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* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

673 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

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A spin of roulette in the sporty Ford Fiesta Black

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Tiny, forced engines don't inspire confidence when it comes to long-term reliability

I don't think engine wear is an issue from major manufacturers. I've driven cars hard until the tow truck comes to take them away. Millions of bugs and grains of dirt had stripped paint from the car, all wheel bearings loose, the transmission howling, spot welds cracked, the second round of engine oil seals leaking, second O2 sensor getting slow, brittle electrical wires, and the interiors starting to show some stuffing. Pistons, oil rings, valves, and cylinder walls were always good as new. I wouldn't worry about a turbo.

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iPhone NFC: 'Apple, photos and security ... WHAT could go WRONG?'

Kevin McMurtrie
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What would that look like?

"Just imagine if ISPs had to stand in line and fill out forms and wait for permission to increase broadband speeds, add Wi-Fi hotspots or create new TV Everywhere services. What would that look like? It would be a net disaster."

A total customer service disaster on every single submission from an ISP. The FCC staff would probably have to pull a process book out from the archives to figure out how to handle such a rare event.

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T-Mobile US goes gaga for Wi-Fi calling, AT&T to launch in 2015

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Why?

- WiFi calling works in deep inside buildings and hotels where cell signals aren't reliable

- US National parks out in the middle of nowhere are more likely to have free WiFi than a cell signal

- Crappy WiFi costs less than crappy cellular in some countries

- Your home country is never a long distance call on WiFi

On the downside, WiFi access points are terrible at handling more than 50 people. It doesn't help that most phones are set to aggressively pre-fetch data as soon as WiFi is available.

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FTC: We didn't robocall you and thousands of others asking for bank details. IT'S A TRAP!

Kevin McMurtrie
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Look out scammers!

The FTC is throwing more small cash prizes at public Rube Goldberg scheme contests. Surely that's much more effective than requiring telcos to track call origins or pay fines for knowing hosting illegal call centers.

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15 MEEELLION malware-infested mobiles worldwide – report

Kevin McMurtrie
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Hardware bugs

Most phones have hardware bugs of varying degrees. It's part of keeping up with the crazy pace of technological upgrades. Apple's iPhone is by no means immune but they're one of the better models when it comes to eventually receiving software workarounds. My experience with Samsung is that they don't care if the phone works at all.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Spyware, spyware, spyware

But people can't wait to use contextually aware personal assistants like Siri and Now.

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Ferraris, Zondas and ... er, a bike with a 500hp V10 under the saddle

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Shitty image compression you are using there...

I imagine all the photos being taken with a car's backup camera

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Size matters – how else could Dell squeeze 15 million pixels into this 27" 5K monitor?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: What's the point?

Being able to focus on details by naturally leaning closer or by focusing your attention to a spot. It sure beats wheels and trackpad gestures to zoom in and out.

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A Terabyte in my HOUSE? Got more than that in my POCKET

Kevin McMurtrie
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Meh

Don't buy phones lacking a microSD slot. 128GB microSD + 16GB onboard = 144 GB, WiFi, and USB in something you're already carrying.

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Isis Wallet, NOT an Islamist militant group, reborn as Softcard

Kevin McMurtrie
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Happy

Who's missing from the party?

AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon announce their joint venture, SoftBank. Whoops! Softcard.

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Comcast merger-bait spinoff to be known as GreatLand Connections

Kevin McMurtrie
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Sounds patriotic

Please don't desecrate our great land with Comcast.

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Google could be a great partner for Iliad in its quest for T-Mobile

Kevin McMurtrie
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WiFi

I have one of those WiFi friendly T-Mobile phones. WiFi is perfect for inside buildings. My phone works in every room of large office buildings and in even the most remotely located hotels. It's rarely useful outdoors. Most people leave their phone's WiFi radio turned on and it's not uncommon for enough phones to be near an outdoor WiFi AP for it to saturate. In countries that rely heavily on offloading 3G to WiFi, WiFi is pretty much guaranteed to not be working reliably.

If Iliad + Google + T-Mo were to use WiFi, it would make the most sense for them to target hotels, businesses, and courtyards rather than outdoors in general. Not trying to blast microwaves deep into buildings would probably reduce cell tower costs quite a bit.

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Report: Sprint to bring Sony Xperia into tough US smartphone market

Kevin McMurtrie
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US Sprint market

This is only news for Sprint, as others have been selling the Xperia line. They're pretty good except for the screechy little speaker. Sony doesn't custom build phones for Google or Apple so they haven't been forced to remove the microSD slot.

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Google flushes out users of old browsers by serving up CLUNKY, AGED version of search

Kevin McMurtrie
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Holmes

Chrome cam

Just create a version of Chrome that keeps my bookmarks, searches, URL history, page thumbnails, browsing habits, login/uptime stats, network ping times, current location, passwords, and nearby WiFi points off the cloud. I'll buy it for $10 if it helps recover R&D. Until then, it's a weird mix of Firefox and Safari running web bug blocker plugins.

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Intel unleashed octo-core speed demon for the power-crazed crowd

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: I'm currently sporting a reasonably old i7 2600k

It might be excellent for a networked home entertainment system if a tiny bit of underclocking keeps the fans quiet. 4K video, if you go that route, will need lots of CPU even for playback. Some of the efficiency boosting compression features of H.264 and H.265 can eat as many CPU cycles as you can throw at them. All those cores could make for a machine that's fast at gaming and able to transcode-on-demand as a networked DVR server.

