* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

1366 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

Florida Man to be fined $1.25 per robocall... all 96 million of them

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Good luck with collecting that fine.

I'm sure that the telephone network/networks he was using will pretend like they had absolutely no idea that their systems were being abused. 96,000,000 calls with fake caller ID never raised any concerns.

I don't believe for a moment that the FCC and FTC want to stop robocalls when they don't penalize the networks making it possible. Instead they claim they helped promote "Nomorobo" that was completely useless even before it launched.

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OnePlus accused of installing cheat codes for benchmarks with new handset

Kevin McMurtrie
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Meh

Usually the cheat is no different than selecting the "Performance" mode in the Power settings. It changes the governor up/down thresholds so that there's less chance of a pause after one system is done waiting for another to finish.

I'm just happy if the OEM tuning doesn't maximize stuttering or overheat running 2D games that alternate between CPU and GPU use.

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TalkTalk customers complain of being unable to load Amazon website

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Rule #1

Sounds like a dead edge cache.

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Samsung releases 49-inch desktop monitor with 32:9 aspect ratio

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

Building demand

Numerous photo editor authors must have been bribed to create a market for this screen. There's no other explanation for them all having horizontal stacks of bloated toolbars today.

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As you head off to space with Li-ion batts, don't forget to inject that liquefied gas into them

Kevin McMurtrie
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Space only

I'm betting that HFCs and battery defects aren't a good safety mix. They're unstable enough without fluorine appearing appearing every time a defect causes a little spark.

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Oh, wow, Canada: No more carrier-locked phones for Canucks

Kevin McMurtrie
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G

What about the other trick where your phone is "unlocked" but the radio bands you'd need with another carrier are permanently disabled?

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Small carriers aren't showing up to IPv6 standards chats, consultant warns

Kevin McMurtrie
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Not in the timeline

I've always tried to use small ISPs because they're generally more likely to give you an honest internet connection and honest service. Unfortunately, they don't live long. They start off really good at fine tuning the system they have but they never learn to scale, acquire investment money, or upgrade. Eventually they're stuck with a reputation as the "best dialup" or "best DSL" provider years after those products are obsolete. Maybe they limp along as a re-seller for a few more years. If they have no plan for the future, there's no way they're going through all the hassles and investments to get IPv6 running.

It's a shame because small ISPs usually don't know what a mess the competition is. AT&T is still mailing me advertisements for their 20 year old DSL1 garbage. AT&T can't even support incoming connections because they're still using an on-demand PPP layer.

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Essentially puzzling: Rubin's hype-phone ties up with… Sprint?

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Not actually a Sprint phone

Sprint is still punishing their customers using a restricted BYOD list and long contracts for locked phones. Everyone else would buy an unlocked phone.

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Swedish school pumps up volume to ease toilet trauma

Kevin McMurtrie
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Teargas

I thought Katatonia's song was about something else but now I'm in a fog.

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I fought Ohm's Law and the law won: Drone crash takes out power to Silicon Valley homes

Kevin McMurtrie
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Facepalm

I'm sure he started off with innocent intentions, like trying to land the drone on a passing train.

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Afrinic shuts down IP address shutdown over internet shutdowns

Kevin McMurtrie
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It doesn't need to be political. Tell AFRINIC to clean up all their invalid records in their registry. IPv4 addresses are about to become precious and there's no point wasting them on networks that can't be bothered to administer themselves properly.

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Live blog: Fired FBI boss spills the beans to US Senate committee

Kevin McMurtrie
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Tapes?

Tapes so we can restore from backup? I think we need to roll back to a known working version of the government. We'll loose lots of recent work, but I think most of that's damaged anyways.

Wait, all the backups look like this?

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So despite all the cash ploughed into big data, no one knows how to make it profitable

Kevin McMurtrie
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Math and Information Science failures

If you teach a machine to analyze the behavior of millions of people, it just might learn to predict the behavior of millions of people. At the individual level, that means your machine maybe has a one-in-a-million chance of better prediction than manually researched market segment data. It's useless. Unlike manual research, big data doesn't even tell you why results are poor. The same goes for analyzing millions of low quality DNA tests for diseases, whether or not somebody is beautiful, or whatever the VC scam du jour is.

The kind "big data" needed for accurate prediction per individual is generally not legal or ethical to collect.

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No hypersonic railguns on our ships this year, says US Navy

Kevin McMurtrie
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No budget? No problem!

I bet the Russian government would install the system with easy financing. Just send a Tweet with a link to the schematics.

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Apple gives world ... umm ... not much new actually

Kevin McMurtrie
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That's a big cellphone

It seems that the desktop and cellphone convergence has hit the product design department. Apple's competing on their own imaginary set of important specifications and software features: pixel density, CPU cores, UI appearance, and the feel of the hardware. I find Apple's strange feature prioritization to be just as frustrating as Linux's crappy software, but at least the Linux system costs a lot less.

