* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

2541 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

Scientists took cues from helicopter seeds to invent tiny microchips that float on wind

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Dorothy?

I thought Twister was a very long truck commercial. I kept waiting for the real movie after the end.

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In the year 2040

Hey, who could have guessed that inhaling nanometer wiring shed from airborne biodegradable circuits would cause lung disease?

As Google sets burial date for legacy Chrome Extensions, fears for ad-blockers grow

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Re: I don't have an ad-blocker....

Some ad servers use an enormous number of random domain names. It works better to regex match their URL path or their document path, and only a plug-in can do that.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Manifest V3 is not to kill ad blockers

V3 cripples it enough that people have already given up hope when V3.1 kills it.

Google has been plotting the same demise for many Android features that threaten advertising, spying, and cloud revenue. Android 11 is a dumpster fire and Android 12 is shaping up to be so bad that I wouldn't use it at all.

DORA explorers see pandemic boost in numbers of 'elite' DevOps performers

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: To be considered "elite" you can have WHAT percentage failure rate?

It must be a trick question. I can't imagine a revenue generating company settling for a 15% failure rate of anything. Three or four minor failures a year is enough to make new testing, review, and change control policies suddenly appear.

For the nth time, China bans cryptocurrencies

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The Internet always delivers

Winnie Xi Pooh (XIPOOH) crypto currency is up.

Japanese boffins say they've created plastic optical fibres to reach places that might break glass

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Good for patch cables

This would make for good patch cables, assuming fiber jacks ever become cheap enough to go mainstream.

Another would be scientific instruments needing extreme noise or voltage isolation.

I'm not so sure about automobile use. As others have said, the only advantage is reducing the need for EMP-safe signaling. That's not a big deal because every device still needs giant inductor-diode-resistor-capacitor power filters.

Google experiments with user-choice-defying Android search box

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Fork it, it's done

It's time for the big cellphone players to take Android away from Google. The OS started going to hell several versions ago. Each new revision has a slight UX improvement and massive new API restrictions. Right now, Google is hell-bent on breaking the filesystem so badly that only garbage game clones will be left in Play Store when they're done. If you have an microSD-friendly app with Android 11, you may have noticed that it's now 5x to 10000x slower because it's routed through Google's half-assed FUSE. Arbitrary file access will soon be revoked for any app not granted a magic exclusion by Google. In Android 12 there will be absolutely no non-Google way to back up or restore the phone. Even ADB warns that backup/restore is deprecated.

I haven't had a phone that could run LineageOS in a while but it ran a LOT better than anything from Google and the OEMs.

Swift 5.5 unleashed with async keyword to fix 'pyramid of doom', plus other changes in 'massive release'

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

A sink

After working in a few programming languages and styles, I can confidently say that most asynchronous designs are antipatterns. There are few times when you call a method but don't need the answer until later. When most calls are synchronous by default, you're adding async wrappers 4% of the time. When they're async by default, you're adding unwrapping or chaining 96% of the time.

Apache OpenOffice can be hijacked by malicious documents, fix still in beta

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Kids these days

When I was a kid, the size of structures changed all the time. Maybe you're writing library version 3.0 but you know somebody's going to compile against 1.0, 2.0, 4.0, etc. where the size of things has changed. Fields get added. Integers change size. You had to pay attention to size fields or your code crashed.

Of course there was no Internet back then to provide instant updates. You typed in the hex code patches from a magazine because the planet was colder, bits were much heavier, and there were a million holders for disks on a desk but zero for carrying them through the snow of the constant California Bay Area blizzards. Nobody would even write a 161 MB word processor because, obviously, nobody was strong enough to carry that many bits in a backpack.

Oracle sets its own JDK free, sort of, for a while

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Re: Confidence implosion

We can't work with just the good languages. Kotlin and Java observe features in trendy new languages then re-implement them in a way that actually works correctly. If you were shown side-by-side comparisons of Scala and Java, you might think that Scala is far more elegant. When you look at the language-level bugs in each, suddenly Scala is terrifying.

Google extends right-to-be-forgotten to app permissions on older Android devices

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Maybe Google means "reset"

Will the Google Search app lose its spying capabilities if it's not used? How about the "Weather" apps that come with every phone to record GPS coordinates?

