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Ben Heck's PS3 Slim Laptop

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the making-small-bigger dept.

Hardware Hacking 84

We've occasionally discussed Ben Heckendorn's various console modifications, and he's now come out with a new one: a laptop version of the PS3 Slim. It has volume control buttons for the built-in speakers, and plenty of vents for cooling. The display is a 17" widescreen panel, and the Slim's hardware doesn't fill that much space in the case, so there's a neat little compartment for the power cord. Ben's blog post shows details of the laptop's construction.

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more like (0, Troll)

doyoulikegoatseeee (930088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29614863)

slim dick! hah i got you good you fucker

Small briefcase is more like it (4, Interesting)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 4 years ago | (#29614869)

Not really a "laptop" in the sense that we're used to thinking, but still a very interesting modification.

Re:Small briefcase is more like it (2, Informative)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29614899)

Yeah, it's bulky, and it lacks a keyboard, and seemingly a battery, so it's no wonder there's space to randomly throw the cable in. Still nice, but not really an improvement to throwing a PS3 in a bag and plugging it in at your destination.

Re:Small briefcase is more like it (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615047)

Plugging in to what, though? Having the screen combined still seems like a win to me.

Re:Small briefcase is more like it (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615599)

Why? Most homes would have a larger screen available, with better placement for viewing than a laptop would provide. Most offices or other commercial places/organisations wouldn't let you plug in a console, pull out a controller and start gaming, even if the console did have a laptop format. Don't get me wrong, it's a neat project, but I'm just saying it's not very practical.

Re:Small briefcase is more like it (3, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615763)

Why? Most homes would have a larger screen available, with better placement for viewing than a laptop would provide. Most offices or other commercial places/organisations wouldn't let you plug in a console, pull out a controller and start gaming, even if the console did have a laptop format. Don't get me wrong, it's a neat project, but I'm just saying it's not very practical.

Actually, most places will let you plug in. When traveling, I almost never ran my notebook off the battery. The airport, coffee shops or just about any other place where I could actually sit down and use my notebook would have a plug available for me to access. I see this as being no different.

And, sure, while nearly all homes will have a bigger screen, they may not have a better screen. Many homes still have old, non-hi-def CRT TV's plugged into their cable boxes, or have the cable plugged directly to the TV's.

Finally, I don't think practicality was the point. Sure, it's a nice feature, but this guy made this simply because he could. That was the whole point.

Re:Small briefcase is more like it (0)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616023)

Unless this thing has its own built-in power plant, you'll have to plug it in somewhere.

Solar power is ok for a calculator, but it's not enough here.

Re:Small briefcase is more like it (1)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29614917)

Perhaps it is more of a "portable" in the sense of the old Osbornes and Kaypros: sure, it weighed 20 pounds, but it had a handle on the back, therefore it was portable!

And yeah, it's interesting. I certainly don't have those kinds of modding skills. My hat goes off to the guy.

Re:Small briefcase is more like it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615069)

We called those luggables back in the days.

Re:Small briefcase is more like it (1)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615219)

I remember that -- but the marketing called them portable.

Re:Small briefcase is more like it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615023)

Not really a "laptop" in the sense that we're used to thinking

More like Laptops for Lardarses?

Re:Small briefcase is more like it (1)

spydabyte (1032538) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616637)

I think the correct term is "desktop replacement". It's a really nice job, but seriously? Sometimes things were not meant to be ported. What's the use of 1080p on a 17" screen? Somehow "stereo" just wasn't what the TruHD format had in mind...

Is he selling these on eBay afterward? (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 4 years ago | (#29614881)

He could make some good money selling his 'pieces' -- making console mods might even become a decent first job for him.

Re:Is he selling these on eBay afterward? (-1, Offtopic)

wickedskaman (1105337) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615005)

Re:Is he selling these on eBay afterward? (5, Informative)

Lord Fury (977501) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615077)

From your link:

Frederick Brown 'had allegedly built up a thriving business selling counterfeit games and installing mod chips, having advertised his services on Craigslist and other web sites. He allegedly sold pirated games from his Vista, CA residence as well, including both discs and hard drives preloaded with games that he would install into customers' Xboxes and Xbox 360s.

