* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

1366 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

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Raspberry Pi burning up? Microsoft's recipe can save it and AI

Kevin McMurtrie
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Tape fixes everything

I use pyrolytic graphite tape for my thermal hacks. A patch of it on a tiny hot SMD will spread the heat out enough for the PCB copper traces to provide cooling.

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uBlock Origin ad-blocker knocked for blocking hack attack squawking

Kevin McMurtrie
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The other use of everything good

It does look like CSP reports could be used for precise browser fingerprinting, analyzing whether or not certain sites are reachable, and analyzing load times.

It's hardly the worst thing about browsers, though. I tried to convince an IT department of a previous employer that many browsers were an incredible security risk because they used remote URL completion assistance. They were leaking the title of every confidential Confluence page in the company, and a recipient of that confidential data was business partner. (IT told me to not worry.)

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Qualcomm takes 5G to spooky millimetre land

Kevin McMurtrie
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Attenuation sometimes a good thing

Attenuation is a good thing for urban areas. You don't want the signals bouncing off walls hundreds of times then arriving as a mess of echoes. You don't want devices in shouting matches, each trying to get above the background noise of the others. High attenuation essentially creates perfectly clean point-to-point communications.

Downside - we're back to holding the phone up in the air to get a signal.

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Xperia XZ1: Sony spies with its MotionEye something beginning...

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: What's wrong with it?

Sony phones have been pretty good when it comes to customer-friendly features. They test the hardware well, maintain the OS, they have microSD cards, and there are 3rd party ROMs. I may forgive Sony when I throw my ZTE Axon 7 into a wood chipper for not supporting 3rd party ROMs and not getting critical bug fixes.

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FCC Commissioner blasts new TV standard as a 'household tax'

Kevin McMurtrie
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How long does a modern TV tuner last?

The first generation of HDTV tuners went into the trash a long time ago. They were some DVD chips and a pile of open source junk found on the Internet. They ran hot, crashed constantly, and had compatibility issues.

The second generation tuners were popular with plasma TVs. Plasma was the only tech at the time that could show 1920x1080 without weird motion artifacts. Today those TVs aren't as bright as they used to be and some people might be tired of their 300W to 900W power consumption heating up the room. Or the dithering flicker. Or the power supply hum. They won't be around in 5+ years when ATSC 1.0 goes away.

New TVs that are most likely to be in use during the conversion should have a spare HDMI port for an external tuner dongle. Might as well get started on ATSC 3.0.

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Kotlin's killin' Java among Android devs

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Doesn't Kotlin rely on Java?

It's using the Java 8 JVM so Java is still there. You can be running a Python front-end on the JVM and still access Java objects, though they don't behave well due to the different base class architecture.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Shorter, slower

I'd argue that most of the bloat in Java 8 comes from traditions of anti-patterns and bad/buggy Checkstyle rules. What's really being discarded are bloated coding patterns. I wouldn't be surprised if Kotlin's helpful attempts to further reduce bloat are undone by new anti-patterns.

In scanned through the Kotlin documentation and noticed that it's moving more towards immutable objects and the elimination of primitives. That's a nice option, but enforcing that in CPU sensitive code destroys performance. Making tight processing loops 100x to 1000x slower on a mobile device is a bad idea.

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Bulletproof hosts stay online by operating out of disputed backwaters

Kevin McMurtrie
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Deja Moo (I've seen the BS before)

A couple of problems are coming together to make mega-spammers viable again. Luckily, the world has seen these problems before and brutal solutions will resolve them.

First, the 1999 dot-com crash is starting another cycle. VCs aren't checking facts and web sites are acting like their advertisers are their customers. It's the general idea that illegal advertising and scams are an acceptable path to riches.

Second, we have the "too big to get blacklisted" attitude coming around. OVH, ColoCrossing, Mochahost, Amazon, CloudFlare, Sologigabit, Omnis, Unified Layer, C7 Data Centers, Rackspace, Oracle, and the entire country of China are hosting spammers like nobody can touch them. There are probably a dozen more that I've forgotten because they're firewalled. Again, the world has been through this crap before and routes will be severed.

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Is that a bulge in your pocket or... do you have an iPhone 8+? Apple's batteries look swell

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thumb Up

It's a feature

No more melting glue or attacking tamper-resistant screws. The phone opens itself when it needs a new battery.

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Google touts Babel Fish-esque in-ear real-time translators. And the usual computer stuff

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: No audio jack

Every time I'm on a long trip. I'd like to watch movies, listen to music, and not arrive with a dead battery.

