* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Leaked NSA point-and-pwn hack tools menace Win2k to Windows 8

DougS Silver badge

Windows 10 is almost certainly vulnerable

The exploits were stolen in 2013, before Windows 10 came out, so obviously it wouldn't have been listed as a potential target. But given the range of vulnerable versions from 2K all the way to 8 in some of these, only a fool who smugly posts "it pays to be running Windows 10" would wrongly assume Windows 10 is not vulnerable!

DougS Silver badge

This could be a good thing for Microsoft

If people start actively using these exploits then Windows 7, 8 and 10 systems will be patched and protected. Windows XP systems won't be, thus encouraging people to upgrade those at least to Windows 7 (since that's easily pirated like XP was)

The percentages of people still on Windows XP has to be a monthly embarrassment for them.

Good job, everyone. We're making AI just as tediously racist and sexist as ourselves

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Well duh

Microsoft's experience with Tay proved that pretty well. Racism, sexism and other undesirable -isms aren't genetic, you are socialized into it by those around you. An AI that learns in a similar way can't help but learn the same things - but it could have some programming to override what it learns in certain categories.

That's a little harder to do with humans, and if you try they get all bent out of shape and start throwing around words like brainwashing.

Super Cali goes ballistic, Uber drivers are stocious (allegedly!)

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Re: ...a net loss of $2.8bn

They are in a race trying to bankrupt taxi services in the areas they operate before they run out of other people's money.

The founders and early stage VCs have probably cashed in on private sales long ago, so at this point it is more of a Ponzi scheme than a company.

Alert: Using a web ad blocker may identify you – to advertisers

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Why should a browser report extensions in use?

When I tried it, it couldn't detect them. Apparently only Google is stupid enough to allow that, since it said it only works in Chrome.

In the login leak, I was one of 1532 collisions among 4650 browsers, so hardly unique there.

In the standard fingerprint I was unique as I guessed I would be - I'm running Firefox on Linux! But that's easily fixed by changing my user agent string, if I cared to bother.

Deeming Facebook a 'publisher' of users' posts won't tackle paedo or terrorist content

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Facebook is like a newspaper's comments section

Not sure what the point of The Times' effort here is, because it isn't going to change anything. I hate that I'm about to do this, but I guess I'm taking Facebook's side here...sort of.

Let's say I went to The Times' web site and read an article. Then I decided to comment on it with a narrative that would trigger the UK's indecency laws, meaning that any 'publisher' should not be publishing stuff like that according to UK law. Surely the fact The Times is a publisher wouldn't make them liable for what I wrote in the comments; it would be my responsibility. They would have an obligation to do their best to avoid letting people see it, by 1) taking it down quickly when alerted, 2) having some sort of automated filters, or 3) moderators.

Facebook already does #1, could do #2 if they wanted, but #3 would be infeasible. Is The Times also going to campaign for Facebook to require moderators to approve everything you write on it. If they couple that with a law requiring that UK citizens' moderation by done within the UK, it would be a great jobs creation program that would offset the effect of Brexit!

Sysadmin 'trashed old bosses' Oracle database with ticking logic bomb'

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Re: Lots of revenge hacks recently...

$100K is NOT a big loss at all! If you add up the time taken by everyone involved along the way from initially noticing something is wrong, troubleshooting until the issue is found (for which they hired an outside firm) and getting everything up and running again. Don't forget to add the time wasted by accountants who couldn't do year end closing - and maybe had overtime once it was fixed and they were able to work, potential state/federal fines if certain deadlines for reporting are missed, plus all the time taken by various managers for constant status meetings.

$100K looks like a massive lowball estimate of what they could have calculated.

Speaking of constant status meetings, I was on one for about four hours yesterday that had at its peak 50 people on the Skype call. That's easily running over $1000/minute!

Microsoft raises pistol, pulls the trigger on Windows 7, 8 updates for new Intel, AMD chips

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Simple solution

Unless you're a gamer or otherwise have a need for high end graphics performance, run Windows 7 in a VM. I bought a Kaby Lake laptop last fall and I'm running Windows 7 on it just fine (it is a corporate load I copied off the crappy laptop they provided using VMware P2V)

I run it under Linux, but Windows 10 can run VMware Player just as well.

