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* Posts by User McUser

610 posts • joined 6 May 2011

Page:

Wow, great invention: Now AI eggheads teach machines how to be sarcastic using Reddit

User McUser
Terminator

Your Plastic Pal Who's Fun to Be With!

"Dealing with chatbots and virtual assistants can be so frustrating that it’s normal for humans to start getting snarky. Such run-ins would be a little more entertaining if the machines could give some of that sass back" said the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation representative.

No wonder they were first against the wall...

1
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AI image recognition systems can be tricked by copying and pasting random objects

User McUser

I'd go further and say that brains of many species have evolutionary advantages that AI simply can't match.

Obligatory XKCD comic - https://www.xkcd.com/1720/

4
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Judge bars distribution of 3D gun files... er, five years after they were slapped onto the web

User McUser

Machine tools

As for guns... yeesh, 3D printing isn't the only way. They're gonna ban machine tools next?

The difference being that making a gun out of metal (and other materials) using machine tools requires actual skill.

In theory, any idiot can plug in a 3D printer, load some plastic into the hopper (or whatever) and click "Print" to start churning out shitty finger removers plastic guns.

2
2

Beam me up, UK.gov: 'Extra-terrestrial markup language' booted off G-Cloud

User McUser
Boffin

When did they start offering it?

I reckon it was shortly after July 8, 1947.

12
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Google Chrome: HTTPS or bust. Insecure HTTP D-Day is tomorrow, folks

User McUser
Big Brother

Not Secure -vs- Not Encrypted

I object to it being labeled as "Not Secure" when "Not Encrypted" would be far more accurate and far less nasty sounding. But that's the whole point of this, to scare users and drive site operators to use HTTPS. If a user sees "Not Encrypted" they'll either not understand or not care what that means. But calling it "Not Secure" implies that Bad Things™ will happen! Because everyone is always telling them to "Be Secure" and that this is important! And now their browser is telling them their favorite website is not secure? Well, I guess I'd better steer clear of that site until they fix it; thanks Chrome for warning me!

But why does Google care about some random WWW server being encrypted or not? Because with plain HTTP, nearly anyone can see your data and thus access that sweet sweet nectar of your browsing history. But with HTTPS, only the browser and the site you're going to get that info. It's all about trying to stop other advertising companies from getting the same info that Google will get from Chrome users. It's aimed squarely at their competitors and has nothing to do with making anything more secure. I mean FFS, the data is only encrypted during transit - once it hits the browser or the server daemon it's right back to plain text and just as (in)secure as it was before they started using HTTPS.

19
2

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

User McUser

Laptop replacement

Samsung introduced the Dex with 2017’s Galaxy S8 and then updated it this year with a smaller dock that puts the phone in a horizontal position and turns it into a touchpad. That’s an important trick because as a portable device, the DeX Pad is a wash: you need a USB charger, a keyboard and an HDMI cable to get it working. Samsung recommends that you use only its supplied HDMI cable too, so that needs to go into your bag too, making a rat’s nest of cables even before you add a mouse to the mix.

Obviously the solution is a laptop-style "shell" with a keyboard, a built-in display and some useful ports on the back (USB, HDMI, Ethernet, etc). Put a big ass battery in it to recharge your phone and power the display then leave a slot in the front for the phone to dock where the trackpad would normally be. Then you can plug the phone in when you need a proper keyboard or a bigger screen, then pop it out when you don't.

Only problem I can see is that smartphones vary wildly in size and shape so you'd have to come up with a standard or make some kind of sabot for each model...

3
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Google offers to leave robocallers hanging on the telephone

User McUser

Whitelist by default.

Yes to this - a thousand times yes to this.

I already do this manually - If a number appears and it's not in my on-device phone book then straight to voicemail it goes - but it would be nice if the phone just did that for me automatically.

99% of the calls I get on my phone now are voice spam - mostly it's someone trying to sell me health insurance (because, you know, that's the sort of thing you buy from some random weirdo that cold-calls you) and vaguely threatening messages in Mandarin.

