* Posts by DougS

3647 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

'iPhone 6S' to push fanbois around with 'Force Touch display'

DougS
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Re: An article about a rumour of an Apple product feature. Hmm, slow news day?

Haptic feedback isn't simply vibrating the whole device, it is selectively vibrating small areas of the screen (i.e. under the finger you force touched with, rather than other fingers that may also be touching the screen)

Apple filed patents a few years back showing this being done in a way that allows replicating the feel of various textures and raised/lowered surfaces under your fingers, so you feel like there's a button you actually depressed even though the screen does not physically change shape. Not saying they'll go that far as it may be too expensive or difficult to manufacture by the hundreds of millions, but given how Apple is always pushing to make the display thinner and thinner, a necessary precondition from their patents, who knows. They file a lot of patents they aren't able to follow through with, hopefully this will be one that makes it into products because it sounds like it could be useful if done right.

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THE TRUTH: IRS 'cyber-hack' exposes 100,000 people whose identities were already stolen

DougS
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Re: Thanks

Heard this reported on the evening news tonight, and they did indeed say the IRS was hacked. Journalists are so ignorant of technology it annoys me until I realize they are ignorant about all other fields as well. They aren't exactly getting the best and brightest, especially given the falling prestige of that career.

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First production car powered by Android Auto rolls out – and it's a Hyundai

DougS
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Re: My Car Is Not a Phone

The whole idea that hands free makes using a phone in a car safe has got to go. Studies have repeatedly shown that there is almost no difference - holding the phone in your hand or against your ear is not what distracts you, it is the act of carrying on a conversation with someone who is not in the car with you.

While speech to text is certainly more safe than tapping out messages with your head down, it is still a distraction as you have to monitor what it thinks you said and correct it when it gets it wrong.

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Amazon sighs, may slip hands into trousers to pay some UK corp tax

DougS
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Amazon barely makes money anywhere

Going after Apple, Google, Microsoft, even Facebook I can understand. But Amazon? They aren't hiding their income overseas, they're hardly making any. Its the last dot com bubble stock that's yet to burst, as investors continue to believe that someday they'll start making billions.

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Chap mines Bitcoin with PUNCH CARDS and ancient mainframe

DougS
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Nothing. Nor will dollars be worth anything. In 10^14 years I expect that entropy will be getting to be a real problem, so that energy you wasted on the calculations would be worth many orders of magnitude more than the entire wealth of planet Earth back here in 2015.

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Boffins silently track train commuters without tripping Android checks

DougS
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Re: Why not prompt for accelerometer?

Even if you have an app that has a legitimate need for it, that doesn't mean it can't also use the permission for "evil". Let's say you played a game this morning for a bit. Unless you killed the program once you're done with it, how do you know it isn't still grabbing your accelerometer data when you go to work tomorrow?

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Mozilla finds a way to tunnel Firefox into iOS

DougS
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Avoiding Google's tracking

OK, that's a reason to use it on Android, though other browsers like Opera would work equally for that too. That doesn't apply to iOS though.

The point about WebKit being a monoculture on iOS is a concern, but Apple can roll out security updates very quickly if there's ever a truly serious issue arising from that. Unless hackers take over a major web site a serious attack is impractical as it requires social engineering to get people to visit your evil site.

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DougS
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This "hole" has always been known

Mozilla has just decided to waste resources making an iOS version no one wants. Unless there's some particular value proposition over Safari, I don't see why anyone should switch. They certainly haven't on Android.

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

DougS
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There's no legal requirement to sue as soon as possible

There are two reasons to sue if someone stole your idea (I have no idea of the facts, let's just assume for the moment that is what happened)

One, you want to stop them from selling theirs so your implementation can win in the marketplace.

Two, you want to be financially compensated from your role in making possible their financially successful product.

Strategy One only matters if you think you can successfully bring this idea to market yourself. That's not always the case. Even inventors of some pretty major ideas have been unable to do that. Think about who invented the GUI, and who made it financially successful - Xerox was no lone inventor nor short of resources, but it took Apple to popularize it and Microsoft to make it ubiquitous.

