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* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

1713 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

New Zealand health boards write down losses on Oracle implementation

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Oracle can fix it

They just need a little more funding and more information

Do not adjust your set: Hats off to Apple, you struggle to shift iPhones 'cos you're oddly ethical

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Have to agree....

XKCD has evolved to the point where it can be used as a counter-point too:

Waymo's revolutionary driverless robo-taxi service launches in America... with drivers

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

I don't like it, Jim. A vessel this size cannot be run by one computer.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

And a front passenger filing bug reports?

The Waymo cars need waymo work. They're still prone to cutting people off, doing dangerous things crossing bicycle lanes, changing lanes for no reason, stopping too early before an intersection, refusing to cross intersections, and randomly stopping in the middle of intersections. They're making the texting drivers look good.

How the mighty have fallen: Anglian Water knocks Google off perch as UK's best workplace

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Make sense

Googlers joke that the key to blissful happiness is drinking the specialty spring waters stocked in the lobbies. Organic Strong Ginger Ale _-7

OM5G... Qualcomm teases next Snapdragon chip for phones: The 855 with a fingerprint Sonic Screwdriver, er, Sensor

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Band bingo

The most significant outcome I see is that it's going to be much harder to find a phone that works well with your home provider plus any countries you travel too. Phones with global LTE coverage already cost a fortune. Now there's going to be all kinds of regional high-band offloading.

You think you're hot bit: Seagate tests 16TB HAMR disk drive

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Amazing advances

1.38 MB was in the awkward position of being more than you could type on a keyboard but not nearly enough to store anything from the analog world. I tried to encode a Jouney cassette tape into an Apple ][ using dithered PWM but it sounded terrible and used an impossible amount of storage. Even today, my digital music archive is littered with CD rips that need to be done over because they used a squealing MP3 codec.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

So dense

This should really improve HAMR/head and MAMR/gram storage density ratios.

Tesla autopilot saves driver after he fell asleep at wheel on the freeway

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Easy to Spot

A sensible 70 MPH in a 65 MPH zone is a dead-giveaway too. CA driving culture is to travel 45 MPH in the fast lane until cars start honking, get angry, speed up to 90 MPH, resume using your cell phone, swerve around, realize that it's dangerous to drive 90 MPH while using a cellphone, slow down, then resume traveling 45 MPH while using a cell phone in the fast lane.

Thought black holes were donut-shaped? It turns out they're more like deadly fountains

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Well, the accretion disk anyhow

Probably not very spherical if everything hits it with a spin.

It's nearly 2019, and your network can get pwned through an oscilloscope

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Luckily, I can't afford a nice oscilloscope until it's 40+ years old. I'm feeling pretty tech savvy because my current one uses silicon semiconductors. Maybe Ethernet jacks are gone by the year 2058.

It's all a matter of time: Super-chill atomic clock could sniff gravitational waves, dark matter

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


Hold on...

GPS is messed up by atmospheric distortion and no clock can fix that. You need a signal from a nearby reference point to compensate for it.

What you're talking about with QAM sounds like not needing to waste bandwidth on a self-aligning transmission pattern for phase. (I'm bad at RF...Trellis encoding?) No phase drift would be a small improvement in a lab. In the real world you're back to atmospheric and multi-path distortions making a huge mess plus the usual random noise making your signal miss its points. I don't see any gains at all.

A more interesting use might be checking the drift between a super-accurate Earth clock and astronomical timekeepers.

Apple in another dust-up with its fans: iMacs, MacBooks lack filters, choke on grime – lawsuit

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Errr....

Yeah, the filters part is going to doom this lawsuit. The issue is that Apple is making it unusually difficult and expensive for customers to perform routine cleaning needed to keep the computer working. It's weird because all of this was figured out in the 60 years ago when people smoked at work. Needs airflow : cleaning access. Doesn't need airflow : gasket.

Fee, Fi, bring your own one... Google opens up Project Fi to mobes built by Apple, LG, Samsung

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

T-Mo uses 2 + 4 for primary urban bandwidth and sprinkles 12, 66, and 71 around as needed. Sprint is 25, 26, and 41. Google must not be liking Sprint much if they tell people they should have 2 and 4.

Amazon's self-driving AI robo-car – THE TRUTH (it's a few inches in size)

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

a 4MP camera with 1080p resolution

1080p digital codecs probably hate that.

