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* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

672 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

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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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T-Mobile US cuts overage charges, dares rivals to follow suit

Kevin McMurtrie
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Sticker shock

Try making an international call without first buying the T-Mobile "Stateside International Talk & Text" package.

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Torvalds rails at Linux developer: 'I'm f*cking tired of your code'

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mushroom

Git

Anyone who thinks that Git is good and GitHub is bad should STFU and find another job.

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Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Another DRM failure

You get a better-than-ears encrypted Blu-ray and a worse-than-ears MP3 to download. I have nice computer speakers at home and work that clearly display the defects of MP3. It causes some screeching, mostly on European rock/metal bands, unless pre-filtering has reduced the highs a bit. I don't see how an MP3 is going to make audiophiles forgive DRM locking the music to Blu-ray player.

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Google teases more modular smartphone details in run-up to dev meet-up

Kevin McMurtrie
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LTE went that way -->

Forget the battery, display, CPU, RAM, GPU, WiFi, and all that boilerplate. Within 2 years your phone will be so obsolete that no upgrades will be compatible. The one thing that needs ultra-rapid upgrades is the radio. At least in the US, spectrum shuffles around at least once a year. You're on legacy bands or kicked down to 3G before the phone is paid off.

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Want to see at night? Here comes the infrared CONTACT LENS

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Contact lens? Going to need a pile of lenses unless this new material is lasing.

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Blinking good: LG launches smart light bulb for Android/iOS

Kevin McMurtrie
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Luv Wristwatchez

I bet this new network device ties in well with LG's other business: bullet-proof hosting for spammers and hackable appliances that can send spam. While some networks will use lame excuses to host a spammer for a month or two, LG simply provides invalid contact addresses and hosts the spammer for years.

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Gr8, it's the new M8! Ideal for that celebrity funeral selfie

Kevin McMurtrie
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microSD

It's refreshing to see microSD back in top-model phones again. It's future-proofing a phone against the one component where the performance/cost ratio improves the most quickly.

I'll be a troll and say that I don't care about removable batteries. They're fragile as hell. Late model phones charge so quickly that I'd rather bring a tiny AC adaptor or 5V USB power pack. My bicycle has a 3cm x 3cm x 1cm switchmode power supply attached to the lighting battery that can keep my phone showing a map all day and night long. Heck, I even have a 6W solar cell hat that can charge a phone.

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NASA: Vote now to put FLASHY LIGHTS on future spacesuits

Kevin McMurtrie
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Electrocution Wire

Electroluminescent Wire runs at 90+ VAC. A vacuum doesn't conduct and pressurized air doesn't conduct, but somewhere in between a tiny bit of gas conducts AC very well. It could make the air lock interesting if the power wires aren't perfectly sealed.

EL wire is inefficient, radiates EMF, is temperature sensitive, and doesn't last long. It seems like late generation LED chips in a light pipe would be far easier for space. At low currents (10% max) they use little voltage, are very efficient, and tolerate an extremely wide temperature range.

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AMD: Why we had to evacuate 276TB from Oracle DB to Hadoop

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: sounds like

...they're doing data mining, which is dumb to put in a relational database. It's not that the Oracle DB failed, it's that Oracle failed to come up with practical distributed computing systems for non-relational data. I know Oracle created some distributed systems in the past but I don't think anyone made it to the end of the installation instructions.

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China demands answers from US after 'I spy on one little Huawei' report

Kevin McMurtrie
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Devil

The outrage!

We all know how much the Chinese government forbids hackers and criminal gangs from operating on their networks. Their networks are a shining example of perfect maintenance, with every single record in APNIC providing accurate ownership, administration, and contact information plus the e-mail address of their security task forces.

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IBM PCjr STRIPPED BARE: We tear down the machine Big Blue would rather you forgot

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Floppy drives

Personal computer disk controllers back then did little more than phase lock on the bit stream and convert to bytes. For the Apple ][, each sector was composed of some garbage bits (from write timing errors), FF padding bytes (to recover from write timing errors), a sector header, and a pattern of data bits that wouldn't cause phase lock to drop. There were endless hacks that you could do in code to implement copy protection or boost performance.

