* Posts by DougS

11701 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Boffins build blazing battery bonfire

DougS
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Re: Balls

You can't store enough heat in water for useful amounts of power without huge pressures, which makes them bombs no one wants to have in their home. There's a reason water heaters are required to have a pressure relief valve spec'ed at 150 psi.

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DougS
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Re: Lots of choices

Pumped storage can also be a terrorist target, if it is practical to breach containment and cause flooding. There isn't really anything for terrorists to target with molten silicon, breaching its containment isn't going to harm anyone unless the storage facility is 20 feet from your house. They can't "steal" the molten silicon and do anything with it since it'll cool down. It isn't worth enough to be worth stealing, either.

Ditto for earthquakes, that could breach containment for either but one may flood entire cities and the other will let a bit of silicon escape into the surrounding soil where it will quickly cool and solidify, and can be either left in place (I don't think it is harmful to the environment?) or easily dug up and removed.

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DougS
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What's unsafe about molten silicon?

It can't explode, if the containment is breached due to an earthquake or similar there is little or no environmental impact, it can't be stolen and have its energy repurposed into a destructive weapon. I don't know enough about this to say whether or not it is practical, but I can't imagine there are any legitimate safety concerns. Batteries and pumped hydro are far less safe, that's for sure!

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The curious tale of ICANN, Verisign, claims of subterfuge, and the $135m .Web dot-word

DougS
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Re: Alternate system

What could ICANN do that would piss off large ISPs? They are pretty much independent of ICANN.

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DougS
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Re: Where are ICANN based?

Well that's kind of the sad reason for this. The ROW rightly decided the US had too much control and ICANN should have greater independence from the USA. Unfortunately, while they gained some independence from US oversight, this happened without getting any new international oversight!

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DougS
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Re: Alternate system

I think this is vanishingly unlikely. Who is going to convince multiple big ISPs to switch off the real DNS root to an alternate one at the same time? Along with other big players in DNS resolution where end users might set it directly, such as Google's 8.8.8.8 along with newcomers 1.1.1.1 and 9.9.9.9.

Because you sure aren't going to get a grass root campaign that causes a majority of individual internet users in the world to switch their resolution. Because you'd 1) have to explain why they should and 2) more importantly you'd have to teach them HOW.

You have to get a strong majority of worldwide users, otherwise no company would risk not being on the real DNS system and only available on the new alternate.

Sadly, the best you can hope for is one of these lawsuits succeeds and brings some light into the shady dealings, or some sort of palace coup takes out the current leadership (and doesn't end up replacing them with something that's ultimately worse)

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Tech support discovers users who buy the 'sh*ttest PCs known to Man' struggle with basics

DougS
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"UI differences" in cars have always existed

There are cars with auto transmission gear selection on the steering wheel, some on the console, some on the steering wheel. Some have wiper controls on the left, some on the right, and when I was a kid I remember my dad's car had them on the dash. Some cars have a stalk for cruise control, others have buttons on the steering wheel. I won't even get into the multitude of ways climate control, radio, setting the clock etc. works.

I don't see this problem as being any different than it was 50 years ago, other than than cars can do more stuff so they have more stuff to control. This will all be resolved in a decade or so by autonomous cars, where you'll have a touch screen to do anything you need to do which won't distract you from driving because you won't be.

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DougS
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That story obviously wasn't from 2018

And your superior attitude doesn't belong in the workplace, either.

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Do not adjust your set: Hats off to Apple, you struggle to shift iPhones 'cos you're oddly ethical

DougS
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Of course Apple could use narrowly focused data like your iTunes example, but that's a far cry from collecting anything and everything. There's also nothing stopping them from having that data collected and processed locally so it never leaves the device. There's no reason it needs to be uploaded off your phone, other than to combine it with other devices like an iPod, Mac etc. which would be of limited utility unless you listened rarely on your phone compared to other devices.

Please spare me "just because Apple says they aren't doing it doesn't mean they aren't doing it". Just because Google's stated policies don't allow them to make every scrap of info they collect on you available to all governments of the world, as well as selling it on eBay for your neighbors to buy doesn't mean they aren't doing it, right?

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DougS
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Re: 2nd hand....

Look at trade in values, not second hand pricing. Find me a site that shows the same value for an iPhone X or iPhone 8 as a Galaxy S8. I'll wait. For a long time, because there isn't one.

