* Posts by Unicornpiss

430 posts • joined 7 Oct 2011

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Assessing the power of Intel’s SSD 750 … but check your motherboard before buying

Unicornpiss
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Meh

Hmm...

Bring the price to where it approaches that of SATA SSDs and I'll be rushing to the store for one... er. clicking to buy one from Amazon or Newegg.

For the average user, even an avid gamer though, the performance of a SATA SSD is still plenty good though. Maybe my boot time would go from 10-12 seconds to 6 seconds. I suppose in time Windows will require an SSD of some sort just as it requires minimum processor specs to offset some of the bloat. I think most people that just surf, get on "The Facebook", etc. will barely note the transition from their standard SSD or MSATA drive to one of these.

Re. floppy drives, my Commodore PET in 1980 would reliably store 1MB using both sides of a floppy and an intelligent (for the time) 8050 floppy drive, a feat it took a long time for IBM and others to match.

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Windows 10: A SYSADMIN speaks his brains – and says MEH

Unicornpiss
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Meh

You can have my Windows 7...

...when you pry it from my cold, dead CPU. It's next to the 2nd drive running Mint Linux, which is what I run 90% of the time at home anyway and probably will for the foreseeable future.

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The Lazarus Effect: Saved by Linux and Cash Converters

Unicornpiss
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Happy

Personal preference

I know everyone has their personal preference for an OS, and within the LInux world for the specific distro and desktop. (Mint with Cinnamon desktop for me--sounds like an odd dessert to non Linux folks)

I have been using Linux for years. While I am still much more of a Windows "guru" since I deal with it and support it and its aps daily at work, I like to get home and use something that truly "just works" most of the time. (or at least gives me less, and different errors) And I surely don't miss messages like "Do you trust this printer?" --well, I wouldn't leave it alone with sharp objects, but... It's ridiculous how much fewer resources Linux uses than Win 7 on my machine. On Windows, it's also usually click and wait.. and wait.. On Linux, it's more like "Already done that sir, what next?"

Re. Nvidia, I did have a bit of grief getting the drivers to install properly when I went from ATI to Nvidia, but it wasn't that bad and all features incl. hardware acceleration work flawlessly with the NV driver. Mint installed my color laser printer without blinking--was a headache on Win 7, and even streaming Netflix and Amazon content works great after a bit of consulting the web. Better than Windows actually, which requires frequent cleanouts of the Netflix cache.

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Happy 30th anniversary, Tengen! Your anti-DRM NES chip fought the law, and the law won

Unicornpiss
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Happy

Cut the reset pin and wire to a switch?

...Obviously not for the average user, but this should allow unapproved games to run by removing the ability of the CIC chip to reset the CPU?

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Now car hackers can bust in through your motor's DAB RADIO

Unicornpiss
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Meh

Not unexpected...

But what people fail to realize with the Jeep hack is that they had to rewrite the firmware first to allow this to happen. Still, it is a vulnerability and "infotainment" systems should be firewalled from the rest of the CAN bus (or whatever networking strategy each automaker is using)

Another problem is that with increasing complexity, you're always going to have vulnerabilities that no one could have foreseen. It's up to the automakers to acknowledge faults and patch them, the same as any computer hardware or software purveyor. At least Fiat-Chrysler is working with the white hats that came up with the exploit and a patch has been produced.

I remember on one of my first cars, which had no electronics other than the radio, there was a combination of switches you could turn on that would create an unintended ground path and cause the wipers to stutter across the windshield in time with the turn signals. And this was a pretty simple purely electromechanical system with an unexpected flaw. What do you expect with millions of lines of code to debug on a modern vehicle?

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ZOMBIE Commodore PET lurches out of its 1970s grave – as a FONDLESLAB

Unicornpiss
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Meh

If Jack Tramiel..

..hadn't been a megalomaniac that treated his staff like dirt and alienated everyone he encountered, we'd all be using "Commodore Standard" PCs and not "IBM Standard"

I truly believe that. For quite a while Commodore was well ahead of anything else available and vertical integration with MOS Technology made their prices untouchable... for a while.