You seem to be arguing that they should sue the moment they know someone has stolen their idea, but the law doesn't say they have to do that. Nor does the law in Europe. You have to defend trademarks in that manner, but not patents. If you are pursuing Strategy Two you want them to be successful in the market so you have something to recover, so you wait until that's the case.

They waited until there was a launch date for the Oculus announced, so they can get their cut for their part in its invention. They could have waited until 2020 hoping it would become the next iPhone so they could really cash in, but by waiting until after its release they run the risk it will flop and they get nothing. By suing now they hope for a lump sum payment based on its hype value plus a royalty. If its a mega hit they'll get less that way but the lump sum would mean they get something no matter what.

It will be up to the courts to decide whether they had any part in its invention, and if so what they deserve in compensation.

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Factory reset memory wipe FAILS in 500 MEELLION Android mobes

DougS
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Re: iOS devices potentially have the a similar problem

There is no conceivable way around this. You either have to be able to perform an attack against the encrypted data, which is a problem for everyone using AES if there is such an attack, or you have to have possession of the device before the key is erased. There are methods to get the key off similar products such as Bitlocker, by booting the device into Linux and dumping the memory contents during early boot. You can't do that against iOS but with enough (read a LOT of) resources you probably could find a way to do something like that.

But the important thing to note here is that you'd have to have my phone BEFORE I wipe it. Once I wipe it, you can't get squat from it. The article is about weakness in Android's erasure - so everyone who did a factory reset before selling/giving away their old phone potentially gave away their data (to the 0.0001% of people who would care to try this against a random phone they bought second hand)

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DougS
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Re: In other news: Security hole found in all OSes!

Not sure how serious your statement was, but an OS using full disk encryption, like iOS or Windows with Bitlocker enabled, simply has to dispose of the key and any data written on the partition(s) protected by it is instantly and permanently inaccessible.

I would assume that while Google probably implemented this in Android, it wasn't the default because in order to support it across a wide range of hardware capabilities they couldn't sure that every device would possess hardware able to support FDE. Whatever Android version made or will make FDE a requirement is the minimum one you'd have to be on to be safe from this, because you can't trust OEMs to care about stuff like this.

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Driverless cars deal DEATH to Detroit, says Barclays

DougS
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Fewer more expensive cars

They will have to be built to a higher standard to be able to "pile on the miles" as the author says. Apple seems to do pretty well selling fewer more expensive phones. So it is certainly possible for Detroit to have a bright future when driverless cars are the norm...whether it goes that way for them is another matter, of course.

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Airplane HACK PANIC! Hold on, it's surely a STORM in a TEACUP

DougS
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Don't rely on passengers to catch this

Passengers are good at spotting stuff they know is suspicious based on what they've heard on the news, like someone trying to break into the cockpit or generally acting crazy. A guy fiddling around under his seat isn't likely to raise alarms, especially when there are only one or two people in his row who could even see it. If he was seated next to people who doze off during a flight, he wouldn't even have to come up with an explanation like "I dropped my pen and it is jammed under the seat somehow"

If he's in a window seat with the tray table down and his laptop out, even a wire from the window side USB port connected to something under the seat is unlikely to be noticed, as he can be sitting on all but the last few inches.

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Apple Watch rationing caused by the MOON GOAT, not quality

DougS
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Re: No ones forcing Apple to build in china

It would be even harder to build quantities here at the level Apple needs. If they did it probably wouldn't create many jobs once the plant was built & equipped, as it would be cheaper to automate production.

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DougS
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Wouldn't Apple have been informed of this?

Releasing the Watch at a time where there would be many workers taking vacation during a period critical for getting stock up to launch levels seems like a bad decision on their part. I'm not aware of any particular reason why they had to release it in April, rather than May.