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DougS
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Re: Are you sure?

If you sell 200+ million units of ANYTHING in a year, you are going to have some issues with a certain percentage of them. I haven't had the issues you list and I've owned an iPhone X since launch and before that had an iPhone 6S plus since launch. Google has had a long list of problems with each Pixel and they sell 1% or 2% as many as Apple. As far as I'm aware, no one I know has had any of these problems with their iPhone (not that all my friends tell me about every problem they have with their phones, but I do hear some of them and except for broken screens those issues are universally Android related)

If you don't believe iPhones last longer than Android phones, you are being willfully ignorant. Go look at the resale value (either in absolute terms or as a percentage of original sales price) and compare to ANY Android phone. If they were as poorly built as you seem to believe, no iPhones would last long enough to be resold!

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DougS
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Re: Time to change the business model.

They already are, they set a goal a couple years ago to double their services revenue by 2020, and they are ahead of schedule on it, seeing growth of 20-30% a year.

Having older phones last longer and get sold second hand is increasing their user base by 10% a year in the US (probably similar everywhere) which means more people to sell services to, even if their yearly sales of new phones begins to decline due to people waiting longer before replacing them.

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DougS
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I can't imagine that if Microsoft and Google are doing it that Apple aren't at least dipping their tongues in to the data pool and having a taste if not a full slurp.

With what goal? Google (and Facebook) has to do it because they make all their money from advertising, so their business model demands slurping data. Microsoft has decided to emulate that and try to make money from advertising in addition to their existing sources, whether they will be successful or give up remains to be seen. Apple doesn't really do advertising (except for its own products) so there's no reason for them to slurp data.

So you think they do, and store petabytes of personal info on all of us just "because", even though it has no current business value for them? Even though doing so without a purpose would risk major brand damage if it it became known, since they've been positioning themselves as the company that values your privacy and doesn't collect every scrap of data they can? It would be an insane risk to take when the reason is "just because".

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DougS
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More importantly

Apple's user base is increasing at over 10% a year in the US - I'm guessing it is similar in the rest of the world. So even if Apple's sales are flat or even decline because phones are "good enough", they will still add more and more iOS users every year because when people upgrade after 2-3 years years, their old phone will get itself a second owner, instead of ending up in a drawer like most old Androids.

That hurts them in the short run because they make such a large percentage of their revenue from selling iPhones, but in the long run the bigger user base gives them more people to sell services to. More people means more customers for services, which have been growing at 20-30% a year - and they still have yet to enter some markets like video streaming or cloud services that they might in the future.

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Wow, what a lovely early Christmas present for Australians: A crypto-busting super-snoop law passes just in time

DougS
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@Mark 85

The problem isn't the lack of critical thinking processes on the part of (most) candidates. It is the lack of critical thinking processes in voters. When republicans have an ever growing checklist of requirements to be considered a "real" republican (and now need a blessing by king Trump) they need to put any critical thinking skills they have on hold. Which is why the only congressmen willing to stand up to Trump are the ones on their way out the door.

Democrats look to be following the same playbook, as recently there have been suggestions from some democratic donors that potential 2020 democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke isn't "progressive enough" and actually said electing him would be like electing Obama again. Bernie or bust I guess, nevermind his age. Just like Bush and Reagan couldn't win nomination in today's republican party, perhaps before long Clinton (Bill) and Obama couldn't win nomination in today's democratic party.

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DougS
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Re: Half a World away

Hey, we have a president who may be guilty of treason, I think we are still in the lead for worst western democratic leadership! But you've made great strides with this new law, you may pass us yet!

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DougS
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Re: WhatsApp snooping

They will leave that up to Facebook to figure out, but it seems you could modify the software to ALWAYS produce a BCC key, so you wouldn't be able to tell when they are listening and when they aren't.

That will come in handy for when they demand a copy of all communications be sent to them to storage and later search, as that is the obvious next step for Australia's new totalitarian government.

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DougS
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Re: I promised I'd keep doing this...

They can make use of GNU PGP illegal, and put you in jail, I suppose. The UK will jail people for refusing to tell them their password, so anything is possible.

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DougS
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Let's say stupidity prevails and Apple, Google and Microsoft build Australian spy support into their operating system software. What stops me from refusing to update from a pre-spying software version?

