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* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

643 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

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US Social Security 'wasted $300 million on an IT BOONDOGGLE'

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Stack Overflow

An idiot who doesn't know how IT works will subcontract to an idiot who doesn't know how IT works. It's infinite recursion ending only at the moment when all resources are exhausted. The examination of what went wrong will follow the same path to its full extent.

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Are you broke? Good with electronics? Build a better AC/DC box, get back in black with $1m

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mushroom

Ripple

"Must have an input ripple current of < 20%"

"Must have an input ripple voltage of < 3%"

That's tough when producing 2 kVA at 60Hz. It would probably require a second power conversion system to pump power in and out of a capacitor bank. You can create a virtually large capacitor for small voltage ranges using PWM and an inductor to maintain a ratio of voltages. For example, 437-450V on the input mapped to 50-450V on the capacitor bank. The catch is that capacitors fancy enough to be small and not explode with so much stress are EXPENSIVE.

Semiconductors that can switch 450V at high frequencies without going 'POP' are expensive too.

The design sounds very straightforward and doable but there's only one winner. Everyone else loses a lot of $$$$$ on component costs.

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Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mushroom

// shouldn't get here, but WTF

If it wasn't for "Screw this, good enough!", many projects would never get done or they'd only get by done by people who don't see failure on the horizon. It's not always an Engineering problem and it's not always perfectly solvable, as most problems with obvious answers are already solved. The difference between good code and bad code is whether you clean up old problems or try to bury them.

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German government orders local CIA station chief to pack his bags

Kevin McMurtrie
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Big Brother

Re: Friends ?

There's no land to fight over, though China is trying, so the next best thing that corrupt government agencies can do for big money is fear and espionage. I guess the super-villain back story here is that the NSA tried really hard to warn everybody about critical infrastructure exploits but nobody listened. Now they've turned to using those exploits for their own power.

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Apple OS X Yosemite 4 TIMES more popular than Mavericks

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mavericks TTL

iCloud lacks the power and compatibility to be more than a curiosity. Nobody is asking for more of Apple's walled garden. That reduces the main compelling feature of the last two major MacOS releases to simply "sucks less". Mavericks still has enough bugs that make it useless in some environments. (SMB, anyone?) I suspect that people are test driving Yosemite to see whether or not hope is left.

I'm going to test drive Linux as a desktop OS one of these weekends.

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10Gbps over crumbling COPPER: Boffins cram bits down telco wire

Kevin McMurtrie
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70 meters

70 meters of crappy cable is a trivial problem for Internet delivery - replace the cable. The real world is several hundred meters of crappy cable, crappy splices, and a lot of twisted pairs that have been untwisted and smashed together into a wad next to punchdown blocks. Even if magic can eliminate crosstalk and echoes, high frequency attenuation and environmental noise still dictate poor bandwidth.

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No, modular Java isn't dead. It'll be in Java 9 – honest

Kevin McMurtrie
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Spaghetti party and everyone is invited

This is all great except that most Java developers can't resist using a few Apache library methods that download half the Internet via automatic dependency management software. Oracle is going to fight an epic battle to create finer grained JVM loading to satisfy efficiency conscious developers who may find it easier to use another language instead. A better fight would be helping developers get rid of old and badly tangled libraries (mostly Sun's and Apache's) that are outside of the core runtime.

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Running Cisco's VoIP manager? Four words you don't want to hear: 'Backdoor SSH root key'

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Wow.

Most appliances have a tech support backdoor of some kind. Cisco gets the special award here for leaving the key in the lock and not requiring customer confirmation to use it.

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Facebook 'manipulated' 700k users' feelings in SECRET EXPERIMENT

Kevin McMurtrie
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Big Brother

Kittens, politics, and dinner

Were psychologists able to determine if they have a greater influence on news feeds than Facebook bugs do? I think they're running one of those "eventual consistency" databases, where "eventual" extends to infinity.

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Fearful of the drone-filled skies? Get some protection

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thumb Up

Re: How about an anti-drone drone system ?

And then you own two anti-drone copters.

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Who needs a ride-on mower when a ROBOT will cut your grass

Kevin McMurtrie
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How much do parts cost?

It doesn't look like those little apple peelers screwed into a frisbee will survive a rock or piece of rose wood left on the lawn.

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9 Dark Social Truths That Will Totally Blow Your Bowels!

Kevin McMurtrie
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Everybody likes Pliers

https://www.facebook.com/search/108418885848588/likers

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Samsung peddles tyred Smart Bike concept

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: @Kevin

There is a good amount to be regained on rolling hills. Speeding down a paved hill doesn't get you very far up the next hill because wind resistance caps your speed to 40 - 50 MPH. On a winding dirt road you're riding the brakes to maintain control. If there are lightweight hub motors that can do this now I'll buy one and rig it to a custom high-current LiFePO4 pack.