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Feds: Bloke 'HACKED PLANE controls' - from his PASSENGER seat

DougS
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If you're trying to warn people of the danger

What was he supposed to do if they won't listen? A demonstration would be required. If he really did what he said, he provided that demonstration. He may end up facing jail time for it, but taking him to court would require proving what he attempted to do and what the effect was so it'll all come out unless his trial is classified. Even if it is it'll force those who have access the transcript in the FAA to quietly force changes that fix the issue.

Now I would hope no one is stupid enough to have ANY sort of interconnection between the avionics and in-flight entertainment systems, but despite those who just cry 'impossible!' without listing some heavyweight industry credentials in the matter other than what "five minutes of research on the internet told them" I can easily see how this would happen.

Here's how: when the airlines first added the screens one of the first things it could do is show the plane's position. Now there are many ways to accomplish that, but the easiest from a software perspective is to tie it into the avionics system and have it grab the info there. The developers would argue it is fine because "it is just a single API for a read-only call that is exposed" or "there will be a requirement of a firewall between the two systems". We all know what those precautions are worth in the real world, but many developers seem ignorant of the facts of software bugs.

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Jeb Bush: Repeal Obamacare and replace it with APPLE WATCHES

DougS
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Re: Typical republican conservative bullshit.

Don't worry, once the red tape is loosened and it can be imported, it'll somehow cost $1,000 and they'll recommend booster shots every five years.

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Stolen an Apple watch? Want to pawn it off? Good news!

DougS
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Version 1.0

Good thing for the criminals the software can't be updated and Apple has sold 100s of millions of these so they're everywhere.

Oh wait, neither is true, so what does it matter? Even if they never fix it, that just puts it on par with every other wearable on the market, let alone true watches. Or do Rolex and Phillippe Patek have some secret way of remote disablement of their five and six figure watches I'm not aware of?

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Don't look now: Fujitsu ships new mobe with EYEBALL-scanning security

DougS
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This is mostly useless

As others have pointed out, it suffers from the same flaws as fingerprint scanners in that it is not all that secure and you can't revoke a compromised finger or iris.

But even to the convenience factor that is the main point behind Touch ID, it is nice because you can automatically unlock the phone as you pick it up so it is instantly ready. Not so if you have to focus your eyes onto the camera in order to unlock it. Granted that's not much time to wait, and is still quicker than a PIN/password but with a simple touch unlock it is a lot more fluid and doesn't require you to look at it - i.e. when my girlfriend sends a quick text under the table at dinner because she knows I'll give her crap about it if I see the phone :)

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Why Joe Hockey's Oz tax proposals only get five out of 10

DougS
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@Ironclad

If Apple starts to make a loss, that information will be taken into account when people decide what they're willing to pay for / accept for Apple shares, and their value will go down. That's true whether or not they are losing a billion a year with two billion in the bank or a billion a year with 200 billion in the bank.

If that happened, the value of Apple would eventually approximate the value of the cash they held - Apple stock would be like shares of a giant mutual fund with very conservative investments (almost all their money is in T-bills and similar instruments, so it isn't exactly invested for a high return)

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Business or pleasure? Crucial MX200 and BX100 1TB SSDs

DougS
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Re: How about the part that matters?

If you are concerned about cached data being lost, check/fix your OS to be sure that writes are not reported as complete when written to cache, but have to be written to media. Not sure how to do that on Windows, but it is simple to do for Linux.

Most people don't consider that to be a problem, the real issue with drives without power loss protection is that the internal FTL tables can become corrupted if the power fails at the wrong time, which loses all your data. The MX200 (and MX100) prevents that. Yes, you lose data in the cache when power fails, but after a file system check you're fine. If you think such data loss is bad, consider that this is also the case WITH EVERY HARD DRIVE EVER MADE. That's why servers require data to be written to the media, or use hardware (arrays, etc.) with NVRAM flash.

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Rand Paul: I'll filibuster the hell outta the Patriot Act, fellow Americans

DougS
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Re: "Outside the USA"

Rand Paul is not from the religious nutter wing of the republican party - though he has "adjusted" his views to be a bit more in alignment with them since it is unfortunately necessary to fool them into thinking he's on their side to win the republican nomination.

