* Posts by Pet Peeve

512 posts • joined 22 Nov 2009

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Tiny fly-inspired RoboBee takes flight at Harvard

Pet Peeve
Coat

Re: And still got a tether

Moving power and control onboard may be doable, if those nano-batteries pan out, and they can bake all the control logic onto an ASIC.

Or, if they can power them with plant nectar and teach them to recognize flowers, we can say SUCK IT, colony collapse disorder!

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3D printer spits out CYBORG EAR... but where will you PUT it?

Pet Peeve
Boffin

BLARRGH

Well, that's really gross, but I kind of want one?

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Fraudster gets ten years after selling fake 'ionic charge' bomb detectors

Pet Peeve
Alert

Re: 60 MILLION?!!!

Of COURSE they were tested - by people in on the scam. If he had sold them totally above board, he probably wouldn't be in nearly as much trouble, or at least the governments would have a lot harder time making a case. But he had to go and bribe officials into accepting the devices, running right in the face of laws like the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (or rather the UK equivalent).

The scam is so transparent and pathetic (the "ionic balance chips" are photographs of what you want to detect, printed on cardboard). When you run the bingo board on Maki Naro's "Quackery Red Flag" comic, and you aren't even medicine, something is very, very wrong.

http://sci-ence.org/red-flags2/

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Why next iPhone screen could be made of SAPPHIRE - and a steal...

Pet Peeve
Boffin

Re: So

Yep, and so are rubies.

I had no idea that the price of silicon had dropped so far. Great article!

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Hotel marketplace Airbnb: Show us your privates if you want to book a bed

Pet Peeve
Big Brother

Re: Booking hotels and hostels in China, Japan, S Korea. etc

They don't do this in Europe anymore? When I was in Paris in the late 80s, they wanted to keep my passport in their safe or they wouldn't let me rent a room.

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Police arrest suspect in BIGGEST DDoS ATTACK IN HISTORY

Pet Peeve
Mushroom

Re: bollocks

"the new law". You mean can-spam, the law that is more about what ISN'T spam than what is? Feh.

There is precious little "American spam", as in spam sent from the US, that would be illegal under can-spam. As lame as the law is though, most spammers only pretent to comply with it anyway. They send from other countries, change names every other week, host via botnets, anything but actually making an honest living.

If you really think sending email to an unsubscribe link will do anything but put your email on a resell list, you're a fool. And if you don't believe that and wrote the tripe you did anyway, you're either a troll or a spammer yourself. Begone.

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Pet Peeve
Stop

Re: bets

No, they're NOT housed in the bunker, in fact the real owner of the bunker was considering suing cyberbunker to get them to stop using the image.

I think Sven owned it for a while, but not for a long time, and not to house servers.

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Boffins build ant-sized battery, claim it's tough enough to start a car

Pet Peeve
FAIL

Re: Crap battery management

Thanks for confirming that you do live in mum's basement, Jeffy. If you had that stuff, you wouldn't feel the need to obsessively list it in a comments thread, you'd just by enjoying it.

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Pet Peeve
Coat

I have no joke here, I just like saying "interdigitated".

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jQuery 2.0 kicks old Internet Explorer versions to the curb

Pet Peeve
Boffin

Ha, I took a 2008 era computer out of storage to replace an even older one that happily ran the automation on my Dad's model railroad for years, and besides 98 other windows updates, I also had to get rid of IE6. While I was waiting for the installs to finish, I browsed around a bit, and you could almost HEAR the middle fingers going up on websites when I dropped by using that old piece of crap. Jquery or otherwise, not many sites make any real attempt to support IE6 anymore, and who blames them?

Of course, I put firefox on it as soon as the updates finished anyway.

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Pet Peeve
Boffin

I'm inclined to agree that if your enterprise STILL relies on IE6-hosted apps, your I/T staff needs to be put against the wall PRONTO. That may have even been true in 2006!

IE8 though- we're going to still see that long after XP goes off of official support. As someone up comments thread said, it will be the new IE6. Microsoft really should have bit the bullet and back-ported IE9 to XP - it would have cut off the long tail.

