* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

998 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

Ever wondered what the worst TV show in the world would be? Apple just commissioned it

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

I can hardly wait for Apple TV shows to branch out into other careers: iPhone assembly, QA regression testing, IT developer support, digital signal analysis, PCB layout, and more! Hopefully they don't fluff it up with a bunch of personal drama subplots. I just want to come home from work, turn on the TV, and stare at somebody sitting at a desk.

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Google spews critical Android patch as millions of gadgets hit by Linux kernel bug

Kevin McMurtrie
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Paris Hilton

"can only be done with the help of manufacturers and carriers"

Luckily, there's a vulnerability that can be used as a workaround.

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Something useful from Cupertino?! Apple sees the light – finally

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Meh

I don't know about iLandfill, but Chinese landfill phones have red LEDs for tuning white balance without losing dynamic range in the LCD panel. Oddly, the feature is usually hidden in US ROMs.

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Yahoo! parties! like! it's! 1999! with! retro! billboard! revival!

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mother restores profits with this one weird trick

It must work. It's displayed 10 times on the homepage.

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Apps that 'listen in' to your mobile get slapped by US watchdog

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: What Frequency is used?

18000 to 19950 Hz

https://github.com/MAVProxyUser/SilverPushUnmasked/commit/bc1dde934c0be02cfce72b7ea68d4a147ddd308d

This dumb scheme seems extremely unlikely to work. That audio range is a mess of distortion, echoes, dead zones, and frequency substitution during compression.

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IEEE delivers Ethernet-for-cars standard

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: It's not weight they are optimising for

CAN Bus is too slow for cameras, audio, and various analog sensors. The analog stuff is especially bulky because it needs to be kept separate from other noisy wires.

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AT&T: Three-quarters of our network is going virtual, and we're open-sourcing the tools

Kevin McMurtrie
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A win for everyone

This is what the providers of 1Mbps Internet services around the world have been waiting for.

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Rocky times for startups: Mutual funds devalue and VCs turn off money hose

Kevin McMurtrie
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Tonight we're going to party like... Hey, my free music disruptor is offline.

I'm all for startups. They revolutionize technology, advance human civilization, and free us from lazy old monopolies. I'm just sick of every idiot claiming they are the revolution and nobody challenging the claim. Investors buy it then sell at a profit to a bigger sucker. Repeat as long as it looks like the game will keep playing.

Well-funded companies that can never produce are what causes the insane prices around here. Spending money to do nothing ruins the value of money and it hurts the handful of startups that have crafted solid business plans.

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First working Apple Mac ransomware infects Transmission BitTorrent app downloads

Kevin McMurtrie
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Well, it's good to know that my 10.6.8 computers, long ago abandoned by Apple, are now too old for modern Malware. I couldn't upgrade Transmission because of system requirements.

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How the FBI will lose its iPhone fight, thanks to 'West Coast Law'

Kevin McMurtrie
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Actually, West Coast protecting itself

The West Coast doesn't like breaking encryption because doing so would destroy the tech sector overnight. The doors would close and engineers would pack their bags to move to another country. Using encryption correctly, or at least pretending to, is required for everything. Forget about stalking. Forget about bank accounts being drained overnight. Criminal hacking would get real - guns and rockets kind of real - when there's an backdoor key to find out what is in any shipping container, who is in any car, and who is on any plane. US software wouldn't even be usable in the US.

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Irate IT distributors chase Amazon over unpaid bills

Kevin McMurtrie
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See it on Amazon, buy it in store

It used to be that you'd "look at it in the store then buy it on Amazon." I find myself doing the reverse now. Physical and online stores are rapidly catching up to Amazon's efficiency, making Amazon the useless middleman taking a cut of the money. Distributors aren't going to put up with as much crap as Amazon hopes they will. They have other options.

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What if China went all GitHub on your website? Grab this coding tool

Kevin McMurtrie
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Boffin

Digital signatures

SSL is a heavyweight solution with a very noticeable performance loss. A much better solution for public web sites would be stronger standards for digital signatures. Static content can have a signature pre-computed and placed into an HTTP header. Dynamic and streaming content can have signatures in HTTP chunk attributes. The overhead for doing this is almost nothing, it's safe for proxies and edge caches, and it serves the purpose of preventing content alteration.

I think the real problem is that this is so simple that there's no money in it. Assuming that there's already a certificate validation system for HTTPS, adding digital signatures to HTTP would only add about 100 lines of code to the client and server.