That's absolutely nothing like what is being done in the article. This guy is modding the hardware to make the ps3 portable, the guy in your link was putting mod chips in the 360's so people could play pirated games, which he also sold. Just because the word "mod" is used in both stories doesn't make them similar.

Re:Is he selling these on eBay afterward? (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615081)

Ben's mods and the "mod" thing you are pointing out are two distinctive things.

Re:Is he selling these on eBay afterward? (1)

wickedskaman (1105337) | more than 4 years ago | (#29620577)

haha, they are obviously different! I just thought it was a funny correlation. My bad? Ha.

Re:Is he selling these on eBay afterward? (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 4 years ago | (#29620943)

Which is modder in the sense of cracking the copy protection.
Not modder as in taking the thing apart and putting it in a new case.

What earthly reason would Sony or anybody else have to object to someone voiding their warranty and making a one off device that can only reflect well on them? IF it breaks, not Sony's problem. If someone sees it, they are impressed by the workmanship. Still a Sony, still the guy's personal property.

Hardware companies have been known to sponsor case modders to make promotional pieces. How is this different.

Re:Is he selling these on eBay afterward? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615041)

"Good money"? Good money is $100,000 a year net before tax. Call it 230 working days in a year, that's $434 clear profit each and every day. Just so we're clear, that's $434 in added value on top of the original hardware costs. Remember to account for shipping, tools and consumables, marketing, and warranty work - and if he doesn't offer any warranty, that eats into the perceived value.

Once the buzz dies down, do you reckon he can add $434 of value every day?

Or did you have another definition of "good money" in mind? Did you perhaps mean "beer and weed money"?

Re:Is he selling these on eBay afterward? (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615071)

I don't know how long it would take to saturate the market, as it seems like sort of a small one; but given the prices that crazy fanboys will pay to have perfectly stock consoles a few days ahead of time, he might well be able to pull that by catering to a few well-heeled fanatics.

However, while the market might be there, I suspect that, once tapped, he couldn't hold out for long. 1 guy, using more or less standard home modding methods(albeit applied with competence substantially above average), doing bespoke pieces would have a hard time competing with a smallish pro outfit doing larger runs at somewhat lower prices, with the benefit of actual machine tools, and parts you can only (cheaply) buy in lots of 100, and possibly rework kit above the level of a soldering iron and strong nerves.

Re:Is he selling these on eBay afterward? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615143)

However, while the market might be there, I suspect that, once tapped, he couldn't hold out for long. 1 guy, using more or less standard home modding methods(albeit applied with competence substantially above average), doing bespoke pieces would have a hard time competing with a smallish pro outfit doing larger runs at somewhat lower prices, with the benefit of actual machine tools, and parts you can only (cheaply) buy in lots of 100, and possibly rework kit above the level of a soldering iron and strong nerves.

Which is why, for it to work, that one guy has to set up his own small pro outfit, improve his skills and equipment to the point where he can churn them out fast and sell them relatively cheaply. Or glue diamonds all over the thing and flog it to people with more money than sense.

Suddenly setting up as a business with a view to making a good income looks rather expensive.

Even then, I can think of two big risks which would basically put him out of business more or less immediately:

1. Sony decide they don't like this because they're afraid that anything he does that impacts the console's life expectancy will reflect badly on the quality of their products. While they can't stop him doing what he's doing, they may well be able to stop him using the playstation trade mark. Which means that he'd have to sell it as a "portable games console that is compatible with a well-known brand".

2. Sony think it's such a good idea they build their own. They've got the resources to be able to produce this at a much lower price.

Re:Is he selling these on eBay afterward? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615267)

Maybe modding the console in the same way for in-car entertainment? There are thousands of car modders...

Re:Is he selling these on eBay afterward? (3, Insightful)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615205)

I would agree with you that it would be difficult to make good money on this as a career move, but he could possibly make a decent amount of extra income (on top of his day job) through doing custom jobs. He would have to charge above the odds to make each individual job it worth his while, but as he would be serving a small niche this wouldn't be unreasonable.

Of course he may be of the attitude that he does not want to take money for this, as it is his hobby and he might not want his hobby to become a chore (even if it is a chore that earns him money).

