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* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

1569 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

Buttonless and port-free: Expect the next iPhone to be as smooth as a baby's bum

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Steve's fingers pulling the strings still?

The button and door have been removed. Apple hell is just one big smooth glass dome. It's beautiful. The walls are sensitive to thousands of arcane swipes of a finger but there's definitely no exit (or headphones jack).

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OpenBSD disables Intel’s hyper-threading over CPU data leak fears

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Let's start a list...

Java computational apps benefit from HT being turned on. The language has been gradually undergoing changes to improve threading performance. 4 to 10 concurrently working hardware threads is no big deal. A couple days of contention profiling can get that over 30 without any drastic architectural changes.

Java web servers are much harder to optimize for concurrency. Even tiniest the GC pauses or external disruptions will cause I/O unblocking to clump up. If that clump of waking threads serializes through the same bottleneck, other threads will start getting caught up too. It snowballs and you get weird latency spikes. You can find these with profiling but they're not necessarily in your own code.

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A pretty and helpful user interface? Nahhh. Is that really you, Samsung?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Shovelwear and annoyweare

The big two questions are: Did you give Samsung your personal information and can the extras be uninstalled?

The Samsung software on my S9 is the biggest steaming pile I've ever seen shoveled into a phone. The phone was literally unusable until I bought an administration app to control it. Every few seconds the screen would dim to show an advertisement: Sign in to Samsung Cloud and try this, Did you know you can invite your friends to Samsung Cloud, Track this crap in Samsung Cloud and invite your friends to watch your progress, Use Samsung Cloud to screen calls, You have 5 notifications...to use Samsung Cloud, Did you know you can save your passwords in Samsung Cloud, I'm the f'ing Bixby button and I'm going to keep hijacking your phone until you create a Samsung Cloud account and share it with your friends because my 'off' button requires login and TOC.

Of course Samsung would have to actually update the S9 to shovel more software into it.

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Not so private eye: Got an Axis network cam? You'll need to patch it, unless you like hackers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Attack Vector

The Axis cameras receive regular updates and they can be exposed on the Internet. Their selling point is that they are completely self-contained security systems and they use standard protocols for optional integration.

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Google cloud VMs given same IP addresses ... and down they went

Kevin McMurtrie
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Five nines of uptime

92.9999%

Three times a week: Network vanishes for a moment then comes back.

Once a week: Slow for a few hours due to provisioning something-something.

Once a month: An engineer makes a mistake and everything's dead on a Friday afternoon.

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Silk road adviser caught, Kaspersky sues Dutch paper, and Vietnam's tech clampdown

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Vietnam, uh?

Vietnam's Internet has been screwed for a long time. When I was there, SSL connection attempts almost always complained about an invalid certificate. If that's fixed I'd be more inclined to think it's because VN, CN, and all the hackers along the way have gotten better at faking them.

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This HTC U12+ review page is left intentionally blank

Kevin McMurtrie
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Save the world

Maybe they don't fix the issues and holding back the review puts one more crappy phone on the market. I know Moto, Lenovo, ZTE, and Samsung have no trouble selling defective premium phones and then abandoning support when the complaints stream in.

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Bad news, mobile operators: Unlicensed IoT tech rocketing ahead of NB-IoT and LTE-M – report

Kevin McMurtrie
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It depends on your location. The noise floor of public bands in a big city can be so high that some receivers won't even work.

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British egg producers saddened by Google salad emoji update

Kevin McMurtrie
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Modifiers

Isn't this what Unicode modifiers were designed to address? You start with a bowl symbol then add modifiers for lettuce, spinach, sunflower seeds, tomato, bacon, cheese, a dash of medium salsa, and steak. Even better if I can text that to a take-out restaurant. Damn, I'm hungry now.

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US regains supercomputer crown from Chinese, for now

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Recycling

Take a look at the stock image on this article. It's huge slabs of custom fabricated metal and PCBs - super high cost and super high labor. Such a machine can't be maintained once it reaches end-of-life. It will be used by researchers until it completely fails, then it's scrapped. Nobody wants to build custom replacement components for an old computer rack that needs 12 KW of power to perform what a modern desktop computer does in 300 W.

You can find parts of old supercomputers and military hardware at electronics surplus stores. People will inspect it like museum pieces but rarely buy it.

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In defence of online ads: The 'net ain't free and you ain't paying

Kevin McMurtrie
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TVs have a Mute button

I don't have an ad blocker installed at work. A typical web site has audio playing from an unknown location, animations on all 4 sides of the screen, full-page ads slide in when moving the mouse, an ad covers part of the article, content shifts around constantly so it can't be read, and a whole mess of clickfraud malware off the bottom of the screen is stalling the browser. The same web sites complaining about freeloaders have made themselves so trashy that they literally don't work without an ad blocker.

