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* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

595 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

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GooTube mulls fee-TV streams

Kevin McMurtrie
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DRM

Apple's TV and movie content is tied to permission-based DRM so it's essentially an extended rental even if you download it with the more expensive "Buy" button. As long as movie producers are clinging to their DRM, short and cheap is all that makes sense. Why Google is choosing a price so high for common TV is a mystery.

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Anti-spammers urged to gang up

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Self-defeating

The more widely a content filter is used, the more spammers will know how to avoid it. Bot armies have no or little costs to operate and they can parallelize attacks on these filters trivially. Has spam gone away because of these filters? No. Will a theoretical 99.89% accuracy make any difference? No. Filtering mail by content encourages networks to do nothing about their compromised systems. Spamming will increase as needed to compensate. The only end result is that everything is running a lot slower than it should, with resources wasted on a massive invisible battle that can have no victory.

Change the filters to block by network ownership and suddenly there's an incentive to keep customers clean.

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Blu-ray Players

Kevin McMurtrie
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Flame

Panasonic and the missing asterisk

Give that Panasonic a better test before listing its technical capabilities. I have a Panasonic TC-P50V10 TV that claims MPEG2 and AVCHD playback in its specifications. It's a lie. Panasonic support said it plays files from SDHC cards that were directly created by a Sony or Panasonic video camera. It does not support video files that come from a computer, another brand of camera, or files that are copied to the SDHC card. In other words, it doesn't support MPEG2 or AVCHD.

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What ever happened to storing pics with electron cannons?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Troll

Audiophile

This device should be resurrected as a giant jukebox. Any fool can have a $15000 of tubes and gold-plated transformers amplifying their music, but how many can claim that a gas tube reads and writes their digital media on archival film through the purity of a vacuum? MP3s would sound WAY better.

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New York to beam disaster alerts to Xbox gamers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Terminator

Game Over

So the next terrorist attack on NY will be hacking the Xbox emergency alert system. There'd be a large army of semi-capable and highly gullible people at the command of one person controlling the glowing 16:9 rectangle.

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Designers detail the cars of 2030

Kevin McMurtrie
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Tomorrow's roads will eat your car

Based on trends in government budget management, I predict that the asphalt of tomorrow will have bigger, more futuristic potholes and hefty chunks of nanofabric patchwork breaking loose in the rain. Why the fixation with tiny wheels on future cars? Why can't they just hover?

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MS patent looks just like Unix command, critics howl

Kevin McMurtrie
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Gates Horns

@AG

MacOS X has such a GUI. It requests the username and password of somebody with the proper privileges. It can be yourself if you're an admin, root, or a completely different account. It allows administration of a machine without having to log out of a low-privileges account.

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Europe welcomes Dell's Mac Mini Zino HD

Kevin McMurtrie
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Megaphone

And the audio?

I hope that box passes raw digital audio through the HDMI port. All I see in the specs is "2.1" audio output. That would be very unimpressive in a home entertainment system.

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Vint Cerf: 'Google doesn't know who you are'

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Drawing a blank

The one and only Vinton Gray Cerf said this? The Stanford and UCLA grad, DARPA computer scientist behind TCP/IP technology, builder of early internet systems, and Google evangelist? I guess that name is supposed to ring a bell but I really don't know who he is.

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Facebook awarded $711m in 'Spamford' Wallace case

Kevin McMurtrie
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Boffin

Just hit delete

How about a pair of goggles welded to his head that show pop-up ads and plug his ears at random intervals. He then has to press a 'delete' button to regain sight and hearing. Maybe he has to hit delete 100 times in a row sometimes, just like in the old Cyberpromo days. The goggles can come off when he pays all the spam fines.

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Operation Eagle Claw nets 18 Nigerian spammers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Grenade

Need a backhoe icon

It's amazing that anybody still accepts mail from Nigeria. For me, fake telco contacts = firewall.

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Intel hindering USB 3.0 adoption, alleges industry insider

Kevin McMurtrie
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For small high power devices?

