* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

1619 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

Juno this ain't right! Chinese hackers target Alaska

Kevin McMurtrie
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Just Tsinghua University?

They should get that firewall checked out. You should normally see the entire country of China attacking non-stop.

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Google bod wants cookies to crumble and be remade into something more secure

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Stamp on Java?

It's like I'm reading a Wired article by accident.

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Oracle: Run, don't walk, to patch this critical Database takeover bug

Kevin McMurtrie
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It's okay

No hacker wants to face an Oracle licensing violation audit.

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Brain brainiacs figure out what turns folks into El Reg journos, readers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Boffin

Stimulates the caudate nucleus

I have a new way to describe certain people.

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Clap, damn you, clap! Samsung's Bixby 2.0 AI reveal is met with apathy

Kevin McMurtrie
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Not AI if it can't learn to go away

My first two days with a new Samsung was an infuriating experience of dismissing shovelwear pop-ups. The phone literally couldn't be used because it would pop up advertisements for Samsung Cloud or start an app experience walk-through. None of it could be turned off by normal means. I would have returned the phone the next day if I hadn't found an app to disable it all. Count me in the "not impressed" group when there's a newer and more intrusive Bixby

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The age of hard drives is over as Samsung cranks out consumer QLC SSDs

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: QLC? It's not the one for me

Digital is a huge waste of power and bandwidth. It takes about 7 parallel digital circuits to match the precision of one analog circuit. When it comes to mathematics, digital needs massive gate arrays and microcode to perform the same task as a handful of analog components. Propagation delay hits big digital circuits pretty hard and workarounds further increase complexity. Analog computers are still alive and well for any time speed and efficiency is more important than precision.

I suspect the AI singularity will happen when analog and digital processors are efficiently merged together. Last time I read about it, flash cells were going to be the parameter buffers between the two.

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Click this link and you can get The Register banned in China

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Fake news?

There are documentaries that have gathered a good number of photos from the protest's aftermath. I don't have the stomach to examine the photos enough to see if tanks did that or not.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Best firewall evah

I'm going to put that on my webserver to see if it blocks all the brute-force attacks from Chinese networks.

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Game over for Google: Fortnite snubs Play Store, keeps its 30%, sparks security fears

Kevin McMurtrie
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Define "safe." Don't immediately kill you, sure. Search for any popular title in Google Play Store and note how many impostor apps there are. Even if you find the right one, it's likely a gateway for advertising malware. I've seen ads pretend to be a homescreen. I've seen spearphishing ads simulating a specific application's upgrade screens so that it can trick you into downloading an impostor app. There are apps full of 1-star reviews saying it's malware yet Google says it's OK.

No security is lost without Play Store. If anything, people will have an easier time identifying fake apps without it.

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Well, this makes scents: Kotlin code quality smells better than Java

Kevin McMurtrie
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Smells like code analizers

Sniffers need a sniff.

I've worked at a place that enforced certain metrics before a check-in could continue. One metric was that you can't have constructors with too many arguments, even if they're for ORM. You couldn't access class fields without getters and setters, even if that class was private. Complex branching was forbidden, but it was analyzed from optimized bytecode rather than the source. Bit shifting a number by 32 failed with the assertion that "32 is a magic number." On the other hand, 250 lines of nested streams and lambdas, so deep that not even an IDE understood it, was OK.

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Amazon, ditch us? But they can't do without us – Oracle

Kevin McMurtrie
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Pissing on customers

Oracle should have negotiated a better deal when Amazon announced plans to leave. Instead they brag about how much Amazon is paying and how screwed they would be with another solution. Amazon is definitely leaving now.

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UK cyber security boffins dispense Ubuntu 18.04 wisdom

Kevin McMurtrie
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Just updated a personal server

The installer somehow trashed the apt dependency tracking so it spewed errors, said my computer was in an inconsistent state, then the system crashed. Thanks! Some time in the console got the installation resuming. After that, I noticed that live services had their configuration files significantly changed. It wasn't secure at all and I cleaned up as fast as I could. AT&T even sent me an email saying unsafe ports were open. The installer should have turned off every service that received major configuration updates but it left them on. The worst was Samba. Samba was supposed to offer only encrypted CIFS, and it was set to all interfaces. The update turned on all the DNS junk while Samba was still on all interfaces.

