* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

1141 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

Page:

How Lexmark's patent fight to crush an ink reseller will affect us all

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
WTF?

I'd like to sell my car...

This is a nice car; a really nice car. Have you ever repaired or maintained this car? You can't sell it if you've done that.

0
0

Boffins explain why it takes your Wi-Fi so long to connect

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Re: Machine learning algorithm

Shanghai Jiao Tong University can use AI to determine whether or not the access point is beautiful.

13
0

It's official: Ejit – sorry – Ajit Pai is new FCC boss (he's the one who hates network neutrality)

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Re: There will be Frequencies...

There's healthy competition too. Remember that you can look up a business in a phone book and ride your horse to their address to conduct business. That's an option for anyone who says that their internet service provider is too unreliable and expensive.

17
0

Annoyingly precocious teen who ruined Trek is now an asteroid

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Wesley, 7 of 9, Q, The Prophets, subspace anomoly, alien sex

Wesley was one of several plot cheats to keep the series exciting without long-term consequences requiring viewers to watch episodes in order. Only an appearance in a season premiere or finale was allowed to have any lasting impact on the storyline.

That said, I'm a little worried about Trump and Asteroid Will Wheaton appearing in the opening of 2017.

2
0

Seven pet h8s: Verity is sorely vexed

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
Boffin

Concurrency

Multi-threading has many well developed mechanisms for producing exactly deterministic results in a predictable amount of time. It's a solved problem.

The hard one is distributed concurrency - a large number of machines all solving a single task. The difference is that machines are connected with latency, machines may go silent, and machines may suddenly come back to life after they were presumed dead. Anybody working at a hot startup will quote a bunch of Apache projects claiming to completely solve distributed concurrency with eventual consistency. The "eventual" in "eventual consistency" is normally a short period of time but it also may be infinity, and there might not even be a method of determining when the transient results have finally passed. There may also be eventual failures due to conflicting inputs that could not originally see each other. Such projects are typically poorly documented, not bug free, and may contain features that will not work in realistic conditions.

Distributed concurrency is fairly new and not solved as much as people expect it to be. Depending on the type of task, it might produce exact solutions in a known time, exact solutions in an unknown time, or inexact solutions in a known time. The hard part is transforming your task or expectations to match what can be done.

1
0

CIA boss: Make America (a) great (big database of surveillance on citizens, foreigners) again!

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Spying on Americans, sabatoging the American tech sector, and murding a whistleblower

Surely, Pompeo, that's the treason against America that is worthy of a death penalty sentence.

9
0

Chevy Bolt electric car came alive, reversed into my workbench, says stunned bloke

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Fault between chair and steering wheel

Most garage slabs are simply sitting on dirt without being attached to pillars or the foundation. Heavy rains could have caused the slab to shift slightly so that the car rolls without its parking brake on. That looks like a very slow impact.

0
6

Google loses Android friends with Pixel exclusivity

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

The Axon 7 claims more features than it has. Daydream, WiFi Calling, and bootloader unlock are not yet released.

0
0

Square Kilometre Array precursor shrinks 5TB of data to 22MB – every second!

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

This sounds like synthetic aperture imaging. The antennas are receiving exactly the same signals but some components of the signal have incredibly slight phase differences. Those phase differences are the imaging data so the raw samples can be discarded.

What are the odds that re-analyzing the raw samples would reveal new details that are no longer present in the sky? Not good enough to justify archiving 5TB/s with current levels of technology.

1
0

US watchdog sues Qualcomm for 'bribing' Apple to swallow chips

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

WiMax?

I would attribute the failure of WiMax to Sprint using it.

3
0

Trump fan Peter Thiel 'considering' CA Terminator role*

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Did Thiel not notice that California doesn't care much for Trump?

California knows the types of deregulation: 1) Making it easier for new businesses and new technologies to get started. 2) Making easier for big businesses to block new businesses. We know the politicians are trying to dump a #2 on us.

8
0

WD flashes first SanDisk drives: Blue and Green

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Re: I've never...

I'm not touching WD again. They shipped with spin down and parking bugs for YEARS across multiple product lines. I know SSDs don't spin down or park heads but there's a mind boggling laziness and lack of dedication to quality when you can't ever get around to fixing a crippling firmware bug.

0
0

Putting the 'Port' in Portal: Old-school fan brings game to Apple II

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Secret Applesoft BASIC speed tricks

Mark variables as integers using '%' symbol. Make sure none of these variables ever convert back into floats. It runs 10x faster.