As devices get smaller and smaller, how is that USB 3 cable going to work well? It has more wires than Cat 6 and it's going to take a good amount of power to send 5Gbps down a long twisted pair. If USB 3.0 isn't targeting small devices, it has strong competition from existing cable designs. I can see why Intel would want to skip USB 3 and work on its successor.

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FCC flooded with anti-net neut letters

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Solving yesterday's problems with today's technology tomorrow

"...net neutrality regulations could prevent web providers from offering US customers advanced and well-managed networks."

But what has been preventing providers from doing that for the past 10 years?

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Nissan demos leaning e-car

Kevin McMurtrie
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Run from the hills

Soon to be seen tumbling down Filbert Street in San Francisco?

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Palm Pre re-re-introduces iTunes synchronization

Kevin McMurtrie
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Grenade

Superior 290x250 video resolution

Time to bring back the old Betamax analogies. Apple keeps talking about openness but they only implement it one way. I know they're trying to fight competition but the same tactics scare me away from relying too much on Apple hardware and software. It took me only a few DRM purchases and one buggy iTunes update to realize that getting locked into the iTunes/iPod/iTV setup would be a disaster.

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US military jets to run on weeds, scum & corpse-grease

Kevin McMurtrie
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Coat

MPC

What's the miles-per-corpse of a jet? Is there a corpse guzzler tax? Credits for introducing new corpses into the biofuel pool? Corpse-neutral status if burn=kill?

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DDoS attack rains down on Amazon cloud

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Smog

Customers run their buggy web sites in Amazon's cloud and they get hijacked. I've had numerous dictionary attacks against my home computer come from within Amazon's cloud. Amazon's slow response time to those too has earned them a spot in the firewall.

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US spontaneous human combustion raygun video released

Kevin McMurtrie
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Boffin

Fight sci-fi with sci-fi

Bring on the ablative armor. Something that absorbs a lot of heat in boiling and produces a lot of dark ash in burning would hold off these momentary bursts of energy without weighing too much. A liquid wicking through a porous surface could even solidify over burns to heal them. The defenses seem to be a lot simpler than building a bigger laser.

I have my safety goggles on.

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Sony pulls plug on cabled power

Kevin McMurtrie
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Terminator

I smell bacon

Reaching around the back of your TV to find that elusive power plug could, one day, fry your hand.

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Is Apple behind Intel's speedy optical link?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thumb Up

Brilliant

This is good news. I thought the USB 3.0 spec was a hoax until I saw that it was getting backing. A new cable physically on top of the old cable? Seriously? If Light Peak is Apple's idea, giving it to Intel to promote is the right thing to do. Intel has credibility and willingness to work with many manufacturers. Apple/Jobs, not so much.

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Women spending more time at work - but less time working

Kevin McMurtrie
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Happy

Equality

I'll help restore the balance by reading the Reg for a while.

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Audi's R8 goes all-electric

Kevin McMurtrie
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Almost there

An expensive car with a range strictly limited to traffic jams of the daily commute is utterly pointless. It needs a drop-in generator module for long trips away from charge stations. The new VW L1 engine might be light enough to lift by hand and strong enough to get the batteries charged overnight. Slide in the generator, throw a suitcase in the trunk, grab 4 gallons of diesel, and say hello to the open roads for the weekend.

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Zune HD unzipped

Kevin McMurtrie
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Boffin

iSmashedItOpen

"milliamp hours per hour" - More sane people would just say, "milliamps."

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Apple welcomes music streaming to US App Store

Kevin McMurtrie
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Jobs Horns

Cleaning ears

The streaming is probably in AAC or AAC-HE. Unlike MP3, which squeals at every moment of insufficient bandwidth, AAC does an incredible job of hiding its damage. You often don't know what you're missing until you have the original for comparison.

I think Steve likes to dangle perfection in front of everybody but let nobody have it. Apple products are brilliant, beautiful, innovative, and always have a major shortcoming so glaring that it seems intentional. Now it's all the music you want all the time, but with crippled sound.

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Microsoft pulls Windows 7 balloons from Euro 'launch parties'

Kevin McMurtrie
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Gates Horns

Guess what we did to your laptop...

I wouldn't be laughing like that unless I was installing Windows 7 on somebody else's computer.