He supported defense cuts and greatly reducing the scope of foreign intervention. Not complete isolationism, but much closer to that than the current US strategy of "engagement". He's changed his tune on that recently - because it is necessary to placate the mostly war-monger conservative wing of the party that votes in primaries - but I don't think he'd lead that way if he was elected because it isn't what he truly believes in.

I think the rest of the world would much rather have him as President of the US than Hillary, whose foreign policy would be indistinguishable from that of Obama, whose foreign policy has been indistinguishable from that of Bush.

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DougS
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Re: Except fictional...

Filibusters are used by the minority to stop the majority. If you look at something in hindsight, social progress is going to be held back by the minority before they no longer can, and eventually that minority becomes the majority.

It is easy to look at trying to stop integration in 1965 as "evil" from your seat in 2015. If you could look at what the fights will be over in 2065 you might find yourself on the side of the filibusterers, just like someone in 1965 would likely find themselves on the side of those trying to prevent gay marriage in 2015 (some of those who were alive in 1965 and against it then have changed their opinion, just as some who were against integration in 1915 changed their mind by 1965) "Evil" in the sense you use it is relative. Society evolves and changes, but not all at once.

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DougS
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Re: And the nominees are...

I hope you weren't being serious. If the dems nominate Bernie Sanders it'll be the Mondale/Dukakis days all over again where they fall in a landslide to any decent republican candidate and would lose even to an extremist like Scott Walker. Eastern liberals (worse a self described socialist in Bernie's case) do not have a chance in US elections, no matter how much liberal democrats may wish they did. It is the same extremist fantasy that keeps republicans talking about people like Palin or Walker.

The only viable alternative the democrats have is Elizabeth Warren, but it is unclear if she'll even run. Since it has been fait accompli that Hillary would win the nomination easily, there's been no attention on anyone else in the democrat ranks who might have otherwise been in the news and started to make a name for himself like previous unknowns like Rubio did for the republicans.

Hillary is almost certain to win the nomination, and the democrats have no one to blame but themselves for assuming that for so long that no one else wants to even challenge her. If the religious right sends an extremist against her, she'll win despite her baggage. If the republicans have some sense and go for someone the people in the vast middle ground of voters can relate to, they'll likely beat her.

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Gaze upon the desirable Son of Alpha: Samsung Galaxy A5

DougS
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USB port does not support hosting?

They are even copying Apple in the limitations! The non removable back is understandable though dropping the SD card support in the S6 is more questionable. But why would they drop USB hosting support? That's software, and doesn't make it any cheaper. It is almost as if Apple is secretly running their engineering department, trying to eliminate anything Apple haters see as a reason to criticize the iPhone when comparisons are made.

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All-Russian 'Elbrus' PCs and servers go on sale

DougS
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@Ledswinger

But the Yanks having all but confirmed that theory, they invite the Russians and Chinese to conclude that no US companies or technology can be trusted. So, the NSA have worked diligently to freeze US corporations out of the half of the world that don't get on with the US

...

They didn't "invite" this, they were just foolhardy enough that to think that they could keep their activities a secret or at least a tinfoil hat level theory. Edward Snowden showed them the error of their ways - this is why there's so much outrage directed at him. They don't care about most of their secrets, but the extent of the cooperation (if you can call it that when it was done under implied threat) from US corporations to the NSA's spying was something they really believed they could keep under wraps. If Snowden hadn't blown the whistle, all it would have taken would be for a couple highly placed people in companies like Cisco to risk the possible consequences of disclosure.

The thing is, China surely does this to an even larger extent given their political and economic structure. Like the US, they surely spy on their friends as well as their enemies. China signed a "no spying" agreement with Russia that presumably gives Putin a way to buy gear from China instead of the US but probably guarantees him and his cronies kickbacks which is the real reason behind it all. Most counties in the world, whether they are more friendly to the US or more friendly to China, don't want to be spied on by either. If I were them I'd use a mixture of equipment from both, so neither could easily get the full picture (i.e. if you can walk through "your" firewall you gotta hack your way through the other guy's firewall behind it)

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DougS
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Unfortunately, it appears to be delivering the performance that was promised 15 years - I am pretty sure I remember it was targeted at 800 MHz...