For more boost, learn about the secret '&' command. It jumps to an external handler at $3F5. From there you can pull in arguments from the interpreter, do stuff, then return to the interpreter. I had an entire library of graphics, sound effect, and disk I/O utilities built on that command. It's probably on one of the floppy disks in the garage that I can't read.

6
0

For Fark's sake! Fark fury follows 5-week ad ban for 5-year-old story

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
Holmes

Missing the point

The legal image contains logos that look like they would advertise or symbolize illegal activity. Google is probably flagging those logos without caring anything at all about the rest of the image.

Google's dream of "the machine does everything" means that Google customers will always have to put up with uncorrectable mistakes like this. Google doesn't like humans providing customer service and that should be factored into the risks of doing business with them.

1
0

Feds cuff VW exec over diesel emissions scam

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Re: My car is not up to spec

Lots of smoking cars usually means there is a shop nearby taking bribes for smog inspections and doing cheap oil changes without changing the oil.

1
0

ZTE laying off 3,000

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Re: Not a US trade ban!?

Their flagship US product is the Axon 7. It has amazing hardware specifications but ZTE has a fetish of breaking perfectly good software for no reason. The phone is a wreck and they'll have a difficult time selling another one.

2
0

Splunk: Why we dumped Perforce for Atlassian's Bitbucket of Gits

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Six of one, half a dozen of the other

I've used both P4 and GIT and my preference is to Perforce. Git does everything, absolutely everything, including things that should never be done. Very common activities become a struggle with Git's cryptic commands and terminology that usually end up like the XKCD comic says. There's nothing like having Git put thousands of conflict markers in your new code because it didn't quite get the right options. Perforce makes easy things easy so screwing it up takes a bit more effort.

The other issue is shared libraries. Perforce can push and pull a consistent snapshot of many repositories at once. Git can't, so it's pure hell when multiple people are refactoring code across multiple repositories at once.

I've seen nasty bugs in both so I have no preference on stability.

0
0

Don't believe the 5G hype! £700m could make UK's 4G better than Albania's

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Magic bandwidth

5G will deliver gigabits to everybody...from where? It's the same over here in the US. 5G is a short-range technology so it needs a really fast pipe nearby. If those existed, there'd be quick money selling residential hookups to them.

3
0

Google's Grumpy code makes Python Go

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Calling BS

Citing performance is misdirection. This is really because Google doesn't like anything from the real world leaking into its bubble of a parallel universe. Python is slow because of the features it does and doesn't support. Embedding custom sections of C++/Java/Go into Python isn't much of an efficiency boost either because the inputs and outputs are still constrained by Python's design.

A cross compiler allows Google to get rid of CPython and, eventually, create a private version Python that is not foreign matter in Google's parallel universe.

4
5

Busted Oracle finance cloud leaves Rutgers Uni unable to foot bills

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

It's a feautre

Who can afford to pay bills after buying an Oracle enterprise solution?

15
0

Programmer finds way to liberate ransomware'd Google Smart TVs

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
Boffin

The service mode on many TVs includes adjustments that may produce X-rays, burn the screen, alter very complicated calibrations, start a fire, or damage your hearing/speakers. Some calibrations require unplugging wire harnesses or monitoring test points before starting. The service mode isn't really secret - it's printed in the service manual that you can order.

The dumb part was LG not having a dedicated reset button on the back of the TV.

4
5

How Google.org stole the Christmas Spirit

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

The usual

This is a very old and well established tax scam. Donate to a charity that spends its money on your products. Apple was big on this in the 80s and Microsoft followed in the 90s. Now it's Google's turn.

It could be worse. I used to work next to the Kochs' "Bring Me A Book Foundation." From the moments when I could peek inside, it appeared that about 1 square meter was a charity and the rest of the warehouse was storage for exotic cars and boats. People holding books would knock on our door asking why the charity didn't answer the door and I only had bad news for them.

2
0

Virgin America mid-flight panic after moron sets phone Wi-Fi hotspot to 'Samsung Galaxy Note 7'

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

How about being assigned to work at the Galaxy Note 7 disposal center?

14
4

Chinese boffins: We're testing an 'impossible' EM Drive IN SPAAAACE

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Launch it!

Nobody knowing 'if' or 'how' an EM Drive works sounds like the perfect reason to test it in space. At some point you need to stop staring at the testbed and go generate more data. The answer should be useful whether it works or not.

23
3

Apple sues Nokia's pet patent trolls

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Re: How is Nokia a patent troll?