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Boffins: Mixed-signal silicon can SCREAM your secrets to all

Kevin McMurtrie
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There's a small chance that this is an issue with the circuit board. Chips usually have completely separate analog and digital signal grounds. This separation is supposed to continue onto the PCB except for a single point bridging the two. Most PCBs immediately connect it all together instead. This means that one part of an analog circuit might have a signal reference that fluctuates with digital power consumption more than another signal reference. The difference between the two references is a ground loop and it ends up contaminating the analog signals.

You'd think that a few millimeters of a copper trace carrying current would all be the same voltage but it's not. Audio circuit designers need to take great care with this even for low-end equipment.

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Criminal mastermind injects malicious script into Ethereum tracker. Their message? '1337'

Kevin McMurtrie
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HTML5

I thought HTML5 was the cure by keeping code separate from content. The server produces static pages. JS requests data separately, builds HTML elements, then places the data into text attributes. At no point does user-generated dynamic content get into the executable or structural areas.

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Insecure web still too prevalent: Boffins unveil HSTS wall of shame

Kevin McMurtrie
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And this is exactly why HTTP should support digital signatures. There's tons of content that's always in public view and there's no need to keep it secret. You just want tamper resistance. SSL slows down low power devices.

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Google Chrome: HTTPS or bust. Insecure HTTP D-Day is tomorrow, folks

Kevin McMurtrie
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Certified authentic malware

All the advertising malware, all the malware in Google Play Store, all the cheap certificates that don't declare an owner, and all the server-side break-ins hardly make HTTPS a cure for anything. About all it's good for is preventing US ISPs from injecting more ads, malware, and trackers.

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Either my name, my password or my soul is invalid – but which?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

New password: Z?+>&d-*OT[,AwIHLuiM

And simply click "Forgot password" if I come back.

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Friday FYI: 9 out of 10 of website login attempts? Yeah, that'll be hackers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Checks out

Upvote for this. The odds of successfully guessing a password are inconsequential when the cost of performing the guessing is zero. Cutting off the networks supporting criminal activity is required.

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Doctor, doctor, I feel like my IoT-enabled vacuum cleaner is spying on me

Kevin McMurtrie
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Useless warranties

There needs to be a global effort to categorize software bugs as manufacturing defects covered by warranty. Idiot of Things makers might take notice when their entire shipped inventory is returned as defective and all the money is gone.

With a crap vac like this, you can literally see the looks on their faces when it's all returned.

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Official: The shape of the smartphone is changing forever

Kevin McMurtrie
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Easy fix for the small display

Holographic displays are coming, right? https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/19/worlds_thinnest_hologram/

My self-piloting flying car, which is powered by batteries having 100x the capacity of LiPo, is already using holograms for its AI assistant.

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Samsung touts bonkers-fast 8 Gbit DRAM for phones, AIs

Kevin McMurtrie
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I don't think I've ever had problems with the on-board storage being too slow. Most Android software is poorly written and is its own bottleneck. What's the planned use?

microSD cards are annoyingly slow but you can take my microSD slot when the onboard storage is the size of microSD cards 2 years in the future.

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Who's leaving Amazon S3 buckets open online now? Cybercrooks, US election autodialers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: How?

You don't want authentication on your credit card theft and money laundering operation. Being in possession of the login would be an easy conviction. It's harder to figure out what's going on if bots, researchers, and random curious people are poking around in it.

On the other hand, Robocent wasn't very good at hiding the owner. Hopefully some lawyers are sniffing around in the data right now.

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Samsung’s new phone-as-desktop is slick, fast and ready for splash-down ... somewhere

Kevin McMurtrie
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Media player

It might make a decent home media player if it can play at least 1080p without cooking itself. If it can do that without a shitty 1980s UI, massive lag, and constant crashing it's already much better than a Roku.

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Techie sues ex-bosses, claims their AI avatar tech was faked – and he was allegedly beaten up after crying foul

Kevin McMurtrie
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Totes legit

Can't rotoscope but it can correctly model an avatar with hair for the unseen part of a head.

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Revealed in detail: World powers stuff spyware kit, how-to guides in dodgy nations' pockets

Kevin McMurtrie
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Spying to make happy customers

What isn't spyware these days? It's hardly regulated and most people don't mind if their software phones home with unspecified data. Most people don't even mind if that spyware is buggy and can be re-purposed for new uses.

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Apache Cassandra at 10: Making a community believe in NoSQL

Kevin McMurtrie
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Off to a bad start

I had to use Cassandra in 2011 and it was awful. Maintaining data consistency was a nightmare and it crashed constantly. Searching for documentation often produced photos of porn actresses sharing the same name. I'm hesitant to research the topic now at work.

