* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

960 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

Smartphone boutique OnePlus reveals another model you can’t get

Kevin McMurtrie
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On to something

These ceramic cases could be a big deal if OPO/OPPO can work out the manufacturing issues. Aluminum needs to be sliced up to pass RF, glass can't handle impacts, and reinforced plastics flex too much. Too there aren't enough LTE bands on that phone.

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DEFCON 1 to DEFCON GONE: One of NORAD's spy blimps goes missing

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

It was an "accident"

After reading the specifications, the mission, and what it looks like. Yeah, accident.

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Apple: We're going to sell $77bn worth of iStuff this holiday season

Kevin McMurtrie
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Never buy a telco branded phone - they're custom OS builds that don't get updates. Buy the OEM version.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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iWhat?

What's the hot iDevice? Fanatics in the Apple ecosystem probably already have the late model iPhone, iPad, Watch, or Mac that they want. Recent upgrades have been minor technical bumps and more iOS/OSX convergence - nothing to stand in line for. That leaves the Apple TV as hot a gift item, and I don't see it racking up $77,000,000,000 in sales for Q4. Maybe five or six Apple pencils will sell too.

Surely Apple will personally follow up with The Reg to provide details.

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IoT's sub-GHz 802.11ah Wi-Fi will be dead on arrival, warn analysts

Kevin McMurtrie
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Junk drawer chipset?

Why the worry to combine all of the WiFi protocols into one box? The access point could be a little box with a 10/100 Mbps PoE jack and a simple web interface to set power levels and authentication. The typical "WiFi VPN Firewall Router with dual WAN, dual USB, and 4 port switch" monstrosity is already so complicated that most people don't have them working correctly.

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Bosch, you suck! Dyson says VW pal cheated in vacuum cleaner tests

Kevin McMurtrie
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Meh

Aw, poor Dyson

Maybe Dyson is upset because those centrifuges and layers of filters result in an incredibly power hungry vacuum cleaner that doesn't move much air, regardless of how fancy the motor is. On the positive side, a Dyson consumes less power when those filters that never clog or need changing become clogged or need changing.

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ITU rubber-stamps '3D' audio format

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

The new spec looks awful. Like the old QuickTime/MP4 container, it requires two passes to assemble so it can not be streamed live. It's not clear why they bothered with broadcast metadata. I also saw no mention of compression, phasing/placement metadata, and all that good stuff needed for high quality surround sound to work. Their sample has two tracks of PCM stereo plus six tracks of PCM 5.1. Ouch. That's not how 5.1 works.

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Sprint sprints away from no-throttle policy – punishes 'unlimited' network hoggers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Wow

I'm impressed that some parts of Sprint are fast enough that anyone could hit 23 GB in a month.

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Ad networks promise to do something about the awful adverts you're all blocking, like, real soon

Kevin McMurtrie
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The very worst part is that people still somehow manage to make purchases without seeing ads. It's almost as if they weren't even... No, that can't be!

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You can hack a PC just by looking at it, say 3M and HP

Kevin McMurtrie
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Meh

The 1980s called; wants to sell you a pocket TV

Early models of LCDs did this naturally and it was extremely costly to fix until recently. Maybe somebody found a huge stash of old screens after buying the Palm campus.

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Is streaming pirate video legal? Europe's highest court will take a look

Kevin McMurtrie
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Coat

Sure, 'Pan' got terrible reviews and the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series seems to be forever undead, but I don't think pirate video needs to be illegal.

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Laser razor binned from Kickstarter resurfaces on Indiegogo

Kevin McMurtrie
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Please clean every ten whiskers

Part of the physics behind this razor are sound. You constrain a medium power laser within a light pipe using total internal reflection. As soon as a whisker contacts the light pipe, the laser will leak out and burn the whisker away. A smart circuit could vary laser power so that it's only running on high when the light is leaking.

Now for the bad part: A dirty light pipe doesn't work. Every bad cook knows that burned proteins and oils stick to anything, and more heat makes it worse. I doubt anyone has yet invented a tiny light pipe that will keep itself clean without lots of smoke, burned skin, and maintenance.

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Android users left at risk... and it's not even THEIR FAULT this time!

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Cambridge boffins

There's more to malware than botnets and lost files. Much of what's in Google Play Store is garbage of some kind trying to get easy ad revenue. You might think you're clean, but you might have a few impostor apps that do exactly what you expect but send ad revenue to a different developer. Or maybe they collect a bit of extra information of extra value. Lots of apps even have Google Play Store reviews with proof that they're malware.

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Pitchforks, torches, and awful quotes – we read what Cisco's CEO said

Kevin McMurtrie
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Why did everyone bring a box to work?