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The biggest British Airways IT meltdown WTF: 200 systems in the critical path?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Microservices

Microservices are in fashion now so it must be the right thing to do. Coworkers tell me it's how you isolate failures to a single system. I've been assured that it's not just multiplying points of failure and causing exponentially complex fault cycles like it would appear to.

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Amazon granted patent to put parachutes inside shipping labels

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: It would work if..

Excellent, it sounds like we've nailed down all the safety issues at this point and the product is ready to pierce the market.

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Samsung's Bixby assistant fails English, gets held back a month

Kevin McMurtrie
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Reinventing it all

I'm not sure why every phone maker wants to struggle with inventing their own Android UI elements, their own dialer, their own messenger, their own launcher, and their own voice assistant. These little maintenance nightmares have extremely rapidly changing features and everybody wants it customized differently. License them from somebody else and get back to the core business of hardware.

A good chunk of any phone maker's message boards are filled with comments like, "Please stop trying to fix this train wreck and just help the open source developers with the drivers."

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Elon to dump Trump over climate bump

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Surprised?

Everything in the US government is just following money and power around. Trump would burn the world to ashes if it game him a moment of fame and fortune. Musk's money and power happens to be more in line with what's good for the US - materials R&D, advanced manufacturing, working solar power, and maybe even modernizing transportation.

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Nest leaves competition in the dust with new smart camera

Kevin McMurtrie
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Who buys these?

I suspect that this camera is targeted to people who feel reassured by brand name. Google, Apple, Toyota, Maytag, etc. The products aren't the best but people feel like they're a safe purchase with good support. To some degree, that's true. Playing with various white-label Hikvision cameras shows how deeply into hell things can go.

"Power cycle the camera when it crashes, you say? IT'S A REMOTE CAMERA. I WOULDN'T NEED THE CAMERA IF I WAS THERE."

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Android apps punched out by Judy malware

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trying to make it sound unusual?

Most apps on Play Store get completely hijacked by their own ad libraries. It has a rare trigger, so as to evade detection, but it eventually happens. Some are so well crafted that you don't notice the exact point where the advertisement has taken control. Maybe the only indication is that the system pull-down menu is no longer customized correctly or a transition animation isn't right. It's common enough that I do not install ad-supported software anymore.

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Much-hyped Ara Blackphone LeEco Essential handset introduced

Kevin McMurtrie
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Design by numbers

So many amazing tricks and specifications but none of the simple pleasures in a phone : Front-facing stereo speakers, headphone jack, and a microSD slot. Hardcore phone users (the kind who'd spend $700 on a phone) will like the edge protection but want to know how to replace the battery when daily full charge-discharge cycles take their toll.

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Apple asks FCC to let it run mm-wave tests - for backhaul?!

Kevin McMurtrie
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Gimp

It's not like other waves. Most antennas need a half a meter for their waves. Big bulky waves wobbling through the air. That is about to change forever. Introducing iWave, an incredible system that can shrink a entire wave down to a mere 7.665 millimeters. [pause for applause] Starting in 2020, all Apple devices will be able to communicate with this incredible new technology. [video clip of attractive wealthy families communicating with Apple devices] There's more. We've integrated this with a highly secure polarization encoding to ensure that your communications aren't only secure, but virtually undetectable by other systems not using the Apple security chip. [more videos of wealthy attractive people]

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T-Mobile goes Apple/Google route by separating phone numbers and devices

Kevin McMurtrie
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App versus battery

During the beta, activating DIGITS deactivated your number from cellular service so I didn't sign up. It will be interesting to see if they've solved that. The problem is that phone makers are cheating on battery life claims by turning off everything except the GSM radio. Push notifications are very delayed or may not work at all. (These landfill phones don't ring on pure LTE networks either)

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Dodge this: Fiat-Chrysler gets diesel-fuelled sueball from DoJ

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: NOx has nothing to do with the fuel

Lean burn isn't the problem. Lean burn gasoline engines have existed for decades. Initially, it was the second intake valve that creates a vortex of fuel under the spark plug. Later it was fuel injection timing tricks. The problem with Diesel engines is that their exhaust doesn't power a catalytic converter well. The exhaust isn't as hot and it's full of oils and soot that are slow to ignite.

Whether or not a diesel engine is learn burn or not depends on how much you're pushing the gas pedal. There's no air intake throttle.

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Chinese e-tailer beats Amazon to the skies with one-ton delivery drones

Kevin McMurtrie
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Black Helicopters

THUD

I honestly don't mind some bureaucracy and regulations getting in the way of drones weighing over a ton.