Not a price cut! Apple perks up soggy iPhone demand with rebate boost

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Analyst reports?

More expensive, faster, and fewer daily use features isn't maintainable. The only thing analysts are getting wrong is how long Apple's customers are willing to put up with that. Even if people somehow find a use for the iPad Pro, there will eventually be a product iteration where things need to improve.

Domain name 'admin' role eyed up as latest victim of Whois system's GDPRmeggdon

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

The cloud will save us

How long until a company offers domains that are 100% secure against prying eyes. Nobody can prove ownership - not even the owner. It sounds like a perfect CloudFlare product.

I'm all for privacy but GDPR jumps the shark in some areas. At some point people need to be responsible for the crap they throw onto the Internet. Pay somebody else to manage your domain if you don't want to be the admin.

Euro consumer groups: We think Android tracking is illegal

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Spyware ecosystem

I'd say that the bigger issue on Android is spyware apps and libraries that are hidden, can not be disabled by normal means, and can not be prevented from running in the background. These usually operate under the excuse of offering weather services, lockscreen themes, app usage feedback, local news, marketing feedback, cloud sync, and various feed updates. Their primary goal is to periodically make a query that reveals GPS, IP address, phone ID, and phone status. Even if GPS is off, the IP address can be correlated with other phone requests where GPS was on.

Check your cellular data usage. Notice how there are 10+ apps on Android using background data for no good reason. Apps that don't even use the Internet, like games and launchers, are using cell data in the background "for marketing feedback."

Mobile networks are killing Wi-Fi for speed around the world

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


I live in a neighborhood of stucco houses (stainless steel Faraday cages with an RF absorbing concrete shell) so my home WiFi and home LTE connection come from two devices on the same table on the same Internet connection.

Oracle sued by app sales rep: I made tens of millions for Larry, then fired for being neither young nor male – claim

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Larry's Leisure Suites aren't cheap!

Don't give Larry any ideas. We're lucky that Trump is only capable of wasteful distractions.

Alphabet gives bipedal robots the Schaft 'cos no one wants to buy its creepy machine maker

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

Google hates outside code, outside programing languages, and outside libraries. Most acquisitions are doomed to failure because Google is using an ancient mainframe and mega-OS style of development. Outside projects can have a 10x to 100x increase in coding effort when coming into Google, or might not even be possible due to having execution timing constraints.

Oracle's JEDI mind-meld doesn't work on Uncle Sam's auditors: These are not the govt droids you are looking for

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Am i missing something?

It's the mixed up sci-fi troll meme. Star Wars acronym, Babylon 5 pic, Star Trek caption. Too bad they couldn't get some Dr Who in there. Craig Charles was my favorite Doctor.

Samsung unveils next-generation 8nm Exynos silicon

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Probably not bad if you can click away all of the Samsung pop-up advertisements in each stock app.

Western Digital: And when I pull the covers off, behold as NAND becomes virtual DRAM

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Good for multi-media too

When you upload a photo or video to web sites, you'll notice that there's a long delay until that media is available even if the upload took a very long time. It was saved to disk them batch processed. Given enough memory, you can process most multimedia as it arrives. I did experiments with this over a decade ago where you could upload a video and, as long as it was a streaming format, it would be available in multiple formats immediately when the upload finished. The downside was that video compression eats a ton of memory. An army of midnight dialup users would easily deplete RAM before CPU usage was high enough for the load balancer to notice.

A few GB of fast RAM and a few hundred GB of semi-fast RAM would solve it.

Just a little heads up: Google is still trying to convince everyone that web apps don't suck

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Missed a web app feature

That would be Chrome's built-in system of watching your every move and reporting it to Google. For the purpose of analyzing Chrome usage and syncing browser history, ha ha, of course. Nothing creepy. Nope. BTW, here are some adverts that are extremely personalized to you.

One UI to end gropes: Samsung facelift crowns your thumb the king

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Is this to boost replacement glass sales?

The Galaxy S9 series has a touchscreen that wraps around the edges. It's nearly impossible to operate them single handed because you'll bump the sensitive area of the screen edges. The only way to operate the phone with your thumb is to rest it in a flat open hand rather than grip it. That's not something you want to do often with one of the most expensive and fragile phones on the market.

The S9 series already allows you to swipe apps into and out of windows. If you're in a reclining chair and can risk dropping the phone frequently, you can put your app in a window near your thumb.

