* Posts by Unicornpiss

325 posts • joined 7 Oct 2011

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'YOUTUBE is EVIL': Somebody had a tape running, Google...

Unicornpiss
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Don't be evil, eh?

This is just deplorable strong arm robbery and intimidation from a company that should be more responsible. Due to Google's size and presence, they have a lot of power to either make the Internet (and the world at large) a better place, or just continue the age-old sleazy tactics employed by cheap swindlers since money was invented. The bigwigs at Google should be ashamed. I wonder if the EFF would be interested in taking this case...

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Beam me up, Scotty, And VAPORIZE me in the process

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So what happens...

So what happens when the unit or its controller crashes (as things often do) partway into the destruction/construction process? Sounds like a bummer for the seller who has half a product while the buyer has (maybe) the other half...

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Microsoft will give away Windows 10 FREE - for ONE year

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Drug pusher business model?

Isn't this kind of how drug pushers work? Give you free product for a while, then when you can't do without it, start charging and price the product as they see fit? After a year's free ride, is the user (or corporation) going to go through a painful upgrade process? Nope, MS has you where they want you.

And one thing I find a bit worrisome is the statement re. upgrades "..For the supported life of the product." Hmm... that seems a bit arbitrary. Perhaps the supported life of the product is 2-3 years as defined by MS and whatever deal they've struck with Dell, HP, etc. That means no upgrades for you, but you still have to pay your subscription fee for Windows or no OS for you either.

I think I'll keep on using Linux unless someone forces me to use Unity.

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Video nasty: Two big bugs in VLC media player's core library

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@monocolture

"I love ffmpeg, it can read and write practically anything for free, but this is one of the downsides of a monoculture"

...as opposed to instead having either dozens of vulnerable codecs, or missing enough codecs that idiots will download anything that a quick web search reveals MIGHT play their content, infecting themselves with viruses, adware, and at the minimum, installing poorly-written software that probably uses the ffmpeg library anyway, or God forbid, Quicktime.

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Icelandic brewers knock up whale 'nad beer

Unicornpiss
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Nadweiser?

Heck, I'd be happy to try it. I doubt it will be available in my neck of the woods though.

Seriously though, comparing this as if it's made from other endangered species that are hunted for the value of their pelts, etc. makes no sense. If the Fin whales are hunted to make the beer, then I wouldn't touch it. Since, however, they are already hunted and the brewers are just using leftover parts, this is eminently less wasteful than not making something with them. I don't know how big whale cojones are, but I'd expect you don't need too many to brew even a 5,000-gallon batch of beer.

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Anonymous vows to avenge Charlie Hebdo massacre by blitzing jihadist sites

Unicornpiss
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Anonymous can make a difference

If Anonymous wants to truly do some good in the world (and I think most of their members have their hearts in the right place), they could use their considerable collective knowledge and influence to continually disrupt and thwart all web and communications efforts of insane, subhuman radicals like ISIS that do nothing but sow misery, ignorance, and collectively set the human race back as a whole.

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4K off, Google Fiber: Comcast, Broadcom tout 2Gbps cable

Unicornpiss
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Re: IP broadcasts

Most cable companies are already streaming video on demand for all channels, even if they look like standard continuously-broadcast channels. (at least in my neck of the woods)

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Mirror, mirror: Seagate shows off 1TB data shiny at HDD beauty contest

Unicornpiss
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Meh

Beauty is only skin deep...

At least as far as laptop drives go, we've had more failures with WD "blue label" and "black label" drives than anything else. Apparently trying to imitate WD, Seagate's "Momentus Thin" line has been pretty lousy as well. Thankfully, we are no longer buying mechanical drives at all for new machines nor replacement drives.

For that price, the "mirror drive" has to have a mechanical HDD inside, and as such I would avoid picking it up like it was a multiple divorcee with a drug habit.

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Q*bert: The Escher-inspired platform puzzler from 1982

Unicornpiss
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Re: "a well-practised player...

Ahh, Xevious. Another game I loved that when I tell people about it, they never heard of it, even people my age. I think the best I did was getting past the 3rd mothership. The graphics were outstanding for the time too. I still enjoy it on MAME.

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Ghosts of Christmas Past: The long-ago geek gifts that made us what we are

Unicornpiss
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Mushroom

Nostalgia...

I had the "Erector Set" with motor and gearbox--a little different than the one shown, a microscope, Legos... but my favourite was the Tandy 150-in-1 Electronics Project kit. I had a ball with that and it led to me getting a (underutilized since I went into IT) degree in electronics.

