* Posts by ilmari

129 posts • joined 18 Oct 2012

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ATTACK of the ZOMBIE SATELLITE: Run radio hams, run!

ilmari

I assume they mean that the satellite's batteries have now failed, which makes it go dead in darkness. In light, the panels provide ample power, and the satellite computer boots up again.

Then, instead of running chkdsk/fsck, it broadcasts a "Help Help! Systems failing!" call on the same frequency and protocol as aprs, the big amateur radio mesh network. And since the satellite is in space, its call is picked up by many many amateur radio ground stations, which presumably automatically all start relaying the message towards its destination, clogging up the frequency even more.

On the topic of Mayday calls from Space, at one point during a fire onboard the Mir space station, the crew had no contact with flight control. Half the crew started preparing the Soyuz for emergency evac, half started firefighting, which quite the challenge, as the fire extinguishers work quite well as rockets, pushing the user away tumbling. If they had ended up forced to abandon the station, their only means of communication at that time was their amateur radio kit. They'd have to hope that as they passed over America, some american Ham would pick up their call, and figure out how to get in touch with the russian space agency and tell them to look for their cosmonauts on the ground instead of in space.

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Hurrah! Windfarms produce whopping ONE PER CENT of EU energy

ilmari

Re: Why's this a story?

Denmark's situation would probably be impossible without the hefty interconnects to sweden and particulary, Norway. The price of electricity has on several occasions on windy days gone negative in Denmark. Excess power is exported at near zero price to Norway. Norway idles its hydropower plants, and waits for the wind to srop blowing, at which point Denmark starts buying Norwegian hydro at ludicrously expensive prices. Win win for norwegian hydro, lose lose for the Danish consumer.

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SpaceX's blast shock delays world's MOST POWERFUL ROCKET

ilmari

Re: Confused about the re-useables return path?

Overall, SpaceX fuel tanks are the lightest in the industry, and the engines have amazing thrust to weight ratio. All this means that without the payload, the booster stages are amazingly light, meanjng the fuel goed muuuuch much further.

The side boosters will be pumping fuel to the central core booster during flight, which means they'll detach earlier than what the first stage does now on vanilla Falcon 9, so for the side boosters, return will be easier and will require less fuel.

The central core, however, will need more fuel than current F9. For some missions they'll have to barge land or discard the central core, or all 3, depending on load and deployment orbit.

The published capacity (and price list!) for F9 takes into account fuel reserve needed for recovery. SpaceX has flown heavier loads than that though, without recovery attempts on first stage.

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Jolla announces home-grown Indian mobe-maker as first Sailfish licensee

ilmari

Let's see if third party Jolla phones enter unupgradium state like most androids and the firefox phones did.

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Intel TOCK BLOCK: 10nm Cannonlake delayed to 2017, bonus 14nm Kaby Lake to '16

ilmari

It's hard to believe Broadwell was 2014 when availability is still so poor.

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PLUTO FLYBY: Here's your IT angle, all you stargazing pedants

ilmari

Re: Getting to the next star system at that speed is going to take a long time. :(

Well, they did test the "throw nukes out the back and ride the shockwave" idea, but with conventional explosives. If the world's nuclear weapons arsenal was appropriated for a spaceship, it could send a toddler to Alpha Centauri before the toddler's retirement age.

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What? EMEA PC sales dropped by HOW much?

ilmari

I would like to get a faster laptop, but Broadwell-H is unobtanium.

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What Murphy’s law has to teach you about data centres

ilmari

Re: Am I the only one

Communicating internal issues should obviously stay internal.

Socializing and talking about your day at work and how your boss must be reading Dilbert to be such s total copy of the PHB, is best not communicated inside a company, as I discovered.

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Rosetta spots potholes IN SPAAACE: Someone call the galactic council

ilmari

Re: Calling the galactic council might be easier than calling Ealing council...

NASA is contributing with the deep space network, as europe seems incapable of building a decent set of antennas.

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Silly Google's Photos app labelled BLACK PEOPLE as GORILLAS

ilmari

The problem with machine learning is that once you run out of material to teach it, you wont make any further progress. And, of corurse, you can never be sure what the machine has learned, exactly.