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Yahoo! Kills! The! Messenger!

Kevin McMurtrie
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Contact me on Oath Squirrel

will be said by nobody

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Comcast's mega-outage 'solution'... Have you tried turning your router off and on again?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: As an Ex-Comcast Customer ...

Ah Comcast Business. Their SLA requires that should you have an outage, they'll immediately dispatch a technician to swap your premises modem with different one. Not necessarily a working one - whatever's in the Comcast van that powers up and doesn't smell too much like cat pee.

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Stern Vint Cerf blasts techies for lackluster worldwide IPv6 adoption

Kevin McMurtrie
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Analogy Units

"if all IPv4 addresses were contained inside a smartphone, IPv6 would fill a container the size of the Earth"

I read the Wikipedia article "List of unusual units of Measurement" and now I'm wondering how many IPv4 addresses fit into the complete works of Shakespeare.

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Clock blocker: Woman sues bosses over fingerprint clock-in tech

Kevin McMurtrie
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Salt free

You can't salt a single component that performs both identification and authentication. The salt has to be exactly reproducible for each person or the final hash can't be matched to anything. This is why the world is based on at least two components of authentication. The first component is your public ID, and that is used to retrieve a secret salt value and hashed verification from a database. The second component is your secret verification, which is hashed with the salt then compared against the stored value. This can't work when you're trying to identify and authenticate with just a fingerprint.

All salt does is prevent bulk hash reversal. Hashes can still sometimes be reversed, but the process must be repeated for each unique salting value.

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Microsoft commits: We're buying GitHub for $7.5 beeeeeeellion

Kevin McMurtrie
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How to destroy a service

1) Just add a few integration features, like linking GitHub to LinkedIn.

2) Authenticate against a shared, multi-purpose Microsoft cloud account

3) Announce partnerships with slow and bloated IT departments

5) Create a new safe GIT client (Windows only) that allows an employer to monitor and restrict use

6) Interactive code review via Skype

7) Tools to monitor employee access patterns for plagiarism, leaking corporate secrets, etc.

8) Code analysis tools block access to repositories not meeting corporate best practice policies

9) Sophisticated AI-driven source code anti-virus and threat detection

10) Launch an investigation into failing sales and the missing step 4

11) Buy next thing

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Help, I'm being held prisoner in a security camera testing factory. So please read this...

Kevin McMurtrie
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Onboard storage? Live WiFi streaming?

Let us know when you come home to find that your main power breaker is off and the camera has been stolen.

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Hello, this is the FTC. You have been selected for a free lawsuit... Robocall pair sued

Kevin McMurtrie
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I hope telemarketers have learned a lesson

Stay under the threshold of "billions of calls" so the FTC doesn't take action.

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OnePlus 6: Perfect porridge? One has to make a smartphone that's juuuust right

Kevin McMurtrie
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Clone wars

The real problem is lack of diversity. Some people need wireless charging, some need microSD, some need lots of LTE bands, some need a headphone jack, etc. If you want more than two non-iPhone features you're pretty much forced buying an ultra-expensive and ultra-bloated Samsung Galaxy.

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Leaked pics: Motorola to add 'unpatriotic' 5G to 4G phones with magnets

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: I dont really understand why i need 5g at all

Typical LTE struggles with dense crowds. Adding high-frequency 5G would allow for offloading some data transfers to very small and fast cells that don't saturate or interfere with each other. That said, there are only a few spots on Earth where LTE fails - pretty much just stadiums and big outdoor events. The transmitter upgrades will be cheap and effective because so few areas will need them. Selling premium phones with 5G is going the be the hard part.

I don't think the telcos are looking at eliminating LTE yet. It's hard to find good tech articles but it looks like 5G requires a 4x4 MIMO antenna - perhaps one that actually works in a hand. If so, that would be a manufacturing complexity that never goes away as the technology matures.

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Meet the real spin doctors: Scientists tell H2O to chill out so they can separate isomers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Paris Hilton

Deuterium-free Parafresh or Orthofresh

Which expensive bottled water of the future will you prefer?

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FBI to World+Dog: Please, try turning it off and turning it back on

Kevin McMurtrie
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Good luck

The best way to secure a Cisco/Linksys personal network device is to throw it in the trash and never buy another one. It's not getting fixed.

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Summoners of web tsunamis have moved to layer 7, says Cloudflare

Kevin McMurtrie
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Good luck

Blocking after too many 404s? As if it's difficult to find resource slow and intensive features on web sites?

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IPv6 growth is slowing and no one knows why. Let's see if El Reg can address what's going on

Kevin McMurtrie
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Software

The monkeys pounding keyboards to write consumer firewall software haven't stumbled on to a working IPv6 version yet. My AT&T router needs a strange set of firewall options to even marginally pass IPv6. I found those options by brute-force trial and error while watching packet captures. If I hadn't been in a good mood at the time, I might have thrown the router and a panicking Mac Mini Server into a wood chipper. Or used IPv4. Not sure, really.

