* Posts by R 11

184 posts • joined 14 Jul 2009

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IBM marketeers rub out chopper after visit from CEO Ginni

R 11

Re: @2Nick3 Just something to think about...

Does she not have a laptop?

This is IBM we're talking about. You're thinking about Lenovo; they're the ones with the laptops.

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R 11

Re: Just something to think about...

Can't Watson do that stuff? The accountant, auditor and executive reviewer can all have their P45.

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Ford to replace CEO with connected car division boss – reports

R 11

All new Ford's with Sync3 have 911 assist as standard. It uses Bluetooth and your cellphone to initiate an automated call reporting the accident and its location. That's been available for two years now. Standard feature with no subscription fee.

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R 11

Equally, last weekend I was driving outside Detroit, MI. A car made a left turn through two stationary lanes of traffic. Unfortunately, a women in a Porsche Cayenne was heading up the third lane at speed, invisible to the turning driver. She plowed straight into his pickup truck. Airbags went off.

We called 911 about thirty seconds later. On being connected to the operator I saw blue lights approaching from behind. We hadn't even relayed our position but the women's car had called emergency services with its location. That sort of tech can and does save lives.

Like most technology, it can be used for good or bad. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have it.

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This week's top token gesture: Google Chrome chokes energy-hungry background tabs

R 11

Renewable energy

Are we concerned about over=consumption of solar power and/or wind?

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/06/technology/google-says-it-will-run-entirely-on-renewable-energy-in-2017.html

Perhaps The Register is concerned Google will suck up all the sun?

http://www.discovery.com/dscovrd/tech/town-rejects-solar-panels-that-would-suck-up-all-the-energy-from-the-sun/

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'At least I can walk away with my dignity' – Streetmap founder after Google lawsuit loss

R 11

Re: My condolences.

"The irony of all this is that Google's maps really are just street maps. Streetmap's maps are maps of the terrain. No contest in my view."

Of course, you could turn on the terrain view in Google Maps - https://goo.gl/maps/UCJNtm4zhVu

Certainly it's not the same as an OS map, but topographic details are certainly there. At least in the US, this data has been available for a decade.

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AMD's had a horrible 2016: Never mind, it lost slightly less than half a billion this time

R 11

Only a year? My motherboard is ten years old in March. The CPU has been upgraded at least three times and still it plods along.

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LG's $1,300 5K monitor foiled by Wi-Fi: Screens go blank near hotspots

R 11

Re: YMMV

Or, if you read the article, you'd note that some users were able to mitigate by changing WiFi channel. It's possible that you could get a new neighbor who has a router blasting on the channel you're currently using. You might change you channel (or the airport could do it automagically if it's smart enough) and discover a problem - possibly after the warranty period expires.

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US healthcare under siege: Got good insurance?

R 11

Re: Doctor/Patient Privacy - NOT!

Sounds like you mean the Medical Information Bureau. That's run by insurance companies to detect fraud, not by the federal government.

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R 11

Re: The US Healthcare system is screwed up

Assuming you can't (due to geography or insurance) shop for a new doctor, why not use one of the many virtual GP services? You could spend $50 to see a doctor on mdlive within an hour and be picking up your script later the same day.

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Apple's car is driving nowhere

R 11

Re: Frankly...

Volvo apparently think that "autonomous technology will allow you to let your Volvo do the driving, giving you back control over your time. It will be a completely new, more convenient way to travel and we are already on the road to making it a reality."

http://www.volvocars.com/intl/about/our-innovation-brands/intellisafe/intellisafe-autopilot

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A USB stick as a file server? We've done it!

R 11

Re: More of this, please.

Do they sell for $40 and take up a tiny part of your carry on allowance?

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R 11

Re: More of this, please.

I've been using one for a while - or at least kids in the car have. These make long distance journeys much better, particularly if the kids have the not uncommon misfortune of having a 16gb iDevice.

Fill the stick up with 30 or 40 movies and you're off. The cheap one can stream to three devices simultaneously, I think the more expensive models can do even more. Battery life is only a few hours, but you can simply plug it in to a $10 USB battery or a car charger and it will work fine.

I don't see as many use cases for adults (I suppose the camping one might be valid if you're stuck in a tent during rain), but I'm surprised more parents groups aren't raving about this.

