* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

1368 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

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

Kevin McMurtrie
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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
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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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Adware API sends smartmobe data home to Chinese company

Kevin McMurtrie
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Google Mobile Services

Quietly downloading new hidden components and sending back personal data? If there's one thing that Google hates, it's somebody else doing the creepy things that Google does.

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What weighs 800kg and runs Windows XP? How to buy an ATM for fun and profit

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thumb Up

Yep, that's a hacker

Hulking steel computer powered up in the rain, in a puddle, with live animals, but on a piece scrap wood for safety.

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Samsung's bantam SSD makes WD's 'passport' drive look passé

Kevin McMurtrie
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$130 for 250 GB pocket drive?

A 200 GB microSD card costs under $80. It fits inside my phone without needing a second pocket.

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How to build your own DIY makeshift levitation machine at home

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Like the idea, but...

I'd use simple feedback so that it automatically finds resonant frequencies for any conditions. You could still put a 555 in there as a bandpass filter to avoid non-functional ranges of frequencies. That chip is essentially the basic building block of the universe.

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The future of Python: Concurrency devoured, Node.js next on menu

Kevin McMurtrie
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Async not always easy

Async I/O is not necessarily easier than multi-threading. Blocking I/O is trivially simple but it consumes a thread for an unknown duration. The workaround is multiple threads, and that's where it might become hard. Async I/O is tricky to stream because the control is reversed - you read data that is pushed to you and write data that is pulled from you. Coders can still create bugs by allowing events to complete while the program is no longer in a state to accept them. My preference is for both blocking and async mechanisms to be available since they have different advantages and disadvantages. I also like using async tasks for a lot more than I/O.

An interesting note is that Jython supports threads. I used it for a while and there were few threading problems specific to the Python language itself. All it needs is some coordination classes for semaphores and piping data between threads. With machines easily having 32+ hardware threads, it's stupid to say that you need to launch 32+ copies of your app to use them.

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Raising minimum wage will raise something else: An army of robots taking away folks' jobs

Kevin McMurtrie
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Not all jobs are good jobs

Please do automate away the crappy jobs so us humans can work on better things. I've worked at a Radio Shack and I've worked at a VHS rental store. I would have gladly accepted a minimum wage job installing robots in those stores. Tump's coal miners would probably rather be maintaining robots too, though at least they don't have to deal with customers trying to rent porn while high on huffing.

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GoDaddy gives white supremacist site its marching orders after Charlottesville slur

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Cloudflare

Cloudflare probably helped fund the group that attacked your site. Like an arms dealer, revenue is best when both sides are buying. Try calling them some time about a fake store to see for yourself.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Thumb Down

Cloudflare

They can move the domain to Cloudflare's bulletproof hosting too. Hopefully the SFPD or FBI gets around to raiding this "innocent proxy" one of these days.

Thumbs down for The Register supporting a proud service provider to e-mail scammers, fake pharma web sites, fake solar installer web sites, telemarketing scams, and pro-violence groups.

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Revealed: The naughty tricks used by web ads to bypass blockers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Good old days

I can always go back to the good old solution of not visiting web sites any more. Remember Yahoo News? Neither do I.

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Florida man is world's fastest flasher: Just 53 quintillionths of a sec

Kevin McMurtrie
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Boffin

I blinked

But that didn't stop it.

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Tech giants warp eco standards to greenwash electronics, rake in cash

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Standard sizes

Standardized battery packs could happen but it's technologically tricky. There are a few different lithium battery chemistries and a few different mechanical designs for each of them. That means different voltages, different self-discharge rates, different current capacities, and charging processes. Right now, batteries have a simple protection circuit that's good for disconnecting severe momentary faults (over-voltage, under-voltage, over-current). The battery still explodes with long-term misuse. Standardized battery packs would need their own DC-DC inverter and charge controller to provide a normalized interface. DC-DC inverters are rather pricey things and you'd be throwing one out each time you replace the battery. Alternately, you could put a cheap ROM on a universal battery and hope every device applies the usage parameters correctly enough to not explode.

This is why open specifications are usually easier. Manufacturers list the battery requirements and third parties build them when devices reach the age of needing repairs.

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Assange offers job to sacked Google diversity manifestbro

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

Assange shouts at world to stop forgetting him

Use your workplace as your personal soapbox for a disruptive and controversial topic, make sure your employer's name is all over your topics when it hits the press, and then call it censorship as you're led out the door.

