* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

732 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

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Ford to save you from BIKE FITNESS HORROR

Kevin McMurtrie
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Weak article

"9-amp-hour battery"

At how many volts? Come on, only Wired should make mistakes like this.

"electric pedal assist for speeds of up to 25km/h"

That's hardly impressive, and hardly difficult on a normal bike.

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FREAK show: Apple and Android SSL WIDE OPEN to snoopers

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Stuck on old Android

This is an issue with telcos locking down phones that they claim they're selling to you. You should never buy a locked phone. You will regret it in 6 months when you've hit a major bug and the telco offers to fix it with a $250 phone swap.

BTW, Apple stops providing security patches to older models too and offers no workaround other than switching to Linux or buying a new computer that isn't actually any faster.

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Ikea to start making electrified furniture. What could possibly go wrong?

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Wrong end of the problem

Will Ikea sell Qi hardwood floors to power the Qi furniture, or do you still need to string an extension cord out to the middle of your living room?

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MEGA PATENT DUMP! Ericsson, Smartflash blitz Apple: iPhone, iPad menaced by sales block

Kevin McMurtrie
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By the way

Somebody should remind the Ericsson lawyers that Ericsson is in the business of selling cellular base station hardware. There's a lot to consider there, like killing off your own ecosystem or inspiring Sony and GE review old paperwork about Ericsson Mobile Communications.

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NERDGASM as Apple announces 'special event'

Kevin McMurtrie
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Please stop destroying nice names

Yosemite and Mavericks used to have good connotations.

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Oh No, Lenovo! Lizard Squad on the attack, flashes swiped emails

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thumb Down

Shhh!

Aw. My post about a certain company, involved with this and other El Reg articles, selling services to both sides of the battle does not seem to pass El Reg moderation.

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Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy: Hands-on gizmo-packed motoring

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

Re: Oh dear

Complicated? There's just four magical plastic boxes in the engine compartment. Nothing all technical there to go wrong.

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Wi-Fi beam-steering tech could KILL OFF fixed home networks

Kevin McMurtrie
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Meh

This will really kick ass when paired with my 7 Mbps internet connection.

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Android malware hijacks power button, empties wallet while you sleep

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Surprise?

Granting temporary root permission is unfortunately too streamlined. Put up dialog box with a "Continue" button. Wait two seconds. Ask for root. Finger taps "Allow." You could probably improve timing using the camera, gyros, or touchscreen diagnostics to detect motions immediately preceding a touch. A countermeasure could be granting root permission using a gesture that's easy to abort.

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Google Talk is dead, long live, er, Google Talk: Chat will survive app zap, flaps G+ chap

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mushroom

If I have Hangouts on my phone, it somehow self-activates at a very annoying time and repeatedly posts notifications asking me to sign in. I quickly solve that by uninstalling it.

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Samsung's spying smart TVs don't encrypt voice recordings sent over the internet – new claim

Kevin McMurtrie
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Big Brother

Jail time

Just wait until Sony and Hollywood find out that Samsung is transmitting illegal copies of movie audio every time somebody says, "Hi TV."

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Apple LIGHTSABERS to feature in The Force Awakens

Kevin McMurtrie
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Gimp

Warranty void if seal is broken

I thought Jedis liked to customize their lightsabers. They won't go for a sealed disposable cutting appliance that takes a very long time to turn on.

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So long, Cyanogen! OnePlus says its future belongs to OxygenOS

Kevin McMurtrie
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Fail like the telcos

Big brother Oppo has gone the same way with their ColorOS. Much like big telcos with their custom ROMs, Oppo is angering customers with upgrades that lag by more than a year. AOSP is buggy, ugly, and no easy task to turn into a polished product. You'd think that independent phone makers would be better off donating money and technical support to public AOSP teams to improve custom drivers and themes.

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City broadband ISPs: PLEEEEASE don't do 'Title II' net neutrality

Kevin McMurtrie
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Small ISPs?

The list of signatures looks like it's from mayors and public utility companies. I'm not seeing any independent providers in there. Unfortunately, I think that mostly says that independent providers don't exist any more.

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'Camera-shy' Raspberry Pi 2 suffers strange 'XENON DEATH FLASH' glitch

Kevin McMurtrie
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Childcatcher

Nude photography

U16 is a naked chip - solder balls on silicon that is melted face-down to a high precision PCB. It's supposed to be sealed with some black goop after soldering.

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Bankrupt RadioShack to close up to 2,900 stores, share others with Sprint

Kevin McMurtrie
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I read this as...

They'll be closing their stores in two phases.

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Tom Wheeler flings off dressing gown, dons gloves for net neutrality RUMBLE

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: "...no last-mile unbundling."

