* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Binary star bash-up should add new light to Northern Cross in 2022

DougS Silver badge

Just "visible to the naked eye"?

That's all?? I would have thought releasing more energy than our sun will in its lifetime from "only" 1800 ly away would be quite a bit brighter than that. I want a supernova visible at high noon in my lifetime please, is that so much to ask? :)

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

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Re: What's old is new again

According to teardowns from people who specialize in knowing what stuff costs, about $8. If US workers were getting 10x what the Chinese ones were (i.e. $15-$20/hr) it would add about $70 to Apple's cost to make an iPhone.

The bigger problem is logistical. Apple needs twice as many iPhones made in Q3 to sell the new model in Q4 as they need made in Q2 to sell in Q3. In China Foxconn can have those workers build other stuff instead. In the US, what are they going to do, lay off a bunch of people for half the year? Or will Foxconn have to make other stuff in the US to give those workers something to do? Apple might be able to absorb such a cost increase (not saying they would want to, but they are in a better position to do so than most CE companies) but who else is going to bite the bullet in re-shoring manufacturing and eating a much higher BOM? Many companies are barely making profit as it is, they couldn't afford a 1000% increase in contract manufacturing labor cost.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Taxes

Yes, it is called a border adjustment tax (BAT) It is sort of a tariff but would be applied universally rather than just to China.

I doubt Trump would care much about the WTO, he'll just invite other countries to go tit for tat on the US and do their own BAT. Since the US imports far more than it exports, the higher such a BAT the better off the US economy - at least to a point where it isn't unduly restricting trade.

If they do that, I imagine the gaps between what is considered the import of "raw materials" or "components" rather than "finished goods" are where a lot of the lobbying and sweetheart deals will be found.

DougS Silver badge

American made iPhones

There are American made iPhones - if you consider South America, i.e. Brazil, to be part of 'America'.

I have long said Apple would eventually make iPhones in the US - once assembly can be automated to the point that wages for those involved in the process become a rounding error. That won't create a lot of jobs though, which is something Trump misses with his "bring jobs back to the US" spiel. For example, the US produces more steel than it did during the height of the US steel industry's employment 40 years ago. It just does it with a quarter of the former workforce, and at a higher price because of that. If it could cut that workforce by 75% again, the wage cost for the workers might outweigh the shipping cost of bringing steel in from other countries and we'll make more here - but with fewer people employed in the industry.

The situation is a lot more complicated than "bring jobs back to the US", but the angry white working man that voted him into office probably doesn't realize that.

How Apple exploded Europe's crony capitalism

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Re: Absolutely agree

In hindsight it was a good idea for Apple to not do 'apps' until iOS 2. If they had done them from day one, a lot of the reviews / discussions about the iPhone would have revolved around the fact there are no apps. Apple chose to let it win on the things it did well (UI, browser, plans that include unlimited data) to build up market momentum. By the time the second gen came out along with iOS 2, the App Store announcement was greeted with fanfare, and developers knew they had a large audience of eager (and fairly well off) customers at the ready.

Yeah, GPS didn't come until the second gen hardware and MMS didn't come until iOS 3.0, but those were both value add - not something very many people used on their previous phones so most wouldn't miss them. Apple wasn't designing a phone to steal existing smartphone customers, at least at first, so they didn't have to match them feature for feature. They were going after a much larger market: everyone else!

With the 3gs they made a phone that even owners of stone age smartphones like Windows Mobile and Blackberry had a hard time arguing against (though of course some were in denial for a couple more years, my girlfriend hung on to her Blackberry until the 4S)

Let's go ARM wrestling with an SEO link spammer

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I'll bet the email the Reg received was automated

If so, it used a search engine to find the article. What's the search engine SEOs target? So I think it is in fact likely that Google's algorithm was dumb enough to find that article, because how else do you think the SEO found it to send the email to the Reg? Certainly they don't have a person reading all the Reg articles looking for ones applicable to their customers.

You know how cop cars pile into each other in old comedy movies? That's how the Moon was built, say boffins

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Re: Momentum Transfer!

Better make it a REALLY cold beer, it'll get kinda hot out while the Earth is spiraling to its fiery doom in the Sun!

Like stealing data from a kid: LA school pays web scum US$28,000 ransom

DougS Silver badge

And I suppose you claim to be such a not-pussy that you could beat the living crap out of a mugger who has a knife to your ribs without the mugger having a chance to sink it in between them? Or are so amazing you could continue to fight and beat the living crap out of him even with a knife stuck deep between your ribs?

