* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

New Android-infecting malware brew hijacks devices. Why, you ask? Your router

DougS Silver badge


Sorry, but that is 100% your fault for using a Comcast provided device for your wifi network. Turn the wifi off, set the Comcast to bridge mode, and install your own wifi router. Then you can configure it as you wish, run DD-WRT etc. on it, and so forth, and the Comcast device can't see into your home network even if it is hacked. A hacked Comcast device could still hijack DNS, but if they ever get the problems with DNScrypt ironed out and make it generally usable, that problem will go away.

Uh-oh. LG to use AI to push home appliances to 'another dimension'

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Re: Constant 5C internally?

Surely door openings have almost no effect in a typical fridge, given the thermal mass of the contents. Even if you completely replaced the internal air with 25C air on every opening, I doubt the temperature change in say a gallon of milk would be noticeable.

Your milk won't spoil if it rises from 5C to 6C due to kids opening the door every five minutes to get something - if it rises far enough for a long enough time that the milk spoils your problem is someone left the door open. The fix for that isn't a smart fridge, it is an alarm that beeps at you when it is open too long or an automatic door closer.

Bitcoin breaks US$1,000

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Re: Sudden crash coming again?

The pounds in the bank most certainly are backed by something - the British government. They've decided pounds are the official currency of the country, required for all debts to and payments from the government, and legal lender for all transactions between parties - unless the laws are different than in the US you CANNOT refuse to accept payment in pounds for a debt owed by another party. You can refuse to accept payment in bitcoin, or gold.

There is nowhere in the world where bitcoin is legal tender in this way, thus if people decide to stop using it, its value drops to zero. People can't decide to stop using pounds unless the UK ceases to exist.

DougS Silver badge

It will crash if China cracks down on it

Most of the holdings are supposedly in China or related to Chinese trade. The post-Trump spike is probably because of interest in using bitcoin as a way of dodging the tariffs he claims he will put on Chinese imports (and China would no doubt slap on US exports)

MacBook killer? New Lenovo offering sexed up with XPoint booster

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Optane is pointless in laptops

The speed gain going from hard drives to SATA SSDs in laptops was massive. The speed gain going from SATA SSDs to NVMe SSDs is almost undetectable. The gain from NVMe SSDs to Optane will be undetectable.

OK, if you run the equivalent of an Oracle DB on your laptop, or you deal with massive quarter terabyte video or CAD files on a regular basis you will be able to detect it. But 99.9% of laptop users will not.

Putting Optane in laptops is a silly specs battle akin to bragging about an octo core phone. It isn't needed, and definitely isn't worth whatever extra price it commands.

Android tops 2016 vuln list, with 523 bugs

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The problem is not Google providing security fixes

It is and always has been getting them to the phones. If your wife got really lucky with a purchase I guess she got one that is still getting updates for 4.4, but I'll bet that's true for less than 1% of all the phones that were sold with 4.4.

Timeliness is also an issue. If Google issues a 4.4 fix tomorrow and a phone doesn't get it until July, that's a lot of time for hackers to reverse engineer the exploit that was fixed and use it against you.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Cyanogenmod: not tested, or no vulnerabilities?

Its based on Android, so it would have almost all the same bugs. Your contention fails the 'duh' test - there's no way in hell they found and fixed all but one of those hundreds of Android bugs before Google or security researchers found them!

The only way to make a secure mobile OS these days is to have it do almost nothing. Look at all the Android bugs around receiving MMS messages - the fix for that is to disallow MMS. The only fix for the various bugs everyone has where a web page with the right code can exploit the browser is to not support web surfing. Basically if you make your smartphone a feature phone that can't browse the web, can't run apps, can't do anything besides calls and SMS, you can probably make it bulletproof. You do everything a modern Android or iPhone can do, you are going to have to accept security issues as a consequence of that convenience.

OpenBSD won't help you here, BTW. Perhaps it has a more secure userland, but that doesn't help if you are running Chrome or Firefox and getting all their bugs.

What's up with the moderation?

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It wasn't the speed I had an issue with, it was the fact that 50+ posts, some made less than an hour earlier than when I checked, had been approved and mine wasn't. Do they not get moderated first in / first out?

DougS Silver badge

What's up with the moderation?

