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* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

643 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

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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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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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Twelve million hit as Korea suffers ANOTHER massive data breach

Kevin McMurtrie
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Facepalm

So Korean ISPs ignoring years of complaints about their hosting of spammers, hackers, crime gangs, and fake KRNIC records is going along just fine without issue.

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New FBI boss says cyber crime, not terrorism, is top of Feds' todo list

Kevin McMurtrie
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Big Brother

Sharpened USB stick

So can we go back to metal detectors and a gentle pat-down of baggy clothes at the airport?

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'G-WIZ like' object doing 40,000 MPH CRASHES on the MOON

Kevin McMurtrie
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Childcatcher

You-screwed

Porn spammers have posted a lot of videos with the same title to YouTube. There are lots of NSFW recommendations at the end.

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Sony enlists Michael Jackson's GHOST to flog Xperia Z2

Kevin McMurtrie
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RIP Z

Being associated with the psychopaths at Sony Music will be the death of the phone, and there's no better way to start the slaughter than to have Michael Jackson promote it. They might as well give them away for free with Sony TVs.

It's a shame. The Z1 is a very nice phone once the shoveware is disabled and the plastic is pulled off the front glass.

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How many mobile apps collect data on users? Oh ... nearly all of them

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

And first on the list...

To get that report on which apps are collecting risky information, I need to give Appthority my name, e-mail, phone number, job title, employer, employer industry, number of employees, employer revenue, and employer location.

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Birds Eye releases 'mashtags' social spud snacks

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Today's menu

Meet C001D00D outside the 000FF1CE and head the the place where CAFEBABE with B16B00B5 works. FEEDFACE and drink 1CEDC0FE but don't get a D15EA5E from eating BAADF00D or DEADBEEF. Post a 5E11F1EE of yourself next to the 1CEB00DA to FACEB00C. Then get back to work, crank up the headphones to max DEC1BE11, and write BAADC0DE for AD0BEC57.

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Free space optics gets shiny new snake-oil paint job

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Multi Colocation, Regional Datacenters, Webscale, ...

Doesn't "The Cloud" v1 solve these problems of regional latency? (Not "The Could" v2, which seems to mean only that you're not using your own server.)

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How NOT to evaluate hard disk reliability: Backblaze vs world+dog

Kevin McMurtrie
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Curse of the bad model

Should Seagate be penalized for a bad model of disks? After suffering through some bad models of disks myself, I say "YES!" A bad model happens to every manufacturer and they deserve some shame when it happens. The losses to downtime, swapping disks, restoring backups, and sending the drive in for a warranty replacement is huge. To make matters worse, the replacements are brand new drives with exactly the same problem. Any drive manufacturer wanting top reviews will need to test their hardware more and halt production sooner when there's a high failure rate. Otherwise, they'll have to suffer periods of "Never buy XXXXX" for a while like everybody else.

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Reports pump fuel into iCar gossip: Apple in 'talks' with Tesla

Kevin McMurtrie
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Disposable car

First, Apple has really sucked when it has come to partnerships with other big name brands. It's not their strong point and it usually ends up being a black hole for money. AT&T and Verizon may be the only big brand names to have their logo next to Apple's and come out winners. Telsa and Apple may have too much ego for each other. (Labels for hire like "Bose" don't count.)

Second, Apple doesn't release engineering specifications for obsolete hardware. What happens when your car is four years old and the console keeps crashing from a defective component? Would Apple release proprietary FPGA and ROM code so that a third party could provide maintenance? How about their customized ARM SOCs? I doubt it.

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Rotten to the core: Apple’s 10 greatest FAILS

Kevin McMurtrie
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"the TAM was ahead of its time"

The TAM was only ahead in looks. At heart it was a sluggish PPC 603e budget Mac with a blue-screen trick to overlay NTSC video onto the screen. The kinds of fanatics who'd pay top dollar for a fancy Mac also knew which architectures to avoid. Too many people also know that "Bose" symbolizes an idiot and his money parting.

