* Posts by User McUser

562 posts • joined 6 May 2011

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Google Fiber goes full Wizard of Oz: We're not in Kansas any more

User McUser
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Happy

Can confirm

Google Fiber's most useful legacy may be that it shone a spotlight on the lack of real competition in the ISP market and flagged up the fact that Big Cable can do much more than it is currently doing if it's in its interests.

When a FTTP service started becoming available in my neighborhood about a year ago, I noticed that my existing Comcast Internet suddenly and magically got faster both in terms of latency and sustained bandwidth.

I switched to the new guys anyway because fuck Comcast.

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US military's latest toy set: Record-breaking laser death star, er, truck

User McUser
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Power Requirements

I was wondering about how they planned on powering this thing in the field and then I remembered this article from late 2014.

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Cold callers illegally sold Aussie farmers 1,700 years worth of printer ink

User McUser
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Why they didn't just hang up.

Sometimes you just don't, even if you think you should.

I remember once in the 1990s getting a cold call from a crafty sales person offering replacement windows (the glass kind, not the Microsoft kind.) As I was just 15 at the time I really had no interest in double-hung tilt-clean glazed whatevers but the guy on the phone kept talking and moving the conversation forward and next thing I know I'm giving him directions to my house so he can come over to inspect our current windows and give an estimate to replace them.

It all got sorted when my mother found out but to this day I can't explain why I didn't just hang up on the guy. It's as close to being hypnotized as I've ever been.

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State surveillance boom sparked by fear-mongering political populists, says UN

User McUser
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Pirate

"disproportionate though understandable fear"

I reject the idea that the fear is understandable. The problem is that terrorists aren't really all that dangerous; statistically speaking, you are never going to be killed by one.

Look at it this way: According to "START" (Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism) at the University of Maryland, between 1995 and 2015 a total of 3,576 Americans were killed, world-wide, by terrorist/terrorism.

For comparison, the National Safety Council estimates that as many as 40,000 Americans died in car crashes in 2016 alone (up 6% from 2015.)

So if you're hundreds of times more likely to die driving to work than you are in a terrorist attack, why are people so afraid of terrorism but basically completely unafraid of driving?

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Uber blackballs 'Greyball' tool it used to deny rides to regulators

User McUser
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Alert

Re: "It seems that Uber and specifically its CEO are getting punished"

If two people meeting voluntarily for an activity that hurts no one can really be a "crime." Real crimes have a victim.

Except that hailing an Uber is hardly "two people meeting voluntarily"; Uber is a giant world-wide corporation that you asked to send someone 'round to pick you up and they chose who got to do it. *Your* actions may be voluntary but the driver got dispatched to pick you up and won't be driving for Uber much longer if he refuses to obey (meaning it isn't voluntary.)

And there is a victim - lawful Taxi companies and their employees to start and the rest of us later. It would be one thing if Uber was competitive on their merits, but they're "competitive" by straight-up undercutting prices such that they operate at a continual loss and by completely ignoring all of the laws and regulations on their industry. They aim to drive out (no pun intended) the existing Taxi companies and then hike prices up to profitable levels while presumably still treating their drivers like fungible tools. They pretend that they are "disruptive" but in reality they are "running unlicensed Taxis." By that logic my neighborhood drug dealer is "disrupting" the pharmaceutical industry when he sells heroin; all he needs is an app I guess?

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Video intercom firm Doorbird wants $80 for device password resets

User McUser
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Meh

Re: Because this process is attended to us with considerable effort,

Yes, that's a superb idea for something that is stuck on the outside of the house.

Pro tip - don't put the reset button on the part of the thing that's outdoors! Put that button on the inside parts where it will be safe.

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US military drone goes AWOL, ends up crashing into tree 623 miles away

User McUser
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Re: Stryker?

Over Macho Grande?

No. I don't think I'll ever get over Macho Grande...

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The Psion returns! Meet Gemini, the 21st century pocket computer

User McUser
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Re: So close, so very very close...

FYI, I emailed them and asked why there is no rear camera; here is their response:

This is in fact a very interesting point for us, that we discussed in length before launching the campaign.

The problem is that a good camera lens adds a certain depth to the device.

That’s why on today’s mobile phones, the camera is usually the thickest part of the phone.

We did not want to compromise the Gemini’s clean design and as a result we kept the back camera out of the specs.

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User McUser
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Unhappy

So close, so very very close...

This thing ticks all the boxes except for one - there's no camera on the back of the display, only a user-facing one!

I don't think I've ever used my user-facing camera before - I am not a "selfie" type of person - but I use the one on the back of the thing all the time. This seems like an oddly conspicuous omission...