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Speaking in Tech: Nope, sorry waiter. I won't pay with that card reader

R 11

It may be a surprise to folk in the UK as I'm not aware of the BBC doing this, but NPR in the US does offer transcripts of radio programs and has done for some time: http://www.npr.org/sections/ombudsman/2009/08/free_transcripts_now_available.html

To folk outside Blighty, it might not be such an unreasonable request. Particularly for folk who are deaf, hard of hearing or simply in an open-plan office!

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Android Pay may, er, pay... providing it gets over security hurdle

R 11

Re: ok, i'm a stick the mud

Android uses the cloud to generate payment tokens. The phone stores a small number so that these can be used in a network black-spot.

Given that, for the likes of iTunes or Google Play, either operator is likely to already be storing a copy of your credit card details, I'm not sure this is a big concern. If you don't but anything online, you're unlikely to be opting in to either service.

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Android Pay debuts in UK

R 11

Re: I really don't get it...

How about, I no longer need to carry my wallet? Of course that requires widespread adoption, but it will come if customers demand it.

Secondly, there's the security aspect. Frankly I am much less concerned about the encrypted chip on my phone being compromised than I am about a store suffering a data breach and losing my details. With mobile payments a unique credit card number is generated for each transaction.

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Google Play infested with cash-stealing web apps

R 11

Re: Marvellous advice

It's a fair point, though I think he means visit your bank website - where you know the correct URL and can generally check the EV SSL certificate - and use a link from there to the correct app.

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Google, didn't you get the memo? Stop trying to make Google+ happen

R 11

Re: They did their dash with me

Because things like YouTube, Gmail, Google Docs and Google Voice have been so transient? There are plenty of Google Services that have suck around.

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Pirate captain blasts Google for its 'mystery' Chrome blob

R 11

Re: So the problem seems to be that....

You're absolutely correct, it's not tricky.

If these users trust the source code because they can read it, they can easily confirm that the binary blob is never called unless the user affirmatively opts in.

Surely that's exactly what's intended by an open source license that permits linking to closed source binaries? If you don't trust the binary, you can satisfy yourself that it is never called or if it were to be called you can modify the code. If those are beyond your skill level then you can pay someone appropriately qualified to perform the task.

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R 11

Re: "... Chromium, the open source sister of Chrome ..."

So the problem seems to be that users of Chromium who do trust the many millions of lines of Google contributed code in their browser don't trust Google not to transmit data other than after the keywords "OK Google" have been spoken?

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Secure web? That'll cost you, thanks to Mozilla's HTTPS plan

R 11

Re: But ...

Seriously? It's typical to have an https proxy? I've not seen one anywhere I've worked, unless the likes of Google are in cahoots with them.

Out of curiosity, how many https proxies generate an EV certificate when the requested domain issues one?

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R 11

Re: But ...

It gets you lots more than that. Your entire GET request is encrypted. So if you browse the BBC news site at work, currently your boss can track not just your use of the site, but also what stories your interested in. Perhaps you show a sudden interest in cancer stories and so you lose your job in some downsizing just in case you go off on sick leave. With https, all your boss knows is that you spent 20 minutes reading the news.

By hiding the metadata https benefits more than just users of sites that personalize content.

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Fondleslab deaths grounded ALL of American Airlines' 737s

R 11

Re: Now an intelligent design

Nonsense. All the work before commissioning a vendor to write the software is portable to the second vendor.

Also, the first is likely to have asked most the questions you didn't think about, making it easier for the second.

If you have two suppliers work simultaneously you may get questions from both that make both products better.

As for the comment above about buying twice as much hardware, the article mentions the pilot and copilot's iPads both going blank. So you already have two devices, this is just about enduring there's redundancy beyond the physical device.

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Can't wait to bonk with Apple? Then try an Android phone

R 11

Admittedly, Google are late to roll out Google Wallet to the UK, but your experience is nothing like that of which Android is capable in the US.

I tap my phone and get a pin dialogue box. Enter my pin and confirm the payment. I can change which credit card I'm using if so desired.

The process is as seamless as you can really expect from a user point of view.

The problem for me is that I'm billed by Google rather than the store, and this limits my cash back substantially. That, however isn't Google's fault - the banks didn't want to play ball and instead wanted convoluted systems like the one you described.

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Google it onna Google phone onna GOOGLE NETWORK. MVNO plan imminent

R 11

It's worth pointing out that Republic Wireless already offer something very similar using the Spring network, with limited roaming to Verizon and calls and texts being routed over WiFi when connected to a decent signal. At $25/month for unlimited calls and texts and 5gb of data, it has a lot going for it.