13
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Git365. Git for Teams. Quatermass and the Git Pit. GitHub simply won't do now Microsoft has it

User McUser

A few suggestions...

Git While the Git'n's Good

Git On With IT (the version for your Tech support team)

Git In M'uh Belly (you know, for fat bastards)

3
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Labour MP pushing to slip 6-hour limit to kill illegal online content into counter-terror bill

User McUser

Three clicks

How can they prove you watched it? For all they know a malicious website opened a new tab or a pop-under window that started streaming it in the background.

And as someone else pointed out in another comment, can people now be terrorickrolled right into prison?

6
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Wah, encryption makes policing hard, cries UK's National Crime Agency

User McUser
Childcatcher

Re: Wut?

Both firearms and crypto can be used for good and bad.

Ugh, I know, right? Remember that time a crazy person went into that primary school with a copy of "FIPS PUB 197" and he encrypted all those poor children using a 256bit length key?

34
3

New Monty Python movie to turn old jokes into new royalties

User McUser

Re: Shovelling shedloads of sheet glass in the shithouse?

When I get my membership card and blazer badge back from the League of Agnostics, I shall urge them to launch a formal protest against that religious racket.

1
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Let's be Frank: Bloke drags Google to the US Supreme Court over $8.5m privacy payout

User McUser

Re: Economically Feasible?

This is supposedly compensation and the cost of processing that should be part of the costs paid by Google. If someone has suffered $x damages then $x should be what they're entitled to receive, not $x minus some administration fee.

That is exactly my point - if Google has agreed to pay an amount that breaks down to 4¢ per class member then those individuals in the class are entitled to the entire 4¢ and not 4¢ "minus some administration fee." Ergo, Google has to pay whatever direct and indirect fees or costs incurred while processing those 129 million 4¢ payments.

7
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User McUser
FAIL

Economically Feasible?

Why does the court (any court) care to make things easier or cheaper for the giant corporation with many billions of dollars?

Personally, I would consider the amount paid to track down addresses for the class members and then print and mail all the checks as part of the punishment.

18
1

There's just one month left 'til the big day: May 25... but don't panic!

User McUser

Aww, Belgium...

I'm so un-hip it's a wonder my bum doesn't fall off.

12
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US government weighs in on GDPR-Whois debacle, orders ICANN to go probe GoDaddy

User McUser

To be honest, why should the rest of the world comply with ICANN's wish -not even a law- to have our private information and publish it globally? And then charge you to hide it....that's like volunteering for blackmail.

Was Whois data ever intended to be private in the first place? The identity of what entity owns which domain names never seemed to me like data that needed to be protected or kept secret. (Please note that I am NOT defending ICANN just arguing that Whois data is of public interest.)

Then again when I was but a lad they published the name, address, and phone number of everyone in town with a phone in a big book that everyone got a copy of every year. (And if you didn't want your information listed in this book you had to pay a separate fee for the privilege of being unlisted.)

2
2

Facebook faces foe formation in facial fingering fight

User McUser
Unhappy

What I don't like is the fact that despite a complete lack of a Facebook profile, Facebook still has got my biometric data because I have several friends that use the service and I am often in photographs that get uploaded. Zuckerberg et al might not specifically know who I am beyond whatever primary key they assigned my facial data in their database, but they'll be able to identify me as such in any other photographs or videos and I have no idea if any of the existing privacy laws or regulations would even cover the use of such non-subscriber data.

Maybe I'm paranoid but for some reason I just don't trust multi-billion dollar corporations to act in my best interests.

24
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It's US Tax Day, so of course the IRS's servers have taken a swan dive

User McUser

Re: And naturally, the IRS will fine those who coudn't file on time

Sorry, but if you wait until the last day to file then you kinda deserve it.

Most people get all their W-2's and similar required paperwork by the end of January so they had at least 8 weeks to get their shit together.

Or if they couldn't manage that, then they could file IRS Form 4868 which will automatically give them a 6 month extension.

