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* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

595 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

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

Kevin McMurtrie
Bronze badge

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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FCC honcho: Shifting our crusty phone network to IP packets starts now

Kevin McMurtrie
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They said "IP packets," and then put down their gold monocles

The move to IP is needed but the telcos are doing as an opportunity to restore their monopoly power. The problem with using phone wires is that Bell competitors can offer inexpensive services over them. Getting rid of the wires puts the Bells back in complete monopolistic control over customers. The government could mandate net neutrality but I doubt that enough politicians can resist bribery from AT&T and Verizon.

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Pesky protesters FORCE GOOGLE STAFF INTO THE SEA

Kevin McMurtrie
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Windows

Wah

When I was house hunting a few years back, I would be trying to negotiate down a price on a house that had obvious undeclared structural damage. It would be major issues like beams of sunlight coming through the roof, a wall buckling from termites, or DIY remodeling gone horribly wrong. Young couples wearing Google T-shirts would then approach the owners and demand to buy on the spot for 15% over asking. One could be angry, or one could feel that the Googlers were getting what they deserved.

There's nothing left to protest if Google has started paying the city for bus stop maintenance. Stop whining and figure out how to take their money.

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Slurp away, NSA: Mass phone data collection IS legal, rules federal judge

Kevin McMurtrie
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Big Brother

Pervs supporting the NSA

Whenever I see a judge or politician make an irrational decision in support of the NSA, I figure that the NSA has photos and recordings of that person doing awful things that would enrage or horrify the public.

I hope the NSA never releases anything about their big buddy, DiFi. I don't want to know.

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Get lost, fanbois: Nokia pulls HERE Maps from Apple's App Store

Kevin McMurtrie
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Facepalm

The other phone

I can see how working with Apple is a non-stop pain in the ass. I'd never write an iPhone app unless it had extremely high margins to cover the hassle. My question is why doesn't Nokia sell an Android version? Google Maps is becoming so intrusive about realtime information gathering that it malfunctions on typical cell signals and it runs crippled without a login. The market for other Android map apps is young so even the paid apps are still awfully unrefined. Here's Nokia's chance to make a comeback with a product that they still have. (Don't blow it)

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El Reg's contraptions confessional no.3: the Apple G4 Cube

Kevin McMurtrie
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Meh

Make it shiny

Apple does a great job of misinterpreting the requirements of professionals. Imagine construction workers asking for a better pickup truck: 350HP, tough brakes with traction control, and a very strong suspension. Apple would deliver those specifications in sports car made of glass. It would be a beautiful and powerful machine that's too expensive and totally unsuited for use. As the Mac Cube comes from an era of crippled bus speeds, Trash Can Mac has crippled expansion. Thunderbolt is fast but it's still slower and far more expensive than the internal expansion ports it's replacing.

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Samsung: Men, our Gear smartwatch will make you a hit with the sexy ladies

Kevin McMurtrie
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Unhappy

Just a momentary problem... I'll have the Samsung up in no time. I swear this never happens. Let me try it without the gloves... Yeah, yeah, yeah.... No! It just sits there limp and stupid. Maybe it's cold and needs to be warmed up. Rebooting... Hey, where are you going?

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Mozilla: Native code? No, it's JavaScript, only it's BLAZING FAST

Kevin McMurtrie
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Happy

This is cool. You can make Java and C++ run very fast by eliminating design patterns that are wasteful or difficult for the compiler to optimize. (Java's "Enterprise" coding style is the ultimate in slow, unreadable, bloated, crap.) That hasn't been the case with JavaScript. You can try very hard, but JavaScript still has ambiguous meanings in simple code that can't be statically optimized. Targeting Asm.js with a high power optimizer could open up a lot of possibilities.

