* Posts by Old Handle

1356 posts • joined 4 Mar 2011

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The Mad Men's monster is losing the botnet fight: Fewer humans are seeing web ads

Old Handle
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I'm curious how Project Wonderful stacks up

If it's automated ad buying that caused the problem, I bet this ad network is doing far better percentage wise. It seems to be one of the least black-boxy most human-centric options out there. Not only that, but I've sometimes even clicked on their ads on purpose! Admittedly it's mostly web comics advertising other web comics but there's no reason other sites can't use it.

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UC Berkeley profs blast secret IT monitoring kit on campus

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Pirate

Only one thing to do

Smash it!

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Go phish your own staff: Dev builds open-source fool-testing tool

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Devil

Re: Phone phishing for phun

You can keep them playing even longer if you go ahead and install TeamViewer (or whatever they're using) in a VM. Assuming the one I got is the standard MO, what they'll do is run a bunch of pointless "computery" programs (defrag, tree command, etc) and claim to be cleaning up your system. Then they'll ask for money for premium antivirus utility.

Next time I'm tempted to drop them into a VM with actual malware (or possibly just a fake virus that randomly opens horse porn sites) and see what they make of it.

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Europe wants end to anonymous Bitcoin transactions

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Seems to me we're confusing two different things. Except for the one quote “The Commission will also examine whether to include virtual currency 'wallet providers'.”, it sounds like they're focusing on exchanges, which are places where people buy and sell bitcoin for conventional currency. For that reason they're easier to regulate and typically less anonymous. It doesn't sound like they're worried at this stage about the individual bitcoin transactions as described by the bitcoin.org quote.

I don't know good they think would come of regulating wallet providers when anyone can install a client and be their own, but hopefully when they "examine" that idea someone with a clue will be involved.

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US government's $6bn super firewall doesn't even monitor web traffic

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Re: At least 90% of the Register's readers

Of course. Just pointing out that as bad as this was, another branch of their organization managed to fail even harder.

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Old Handle
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Re: At least 90% of the Register's readers

It's still better than the TSA is at their job, so by DHS standards this project exceeded expectations.

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Random ideas sought to improve cryptography

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Re: Silicon solution

You know, I tried the shaker can thing once. I bought black and white sand from a craft store, mixed it up good and put it in a wooden frame with a glass window, figuring I could scan it to get some random bits. It was fairly disappointing. It actually came out with small wave-like patterns visible to the naked eye. I guess the two kinds of sand were different weights or textures or something.

Random is hard.

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Rooting your Android phone? Google’s rumbled you again

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Alert

Google Play

One thread of comments earlier seemed to imply Google Play will no longer work on rooted devices. Is that actually true? None of the articles or comments elsewhere on the web seem to mention this point, which if correct is a pretty big deal.

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You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

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Paris Hilton

Re: Date maths

What does date++c even mean? I would have thought it would fail outright, though I won't be greatly surprised to learn otherwise.

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AI no longer needs to fake it. Just don't try talking to your robots

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So according to this, the key thing is to make sure Super AI and specifically the first Super AI is programmed with a "goal" compatible with humanity. That's an easy one: "Be a friendly AI." Since it will be superintelligent and have access to all the world's knowledge (that article, for instance) it should have no trouble at all figuring out what we mean by that.

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Lenovo's file-sharing app uses hardwired password '12345678' ... or no password at all

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Does this even count as a "vulnerability"? It doesn't sound like it was ever designed to be secure in the first place.

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How to save Wikipedia: Start paying editors ... or write for machines

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Headmaster

Re: Start charging for Wikipedia,

The hyphen was a clever misdirection. The difference is the tense.

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Net neutrality-lovin' Sweden mulls law to censor the internet

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Re: Mummy's censoring me!

Parents can be some of the worst autocrats there are. Perhaps there's something to your analogy after all.

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Why does herbal cough syrup work so well? It may be full of morphine

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Re: "...respiratory depression and severe allergic reactions"

Respiratory depression is mentioned you read all the way down to the "for doctors" part. Allergic reactions aren't mentioned, but that isn't generally classed as a "side effect" per se. The fine print at the bottom also specifically says the page may not cover that.

