that, totally unfair). It sounds to me like everything went perfectly until the landing burn ended, at which point the stage (having nothing solid to stand on), tipped over.

If it blew up when doing a belly flop on the water, that's a shame, but it doesn't say anything about the viability of doing the same thing on land. Hopefully there's video, the space-x stuff is always great viewing.

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LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy

Pet Peeve
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Re: Enough beating this dead horse already, Harbinger!

Exactly. The fireworks started practically the moment that the proposal was made public, and tests were done early on (before Lightsquared even did any, if I remember right) proving it was a dumb idea that couldn't possibly work.

I don't know if Ergen purposely bought these damaged goods with a lawsuit in mind (though he's such a loose cannon that it's certainly possible), but if he wasn't, he ignored the "Sale is strictly as-is, parts are irreparably broken" tag, and it's his own dang problem.

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LOHAN seeks stirring motto for spaceplane mission patch

Pet Peeve
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I just thought of a great motto, major geek points if anyone gets the reference:

Audacter ire ubi angeli ut ambularetis verentur

You have to let it sink in a bit after translating it to get what's being implied.

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Pet Peeve
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ad astra cum ceruisia

"to the stars, with beer".

Edit: Rats, ninjaed by Lester himself. I think it's pretty dang good though.

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San Francisco issues SMACKDOWN on parking spot sale software

Pet Peeve
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Re: sounds like

Sweeping generalization much?

The only bad thing I have to say about SF is that parts of it smell bad. Some neighborhoods seem to have problems with trash pickup, and BART/Muni stations have that urine marinate that will make you turn around and go "nope!".

Mostly though, it's a great city. Some of the best vacations I've ever had were visiting there, and it's just as great outside of city limits.

P.S. the only thing dumber than making an app to sell a public parking spot (for one stop), is being the kind of world-class douchehat that buys one.

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#YO_NO! Messaging app 'Yo' gets hit by hackers

Pet Peeve
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Re: Something smells rotten here...

Whatever goes through the network?

"Sir, Sheik Mohammed Al Dean has just sent a "Yo" to one of his followers."

"Send in the drones immediately!"

This app makes no freaking sense other than a joke. Maybe the million was a way of funneling money to a friend? Or maybe the backer was just that stupid.

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Is the answer to life, the universe and everything hidden in Adams' newly uncovered archive?

Pet Peeve
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Re: ...............pation! (Anticip......)

Seriously? I think this is how it goes...

One of the many reasons Earth is shunned by the galactic community is because we name countries after the most unspeakably rude word in the galaxy. Even loose-tongued people like Zaphod Beeblebrox don't use the word except under dire provocation.

If you've never heard the original radio serial, DAMN I envy you for being able to hear it for the first time. I first heard it on public radio 20 odd years ago, and to this day I remember having to pull off the road (or drive into a ditch) when a quartet of robots started singing a certain song (which involves sticking your head in a pig). SO GOOD.

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Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

Pet Peeve
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I'll leave off the obviously sci-fi ones:

- A retina display. No, I mean where the display is projected ONTO your retina.

- Full color e-ink.

- e-ink that is flexible enough to be bound in books of pages so you can actually turn them (say 200 pages at a time, so you could have a programmable paperback that doesn't need power except when loading up the next book or chapters)

- Haptic surfaces that don't feel like you're getting a low-level shock and actually feel solid.

- VR that doesn't make you barf and doesn't require wearing a combat-boot sized rig on your face.

- 3d modeling software that doesn't make you want to track down the designers and smack them in the face for making counterintuitive interfaces. Blender, I'm staring at YOU.

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Microsoft swats away FBI request for Office 365 subscriber data

Pet Peeve
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Duh, they withdrew the case because they don't want a precedent-setting judgement ruling the whole thing unconstitutional.

They can keep trying NSLs thinking that most people will roll over, and backing off when they don't, but then more people will fight them and they're doomed anyway. Just give this shit up, FBI.

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Space Station in CRISIS: Furious Russia threatens to BAN US from ISS

Pet Peeve
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Can someone please drop a few trainloads of money and rocket parts on Elon Musk, pronto?

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SMASH AND GRAB iThieves run car through front of Berkeley's Apple Store

Pet Peeve
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This is why we can't have nice things.

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The Punch and Judy show is LIVE NOW cancelled

Pet Peeve
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Re: CANCELED?