Upgraders rejoice! The 2018 Mac Mini heralds a return to memory slots!

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Soldered storage?

Storage is usually the first thing needing an upgrade and the cheapest upgrade to perform. I have my doubts about longevity too. MacOS is brutal on storage with its document revision management and excessive VM swapping. Wearing out a mid-size flash drive is easier than you think. My previous NAS killed one in about 3 years.

My hoard of obsolete hardware might be useful… one day

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Some day somebody will need it

I put all my old tech out on the sidewalk. When the day comes that it's needed, somebody else can dig it out of their closet.

The trick is, of course, to dump everything related at once. Dump the floppy drive after the floppies are copied. Dump the USB 1 cables and the USB 1 devices together. It guarantees I won't be the one needing the legacy tech back.

In news that will shock absolutely no one, America's cellphone networks throttle vids, strangle rival Skype

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
Paris Hilton


T-Mobile is pretty clear that they have throttled and non-throttled multimedia plans, though they're not always both available to purchase. A confusing and constantly changing system of passes can temporarily remove throttling. I have a 3000 day no-throttle pass with the option to turn throttling on and off at will, as if that makes any sense.

Dutch cops hope to cuff 'hundreds' of suspects after snatching server, snooping on 250,000+ encrypted chat texts

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Guessing this might have been an easy hack of a bad bug

The other tech web site says that app users are able to dynamically change encryption keys. It generates a warning on the receiving end, but those are ignored by people. If that's the case, public/private key encryption should be trivial to hack. All you need to do is get the public encryption keys of each end, which should be easy, and use them to encode requests to switch to a new public key belonging to the MITM. If I read it correctly, the flaw was that public key encrypted data was trusted as authentic without a round-trip challenge using the previous key.

Premiere Pro bug ate my videos! Bloke sues Adobe after greedy 'clean cache' wipes files

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Biz math

A good NAS (not a Drobo) can rebuild at the write speed of the disk being replaced, so it's only a few hours. Losing all of your data would require THREE disk failures in less than a day - two in a RAID 5 plus one in your original. You can go with cloud solutions if that's not good enough, but TBs of data could be pricey and slow to recover.

I could be making a mistaking in assuming that this was actually professional video lost; something with a light degree of lossy compression.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Biz math

500 hours of professional HD is, let's say, 15-40 TB. You buy an 8-bay NAS for $1000 USD and $2400 to load it up with 10TB disks. That should give you multi-versioned backups for a total of $3400. My experience is that always-on NAS systems last for at least 6 years, so that's only $560 per year to insure $250,000 of work against accidents. That's 0.26% per year. Now when Adobe erases your files, you sue for a week of lost work while the backup restores. You have a good case that you did everything possible to protect yourself and the only error was Adobe.

Or save $560/year and hear the judge LOL that Adobe accidentally deleted your career.

Six lawsuits against FCC's 5G idiocy – that $2bn windfall for telcos – is bundled into one appeals court sueball

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

$270 per site per year

Land in urban areas can cost $200 to $2000 per square foot plus 1% of that per year in property tax. Newer parts of cities don't have telephone poles either.

I should build a small house-shaped 5G tower and pay $270/year for it.

Apple replaces boot-loop watchOS edition with unconnected complications edition

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

"Complications" feature

Sounds like some internal Apple frustration is leaking out.

Till Microsoft finds it a place on the path unwinding, it's the circle, the circle of Skype

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

WindowsOS X

It would be amusing if Microsoft embraced open standards while Apple continues to seal themselves off from the rest of the world. It's like Apple forgot what helped save them from going out of business.

Has science gone too far? Now boffins dream of shining gigantic laser pointer into space to get aliens' attention

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
Black Helicopters

If any aliens are already observing us, they're not going to like the laser. Black copter looks a bit like the laser warning ->

Google: All right, screw it, from this Christmas, Chrome will block ALL adverts on dodgy sites

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Always looking outside

So Google Play Store is eliminating 95% of its inventory to protect consumers? Haha, no.

Translating Google:

Stronger privacy protection -> Stronger protection against espionage and government oversight

Better security -> Spew malware and host hackers but hide it from display on own web site

Block abusive ads -> Block ads that aren't Google's

Wow. Apple's only gone and killed off Mac, iPad, iPhone family... figures for units sold to fans

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Services could be hit at some point too

Apple services are tightly locked to Apple products and the internal workings of the OS. Ditching hardware to be a services company isn't going to work. It reminds me of Classic MacOS that was so tangled in itself that most of it had to be emulated in OS X.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Revenue up, units down

Just keep raising prices and removing features. There's nothing unsustainable about that.

