* Posts by SuccessCase

863 posts • joined 5 Jan 2011

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Drum roll, please .... Results are in for the collective noun for security vulns

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Re: Awshit? (etc.)

Isn't this just evidence that crowdsourcing doesn't always produce good results?

Still what do we expect. When Greenpeace tried to crowdsource the name for a whale, the Internet piled in and made "Mr Smartypants" the favourite :) Strangely, if I remember rightly, the "name a whale" competition was quietly removed about 2 days before the results were due to be announced.

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French woman gets €800 a month for electromagnetic-field 'disability'

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Re: Well-

She had Better Call Saul

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Mobile device screens recorded using the Certifi-gate vulnerability

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Also, it is highly surprising PlayStore apps are exploiting the vulnerability, as this should be entirely preventable by Google. On my reading of the vulnerability, the apps need to have an ID matching a hardcoded ID expected by the compromised monitoring software the vendors have integrated with their handsets (the compromise is largely due to badly implemented workarounds for a bug in Google authentication code, where the vendors have coded their own half arsed authentication solutions). Google should be able to bar any apps presenting a known "spoofing" ID. Makes me wonder if the bad authentication measures are actually worse than Check-point reported.

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Given the app is downloaded from the PlayStore this is a mainstream Android vulnerability, that 16% of devices are affected is outstandingly bad. OK all OS's have the odd vulnerability exposed, however given iOS security updates are applied to iOS devices across the board and relatively quickly, really anyone in tech should be recommending iPhones to their non-techie friends. Controversial statement for many El Reg readers, I know, but really, if you are responsible and recognise many aren't able or motivated to keep on top of the tech security position of these devices, it shouldn't be controversial at all. At least not until Google get a faster turn around sorted out with the carriers. It's the only responsible thing to do. Even vendors who have patched the vulnerability in their handsets are doing so far too slowly. The downloaders of this app are going to be generally more tech/savvey/security aware and if ~40% of such a selective set have affected devices, what chance have the rest?

What happened to all the Google promises of yester-year that security patches would be rolled out in a timely fashion?

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Apple tries to patent facial recognition

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Re: Really?

Ah yes cheers, I remember that now. Damn, to late to change it..

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Re: Really?

Oh DougS, you truth teller. You don't expect to get points around here for simply stating facts. No, no, no. You have to be a bit more like Harry Enfield's Frank down the pub.

"If Tim Cook comes round my gaff, with his gold Apple watch, an 'is oversized handjobbie, an then start's photographing my 'ouse, without my permission, and then that iCloud thing starts slurping up his picture of my 'ouse, with my kids at the windows, who might be getting ready for bed, the dirty git. And then he sends a little email, to one of his minions,..

"Yer, is minions Frank, don't trust them minions, there all like bigheaded and think they're cleverer than us"

"And then tells his minion, to submit a design patent, ON MY HOUSE, THAT I DESIGNED MYSELF, AND BUILT WITH MY BARE 'ANDS, I'D SAY OI, TIM, NOOOOO!. You might be able to do that when your living in your spaceship, but not ere, NOT IN FRONT OF MY KIDS AND MY WIFE. NOW TAKE YOUR OVERPRICED BIT OF TAT AND GET OFF ME LAWN AND GO AND DESIGN YOUR OWN HOUSE, YOU OVERRATED OVEREDUCATED YANKY-SPANK."

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ANIMALS being CUT UP to make Apple Watch straps

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Re: Click bate(sic)

I heard the bastards are also selling us stuff that is essentially free. There's a trick employed in the Bill of Materials, where they don't truly trace the origins of the materials used. I have done detailed research and I'm aghast to discover if you check really carefully, all the materials used to be FREELY available just lying around in the ground. The bastards are taking stuff that is actually just available for free from this earth we all inhabit, moving it through their "supply chain", which seems to me just a kind of materials laundering scam so we don't properly know where where the materials are from, killing a few miners and factory workers on the way, just so we think it must be a really hard thing they are doing, heating stuff up like a six year old girl cooking a cake with mum, cooling it down, grinding some of it about like 2 year olds with a chalk crayon, and then, hey presto, putting it in a paper box (trees I tell you, freely available everywhere trees!) and after a bit of nancy marketing, charging us a fortune for it.

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Android faces SECOND patching crisis, on the same scale as Stagefright

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Re: Apparently OEM only

"Cool, because the Moto G (1st gen) "MotoCare" app was so battery hungry, I disabled it over a year ago."

The problem is (if Motorola implemented one of the problem mRST solutions) the app remains exploitable because the remote control functions can be invoked by another app through a common API. Due to vendor mRST software implementations that do an inadequate job of authentication checks when the mRST software is invoked (and they are only doing the checks because the common Google service for this has a known bug such that the vendors have had to implement their own workarounds), the mRST software can be invoked and exploited regardless of whether it is already executing. It appears any side-loaded app can be signed in a way that makes it appear as though it is authorised for invoking mRST (the signature needs to simply contain a matching app ID. It seems naughty vendors simply took an insecure shortcut to authentication and hoped security by obscurity would be sufficient). Presumably only side loaded apps will be a problem though, since Google will be ensuring official play store apps do not have a signature contrived to exploit this flaw. However your device remains compromised until there is a firmware update. So the best advice is, in the meantime, don't sideload apps.