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Hotspot Shield VPN throws your privacy in the fire, injects ads, JS into browsers – claim

Kevin McMurtrie
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Investigate a cloud

Domain names are registered with the address of a postal box service in Vista, CA that seems to be popular with scammers.

Development HQ appears to be a rented building in Meno Park, CA.

Main HQ appears to be a rented commercial room in Switzerland.

Hosting that I could find is various on-demand services.

I'd hate to have to piece all of that together to figure out what's going on.

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Four techies flummoxed for hours by flickering 'E' on monitor

Kevin McMurtrie
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Still happens

The navigation system in my 2007 Audi A3 used to reboot every time I drove under an airplane leaving SJC. Radar is scary powerful. Some large doppler weather systems on mountain peaks have warnings that you'll be injured if you get in the scanning path. (I'm guessing the injury is becoming disoriented then falling 30 feet off whatever you used to get in the path)

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Apple signals it's willing to let next-gen web apps compete with iOS apps

Kevin McMurtrie
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Actually a good thing

Bad apps run your battery dead and ruin privacy just fine with old tech, so this isn't making existing problems any worse. Don't use bad apps. What it does allow is faster UI interaction, fewer network round trips, and greatly reduced costs for the app provider. There's an opportunity to use less cellular data (which is very power hungry), apps no longer need to be installed for trials and casual use, and apps might get cheaper.

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Apple pulls massive HomeKit chip U-turn to keep up with Amazon Echo and Google Home

Kevin McMurtrie
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Forgetting why Apple exists

Apple exists because it opened up to public standards when it released OS X. Suddenly you could bring a Mac to work and connect up with everything else, and people did just that. There was modern software, open standards, backwards compatibility APIs, and familiar programming languages that pulled in developers. THAT is when Apple didn't go out of business. That is why Apple exists today.

The iPhone made Apple famous but it happened long after they nearly went out of business selling shitty Performas running MacOS 8 and 9 in slow motion. With that fame, Apple has started viewing the rest of the world as competition to crush or enslave. It's quite a shock when you can't buy a new Apple product because it's so locked down with proprietary mechanisms that it actually doesn't work with your older Apple products. This is when Apple starts failing again.

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We found a hidden backdoor in Chinese Internet of Things devices – researchers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Cheaper, cheaper, cheaper

Most of the top search results for product reviews are written by bots or idiot bloggers that have done nothing but hash a press release to get a few micropayments on referrals. That's where these crap IOT products come in. Maybe you can find a fanatic who does in-depth reviews for free, but that's on page 15 of your search results. (Consumer Reports asks for real money but they rarely have the expertise needed to properly review anything.)

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Programmer's < fumble jeopardizes thousands of medical reports

Kevin McMurtrie
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Escape!

It sounds like bad escaping. Somebody should embed some good cat animations into the reports before it's fixed.

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Sputtering bit-blasters! IBM's just claimed densest tape ever record

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

Be kind. Rewind.

The most obvious use for this technology is to make a 4K 3D high frame-rate VCR. It would actually be somewhat copy-resistant by nature needing some pretty expensive storage to buffer it into an H.265 encoder.

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Don't make Aug 21 a blind date: Beware crap solar eclipse specs

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Curiousity and dead cats...

- You can fly in the direction of the eclipse's path and make it last a bit longer.

- More of the light spectrum reaches your telescope if you can cut down on the atmosphere.

- You can observe changes in the upper atmosphere where most of the bad stuff from space hits it.

- Most importantly, there are no crowds, drunks, curious cats, or long lines to the bathroom. The food is still bad.

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Charter sprints from rinky-dink Sprint hints

Kevin McMurtrie
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Just go away already

Sprint:

- Counted extremely restrictive roaming agreements and inoperative towers when claiming the best coverage.

- Used long contracts and arbitration to lock in payments from customers stuck with defective towers and Sprint phones.

- Sold new "4G" WiMax phones on 2 year contracts even as they were abandoning WiMax.

- Sold their towers for a quick buck then leased them back.

- Made wild claims about how amazing an acquisition would be.

- Was purchased by SoftBank and continued to suck.

- Periodically terrorized T-Mobile customers with threats of a purchase.

- More wild claims about self-importance and the possibility of new amazing mergers, as if the SoftBank thing never happened.