Re:Is he selling these on eBay afterward? (1)

YouWantFriesWithThat (1123591) | more than 4 years ago | (#29617669)

Good money is $100,000 a year net before tax

really? so all those people earning less than that but who are their own boss, doing something they love are just poor chumps? not everyone wants to work a job they pretty much hate so that they can write checks at the end of the month for shit they don't need.

Slashdotted (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 4 years ago | (#29614907)

Re:Slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29614961)

Cached version slashdotted.

Re:Slashdotted (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615213)

that's ok... just get the cache of the cache: benheck.com.nyud.net.nyud.net:8090/10-01-2009/ps3-slim-laptop

Re:Slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29614969)

So the question about how good this PS3 laptop would be as a web server, got already answered.

Re:Slashdotted (1)

Svenne (117693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615247)

Ok. This is a serious question: Has anyone, ever, been able to browse the "coral cached" version of a site that's been slashdoteed?

Re:Slashdotted (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615317)

The link was working for me when I posted it. I still have the images in my browser cache, I guess.

is it discreet enough? (4, Interesting)

yivi (236776) | more than 4 years ago | (#29614933)

Maybe it could be sold with a couple of Lenovo|Mac stickers to bring to some of those very engaging meetings, presentations, etc...

I.-

Re:is it discreet enough? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615151)

so he could play some videogames during the meetings. so you think meetings are boring, and videogames will make the meetings interesting. i think you have a very good point. i like it.

Re:is it discreet enough? (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615357)

Because real laptops cannot possibly run games.

I must be getting old.

Re:is it discreet enough? (0, Redundant)

Pulzar (81031) | more than 4 years ago | (#29617805)

Because real laptops cannot possibly run games.

No, but real laptops don't *only* play games. If you bring a gaming console to a meeting, it's pretty clear what you plan on doing with it.

Sony? Apple? MS/Dell? (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615429)

Maybe it could be sold with a couple of Lenovo|Mac stickers to bring to some of those very engaging meetings, presentations, etc...

I wonder why Sony doesn't do this, only packaged better? (Internal politics is usually the answer. Dilbert: "Before we defeat our competitors, we first have to defeat the other departments.") If they stick to legacy consoles, they can probably do a lot of this in emulation, with the emulator code running from a ROM.

Sony could probably boost their share of laptop sales by making their machines capable of playing legacy console games. In addition to bored meeting attendees, there are also game collectors who need a laptop other reasons. They would have a lock on that crowd. It would also play well in Japan, Europe and lots of urban centers in the US, where many people live in smaller apartments.

I've also thought that Apple and Nintendo should do something like this. In a few years, they could offer the option to put a Wii/Gameboy in every Macintosh. (To be enabled by plugging in a ROM. Wouldn't stop pirates, but there are plenty of customers who won't bother and just pay.) This would be a good fit for Nintendo. Manufacturing cost for them would be minimal, and they seem to be all about supporting legacy games and keeping/increasing mindshare. The two companies also seem to have compatible philosophies about design.

MS/Dell? Not sure this would work. The first XBox should be easy to do, however.

While it's neat.. (0, Redundant)

Cheney (1547621) | more than 4 years ago | (#29614965)

Tisn't something I would care to carry around with me.

Slashdotted (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615097)

Slashdotted

portable (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615125)

So, TFA says he has some spare room which he uses to fold up the power cord.
According to some sites, the PSU gives 12V and the unit consumes 80 Watts while playing a game.
throw in some 20 for the screen, which gives about a 100 Watts @ 12v.
put in some overhead for the speakers and you easily get 9 Amps @ 12v.

Would it be possible to run this beast of batteries? I know 9-10 Amps is easily done in RC batteries, but would it be possible to game for say 1 hour on batteries in such a compartment?

Good bye! (-1, Offtopic)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615139)

Bye all, I have no longer any posts to make. Maybe I will lurk. It has been fun though. /G3ckoG33k

Re:Good bye! (0, Offtopic)

s1lverl0rd (1382241) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615193)

Sounds suicidal.

Re:Good bye! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615195)

Who are you?

Re:Good bye! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615283)

get off his lawn

Re:Good bye! (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29622649)

Would you give me your UID? :D

unique stuff (1)

Errtu76 (776778) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615203)

Wow. He essentially made a (bit large) portable Playstation. Why didn't Sony think of that?

Re:unique stuff (1)

stevenaei (882599) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615925)

isn't that what the Play Station Portable (PSP) is?