Astro-boffinry breakthrough: Loads of ingredients for life found on Saturn's Enceladus

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Re: 65km Deep Ocean

I think the bigger problem will be melting its way down through all the ice, and figuring out a way to perfectly sterilize it so it doesn't bring Earth based extremophiles along for the ride and potentially contaminate their ocean with Earth life. Or seed their ocean, depending on whether something's already living there or not...

US military makes first drop of Mother-of-All-Bombs on Daesh-bags

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Re: Gather Dust?

My understanding is that it can be used as an airburst to "suck all the oxygen out of the air", but can also penetrate as much as 100 feet deep into the ground to take out a big crater. I would guess it would have a lot of the force directed sideways assuming it was aimed correctly and penetrated within the tunnel network.

Qualcommotion: Sueball return alleges Apple 'pay-to-play' deal

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Re: @LeeE: @DougS

Reporting someone for charging you unfairly when they are the ONLY game in town for a large segment of your customer base isn't a good idea. It is like how MIcrosoft had the PC companies cowed about their anticompetitive contracts back in the 90s. They couldn't afford to piss them off and risk retaliation. Some were reluctant to speak on the record even during the FTC case.

DougS Silver badge

Re: @LeeE: @DougS

Wrong. The customer is NEVER liable for violation of FRAND licensing agreements, because they were not a party to those agreements, only the patent owners in the pool and the standards organization were!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Even​ more damning for Apple

They didn't get the higher data rates (i.e. comparison to higher clock rate for the TSMC A9) but they did marginally better throughput at a given LTE category (i.e. comparison to TSMC A9 using marginally less battery for a given amount of work)

It is exactly the same thing. Shunting the battery to drain the TSMC A9 faster would be likely if they added a bit of latency and reduced the throughput of the Qualcomm LTE chip to match the slightly worse performance of the Intel LTE chip.

DougS Silver badge


What Apple is complaining about is that Qualcomm was charging for the patent licensing portion of the chip as a percentage of the phone's price. That is specifically not allowed for patents covered under FRAND, and has been held to be so in multiple courts in multiple countries all around the world.

What I'm not sure about is the CDMA patents, which may not be covered under FRAND but are rather more of a "standard" in name only.

No one who needs CDMA functionality is in a position to complain about Qualcomm because they could refuse to sell to you and then your phones can't be used on Verizon or Sprint in the US. Qualcomm is worried though because as they upgrade to LTE the need for 3G CDMA to support those carriers is less every year, before long no one will need Qualcomm's chips in the US and their gravy train will be over.

DougS Silver badge

Re: What I don't understand...

What I don't understand is Qualcomm's claim that they had to make "substantial investments" due to Apple. All Apple was doing was buying Qualcomm's latest wireless chip that supported cellular, wifi and bluetooth standards. It isn't like Apple had their own wireless standard Qualcomm needed to support, so they were going to produce the exact same stuff whether or not Apple was a customer.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Even​ more damning for Apple

I don't see how Qualcomm can complain about. Apple is buying a product from them, it isn't Qualcomm's business if Apple chooses to limit its performance to match the slower Intel version. Depending on what whether Apple's insistence they keep quiet about it was some sort of a threat there could be something there, but if it was written into a contract or was agreed to by Qualcomm without any threats made then Qualcomm can't complain about that either.

Apple did the same thing with the iPhone 6S, which used SoCs made by both TSMC and Samsung. The TSMC SoCs used a measurably smaller amount of power, and almost certainly could have been clocked higher than the Samsung parts. But they didn't want to have people getting phones with different performance depending on the luck of the draw of what chip they get. Some people still complained if they got a Samsung chip, but the battery life specs were based on it, not the TSMC, so basically people who got one of those got a 'bonus' for free.

ITU and IEEE fail to put technology flesh on fascinating 5G concepts

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Re: fixed wireless broadband

How are you claiming fixed wireless "has been at the Shannon limit for over 15 years". I guess I missed where they were getting 30 bits per symbol in the year 2000. Analog "1G" was still a big thing in the US back then.

DougS Silver badge

Re: 'Frugal 5G' bring broadband Internet to half world's population?

