* Posts by Hugh McIntyre

182 posts • joined 6 Jun 2007

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Congrats, Satya Nadella. In just five years, you've turned Microsoft from Neutral Evil to, er, merely True Neutral

Hugh McIntyre

Re: "GPL is cancer"

... and yet almost all of the commercial IC CAD software runs on Linux. Apparently they don't have issues, key libraries are under LGPL, and the fonts are fine.

Probably though this is because these packages previously ran con commercial Unix so Linux is the mainstream successor. Meanwhile other commercial software that didn't previously run on commercial Unix (e.g. Adobe software) don't run on Linux either.

So this is more of a Linux/Unix-family versus non-Linux/Unix split. Not GPL.

Even software that needs to include Kernel drivers such as VMware seems to manage to ship a commercial package without GPL issues.

GlobalFoundries scuttles 7nm chip plans claiming no demand

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Not great.......

Intel bought Altera (who were using their foundry services), not Xilinx (who were not).

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Not great.......

Samsung also does foundry manufacturing for other people, not just themselves.

President Trump broke US Constitution with Twitter bans – judge

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Actually, this decision doesn't matter anyway.

A plaintiff could perhaps ask the court to get Twitter to unblock the blocked people?

More normally, other presidents (and even this one) have tended to comply with court rulings and/or appeal through the normal court system. But even if POTUS is inclined to straight-up refuse in this case, the request could go straight to Twitter. Imposing a fine, collectable by court order, is another thing the court can do without congress, although unlikely in this case.

Clearly this is not a "high crime" so provided the people get unblocked & no new people in future, this will get forgotten quicky.

AWS DNS network hijack turns MyEtherWallet into ThievesEtherWallet

Hugh McIntyre

Re: A lot of sites still sport self-signed certificates

Letsencrypt is free and not self-signed. No need for self-signed personal site certificates any more.

It does seem that the problem here is insufficient enforcement of SSL/HTTPS, unless the attackers were able to get fake SSL certificates by using a non-standard CA? The whole point of SSL certificates is that you do not trust DNS because the certificate says "website.com is 111.222.33.44, public key XYZ, signed CA_name". At which point if you trust the CA you should not be using a different IP address from fake DNS.

DNSSEC would be a good idea though, probably.

Yahoo! dismemberment! begins! as! Oath! offloads! Flickr!

Hugh McIntyre

Re: No changes apart from the changes of course...

Re: "Uh, that does not make any sense. Why discontinue the only part of Flickr that produces some income?"

Probably not right now, especially for anyone who has both a Flickr Pro and SmugMug account who they will be happy to continue to bill for both.

As mentioned though, even the cheapest SmugMug plan is $48/year compared to $25/year for Flickr Pro. Do not be surprised if they try to migrate the Flickr Pro subscribers to the higher SmugMug price.

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Serious lens people?

Maybe for Flickr. SmugMug has always charged more money, and is more about customizable websites and higher priced tiers where photographers can set pricelists for photos. If the lens-person's SmugMug site contains password-protected galleries only visible to paying customers then "everyone" won't be able to look for free-to-use images, for example.

Also Flickr Pro was $24.99 per year (plus the free tier) but even the cheapest SmugMug plan is $48/year, with others at $72/year, $180, or $360/year, and no free options. Perhaps this is why SmugMug is the one buying Flickr and not vice versa?

Hugh McIntyre

Re: "no plans to change..."

Normally all mergers say "no plans to change", but then after a discreet delay most do in fact change the acquired or original product. For example see Friday's BOFH.

In this case they might mean it though because one of the FAQs says that anyone who has both paid SmugMug and Flickr Pro accounts will continue to get charged for both, so they would presumably lose revenue if they immediately merged the products into one.

Also, the sharing/privacy mechanisms do not work the same way :(

Nominet drains mug of tea, leans back, calmly explains how to make Whois GDPR-compliant

Hugh McIntyre

Re: I would agree with only LEAs having full access

There's also the usage (of whois) for individuals of, for example, "is this acme-service.com website associated with the real company, or some impostor?" But in that latter case you can also look at the HTTPS certificate if the site uses HTTPS and if they filled in name/address info in the certificate.