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AR upstart Magic Leap reveals majorly late tech specs' tech specs

Kevin McMurtrie
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Pint

Hold my beer

Verizon: We bought MCI, AOL, and Yahoo.

AT&T: Hold on... Magic Leap!

Verizon: You win.

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No, seriously, why are you holding your phone like that?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Deaf from too much metal \m/

It's because some crappy metal phones have front-facing antennas under the earpiece. Putting the phone to your face or putting it in your pocket causes it to lose some radio frequency bands. If there's no working band to jump to, it's dead. I had to resort to such hipster looking grips on my Axon 7 when it need to use LTE band 4.

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Farewell then, Slack: The grown-ups have arrived

Kevin McMurtrie
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short shelf life that might be axed

Exactly this. MS and Google might deploy a buggy app then decide that they're not going to fix it because they're exploring other internally competing products. Inside a corporation with little computer diversity, you could find that chat is suddenly gone forever without warning. Skype must be on everyone's mind.

Slack has its outages but they come back in a few hours.

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Another data-leaking Spectre CPU flaw among Intel's dirty dozen of security bug alerts today

Kevin McMurtrie
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Pint

shutterstock_chip_person.jpg

Is El Reg making listicles of bad stock photos for a new episode of BuzzGasm?

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Tim? Larry? We need to talk about smartphones and privacy

Kevin McMurtrie
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Hi other Larry

Tell us about your 2013 purchase of Responsys Inc and what personal information may have been illegally placed into high volume marketing lists, aka Spam.

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Dudes. Blockchain. In a phone. It's gonna smash the 'commoditization of humanity' or something

Kevin McMurtrie
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Of all places to start

Social media, email, app hosting, and file hosting need to be decentralized. Those centralized services are advertising and personal information siphons that no longer have any technical reason to exist. Money transfers need a bit more refinement.

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Oracle? A strategic priority for CIOs? Nope, says Goldman Sachs

Kevin McMurtrie
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Nice DB with baggage issues

I used Oracle a long time ago and it really was a great database. Too bad customers need to pay millions of dollars for bloated sales departments, commissions, licensing tricks, support, legal, regional managers, enterprise solutions, and infinite layers of other non-producing tiers. At this point there's probably no way to get rid of them - they're part of the culture and the contracts. It's true that almost no new company will touch Oracle now. Having a team dedicated to getting by with PostgreSQL or a MySQL fork always seems to come out a lot cheaper.

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Your phone may be able to clean up snaps – but our AI is much better at touching up, say boffins

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Am I the only one...

It means learning to create replacements for missing data the way you want it to. It's all good until it's applied to medical tests and law enforcement.

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AT&T abducts AlienVault to bolster business end of its security probing

Kevin McMurtrie
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Local Vault

Is Room 641A having trouble with encrypted traffic?

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Sueball claims Apple broke hacking laws with iOS batt throttling code

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Too narrow

At least in the earlier talks of lawsuits, people were saying that their phone was slowing down while the warranty should have covered early battery failure.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Too narrow

This would serve the public better if it was establishing this as warranty fraud. It's all too common to hide widespread manufacturing defects with a software change that causes a significant departure from advertised performance. Phone and automobile makers normally top the list but Intel could be joining the party.

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Snooping passwords from literally hot keys, China's AK-47 laser, malware, and more

Kevin McMurtrie
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Hold still, I bought some lasers online

I couldn't help laughing at the video where the laser gun is making a candle-sized flame on a stationary tire. The gun is clearly industrial IR lasers with a lens in front of it. Hopefully it's a stabilized lens and the target doesn't move.

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iPhone 8 now outsells X, and every other phone

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: @AC It's had its day.

iPhone 1 was never a fad. Apple helped take the control of phone features away from cell carriers. That was radical, it was amazing, and it made the world a better place. Cell carriers used to charge an extra fee for each phone feature. Texting, email, internet, ringtones, games, and even playing local music files cost extra. Essentially, all of the apps and menus vanished as soon as there was a SIM card.

The fad discussion is about Apple promoting form over function. Form is important but going too long in that direction dead-ends in a hurry.

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And in current affairs: Rogue raccoon blacks out city power grid after shocking misstep

Kevin McMurtrie
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Are you SURE it's dead?

My experience with raccoons:

Steps on a rat trap - curses and continues destroying vegetable garden.

Hit by a flying bar stool when it walks into the kitchen - leaves then comes back in 15 seconds to see if you're still mad.

