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* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

654 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

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Oz pedestrians fall to 'Death by iPod'

Kevin McMurtrie
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Unhappy

Thump

AT&T ads in the US are demonstrating how you can go about your day, including crossing streets, with your eyes never leaving the TV show on your cellphone. This is sad because people too stupid to keep themselves alive will be unavoidably killed by responsible people. No doubt legislation will be passed to equip vehicles with heavy, expensive, fuel-consuming hardware to keep brainless TV tumbleweeds safe.

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Monster Afghan spy airship to feature quad drinking straws

Kevin McMurtrie
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Giant coffee bean

Maybe Starbucks will pay for upkeep if it's painted brown with their logo on it.

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Doc develops RSI-reducing rolling mouse

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

800dpi?

What does 800dpi mean for a device that pivots like a joystick? How does it perform nonlinear motion if you can't pick it up like a mouse or reposition your finger like a trackpad? With 2560x1600 being the new standard resolution, I can't imagine pointing to things with linear tracking. It would be like trying to support a telescope with your hands.

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Ikea forecasts fluffy, fully teched kitchen of the future

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Structural cohesion alert

Can this smart kitchen sense shelf weight, temperature, and humidity to accurately predict when broken particle board and dish fragments will be on my floor?

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Oracle hates discs, loves tape

Kevin McMurtrie
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A/N FSQ-7

Spinning tapes are good, but don't forget clattering relays and blinking lights to complete the mysterious supercomputer look.

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Want to use WD diagnostics? Buy Windows

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Datacenters?

Don't insane numbers of consumer hard drives go into low-cost datacenter network storage racks? They're definitely NOT running Windows there and, even if they did, nobody can run a software tool on each of a few thousand hard drives to configure them.

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Google patents search that tracks your mouse moves

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

iFinger

Do Google phones support cursor hovering?

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Apple, Google, NASA, and the Rainbow connection

Kevin McMurtrie
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Shoehorn

Back in 2006, a plot of land measuring 5000 square feet in the middle of Silicon Valley's endless urban sprawl cost $400000 to $700000. High elevation land with a view of the valley and easy access to expressways, like that area of Cupertino, costs enough to make even the wealthiest wince. It's why the mansions look bubble-shaped and squished.

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US Army trials Iron Man super-trooper exoskeleton

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Whoops!

What happens if you slip while carrying 300lbs at chest level? Do your legs snap off at an odd angle? Does the weight crush your arms and ribs when you hit the ground? Maybe lifting the load high off the ground isn't such a good idea.

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Waterfall Niagara speakers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Dampening is there

I've thought about building speakers like these for my home even before I saw these pics. You'll see from the photos that there are large dampeners around the woofers, holes in the passive resonator, and there's room for more dampening under the passive. My cost estimates were far lower and I still couldn't justify it, not even when it's a speaker, a sculpture, and a hobby project all at once. I was also going to use polycarbonate because it won't crack.

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Miniature Apple display spotted in the wild

Kevin McMurtrie
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Probably is a trackpad prototype

The long cables imply that it connects to something large like a laptop. Two complex cables implies two separate functions. There's a colored pattern on the screen that's too chunky for pixels but they could be light interference from touch sensing conductive films.

A visual trackpad sounds very cool but it would be useless without a new GUI paradigm. I doubt Apple wants so many GUIs at once - Mouse/Keyboard, Keyboard with gesture pad, Keyboard with visual gesture pad, iPhone/iPad, and iPod.

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Low-priced home digital media connections promised

Kevin McMurtrie
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Flame

Perfect for watching YouTube

Where is the need to send 21.6Gbps of video long distances? Not even in 10 years will there be a consumer device that can source that much REAL data. It makes more sense to send the video in its original storage format, which will remain 5 to 100Mbps for quite some time, and decompress to high bitrate pixels at the point of display.

100W over Cat 6 - It would take about 45V @ 1.2A on each of the four pairs to survive 100m. Fire icon, because thats what would happen if you had a coil of extra HDBaseT behind your TV.

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New surveillance-CSI method: Beverage hair-isotope trail

Kevin McMurtrie
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The Register to the rescue

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/01/holy_water/

Just don't commit any crimes in Lourdes.