Google logins make JavaScript mandatory, Huawei China spy shock, Mac malware, Iran gets new Stuxnet, and more

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Gmail alternatives

It's pretty easy to do at home if you can get your ISP to turn off their port blocking. I've had almost no downt... Wait, there are 9000 porn sites?

5.1 update sends Apple's Watch 4 bling spinning into an Infinite Loop of reboot cycles

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Boot ticks

Does it at least bootloop at a constant interval?

Google Project Zero zeroes in on Google project: Security hole spotted in gVisor sandbox fence

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Security where they want it

Google filters out their own spam when they display Google Groups but lets it all flow out to their peers. Last the I used Usenet, popular topics were each getting 100 to 5000 spams a day from Chinese crime gangs scripting Google Groups. There's a new hack to make Groups work like a mailing list. Google knows about it but doesn't care.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Security where they want it

How about checking up on Google Groups, which has probably generated trillions of Usenet and email spams in the past decade due to feature abuse vulnerabilities? I have part of GMail blacklisted right now because Groups can be tricked into creating subscriptions for arbitrary e-mail addresses. I reported it and Google said it's not a security bug.

Bomb squad descends on suspicious package to find something much more dangerous – a Journey cassette

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Need a more powerful strike force

Nobody would bother putting Journey on DAT unless it was a studio bootleg. Evacuate a half mile radius and send in the anti-piracy squad. This could be the property of any number of record companies, or even Atari.

Goodnight Kepler! NASA scientists lay the exoplanet expert to rest as it runs out of fuel

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Fuel? Why no solar panels?

I'd say the gas mileage was pretty good. Doubling the fuel probably wouldn't help. Some components wear out from radiation or use. Making the components more robust could add so much weight that no amount of fuel can compensate for it (the fuel itself becomes too heavy).

With the 6T, OnePlus hopes to shed 'cheeky upstart' tag and launch assault on flagships

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Not interesting, not unique, not solving any problems

How about discussing the real problems.

I want high fidelity music out of the phone for long periods of time without draining the battery, having headphones die, needing a hub, or needing a Qi charging puck. It may seem like I demand a headphone jack but I'd accept a second USB-C port as well.

I could also accept tiered internal storage as a replacement for a microSD card. I use 400 GB microSD in a 64 GB phone because I don't want to pay for 512+ GB of super-fast, super-expensive onboard storage when only 30 GB of that needs speed.

I just want the usability problems solved, and yet another iPhone clone isn't it.

Is this cuttlefish really all that cosmic? Ubuntu 18.10 arrives with extra spit, polish, 4.18 kernel

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

But wait, there's more

It arrived with bad NVIDIA drivers (not that any are great) and I had to re-install from scratch. At that point I was reminded that Duplicity/deja-dup and Seahorse should have been kicked out of the default Ubuntu app list years ago.

McAfee says cloud security not as bad as we feared… it's much worse

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

The number is low

Count applications with obvious vulnerabilities and it's much, much worse. Some code monkeys can implement all of the OWASP Top Ten vulnerabilities in a day's work.

What can I say about this 5G elixir? Try it on steaks! Cleans nylons! It's made for the home! The office! On fruits!

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

'Merican fix

The American way to fix this would be to trademark "5G" and only allow the trademark to be used when a proper set of specifications are met. This is pretty much how cabling standards work. As long as "5G" is just an abbreviation of "5th Generation", it's going to be abused.

Since the big payoff of 5G is shifting data into high-GHz or THz bands, I don't see it being useful very often. Maybe in stadiums, convention halls, and streets with heavy pedestrian traffic. We'll also be back to holding our phones in the air to get a better signal.

Shingled-minded Western Digital insists its latest hard drive sets disk capacity record

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Reliability

RAID rebuilding may be days or weeks on consumer devices like Drobos but it's not so bad on better equipment. On my last disk shuffle, a Synology box and a Linux box with ZFS each did their rebuilds at about 1 TB/hour while still being in use.

Businesses with huge amounts disks don't even need to have rebuilding turned on. These SMR drives are most likely write-once archives. In that scenario you can move the data elsewhere then treat the repaired array as new empty storage.

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