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Relax, Obama! Former Microsoft exec tapped to save sick healthcare.gov

Kevin McMurtrie
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Windows

Good luck. Even a seasoned MS Exec may find the burden of government processes overwhelming. I bet right now he has a stack of papers on his desk that needs to be photocopied in triplicate then sent by mix of certified mail and fax to a dozen places, just to determine which office will be handling his future paperwork.

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Drobo tarts up storage boxen: Now they're APP SERVER platforms

Kevin McMurtrie
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Brand name

What the Drobo has going for it is the brand name and reputation. They've been very good about doing exactly what they claim their drives do without any fuss. The performance specs are accurate, they alert you to problems, compatibility is good, rebuilds are fast, drives don't rattle loose, and I haven't yet had a situation where one of them gets too confused to function. Unlike many other brands of NAS, I haven't lost any weekends to fixing them or upgrading them. That justifies their high cost for some uses.

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Look behind you, T-Mobile US: Sprint wants to GOBBLE you – allegedly

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Just a small deposit to start the process

Sprint is dying because their network remains slow as dialup even after applying all the 4G buzzwords. Somehow upgrading went well for other telcos. It also doesn't help they sold a lot of Sprint-branded defective phones on contracts and told their customers that they're SOL. (Thanks for that defective Galaxy S2, Sprint)

I don't think the US Government would allow Sprint to kill the best candidate to challenge Verizon and AT&T. Despite this, I'm sure T-Mobile wouldn't mind starting the paperwork for a small, non-refundable, $4 billion deposit.

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China's answer to AIRPOCALYPSE: Fire up the supercomputer

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

The building is driven by 10 megawatts of solar power, of course.

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'Don't hate on me for my job!' Googlers caught up in SF rent protest ruckus

Kevin McMurtrie
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Public? Gimme! Gimme!

Though partially nonsense, the protest does bring up a good point about Google using public infrastructure for private use. The commuter busses, WiFi, TV whitespace, and Moffett Field are some examples. As much as I don't like excessive regulation, it's clear that these uses aren't scalable. Public WiFi is already clogged with commercial HotSpots (AT&T, Comcast, Google, etc.). Big tech companies borrowing public bus stops isn't going to work either.

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Brit inventors' GRAVITY POWERED LIGHT ships out after just 1 year

Kevin McMurtrie
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Electronic governor

Spring powered devices have been around for years and there's no mechanical governor wasting energy. A switching power supply is used with an inverted feedback loop. When there's too much output power, the switching power supply increases the output more. This burdens the spring/weight so that it slows down and produces less energy. When the output is low, it decreases the load and the spring/weight speeds up. Of course it's not very stable but one more layer of power conditioning is trivial when you're in the milliwatt range.

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I thought I was being DDOSed. Turns out I'm not that important...

Kevin McMurtrie
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Just another day

Expect many thousands of intrusion attempts a day for an address with a domain name. The worst bot armies are smart enough to evade adaptive firewalls by having hundreds of bots attempt only four or five attacks each per day.

Your best bet for a tiny server is to determine which networks have the most bots and hackers then block them. My small business router pretends that nobody's home when Taiwan, China, or S. Korea calls because they'd otherwise saturate my computer and bandwidth. Anything mentioning "yahoo" to my mail server gets rejected so there's no need for a trip to a Spamhaus to confirm that it's junk. I occasionally sift through what remains and send out abuse complaints when it gets bad. An invalid network abuse contact gets the network in the firewall.

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Apple snubs discounts, sprays Black Friday zombies with gift cards

Kevin McMurtrie
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Big Brother

Censorship

Where did the article go about Apple being listed in Spamhaus?

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Google, please DRILL through Great Firewall of China with your HTTPS LANCE

Kevin McMurtrie
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Big Brother

Money

Google will do whatever makes it the most money. That means no HTTPS for the Chinese. HTTPS is only turned on elsewhere because Google spends a lot of effort collecting your most personal data and they don't want to share it for free.

China will do whatever makes it the most money. That means jailing dissidents, stealing software, blocking foreign Internet services, and hosting as many hackers as they can cram into their IPv4 address space.