As for the rest, the opt-in part of Nominet's plan is reasonable (some of the rest may be debatable). Most registrars already offer a "hide registrant info" which personal registrations can use, so big companies that don't use this option are already effectively opting in to sharing, and hopefully other individuals defaulted to hidden. As such, responding to GDPR by saying "all WHOIS registrations move to hide-registrant mode unless people/companies affirmatively agree to non-hidden" seems like an easy choice even though the number of non-hidden whois entries may end up pretty small.

On the other hand whether paid-access-for-others stands up might depend on whether the domain owners opt in?

Donald Trump jumps on anti-tech bandwagon, gets everything wrong

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Amazon? Postal Service?

Lots of times USPS gets used for delivery here. There's no specific way to choose one delivery service or not, except indirectly by changing delivery time.

Presumably Amazon picks whichever bids the cheapest price between UPS versus FedEx versus USPS versus their own delivery service. But also sometimes UPS packages also end up going into USPS for final delivery - apparently it's sometimes cheaper to do this than to send a UPS truck round.

But if you're ordering items that need signature this may restrict you to not-USPS. Or this may depend on where you live -- some locations may always be cheaper via UPS?

Fleeing Facebook app users realise what they agreed to in apps years ago – total slurpage

Hugh McIntyre

Re: "only way to transfer your contacts from an old iPhone to a new one is via the cloud"

Local password protected backup -> restore new iPhone from local backup has worked every time for me. No need for cloud, and all the same contacts are present with no need for a cloud backup for this case at least.

Now iCloud is useful to keep multiple devices in sync, but even then there's no reason why this cannot be just a per-user backup rather than being data-mined and combined with other users' contacts, which I suspect was Tim Cook's comment.

Mozilla's opt-out Firefox DNS privacy test sparks, er, privacy outcry

Hugh McIntyre

Broken assumptions

People using BIND as a DNS server can set up "views" so that DNS results depend on where the query comes from. For example the following can return different IP addresses for a query depending on where the query comes from:

view from_internal_hosts { ... };

view from_external_internet { ... };

Seems like this would be fundamentally broken if Firefox ever makes TRR an official feature, quite apart from the privacy concerns. Better to just make DNSSEC enabled and secure?

Trump buries H-1B visa applicants in paperwork

Hugh McIntyre

Not all H1-B's, only "3rd party worksites"

The article is misleading, in that if you read the attached policy document it's titled: " .... Requirements for H -1B Petitions Involving Third-Party Worksites".

So this is only for "third party worksites" and seems like it's targeting outsourcing agencies (arguably correctly) and not companies that employ H1-B people directly.

I guess it's possible the agencies will get round this for outsourced support jobs where people work full-time at the outsourcer's office, but that won't work so well for outsourced engineers. And/or it may limit direct employees such as application engineers who spend time at customer sites. But it's misleading to imply this is targeting all H1-B's.

We all hate Word docs and PDFs, but have they ever led you to being hit with 32 indictments?

Hugh McIntyre

Re: There's a worrying implication

Last time I applied for a mortgage here the bank required permission to get the IRS to send them a copy of recent tax returns (note: not me giving them a PDF or printout of the return). If this bank had done the same they would presumably have found out exactly whether the income matched, not just relied on a PDF or printout that the applicant might have edited.

Hugh McIntyre

@ Dr Heinrich Backhausen

Re: "Acrobat Professional allows some editing (sorry, I didn't use for some years, so I might not be up to date"

The full Acrobat has an option for "convert this PDF back to Word", in fact. You can't convert back to other formats such as Excel or PowerPoint, but back-to-word works locally.

China may stick to its own DRAM memory soon – researchers

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Not going to happen

RE: "Chinese companies have been openly infringing copywrite products for decades. No companies have openly won any lawsuit against them. So why start now?"