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Softbank gros fromage: ARM will knock out a trillion IoT chips by 2040

User McUser
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Unhappy

Re: I really really want my shares back

I voted against the purchase, but alas my meager shares were insufficient to turn the tide.

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Your future boss? An employee-interrogating bot – it's an open-source gift from Dropbox

User McUser
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Two Truths and a Lie

"So, we don’t bother you for some period of time, because we can be pretty sure three sudos in a row, in the same context, are all you."

So the lesson here is to be sure and conceal your malicious activities alongside two legitimate tasks.

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FCC lops off red tape around small US ISPs, y'know, things like having to own up about connection speeds

User McUser
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Facepalm

Such a burden...

I mean you'd have to open your email, attach a spreadsheet, and then send it... Whew, I'm tired from just *thinking* about that.

Seriously, how hard or expensive could it possibly be to report this info? Any ISP worth a shit should already be tracking all of these things internally, so just fill out the FCC form and mail it in you twats.

Where's the indignant eye-roll icon?

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New Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters can't transmit vital data

User McUser
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Black Helicopters

Alternative Angle

There's another spin on this - "New Navy Helicopters Hardened Against Network Based Attacks"

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Why I had to sue the FCC – VoIP granddaddy Dan Berninger

User McUser
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FAIL

[Plain Old Telephone Service] literally didn’t do anything different or new from 1934 to 1996, when the internet came along - there was no important new service. It didn’t add new value.

Of course it didn't[1], but that didn't stop people from launching OTT services.

Remember fax machines? They ran on top of the POTS lines and provided new value to an existing infrastructure. Ditto for modems that connected computers to BBSes and The Internet.

[1] Just kidding - it did plenty of innovation and investment. The two that spring immediately to mind are DTMF (aka "Touch-Tone Dialing") and Caller ID. Both are improvements to the POTS that occurred during the stated time frame that added new value. DTMF added value by allowing the Customer Service Phone Tree to exist, streamlining call routing, and Caller ID allows me to ignore people *much* more efficiently.

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Magic Leap sued for sex discrimination … by woman it hired to stamp out sex discrimination

User McUser
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Joke

"Wizards Wanted"

[the] jobs page was titled "Wizards wanted," seemingly shutting out women.

Are women not allowed to be wizards?

If so, then someone should let Hermione know before she wastes any more of her time...

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The Register's guide to protecting your data when visiting the US

User McUser
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Devil

Tapes?

The CBP told The Register it reserves the right to check "computers, disks, drives, tapes, mobile phones and other communication devices, cameras, music and other media players, and any other electronic or digital devices."

Oh my, you can have fun* with this!

Step 1: Procure as many QIC-80 tapes (or whatever your favorite obsolete tape backup format is) as you can via eBay and the like. Make sure you have enough to catch CBP's attention but still fit easily in your carry-on baggage.

Step 2: Bulk erase said tapes with a very strong magnet. Really scramble that rust.

Step 3: Enter America; when asked "what's on the tapes?" look around nervously and then say "Nothing... Why?"

Step 4: Laugh your ass off as they cart them off to be "inspected" at Uncle Sam's expense.

*Fun levels may vary inversely with melanin levels.

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Roses are red, you're feeling blue, 'cos no one wants to watch VR telly with you

User McUser
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Angel

Friends live all over...

Maybe they want to watch a TV show with their pal, but said pal lives hundreds of miles away?

Or maybe their friend has a disability that makes it difficult or inconvenient to physically go places but they would still like to socialize with others?

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High tides: Boffins spy on dolphins baked on poisonous piscines

User McUser
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Coat

Re: Further study required!

(BTW, I could have done without the tales of reindeer-herders drinking deer piss. But I suppose it's about the same as them breaking out a case of Bud Light after a hard day's herding.)

Plus deer piss is cheaper because you can get it from under a buck.

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Hyperloop sueball noose-man launches tube-travel rival

User McUser
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Who keeps giving these people money?

See title.

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Trump cybersecurity order morphs into 2,200-plus-word extravaganza

User McUser
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Go

Re: Sounds great

I think you're right - the best way to get things done in IT is to produce lots of lengthy reports. It never fails. The more reports, the more work gets done. Simples.

Don't forget about the all important committees, review boards, blue-ribbon panels, commissions, independent investigators, task forces, advisory groups, consultants, etc.

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Conviction by computer is go, confirms UK Ministry of Justice

User McUser
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Unhappy

Prosecution Costs?!

Defendants persuaded to plead guilty online will automatically be issued [...] prosecution costs

And exactly what prosecution costs would those be m'ludd? The 1p worth of electricity the server uses processing the form submission?