Good luck to GreatFire.

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Haitian snapper humbles photo giants AFP, Getty Images in $1.2m copyright victory

Kevin McMurtrie
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No jail time?

What ever happened to jail time for massive copyright theft with massive distribution? It's what the big guys have been asking for, and they should get it.

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FCC: How we'll RIP 'n' REPLACE OLD phone system for new IP tech

Kevin McMurtrie
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Money for nothing and your chicks for free

This is what the telcos have been trying to get done with the FCC as their bitch. The plan is definitely to rip old copper wires out but you'll find no mention of replacement. They'd rather force everyone onto cell towers, which is highly profitable because they're easily made into a scarce resource. Do nothing and make more money - it's the telco way. Check out Verizon's "Voice Link" solution to Hurricane Sandy victims.

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Salesforce boss Benioff foretells grim, unrelenting hyper-capitalist future

Kevin McMurtrie
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It's not in my world

I don't want satisfaction surveys, I don't want telemarketing, I don't want more bulk for the recycling bin, I don't want text messages coupons, I don't want e-mails of new product catalogs, and I don't want creepy product recommendations made by AI systems covertly analyzing my personal habits. I don't read billboards, I skip TV commercials, and the radio is turned off at the first advertisement. I do want a product that does what it claims to do, and does it well. I do want the product to come with a URL that leads to a well-designed web site showing me what other solutions are available for purchase. I do have money to spend.

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Who wants 10TB of FREE cloud storage? Hands down if China is a deal breaker?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thumb Down

Here is price list you requested

All I've ever seen from Tencent is phishing-like spam for Chinese parts suppliers. It would be awfully hard to use may free 10TB when they're firewalled.

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Obamacare website 'either hacked or will be soon', warns infosec expert

Kevin McMurtrie
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Robert'); DROP TABLE Students;--

Does SQL injection still count as an attack or is it like breaking into a room by turning the door's knob?

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Android in FOUR out of 5 new smartphones. How d'ya like dem Apples?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Comparing 'Walled Gardens'

Most of Google's slurping can be avoided by disabling Chrome, Maps, and Network Location Services. Alternatives are easy to come by. On the other hand, Apple is just getting their data slurping started and their mechanisms allow for no workaround.

Both are invasive. If you do nothing, iOS will probably spy on you less. If you work at it, Android will spy less. I'm not sure about Windows - I haven't even seen one yet.

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ULTIMATE ELECTRIC driving machine? Yes, it’s the BMW i3 e-car

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: FUGLY

The lines and seams are a wreck. It's like half the parts were too small and the other half of the parts where stretched to cover the naked spots.

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Amazon CIA cloud row: US judge slaps down IBM as 'manipulative', inferior

Kevin McMurtrie
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The obvious product

Customer service. No pricing tricks will make somebody sign a long-term contract designed to screw and abuse them. Smoke and mirrors are to be evaluated on their worst-case scenario.

Maybe IBM and Comcast will be hanging out in a bar this weekend, complaining about how much customers suck.

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YouTube co-founder either HATES Google+ or his vid account just got HACKED

Kevin McMurtrie
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Because it requires you agree to a new Googley TOS.

Don't use Google if you hate them. Don't give them data if you don't like them prying into your life. There are easy alternatives.

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Fury as OS X Mavericks users FORCED to sync contact books with iCloud

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Throw it over the garden's wall

Just sync it with Bluetooth file transfer, or an SD card, or copy the file over USB... Oh, right, it's not supported. I don't understand the lasting popularity of this phone.

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Google's Nexus 5: Best smartphone bang for your buck. There, we said it

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: MicroSD slot?

Any company that sells cloudy services and collects marking data is going to produce phones with as little working memory as possible. Offline use is unprofitable silence to them.

There's a simple solution to the "no SD card" trend: Don't buy them. I have 80GB of storage in my phone and I don't know what I'd do without it. I embrace cloud access (I am part of the cloud) but I prefer to have maps, music, and important data locally stored for speed and reliability.