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Hi! I’m Foxy! It looks like you want to run Flash. Do you need help?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Good old days and denial of the present

ZTE customer support told me that getting warranty service is as easy as finding an old computer in a library. I told them that libraries probably don't run Flash either.

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Phishing scum going legit to beat browser warnings

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: El Reg fail

I would say that Google isn't using certificates correctly. Google says they're encryption and protection. They're primarily meant to be identification.

That's why a blacklist should work - you want to not honor any CA that's not correctly identifying a responsible administrator for a web site. When a phishing site gets a certificate, either the identity is wrong or it's identifying somebody who is not properly responsible for the domain. For example, Cloudflare gives out certificates but they don't give a rat's ass where the content comes from or who provided it as long as they get their money. There's not naming a responsible identity.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

El Reg fail

The obvious solution is blacklisting certificate authorities supporting phishing sites. The CAs will start screening customers more carefully or they'll stop being in business. Google would probably do it since they'd only be blocking non-customers.

Sorry Reg, but you'd definitely go offline with this blacklist because you're using Cloudflare. I can't think of any other business in the US that knowingly, even eagerly, provides services for phishing web sites.

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LastPass now supports 2FA auth, completely undermines 2FA auth

Kevin McMurtrie
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2FA has been broken for a while

You log in from your phone and a verification token is pushed to your phone. That's not 2FA anymore. It just means that the malware needs to be put on your phone rather than your desktop computer.

Token generator key fobs are a bit better because it must be physically stolen and used before the owner deactivates it.

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And finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin hologram ... Sir, it is only wafer thin

Kevin McMurtrie
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Somebody should explain to Min Gu how a hologram works. It can not produce an image beyond the bounds of the screen. You can't project an image onto a retina from a point source either (unless your image happens to be a point). That means you're back to glasses or goggles for virtual immersion.

A hologram watch would be mostly useless. The greater the Z-axis, the narrower the viewing angle before tall and deep objects tip from view off the edge of the screen. Let me know when I can wall mount a giant holographic display.

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You'll get a kick out of this: Qualcomm patents the 'Internet of Shoes'

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

You'd think Qualcomm would restrain over-the-top patent trolling until that lawsuit is settled. (Trolling because it's obvious and not a new idea)

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Sick of Java and C++? Google pours a cup o' Kotlin for Android devs

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: What happened to golang?

Golang makes awesome demos but it feels very crude once your development gets going. It's the simplicity of the old languages with the restrictions of modern languages. Imagine trying to build a house using only a hammer, a shovel, and a saw while somebody watches over your back to make sure that you never misuse either. You manage to make slow progress until it's time for the interior, plumbing, and electrical.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Noob question

A Java method signature both its name and its arguments. Remove the argument list and it's not the same method anymore.

Java app launching used to look for multiple permutations of the main method so you could leave off the arguments. It was more confusing than useful so that feature was removed.

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HTC's 2017 flagship U11 woos audiophiles and bundles Alexa

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thumb Down

Does it work?

Taiwan and China have long ago perfected the manufacturing of top-specification phones, but they don't work. Bad radio firmware, CPU & GPU governor stutter, stuttering calls, missing texts, file corruption, DnD broken, crashes, security vulnerabilities, and junk custom OSes that can never be upgraded. They essentially contract a few Android hackers to throw together an OS then call it done. How about holding off on the review until you've used the phone, OK? This crap is expensive.

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74 countries hit by NSA-powered WannaCrypt ransomware backdoor: Emergency fixes emitted by Microsoft for WinXP+

Kevin McMurtrie
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Amazing you can leave the SMB port open

I'd like to run SMB/CIFS file sharing but that port is such a bot magnet that everything slows to a crawl servicing or blocking hacking attempts. It's like asking for a DDoS. Didn't anyone notice that their system was running really slowly and had multi-gigabyte log files?

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Mozilla to Thunderbird: You can stay here and we may give you cash, but as a couple, it's over

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: It's the 21st Century: Outside of Work, Email is dead

A good chunk of Silicon Valley will have nothing to do with Microsoft. The licensing, audits, and management software isn't something you want to touch if you're a startup. These companies mature and find that they're not really missing anything. They don't have MS Outlook.

E-mail clients suck because they've reached the point where people expect them to be free or bundled with the hardware. Lack of sales does not mean lack of use.

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IBM wheels out bleedin' big 15TB tape drive

Kevin McMurtrie
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First, let me say that I'm very impressed with being able to manage 360 Mbps on a ribbon of tape flying by despite mechanical imperfections on large components, thermal distortion, dust, and even air itself getting in the way. I have destroyed many tapes just trying to recalibrate an old analog VCR.