It will be interesting to see how Goggle's approach differs in features and competes in price.

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Amazon listens to MORE of your private stuff

R 11

Re: Um....who uses these things?

I have one, and am awaiting a second. I can easily monitor its upstream bandwidth so for it to start transmitting vast amounts if conversation would stand out like a sore thumb.

Mostly it's used for playing music or listening to the radio. If I add some hue or wemo outlets, they'll amidst certainly be to control a few lights. Can't say I'm terribly fearful of someone hacking in and turning on the porch light randomly.

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Lenovo: We SWEAR we're done with bloatware, adware and scumware

R 11

Re: Too Late....

Interesting. Which vendors are you considering that don't use hardware sourced from China?

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Never mind Samsung, GOOGLE will EAVESDROP as you browse on Chrome

R 11

Re: @ R 11--Hotword

Maybe I believe Google because we know that in February 2011 after a gmail outage, some users had their data restored from tape backups.

As for your aiming problems, I guess that only your wife can accurately comment.

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R 11

Re: Hotword

A bit of selective quoting there. You missed the preceding sentence - "We aim to maintain our services in a manner that protects information from accidental or malicious destruction. "

Google backup to tape. When I click delete I do not expect a tape monkey to go scurrying around to find the tape and rearchive it absent my request to start a 45 minute timer.

I can completely understand that hitting delete is not instantaneous. Still, I think that if you click delete the data will be deleted, since to do otherwise would leave the company open to the most massive of class action litigation in the US. It simply wouldn't be worth the risk. And to think they could do it and keep it secret is ridiculous. Google have and will continue to fire people. If any one of them could get confirmation of a deliberate policy of retaining such data for future use by Google, they could inflict massive and likely permanent damage to the company.

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R 11

Re: We don't know how many "a few seconds" are and we'll never ...

Yeah, I tried multiple times with Chrome open and my phone in front of me. Neither would activate until I paused slightly before OK and after Google and removed the pause for the full stop in between.

Note that it only activates if Chrome has the window focus. Then the whole window changes and your computer beeps. So if, somehow, you did manage to make it accidentally trigger you'd know about it like the AC above said.

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R 11

Re: Hotword

Seriously? How often do you find yourself saying ' OK Google' in conversation. I have a Moto X and it's never once activated due to an accidental muttering of "OK Google".

Looking at the Moto X, no audio before the "OK Google" is transmitted since that is recognized in hardware. I haven't tried the browser plugin to see if it's significantly different. To be honest, I think Google are just covering the arse in case they get some extra audio.

If you're concerned about what you have transmitted you can listen to the actual data on the Google Voice & Audio Activity Page.

https://history.google.com/history/audio

Out of curiosity, do Samsung let you check and delete your search history from their storage and that of their third party service provider? How about Amazon and their Echo?

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First look: Ordnance Survey lifts kimono on next-gen map app

R 11

Google map maker

It's a bit disappointing that after three years the road access to Explorer House hasn't been added. However, I'm sure one of the OS staff could log in to Google Map Maker to add their entrance road and car park.

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Google Now now SLURPS data from third party apps so YOU don't have to

R 11

Re: Sigh!

Not sure why you feel the need to name call? Perhaps you're just feeling a bit insecure this evening.

As the post above says, I get to use s multitude of Google services for zilch. Of course that has value. In the days before gmail, most webmail providers offered a few tens of megabytes of storage.

But, like I said in my comment, I value things like Google now. I value list sharing in Google keep. I value free US phone calls and 3 cents a minute calls to UK Mobile numbers with Google voice. And in exchange for those services I value, in willing to exchange some information.

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R 11

Re: Sigh!

It does seem a little disingenuous for el reg to criticize apps for sending information to Google when the page containing such criticism is running Google Analytics.

Frankly, I find Google Now to be helpful. It's nice to know when to leave for an appointment, and since I placed the appointment in my Google Calendar, the fact Google knows about it doesn't usually come as a surprise. When my flight details are emailed to my gmail account, either I can read the message in gmail or I can read the same details in another format in Google Now.

If I didn't want it, I wouldn't have opted in. If I decide I don't want it, I can opt out.