16
3

No password? No worries! Two new standards aim to make logins an API experience

User McUser

Re: And when your biometric data gets stolen?

I don't see the problem.

The problem is that they forgot that biometrics should be your username, not your password.

10
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Backpage.com swoop: Seven bods hit with 93 charges as AG Sessions blasts alleged child sex trafficking cyber-haven

User McUser

The War on Prostitution

Remember when they declared war on drugs and now you can't get drugs anymore?

It'll be like *that*.

4
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Blackberry snaps, yakkity-yak Snapchat app brats slapped with patent trap rap

User McUser

Re: Ahhh, the optimism of lawyers

otherwise Blackberry would not be in such dire financial straights that [it needs] to become resume being patent trolls.

FTFY.

2
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Microsoft outlines some ground rules to prevent it from nicking your IP

User McUser

Re: Companies & Microsoft

You are thinking of "Stacker" by Stac Electronics. In 1993/94 after negotiating with Stac to license their code for inclusion in DOS, Microsoft basically just ripped them off instead with their "DoubleSpace" program. This resulted in several lawsuits with around US$200 million in damages and payments awarded to Stac in the end.

9
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SpaceX has a good day: Successful launch and FCC satellite approval

User McUser

Iridium

I thought that Iridium went bankrupt and that the US Gov bought their satellites...

I guess I need to pay more attention!

1
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'Tis the season: Verizon first in line to flog Palm phone resurrection

User McUser
Thumb Up

Ah Palm...

In my college job I appropriate the boss's untouched Palm III for my own use until I graduated and got a HandSpring Visor Deluxe. To this day when I am filling out paper forms that require you to put letters into individual boxes I find myself writing in Graffiti.

A friend of mine got a Palm VII when those came out - I remember being impressed that he could look up movie showtimes on it. This would have been in the summer of 1999 so instant access to data from basically anywhere was still a pretty big deal.

7
1

Another day, another self-flying car pipe dream surfaces

User McUser
Headmaster

NOT a flying car...

Audi and Airbus are pondering a self-driving car that can also fly

[...]

"The ultra-light, two-seater passenger cabin can be attached either to a car module or to a flight module.

So NOT a flying car but instead a box that you sit inside that is then either put into a car or put into an airplane. By that logic it is also a boat, a train, a horse-drawn carriage, a semi-truck, and a helicopter - just put the box inside any of those things.

A flying car is one that will drive along the road and then start flying without swapping out parts.

2
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Google to 'forget me' man: Have you forgotten what you said earlier?

User McUser

Re: Orwellian

IMHO, it's less 1984 and more Hitchhiker's Guide.

They don't want to expunge the information from the record to pretend it never existed in the first place as much as they just want to make it so that the only place you can find it is in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "beware of the leopard."

22
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Uber hopes to butter up Brit transport chiefs with lots of lovely data

User McUser
Headmaster

(f.e Clingon warbird(*) cloak)

That's Klingon with a "K" you honorless petaQ!

6
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La, la, la, I can't hear you! Apple to challenge Bose's noise-proof cans

User McUser

Wait - am I a weirdo?

I actually *like* the ambient noise in the aircraft - that low level hiss/hum of what I guess is the wind or maybe it's the engines? (Or both?) Not sure what causes it, but I find it quite soothing.

5
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World+dog ignores Rubin's Wonderdroid

User McUser
Coat

"PH-1"

phone's model number ("PH-1")

Personally, I'd prefer something a little more basic.

5
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Disengage, disengage! Cali DMV reports show how often human drivers override robot cars

User McUser
Joke

The "Kitty Hawk" moment

If we define "self-driving" cars the way we defined "powered flight" after Kitty Hawk, then we're well past that point and have moved on to this: https://youtu.be/Sp7MHZY2ADI

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As Facebook pushes yet more fake articles, one news editor tells Mark to get a grip – or Zuck off

User McUser
Megaphone

Oh FFS - fixing this is EASY

Step 1 - Setup a news white-list. If you aren't on the list then your "news" won't be allowed.