Google's has an ongoing war against things that don't make them money. Google made microSd performance 5 to 10000 times slower in Android 11. The logical next step is making sure that Android 11 forgets which apps you have disabled in ADB.

Apple's M1 MacBook screens are stunning – stunningly fragile and defective, that is, lawsuits allege

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Guilty until impossibly proven innocent

Customer: I didn't abuse the phone.

Every phone maker ever: You have no proof. Pay for repairs.


Apple on trial: We didn't do this out of greed.

Jury: You have no proof. Pay for the lawsuits.

Wikipedia bans seven Chinese users amid concerns of 'infiltration, physical harm'

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

As I read it - Wikipedia believes the Chinese government infiltrated Wikipedia to identify, locate, and physically silence contributors. Accounts that could be used for such activities were terminated.

Huawei CEO hopes to woo foreign boffins to work on 6G in Shanghai campus that feels just like home

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

I read the goals for 6G and China can keep it. For the foreseeable future, the only thing that matters is coverage cost. Sub-6 5G modulation was rapidly deployed because it helps with range and spectrum efficiency. The other fancy features are pretty much unseen.

Catch of the day... for Google, anyway: Transatlantic Cornwall cable hauled ashore

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Re: Gave me a grin

Grace Under Pressure

Java 17 arrives with long-term support: What's new, and is it falling behind Kotlin?

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Re: Spring framework!

Sun wanted hyper-complex "enterprise" APIs that required tech support licenses and lots of hardware. Somehow that seemed like a good idea to developers and Spring happened. Then Spring Boot was put on top of Spring like an operating system.

DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats sue NYC for trying to permanently cap delivery fees

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Nice restaurant you got there

It would be a shame if somebody hijacked your brand and advertising then told all of your customers that you're closed for business.

McDonald's email blunder broadcasts database creds to comedy competition winners

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When something wants a configuration object

It's a good idea to implement a custom ToString() / toString() that will not include credentials.

Can WhatsApp moderators really read your encrypted texts? Yes ... if you forward them to the abuse dept

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Prodigy, AOL, Angelfire, Geocities, Yahoo, Google

The obvious solution is to stop taking abuse reports. It's expensive and the exec staff can retire before the imminent failure.

Docker’s cash conundrum is becoming a bet on a very different future

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Re: Missing Features

Quite the opposite. Lots of companies think Docker == free because they're using the open source parts. Pulls from Docker's image hosting is the only commercial product they're paying for now.

Docker's trick will be providing something that corporations WANT to buy, rather than charging for something that developers can replace. I can replace Mac Docker Desktop with an SSH tunnel, so that wasn't a good place for them to start.

HashiCorp runs low on staff, calls a halt to Terraform pull requests

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Golang could be a valid problem in a highly interconnected codebase with a lot of complex data structures. Imagine all of those AWS fields and Amazon constantly making adjustments to them. Not even Amazon's own CloudFormation handles everything correctly. I do think Java 12, and especially 16, have a significant advantage there. Just stay away from the 3rd party frameworks that lead to complexity and dependency tech debt, like Lombok and Spring factories.

Norwegian student tracks Bluetooth headset wearers by wardriving around Oslo on a bicycle

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BB is watching

I still believe that the primary driving force behind eliminating the headphone jack was forcing phone owners to keep BT on and scanning tracking beacons. Since beacons only send a GUID, a the scans pass through a 3rd party service for conversion to coordinates.

There was a lot of marketing materials for these services about 20 years ago. Retailers could place BT beacons indoors to keep fine-grained navigation working without GPS signals. In return, retailers would know exactly where people were shopping by which beacon GUIDs were being looked up. The marketing materials have gone to a lower profile but the systems are in use. Turning BT scanning on makes Google Maps work in Japanese subways. A recent employer uses the beacons to keep office maps working without GPS.

Busy day in China: Xi Jinping announces tech-sharing, services export push and a bourse for startups

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Pooh will stop ordering the country to behave better as soon as he gets a nap.

AWS Tokyo outage takes down banks, share traders, and telcos

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Re: private cloud failover?

Managing data in multiple places requires completely different application design. Each location has different performance and availability, and it's all dynamic.

AWS does recommend that everything be multi-region. Of course they would, because it's 3x money for them: 2x hosting + failover overhead + moving data

Volkswagen to stop making its best-selling product for Wolfsburg workers: VW-branded sausages

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You'll be engolfed in flames for such puns.