Sparsely populated areas can be well served by fixed wireless. Big cities are where big telcos bribe and sue the local governments to eliminate competition. Charging 6 million people $100/month to use decades-old wiring is extremely profitable.

BTW, Kansas City has Google fiber.

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Carmakers DEFLATED by AIRBAG FLAW as US watchdog recalls TWO MEELLION vehicles

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: In the meantime,

The second recall was about them self-detonating so pulling the fuse or wires is no help.

(I have no hate for airbags. Having been in a crap 1988 Tercel during a fender bender, as the car flexed so that my front teeth almost met the steering wheel, I was thinking that a bag of explosive would have been a nice feature. That, and a car that doesn't flex so much. ...and a gas pedal that isn't behind the brake pedal.)

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Powering the Internet of Stuff – by sucking electricity from TREES

Kevin McMurtrie
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Facepalm

Firepower

Sucking power from trees to later detect a fire? By driving a giant nail into them? HOW ABOUT USING ENERGY FROM THE FIRE? Is that too obvious? A reservoir of liquid and a turbine. Heat from the fire boils the liquid, drives the turbine, and provides tons of power. It's so good at harvesting power that the circuits will stay nice and cool until the liquid runs out.

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China 'upgrades' Great Firewall. Oh SNAP! There goes VPN access

Kevin McMurtrie
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Step it up

I'd appreciate it if they'd hurry up. I'm tired of having to firewall China myself to keep out all the bandwidth-leaching attacks from state run networks that, by policy, publish fake contact information.

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Verizon sprints to crush FiOS account exposure hole

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Epic fail

Verizon engineers, please write this 1000 times on the whiteboard:

There must never be a user ID parameter in authenticated REST calls. That's what authentication is for.

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Got a 4King big TV? Ready to stream lots of awesome video? Yeah, about that…

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: 15 Mbps is not enough

4K TVs are a gimmick so 15 Mbps should be plenty. With racks of CPUs crunching at it, the video can be compressed using proprietary intelligence that your average freeware on a desktop can't do. This is already being done to cram more channels into a single OTA stream without the P-frame distortion and I-frame flicker you'd expect of such a huge bandwidth deficit. You also have to take into account that smaller pixels in a 4K TV allows for much larger defects to go unnoticed. The MPEG group has gotten quite good at hiding losses in AAC and H.264 so I expect that H.265 will be able to convincingly simulate details without having to faithfully encode them.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: So broadcast is the way to go for 4k media?

There's plenty of bandwidth available in the USA because channels were sized for MPEG2 + AC-3 codecs with tons of error correction. All we need to do is start the 15 year process to free ourselves from the old codecs.

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Erik Meijer: AGILE must be destroyed, once and for all

Kevin McMurtrie
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Black Helicopters

Too late

Agile has morphed into a religion backed by big money. Consultants will tell you you're inefficient, preach of miracles, and offer themselves as a guide down the long path to being Agile. Go ahead, find an employed consultant who says otherwise. Most Engineering teams suffer from weak project management so execs welcome change at all costs. In the end it's no different. Agile reduces the chances of having epic project cancellations but the pressure of rapid release cycles and unclear long-term goals instead pushes projects into a slow death of technical debt long before anyone is happy with them. I often say that I prefer a flexible process rather than Agile but it's heresy.

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In space no one can hear you scream, but Voyager 1 can hear A ROAR

Kevin McMurtrie
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Facepalm

Flash! Ahhh!

Did the need for a Flash plugin come from Voyager too? I thought Voyager was much older than that.

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NoSQL pioneer to inject your database with ACID

Kevin McMurtrie
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Hmmm

Maybe things have changed since I last looked at NoSQL... Key-value stores can be used in an ACID manner with just the server-side feature of an atomic conditional update, right? It's the compare-and-swap technique where you build new data and apply it only if its dependencies have not changed, otherwise throw the data out and compute again. It's such a simple operation yet, at least a couple of years ago, conditional updates did not exist. The same technique is used in highly multithreaded code where blocking semaphores can not be used.

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Huawei? Apple and Samsung's worst nightmare, pal

Kevin McMurtrie
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Computer versus appliance

I've had Samsung and Sony phones and am now using a Chinese Oppo phone. While Google and Apple are trying to make phone appliances, the Chinese phones are more like a pocket computer. They're more powerful, completely customizable, and they have all the bugs that come with those features. I don't see Chinese phones directly competing with iPhones because they appeal to completely different uses. As the open source community gains access to more brands of powerful unlocked phones, I do expect there to be a surge innovation and new expectations of what a phone can do.

The losers in this game are telcos wanting to force customer lock-in with custom ROMs. The telcos can't keep up with fast-moving releases from Apple, Google, and AOSP maintainers.