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We can't go on like this for much longer, boffins cry to data centre designers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Software

It would be good to attack this from the software side too. Many analysis tasks have become too complex to implement with hand-crafted assembly language, or hand-crafted with anything. What happens is that many large and complicated frameworks are tied together with a relatively small amount of custom code. Each framework has a formal representation of data inputs and outputs that are each padded with protection against accidental misuse that would cause obvious data corruption. All of this formality and safety can end up being an enormous processing overhead. "Enterprise Edition" software is the classic example of nearly infinite inefficiency, but seemingly low-level tasks suffer too. What would be useful would be a radical new generation of JIT compiler that can make extreme optimizations across an entire system; analyzing enormous codebases and producing minimal hardware instructions to produce the correct result. Given that an entire data center is available to perform the analysis, it could be feasible.

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Mobe-makers' BLOATWARE is Android's Achilles heel

Kevin McMurtrie
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Chock-full of it

No dodgy software or excessive privileges from Google? Chrome is crippled until you sign in and grant it permission to monitor everything you do. It's difficult to turn on GPS without Google monitoring your location, networks, and nearby WiFi points. Android Backup Service wants a copy of everything. Google Maps demands login for offline mode. As for sucking up resources, there's Google+, Google Play Music, Google Play Music & TV, Google Play Music Magazines, Google Play Books, Play Store, Gmail, Exchange Services, Picasa Uploader, Talk, Maps, Earth, YouTube, Google Search, Google Services, etc.

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Want a support contract for GlassFish 4.0? Tough luck, says Oracle

Kevin McMurtrie
Bronze badge

Just say no to EE

Enterprise Edition is a way of saying that it's so needlessly complicated that only millions of dollars worth of engineering, support, and hardware can get it working. This project really sums it up:

https://github.com/EnterpriseQualityCoding/FizzBuzzEnterpriseEdition

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Crack our 'military-grade' email encryption and we'll give you 5% of our firm

Kevin McMurtrie
Bronze badge

The challenge comes later

Any fool can encrypt a single e-mail so that it can never be cracked. You don't even need a computer. The attack is always against the services and operations of a company, which can become nearly infinitely complex and very difficult to perfectly secure. Would a hacker find 5% of the company to be more valuable than secretly maintaining access? I guess it depends on how many hackers have already claimed their 5%.

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Hate data fees but love your HD slab? Here's a better way to pay for bytes

Kevin McMurtrie
Bronze badge

Net Neutrality

This argument is what's used when telcos (who are also studios) say that Net Neutrality is bad. It's a way to say, "Our videos cost $10, preferred provider videos cost $20, and everyone else charges $5 but you'll have another $50 in bandwidth fees." It's designed to put competing content creators out of business while charging customers extra for something that costs nothing extra to provide.

Anyone who's spending a huge amount of money on high bandwidth plans to avoid scary overage fees needs to look at other providers. There are other telcos that can provide the simplicity of a contract for normal usage and provide pay-as-you-go for exceptional usage. You could save $30 a month for the 11 months a year that you don't need a massive data plan.

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Reply-all email lightning storm STRIKES TWICE at Cisco

Kevin McMurtrie
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>OOTO >>OOTO >>>OOTO >>>>OOTO

No work will get done with that storm going on. They all should activate the "I'm currently out of the office" auto-reply and go home early.

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NSA-friendly cyber-slurp law CISPA back on the table with new Senate bill

Kevin McMurtrie
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Childcatcher

Dianne Feinstein is extremely fond of big-money backing anti-privacy. She should share all of her online logins with the world to prove to us that everything is fine.