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Dumb bug of the week: Apple's macOS reveals your encrypted drive's password in the hint box

Kevin McMurtrie
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Facepalm

Hint: Pa55word!

I'm thinking that nobody noticed this bug because they were, in fact, using their password as their hint.

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Nothing matters any more... Now hapless Equifax bags $7.5m IT contract with US taxmen

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

No bid?

Why wouldn't you take bids when there's clearly at least two owners of this personal data.

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Angst in her pants: Alleged US govt leaker Reality Winner stashed docs in her pantyhose

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Elephant in the room

Why is a government spy agency with access to sensitive information on Americans enjoying a television show targeting an audience having rational thought impairments? The leak is her confession, not the documents. This is the best argument ever against domestic spying powers.

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US yanks staff from Cuban embassy over sonic death ray fears

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: I'd bet my monies on...

I've experienced the infrasonic air conditioning torture in office buildings. It's irritating, like a baby screaming constantly, but less noticeable because it's not interpreted as an audible tone. Having that stress while you are sleeping too could cause some damage.

The one problem with the theory is that you CAN hear and feel infrasonic sounds. It's just not a tone so it doesn't register in your brain as a sound. It's more like the sensation you get when somebody sneaks up behind you. Infrasonic sound also causes walls, pipes, wires, and glass to squeak very slightly. Some other audible noise would be needed to mask out conscious detection of the infrasonic noise. It's a bit complex to be plausible.

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Apple Mac fans told: Something smells EFI in your firmware

Kevin McMurtrie
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Desktop IT

Desktop IT departments like to install lots of junk on desktops in the name of security - virus scanners, remote control, remote wipe, IP and licensing scanners (disguised as backup software), helpdesk tools, obfuscated authentication tokens, etc. These fragile hacks break with OS upgrades so the IT department blocks them.

Yes, I'm talking about MacOS. The Windows experience is now multi-platform.

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JS code at the network edge. Oh, you're still here and not running, screaming? Read on

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mushroom

60% off Rayban Sunglasses

I can't wait to see CloudFlare's scammers take advantage of this new feature. It should really improve the customer experience on all of those impostor stores that they proudly host.

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Nokia updates classic comeback mobe 3310

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: 3G is important, even for dumb phones

3G is being phased out in the US. Phones with greatly exaggerated claims of VoLTE support don't work in some spots.

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At last, someone's taking Apple to task for, uh, not turning on iPhone FM radio chips

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Antennae?

A convenient antenna may be hard but an emergency antenna is easy. The difference between any two metal areas can be used. For example, it could be the difference between the case and the NFC loop shield. For that you'd hold the metal case with bare fingers and place the NFC loop over another body of metal. It's crude but you could get your broadcast on where to find emergency supplies.

Alternately, the Qi charge loops would make for a pretty good AM radio antenna.

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Dot-Amazon spat latest: Brazil tells ICANN to go fsck itself, only 'govts control the internet'

Kevin McMurtrie
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For what?

The big question is why a new TLD needs to exist. "Amazon.com" is working just fine as a brand name and retail portal. The spammers on EC2 are happy using cheap vanity TLDs with scriptable registration. What else is needed?

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Out, damned Spot! Amazon emits Echo ball with screen, inevitable ever-listening mic

Kevin McMurtrie
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Stop

nightstand or desk

Nope, nope, nope, nope

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Dyson to build electric car that doesn't suck

Kevin McMurtrie
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See-through

Dyson car made of interlocking injection molded polycarbonate components will look amazing but the squeaks on a bumpy road will be deafening.

I wonder what attachments will be available.

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Web devs griping about iPhone X notch: You're rendering it wrong

Kevin McMurtrie
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Gimp

\m/

Need to start a contest for the most Apple-offensive use for the horns. Maybe kick it off with a windows Start menu in one and an Android hamburger menu in the other.

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Sysadmin tells user CSI-style password guessing never w– wait WTF?! It's 'PASSWORD1'!

Kevin McMurtrie
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Ops

I've worked at several places where critical network passwords were a big deal. They came from secure generators, they were long, and they were not allowed to be stored in digital form. Only a select few people could ever touch one. Hours were spent changing them if there was the slightest suspicion of one being compromised.

That meant that you walked over to the desk of one of the select few, opened the top drawer, and grabbed the Post-It Notes. Threatening to read one aloud was all the power you needed.

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Google blows $1.1bn to hire HTC's Pixel people, forming one big happy handset team

Kevin McMurtrie
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Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

First month at Google: Congratulations and welcome to the team! This is amazing and we have great expectations.

Second month at Google: You're so non-complaint with Google policies that we can't even look at you. Take training classes, you filthy outsider. These magic designer beverages will aid your journey.