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@dotdavid, nice response. It didn't crash my iPad (and there's a reason for that - universal automated update that doesn't require carrier cooperation). But it's still a nice response. Though I suspect in a years time Stagefright will still be exploitable on over 75% of Android devices worldwide. Just check the Ars Technica link given above as for why. Most El Reg readers will have been techie enough to ensure they are safe (and many of those through upgrading their handset), but for ecosystem users as a whole that's a horrendous state of affairs. Treate this as trolling if you want, but it is a pretty significant and real difference between the two ecosystems.

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@Daleos hmmm Are you suggesting a high record count in a report of records on the National Vulnerability Database - which is a database whose records are provided by vendor self-reporting of vulnerabilities that have been fixed - is bad? If so you really don't understand the reality of how modern OS's all of which have many, many latent vulnerabilities as yet to be discovered, are best made secure.

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Re: Apparently OEM only

@DougS Quite. Google have been giving the impression Stagefright is fixed and the solution is being rolled out on an unprecedented scale but here is the actual shockingly poor scale of the rollout. We can expect the similar will apply for this new issue, since the problem is the exploitable plugins are hard-coded in firmware and bad apps can exploited them all the time the firmware is not updated such that they are removed.

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Apple goes to crapple in stock plunge kerfaffle: $113bn wiped off in days

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Re: Don't Buy, Sell

It could be true, but still the number of times "supplier slowdown" has been quoted as evidence of Apple falling off the pace, only to turn out to be entirely wrong is not funny. Just look at the litany of The Register's past Peak Apple stories.

Apple have multiple suppliers for most components and frequently favour one or the other depending on their own performance criteria. When a supplier sees orders slump they tend to tell people off the record there has been a slowdown rather than admit they are no longer preferred.

I think more likely cause of concern is the fact the whole of the market for smartphones has slowed down in China due to the current economic conditions. Most people assume that more expensive aspirational luxury priced goods are the first to suffer in a slowdown, but actually, analysts know usually they are more robust than you would expect (aspiration remains a strong force). The fact Apple sales slowed down along with the rest of the market will have set alarm bells ringing as the analysts were just beginning to consider them to be a safe port for when there is a storm. The economic outlook for China remains a bit uncertain at the moment (relatively speaking).

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Bloke cuffed for blowing low-flying camera drone to bits with shotgun

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Re: He should go free...

"Therefore he will be bang to rights for reckless endangerment."

Nonsense. Please get some perspective. While I agree Guns should be controlled, I'm also against this tendency to interpret the risk associated with every action is determined by the media's attitude towards the tool/thing used while the action is taken. If you fire a shotgun up into the air, the chance of injury of anyone else is as close to zero as you can get. The only way you could get hurt by buckshot is if you are looking up into the air with your eyes open just at the moment a bit of buckshot falls down into your eye. If shot coming down in a neighbours garden is reckless endangerment, firing rockets up into the air on fireworks night where the chance of going off course, or substantial plastic rocket cap, or a partially unexploded or burning/smouldering material coming down from what is essentially an imprecise ballistic explosive/incendiary device, is many, many times greater - yet few of us are bothered by that.

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BREAKING NEWS: Apple makes money

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Re: Record profits yet Wall St says No

"Donning my MBA tinfoil hat"

If you are an MBA then you should be aware Apple are sitting on what is probably the largest corporate cash pile in history and have no need to raise money from the stock market and so fluctuations in share price are of far less significance to them than for most other public listed companies. Of course they shouldn't be complacent and I understand the influence of share price can have an insidious effect even on cash rich companies, but there is no question over any of Apple's senior management team or strategy. They are very steady hands, so on that score there is no reason for alarm bells or for going private.

"I have to wonder if some of those forecasts were oiled by outside interests that could gain from short selling on Apple Stock. The SEC should be looking into this."

Quite possible, I would put no depth of failure in integrity beyond Wall Street money men, but more likely I think that two very important factors in a multi-variable equation have gone the wrong way, the first, falling short of analyst predictions, most of us normal people don't set much store by - but Wall Street money men do - the second in conjunction with the fears produced by the first has, I suspect, had a multiplier effect; that China's economy has deteriorated.

What the analysts fear has been demonstrated is that a luxury high priced good is more susceptible to worsening economic conditions in China than they had hoped. That might sound obvious to most people, but actually historically consumer behaviour isn't so intuitive. In established markets luxury good sales tend to hold up better than most would think when the economy slows. So demonstration that that hasn't occurred in this case (or even the suspicion it is the reason) means there is likely to have been an adjustment based on the understanding in the immediate future China's economy will be going the wrong way and Apple goods in China won't be quite the safe harbour they were hoping.

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Re: Record profits yet Wall St says No

"Not revealing numbers only means one thing..."

Yes, it means Tim Cook did exactly what, from even before the Apple Watch launch, he said he would be doing in future analyst calls: not revealing the Apple Watch numbers.

The man isn't an idiot, he knew there is no objective yardstick of success in such a new category and that any volume of sales would be judged in relation to iPhone, a category they can't hope to come close to matching with the Apple Watch and that that would be bound to be used for the usual slew of negative press stories. What else do the press have to write about when you are a company that generates so much interest and yet only is worthy of a news story once a year when you release new handsets, tablets and software and for the rest of the time leave the Apple desk journo's mostly just twiddling their thumbs.