I find that usually people who make brave comments like that are the biggest pussies in the world, and write about what they wish they were like. Those few who are truly capable of such a thing wouldn't feel the need to validate themselves in a public forum filled with strangers.

DougS Silver badge

Your clothes?

Just admit it, you were mugged by a Terminator once, weren't you?

DougS Silver badge

@d3vy - your example makes no sense

You say "you discover the infection three days in, your SAN has been encrypted for the last 72 hours". How exactly have your developers been working for three days on an encrypted SAN? That's not possible! Once the virtual disks are encrypted the VMs won't run, the developers can't work, and the infection will be known. Then you restore from the previous day's backup.

If you do nightly backups it is impossible to ever lose more than a day's work. The only way you could have your SAN encrypted for three days without anyone noticing is if it happened Friday night before a three day weekend.

DougS Silver badge

Saying insurance shouldn't cover ransom payments

Is like saying fire insurance shouldn't cover arson. You could make the same argument that replacing a building that was burned down with an identical building would be a tempting target for more arson.

OK the comparison is inexact, and I agree that paying ransom should be a last resort, but it sounds like they were down to that last resort in this case! Sure, maybe it will make them a tempting target for phishing attempts to infect them with more ransomware. Hopefully they will improve their backups so that if it happens again they can simply restore from backup, losing at most a day's work, and there will be no further ransom payments.

You have the right to be informed: Write to UK.gov, save El Reg

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Seems a law tailor made for Donald Trump

Interesting timing that a guy with legendarily thin skin who loves to sue or at least threaten to sue the press over the smallest slight becomes president when the UK is putting this law in force. It would pretty much ban the UK press from writing anything negative about him, even things he does as president of the US, if he was able to claim it damaged the "Trump brand" hurting the value of his hotels in the UK!

Soz fanbois, Apple DIDN'T invent the smartphone after all

DougS Silver badge

Did anyone truly 'invent' the smartphone?

The smartphone is the sum of its parts. If you argue like I do that the sum must include a simple UI (i.e. touchscreen, not keyboard) a full browser (i.e. no WAP, but seeing the same view you do on a desktop browser) wifi (so you don't restrict what you do for fear of running up a huge bill) apps that can be downloaded over a network, GPS, and camera, then the iPhone (3G, not the original which lacked GPS) would be the first smartphone. They didn't "invent" it, they were merely the first to combine all those pieces into a single product - to see what the smartphone should be to have mass appeal.

If you use a lower bar, like "has apps" then it came about in like 2000 or so. But whoever created that first "smartphone" shouldn't be given any credit for inventing the category inhabited by the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7. Those look and operate a heck of a lot more like the original iPhone than they look and operate like any phone that came before it.

Who invented the automobile? There are multiple people to choose from, but none of those early automobiles look or operate anything like what we would think of as an "automobile" today. i.e. IMHO you should throw out the early ones that worked on primitive batteries, steam power, used something other than a steering wheel to direct it, used something other than foot pedals to make it stop and go, etc. Those are not enough like a modern automobile to qualify as being their ancestor in the way the iPhone 3G is the ancestor of today's smartphones and not the first Windows Mobile 1.0 phone or whatever.

DougS Silver badge

Re: 'The only time I've ever seen reference to Apple having invented'

The way I see it, Apple took the smartphone, which was stuck in a niche occupied only by geeks and PHBs, and made one that appealed to the masses. Sure, smartphones existed before the iPhone, but they were NEVER going to be something that the average person would want to own, because they were being designed by engineers and pronounced "done" when (barely) usable by other engineers.

Seriously, WAP browsing? Java (if you were lucky) apps that had to be loaded via some super fiddly procedure using USB or IR? User friendliness that made you long for DOS?

Microsoft's Blue Screen of Death dead in latest Windows 10 preview

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BSODs are useful

Google the hex codes it gives, if it is a common problem you'll have the explanation and perhaps fix for it.

DougS Silver badge

Fix for auto installing unwanted updates

Even in the Home version that doesn't let you delay updates for 35 days: disable the Windows Update service.

I primarily use Linux, and when I use Windows I use Windows 7 because it actually works properly. I did set up a Windows 10 partition on my new laptop, because you can't installed Windows 7 on Kaby Lake and I need Windows if I ever want to update the firmware on that laptop (no easy way to do it in the UEFI BIOS)

But I found that if you boot Windows 10 after not having used it a while, it is COMPLETELY unusable because it is downloading and installing updates immediately after it starts, without waiting for confirmation. Since I will hardly ever use it, I don't care about getting updates, so I just turned off the service. Problem fixed!