Sure, there are privacy concerns, but they are more fundamental than Google. There are plenty of ad networks out there who are silently building treasure troves of personal information and delivering little or nothing in return. Apple may not be selling user data directly, but they're certainly collecting it. As are Amazon, Microsoft, Doubleclick and so many others.

These are issues that will take legislation to address. Stopping using Google would only solve a tiny bit of the problem.

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Amazon warming up 'cheapo web video' cannon to SINK Netflix

R 11

This

I'm still baffled by why Amazon think it a good business decision to boycott chromecast. I'm not buying an Amazon branded dongle for my telly when the one I've got works perfectly. And as a result, when I'm renting a movie at the weekend, I'm using the Play Store for no reason other than Amazon won't let me watch what using the device of my choice.

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T-Mobile US goes gaga for Wi-Fi calling, AT&T to launch in 2015

R 11

Re: Unbelievable..

I've had Wifi calling on my Android Moto-X with Republic Wireless for months. They've been offering it on other phones for a couple of years.

It's a nice feature, but at least Republic Wireless recognize this is cost shifting to the customer and so have cheaper plans ($25/month for unlimited talk/text and 5GB of 3g). The big networks offering this with the iPhone don't seem to be doing the same, so your broadband gets used, reducing congestion on their towers and you continue to pay exactly the same.

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Scottish independence: Will it really TEAR the HEART from IT firms?

R 11

Re: Registered office.

Funny, the link contains no mention of Headquarters or the word HQ.

RBS have said they expect the move to have no impact on functions or jobs.

The RBS letter to staff sent this morning states:

"'This is a technical procedure regarding the location of our registered head office, based on our current strategy and business plan. It is not an intention to move operations or jobs'."

So, where do you get this statement about relocating the head office? Because it certainly didn't come from anything RBS has made public.

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Payment security bods: Nice pay-by-bonk (hint: NO ONE uses it) on iPhone 6, Apple

R 11

Re: Help me out here...

Well, here it was the banks and mobile networks that didn't want to work with Google in a way that would allow Wallet transactions to go directly from merchant to bank. That, as I understand it, is why Google had to accept the payment and then effectively pay the merchant with their own card.

The reason was all the banks and mobile networks wanted a piece of the action, so we had various competing proposals that worked on some networks with some card issuers on some phones. And unsurprisingly there was no consumer take up.

After the banks and networks realized they couldn't do this, the ground was open for Apple to take advantage.

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R 11

Re: NFC useful or not debate Depends where you live

Though in the US, I'm required by law to carry my driver's license and therefore my wallet goes with me every time I drive. If I was in the UK, I don't need my driver's license (since I'm old enough that no one IDs me anymore). I could just grab my phone before going out and have one less thing to carry.

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Why Apple had to craft a pocket-busting 5.5in Plus-sized iPhone 6 (thank LG, Samsung etc)

R 11

Re: It's all about the screen size

Actually, I welcome the Apple move into payments, by keeping the transaction between you and your card issuer. With Google's wallet, if I make a purchase it goes through Google. Therefore I don't get the 5% cashback my card issuer will give me for shopping in a grocery store/petrol station/chemist etc.

If I was still receiving my cashback, I'd use my phone for any transaction I could, since it's easier to pull out my pocket then getting my wallet, opening it and pulling out the correct card.

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Moto 360: Neat gizmo – if you're a rich nerd

R 11

Re: siri et al

The Burnistoun sketch is hilarious and was the first thing I thought of when Google launched the speech recognition. Thankfully it has few of these problems, unlike most the commercial speech recognition implementations I encounter when phoning companies in the US. That's all the more remarkable given the much broader range of speech Google is required to detect.

What is really nice is the contextual correction, so if you speak a street name that sounds like, say Grand St. but then say in Nashville TN which only has a Grant St., Google will spot that and correct it to Grant St. automagically. (The example is made up, but I've seen it do this many times).

Obviously it's up to you whether or not you speak to Google, though if you ever call me and I don't answer, don't bother leaving a message. Google Voice will be recording and transcribing it for me.

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R 11

Re: siri et al

I use it all the time too. My kid asks a question that you'd normally look up with a search - how much does a blue whale eat in a day, how many rooms are in Buckingham Palace, etc.? Or I'm in the car and need to send a text message, or make a call or navigate somewhere new. All of these I can do quickly and reliably without touching my phone. And all that with a Scottish accent, it's pretty remarkable.

