* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

2918 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

Micro molten salt reactor can fit on a truck, power 1k homes. When it's built

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

I'm not a nuclear physicist

Curious - 10 MW is more continuous power than the burst of heat from a crushed Tesla. When it's said to be meltdown proof, does that mean a yellow hot core sitting on a burned-out platform but not immediately leaking? How much time do you have before impurities in the salt become a problem with a failed reactor?

I like the idea of easy nuclear power but know that PG&E would need extreme idiot proofing if they decide to operate them.

DoJ ‘very disappointed’ with probation sentence for Capital One hacker Paige Thompson

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Whose fault is it?

The bank must, by law and by expectations, lock the door so your analogy is wrong. Everyone is guilty in this case but there's hardly any punishment.

Google burns few hours of profit to disappear location privacy lawsuit

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

The Google meme

$85 million? I forgot how to count that low.

Tetchy trainee turned the lights down low to teach turgid lecturer a lesson

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Notes? How old school!

Big color CRTs cost a fortune, if for nothing other than their mounting hardware. There were no practical means of photographing them during that era. Remember that CRTs flicker and there were no portable stabilized lenses. You'd need a film camera with a telephoto lens, manual controls, and a mini tripod. It would be heavy, expensive to buy, not cheap to use, and loud. Film development was usually next day.

I had worse. One instructor gave weekly assignments by ISBN and chapter range. There must have been a hundred students and a hundred librarians contemplating his murder. Librarians had to use microfiche catalogs and telephone calls to find books. They'd get a call looking for a book while on hold for their call looking for the same book. With 100 students calling at the same time, there was no way of knowing when the search looped.

FCC takes on robotexts. Good news if your dad thinks IRS gives SMS rebates

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

And the hosts?

Those SMS spams aren't linking to untouchable foreign servers. They're not transient accounts that are gone before you find them. It's a solid infrastructure built up using Namecheap, Cloudflare, Amazon, Salesforce, Google, Genesis 2, and probably more that I don't see in my daily spams for credit card phishing. The hosts all know what they have and chose to continue.

[For Reg mods that need proof when Cloudflare is mentioned, open a private browsing window, turn on request logging, set the browser to identify as a mobile device, and open "mNl0u.com/86qhp5Ys". Use test credit card numbers to advance through the scammer's network. That's one of the larger scam infras. ]

HDD Clicker gizmo makes flash sound like spinning rust

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


Many terabytes of SSD was out of budget during the last personal server upgrade so I have a ZFS pool of spinning rust with partitions of a speedy NVMe providing 'special', 'logs', and 'cache' components. It's reasonably fast and I still get a bit of auditory disk access indication.

As Hurricane Ian hits, FCC rules cell carriers must help each other in disasters

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

It can be mutually beneficial. There's a mobile Telco that always rushes in with truck-mounted cell towers to provide free service after disasters. They say it's serving the community but it's pushing the product too. Phones usually display the telco name while roaming.

Delivery drone crashes into power lines, causes outage

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Hawks can cause power outages to.

PG&E? They could blame a power outage on the acoustic vibrations of a nearby drone.

There's an annual power outage in my neighborhood. Two sets of lines cross at right angles over a road and there are jumpers in the middle joining the HV wires. Gentle autumn breezes wiggle the wires and eventually snap a jumper. If it breaks free of the higher line, it swings around and slaps the 120V lines below. The row of old jumper clamps is testament to PG&E's technical competence.

Google delays execution of doomed Chrome extensions

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

The delay won't be from Google

I think people will simply switch to Chromium forks where it still works.

Japan 5G network tests Arm chips, claims power draw down by 72%

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

I don't understand this article. Is NTT and NEC trying to run 5G protocols on general purpose CPUs and motherboards rather than 5G networking SOCs? That does seem like it would run hot.

Google kills off Stadia

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Failed because failure was expected?

Count me as a person that never looked at it because of Google's reputation. I expected it to have a hostile privacy policy, ads, heavy restrictions on developers, and a brief lifespan.

Cloudflare's invisible CAPTCHA works by probing browsers with JavaScript

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

CAPTCHA for hosters

How about a Chromium feature where Cloudflare sites are globally blocked until each site owner passes a test proving that it's a legitimate business or individual?