If I ever want to catch up on updates, I can always re-enable the service and leave it running overnight...

Prison librarian swaps books for bars after dark-web gun buy caper

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Re: Well....

Well judging by prison movies like Shawshank Redemption (which I'm sure are totally accurate!) that's a pretty cushy job that would be high on any inmate's list. Whether they go by seniority or by who is doing favors for the warden, he's probably going to be washing dishes or doing laundry.

IBM filed another 8,000 patents in 2016

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ALL companies do that

Every medium or large company encourages its employees to file patents on anything they think they can get a patent on. Not because of headlines, but because it helps them defend against patent lawsuits (frivolous or not) and because you never know if something might turn out to be a real earner someday.

The wait is over ... Nokia's BACK!

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Re: no 5G

I don't know why anyone would care whether their phone includes 5G even when it is out. Is the multi hundred megabits that LTE-A is capable of not enough? What's the use case for more than that on a phone, even if you had unlimited data?

NASA taps ESA satellite Swarm for salty ocean temperature tales

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@Symon - accurate predictions about the future

They have been making predictions about the future. Determining how accurate they are will involve waiting for the future to arrive. Since they are making predictions on the scale of decades in the future, that's a long time to wait.

While there are certainly some things about the climate change story that bother me, I feel that given the consequences for acting to reduce CO2 emissions and being wrong versus the consequences for doing nothing to reduce CO2 emissions and being wrong, it is better to act. Perhaps not quite so aggressively as the extremists on that side would like, but more than we (the US) is doing presently.

We need to get off fossil fuels eventually as they won't last forever, so acting sooner is in our long term interest in other ways as well (unless you are an oil company)

Could YOU survive a zombie apocalypse? Uni eggheads say you'd last just 100 days

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Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

No, no, no, everyone knows the dead vote Democrat.

Only the ones who stay in the cemeteries. The ones who want to eat brains and bring the world down to their level vote republican.

DougS Silver badge

Trump Derangement Syndrome

Is it worse than whatever the conservatives had over Obama, claiming he's a Muslim, claiming he's not born in the US, claiming the country wouldn't exist in four years if he was elected. Its been eight, and we're still here. And economic growth has been starting to pick up this year, just in time for Trump to take credit for it before he even takes office (but still somehow blame Obama if a recession hits in a few years)

DougS Silver badge

Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

You don't even need islands, just sparsely populated areas. If you live in an area with a couple dozen people per spare mile, aka half the United States, where are the zombies going to come from? Maybe they will wander by eventually, but the people living there will have figured out something is up by the fact that TV, internet, cell phones and electricity go away, though probably they will have seen or heard something about the outbreak before that. Those people are more likely to own guns, but even if they don't they can pretty easily kill or keep at bay a single zombie.

I've always wondered where all the zombies in the woods in Walking Dead come from. Did they walk from Atlanta?

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

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Hail Clinton?

You do realize your guy won, right?

Maybe one of the things he'll do to "make America great" is pass a law banning state and local government from keeping kids out of school unless they've had their vaccinations. Trump loves conspiracy theories, and many of his voters tend to be anti-science, so he's probably down with the whole "autism is caused by vaccines" bullshit.

DougS Silver badge

It isn't just a tale

It is about as close to proven as sociology can get:


It has been studied heavily in the US looking at the declines in the use of leaded gasoline in various states and even in the city level in some states, as well as internationally in many countries all over the world. Even at a neighborhood level in New Orleans. The decline in violent crime matches the decline in lead exposure every single time, every single place, no matter where they look.

There are links in that article to some of the academic papers.

That's the way the Cook, he stumbles: Apple CEO pay cut as sales tank

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Re: Apple iPhones will soon be a thing of the past

Why not, buying Nokia worked for Microsoft. Oh wait...

DougS Silver badge

Re: 8% drop is sales "tanking"?

Not really. If you were barely breaking even selling those 100 items, losing 8 can be huge. If, like Apple, you were making crazy amounts of money selling the 100 million, you'll still be making crazy amounts of money selling the 92 million.

DougS Silver badge

8% drop is sales "tanking"?

Tough crowd.

CES 2017 roundup: The good, the bad, and the frankly bonkers

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Haptics for directions/navigation

They already have a bluetooth device for this you are looking for - any sort of earphone will work MUCH better for navigating without your phone, because directions aren't always left or right. Plus it is helpful to be told in advance "turn left in 500ft" so maybe you decide to cross the street one block early because the 'walk' sign is already lit in that direction when you go by. You could connect only one earbud if you want to still hear what is going on around you, or simply one use one of the Jawbone type phone ones that go in only one ear.