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New iPhone details leak: Yes, Apple is still chasing Samsung

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: AR

Headset AR is very useful and it already exists. AR on a phone screen is a different thing - you have to hold the phone to your face so you lose one hand and you lose stereoscopic vision.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Meh

AR

GPUs get really powerful and deliver beautiful photo realistic games that have no point but to ask you to buy powerups and share achievements with your friends. They get immediately uninstalled. GPUs get even more powerful and deliver beautiful AR games that have no point...

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GPS III satellites and ground station projects get even later as costs gently spiral

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Do you have any idea how GPS works?

In this case, I think "ground system" means the expensive military device using tactical grade GPS signals. Just to be confusing, there are ground systems at accurately known positions telling the satellites where they are.

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Google tracks what you spend offline to prove its online ads work. And privacy folks are furious

Kevin McMurtrie
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Google "security"

At one point does Google become so large that their access to your personal data is essentially the same as it being public? You want to keep your information private because it could be used to manipulate, embarrass, harass, or take advantage of you. It seems like Google was big enough for those powers years ago.

Sunnyvale and Mountain View have concerns about too much of their city being Google. As Google is looking farther east, San Jose (population way over a million) is also a bit worried. That's how big Google is. You can see that your personal data being limited to within Google doesn't mean anything.

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Big Cable falls into wormhole to alternate universe, sends back blog post about USA's amazing broadband

Kevin McMurtrie
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at least two wired internet service providers

It didn't call it broadband so I assume that includes dialup, IDSL, ADSL, and ISDN. It probably includes IDSL and ISDN with repeaters, which cost a fortune in rural areas.

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Tired: Java. Desired: Node.js. Retired: The suggestion a JavaScript runtime is bonkers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Should you own only a crowbar or only a hammer?

Anyone who wants to write a large system in one language is bonkers.

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Flash... Nu-uh! Tech folk champing at the bit to switch off life support

Kevin McMurtrie
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Open source Flash

Is JavaScript. It does almost everything you need to do in a browser. Hopefully the death of Flash can result in some JS language changes to support reliable performance. Right now authors must consult lists of what arbitrary features of the day may accidentally de-optimize on each browser.

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Kid found a way to travel for free in Budapest. He filed a bug report. And was promptly arrested

Kevin McMurtrie
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Facepalm

FU to the customers

BKK just announced that they're not reading the bkk@bkk.hu address that they tell customers to use?

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Why you'll never make really big money as an AI dev

Kevin McMurtrie
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I'm trying to return my defective duck

- Hi, this is John of AI Other Duckers. How may I provide excellent service?

- You sent me a defective duck. It's mute.

- Does it look like a duck and quack like a duck?

- No, it's mute duck.

- I don't think it's a duck.

- !%$, it's a duck. It's mute duck and it looks unhappy.

- Are you sure this is the animal we sent you? I'll need to hear it quack to continue with service.

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Expect the Note 8 to break the bank (and your wallet)

Kevin McMurtrie
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But will it have a gigapixel camera?

Seriously, I'd be happy with better reception and fewer bugs driving new models. I'm tired of premium phones that crash or drop their signal aren't very useful.

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Boffins back bubbles for better bonding with beautiful belongings

Kevin McMurtrie
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No nukes, just hyperlinks to follow

It's in the original article. Light penetration depth varies by polarization and wavelength. When all things are in their naturally occurring states, the code is invisible. The difference between two photos, one optimized for the surface and one optimized for the desired depth, produces a clear QR code. The parameters for accurate scanning without human visibility are covered in great depth.

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Moneysupermarket fined £80,000 for spamming seven million customers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Perceived US loophole

Here in the US, there's a perception among rabid marketers that you can keep inventing new lists forever and customers must keep opt-ing out of them. It's not true, but that's what Oracle does. (Yes, Oracle moved into the professional spamming business a few years ago.)

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US Homeland Sec boss has snazzy new laptop bomb scanning tech – but admits he doesn't know what it's called

Kevin McMurtrie
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Flashbacks

The whole Trump administration is giving me bad flashbacks of growing up in Petaluma. The pride in stupidity is terrifying.

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'Millions of IoT gizmos' wide open to hijackers after devs drop gSOAP

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Of course it won't happen anytime soon

I own a couple of Axis cameras and they've been very good about maintaining the software. The camera is actually gaining performance and features as it ages.

