* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

1547 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

Summoners of web tsunamis have moved to layer 7, says Cloudflare

Kevin McMurtrie
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Good luck

Blocking after too many 404s? As if it's difficult to find resource slow and intensive features on web sites?

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IPv6 growth is slowing and no one knows why. Let's see if El Reg can address what's going on

Kevin McMurtrie
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Software

The monkeys pounding keyboards to write consumer firewall software haven't stumbled on to a working IPv6 version yet. My AT&T router needs a strange set of firewall options to even marginally pass IPv6. I found those options by brute-force trial and error while watching packet captures. If I hadn't been in a good mood at the time, I might have thrown the router and a panicking Mac Mini Server into a wood chipper. Or used IPv4. Not sure, really.

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Boffins bash out bonkers boost for batteries

Kevin McMurtrie
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Boffin

Did TTL and DTL make a comeback?

I can't think of any current carrying diodes in personal electronics except for the LEDs. Everything is FET based, which doesn't normally pass any current through its diode bits.

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US Congress mulls expanding copyright yet again – by 144 years

Kevin McMurtrie
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Childcatcher

Call it what is is - Mickey Mouse law

The artists are long dead so it's just the Walt Disney Company, founded 1923, wanting more money.

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Whois privacy shambles becomes last-minute mad data scramble

Kevin McMurtrie
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The world isn't the US or the EU

This is exactly why WHOIS and GDPR are so broken. Each TLD has its own regulations. Most of those have specific ownership and usage requirements, and a process to challenge domains that appear to have violations. The '.com' is the commercial TLD that is supposed to have a high degree of accountability. The '.edu' domains are supposed to be registered only to schools, not people. Etc., etc.

ICANN may be slightly screwed as a global service but the non-ICANN TLDs can simply forbid EU members from using them.

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And THIS is how you do it, Apple: Huawei shames Cupertino with under-glass sensor

Kevin McMurtrie
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Landfill radio

Most Chinese phones have cheap radios that only work on one or two carriers. The Honor View10 for the US only supports a few LTE bands (2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 17). It's designed to work reasonably well with AT&T and T-Mobile now but it will get slower as bands are traded and moved around. It won't be any good for traveling or switching to other carriers. That means fewer of these phones will be repaired once the batteries are worn out.

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US Congress finally emits all 3,000 Russian 'troll' Facebook ads. Let's take a look at some

Kevin McMurtrie
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Missing the point

The ads weren't pro-Trump. They were designed to generate chaos, fear, anger, distrust, and "us versus them" attitudes about the US government. In fact, I don't think it mattered at all who won. Anyone in running in the primaries could have won and we'd still have a political system that's more dysfunctional and partisan than usual. When Trump's time is over, is anyone sane going to ask to take his place?

There were plenty of propaganda practice runs during the previous elections but 2016 had the right conditions to go full-force.

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FCC sets a record breaking $120m fine for rude robocalls

Kevin McMurtrie
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First step the fixing robocalls

Make the punishment jail rather than fines to the FCC. With all the utterly pointless ideas the FCC has proposed for fixing robocalls, one might think that they've just looking for easy revenue collecting fines.

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T-Mobile owner sends in legal heavies to lean on small Brit biz over use of 'trademarked' magenta

Kevin McMurtrie
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Competition of the B R M Y

You have to understand that the US has so few wireless telcos that they've chosen simple colors to represent themselves. Blue=AT&T, Red=Verizon, Magenta=T-Mobile, Yellow=Sprint.

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Zero Tech Emitted: ZTE halts assembly lines after US govt sanctions cripple mobile maker

Kevin McMurtrie
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Meh

Trying hard to care

The number of updates that my Axon 7 will receive remains unchanged, as does the number of ZTE devices I was planning to purchase in the future. You can still buy a Moto if you want a buggy flagship phone that becomes unsupported before the warranty runs out.

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Windows Notepad fixed after 33 years: Now it finally handles Unix, Mac OS line endings

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

(((buf[idx] == '\n') && ((idx == 0) || (buf[idx-1] != '\r'))) || (buf[idx] == '\r'))

Handling three types of line endings requires one character of look-back. And with one character of look-back, you have to make sure you don't look at index -1 if the first character is a LF. That's complicated stuff for the poor new hire that has to work on the default text editor. Look at all those parenthesis! I don't even know if I got it right. Now, 33 years later, there's Stack Overflow.

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Pentagon in uproar: 'China's lasers' make US pilots shake in Djibouti

Kevin McMurtrie
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Fishy complaint

If these are 2W consumer grade laser pointers, the high beam divergence makes it easy to hit eyes at a distance but that same divergence cuts the power rapidly with distance. Low divergence lasers (I have one) are hard as hell to aim at things not moving, so forget about flying objects. Even a naked laser diode in the eyepiece of a stabilized telescope would be difficult to aim due to stabilization lag and drift. Something that actually targets and is actually dangerous sounds like it would be easy hardware to spot on the ground.