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Your security is just dandy, Apple Pay, but here comes Android

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"And, let's be honest, Apple know exactly who you are as they have your Apple ID on the same device."

Oh and lets be honest. You don't know what you're talking about, they don't and repeating your error prepended with "let's be honest" and not even bothering to check the widely available documentation of architecture and process which show why they don't know makes the assertion quite a bit less honest not more.

"It is not a good thing for consumers to be required to buy a specific manufacturer of device to make a credit card transaction"

Well they don't do they, because there are many competing systems.

Then every following point you make applies to those other mobile payment solutions so doesn't in any way justify your first point. Running out of battery - well yes, that's a problem with mobile phones not exclusively Apple. Doesn't take away the fact the transaction is far more secure than handing over a credit card or entering a pin in a situation where it is often difficult/impossible to ensure you are not overlooked by others and/or security cameras.

Well done for sticking your neck out and making a prediction that it will fail. Especially brave since all the indicators are that it is succeeding quicker than expected in the US and ignores the factual point I made that Apple customers are simply bigger spenders than competitor handset users. So to think retailers won't respond to that is brave, but wishful, analysis based I would suggest on little more than your dislike of Apple.

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"it gets to mine all the sales data."

Nope. The solution is architected such that neither Apple nor the retailer know who the customer is. Only the bank can relate the transaction to a customer. The retailer doesn't even get the customer's card number. Just confirmation they have received the money. Case in point. Go into an Apple store, make a purchase with Apple pay. If you want a receipt, you have to separately provide your email address. They don't have it and don't know who you are from th Apple pay transaction alone.

Maybe once you do some Googling and confirm for yourself what I am saying is correct, the penny will drop and it will become clear why when incentives are aligned it's actually a good thing for consumers.

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@Lee D. Why on earth would you be worried that Apple implement features to make their phones more appealing. The fact they are doing it to sell phones, instead, as is the case for the banks, to make money on each transaction, or as is the case for the stores, to get your personal details, IS good for the consumer because it means their incentives are aligned with yours. That is very important. Aligned incentives means they adopt the consumer position. Consequently Apple pay keeps your personal details secret. Neither Apple nor the retailer store transaction details. Only the bank/Credit card provider. Secondly the per transaction processing fee is much lower than competing solutions. Third, you got your argument the wrong way round. As they are doing it to sell phones, they have LESS incentive to increase per transaction fees and in any case the per transaction fees are locked down in contracts with the banks, so your fears aren't justified.

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What are you talking about! Apple pay is one of the last out. Google have attempted pay before but failed. It's their latest attempt that isn't out yet. US retailers have their own contactless solution (CurrentC). Paypal also. Plus countless other banking industry initiatives.

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"“The UK launch will boost the payments industry as a whole, but however cool the technology, it will take years to reach anything near mainstream adoption," said Rich Wagner, chief exec and founder Advanced Payment Solutions, and an advisory board member of the Emerging Payments Association.

“However, it’s worth noting that Apple’s margins will be far lower in the UK than in the US, due to the huge discrepancy in interchange fee rates between the two continents. This reduces the commercial opportunity for Apple Pay in this market," he warned."

Come on Register. Identify when you are interviewing a competitor (not a direct competitor but a competitor nevertheless), it makes a big difference to the credibility of what they are saying. For a start, Apple pay has the fastest adoption rate of all the competing solutions, secondly Apple customers are simply worth far more as consumers. Online transactions, App Store revenues and value per transaction are all far, far higher for Apple customers than competitor customers. Retailers are not going to be missing out on the opportunity to satisfy the needs of retails most valuable customers. It won't happen ibstabtly, but it won't take too long either. In the U.S. holdout stores are rapidly changing their minds and adopting Apple pay for this very reason.

Lastly If margins are lower for Apple for Apple Pay transactions in the UK, so what? They aren't doing it for the per transaction margin, which whilst nice is not a big business for them. They are doing it to sell phones. The margin makes zero difference to that and so will make zero difference to the effort they put in to promote Apple pay (thus illustrating if Mr Wagner is an "expert," he's an "expert competitor" and isn't being quite as objective as he is trying to sound).

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Neil Young yanks music from streaming services: 'Worst audio in history'

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@L05ER

The thing is, (presuming you are referring to streaming encoding difference as great as e.g. Apple Music versus Pono) you say you can hear the difference. It could be that you are better than everyone else at judging which is best, but my own experience and my own tests to date have shown audiophile's are never as good at identifying source differences as they think they are (though perhaps I will meet one who is in he future and perhaps that will be you !) I started checking for fun because I once thought I was highly capable in identifying quality differences, but a pro sound engineer friend proved to me with a blind test in his home studio (which was every bit as high quality as the pro studio where he worked) that I wasn't. The point that he was making to me was that even as a pro engineer he wasn't as good at it as he would have liked to think he was either.

The gap between being able to discern a difference and being able to consistently ascribe which is "better" is simply huge and well known to psychologists who study and measure such things (it's one of the reasons Pepsi would run the Pepsi challenge in shopping malls - but that's another story). Time and again "quality" buffs fail to match their own expectations when they are subject to blind tests.

