* Posts by Barry Rueger

519 posts • joined 20 Feb 2007

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Silence is golden: How Google hunts Android malware in the wild

Barry Rueger
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Security Through Irritation

I seriously doubt that the endless trickle of Android "security" pop-ups do anything other than irritate the end user.

I tend to assume that anything running Android is insecure five minutes after it's been purchased.

Instead of sending users pop-ups and nags that will just be ignored, Google would do better to figure out how to keep the millions of Android devices in use patched and safe.

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Happy birthday: Jimbo Wales' sweet 16 Wikipedia fails

Barry Rueger
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Old Timer Here

Yes, I actually owned a real, honest to God Encyclopedia Brittanica. Moved it from house to house a few times too. Heavy sucker.

At the end of the day this all comes down to one fact: a strong, smart editor makes content better and a skilled, knowledgeable fact-checking staff will find and remove gross, and even small mistakes.

Publishing on paper gives the time and incentive to make sure what you're publishing is accurate and honest. You want to find and fix mistakes before the presses roll, and don't want dumb errors looking you in the face for years or decades.

Handy though Wikipedia is, it does not have a centuries long reputation for professionally prepared content and reliable accuracy.

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Just give up: 123456 is still the world's most popular password

Barry Rueger
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Don't Just Blame Users

One of my banks doesn't allow uppercase or special characters. The other, after a major software upgrade that took much of their systems of line for several days, only allows numbers in passwords.

On the other hand, there are sites like infrequently visited tech forums that represent no real security risk to me. A short and weak password is fine.

The point being, the strength of a password should reflect risk levels. Sometimes 12345 is good enough.

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Canada fines Amazon seven hours of profit for false advertising

Barry Rueger
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Re: As A Canadian, I would Just Like to Add ...

Whatever happened to NAFTA?

Silly rabbit. You actually thought that NAFTA was intended to benefit the proles?

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Barry Rueger
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Re: Dear Canada...

Obviously,unlike the banking cartel, the cel phone cartel, the oil cartel, and the media cartel, Amazon didn't donate enough cash to the governing parties to buy freedom from prosecution for anti- competitive practises.

Amateurs.

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Opera scolds stale browsers with shocking Neon experiment

Barry Rueger
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Re: Document-Centrism and the Right Tool for the Job

Browsers are "document-centric" because the vast majority of information is best presented in words, sentences, and paragraphs.

I have to assume that Kolandra is one of the people who believe that emoji represent an actual advance in human communication.

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Barry Rueger
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Good to be warned

cool effects and animations

This, and "bubble tabs" are all I need to know.

Novelty and kewlness almost never improve usability.

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Oh, for F...acebook: Critics bash WhatsApp encryption 'backdoor'

Barry Rueger
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Real user case

My company is one of fifty that occasionally needs to reach others in the field in an emergency situation. For years we relied on a group SMS list, which worked great because everyone had a cel phone.

Then Google, in their wisdom, decided that sending a group text was a Bad Thing, and coded in a hard limit to the number of recipients you could send to on an Android phone. An emergency message to fifty people now became five messages to five small groups.

This year everyone save a lone BlackBerry user moved over to WhatsApp, which as far as I can tell does exactly what text messaging used to, except with Facebook spying on us instead of Google.

Way to shoot yourselves in the foot Google.

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Reg straps on goggles from upstart that wants to 'democratize' VR

Barry Rueger
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Still dubious.

Despite goldcd's comment I fail to see any widespread market for VR aside from gaming, a few very specific applications, and novelty.

Probably most VR goggles will wind up on a shelf, collecting dust right beside the 3D sunglasses that came with the TV.

And I write this just after reading Neal Stephenson's excellent "Snow Crash."

For the vast majority of media scenarios regular 2D video is more than adequately immersive. 3D and VR just don't add enough to the experience to make it worthwhile messing with extra hardware and software.

Maybe some killer app will emerge that will suddenly make VR the thing that everyone wants, but it wasn't too many years ago when "Avatar" was supposed to make 3D the new wave in home entertainment.

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This'll be the next thing Trump crows about: Apple assembling servers on American soil

Barry Rueger
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Re: What's old is new again

Many companies are barely making profit as it is, they couldn't afford a 1000% increase in contract manufacturing labor cost.

If the jump from $8 to $15 is enough to bankrupt a major corporation I'd say that there are significantly larger problems than outsourcing.

Then again, when the local minimum wage went up by 35 cents an hour last year there were literally thousands of imaginary businesses that closed their doors.

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Barry Rueger
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Re: What's old is new again

My iPhone is built in China, and I would gladly purchase one built in the US, but they don't make them here because the labor is still dirt-cheap in China.