Lately it seems almost all articles have moderated comments. Maybe there have been more problems with spammers or those who are too uncivil even for the Reg, so while I don't like it I recognize it isn't up to me and maybe there are reasons I'm not aware of.

But something sure seems horked with it, as recently I've noticed comments I've made that seem to sit in limbo forever. I commented on the Amazon Echo story shortly after it was posted when there was only one comment on it. It is still in limbo, even though many others have been posted as recently as an hour ago. It wasn't anything that would ever be rejected, so what's going on? Is it lost in the system?

If this becomes a regular thing I would probably quit posting comments, and without the comments I have no reason to visit the Reg at all as there any plenty of sites out there with the same news. Maybe no one will miss me if I'm gone, but I doubt I'm alone in thinking that the value of the back and forth in Reg comments is lost if it takes many hours for your post to appear, and may never do.

Amazon files patent for 'Death Star' flying warehouse

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Same way the cargo would

Wait for it to return to the ground.

US cops seek Amazon Echo data for murder inquiry

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Re: Interesting...

If I had to put money on it, I'd say they are already collecting all this data and if they're forced to admit it in court will probably claim they are mining it "anonymously" and think that makes it OK.

DougS Silver badge

There's a second tech angle to this story

Apparently the guy had a smart water meter, and the police are claiming an unusually high amount of water he used the night of the murder was due to the cleanup. He claims its clock was off, and it had recorded filling up his hot tub the night before.

More reasons to avoid "smart" anything unless you and YOU ALONE are in charge of it. Yeah, you can say "if you don't do anything wrong, you have nothing to fear", but that's a pretty short sighted view that Germans of the 1930s and many others would take issue with.

Microsoft scores nearly $1bn non-compete contract with US military

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Re: The reason why they're using 56 year old mainframes and 8" floppies

If you take an old mainframe program for which there's no source and replicate its functionality in a modern language on a modern system, it will automatically be extensible because you'll have source code and programmers who understand it (because they wrote it)

Same thing with replacing some ancient system using 8" floppies with a new one using USB (or maybe CDs would be better, since they can't be written) They probably can't add any functionality to the system using 8" floppies because it has only 32K RAM or something crazy like that. Put it on a modern system and that wouldn't be an issue.

But the first step in either case is "make it do exactly what the old system does". Then you can see what you want to add and start prioritizing. The project might go off the rails then if you try to do too much, but at least the modernization part will have been accomplished.

DougS Silver badge

The reason why they're using 56 year old mainframes and 8" floppies

Is because when they announce they're going to "modernize", they hold meetings to produce requirements and everyone throws in their pet features and the project inevitably sinks under its own weight.

They should instead have a project with the directive "replace exactly the functionality the current solution provides, nothing more, but be designed so that it can be incrementally extended with new functionality".

White House report cautiously optimistic about job-killing AI

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Re: Even if job gains are balanced by job losses

I know that, which is why I said "and jobs with low skill transference". The skills of a good truck driver are indeed pretty impressive, but they don't transfer well to other jobs.

DougS Silver badge

Even if job gains are balanced by job losses

Society is still screwed, because the people losing their jobs will be positions with low skill or little room for skill transference, like fast food workers and truck drivers. If a robot revolution creates as many jobs as it kills, it probably won't be creating jobs that fry cooks and truckers will be able to do, no matter how much money is allocated for "retraining".

Zuckerberg turns his home into Creepy Robot Buddy

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IDing visitors at your door?

Billionaires solved that problem ages ago, it is called having a gatehouse with a guard you have to get by before someone can even approach your front door.

Personally, I've already solved the problem. If someone rings my bell when I'm not expecting anyone, I ignore it. If someone rings my bell when I'm expecting someone, the least I can do is open the damn door for them myself. Though granted I don't live in a billionaire's mansion, maybe it is a 10 minute walk from the pool to the front door and he can't be bothered.

Hopefully the Jarvis AI provides a map to where Zuck is waiting for you for first time visitors so they don't get lost and accidentally walk into the room where he's got his Facebook paniopticon that's keeping tabs on his billion+ users.

Stupid law of the week: South Carolina wants anti-porno chips in PCs that cost $20 to disable

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Re: Out of State

What most of the rest of the world is failing to appreciate the number of voters who cast a ballot for Trump not out of ~approval~ for Trump but as a ~rejection~ of Hillary Clinton.