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45-day drone flights? You are like a little baby. How about a full YEAR?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Paris Hilton

Curious

How do you get an aircraft with a 35m wingspan up to 70000 feet without a gust of wind ripping it to bits? Any why are the horizontal and vertical measurements in different units?

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MacBook Pro petition begs Apple for total recall of krap keyboards

Kevin McMurtrie
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Visual elegance

It's bizarre that Apple is discarding every single desirable trait except for the visuals. Apple laptops may be beautiful but they make me think of dongle adapters, expensive repairs, impossible upgrades, walled gardens for data, strange feature selections, and searching endless websites of superstitious cures to strange software glitches. I've found newer ones frustrating to use at work even when there's an IT department that should be taking care of it. The Chinese laptops are starting to look nice.

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If you're a Fedora fanboi, this latest release might break your heart a little

Kevin McMurtrie
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Good thing

Linux really needs some money driving development. Honestly, most Linux apps are garbage once you get past simple utilities. They lack the refinement that you're only going to get from a coordinated team working for a salary. "You can use WINE or a Windows VM" is not a compelling reason to install Linux on a personal desktop computer.

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We just wanna torque: Spinning transfer boffins say torque memory near

Kevin McMurtrie
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Rust arrays

I wonder how this handles writes bleeding into adjacent cells - Rowhammer. Magnetic coupling is a bit harder to stop than capacitive coupling. You need distance, ferrous shielding, a shorting shield, or adjacent balanced opposing currents. All of those seem like they'd be incredibly bulky for memory storage. Forcing writes to happen in a large organized block could solve the problem too, but now you're driving latency up.

Unfortunately, the linked PDF wasn't quite about using STT for RAM.

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Audiophiles have really taken to the warm digital tone of streaming music

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Odd, very odd

It's people listening to music at work, from what I've seen. A lot of new phones can only do Bluetooth audio while charging so the low bitrate of streaming doesn't matter.

I'm still buying lossless audio files for my phone's 400GB microSD card like I'm in the dark ages.

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Motorola Z2 Force: This one's for the butterfingered Android lovers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thumb Down

Re: Support is a worry

I made the mistake of buying a 2015 Moto X Pure. It was fine hardware but the warranty service was so bad that I needed Visa's help reversing fraudulent $700 charges. The phone got one OS update and then it was immediately, while still being the flagship phone, declared unsupported. VoLTE was left broken.

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ZTE now stands for 'zero tech exports' – US govt slaps 7-year ban on biz

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

community.zteusa.com

Has the government tried using the support forums?

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Torvalds schedules Linux kernel 5.0, then maybe delays 'meaningless' release

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: why use version numbers at all?

You still need version numbers due to parallel work in different forks. Versions X,Y,and Z might get simultaneous security patches. That makes X.0.1, Y.0.1, etc.

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Cloudflare promises to tend not two, but 65,535 ports in a storm

Kevin McMurtrie
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For when you need to hide the C&C server too

Let us not forget that CloudFlare profits from both sides of the war. This allows them to expand a certain large customer base beyond phishing sites and fake online stores.

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Hey, so Europe's GDPR privacy deadline for Whois? We're going to miss it ... by a year or so

Kevin McMurtrie
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Pendulum

ICANN could just do nothing while waiting for politicians to demand more accountability and transparency. It won't always be just the US struggling to clean up anonymous propaganda accounts.

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JPEG XS pre-standard implementations emerging

Kevin McMurtrie
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Is this solving a lack of fresh patents?

Didn't the 1990s already have a ton of research into fixed ratio, low overhead, lossy codecs? The idea was that of all the possible permutations of a small data block, not all of them were significantly different so they can be removed. Prediction and state of the compression were trivial so latency and effort were low as well. Primary uses were boosting multimedia throughout on 1x DVD-ROM and LANs. Some of them are still around today in various telephone bits.

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'Disappearing' data under ZFS on Linux sparks small swift tweak

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Woops!

Open software dies when the safe and minimal patches are not in balance with big and dangerous refactoring keeping it clean.

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Terix boss thrown in the cooler for TWO years for peddling pirated Oracle firmware, code patches

Kevin McMurtrie
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Devil

Well done, well done

What I'm reading here is that Oracle uses a reverse warranty where the customer pays the manufacturer for defects and repairs... and customers are OK with that.