Step 2 - Create a process whereby *any* news site can apply to be added to the white-list. This would be human reviewed by qualified people and the sites would be required to meet very basic journalism standards such as only publishing actual, factual news and having a clear demarcation between what's news and what's commentary or editorial content. (This is neither difficult nor burdensome.)

Step 3 - Review these sites on a regular basis to make sure that they are still in compliance.

DONE

1
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Leaky credit report biz face massive fines if US senators get their way

User McUser
Holmes

Re: No chance

The biggest problem with the bill is size of the potential fines. They are big enough to bankrupt a company in short order (50% of annual revenues). In many cases that would be as bad as the security breach as the company sinks taking other innocent businesses with it.

Well then they had better be pretty fucking careful with our data in order to keep that from happening.

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Game of Thrones author's space horror Nightflyers hitting telly

User McUser

Re: Meh

Well, there's this bunch of people going here, talking there, and occasionally seeing/doing something exciting. I suppose if you've followed the story lines you actually care what's going on, although the need to see the minutiae of riding north escapes me.

I'm sorry but that's just silly - you can't start reading a book at the 6th chapter and then stop at the 7th chapter and then not like the book because you didn't know who any of the characters were and didn't understand what they were talking about. The same goes for a TV serial drama.

You can say it's boring or not a genre you typically like or that the characters are uninspired or you can just not like it for non-specific reasons but this "without context" critique is just the weirdest thing I've ever heard.

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User McUser
WTF?

Re: Meh

Looked at without context, episodes (like the books themselves) are major snoozes.

It's OK if you don't like the books and/or the TV show; not everyone has to like everything.

But "Looked at without context" - what does that even mean?

16
1

Ubuntu 17.10 pulled: Linux OS knackers laptop BIOSes, Intel kernel driver fingered

User McUser

> Why is this [a kernel driver for the SPI flash] even a thing?

Actually, I meant "why is SPI flash a thing."

At a minimum, SPI should be an option that is disabled by default. But preferably (IMHO) it shouldn't even exist. The BIOS' flash storage should be read-only outside of the BIOS' own configuration screens.

Otherwise some random software cock-up could brick your shiny new laptop (Q.E.D.)

11
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User McUser
Facepalm

Intel's SPI driver is kernel-level software that allows the operating system to access the firmware's flash storage on the motherboard via a serial communication interface.

Why is this even a thing?

53
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IT giant CSC screwed its 1,000 sysadmins out of their overtime – jury

User McUser

Re: Overtime?

Wossat, then?

http://dilbert.com/strip/1995-12-03

17
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Boffins show off speedy quantum CNOT gate - in silicon

User McUser
Thumb Up

The Future is Now

“We use the CNOT gate to generate a Bell state with 75 per cent fidelity, limited by quantum state readout”

It's official - real life science now sounds like SciFi technobabble.

8
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Forget Bruce Willis, Earth's atmosphere is our best defense against meteorites

User McUser
Mushroom

Re: So what happened to the 12,000 ton Chelyabinsk meteorite?

If they only recovered 5 tons of it, where did the other 11,995 tons go? Certainly it did not convert to energy (Siberia would be leveled otherwise)

I am not a physicist but I believe 11,995 tons converted into energy would not just destroy Siberia. Pretty sure it would destroy the entire planet several times over.

A one megaton explosion equates to about 46.5g of material being converted into energy. So 11,995 tons works out to be roughly 234,014,644.222 Megatons.

11
1

"pre" tag not working as expected

User McUser

"pre" tag not working as expected

Should not the "pre" tag preserve the spacing and carriage returns of the text inside it as-entered? As implemented right now it seems it only changes the font face to a monospaced one.

Here's a test:

Line one.

Line two.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

The first two lines should be single spaced with one blank line between "Line two." and the first line of numerals.

The first line of numerals has a single space character between each one and the second has two space characters between each one.