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If there's somethin' strange in your network 'hood. Who y'gonna call? Google's DDoS-busters

Kevin McMurtrie
Bronze badge
Mushroom

Facing the wrong way

Can this work in reverse to shield the world from unmaintained Google servers? Google Groups has been serving a prolific spammer from Chinanet-FJ for 8+ years now. See https://groups.google.com/d/msg/rec.sport.disc/aSXOr2Pna1g/3Ev8xKes3LYJ or just search Usenet for "Nike". Oh right, Google doesn't really want to stop attacks. They want to consume all of your data.

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Google's latest ad push gives LONE LAWMAKER the creeps

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: For my curiosity

Google has their Android apps set up to require Google+ and I honestly can't figure out what it is either. It appears to be a mix of extreme personal data harvesting and a vast wasteland reviews generated by malware. It's very easy to replace Chrome, Maps, and GMail with privacy honoring alternatives so Google should be careful.

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Post-PC world? POST-MAC WORLD more like

Kevin McMurtrie
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Devil

Make it dumber

Clearly Apple needs to dumb down their desktop products some more. Get rid of the filesystem, get rid of expansion, get rid of open markets for applications, ditch the standards, and allow no one to separate their data from the iCloud. Everybody secretly wishes that they had an incredibly expensive, heavy, and non-portable iPhone.

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Google's Wi-Fi not good enough for its home town

Kevin McMurtrie
Bronze badge

Here comes an old copy of Windows to burn the place down

Neighboring city Sunnyvale used to have free WiFi too from a different company. The problem was that infected Windows machines would nuke the entire neighborhood's network. Their probing, attacks, and ARP "who-has" packets for nonsense addresses kept the network perpetually saturated. WiFi can't tolerate before it's useless.

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Panasonic throws in towel on plasma tellies, preps for BILLION-dollar kick in pants

Kevin McMurtrie
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Good glowing bits, bad software

I own a TCP50V10 from Panasonic. It nice, but it should have been awesome for how much it cost. Out of the box it needed adjustments to fix green shadows. There's an on/off switch for video AGC but it doesn't work. It's not very bright and it has two layers of strong glare in the viewing area but anti-glare coatings on the frame. The software is absolute garbage. MPEG4 support is stamped all over the box but such a tiny feature subset is supported that you'll never get it running. DLNA and local network features are not supported in the US. VieraCast displays a multi-deminsional grid of features that never arrived. The YouTube player doesn't understand aspect ratios and can't support some audio codecs. Amazon VOD proxies through Panasonic servers, which can't stop crashing long enough for a preview to load. There's no support for surround sound except passing through the OTA stream to another device. It's an epic failure as a high-end digital-era TV.

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London plod plonks, er, pull request on EasyDNS

Kevin McMurtrie
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Big Brother

"are suspected to be involved"

There are a dangerous number of process shortcuts in that police demand that should not be tolerated.

The document makes it clear that there are only suspicions of a crime. I'm sure ICANN gets lots of angry troll mail and that they are adept at dismissing them. The proper first step would be to ask EasyDNS to validate the ownership record. If EasyDNS claims it's legit, get a court order to investigate the owner. Should the ownership record prove to be false or point to an entity not entirely responsible for the domain, terminating the domain takes no more effort than filling out an online form and providing the evidence.

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NSA data centre launch delayed as power surges 'melt metal, zap racks'

Kevin McMurtrie
Bronze badge

Switching power supply feedback

High efficiency switching power have a constant volts*amps draw for a given demand. Another way to look at is is that the impedance is proportional to voltage. That's quite a problem if you're pushing the main power line near the limit. As the load increases, the voltage droops more, and the power supplies draw more current to maintain a constant power. Once the impedance of the power supplies is less than the impedance of the source, the voltage shoots towards zero. All of those switching power supplies will hit their undervoltage lock-out and turn off. The line voltage now recovers rapidly and overshoots. The power supplies turn back on and the on-off cycle continues. In small circuits, this makes an annoying buzzing sound and stuff gets hot. In massive arrays of circuits, things go BOOM.

Surely the NSA can find solutions in their "metadata" archive.