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Brace yourself for 4TB drives next year

Kevin McMurtrie
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Unhappy

Consumer RAID lagging

Consumer RAIDs rebuild at 1 to 20 MB per second. That makes rebuilding a 4194304 MB disk not so fun.

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Moz tweaks extension crash controls in Firefox

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Can't finish in 10 seconds?

26 billion CPU clock cycles on seems generous.

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Microsoft dubs Windows Phone 7 'ad serving machine'

Kevin McMurtrie
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Gates Halo

Party like it's 1999, pack your things like it's 2001

Pleasing advertisers was the key to success in the 90s. That was followed dot-com decimation around the year 2000 when customers left seeking actual content. Bill Gates needs to pull a Steve Jobs - Return to MS to save it from doom.

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Vauxhall Ampera extended range e-car

Kevin McMurtrie
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Boffin

No shifting

Fancier electric motors work fine with a single gear ratio. Moving the torque curve can be done by changing voltage ranges, changing windings, or by mechanically moving the magnets.

I don't know why you're having traction control problems with an automatic gearbox. Good cars have precision control over wheel spin. An electric motor would be even more precise and a rat's nest of complex brake modulation plumbing would go away. It's just a matter of the engine control computer in an electric car knowing how to do it.

My only gripe about electric cars is that they're still lacking refinement. The technology isn't mature enough to build an affordable electric car that is durable, sporty, and efficient all at the same time. This car comes close but I have my doubts that being efficient for only the first 40 miles is good enough.

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Apple reels as Steve Jobs Flashturbates

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Uncool

Sure, Adobe went stale after the 1990s but many of the attacks were undeserved. Advertisers' desire to consume as many resources as possible will persist whether Flash exists or not. Remember high frame rate animated GIFs that looped forever? Advertisers will drain the battery with poorly coded H.264 and JavaScript animations too. Last time I checked, QuickTime wasn't any less prone to crashing than Flash, either. It's great to ban Flash because of its obsolescence but Apple's barbs will come around full-circle.

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Google tells staff to snub Windows after China hack snafu

Kevin McMurtrie
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Big Brother

ha

You missed the point. Google is worried about Google's security, not yours.

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Google turns on SSL encryption for search

Kevin McMurtrie
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Big Brother

Blocks referrer

I searched for my own site while watching the server logs. With plain http, a click produced my full Google query in my logs through the 'Referer' header. Https scoping blocked the referrer data, so this does have some value. Malware sites won't be able to create customized fake pages and it will prevent a dozen web sites knowing that you searched for "rapid corpse disposal."

It's good news for Google too. It makes their collected data very exclusive, and Google is all about making money from data.

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Consumers still want it hard

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

1.0 not there yet

Version 1.0 has lots of problems. High capacity systems are heavy, there's no backlight for low light reading, pages sometimes change on their own, it keeps losing bookmarks, there's no search, and I can't seem to unhighlight text. I've opened and closed the PTech several times hoping it would update itself, but no luck yet.

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Google's WiFi snoop - who knew and who didn't?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Big Brother

See? That didn't hurt. I'm really your friend.

Expect more harmless accidents to come from Google. It's desensitizing public to privacy intrusions and abuses of personal data, and it has been going on for years now.

Microsoft was called evil because they fought dirty to take control of your software. Google is all that and they want your data too.

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WiGig gets spec and Alliance endorsement

Kevin McMurtrie
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Like IR, but more invisible

60GHz sounds like it's going to have all the hassles of IR but with higher costs. What IR tech always lacks is a temporary visible beam to assist aiming. With a visible guiding beam, you could chose a common location on a wall or ceiling for all devices to bounce their signal off of.

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Applesoft, Ogg, and the future of web video

Kevin McMurtrie
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Dead Vulture

AAC

A critical factor not mentioned here is codec efficiency and quality. A poorly performing codec can drive up bandwidth costs, drive up the cost of encoding hardware, or provide a poor customer experience. H.264/AAC was chosen as a standard by many large companies because it completely blew away other codes at the time. Suddenly home users could stream high quality video without exotic internet connections or hours of buffering. To also imply that H.264/AAC will be the future standard is ridiculous. Codecs come and go.