I'd love to know just how much of the cost of an iPhone is actually labour. My suspicion is that it's actually the much reduced regulatory and environmental costs that make China so popular.

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Barry Rueger
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Author of their own misfortune.

"As part of the loan agreement with Cupertino, GT had to commit to supplying glass almost exclusively ... Apple had no obligation to buy any of it. GT would also have to pay a fine if it sold glass to anyone Apple disapproved of and the whole deal had a $50m charge if GT made the details of the contract public."

I read this as the manufacturer being greedy or dumb enough to agree to a really one-sided deal, with a really bad contract that left them holding most of the risk and none of the control.

As much as I might dislike Apple, it takes two to tango. If you're planning to dance you should be clear whether or not you're the one going backwards in high-heeled shoes.

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Oh Britain. Worried your routers will be hacked, but won't touch the admin settings

Barry Rueger
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A very important point. A lot of people have had a device borked by a bad upgrade - Anniversary anyone ? - and not unreasonably conclude that upgrades should be avoided as long hardware seems to work OK.

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Microsoft sued by staff traumatized by child sex abuse vids stashed on OneDrive accounts

Barry Rueger
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Related case

A Canadian Mountie has launched a similar suit, alleging PTSD.

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/british-columbia/surrey-mountie-ptsd-child-porn-1.3891306

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Is! Yahoo! dead?! Why! web! biz! will! rename! to! Altaba! – the! truth!

Barry Rueger
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JCEYUIJOKVBYHUJIOK.com

Yet again a tech firm grabs a handful of tiles out of the Scrabble bag, slams them down, and says, "That's our new name!"

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Hangouts hangs up on third party apps

Barry Rueger
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Re: The Google giveth...

Reader, MyTracks....

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Bank robber reveals identity – by using his debit card during crime

Barry Rueger
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Old School!

Some forty years ago, before ATM cards and PINs, I knew a bank teller. Conversation naturally turned to bank robbery.

It wasn't surprising that the rule was "Give them the money in the drawer without argument."

The surprising bit was how often they caught the culprit because he had written his hold up note on the back of his own pre-printed cheque or deposit slip.

The lower echelons of crime haven't changed much in four decades.

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How Google.org stole the Christmas Spirit

Barry Rueger
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Not new

Corporate "charity" has always been about marketing and branding, not about philanthropy. Ronald McDonald houses are a prime example, with corporate "donations" that actually represent some tiny skim on the sales of Big Macs, with customers encouraged to believe that buying a burger = giving to a worthy cause.

The companies that do genuine charitable giving are usually small, with strong local ties, and do it because it's the right thing, not to polish a tarnished reputation.

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Spotty battery life costs Apple's MacBook Pro its gold-star rating

Barry Rueger
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Good advice.

don't run anything on it that consumes power.

This seems to be the go to advice to anyone who complains about smartphone battery life: tell them your battery life is great, you just need to turn down the screen brightness, don't watch videos, turn off GPS, WIFI, NFC, and the cel radio.

Three, even four days of battery!

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Backup Exec console goes AWOL

Barry Rueger
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Up vote!

GF compliant that W10 forced restart disables the alarm she set to wake her in the morning.

Updates are set to only happen at 3am because they ALWAYS interrupted something critical.

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Meat pies in SPAAAAAAAAAAAACE!

Barry Rueger
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With apologies to Dean Martin..

When the moon hits your eye,

Like a launched Wigan pie,

That's amore.....

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Kids, look at the Deep Learnings! (We’re just going to slurp your data)

Barry Rueger
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Dhalgren

+1 for Dhalgren reference, in reference to Naked Lunch.

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Is your Windows 10, 8 PC falling off the 'net? Microsoft doesn't care

Barry Rueger
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A New Record!

Hey folks! We managed to get through seventeen comments before someone who thought they were clever said "windoze."

Oh yeah. Switch to Linux.

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Revamped Cortana finally lands on UK mobe mass market

Barry Rueger
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OK Google

Someone explain how this differs from Google's version?

I do occasionally use Google's voice recognition, for email or text, and have actually been pretty impressed how well it does the job.

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Bluetooth 5.0 emerges, ready to chew on the internet of things

Barry Rueger
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Reliability?

I am I alone in finding Bluetooth kind of hit and miss? It always seems to be about 85% reliable.

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Don't have a Dirty COW, man: Android gets full kernel hijack patch

Barry Rueger
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Also, unicorns

other devices should be getting the updates shortly, depending on how on-the-ball your manufacturer and cell network is.

Serious question for you El Reg: why bother printing nonsense like this when we all know that some large proportion of Android users - a majority I'd wager - will never see this patch.