This following test is not confined to self confessed audiophiles (which is a shame because I feel sure the results would have been pretty much the same), but nevertheless somewhat illustrates the point I am making. And BTW Apple music is streaming AAC at the same bitrate as this test:

iPhone versus pono

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Trebles all round: The BBC's won this licence fee showdown

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What!!! Andrew, do you really think the BBC won, a showdown where it was George Osborne's choice as to what policies he implemented (hardly the conditions for a showdown)? The BBC have been totally and utterly out-manoeuvred.

It used to frustrate me that Labour would play the game of saying, "we will use tax on x to pay for y." The reality is of course, if x can't be collected, then the amount is a net subtraction from the whole of the government budget as it run's across everything. When, as a politician, you say "I'm using x to pay for y," really you are just cherry picking an emotive y to make it appear as though taking x is justified and there is a sense of course (but only a sense), in which the argument holds water.

The Tories are beginning to use the same trick. But Osborn has gone further. By saying he is taking BBC budget to pay some of the welfare bill, he's executing a jujitsu like move, employing the BBC's liberal bias against them. The "use x to pay for y" trick makes it appear, if the BBC argue, as though they are hypocritically valuing the benefit of .e.g Eastenders higher than the value of e.g. benefits for the disabled. The BBC will be tying themselves in knots trying to answer that one (even though it is a trick for the weak minded - the BBC have been doing the same themselves for years, and know how well it works). It seems Hall knows the game is lost on that score and didn't even starting to make the argument.

But more than that, Osborn has made it appear as though he's being beneficent by saying the BBC will be allowed to charge for the iPlayer. But really he has laid a massive bear trap that means they have been opened up to subscription competition. It's no sure thing the BBC will get many subscribers for iPlayer. Indeed the likelihood is that they will get rather fewer than many might think (I work in the digital television industry, and the word is the iPlayer is bombing as compared with competition). They will be competing with Netflix and the like, and modern streaming services are proving very popular, host some great drama, and have also moved into the production of very well executed original content. Use of the BBC iPlayer is almost dead amongst our student population (e.g. the next generation - and the BBC should be very worried indeed about this trend) and that's even though currently it is free to use.

If the BBC failed to say thank you they are making it clear they are scared of competition and didn't feel they could sufficiently compete (in which case why should they be getting the funding they currently are). So Hall has plumbed for stepping in Osborne's bear trap, putting on a brave face and said a very public "thanks". But once they start charging a subscription, then they will firmly establish the principle that their funding can be obtained by a fair subscription rather than a regressive flat tax. Osborne has successfully started to lever the limpet away from state tax (as to all intents and purposes the license fee is). Now Osborne has succeeded in getting a knife under the limpet's skirt, extreme pressure will be applied from here on out!

So the BBC's funding have been cut, with an arbitrary but cleverly presented comparison with welfare budget and they have been offered the opportunity to make up the shortfall in a context where they will have to compete on a commercial playing field and where there is no guarantee they will succeed, and where tactically in the long term, when it becomes clear they aren't competing, they will find it very difficult to say "we need to be bailed out with a bigger proportion of our funding via the license fee"

It seems Osborn is playing something of a tactical long game, and he's doing it rather well. It's cynical, but it's the kind of tactics Labour have been playing for years (Gordon Brown's tax credits being a good example).

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The sad song Samsung's sung: SEVENTH quarterly fail in a row

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Samsung always used every trick in the book to fluff up results in good quarters, massaging within the the bounds of the possible, when recognising revenue occurred, manipulating (as you can as a supplier) sales to channel (it's sales to the end customer you can't manipulate so easily) etc.

But the inexorable truth of double entry bookkeeping decrees that once the sales trend goes against you it is more painful than it would otherwise have been if you had not employed these tricks. Seven quarters however, reveals it is more than a partially self inflicted reporting issue where tricks in prior quarters have caught up with them. They are still rolling out the excuses. This time supply shortages, when along with Apple they have more control over their supply chain than any other company in the world. They are emphasising supply shortages simply because it distracts from the real problem. Lowering sales.

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China hacks 'everything that doesn't move' says Hilary Clinton

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Re: Is there a definition?

And anyway, all you have to do is use your laptop whilst circling round the office on a golf cart, and you will be safe from the Chinese hackers... apparently.

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Virgin Media starts its broadband-of-the-gaps fibre rollout

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It would be nice if they got service for their existing customers to work without continual drop-outs first. Virgin, there is this thing called network monitoring, where you can pro-actively identify when connections are developing problems before the customer even notices. Use it.

Oh and when I phone up, don't pretend you can see I haven't rebooted my Cable Modem for ages and that I should try doing that, when it is the first thing I do before phoning if the system has developed problems. It just proves you would rather lie to your customers to save a bit of time than be honest and that often your callcentre's don't actually have a view of the status of my Cable Modem. I'm sure often that request fixes the issue, but it's really annoying when there actually is a problem and you pretend it needs to be done.

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Pew, pew, pew! Sammy shoots out updates to plug mobile keyboard snooping bug

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"Such as both the user and the attacker being 'on the Internet'?"

Actually the AC is perfectly correct and Samsung have given out bad/misleading advice. What Samsung should have said is that there must be another compromised device on the same network/subnet - quite significantly different to saying the attacker has to be on the same subnet or network. Attacks by any miscreant hacker worth his salt are almost always conducted using a proxy devices and there are plenty of bad/old routers that can be exploited and/or compromised and run remotely and left waiting for a Samsung phone to join. To describe such a common scenario as the attacker having to be on the same network is at best misleading spin (most likely) at worst revealing of a worrying ignorance on Samsung's part. A release relating to a security compromise is no place for spin or propaganda.