Re:unique stuff (2, Funny)

stevenaei (882599) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615941)

oh wait, that was sarcasm... crap. must be monday.

Cache anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615261)

site down

Ben Heck Can't Type Worth Crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615271)

I have never read such crap. Save yourself the grammar nazi rage and skip to the 2 and a half minute ADD friendly video at the very bottom.

Two thumbs up (3, Funny)

marqs (774373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615303)

That is one Heck of a hack...or perhaps one hack of a Heck

Nice!! (1)

OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615335)

this is a very cool portable mod

He should have... (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615363)

Modified a keyboard onto it for ps3 Linux.

Re:He should have... (2, Informative)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615445)

The thing is built upon a PS3 Slim. Linux is not an option.

Re:He should have... (1)

Neil Hodges (960909) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616287)

I'm sure that with enough work, Linux could be done on the PS3 Slim, though.

Re:He should have... (1)

sternn64 (1648727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618389)

Wishful thinking, I'm afraid.

The Slim simply does not support the OtherOS feature that the original model had. Sony didn't want to put in the resources to write a new hypervisor interface for it.

It's implied that it can be implemented later if demand warrants it.

Re:He should have... (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618397)

No it's not. Read the article... it's built on a 60GB classic PS3 (the only one with proper PS2 support). Linux most certainly is an option.

Re:He should have... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29630273)

It's you who needs to read the damn article. It is a PS3 Slim, or heck, just look at the link (http://benheck.com/10-01-2009/ps3-slim-laptop#more-697), that itself tells you it is a PS3 slim.

Will Ben Ever Learn? (4, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615499)

He does great work, for sure. But he has been slashdotted more than a couple times; just about every new console he builds and describes leads to a slashdot article, which leads to his webserver being reduced to a smoldering pile of nothingness. He really should stop using his old XT for a webserver. I suspect his portable PS3 would probably handle the load better...

Re:Will Ben Ever Learn? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616365)

just about every new console he builds and describes leads to a slashdot article, which leads to his webserver being reduced to a smoldering pile of nothingness. He really should stop using his old XT for a webserver. I suspect his portable PS3 would probably handle the load better...

Or Slashdot could just provide links to the Coral cached version [nyud.net] , and solve the problem for every submitted site like this.

Re:Will Ben Ever Learn? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616477)

Will Slashdot ever learn? Why not coralize these links before posting the article? Why not refuse articles which link to toy webservers which don't coralize, or have the editors coralize such links? Oh wait, that would be suspiciously like editing.

More on topic, re: cough-positioning, FTFA: I like to make a grumbly, rumbly noise in the back of my throat like a mostly-contented bear. This makes refreshing visual items wiggle around (only at lower refreshes though! and more on CRTs than LCDs anyway) especially if you do it loud enough and grumbly enough to make your head vibrate. You could probably shake your head with a rumble pak too :)

Re:Will Ben Ever Learn? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616739)

Will Slashdot ever learn? Why not coralize these links before posting the article?

Yeah, it should be done. Maybe people get some secret excitement of seeing the server screech down from the requests. And the "slashdot effect" has become a meta-brand of its own...

Re:Will Ben Ever Learn? (2, Informative)

GreyWolf3000 (468618) | more than 4 years ago | (#29617819)

There are apparently legal gray areas with that that CmdrTaco doesn't want to get into. If I recall correctly, it's not clear that he has the legal right to take someone else's content, throw it up on some other server that does not earn the original author ad revenue, and post a link to it on the home page.

Re:Will Ben Ever Learn? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619117)

The point is well-taken, but it would be enough to load the site via coral before slashdotting it (i.e. posting it to the front page) so that coral would have it cached before someone needs to go load it from said cache.

Re:Will Ben Ever Learn? (1)

Wannabe Code Monkey (638617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29617889)

The Coral Cache is working pretty well for me: http://benheck.com.nyud.net/10-01-2009/ps3-slim-laptop [nyud.net]

And the youtube videos are certainly holding up just fine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nLEVnM9Cas [youtube.com]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AM6NGbPQ-k [youtube.com]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKia22tulUg [youtube.com]

Re:Will Ben Ever Learn? (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618113)

Because 95% of the time he doesn't need anything more than that XT webserver? Because it doesn't make sense to buy the server/bandwidth just for the few occasions when he's slashdotted and has a traffic spike?