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1.5 BEEELLION sensitive files found exposed online dwarf Panama Papers leak

Kevin McMurtrie
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USER anonymous PASS guest

I suspect that a number of these are meant for sharing stolen files without the papertrails created by authentication and digital signatures. Those have been around since at least the 1980s when people would look for unused live telephone wires and a plug pirate BBS into them.

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Holy helmets, Batman! Bane-like mask lets you 'talk' to computers without making a sound

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

You should smile more often

It looks like it's wired up in all the right spots to control your face too.

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Super Cali upstart's new rocket test approaches, even though the size of it won't launch a Tesla motor

Kevin McMurtrie
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Terminator

Headline-writing bot

I see the new headline-writing bot is working well. And by bot, I mean the AI job applicants that you chained up in the basement.

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We put Huawei's P20 triple-lens snapper through its paces

Kevin McMurtrie
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No room for that. It's all about notches and extra camera modules now, and there's no stopping until trypophobia kicks in.

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Intel outside: Apple 'prepping' non-Chipzilla Macs by 2020 (stop us if you're having deja vu)

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: " It would be nice to have generic instructions"

The trick is being able to concisely describe intent rather than actions. Actions are difficult to optimize but intent is easy.

Besides, there's no need to stick with a single virtual instructions set. There could be varieties optimized for different tasks - almost like source code but without the automatic safety mechanisms that come with some languages.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Are you still here?

Had I known in the 1980s that we'd be using x86 until at least 2030, I might not have become a software engineer. Everything in tech changes so rapidly yet here we are still running MacOS and Windows on upgraded x86 code.

Honestly, I was hoping that programs would dynamically compile from virtual instructions sets by now. Apple has a bit of that with LLVM and Android has a bit of it with JVM, but it's just pieces of code using it. It would be nice to have generic instructions for math, memory movement, virtual addresses, thread communications, and I/O that don't need different compilation options before distribution.

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Do(ug)h! Half-baked security at Panera Bread spills customer data

Kevin McMurtrie
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Off to a bad start and probably heading towards a bad finish

Somebody who doesn't know how to use PGP keys is in charge of security?

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Hold the phone: Mystery fake cell towers spotted slurping comms around Washington DC

Kevin McMurtrie
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No end-to-end encryption

What's the difference between a cell tower, a pico cell, and a fake cell? Probably nothing unless you can look up all of the cell IDs and verify their physical location. It wouldn't surprise me if hardware hacking experts can crack open those pico cell boxes as a starting point.

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Cloudflare touts privacy-friendly 1.1.1.1 public DNS service. Hmm, let's take a closer look at that

Kevin McMurtrie
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Holmes

Call me skeptical

I'm not buying the argument that this is being done for privacy and performance. CloudFlare is not here to be the good guys. Has Google's 8.8.8.8 been refusing some CloudFlare domain queries because of all the cybercriminal hosting?

"Google Public DNS is purely a DNS resolution and caching server; it does not perform any blocking or filtering of any kind, except that it may not resolve certain domains in extraordinary cases if we believe this is necessary to protect Google’s users from security threats"

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Wanna work for El Reg? Developers needed for headline-writing AI bots

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: I thought this was serious...

All the cool jobs are asking for C++ and Java developers to write highly scalable backend systems in Node/React.

I wish I was joking. An actual quote is, "We find that Java developers write better structured JavaScript than JavaScript developers."

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Apple, if you want to win in education, look at what sucks about iPads

Kevin McMurtrie
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Gimp

Apple making things easier

So you tried to install High Sierra but nothing happens? The installer has the old "dirty unmount" bug so hfs_fsck is busy fixing your boot disk while the installer is looking for it. There's an easy fix.

Download the High Sierra installer over and over until you get the full 4+ GB version. Insert a USB stick and reformat it. Find the secret terminal command to convert the installer to a bootable volume on the USB stick. Back up your hard disk using Time Machine. Remove the factory hard disk and install an SSD or very fast hard disk. Boot your base OS DVD and install onto the new boot disk. Boot into High Sierra from the USB stick and update the boot disk. Reboot and restore from the Time Machine backup. Run Software Updates repeatedly for the next several hours until it's up to date.

So easy! Only needs a few days of work, an expensive new hard drive, and about 15 GB of downloads.

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Why you shouldn't trust a stranger's VPN: Plenty leak your IP addresses

Kevin McMurtrie
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Boffin

Kiwix

An offline copy of Wikipedia is nice if you want to kill time reading about unusual knowledge without worrying that it's going to be picked up by advertisers or snoops looking to fabricate justification for a new budget. (I just fired up the BitTorrent client to help you download the Kiwix snapshots)

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SpaceX has a good day: Successful launch and FCC satellite approval

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: CNN clickbait

I've been using BBC too. Hell, even Buzzfeed is starting to look good compared to CNN.