Haptics for directions is far too limited to be useful, unless there are all kinds of weird signals you have to learn like "double vibrate left shoe means left turn soon (for some definition of 'soon') but not yet", "three quick vibrations both shoes means you've gone past your destination, do a 180 and walk in the other direction", etc.

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

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If Alexa asked for confirmation, and they showed it on TV, it would get the confirmation.

The bug is that everyone addresses their assistant the same way. They are all Alexa, they are all Siri, they are all OK Google. The first thing they should do is ask you to give them a new name that can't be their actual name.

Of course, if you let your little girl name the Alexa, they will all be called Elsa, and we're back where we started...

FBI let alleged pedo walk free rather than explain how they snared him

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I treat this as an admission that the FBI violated his rights

After all, don't they always tell us "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear"?

TCL vows to keep BlackBerry alive

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More than current is still an improvement

No smartphone will ever be truly secure, they are simply doing too much and software development as a discipline is simply not up to the task (unless someone writes a smartphone OS in Ada from formally verified specs - which might provide 2017 level software features by 2030 for $150K per phone)

Simply getting the patches to the phone in a timely manner will mean it is an improvement over 98% of other Android phones, solving Android's #1 security issue. How is that not a major step forward, even if you think it isn't a big enough step to be called "secured"?

Fedora 25: You've got that Wayland feelin', oh, that Wayland feelin'

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Wayland only used for GNOME 3

If you're sane, and you use something else (I use Cinnamon, but there are a lot of choices in Fedora these days) you are still using X.

Which is fine by me, by the time Wayland support comes to Cinnamon all those GNOME users will have worked out any bugs, or the stabilized extension support will mean there are finally enough extensions that can be added to GNOME 3 to make it...well....not be GNOME 3 :)

Routes taken by UK prosecutors over supply of modified TV set-top boxes

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They could take a page from US law here

It is covered here as "inducement to infringe", which selling a device for the purpose of violating copyright law (maybe not with home users depending on UK law, but certainly when sold to pubs) is definitely taking place.

D-Link sucks so much at Internet of Suckage security – US watchdog

DougS Silver badge

Why pick on them alone?

Their security is terrible and they should be forced to address it, but they aren't any worse than Netgear, Linksys, Asus etc. This action should be filed against multiple companies, as it is a problem with most consumer routers. As well as most consumer cable modems, DSL modems, IP cameras, and so on.

Google nukes ad-blocker AdNauseam, sweeps remains out of Chrome Web Store

DougS Silver badge

Thanks, Google!

If not for this action against the interest of your Chrome users, I wouldn't know about this great extension for Firefox! Just installed it and disabled uBlock to try it out.

Streisand Effect, anyone?

Apple's CEO Tim Cook declines invitation to discuss EU tax ruling with Irish parliament

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Re: At the end of the day

Apparently you didn't comprehend my post. It doesn't matter that the money is untaxed today, because they are paying billions in taxes every year in the US on profits earned in the US. Paying that money to Ireland will let them off the hook for an equal amount of taxes in the US, so it costs them nothing.

The only way Apple comes out behind is if the tax laws change and they don't have to pay taxes on income earned overseas - including income earned in previous years. That seems unlikely, especially the last part.

DougS Silver badge

At the end of the day

It costs Apple $0 to pay that money to Ireland. If they pay an extra €13 billion to them, that is a tax credit that will reduce their US tax bill by an identical amount. The day they wrote that check they could file an amended return (probably more than one, covering several tax years) in the US and would get that money back within a month (however long it takes the IRS to process a ~$15 billion refund)

Apple isn't fighting this because it will cost them money, they're fighting it because:

1) they believe they did nothing wrong - they reached an agreement with the Irish government years ago, however the EU believes that Ireland wasn't allowed to make such an agreement under EU law

2) they want the EU to prove (i.e. in a court or something) their contention, which they need to take up with Ireland before sending Apple a bill

3) they don't want to make it look easy for other countries to go around saying "hey we've decided our tax law isn't being interpreted correctly, you owe us more money"

DougS Silver badge

Fuck Apple?

Because the Irish government refuses to try to take money from them? That makes no sense at all. If Apple said "the EU is right" and sent a check to the Irish government, and the Irish government returned it because they believe Apple doesn't owe that money, would you still say "fuck Apple?"