I have a nice Asus tablet I like a lot, but would consider buying a "Commodore PET" branded tablet just for the branding. (unlike Apple products that I really have no interest in)

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Disaster-gawping cam drones to be blasted out of the sky in California

Unicornpiss
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Black Helicopters

simple enough?

-Require drone operators to have a license if they want to operate in congested areas or over property they do not own. Establish regulations for how close a drone can get in an emergency or disaster situation.

-If a drone gets in the way of firefighters, it should be treated like the car that parks in front of a hydrant during a fire.

-Fine the drone operator in accordance with FAA regulations and whatever local statutes apply. Prosecute if injury occurred as a result of the operator's negligence. If the drone was destroyed by first responders, offer the owner a plea bargain depending on the situation--you go away with the pieces of your drone and we'll let you off with a warning instead of fining you or prosecuting you for obstruction of justice, creating a safety hazard, or whatever. If you don't take the pieces of your drone, here's a ticket for littering.

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Vintage Ask toolbar is malware – and we'll kill Jeeves, says Microsoft

Unicornpiss
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Meh

A little off track, but...

When going to Microsoft's "choice" page for search engines, has anyone besides me noticed that people "rated" Google with only 2 stars? Somehow that doesn't seem accurate. Say what you will about Google, but when I have to use Google to find articles on MS Technet because MS's own search engine isn't up to snuff, that says a lot.

Oh yeah, I also kill Ask toolbar and most others on sight. Typically the user is only peripherally aware it was even there and had "no idea how I got it".

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Penn State University network sacked by China malware blitz

Unicornpiss
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WTF?

VPN

So just now they're going to start requiring two factor authentication for their VPN??

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You Musk be joking: Tesla's zero to 60MPH in 2.8 SECONDS is literally 'ludicrous'

Unicornpiss
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Happy

Even so...

300 miles for "normal" driving isn't bad at all for an electric car. Some gas powered vehicles don't boast that. Most people only go on long trips infrequently, and topping off the car's batteries at night when home from work will keep it pretty full, I'd expect.

Yes, you will probably cut that range in half or worse if you beat the crap out of it all the time. But you'd do the same with any fossil fuel-powered car too. My V8 vehicle with a little over 300HP gets about 23MPG on the highway but when I "drive it like I stole it", the mileage drops to more like 12MPG. The only difference is the fueling time involved and the availability of fuel everywhere. And even living in the USA where gas is cheaper than Europe, paying to recharge an electric vehicle is a LOT less money than buying gasoline, even if you have an econobox that gets 40+ MPG.

What I've always worried about as electric cars become more prevalent is that many older homes' infrastructure is not up to the challenge of delivering that much power all the time. I'd expect blown fuses and electrical fires as people try to plug electric vehicles into homes with 50+ year-old wiring and devices.

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Evil computers sense you’re in a hurry and mess with your head

Unicornpiss
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WTF?

Corrolary..

I've also noticed that cars can sense when you're in a bad mood and will pick that time to run like shit, fail to start, make some weird noise you've never heard before, or act up in some other way that can't be reproduced. When you're in a good mood and no hurry the car runs smoother and everything works perfectly.

The universe has a horrible sense of humor.

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Unicornpiss
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Meh

Re: Church people

Having worked as a restaurant manager many years ago, I'd have to also say that "church people" are overall the very worst tippers too.

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Unicornpiss
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Re: The Oatmeal about printers

I was going to suggest that link, but you beat me to it. The Oatmeal rant pretty well sums it up.

But I will mention a special kind of masochism that occasionally makes me decide to try printing an envelope on my usually well-behaved color laser. Generally after several tries with the address or return information printing in some bizarro location on the envelope, I manage to get it right... only to find that the printer has had enough and is now misfeeding every subsequent attempt. Several threats and picking destroyed envelopes out of the printer's innards later, I give up and address it by hand.

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Pray for AMD

Unicornpiss
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I hope...

AMD can survive. All of the rigs I've built in the last 10+ years have been AMD-based. And I know it's subjective, but to me AMD systems just "feel" faster. Maybe they're not in benchmarks, but in real world use, they do just fine. (if you've not gotten the cheapest chip you can find) Perhaps part if it is me optimizing my own systems while 'off the shelf' systems are not tweaked as much.