The time has come to start naming and shaming the manufacturers and carriers that put their customers at risk.

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Going underground: The Royal Mail's great London train squeeze

Barry Rueger
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Night Mail

Here's a 1936 classic for your lunch break. From the days when postal mail was fast and efficient.

Night Mail

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Windows 10 market share growth just barely has a pulse

Barry Rueger
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Ahem

Does that account for the obnoxious, full screen Windows 10 pop up ads that are obliterating The Reg mobile site this week?

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Congrats America, you can now safely slag off who you like online

Barry Rueger
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Horse, meet Barn Door

I'd argue that the majority of review sites have long ago become entirely untrustworthy.

Does anyone ever trust Yelp? Much less the Play store?

I just can't be bothered sorting through the obviously bogus reviews any more.

And that's not even considering the "review" or "bargain" spam sites that make up the top twenty items whenever you Google a product.

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Netflix and fill – our coffers: Canada mulls taxing vid streaming giant 5% of subs cash

Barry Rueger
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GST

5% is the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST), which applies to pretty much everything, much like UK VAT.

Communications regulations are the domain of the Federal government.

Unlike the US we generally don't see taxes levied at county or municipal level, aside from property taxes. It's pretty clearly defined who is allowed to tax what.

On a simplistic level, Netflix is doing business in Canada, and in doing so can reasonably expect to pay taxes on that income.

A large part of Netflix's success in Canada is the geo-blocking of competing services like Hulu and Amazon Prime. It's either Netflix for $10 a month, or cable for $75-100.

Easy choice for many people

.

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Another Canadian uni hit by ransomware, students told to keep Windows PCs away

Barry Rueger
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Cartoon U

Ahem. Cartoon U is not really in the same league as say Oxford or Harvard. I am not remotely surprised.

FWIW, we once bought a group of PCs from their computer services department when I worked there.

One by one they all died, first with smoke, then with showers of sparks like roman candles out of the back of the power supplies.

Stuck with Dell after that.

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Apple unplugs its home LAN biz, allegedly

Barry Rueger
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Also, discovered penicillin.

Apple reshaped the Wi-Fi market – and consumer expectations – by making WiFi routers simple.

Seriously? Reshaped the market?

When at least a half dozen companies were each outselling the Apple product by what - ten to one?

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Why I just bought a MacBook Air instead of the new Pro

Barry Rueger
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Upgrade to last year's model

Two years ago, I got the then just discontinued 2012 Mac Mini for my media serving needs ...

I think that for a lot of knowledgeable people this is the reality - "upgrade" to last year, or the year before's model.

Unless you have pretty specific, high-end needs it's entirely likely that whatever is on-sale at the end of the year at Best Buy or wherever will give you a perfectly fine machine for at least a few years.

For those of us who are a) old enough to be really tired of building our own and b) not rolling in cash, this is the preferred route.

(Though I did in fact just finish building my own box. Figure it's good for the next five years.)

(Re Apple: gave it my best for three years with a Powerbook as my primary machine, but ultimately really, really couldn't work within the Apple paradigm. Something about the way Apple's OS does things just doesn't work for me.)

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User needed 40-minute lesson in turning it off and turning it on again

Barry Rueger
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Re: Can you hold down the power button

I supposed the phrase "Power button" is jargon, but most electrical devices have some way of turning the power on or off, be it a button, sensor or switch.

Thinking about this, literally the only power button in regular use in our house is on the TV remote.

Aside from light switches, everything else is always on (like printers or the router) or is initiated by some functional choice or setting (toaster, stove, kettle) but doesn't have an actual "power" button.

Actually powering down an appliance or other household unit either involves pulling the plug from the wall or slapping around on the backside looking a tiny, obscure button.

Unless there's NO button, and you unplug the power adaptor from the device.

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Security bods find Android phoning home. Home being China

Barry Rueger
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Re: Built into the firmware?

I can't imagine why the previous comment was down voted.

That was my immediate thought - most carriers will go to any lengths to avoid passing on OTA updates, and most users don't realize the hazard.

A patch is completely worthless if you can't get it on to your device.

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China gets mad at Donald Trump, threatens to ruin Apple

Barry Rueger
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Re: China knows something

"We all just witnessed a candidate win without becoming beholden to that rotten DC machine."

Until we've seen the paperwork reporting the campaign finances (the US has that?) we don't know that at all.

Somehow getting hard information out of Trump has proved near impossible. Tax returns?

Besides, it's hard to hire the head of the GOP to your staff and still credibly claim to not be part of that "rotten DC machine.

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Portable drive, 5TB capacity. Hmm, there's something fishy here

Barry Rueger
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Re: ... in my waste bin now ...