The "bad guys" will stick with today's versions of iOS, Android and Windows. Maybe in five years that could get to be a problem, but they might outlast the current government until someone else comes along who maybe has more sense. Or will they try to make non-conforming stuff illegal after a time, so any Android phone not capable of being updated becomes illegal?

I hope Apple, Google and Microsoft tell the Aussie government to stuff it. See how long the current leadership lasts after telling the public that they can no longer buy an iPhone, Android or Windows PC.

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DougS
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Re: Australia is doing a favor to the world

The US has shown the same thing, or have you not noticed our orange faced buffoon who thinks he's king?

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You're legit and you know you are... Thanks to chanting racist footie fans, linking to dodgy stuff isn't necessarily illegal (well, in Europe)

DougS
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Re: The US has a lot of overly authoritarian tendencies, but limiting speech is [..] not one of them

That's why we are fortunate freedom of speech is enshrined in the Constitution, so is resistant to any attempts to modify it via executive order. His followers would have a cow if a president was able to override the first amendment without changing the Constitution, because that would mean a future president could override the second.

All Trump can do is call speech he doesn't like "fake news", but his followers' credulity will only extend so far as the evidence piles up against him and the mainstream media reports are proven true. He risks undoing decades of republican effort to cultivate the idea of "liberal media bias" meaning that only Fox News and similar sources can be trusted by republicans. When they learn Fox has been lying to them all along, many will not be happy.

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DougS
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Re: Please select your response to this article:

Cave to US pressure? The US has free speech rights far beyond what the EU allows. The US has a lot of overly authoritarian tendencies, but limiting speech is fortunately not one of them.

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Expired cert... Really? #O2down meltdown shows we should fear bungles and bugs more than hackers

DougS
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Re: Was this

And that still requires a manual process to insure EVERY certificate finds its way into that electronic monitoring system. This is better than a manual process around every renewal since you only need to do it once for a certificate and then you are good for as long as that particular certificate-requiring function remains exactly the same.

Better, but not good enough.

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DougS
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Re: V2X

Vehicles will need (or at least want) to communicate with one another, yes. But there's absolutely no reason they need to communicate via a cell tower. They will be in close proximity to one another and can communicate directly, there's no need to go to/from a cell tower which will often be further away than the cars that need to talk to each other.

As long as autonomous cars have to share the road with human driven vehicles they will need to be able to operate without any V2V communication though. They can't trust humans to always signal a turn etc. so they will still need to drive defensively and not fully trust the info they get from other vehicles.

The exception to that trust would be for things like drafting bumper to bumper in the left lane, obviously you'd need to trust that the cars ahead will act appropriately and the lead car will alert the rest of a hazard that will require braking or steering. So sorry, no user modifiable software allowed!

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DougS
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Re: Was this

In what electronic diary? Notifying whom?

Do you know how many certificates large enterprises have to manage now? It would be a full time job for someone - but if you made it that, you'd be screwed when they went on vacation or quit and the reminder from their electronic diary went to /dev/null.

The whole system around certificates is irretrievably broken if you require humans to be in the middle of it. It has to be automated - a subscription service that automatically updates. We will never see the end of such issues so long as humans have to be "reminded", because we are fallible. If the certificate for some weird page hardly anyone visits expires, it might be weeks before the company is notified. If the certificate required for mobile data to work at a large provider expires, it could do a lot of damage in the hours required for the problem to be diagnosed and corrected.

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Google: I don't know why you say Allo, I say goodbye

DougS
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Re: Google abdicated its responsibility to Android users

True, but you aren't required to have your messages backed up to your Google account.

There's no reason Google couldn't support a user supplied encryption key so that you'd have security in your backups. That's really my only dig on Apple's security policies - while iCloud data is encrypted in transit and at rest, it isn't encrypted with a key you control. Apple is able to supply your iMessages that are backed up on iCloud in response to subpoena, because its "at rest" encryption is done with a key that Apple controls.

Which is why I don't use iCloud for backups, and instead am forced to use iTunes for backups which does use an encryption key I supply. I assume that similar would be possible with Android, albeit less convenient.