True, but most elections in the US are about voting against the person you don't want. Once a generation you get a candidate that inspires enough people that the majority of the votes he gets are FOR him (Reagan, Clinton, and Obama in their first terms) but most of the time you have a choice like Bush I vs Dukakis or Bush II vs Gore and you are voting against the person you think is worse rather than actually wanting the guy you voted for.

I guess once every couple of generations you have to endure a really terrible no-win deal with the devil choice like Nixon vs Humphrey or Trump vs Clinton. Maybe those come around less often because you have to wait for most of the people who made the mistake the last time around to be dead, like how most of the people who voted in the 1968 election were during the 2016 primary season.

DougS Silver badge

@Bucky 2 - Trump voters

People who are pissed at politicians fucking them over probably should have voted for Trump. It makes perfect sense. First, he's not a politician, and secondly he was running against the most insider presidential candidate since Bush Sr.

Now I think you're right that those voters won't get the result they were hoping for - he's nominating capitalist cronies who are probably even 'cronier' than Clinton would have, so he's not only not draining the swamp he's adding a 25th layer of muck.

However, the way the independents who voted for him looked at it, a vote for Trump was a vote against the status quo, and gave them an outlet for their anger. It made them happy to reject Clinton, since they KNEW things wouldn't get better for them under her, and could at least HOPE things would get better for them under Trump.

They won't, of course, because Trump just used their anger for their votes, and now he's installing by far the wealthiest cabinet in history. And because they are longing for the days when the US was the manufacturer for the world, and no one in either party can bring them back because it is simply not possible to turn back that clock. Unless WW III happens and the world's manufacturing base is destroyed while the US is untouched, as happened during WW II...hopefully that is not Trump's secret plan!

The problem Trump and the republicans face in 2020 is that those voters will be even angrier, and that anger will turn towards Trump for failing to change anything. I'm sure he'll be full of excuses as to why, or claim he needs four more years to fully enact his plans, but it will be pretty hard to blame the democrats when the republicans control congress. Not that this will help democrats much, because that anger will quickly turn against them. If a strong third party candidate arrives in 2020 or 2024, he has a very good shot of winning it all.

BlackBerry sees a rainbow just around a corner

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Re: Only Microsoft tops them in the totally self-inflicted wound stakes

Sorry too late for Nokia. Everyone associates them with old school phones back when phones could only call and maybe text. Trying to make a comeback today with the Nokia name would be like trying to sell computers under the Gateway brand in 2017....if they sold one I'd expect it to come with a built in dialup modem and free AOL floppy.

Smartphones crashed, Samsung burned: Mobile in 2016

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Re: Must be a bad year for Apple

He didn't really say anything good about ANY phone, and considering what he said about Samsung Apple came out pretty well escaping mention.

I think it is a sign that last year's phones were pretty much the same as the ones the year before. Not just in looks like the iPhone 7, but in what they do. Incremental improvements in performance, cameras etc. but there haven't been any must have features for years. Sounds like next year Apple will go all-screen, probably others as well, but that's about the extent of the excitement.

I predict there will be more hype around using phones for VR, and it will continue to be an utterly irrelevant segment.

Snapchat coding error nearly destroys all of time for the internet

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Thumb Up

Don't complain

You earn more interest this way, so long as the debits aren't also backdated two days!

Apple sues Nokia's pet patent trolls

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Looks like we need to teach people what FRAND is yet again

FRAND covers only standards patents. If you want to participate in the standards process you have to agree to license your patents used in the standard under FRAND terms. So Nokia, who participated in standardization of stuff like 2G, 3G, LTE and other cellular standards, can't sue Apple or anyone else under different terms.

Apple has some standards patents (many acquired, but they do participate in standards processes for stuff like USB, wifi, and IIRC are involved in 5G) which they license under FRAND. They have other non-standard patents like patents for touch screens, rounded corners and assorted other crap which are NOT covered by FRAND, and importantly using someone else's FRAND patents licensed under FRAND terms cannot obligate you to license non-standards patents back to them. It isn't allowed under the terms of the FRAND license to have such a requirement.