Re:Will Ben Ever Learn? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618717)

Because it doesn't make sense to buy the server/bandwidth just for the few occasions when he's slashdotted and has a traffic spike?

There are ways to accommodate that. If he is using a "professional" hosting company, many of them allow for bandwidth scaling to meet expected changes in demand. If he is running his own webserver, he would be wise to set it up more intelligently to handle the traffic loads.

Of course, if the answer is the latter rather than the former, his poor little webserver should be a useless pile of rubble now; perhaps he will replace it with a more robust system.

Though unlike many other people whose sites are slashdotted, Ben has a very good idea of when it will happen. So being unprepared for it is just sad.

Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615651)

Now he can go anywhere and be a butthurt faggot because LOL NOGAEMS!!!

Move over PSP go. (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615917)

Forget about the new PSP go. Check out my new PS3 Go Slim. In other news, Sony may have plans to start producing fitness software/devices.

excellent mods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615975)

I saw the Atari 800 laptop in person. Brilliant hack!

Slashdotted (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616073)

Does anybody have an alternative link?

Re:Slashdotted (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618159)

Someone posted one four hours ago. But I guess reading the comments and reading the article are sort of mutually exclusive. :)

Yeah, but.. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616195)

Does it run Linux? Oh...

Want to get the PS3 Slim Laptop for yourself? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29616345)

A startup video game retailer called The Score (www.thescoreonline.com) in Nashville has purchased this unit and will be giving it away to a random customer on December 19. They're apparently releasing more information about how they're going to do this later today.

Neat, but lay off the sugar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29616511)

I hate to be critical of the writing style, but he needs to cut back on sugar intake before writing blog postings. It'd improve his presentation and more enjoyable to read (or maybe it's just me).

In case you're wondering how to get it... (2, Informative)

Avogadro65 (942457) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616749)

A video game store just south of Nashville, TN is going to be doing a giveaway with this PS3 laptop as the prize: http://www.facebook.com/posted.php?id=43627590335&share_id=138212171129&comments=1#s138212171129 [facebook.com] (DISCLAIMER: it's my friend's store)

But Does It Run Linux? (1, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616815)

The original ("fat") PS3s all included an option for the PS3 hypervisor to host an "OtherOS", like Linux, instead of booting into the GameOS. PS3 Linux was a PPC distro running on the Cell's 2.4GHz PPC CPU core, with access to the bus, 6 of 7 working DSPs and other devices (but not the RSX GPU) through drivers and filesystem mapping APIs. I could run Ubuntu on the PS3, install a driver and use mplayer to watch full HD movies from the hard drive or streaming from a network fileserver. I could program the Cell, including its SPUs, in a familiar environment.

The PS3 Slim has removed OtherOS support from its hypervisor. So it can't run Linux. So it's not really a "laptop", except that it can sit on top of your lap.

Re:But Does It Run Linux? (1)

krakelohm (830589) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618083)

So to answer your question with your own answer, no it does not run Linux.

Re:But Does It Run Linux? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618457)

It's a rhetorical question. The point is that it's not a laptop.

Re:But Does It Run Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29630217)

Whether or not it runs Linux has nothing to do with whether it is appropriate to call it a laptop. However, the fact that it has no battery and is too bulky to comfortably put on your lap are good reasons for not calling it a laptop.

Re:But Does It Run Linux? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29632193)

A PS3 that fits in your lap but runs only GameOS is not a laptop, except in a trivial sense that we're obviously not talking about here.

Whether or not it runs OtherOS is what makes it (not) a laptop. Linux is the only OtherOS ever installed, and without OtherOS none but GameOS is installed. A PS3 Slim does not run Linux, so it cannot be a laptop.

Re:But Does It Run Linux? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619869)

As another poster mentioned, it's a 60GB classic PS3, which has hardware PS2 support and sure as hell runs Linux.

So yes, it CAN be a laptop.

Re:But Does It Run Linux? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619971)

So it's not a PS3 Slim then. Hard to tell that when the original article is slashdotted, and the story says it's a Slim.

Re:But Does It Run Linux? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619993)

The article loaded just fine for me just this moment. I don't see why everybody is having issues accessing it directly.

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