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DougS
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Google abdicated its responsibility to Android users

It was obvious people with smartphones wanted to talk to each other. Apple created iMessage, which is proprietary but checks the most important box - security. It is peer to peer encrypted so it is secure from snooping by either the carrier or the governments of the world.

Google spread themselves too thin with a bunch of alternatives, and let WhatsApp take over as the default Android chat app. It was also secure from snooping but its one shortcoming was that it wasn't built into the text messaging app, so Android users still had two apps to use to message.

Google's solution was to push a "better" SMS, which is fine except that it isn't end to end encrypted so it is still snoopable by carriers and governments. Since it will be built into their text messaging app, a lot of users will drop the superior WhatsApp to use this, and lose security as a result.

Nice job, Google! - spy agencies of the world

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Ecuador says 'yes' to Assange 'freedom' deal, but Julian says 'nyet'

DougS
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Re: Assange is a political prisoner, in the United Kingdom, end of

Bullshit. They offered him a deal where he won't face the music in the US and he STILL won't leave. I think he is staying for the attention at this point. Let him rot there, until Ecuador decides to put him out on the street.

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It's official. Microsoft pushes Google over the Edge, shifts browser to Chromium engine

DougS
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Re: Worst possible outcome

Yes, but using the same engine still makes Chrome more dominant, because Google will remain by far the leading contributor to Chromium. They will obviously prioritize implementing stuff that helps steal users data over stuff that helps users preserve their privacy. Will other browsers built in Chromium go out of their way to delete such stuff?

Would you be this blasé if Apple's WebKit engine was by far dominant among browsers, and they had an inordinate say about what features are added? Instead of being more anti-privacy than I'd like as Google is, Apple might be more pro-DRM than you'd like in the choices they make about what to add to the code base.

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DougS
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Worst possible outcome

Like we need to see Chrome become more dominant, and be able to set advertiser friendly web standards that make it harder to protect your personal information while surfing!

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Amazon robot fingered for bear spray leak that hospitalised 24 staffers

DougS
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The best part is the workplace accident was the accidental release of pepper spray - which is basically what bear spray is. They are getting as good as The Simpsons in the "life imitates art" category, and with a lot faster turnaround!

In the episode, the release was caused by a robot screwing up.

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Waymo's revolutionary driverless robo-taxi service launches in America... with drivers

DougS
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Re: The whole driverless car thing

Driverless cars aren't a solution to fatalities. Well, they will need to be for people to accept them (my 90% decline in accident rate compared to humans in the same conditions standard) but for me the reason I'd want one isn't due to safety. These are the solutions as far as I'm considered:

1) I can take 1000 mile car trips instead of dealing with the nightmare flying has become if I can sleep in the car, surf the web, watch TV etc. instead of sitting behind the wheel having to pay attention

2) I can go out, get drunk, and have my car take me home instead of dealing with the hassle of taxis/lyft

3) In a few decades when I might be too old to drive safely, I won't have to depend on others for my mobility

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Tesla autopilot saves driver after he fell asleep at wheel on the freeway

DougS
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There is no "at fault" for AI

Insurance would either be handled by the automaker itself, or you'd pay based on the record of the model car you have (i.e. Google car might be more than Ford and less than Uber) and how many miles you travel rather than your own driving record.

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DougS
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Setting the bar at "as good as a human driver"

As good as who? I don't know about you, but I'm a much better driver when I'm fully rested, paying 100% attention to the road, etc. than I am if I'm tired, distracted, have several people in my car yelling about something etc.

I've always said the bar needs to be set at a 90% reduction in crashes and fatalities per mile - measured across ALL conditions (i.e. not like Tesla's bullshit numbers where they claim Autopilot has a lower than human accident rate but compare their accident rate in conditions Autopilot can work in versus ALL the conditions humans drive in)

You might think that if humans have X fatalities for a certain amount of driving, but autonomous cars would had X-1 fatalities doing all the driving in those same conditions that we should want autonomous cars. WE WILL NOT! People need to see MAJOR benefits to give up control, so it needs to be better than the BEST human drivers (because let's face it, 95% of people think they are in the top 5% of drivers) paying full attention. A solution that is better when I'm tired and distracted but WORSE when I'm at full attention is not something I will accept!