...Mushroom cloud icon in honor of the chemistry set :)

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Behold our SPINNING DATA GRAVE: WD carts out 6.3TB cold storage drive

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WD reliability?

Sorry to say that with my experience with WD over the last few years, I'm not optimistic about the longevity of these. Sounds like a 6TB mass grave for data. If you're going to buy these, I'd buy at least two and mirror them. YMMV (your mileage may vary)

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HOLD IT! Last minute gifts for one's nerd minions

Unicornpiss
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Demotivators

I will be hanging up my new Despair, Inc. demotivational calendar for next year soon, the same as I have for the last 4 years. It has become enough of an icon that people detour from their day just to see what passive-agressive message each new month brings. I do love the expression on the smarmier people's faces when they start reading it thinking it is inspirational, then discover the real message.

As a side note, that Remote Desktop Manager software looks great, but at $999 for the AD-enabled version they'd be laughing themselves to death if I expressed interest in purchasing it for our dept.

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Ford dumps Windows for QNX in new in-car entertainment unit

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Devil

QNX

QNX has been used in cars by Chrysler, Audi, etc. for quite some time now and the touch screens in these vehicles are well designed, intuitive, and responsive.

I picked the icon I did because to me it's always looked like the front of a little car...

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WD and HGST: We tried to merge our two drive makers, MOFCOM said NO, NO, NO

Unicornpiss
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Re: Please keep them separate forever

Well, I can say from experience that WD laptop drives and HGST and Seagate "Momentus Thin" drives have a horrid failure rate at our company. This isn't how it used to be. 5 years ago I'd have put a WD or Seagate drive up against anything out there. WD blue and black label laptop drives have had such a failure rate that I can usually guess when a machine has one based on its symptoms. Fortunately, we are mostly done with that nonsense, having gone with SSDs for all replacements and new machines. We've stopped even bothering to warranty the mechanical drives, as we don't want them, much less a "refurbished" replacement. Toshiba mechanical drives have been reasonably good, and I miss Samsung before Seagate swallowed them--they used to make a good drive.

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Mom and daughter SUE Comcast for 'smuggling' public Wi-Fi hotspot into their home

Unicornpiss
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Re: a "vast" burden on electricity bills

Propane is so gauche. Mine runs on biodiesel, sourced only from vegan restaurants, where it is changed after every 4 hours of cooking plantains.

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Manchester festival marketers fined £70,000 over spam ‘mum’ texts

Unicornpiss
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Let's just face it..

Any unsolicited text tends to severely annoy, and while SPAM email and even snail mail is bad enough, alerting me that it's arrived on my phone, and possibly using airtime to boot, is just deplorable, as are the snail jizz that perpetuate such tactics.

Perhaps Pandora and similar that send crap notifications to my phone could take heed.

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How HAPPY am I on a scale of 1 to 10? Where do I click PISSED OFF?

Unicornpiss
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Re: Why would anyone bother

Simple---someone has to do their part to try and offset the rave reviews given by simpletons and morons.

Incidentally, the only time I was ever waved through the body scanner I discovered my luggage had been searched and left in disarray with shampoo leaking on everything. Coincidence?

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Firmware update kills Lenovo Home Media Network HDDs. Here's how to resurrect them

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Taking a page from Sony?

Have they been learning from Sony on how to alienate customers and deny liability?

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Another lick of Lollipop: Google updates latest Android to 5.0.1

Unicornpiss
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Re: Hmmm?

He upgraded the battery to run off my piss? I must stop giving it away for free...

Since I use my phone for personal and work, I'm not upgrading anything unless it's broken, especially to a new release that doesn't even have its wings dry yet.

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Hominid ancestors beat humans to the drinks cabinet, say boffins

Unicornpiss
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Pleasure pathways...

I'm skeptical that "pleasure pathways" needed to evolve, since alcohol is more of a systemic analgesic, unlike, say, marijuana, where a specific receptor is targeted.

My decidedly unscientific evidence for this is from watching a nature show years ago, where animals of many different species sought out and ate from a tree with fallen fermented berries. Animals including lions, hyenas, etc. All seemed to put aside their differences and have a high old time getting crocked. Even more amusing was the next day hangover all seemed to have, with the lion holding his head with his paws, and all looking decidedly unwell.

My general point here is, surely all these animals didn't evolve to find alcohol pleasurable to help them seek out food, especially the big cats, who are carnivores anyway, and surely all don't have the efficient gene for metabolising it. If there is any kind of pleasurable reward wired in for finding alcohol (besides getting a buzz being its own reward), it's got to be for something more complex than just finding edible food.