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NASA plans electrolysis-powered ROBOT EEL for Europa's oceans

DougS
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Re: Ice

There was already talk about using RTGs to generate heat for a probe to (very) slowly melt its way down the ice to the ocean. Once it reaches liquid water the eel can be released to wander around.

The big issue as I see it is how to communicate back what it finds because it sure won't be able to do so through 10 miles of ice. Can the probe melting its way down unspool a fiber behind it that's connected to something on the surface? That way the undersea probe can seize the line once it reaches water and releases the eel and the eel can stay within contact of the probe which acts as a relay to the surface.

Easy for me to say, but trying so many new things at once something is bound to go wrong. Not even counting the possibility of the eel and/or the probe being eaten if Europa's oceans are as interesting as we'd all like them to be...

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Ericsson to Apple: Cough up for licences or stop selling iPhones, iPads and Watches

DougS
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@AC

Which "architecture formed around iOS" would that be? It is based on OS X, which Apple released over 14 years ago which is based on NeXT's kernel which is around 25 years old which is itself based on CMU's Mach microkernel and BSD which are even older. If Ericsson has a patent that covers the basic architecture of iOS, it is invalid either due to age or prior art.

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DougS
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Re: Does Apple make any of the parts?

Saw another article that confirms Ericsson is trying to charge based on the price of the whole phone, rather than the chip they buy from Qualcomm that implements Ericsson's FRAND patents.

On that basis, I guess if Airbus built LTE into an A380, Ericsson would expect to be paid 2% of $100 million or whatever an A380 sells for?

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DougS
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Re: Does Apple make any of the parts?

Apple designs the A9 etc. SoC from the ground up, they have a foundry such as TSMC (A8) or Samsung (A7 and rumored for A9) stamp them out by the millions.

The 2G/LTE functionality is not in that SoC, however, it is in the Qualcomm modem chip. In the past, Qualcomm licensed the patents so Apple, Samsung and others who use their modem chips didn't have to deal with that. But a few years ago certain licensees decided to not license to the chipmakers for 2% (or whatever) of the chip's price and try to move up the chain and extort for 2% of the phone's retail price (giving them about 50x increase in licensing revenue)

I have no idea if that's what the dispute with Erisson is, but that is what Motorola tried to do to Apple and Microsoft and got slapped down by courts in the US and EU.

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No, really, that 12.9-inch MaxiPad is totally on the way now

DougS
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Re: Much like fusion power

They paid Fox News (or was it CNN) to use Surface tablets during last fall's election coverage, so the Surface tablets with their kickstand were featured prominently on their desks. One shot taken from a side angle revealed they were using the Surface tablets as kickstands to hold up their iPads :)

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DougS
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Much like fusion power

The 12.9" iPad is always six months from release.

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Uber and car makers jockey for Nokia's 'HERE' maps – report

DougS
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@Dan 55

Most western countries have some minimal standards for crashworthiness that are increased over time. If Tata wants to sell into the US or UK, they'll have to make those changes anyway.

Just because a car was 10x less likely to crash than if I was driving doesn't mean I'd want to have one that would burst into flames if there was a crash. People will still care about safety since a crashproof car can never be built.

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DougS
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Re: Article Error: Missing Context

I don't understand why that would be a threat. Cars aren't commodity items like PCs and never will be. Today the automakers do very well selling cars that can't drive themselves. If everyone used a freeware "OS" for the car they'd compete in exactly the same way as they do today.

The only threat is that if one or two of the automakers got way ahead of the others in making self driving work well, but the freeware was "close enough" to the best software it would dilute the value of the investment those companies had made to get ahead.