Locally it's Craigslist "Free" to find new homes for old tech.

Or vice versa. Picked up a lovely Samsung colour laser last month for free.

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Zuckerberg says just one per cent of news on Facebook is fake

Barry Rueger
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Details Below

* For Facebook's definition of "true" or "false"

** For Facebook's definition of "percent."

*** Your mileage may vary.

**** Some (dis)assembly required.

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Drubbed Grubhub bub scrubs anti-Donald-dubbed snub sub-hubbub

Barry Rueger
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Re: Simple questions, simple answers

Stating the stereotype that many Mexican immigrants are criminals etc is not racist. It's stereotyping and xenophobic at worse.

So we've reached the point where defending Trump requires splitting hairs between "stereotyping and xenophobia" and "racism."

Because the former is SO much more positive than the latter.

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Panicked WH Smith kills website to stop sales of how-to terrorism manuals

Barry Rueger
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Madness!

Surely WH Smith will also remove titles related to shooting, archery, knife making, karate, boxing......

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Groupon buys Living Social

Barry Rueger
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The Next Merger

It seems inevitable that Groupon will need to merge with Yelp to create a fully vertically integrated, one stop service for misdirecting consumers and wasting businesses' money.

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Let's praise Surface, not bury it

Barry Rueger
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Re: Bah!

I try not to feed the trolls, but what in God's name are you doing that requires a CD?

I literally can't recall the last time I used one.

Oops, sorry. I used our USB CD drive once last year to install Office 2003 on the SO's new Win10 laptop.

Previous to that?

Maybe digging through backups looking for a 10 year old file.

A $5 USB stick just does things better.

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Vatican and musicians at odds over appropriate use of crematorium leftovers

Barry Rueger
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Negativland

Sad to hear the news about Negativland.

They were a truly innovative group, and not just because of "The Letter U and the Numeral 2."

Saw them live once, with full-on banks of tape cartridges. A tour de force of analog technology, and and a stunning demonstration that no, it wasn't all done in editing.

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ARM: Hold my beer, we'll install patches for your crappy IoT gear for you

Barry Rueger
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Re: How can we fix this?

Perhaps governments should also implement (as others have suggested before) the idea of implementing an international standards testing organization to security test and approve all Internet appliances before they can be sold.

Though I expect howls of outrage from the Usual Suspects, I'd say that's exactly what's coming - some kind of Underwriters Laboratory type thing. (or whatever the EU equivalent is.)

Just as it was eventually agreed that manufacturers couldn't be trusted to make safe electrical stuff,

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Finally, that tech fad's over: Smartwatch sales tank more than 50%

Barry Rueger
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Re: Called it

BUT! What happens when merge a smart phone AND VR???

Surely there's SOME problem for which this is a solution?

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What will happen when I'm too old to push? (buttons, that is)

Barry Rueger
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Re: RE; LEDs

Probably the best Slashdot poll ever asked people to count the number of LEDs that they could see from where they were sitting.

I recall that the average came in somewhere between fifteen and twenty.

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DNS devastation: Top websites whacked offline as Dyn dies again

Barry Rueger
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Inevitable

Arguably this sort of "bring the Internet to its knees" attack was pretty much inevitable.

And arguably that has been the case for most of a decade.

Right now a lot of companies must be quaking in their boots wondering what's next.

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Coming soon to smart home devices? Best Before labels – with patch cut-off dates

Barry Rueger
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Re: My Toaster...

The fact that I can build a crystal set to receive a radio station is lost with some of these people.

Well, an AM radio station.

Do people still listen to those any more?

I mean, besides OTR fans?

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Think virtual reality is just about games? Think again, friend

Barry Rueger
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Head Mounted Gadgets

Although I can see the appeal for gaming, and for some kinds of specific use-cases, I just can't see VR taking off in a big way until you can eliminate the goggles.

Same with 3D TV, which was sure to be the Next Big Thing, until people realized that wearing cheap plastic sunglasses to watch a movie at home wasn't quite what they wanted to do.

It's different in an actual cinema, with a crowd, a big screen, and a darkened room - the 3D becomes part of an overall bigger than life experience.

The fact of the matter is that good old 2D cinema and TV are already sufficiently immersive that for most stories and uses there's very, very little to be added by using 3D effects.

Especially if you've also got multi channel audio.

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LG’s V20 may be the phone of the year. So why the fsck can’t you buy it?

Barry Rueger
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Re: Phone features? What phone features?

More to the point, how well the phone functions when you're not in the middle of a major city.

From downtown Vancouver I can drive 15 minutes and be in the fringest of fringe coverage.

Tell me how often the phone drops a call when you have one flickering bar.

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