* Posts by John Robson

1841 posts • joined 19 May 2008

Chevy Bolt electric car came alive, reversed into my workbench, says stunned bloke

John Robson
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Re: 9000 pound sports car..

"What am I doing wrong?"

Well for one thing you need to stop breaking your car and start using the brakes instead...

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John Robson
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If you don't enjoy spending time and money at transmission shop (and plan to keep the car for longer than 3 years) you better get a stick.

Maybe US auto gearboxes are less reliable than UK ones - but they seem to last a good long while over here...

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John Robson
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Towing on a flatbed is more to do with the battery charging electronics than the lack of neutral (a gear state that doesn't necessarily make sense in a direct drive vehicle with a reversible engine...

No gearbox/clutch needed - what is neutral?

(Yes there is a direct reduction gear train, but no 'box' - tesla spent a lot of money on a 2 speed box until they decided to just build a motor that can rev higher, since the gearboxes were getting ripped apart)

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CIA boss: Make America (a) great (big database of surveillance on citizens, foreigners) again!

John Robson
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I presume that you therefore have dual nationality/citizenship (because you probably need at least one passport - right?)

Does it really insist that every citizenship is represented by a passport?

Maybe it would just be easier to get a visa?

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John Robson
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"It begun ages ago. Have you ever registered on ESTA? It even asks for your social media accounts."

It does make sure to point out that submission of such is voluntary...

Yeah right... I'm sure they won't have a look in the depths of accounts to see who might be whom...

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Uber coughs up $20m after 'lying about how much its drivers make'

John Robson
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Re: "slash their funding"

He can slash finding of the FTC though...

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On last day as president, Obama's CIO shrouds future .gov websites in secret code

John Robson
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The fact that the site should be forced HTTPS is loaded - not the site itself...

I agree wrt the existing stuff though. I'd have thought it even more important.

Maybe a clause saying 'after 5 new domains we'll apply this to all domain renewals as well'

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Deadly Tesla smash probe: No recall needed, says Uncle Sam

John Robson
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Re: You can fix

Should have eye tracking cameras installed.... if the driver does'nt look out of the windscreen for 2 seconds it sounds a loud alarm and starts droppping the throttle...

You mean like nVidia have recently demonstrated?

Can't say it's a bad idea on any car - though a signal that you're in reverse gear might be useful ;)

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Apple sings another iTune following Brexit as prices rise by up to a third

John Robson
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Re: When in the us

>> 'That's still a rather small proportion of the electorate, let alone the population.'

> Although rather more than any political party has got in recent time and in terms of sample sizes

> it's probably fair to say it's statistically significant.

Absolutely it is still significant (and I'm not saying that we should invalidate the referendum*)

But it's a long way from the majority which is so frequently claimed. It was a very slender majority of 70% of the electorate, which is about 70% of the population (i.e. a slender majority of just under half of the population)

~25% of the UK voted for Brexit <- That does not fall under any category of 'most'

*OTOH I do think we should actually look at it as a measure of dissatisfaction rather than an decree absolute...

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John Robson
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Re: When in the us

"More than 50% voted for this sort of thing to happen."

No - more than 50% of those who voted, voted for this...

That's still a rather small proportion of the electorate, let alone the population.

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Maps and alarm clocks best thing about mobes, say normies

John Robson
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Re: >So Mr Average uses his smart phone as an Alarm clock and map.

As I took an unexpected trip on Sunday (borrowed a van to shift a sofa) I realised that I'd charged my wife's phone the night before, so the battery was low (~30%).

Since it was my GPS and my comms system I had to take a decision on whether to head home first (pain, and the collection was time limited)... I didn't.

I just turned the screen off for the journey - prodded it on at the approach to junctions that looked complex. Made it back home with >20% battery.

Seriously battery life on a device that is sensibly used has come a long way in the last few years...

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John Robson
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Re: >So Mr Average uses his smart phone as an Alarm clock and map.

"I'd not use a smartphone as a replacement music player because analogue is infinitely better if you really like listening to music and/or prefer to not damage your ears through over exposure of loud stepped noise"

What does that even mean?

The DAC in most phones is pretty much perfectly transparent, the headphones you choose to use might be awful of course...