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Eight hour cleansing to get all the 'faggots' and 'bitches' OUT of Github

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

Git (slang)

"Git is mild profanity with origins in British English for a silly, incompetent, stupid, annoying, senile elderly or childish person. It is usually an insult, more severe than twit or idiot but less severe than wanker, arsehole or twat."

So what do you expect to see in a GitHub?

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Elon Musk slams New Jersey governor over Tesla direct sales ban

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mushroom

The power says you're getting screwed

Dealerships have, in my experience, always been the most corrupt places of business in town. Who else would lie about prices, lie about availability of cars, and lie about options during a sale and get away with it? Who else can lie about your car being fine when it's under warranty but then lie about needing extensive repairs at 10x a normal rate when it's out? Now it's clear that all of that lying makes them enough money to buy the Governor of a state.

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Bill Gates-backed SOLAR POO RAYGUN COMMODE unveiled

Kevin McMurtrie
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Meh

700 watts

I certainly don't want to perform tests, but it seems that 6kWh per day won't vaporize much poo.

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Wireless charging standards war could be over 'as soon as 2015'

Kevin McMurtrie
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Yes, over

"Over," as in nobody wants them and the product line is dead? There's always the tradeoff of how much power you can deliver versus how much power you want to leak into the surroundings. I'd rather have a simple and standardized mechanical connector that isn't fussy and fragile like microUSB. A flat connector that magnetically aligns and attaches itself would be awesome. Place the phone on it and it clicks into place. Pull the phone away and it detaches. It seems more robust, cheaper, and could deliver lots of power without EM radiation risks.

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BuzzGasm: 9 Incredible Things You Never Knew About PLIERS!

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thumb Up

WIREDgasm

How about a malfunctioning slideshow of radical pliers prototypes and a short, factually jumbled, description of why we should buy them?

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AT&T waves its magic wand, turns that $30,000 Audi into a Wi-Fi hotspot

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Built to fail

Why can't automakers do a better job on modularization? It shouldn't be an AT&T system. It should be a standard USB jack where you plug in a standard USB cellular radio. These systems become deadweight when the trial expires because they don't work the way people want and they can't be upgraded. If the cellular system is integrated anything like Audi's "sounds like a small AM radio" Bose system, replacement is best accomplished by getting a different brand of car.

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Finally! Some actual, novel tech: Apple patent to revive geriatric gear

Kevin McMurtrie
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Prior art

Plasma and CRT televisions have been doing this since at least the 1990s. Digital scanners have always compensated for aging lamps, sensors, and optics by scanning a blank area outside the page. Digital cameras take dark frame photos (with or without integration time) to compensate for an aging sensor.

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Merger with Sprint is INEVITABLE, suggests T-Mobile chief bean counter

Kevin McMurtrie
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Come feel the Sprint disease

How about Masayoshi Son fix that loser mentality at Sprint first. Sprint has coverage everywhere that works nowhere. Adding another telco's resources will just make them a bigger failure.

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Got a Netgear router from Virgin Media? Change your admin password NOW

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

No security for home networking

This is unfortunately standard for home networking. You're lucky if it works at all and security is too much to expect. Even Netgear's "blue metal" boxes, which they pretend are business class, have problems like this. My FVS336G, which is a frickin firewall, must have spent over a year with so many security holes that it would have needed another firewall to protect it.

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Neil Young touts MP3 player that's no Piece of Crap

Kevin McMurtrie
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CAPS LOCK MUSIC

Neil Young was one of the pioneers in turning up the volume until it massively distorted into a new sound. I'm guessing this device adds some magic distortion that sounds good to old buzzy ears. Zero feedback amplifiers are terrible performers, especially if you're trying to keep the power consumption and parts count low for portable use. I'm sure it's great compared to MP3's destroyed stereo phasing, but that's setting the bar extremely low.

If you want to target people who really care about sound, skip the "audiophile" gimmicks. Just build a high quality player with enough storage for lossless encoding. If you really want a fanbase, let people upload custom DSP code that can mess with the raw bitstream. People will be trading DSP algorithms and buying players just to try them out.

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