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Pet Peeve
Angel

Re: Necessary?

In a word, YES.

The standardizing of some browser-specific stuff is nice, but that's not why jquery is the first thing I dump into my scripts folder - it's because some things that are doable in javascript, but a royal pain in the ass (ajax, scripted events, micro-targeted CSS overrides) are trivial with jquery. It saves SO much time getting a site working.

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Pet Peeve
Facepalm

Re: Kicks to the what now?

Don't be a dumbass.

Actually on topic, it would have been nice for jquery 2.0 to support IE8 - then I would have had no qualms about dropping it in and forgetting about 1.0 entirely. I'll probably be sticking to 1.0 for a year or two.

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Move over, Mythbusters: Was Archimedes an ancient STEVE JOBS?

Pet Peeve
Boffin

Antikythera mechanism

I watched a really good NOVA episode a couple weeks ago that makes a fairly good case that the antikythera mechanism was loot from Archimedes' studio when his city was sacked. They don't have any proof he made it, but he built orreries (the mechanism has been confirmed to be a planetary/moon position calculator and an eclipse predictor) and the wreck that the mechanism was found in came from that area. Cool stuff.

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WTF is... H.265 aka HEVC?

Pet Peeve
Facepalm

Yeah, I totally missed that the compression would benefit HD content too. I guess that's a good thing - movie rentals take too dang long to download from itunes, and netflix streaming would certainly benefit from this.

Carry on then!

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Pet Peeve
Boffin

Math problems

So, half the bandwidth to support 4 or 16 times the raw data input? There's nothing wrong with the article (on the contrary, it's great content), but this doesn't seem like much of a solution to me. I don't see the average home bandwith doubling, let alone quadrupling, any time soon.

Who outside of a movie theater even WANTS 2k or 4k video? Seriously, I'm asking. How much smaller do the dots need to get for home video?

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P2P badboys The Pirate Bay kicked out of Greenland: Took under 48 hours

Pet Peeve
Pirate

Re: Why does the Pirate Bay even need a host?

Or move the website to TOR as a hidden service, yeah.

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Bitcoin briefly soars to record $147 high, driven by Cyprus bank flap

Pet Peeve
Boffin

Good article, and right on the nose. I think something like bitcoins would be excellent as a short-term medium for anonymous cash transactions over the internet (like dropping a small donation to your favorite webcartoonist if they made you laugh today), but without the backing of a large body to back it up with something real, it's NOT a place to sock away your savings.

I want to slap past-me for not buying a some coins when they were 50 cents each, but mostly that valuation doesn't do you any good. If there was any significant move to cash in the coins, it would plummet to nothing almost immediately, considering how thin the trading market really is.

So, it's great if you're out there buying ... whatever you can buy directly with bitcoins (time on a botnet, "gas station weed", and spamware?), but being a "bitcoin millionaire" don't mean jack.

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Gartner forecasts pro 3D printer prices below $2,000 by 2016

Pet Peeve
Boffin

CNC is traditional subtractive manufacturing, and can't do everything that 3d printing can, and it is not what you'd call cheap (except when compared to hiring a machinist to make stuff by hand). Don't get me wrong, CNC mills are great, it's even something I could see myself doing as a "second act" career, but it's not really in competition with 3d printing.

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Pet Peeve
Boffin

Re: Size limitations??!!

STL is pretty much the standard for 3d modeling nowadays, almost every program either uses it natively or can export it.

I don't think 3d printers will become a household item until there's a modeler that doesn't suck. Every year the sculpting software get a little better, and businesses are opening to scan in the real world. One, called Made To Measure, opened up down the street from my office a couple months ago. They've got some REALLY nice toys.

The consumables need to come down in price too. Photopolymer resins have made good resolution possible, but the stuff costs a fortune (200 bucks a liter), and I don't think there's one available that can be burned out for metal casting yet. Lots of work still to do before it becomes more than novelty tech.

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Dragon capsule makes fiery entrance, safe splashdown

Pet Peeve
Coffee/keyboard

Dirty Laundry and Empty Packaging?!