And the inbuilt speakers are generally awful.

What is 'stepped' noise - is it a waltz whilst being danced?

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John Robson
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Surely correlation with smartphone usage isn't a bad thing when you are asking about smartphone usage?

[Yes I know it's actually biased towards a specific subset of smartphone users]

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Drone company fails to take off, tells pre-orderers: You can have your $34m back

John Robson
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They have 34 million left.

The starting total from preorders is unspecified...

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Asteroid nearly gave Earth a new feature, two days after its discovery

John Robson
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Re: What if it had hit?

To be fair you could probably specify a hemisphere...

I mean - one side of the earth was facing in the direction from which the asteroid came at the time it passed by - so I reckon that hemisphere was more 'at risk' than the other...

But yes - it's like asking which section of a tennis court the basket ball would land in if bowled from between the posts on a rugby pitch.

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TV anchor says live on-air 'Alexa, order me a dollhouse' – guess what happens next

John Robson
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So what?

Alexa places the order - the account holder gets the email, and hits cancel, or sets up the return (or just refuses delivery).

I agree that the universality of the 'start listening' command is a potential issue, and easily resolved, but how big a deal is it to cancel an amazon order - they always take at least an hour or so to actually pack and set up the dispatch (certain addresses in Cambridge not withstanding)...

And the returns process is generally pain free...

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Forget aircraft – now cretins are laser-blinding ferry boat crewmen

John Robson
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Re: Cretins...

Please don't insult pond scum.

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Apple sued by parents of girl killed by driver 'distracted by FaceTime'

John Robson
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Re: Kind of see the point..

So they've filed a patent on something they can't do?

Maybe the patent office needs to be pulled in as a co-defendant?

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John Robson
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Kind of see the point..

Aside from the possibility (probability?) that it's a medical insurance requirement (Thank ${DEITY} for the NHS)...

Apple have publicly declared that they can stop this happening, and pretty much by doing so stopped anyone else trying to do it either...

But then haven't done it.

If a company advertises that they have this great new safety feature - shouldn't we all be allowed to think it might get implemented?

As an aside I've been driven by someone making a FaceTime call. They were looking at the road, but their d/Deaf wife was lipreading...

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Hackers could turn your smart meter into a bomb and blow your family to smithereens – new claim

John Robson
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Re: "Smart meters are 'dangerously insecure'"

All new meters are outside, so they can be read more easily....

And smart meters need to be read how often? Oh well. Idiots...

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Ridiculously small Linux build lands with ridiculously few swears

John Robson
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tripto what I think...

So I google.... And the only references to this spelling are in this article, and it's clones...

Google suggests an alternative spelling which is much more likely - referencing turkey comas and gluttons eating way beyond then point where their gluttony was satisfied...

So who made the original typo, and who did all the copy-paste?

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Elon burning to get Falcon back on the launchpad

John Robson
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Re: Back in business

Why wouldn't they? It's not as if there is any issue with the first stage, this was a second stage failure - and it sounds like they were trying for just a little bit more push (using colder fuels for increased energy density)

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Ad-slinger Turn caught with its hand in Verizon's 'supercookie' jar

John Robson
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Hang on - if you aren't paying then you *are* the product they are selling...

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That is pretty, er, Nimble. Storage firm claims 'six nines' availability

John Robson
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A few seconds for failover - when you're only allowing 25 seconds per year each firmware upgrade takes a serious percentage..

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Who killed Pebble? Easy: The vulture capitalists

John Robson
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I'm really glad I didn't buy one...

I have been borrowing one (Kickstarter edition) for a few months - and was starting to consider getting one myself. They do a number of useful things. But this shall go back, and I shall make do without having everything instantly brought to my attention.

I reckon this is probably a good thing...

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Google turns on free public NTP servers that SMEAR TIME

John Robson
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Hence they are published with the disclaimer. Of course it would be good to have a flag in the not responses to say that it is 10+10 smeared time

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John Robson
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Re: Well, I'm giving it a punt

"I've configured my home network now to have two internal NTP servers"

So now you never know what the time is...

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John Robson
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Re: We have also a Google time now?