Third month at Google: We have radical plans that will change humanity. We're making a premium always-on phone with 15 dimension sensors and Cloud AI that does what you want before you even know you want it. New VR and AR phones! Datacenter quality SoC processors. Phones for scuba diving! And there's still 4 billion people not yet touched by Google. We're going to build 25 million free and lightweight phones that can be taped to helium balloons to build a global mesh network. Starving populations in Africa and Asia will be changed forever.

Fourth month at Google: Keep up the good work! What are you working on?

Sixth month at Google: Look, Google is really busy so stop asking us for stuff. Just do what phone people do.

Seventh month at Google: We don't really have time for the scuba phone and balloon thing. We heard they're more complicated than expected. Can you take the microSD port off the last phone and release it as a new model?

Twelfth month at Google: Exciting news! You're going to be under new management that will empower you to do what you need to do. HTC is buying back the team! Not for any money, so you get nothing, but we'll e-mail you the new office address by Friday. Offboarding paperwork is on your desk.

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FedEx: TNT NotPetya infection blew a $300m hole in our numbers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Pirate

Re: Congratulations!

Security is hard but I have this app that will help. Just give it the network password and it will tell you what to do.

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You've been baffled by its smart thermostat. Now strap in for Nest's IoT doorbell, alarm gear

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
Holmes

Who is getting robbed?

$1000 up front + $480 a year with a best-case scenario of not having to move wiring. With the typical Google project life expectancy, that's $2440 every 3 years for service. That doesn't compare well to paying for rare burglaries out of pocket, buying insurance, or GTFO of a bad place with a high rate of burglaries. It also doesn't compare well to a few Axis network cameras, UPS, PoE router, and a hidden network drive that would have no monthly fees and a life expectancy of 10 to 20 years.

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IBM packs 120TB into a carry-on bag, for snow-balling cloud uploads

Kevin McMurtrie
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Pirate

New phishing rod

I wonder if you can send boxes like these to a company's datacenter with good enough social engineering that they return it to you filled with customer data using your AES-256 key.

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AWS can now bill us if you read this far. This bit will cost us, too

Kevin McMurtrie
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ad tech

When talking about AWS, I read that as spam link clickthrough tracking.

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Apocalypse now: Ad biz cries foul over Apple's great AI cookie purge

Kevin McMurtrie
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Generous

A single day TTL for 3rd party cookies sounds like a short period of time but I'm sure advertisers, trackers, and rabid marketing departments will still manage to abuse it to such an extent that people stop waiting for bloated pages to load.

I'll stick with the setting to reject all 3rd party cookies.

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How to stop Facebook and Apple taking over the mobile phone industry

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
Holmes

Wah, they're not using us

Maybe Apple and Facebook aren't BFF with CloudFlare services for ethical reasons?

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Homeland Security drops the hammer on Kaspersky Lab with preemptive ban

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

All of the above

1) Kaspersky may be legit now but a government takeover could produce a software update where it's not.

2) That same government might instead decide to empower the anti-virus tool to discover planted malware that the US government wants to remain secret.

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'Don't Google Google, Googling Google is wrong', says Google

Kevin McMurtrie
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A rift in the parallel universe

The "outside universe" would prefer Google to seal up their parallel universe bubble a bit better. The Google universe is a strange place where everything is free, nothing may be private, smiling people think they're changing the world by moving protobufs, and normal code will not compile.

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D-Link router riddled with 0-day flaws

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Who needs in-house security coders?

Does D-Link have coders? Cheap hardware usually goes like this: 1) No-name company takes a hardware reference design and strips away costs until it's marginally functional. It has serious defects but software can usually correct for them. Firmware is built using their collection of stolen firmware from other devices, some OSS, and random crap found on the internet. Workarounds are added for hardware bugs. 2) Bargain branding company buys product from No-name company and contracts a team to copy the UI from their previous device to the new device. Marketing department applies secret turd polishing compound. 3) Consumer is thrown into tech support tarpit to reduce product returns. "An update is coming soon!"

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Apple: Our stores are your 'town square' and a $1,000 iPhone is your 'future'

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

Genius Groves?

Wow, that's even more branding Kool-Aid than Google swims in. They may envision something that looks like a gathering of enlightened Roman philosophers but it's going to be Troll Forest.

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Equifax backtracks arbitrate-don't-litigate plan for punters

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Equifax has "also bought a random number generator for PINs

An hour has passed and it's up to '8' now.

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Google to kill Symantec certs in Chrome 66, due in early 2018

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: I haven't trusted Symantec since 2007

You shouldn't trust Google either, so this is pretty much Meh.