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Russia (A) bans web porn as a 'bad influence' (B) decriminalizes domestic violence – or (C) all of the above?

User McUser
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there's a growing amount of evidence that pornography can be slightly detrimental to mental health in some cases

That's news to me. Care to provide some links to said evidence?

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Why don't you all just f-f-f-fade away, Kaspersky asks generation SocMed

User McUser
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Fee Structure Unclear

For US$1.99 a month you'll be able to back up all four.

So you pay $1.99/mo forever or they delete the backups?

Or do you pay $1.99 for each month's worth of Data you backup?

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Humanity needs you... to build an AI bot that can finger rotten headlines

User McUser
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WTF?

How is this a problem?

The data that does exist (eg, fact checker website archives) is almost all copyright protected.

I don't see why that's a problem - they would not be republishing or distributing the copyrighted material, only analyzing it. Why should copyright enter into it at all?

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Felted! AI poker bot Libratus cleans out pros in grueling tournament, smugly trousers $1.8m

User McUser
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Coat

How do you wake a sleeping Lady Gaga?

P-P-P-Poke Her Face.

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Sony takes $1bn writedown: Streaming has killed the DVD star

User McUser
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No so much...

[Blu-Ray] was the final straw in the endless format upgrade cycle, in which Hollywood expected people to repurchase their entire film collection every few years

VHS - 1977

DVD - 1995

Blu-Ray - 2006

Seems like a perfectly reasonable upgrade cycle to me. Now if you count the "also-rans" (eg: HD-DVD, the original DIVX, and Betamax) then you might have a point.

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Corn-based diet turns French hamsters into baby eating cannibals

User McUser
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When I was but a lad, my brother and I had two mice as pets. Then one morning we woke to find that we now had one mouse, half a mouse carcass, and some surplus bits of mouse offal.

Turns out that rodents are, as a rule, horrid little things; probably something to do with their pan-dimensional existence.

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Zuck off: Facebook's big kahuna sues Hawaiians to kick 'em off their land

User McUser
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Re: The Zuckerberg Effect

So, Zuckerberg buys some land and it then goes down in value.

Sorry, but no - the assessed value is what the government has decided a piece of property is worth for tax and/or regulatory purposes. The price paid when someone purchases the property is completely unrelated.

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Anti-smut law dubs PCs, phones 'pornographic vendor machines', demands internet filters

User McUser
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Coat

Do these filters have to be installed on internet connected cars?

Of course! Doubly-so if you are a gluteophile.

After all, you wouldn't want anyone to die from auto-erotic ass-fixation...

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

User McUser
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Re: Isn't there a viewing gallery?

Yes there is, but the House can clear the gallery if they so please.

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Non-existent sex robots already burning holes in men’s pockets

User McUser
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Joke

Warning from the Future (rama)

DON'T!

DATE!

ROBOTS!

This PSA brought to you by The Space Pope

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Rift rift assists swift shift at crest of adrift Occulus

User McUser
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Devil

Re: Do not want

Don't care for VR, eh?

Well, I'd love to sit around and chat about it with you but I'm a little busy right now being a motherfucking wizard in The Unspoken. (Seriously, that game is awesome.)

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Oi, you, no flirting, no touching in the back of our rides, sniffs Uber

User McUser
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Facepalm

Vomiting has also been cited as an infraction that may result in a ban now, but only under certain circumstances – specifically, excessive alcohol consumption.

Yes indeed, if you're too drunk to stop yourself from vomiting then you clearly belong behind the wheel of your own vehicle, not safely in the back of an Uber.

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China is building a full scale replica of the Titanic to repeatedly crash into iceberg

User McUser
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Go

Life Imitates Art

Rick and Morty, Season 1 Episode 11 - In the "B" plot of the episode, Jerry and Beth go to a Titanic themed attraction with a full-size replica of said boat designed to recreate the famous events of 1912. However despite repeated assurances that the ship is un-unsinkable, everything goes wrong and the Titanic spectacularly fails to hit the iceberg much to the disappointment of all aboard.

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Reimagine with us, the FT's printed virtual reality guide to Dublin

User McUser
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Headmaster

Printed VR

AKA the Stereoscope (sometimes erroneously referred to as a "Stereopticon.")

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Sky: Stuff your quad play – customers want separate bills

User McUser
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Pint

Ecclesiastes 1:9

Features [...] include rolling data over into a "piggybank" – where you can use it at any point in the next three years

Wow, I remember using "time banks" on BBSes in the early to mid 1990s.

Amazing how things can change so much yet stay the same...