Western Digital unveils 20TB OptiNAND hard drive, pledges 50TB to follow

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Big Brother

It's not shingled

Due to the high density, flash storage needs to carefully track writes that may require adjacent track refreshes at intervals approaching 1 cycle.

Docker Desktop no longer free for large companies: New 'Business' subscription is here

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Yes, they've chosen a strange revenue model. The image hosting must cost a fortune and that's difficult to replace. The Desktop Client will be gone and forgotten in a few months.

To make matters worse, the commercial Enterprise container software doesn't support ZFS because nobody has bothered to optimize Docker's interface to it. The ZFS driver is exactly what you'd want in commercial use. It can easily boost the storage performance/cost ratio 10x to 50x in a very large system... if a few issues were fixed.

After quietly switching to slower NAND in an NVMe SSD, Western Digital promises to be a bit louder next time

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Already gave up on WD

I was shocked to find that their years-old factory firmware corruption that makes their hard drives instantly spin down is still a thing. If I buy 5 drives for a RAID and 3 are in an endless spin-up-down-up cycle, I'm not going to keep returning drives until I get a good set. They're all going back for a refund and I'm buying another brand.

Google's newest cloud region taken out by 'transient voltage' that rebooted network kit

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Re: My personal computer could survive this

You've never had the high voltage wire fall onto the low voltage wire outside your house. I was a service tech sent out to a small Mom & Pop store that had it happen. The system I was repairing had fuses, RF suppressors, MOV suppressors, and ground paths to catch arcing. Had. All of that and another centimetre of PCB was gone. Anything sensitive to being licked by high current plasma needed replacement. The store was having a really dark, smokey, bad day but at least nobody was hurt.

It wasn't in Australia so it probably wasn't as bad as it could be.

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Harden the F up

Being in a big city doesn't seem to be much of a defense against everything trying to kill you in Australia.

Israeli firm Bright Data named as enabler of Philippines government DDOS attacks on opposition groups

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I hate to say this, but

It's time for Governments to get involved. There are too many networks claiming high standards of operation while taking in money to host craploads of illegal network abuse. It's at the regional networks, the hosting providers, and all the way up to the Tier 1 transit networks providing hostile networks with connectivity. Their attitude right now is that they absolutely don't care. No working abuse contact of any kind. Criminals pay money, victims don't.

I know the Internet is supposed to be self-healing but there's a practical limit to just how many firewall rules one can maintain. DDoS are difficult to block when there's a crime-friendly network one or two hops upstream. Companies pay CloudFlare or Akamai for protection while they serve the carders, phishers, and C&C systems helping to fund the attacks.

Yeah, the Internet is bad enough that I think Government intervention will make it better. Sad times.



What's the top programming language? It's not JavaScript but Python, says IEEE survey

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Probably right

JavaScript has become fragmented by derivative languages that are transcoded into JavaScript. If you look into the corporate source repos, you find very little authentic JavaScript.

Python seems to be the new duct tape of the world. Despite it being an excellent scripting language, this is an unhealthy popularity that's going to give it a the same junk code reputation that PHP and Java have.

Singapore is the only nation with a dedicated 'net link to China. And they've just agreed to expand its use

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supporting bandwidth-intensive industries like...

Missed one: Brute-force attacks

Using 'AI-based software like Proctorio and ProctorU' to monitor online exams is a really bad idea, says uni panel

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Used for job interviews too

This crap happens in job interviews too. You only have to read the terms and waivers to know how much of snake oil marketing trick these services are. I can't imagine how angry students would be to have this garbage suddenly dumped on them after months of studying.

At least in the job interviews, I can decline and not have wasted too much of my life.

Japan's aerospace agency hooks up with Boeing to make planes quieter when they land

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Re: Boeing

The first step of noise reduction is making sure all landings remain on the tires.

China passes half a billion 5G subscriptions and adds at least 190k new 5G base stations in six months

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Re: My bad

5G is needed for all the tracking devices in the vaccine. Also, Bill Gates is watching all of us and notes that this undertaking is several orders of magnitude more boring than expected.

After reportedly dragging its feet, BlackBerry admits, yes, QNX in cars, equipment suffers from BadAlloc bug

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Re: Rust

I have doubts about this code being at a high enough level of abstraction for Rust to understand the bug. Memory management is just a pile of math until those numbers are finally cast into meaningful data structure references.