It isn't clear yet whether Nokia is suing Apple because Apple is using Nokia's standards patents and not paying at all, because Nokia is asking Apple to pay more than others (by using the bullshit Motorola strategy that was thrown out of every court they tried it in where they claim a 2% licensing cost is attached to the retail price of the entire phone) or because Apple is using Nokia patents that are not part of standards and Nokia thinks they should pay a higher price than Apple thinks it should pay.

Typically in a patent dispute the company that is on the hook won't pay anything until a price is agreed upon. By paying something you agree before going to court that 1) the patent is valid and 2) set a minimum price. So just because Nokia says Apple is refusing to pay doesn't mean anything - it just means Apple thinks the case will end up in court because Nokia is asking more than Apple thinks they should and/or Apple thinks some of the patents may be invalidated by prior art etc.

Google's latest legal opponents: Shooting victims' families – and a cheesed-off ex-manager

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Re: Sign of Things to Come?

Don't forget to sue the trees and grass for providing them with oxygen!

Non-existent sex robots already burning holes in men’s pockets

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Nevermind your wife

I'll bet Gemma Chan, whoever she is, would mind it even more.

Bad news, fandroids: Mobile banking malware now encrypts files

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Reset key

There is, its whatever the "clear and reset everything" item is called on Android, followed by copying back your contacts, photos etc. from the cloud or backup.

That will fix the ransomware aspect, but it can't unsteal your credit card, bank password and so forth.

View from a Reg reader: My take on the Basic Income

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Re: Here's what I'd like to see discussed about UBI

I'm not pro-UBI, I just don't see what alternative there is if we get to the point where robots can replace a good portion of the population. We may have a preview of this in a decade when truck, bus, taxi and Uber drivers start losing their jobs en masse. If all 3.5 million truck driving jobs in the US went the unemployment rate would go up by 3%. Wouldn't happen overnight, but what sort of jobs will be created for these people that they're qualified to do, and how much of a pay cut would that new job entail for them?

Granted, taxes would have to be high to pay for this, but you'd have to 'follow the money' instead of thinking in terms of tax rates. Instead of paying money to all the workers who were replaced by robots, that income will go to the people who own the robots and the people who make the robots. Since the people who own the robots and the people who make the robots may be in a tax haven and untouchable, the only option is to tax the robots themselves just like you tax labor income currently.

This would have the effect of slowing down the robot transition by making them more expensive, but if you taxed a robot replacing four $30K/yr workers (because robots can work 168 hours a week, instead of just 40) $120K/yr then you could provide four displaced workers with as much as $120K/yr of UBI.

Is taxing robots fair to the robot owners who make less money, and fair to the robot makers who sell fewer due to reduced demand? No it absolutely is not, but again I ask, what's the alternative? Otherwise you'd have more and more robots being bought as their price went down and capability went up, and more and more people losing their jobs and unable to get new jobs. Do you let them starve? Tell them to move to a third world country where wages are low but you can survive on less money?

I totally agree that UBI has massive downside risks, but I think it should be obvious to any thinking person that the downside risks of 30% unemployment in a developed economy would hugely outweigh the risks of UBI, unless you figure you'll be one of the rich ones who owns the robots and will live in another country where the violent mobs willing to kill you so they can get money to feed their starving children can't hurt you. It is also ultimately self-defeating to the robot owners who presumably own businesses that use the robots, because they'll lose a customers as their customers become permanently unemployed and might eventually lose their business.

DougS Silver badge

Here's what I'd like to see discussed about UBI

The typical discussions devolve into the usual arguments on both sides. It is boring and pointless.

Instead, I'd like to see someone from the hardcore anti-UBI side answer the question of what's the alternative if there is massive structural unemployment in our society. Hypothetically, let's say that at some future date it becomes possible to build a robot/android with sufficient AI that it can replace half the human work force at a purchase/rental price equivalent to five full time minimum wage employees. Let's assume structural unemployment will quickly goes from 5% to 15% and it is obvious to nearly everyone it will go up to 50% in the next decade or two.