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Internet Archive preps Canadian safe haven to swerve Donald Trump

User McUser
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Thumb Up

Tax deductable

I'd like to point out that donations to the Internet Archive, which is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, are deductible (to the fullest extent allowed by law) from your US Federal Income taxes.

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

User McUser
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So I guess I'm the only person on the planet who refuses to let my browser remember passwords?

Obligatory XKCD link.

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Microsoft's Neon project to redesign Windows for nerd goggles – reports

User McUser
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TaskGallery

Microsoft has been working on new 3D interfaces for Windows since at least 2001.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-mhqYBm7Xo

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And with one stroke, Trump killed the Era of Slacktivism

User McUser
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Mind your Ts & Cs

People want more control over their own photos, words and music when dealing with a giant content harvester like Facebook, not less.

This isn't a legislative or executive issue - this is a problem with Facebook's (et al) "Terms and Conditions."

The existing copyright laws *already* give you absolute full control over your own original works but in order to use most (if not all) of these sorts of services you are required to give up that control.

And given how popular Facebook is, people would seem to be generally ignorant of this or else just don't give a shit.

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Top of the bots: This AI isn't a cold, cruel killing machine – it's a pop music hit machine

User McUser
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Go

This reminded me of two things.

First was "Title of the Song" by Davinci's Notebook which is essentially a lyrics template for a certain genre of pop song. (Lyrics here)

The second was Orwell's Ninteen Eight-Four. If I remember correctly Minitrue had a machine that generated songs called a "versificator."

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McDonald's sues Italian city for $20m after being burger-blocked

User McUser
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Coat

Re: The real reason

Think about it - do you really want to see a Florence city street that is filled with flashing signs and golden arches? Is that why tourists visit it every year?

I mean, what's the point in going abroad if you're just another tourist carted 'round in busses surrounded by mindless sweaty oafs from Kettering and Boventry, complaining about the tea "Oh, they don't make it properly here, do they? Not like at home." And once a day there's an excursion to the local Roman Ruins to buy cherry-aid and melted ice cream and bloody Watney's Red Barrel...

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I've arrived on Mars. Argggh, my back!

User McUser
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Two questions...

First, isn't Mars' gravity something like .4G? Would the reported decrease in muscle mass even matter once you got there given the ~60% reduction in weight?

Second, why can't NASA just develop a training regiment that will build up these muscles whilst the astronauts are still on Earth? That way when they lose some of their muscle mass they're still at or above the "normal" range and once on Mars they can resume the training in anticipation of the return trip. Seems like the cheapest and simplest possible solution to me.

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And for our next trick, says Google while literally wheeling out a humongous tablet ...

User McUser
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Seems a bit expensive...

Let's see, about $1,000 for a decent 4k TV, about $1,000 for the rest of the hardware (computery-bits, touch interface, camera, etc.), and we'll go crazy here and allocate $1,000 for all the software that Google provides.

I guess the other $3,000 is to make it reassuringly expensive?

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Is this the worst Blockchain idea you've ever heard?

User McUser
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Devil

All your blocks are belong to chains.

With all these Blockchains out there we're obviously going to need a Blockchain-Blockchain to track changes in all the other Blockchains.

Blockchain!

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

User McUser
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Boffin

Spoiler Alert: You Won't

As for when we will all be attending the local multiplex and putting on our headsets, well, that is still some distance away.

I don't think that this will ever happen, at least not on any large scale. You might see a few VR movie parlors open up here and there but these will not last very long IMHO. Why would I bother to go to out to a public space full of other people just to put on a headset that completely isolates me from said space and people?

It's sort of the point of VR that you get to go somewhere without actually going anywhere.

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Google Pixel: Devices are a dangerous distraction from the new AI interface

User McUser
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Trollface

No thanks.

With a fabric cover, available in three shades, this is essentially a means of strapping a phone to your face and immersing yourself in VR content.

So I take this phone with a nice explody-possible battery and I put it real close to my eyes in an enclosed container made of flammable material?

What could possibly go wrong?

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IBM Watson Xprize is a chance to make AI more open, says prize team

User McUser
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Childcatcher

Why no link?

For people slightly lazier than I am, the contest site is http://ai.xprize.org/.

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FT journo roasts channel leaders for spouting bullshit

User McUser
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See also - Mission Statement

Track 8 of Weird Al's "Mandatory Fun" album.

Lyrics here for reference.

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Argos tech team updates iOS app with helpful info on 'eleventy-billion toilet seats'

User McUser
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Devil

Gas leak hallucinations?!

No no no... They're just dead and in hell.

You know, because they played D&D in the 1980s.

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