On the other hand, 15 TB is not impressing me. These cartridges may be cheaper than a hard drive but they're not much smaller and they need incredibly specialized mechanical support. Customer and IBM would have to agree to support each other for a long time to make this worth while.

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DSL inventor's latest science project: terabit speeds over copper

Kevin McMurtrie
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"Energy still leaks off wire if bent"

Typical telco wires go through several junctions that are one big rat's nest of crushed and untwisted wires. Even with a neighborhood distribution box, there's at least one more junction mess on the poles and a few more in the house. Each tiny disruption to the wire pair is an impedance mismatch, an antenna, and a low pass filter. This is why DSL is slow and this is why telcos can't just send plain old Ethernet down the wires.

Just replace it already.

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FCC blames DDoS for weekend web lockout

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Obvious loophole

...will be the invention of the DTP/IP protocol - a special high priority network layer that can carry DIRECTV over heavily throttled AT&T wires. No neutrality conflict here. Anyone can create high priority DTP/IP streams if they're willing to pay the protocol licensing and trademark fees.

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Michael Dell? More like Michael in-Dell-nial: No public cloud, no future

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thumb Down

But, why?

Why would a computer maker want to compete with huge cloud companies like Amazon and Google that are willing to sometimes operate at a loss? That sounds like suicide. A better strategy would be helping them build their clouds while helping customers build private data centers. No matter which way the tech goes, you're selling computers.

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Months after it ordered a review into allegations of mismanagement, how's that ICANN accountability drive?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Kiss your domain name value goodbye

One of the responsibilities of ICANN is protecting the integrity of registrars and certain top level domains. They seem to be dumbing down their enforcement staff recently. An increasing number of the fraud complaints that I send in are rejected because they are investigated by somebody who doesn't seem to have any Internet knowledge, except for maybe a one page glossary taped to their computer monitor.

What this means to businesses is that those premium .com, .net, and .org TLDs aren't as premium any more. The oversight that keeps them from being another .cn, .ru, or .ro trash heap isn't there. It also means that defense against domain name hijacking is likely to become a lot more difficult too.

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Dark-web pedo jailed after FBI and co use vid trick to beat privacy tech

Kevin McMurtrie
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Unmasking

This was probably a movie container feature. MPEG4/MooV, Flash, and some other containers have a mind-boggling number of arcane features. They can run scripts, hyperlink, and embed almost any type of remote content.

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You only need 60 bytes to hose Linux's rpcbind

Kevin McMurtrie
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Mac

Verified that it's running on all interfaces of MacOS 10.11.6. My ancient 10.6.8 server at home doesn't have it (or it already died).

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Gamers red hot with fury over Intel Core i7-7700 temperature spikes

Kevin McMurtrie
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Stress

Running at 90C doesn't seem like a big deal. On the other hand, constantly cycling between 30C and 90C will eventually crack something important.

Ah, memories of old G4 and G5 Macs only working if you pushed on the motherboard.

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Don't panic, Florida Man, but a judge just said you have to give phone passcodes to the cops

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thumb Down

Misleading

When I read the articles that made this article, it seems that it's actually the prosecuting state attorney demanding specific evidence required for a trial. It's not a matter of arresting officers trying to unlock your phone to see what bad stuff you've been up to. There's a big difference in how the information on the phone can be used.

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Republicans go all Braveheart again with anti-net neutrality bill

Kevin McMurtrie
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Along those lines

I'd like to introduce the "Restoring Congressional Wealth Act." It fixes some regulation for conflicts of interest that might appear to be bribes. I mean, just check out that awesome title and sign it.

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Post Unity 8 Ubuntu shock? Relax, Linux has been here before

Kevin McMurtrie
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Linux users kill Linux

I figured I'd finally try Ubuntu as a daily driver rather than just for work or side projects. Every time I search for specialized software, there's a list of only free software. Commercial software, even if it exists, seems to be shunned by much of the Linux community. This alone is why Linux always does poorly. There's no money in it except for rare enterprise support deals. How many teams of coders dream of spending 60 hours a week for two years creating the next killer app that generates exactly zero income?

While OSS takes care of some routine duties, I'd like to buy a few really high quality apps. Don't hate the commercial software.

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Netgear confirms: Intel's wobbly Puma 6 in fast broadband modems is super-easy to choke out

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Why is this a thing now?

Make a list of all URLs that a modem/router supports. Hit them all repeatedly with fuzzing and time the response. Scan for open ports and send them HTTP requests too. Hit the slowest results repeatedly and you'll usually cause a failure of some kind - OOM, buffer overflow, deadlock threads, or a good old fashioned brown-out.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Paris Hilton

Why is this a thing now?

Is there any consumer or "small business" device that isn't trivial to crash? Many of them don't even need to be provoked.

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