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* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

594 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

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Boffins explain LED inefficiencies

Kevin McMurtrie
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Black Helicopters

Fricken lasers

Manufacturing is driving costs too. An LED's layers are built at very high temperature so a big chip would warp and crack when cooled. This limits production to small sizes on synthetic sapphire. I suspect that one reason that the US DOE is looking specifically at higher intensities is for using LEDs to pump lasers.

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Verizon: 96 PER CENT of state-backed cyber-spying traced to China

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Great firewall of China

Unfortunately, large countries with well maintained networks must also use APNIC allocations. Blocking the constant stream of intrusion attempts from China, Korea, and Taiwan isn't as simple as adding a bunch of /8 CIDRs. Australia, New Zealand, and Japan should tell APNIC to get their crap together and release all of those giant IPv4 blocks with invalid registrations. Electronic intrusions and espionage attempts would drop instantly.

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Java still vulnerable despite recent patches

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

If you can't create tech, criticize it

This is like a new version of the old phrase, "Java != JavaScript." This time it's "Java != browser." There's nothing at all wrong with having Java installed on a system. It's one of maybe a dozen execution environments that are on a typical machine. All of them are safe to have installed yet all of them can destroy your computer if told to. The problem, as usual, is with browser plugins. Plugins are a gateway to a large and complex codebase that hackers will try to exploit. Sun tried to create a Security Manager to constrain untrusted code but, as with Flash, the complexity has gotten out of control.

1) Set all plugins to "on demand" so they don't execute unless you click them.

2) Don't click them unless you know what you're running.

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'Charge memory' boffins: Hungover Li-Ion batts tell fat whoppers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Hi-C

Most effects are seldom noticed because the battery stays within normal tolerances. I've found that the charge history has the biggest impact when running the batteries at high currents. It's not always the classical memory effect, but how material in the battery packs together or crystalizes. For example, a NiCd race car battery that has been partially discharged, idled, and then slowly recharged puts out maybe 1/3 the current of one that was run dead and rapidly recharged immediately before use. SLAs have similar issues with how the sponge lead forms. Finding documentation on this is tough and experimenting on lithium batteries means destroying them (and maybe other things nearby).

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New rules to end cries of 'WTF... a £10 online booking fee?'

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mushroom

Re: TicketMaster "Ticketfast" Charges

£2.50 sounds like a bargain. US Ticketbastard fees are commonly 50% the ticket price, even for expensive events. Disgust and lack of a box office keeps me away from most concerts.

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Patent shark‘s copyright claim could bite all Unix

Kevin McMurtrie
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Happy

Disbelief

Pics or it didn't happen

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Sprint, Softbank to swear off Huawei kit as condition of merger

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Instead, use buggy routers not yet known to be buggy

This is another case of the government outlawing a symptom rather than a cause. Rather than mandate quality and security reviews, one they have outlawed one company known to make easily exploitable hardware. With this stupid mentality, the winner will be the least tested manufacturer.

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South Korean TV and banks paralysed in disk-wipe cyber-blitz

Kevin McMurtrie
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Self-inflicted wound

Korea's networks have always been a mess of infected machines and botnets. My bet is that a few C&C servers for those bots were hacked and provided with self-destruct code; all the dead machines were bots. If so, thumbs up to whoever did it. My firewall logs just got a lot shorter.

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What's most important? Bandwidth over kilo-miles, or milli-watts?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

Delivered

This is great news. Now AT&T can provide slow and overpriced Internet & TV bundles to 400 times as many people.

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Tech fest 'net activists offer free 'Super Wi-Fi': Now go tell the FCC

Kevin McMurtrie
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Meh

The other kind of taking back

What happens when you buy one of these devices and then the whitespace becomes used up? Maps for urban areas show TV frequency usage is nearly complete. Is the device returnable, bricked and useless, or do people hack it to trample licensed frequencies?

I use a rooftop antenna for TV and I'll probably have to buy Internet from a point-to-point wireless service. Comcast and AT&T won't deliver decent service by wires but the regional geography works well for wireless. I worry about what happens when these devices get hacked to use spectrum that isn't available.

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Big Blue touts superfast analogue-digital converter

Kevin McMurtrie
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Noise

Sample aliasing creates a huge amount of noise. A fast 8 bit DAC is more accurate than a slower 14 bit DAC for high frequencies. That 3.1mW power draw, if correct, is amazing.

RF DACs don't need many bits because they're usually receiving very noisy signals. If you took a very snowy analog TV image and converted it to a 256 color PNG, it would look pretty much the same.

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PayPal founder sets up mobile payment service verified by FACEBOOK

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

Fine now

I've always considered PayPal to be unsafe for transactions because it's lacking consumer protections. Partnering with a good solid system like Facebook solves all of that.