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Japanese boffin boasts electrospray OLEDs

Kevin McMurtrie
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Troll

Very soon

Will this technology be making its debut on flying cars? I think the real product here is the $50 document.

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Intel says data centers much too cold

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

24V - not!

Servers racks running from 24V would need to be connected not with plug-in jacks, but with copper bars bolted together. Watts = V x A and wire losses are I x R^2. Cutting the voltage to 10% would make the current 10x higher and make the losses 10x higher even when 10x copper is used.

The losses in switching power supplies is mostly proportional to the current so most of the losses are on the low voltage side, not the high voltage side.

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Snow Leopard security - The good, the bad and the missing

Kevin McMurtrie
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Jobs Horns

Not dynamic?

Mr. Jobs has always taken pride at the speed in which OS X boots and launches applications. As far as can tell from online technical documents, that is done using caching and pre-linking tricks that make address randomization impossible.

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Lightning-gun tech 'approaching weaponisation'

Kevin McMurtrie
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Black Helicopters

Tinfoil

If they're doing this right, the pulse dV/dT be so high that the EM field created upon impact with a small conducting suit would still knock you out. Larger suits would work.

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Wireless power gets lovely shiny logo

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Bigger is better

It's a silhouette of a man lugging a giant inductive charger. Or maybe that's a tumor on his back from leaking EM fields.

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Cops taser naked doorbell-ringing giant

Kevin McMurtrie
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Welcome

I went looking for trouble...

My first thought when I read this was, "Type O Negative."

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Electric car powers across land, ice and water

Kevin McMurtrie
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Pirate

Pirates to the rescue

Better pack some flares for the maiden voyage where it well be discovered that paddle wheels don't work when they're completely under water.

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XML flaws threaten 'enormous' array of apps

Kevin McMurtrie
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Grenade

XML bites

XML is flawed in that there's no standard for storing untrusted data. CDATA is trivial to break out of. Escaping '<', '>', and '&' is common but wrong. Even with proper escaping, most parsers can't handle binary data. Base 64 is safe but it's huge. Then there's the character encoding issue. The encoding is stated in the encoded file itself! The file has to be read once in ASCII then re-read with the correct character set. In the rush to meet deadlines and avoid compatibility problems, most coders ignore the issues.

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Apple tablet spooks world of PCs

Kevin McMurtrie
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Jobs Horns

CLICK-CLICK-CLICK

Apple always loved the one-button mouse, no matter how outdated it was. Even when OS X started to need a multi-button mouse, they stuck with one button and added a carpel tunnel shredding finger position sensor. Now is their chance to create the one button laptop.

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Sky switches on 3D TV channel in 2010

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Smell my cleats

I'm most impressed with technology in the diagram depicting the virtual 3D image being larger than the TV set.

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Firefox 4.0 flashes lusty leg at Windows lovers

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Combo Stop/Refresh/Go Button

Buttons that change function without user action are a hassle. For example, you want to stop but the page finishes and you click reload by accident.

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Startup crafts DVD-Rs for the 31st century

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Stone age

CD-Rs for archiving? Who wants warehouses full of CDs?

It happened to stone tablets, parchment, paper, and floppies. How many stone tablets and parchments are still around? Virtually none. The cost of storing an ever increasing amount of media becomes too great and the media gets thrown out on the next budget crisis. If you want to keep data forever, it needs to be on a highly redundant storage system that's regularly maintained and upgraded to improve its density. There's no other way to maintain a growing archive for very long time periods.

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Lexus unveils hybrid

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

And the upside?

It's more expensive, much more complex, less of a performer, and it's only 30% more efficient? Maybe 26 MPG versus 20 MPG? I'm not seeing the upside. The real efficiency comes from the different engine design. The electric system is so weak that it might not even haul its own weight. When the electric system isn't running, it's just deadweight to use more gas. Luxury hybrids are a marketing gimmick to keep people upgrading their car even though actual solutions are still years away.

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Spooks' favourite IT firm tells Reg readers to grow up

Kevin McMurtrie
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Black Helicopters

How the databases are being used?

