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Court Shuts Down Alleged $120M Tech Support Scam

John Pfeiffer About damn time! (120 comments)

As recently as this week I've still been getting one of those goddamn calls every couple days. I just hang up on them, usually after saying something along the lines of "Do me a favor and kindly jump up your own ass."

My father gets them too... He likes to string the bastards along for a while though. Constantly asking them stuff like where they're calling from and why, requesting specifics until he catches them contradicting themselves and then tells them off and hangs up. (Personally, it drives me nuts listening to him do that, I'm just like "Oh my god hang up on those assholes already!") He does the same thing to the medicaid scam phonecalls but those are far less frequent.

yesterday
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Amazon Instant Video Now Available On Android

John Pfeiffer For certain values of 'available', apparently. (77 comments)

I've got five Android 4.x devices that run Netflix and Hulu and everything just fine, and Amazon STILL won't let me install their fucking app on ANY OF THEM. So much for 'releasing' it.

Paying for Prime and possibly buying videos apparently isn't enough. If I want to watch Amazon Instant Video on something other than a computer, I have to buy their overpriced gimped non-standard Android tablet?! (Or even worse, an iOS device!)

Last time I was this pissed at them, it was when they suddenly removed THE ENTIRETY of "How It's Made" from the stuff Prime members could watch for free, not long after I'd deleted all my HDTV caps of it off my network drive to save space.

about 2 months ago
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AT&T Says 10Mbps Is Too Fast For "Broadband," 4Mbps Is Enough

John Pfeiffer Re:Seriously? (533 comments)

Tell that to my 10 megaBYTE per second downstream that still has trouble with YouTube sometimes. 4Mbps would be unusably slow on the modern internet, unless you turned off all media, and adblocked everything. Hell, 10Mbps would still feel like drowning in quicksand to me, even for basic web browsing...and I doubt I'm alone.

about 2 months ago
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E-Books On a $20 Cell Phone

John Pfeiffer Re:But that little screen... (116 comments)

I can't tell if that's just a joke that I'm not getting, or...

Either way, it made me laugh pretty hard that it was accompanied by this random quote at the bottom of the page: "Last yeer I kudn't spel Engineer. Now I are won."

about 3 months ago
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E-Books On a $20 Cell Phone

John Pfeiffer But that little screen... (116 comments)

Trying to read on that little cellphone screen might eventually drive you nuts though... You'd be better off buying a Chinese-made 7" Android tablet like I did. (I four of them for ~$40 each, half off though.) Make damn fine readers, and good for a lot of other tasks, too.

Though I also picked up an Android phone with a bad speaker for $13 on eBay that I use as a wifi mouse/keyboard and Mediaplayer remote for my PCs. All in all, a pretty good supplement to my 'digital life'.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft Considered Renaming Internet Explorer To Escape Its Reputation

John Pfeiffer Ultimately a bad idea... (426 comments)

Well obviously, any plan to rename IE would eventually fall through when they realized the damn thing still sucks and then they'd just be gaining ANOTHER product under their brand that is universally recognized as a steaming pile of crap. ;P

about 3 months ago
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Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

John Pfeiffer Re:Makes perfect sense to me. (749 comments)

Thanks, I missed that drug-trafficking bit.

about 4 months ago
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Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

John Pfeiffer Re:Makes perfect sense to me. (749 comments)

A re-reading of the summary and a skimming of TFA shows no mention of the data in question being that of a third party. I assumed the emails they were talking about pertained TO Microsoft somehow.

That's what -I'm- talking about; companies trying to weasel out of handing over electronic information requested in a search warrant simply because the server it's on isn't in the same country.

NOT a company, such as a service provider, being asked to turn over a third party's data. That's a whole different exploding can of worms already, even before the jurisdiction problem enters into it.

about 4 months ago
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Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

John Pfeiffer Makes perfect sense to me. (749 comments)

I've seen a lot of pissing and moaning about this already, and it's always "Ooooh, look! The Americans think all the world's servers belong to them!" (Which for some reason I imagine in a British accent...I don't know what that's about.)

I'd really like to know why a sizable portion of the world seems to think a company should be able to do something meriting investigation, and when law enforcement comes in with a valid warrant for their electronic data, go "GUESS WHAT?! THE SERVER'S IN URUGUAY! SUCK DEZE NUTZ!"

It's a bullshit legal dodge. As far as I know, someone in the same situation wouldn't be able to move money to another country to keep it out of the hands of the law (At least not without laundering it, which is in itself a crime), this is just bringing how we handle digital information up to the same standards.