The death of a big company: Management keeps getting bigger and bigger, processes get heavier and heavier, more accidents happen in the rush to maintain productivity, new processes are continuously added to prevent old accidents from happening again, no more real work can get done, and the chain of managers pushes down a mandate for everyone to work harder.

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Who gets Teslas made and throws Apple shade? It's… MUSK!

Kevin McMurtrie
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It's all a show to keep the team players happy. Maybe Musk has been hanging with Legere.

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Talk revealing p0wnable surveillance cams pulled after legal threat

Kevin McMurtrie
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Not so many, really

There really aren't very many cameras sold on Amazon. Most of them are the same handful of cameras rebranded over and and over. Even companies that you'd expect to actually make cameras are sticking their label on something else.

This turned out to be extremely frustrating when I was looking for a security camera. Those few cameras have completely garbage firmware running under a patchwork of open source Linux software that somebody likely found on a sketchy FTP site 10 years ago. I'd open the box of a brand new camera and realize it was the same as the old camera. Default login won't stay off, pages not checking authentication, and much easier to crash than to keep running. I eventually started asking companies to send me sample videos so I could compare headers.

I'm guessing that TRENDnet was the vendor that said they have no idea what to do. Their TV-IP310PI is a defective Hikvision camera that they can't support. Other models may be similar.

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Ad-slinging rootkit nasty permanently drills into Android mobes, tabs

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Google Play Store is a malware wasteland

I consider it great luck when I find something in Google's Play Store that isn't malware. Google doesn't take abuse reports seriously, if at all, and they still require G+ signup to rate apps. The author of the software might have good intentions but it's hooked up to an ad service that hijacks the app. First launch shows "This application needs an update for media library v2" or "This application is no longer supported. Please use the current version." then starts installing more crap if you don't decline or uninstall. That's followed by endless half-assed phishing ads like "This iPhone is infected. Click here to repair."

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Verizon now owns AOL, so AOL now owns your web browsing habits, other personal info

Kevin McMurtrie
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Terminator

Remember the good old days when humans were customers rather than marketing targets?

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Chocolate Factory plops Marshmallow on Android slabs

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Google has also sought to make the Google Now virtual assistant more prevalent with Marshmallow

Google is the new evil carrier that throws gigabytes of battery draining shovelware onto your phone. I wouldn't recommend their customized OS any more than one from a telco. Third party AOSP builds are nicely trimmed down.

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Rackspace turns into a fanatical AWS cloud-flinger

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mushroom

Spammed lightning

Is this to streamline creating those spams that redirect through Cake Marketing/Rackspace then land on an Amazon hosted phishing site? It looks like it was a lot of effort to create them yet I get many per week. The next product can sell templates for the usual fake store fronts - pharmacy, company, solar installer, courthouse, package delivery, photo sharing, etc.

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Like your job at Sprint? Yeah, about that ... $2.5bn in cuts coming

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mushroom

Re: Customer Disservice

Service was always prompt for me. I'd bring the phone to their store with a problem and then they'd return it minutes later saying, "We erased everything and did a factory reset so it's probably fixed now. Bring it in again if it has more problems." I bet they proudly displayed statistics showing that people rarely returned with a problem after the first service.

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Boeing builds British Airways 787 Dreamliner in 4 minutes

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Nice video.

Good catch! The back side of the tail wasn't blurred to match the low quality camera and the mask is slightly misaligned.

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Tegile thrashes rivals in race to supply vomit-free krill pills seller

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Biiiiiig data

Marketing-centric retail is hard. They likely very prices for each item based on many static and dynamic factors. That results in an enormous and ever-growing hidden catalog to support a consistent experience each customer. They'd also be recording as much tracking data as possible for "customer retention" programs and marketing pattern analysis. Throw on top of that millions of single-use coupons, reusable promo codes, customer-to-customer recommendations, gift cards, billing information, and hopefully some fat crypto. Now it's getting to be a big database.

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Microsoft and Google ink SECRET TREATY to end all their patent wars

Kevin McMurtrie
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Oracle

So what does Oracle, owner and destroyer of Java, think of this? Anyone checked the height of Larry's fountain at HQ?

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Want cheaper AT&T gigabit service? Move to a Google Fiber city

Kevin McMurtrie
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Meh

Checking my Silicon Valley address...

Across the street from new LinkedIn, Apple, and Google campuses, AT&T is offering 3 Mbps to compete with Comcast's 0 to 150 Mbps. For those not satisfied with having just AT&T and Comcast to choose from, there are two other internet companies that can resell those same connections at much higher prices.

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Hands on with Google's Nexus 5X, 6P Android Marshmallow mobes

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Still don't want Chinese Kit!