Not everywhere has the type of population density you are thinking about. Everywhere outside 'city limits' is a better candidate for fixed wireless broadband than it is for running fiber. You have the towers already, its just another antenna. AT&T sees it as a way to fund running fiber to those rural towers, which isn't cost effective if they are used for cellular only.

There are already deployments in the US using LTE (not even LTE-A) that do 20-30 Mbps at peak times. They use bands that aren't shared with mobile/cellular use so oversubscription rates are as easy to manage as wired. Once 5G appears it will be practical to offer hundreds of megabits this way, which is fast enough. There is no use case for gigabit to the home, and if/when there's actually a need for it faster wireless will be available (i.e. 6G, 7G etc.)

I agree with you in the city, houses are way too dense and the only way it would work is if they put a microcell on every other block (maybe practical in areas with utility poles, but where utilities are underground that's not an option)

Troll it your way: Burger King ad tries to hijack Google Home gadgets

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Claiming it is malicious when there's no harm would get you laughed out of court. All it does is make your Googlebox look something up. If you could claim harm from that you'd be able to sue people who send you junk mail, because it forces you to look at the envelope and dispose of it.

DougS Silver badge

This may become a trend

And I'll laugh as the Google Home owners howl. I'm sure they'll call upon the FCC or FTC to do something, but this business friendly administration isn't likely to be swift in any action - especially when democrat-friendly Google is the victim!

Trump's govt hiring freeze means there's no US Privacy Shield chief: We tracked down the woman filling in for now

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Re: I suspect they hope to rely on the usual "diplomacy"

I knew someone would have to be a smartass, but the US is nowhere close to insolvent. Now a country like Venezuela is probably a 50/50 bet to default on its debt in the next few years, but it's sort of a tradition that some South or Central American country will do that once a decade, so we're due.

People will bring up Greece, but the only reason they would have to default is because they can't devalue the euro. If they had never joined the EU, they would have done that years ago and been just fine. The EU is an object lesson on why a currency union without a fiscal union is ultimately doomed to failure. The question is whether the EU will heed that lesson by becoming a fiscal union (might be easier now that they don't have to keep hoping they someday get the UK to sign up as a full member) or Germany will remain stubborn until a few countries are forced to leave to fix their economies and the whole thing collapses.

DougS Silver badge

Re: I suspect they hope to rely on the usual "diplomacy"

When has the US ever threatened "not paying back" some of its debts? They never have, and never will, because t bills would become worthless if the US threatened say Germany with non-payment and then other holders decided "what if we're threatened next" and decide to sell them all so they can't be used as a bargaining chip. The price would plummet, and the dollar itself would quickly become almost worthless.

No country would do that, except for one that's nearly insolvent and about to renege on their debt anyway.

Big Internet warns FCC's Pai: We will fight you all the way on net neutrality

DougS Silver badge

Depending on how you view 'net neutrality'

Google could be both benefiting from and subject to it. Benefiting from it because ISPs can't charge them to deliver their packets, and subject to it if they decide e.g. search is a basic component of the net and force them to play fair and not automatically give prime placement to their own stuff.

I have a feeling Google wouldn't be quite so enthusiastic if that was included in the definition - and I'm sure they'd fight against and claim that's "overreach" just like the ISPs think the current regulation is overreach.

The problem is, Pai is right. The FCC has tried to enforce net neutrality because Congress is too much in the pocket of bribes^H^H^H^H^H^Hdonations from Comcast/NBC, AT&T, Verizon, and other giant internet providers who see a way to get paid a second time for the content they are carrying over their networks. Their first attempt was shot down by the courts, so they tried the more radical approach of Title II. While that may work, even its supporters have to admit it is pretty ridiculous to use a 1934 law to regulate the internet.

Though that's really no worse than the alternative of trying to shoehorn it into the most recent 1996 law that was written less than a year after Bill Gates discovered the internet, and before 99.9% of the general public had ever heard of it let alone knew what it was.

The problem is that Congress is dysfunctional because of all the legalized bribes flowing through it, and they care more about their corporate masters than they do the interests of the public. A more activist FCC tries to find ways to exercise its authority to take up what they are unable to. Pai is content to say "its Congress' job" even though he knows with absolute certainty Congress will continue to ignore it because the telcos are paying them to ignore it.