The main problem right now as I see it is "No one ever got fired for buying Intel." So even if business class desktops and laptops were out there to be had, Enterprise buyers, which now likely account for most of the 'standard' PC sales, would likely shun them---"We have Intel and we've always bought Intel." Things are perhaps a little different in the server market where IT decisions are actually made by IT folks and not management as much.

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Mozilla's ‘Great or Dead’ philosophy may save bloated blimp Firefox

Unicornpiss
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Meh

Annoyance with Chrome

..is that even if you're not using it and there are no visible windows, it generally has one or more processes running in the background.

I think they're both good browsers, but I have to disagree with most of the article claiming FF is slower and more bloated. Chrome consistently uses more resources on my machine. And lately FF has also been more compatible overall with sites. And if you believe another recent reg article, it has less unpatched vulnerabilities as well.

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Ford's 400,000-car recall could be the tip of an auto security iceberg

Unicornpiss
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Meh

OTA updates for a car scare the hell out of me!

That's the last thing I need on a vehicle--a formerly running car now not starting because it got a buggy update while parked. Or worse, "Preparing to update your vehicle--please wait." Or even worse, a truly buggy update causing the car to start, drain its battery, or possibly catch fire while parked in my garage. (true, this is unlikely, but certainly not impossible)

One of the good things about having to take your car to a dealer for an update (there aren't many) is that it forces the manufacturer to do a lot more debugging when it takes time to distribute an update. If cars are always connected in some future time, I think the frequency of updates will go up, but the quality will go down. More exposure of a car's core systems to the Internet would also open the doors wider for malicious hackers to exploit them.

If this all comes to pass, perhaps I'll be installing Cynogen on my vehicle when it's out of warranty :)

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Apple's mystery auto project siphoning staff from other divisions

Unicornpiss
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Meh

Re: Where are they going to drive?

Based on the iPhone 6, it will also have a bent frame in a low-speed collision and the windshield will crack if a bug hits it.

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Who wants a classic ThinkPad with whizzy new hardware? Lenovo would just love to know

Unicornpiss
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Thumb Up

I would buy one in a heartbeat!

And do my best to irritate all the wankers with their new Surface tablets. Add a touch screen and watch the one thing the surface does well fade into utter irrelevancy.

For the person who asked what the point of the "Thinklight" was, simple: Not only does it light up the keyboard, but any paperwork you have with you, a keyfob token, etc. A light-up keyboard is somewhat useless except for finding all the fancy keys whose positions you don't remember (and to look "hi-tech"), but your hands are blocking the majority of the keyboard most of the time. And for that matter, what's stopping you from having both on one machine? Build the penultimate laptop and they will come.

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Microsoft's magic hurts: Nadella signals 'tough choices' on the way

Unicornpiss
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Meh

Old rant...

If MS wants to innovate, instead of cute animations and a gimmicky UI in most of their products, they can make their software more stable and stop using their paid customers as beta testers. Each version of Office that comes out is a marvel of features and integration, but it's also flakier and flakier than the last. As someone that has to support this stuff I can say that 30-40% of the problems our department deals with is related to Office products malfunctioning. And unfortunately the solution is often a full reinstall because no one can find the root cause or one tiny registry entry that went awry when Office decided to immolate itself. A web search shows that I'm not nearly alone in this, which isn't much comfort.

And listen to your customers for Pete's sake! (whoever Pete is) Stop changing the UI to something worse and worse in every version of Windows! Maybe XP didn't boast the avant garde of user interfaces, but I never heard anyone complain about the cascading menus. At least offer the option to revert to a "classic" interface for those that miss it without needing a 3rd party add-on. (to be fair, it does look like they've listened somewhat in Win 10) One of my myriad pet peeves about Win 8 is the changing of the keyboard shortcuts. Alt+F4 to close a window and F5 to refresh a screen have existed since the dawn of time in Windows and other OSes. Why change it??

Okay, I'm done.

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This whopping 16-bit computer processor is being built by hand, transistor by transistor

Unicornpiss
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6502 fan...