(Sorry to post twice in one article, but SMS spam for Cloudflare sites keeps flowing.)

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Cloudflare's choices of awareness

Serving a fake postal site asking for your credit card? Don't care. Serving stores selling fake or illegal drugs? Don't care. Spam click-through loggers, key loggers, PI loggers, credit card loggers, command and control systems... Don't care. They're not the Internet police!

A bot viewing an advertisement? A bot polluting a credit card logger? Throws all resources at blocking and policing those data patterns. Deploys invasive checkpoints for visitors. Adds tracking cookies for monitoring access patterns.

Oracle pays $23 million to SEC to settle bribery charges

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Paid $23 million to settle charges and admitted no guilt? That sounds a lot like bribery.

California to phase out gas furnaces, water heaters by 2030

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Trying the heat pumps now but missing the elephant the room

Rheem/Rhuud heat pump hot water heater - So far works well except for the EcoNet control software being an embarrassment to anyone who has written a single line of code. Energy consumption is a crazy low 3 kW/h a day. The garage was cool all summer long. Time will tell if this is still a good idea in winter time.

Carrier high efficiency inverter driven heat pump - Has worked well through a winter and summer. Can adapt to temperature extremes by changing the compressor and fan speeds rather than refusing to run like older models. Winter heating costs were way down and summer cooling was cheap.

Whirlpool heat pump clothes drier - Dries clothes with 2 to 4 Kw/h. Fails miserably at performance, ease of use, and reliability. The engineering budget must have been free snacks. Sadly, it's the only large heat pump clothes drier for sale in the US.


The #1 waste of energy remains Caltans/DOT engineering. I have seen no place in the world with traffic flows as inefficient as California. Every time I see a "Spare the Air" alert asking us to cut down on pollution, I want to remind the same government that there are hundreds of square miles of cars idling at empty intersections with red lights. Urban expressways average about the same speed as residential streets. Urban public transportation averages 3 to 25 MPH if you need to transfer and yet it's almost as expensive as a taxi. This is epic failure territory. California could do nothing special at all and at least transportation would improve up to average quality.

Billionaire CEO tells Googlers 'we shouldn’t always equate fun with money'

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Talk to them like they are idiots.

You have to drink the Kool Aid to work there. Having a billionaire tell you to care less about money is no different than any of the other beliefs you must adopt and uphold.

Fitbit users will have to sign into Google from 2023

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: No idea why the surprise

There are a ton of products I'd buy if the collected data stayed in my ownership and the product's assistance wasn't tainted by an outside entity. This is why we may never have a future with robots. You can't trust the maker.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Can the loophole have a loophole?

What if Google aggregates anonymized data from anonymized apps? The fitness data might be from Fitbit but there'd be no way of knowing for sure. It could be from Maps, the Weather widget, a smartwatch, and other sources. Surely they've figured this out or they would have already turned the Fitbit system off

Update your Tesla now before the windows put your fingers in a pinch

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

The Register knows that some people really love their Tesla.

Tesla Megapack battery ignites at substation after less than 6 months

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

The battery's charge is the reaction. Even the safe Lithium Iron Phosphate is a hot mess when it goes bad. Lithium Ion is worse because it has more storage, more thermal runaway, and flammable electrolyte that squirts out into a momentary fireball.

Alert: 15-year-old Python tarfile flaw lurks in 'over 350,000' code projects

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Zip too

Lots of unzip utilities and code libraries have the same vulnerability. The path is an opaque string to be interpreted by the local filesystem.

It's amazing that they're not hacked all the time.

US accident investigators want alcohol breathalyzers in all new vehicles

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

I can see better and all the new cars are gone

I acquired an unwanted box of Solimo Ethyl Rubbing Alcohol that was meant for COVID disinfecting but it reeks from low purity. I use it for cleaning appliances and put a squirt in the water for my windshield wiper tank. I'll keep an eye out for cars stalling after I wash away the bugs.