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Old Handle
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Re: In surprising news today

But... poppies are an herb.

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Brit boffins brew nanotech self-cleaning glass

Old Handle
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So they're only self-cleaning when it rains? It seems like one could make that claim about normal windows. I'd be curious to hear something more quantifiable about how much better these really are in that regard.

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Women account for just one fifth of the EU’s 8m IT jobs

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Re: none issue

I have actually seen an ad trying to get more men into nursing. (This was in California). Though I suspect it was more driven by a shortage of nurses in general at the time, not specifically because anyone cared about the gender disparity.

If there is an IT shortage, I suppose it makes sense to try and get more women for the same reason. But it should be done in an intelligent, realistic way, not by arbitrarily calling the lack of women a problem and insinuated that the current, mostly male IT workers are to blame.

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IRA’s former political wing takes aim at Apple over back tax

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Interesting Situation

Maybe Apple should just buy itself a small country so it doesn't have to worry about taxes.

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It's 2016 and idiots still use '123456' as their password

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Re: 20 billion guesses per second

FYI It's actually 96 (ASCII 32 though 126) so that'll take an order of magnitude longer. Still, it's not exactly high security. It is however way more time than miscreants will spend on your account in any untargeted attack, and for most people, that's all you need to worry about.

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BTC dev: 'Strangling' the blockchain will kill Bitcoin

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Re: Bit bollocks more like

localbitcoins.com maybe? Haven't tried it myself, but the idea is you find someone who's selling (or buying) bitcoins for cash in your area and meet in person. I assume they don't ask for ID, though I couldn't swear to it.

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Old Handle
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Boffin

Re: It's a pyramid scheme by design

Okay, you're conflating some things and otherwise spreading some half-truths. Not that I'm saying your criticisms are necessarily invalid, Bitcoin's long-term future is uncertain. But a few important points:

1. "Pyramid scheme" really doesn't apply, except in the loosest sense that people who got in early of clearly benefited the most. But that's just a natural result of how things worked out. Suddenly people started considering it valuable, obviously the risk-takers who spent effort or money to get some while it was still unknown are now in a fortunate position. You're more correct about the deflationary aspect, that's intended, and I do have some doubts about that being a good idea.

2. There are two factors which make mining less efficient as time goes on, and I think it's important to note the difference. Every four years the reward drops be half. That's pretty steep I agree. But the other thing, which is by far the bigger factor, is that the difficulty automatically adjusts based on how fast people are mining, calibrated to keep blocks being added at relatively steady six-per-hour rate. This shouldn't be a problem because if people start to lose interest in mining it will automatically get easier again.

3. As above the mining reward is cut in half every four years, but miners also collect transaction fees. Currently it looks like they're taking in about 0.25 BTC (roughly a hundred bucks) per block that way. That's only 1% of the current mining reward, but as long as people are using bitcoin it will never drop to zero.

In short, it's imperfect and who knows what will happen in the future, but it's not as horribly broken as you make it out. It's also not set in stone. If the bitcoin community can be convinced that it would be in their best interest to change something, it would be possible (though disruptive) to do that.

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PDF redaction is hard, NSW Medical Council finds out - the hard way

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It's just a matter of using the right tool for the right job. If you're working with a scan, that's an image, so use an image editor (even Paint), if you have editable text... edit the text. Either just write [redacted] or replace it with xxxxx and do your "pretty" censorship on top of that.

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Facebook is no charity, and the ‘free’ in Free Basics comes at a price

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HTTPS for Facebook only

This little detail, which I hadn't heard before, is the most damning in my opinion. No Flash, JS or larges images, etc... Those aren't unreasonable limitations for a free low-bandwidth service. But encryption... That is the basics. Nobody in their right mind would consider doing online shopping without it, for instance. Or banking, or any kind of government site that handles private info.

It also makes you wonder about Facebook's motives for wanting to keep everything cleartext, and none that come to mind are good.