As an owner of an Chinese phone, I can assure you that the OEM software is not sending your personal data to China. It's sending all of your minute-by-minute personal details Google, like every other stock Android phone. The good news is that the Chinese phone makers let you replace the stock OS with one having a bit of privacy and decency built in.

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Overheating iPhone 6S+ BLINDED my cam, cries flashgate fanboy

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Samsung

White LEDs are inefficient when hot but they're hardly hurt by it. I overloaded some to test what would happen if their regulator failed. Over and over again, the LEDs would unsolder themselves before suffering any noticeable harm.

My guess is that the phone is protected with PTC fuses - little components that stop conducting while hot. They can protect against wire fire, battery damage, and overheating due to software malfunction. The downside is that they aren't a good match for modern heat tolerant components. They'd have a very downgraded current threshold in a phone.

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OnePlus 2: Disappointing Second Album syndrome strikes again

Kevin McMurtrie
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LTE

The biggest problem with cheap high-spec phones is the lack of LTE bands. Most of them have two sets of two or three diverse bands to choose from, with hopefully one set having one band that is used in your region. The OnePlus Two is better than average in this respect. I count 8 LTE bands in the North American model.

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We saw the future: Apart from the bath apps it looks like the past

Kevin McMurtrie
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"cable was too short to reach the socket"

The perfect metaphor for this design show.

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NOxious Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal: Chief falls on sword

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Has anyone got any real details?

Modern cars tend try to run the engine at heavy acceleration as much as possible for efficiency. The gas pedal modulates the transmission to use the highest gear possible for the desired power. Extra RPM is extra friction and extra exhaust. This has been the only trick left after already optimizing combustion, accessory loads, tires, transmission, aerodynamics, etc. This is also why modern AT cars have such terrible acceleration lag. The engine is already near maximum torque so you must wait for a gear change.

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Shattered Skype slowly staggers to its feet after 15-HOUR outage outrage

Kevin McMurtrie
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The old days of Skype

Modern cell phones can do text messaging, voice calls, and they're starting to get video chat. My cell provider does cheaper International calls for $10/month. My landline is toll-free to much of the world and has better rates than Skype when there's a fee. Best of all, none of the non-Skype solutions will seize your account balance due to "fraud" when you make a call from a foreign country.

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AWS outage knocks Amazon, Netflix, Tinder and IMDb in MEGA data collapse

Kevin McMurtrie
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Facepalm

Cloud?

I don't think you can call it a cloud if it's all in one datacenter. That's just called a "datacenter".

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Volkswagen used software to CHEAT on AIR POLLUTION tests, alleges US gov

Kevin McMurtrie
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Facepalm

Maybe in trouble

NOx is nasty stuff. It eats through engine parts, sidewalks, sculptures, buildings, soil, eyes, lungs, wildlife, and pretty much everything else. The trick will be for VW to fix the emissions without a class action lawsuit for the car no longer meeting advertised specifications. If VW was running the combustion chamber extra hot to meet soot regulations, then they're definitely facing a technical nightmare at this point.

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The last post: Building your own mail server, part 2

Kevin McMurtrie
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Pint

The path off MacOS

I have an original "Mac Mini Server" running MacOS 10.6. I know that an Apple upgrade will destroy every single configuration it has so the logical choice is a new Linux box. This nice set of instructions will probably shave a few hours off setup when that happens.

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Sharp's new TV has over 7,000 lines of pixels – but there's NOTHING TO WATCH

Kevin McMurtrie
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Meh

Solid 7Mbps ADSL or 0-75 Mbps from Cable?

I'm sure it will make my 3Mbps video streams really come to life. (as long as I'm not getting an e-mail at the same time)

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Android 5 lock-screens can be bypassed by typing in a reeeeally long password. In 2015

Kevin McMurtrie
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And the music player

At least in CM12.1, you can crash the lock screen if a song is playing. Just hammer all of the mini player's buttons as fast as you can until the OOM killer makes a visit or things start to crash.

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Twitter sued for 'reading' private direct messages

Kevin McMurtrie
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Boffin

Re: Next up

Somewhere there's a big database of every link ever found in a private message, and I'm betting that it's pretty easy to get other people's original URLs back out. Each recipient who clicks a shortened link is going to generate an access log entry. That's how it's not even remotely private.

They could get around this by not substituting the entire URL. Just substitute the domain and throw the rest after a '#'. A sent URL of "http://some.domain/private/secret/mystuff" becomes "https://t.co/domaincode/#private/secret/mystuff" when received. The part after the '#' anchor delimiter is never sent to servers by browsers but Twitter could return a document that can see it and reconstruct the original URL. Advertising metrics would be reduced but not entirely lost.