All big companies hoard patents for obvious technologies and procedures that everyone uses. They're mostly garbage but it costs a lot of money under the current broken system to invalidate them. It's a weapons stockpiling standoff between the big companies with an occasional warning shot.

Apple believes Nokia partnered with trolls so that lawsuits against Apple come from various companies that evaporate at the first sign of trouble. If Nokia sued Apple directly for infringed nonsense patents, Apple could counter-sue in the same manner.

7
2

Uber's self-driving cars can't handle bike lanes, forcing drivers to kill autonomous mode

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Copied the idiot's answers

Google's cars also turn across the bike lane illegally but they've been programmed to halt and cause a major traffic jam rather than hit cyclists.

Very few people in Silicon Valley have any idea what the traffic laws are. Rather than enforce traffic laws, most cities replace merge lanes and turn lanes with red traffic lights.

4
0

Facebook's internet drone crash-landed after wing 'deformed' in flight

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

When I first read about that plane, I couldn't image how complex its design must be to keep that enormous featherweight plane from breaking. It would need very sophisticated physics modeling, a database of reactions to exceptional conditions, and hardware to execute what the flight computer needs to do. I was amazed that FB had resources for that kind of science and engineering.

0
0

DDoS in 2017: Strap yourself in for a bumpy ride

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

ddos.jpg keyboard

As long as we remove the offending letter from the Englis language, we're OK.

0
0

That is pretty, er, Nimble. Storage firm claims 'six nines' availability

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
Coat

Pfft!

I can do an uptime with seven nines. There are other digits too, but at least seven are nines.

1
0

Climate change bust up: We'll launch our own damn satellites if Trump pulls plug – Gov Brown

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Re: Well done California

There are launch sites for hire outside the US too. The same deregulation and chaos used to make Billionaires Great Again would also make it hard to keep track of what California is up to. California depends on the weather being as it is so they won't hesitate to fight industrial activity that may change it.

14
0

MacBook Pro owners complain of short batt life – so Apple kills batt life clock in macOS

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Command Option P R

Why is almost every single Mac troubleshooting article for past 30 years instructions to reset the NVRAM? Either Apple needs to fix the NVRAM use or the OS has become so hopelessly complex that random superstitious traditions are actually productive.

16
1

Remember that amazing video of the whale leaping out the gym floor and splashing down? Yeah, it was BS

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Rotational head movements can be rendered locally. It's essentially the same level of effort as silly "360 VR" images on web pages.

0
0

CIA: Russia hacked election. Trump: I don't believe it! FAKE NEWS!

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

So now what?

So what if the election was rigged? It probably was, so what does the country do about it? Everything went to hell long enough ago that there was no good candidate to vote for. Nobody can bear starting the election over from the beginning because we're tired and everyone hates each other. At this point I think the best option is keeping Trump too distracted to break anything. More Twitter, please.

3
0

'I found a bug that let anyone read anyone's Yahoo! Mail and all I got was this $10k check'

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Yahoo! is! in! the! USA!

So it's a "check."

The more interesting point is that Yahoo still had $10000.

35
1

Bluetooth 5.0 emerges, ready to chew on the internet of things

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Re: Reliability?

Same here. Most implementations barely work. Frequency hopping not right, audio buffering is broken, not quite speaking the same dialect for multimedia control, skipping important features, or just causing kernel panics. Apple seems to be trying hard to kill BT by modifying it to only work with other Apple devices. AOSP devices keep having old bugs come back over and over despite open source developers working hard to kill them.

1
0

Real deal: Hackers steal steelmaker trade secrets

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Re: does EVERYTHING need to be on The Connected Internet? Really?

Why do you think it was bad security? Big companies suffer from hacks that start from the inside.

3
0

Help! What does 'personal conduct unrelated to operations or financials' mean?

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Trumped up charges

The US election has somehow liberated all the xenophobes, conspiracy theorists, haters, and general crazies that have warped interpretations of a law and religion. I don't know what happened in this case but I expect that we're going to see a lot of conduct issues.

0
0

NASA spunks $127m on SSL-powered robot to refuel satellites in space

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Yikes

The complexity of building a refueling robot, especially one that doesn't make incredibly explosive mistakes, makes inventing new propulsion seem like a good idea. Maybe a way to ionize the air to reduce drag or add a bit of thrust, even if that air is essentially nothing moving at 30000 km/h. Or figure out the EM Drive paradox.

0
5

Everything at Apple Watch is awesome, insists Tim Cook

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

In the year Two Thousand...