Looking at his website, this article doesn't do justice to the scope of the project. Am I correct in my deduction that he is using "zero page" memory as another set of registers for results, very "6502-like"?

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Unicornpiss
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Pint

Several things...

--That is an amazing undertaking, and a smart guy to build a processor from scratch.

--He obviously has a lot more free time and ambition than I have.

--Troubleshooting shouldn't be that bad as long as he has a diagram. He obviously understands the principles of operation, so he would just need to put a scope on the correct test point and make sure signals are present. The behavior will tip you off as to what's wrong. Many years ago when I took electronics, we had a donated DEC PDP 11/70. Our instructor would sabotage it, and armed with blueprints and a scope, we'd have to find the faulty component or failed wiring.

--Looking at the MIPs on the processor comparison, it's obvious the MOS6502 was the greatest bang for the buck in its day. Half the transistors and clock speed and still as fast as its competitors.

That is all :)

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Microsoft: Here's what you'll cough up for Windows 10 next year

Unicornpiss
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Meh

Value added services..

"They are angling to get their money from value added services, rather than the base OS itself."

So, speaking as a home user, I'm just pondering what service MS could offer me that would 'add value' that I'd pay for. I might pay a subscription fee if MS finally learned to not have apps steal focus from each other. Or nag me with "Do you trust this printer?" and similar. Or fix the troubleshooter that currently comes up with the correct solution every 1 in 300 or so attempts. Having used Office 365 extensively, I'll tell you, that isn't it. Though SharePoint could be quite remarkable if it wasn't so damn quirky. Of course these are more Enterprise features, and Enterprise users still have to pay for their upgrades if I'm understanding this correctly.

I've used Windows since 3.1 and am grateful to MS for my bread and butter in the IT world, but can't honestly think of a single thing I'd subscribe to or purchase as a home user, especially since it would likely come with ads of some sort even after purchasing.

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Ubuntu daddy Mark Shuttleworth loses fight to cancel $20m bank fee

Unicornpiss
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Meh

I guess I'd be pretty mad...

...If I was swindled out of 20M. Of course I don't have 20M, and to him it is probably the same financial hit as if one of us didn't get our order at the drive through. I'll bet his lawyers are pleased at the extra work and windfall for them though.

Like someone else mentioned, he probably has a lot of accountants on his staff--no one warned him about this? It's also kind of funny when someone complains that something is unconstitutional in a country that they're leaving and not intending to dwell in again...

The very rich are not like you or I. I do have respect for Mr. Shuttleworth overall though.

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Pwned so many times - but saved by the incident response plan

Unicornpiss
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Thumb Up

Applause

Thank you for a heartfelt article that I can utterly relate to. There may not be another field in the world so much as IT where if you don't actively keep up, it will run you over and leave you squinting at the mud-caked license plate of the bus that hit you.

Many of us are so overworked and stressed anyway that things we'd all like to accomplish like an artisan putting the finishing touches on a Stradivarius, instead we end up doing like a coked-up plumber frantically patching leaks and plunging stopped up toilets. (I have many times described my job as similar to one of those entertainers that manage to keep a number of plates spinning on sticks by running frantically back and forth) There is never enough time for continuing education and researching problems.

IT is so often treated like the proverbial red-headed bastard stepchild. Even though most modern businesses cannot exist or at least thrive without a competent IT staff, IT often gets the least staffing, the worst budgets, and the least regard from business leaders. Yet when something major does go wrong, there's plenty of blame to go around. Most of us wouldn't build a building without a solid foundation, yet IT is allocated sandstone to work with.

There is probably no other field except Medicine where there is such a diverse array of specialized jobs, yet often we are expected to be Swiss Army knives where skills are concerned. And frequently we have to guard against attacks from outside, from within, and occasionally from management.

I'm sure we will all be Pwned at some point. (if we haven't already and just don't realize it) I think I started out with a point to make, but it's been a long day of madness and I'll just wrap up by saying thank you again for an excellent article that hits most of us where we live.