I suspect this would be tariff barriers, not copyright (or patent) lawsuits.

To be honest several other countries have started with memory chips when building up local semiconductor fabs. Including Japan in the 80s as mentioned above, South Korea, and others. Even Britain's Inmos started with DRAM and SRAM as easier to get working first before logic. So working on local DRAM/NAND capacity is not a surprise.

Whether China succeeds in hurting other suppliers depends on whether their DRAM and NAND is cheaper than the existing companies which depends on who can keep in the lead for the newest technologies.

AT&T insists it's not sweating US govt block of Time-Warner gobble

Hugh McIntyre

AT&T is already in the high speed Internet space.

The complaint is that if they gain ownership of HBO, Warner Brothers (movies/TV), and the Turner channels then they can then hold other TV competitors to ransom by demanding higher channel fees that get passed on to consumers. Also (in the complaint) that they could make it more difficult for TV-over-internet services like Sling to compete in future.

The antitrust complaint actually has some merit, since allowing content companies to merge with traditional TV/cable providers just at the point that cord-cutting alternatives are becoming more common (thereby kneecapping the cord-cutting companies) seems like a bad bet for consumers.

Fitbit health alert: You appear to be bleeding

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Poor build quality to blame ?

Agreed.

Charge HR needed replacement because of bubble unglued from strap after 6-9 months. Then a second one failed the same way and got replaced by Charge 2, and it failed after ~ 3 months because of the charger dying.

I want to like FitBit, but if these quality issues are common it can't be helping the losses :(

Ubuntu 17.10: We're coming GNOME! Plenty that's Artful in Aardvark, with a few Wayland wails

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Gun, meet foot.

Best not to use "xhost +".

"ssh -X special@localhost" means you get the X11 display without xhost insecurity.

Gartner says back-to-school PC sales failed. IDC says they worked

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Plus

You can also get a few notebooks with small screens that still have high resolution displays, including the 12.5" one I have here with a 1920*1080 display. The only problem is you probably also need glasses to see the small text :(

MH370 final report: Aussies still don’t know where it crashed or why

Hugh McIntyre

The batteries that ran out were for the locator beacon.

If the actual data storage for the recorders is in Flash memory then it should last a few years, at least assuming no damage to the IC packages letting in water or from mechanical stress. The AF447 recorder was recovered after nearly 2 years, for example, and cold water would tend to slow down leakage of data from the flash cells.

I do agree about the remote chance of finding it though. Someone may stumble onto the wreckage later, but as you say it's also possible it will be covered by a layer of silt and therefore eventually invisible. And it's suspected that the voice recorder wouldn't tell us the original cause anyway since it would not include the start of the flight when the unexplained maneuvers started. Similarly the data recorder may also just include running out of fuel at the end followed by descent :(

Hence the decision not to spend another $100M on an uncertain search seems understandable.

Trump's tax tease will be a massive payday for Valley tech giants and their shareholders

Hugh McIntyre

Re: I'm its a coincidence the plan includes a huge tax break for Trump

Kansas tried the same tax cut for "owner-operated businesses" 5 years ago, as well as other tax cuts, and it was an epic failure (nationally reported) that needed the taxes to be put back up this summer to pay the bills.

None of the claimed better growth materialized (performance was actually worse, if anything), except that many rich people avoided tax because of the same "small business" giveaway mentioned by Doug.

Hopefully the non-rich people whose taxes would rise with this week's republican proposal will sink this plan.

Senators call for '9/11-style' commission on computer voting security

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Not The Real. Problem

Short answer: the question is ex-felons, not felons.

There are 9 states (including Virginia mentioned here) where felons don't get their voting rights back even after they are released and finish probation. So these ones would vote normally if they were not forbidden. 3 of the 9 states have small print automatically restoring first-time offenders or "minor offenses", but the general restriction applies.

Most of the rest do restore voting rights after release (15) or after parole (28). There are only 2 that apparently allow votes in prison (Vermont and Maine).