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Boffins bash out bonkers boost for batteries

Kevin McMurtrie
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Boffin

Did TTL and DTL make a comeback?

I can't think of any current carrying diodes in personal electronics except for the LEDs. Everything is FET based, which doesn't normally pass any current through its diode bits.

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US Congress mulls expanding copyright yet again – to 144 years

Kevin McMurtrie
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Childcatcher

Call it what is is - Mickey Mouse law

The artists are long dead so it's just the Walt Disney Company, founded 1923, wanting more money.

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Whois privacy shambles becomes last-minute mad data scramble

Kevin McMurtrie
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The world isn't the US or the EU

This is exactly why WHOIS and GDPR are so broken. Each TLD has its own regulations. Most of those have specific ownership and usage requirements, and a process to challenge domains that appear to have violations. The '.com' is the commercial TLD that is supposed to have a high degree of accountability. The '.edu' domains are supposed to be registered only to schools, not people. Etc., etc.

ICANN may be slightly screwed as a global service but the non-ICANN TLDs can simply forbid EU members from using them.

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And THIS is how you do it, Apple: Huawei shames Cupertino with under-glass sensor

Kevin McMurtrie
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Landfill radio

Most Chinese phones have cheap radios that only work on one or two carriers. The Honor View10 for the US only supports a few LTE bands (2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 17). It's designed to work reasonably well with AT&T and T-Mobile now but it will get slower as bands are traded and moved around. It won't be any good for traveling or switching to other carriers. That means fewer of these phones will be repaired once the batteries are worn out.

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US Congress finally emits all 3,000 Russian 'troll' Facebook ads. Let's take a look at some

Kevin McMurtrie
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Missing the point

The ads weren't pro-Trump. They were designed to generate chaos, fear, anger, distrust, and "us versus them" attitudes about the US government. In fact, I don't think it mattered at all who won. Anyone in running in the primaries could have won and we'd still have a political system that's more dysfunctional and partisan than usual. When Trump's time is over, is anyone sane going to ask to take his place?

There were plenty of propaganda practice runs during the previous elections but 2016 had the right conditions to go full-force.

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FCC sets a record breaking $120m fine for rude robocalls

Kevin McMurtrie
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First step the fixing robocalls

Make the punishment jail rather than fines to the FCC. With all the utterly pointless ideas the FCC has proposed for fixing robocalls, one might think that they've just looking for easy revenue collecting fines.

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T-Mobile owner sends in legal heavies to lean on small Brit biz over use of 'trademarked' magenta

Kevin McMurtrie
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Competition of the B R M Y

You have to understand that the US has so few wireless telcos that they've chosen simple colors to represent themselves. Blue=AT&T, Red=Verizon, Magenta=T-Mobile, Yellow=Sprint.

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Zero Tech Emitted: ZTE halts assembly lines after US govt sanctions cripple mobile maker

Kevin McMurtrie
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Meh

Trying hard to care

The number of updates that my Axon 7 will receive remains unchanged, as does the number of ZTE devices I was planning to purchase in the future. You can still buy a Moto if you want a buggy flagship phone that becomes unsupported before the warranty runs out.

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Windows Notepad fixed after 33 years: Now it finally handles Unix, Mac OS line endings

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

(((buf[idx] == '\n') && ((idx == 0) || (buf[idx-1] != '\r'))) || (buf[idx] == '\r'))

Handling three types of line endings requires one character of look-back. And with one character of look-back, you have to make sure you don't look at index -1 if the first character is a LF. That's complicated stuff for the poor new hire that has to work on the default text editor. Look at all those parenthesis! I don't even know if I got it right. Now, 33 years later, there's Stack Overflow.

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Pentagon in uproar: 'China's lasers' make US pilots shake in Djibouti

Kevin McMurtrie
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Fishy complaint

If these are 2W consumer grade laser pointers, the high beam divergence makes it easy to hit eyes at a distance but that same divergence cuts the power rapidly with distance. Low divergence lasers (I have one) are hard as hell to aim at things not moving, so forget about flying objects. Even a naked laser diode in the eyepiece of a stabilized telescope would be difficult to aim due to stabilization lag and drift. Something that actually targets and is actually dangerous sounds like it would be easy hardware to spot on the ground.

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45-day drone flights? You are like a little baby. How about a full YEAR?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Paris Hilton

Curious

How do you get an aircraft with a 35m wingspan up to 70000 feet without a gust of wind ripping it to bits? Any why are the horizontal and vertical measurements in different units?