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Apple! and! Yahoo! fight! the! man!, claims! EFFing! daftness!

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Re: So practically pointless

"A lot of EFF activities of late seem dubious."

Like what?

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Re: Errrmmm

I'm not surprised you're confused. The Register are engaging in their usual shoddy reporting and showing yet again that they will do everything they can to dis' Apple. The EFF, a well respected organisation doing important work defending Internet freedoms, have commended Apple. Right well then there's only one thing we can do; lets dis' the EFF. Surely if they are commending Apple, they must be a bunch of money grabbing capitalists spreading corrupt propaganda? So with top reporting integrity, let's, without a shred of evidence, leave hanging the suggestion their report has been bought. Let's put the qualification the EFF provided in response to this unjustified slur at the end of the article so it isn't too close to contradicting the disgracefully misleading sub-head we have left there because if someone pats Apple on the back we love to throw mud at them. Let's have bad enough grace to maintain the suggestion of unethical practice by the EFF, even though they have a history of defending important rights and The Register have NO reason to doubt their work except, oh, Apple under Tim Cooks leadership, are proving to be rather more ethical than our preferred Mega-Corp, Google. Shit our Peak-Apple meme failed. Shit, Apple are open sourcing SWIFT and allowing apps to be installed on devices by any Xcode user (available free) regardless of wether they are members of the development program. Shit Apple have committed to protecting user privacy have published a white paper giving comprehensive detail of how they are protecting it (pretty much ignored by The Register) and are doing a far better job of it than Google.

Seriously Register, you need to start re-evaluating. Increasingly it seems you have picked the wrong mega-corp to assume "super-evil" can always, and without thought, be prepended. Tim Cook basically told the US government they are wrong re-access to private data and to take a hike. Perhaps it's time to simply recognise that, for a CEO of his level, he is a quite surprisingly progressive and has a slight activist bent; and yes that tendency probably is informed by his experiences as a gay man. You're acting like a bunch of kids who the more you are found to be wrong, the more entrenched you become.

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Hey Google, what’s trending? Oh, just the death of journalism

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The Register have been leading this trend since 1994, so are way ahead of Google.

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Apple seeks fawning 'journalists' for in-house 'news' self pluggery

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"Not surprisingly, the ad fails to mention anything about independent journalism. So when news breaks about its nemesis Google's Android, or factory conditions in China, we can be sure Apple News will be scrupulous in its complete lack of coverage."

The Register can hardly throw stones. When one of your articles was asking for a fact checker to maintain journalistic standards and I commented that it must be to weed out the facts as on many occasions The Register couldn't resist putting snark before fact, one of your journo's replied that I was talking nonsense. I then replied cited multiple instances of factual errors where The Register had done just that (on my part without snark, emotional language or rudeness - it only took me a minute to find quite a few problem cases) and he censored the comment. Mind you I did then send a rather rude follow up comment but by that time it was warranted. Any journo's who suppress facts stated in an objective without personal insult or malice, are pretty shoddy journo's have a very weak grasp of the nobility of their profession. Oh and, hypocrisy.

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Scientists love MacBooks (true) – but what about you?

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Re: Not my experience

So for practical reasons, simple, no more explanation required. That is why for you the tech made sense at the time you used it. When you actually stand back from it, Trevor has spent two pages wondering how it is there are people out there who don't think like him. There are two groups, zealots and these scientist people, and he can't help but admit this second group tend to be rather clever, and he goes through all sorts of mental contortions trying to reconcile his world view in which these two groups exist and buy Macs. Of course if he just threw out the prejudice inherent to a reductionist world view that tries to discriminate people into Trevor Pott labelled buckets "zealot Mac user", "scientist Mac user" then he would be more able to see the difficulty he is having and his reasoning on the subject establishes nothing because it is no more than a struggle with his own prejudices.

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All right, who guessed 'street mapping' for those mystery Apple vans? Congratulations

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Given the car has multiple camera sensors spaced widely apart, I expect Apple will be capturing 3D data and mapping textures.

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Apple extends idiot-tax operation, makes devs pay to fix Safari snafus

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Typical The Register looking for every negative re-Apple as usual. As a developer, I'm actually very much in favour of the pay to submit to the AppStore model. The amount charged doesn't exactly break the bank, and it gets rid of all the bedroom programmers who will be submitting the fart and cat photo apps who are in danger of reducing the ratio of signal to noise to something awful. The end user interested in useful apps doesn't want an App Store like that. The Pro-programmer doing serious work and seeking to make a living doesn't want it and the Appstore becomes unnavigable if there is too much crapware (discovery is already enough of a headache as it is).

Of course its important to encourage beginners, and everyone has to start somewhere, but you can, because you can download XCode for free, and this year Apple have changed the model such that everyone can compile code and install it on the device (previously if you had not joined the program, you could only install on the simulator).

You only have to pay to join the App Store once you are ready to distribute code. Also given Apple allow free apps, but review all apps before releasing them on the Appstore, it seems to me quite reasonable to charge at this stage, as that is when they are incurring the cost. Plus of course you get the opportunity to submit two incident report tickets should you need dedicated help from Apple.