The classical example (whether true or not) is the military attempt to teach a computer to spot tanks hidden in bushes. So they photographed lots of bushes with tanks, and lots of bushes without tanks. After some crunching, the computer was able to tell the difference.

Real life tests, however, failed utterly. Eventually someone noticed that all the pictures with tanks were taken on sunny days, and the other pictures on cloudy days. The computer had learned to tell the diference between nice weather and cloudy weather.

This is why you need a tremendous amount of data to train the machine with.

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EUROPEAN PURGE on hated mobile roaming charges

ilmari

They can require a credit check before sales. The credit check agency of course identifies people by the national social security number only, which automatically excludes foreigners.

(This is hiw scandinavia does it)

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Robo-car wars: Delphi's near crash, prang, wallop with Google DENIED!

ilmari

It would be interesting to know if the Delphi car did anything except signal lane change before aborting, or if it had already started moving.

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Space station cabbage: To boldly grow where no veg has grown before

ilmari

Re: Dumb Question

It can't deorbit the ISS with a collision. The required speed to do that would result in ISS getting a capsule sized hole through it. All the pieces would still be in orbit.

Spacecraft in general are optimized for the smallest possible mass, and tend to be "flimsy". You could probably kick or punch a hole in the ISS hull. A collision at any speed faster than a turtle is going to cause damage.

Once docked, if Dragon fired its thrusters for an hour or so it would make a significant impact on the ISS orbit.

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The watts in a box that kept West London's lights on

ilmari

Re: There wasn't a full DR when it happened...

i think the point of the article was that those businesses with a plan and contract were sent generators within 25 minutes. The lazy businesses took longer because they had to figure out first how big a generator they need, where to park it, and how to hook it up, etc.

Presumably there was a third class of people/businesses that never ordered generators and just waited for grid power.

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Libre Office comes to Android

ilmari

Ok, so editing is clumsy on phone. We all knew that.

Is it also crippled on fullsize screens using physical keyboard?

And, after trying to use Polaris office, I must ask: Does it lose all your edits since last save if you briefly switch to another app?

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Wi-Fi was MEANT to be this way: Antennas and standards, 802.11 style

ilmari

Re: All that glitters......

Does wifi still in n, and ac versions, allow a single weak user to hog the band for ages?

One thing I liked about Wimax, was that it allocated a limited timeslot for each user wishing to transfer data, and if the signal was so weak the user only got a single packet through, then so be it, on to the next person in line to use the band.

As for spectrum, I'm not sure freeing up more spectrum will help much with congestion, people will just find more crap to remove wires from.

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Openreach to trial G.fast in Swansea

ilmari

Re: "supportive environment"

from the article, I get the impression they're basically using vdsl for basement to appartments.

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Facebook tips India and Pakistan into NUCLEAR WAR of words

ilmari

Re: Rock and a hard place

Venn diagrams were made for this. Be sure to include a.bunch of random crackpot territorial claims too.

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Russia delays ISS crew mission over Progress launch safety fears

ilmari

I admit I haven't followed thus extremely closely, but this is the first mention I've seen of an explosion?

And, of course, they're not putting cosmonauts in a Progress capsule, but Progress has alot in common with the Soyuz capsule that cosmonauts fly in.

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Boffins brew 'Stop Light' that turns photons in fibre into memory

ilmari

So this more convenient form of optical memory than bouncing a laser beam via the reflectors left on the moon by apollo. That, btw, has been used as datastorage before.

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Shields up! Shields up! ASTRONAUTS flying to MARS will arrive BRAIN DAMAGED, boffins claim

ilmari

Plastic better than aluminium? Oh, by mass maybe?

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NASA spies weird glow from Pluto's FRIGID pole

ilmari

I bet if Pluto hadn't been demoted to backwater dwarfplanet they'd be able to get proper broadband.

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Calamity cargo capsule DOOMED: Space station pod in fireball re-entry

ilmari

Re: Hang on...

Lithobraking is my new favourite word. I've been doing it alot since Kerbal Spaceprogram 1.0 was released.

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'Android on Windows': Microsoft tightens noose around neck, climbs on chair

ilmari

Aw, I thought it was android apps on Windows Desktop.. But now I of course realize that even if it was on PC it would be behind the unusable TIFKAM.