Video nasty lets VMware guests run code on hosts

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Guests already do execute code on the host

RE: "Yes, but how often does that happen? Usually VMs are used as an easy way to manage multiple large applications or user enviroments on Windows platforms since Windows itself isn't very good at it."

There's also this thing called cloud compute where people want to run VMs securely, no ...?

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Guests already do execute code on the host

VMs are different from multi-process OS's -- If someone wants to run a RHEL5 user process but the kernel is Windows or MacOS or a different version. I.e. you need a multi-kernel "OS", which what the VM gives. Executing most instructions natively should be fine as long as dangerous instructions are intercepted.

In this case native/emulated does not seem to be the problem. Instead for SVGA at least, the issue is that to implement graphics for a VM running on desktop Fusion/Workstation you need code running in the hypervisor pretending to be real video hardware, possibly also different video/network drivers in the VM guest as well (e.g. "vmnet" instead of hardware ethernet). It looks like this code that emulates the SVGA hardware had the security bug.

Hi Amazon, Google, Apple we might tax you on revenue rather than profit – love, Europe

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Just change the current tax laws.

Re: "If you sell advertising/software/etc. in France, that revenue accrues to the French subsidiary, and can't be funneled to <somewhere else>"

I think you meant "that profit accrues" but that's the problem - you sell some software for 100 Euros in France and the French subsidiary internally pays it's Irish subsidiary 99.99 Euros because the company says the software IP is "owned" by the Irish subsidiary. Hence only 0.01 profit in France and low French taxes on this 0.01.

Fixing this in general requires honest intra-company pricing which is hard to enforce, although countries could prosecute some cases to encourage honesty.

On the other hand if you really meant "that revenue accrues to the French subsidiary" then this is what happens today, so companies can choose which country shows the profit (same as today) or this becomes the turnover tax.

Possibly the right answer is percentage profit tax, i.e. if 10% of a company's revenue is in France then they would page French tax on 10% of their global profit regardless of inter-company accounting. This may be difficult though assuming different countries have different rules on what counts as taxable profit.

On the other hand if there's really no R&D in France then there's less added value and presumably less tax justified.

Russian admits being Ebury botnet herder, now jailed for 46 months

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Click Fraud

RE: "Which shows the fundamental flaw in pay per view and pay per click advertising. This type of fraud will continue until the gullible morons who place adverts stop placing ads on that basis."

Not disagreeing there's 'a problem, but unless advertisers buy ads on the basis of "please place adverts on theregister.co.uk, newegg.com, <other specific sites>" then they want some way to charge more when more copies of the advert are displayed. Pay-per-play schemes on Spotify or Youtube have the same risk.

Periodically advertisers have complained to Google about click fraud and demanded that "Something Should Be Done". So there is some effort to crack down, although right now this seems to be just treated as a containable cost of doing business. In particular the fact that the fraud uses a botnet is because it would be a bit obvious if all the fake requests came from the same IP address.

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Click Fraud

Re: "I still don't see how click fraud makes money for anyone but google"

If you run a website containing ads from someone like Google, then Google gets money from the advertiser any time the advert is shown or clicked on. And you (the website owner with adverts) get a percentage of the money from Google in order to run your website.

So click fraud involves generating fake page views of your website or clicks on adverts contained therein so you (website owner) get the percentage from Google even though no real person viewed the advert. Generally on fake websites because the website benefits from the fraud, not the advertiser.

VCs to Trump: Don't lock out our meal tickets! Save startup visas!

Hugh McIntyre

Re: H1B visas

Coincidentally the Mercury News had an article on this on Friday, at http://www.siliconbeat.com/2017/08/02/apple-h-1b-workers-average-139000-pay-outsourcers-dominate-visa-program-pay-far-less/

This claims 59,184 visas for major outsourcers (Cognizant, Infosys, Tata, Accenture, and Wipro) versus only 7,248 for Amazon,Google, and Apple for example, which seems kind-of lobsided. And it claims those 3 tech firms paid an average of $115K-$139K versus $72K-84K for the outsourcers.