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Wireless Power standards are like Highlanders: There can be only ONE

Unicornpiss
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Tinfoil hat...

While this sounds like a good idea, I wonder how much more EMI/RFI pollution these will add to the environment when every home and public place has them. Yes, they are short range, but the ocean is ultimately made up of single raindrops.

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What's MISSING on Amazon Fire Phone... and why it WON'T set the world alight

Unicornpiss
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Amazon should lower the price

They may be taking a loss on the hardware if they do, but then they've pretty much ensured that the buyer is wired into their ecosystem, which should pay dividends well beyond any loss on the phone. They should market this one dirt cheap, follow it with a better sequel once a significant number of people have bought in, then it might stand a chance. This is likely what they're going to be stuck doing anyway if they have a warehouse full of these.

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

Unicornpiss
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Re: Another Laurel & Hardy moment

I can't say whether the problem is due to MS or Avast, but even if it is Avast, they still have a better track record than McAfee when it comes to bricking PCs.

But I do agree 100% with your assessment of Avast as being more about revenue than protection these days. Since Avast became mainstream, users of the free product (which used to be a true gem) are subject to popups like "Your PC can run faster", "Upgrade now", etc. which used to be the mainstay of greyware products. I used to recommend Avast whenever I'd do a side job, now I guess AVG is the only true freeware player left.

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Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray

Unicornpiss
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I like toys but...

I kind of agree with their decision. I have a fairly low power violet pointer that has enough oomph to draw lasting trails on a CRT and the reflected spot from a light-colored surface will leave you seeing a spot for a very long time. This isn't much power but it's enough to cause eye damage, and frankly, it's scary what some low life could do with something like the Arctic.

So while I think they're very cool, and part of me wishes I could rationalize spending the money on a toy like this, I think perhaps there should be a "laser safety" course offered that you must complete in order to purchase one of these, since you could permanently blind someone, cause a car/plane crash, etc. if you're an idiot with more money than common sense.

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Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data

Unicornpiss
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short story...

The Plagiarist by Hugh Howey is a nice short story with an interesting take on simulations of this type...

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Unicornpiss
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Alien

Our universe

Our universe is probably just such a simulation, errantly left running on a PC in some higher dimension when some lowly college student forgot to shut down in their rush to get to the pub. Fortunately 14 billion years to us is just an hour or two of screensaver for them...

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Hackers seize Detroit's database, demand $800k. Motor City shrugs: OK, take it

Unicornpiss
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Meh

It won't sync with his phone??

Hurry up and upgrade to Office 365/2013 Detroit so you can enjoy the wonders of OneDrive and SharePoint not syncing reliably with anything...

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PHONDLESLAB-ULOUS: Motorola Moto X Android phablet

Unicornpiss
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Re: Fixed battery and misc.

With a very few tools and a spare hour, a "fixed battery" isn't that big of a deal these days. More worrisome to me is the aforementioned lack of an SD card slot, which is pretty close to being a deal breaker. When I finally managed to kill my Droid Razr HD, I stood in the store and kept going back and forth between the Moto and Samsung displays. Eventually it was the faster (at the time) processor, nicer screen, and SD card slot that seduced me away from Motorola's (IMHO) prettier, tougher, and more ergonomic phones. Oh, the 16MP camera helped too, as the Motos on display still were using 8s.

For me, part of the reason (besides hating Apple devices) for getting an Android phone is the ability to drop the SD card in the new phone and have my music, pics, etc. all right there with no fuss with cables or "cloud" services.

Though even without an SD slot, at least Android users aren't forced to suffer iTunes...

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BOFH: SOOO... You want to sell us some antivirus software?

Unicornpiss
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Freeware AV...

I've been running Avast on the Windows computers I need to keep running Windows on. Avast used to prove the old adage: "The best things in life are free." I've felt for a long time that free software is generally more functional, less bloated, and more stable overall than "professionally" developed software.

Avast used to shame Symantec AV and most everything else in detection and cleaning of viruses, and probably still does. I used to recommend it to everyone needing an AV solution for a home computer. Now that they've become mainstream, they seem to be all about ad revenue. Perhaps I need to stop being a freetard when it comes to AV, but when I get frequent pop-ups from my AV saying "Your computer could run faster.", etc., the solution has become nearly as bad as the problem. I understand that they're not exactly making money on a freeware product, and ad revenue is a logical choice, but it just makes me sad, really. Like a pop star that used to make good music until they sold out.

At work we use Symantec's products for 'protection'. The only good thing I can say about Symantec is that at least they're not McAfee.