That part is a joke, right? Since lifting items to space costs nearly as much as the item's weight in gold, one hopes they unbox everything on the ground, and put their undies in the wash at the top of the gravity well.

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The gaming habits of Reg readers revealed

Pet Peeve
Happy

Re: The choices:

Totally with you there, Foo. These days, if it's not on steam, I won't play it. This is especially true for the backlisted games that get those 5-10 dollar sales, it's the best thing to ever happen to pc gaming.

I had to make an exception or mass effect 3 because I played the first two on steam and wasn't going to miss the finish. I don't regret that (howler monkey fans aside, it was a great game), but I was sticking up my middle finger at the screen every time Origin started.

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LOHAN fans drawn to magnetic coupling

Pet Peeve
Happy

Yay, I am helping! TeeCee's version sounds really solid.

Be really wary of pull force on magnet sites. They are magnet-to-magnet or magnet-to-surface, without anything under them. Pull force goes down really fast as you shove stuff under the magnet, so you'll need to pick a few sizes and experiment.

Or, use my favorite little magnet: http://www.kjmagnetics.com/proddetail.asp?prod=D21. These are super-cheap, and you can add an extra one if you want more force. I have a bunch of them on my fridge holding up photos, and they're surprisingly strong considering how tiny they are.

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Bitcoin prices spike on Euro woes

Pet Peeve
Boffin

The mere fact that a scare has cranked up the bitcoin price by that much is proof that socking your money there is a stupid idea. Any currency that fluctuates like that is likely to eat more than a 5% loss from ham-handed spanish banking.

I really like the idea of crypto-currency as a way to make anonymous micropayments practical, but I can't help thinking that bitcoin is designed to pounce on and make vanish people's savings the first time there's significant real money attached to it.

A couple years ago one of the largest BC exchanges had a flash-crash down to a penny a coin for brief moments, and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of coins went bye-bye. The exchange rolled back transactions they could, but if you were fast to withdraw the coins, there was nothing to be done about it other than for them to ask nicely to give it back.

What people don't realize about the recent court rulings that "legitimized" bitcoin transactions is basically, they're saying "you're on your own". By not putting exchanges under regulation, that means you've got nowhere to turn if your bitcoin bank fails or is simply embezzeled from. It's like trusting Eve online players with your bank account.

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Steve Jobs' death clears way for Adobe CTO defection

Pet Peeve
Boffin

Re: Fuck adobe.

Nonsense. Apple's problem with flash is that a) it is poorly optimized, often doing software rendering when accellerated hardware is available, b) it was a giant pile of ... code that used way more resources than it needed to, and c) at the time there was no embedded version for phones, and d) it was a security rats-nest, and still is.

I don't think Apple killed flash at all though - smartphones and tablets in general did, because none of them run flash well, if they run it at all. I laughed out loud when it was used as a marketing tool for one manufacturer (with that horrible 70s flash gordon theme in the commercial). Talk about the worst possible thing to empathize - that you can run a technology that will probably work like absolute shit on your device. My as well say "we have dancing bears".

The sad thing is that there's a lot of great flash content that will never get converted to newer tech. But for every great little game (steambirds, desktop tower defense), there's a thousand crappy apps that nobody will miss.

Use of flash for new applications needs to turn you into a social pariah, like smoking in public.

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LOHAN slips into tight rubber outfit

Pet Peeve

oops

I mean paint on ONE side of each, obviuously!

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Pet Peeve
Boffin

Quick disconnect

A neat little trick is to solder a flat metal tab onto the ends of two pieces of wire, and then hold together the tabs by sandwiching them between two rare-earth magnets, the size of the magnets determining the force to pull the tabs apart. K&J Magnetics is a great place for magnet shopping.

If you are worried about shorting against something, paint the tabs with liquid electrical tape to insulate them.

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Drones with freakin' CLAWS grab objects like eagles

Pet Peeve

It's the yoinkbot 9000!

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National Security Letters ruled unconstitutional

Pet Peeve
Big Brother

Re: Huh? WTF is going on?

Don't count your chickens on this one, but I think it IS starting to sink in with congresscritters that there's no such thing as a safe seat when you make a career of breaking stuff while in office.