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IRS: Er, those 100,000 tax records illegally accessed? Make that over 700,000

Kevin McMurtrie
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700000 IRS tax records

This was electronic? No trucks and forklifts involved? I'm actually impressed that the IRS managed to digitize something. Now I'm wondering if it takes them three years to find a mistake so that they can add three years of penalties.

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LaCie bigs up 5big array: Desktop hot storage box gets fatter drives

Kevin McMurtrie
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That warranty

I bought one of the original 5-big drives and one drive soon failed. I was shocked to find that there's no warranty replacement for individual drives. You send the entire RAID back and they give you an entirely new RAID. That wasn't the solid uptime I was hoping to get from a RAID-5 configuration.

I guess it's still better than Drobo showing all lights green while it's losing everything to I/O errors. (maybe Drobo just fixed this bug)

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Let's talk over Wi-Fi, says Oracle to folks who don't know Skype exists

Kevin McMurtrie
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RIP Skype

Skype's primary feature is streaming ads to desktop computers. Its secondary feature may be seizing credits when calling a foreign number. That it still sometimes provides communications is just a glitch of some legacy code.

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Your xenophobia is killing us, Silicon Valley warns US Congress

Kevin McMurtrie
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Big Brother

Dealt with on a case-by-case basis

Paper forms, quadruple photocopies, envelopes, and faxes. Submit all that for a hierarchy of review and archive for 10 years. No problem doing that on a global scale. Should be fine.

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LG’s modular G5 stunner shuns the Lego aesthetic

Kevin McMurtrie
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Radios

My phone upgrades have been because the radio was obsolete. Having the right bands for every place you travel becomes important as telcos upgrade old 2G and 3G towers to LTE.

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CloudFlare to launch its own 'high security' web domain registrar

Kevin McMurtrie
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Pirate

Bullet proof

May domain owners remain completely anonymous for a certain fee? You know, to dissuade individuals from filing a lawsuit. Or maybe the operations of the domain are illegal in some/all countries and the operator does not want to worry about international prosecution. Such a feature would integrate well with other CloudFlare services.

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Gigabit duplex DOCSIS 3.1 passes feasibility study, kind of

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

The Y axis is time?

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Router configurations suck (power out of mobile devices, that is)

Kevin McMurtrie
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DTIM and Beacon intervals

WiFi already has a system for delayed processing of unicast (beacon TIM) and multicast (DTIM) data so that devices may sleep. A better request would be to device makers (Apple) to address bugs that require people to set extremely short intervals.

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Get out of mi casa, Picasa: Google photo site to join Wave, Code, Reader in silicon hell

Kevin McMurtrie
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Childcatcher

ERR 13

"Smart" TVs will be burning an error code onto the screen where the Picasa screen saver used to be. Manufacturers will suggest buying a new TV as a workaround.

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'Millions' of routers open to absurdly outdated NetUSB hijack

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mushroom

Re: Everyone wants "cheap"

Cheap isn't the problem. Expensive "Small Business" networking gear is the worst possible mix of half-assed features, blatant flaws, and no hope for upgrades. The problem is that it's not easy to get a refund for severe software defects. They're usually treated as "dissatisfied customer" returns with a 14 day period. Require security vulnerabilities to be in the same category as manufacturing defects and then deadbeats like Netgear and whatever "Linksys" is will vanish overnight.

Nuke icon because I have, on multiple occasions, bought and returned every single router at an electronics store.

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Google crafts custom networking CPU with parallel computing links

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: A bit like a ... 386?

If it's a very simple architecture with no legacy baggage, they're probably tiny enough to be crammed into computers by the thousands. Most well defined tasks with well defined inputs can be implemented within a crude instruction set. Coding becomes difficult but hardware costs more than people when you're approaching a global scale of data processing. Google also believes (sometimes incorrectly) that they can do anything better than the rest of the world so it's no surprise that they'd keep building more hardware for themselves.

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Who wants a quad-core 4.2GHz, 64GB, 5TB SSD RAID 10 … laptop?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Flame

Exhaust from this laptop ------>

Those are massive heat pipe tubes! Unless I'm mistaken, heat pipes in laptops are used to prevent heat transfer to the case by moving the heat to the exhaust vents. When everything runs hot I'd think that an insulated case would be more portable.

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ioSafe releases x86 server for the 'we don't have a geek with a screwdriver' crowd

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Dealer pricing

Tiny base price + consulting fee + service fee + support contract + account manager fee + commission + statement fee + fake local tax + hosting fees + usage penalty fees, and all with a side of endless up-sell phone calls and "Tell us how we are doing" surveys. This is why people throw together half-assed DIY solutions then hire an IT person to fix it.