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Brit boffins BLOW UP Li-On batteries and film the MELTING COPPER

ilmari

Re: Cool

When overcharged or overdischarged, the li-ion cell starts dissolving its copper, and producing metallic lithium. When the dissolved copper precipitates again, there's no telling where it ends up. If a shunt forms, it might cause localized heating and set off thermal runaway. As for metallic lithium, needless to say, it's highly volatile. The damage is accumulating.

RC Hobby people get relatively frequent battery fires, a consequence of running batteries without protection circuitry, and running batteries hard, making their base temperature already high, before builtin or evolved defects come into play.

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SpaceX in MONEY RING shot, no spare juice for tail backdown this time

ilmari

Re: "Change in plan for vertical-landing Falcon 9 rocket stage"

Falcon 9 flying as planned and as expected for maximum payload to GTO. A change in plan would have been if first stage tried to re-enter atmosphere in a controlled manner somewhere halfway to Africa.

As for space race breakthrough, is the author talking about this being Turkmenistan's first satellite?

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Hi, Fi: Google JOWL-SLAPS mobile bigguns with $20/mo wireless service

ilmari

Nexus6 only because of the voice/sms over wifi, I think. The rest could be done for any cellphone with Google-operator SIM card.

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KABOOM! Billionaire fingers dud valve in ROCKET WIBBLE PRANG BLAST

ilmari

Re: "Landed Fine"

In the 60s, the rockets fell/tumbled out of control and crashed into the ocean each and every time, well, except for the times they blew up on the pad. This still happens today, and rocket debris washes up on shores in south america. SpaceX is doing something new trying to do a powered softlanding.

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Google research bods hope to LICK BATTERY life limits – report

ilmari

Re: Another vapour-ware

Actually, your almost 3000mAh AA is made by some "computer wizard" with label editing "skills", changing 2000 to 3000 because "everyone else is doing it".

In the Li-on space, typical capacities for the classic 18650 size cell have gone from less than 1800mAh to today's 3100-3400 mAh for the premium cells from premium manufacturers, a doubling in capacity.

One thing that annoys me is how media frequently reports on "breakthroughs" in making a battery that charges in 5 minutes. Such Li-Ion batteries already exist, the capacity penalty you take for quick charge isn't even that big (Compared to supercapacitor capacities). Dumping that much power in 5 minutes requires some nice fat cables and chunky charge electronics, though. Your average usb cable would turn into a glowing white noodle in seconds.

If media reported on car tyres like they report on battery tech, every week there'd be a sensational post reporting on a new innovation, a new tyre that is rounder and not square. Every month there'd be reports of amazingly low friction tyres promising to save 75% energy, the boffins are calling it "railway". A couple of times a year there'd be reports on "out of the box" thinking derived "innovations", pht wings on the car, "inventing" the "aeroplane", and tyres are only used a short portion of the travel. Stick legs on the vehicle so it walks, no tyres needed at all, and no road infrastructure either, all problems solved forever!

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Strange radio telescope signals came from microwave ovens

ilmari

I'm kinda surprised anyone at all cares about a burst in the 2.4GHz band, surely there will always be someone with random gadgets near telescopes?

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GitHub jammed by injected JavaScript, servers whacked by DDoS

ilmari

Do websites that use baidu as ad provider share any responsibility for this?

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Smart meters are a ‘costly mistake’ that'll add BILLIONS to bills

ilmari

Re: short term benefit

I tried one of those too, but it was like watching a rsa key fob tick.

And yes, it had no clue about power factor, so it thought laptop power brick eats double what it really does, and idling wallwarts were overestimated by a factor 10 or so..

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Voda UK CEO says one thing about not-spots, Minister of Fun says another

ilmari

Re: Its about time 2G was dropped from coverage maps / statistics.

What good are fines, if operators aren't allowed to build coverage anyway?

How about maps of "We've set aside money to improve coverage here, but unfortunately we haven't received permission to do so"/"blocked by nimbys"

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Forum chat is like Clarkson punching you repeatedly in the face

ilmari

Re: Poor Oisin

JC in anger management therapy? Now that's a tv show I'd watch, especially if it includes segments such as "staying calm driving behind pensioners in caravans".

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Hated biz smart meter rollout: UK.gov sticks chin out, shuts eyes

ilmari

I don't think any other country equated smart meters with remote control, everyone else is doing "advanced meter".