UK boffins steal smartmobe PINs with motion sensors

DougS Silver badge

Re: And yet, it's so very, very easy to fix..

Those pattern unlocks are no more secure than having no security at all. You just need to watch someone unlock their phone once and you have it. If you don't there aren't many combinations of patterns possible in such a small grid and it doesn't lock you out if you try them all.

So I really don't think a smear showing their pattern makes any difference.

Official science we knew all along: Facebook makes you sad :-(

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Chicken and egg

Is it that using Facebook more makes you less happy? Or does being less happy make you retreat from the real world and use Facebook more?

China emerges as digital rights champion with new info privacy law

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This isn't a privacy law, it is a "build infrastructure in China" law

Facebook et al will need to store data on Chinese users in China, and then they'll be free to collect as much stuff as they like without any permission!

FCC kills plan to allow phone calls on planes – good idea or terrible?

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It won't matter

So long as people have internet access, they can make VOIP calls via Skype or whatever, unless the airline goes out of their way to try to block them. Annoying jerks will have their way in the end.

Gartner halves tech splash forecasts, blames the US dollar

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Re: Out of interest

The strong dollar is just their excuse for being wrong as usual.

Had the dollar weakened, they'd probably blame the weak dollar for making US companies reluctant to spend, or come up with some reason related to Trump's election or a blister on Bill Gates' toe why "we would have been right if it wasn't for X"

Apple’s premium TV plans – the hobby doomed to stay that way

DougS Silver badge

You don't seem to understand streaming at all

If you want access to the same package of channels you can get from your traditional TV provider, that is never going to come from a single streaming provider. A lot of what you pay Directv, Comcast etc. is going straight to the networks, so if you're hoping to get what you pay $120/month for now for $40/month streaming, keep dreaming. It is probably more expensive for them to deliver via internet.

Think about it this way. The kind of satellites Directv is using for delivery cost a few hundred million dollars including launch costs and so forth. They need a fleet of five to cover everything (they have a few more now, but that includes old ones with less capacity etc.) and they last about 20 years. So let's say they wanted to replace them all today, that would mean they cost Directv $100 million per year. Directv has over 20 million subscribers, so that means their satellite fleet costs $5/yr, or less than 50 cents a month. I wonder how much it costs them for bandwidth/peering to deliver a terabyte of data for a month? Even if it is less than 50 cents, that doesn't leave much room for any significant savings.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Analysis?

What "waffy" strategy? The only people talking about Apple offering OTT TV streaming are analysts. Apple never has. Maybe they do, but just because there have been rumors of a half dozen different strategies for Apple over the years wouldn't mean they were waffling - just that as usual analysts guesses were wrong.

Forget Mirai – Brickerbot malware will kill your crap IoT devices

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Re: @Doctor Syntax - make buyers more careful in future

True, but most will give up on IoT after being burned a couple times. In most cases (i.e. internet connected bulbs and door locks, that sort of useless crap) that will be a good thing.

DougS Silver badge

@Doctor Syntax - make buyers more careful in future

The problem is that many of these IoT devices are white label, and many companies will buy them wholesale and brand them. So you buy a device from CompanyOne, and it gets bricked and say "I'm never buying from CompanyOne ever again!" and buy CompanyTwo's product, which turn out to be wholesaled from the same white label firm.

If the white label firm sees a drop in business from relabelers like CompanyOne and CompanyTwo, no matter, they probably operate under multiple names so they can "shut down" the tainted name and move on to the next without having to actually fix the issue. Because that would cost money, especially if they wanted to truly secure them rather than just fixing issues that are currently being exploited.

The only real solution is to buy from a reputable company you know stands behind their products, but of course then you are paying a lot more so that's a step most won't take.

US govt ceases fire in legal spat with Twitter to unmask anti-Trump 'immigration official'

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Re: Perhaps they had a chat with another tla?