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Adobe to sue Apple 'within weeks,' says report

Kevin McMurtrie
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Jobs Horns

Popcorn

Apple could simply have power drain specifications to reject inefficient apps. Bad code comes in all forms so the coding language restrictions do a poor job of hiding Steve's raging ego. There are also certain tasks where JIT-compiled JavaScript, Java, Perl, etc. can run very efficiently.

Developers using Flash rarely have intentions of efficiency. It's too often a short-cut language for rapid offshore development. Adobe can run a big angry lawsuit only to find all of their apps being rejected again on technical grounds. It's all going to be amusing.

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French city in pedestrian-powered streetlight plan

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Immortal hoax

Two ways to do this: Squishy liquid pouches powering turbines that feel like walking on soft sand or sidewalk plates that sink so you're always climbing stairs. Either way it won't happen.

If cities want to suck some free energy from somewhere, put this technology on steep downhill roads where it would otherwise go towards heating brakes..

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'Switch to Century Gothic to save the planet'

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Sponge

Inkjet printers flush their liquid money into gutters at the edges of the page. It's a solution for stagnant pigment clogging the nozzles, with a pleasant side effect for the printer manufacturer . Thin font or fat font hardly matters. The difference ends up in a large sponge at the bottom of the printer.

Epic fail for a university IT department not figuring out a paperless workflow at least 10 years ago.

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Apple display patent enslaves sun

Kevin McMurtrie
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Prior fart

I had a handheld TV that did this in the 80s. You opened the case partway and watched the LCD from a mirror on the base. There's a good reason for them not being made any more. Even with impossibly perfect optics, color LCD screens can never be more than 16% transmissive. E-ink is more efficient but it doesn't need backlighting contraptions.

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Getting drunk the night before has no effect on exam results

Kevin McMurtrie
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Paris Hilton

One-legged 'A'

So both test groups flunked?

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Botnet pierces Microsoft Live through audio captchas

Kevin McMurtrie
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Gates Horns

White of insufficient illumination

"...to send email through accounts with a Live.com address, which are whitelisted by many spam filters."

Not mine. Not as long as Microsoft has no working abuse contacts.

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US National Broadband plan goes to Congress

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Party like it's 1999

4Mbps? At best this will be a few billion dollars spent cleaning up the splices of ancient telephone wires. Very little of the effort for this initiative will be of any use towards the future 50Mbps goals.

Can you hear that? That's the sound of modern nations laughing.

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Cisco 'forever changes internet' with... a router

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Awesome

Will that make my crusty old AT&T wires carry faster DSL? No, I think my Internet forever remains the same.

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Microsoft's dual-screen booklet shows 'face' on web

Kevin McMurtrie
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Concept demo

This is an early concept demo - the kind that Marketing departments show internally at regular intervals. They imagine the workflows of 5 to 10 target customers then display a product serving them. After this meeting, Engineering finds that 90% of the product's decisions shown in the demo were made without sufficient input parameters (magic is not an input parameter). Test groups say, "That's amazing, but can it..." Project managers add up the costs and find it too expensive for the target customer. The demo and the specifications are reworked for a couple of months and eventually the amazing magical product looks quite common.

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Scareware sellers fool Google with file switch

Kevin McMurtrie
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Old trick

This trick is almost as old as the search engine web sites. Give the web crawlers content stolen from other sites. Give people advertisements and/or malware to real people. It's a simple matter of checking the User-Agent header.

There are similar tricks for malware hosting. A malware server or its name servers will show system administers a special page that appears to be operating normally or an error page saying that the site has been deactivated. Everybody else gets the malware, a fake store front, or a proxy for various uses.

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Pentax K-x

Kevin McMurtrie
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Really 12.4?

The full-res photos don't seem all that sharp. About only high frequency components that I could find in Photoshop was noise. It reminds me of some research in the 90s on how to upsample media in ways that trick the brain into seeing a higher resolution image. I recall that high frequency noise was used to mask lost details, then your brain would then replace that noise with a very convincing assumption about what the details should be.

The high ISO photos look great. There's relatively little noise and noise suppression damage. Put a bright lens on it and take it into town at dusk.

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Tricorder/Aliens-motion-tracker handscanner kit gets $6m

Kevin McMurtrie
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Coat

Bio are in currents water, not air

Friction noise in air is not hard to detect. Hair, shoes, clothing, plastics, and sometimes stresses on the floor create significant amounts of electricity with every motion. This makes a portable device not so crazy to design after all. The real question is how many naked and hairless test operators can be hired with that $6m of development cash.