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Universal's High Fidelity Pure Audio trickles onto Blighty’s Blu-Ray hi-fis

Kevin McMurtrie
Bronze badge

Crap, we forgot the DRM on those Compact Discs!

As others have said, 44.1KHz at 16 bits per channel is plenty of bandwidth. It doesn't have enough spare bandwidth to accommodate editing, but it's plenty for the final format.

This is more about trying to get rid of those pesky, unencrypted Compact Discs. It has been tried many times before and this will be yet another failure. People who buy music want to play it anywhere and anytime. Save the DRM efforts for cheap rentals.

If somebody wanted to convince me to buy a new disc, it would be to gain unencrypted access to the master tracks. There are many great albums that have been butchered by low quality or poorly stylized production. Release an open-source app to share sound board commands with other owners of the discs and now sales are on fire.

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Tech specs wreck: Details of Google's Nexus 5 smartphone LEAKED over interwebs

Kevin McMurtrie
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No SD card

It seems that Google is, like Apple, realizing that the best way to know what everybody is doing all of the time is to not allow storage upgrades. You can't have people downloading OpenStreetMap databases and breaking Google's realtime tracking and marketing analysis. You can't have people loading their phone up with music files or you don't know what people are listening to. You certainly can't have people storing images and videos in their phone because then you don't know who they're with. Send it to the cloud, process it, and see how far you can push the "creepy line."

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'Safest car ever made' Tesla Model S EV crashes and burns. Car 'performed as designed'

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mushroom

Re: I don't think it's fair...

Lots of water is good for a burning Li-ion battery. The electricity has already turned into heat so it hardly matters that the water conducts a tiny bit. There's nothing to do but prevent the heat from spreading. It's likely that electric cars of the future will have a connector where firefighters can instantly flood the battery packs with water and activate discharging shunts on the cells.

A battery fire on a ship is different because you don't want to be standing in a pool of electrified water.

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HGST hoiks out Death Valley-proof hi-cap HDD

Kevin McMurtrie
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Everything's fine...the clicking is nothing

IBM's drive tech must carry a curse. Every Hitachi drive that came with my computers failed within two years, which is only a few months better than the infamous IBM "Deathstars". I could maybe forgive that but I can't forgive that the SMART status always said that everything was perfectly fine even as the drive's media was deteriorating faster than blocks could be re-mapped to spares. That's willful incompetence.

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US spy court says internet firms can't report surveillance requests

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mushroom

We tried to call you but nobody answered for the past few days

Release it anyway. The US Government is owned by big corporations so nothing bad is going to happen except for some lame lawsuits that Microsoft and Google can easily tarpit and smother. It will be the best PR that they could ever imagine. Besides, I expect that the courts will soon be overwhelmed with lawsuits related to this "shutdown" circus.

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All roads lead to Darwin ahead of solar challenge flag-fall

Kevin McMurtrie
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Headmaster

Ah Wh J ?

First, the abbreviation for amps uses a capital 'A' and hours uses a lower case 'h'. Second, "40 aH" doesn't say anything about power without knowing the volts. The voltage varies by charge, and nobody wants to integrate a curve to read an article on a Sunday night, so watt hours is what's needed here. Amp hours is only used for standard battery packs where the voltage is obvious.

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EU move to standardise phone chargers is bad news for Apple

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Standardised connector... like, err, Micro USB

Forget the extra pins hack for charging. USB already has a trivial mechanism for specifying current. When the data lines are active, power is negotiated via USB protocol. When the data lines are shorted together in the charger, power is regulated via voltage droop. That is, the device draws as much power as it can without the voltage going out of spec. The charger lets the voltage droop when it's at its limit. It's taking advantage of two features - over current protection and under voltage protection - that are already efficiently implemented in many switching power supplies. It also means that a stack of solar cells and a 5.1V zener diode shunt works perfectly with out any fancy tech. Imagine getting that approved by Apple.

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