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Ed Snowden should be pardoned, thunders Amnesty Int'l

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Re: Sadly

I'm not sure. I think it will happen. With a little time. Laws have been changed, legal cases have found the gathering of information was illegal and unconstitutional. There is no doubt it would not have happened without his action. He, Snowden, has been proven entirely correct and righted a wrong committed against all US citizens (shame it doesn't extend to other non US citizens). Those facts won't go away and will remain a reminder that a government will maintain petty spite rather than admit and correct wrong doing. Similar to how when politicians have done wrong and resign, after a bit of time they get recycled, the government will take some time, so they can maintain Snowden did wrong and maintain that they disagreed with how he went about it, but after some time it will be easier to pardon him than keep him an ongoing reminder of government pettiness and hypocrisy.

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Fanbois designing Windows 10 – where's it going to end?

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Re: Design by Comittee!!!

"The specific problem here is quite straightforward. Normal people don’t sign up in large numbers to try out very rough alpha software, or at least not knowingly."

The problem is consulting users to decide design choices at all. Years ago I used to do graphic design. Every now and then I would have a client sitting on my shoulder or a design would get reviewed by a marketing board or some such before it was complete. Almost every time this occurred, whenever there was a customer making decisions part way through the process, the result would be a dreadful compromise. Yet I know from experience, whenever the customer didn't have the opportunity to review work until it was complete and coherent, in general, they would prefer the work I had done. Getting understanding of user input and preferences is a good idea. In this regard, I'm pretty sure UI design will be the same as Graphic Design. Giving users power and choice during the design process is abdicating your design responsibility and a bad idea.

Of course every now and then I would come up with a dud design and every now and then the customer would have a great idea, so I'm not being dogmatic about this; just saying that in my experience, across the large volume of work I did, I know the clients were usually happier and (ironically) preferred the result when we could keep them out of the process until a final coherent design was delivered.

Referring to asking users what they want, Steve Jobs would quote Henry Ford. “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

The problem isn't a failure to ask normal people. It's a problem of a fear of design and abdicating design to normal people. Sinofsky didn't prove Microsoft needed to listen more, he simply proved he was a good politician and a bad designer and he lived in a political environment where the man who promised to save Windows (by welding it onto a tablet design) would survive. At Microsoft pure designer in the mould of Johnny Ive would have remained unpromoted and unloved.

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Apple: Relax, fanbois! We never meant to read your heart rate during wild wrist action

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When exercising, you use the workout app.

When at rest, the watch records your resting heart rate (which is a health function rather than a fitness function).

The watch also monitors how much you have exerted yourself during the day. You can set target for movement which is monitored in terms of calorie burn. The calorie burn calculations use heart rate data and regardless of whether you have used the workout app or not, a record of exercise gets added to your exercise record for the day, whenever you have an elevated heart rate. The heart rate measurements are taken less frequently when not in the workout app.

Yesterday I went for a cycle ride on a course I cycle often. I started the workout app and paused the workout part way through when I was waiting to meet a co-rider, but after we met, I forgot to unpause the app. It was a good daily session (about 45k), so I was annoyed when I realised I had failed to resume the workout app, assuming the exercise session would have failed to register against my daily target. When I checked the exercise app, the recorded calorie output was, as I expected, far lower than it should have been (about 550 calories when normally over that course it would have been about 1500+). However when I checked my daily exercise record, I was pleased to see my energy output had been recorded (so I still exceeded my daily target). Over 1200 calories had been added to my tracked exercise for the day. So this confirms the watch tracks exercise even when not in the workout app. However I noticed the amount added was about 20% less than it would normally have been if I had used the exercise app throughout the course.

So, to me it is clear the behaviour of the watch is:

1. Any elevated heart rate is tracked as exercise and added to your exercise record. If you are not specifically in the workout app, the sampling rate is clearly lower. It may take a while before the watch registers that you have an elevated heart rate. And once it decides you are exercising, my guess is that it does so less accurately (with a lower sample rate) than if you specifically start the workout app. It makes a record of your energy output for exercise tracking and checking if you are meeting daily targets (if you want that function), but, though it checks your heart rate every now and then, doesn't keep a record of your heart rate when it is elevated.

2. Switch on the exercise app and the tracking of energy output is more accurate and done with a higher sample rate for your heart rate. Plus it keeps a record of your heart-rate throughout.

4. When not in the exercise app, though the watch checks your heart rate, it only takes a record of your resting heart rate. I presume this behaviour is deliberate and is a health monitoring function (e.g. specifically not an exercise record). Resting heart rate is a significant health metric. Lower resting heart rate indicates a higher general fitness.

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Windows and OS X are malware, claims Richard Stallman

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Re: desktop web browsing that provides the cut down experience of the web

@Mage

Did you read the Benedict Evans piece? It's very well put. He takes a different angle on things. What he is is not saying is that the mobile web browser is better than the desktop web browser and would concede if you take that as the narrow definition of the web then the point does not hold. The point he is making is more profound than that. He does not see much value in any longer taking a constrained view of what constitutes the web because that no longer reflects particularly well how we are spending our Internet connected time. If we define the web, as powered by http and JSON type services (e.g. not just the HTML web), in conjunction with Apps, it turns out mobile is offering a much richer experience because the mobile device embodies and provides continual access to a large range of sensors either not available or less conveniently accessed/used in the context of desktop or laptop. So now we have apps like What's-App, Foresquare, Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, Twitter, Siri/Google Now, Maps with Directions, Passpack for Scanning Loyalty cards, Strava for cycling and running - all these things are less constrained and better served and provide for richer use cases in the context of mobile (and often, in key regards, are better performing due to native app code) than their desktop web browser bound counterparts. My point above is that this is another way in which Stallman is failing to see how users are really using computing these days. He appears to be stuck in the browser centric world of 2006.