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Burn ALL the COAL, OIL – NO danger of SEA LEVEL rise this century from Antarctic ice melt

Kevin McMurtrie
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Paris Hilton

Take coal and oil out of the ground and fill the voids with sea water. All problems completely solved.

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Sierra Nevada snow hasn't been this bad since 1500AD

Kevin McMurtrie
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Pipe dream?

Some parts of CA still have water. I could pound a pipe down into my back yard and suck water out of it. Problem is, CA is 770 miles long and 250 miles wide with areas so dry that the forests are dead and burning down. Water conservation and desalinization won't change that. There's no statewide network of pipes that runs like an electric grid.

The strict water conservation efforts are about not sucking salt from the ground in remote areas using wells. For areas that do have water, there's moderate conservation just in case the drought continues for a few more years.

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3D printer blueprints for TSA luggage-unlocking master keys leak online

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

They have master keys?

I've never seen a TSA approved lock that didn't break when dropped on the ground.

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Cell-network content crunch needs new cache designs, say boffins

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: I study real mobile traffic in great detail in my day job.

ISPs commonly host third party edge cache servers. This greatly speeds up web pages that are heavily loaded with CSS, JS, and static images that block the initial layout. Software updates and streaming video are commonly hosted there too, which takes a big load off the ISP's pipes.

Getting this to work at or beyond cell towers needs new technology. Heavyweight HTTPS encryption is used to protect static data when all you really want is tamper resistance to stop malware injection. If there was a third option, like a digital signature, then caching would be possible without adding any additional crypto steps. Such caching could use small tower caches or even neighboring cell phones.

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iPhone 6 gives bloke 'painful, lumpy' skin condition in trouser storage

Kevin McMurtrie
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Terminator

Re: Options.......

Electroplate your leg with gold. (Hang on tight, this might tingle a little.)

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Files on Seagate wireless disks can be poisoned, purloined – thanks to hidden login

Kevin McMurtrie
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At what point is it no longer "hacking"

How open does a system need to be before it's no longer "hacking" to use it? Let us say that you have a big pile of money in your house next to a window. Breaking the window and stealing the money is illegal. Finding that the door is unlocked and stealing the money is still illegal. But maybe there's no house and no fence but just a pile of money with a "free money" sign along sidewalk. That's what I think of when this bug happens.

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Sexy sock puppets seduce security suckers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Facepalm

So, you're not saying that they're ALL fake

Computer geeks know that one-in-a-billion events happen frequently.

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Oracle laying off its Java evangelists? Er, no comment, says Oracle

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: About Time

What's replacement? PHP, Ruby, and Python have lightning fast development for small projects but their weak typing makes large projects a nightmare. Golang too often feels like an ancient language with a fresh coat of paint. C++11 and Java handle big apps well, but differently enough that I wouldn't want to be stuck with just one of them.

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Fruity Firefox: Mozilla caves to Apple, unveils iOS-friendly browser

Kevin McMurtrie
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Only the one Apple way

The scary thing about iPhones is that they're extremely expensive and there's never a Plan B. Got a bug? No workaround. WebKit crashing? No workaround. 0-day? Maybe you can wait for an update to come out or maybe the upgrade is nothing less than buying a new phone.

Android OSes tend to be lower in quality but there's always a workaround for major problems. It's essentially a fancy little Linux computer so you can swap the OS and apps without much hassle. Some phone makers let you download chip firmware too, so if the shiny new 2.x doesn't work you can go back to the old reliable 1.x.

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Why are Google and 'VW group' having a 'global summit' in San Francisco today?

Kevin McMurtrie
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FR3E CaNDY

Kidnapper van for nerds?

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Google: Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am – stuck in the middle of EU

Kevin McMurtrie
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Paris Hilton

super-smart

The same IQ as 9000 PE teachers

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China laments 'wild guesses and malicious slurs' on state hacking

Kevin McMurtrie
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We disagree with the stolen documents calling us hackers

Dear China,

GFYS. I have to firewall your government networks because the dictionary attacks drain my Internet bandwidth. You intentionally place false information in APNIC contacts. Finding a .cn domain registered with anything more accurate than "12323545 asdf 00000" is like winning the lottery. From all appearances, it seems like you host cybercrime with great pride.

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You gotta be in it to win it: The Register presents its official Programming Competition

Kevin McMurtrie
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Cloud development environments let you concentrate on the important part

That would be tracing, translating, and debugging RPCs. You haven't experienced "cloud" computing until you've dealt with fixed length RPCs using binary records, SOAP, Java RMI, JSON REST, Protocol Buffers, and my favorite of "I wrote this one night while drunk" which is usually some form of "put the file here then wait for a new file there."

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