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Modder hacks SimCity for unlimited offline play

Pet Peeve
WTF?

This makes no sense.

I just don't get it. The game has a workable offline mode (minus being able to save), and rather than making a few tweaks to it to allow the game to gracefully degrade to offline play, they stage this PR nightmare instead? Can they really be that stupid? Oh wait, EA. Hm.

It's quite possible that the debug mode skips some aspect of the simulation, or has a simplified model of the game world, that would become obvious in long play. It's isn't necessarily proof of anything.

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Boffins build robo-CHIMP for DARPA challenge

Pet Peeve
Terminator

Re: So is it a tele operated remote handler or a true robot?

There seem to be some kind of hooks on its "knees" for climbling latters. Interesting design, if a bit terrifying.

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Google sends Street View car into Fukushima dead zone

Pet Peeve
Happy

Re: @Phil

Ha, or become 50 feet tall and go rampaging down the highway.

Seriously though, I thought the idea was that the car actually was self-driven for this. It's hard to tell, but I don't see a driver in the photo.

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Amazon yanks SimCity download from store

Pet Peeve
FAIL

Dude, did you read the chat in the article? That's not a rumor.

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Pet Peeve
Mushroom

Re: Why...

EA gets money because they bought up all the game studios that put out the stuff we want to play, or have nailed down distribution rights for the games we want to play. It's sad - the world did not need Origin when Steam already exists and is well liked.

These things have a way of working themselves out. Mess up too many A titles, and you won't be in business anymore.

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Photoshop fakery exposed by fake Photoshop tool

Pet Peeve
Holmes

Re: Where is the line drawn?

You missed the point Silverburn - the photo on the right was what the photoshop macro was described as doing (making skin tones more luminous). What it actually did was completely different.

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Pet Peeve
Alien

Re: There's two kind of fakers

There's a difference between slapping on makeup, which anyone can do, and flat-out erasing "objectionable" bits and creating a vaguely humanoid creature that would snap in half in the first gust of wind.

Dove is making a good stand here. I'm getting tired of seeing racks of aliens every time I walk past a magazine stand.

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Japanese password protector floods screen with hoax cursors

Pet Peeve
Boffin

Not speculation

Stay with me on this...

The Adler Planetarium had this thing where the audience had a button on each armrest, so the audience could "steer" some of the presentation (it was less dumb than it sounded). Before the show, they had a display up that had a little square for each seat (arranged in a grid instead of the circular setup of the room, so it wasn't immediately apparent which was your square). When you pushed the left button, the square turned red, and green for the right.

It took a few minutes, but even with a packed house and a bunch of overcaffenated kids pushing the buttons constantly, you could figure out which one was yours, by just watching the screen and watching for your button pattern.

Since you have even more control over the cursor, I think this will work. If the other cursors are doing apparently purposeful stuff (say, by recording previous paths to clicked buttons), it should be hard for a shoulder surfer to do the same thing, since watching the screen and tracking the mouse is easy for the user (since the mouse is in their hand), but hard for them.

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Google to offer 'same-day delivery' Amazon Prime killer - report

Pet Peeve
FAIL

Re: Hmmm… Good luck!

Indeed. I don't see how "running off to a store and buying it off the shelf for delivery" has the slightest chance of competing with Amazon. A) It doesn't scale - eventually you have to have people stationed at stores shopping all day, B) You are at the mercy of the retailer for what you pay, which changes from day to day at brick and mortar stores, C) Retailers will hate your guts (worse than restaurants hate OpenTable) and will mess with your couriers or kick them out of the store, and D) You have to pay local sales tax.

Crowdsourced material distribution is a stupid idea. Google can feel free to beta their buying service, but I'll be sticking with my outstanding amazon prime service, thank you very much.

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'Million-strong' zombie army devours Raspberry Pi's crunchy base

Pet Peeve
Thumb Up

OK, british thing, gotcha. Thanks for the explanation!