What alternatives to UBI are there to handle this? Do you make the robots illegal? Do you tax them heavily to make them less attractive to employers? Do you eliminate the minimum wage so people can work for less and less money as time goes on to undercut the robots? Personally, I see only three possible outcomes in such a future:

1) UBI or something like it, to insure the now "useless" idle masses are kept happy

2) extermination, the useless idle masses are killed or essentially caged in ghettos and allowed to starve dystopian Sci Fi movie style

3) revolution, where the useless idle masses rise up in anger - many die and you end up with #1 or #2 depending on who wins

Evolved DNSChanger malware slings evil ads at PCs, hijacks routers

DougS Silver badge

I think I may have that Comtrend router at my business

Don't have the model number handy, but since it is in bridging mode I'm probably safe, as only trusted clients can access the subnet its interface is available on. Better yet I'd already scheduled an upgrade from DSL to fiber that should be completed by the end of the year!

Uber's self-driving cars can't handle bike lanes, forcing drivers to kill autonomous mode

DougS Silver badge

Methinks you're exaggerating a bit with your anecdote. Going 50 mph your car travels 30 feet in .40 seconds. No human has reflexes fast enough to react to the surprise of seeing people in their way and steering to swerve around them. You couldn't have braked because no car can stop from 50 to 0 in 30 feet even if you had instantaneous reaction time.

Sexbots could ‘over-exert’ their human lovers, academic warns

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How's it different than masturbation?

Either way you can satisfy sexual urges at any time you want for as long as you want. I don't see how sex robots will exhaust people more than masturbation would.

Now if they can wire directly into your brain so you have a push button orgasm, then we'll probably all die quite quickly, at least based on what they learned from doing the same to rats.

Ancient water found in Canada is two billion years old – giving hope to Mars colony dreamers

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Re: Close

Ah, I missed the reference to the 1.5 billion year old water. I was going to object that the uncertainty of the water's age at measured at 2 billion years old had to be at least a couple orders of magnitude larger than only 500,000 years!

Elon Musk wants to get into the boring business, literally

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Yeah because its so easy

To tunnel under major cities like SF, NYC and London. Not like there isn't already a network of tunnels for subways, sewers, utilities and who knows what else - some not on any map, deep foundation piers for skyscrapers, and layers of fill since most older cities were literally built on the debris of older versions.

Even if you say "hey if you go deep enough, its not a problem"....well, that's true, but you still have to get yourself to/from ground level. Good luck with that.

Musk seems to be one of those guys who thinks up cool things and thinks he's so smart for coming up with something no one else ever did. People did, but decided it was too hard because of all the problems he doesn't consider until he really tries to do it. Kudos to him to try his hand at hard problems like spaceflight and starting a car company from scratch, but I think he'll meet his match with Hyperloop and definitely would if he pursues this Boring idea!

'I told him to cut it out' – Obama is convinced Putin's hackers swung the election for Trump

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Re: Pot, meet kettle

Not sure I agree with having a single standardized voting machine for the whole US, because no matter how tightly audited they are there's no guarantee that an exploit would be impossible. The stakes to find such an exploit would be huge as you could swing a national election. We could live to regret doing that.

They need to set standards, and allow competition to create different machines. I think states should probably choose one or two models for their entire state though, rather than letting cities go their own their way. There needs to be some standardization, just not on a national level. It should be required that both hardware and software be open to security researchers under NDA, and they should be allowed to publish their findings after a reasonable period to allow vendors to correct deficiencies.

Agree 100% on the paper trail and auditing like I said in my previous post. This isn't a partisan issue, this is an issue of insuring our elections are fair. Standardization would also help minimize irregularities like Wayne county's, and the audits would inspire confidence that even where irregularities exist that can't be entirely eliminated that no fraud had occurred.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Pot, meet kettle

"Massive" irregularities, in both directions, adding a net total of around 550 Clinton votes in all of Wayne county MI (where Detroit is) That's carelessness, not fraud, and even if that sort of thing is happening everywhere it doesn't add up to even a fraction of the 2.5 million votes Clinton "won" the popular vote by.

This is a perfect example of how alt right media twists things. They took a legitimate story about counts being wrong in over half the precincts in Wayne county, with the errors (averaging less than 5 votes per precinct) going in Clinton's favor more often than not, and twist the wording and use sensational headlines for low information readers who don't go past the headlines to believe it equates to massive fraud, or at least to attempted voter fraud in favor of Hillary.

The headlines scream about more votes counted than people who were at the polls. What really happened is that ballot scanners don't always read ballots correctly, so they feed them through more than once in a few occasions which results in the counter on the machine to not equal the number of people who were given ballots. They're supposed to keep track of how often they do this, but by the end of the day they're probably tired and just want to go home and forget details like that.