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The Great Smartphone Massacre: Android bloodbath gathers pace

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Evolution and extinction

One thing that you could argue is that the constant battle for survival between manufacturers is causing rapid evolution of hardware, just like species fighting over a limited food supply. So if you don't already think that Android is the superior platform, just wait a little more and see what emerges. While Apple, on the other hand, is forced to evolve to compete with everyone else, but the pressure just isn't the same, at least not yet, since they still have their niche carved out and there are no direct competitors making Apple clones.

I'll leave it to others to get philosophical about the intelligent design vs. evolution of a species debate, but the pressures are kind of the same.

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Snapper's decisions: Whatever happened to REAL photography?

Unicornpiss
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Out of curiosity...

(and this may be like asking a chef what the best fast food is) If you are monitoring these comments, what mass-market cell phone cameras would you say are the better ones? I know my old DroidX that actually had a mechanical shutter seemed to take some pretty good snaps, despite a modest sensor. And my old 4MP Pentax still rivals anything on a cell phone for overall image quality, which I'm sure is because of the lens. I am a novice, but do like taking snaps, and would also love to know what one of the better bargains are in a DSLR.

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Trolls pop malformed heads above bridge to sling abuse at Tim Cook

Unicornpiss
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Appropriate comment

Re. Internet trolls, I don't remember what movie this was from, but: "Everyone's entitled to be an asshole. You abuse the privilege."

Re. Tim being gay: Here's to you for having the courage to come out to the unwashed troglodytes that make up most of our society. I hate Apple devices, but this actually made me slightly more likely to buy one.

And for the record, I am hetero, but have never understood why people are homophobic. Me thinks it is denial.

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Pixel mania: Apple 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display

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That is one hell of a nice monitor...

And I can't fault the rest of the hardware specs. But what's up with the crappy keyboard and mouse that only munchkins could appreciate? And a machine of this class should have a pure SSD, not a "hybrid", which experience with these in an Enterprise environment has taught me are unreliable, finicky crap.

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One hard ghoulie: 1985's Ghosts 'n Goblins

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Liked the music too

I have the starting intro music as the ringtone for my GF. (Don't read too much into that--it was just her favourite game when she was a kid.) Now with MAME and cheat mode I can actually explore the levels without my gameplay being frantic and brief. (Don't over analyse that either.) :P

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Naked and afraid: that's how Telstra's Wi-Fi security makes you feel

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Re: So don't use it then...

"I appreciate that Joe Average isn't protected in this case, but for 'high flyers' there isn't really any excuse for being a douche."

While I agree with you in principle, experience has taught me that the "high flyers" are often the least savvy in computing and security. It does sometimes make you wonder how people attain such high-level jobs without needing the common sense that a high school drop out would take for granted. Maybe it's just that once you attain that lofty plateau, that you just don't have to think as hard any more, and the only real-world skills retained are in bullshitting. Most of the grunt work once you "arrive" is done by administrative assistants. (secretaries) I recently ran across an executive that was leaving to be a CEO somewhere else and needed my assistance to figure out how to drag n' drop files to a folder so he could take his personal data with him. Which just made me incredibly sad and my liver took a beating that evening.

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More Microsoft staffers shown the door in Round 3 of job cuts

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Why does it seem...

...to be a rite of passage for a green CEO or VP to immediately lay off a lot of the very people that got a company this far? And in such a predicable pattern usually... R&D, training, and support staff are the first to go. And if they were doing their jobs right, it sometimes appears that they were doing nothing at all, and at first it looks like a good decision, as a company will coast along with no ill effects for a while after such layoffs. Just like you can drive for a long while if you've welded your lug nuts on... until you have a flat or need to replace your tires.

The next phase of course is the panic after a year or so when a big hiring boom begins to replace all the lost talent. Of course you're getting cheaper labor at this point, but you've lost all the veteran people that know how everything works and how to get things done. Or you've outsourced work to some other company that far offsets any savings by introducing confusion, language barriers, and poor productivity and quality, essentially giving you a return on your investment of a quarter of the productivity, albeit at half the cost. I have lived through this process several times and every time there is a change of management, everything old is new again.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

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This is why we CAN have nice things: Samsung Galaxy Alpha

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It makes you wonder...

..if the designers/project managers ever used the phones prior to release. Otherwise there would surely be MHD and SD card slots. To say that the iPhone 6 is a more capable, powerful, or higher quality device than the S5 is to put it gently, hogwash. The S5 has a much better camera, and features that Apple is just getting around to. And so far I haven't heard of anyone bending one or having one explode in their pocket. (2 stories about exploding iPhones since the 6 was released)

My only complaints with the S5 would be the bloatware, and the way it feels in your hand, though this is no worse than the way the iPhone 6 feels. Oh, and the way the crappy grooved chrome bezel around the phone apparently was inspired by a 1950s-era kitchen table. At least the groove makes it a bit more grippy though.