Amazon's Roomba acquisition gets caught on FTC's rug

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


Amazon and Google seem to be open to hosting criminal scammers far more so than in the past. Not just the usual hit-n-run types, but highly integrated networks of SMS spammers, clickthrough trackers, aggregation analyzers, disposable hosts, and credit card recorders. They've both received nearly three digits of complaints against the core components at domain-safety.com, www.scite.site, cotrcker.org, create.leadid.com, and we-buy-homes4cash.com. After that it quickly branches into a seemingly infinite network of bot-generated fake web sites claiming to offer professional services, gift cards, performance enhancing drugs, and amazing gadgets in exchange for personal information and credit cards. Crims aren't even hiding behind Cloudflare anymore.

If you think counterfeit products and storefronts on Amazon marketplace are bad, wait until you've experienced their AWS customers. Any corporate acquisition that seems to offer Amazon no value but access to extremely sensitive personal data should be considered dangerous.

BTW, some trackers in the network are totally open to harvesting. Change the phone number in the URL parameter and away you go.

Apple to raise App Store prices in 28 countries

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Some brown in the walled garden

A percentage taken shouldn't be relevant with regard to monetary inflation. It would only matter if iOS apps have less demand and fall in value. Is Apple saying that their ecosystem is unhealthy?

Any digital store needing more than 15% is "selling it wrong."

In Rust We Trust: Microsoft Azure CTO shuns C and C++

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Not a language, but a website: Stack Overflow

Uber explains how it was pwned this month, points finger at Lapsus$ gang

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: PR Checklist

5. Security has always been our top priority. This was the result of an extremely sophisticated attack force sponsored by hostile a nation.

Can reflections in eyeglasses actually leak info from Zoom calls? Here's a study into it

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

I wish I had cheaters that good.

Me: That plus sign doesn't do what you think it does.

Applicant: Nah, it works.

Me: I see you're pasting in Python then typing C over it. Would you like to do this in Python instead? Any language is fine.

Applicant: No, C is best.

Me: ...ooookay

To preserve Earth's treasures, digital silence is golden

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: a black sand beach

There's almost always a gentle breeze on the islands but there are certain places you don't want to be if it stops on a sunny day. Black sand or dry rusty dirt - you'll be cooked if it takes you longer than a few minutes to escape. It's an insulator that heats up quickly.

Linux luminaries discuss efforts to bring Rust to the kernel

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Odd choice

I've always found it strange that the kernel and C++ didn't move towards better support for each other. There are operations where C++ cuts down on the code complexity so much that time can be spent on better algorithms. Multithreading with error handling comes to mind as something I don't even want to try in C. OOP can be simulated in C and Rust but it's more manual coding to maintain. (Yes, I realize that C++ objects can't pass between kernel and user space because of the vtable)

Appeals court already under fire for upholding Texas no-content-moderation law

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Mmmm, Ok

Texans to change their mind when they see "awful" liberal posts in 5...4...3..2...

Actual real-life hoverbike makes US debut at Detroit Auto Show

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Well, I’m impressed… not

Skips over dessert. It doesn't have the range to cross a desert or load capacity for desserts.

Amazon allegedly punishes sellers who dare offer lower prices on other marketplaces

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


(Amazon points to hundreds of thousands of bot-generated unauthorized resellers) Contractual obligations to offer the best price on Amazon? They're just no doing it right.

Google fined $4b after Euro court snips 5% off earlier price

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: More, please

You're probably not on stock Android if anything after Android 9 works well. The brightness was moved to a second level quick actions menu. That's two one-fingered swipes down or one two fingered swipe down from the top. Neither one is very reliable because what seems to be a power saving trick with the touch screen sampling.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

More, please

Android has been turning into a sloppy iOS clone in the worst possible way. MicroSD cards are crippled, privacy controls still don't apply to Google, and just adjusting the brightness makes it look like you're trying to claw through your phone's screen. The world needs a fork.

It's hard to envision what $4 billion means to Google. That's god-like money. It was more helpful when The Register used a time unit of revenue to describe megacorp penalty fines, like "Google fined 5.6 days of revenue."

Twitter whistleblower Zatko disses bird site as dysfunctional data dump

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Bright future

This enormous list of problems makes it sound like a mega-billions hocky-stick-growth startup company. The world needs more people just to keep up its potential.

Carry on, Musk.