As for recounts lowering Hillary's net total in the county by 550 votes or whatever it was, in precincts where 90% of the vote of going to one candidate, any errors due to carelessness or poor processes are more likely to go in favor that candidate than the one with 10%.

This is EXACTLY why republicans shouldn't have tried to stand in the way of recounts, and in fact should have encouraged them. If there's fraud, get it out in the open. If there is carelessness or mishandling of ballots that leads to incorrect counting, let's find out about it so things can be improved. If you never audit your counting process, how do you know you are counting correctly? It should be required that a certain sample of votes in every state be recounted, so you can learn where problems exist and fix them, and institute a mandatory full statewide recount if the random sample indicates an error ratio over a certain threshold.

If republicans really cared about learning whether voter fraud exists and fixing it, instead of just assuming it does and passing laws to suppress the vote in the name of preventing voter fraud, they'd be all in favor of recounts, and reviewing all ballot challenges to see how many people were legitimate voters and how many were correctly challenged. That they don't is telling. Of course democrats were only interesting in "lending support" to these recounts because they lost. If they'd won they'd be the ones in court filing suit trying to stop the recounts, so they are no better.

Facebook's internet drone crash-landed after wing 'deformed' in flight

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Re: Yuma?

Perhaps the choice was deliberate, as you'd rather test in a place closer to your worst case you'll operate from than your best case. I imagine some of the places they might want to use this probably have more difficult aviation conditions than Yuma.

Don't panic, friends, but the Chinese navy just nicked one of America's underwater drones

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Rehoming 400 million people

Now I know why they're building all those ghost cities!

'So sorry' Evernote rips up privacy changes

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The mere fact they CAN read your notes is the problem

I don't give a crap whether they promise they won't, I wouldn't ever trust them unless I knew it was impossible. That's why I won't use iCloud for backups, because while the backup is encrypted in transit and on disk so I'm sure it is very secure, it isn't encrypted with a key that I control. Apple can assure me they won't read my stuff, but even if I accept that I don't trust the US government not to hack into their systems or force them to provide access through some secret law - last spring's fight with the FBI shows the government still thinks they deserve this power. So I do my backups via iTunes, because they are encrypted by a key I control so they're protected even if someone stole a copy of the backup.

Fortunately I never used Evernote, but even after this little faux pas it shows that they don't have any understanding of privacy, and never will.

New US rules on 'vehicle-to-vehicle' communications under consultation

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If it will warn idiots who stay in the passing lane about cars coming up from behind, then I'm all in favor of it!

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Does it matter?

So long as the messages are informational, like "cars a half mile ahead are going 10 mph, prepare to slow down" so you don't top a hill and have to slam on your brakes because an accident caused a traffic jam, that's fine. Worst case, they make you slow down when you don't need to and a miscreant can cause a traffic jam by doing so.

I'd be more worried about the tracking aspects. At least with a cellular connection for something like OnStar, I can clip a wire and disable that. Something like this, it will probably be against federal law to disable it.

Not OK Google: Tree-loving family turns down Page and pals' $7m

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Re: Condemn?

Yep, interesting how a combination of liberal and conservative governments over the years has resulted in laws that actually protect the little guy from the corporate behemoth. The liberals gave them laws protecting against Google claiming "if you don't condemn this property by eminent domain so you can sell it to us, we can't create more jobs and boost the local economy" and conservatives gave them Prop 13 to restrict the government's ability to raise property taxes except when there's a transfer of ownership. In most places they'd be screwed, and Google would get their way.

Macbook seized or stolen? But you've set a FileVault password, right? Ha, it's useless

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Re: Why give full details so soon?

The disclosure versus secrecy debate has been played out forever. If Apple said "can you please keep this secret for a year after we fix it, to make sure everyone has updated" researches might be less willing to work with them.

I think most companies would ask for an extended disclosure if it was a really nasty attack - i.e. something that was exploitable by a script kiddie from across the internet and there was no defense other than unplugging your computer from all networks. But this is pretty esoteric - really of interest only to spooks and those committing high end corporate espionage. A jealous spouse isn't likely to put together this attack to see if there's been cheating going on...