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Ubuntu's Amazon 'adware' feature to be made opt in

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Re: The money

I don't know, but if I were calling the shots, the best deal I'd offer for a setup that really looks fairly stupid from the advertiser's perspective too, is a cut of actual sales generated. And I'm guessing there weren't very many.

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Hot Swedish nurses in charity calendar rumpus

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Facepalm

Yeah, that's the first thing I thought. He's got the patient's shirt pulled up but still using the paddles where it covers. Makes no sense. Not to mention you probably don't want that much body contact with someone you're zapping.

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Late night server rebuild led to 'nightmares about mutilated corpses'

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Devil

That bit — think it's in one of the earlier levels — where you're going through cramped winding corridors with demons growling around you... Pretty sure I had fueled at least one nightmare.

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Stephen Hawking reckons he's cracked the black hole paradox

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Re: A Prize to the first person who googles "soft hair"

Shampoo ads (and Hawking) what were you expecting? (And what do I win?)

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Human cost of California gas well leak revealed

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Facepalm

But seriously, how hard can it be to seal one stupid well? I kind of get the impression they're all just sitting around scratching their heads (or other body parts) wondering what to do about it. At least with Deep Water Horizons we got regular updates about BP's various attempts to seal it.

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T-Mobile US CEO Legere apologizes/refuses to apologize for BingeOn

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It's not easy

So I decided to see if I have this "feature" on my $30 $34.40 pre-paid plan. Some advertising/coverage of the issue referred to "Simple Choice" plans, which mine isn't so I wasn't expecting this applied to me but I wanted to check. And first of all, I never had or needed a T-Mobile web account before, so I had go through the usual hassle of signing up. But I do that, and quickly find a page full of options related to plan choice, but didn't see anything related to binging. But again, I wasn't really expecting to.

Then, just as I was about to click the "Log Out" button, I saw another button labeled "Profile" next to that and clicked it on a whim. And there, below some obscure options for specifying a "911 Address" and some content filtering stuff (which T-Mobile had the decency not to turn on be default), I see BingeOn™ and bright Magenta™ "ON" label next to that. Damn. I turned it off. But I don't consider that easy at all.

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Discworld fans stake claim to element 117

Old Handle
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Maybe they should save Octarine for the halogen in the eighth row, (whatever number that works out to, with the unbinilliumides in there.) Names will probably have gotten sillier by then too, so it'll be an easier sell. Or alternatively, prove neutronium (element o) exists and move everything else down.

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Cops stuff Mumbai thief with 48 bananas

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Re: Reminds me of

Former active ingredient in ExLax, and also a nice PH indicator. I wonder how many home science projects have been ruined by that little recipe change.

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ICO: You call that a sentence? Courts need power to hit data thieves harder

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I'm not usually the tough on crime type, but I'd have to agree she got off lightly with a fine that's less than the proceeds of her crime.

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Crafty booby-trapped invoice malware empties Japanese bank accounts

Old Handle
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I donno how similar it is, but I got something reminiscent of this the other day. An email claiming I had received a "fax", attached to a zip containing a file.doc.js. Being curious, I opened it... in notepad. Unfortunately, the script was obfuscated. Looks like they broke the real script into little tiny pieces and assigned them to variables. Presumably that all gets reassembled and executed when run, but it would have been way more work than I cared to put in to figure out what it was meant to do.

I still think hidden file extensions are single worst security decision ever.

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T-Mobile US boss John Legere calls bulls*** on video throttling claims

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Re: To be fair...

I don't think it even costs more, it just means video goes back to coming out of your monthly bandwidth allotment instead of being free. Honestly, if it weren't for the underhanded way they went about the whole thing I'd call it a pretty good deal.

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Old Handle
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Net Neutrality Aside...

Aside from the more academic concerns about network neutrality, my big problem as a consumer (I am a T-Mobile customer, though I don't think I get that "service" with my pre-paid plan), is that they turned it on by default and failed to explain to customers exactly what it would do, especially the fact that it can apparently cause poor playback (not just lower resolution) on sites like YouTube.