Also don't forget Facebook is working on an instant articles feature because users are becoming so attuned to app level performance, even the time it takes to load a page over http is now seen as a problem to be overcome. The user testing results for Facebook's instant articles are apparently outstanding (e.g. people really, really like them). So now newspapers are in a panic fearing, using the web and HTML alone, they will not be able to match the instant appeal of news articles delivered via Facebook.

This actually is an area where I do start to agree with Stallman - only I think there needs to be other strategies than an OSS OS. It won't be good if the majority of text articles we read are being delivered by a proprietary social network.

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Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

"Apple has devised a clever anti-freedom model of black box fashions."

And this is the key point Stallman seemingly fails to appreciate. The way Apple is anti-freedom is the same way the modern motor car is "anti-freedom." The freedom inhibited isn't what the the user cares for; the freedom to pull the engine to pieces and service it on your kitchen table. 99% of users are only interested in whether their car will take them where they need to go, preferably without ever having to personally service the engine. And that of course isn't inhibited at all. Indeed, as comared with Linux, as much as it has improved over the years, lay users find they are positively empowered as they find laptop, phone, tablet and now watch all work seamlessly together. Plus as Benedictine Evans has noted, it's now desktop web browsing that provides the cut down experience of the web (the http services "web" not html web) as compared with mobile.

Mobile first

So the chance of convincing the lay user to abandon the richer user environment in preference for a desktop os they don't feel they need, don't want to have to service and that doesn't integrate as well with their phone... Well we are seeing the result.

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VR rift OPENS UP: Total Recall Technologies hurls lawsuit at Facebook's Oculus

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Usually the plaintiffs will put forward their strongest argument summarising the case to curry sympathy from the point if first reading. The fact the summary they have given doesn't present anything like a knock-down case is in and of itself revealing. The legal text quoted for example doesn't say Luckey was inhibited from competing with his own work. Just because you do some work for someone, they don't own you or your knowledge of the space you are working in. Non disclosure is not equal to non-compete (nor is an exclusivity agreement). They may have been disclosing information to him he was already aware of from his own work in the area. Additionally it's interesting they are suing for breach of contract and not for patent infringement. So it would seem Luckey hasn't stolen their invention at all. He's just decided to do a headset in the same field as he was already working (and for which he was employed - because he was already knowledgable of the field). I could imagine the people who employed him left spluttering - "no our young minion is daring to act as a non-minion, and doing rather well, get back to your station minion"

Over time as the minion has done very well indeed and in terms of business expansion and sale to Facebook that annoyance probably turned into a gleam in the eye accompanied by hands being rubbed together.

Of course I'm saying all this without sight of all the evidence, so could be way off base.

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Adult FriendFinder hack EXPOSES MEELLIONS of MEMBERS

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Re: Phew

@frank ly Now you just have to hope El Reg doesn't get hacked because seeing as you've just 'fessed up on here !

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Apple announces 'Home' iOS 9 app to run the Internet of Stuff

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Re: oh £100 light bulbs with that special glow

"There is only one meaningful use case for IoT - preventative maintenance"

Imagination fail.

We live in a world where power tools and lawn mowers can be purchased for like 2p (ok I exaggerate a little, but cummon' prices are now ridiculously low), and you think the ONLY meaningful use case is "preventative maintenance." Nonsense. Soon pretty much every household mechanism will be WiFi enabled and computer controllable and at an extremely cheap price. Even for Apple users. Light bulbs, blinds, curtains, thermostats, locks, music systems, heating. Heating when you leave the house. Off. As you approach home. On. Front door lock as you approach the front door from outside; unlocked. Fridgeswith image recognition, barcode recognition and mould detection, connected directly to your online food shop order. Robotic vacuum cleaner that activates only when you leave the property. Remote unlock will allow you to things like let your kids friend in the house who has arrived early before you have got back. And that's just what I can think of doing a 30 second brainstorm.

The point is these are small conveniences, but once there is a standard where doing these thing "just works" and the price is low (which it will be), sure as eggs are eggs we will all be IoT users.

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Record smartphones sales, but feature phones far from dead

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"any questions about who sold what and to whom are met with a mumble"

Doesn't have a regional breakdown, but for Q1 this year the following is estimated but with some justification -

Top 5 vendor Android handset sales:

HTC 5.0m

Sony 7.9m

LG 15.4m

Samsung 83.3m*

Combined Operating Profit (top 5 combined) $2.09 bn

Apple handset sales 61.17m

Apple Operating Profit $11.27 bn

Source: Charles Arthur

*see the footnotes in the linked article

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Steely wonder? It's blind to 4G and needs armour: Samsung Galaxy S6

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Re: Not the fastest?