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APT1, that scary cyber-Cold War gang: Not even China's best

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Re: More critical reading is needed

Try reporting hacking incidents and it's clear that the Chinese government is all for it. To start with, the network contacts for Chinanet and many of the Chinese schools have been fake for about a decade.

South Korea and Taiwan are probably involved too. Maybe not directly or intentionally, but they have incredible numbers of bots that are constantly hacking away at every IP address on the Internet. As with China, the network contacts for HiNet (Chunghwa Telecom) and KORNET (KT Corporation) are not functional.

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Mobile TV is BACK: Ericsson launches broadcast video for 4G

Kevin McMurtrie
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pause/rewind/skip

So they've never heard of local buffering? They're probably sending 2Mbps - not a big deal to dump into flash.

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Apple FINALLY fills gaping Java hole that pwned its own devs

Kevin McMurtrie
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Duh

"But to use the malware removal tool you have to install Java and this is perhaps not the best idea especially since the language has become a prime target for hacking attacks of late, as Sean Sullivan of security software firm F-Secure notes."

Install Java but don't enable the browser applet plugin. Java by itself is no danger.

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Satanic Renault takes hapless French bloke on 200km/h joyride

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Explicit Kill Switch

All cars should have a mechanical handbrake that kills the ABS power when lifted. It's not such a large kill switch to unsafely disable the car but it's enough to stop when the electronics are malfunctioning. (I've been in Cavalier with crap electronics. If the ABS says you can't use the brakes then you really can't use the brakes. The pedal pops up with more force than even the pedal can withstand.)

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Now UK must look out for crappy SPACE weather - engineers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Childcatcher

Peeps

I looked at the PDF briefly (as fast as it could scroll) but didn't see how this relates to humans. Perhaps The Reg could bring out the Playmobil set for those of us with a short attention span?

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Hard Glass Spinner Technology: HGST's new 2.5-incher

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Glass platter

I opened up some of those IBM "Death Star" drives and I recall the platters being incredibly strong and more flexible than aluminum.

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Fujitsu reveals data transfer protocol 30 times faster than TCP

Kevin McMurtrie
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Yet another bad research paper

I don't think I've ever seen TCP run at 1/30 efficiency except when selective ACK is off and hardware is failing. Making my ADSL2 or WiMAX connection 30x faster would break the known laws of physics for crappy telcos. I could turn down the ADSL S/N ratio until I'm burning away my all FEC bits and I'd only get 1.2x throughput. Maybe they mean that their protocol has 1/30 the latency of TCP on a network that's heavily congested with TCP traffic? If they've come up with a super-polite traffic-avoiding network protocol then they can expect people to tune it to be greedy like TCP.

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Mayer! predicts! mobile! personalized! future! for! Yahoo! at! Davos!

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Not in the clouds but the sand

Hopefully this fourth wave finally drags Yahoo out to sea and buries it. They're a vast digital ghost town of run down services with no inhabitants. Their web portal is a complete wreck of ad content that hijacks the page layout. It won't load reliably without an ad blocker yet links don't work with one. How is this same portal is going to safely collect data to build an "interest graph?" I see maybe two Yahoo e-mail addresses a year that aren't a 419 scam, phishing scam, or spam from yet another person with a stolen Yahoo account. The ROI of firing the anti-abuse staff should be clear now.

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Ofcom mulls dishing out a world of hertz for RFID tags, radio cars

Kevin McMurtrie
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Getting warmer

My smart meter is useless for finding ways to save energy. What works much better is going around the house with a handheld infrared thermometer. One big warm spot traced to an Onkyo slave amp that was consuming 150W in standby mode. Some wall warts were running hot enough to justify replacements. I also know where the insulation has fallen off from under the floor.

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Dotcom's Mega smacks back: Our crypto's not crap

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: dedupe

Hash before encryption is it. Nobody will know what is in your original and personally created data but the hash matches will allow for reverse lookup of known files. Very small files could be brute-force decoded. It's not great privacy.

Big hashes do create false positives sometimes so there can be data loss. Sure, it's a chance of 1 in an nearly infinitely big number, but the amount of data in the world is nearly infinite too. Math says that a smaller number of bits can't represent all the patterns of a larger number of bits.

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China turns to no-name handsets: Android - without the Google-iness

Kevin McMurtrie
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Linux

Payback

Google rose to power by leveraging free software (and stolen content) like no other company had done before. Companies claiming it was unfair were left in the dust. I'm curious what Google will do when China does the same back to them.

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Viruses infect vital control systems at TWO US power stations

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Why are they backing up to a Flash Drive in the first place?

A USB drive can be used to bridge the air-gap protecting a critical system. It works well because it's a manual process that can't run itself while everybody is away. Of course, you need to keep an eye on the details or all of that security is pointless.