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DougS
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Drunk in a vehicle

Where I live if you are drunk in a vehicle - even in the back seat - you can be arrested if you have the keys on you. I was told by a friend who is a lawyer that if you want to sleep it off in your car, you need to get inside, lock the car, and toss the keys out of your reach before you go to sleep. And even that's not foolproof as if a cop sees you entering the vehicle drunk you can be cited for drunk driving since you can't prove that you were not intending to drive or would be leaving the keys out of your reach.

Obviously you could still be arrested for public intox if your car is not on private property, but that's a minor inconvenience compared to what happens to you for drunk driving.

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Apple co-founder and former CEO has the most expensive John Hancock on the planet

DougS
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Re: Weird Correlation

I wasn't sure if she signed or just stamped it with the royal seal. I'm a yank, I don't know about this stuff since we don't have kings and queens - only a shitty president who thinks he was elected king.

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DougS
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Re: Weird Correlation

Just the ones they mentioned. Surely the signature of Winston Churchill would be worth a lot, or Queen Victoria (if she ever actually signed anything)

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How the mighty have fallen: Anglian Water knocks Google off perch as UK's best workplace

DougS
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Doesn't it depend on the type of employee?

A retail giant like Walmart has no chance, because retail workers are low paid and have little control over their job, and that's the overwhelmingly majority of their workforce. Goldman Sachs probably outsources all the crappy jobs like janitor and IT call center, so being well down the list despite that probably doesn't mean as much as it might appear. Some companies are a mix, Apple has a lot of the high paid jobs people like, but also a lot of retail jobs in the stores that would knock them down the list versus a Google or Microsoft that doesn't have a retail arm.

Show me a company where all the jobs under $100K/year are outsourced, and I'll show you a company that ranks pretty high in job satisfaction.

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Now you, too, can snoop on mobe users from 3G to 5G with a Raspberry Pi and €1,100 of gizmos

DougS
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This is why calls should have end to end encryption

It is sad that I can get better privacy using something proprietary like Facetime or Skype than I can on a cellular call despite over a decade of the industry claiming the security issues will be fixed in the NEXT rev.

One has to believe the 3GPP is either deliberately leaving holes in their protocols, or are blithely accepting protocol submissions that ultimately originate from the various TLAs of major world governments.

If 3GPP won't solve this, Apple and Google ought to get together and come up with an open P2P encryption scheme for two party calls supported by iOS and Android, and hopefully then VOIP providers will follow. No doubt it would enrage the FBI, but fuck them. Calls are "data" when placed on LTE (VoLTE) and 5G, so the carriers can't prevent this like they could with 2G/3G protocols.

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Tumblr resorts to AI in attempt to scrub itself clean from filth

DougS
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People are just assuming Apple's app ban was the reason

There have been no statements from Tumblr confirming that, so it is just that, an assumption. This would be quite a big change in direction over a ban that lasted only a few days - and if there really was child porn found one that arguably had a good reason.

Going from "people are putting child porn on our platform" to "we should delete all pictures of topless women" is a pretty big stretch. If Apple was banning all apps with any nudity at all, there would be a LOT of apps up for deletion, so that's obviously not the reason. Maybe Tumblr felt it would be easier to ban everything beyond bikini pics, but then they have to try to draw line for "art" when it comes to photos of naked women. What makes it art, if the picture is black and white?

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OM5G... Qualcomm teases next Snapdragon chip for phones: The 855 with a fingerprint Sonic Screwdriver, er, Sensor

DougS
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Radiation nutjobs

On last night's local news I saw a story on the electric utility in a nearby city that was installing "smart meters". They mentioned a woman who came to a city council meeting objecting to them claiming the usual list of non-specific symptoms when she lived in Colorado and a neighbor had a smart meter installed 70 feet from her house, and said she moved back home to get away from it and her symptoms improved.

Then they had a utility spokesman on who said that it uses the same amount of power as a cell phone, and is active only once a day for about a second. I'm sure she'd find a reason that a single second's exposure to that smart meter was somehow worse for her that being anywhere in public where she is around other people, all of whom have cell phones, many of them in use as she walks by.

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DougS
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5G skeptics

People aren't skeptical 5G won't work, they are skeptical that it is going to drive phone replacement demand.

Though lately I've seen a lot of alarmist nonsense about 5G "death towers", so it looks more anti-science nutjobs will be out claiming 5G is somehow far more deadly than LTE, wifi, bluetooth and all the other terrible radiation we are bathing in daily. That might be a bigger problem than "skeptics".