As for htfu, I'm talking about 8+ hour rides in mountain forests and countrysides where there's no access to food or water. California has some decent hills.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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My eyes bleed

The bike is both hideous and dysfunctional. No bolts for accessories? The color of a dull cloudy day? Little tech stubs sticking out that will snag weeds or clothing? Disc brakes for rain without waterproof electronics?

What I'd like is a lightweight bike with electric drive, electric regeneration, and short travel suspension for rough roads. I don't want a heavy electric cruiser with a 20 mile range. A 1/2 mile range would be perfect for rolling hills and traffic lights. If even half of the power lost to braking or downhill wind resistance could go to acceleration, it would open up a lot of new areas to cycling for me. It would break the barrier where brining more food and water is such a burden that it doesn't extend a day's ride anymore. I'll clip my phone on that anywhere I like.

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FTC seeks DEFCON help to finger illegal robocallers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: The FTC should use simple crowd sourcing

Congrats. You have the same prize winning useless idea that the FTC declared a winner last time. Every spam call has the CallerID of a local unrelated legitimate business, so somebody else takes the hit. US phone calls come with zero authenticated information.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

More prizes for playing the game

I guess these bullshit contests are an easier way to make the public happy than doing something to solve the problem. Until there is a two-way handshake in phone calls, telemarketers can send whatever it takes to avoid detection.

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Microsoft 'Catapults' geriatric Moore's Law from CERTAIN DEATH

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

"parallel programming is devilishly difficult"

But FPGA programming is easy?

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The cute things they say

Kevin McMurtrie
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Cute people work for tech support too

> Hi, my router arrived crushed and it was thrown to my door from the street.

< Are the lights on?

> It sounds like a box of marbles so I didn't try.

< Lets plug it in and go from there.

> Are you kidding?

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Angelina Jolie 2.0 NOT an inspiration for Huawei phones, says exec

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

This article reads like the backstory on a creepy super-villian that collects human faces. I can't seem to find anything online backing it up, though. El Reg?

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AT&T: We will right many of world's wrongs if allowed to slurp DirecTV

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

15-20Mb/sec

A mega-merger promising to deliver bottom tier services at the highest prices. I bet 15Mbps with phone service tops well over $120/month once the promotions run out, the fees come in, and monthly increases start up.

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Cheap, backwards-compatible PCIe 4.0 on track for 2015 2016

Kevin McMurtrie
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Gimp

Stealing Apple's Thunder

Apple's decision to make "Pro" computers little cylinders delivering PCIe over 2x10Gb/s or 1x20Gb/s Thunderbolt ports isn't aging well if new PCIe 4.0 hardware delivers 16 channels of 16Gb/s.

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NASA beams vid from space via laser

Kevin McMurtrie
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Pirate

MPAA & Sony says

Copying an HD video in 3.5 seconds? Surely that only has illegal uses.

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Plucky Playmonaut bails out of smoking Vulture 2

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mushroom

Hot Zeners

Zener diodes by themselves are terrible shunt regulators so you'd be wasting lots of power with very little regulation. Zener diodes have more of a precision change in resistance than the perfect shunting that people imagine. One would probably incinerate in thin air. At low voltages, forward driven power LEDs will do much better at shunting. Three pin regulator ICs are even better.

What you might actually need is good old aluminum electrolytic capacitors. Their combination of very high capacity, low resistance, and high AC losses make them perfect for smoothing out a glitchy power rail. This not only protects you from high voltage surges, but also low voltage surges that can cause damaging reverse currents from on-board capacitors. Look for the higher priced compact capacitors to keep the weight down.

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Japanese finally produce a ROBOT which isn't DEAD INSIDE

Kevin McMurtrie
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Terminator

Roboscrew

"The phone you sold me still doesn't work!"

"I UNDERSTAND YOUR FRUSTRATION. WE MAY BE ABLE TO ASSIST YOU FURTHER IF YOU PURCHASE A PROTECTION PLAN."

"I already bought the phone. It's under warranty and contract."

"IT IS NOT OUR PHONE BUT SAMSUNG MAY BE ABLE TO HELP YOU. TERMINATING YOUR CONTRACT AT THIS POINT WOULD BE... VERY UNFORTUNATE FOR YOU."

"Samsung said it's working as they expect it to. You took my money. Give me a !@#$ phone."

"WE VALUE EVERY CUSTOMER. WE CAN PERFORM A FREE FACTORY RESET."

"Not that again!"

"THANK YOU FOR VISITING. IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I CAN BE OF ASSISTANCE WITH TODAY?"

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'Press Like for 1MB of data': Facebook picks up Pryte in-app data tech

Kevin McMurtrie
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Big Brother

Click here

This fine grained monitoring and metering sounds like new a way of rapidly training your customers to be responsive to marketing. I think "rewards programs" just became obsolete.