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Pet Peeve
Boffin

Re: Seems like a pointless exercise

Most hosts have some kind of DDOS hardening now, it's not always a thing you need dedicated infrastructure for anymore. It may be that the attacks had an easily-filterable pattern, or maybe the asshats realized they were targeting the wrong people and went back to attacking a "pharmacy" somewhere.

We'll probably never know the details - I don't think attacking the raspberry pi foundation gets you credibility in the black hat world - even thieves can think other thieves are dicks.

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Pet Peeve
Black Helicopters

It's not impossible, but I don't think your average distro fundamentalist is going to be the type of person who sets up or rents a million host botnet.

It's hard to think of any reason behind this, most likely because there is no sane reason for it. Most attacks of this type aren't done for "fun" anymore, they're done to extort money out of the target to get you to stop, or to crash a competitor (I understand this is a common pattern for attacks on porn, spam, and gambling sites).

Since the folks at pi have no cash to speak of, and wouldn't be considered to be in competition by anyone with two brain cells to rub together, I think it's most likely a case of collateral damage from attacking a different target.

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Pet Peeve
WTF?

I unpacked "RM" as "Russian Mafia". What the hell do they have to do with education?

Does the pi foundation use shared hosting? They may simply be in the crossfire.

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Carrie Fisher dusts off THAT bikini for Star Wars VII

Pet Peeve
Facepalm

Go to the source

Oh gods, follow the link to the original article. The stuff Fisher said about still wearing the "buns and bikini" is hysterical. I love Carrie Fisher, but after reading all that, I'm wondering if the whole thing was her having a good time with the interviewer, and not a real "yes". It would definitely fit her sense of humor to do it.

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Pet Peeve
FAIL

Re: Maybe she had to.

Ha, no.

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Pet Peeve
Gimp

Are you kidding? Star wars has nowhere to go but up, and I'm amazed that they managed to get the big three back. I didn't know that Abrams was even going to try - I'm pretty sure Ford has done a "when hell freezes over" thing when asked about participating in a star wars movie before.

Considering that there hasn't been a star wars movie in 30 years (snort), I'm looking forward to the revival.

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German boffins turn ALCOHOL into hydrogen at low temp

Pet Peeve
Stop

Re: 24 litres per second?

24L of STP hydrogen, most likely. Hydrogen has absolutely terrible energy content by volume.

This is a total rathole. Picking a catalyst even more rare than platinum? The idea is to find a catalyst that a) lasts a long time or is at least reusable, and/or b) is reasonably plentiful. Dudes, you're going the WRONG WAY. The lower temperature is interesting, but a 3 week lifespan for the catalyst, for an element that, if all the known reserves were mined, you'd have a cube only 20 meters on a side? Come on!

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Yet more world+dog patent suits, this time over encryption

Pet Peeve
Megaphone

Re: Not a Troll

"Real product" in the sense that they're really trying to assert a false claim of invention, you mean. We've had encrypted containers that act as filesystems for a long time.

This isn't even a patent for a technology, it's a patent on when you can USE a technology. Defenestrate the miscreants forthwith.

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Apple to cough up $100m after kids rinse parents' credit cards on apps

Pet Peeve
FAIL

Yeah, I'm actually glad for the password prompt, because it's not that difficult to accidentally make an in-app purchase without it in some "free" apps.

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Pet Peeve
Facepalm

Re: Not one to defend Apple but....

It's not a security vulnerability, and is in fact still in place, though you can turn off authorization completely now as an option.

The idea is that once you've authenticated, that you don't have to do so again for 15 minutes. "sudo" works exactly the same (in fact, it may even BE sudo under there), so calling it a vulnerability is silly.

The short of it is that a bunch of dumb adults unlocked itunes purchases for their kids, and were shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that said kids went on a buying spree during the interval. Apple too the reasonable position that none of this is their problem, so said dumb adults abused the legal system to get cash. Sigh.

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Firefox to spit out third-party cookies

Pet Peeve
Boffin

Re: This isn't going to have the desired result

I already use noscript for exactly this reason, and it definitely stops tracking cookies dead. Frankly, I think most of the features of noscript should be native browser features in the first place.

Welcome to the party, Firefox. About damn time.

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