Google are doing their own thing internally, and have been doing so for a while.

Now that others have access to the Compute power in their bit barns they need a way to sync time between their on and offsite resources, and running GoogleTime (tm) seems like a sensible option. I'd still suggest pool servers for most people, but for those with ties into the Google systems that need accurate sync (not necessarily time, but sync) then this is a good solution.

For a normal home user then the conventional approach of a leap second actually doesn't work too badly - we do seem to have leap seconds figured out reasonably well...

Having computers run on a non sidereal dependant clock does seem like a good idea though...

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Renewed calls for Tesla to scrap Autopilot after number of crashes

John Robson
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"Strange how people think the word/prefix "auto" means "it does it by itself without (further) instruction from you"."

My auto gearbox doesn't change gears on it's own - it depends on me applying more throttle, or the brakes.

The automatic washing machine doesn't load itself, not even with soap/conditioner.

How many people 'pilot' their cars? I don't know anyone who would use that word. Now if the Tesla starts flying then that might be a different area of confusion - but the Model F was, unfortunately, announced on the first day of the fourth month...

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John Robson
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Re: Maybe consumer groups...

"But do we really need to test this generation on public thoroughfares?"

Yes we - do because it's only real world testing that will get us through this generation. I still don't see any evidence that the autopilot is worse than the vast majority of drivers (obviously excluding the reader who is perfect).

If I could afford one then I would have one, and would use auto-pilot, and it would be of net benefit to my safety, and those around me (I, like most people, consider myself to be a competent driver. Unlike many motorists I also acknowledge that I can miss things and get tired/grumpy/distracted/indignant and that *none* of those are qualities I want to have when in control of a tonne of lethal weapon)

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John Robson
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That hardware is there - the software isn't yet. So they don't do self driving yet - they do autopilot. Which is different.

You can tell because the words aren't the same.

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John Robson
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Maybe consumer groups...

Who haven't bought a tesla don't understand an autopilot.

Maybe non pilots don't understand how little an autopilot does in the air...

Maybe they need to look at human vehicles for their standard, not to some vision of the cars of the next generation(s) expecting those to materialise without first passing through this generation...

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UCam247 tells El Reg most of its cams aren't vulnerable to GET vuln

John Robson
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Re: @Mephistro Good...

I like that expansion of IoT: Ignore, obfuscate, Threaten (litigation)

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Netflix and spill: Web vid giant kills password masking in tests

John Robson
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Re: As bad as Amazon video on my TV

The FireTV stick and box show 0-4 mapped onto the direction and click keys on the remote and 5-9 if you press the 'option' button.

If you watch you get to know which half of the number space each number is in.

This massively reduces the search space - 5^4 rather than 10^4

That's still 625 codes given a 4 digit PIN

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John Robson
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Re: As bad as Amazon video on my TV

Proper Amazon box doesn't move it round a grid.

Took me a moment to realise that you meant a TV implementation - which TV is so badly broken?

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Grand App Auto: Tesla smartphone hack can track, locate, unlock, and start cars

John Robson
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Re: That's a lot of code

I'd rather my code was shown to be better than people than proved 'correct'

Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it. - Donald Knuth

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Apple unplugs its home LAN biz, allegedly

John Robson
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Oh - I quite liked the Airport range

I was considering a couple for improved WiFi (still on g at home)

I shall be looking elsewhere...

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Hacker dishes advanced phishing kit to hook clever staff in 10 mins

John Robson
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Re: Discerning?

I was more concerned with the use of the word impressive.

Depressing maybe?

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Helping autonomous vehicles and humans share the road

John Robson
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Re: Really.

It's what's written - so real 10mph. It's also incumbent on the overtaking party to do so in a safe manner (i.e. check for oncoming traffic, leave as much room as you would leave for a car, etc...).

It is however accepted that at <10mph an overtake can be accomplished where it would be unsafe to overtake something travelling at 20mph - and that is fine.

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John Robson
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Re: Really.

My reading was double yellow and therefore US, and I don't know what the regulations are there.

In the UK you can break the double white line to overtake certain classes of vehicle (which includes cyclists) but ONLY if they are doing less than 10mph.

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John Robson
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Really.