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Apple: We'll tailor Swift to be a fast new programming language

Kevin McMurtrie
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Leaky

Ugh. Swift uses Automatic Reference Counting and Apple says it does leak on circular references. Apple outlines a technique for defining weak back references to avoid leaks in common data structures but a complex application (something you might want on Trash Can Mac) has a lot of threads, a lot of shared data, and a high degree of independence between threads. In those cases there are not always clear forward and backward references. I could be wrong, but it seems like a complex multithreaded program in Swift will have some of the same memory management nightmares as C++.

Hopefully Swift can support memory tracing in the future to purge circular reference leaks.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: I'm sure there's nothing at all retarded

And that brutally whipped Python example too. JIT compiled languages are anywhere from several times faster to millions of times slower than the reference C implementation, depending on code style.

Objective-C is so ugly that I can't stand to look at it. Creating a new language that nobody has seen before is an odd solution. Was it Steve's dying wish to kill Google's Go?

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Flying saucer with 'stadium-sized' orb to INVADE Earth's skies

Kevin McMurtrie
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Sourdough, salame, cheese, lettuce, ham, mustard, ...

It's a technological marvel but now all I can think about now is 963,000 cubic meters of sandwich.

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Softbank gobbles T-Mobile ... 1 year after AT&T tried it on – report

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Sprinting away

T-Mobile probably has far more Sprint defectors than the other telcos - customers that wasted two years with Sprint and will never again deal with them again. T-Mobile doesn't do long contracts so these customers will fee at the first sign of decay. This merger, if approved, is a clear victory for AT&T and Verizon.

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Google's driverless car: It'll just block our roads. It's the WORST

Kevin McMurtrie
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Can it honk?

Here in Silicon Valley, it seems that anyone breathing can get a driver's license or install a traffic light. It's impossible to get around some areas without honking, occasionally going through a defective red light, or making an illegal U-turn when idiocracy reaches the critical point of deadlock.

From what I've seen of Google's self-driving cars, they simply avoid areas of bad drivers and broken traffic lights. That logic is not going to work on a wider deployment. The cars would get jammed or smashed on both sides entering Sunnyvale.

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Still using e-mail? Marketers say you're part of DARK SOCIAL

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

Dark Marketing

Do those marketing trolls still exist? They're out of my watch due to flashy thing blockers, cookie blockers, webbug blockers, and an avoidance of web pages and apps that ask for excessive personal information. Clearly not enough of the trolls went out of business at the end of the 1990s.

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Authorities swoop on illicit Wolverhampton SPAM FARM

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: sizeable fine?

How about a luxurious jail cell with thick carpeting, many layers of bedding, and beautiful water fountains. This lush environment is also infested with bedbugs, fleas, and mosquitoes. Should the spammer not wish be bitten, he/she may opt-out of future bites from each insect by crushing it. Good luck.

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GSMA: There are more mobile connections than PEOPLE... but WHO'S HOGGING them all?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trillions of customers, we have

It's common in many businesses, not just phones, to make true account deactivation nearly impossible. It artificially inflates customer numbers and makes the business look better than it is.

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Microsoft swats away FBI request for Office 365 subscriber data

Kevin McMurtrie
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Withdrawing the NSL

The cracked the password and found it was !BigCa$shLobby1st!

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EBAY... You keep using that word 'ENCRYPTION' – it does not mean what you think it means

Kevin McMurtrie
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Seasoning

Salting can be done wrong too. It works best when the salt token refers to a large table of semi-secret codes stored elsewhere: salt_id + hash (saltOf(salt_id) + pass). The usual n + hash (n + pass) doesn't work so well if n is a 0..9 but it is good with big codes. In too many cases I've seen the salt as a hard-coded constant, which does nothing at best. At worst, a hard coded salt constant makes finding login code as easy as searching for that constant.

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Expulsion from Garden of Steven: Apple staffers tossed out of Fruit Loop

Kevin McMurtrie
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Evolution?

I was thinking of the word "traffic." I'd estimate that 75% of drive time on a major road in Sunnyvale or Mountain View is spent behind the red light of an empty intersection. (I was going to use the STOP sign icon but those would be much more efficient)

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Google: The Internet of Things to become the Internet of ADVERTS ON YOUR THERMOSTAT

Kevin McMurtrie
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Your trash here

Mass advertisements are essentially legalized littering. I see them as trash; as a defacement of natural beauty. I use ad blockers on all of my browsers and I don't give money to businesses with intrusive advertising. Marketing flunkies might call me a "freetard" but those with better sense and taste are getting good business.

BTW, Google - I just installed the dumbest thermostat I could find. I don't have to wait for it to learn, periodically walk in front of it so it knows I'm home, or get into arguments with it. There's an up button, a down button, and an on/off switch. It doesn't get any easier than that.