More please: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/03/13/buzzgasm_listicle_about_pliers/

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Tesla crash investigation causes dip in 'leccycar firm's share price

Kevin McMurtrie
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Barriers

I think Caltrans is trying to enforce a one car, one idiot, one barrier replacement ratio. The gore point used to have the usual water buckets but they were continuously being destroyed and replaced. You could say that there should be motorcycle cops there writing hundreds of tickets a day, but they'd get run over too.

That section of road was my commute nightmare. When one highway slows down, drivers swerve into the other highway past the split and might not always have a place to merge in - two cars doing this at once will crash into each other. There are also cars trying to get around Toyota and Gbus drivers going 40 MPH in the fastest lane of 65 MPH zone (this is the carpool/fast lane exit). Many of those same Toyotas and Gbusses got into the fast Hwy 85 exit by driving diagonally across 5 lanes of traffic from a nearby onramp while going half the speed of traffic, rather than continuing in the normal Hwy 85 exit. Finally, a lot of people just don't pay attention to the mile of exit signs and half mile of exit striping.

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What the @#$%&!? Microsoft bans nudity, swearing in Skype, emails, Office 365 docs

Kevin McMurtrie
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It's a feature

This will make closing a Microsoft account both easy and satisfying.

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Fatal driverless crash: Radar-maker says Uber disabled safety systems

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Cause of Death: Ostrich Algorithm

Jaywalking is ignoring a red light, short-cutting a crosswalk (painted or implied), and not yielding to cars/bikes already in your path. Crossing the middle of a road is, of course, legal if it's clear when you started. You can't fault somebody in AZ for walking in the middle of the night either, given that some days are hot enough to kill you.

Others driving the route at night (without artificially dark video) have shown that a pedestrian should have been visible long enough to make a graceful stop. Besides, it's against the the law (and common sense) to drive at a speed where can't avoid an obstacle in the road.

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Huawei joins Android elite with pricey, nocturnal 40MP flagship

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mushroom

Die bad phones! Die!

No microSD card, no replaceable battery, and no headphone jack yet there's room for FOUR CAMERAS.

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Java-aaaargh! Google faces $9bn copyright bill after Oracle scores 'fair use' court appeal win

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Still reeling

Big APIs are hard! Take at Apache open source projects, PHP, or any of the hipster languages du-jour. You get inconsistent naming, inconsistent parameters, data structures that don't pass from component to component without translation, and language syntax hacks that make future changes impossible. Java isn't perfect but the effort shows.

It seems reasonable to protect a good API with IP laws but the amount of money involved here seems offensive to the Sun engineers and armies of outside developers and researchers that contributed too.

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Uber's disturbing fatal self-driving car crash, a new common sense challenge for AI, and Facebook's evil algorithms

Kevin McMurtrie
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Gamma tweak

Follow-ups on the Uber crash have shown videos by others driving the same route at night. It's actually a brightly lit urban area with good visibility. The harsh shadows are unique to Uber's video evidence.

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Corking story: Idiotic smart wine bottle idea falls over, passes out

Kevin McMurtrie
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Facepalm

For any wine maker needing to replace their Kuvee system

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=how+to+create+QR+codes

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US Congress quietly slips cloud-spying powers into page 2,201 of spending mega-bill

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Paperweight

Only a government worker would print 2.2K pages. That's the mix of antiquity, showmanship, and impracticality that can spend trillions of dollars with not much to show for it.

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SpaceX blasted massive plasma hole in Earth's ionosphere

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Yawn

I think the tone of the article is that the effect was somewhat unexpected so we should aim lots of scientific instruments at the next launch to see why our modeling was wrong.

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What a hang up: US big box biz Best Buy kicks Huawei to the curb

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Huawei has no Brand Recognition

The "copy Apple" design is going to slaughter cellphone makers and they deserve it. There's no point carrying 10 models brands of the exact same phone. Stores will decide on price and which one produces the fewest customer returns.

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Whois? More like WHOWAS: Domain database on verge of collapse over EU privacy

Kevin McMurtrie
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but why is?

Last time I checked ICANN, it required a responsible contact for a domain name, not your personal info. You can hire a third party to be the contact, create an LLC, use a friend, use your ISP (some offer this service), or whatever.

The '.eu' TLD isn't even under ICANN.

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Crypt-NO-coins: US city bans mining funbux on its electrical power grid

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Can't speak for the states

This is pretty much Silicon Valley since the 1990s. Big power users have long term contracts to make financial planning easier. This means the new power hog on the block needs to wait for the grid upgrades to be completed or there'd be an outage. So far there's no end in sight with neighborhoods getting rewired to support electric cars.

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