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Too slow with that iPhone refresh, Apple: Android is GOBBLING up US mobile market

R 11

Re: Comparing apples and....

Spend per device is a useful measure, but only to a degree. Popularity can change quickly - just ask anyone over at RIM/Blackberry.

If iPhone popularity were to fall significantly, and it would have to be a huge drop, then they'll start to lose app makers who will inevitably go where the money is.

Another problem Apple face is that, as phones become more feature filled as standard, the need for apps that are only available in the iOS ecosystem begins to fall. As that happens, so too does the extent of Apple's vendor lock-in that comes from customers not wanting to lose all their purchases.

I'm not predicting the demise of Apple, only pointing out that they will need to keep finding ways that allow customers to justify the price premium

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HTTP-Yes! Google boosts SSL-encrypted sites in search results

R 11

Re: $10/yr is the tip of the iceberg

Browser's hoot when they see a new self signed certificate because there's no trust involved. Anyone could have made that certificate. If you rely solely upon such a certificate, anyone could perform a MITM attack, and your encryption is now worthless.

If you don't want the browser to spit fire when it sees such a cert, install the certificate on the client. If you can't install the certificate, the only way to obtain a benefit from a self-signed certificate is to have the end-user actually view the certificate details and confirm the fingerprint matches one which has been securely transmitted to them. And that's a whole lot of hassle to save a few dollars.

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R 11

Re: $10/yr is the tip of the iceberg

Just how many wildcard domains would you need? They're less than $100 a piece.

If you're running a business setup that requires multiple domains and a content delivery network for your customer facing side of things, I'd be pretty surprised to learn that you don't already have certificate management in place. Crikey, when I managed the business side of such things, I had every site SSL accessible a decade ago.

If your contractors cannot manage SSL configuration, you need new and competent contractors. This stuff isn't rocket science.

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R 11

Re: When I can self sign, and provide my CA by side channel (e.g. DNSSEC)

Presumably you don't need a high google ranking. Otherwise, when an SSL cert is available for around $10/year it's a bit of a no brainer.

Encouraging the use of self-signed certificates is never going to happen. On a public facing website, their use only encourages users to blindly click through security warnings. Their only appropriate place would be where you have control over all the client devices so you can install your own certificate authority.

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Nanu nanu! Mork calling Orson on VoIP over 2G

R 11

Re: Proprietary compression technology

The licensing cost is likely trivial compared to the cost of developing a quality alternate codec that will have hardware decode/encode support that's necessary for decent scaling. But, if you really want to avoid the costs of licensing something that's been tried and tested, use speex which can work at similar bitrates.

I remain skeptical of any need or benefit from developing a proprietary codec.

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R 11

Proprietary compression technology

Why would you spend money developing a proprietary compression technology that carries voice in 11 kbps when g.729 runs at 8kbps and with extensions can get to 6.4kbps?

Either way, on 2G data this isn't happening. With consistent bandwidth g.729 is good enough, but on 2G mobile data latency and jitter will be big issues. Combine that with the ever decreasing cost of just making a call from your phone and there's no incentive.

In most the world, the cost of mobile calls are declining or being bundled as unlimited packages, whereas data is becoming more restricted. That reflects usage. If, in areas where calls are still pricy, there is any sudden shift to VOIP, carriers will just change their pricing structure.

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Operators get the FEAR as Ofcom proposes 275% hike in mobile spectrum fees

R 11

The paid for 900 and 1800, but not in cash

At least for the 900MHz block, and I think also for the 1800 block, operators had population coverage requirements to meet. So they paid for the allocation in terms of rolling out masts.

If only the government had adopted that stance with 3G and 4G and these small islands would have close to 100% geographic coverage with high speed mobile connections. That would have a potential to drive real economic growth. Instead the government just went for a quick pay day that has only hindered deployment. Now they seek to repeat the mistake.

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Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?

R 11

Re: Maths

Seems hugely unlikely. I check permissions before installing any app, and don't recall any unusual ones asking for read/send SMS permission. So I dig around and find the actual source for the article: http://research.zscaler.com/2014/07/and-mice-will-play-app-stores-and.html

And sure enough, of the 75k apps, 7% ask for SMS permissions, or 5,250 of the 75,000 tested.

68% of apps with SMS permissions have the ability to send, so 68% of 7% is 4.76% of apps, from the 75,000 tested, can send text messages.

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