So maybe treat outsourcers differently from H1B's for full-time engineering jobs? Although it may be difficult to define criteria for this :(

The other comment is that it's possible for both things to be true: regular employers struggle to hire junior/mid-level engineers (I have seen this as well as ckm5) but at the same time senior/older people can't find senior jobs, and/or there may be vacancies in software/RTL design but engineers with different types of hardware of software experience maybe can't find jobs.

Ideally there wold be a way to separate the visas for full time engineering jobs from outsourcers though, since the latter seem to be more of the problems.

No vulns. No hardwired passwords. Patchable. Congress dreams of IoT: Impossible Online Tech

Hugh McIntyre

Re: "must not have any known security vulnerabilities, must have the ability to be patched"

Re: "So..... if no known security vulnerabilities, why, errr, patch?"

Presumably, no known vulnerabilities when you buy the thing and needs to be patched if/when new bugs are found later.

Since the lack of patchability is one of the main problems of IoT, mandating the ability to patch seems like a good thing?

1Password won't axe private vaults. It'll choke 'em to death instead

Hugh McIntyre

Re: KeePass to LastPass to 1Password

RE: "But at last check 1Password 6 doesn't support local vaults (forcing me to stay on 1Password 4)."

Nope, I have iPassword 6.7 here and have always used local vaults.

The only (main) missing feature with local vaults is that the sync only seems to work to mobile devices, not to other local computers :(. Very unhelpful.

I have to agree with the complaints about dropping the local vault version -- the fact that legacy 1Password keeps your data entirely on locally controlled systems is a major benefit. I would have recommended 1Password to others except that it seems impossible to get the one-off purchase any more, and who wants to recommend people sign up for yet another subscription?

Slower US F-35A purchases piles $27bn onto total fighter jet bill

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Satellites would do just as good a job against surface ships

I should have clarified:

Yes, I'm sure the Russians and others will use satellites in part to find surface ships. For one thing, oceans are big and you need to know where to start since sonar has limited range.

But satellite may not work in all cases -- clouds may mean you only see heat signatures which won't be as precise, you may not know which ship you are looking at unless you can track from source port, etc. So they no doubt *also* want the sonar signature.

Having said that, I'm sure they would get the signature eventually, so this is only a question of timing.

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Satellites would do just as good a job against surface ships

Satellites don't work with clouds.

There's also the question of an attack sub being able to track the carrier continuously with passive sonar once it has the acoustic signature versus needing to come to radio depth to receive radio updates on location.

How to pwn phones with shady replacement parts

Hugh McIntyre

Re: memory encryption

Re: "Building a transparent hardware encryption of memory is conceivable, but I don't know of anyone who has done it."

AMD EPYC (Zen core) CPUs have hardware memory encryption, so someone has done it:

"Secure Memory Encryption (SME) encrypts system memory. Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) isolates the hypervisor and guest VMs to prevent access to data in shared guest data areas."

More details are under http://www.amd.com/system/files/2017-06/Trusting-in-the-CPU.pdf. Some OS/hypervisor enablement is required, but no change needed for application software.

Realistic Brits want at least 3 security steps on bank accounts

Hugh McIntyre

Re: "Barclays still make you have a debit card in order to use PIN-Sentry for online banking"

Not true, I have a pale blue card with "Authentication" on the top right which only works for PIN-Sentry, not ATM or Debit. It may be that you can't use a non-debit ATM card, but you definitely could get an Authentication-only card in the past at least. Contact your Barclay's branch ...

Don't listen to the doomsayers – DRM is headed for the historical dustbin, says Doctorow

Hugh McIntyre

One of the complaints in the linked articles is that John Deere does not provide access to troubleshooting diagnostics. ("The EDL is the required interface which allows the Service Advisor laptop to actually communicate with the tractor controllers").

Perhaps what's needed is the same rule as cars, since all cars are required to come with OBD-II access and at least most of the trouble codes can be read with consumer-accessible OBD tools? Seems easy to extend the same OBD rule to other vehicles such as tractors?