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Apple pushes back release date for 'dustbin chic' Mac Pro

Kevin McMurtrie
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Who's waiting?

I don't know anyone who's trying to buy this confusing little cylinder of excess and deficiency. It sounds like a hardware problem is limiting yields.

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Netflix speed index shows further decline in Verizon quality

Kevin McMurtrie
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Sucking is in the contract

The one reason that I don't have Comcast is their contract. You need to buy "Comcast Business" to get unfiltered internet service. It's a 2+ year contract clearly stating that there is no minimum level of performance. They could saturate their network until it's 1.2 KB/sec and I'd still be paying that $150/month for at least two years.

I already made that mistake with Sprint cellular service. I won't do it again with Comcast.

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Mars Orbiter spots FRESH IMPACT CRATER

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

"the fresh crater appears blue in the enhanced colour of the image"

Translation: We clicked the "Auto White Balance" button.

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Verizon: Us throttling AWS and Netflix? Not likely

Kevin McMurtrie
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Holmes

"perhaps a peering dispute"

A peering dispute is how telcos were sneaking around net neutrality. They'd claim that competing service X was using too much bandwidth and must pay money for upgraded peering. Never mind that the traffic was requested by the telco's paying customers. Telcos, cable companies, and studios have merged into monsters that are very experienced in the game charging fees to everyone in sight. If only the infrastructure could get as much money as the lawyers and negotiators.

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FCC doubles school broadband fund with $2bn boost

Kevin McMurtrie
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Childcatcher

Once they graduate they'll have to chose from one of two internet service providers offering high rates, confusing and rapidly changing service bundles, modem rental fees, restricted uses, no privacy, route throttling, poor customer service, and an overall quality of service that makes graduates wonder if they should move overseas. They'll have withdrawal.

Hah, what I am thinking. The money will evaporate into corrupt teclos and contractors again.

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Duracell powers into cloud storage market

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

Low bat

Maybe the catch is that the drives don't come with an AC adaptor.

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El Reg BuzzFelch: 10 Electrical Connectors You CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT!

Kevin McMurtrie
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Happy

Soldering iron

Makes everything fit and the cheap ones are orange.

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Want a touch-friendly solar-powered laptop? Apple just patented it

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Has anyone done the energy budget calculations?

60W outdoors, with luck. More like 0.1W indoors. I've tried several 22% efficient solar cells indoors and the power that you get from LED and CCFLs lamps can barely overcome the few micro-watts of internal leakage. They run at maybe 5% on direct sunlight coming through windows with energy efficient coatings. The amount of power collected by a laptop covered with solar cells indoors might not even overcome self-discharge of the battery and internal leakage in the solar cells.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Transparent aluminum

Apple's sapphire investments could make this happen. The problem I see is sunbathing laptops getting stolen. Energy efficient lighting and window coatings produces indoor light without the broad spectrum of energy needed to get usable power from solar cells. The visible spectrum is a tiny sliver of what solar cells absorb. Charging would only work outdoors, though it would still look cool indoors.

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Sony on the ropes after Moody's downgrade to junk

Kevin McMurtrie
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Go to jail

The rootkit is not over. Maybe you missed later news that Sony helped pass laws in Japan to throw people in jail for downloading their music. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19767970 They tried the same in other countries too but couldn't get it to pass. Or maybe you missed all the times they've lost their customer databases to hackers from negligent security. Sony can't make consumer devices anymore because it would enrage their rabid anti-consumer studio division. They're now a sad, conservative, and conflicted company that builds mediocracy and abuses their customers. I would not bet on their survival as they exist now. Japan invests heavily in their own corporations so it might be possible for Sony to break up and thrive as independents. S. Korea definitely needs a strong competitor to free people from Samsung's "you can make it work by buying the next model" attitude.