@AC You are reading the wrong websites then. The most scientific of the technical review websites are Anandtech (these guys are serious silicon boffins and have always given the most detailed breakdown of silicon capabilities of any site out there).

The reality is these measures mean increasingly little to real world use, however Samsung are still beaten by Apple in almost every category. Pretty impressive For Apple, since they have been out for the better part of a year now and showing that when systems need to be tuned for lower power consumption, a greater number of cores is not a synonym for better performance.

benchmarks

@werdsmith, great answer

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Apple's Tim Cook and Salesforce's Marc Benioff DECLARE WAR on anti-gay Indiana

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Re: It's never black or white.

"Is Apple's influence such a good thing when thinking about corporate tax laws, the 100+ billion they're hiding in tax heavens?"

It's interesting how erroneous memes start with loose thinking. Apple are frequently cited in articles on tax avoidance (perfectly legal) these days, so it seems reasonable to make the sweeping statement they are hiding 100+ billions in tax havens. Except they aren't. They are keeping their money in the jurisdictions where they earned it and not moving it to the U.S. because when you move money doing so attracts tax. When no tax is due, there's no point in moving money back to the U.S. or any other place in the world, until you need it there for a reason. Otherwise if you later need to move your money elsewhere in the world you will have needlessly paid tax where it simply wasn't owed in the first place.

Indeed Tim Cook is on record as stating Apple do not use financial instruments for side-ways effects on tax (do not use instruments for effects other than their intended purpose - so no loans from one Apple subsidiary company to another to reduce profit margins in higher tax jurisdictions ) and they do not move money to to jurisdictions it isn't needed other than for the purpose of tax reduction. Those are actually pretty strong statements and deserve to be acknowledged. Especially when certain competitors who are trying to claim the moral high ground and do make use of financial instruments purely for their sideways tax effects and do move money to tax havens when it is not required there to cover any genuine operational costs. Google I'm looking at you.

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Ford: Our latest car gizmo will CHOKE OFF your FUEL if you're speeding

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If they won't play nice providing a hack we can always send Clarkson round to punch a few engineers.

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Banks defend integrity of passcode-less TouchID login

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Often written I know, but my bank First Direct, started phoning me and then asking ME to provide my security id details to them - an anonymous person calling out of the blue - to prove who I am !!!

Whenever they have done this I ask - are you seriously asking customer to divulge security details to an anonymous caller? Adding "Really ?" At this point to compound the stupidity, they display a complete lack of understanding as to how authentication works, by suggested a number I can phone them back on !!!

Of course I could do a search to check the number belonged to them, but most customers won't be doing that.

I notice they no longer do this, but still, the fact a bank adopted this policy in the first place is beyond belief.

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Apple's portable power podule patent promises paroxysms of fanboi joy

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Re: I don't get it

In this case, I think your analysis is entirely correct. People are so up in arms about software patents, these days they very often jump the gun where criticism of hardware patents is concerned, but in this case it very much appears to be an obvious combination of existing techniques. Indeed techniques that have already been combined with different fuel cell technologies a few times over. All tech companies file patents for everything they can however. Unfortunately the US Patent Office tends to approve far too many of them.

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Analyst dons Tim Cook mask, thinks: Glass went well for Google. Let's do that, too

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I predict the Pope is going to say a prayer sometime in the coming week.

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Google adds evil-code scanning to Play Store

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Re: Apple's process isn't fully automated

"The last thing they want is apps from bad actors attempting to report back data that informs the author what has been tested by the App Store team - or worse, tries to report back on their test centre network configuration."

Indeed most likely, the app is run first on a simulator on a VM, then on a device attached to a VM with no outside connections to anything including other simulators/apps under test.

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Re: Apple's process isn't fully automated

@wolftone You have submitted an app without testing it on a device. OK we will let that pass as its' your risk.

You seem to think the lack of a callback email from your app indicates Apple didn't test it. I can assure you they are not going to test app submissions of never seen before code whist connected to the Internet. Not a chance. The last thing they want is apps from bad actors attempting to report back data that informs the author what has been tested by the App Store team - or worse, tries to report back on their test centre network configuration. I'm sure you understand why. Especially if such data involves a secure link they can't see inside of. They will run the app first on a closed intranet and check if it attempts connections to the right kind of services before testing on a connected network, if indeed they feel they need to ever bother with the latter.

They will also be scanning for conditional code that might change the purpose of the App at a later date, though it can be difficult to find such if it is well disguised.

You seem to be implying Apple should have done your testing for you and their testing is somehow deficient because they didn't and you released a broken app ! I would suggest it's not a good idea to advertise your approach to QA and app release to the public at large on the Internet.

Apple are perfectly prepared to let an App developer hang himself with his own code. They learned some time ago when to intercede and when not to. Their testing will check for system compromising crashes (crashes can interrupt file write operations and can in certain circumstances lead to filesystem corruption), unreasonable resource usage, will check your app doesn't probe the sandbox in unreasonable ways. If your app is simply badly coded and untested on the device, that's your lookout and though they reserve the right not to, they are perfectly prepared to let such apps through - especially since they so often get flack when they reject apps if the submitter thinks the bugs are minor. Indeed it's easier for them to release all apps that do no harm to the system, and avoid the impression they are taking any responsibility for App QA.

So their testing is there to protect Apple, the iOS system and the user. Not you, your app or it's functionality or even your business - that's your lookout.

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