In terms of John Deere they probably don't want their competitors using the same software in competing products. For example if John Deere spends a lot of cash developing some traction control software to make a tractor work better, they don't want a cheapskate competitor copying this. Even being able to see the software without copying may let competitors know what to do. Much of this was also possible in the past with mechanical reverse engineering, but probably not as easily.

It does seem though that updated sale-of-goods laws or OBD regulations may be needed to make sure people can reasonably diagnose products they have bought, either themselves or a requirement to provide service access to reasonably 3rd party repair shops at commercially reasonable prices, subject to not just copying the full software.

Boffins supercharge the 'hosts' file to save users plagued by DNS outages

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Missing the obvious solution?

My first thought was also "why not just use a caching resolver, if the primary is not available?". If the default TTL is 1 day, small outages for common domains should be survivable.

But this proposal seems to be a solving a different non-outage problem i.e. ignoring malicious changes for common domains if you think it's more likely the domain owner didn't change it's IP addresses. For example people redirecting nytimes.com to a malicious IP address.

The problem remains how to distinguish intentional changes by domain owners from malicious ones. It does seem that signing DNS replies by the owner (with DNSSEC) would be a cleaner solution.

Microsoft promises twice-yearly Windows 10, O365 updates – with just 18 months' support

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Dear gods...

Most or all of the Integrated Circuit CAD packages run on Linux (only or at least mostly). It's true that package and board level design may run on Windows but IC tools use Linux. This includes Mentor's LVS/DRC and similar tools which are definitely up to date on Linux.

New iPad revealed. Big price cut is main feature

Hugh McIntyre

Re: 32/128Gb only

The iPhone 6s did the same - 32GB/128GB only, And the iPhone 7 only supports 32/128/256GB.

I assume the reason is to push people to 128GB since if people decide 32GB is too small and want 64GB, they will be forced up to 128GB since there's no way to add memory later. If they offered a 64GB version with a price in the middle, fewer people would pay for 128GB.

The 32GB version is definitely limited nowadays but Apple probably wants a lower spec for the entry-level model to keep the cost down, and the fact that 64GB is a better choice for many people will force them to 128GB :(

Judge issues search warrant for anyone who Googled a victim's name

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Wait! What? They have our MAC Addresses?

Nope, don't see the local LAN IP address here from https://www.whatismybrowser.com/. Only the public DHCP IP address on the ISP WAN.

Some of the other info it displays clearly depends on JavaScript, so there may be more info visible with Javascript. Stack Overflow also claims that ActiveX on IE may give the MAC address (not an issue for those not using IE). TBH I'm slightly impressed the warrant knew to ask for the MAC address, but this is probably boilerplate request language from other computer warrants. For example, Google does not have payment info for most of us, I hope, but boilerplate ISP warrant language might ask ISPs for MAC addresses.

Barrister fined after idiot husband slings unencrypted client data onto the internet

Hugh McIntyre

@ David Nash

Re: "How on earth did an online backup service (if that's what it was) allow content to be indexed by Google and accessible to anyone without credentials?"

I assume from the article that the files were backed up to something like OneDrive/GoogleDocs/Dropbox, i.e. not a real on-line backup service.

Tech titan pals back up Google after 'foreign server data' FBI warrant ruling

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Bullshit

I agree with the complaints about extra-territoriality. Definitely seems that it should be declined for this reason.

However, asking for draft messages is understandable because people including David Petraeus have been found out for sharing classified information and having two people sharing the same email account and reading messages in the draft folder to avoid actually sending messages in the hope of not being intercepted. This is almost certainly why the FBI wants the draft folder:

From the NY Times:

"In September 2012, Broadwell told agents that she and Petraeus would use the same email account, saving messages in the “draft” folder instead of sending them. "

Amazon relinquishes data from Echo that could have dropped eaves on a killing

Hugh McIntyre

Re: It is quite disturbing that Amazon has the ABILITY to satisfy this request

Re: "What purpose is served by keeping data Alexa hears longer than a minute? If they want to use it for other purposes like training speech recognition, it should be anonymized and filed away."