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CEO Marissa Mayer puts on brave face as Yahoo! shows another loss

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mushroom

X-Spam-Detected: 98.138.233.79

I get about one spam a day that takes advantage of various Yahoo vulnerabilities. When I send a complaint to abuse@yahoo-inc.com, their mail server successfully recognizes Yahoo URLs as spam and refuses it. That is one of the hundreds of moments when Yahoo should have realized that their days of being functional are long gone and closed the doors, yet they continue like a rotting corpse turned zombie.

Oh wait, the animated logo totally fixes it all. Sorry for ranting.

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Apple declares war on PAYPAL: Pay-by-bonk + iTunes = profit, right?

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

iFail

Telling people they need iTunes integration to spend money is nothing but stupid. iTunes is a bloated dumping ground for features that were never properly integrated elsewhere. It hangs, it crashes, most of its UI stopped making sense years ago, and playing music has become a minor feature. It has grown into a clumsy secondary operating system for iPhones, Apple TV, music, movies, books, "the cloud", storefronts, contacts, parental controls, remote devices, etc., etc. Micropayment integration with the iTunes system will probably be the point where Apple's remaining customers say, "I give up. Bye." If history repeats itself again, Apple will be nearly dead before they stop being so stubborn.

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Cryptocurrencies now being pooped out by cartoon cat

Kevin McMurtrie
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Security by straightjacket

The Nyancoin crypto should be based on playing the Nyan Cat music at high volume into a room, quantizing the reverb and distortion with a microphone, and then seeding the encryption with those parameters. For this to be perfect, the encryption technique needs just enough mathematical flaws that Nyancoin miners will go absolutely insane attempting to model and reproduce them.

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Sweet work, fellas: Boffins build high-density battery powered by sugar

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Energy density

cm2 seems to be translated incorrectly from "cm" and a "-2" footnote marker. Of course, now it's missing two dimensions instead of one.

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Survey: Yoof too COOL for Ferraris, want state-sponsored hybrids

Kevin McMurtrie
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Hybrid bike

The obvious answer seems to be electric assist bicycles. They could be very geeky high tech, very efficient, good for the environment, and an excellent way to travel in areas with good weather. I've seen many attempts at making them but they're still burdened with obsolete tech that doesn't excite anyone enough to make the purchase. They need to lose the cheap heavy batteries, lose the bulky clamps and adaptors, they need variable regenerative braking, they need some vibration dampening, they need detachable storage, and they need theft protection. Public specifications would be a big help too so people can do their own hacks. Not only is that easy geek cred and comfort to buyers, but it's getting free R&D from the public.

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Java bug burns Borg

Kevin McMurtrie
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Facepalm

I think I see the problem

It could be that these vulnerabilities are CAUSED BY HAVING RMI ON A SECURITY SYSTEM. Seriously, why would you do that? That's like trying to create a safe and secure zone inside a forrest.

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Someone stole your phone? Now they'll have your STARBUCKS password – the horror!

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

There's a better way to do it wrong

Run the plain text password through a one-way hash, base64 encode it, store that as your login, and modify the servers to do the same.

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Boeing bent over for new probe as 787 batteries vent fluid, start to MELT

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Alternatives exist

NiMH is extremely difficult to simultaneously charge and use. Unless you have perfectly smooth and uninterrupted charging, the only sure indicator of the batteries being charged is that they get hot or vent hydrogen. The only sure indicator of them being low is that power stops coming out. The next best thing is integrating current flow and guessing the state of charge.

Lithium batteries can be simultaneously charged and used for buffering high loads, at least for some range of charge state. The odd thing is why they chose a fragile lithium cobalt oxide battery. LiFePO4 is more stable, durable, and the energy density isn't too bad.

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ZyXEL router attack: HUNDREDS of Brit biz bods knocked offline

Kevin McMurtrie
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Flame

Targeting?

What makes anyone think that this was a targeted attack? It sounds like normal Chinese traffic and the ZyXEL products are crashing from their lack of robustness.

I have a weekly task to add more of China to my firewall. They're a non-stop source of vulnerability scans and they make it a habit of providing fake network contact information. I have an American ISP with no throughput to spare for all of that garbage.

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