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77% of domain registrations stuffed with rubbish

Kevin McMurtrie
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Alert

Other way around

The registrations aren't fake to avoid spammers. They're FROM the spammers. Spamming is illegal, regulated, or at least hated with a furious passion in most places. Every time you get a spam you can bet that the domain name owner doesn't want to be found. Try looking some up.

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Oxford snaps high-speed movies with consumer cams

Kevin McMurtrie
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Dead Vulture

But there's no video

Just an empty space in the article

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Toshiba tunes into TransferJet

Kevin McMurtrie
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Paris Hilton

RF intimacy

If two touching computers may yield only 370Mb/s, what kind of act is needed to achieve the full 560Mb/s?

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Drink beer not fizzy pop for pity's sake, say boffins

Kevin McMurtrie
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Pint

Waxed paper cup malnutrition

Will drinking soda from a silicon dioxide vessel make it healthy again?

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Adobe to Jobs: 'What the Flash do you know?'

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Hanging is OK

Flash Player 10 release notes:

"Receiving live streaming audio for over an hour may result in loss of audio and a non-responsive Flash Player. (237333)"

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Defects in e-passports allow real-time tracking

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Duh

It doesn't make sense why there isn't a hinged metal plate over the antenna. It doesn't need to be thick, it doesn't need electrical contact with anything, and it doesn't need software support. Regardless of how secure you think a protocol is, it's common security sense to not let people play with it when they don't need to.

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Billionaire-funded e-car gets showroom date

Kevin McMurtrie
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0-62mph in what?

Hopefully that's a lot under 14 seconds. Up in the 14 second range it would have a hard time competing with small diesel engines...and hills.

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Air France offers two-seat deal for fatties

Kevin McMurtrie
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Passengers must not be armed

If you're counting total width, a lot of healthy people aren't going to fit in those seats because of their shoulders.

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Apple's iPad - the tablet with the data center soul

Kevin McMurtrie
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Go

And the Roddenberry fans

Might as well bring the Jobs fanatics and Roddenberry fanatics together: Who hasn't admired the Star Trek PADD devices? Laptops are clumsy to carry around and anyone who has used one without a table knows the kind of stares generated by accidentally dropping it. There's a business use for a device that could display documents prepared for a meeting and have just enough user input for note taking. Give it the ability to dig through files on your desktop computer and maybe the laptop gathers dust. That's the Monday through Friday use. At home, like you said, it's for massive media consumption.

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Apple preps touchy-feely iMac

Kevin McMurtrie
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App control

A touch screen is very nice for app control, especially since Apple is pushing for Bluetooth peripherals. You can check e-mail, control music, start video chats, and perform quick maintenance tasks without the hassle of powering up the mouse. For this to make much sense the iMac will need a very low-power running state so it can be left running constantly without drawing more than a few watts. OS X, as it is now, can't spin down the boot drive and it doesn't seem capable of slowing down the CPU much.

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Peppa Pig told to belt up

Kevin McMurtrie
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Coat

Splat!

A few episodes of Happy Tree Friends should cure a child's sense of invincibility.

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FCC raises eyebrow at Google 'white-space' play

Kevin McMurtrie
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Big Brother

The plan is coming together now

According to Google, whitespace use is critical for the future of the Internet and it requires a geolocation database to protect public TV broadcasts. This forces the use of Google Location Services at the router, not at the browser where it's optional. Now Google knows where HTTP traffic originates within a very small area. Combine it with their tracking services, search engine hits, GMail, etc. and they have the ability to track everybody in every detail all the time. I don't think there's a shortage of bidders for that kind of data.

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U2 frontman bitchslapped by TalkTalk

Kevin McMurtrie
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Paris Hilton

All you do is...

A most confusing article for those not following UK telcos, as Bono sings and Talk Talk was a band.

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Hacker pilfers browser GPS location via router attack

Kevin McMurtrie
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Black Helicopters

Doin' the Evil

The real story is Google is building a database mapping MACs to locations. A MAC alone doesn't provide any info so they must have quietly made deals with a lot of telcos and WiFi operators to gather data that normally isn't recorded for any length of time.

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