If that account quits tweeting then maybe, but I think it is a bit extreme to call in the FBI over something that is clearly not illegal. Let alone the CIA/NSA - many of the career staff were not very happy about being ordered to spy against citizens and the egg that was left on their faces when Snowden's revelations came to light. They certainly wouldn't be willing to risk another repeat over something as minor as unmasking an anti-Trump tweeter in the DHS' ranks!

Twitter sues US govt to protect 'Department of Immigration employee' who doesn't like Trump

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DHS ... can direct their network administrators do it"

Only if the guy is tweeting from a DHS network. If he's doing it from home, or from his phone via cellular, or is using a VPN or similar solution, he's 100% safe.

But even if he's using the DHS network it would be difficult. Twitter encrypts ALL connections to it, so all they can find is "here's a list of people who connected to Twitter at any time during time period X" - which would include those who aren't sending tweets but merely reading those from this guy, or Kim Kardashian, or Trump. They'd have to look at the time stamps of his tweets and try to narrow down those logs of millions of connects to Twitter from DHS networks down to one individual. Probably not feasible.

An echo chamber full of fake news? Blame Google and Facebook, says Murdoch chief

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Re: Pot meet Kettle

The media may get it wrong at times, but it is self correcting. Dan Rather's story was quickly found to be false and he and CBS owned up to it and suffered the consequences. You shouldn't refuse to watch CBS forevermore just because they've been wrong. There is no news outlet that's never wrong, but the more extremist their viewpoints the more fake news they carry, the greater the chance they KNOW the news they are carrying is fake, and the less likely they will be to admit that, let alone apologize for it.

Where is the similar mechanism for the sites like 'Sputnik News' that popped up out of nowhere during the election campaign with knowingly false stories about Hillary being so ill she would be dead before she could be sworn in (guess that time in the woods was a miracle cure!) or whatever? There is none, because Facebook doesn't publish the stories directly, they rely on their users to share them around - and share they did, so long as they were slanted in the same direction as the sharer's political views. Similar for Google, the more links to a site and clicks in google searches, the higher ranked those sites become so they are seen by more people when using Google.

There's no self correction mechanism in Facebook/Google, because even if you see someone you know sharing a story that's false, it is very hard to get them to believe you. Even if you do, by that time others who saw it on their page shared to their friends, so it spreads like the cancer Hillary was supposed to have had.

That's the difference with being a one to many broadcaster like CBS - they can make a retraction that will reach as wide of an audience as the original false information. In a many to many situation like Facebook, fake news spreads far far far faster and wider than retractions / corrections ever will. People are way more likely to share "wow this is big news and gives a great reason everyone should do like me and vote for X!" than "oh that news everyone has been sharing including me is fake, I should make sure everyone knows that, even though it may cause some to change their votes back to the other candidate".

Twitter cofounder to sell chunk of his stock for personal reasons

DougS Silver badge

Re: Value?

People said the same thing about Google and Facebook, but they figured out how to monetize their userbase by slinging ads at them in ways that weren't annoying enough to cause those users to leave.

Twitter has yet to crack that particular problem, but apparently the market still has some faith (but not as much as they once did) that they will eventually do so.

Overcharge customers, underpay the serfs. Who else but Uber (allegedly)

DougS Silver badge

Wouldn't surprise me a bit

Uber is by far the shadiest and least ethical of the latest crop of Silicon Valley companies that hit it big.

Democrats draft laws in futile attempt to protect US internet privacy

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Not quite futile

They heard the blowback from citizens about this, so they want it on the record that republicans voted against or refused to bring to a vote a bill that would restore the internet privacy that was lost.

No different really from house republicans voting to repeal Obamacare 50+ times (no, really!) over the last few years, because they wanted it on the record they were against it and it was the democrats who prevented the repeal. Kind of ironic they are unable to repeal it now that they have the chance, but it is easier to throw stones from a minority position than it is to lead, as the republicans are learning as the new majority party.

We know what you're thinking: Where the hell is all the antimatter?

DougS Silver badge

What if there are supermassive Majorana particles?

In the early stages of the universe when matter first began to condense out of the soup of energy, some really high energy particles (maybe so high energy we have no hope of ever creating them in a particle accelerator) that are their own antiparticle could have been created. If those preferentially decayed into 'matter' rather than 'antimatter' that would neatly explain why matter appears to be the majority in the universe.