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Korean boffins crack art of bendy batteries

Kevin McMurtrie
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Bendy bricks

Bendy Korean phones? We need new slang. I call my Samsung Galaxy SII a 'brick' because it's a solid rectangular mass that often performs no function except being that mass. I can send it to Samsung for warranty repair but then it comes back completely 'bricked' and needs the ROMs re-flashed by Sprint. The next generation is going to think we're nuts when phones are flexible.

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Kill that Java plugin now! New 0-day exploit running wild online

Kevin McMurtrie
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Click to activate

You should set ALL browser plugins to only activate when clicked. Plugins are used for complex tasks that HTML 5 can't handle, and complex tasks always have bugs.

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Standards sultan sanctifies 60GHz wireless LAN tech

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Time to prepare for more cases of electromagnetic hypersensitivity?

Luckily, 60GHz won't penetrate your your head. Crawly skin is still theoretically possible if the WiFi transmission pulses happen to sync with your nerves. (Sensitive people should try setting a 1000ms beacon interval.)

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Zombie BT mobile patent emerges in hands of troll

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

A mix tape of hair metal ballads for you

This tech was a big deal towards the end of the 1980 decade when analog cordless phones talked to your landline base station at tens of MHz and Radio Shack still had electronics. First cordless phones had a sliding frequency switch on the handset and base. Next they had a frequency hopping button on the handset. Finally they hopped frequencies themselves. No multiplexors, no QAM, no side bands, and no codecs; just simple 1980s analog processing. Good luck with the trolling.

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USB 3.0 speed to DOUBLE in 2013

Kevin McMurtrie
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If it was...

Dialup: USB 3.0v.2

DSL: USB 3.02+

WiFi: USB 3.0g

Cell: USB 3.0 LTE

Apple: Corona Cord

Windows: Enterprise USB

Intel: Penngrove

Audi: 2013 USB S3

Bargain bin: USB 3.0 v2.2 ultra speed 1000GHz

Government: USB 3.0 Section 521, Article 134.5.c

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Graphene plus molybdenum oxides yields faster electronics

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Re: What do you do with it afterward?

Disposal? It's another form of inert solid carbon atoms. You can buy low grade sheets of it called "pyrolytic graphite" at electronics stores. It feels a bit like paper but can be infinitely sliced horizontally like mica. Hold one side of the sheet to a candle and it will burn your fingers. Place it over a very strong magnet and it may levitate. Those small sheets are used for spreading heat in high power microelectronics.

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Polaroid plans retail Fotobars to print out your pics

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

And next to Polaroid

I'll set up a kiosk where you can drop in a Polaroid and get a digital image, converting those misguided gifts back into something useful. For a few more pennies I'll send it to Shutterfly where they'll have backups of backups of backups keeping the bits safe and ready to convert into a new retro gift.

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Boffins build elastic wires with liquid metal

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: resistance

Figure out how to make magnetohydrodynamic headphones. I'm sure they'd be technically awful but for audiophile junkies they'd be worth their weight in oxygen-free gold.

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China 'enhances' Great Firewall, teaches it to choke off VPNs

Kevin McMurtrie
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Big Brother

Only spam works at China Unicom

There hasn't been even a slight glitch in postscan, spam, and intrusion attempts coming from China Unicom to my firewall. The official contact "abuse@cnc-noc.net" still doesn't work. Its a surprise that outgoing packet rejection still needs to be done on China's side.

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Windows Firefox stiffs Adobe Flash, plays H.264 YouTube vids

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Hurry up Google - switch off H.264 on YouTube.

I have yet to see tests showing that VP8 is more efficient than H.264. Would you rather pay your regional telco monopoly more money for more bandwidth?

Efficient codecs that play at 60 fps are REALLY hard. That kind of research is not within the realm of your average open source developer.

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Samsung mobes pwned by ANY APP, thanks to chip code hole

Kevin McMurtrie
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Don't hold your breath

Many of us with the "Epic 4G" version of the Galaxy SII still have unresolved issues with the phone after over a year. GPS radio dies, cell radio dies, Bluetooth dies, WiFi/3G/4G goes to sleep while in use, the notification light doesn't work, it destroys batteries, and the soft keys don't always work. The camera works well but forget about using it as a phone or data device. Samsung repair says it "passes all tests", even when they have returned it to me dead, and Sprint has never been more helpful than removing bad software patches installed by Samsung.

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Ocean seeding a dead duck as carbon solution

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Re: I wonder if there is a way to process atmospheric CO2 into graphite?

Bonding the carbon and oxygen atoms together produced the energy that's running the world. At least as much energy is needed to pull them back apart. There are solar powered devices that are not only capable of pulling the atoms apart, but can self-repair and self replicate. They're called plants.

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GE boffins build micro-lungs to cool PC innards

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

GE not visiting the electronics store much

They're called "synthetic jet" fans and they're already on the market.