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.. ..-. / -.-- --- ..- / -.-. .- -. / .-. . .- -.. / - .... .. ... then a US Navy fondleslab just put you out of a job

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: "whether the Navy should be abandoning low-tech backup solutions"

Odds are that the lamp and the person who knows morse code don't survive whatever kills a ruggedized tablet computer.

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Ew! HTC jams pop-up adverts into people's smartphone keyboards

Kevin McMurtrie
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Icky TouchPals

My ZTE phone came with TouchPal. Like Google, it learns auto-completion from monitoring other users. That's where you learn a lot about who's using the app. For example, while typing "Want to get ramen?" it has learned from other TouchPal users that "Want to get r" is likely going to be "Want to get raped?"

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Pastor la vista, baby! FCC enforcers shut down church pirate radio

Kevin McMurtrie
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Megaphone

Switching to the 2KHz band...

Low power transmitters are actually legal unless they're causing interference. I'd prefer that over the more traditional megaphones mounted on church rooftops.

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An AI can replace what a world leader said in his video-taped speech. This will end well. Not

Kevin McMurtrie
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The AI said it had a better idea

Instead of training an AI how to use audio to fix the replayed video, just train an AI to use the original video to fix the replayed video. It's a much more direct route and it can be extended to improving video compression in general. Video compression attempts to describe changes that are happening as best as possible and everything else becomes a flood of image data. Right now those descriptions are not much better than saying what is moving, what looks like something else, and which scene cut is on.

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Crashed RadioShack flogs off its IPv4 stash

Kevin McMurtrie
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Pegboards of old IP addresses

They're going to print the IP addresses individually onto little pieces of paper and seal them in blister packs selling for $19.99. The sale will be staffed with teens that are going to quit the awful job as soon as they make enough money to get out of town. "May I have your phone number?"

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May the excessive force be with you: Chap cuffed after Star Trek v Star Wars row turns bloody

Kevin McMurtrie
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Heart

Re: Snowy

There needs to be a Holly icon for stating terribly obvious facts like this.

Can these icon thingies be hacked?

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Well, that escalated quickly: Qualcomm demands iPhone, iPad sales ban in America

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: 8,698,558

8,698,558 is mixing AB and D amps to provide a modulated power source to the RF transmitter. A whole lot of that patent looks like old tech that could have existed in the 1990s or earlier.

Class AB is an analog push-pull configuration that has very high precision and nearly infinite bandwidth, but it's resistive. Any difference between the power rails and the output becomes heat. Class D is a pulse width modulated switching configuration that has a very limited frequency response and lots of distortion but nearly perfect efficiency. Combining the two results in excellent bandwidth and precision plus excellent efficiency for low frequency and DC components.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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8,698,558

Surely some audio amp nut has already done this many years ago: A broadband precision Class AB amp with current sensors driving a low quality Class D amp providing low frequency power assistance. I was experimenting with this when I was in college and there was no such thing as too much power. I probably would have gotten it working if I could have afforded high frequency power components back then.

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Google blows $800k on bots to flood the UK with 30,000 'articles' a month

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

Corrections

"shift more Google ads"

It looks like auto-correct added an 'f' to that first word.

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FREE wildcard HTTPS certs from Let's Encrypt for every Reg reader*

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: HTTP has got to go

There really needs to be a certificate for lightweight digital signatures. Almost all of the Internet is public data that is fine for any observer to view. Encryption is slow and unnecessary when usually all you need is simple tamper detection.

The browsing privacy argument is long dead. Google is watching DNS lookups, recording Chrome activity, and offers site owners free monitoring tools in exchange for some web bugs. Got all of that taken care of? Google sells really cheap domain management services too (with very short default DNS TTL to improve stats collection).

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: An admirable effort.

Since Let's Encrypt does absolutely no Organization Validation, they're a popular tool for fake stores, phishing, and impostor sites. There's no MITM but there's no guarantees about who owns the endpoint. Browsers really need to flag this with a different security icon because it's easy to forget that there should be a title next to the certificate when you're visiting your bank or an online store.

The same could be said for The Reg's cert. It's nothing more than a generic cert from CloudFlare, another popular tool for fake stores, phishing, an impostor sites.

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Tape lives! The tape archive bit bucket is becoming bottomless

Kevin McMurtrie
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Paris Hilton

Infinity

I'll take the infinity line. Who can say no to a mural in the datacenter?

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NASA tells Curiosity: Quit showing off, no 'wheelies' please

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Well duh!

If they work 9 to 5 in Pasadena, the rover is going at speeds never achieved by commuters.

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