Besides, what does everyone else care? It's American companies that this affects. It just makes data belonging to THOSE companies that resides on servers in other countries accessible to US law enforcement. I seriously doubt the FBI is going to show up at a server farm in Finland and demand to cart away the whole rack. (Though they might try that on US soil.)

about 4 months ago
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Grandmother Buys Old Building In Japan And Finds 55 Classic Arcade Cabinets

John Pfeiffer Re:Boards or ROM's (133 comments)

Fighting games. The move durations, defensive reaction times, and openings are all measured in frames. Timing is absolutely critical. In high-level play, you may only have an opening of a handful of frames in which to land an attack...and that's at 60 frames per second.

If your game isn't running 100% frame-accurate (Try as they might, emulators really don't), you might as well be button-mashing.

That's why those of us who care about that sort of thing take extreme measures to ensure an authentic experience. (Also, it's just totally bitchin'!)

about 5 months ago
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Ear Grown From Van Gogh DNA On Display

John Pfeiffer Tetsuooooo! (64 comments)

Anyone else think the art piece itself looks like the contents of one of the Akira sample canisters? Maybe she can make some more of them...just in time for the things to be buried in a secret military installation beneath the construction site for the 2020 Olympics venue. :P

about 6 months ago
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HP Delivers a Big-Name, 7-inch Android Tablet For $100: Comes With Compromises

John Pfeiffer Re:Wow, finally. (182 comments)

Jeez... Thanks for the info. That's kind of disturbing to hear.

I like 'free reboots', haven't heard that one before. I'll trade you my recently-coined 'spontaneous hardware upgrade', used to describe a sudden failure of old hardware with no direct replacement. ;)

about 6 months ago
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HP Delivers a Big-Name, 7-inch Android Tablet For $100: Comes With Compromises

John Pfeiffer Wow, finally. (182 comments)

These sound remarkably like the cheap Chinese tablets you can find on DealExtreme. I was wondering when a big brand was going to start slapping their name on them.

The $100 price-point is actually a bit of a deal, since that's basically what that 'tier' (The quad cores and 1024 displays) costs from DealExtreme, but I presume you're getting HP warranty and support with these. So not bad!

I bought four different 7-inch tablets in their $65-$80 price range during a half-off sale last May. My favorite is the ICOO ICOU7W.

Its specs:
800x600 screen, the 4:3 aspect being one of my favorite features, because I use it primarily for reading.
1.0GHz Allwinner A13 (Single core)
512mb of RAM
Mali-400 GPU @ 350MHz
8gb of internal storage, plus a microSD slot. (They all have microSD slots)
802.11b/g/n
Front-facing camera
Android 4.0.4 (I could probably update it, but haven't felt the need.)
3000mAh battery, 2A DC fast-charge jack*

On sale, I paid a whopping $36.45 for it. ;)

Only bad things I can say about it are no OTG on the USB port, and no bluetooth...but mostly it's the missing OTG that's a letdown. There's also no GPS which is a little bit of a bummer. Only one of the tablets I bought had GPS; the Erani E70. For some absurd reason, the MK808 'Android TV' stick I bought for $25 also had GPS. (I mean, really?!)

*It's funny, because under full load-- playing HD video, screen brightness up all the way, using the wifi, etc. --normal USB can't actually charge faster than you're discharging... So the 2-amp DC jack is handy for when you're using it in bed or something. I have no idea if the USB port is capable of fast-charging from fast-charge capable ports... I haven't tried it, but I just got a 10,400mAh portable USB battery from Jackery... If it can't, I'll have to make a USB to DC jack, so I can fast-charge through the DC jack using the 2-amp output USB port on the Jackery battery.

about 6 months ago
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HP Delivers a Big-Name, 7-inch Android Tablet For $100: Comes With Compromises

John Pfeiffer Re:No bluetooth? (182 comments)

The lack of an OTG-enabled USB port is usually a bigger issue than a lack of bluetooth.

I bought four uber-cheap Chinese 7-inch tablets, and none had bluetooth...which never really bothered me. Though it was a shortcoming on the one I gave to my father; It had poor sound (Badly-placed speaker or something), and he would've preferred to be able to use bluetooth headphones like he does with his PC.

Mostly it was the fact that two out of the four didn't have OTG functionality on their USB ports that was the real shortcoming, because it meant no interfacing with little gadgets, or using it as a terminal for my tinkering.