One directive I don't see mentioned on thereg though, is the one requiring damages and refunds for power outages. It has caused a building boom in Sweden and Finland atleast, with grid operators hurrying to bury electric cables underground so they don't need to pay out so much compensation for outages during storms.

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Forget viruses: Evil USB drive 'fries laptops with a power surge'

ilmari

Re: Capacitors - caveat observer!

Also, grounding yourself seems like the last thing you'd want to do.

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Pathetic PC sales just cost us a BILLION dollars, cries Intel

ilmari

Intel's graphics is the most popular graphics choice for PCs, makes sense to integrate it in their mainstream offer.

AMD moving to 16nm wont make you happy, by that time Intel will be measuring node size in atoms rather than nm. Both companies make CPUs that are "good enough", anyway.

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ilmari

Re: Mobile and Communications segment saw its revenues plummet by 85.3 per cent.

I have a atom android tablet, and I must say the performance isn't as bad as I thought Atom would be. With performance I also mean batterylife. My Haswell-Y, however, is a bit disappointing.

Intel's kit previously had a price disadvantage, but now that that's fixed (temporarily?), intel is.looking useful.

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Intel slaps Iris Pro GPUs into Core i7 silicon to woo desktop gamers

ilmari

Iris Pro is the top end Intel graphics. It comes with 128M L4 cache, absent from other intel cpus.

Currently not available as a socketed processor. This is the news, socketed iris pro.

Disappointingly only at 65W TDP, I bet lots of people, regardless if they use the graphics or not, would have loved to have a "full" i7 with L4 cache. Oh well.

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Google Chrome suffers brain freeze on Android Ice Cream Sandwich

ilmari

On my asus transformer from about the same time era, chrome (and to a lesser extent firefox) spends much of its time writing to the slow emmc. I believe the N7 was also plagued by an extremely slow emmc with around 1-4 WIOPS performance?

This issue is something that has persisted with browsers for a longer time, across platforms. firefox was notoriously slow on Linux, due to the way it wrote cache and browsing history with sqlite. This issue is amplified further on flash based storage, where each tiny write triggers a 8 megabyte read-modify-write cycle. sqlite, being a database ish thing, is paranoid about dataloss, and makes sure the data is on physical storage after each step, with the end result that appending a new url to browser history, to a storage medium where every write request regardless whether it's 50 bytes or 8 megabytes takes on the order of 1 second to complete, you're looking at several seconds just to add to browsing history, let alone disk cache for images etc...

Ever since flash storage started appearing, programmers stopped caring about how they write stuff to disk, because "no moving parts, it's instant so I don't have to care". SSDs only started working like that, through the use of large Arm cores and massively complicated firmwares (that still today occasionally mess up), around the era of Intel M-25 and ocz vertex. Today if you're not careful, you'll get an emmc that still behaves as poorly as the one in N7.

Probably the only company that pays any attention to the issue is Motorola, with the use of f2fs, a filesystem which tries to make life easier for the emmc, boosting performance.

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SanDisk launches 200GB microSD card

ilmari

Re: Too Small?

Am I the only one who never swaps sd cards?

I put in a card in my phone, and it stays there until it is obsolete or upgraded to the next faster, bigger, affordable version.. The old one's data copied over and never used again.

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Lenovo CTO: Hey, look around – we're not the only ones with a crapware infection

ilmari

Re: MS Might Share Some Blame

I recently discovered the hard way, that restore usb media created in windows refuses to work on empty harddrives, ir if the partition table is corrupt. In other words, if HD is screwed, you're screwed.

However, to my delight, I discovered hidden deep on Microsoft's website a tool which creates Win8 install media battery downloading from ms. You have to pick 32/64 bit, language, and edition correctly, and the resulting usb key will install W8 on a PC with the correct W8 key in bios.

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AMD's new Carrizo: The x86 notebook processor that thinks it's a GPU

ilmari

Re: Interesting

Bye bye per cpumodel benhmarks is already a relity for low power intel CPUs. They're primarily limited by TDP, as in actual power use and not overheating, and the PC maker decides if they want to limit CPU to 4.5W or 11W, or anywhere in between. Add ontop of this efficiency variation from cpu to cpu too.