Unfortunately, if this is true we won't ever have any way of proving it. However, the existence of Majorana particles that are created only in accelerators and don't exist in nature proves that this is a possible explanation.

Honor phone for paupers goes upmarket, assails flagships

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Re: pronunciation?

Wow, I didn't know there were Trump supporters in Wales.

Ha ha, OK, fun's over. Time to drop that FTC antitrust thing, like, now – Qualcomm begs court

DougS Silver badge

Monopolistic in what way? Apple sells a minority of phones, so how are artists being forced to offer their songs to them? If an artist copied his own CDs and wanted to sell them in your brick and mortar store at $10/ea, would you give him all $10? The visibility and foot traffic your shop affords being worth nothing?

As for developers, what does Google charge again? Oh yeah, 30%, just like Apple. If anyone are monopolists for taking a 30% cut, it is the one with 85% of worldwide market share.

As Trump signs away Americans' digital privacy, it's time to bring out the BS detector

DougS Silver badge

Re: The one way this will be stopped quick smart...

I'm hoping a brave anonymous ISP employee gets the search history of a bunch of congressmen. From both parties, because let's be bipartisan. And gives them to someone who will post them online. I don't believe we can trust Wikileaks to not be partisan after last year, now that it is known Assange was in communication with Roger Stone (at the very least...probably others from the Trump campaign too) thereby explaining how they always seemed to get new dumps of Hillary material when they needed it, and knew about it in advance.

Someone needs to fork Wikileaks...

DougS Silver badge

Re: We'll follow as usual

If only there were a presidential candidate who promised to 'drain the swamp' and had even the tiniest intention of doing so.

US border cops must get warrants to search citizens' gadgets – draft bipartisan law emerges

DougS Silver badge

non-citizens have an easy fix

Ask your government to flag any US congressman entering your country for a full search of their electronic devices. I bet that will get the law changed for more than just citizens PDQ! Or maybe we'll bomb your country, with our current president who knows!

Assange™ keeps his couch as Ecuador's president wins election

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Re: Dear Mr Assange ..

So ship it by rail.

Europe supplants US as biggest source of child abuse hubs

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Re: Is it because

The FBI 'takes over' active pedo sites so they can reel in as many of their regular customers as possible. If they just took them down the instant they could, they wouldn't be able to catch them.

So yeah, while effectively the FBI is distributing child porn during that interim, the pedos who are viewing it would simply go elsewhere for their fix if the FBI took down the sites as quickly as possible. Keeping them operational for a few weeks longer ensures that a number of them are caught and removed from society so the ones who do more than just look at pictures can do no further harm.

Drive-by Wi-Fi i-Thing attack, oh my!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Obsolescence?

I think you can leave MS of that list. They tend to support for around a decade.

On the desktop, sure. Their mobile devices were obsoleted after every major revision, with nothing that ran Windows Mobile 6.5 able to update to Windows Phone 7, nothing that ran WP7 able to update to WP8, and a minority of WP8 devices able to update to WP10. That is probably part of the reason they failed in mobile - they already had a small share and then orphaned each generation when they moved to the next.

FCC saves Charter from threat of having to compete for customers

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Re: Trump is toxic.

There's plenty to blame Trump for, but Pai was appointed by Obama - because you have to appoint members of the other party to maintain the 3-2 balance of the FCC, in fact Trump has a democratic slot he needs to fill. Trump is only responsible for elevating Pai to chair, but he only had two choices unless he wanted to appoint someone new and wait for confirmation.

Banking group denied access to iPhones' NFC chips for alt.Apple.Pay

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Re: And this is why we can't have nice things

This is about the banks being greedy and not wanting to pay the 0.15% Apple collects on Apple Pay transactions (it comes out of the bank's percentage)

Which is fine, its their choice, don't support Apple Pay if you don't like it. But don't whine to the government like a spoiled child and claim you are fighting for the little guy. They don't like someone else collecting a tiny piece of the action, they believe it is rightfully all theirs! These bankers would happily screw the little guy if it meant getting an extra dollar on their year end bonus.

DougS Silver badge

In Australia, versus a coalition of major Australian banks, yes they are.

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