USB-C to hit 80Gbps under updated USB4 v. 2.0 spec

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: 240 volts?

Oddly enough, I test car batteries by counting the seconds that they can run a 1.6 kW carpet vacuum cleaner.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


Is this another mess where you can choose between a very short passive cable or a longer active cable that only works on one tunneling protocol? Or certain protocols and certain devices force data onto the 480Mbps wires? Are there going to be features that are dependent on whether it's plug A or C?

I don't have high hopes for old claims about THz wireless links, but it's sounding better with each new USB revision.

US throws millions at AI to diagnose diseases by the sound of your voice

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
Big Brother

I have a bad feeling about this

Momentary mood has an enormous impact on speech. I suspect it's far larger than the early markers of neurodegenerative disease. That brings me to the suspicion that somebody's looking for an excuse to illegally analyze a very large amount of recorded voice data.

OVH opens less flammable datacenter at site of 2021 fire

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Not the job for me

I'm already terrified of having an earthquake hitting while making repairs in my old house's crawlspace I'm not going into the cramped metal box full of batteries and megawatt sparky equipment.

Apple patches iPhone and macOS flaws under active attack

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
Big Brother

"actively exploited"

Nothing gets a security patch out like an exploit that might give you root access to your own phone.

Chinese researchers make car glide 35mm above ground in maglev test

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Could we not just....

Maybe add a second air chamber to car tires that pushes out a rigid ridge. Add air while cruising, remove it for traction. Some bike tires have this rigid ridge but it's a hassle because the whole tire's pressure needs changing to raise or lower it.

Intel's stock Raptor Lake chip will do 6GHz and overclock another 25%, if it keeps cool

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Using the right tools

Apple makes scalability compromises to accomplish their chips' performance. Apple Silicon will never be suitable for extremely large workloads. It's not what the architecture is trying to accomplish and it's not a market that Apple has the slightest interest in.

The x86 chips also have compromises to accomplish their performance. They work best when they're bulky and running hot.

ARM servers already exist and have good uses, but they're not yet replacing what x86 is good at.

Ad blockers struggle under Chrome's new rules

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: True then?

The codebase will get permanently forked if Google cripples Chromium or Android too quickly. They break unwanted features "for security" in small steps until they're unusable and unused.

The joke will be on Google when their moneymakers fail by the same means. I can see official Android and Chromium ending soon. New features are trivial but break everything, so why bother staying aligned to their source repo? Once that's done, there's no reason for anyone to keep showing Google ads or installing Google spyware either. Google can go join whatever Oath is.

Dead people could be designated authors of Atlassian Confluence docs but that can't be changed

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: It's on the Priority List, I swear!

Was "fix searching" nearby?

A refined Apple desktop debuts ahead of Wednesday’s big iThing launch

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


Wasn't 64K from a small expansion card? There were only enough address bits for 48K RAM natively. The rest was ROM, I/O, and expansion card space. Expansion cards could intercept the bus to swap chunks of address bits for other uses, like another 16K RAM that was very difficult to use.

Maybe I'm mistaken - I really shouldn't be remembering any of this.

Goodbye, humans: Call centers 'could save $80b' switching to AI

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Okay, AI chatbots - so how would this work out ?

I haven't been able to get humans at AT&T to understand imminent failure either.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Circles of Rubbish

This is what human tech support is told to do too. It's ever escalating steps of difficulty to get rid of you. Factory reset (1 day cost), factory reset and don't restore from backup (2 to 3 day cost), send in for repairs via FedEx Ground (15 to 40 day cost). They never admit to any known issues.

It's best that humans aren't forced to be so awful.

California asks people not to charge EVs during heatwave

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Does this apply to everyone?

The temperature lags behind the sunshine. That's why the "peak" is 4pm to 9pm. All the details are charted at https://www.caiso.com/ if you're interested.

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: Does this apply to everyone?

People with money would install solar and batteries. Even if not for saving energy, but for the luxury of ignoring power outages and generator emissions regulations.

Here's how 5 mobile banking apps put 300,000 users' digital fingerprints at risk

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

Re: biometric HASHES

They could presumably be used for bank account authentication through a modified or reverse engineered banking app.


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