Also for desktop CPUs, overclockers were buying many haswell i7 from different places, hoping to get one from a "good" batch known to overclock well, and returning if batch lottery didn't play out well. All of the CPUs meet (and exceed) the performance promised by intel, but some exceed it with huge margin.

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UK.gov can't get farmers onto its Verify service – even to claim subsidies

ilmari

Re: From the Whitehall Home for the Hard of Thinking

(Not in UK)

Re farmers using technology that works.. Couldn't agree more. As part time tech support person, the most complex networks/LANs I've encountered with farmers. Recently one told me "I really regret not signing up the cow for fibre optic internet when I had the chance".

He has fibre to his own house, and a point to point 54Mbps wifi link to the building with the cows some 200m away. There's a "visitor/casual" wifi and lan, and a "infrastructure" LAN, plus home lan+wifi. The infrastructure part of the network is where the milking robot, feed silo management, and god knows what sits. This is, of course, available to him on his smartphone and PC realtime. If a cow gets in an argument with the robot, his phone buzzeds and he can look at the situation and have the robot shoo the cow or bribe it with treats or whatever.

.. But it'd work much better if it wasnt behind a 54Mbps bottleneck.

As for government services? Dump all the paperwork and receipts with specialists that can decode and speak governmentese..

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Google boffins PROVE security warnings don't ... LOOK! A funny cat!

ilmari

I totally ignore SSL warnings for some sites. Example: I don't care if 4chan connection is secure, wether cat photos leak to third parties or not makes no difference to me. And, if I was posting something more sensitive and less legal than cat photos, SSL is still useless, as it's permanently broken and insecure.

Did their survey take into account these "User's level of safety isn't changed by the use or nonuse of a proper SSL connection"?

.

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Hackers pop German steel mill, wreck furnace

ilmari

As a C guy wrangled into automation, I can onky concur with what people have said before. When I first encountered it, it was a bit like finding a tribe of cavemen in central park.

Siemens came out with a new version if the software I have to use. Haven't tried it yet, but I heard it now takes less than a day to convince it to jnstall on windows other than XP SP1 32bit. The actual install, obce it starts, still takes 6 hours, as the installer consists mostly of a wrapper around a few thousand .bat scripts. Woe if you accept the install directory proposed by the installer, because the installer can't actually install properly if destination directory contains spaces or any other "funny" chars.

The installer itself is distributed in half a dozen .zip files. Not split inti individual components, you have to recreate the proper directory structure and unzip each i ti the correct directory.

Their "cheap" stuff is actually less bad, with

both linux and windiws versions, and $150 piece of hardware with inputs and outputs, ethernet port and built in webserver that apparently does something useful. But, despite being able to run a webserver, you're still limited to the equivalent of 400 lines of code (let's say python level of density).

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Space Commanders lock missiles on Elite's Frontier Devs

ilmari

Re: It is Elite from 1984, only even more so.

They coukd do like EA/Maxis did offline singleplayer mode (which is apparentky different from online singleplayer), where they basically just freeze comnodity prices and availability, makkng them static.

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ilmari

I thought it was pretty clear to everyone now, that kickstarters are high risk investments, a bit like venture capital, with the exception that if things turn out well, you get minimal return on investment (i.e. just a trinket or gizmo, or tshirt), and if it turns out bad, you lose all your money and get nothing.

(i participated in tge kickstarter, but never downloaded any if the alphas, betas, and didn't download the game. Didn't like where it was gokng, saw no point in downloading it. Not complaining though, it was always a risk frontdev would make a different game)

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Finland ditches copyright levy on digital kit, pays artists directly

ilmari

Re: Not pirates - just because you don't carry along a CD player anymore...

Initially this levy was set up to "compensate" lost revenues when people were using this newfangled gizmo called tape recorder, ti record radio broadcasts for later and feared repeated playback.

This was later extended to casettes, vhs and beta casettes, writable CDs and DVDs, harddrives in PVRs, eexternal harddrives (but not internal hd when bought separately, and nit empty external hd cases), etc.

It's still known as "casette levy" in Finland.

(Typos, because i don't have a real keyboard)

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ilmari

I was under the impression it would now bypass the local mpaa maffia, and end up with less money for maffia and more for artists. It prbably wont work out that well though.

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