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T-Mobile US's BingeOn does break net neutrality, says law prof

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: big fuss over nothing

T-Mo announced it as an option and invited people to turn it on. Of course I deleted the e-mail. Then they silently turned it on for everyone and broke high quality video playback. That second part is quite worthy of raising a fuss. Everybody was suddenly throttled and it wasn't clear why. Anyone who had set their streaming preference to HD, or watched a video only offered in HD, got nothing. Today they announced dial codes to control the feature but they still haven't announced that it's an opt-out feature.

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College kids sue Google for 'spying' on them with Apps for Education

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Normally I hate the lawsuit mentality

Google does this on purpose to gradually erode public expectations of privacy. Most people can't afford the time and money to start a lawsuit every time Google takes another step.

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Perforce boss: ‘I’m just the cook’, flips firm to private equity

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Staying free?

Perforce Enterprise is cheaper than anyone expects but there's a stigma about it costing money. I'd pay for my own license if given the chance to use it. I'm sure I'll get downvoted for saying this, but Git is absolutely awful for enterprise use. Even the slightest variation from the perfect workflow is walking through a minefield of dangerous, convoluted, and poorly documented features. If employees are spending 1 hour a week on Git, the lost productivity makes it 10 times more expensive than Perforce.

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Japanese wireless boffins demo 56Gbps fibre replacement*

Kevin McMurtrie
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Halfway there

This technologically very cool but those frequencies are too easily blocked to be useful without other changes. We'd be reaching for the sky to get our phone's data working. A combination of 100Gbps wireless and fiber in a small chipset could be a winner. This would enable dense arrays of short-range transceivers to be mounted on existing infrastructure. It would have to be very small, like 4cm cubed, and use daisy chain cabling thinner than a few mm. Anyone who's seen a large grid of 5GHz WiFi transceivers on Cat 6 knows that high performance wireless tech needs to get a LOT smaller to be practical.

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OnePlus ends rationing. You can now buy its phones just like that!

Kevin McMurtrie
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Another too late

The list of LTE bands is quite short for a new phone. I looked at buying an OPPO or OPO but it's missing bands that are useful in the US and bands needed while traveling. 2G and 3G are being taken out of service in many areas so there may not be anything to fall back to.

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Oracle to kill off Java browser plugins with JDK 9

Kevin McMurtrie
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It's not like the Applet runtime is any fun either. Even Java fanatics would rather code the browser side in JavaScript.

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That one weird trick fails: Google binned 780 million ads last year

Kevin McMurtrie
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780 million?

With numbers like that, one might conclude that Google has found a way to profit from this. If not, they would have made it more difficult for scammers ti use their service.

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It's 2016 and idiots still use '123456' as their password

Kevin McMurtrie
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Lies, damned lies, and statistics

How many people using 'password' happen to live it at 7654 Asdf St?

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Learn you Func Prog on five minute quick!

Kevin McMurtrie
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Devil

Real programmers use...

Quit wasting billions of CPU cycles on your stupid abstraction layers. Just give me the machine diagrams and tell me which opcodes I need to move the bits.

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Yahoo dumps 13.5TB of users' news interaction data for machine eating

Kevin McMurtrie
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Web bug blockers make it appear that a web site is getting a constant stream of new users. The last time I checked, an ad and tracking blocker was needed to make Yahoo News load without getting hijacked by third party scripts.

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Boffins switch on pinchfist incandescent bulb

Kevin McMurtrie
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Been there

This was done before with double walled xenon halogen bulbs. The inner bulb used high pressure xenon and a bit of halogen that let the filament run very hot without evaporating. The outer bulb had a vacuum for insulation. When you see a 1990s car with a dimly glowing cracked headlamp, it's one of those with a crack in the outer bulb.

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Stanford boffins snuff out li-ion batt blaze risk

Kevin McMurtrie
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Fixing what?

Battery overloading was solved a long time ago. There's a limiter PCB on battery packs to ensure that voltage, current, and temperature stay within short-term safe operating limits. If that fails, there's a polyfuse (conductor particles in an expanding polymer) to break the connection while the combination of heat and current is too high. The final and non-reversible protection is a porous boundary layer in the battery that is supposed to convert to a solid barrier when heated.

LiPo batteries still catch fire for other reasons. The voltage needed to reach 100% charge becomes fatal after being applied for a few extra hours. Contaminants and physical damage can burn up the battery from the inside. The battery contains enough energy to melt itself free of lightweight protection schemes like aluminum foil wraps and laptop cases.