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How long is your password? HTTPS Bicycle attack reveals that and more

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Alien

The new world order really don't like passwords, do they?

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Longing to bin Photoshop? Rock-solid GIMP a major leap forward

Old Handle
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Re: "(UI design is, sadly, something that Open Source projects struggle with)"

Well yes, commercial software UI has sucked lately too, but in different ways and for different reasons. As best I can tell the commercial UIs suck on purpose while FOSS UIs suck because they can't help it. (With a notable exception of Firefox which has adopting the commercial-style suck-on-purpose model.)

I'm a PSP fan too, incidentally. I typically have both 7 and 9 installed and use them for different tasks, although I'm gradually learning to deal with 9's clunkier interface and using it more often. Unfortunately I'll never upgrade past that unless Corel (who bought it out) reverses their decision to load it up with DRM.

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Brit cuffed for Kyrgyz 'horse penis' sausage quip

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Re: No big deal

That curious use of "liberal" is more or less synonymous with fascist anyway.

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NSA spying on US and Israeli politicians stirs Congress from Christmas slumbers

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Re: Try substituting Putin for Bibi

I would agree, with one amendment. Anything collected during such monitoring must become public record. Because that's who legislators are supposed to be accountable to, the public. Not the spies. A situation where a shadowy unelected wing of the government has control over a supposedly open and democratic part is too dangerous to allow.

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The Police Chief's photo library mixed business, pleasure and flesh

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Devil

I remember those extra large labels. They were meant to to wrap around one edge, but exactly the right size to completely cover one side of the disk, I'm sure many a noob made exactly that mistake. They were almost asking to be misused.

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EU privacy watchdog calls for new controls on surveillance tech export

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Since I don't expect this to do much good, my main concern would be whether it will do harm. For instance could these regulations prohibit a European from publishing, or contributing to an open source pen testing tool?

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OK Google? Firefox to nibble Chrome extensions from 2016

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Sounds like more bloat. It also sounds like they're taking the "let's turn Firefox into a copy of Chrome" strategy even more seriously than I realized.

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Australian government urges holidaymakers to kill two-factor auth

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Meh

Seems logical to me. If you're going to be unable to receive texts for a while (and still plan to use the website) of course you have to turn 2FA off. The only thing I can think of that they should do better is provide a feature to disable it for preset length of time so people don't forget to turn it back on when they return.

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UK ISP Sky to make smut an opt-in service from 2016

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IT Angle

Out of curiosity, since this doesn't seem to be explained in the article, which level of filtering will be the default? Is there any chance it defaults to "18" (blocks suspected malware and phishing only) and we're being too hard on them? Or have the gone full retard and set it to PG?

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Old Handle
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Headmaster

Pedant's Note: The World Wide Web isn't the internet. The internet is at least 33, possibly as old as 46, depending on what you regard as its birth.

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New HTTP error code 451 to signal censorship

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Re: IETF were not persuaded is was a good use of a limited number of status codes

I figure that outside of the original use in the coffee pot protocol, 418 is pretty much the server equivalent of this.

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Hello Kitty hack exposes 3.3 million users' details, says infosec bod

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This calls for seppuku.

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EU reforms could pave way for smells and noises to be trade-mark protected – expert

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Re: Is there any point trademarking e.g. taste

If it works like in the US, you won't be able to trademark the taste of a food anyway, nor the smell of a perfume. The trademarked attribute will have to be something unrelated to the product's purpose. For instance there's apparently a brand of sewing thread which is scented like plumeria (some flower) and they were able to trademark that.

Presumably this effectively rules out trademarked tastes entirely, since people wouldn't be tasting too many products that aren't food... maybe they could swing a trademark on the flavor of lip gloss or something, I donno.

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Brazil gets a WTF WhatsApp moment

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Re: Tidbit on brazilian reality

What I don't get why they charge such high prices for SMS and calls and then practically give data service away. Surely it doesn't take a genius to figure out what would happen. In the US it's the other way around. You get an generous amount of calls and SMS free with basic service and pay a premium for a high or unlimited* data allowance.

*not really unlimited.

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