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MacBook Pro petition begs Apple for total recall of krap keyboards

Kevin McMurtrie
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Visual elegance

It's bizarre that Apple is discarding every single desirable trait except for the visuals. Apple laptops may be beautiful but they make me think of dongle adapters, expensive repairs, impossible upgrades, walled gardens for data, strange feature selections, and searching endless websites of superstitious cures to strange software glitches. I've found newer ones frustrating to use at work even when there's an IT department that should be taking care of it. The Chinese laptops are starting to look nice.

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If you're a Fedora fanboi, this latest release might break your heart a little

Kevin McMurtrie
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Good thing

Linux really needs some money driving development. Honestly, most Linux apps are garbage once you get past simple utilities. They lack the refinement that you're only going to get from a coordinated team working for a salary. "You can use WINE or a Windows VM" is not a compelling reason to install Linux on a personal desktop computer.

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We just wanna torque: Spinning transfer boffins say torque memory near

Kevin McMurtrie
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Rust arrays

I wonder how this handles writes bleeding into adjacent cells - Rowhammer. Magnetic coupling is a bit harder to stop than capacitive coupling. You need distance, ferrous shielding, a shorting shield, or adjacent balanced opposing currents. All of those seem like they'd be incredibly bulky for memory storage. Forcing writes to happen in a large organized block could solve the problem too, but now you're driving latency up.

Unfortunately, the linked PDF wasn't quite about using STT for RAM.

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Audiophiles have really taken to the warm digital tone of streaming music

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Odd, very odd

It's people listening to music at work, from what I've seen. A lot of new phones can only do Bluetooth audio while charging so the low bitrate of streaming doesn't matter.

I'm still buying lossless audio files for my phone's 400GB microSD card like I'm in the dark ages.

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Motorola Z2 Force: This one's for the butterfingered Android lovers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Thumb Down

Re: Support is a worry

I made the mistake of buying a 2015 Moto X Pure. It was fine hardware but the warranty service was so bad that I needed Visa's help reversing fraudulent $700 charges. The phone got one OS update and then it was immediately, while still being the flagship phone, declared unsupported. VoLTE was left broken.

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ZTE now stands for 'zero tech exports' – US govt slaps 7-year ban on biz

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

community.zteusa.com

Has the government tried using the support forums?

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Torvalds schedules Linux kernel 5.0, then maybe delays 'meaningless' release

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: why use version numbers at all?

You still need version numbers due to parallel work in different forks. Versions X,Y,and Z might get simultaneous security patches. That makes X.0.1, Y.0.1, etc.

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Cloudflare promises to tend not two, but 65,535 ports in a storm

Kevin McMurtrie
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For when you need to hide the C&C server too

Let us not forget that CloudFlare profits from both sides of the war. This allows them to expand a certain large customer base beyond phishing sites and fake online stores.

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Hey, so Europe's GDPR privacy deadline for Whois? We're going to miss it ... by a year or so

Kevin McMurtrie
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Pendulum

ICANN could just do nothing while waiting for politicians to demand more accountability and transparency. It won't always be just the US struggling to clean up anonymous propaganda accounts.

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JPEG XS pre-standard implementations emerging

Kevin McMurtrie
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Is this solving a lack of fresh patents?

Didn't the 1990s already have a ton of research into fixed ratio, low overhead, lossy codecs? The idea was that of all the possible permutations of a small data block, not all of them were significantly different so they can be removed. Prediction and state of the compression were trivial so latency and effort were low as well. Primary uses were boosting multimedia throughout on 1x DVD-ROM and LANs. Some of them are still around today in various telephone bits.

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'Disappearing' data under ZFS on Linux sparks small swift tweak

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Woops!

Open software dies when the safe and minimal patches are not in balance with big and dangerous refactoring keeping it clean.

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Terix boss thrown in the cooler for TWO years for peddling pirated Oracle firmware, code patches

Kevin McMurtrie
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Devil

Well done, well done

What I'm reading here is that Oracle uses a reverse warranty where the customer pays the manufacturer for defects and repairs... and customers are OK with that.

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1.5 BEEELLION sensitive files found exposed online dwarf Panama Papers leak

Kevin McMurtrie
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USER anonymous PASS guest

I suspect that a number of these are meant for sharing stolen files without the papertrails created by authentication and digital signatures. Those have been around since at least the 1980s when people would look for unused live telephone wires and a plug pirate BBS into them.

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Holy helmets, Batman! Bane-like mask lets you 'talk' to computers without making a sound

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

You should smile more often

It looks like it's wired up in all the right spots to control your face too.

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Super Cali upstart's new rocket test approaches, even though the size of it won't launch a Tesla motor

Kevin McMurtrie
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Terminator

Headline-writing bot

I see the new headline-writing bot is working well. And by bot, I mean the AI job applicants that you chained up in the basement.

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