Galileo! Galileo! Galileo! Galileo! Galileo fit to go: Europe's GPS-like network switches on

DougS Silver badge

US was worried it couldn't be turned off?

So what are the plans if terrorists start using Russia or China's GPS system? Shoot them down? Yeah, I'm sure that won't have any repercussions!

'Public Wi-Fi' gang fail in cunning plan to hide £10m cigarette tax fraud

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The problem with making £10m

Is that it is hard to show a legitimate business that could make that much. Yeah, you can take the usual route and have a fancy restaurant or posh club, but it is pretty easy for the government to look up alcohol sales, check how busy it is on a Saturday night etc. and figure out it can't possibly make that much money. Anyway, if the whole point of your fraud is to avoid taxes, laundering your money through a legitimate business that pays taxes sort of defeats the whole purpose of the exercise!

What he needed to do is have a fictitious wealthy overseas uncle who supported him by buying him a house, car and paying off his credit card bills. If they were smuggling stuff into the UK, they could smuggle the cash out of the UK on the way back and deposit it at a bank in a country that doesn't ask too many questions. A few wire transfers through a network of other banks in various jurisdictions that don't cooperate with each other or SWIFT and it arrives in his "uncle's" bank which pays his bills.

It isn't and never will be illegal to be idle rich, and you don't have to pay taxes on something that family is buying for your use that isn't even in your name. Pretty sure the children of oil sheikhs or Russian oligarchs living in London aren't paying taxes on all the money getting sent to them, but the government is still happy to have them because property tax gets paid on those posh residences and VAT on all the stuff they buy on shopping sprees.

If the HMRC got suspicious about all his traveling around and using burner phones, they might assume his uncle is the real criminal, and they'll expend all their effort trying to catch this fictitious character!

It's now illegal in the US to punish customers for posting bad web reviews

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Re: Trump might want to repeal that, especially because he said this about journalists:

Thin skinned men with small hands don't like it when those facts are pointed out about them.

If you bought a dildo in Denver, the government must legally be told

DougS Silver badge

Buying the Koran

If the government tries to do something like that I'll buy one and hope I am one of millions of non-Muslims buying one, just to muddy the waters and make such retarded tracking useless as an idiot's way of identifying potential terrorists.

Snowden: Donald Trump could get pal Putin to kick me out of Russia

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Very ambitious

The kind of people who share those fake news stories are not going to be deterred by people calling them out as fake. In their world those people are trying to suppress the truth about Hillary's child sex ring run out of a random pizza joint, and the more people who try to deny it the more they will need to counter them by making sure the truth is out there.

Facebook has given us the platform that will lead to Idiocracy becoming reality. Trump is just the first stage, I fear it may get much worse in the future - and it will be coming from the left as well as the right next time.

TalkTalk hacker gets iPhone taken away by Norwich Youth Court

DougS Silver badge

Taking away a hacker's hard drive

That might have suited back in the 90s, but these days when you can get terabytes of cloud storage for very little money, I'm pretty sure he had backups of all his tools. If he wants to keep hacking he'll find a way, even without his hard drive.

As for taking away his phone, what was that supposed to prove? So hard to buy another phone. I didn't read anything in the article suggesting he was ordered not to have another phone, so taking his iPhone was probably something the judge thought up as a "that'll show 'im" thing that probably had the kid and his friends probably laughing at the old fool wearing a wig that night.

Trump's 140 characters on F-35 wipes $2bn off Lockheed Martin

DougS Silver badge

Re: billions lost?

It is easier not to complain about how crappy the F35 is when you're effectively getting them for free like Israel is. Hell, I'd take one if they were free, it would look cool in my backyard.

DougS Silver badge

Peace dividend

The only peace dividend happened under Clinton after the Cold War ended. Republicans whined that he was weakening US defense and they continued to play that tired old line under Obama - despite the fact that the US spends more on defense than the next 7 or 10 (whatever the number is today) countries combined. Trump campaigned on a promise to rebuild our military that he claimed Obama had "gutted" so that means more pork for his fat cat campaign contributors he's been appointing to his administration.

You don't fight ISIS with F-35s and destroyers, but that doesn't matter - to military contractors the answer to every problem from the next Hitler to terrorists wielding IEDs to kids egging your house on Halloween is major weapons programs with costs measured in billions, or ideally, trillions.

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