I'd really hate to contemplate what you'd have to give to Google in terms of personal data or watching ads to get free self-driving software. Will they collect data on how many fast food drive throughs you go through for health clubs to push ads at you, while McDonalds tries to make sure your next drive through has a big yellow M over it?

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Facebook 'fesses up to running an ideological echo chamber

DougS
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Depends on what is done with the "cross cutting" content

I see friends on either end of the political spectrum occasionally sharing "cross cutting" content with outage (typical of the conservatives) or sarcasm (typical of the liberals)

t isn't changing their minds; simply reading content that challenges one's viewpoint doesn't affect that viewpoint if your mind is already closed.

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Red-faced Germans halt NSA cooperation after Euro spying revealed

DougS
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"Socialism" in the name

Irrespective of where they belong on the left/right scale, having "socialist" in the name does not mean they actually are socialist. Ever read 1984?

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Ex-NSA security bod fanboi: Apple Macs are wide open to malware

DougS
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Well, this article talks about a lot of ways that you could exploit OS X, not that it is actually happening. And some of it is retrospective, i.e. "until recently all Mac security software packages downloaded over unencrypted http connections" so he's listing stuff that's already been fixed.

Granted, not checking that signed applications stay signed to prevent local modification is a hole that should be closed, but Windows doesn't do this either and while Linux supports signed updates I'm not aware of any distro that signs the binaries and enforces the check. Apple is still well ahead of those because OS X and especially iOS utilize signed code far more broadly. Assuming they fix this issue it'll also fix the shared library issue he brings up.

It is good to point out issues, but calling out that anti-malware software on OS X isn't capable of detecting or defending against the sort of stuff nation-states create is irrelevant. The same is true for Windows, that's why when stuff like Stuxnet and its descendants is discovered, it is years after it was initially deployed. No one can detect that stuff - that's the whole point of it, with nearly unlimited budgets you can always stay several steps ahead of the AV world's and operating system's ability to detect it.

It costs much less to find a hole to exploit than close all exploitable holes, so when you put a nearly unlimited budget on the search for holes you always win because you only need to find a few to win while Apple/Microsoft/etc. would need to find them all to win. You basically have to accept that you can't defend against the likes of Stuxnet no matter what OS you run. The fools who think using that KGB phone or OpenBSD will protect from spooks at that level will find that out in short order if a large government has a reason to target them enough to deploy that level of resources.

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Would you trust your DNA with APPLE? HealthKit lined up as genome data trafficker

DougS
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Why Apple

This is all about reducing friction for getting involved in such efforts. If you have the data in HealthKit, and researchers have various projects going on they issue a "call for volunteers" via HealthKit, it is easy to get involved. Today the bar is a lot higher, both for people who want to help advance science and researchers who want to get access to volunteers.

This could be done on a website or app, but it is a lot easier for Apple to get the critical mass needed to make this successful than it would be for almost anyone trying to start a website with the same purpose. While Apple's security will never be perfect, keeping the data encrypted on your phone makes it more secure than if it was kept on a website where it is available to hackers the next time there's a 0 day for Apache or IIS.

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Hey! Want a FREE TOASTER that makes BITCOIN? What? You DO?

DougS
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Re: Free Leccy

The solar panels cost far more than just buying the electricity would over the short lifetime of one of these bitcoin ASICs.

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Building the world's biggest telescope array - with machines that don't yet exist

DougS
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Even if they were able to use GPUs, which were a win for Bitcoin until they went to ASICs. Sad that a shady "currency" is getting custom hardware support and not real science...

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Nothing BEATS a good anti-trust investigation, eh, Apple?

DougS
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Re: And Mail?

I don't understand your complaint. Apple lets you use a different mail app but you think it is a "fail" because you don't like where that preference is changed? Microsoft didn't let you change the default browser at all until they were forced to do, and things didn't work right when you did so. Your comparison is a FAIL.