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Astronomers find biggest black hole, 17 BILLION times the size of Sun

Kevin McMurtrie
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Joke

It's the caption's fault

"A really, really, really big hole (click to enlarge)"

-click-

-click-

-click-

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Ten four-bay NAS boxes

Kevin McMurtrie
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For when the world isn't perfect

I use NAS for backups so I like to see some protection against the usual problems.

What happens when a power failure interrupts writes? What happens when the NAS is in redundant mode and a disk fails? Does it send an e-mail, blink an LED that will never be seen, or pretend like nothing is wrong? What happens when a failed drive is replaced? Can bundled drives be replaced under warranty without long downtime? There are plenty of NAS out there that claim RAID 5 protection but are unusable for days when something goes wrong. I recall and old D-Link and a more recent LaCie 5big that needed to be wiped clean and shipped for warranty drive replacement. Even if they had simply sent me a new drive, they would have needed days to rebuild too. I don't like being without backups for days/weeks so I end up buying a different brand of NAS and giving away the old one when it comes back. What a waste of money.

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Next big thing for hard drives: self-assembling polymers

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Shrinking the font size on stone tablets

This two dimensional surface nanotechnology is cool but the third dimension in hard drives remains enormous. Memory circuits that could be laid down in thin layers would have more storage even if the two dimensional density of each layer is very low. More research there, please.

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One in seven North American home networks full of malware

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Not clicking that

"Kindsight therefore has a vested interest in talking up the malware threat..."

That's not what's tainting the results. Most people would never install Kindsight's software. Those that would have likely installed many worse things.

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Underdone iTunes put back in oven for another month

Kevin McMurtrie
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Going MTV

You can sum up what the iTunes universe should do in just two lines.

iTunes - Gather a big list of media and play it.

iTunes Store - Figure out what you like and sell you more.

Neither does a good job at those simple core requirements. Shoveling more iCloud at it isn't the fix.

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Young Frenchwoman desperate for fat pipe tumbles out of window

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

The other first

When are you Brits going to stop calling the second floor a "first floor"? "First above the ground" makes it, from any rational point of view, the second floor. I can see the French doing it to preserve quirky ancient cultures and all that, but this is a bleeding edge, high tech, serious online publication here. Even computer nerds know that an element at index zero is the first element, not the first after the zeroth.

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Panasonic gets second chance with £4.7 BEEELION bailout

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Build, sell, dump

Today we have expectations that a very complex product might not be 100% when it's first sold but it will be 100%, or even better, with a software upgrade that comes out soon after the purchase. What I've been seeing more and more of is that companies sell their tech long before it's ready and then immediately abandon it. Customers feel cheated and boycott the brand for years. That's the experience I got with a very expensive Panasonic TV (MPEG4 never implemented, Netflix failing, YouTube failing) and a very expensive Panasonic HD video camera (false resolution claims, missing software, and AVCHD metadata is incorrect). My mother had that experience with an upscale Panasonic microwave oven (blew internal fuses due to a power inverter design flaw).

The best news for Panasonic is that their competitors are doing this too. The bad news is that people may spend their money on non-tech instead.

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Just how good is Nokia's PureView 41Mp camera tech?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Fat pixels

They're amazing for a cellphone but I call BS on the resolution. Zoom in to the high res images and search for anything that has an optical resolution better than 3x3 pixels. It's not there. The prototype sample photos from Nokia actually had 3x3 bricks where there were unmasked defective pixels.

The technical white paper indicated that there are 41 M sensors for superior noise reduction and digital zoom, but said the rest of the hardware must process a downsampled or cropped image. My bet is that the marketing department demanded the 41Mpix back even if it meant upsampling after downsampling.

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Larry couldn't, but we can: Upstart Waratek touts cloudy Java love

Kevin McMurtrie
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10 in 1

Running many JVMs is awful for efficiency, just as is running many OS VMs. The JVM was designed to run friendly apps concurrently with very little coding effort. Potentially hostile apps may be run concurrently with a bit more effort but Oracle will need to address that trickle of vulnerabilities that are posted each week.

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Hitachi claims glass data storage will last millions of years

Kevin McMurtrie
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I remember when...

you had to use a chisel on a rock.

It seems to me that the longest surviving storage medium to date is DNA. The best way to keep data alive is to keep reproducing it with error correction.

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'Over half' of Android devices have unpatched holes

Kevin McMurtrie
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Shut up and pay

Apple managed to take a lot of power from the telcos with the first iPhone but most customers still don't control the very phone they pay so much for. The mix of Google, Samsung, and Sprint screwing with the software has made my Galaxy S2 unreliable at best. Now I'm one of the many getting stuck in roaming mode without service. Me repeatedly sending it in for warranty repairs is more of a protest than a way to make any actual progress.

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Reg hack runs Windows 8 on 82-inch touchscreen

Kevin McMurtrie
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Joke

82 inch TV

You have a large child.

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