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GOPwned: Republicans fall victim to email hack

DougS
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Re: The Russians are Coming!!!

The Russians don't really care about the results of any election

They did care abou the results of the 2016 presidential election - Putin even said so. But the reasons for wanting Trump mostly evaporated once Hillary lost and things were out in the open. Everyone is watching now so he can't do them any backdoor favors like lifting the Magnitsky sanctions.

So it is quite possible Russia wanted the outcome of the recent election with democrats winning the house, to guarantee Trump would be tied up with congressional investigations for the rest of his term, because that will distract him and make him even more volatile and unstable.

Hell, they'd probably like to see him impeached now, since that would really throw the US government into chaos for a time - so they could have a reason to provide far more help to Mueller's investigation than Trump may assume they will. Heck, if Putin REALLY is as smart as some claim, he might have colluded with Trump with the intention of making the evidence available later that would lead to his impeachment!

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DougS
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Re: All we can do is wait

It isn't like there was much "there" there for DNC emails, other than the attempt to tilt the playing field in Hillary's favor. The RNC was openly discussing how to "stop Trump" in late spring, but it turned out they were too late - and their only alternative would have been Ted Cruz, who isn't exactly anyone's favorite. The revelation wasn't exactly news except for Bernie fans who were too young to realize what a dirty business politics is, or false outage from republicans who acted like the republican establishment had always been behind Trump once he won the nomination.

Emails are probably stolen from politicians 10-20x more often than they are publicly released. The contents are far more valuable to use as leverage over individual politicians who will all say things they wouldn't want publicly aired in "private" conversation. Especially for foreign governments, who like to have something to influence the decisions of lawmakers should things come to a vote like sanctions, tariffs, arms deals with countries they are not aligned with, etc. Won't matter when the decision is clear, but in a close vote they don't need to have influence over many to swing things their way.

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Google internal revolt grows as search-engine Spartacuses prepare strike over China

DougS
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Re: No matter what happens

If half of them have mentioned they would not be willing to work for Google, maybe one or two of the rest think likewise but haven't mentioned it - and the rest, upon hearing that so many other top flight devs don't want to work for Google, might think twice before taking a job with them too.

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Sysadmin’s plan to manage system config changes backfires spectacularly

DougS
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@Tixr - dozens of deletes a day

If you are doing this as part of an actual process, you don't delete the accounts of users who leave. You disable them (make it very easy to undo, and have sanity checks to insure not too many are done in one day which may indicate a problem) and then have a process that acts later and deletes them - making sure they are already disabled before trying to delete.

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You think you're hot bit: Seagate tests 16TB HAMR disk drive

DougS
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Re: Meanwhile, 8TB is still above €250

Which is why Seagate will need to get HAMR working so they can start doubling capacity of hard drives every few years to match to what they are doing with NAND. They expect it to be good to at least 100 TB capacities, which should keep it well ahead of SSDs for years to come.

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DougS
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Re: Meanwhile, 8TB is still above €250

Hard drives are likely to get bigger but not less expensive. This type of tech will raise the minimum cost of production, and the shrinking market mean it is only viable to produce high capacity high cost drives. The old days of selling max capacity drives alongside drives way down in capacity using only a single platter for under 100 <monetary units> are over.

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ICO to probe facial recog amid concerns UK cops can't shake their love for unregulated creepy tech

DougS
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How long before someone is killed by this?

Imagine using facial recognition tech in a crowd, and getting a false positive on some highly dangerous wanted person like a terrorist suspect. That person is followed by CCTV cameras getting into a car, and driving to a house. Your house. The police bust in, guns blazing (OK this part is probably a lot more likely in the US than the UK) and you get shot dead in the confusion.

All because a poorly design system had mistaken you for someone else, and led police to your door.

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Space policy boffin: Blighty can't just ctrl-C, ctrl-V plans for Galileo into its Brexit satellite

DougS
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Why not use them all?

Surely a single receiver that used publicly available information from all of GPS, Galileo, GLONASS and Beidu would be nearly as accurate as using one homegrown military-accurate alternative? If those were all turned off at once, there is a pretty big war going on and either the UK is allied with one or more of the participants or if it is the UK vs the world will be blown up regardless.

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