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Norks blame U.S. for TITSUP internet, unleash racist rant against Obama

Kevin McMurtrie
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Facepalm

Elephants in the room

Why all this concern with the origin of the hacking? It's probably some bored kids who received a bribe, which they'll later realize is 0.2% of the going rate. Networks need to get serious about shutting down bot armies and unplugging peers who willingly host them. Clean up your network and fix your abuse contacts or get off the Internet. I'm talking to you, Yahoo, EIG, China, Jordan, Taiwan, and Korea. I'm betting that all of these attacks would vanish with a few cables unplugged from the right places, and nobody would notice any side effects except for a huge drop in spam and unauthorized login attempts.

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Little big phone: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, a toothsome hand-fulla Android

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Questions...

Early reviews of the Z3 series said that rooting it caused advanced firmware to delete itself. The obvious loss was in camera quality. Later models seem to have a permanently locked bootloader to make rooting impossible via normal means. Full instructions are here:

http://developer.sonymobile.com/unlockbootloader/unlock-yourboot-loader/

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Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Broken microSD and locked bootloader

I just had to return my Z3 because the microSD card is read-only except for per-app cache directories. Those cache directories are extremely dangerous for storage because they're erased when an app's data is cleared or the app is removed. With this new phone, my 128GB card was rendered useless for the things that external memory is meant for.

This microSD problem is essentially broken KitKat feature from Google that various phone makers are supporting or rejecting. The Z3 had absolutely no way restoring microSD write access other than waiting for a Lollipop upgrade. The bootloader came permanently locked to prevent custom updates.

I figured a timely Lollipop upgrade wasn't happening with all the issues Sony is having.

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FLASH! Aaa-aaah. 3D NAND will save every one of us

Kevin McMurtrie
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I see a slightly more technical article at http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/23/sandisk_takes_the_bics_route_to_3d/ but the operation is still a bit fuzzy. Is it turning each cell into a small vertical bucket brigade?

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Net neutrality: Cisco, Intel, IBM warn FCC NOT to crack down on ISPs

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: just look at the DSL market

DSL must be open to third parties. When that openness was mandated, DSL went from being an expensive and poorly maintained service to a moderately expensive and poorly maintained service. AT&T will not fix degraded wires if it only impacts DSL.

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Brit boffins debunk 'magnetic field and cancer' link

Kevin McMurtrie
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Margarine

This is probably going to work itself out like dietary fads. All the inputs and outputs are misunderstood so conclusions are made from patterns that exist only from unintentional inputs and unintentional measurements.

I doubt that magnetic fields are any more harmful than light or sound. Just keep in mind that moderate levels of light and sound, when modulated in exactly the right way*, does cause illness and death. Any other measurement of light and sound would find that it's usually safe except in high doses.

* Certain frequencies in the tens of Hz range, and possibly Fox News.

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1&1 goes titsup, blames lengthy outage on DDoS attack

Kevin McMurtrie
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Which way was that DDoS facing?

I had been receiving lots of spam and dictionary attacks from compromised 1 & 1 hosts until just recently (more than usual).

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PlayStation Network blasted offline AGAIN. Just not Sony's decade

Kevin McMurtrie
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Should I feel sympathy yet?

No. I just had to return a new Sony Xperia Z3 a refund. The microSD came disabled because Google doesn't like them. That's normally a quick fix except Sony permanently locks the bootloader to protect their DRM system. Yeah, hackers are bad but I don't care here. Sony can't generate revenue and respect for their corporation unless they start respecting their customers.

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AT&T to FTC: I'd like to see YOU install 1Gbps fiber across the US. Which we're still doing

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

There, fixed it. All done. We're a good monopoly.

AT&T will run one Cat6 cable from each neighborhood VRAD box to the house next to it. Tens of thousands of customers have gigabit fiber to the home in record breaking deployment time.

(I wish this was purely a joke, but it's what's already done with VDSL to make incredible "up to" speed claims.)

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Chromecast video on UK, Euro TVs hertz so badly it makes us judder – but Google 'won't fix'

Kevin McMurtrie
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But... but... but... it would cost a tiny bit more

It's not like resampling the frame rate is any kind of exotic technology. Simple anti-aliased blending gets rid of the harsh judder. Some really fancy TVs will even analyze motion to produce intermediate frames by morphing. An extra or upgraded chip in the Chromecast should fix it.

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Apple seeks patent for user-configurable progress bar

Kevin McMurtrie
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Name-and-shame indicator that shows just what's responsible for slow service

That, in most cases, would be Apple's virtual memory and HFS.

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Mysterious BEAM outside London Googleplex ZAPPED

Kevin McMurtrie
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Wind

Glacier Point in Yosemite often has electrically charged wind from a mix of glaciers, sun-baked rocks, and a few thousand feet of elevation to generate turbulence. Your hair messes up, your clothes stick to your body like they're wet, and you can feel a slight tingling when you move. The wind will blow your hair up and it will stay up. (I don't recommend stopping for selfies on the edge of the rock when this happens.)