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Netflix wipes blood of Comcast/TWC from its blade, charges toward AT&T/DirecTV

DougS
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Netflix is really stretching here

They claim they're an "upstart"....have they checked their market cap? They've been around over a decade as the previous poster mentioned - that's a couple centuries in Silicon Valley years!

They're also worrying about something theoretical for AT&T they think might possibly happen. Yeah, they might become a major broadband provider, IF they make all the massive investments they say they plan to make. I guess Verizon is just planning on letting AT&T own the wireless broadband market? Same for Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular? AT&T will not be without competition, and where they offer broadband now they are not without competition - because every market where they offer DSL there's a cable company offering internet too.

The coming of fixed wireless will mean rural customers will have more broadband competition than most city/suburb dwellers by the early 2020s.

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PEAK PC: 'Most' Google web searches 'come from mobiles' in US

DougS
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How long before the FTC starts sniffing around?

65% of desktop market and 92% of mobile market - with the mobile search market now larger than desktop? That's 80% overall and climbing fast - similar to Microsoft when the FTC first started looking at them. It would sure be a lot easier to break up Google Search from "everything else" Google does than it would have been to split off Windows from everything else.

Certainly their conduct in the way their search monopoly always prioritizes their own properties (maybe not #1 rank every time but first page every time) is much like the way Microsoft leveraged their Windows monopoly to help Office / Server sales to the tune of many billions each (and tried to help Windows Mobile, MSN and other products that were so terrible even a monopoly couldn't help them)

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Mars needs TRAFFIC COP to stop probe prangs, says NASA

DougS
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Re: "... the odd orbits we've selected ..."

To some extent they were 'selected' by fuel limitations to get the orbiter out of Earth's gravity, to Mars, but stopping at Mars. Different orbiters were launched at different points in Earth's and Mars' orbits, taking different amounts of time to get there, so the delta x / delta y velocities relative to Mars were different. It is easier to brake into an eccentric orbit than into a circular orbit.

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Plod wants your PC? Brick it with a USB stick BEFORE they probe it

DougS
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Re: would it not be better to...

For an SSD? A few milliseconds to trim the entire range of the partition in question. Big advantage for SSDs in that regard, erasing a hard drive partition requires actual writes and if you're doing Really Bad Stuff, a half dozen overwrites to be sure.

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DougS
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"Plausible deniability"

That's easy, have a separate partition from which you run a VM where you do all your "day to day" stuff. A nice innocuous gmail account where you collect spam and get notifications for Amazon shipments, ordinary web browsing where you post stuff to the Reg and surf for a bit of porn, have a few apps installed like Turbotax and do your taxes there.

Since you'd be using it on a daily basis it would look 'fresh' but the other VM where you do Bad Things would disappear without a trace by the time police get their hands on it.

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DougS
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Re: Automatic bricking...

You can have the encrypted data syncing to the cloud via a VPN that goes to TOR back through another VPN and back through TOR. If the USB device tied to your wrist is removed the encryption key for the hard drive is dropped and the contents of the SSD are instantly erased. That will also save you if something happens to accidentally trigger it. They won't be able to find out about that encrypted copy on the cloud because the hard drive will be erased.

If you're clever you can resist arrest just enough that they tase you, and your lawyer can claim the Taser in close proximity to your laptop erased the SSD.

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Zuck'ed up: Facebook opens up free internet in India – but bans HTTPS

DougS
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Data gathering and ad insertion

That's why they won't support HTTPS or more complicated delivery stuff like Javascript and iframes. If it is encrypted they can't sniff the traffic for data mining, if the delivery isn't simple they can't insert their own ads into it (maybe they'll even replace someone else's ads, depending on how India's laws are written) So yeah, it is "free", depending on your definition of free...

Facebook doesn't like Google recently catching up to it in terms of evil, so they're making a big move to stay well ahead!

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Tesla Powerwall: not much cheaper and also a bit wimpier than existing batteries

DougS
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Anyone have specs on the Powerpack?

That's the 100 kwh commercial version. They've been pretty forthcoming with the specs on the Powerwall, but I haven't seen anything on its bigger brother.

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