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Peak thumb drive is coming in 2016

Kevin McMurtrie
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Not tiny enough

You put a 128GB microSD card in your phone and thumb drives start looking very cumbersome.

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$3.2bn Apple deal would make hip-hop mogul Dr Dre a BEEELLLIONAIRE

Kevin McMurtrie
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For what?

Unless I've seen wrong, Beats has no intellectual property or inventions. They're a copyright logo and style of sound. What exactly is Apple buying?

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Apple tips Shiraz down all its techies' throats (that's the rumoured name for OS X 10.10)

Kevin McMurtrie
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Rotten fruit

I'd rather have a Petite Sirah: A darker, smaller MacOS free of iBloat, with strong overtones of open standards and a hint of Linux.

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Sony on the ropes after revising losses UP to $1.3 BEEELLION

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: It's not my birthday today!

Sony has earned their death, not by one mistake, but through a searing hot distrust and lack of respect for their customers lasting for decades. It not only shows in their products, but limits what they can create. I feel bad for their Engineers and I hope they can find more rewarding work elsewhere.

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6TB - big? Pah! Seagate plans to put out 8TB and 10TB MONSTERS

Kevin McMurtrie
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Darkness

"spinning dusk company"? Tell us more about the underworld now producing a product to compete with "cloud" storage.

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AT&T plans in-flight internet move using its US 4G network

Kevin McMurtrie
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AT&T should check inside that Honeywell box to see if there's anything there. Their "Enviracaire IFD" filters are placebo appliances. They use some power, they hum a little, they have fake maintenance steps, and they get some good reviews, but there's nothing in them to do anything. People's cellphones will connect to towers by themselves and Honeywell will claim that their box works.

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Voice-babble-over-Wi-Fi lands in Europe – take that, mobe masties

Kevin McMurtrie
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Authenticating on a congested AP, please stand by

T-Mobile phones have been able to fully function over WiFi for a while. It's nice that the phones keep working in the hotel in the middle of nowhere and inside steel buildings but the latency is usually awful. WiFi has always been about bandwidth, not real-time delivery.

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Drink me: Adobe pours Flash Player bug squash

Kevin McMurtrie
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I hope not

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Samsung Galaxy S5 owners hit by fatal camera error problem

Kevin McMurtrie
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You need to pay your telco for "protection"

Has Samsung ever fixed their defective phones? Not applied a firmware patch to make the phone slightly more likely to work, but actually fixed it? My Sprint S2 was always defective (self-overheat, no GPS, BT crashes, soft buttons crazy on 3G, radio driver crash after no signal, panics in weak 3G) no matter what I tried to get it fixed.

Upvote: Your phone remains with major features (calls, sound, graphics, camera, GPS, WiFi, data, running time) broken.

Downvote: Samsung repaired your phone and it remained working longer than 2 weeks.

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Vladimir Putin says internet is a 'CIA project'

Kevin McMurtrie
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Spy faster

I'd like the CIA to give me a faster connection. That covert download of my plans for total global domination will never finish with my bonded DSL pair. My minions are trying to grab the files too and it's all clogged up.

As for Samsung instead of Apple - LOL! That's not really a step in a different direction, especially if Google, Microsoft, or China is helping out with the software.

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AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thumb Down

If only this was real

If everybody had Gigabit Internet and IPv6 we could do away with all of these clumsy personal "cloud" solutions. You think Amazon/Box/Google/Apple/Microsoft storage is too expensive for remote backups? Tired of swapping files around on sharing services to get your vacation pictures to Mom? Your NAS, if recent, already has remote backup syncing to another NAS. You probably already have at least 1 low power device that can securely share any number of files over the Internet at 600+Mbps. Nobody has it turned on because it's slow (Basic AT&T is 768Kbps down/384Kbps up), complicated (need to buy IPv4 addresses from idiot tech support), expensive (must buy "business" upgrades), and likely prohibited (servers and caps) with ISPs like AT&T.

AT&T's U-verse is the most underwhelming hardware upgrade that I've ever seen. It's designed to be nothing more than a viable downgrade for people who've been screwed by Comcast. There's no way that AT&T will produce a viable Gbps product to consumers.

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True optical zoom coming to HTC smartphone cameras

Kevin McMurtrie
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Easy zoom

The zooming-in part is fairly easy but then those tiny lenses don't gather a useful amount of light. This PR is a waste of time unless somebody has invented a meta-material that simulates a wide lens and a deep barrel in a wide and shallow space. All the tiny lens tricks of stacking, super-resolution, and noise reduction are already out there and performing as marginally as physics dictates.

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New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates

Kevin McMurtrie
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Cool, but...

Until Facebook has outside security reviews, there's no way their complicated and highly connected app is going on my phone with permission to do anything it (or a hacker) wants.

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