China warns game devs not to mess with history

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Good work for game devs, if they don't vanish

The games will need a software update every time the Chinese Government changes the official record historical events.

Tired: What3Words. Wired: A clone location-tracking service based on FOUR words – and they are all extremely rude

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After 45

The US is in the process of renovating its cursing vocabulary to cover extraordinary new levels of zeal, vengeance, and pride in masses of people whom are underrepresented by existing swear words.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


This should be added to FOAAS so you can tell someone what to do and where to do it.

It's time to decentralize the internet, again: What was distributed is now centralized by Google, Facebook, etc

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: IPv6

Browsing the web via IPv6 works fine. Incoming connections are harder.

It's usually some combination of allowing incoming connections then configuring the firewall with custom rules. Allowing all inbound IPv6 traffic was OK for a while, but now IoT junk is gaining IPv6 support without being hardened against exposure. You also have to sort out how to keep the IPv6 addresses stable so the firewall rules don't need to be updated every few days. On some routers that's a DHCP checkbox. Others have non-configurable IPv6 DHCP so the clients need manual configuration. Take all of that and sprinkle liberally with bugs because ISPs will claim that they don't officially support inbound connections. It's not uncommon to see firewall rule syntax errors logged for the ISP's hidden configuration.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


This comes back to needing IPv6 working. Hosting providers are hoarding IPv4 addresses while doing what they can to assure people that IPv6 is irrelevant. IPv6 enables complete decentralization - mail, content hosting, social feeds, direct messaging, video chat, photo albums, and pretty much everything can be on a low cost home computer

I'd write the software to bind it all together if not for the one problem: The Internet is broken. Everyone is behind IPv4 NAT and/or a half-assed IPv6 router. I run my own server and the one technical bit that can't be automated is getting IPv6 working on home Internet. 1990's hero Sonic.net never modernized and couldn't be bothered. Comcast Business and AT&T fiber need custome router configuration with custom bug work-arounds. Then there are IoT junklets supporting IPv6 with zero security.

Fix the Internet then we can start dismantling the content monoliths.

Apple responds to critics of CSAM scan plan with FAQs, says it'd block governments subverting its system

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
Big Brother

False statement of authority and accuracy

It's all fine until you start claiming utter BS like "a one in one trillion chance" for false positives. If believed, that's the kind of statement that can put a lot of innocent people in jail. I dare Apple to prove that an iPhone or iPad can perform the hash with a one in one trillion rate of computational errors. I dare Apple to publish their algorithm for peer review. Can NCMEC claim they can process images with a one in one trillion chance for a mistake?

Anti-virus software uses really big hashes yet corporations are regularly idled when their computers stop working. There's more than once place to screw up.

Perl's Community Affairs Team chair quits as org put on ice by code language's foundation

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


It depends. Both do great things until you abuse them. For every idiot who has tried to write big apps in Perl shorthand 20 years ago, there's another idiot trying to do fork-joins in Python today.

Apple is about to start scanning iPhone users' devices for banned content, professor warns

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

A new iPhone meaning for "jailbreak

Take 50 photos of family kids playing. Find that they're all blurry and delete them. Get arrested by FBI because AI found illegal content and you deleted both their evidence and your defense.

Got a cheap Cisco router in your home office? If it's one of these, there's an exposed RCE hole you need to plug

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Self defense?

My experience with Cisco's RV series is that they barely work. Hackers will need to deal with constant crashes, stalling, and users power cycling the device.

Tesla battery fire finally flamed out after four-day conflagration

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Extinguishers...

What would you do with a partially incinerated Megapack? Nobody's going to touch that.

Give them Nichrome chimneys to suck the flames up to a safe distance from the other packs.

Don't rush to adopt QUIC – it's a slog to make it faster than TCP

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

The feedback the same

Packet loss and latency. Those are the two feedback values you have for tuning. Packet loss is a costly value to probe. Both values have highly dynamic optimal values.

TCP, QUIC, and home-brew UDP layers can't improve what little data there is to work with.

Fixing bloated JS and giving your marketing department rabies shots could improve HTTP performance by 90x.

Amazon sets the date for televised return to Middle Earth: September 2022

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

I think you meant "product placement"


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