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Cortana threatens to blow away ESC key

Unicornpiss
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Meh

Essential

For many tasks, not the least of which is when hitting ctrl+alt+del to login and finding the login dialog completely unresponsive to everything else on Win 7. Besides, what will I use now to end my MAME emulation session and return to the game menu?

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The Martian: Matt Damon sciences the sh*t out of the red planet

Unicornpiss
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Pint

Liked the book...

Looking forward to the movie.

It will be a pleasure to watch a "sci-fi" that's actually based on science and not "non-stop action!" and overwrought contrived emotion.

Guess we'll see what was done with it. I'm sure it won't be for everyone.

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How much info did hackers steal on US spies? Try all of it

Unicornpiss
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Black Helicopters

That's what they want you to think?

China actually hacked a database with made up information on hundreds of "people." All part of the plan...

Seriously though, this breach is utterly appalling and should never have been allowed to happen. Since we can't police China effectively, maybe it's time for some trade sanctions?

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Scientists love MacBooks (true) – but what about you?

Unicornpiss
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Haha

Macs "just work"? Clearly you haven't ever had to support Apple devices. True, they may have SLIGHTLY less issues than Windows devices, but they are a LOT worse to deal with when they do fail.

If you want to use Linux, just install (totally free!) Linux on whatever remotely compatible device you want to! I am into Mint these days as distros go, but pick your poison and save a few bucks on hardware. (Apple does build beautiful hardware, but after 10+ years of trying to coax machines to behave, there is no mystique for me.)

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Microsoft to Linux users: Explain yourself

Unicornpiss
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Meh

Well jeez..

This sounds like something that the Open Source community could whip up for free, if there isn't something out there already. And it will likely work better and have metrics that MS never thought of.

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Gonna RUB MYSELF against the WALL: Microsoft's Surface Hub 84" monster-slab

Unicornpiss
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Meh

Or I could...

..simply buy a large TV, add a touchscreen encoder (or just do without), and use an Android device that plugs into the HDMI slot, whether a tablet or a Chromecast-sized stand alone device. Or get a short-throw projector that turns any whiteboard into a touchscreen for about $1,800 (or less)

I just can't see the point of spending that much for something that will be obsolete in 3-4 years and offers so little value for the money. (and for that matter, the Surface tablets are not the most stable devices I'm finding--all part of MS's strategy of releasing consumer products before they're really ready.

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Les unsporting gits! French spies BUGGED Concorde passengers

Unicornpiss
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Happy

Simple to check?

Isn't one of the Concordes in a museum? Should be fairly easy to allow someone to check for traces of bugging paraphernalia. Surely there will be some wiring left over at least...

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BOFH: Step into my office. Now take a deep breath

Unicornpiss
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Pint

You had me at...

"Norwegian potato language" --classic!

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Sysadmins rebel over GUI-free install for Windows Server 2016

Unicornpiss
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Joke

Compensating?

Perhaps it's like the CAFE car gas mileage standards in the US. Automakers include electric and econobox cars that no one wants in their fleets to offset the poor mileage of other vehicles so it averages out.

Perhaps Microsoft is compensating for the horridly overwrought and mostly useless GUI in Windows 8 by launching an OS with no GUI. True, there is no mandate to do so and there would be no purpose for this, but trying to understand the logic of any large corporation is like trying to analyze the plot of 1941, probably the quintessential coked-up 80s movie.

I need to take my meds now.

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ASUS reveals 'Zensational' style-over-substance kit

Unicornpiss
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Meh

The ASUS motherboard

..in my main PC is styled just fine for me.

(I'm happy with my Android ASUS tablet the way it is too)

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Chap mines Bitcoin with PUNCH CARDS and ancient mainframe

Unicornpiss
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Meh

If..

If you could make sure the machine was reliable and place it in some sort of field where time passes millions of times faster, it would be feasible. Of course there would be better choices for your computing machine in this case...

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You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes

Unicornpiss
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Pint

I have no idea why this topic was revived...

But for anyone looking for a lightweight, free AV solution for Windows, I've been using "Ad-Aware" AV on Win 7 for some time now. It is free, does not nag you, doesn't seem to consume a lot of resources, and as far as I know is effective. I have not encountered an actual virus 'in the wild' to test it with, but it's gotten good reviews and it seems to respond to the Eicar test string, so I at least know it's functioning.