EDIT: I see that when I edit my post after submitting it that the extra "linefeeds" are included in the comment editing box and the extra space characters have been discarded. So the issue would seem to be due to the parsing of the posts by the system when it no doubt sanitizes them against Johnny Droptable style chicanery.

0
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FCC backtracks on helping with neutrality fraud investigation

User McUser
Boffin

Easy Fix - Hash Them

[FCC general counsel Thomas Johnson] suggested revealing the IP addresses of commenters raised privacy concerns and posed a security risk to the FCC's comment system.

Then apply a hash+salt to the IP addresses before handing the data over. You can then compare the hashed values to see if a significant number of comments came from the same IP address without being able to know which IP address it is.

It's almost like they're just making up stupid and transparently simple excuses to not provide the information for political reasons!

4
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Facebook Messenger ... for who now? Zuck points his digital crack at ever younger kids

User McUser

If you do not use the class's WhatsApp group, you're ostracised.

I'd just like to point out that this is not anything new - the ostracizing part that is. In my day wearing the wrong kind of shoes was the uncool thing that got you shunned. So if it isn't an app it'll be something else that your children's peer group will use to divide themselves into groups.

14
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Badass alert: 1 in 5 Brits don't give a damn about webpage crypto-miners

User McUser
Alert

Ads -vs- Cryptomining

Cryptomining just might save us all from the horrifying ad-supported future ahead of us. (Sorry if that link is geofenced.)

In the current phase of the Internet, advertising rules the Web for sure. Entire systems have been established to coerce and fool people into clicking on links to generate ad impressions (or whatever the term is these days.) Because the advertising model rewards you for getting a lot of people to go to your site, you don't need any real content. It provides an incentive for websites to have small pages with a lot of ads surrounding said "content" and to stretch and split longer sections into multiple smaller pieces. (That way you have to click on the next page to get the next segment of content which results in loading more advertisements; rinse and repeat.)

Thus the rise of the "listicle" and the explosion of "fake news" websites. It's the web equivalent of SPAM; you only get a fraction of a $CURRENCY_UNIT for each person who loads the page so you need to get many thousands (or millions) of people to load a given webpage in order to make any money. Thus small pages with click-bait headlines and little to no actual content. Fake News leverages outrage and the hyper-partisanship of our day to drive users to their site and thus bump their impression rate.

But the important thing to remember is that they don’t need you to *stay* at the site. They don’t need you to become a regular visitor and they don’t need to have truthful or entertaining content. They don’t need anything other than gibberish, ads surrounding the gibberish, and then something to trick you into loading the gibberish. They have “Red Flag” headlines designed to get people emotionally invested in clicking but it doesn’t really matter what the headline is or what the actual content is once you click the link; they just need your eyeballs on the page long enough to register the view. In fact the less time you spend there the better – it lets you go back to Facebook or wherever you were when you saw the link in order to present you with a new link to click on in order to generate more ad views (rinse and repeat.)

Cryptomining in the browser requires the exact opposite approach. If someone clicks a link and finds nothing of interest to keep them reading, then the cryptomining website owner makes nothing. But if they can convince you to *stay* at that site by, say, providing actual content that is interesting and informative, then they will make money from the coins being mined while you are there. Thus it will be in the site’s best interest to attract more users and to keep them there longer. The more people with the page open and running the mining code and the longer people stay at a given site the more money generated for the site.

It’s not a panacea or course and there will be people who will abuse cryptomining systems as sure as people figured out how to abuse advertising systems. But browsers could provide a management method to control cryptomining much more efficiently than they can block ads; it could be as simple as a whitelist/blacklist of sites or cryptocurrencies or more complicated like some way to tell if you are actively reading a site's content or if there is merely a hidden window somewhere running code.

TL;DR – Ad revenue encourages a minimal amount of low quality content on websites designed to get you in and out quickly and repeatedly. Cryptomining revenue encourages high quality and engaging content that gets you to stay at that site longer.