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Was Android moving to OpenJDK really a Google gift to devs?

Kevin McMurtrie
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I still see a lot of Java in the AOSP projects. With a proper JIT (not Google's), the memory to performance ratio can be dynamically tuned for each code method. The other big feature that isn't talked about much is that the JIT not only converts generic code to a specific instruction set, but it also generates instructions that work around hardware bugs in a specific version of the chipset. It's exactly what's needed when 5 years worth of phones are running a dozen chipsets that are each upgraded every few months.

The downside of syncing up to OpenJDK is that it may be difficult to prevent developers from draining the battery. Poorly performing "Reflection" and anonymous adapter classes are the secret sauce behind many popular frameworks. Lambdas are the new lightweight solution to anonymous classes but the implementations churn through a lot of temporary memory.

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Your jingle to take into the weekend: QuickTime security fixes to apply

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Quicktime

It defines a crappy file format too that, unfortunately, seeded the MPEG 4 container standard. QuickTime X was supposed to fix all of that but it seems that it was never finished much beyond AAC and one of the worst implementations of the H.264 codec. Upgrades since then have been in the form of poorly distributed codec plugins.

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Star Wars BB-8 toy in firmware update risk, say UK security bods

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Pen testing fail?

Firmware updates don't use SSL because they're public information and they're digitally signed to prevent corruption/tampering. Until they update the article claiming that they've successfully altered the firmware, there is no vulnerability.

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T-Mobile US boss John Legere calls bulls*** on video throttling claims

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Same quality as the TV you threw out 10 years ago

DVD quality isn't a benchmark to brag about. They were meant to power the final generation of analog TVs. 720x480 maximum with very low chroma bandwidth. Many discs were a blurry 640×360 to avoid anamorphic compatibility problems.

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Got a Nexus? Google has five critical Android security fixes for you

Kevin McMurtrie
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Third party ROMs sometimes have patches before the Nexus line. The key here is to not buy phones with permanently locked bootloaders.

As for the Moto X Pure - boot without a SIM card and it becomes pure again.

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Researcher criticises 'weak' crypto in Internet of Things alarm system

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

beyond the capability?

Not all criminals carry a crowbar and sack. Some criminals might sell software that makes breaking into houses as easy as stealing a phone to run it.

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iOS 9 kludged our iPhones, now give us money, claims new lawsuit

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Honest question here

A search of the intertubes says that you can not downgrade. The iPhone bootloader is locked and the iOS9 version does not recognize the iOS8 digital signature.

This is why I only buy phones with a bootloader that can be unlocked. Manucatureres don't like maintaing old phones when there's money in new phones. Once the phone is about a year old, third party ROMs start working better than manufacturer ROMs.

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Google brews a fresh pot of Oracle's OpenJDK Java for future Android

Kevin McMurtrie
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Just in time

This is good news if it means Android will finally get an efficient JIT compiler.

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Here – here is that 'hoverboard' you've wanted so much. Look at it. Look. at. it.

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

Will use it to clear leaves from my walkway at 6 AM.

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Boffins unwrap bargain-basement processor that talks light and current

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thumb Up

"thousands of picojoules for each bit"

Yea! Let picojoules per bit be the next meaningless benchmark race! Since joules and bandwidth both have a base interval of one second, the math comes out to simply (Watts / Bit rate) / 0.000000000001.

Yikes, my home Internet uses over half a million picojoules per bit! I'm going to start calling around to see who can do better than that.

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Death Stars are a waste of time – here's the best way to take over the galaxy

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

El Reg math fail

Volume expansion is cubic while surface expansion is squared. If you want to remotely blast planets with the least amount of mechanical material and the least amount of containment fields, bigger is better.

Bigger is better for big egos too.

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Riddle of cash-for-malware offer in new Raspberry Pi computers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Just a few MB. U can spare a few MB.

It sounds more like a highly specialized form of malware often called shovelware. Linda probably does extensive business with cell carriers, smart TVs, and retail home computers.

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YouTube puts T-Mobile US on naughty list for throttling all vids to 480p

Kevin McMurtrie
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Alert

Un-Un-Carrier

I juat discovered that after rejecting the requests to join Binge-On, it was turned on for me. If I was like John Legere I'd probably Tweet something like, "People hate your shitty #carrier feature so much that you have to turn it on secretly. #suckmycarrier #blurryslownetwork"

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