It's all the goodness that Avast used to be before losing their way, selling out, and losing sight of the true mission.

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Factory reset memory wipe FAILS in 500 MEELLION Android mobes

Unicornpiss
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Re: Simple solution

You could use the Blendtec (TM) data scrambler. Works on all smart (and not so smart) phones, hard drives, CDs, etc.

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Viagra makes it HARD for malaria, bug-boffins discover

Unicornpiss
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Joke

So...

A guy walks into a pharmacy and complains that he has difficulty maintaining an erection. The pharmacist asks: "Have you tried Viagra?" The man replies, "No, can you get it over the counter?" The pharmacist says, "If I take 3 I can."

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Unicornpiss
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Meh

I feel I should make some comment...

..about "mosquito dick", but I have no idea how to fit it in :)

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Well YES, Silicon Valley VCs do think you're a CRETIN

Unicornpiss
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Happy

Silly question...

Does the company that makes these toasters accept Bitcoin as a form of payment? Just asking...

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Unicornpiss
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Boffin

Better uses..

For the amount of return you're going to get, you'd be better off scrounging for change in your sofa. Instead of using a distributed computing network of toasters, fridges, dildos, whatever, to find meager amounts of cash for someone else, how about using them for "Fold at Home", "SETI", or whatever other research projects make sense if you're going to waste the electricity?

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FTC to scavengers: Radio Shack corpse doesn't include customer data

Unicornpiss
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Unhappy

I'll miss Radio Shack

It's kind of the end of an era. RS was one of the last stores that had a smorgasbord of electronics, computers, discrete components, hobby items, etc. Being the geek that I am, I used to go in there as a kid and wish I had money to buy half the store. Also, one of my first computing experiences was playing games for hours on the demo TRS-80 model I while the sympathetic store manager looked on. I had one of their "150 in one" electronics project kits as a kid and that helped shape me into the nerd I am today as well.

It seems like Radio Shack was trying to fill a niche that didn't really exist after 1990 or so. The world passed them by while they blinked. They were trying to be a jack of all trades I guess. Unfortunately the serious electronics hobbyists would only stop in for last minute things as the selection and pricing was better elsewhere. Only the very unsavvy would buy overpriced rebranded electronics gear and batteries there, and the "You've got questions, we've got answers" staff was unfortunately often clueless and untrained... except on how to upsell you a cell phone contract. But they never were 'hard sell' and they were either too small of a target or didn't survive long enough in our current age for a customer data breach to occur. Apparently anyway.

Let us all mourn the slow death of a gentle giant. Raise your glasses to the now defunct "Archer", "Realistic", "Microntis", and "Tandy" brands, and place your free battery club card on the casket as you leave.

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Microsoft's Surface 3 is sweet – but I wouldn't tickle my nads with it

Unicornpiss
Bronze badge
Meh

Pros and cons

I have one of these at work for 'evaluation' and we are beginning to deploy some of these. So to make this brief:

Pros:

-Seems pretty rugged

-Beautiful screen

-Good performance

-Responsive touchscreen

-Good battery life

-Very well designed magnetic mating for cover/keyboard

Cons:

-The damn thing is glued together so good luck if you need to pull or upgrade the drive. Memory is soldered in.

-windows 8.1's schizophrenic UI

-Only one USB port on the unit?? And one that seems to only let you charge on the adapter. Deal breaker for IT use.

-Pizza-box keyboard and touchpad

-Some folks may have had luck using this on their lap, but I find it too wobbly and annoying.

I realize it's meant for light and casual use, but it won't be replacing my laptop anytime soon.

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That DRM support in Firefox you never asked for? It's here

Unicornpiss
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Flame

How is 4K any different?

At each point in history when a new technology was introduced for viewing media, people were already using the "cutting edge" available at the time. Ever since the open-reel and VHS tape days, people have been copying media and taping TV shows. This did not end civilization as we know it and I don't recall any studio or publisher going out of business due to John Q. Public sharing a movie or making a mix tape.