When a CEO of a failing company has 12 million shares of stock that could be worth $0.003 each if he uses the data ethically, or $15 each if he screws everybody and their family... Has everybody forgotten the dot-bombs of 10 years ago? Ah, Sutherland worked with the government. No chance of corruption there.

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Designers conjure up wacky 'car of the future'

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

On your left you'll see...

+1 point for a design that's not claustrophobic.

Epic fail for aesthetics, suspension, aerodynamics, safety, comfort, privacy, personal freedom, and not realizing that amusement park trams suck. The design studio only needs to add a beanbag and detachable scooter to the design to complete their dot-bomb failure.

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US judge prunes damages from YouTube copyright suit

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Videos are OK to steal

If MP3s were involved, Google would be fined for trillions of dollars.

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Scientists print out super-slim battery

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Smaller than potato battery

A zinc-manganese battery? Really? That's the ancient "Super Heavy Duty" battery that every electronics device recommends against using because of the low current output, low power density, leak risk, and high self-discharge.

Fraunhofer Research says it would be good for bank cards. Do I detect sarcasm there?

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PC giants ship Chinese censorware anyway

Kevin McMurtrie
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Pirate

Hot steamy update available

If Green Dam is so warez that it's still fetching updates from Solid Oak, there seem to be many solutions available. As many solutions as there are types of banned content.

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Apple MacBook Pro 15in June 2009 release

Kevin McMurtrie
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Jobs Horns

The 1%

I was thinking that maybe Apple fixed the limp screens and I can buy a 15" laptop for work and play. Nope. They got rid of the ExpressCard where I'd need to plug in a cell modem.

Buy a USB modem and Velcro it to the side when not in use? No thanks. Buy a cellphone and tether it? Even more clunky.

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Rogue knob could ground space shuttle Atlantis

Kevin McMurtrie
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Boffin

Flossing teeth

Loop a UHMWPE string around the area touching the glass and pull it. The filaments will act as a wedge to pry the two surfaces apart and UHMWPE is as slippery as Teflon. It's a fairly common string. Even some dental floss is made of it.

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Blue chip FTP logins found on cybercrime server

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thumb Down

Too early to sound the klaxons

FTP is still commonly used for low-security file downloads. It's possible that the FTP passwords for many of those high-security web sites just lets you download high resolution press materials and reseller tech support documents. It's not public but it's hardly a win to have it.

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Tiny-traffic DoS attack spotlights Apache flaw

Kevin McMurtrie
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Breaking news for the last decade

As Hansen recently discovered, this is an ancient attack. It was actually a common side effect of buggy dialup modems in the 90s. These modems would switch protocols, re-calibrate, and corrupt data constantly so that the connection degraded to very tiny packets coming in very slowly. It was just fast enough to evade socket timeouts but so slow that the server would eventually become overwhelmed serving many broken modems concurrently.

Death by slow requests was more troublesome when enterprise servers had 64MB of RAM and no firewall. There are workarounds today.

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DataSlide reinvents hard drive

Kevin McMurtrie
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Coat

Designing hardware with a buzz

I can think of a workaround for every single problem I can find with this design but it ends up being a lot of workarounds. It's not so simple and robust in the end. The web site looks fishy to me. All that talk of IOPS and bandwidth without mentioning density reminds me of cars and trucks that quote crankshaft torque without the RPM.

Mine's the bicycle with over 300 foot-pounds of crank torque (if I pull really hard on the handlebars).

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Samsung shines a light on first solar cellphone

Kevin McMurtrie
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Coat

Green money

Making you to go outside to make a call and leave the phone on a windowsill to receive an incoming ring isn't a matter of poor coverage. It's the telco's commitment to saving the environment. It's more proof that going green does save businesses money.

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Hulu headed for subscription service scheme?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Standard destruction of a good idea

Producers will scream "Pirates!" and demand DRM. Cable companies will threaten to block bandwidth-sucking competition, so no Hi-Def. Marking will come up with numbers showing that customers are too stupid to get their own H.264/AAC player, so video will sputter and stumble through Flash. Advertisers will remind execs that ads are practically free money money money, and then there are ads.

Now you have a product nobody at all will pay for. Hulu investors will wonder why a sure-fire business plain crashed and burned.

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