That's POPEYE, some other hobbyist balloon project. Nice pictures though.

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BlackBerry ditches T-Mobile US after iPhone advert spat

Pet Peeve
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I believe the term is "shaking in their boots".

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Soccer's dull? A MIND-CONTROLLED robo-suit will be used to take first World Cup 2014 kick

Pet Peeve
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Re: Amazing...

Of course it's a good idea, and there's work being done with it too - biocompatibility and durability of electrodes (which somewhat act against each other) are the big issues there - it is orders of magnitude simpler to strap on assistive devices, or to replace limbs entirely. Baby steps!

Seconding the pints all around (or I would, if something hasn't seemed to have eaten the icon bar in firefox). To think that wheelchairs and hook limbs might fall into myth in my lifetime - it's great to be reminded that, flying cars or no, we're living in the future.

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Homeopathic remedies contaminated with REAL medicine get recalled

Pet Peeve
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Re: Allergy, or not?

Leave it to homeopaths that the one time their snake oil contains biologically active compounds, the results are worse than useless.

I don't know what the heck they think they were doing, but STOP MESSING AROUND WITH ANTIBIOTICS. We have precious little time left before many will no longer be effective - releasing useless amounts into the bodies of gullible people will only shorten that time.

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Move over Microsoft: RealNetworks has a GOOGLE problem

Pet Peeve
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Riight, there's no more ill-will towards realplayer. Embedded adware, crappy performance, formats with no exit, demanding you explain why you were uninstalling before it would uninstall - all water under the bridge.

Seriously, screw these guys. The world doesn't need them, as has been well proven already.

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New WebCL toolkit hooks browser apps into GPUs – and that's not good news for Apple

Pet Peeve
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WebGL? You mean the thing that everyone said to turn off when it was even in beta?

Native code in a browser=bad idea. I think noscript already disables it, even if you don't do it yourself in the browser settings.

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LOHAN bloodhound unleashes solar-powered minitracker

Pet Peeve
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following myself up - the detailed article talks about the service time. A single AAA battery keeps the board running for 30 hours, 70 hours for a AA. Since they've had some "challenging" retrievals on past tests, they would not want to skimp on power capacity for the tracker. Given the mountainside landing on one of the tests, it would probably be worth going with an AA.

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Pet Peeve
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volts aren't everything - the amperage pulled by the device and the total maH needed for the trip is likely more than a watch battery can provide. That said, I've soldered ultrabright LEDs to disc batteries (CAREFULLY), and they can last for months!

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Pet Peeve
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Comment removed, I think it falls into the "too soon" category. Still found the trollface comment funny though.

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Pet Peeve
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Re: just a thought

Predicting the landing point for that would be fun! Getting approval from NASA to pitch it out a service lock would probably be costly though. Maybe get an EVA astronaut to carry it in a spacesuit pocket and oops it earthward?

It's an interesting question - would an object lobbed by an astronaut hit the earth in a reasonable time? Depending on which way you threw it, it could even go into a higher orbit.

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Heroic Playmonaut wowed by LOHAN's bulging package

Pet Peeve
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Playmonaut

Does your intrepid pilot have a cockpit window, or is he flying on instruments? It's not like there's any shortage of the latter...

The tea cup is so perfectly British!

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The long war on 'DRAM price fixing' is over: Claim YOUR spoils now (It's worth a few beers)

Pet Peeve
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Was any of that necessary?

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Who earns '$7k a month' but can't even legally drink? A tech intern!

Pet Peeve
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What the story doesn't say is a) this is temporary employment, often with no benefits and no guarantee of a job after the internship is over, and b) you make this much because they will work you so many hours that on a per-hour basis, you're not making nearly as much as the salaried employees.

Anyone who says a job is nice solely on pay doesn't appreciate the existence of a life outside work. Is it worth doing as a kid out of school for a few months? Probably (though look at the employment contract closely). Is it going to get you some great dough? Maybe, if you don't flame out from working 80 hour weeks.

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Apple fanbois DENIED: Mac Pro deliveries stalled until April

Pet Peeve
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Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-clickbait!

It's a completely BS story, as anyone who actually has a mac pro on order knows.

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Pet Peeve
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Hey Jasper, stop making stuff up for clicks!

Apple called me about my January Mac Pro order on Thursday - I will have the machine by next Friday. All Mac Pro orders that were delayed are getting rush shipping as soon as they come out of burn-in.

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