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

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Re: This are defensive filings

You're an idiot. Patent lawsuits are public filings. You just can't produce proof because you know your claim is 100% false, so you make ridiculous claims about conspiracy theories keeping them secret. How come when other companies (i.e. all those patent trolls) file lawsuits over patents they have but don't use in any products make the news, and Apple magically keeps this secret? Ah, because of Roswell...gotcha.

DougS Silver badge

Re: This are defensive filings

Apple's 'patent abuse' is about companies using tech Apple is using themselves. I stand by my claim that they have NEVER sued anyone for using tech they aren't using in their own products. If you dispute that, provide a link of a single case where this has ever happened.

Put up or shut up.

DougS Silver badge

Re: But

So what did Germany do to drop those deaths? It wasn't by adding breathalyzers to every car, i.e. a technological solution like this lawsuit seems to want. I'm guessing it was because they enforced existing laws better and/or stepped up ad campaigns to make it less socially acceptable to drive after drinking.

DougS Silver badge

This are defensive filings

Apple has NEVER tried to stop someone else from using something they've patented that they aren't using themselves. Besides, I'm sure there are a dozen "prevent using a phone while driving" patents out there, all just different enough in their details for the patent office to approve them.

It isn't Apple preventing such technology from becoming a reality, it is because there's no way for the phone to know whether it is in the possession of the driver or a passenger.

Switzerland says Uber's an employer, sends social security bill

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Re: Contractor or employee

If you're willing to share a car with strangers who have ridden in it before you and pissed on the seats or left it smelling like someone died inside, then you should be more willing to use public transport. At least there's room to move away from people who smell or are doing unsavory things, and a better chance of someone doing something about it.

If the 'app you a car to appear' future arrives, it won't be Uber that does it. At least I sure hope not, because I refuse to do business with them out of principle.

Drones will be able to carry 120GB footage of you in the shower if Seagate has its way

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Drone camera quality

It doesn't matter what the camera quality is today. What were the cameras on phones like a decade ago? Now they have much better quality, resolution, and optical stabilization. The only reason they don't have optical zoom is that they can't fit that in a thin smartphone profile. That wouldn't be a concern on a drone. Drone voyeurism will be more practical in a few years than it is today, just like having your smartphone as your only camera is a lot more practical today than it was in 2009.

As for the noise, if you have a decently insulated house and the window isn't open, how are you going to hear a drone from 100'? I can barely hear my next day neighbor's lawn mower, that's closer than 100' and louder than a drone.

DougS Silver badge

@Cynic_999 - being seen from the air while naked

Well ignoring that some people might like to sunbathe naked by their fenced in pool in their backyard, it isn't uncommon for people to be naked indoors in rooms without the shades drawn, if it is facing their backyard or on the second floor. You shouldn't have to worry about drones with a telephoto lens filming inside your bedroom from 100' away through your window.

I rather like the idea of lasering them and destroying their CCDs. Finally a real use for a laser pen!

Banned! No streaming live democracy from your phones, US Congress orders reps

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Re: New Go Fund Me campaign...

Depending on the circumstances, it might be the first time I've ever donated to a politician or political cause.

Xmas software update knackered US Customs computer systems

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Normally updating over the holidays makes sense

Like if you were updating your company's SAP system - few users at the time, so there is more time to work on problems before they become critical (of course it sucks for the IT people working over the holidays, but that's another story)

But there is MORE travel over the holidays, so this is probably the worst time they could have chosen for this!

Routine jobs vanishing and it's all technology's fault? Hold it there, sport

DougS Silver badge

The myth of retraining

The problem is that people didn't have to "train" for the job they had before that was automated or outsourced away. Electricians didn't go to school to learn their trade, they got a job as an apprentice/assistant and learned on the job and were promoted up.

Who is going to hire a 45 or 50 year old as an apprentice, and what 45 or 50 year old will be able to get by on an apprentice's salary if he's got a family? They'll have to learn some other way, but there's nothing as good as learning on the job, so they still won't be able to compete with the 19 year olds who have learned on the job for the past year, instead of in a class, and the 19 year olds will win because of that and because they'll accept less pay.

The idea of training sounds good to us white collar tech workers who are used to the concept, but I don't think it is the panacea politicians try to make it as the solution to career dislocation as technology and outsourcing change the world. That's why there were enough of them, and they were angry enough, to push Trump over the top. Meanwhile Clinton was talking about retraining, and they've been hearing that since the 90s, and know it is a false hope.

MacBook killer? New Lenovo offering sexed up with XPoint booster

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Re: Optane is pointless in laptops

Intel is talking about Optane DIMMs, but unleashed to their full potential I don't think there is enough of a gain going from really really fast to really really really fast. Diminishing returns and all that...

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