I assume their training wants to group what you say today with what you (same person) said yesterday. So the data stored today would need to be stored with the same anon ID as yesterday, which implies storing a mapping from your real->anon ID somewhere :(. Or less good training.

As such it's not fully anonymized, the same as your Google/Amazon search history may be anonymized when stored and when people do analysis but somewhere they need a mapping so your history can go together.

Personally I don't have such a listening box at home...

Become a blockchain-secured space farmer with your hard drive

Hugh McIntyre

Re: And in practice ... ?

Re: "I won't be too chuffed if I can't get at my accounts because little Johnny has turned off his PC for the night, or been capped ..."

Or lots of other reasons including "little Johnny decided to delete this big folder they didn't understand which is filling their disk, thereby deleting a 3rd party's data".

It's one thing to have something like "CrashPlan backup to a friend" where you and the friend presumably have some agreement not to randomly nuke data. But it's hard to see how you'd put any valuable data on this system, unless it's only a controlled system within a company (or group of companies) controlled for safety with an IT department.

Highly doubtful unless they are only targeting business users.

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Payment, at $0.015/GB

The $0.015/GB is per month, but this is the price the person storing the data pays, and compares to the price to rent storage on S3 or Glacier, etc.

As mentioned by Martin Summers above, the amount you get paid for sharing your disk space is based on some obscure scaled formula calculated at the end of each month. But obviously less than $0.015/GB/month, probably a lot less if they need 2x or 3x redundancy.

Apart from the other concerns, you may need to balance any revenue with extra electricity costs if this makes your PC run in non-standby mode for longer.

I also suspect that if this became a large business, some of the ISPs would start noticing customers making money off their bandwidth and might try to add T&C's restricting making money off consumer ISP connections or suggesting that some of this revenue should go to the ISP.

Finally, although they compare their $0.015 to Amazon S3 at $0.023/GB, Amazon also has "S3 infrequent access" at $0.0125, i.e. cheaper than Storj and possibly more reliable because you're not relying on random people's PC's. So it's not clear they are going to win here...

Big three clouds, Apple, Facebook are buying all the best cloud tech

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Big three … ?

Presumably "big three cloud companies" = AWS, Azure, and Google? (or some other three?)

And then adding Apple and Facebook makes 5.

Disney sued in race row: Axed IT workers claim jobs went to H-1B hires

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Clear Violation

If you try to read the actual "H visa" laws the details are impenetrable because of too many references to "as defined in regulation <foo>". But at least one of the categories says you cannot fire Americans and then hire foreign replacements directly.

In this case Disney seems to have gotten around this because they switched to a contacting company so they were not directly hiring the replacements themselves and then acted totally shocked that the contractors were H1Bs. Presumably they will claim they had no idea this would happen ...

Obviously the cleanest solution would be to fix the law to prevent this "switch to H1 contractor" cheat. It's also not clear to me why the respectable tech companies hiring "normal" H1's don't lobby for this -- right now there's an H1 lottery every year and people sometimes can't get visas for college graduates because of other contract visas. You'd think people like Google would lobby to tighten up the rules so the contracting companies don't use up the whole quota.

The other issue is an H1B was historically for a specific job at a specific company and specific location. It's not clear how the visa should apply to a contractor position if it's not tied to the specific Disney job, or at least this seems to subvert the original intention if you had a contractor who could work for more than one end company.

In the meantime Disney seems to have acted outrageously here even if they found a legal loophole. We'll see what the court says..

Analyst: iPhone 7 points to price jump

Hugh McIntyre

Re: Apple phone prices have rocketed!

Just checked in the USA:

Last year the iPhone 6s was $749 for the 64GB, 4.7inch version, I think.

This year the iPhone 7 is also $749 for the similar 128GB mid-point version.

So seems to be no change in price, and I think the iPhone 6 was the same $749 for 64GB at launch.

Still not cheap, both previously and now, but not really changed in dollars.

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