Hit in the face full-force with a hardwood club, knocking it out of the kitchen so hard that it slams into the yard fence - wimpers, curses, comes back tomorrow.

I'm not confident that a flash of a few MJ actually killed it. It's probably just resting until it cools down.

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Give Samsung a hand: Chaebol pulls back Arm to strike Intel's chips

Kevin McMurtrie
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All high performance CPUs have some kind of execution pipeline where the end result is at least one instruction completing per clock tick. Longer pipelines in CISC do vastly increase complexity but Intel has the resources to fix some of those problems. Not all, as recent news shows.

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ICANN't get no respect: Europe throws Whois privacy plan in the trash

Kevin McMurtrie
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Break it all

ICANN and the GDPR are both hopelessly broken. Solutions might come about more quickly if both sides stop looking for a middle ground between privacy and accountability that doesn't exist yet. Turn it off. I'll enjoy the summer of no Internet.

Anyone thinking that 100% anonymous domain names are going to work wasn't paying attention to the dark old days of the Internet when that was essentially allowed.

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Apple is Mac-ing on enterprise: Plans strategic B2B alliance with HPE

Kevin McMurtrie
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Lost in the High Sierras

Step one for business adoption would be not breaking enterprise management software every few months. High Sierra drove many companies to ban all Apple purchases. Some are resuming purchases, but others have decided to stick with Windows and Linux running on Dell and HP hardware.

Getting around to optimizing MacOS would be great too. Something is seriously broken in virtual memory and disk caching.

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IBM fired me because I'm not a millennial, says axed cloud sales star in age discrim court row

Kevin McMurtrie
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Resigned? Retired?

In California, when your employer says you're going to be laid off at an unknown date in the near future, you have just been laid off. Claiming that the employee resigned would be fraud. Hopefully TX has something similar.

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The cybercriminal's cash cow and the marketer's machine: Inside the mad sad bad web ad world

Kevin McMurtrie
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Party like it's 1999

Remember the dot-com collapse? Web sites decided that their customer base was not human, but advertisers. The business was maximizing ads views, maximizing click-throughs, and collecting spamming lists. Split pages in half to double the ad revenue. Sell premium full-page interactive ads. Shovel in unrelated content to gain the attention of search engines. Businesses were buying millions of ads on other web sites to generate ad views on their own web site.

<POP>

Then it was all gone. All the sales, investments, and speculated profits were found to be looping paths that had no actual inputs but the wild parties and exorbitant expenditures were real. Web sites tried to recover but they found that only click-fraud bots were putting up with all the garbage content. Silicon Valley was almost a ghost town for two years.

Today I see a lot of websites demanding that ad blockers be turned off to view content. These same web sites are so badly hijacked by JavaScript malware without the ad blocker that the content still doesn't display. The sites literally can not be viewed by a human being. The ads are for other web sites that sell ads. Where's the real money coming in?

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SD cards add PCIe and NVMe, hit 985 MB/sec and 128TB

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: 128TiB in an SD card?

The problem with a 128TB card is that your will realize that your, um, collection has been severely degraded by past attempts to make it fit on ancient storage. You'll need the remasters, the low-loss compression, the 8K ultra high definition, the high dynamic range, the biggest you can get - the TMI file format.

I'm curious if any phone makers will replace their microSD card tray with a a full SD card. The 400GB microSD cards are already enabling phones to replace laptops for some uses.

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New Python update slithers into release

Kevin McMurtrie
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Threads

It looks like 3.7 gains full support for threading. This makes me feel a bit better about turning down job interviews when the employer is a die-hard CPython fan. I like threads. I dislike having to run 32 copies of an app on each machine and dealing with scaleability issues 32 times sooner. Ask your database administrator if you can open 32 connections per machine instead of 1 or 2. Then run like hell.

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The butterfly defect: MacBook keys wrecked by single grain of sand

Kevin McMurtrie
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The elegant and slimmer fix

Does anyone else worry that Apple will fix this by removing the keyboard?

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BlackBerry KEY2: Remember buttons? Boy, does this phone sure have them

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: No wireless charging?

Easier charging is working around the problem of a phone that can't survive a normal day of use. The techie in me hates your desire for clumsy, indirect solutions.

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HTC U12+: You said we should wait and review the retail product. Hate to break it to you, but...

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thing that have failed on my phones

Software

Front glass

Rear glass

Battery

GPS radio

LTE band compatibility

Rear camera seal

OLED panel

Speaker grille

Given this fairly typical list, HTC decided that buttons needed to go?

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