This being far from glaciers and baking sunshine, I'd suspect it's just an updraft.

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Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray

Kevin McMurtrie
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Evil toys

I have a 2W violet laser and it's a nasty device to use as an open air toy. It reflects all over the place and natural fluorescence means that blue-blocking goggles aren't effective for protecting your eyes.

I'm all for selling component lasers, though. I suspect that a large number of people buy the toys and pull the laser diode out because they're nearly impossible to buy directly. They have lots of legitimate uses in hobby tools and devices.

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Most convincing PHISHING pages hoodwink nearly half of you – Google

Kevin McMurtrie
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I follow the link

I want to find out who is hosting the phish so I can get it nuked. The link e-mailed is usually a shady tracking service on on a network like eNom, Internap, Rackspace, or Unified Layer. What's behind it is usually a compromised machine running ancient PHP admin consoles.

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Mystery Google barges TORPEDOED by US govt: Showrooms declared death traps

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: The REAL problem was building it in San Francisco, California

Barge-like vessels that pass inspection probably don't have seven floors of air-tight steel walls that would convert a fire into an occupant-mulching high power explosion.

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Japan tells operators: Put a SIM lock in a new mobe? You'd better UNLOCK it for FREE

Kevin McMurtrie
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Easy workaround

Japanese carriers only need to "customize" the phone like US carriers so that they can not work with other phone providers. Surely Soft Bank can pick up this trick from Sprint.

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NATO declares WAR on Google Glass, mounts attack alongside MPAA

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Consumers = Livestock

You pay $12 to $18 to get in, you're forced to watch loud advertisements until the start time of the movie, and then another 30 to 40 minutes of advertisements play. Low grade food, if needed, is available for $15 at a large troth in the lobby. If all goes well, being milked for money is rewarded with an old story retold with new special effects. You can't sue for NATO/MPAA-sized damages of $5 million if the speakers are blown or the projector lamp is flickering at half power.

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PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY

Kevin McMurtrie
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Gimp

Nerd release?

Still no user accessible filesystem, still stuck in the walled garden, still using proprietary file transfer, doesn't play nice with Linux, sucks up precious limited storage, and doesn't magically reveal hidden microSD and USB ports.

Apple doesn't do nerd releases anymore. This is strictly to make Apple appear productive during a lapse of creativity and energy towards new markets.

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You! AT&T! The only thing 'unlimited' about you is your CHEEK, growl feds

Kevin McMurtrie
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Death to "unlimited"

The FCC should ban claims of "unlimited" unless the connection is guaranteed to run at advertised speed all the time. To my knowledge, zero of the major telcos offer that. They either throttle or they deliver a typical performance that is a tiny fraction of the advertised potential.

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El Reg spends One Night in Hell with Queen's Brian May

Kevin McMurtrie
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No stereoscopic T-shirt?

You're really asking for trouble, aren't you?

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The DRUGSTORES DON'T WORK, CVS makes IT WORSE ... for Apple Pay

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Marketing department snorting too much coke again

Club Credit Card?

- No

Want to sign up for a Club Credit Card?

- No

You'll save 5% on your purchase today and up to %10 on selected days...

- No

Customer Savings number?

- No

Want to sign up for Customer Savings? You'll save up to...

- NO

Would you like to download our NFC app? I just takes a few minutes.

- NO

Just go to our web site and follow the links...

- What is wrong with you?

Credit card?

- Yes, here

Phone number?

- That's illegal.

...in case we need to contact you about your purchase.

- Nevermind, bye.

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iMessage SPAM floods US mobile networks

Kevin McMurtrie
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Keeping up with Google

China has been using Google Groups to flood Usenet this spam for about 10 years now, and Google is fine with that. Luckily, Apple's walled garden should keep this new spew within their own walls.

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Remember the Aereo streaming TV service? Wasn't it COOL? Well, it's pretty much dead now

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

So many dead horses

American TV networks are due for a sudden epic failure. Cable TV fees continue rocketing upwards long after people have reached the point where they no longer want to pay for it. To have TV networks sue Aereo for improving penetration into the targeted advertising market must feel like a big F-U to their other source of income. A point of no return will be reached where broadcasters are so despised that no tweaking to the price model is going to fix it.

It's a shame that this must happen now because IPTV isn't at all ready to take over. There are no widely adopted systems ready for distributing massive amounts of subscription video and there are few ISPs that aren't owned by broadcast network. Cable TV/Internet/Broadcast companies will laugh at the collapse and start selling expensive video data passes to "protect" their networks. People won't pay that either so it will just become a long, ugly standoff.

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