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Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV

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Malware detection

I have to admit I've found and cleaned more malware (on Windows) with Sysinternals Autoruns than with any anti-malware scanning product. I'm surprised nothing like this existed for Macs before.

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Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home

Unicornpiss
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Closest star

Proxima Centauri is 4.22 light-years away from us. Even if we could accelerate to 90% of C, that's still a long haul, especially with current life support technology. Alcubierre drive anyone? (not that we're likely to achieve one anytime soon)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive

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US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'

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Justice

I think it would be totally fair to make them do community service cleaning up malware from computers for the elderly and computer illiterate, for a period no less than they were in business scamming people. (assuming they have any actual skills other than deception) The whole process should be overseen by someone computer literate and if they get too many customer complaints, their penalties should be extended. Perhaps it would give them some humility or understanding for the harm they have caused people, assuming that a conscience can be stirred into activity in either of them.

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Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar

Unicornpiss
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Re: I love it

I remember it from some truly ancient gaming article in a magazine. I did find this though:

http://home.hiwaay.net/~lkseitz/cvg/shuttle.html

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Unicornpiss
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I love it

When the creation of a movie, game, etc. ends up discovering something overlooked in day-to-day science or engineering. An example would be the 1983 Atari 2600 game "Space Shuttle" by Activision. Apparently they actually worked with NASA peeps to make the simulation as realistic as possible. In the course of doing so, they discovered from the game that it was possible to land the shuttle successfully in an unexpected way--which was verified on NASA's simulator.

Looking forward to the movie :)

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Wanna hop carriers with your iPad's Apple SIM? AVOID AT&T

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Just more sleazy behavior

..from a company that I've always personally found to be second-rate anyway. It will bite them in the ass with bad PR and customers that think twice before signing up, as this kind of behavior increasingly does as consumers become (a little) more savvy.

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Forget the $2499 5K iMac – today we reveal Apple's most expensive computer to date

Unicornpiss
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Re: KIM-1

No, the KIM-1 was first, but the Apple was one of the first systems on a board that could be programmed in a high-level language and drive a video display. The KIM-1 was a good bargain for its day, but just didn't have the hardware resources to do a lot.

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Unicornpiss
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Model T vs. Willys

If the Apple I was comparable to the Model T, then the Willys Jeep of computing had to be the Commodore PET/CBM machines of the late 1970s/early 80s. A lot of businesses used them, and a lot of industrial automation actually ran on them in the day. (some reliably for decades) It's a shame the versatile IEEE-488 interface never took off much outside of the scientific and industrial communities, as it was far superior in many ways to the RS-232 ports that most machines of that period used. There is still a lot of scientific and data acquisition equipment using the IEEE-488 interface, though I doubt it's pin and logic-level 100% compatible with old Commodore equipment.

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Unicornpiss
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Re. Bullcrap

I am a Commodore fan. My first computer was a PET. I've always maintained that if Jack Tramiel was a bit less of a megalomaniac, we'd be all running Commodore-format PCs and not IBM's standard. I was not meaning to minimize Chuck Peddle's contribution--without a low cost, versatile CPU like the 6502, a lot of computing history would have been a lot less possible, or at least delayed, The 6502 was a lot cheaper than the main competitor (the Zilog Z80), and while running at lower clock speeds, was more efficient in many ways.

But I thought we were discussing the first microcomputers, not microprocessor design...

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Unicornpiss
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Re: How much?

Indeed it was. I think it was the cheapest full-featured 8-bit CPU available at the time.

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Jeff Bezos rolls up another $437m, lights Amazon's cigar with it

Unicornpiss
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Big Brother

Well..

Building their secret bases and furthering their plans for world domination ain't cheap...

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COMET 67P is basically TRAILING a HORRIFIC STENCH through space

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Coat

It stinks..

..on ice.

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Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec

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He's right though in one way...

Are any of the modern tech items something that you would want to pass down to your kids, even if they were still relevant? In fact, in these days of cheap, disposable, made in China everything, from tech to tools, is there any item that would be considered an heirloom? I still have some of my grandfather's and father's tools, and a couple of old watches, and a couple of pieces of my mother's jewellery, But is there anything made today that is worth passing down, except maybe a few pieces of better jewellery? I can't see passing down an assortment of "Harbor Freight" tools to anyone...

Maybe if I had one of the Apple I motherboards...

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