These HP tablets sound like re-branded cheap Chinese tablets. Just a tier up from mine, because they put in extra for the quad cores.

about 6 months ago
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AT&T Hacker 'weev' Demands One Bitcoin For Each Hour He Spent In Jail

John Pfeiffer Wow, uhm, uh... Jeez... (449 comments)

Man, having never heard of this guy before, I was rather sympathetic and thinking "Man, finally a use for all those FBI-confiscated Bitcoins" until that last part about Tim McVeigh... Then all I could think was "Uh...wow, screw this asshat."

about 6 months ago
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First Arrest In Japan For 3D-Printed Guns

John Pfeiffer Patience is a virtue. (274 comments)

If I'm not mistaken, in addition to absolute gun control, Japan also practices what we need here in the states; bullet control. i.e. it would basically be impossible for him to acquire ammunition in the first place. So, while manufacturing what is ostensibly a firearm in the eyes of the law is almost certainly illegal in Japan, might it not have been more prudent to wait and see what he intended to do?

I see three possible outcomes they missed by not waiting:

  1. 1. He had a buyer who wanted a disposable gun, and they could've nabbed the buyer, too.
  2. 2. He wanted to use the guns, and had a connection that could get him ammo, and they could've nabbed the connection.
  3. 3. Absolutely nothing; He did it to see if he could. They still bust in and confiscate the guns and everything, but having had time to analyze the situation, maybe charge him with a lesser offense, or at least not parade him around in front of the cameras.

Of course, being Japan, that last one is just as unlikely as the first two-- except not as ludicrous --because the police, as much as the media, like to turn just about any crime above a purse-snatching into a spectacle simply to show that they're doing their jobs.

At any rate, I hope they show some restraint in prosecuting him. Barring any further evidence, he just seems to be a nerd/tinkerer who wasn't thinking about what he was doing, but didn't intend any harm. (And no harm was done.)

about 6 months ago
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Mini Gaming PCs — Promising, But Not Ready

John Pfeiffer Why aren't these more of a thing? (83 comments)

These 'mini gaming PCs' seem kind of ridiculous... I mean, it's not even a real computer, it's like some piece of absurd custom hardware.

Last year on Black Friday, I hit up Newegg for a $70 Biostar A68I-350 Mini-ITX AMD Fusion mobo w/soldered-on APU, bundled with 8GB of G.Skill DDR3 1600 RAM. (Basically they were giving me the $40 RAM for free.) I really only intended to use it as a computer for a CNC setup... But it turned out to be such a great media PC and general gaming machine-- just about anything but the most demanding games would run reasonably well at 720p (In other words, the bulk of the non-FPS contents of my Steam account) --that I set it up next to my bed as a secondary media PC and internet terminal.

I even put it in this great little IN WIN case (IW-BQ656T) about the size of a couple of books.

It's a shame the board seems to be discontinued, or I'd have bought like two more...

Anyway, as I was saying... If I can get that much system for so little, I wonder why portable uber gaming rigs using REAL HARDWARE aren't a thing. I mean, you don't really see 'gaming-oriented' Mini-ITX motherboards out there, do you? (Well, I haven't, at least.)

about 7 months ago
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US Nuclear Missile Silos Use Safe, Secure 8" Floppy Disks

John Pfeiffer Of all the random things I've lost... (481 comments)

I used to have an unopened box of Memorex 8-inch floppy disks, still shrink-wrapped and everything, but I lost it in a move. :( We had a typesetter, and it took the 8-inch floppies. I'm the kind of unabashed nerd who revels in possessing those kinds of 'artifacts'.

about 7 months ago
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Ubisoft Hands Out Nexus 7 Tablets At a Game's Press Event

John Pfeiffer A reason why they SHOULD have... (43 comments)

Giving away Nexus 7's seems hard to explain away. I mean, I tried to think of any reason why they might have wanted to give them all 7" Android tablets, like maybe an interesting way of distributing a multimedia press kit or something, but that could have just as easily been handled by $75 Chinese-made Android tablets.

That did make me think that that'd be pretty cool though; imagine buying a bunch of modestly-spec'd 7" Android tablets from China wholesale, and using them as giveaway items to distribute really dynamite multimedia presentations.

I actually picked up FOUR 7" Android 4.x tablets from DealExtreme for ~$35 each last year, during a half-price sale...and I doubt they'd let even such a sale as that rob them entirely of profits... So I imagine if you're a company buying tablets like that wholesale, you can get some pretty sweet deals, AND get them all custom-branded.

about 7 months ago
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Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

John Pfeiffer Hmm... Guess my brain is weird. (224 comments)

I've always been able to switch it on and off just fine, even after spending the vast majority of the past 15 years sitting at a computer, on the internet.

I skim through things at great speed when they don't really interest me, or I'm mostly looking for specific pieces of information, but it's never prevented me from being able to change gears and linearly read something...

And I'm not by any stretch of the imagination a patient person (or particularly disciplined, for that matter) so it's certainly not because I'm making a conscious effort *not* to skim when I read linearly.

about 7 months ago

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