Shrinking the iPhone to the size of an Apple Watch will be followed by demand for a large secondary screen and charging base that fits in your pocket.

8
0

CloudFlare warns of another massive botnet, er, flaring up

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Re: Block the connections

Many large networks don't give a crap if their customers or internal systems are running attacks. Ever submitted an abuse complaint to Google, CloudFlare, or anything in China? This will probably require an opt-in blacklist service and a strong customer demand to have upstreams use it. Such blacklists exist for e-mail but they can't yet scale to the speed and size of idiot-of-things attacks. IoT blacklists would need to be very fast and need to rapidly group/ungroup neighboring addresses to maintain the desired dataset complexity.

4
0

Apple blames air for iPhone 6S's narcolepsy

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Something to buy for

Apple has been a questionable technological innovator for years but they could still stand out from the crowd by honoring warranties and providing customer support. Most phones are a $400 gamble because the manufacturer will blame everything on abuse, normal product wear, or forever claim that a fix is coming soon.

5
4

Hackers waste Xbox One, PS4, MacBook, Pixel, with USB zapper

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Overblown?

You could install TRIAC crowbars capable of stopping 10000 Amp surges only to have an immature individual prove that it's still not resistant to screwdriver prying.

I used to repair vending machines. People will always find a way to break something. If there's a break-away mount to shield something from excessive mechanical shock, people will break that. If all else fails there's chewing gum.

1
0

GET pwned: Web CCTV cams can be hijacked by single HTTP request

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Junk IoT

All of the white-labeling and firmware borrowing drove my crazy while I was trying to find a good security camera. They'd all die instantly when exposed to the Internet, and would literally crash on a gust of wind. Each new camera that I purchased was either exactly the same model or a clone of another that I'd tried and returned.

They all had the same flaws:

- Telnet or some mystery port stuck on.

- OOM crash on multiple concurrent connections of any kind.

- OOM crash if storage device slows down.

- Video bitrate regulation bugs (crash on moving leaves).

- Malformed video file headers.

- Sensor Bayer pattern wrong when rotating video.

- Session ID in URL and leaking through occasional plain HTTP requests.

- Unprotected REST/AJAX endpoints here and there.

- Remote access panel that crashes just using it normally.

- Running antique Linux compiled with no 64 bit anything so it overflows big numbers.

2
0

Has Canadian justice gone too far? Cops punish drunk drivers with NICKELBACK

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
Trollface

So you like Nickelback?

It's a world of laughter, a world of tears

It's a world of hope and a world of fears

There's so much that we share, that it's time we're aware...

1
0

Vegans furious as Bank of England admits ‘trace’ of animal fat in £5 notes

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Maple burger

This sounds delicious when paired with Canadian bills. What other flavors are out there?

0
0

Inside Android's source code... // TODO – Finish file encryption later

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Probably not motivated

The Chinese phone makers are turning on full disk encryption to make Google happy but they don't support changing the default encryption key.

0
0

Have some sympathy for the AT&T devil

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
Mushroom

Bullshit-On

You missed the trick behind T-Mobile One. It's unlimited data but all the things that need lots of data are throttled to 1.5 Mbps. Yes, that's slower than even AT&T's ADSL1 home service. It's not optional and nobody has any opt-in. It's a forced throttle that breaks things.

T-Mo says can buy your way out of this throttle for $25/month, but you're still throttled. What that really buys you is a month's supply of "HD Passes." Every day you may edit your account to add 24 hours of normal speed at no additional cost.

0
0

Make Christmas Great Again: $149 24-karat gold* Trump tree ornament

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Wait until it's in position for a while

Gold plating starts out looking good but it promotes corruption...I mean, corrosion.

1
0

Hackers electrocute selves in quest to turn secure doors inside out

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge
Boffin

Missing flyback cap?

I wonder if they remembered to bypass the flyback transformer driver with a small amount of capacitance. That captures flyback from nearby inductance and feeds it back into the flyback transformer a moment later. Without it, the driver sees nearly infinite voltage and arcs or avalanches (semiconductor version of arcing over). The EM pulse from that will kill pretty much any nearby semiconductor.

Avalanching or arcing to create EM pusles is the eventual goal, but you don't want it INSIDE your circuit.

2
0

Apple unplugs its home LAN biz, allegedly

Kevin McMurtrie
Silver badge

Busy, too busy

Apple staff can't be designing screens that go under screens, designer BT earbuds, ways to make people suddenly need BT earbuds, coffee table photo books, and Christmas trees then still have time for computer hardware.

7
1

Page:

Forums