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Massive iPhone X leak trashes Apple's 10th anniversary circus

Kevin McMurtrie
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TAM flashbacks

Hopefully this is better than the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh - the double-priced Mac with lots of flashy A/V gadgets, not enough RAM, a reduced keyboard, and the glacially slow Power PC 603e that made me hate being a Mac software developer at the time.

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Red panic: Best Buy yanks Kaspersky antivirus from shelves

Kevin McMurtrie
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Wow

The part about software still being sold on shelves, that is.

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Dolphins inspire ultrasonic attacks that pwn smartphones, cars and digital assistants

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Dialing an number is a great attack

Only extremely high-end amplifiers have good slew rate symmetry between the positive half and negative half of the waveform. Usually one half is significantly faster than the other. When operating beyond the rated frequency response, the amplifier might reproduce the falling edge of a 35 kHz signal much better than the rising edge. This unbalance is a distortion that appears as a new signal. That new signal is the voice saying, "Play song - Never Gonna Give You Up."

There's another more sophisticated attack using sampling aliasing. If the phone is known to sample at 192kHz, you modulate the voice command at 192kHz too. The sampling beat pattern demodulates back to the voice. It's essentially using the A/D converter like a radio tuner.

In both cases, the solution is to keep the analog low pass filter far away from the operating limits of the circuitry. (And turn off voice commanding, duh.)

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Violent moon mishap will tear Uranus a new ring or two

Kevin McMurtrie
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Millions of years?

Is it wrong to give it a push so we can see it sooner?

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Facebook claims a third more users in the US than people who exist

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Party like it's 1999

Eyeballs! Eyeballs! Eyeballs! Eyeballs! Layoffs!

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What's your flava? Ooo, tell me what's your flava... of Ubuntu

Kevin McMurtrie
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It flashed twice and now some apps are launching

I like shiny new things but I dislike removing the hundreds of global key mappings in Ubuntu that hijack app commands.

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Google's Hollywood 'interventions' made on-screen coders cooler

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Forget all this hacking. There are fully logged-in laptops with decryption dongles all over the place held by hipster coders who can't see because of their dot-com hoodie, can't hear because of their $2000 bluetooth headphones, and are terrified of people appearing IRL. The hoodie logo even says which network you're gaining access to.

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15 'could it be aliens?' fast radio bursts observed in one night

Kevin McMurtrie
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Black Helicopters

Good day

We've been receiving complaints of interference in the 4-8 GHz range. This 30 thousand million trillion trillion watt pirate transmitter of yours doesn't seem to be licensed.

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SanDisk's little microSD card sucks up 400GB

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Re: honest question

Traveling.

Kiwix Wikipedia articles: 60 GB

OsmAnd+ maps: 13 GB

Music: 20+ GB

Classic movies for the flight: 20+ GB

Itinerary and tourism maps : 1 GB

IMAP mail cache: 0.6 GB

Google Translate files: 0.5 GB

+ Backup of photos taken with DSLR

+ Backups of videos taken with high-end digicam

With 400 GB I think I can get some star and planetary maps in there too. I wonder if I can order it with a towel.

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For once, Uber takes it up the tailpipe: Robo-ride gets rear-ended

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Was there a live feed?

<Picture> Driving in SF behind UBER car3

<Picture> OMG Hit it.

<Picture>

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US Navy develops underwater wireless battery-charging tech

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Isn't this stuff more electric vehicle than phone sized?

Probably lead acid batteries because them plus some empty space is closer to the weight of water. The charge top-off and balancing takes hours but the bulk charging and discharging happens as fast as the electrolyte can mix.

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VW engineer sent to the clink for three years for emissions-busting code

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Did He Have An Option ???

How many Software Engineers are in a life-or-death situation when it comes to the stability of their job? Hopefully none because it's an unstable career by nature. When your employer asks you to break the law, you refuse and you try to find a new job before the investigators show up.

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Nasty firmware update butchers Samsung smart TVs so bad, they have to be repaired

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Shocking

None of the Samsung devices I owned in the past received software updates, no matter how badly they were needed. "Working as expected," is what their repair services called it.

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Seriously, friends. You suck at driving. Get a computer behind the wheel to save your life

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

US drivers often disable lane departure warning systems

I can say from experience that 2017 model cars are better off without driver assistance. In test drives (I was the passenger), they all delivered frequent false alarms on busy freeways. It was not only distracting, but it caused risky corrections that didn't need to happen.

Much like early anti-lock brake systems, this I don't want to be a early adopter.

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