"We stop midblock and wave a pedestrian across, even though there’s no crosswalk. We cross the double yellow line to leave cyclists enough room on the shoulder."

The first is only considered in the US where motorists managed to pass a ridiculous law banning people from roads, the latter isn't hard to code for, but it is rare to see humans manage it...

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The solution to security breaches? Kill the human middleware

John Robson
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Re: Free Stuff - Brain off

A depressing test more like...

Given that we know that a USB stick can be a capacitor bank designed to fry components.... why do we ever plug anything in any more.

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Smart meter benefits even crappier than originally thought

John Robson
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Change the WiFi password as part of your routine security protocols at her house...

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'Trust it': Results of Signal's first formal crypto analysis are in

John Robson
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Re: it's great

If you're happy with the system running on a fully adversarial network then it can run through anyone's tech.

It potentially allows google to cut the wire - but that can't be done secretly.

The authors can verify that the app they get from the store is the same as the one they put there...

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Apple drops dongle prices to make USB-C upgrade affordable

John Robson
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What they need to do...

Is put an HDMI port and a USB3 port or two in an optional power brick.

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Samsung are amateurs – NASA shows how you really do a battery fire

John Robson
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Re: Only 96 batteries

Why is the mileage comparison irrelevant - that's why the 2 Gallons was being questioned as I read it...

The energy efficiency of an IC driven car is terrible - modern power stations (let's ignore renewables for the moment) run on pretty unrefined fuel and get better thermal efficiency, by some margin, than a car running on pretty highly refined juice.

When you add in the options from Nuclear, and Wind/Hydro/Wave/Tidal etc power sources then you get a better view again.

Then you consider that the gaseous pollution can be recaptured at static plants, and isn't being dumped into the lungs of everyone in every city and town across the country...

And that any improvements to power stations immediately apply to all vehicles in the country...

There is an awful lot to be said for centralised energy generation, and zero point emissions systems.

This is what we use for everything else (except household heating, and some cooking) in this country. If we operated more CHP schemes, its district heating from the waste heat of power stations then their efficiency jumps again...

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John Robson
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Re: Only 96 batteries

Also your two gallon estimation sounds low unless the Tesla cars have really rubbish range.

Or it just shows how horribly inefficienct an internal combustion engine is...

Petrol - 46MJ/kg, 2 Gallons is about 6.5 kg or 300MJ, or 83kWh

Tesla Model S are available in 60-100kWH versions

So the 2 gallon figure is fair. And, yes. They manage over 250 motorway miles on that (better at lower speeds). Not many cars, let alone executive class saloons, manage 125mpg.

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New MacBook Pro beckons fanbois to become strip pokers

John Robson
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Re: "Oh look!! It has a display. And a keyboard."

Despite my horror at the complete lack of 'useful' ports, and the lack of MagSafe power... I'm coming round to your viewpoint.

I have to add the cost of a USB-C MagSafe adaptor (or a few, for different locations) and a 'useful ports dongle (or two, one for home, one for the travel bag) to the cost of the MBPro if and when I go down that route.

The newly old MBP in the house has HDMI, Ethernet, MagSafe power and USB.

USB sticks are the obvious 'error' case, but I can't recall when we last plugged one in.

HDMI is more frequently used, but I can probably tolerate a dongle for that.

The redundancy of the ports, and the fact that they aren't part of the main board (so repair is at least a technical possibility) is seriously attractive.

Someone needs to come up with a USB-Cm, a magnetic connector that extends a whole USB-C port, not just the power.

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Ageing GSM crypto cracked on commodity graphics rig

John Robson
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Is it me...

Or is the concept of searching a terabyte rainbow table in 9 seconds on 'commodity' hardware the impressive thing here.

Of course it depends what they call 'commodity', I don't see too many PCs with a TB of RAM, and suspect that a few SSDs may be needed in parallel to get that sort of performance...

Mind - you 'as little as nine seconds' could mean 'if you're the first item in the rainbow table'

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Lessons from the Mini: Before revamping or rebooting anything, please read this

John Robson
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I was assuming this would be a look at the mini...

.. to se how *not* to do a reboot.

It's hideous, and deserves the moniker 'maxi'

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