10
1

Big Cable's pillow talk with FCC to forbid US states from writing own net neutrality rules

User McUser
Devil

Dear Internet Service Subscriber;

Say, we all enjoy Netflix, right? And the Facebook? And Spotify sure is swell these days! Wow, those sure are popular sites... It would be a real shame if someone were to, say, slow down your access to those websites and services! Why someone in the right position could reduce bandwidth and/or latency to those sites and there would be nothing you could do about it!

Well, we here at Your Internet Service Provider are proud to announce our newest line of easily payable fees! For just $14.99 a month*, you can guarantee that those "hypothetical" ne'er-do-wells won't reduce your bandwidth and/or latency when you try to access these extremely popular websites and services! Yes, you'll enjoy the exact same performance you're already getting with the added benefit of knowing that you're now paying extra money each month for it!

Of course you could decline our generous offer and take your chances, but we don't recommend it! Don't forget, only 6% of the country has access to more than two high-speed Internet Service Providers and only 46% have more than one, so good luck finding another ISP that isn't going to do the exact same thing.

--Your Internet Service Provider.

*For now, we'll see how high we can get that later. Additional website and service packages available soon!

7
0

Snap: We've blown $3bn this year and Tencent wants to give us more

User McUser
FAIL

The company works just like their app...

For the calendar year, Snap told investors it has racked up a staggering $3.1bn in losses

So just like their app, the money comes in and vanishes sometime later with nothing to show for it in the end.

I'd also like to point out that four years ago, almost to the day, Snap turned down both a $3billion offer from Facebook and a $4billion offer from Tencent to buy them. (https://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/13/snapchat_laughs_off_facebook_buyout_offer/)

1
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AI bot rips off human eyes, easily cracks web CAPTCHA codes. Ouch

User McUser

Re: Oh no not again

Real humans don't need loads of examples. Three year old human vs computer "learning" what a hot dog is.

Yeah, they kinda do. Letters are especially hard compared to physical objects.

No matter how you orient a hotdog in space it's still a hotdog but letters are not like that.

Turn the letter "b" upside down and now it's a "p" - mirror it and it's a "d" or "q". It's part of why children learning to write will sometimes render letters backwards or in other strange ways.

20
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'Alexa, play Charlie Bit My Finger.' I can't do that, Dave. No, really

User McUser

Won't play YouTube?

Why are you telling me good news as though it were bad?

7
1

Google's pay-to-play 'remedy' is warming Eurocrats' hearts

User McUser
Unhappy

Re: How about..

FoundEm & all the other price comparison sites develop their own search engine and make it better than Google

Because the normals do not use the Web in that way. They don't go to an appropriate site or vendor and then search for what they want. They just Google that shit and click on the first thing in the list.

I know people that Google the literal string "youtube.com" instead of typing that into their browser's URL bar. For the majority of users, Google *is* the Internet; they know of no other context in which the Web can exist except as search results.

5
0

Mozilla whips out Rusty new Firefox Quantum (and that's a good thing)

User McUser
Flame

It's so fast I don't even care

IDK about anyone else, but the actual rendering of the webpage I'm viewing isn't the slow part - that takes like 2 seconds and not being a gnat my attention span is sufficient for that delay. No, the problem I have is the thirteen billion external JS files that every page needs to fetch from ten billion other servers that are too busy to respond in a timely manner. "Waiting for analytics.somefuckingadnetwork.com..." is what holds up my browsing experience, not the 30 extra milliseconds layout rendering takes to sort out the CSS or whatever.

8
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US government sued by 11 pissed-off travellers over computer searches

User McUser
Big Brother

Re: Searches, Searches...

When you cross a frontier, EVERYTHING is subject to search for contraband.

OK, fine search my bags for illegal fruit and/or drugs; but I ask you this - what could *possibly* be stored on a phone that a customs agent needs to see?

0
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Boffins prove oil and water CAN mix – if you do it in a gas giant

User McUser
Coat

Re: Ionic vs. Covalent Bonds

Just wanted to add that when it comes to chemistry, you're either part of solution or you're part of the precipitate.

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