True, in these days of streaming everything, it's a lot easier to distribute pirated copies. But instead of hobbling the average person and discouraging fair use, how about just finding better ways of prosecuting those that abuse the privilege? I prefer to read on Kindle these days, but it pisses me off that I can't share a book at all in some cases, and in others I can't share it more than once in X amount of time. Which is fine if the person I share it with hurries up and reads it before it expires, but that doesn't always happen. Yet I can loan as many paperbacks as I wish forever. Sure, I could loan them my entire device to read it, but that's a bit impractical. There's got to be a better way.

When it comes down to it, soon enough 4K will be broken. It is always the way that the major criminals will be able to quickly get around any protection in place. It just screws the average consumer, as it's always done. A perfect example would be the original DVD standard with encryption. Remember how you couldn't play an encrypted DVD on Linux or in a different region, but still it was pathetically easy to copy the whole disk and sell it if so desired? I applaud the authors that shun DRM and distribute their work with no rights management in place.

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Unicornpiss
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Thumb Down

I think I can speak for the majority when I say:

Bleaugh!!

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Californians get first chance to be RUN OVER by a GOOGLE ROBOT

Unicornpiss
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Happy

I have a simple prediction for the public reaction...

People with 1/3 or more of a brain will downshift and pass these vehicles, probably at high speeds. Some of the more dickly, frustrated subset of the driving population may actively screw with these robot cars out of boredom like the asshats that take a ball bat to mailboxes on a drunken evening.

Really most folks will react just the same as fleeing from a wildcard 90-year-old driver or teen driver glued to their phone that you just can't anticipate what they will do or if they are in full possession of their sensorium. Hopefully Google has tested for this scenario and the cars won't stop, veer, or BSOD when someone "taps" them or blows by them at 120MPH.

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Astroboffins perplexed by QUADRUPLE QUASAR CLUSTER find

Unicornpiss
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Alien

Perhaps...

Perhaps a truly advanced race was just doing a bit of landscaping?

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Hacker 3D prints device that can crack a combo lock in 30 seconds

Unicornpiss
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@Bolt cutters

You're utterly missing the point. This was a fun experiment, and labor born of love and chutzpah, which is how computing and other fields have advanced by leaps and bounds over the years by hackers doing it for the sheer joy of it. I can open my car with a hammer too, forgo the twist tie and just rip the plastic on my loaf of bread, and get into all manner of spaces I'm not supposed to with brutality and no finesse, but anyone can do these things.

This guy's device can open a lock in under a minute and leave it intact, and tell you the combination so the lock can be reused. The practical applications (unless you count impressing his friends) are practically nil, but again, this isn't the point at all. It's more inspiration than a better mousetrap.

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Unicornpiss
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The ability to open these is old news

I even have a spreadsheet somewhere that helps you with calculating the possible combinations after you find the first number and based on the lock's behavior. I have opened a few Master combination locks over the years that were left unattended attached to fences, in people's junk drawers, and ones in my personal possession using just the spreadsheet and some tinkering. Typically it takes me under 5 minutes to obtain the combination. (I have never stolen anything or opened a lock used to lock up anyone's personal property, though I sometimes used to find some amusement in flipping the locks that my school faculty had facing backwards so they could use the little keyhole on the back on 'storage' lockers :P )

Basically a cheap lock like this is more a deterrent. Most thieves are not very sophisticated or all that bright and are only interested in "smash and grab". And my own lock at home is reasonable, but not excessive, as it's pointless to put a fancy lock on a house that has more than a dozen glass windows that anyone can open with their lucky brick.

I do think this is a very cool device though, very creative, and tuning it to get the tension just right on the lock's shackle must have been a real chore.

Not everyone knows that you can open a Master combo and other combo locks with a "left hand" combination too. This might be fun if you need to write down a combination to remember it--anyone using a combination lock is used to turning it right-left-right, not left-right-left:

https://woodgears.ca/combolock/left.html

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BOFH: Getting to the brown, nutty heart of the water cooler matter

Unicornpiss
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Pint

Thank you for improving what is turning into a very aggravating day.

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