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Netflix releases home-grown DDoS detectors

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

DOSing NETFLIX

As soon as I can get the hard drive spindle unstuck on this old '386.

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Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

S. Korean networks might want to rethink their opinion about compromised machines and invalid network contacts not being a problem. Millions of infected systems can do much worse than burn up resources sending porn spam and guessing passwords.

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Cleversafe CEO: We would tell you about the 8TB drive, but...

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: C'mon Moore's Law, Hit The Wall.

You're mixing up intermediate formats and final formats. The intermediate format of photos and videos needs a LOT of dynamic range because appropriate tonal curves aren't applied until post-processing. Tonal curves are mostly an artistic effect so they can't be pre-computed while recording.

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So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Oh no

One shouldn't forget that Apple has almost died at least once. They're so stubborn that they won't stop doing something wrong until there's nobody left at HQ to do it. The iPhone, to me, is an unfriendly device that wants to gather up my data and never let it go by any means. My Android phone has 144 GB of storage and I do use it. It's my modern day briefcase for things that aren't suitable for "the cloud". When I do use "the cloud" it's my own rather than a 5 - 10 GB novelty toy. Cloudy competitor Google hates microSD cards and file browsers as much as Apple but hasn't locked down the hardware and software to banish them (yet).

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Wall Street woes: Oh noes, tech titans aren't using bankers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Good article. The advantage to not using Wall Street is the visibility and accountability. There's no sinister mega-corp manipulating their clients like puppets in ways that won't be discovered for years. (BTW, thanks for that housing market bubble) Instead, you get a CEO telling the whole world that he/she is blowing billions of dollars on a shiny new toy for possibly no good reason at all. It makes it a lot easier to predict what's coming in the next few years.

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This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

Re: And if it's an Audi

Camry:

Merging into the more dignified fast lane. Bit of acceleration... Woah, scary fast! Brakes! OMG, everyone's honking and swerving! CRAP! CRAP! BRAKES! Blinker for slower lane... SCARY TRUCKS!! Brakes! Acceleration.. ABORT LANE CHANGE! Brakes! WHO'S HONKING AT ME? Is there an express lane with less traffic?

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Google straps on Jetpac: An app to find hipsters, women in foreign cities

Kevin McMurtrie
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Terminator

Nice place -hipsters

Can it find places where people are gathering without taking selfies, food photos, using hashtags, or being glued to their phone like a cyborg?

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Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

But it said, "Heavy Duty"

It sounds like they switched to 9V zinc-carbon cells. The ranking of their power-to-cost ratio is keeping good company with hamsters on wheels and metal tabs in lemons. The cost of buying and replacing zinc-carbon 9V batteries for a year could have been spent on fancy monocrystaline solar cells and ultra-capacitors that would last as long as the meter they're in.

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Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thumb Down

China Telelcom (ChinaNet) should be able to use at least 150Gbps of those two links for hacking overseas computers. No joke here, unfortunately. It's a nasty network where there's not even a place to report abuse.

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Brits STUNG for up to £625 when they try to cancel broadband

Kevin McMurtrie
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Same in the US

This is why I won't use Comcast. I must use their business plan for what I want to do, and their offensive contract explicitly guarantees nothing except that customers pay money for a long time. The only signature I could put on that is "GFYS."

I learned this lesson the hard way after signing a contact with Sprint for cellular. Sprint will only ask you to buy a service plan if the plan you bought in your contract isn't working.

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You, Verizon. What's with the download throttle? Explain yourself – FCC boss

Kevin McMurtrie
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UNLIMITED, eventually

I'd like to see the FCC crack down on special versions of "unlimited" claims. Let us start of with the "unlimited" Sprint plan I had a couple of years ago. 1.2 Kb per second = 392 MB per month absolute maximum. Assuming that the phone flies across the room, and the battery falls out when it hits the wall, after an hour of trying to download something each day, that's only 16.4 MB per month. That's not so unlimited.

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Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks

Kevin McMurtrie
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Boffin

IPv6

Do these things that are broken by MPTCP support IPv6? Probably not. That makes them already broken, as of years ago.

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Too rich for an iPhone 6? How about a gold-plated Brikk?

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

No glitter and tassels?

Anybody joker with the address of a hobby store can bling a phone. Really having money should let one escape boring, mass produced features by having a dedicated team of hardware and software engineers who will upgrade your phone to do your bidding.

I suspect that Steve Jobs was doing exactly this for himself with early models of iPhones.

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Canada's boffins need A WHOLE YEAR to recover from China hack attack

Kevin McMurtrie
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Flame

Easy fix

Firewall every network hosting an attack in China, Taiwan, or Korea.

Call it harsh, but almost none of those networks have valid APNIC contacts. Of those that do, good like finding one that cares about hacking. You can have the most secure system in the world but you're still losing bandwidth to the non-stop attacks and vulnerability scans.

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CAPTCHA challenges you to copy pointillist painter Seurat's classic

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Flash for security?

I'll need the website admin to give me a call on the phone to prove that he/she is not a hijacked machine before I enable Flash to prove that I am not a... Never mind. Where's the latest Buzzgasm...

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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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Thumb Down

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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