* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Living with the Pixel XL – Google's attempt at a high-end phone

DougS Silver badge

Cracking software certificates?

If you think that's such a simple thing to do, how come we aren't reading about people cracking Google and Apple's HTTPS certificates? Sure, once in a while someone fools a registrar into issuing something they shouldn't, but it is pretty simple to give each carrier its own carrier level certificate (which they are responsible for securing) making them the ONLY issuing authority for user certificates (i.e. software SIM) You can load up any number of SIM certificates from whatever carriers you want, and select them in the Settings menu (however iOS/Android handle the GUI for this)

If someone finds a way to crack public key certificates, we have way way bigger problems than being able to impersonate someone's phone. Like being able to impersonate POTUS and give orders to fire nuclear weapons kind of bigger problems.

DougS Silver badge

You're mistaking yourself for a typical user

Sorry but "people who buy Android devices want Google software, fast updates, and support" is simply not true. The average person could give a shit about fast updates and support, or updates/support at all. Maybe that will change if some mass malware infestations hit the Android world, but for now a pretty small minority of Android users care about updates.

As for Google software, sure, they want Google Search, Google Maps and so on that they're used to, but all Android phones have those. In fact, Google assures that all Android phones have those by requiring their inclusion! You can't ship an Android phone with Bing Search unless you strip out ALL the Google software.

DougS Silver badge

Software SIMs are a superior solution

Why do you assume you would have to call a carrier to switch a phone with a software SIM to a new carrier? It would be basically a software certificate, so the phone could do EXACTLY the same thing it does when you switch SIMs and change to a different software SIM instantly via a settings menu. And no fiddling with a sliver sized piece of hardware that, if dropped on a floor with the wrong carpet pattern, might never be seen again!

The carriers don't want software SIMs because it would make it easier for customers to have multiple SIMs and switch carriers at a whim to gain better pricing. I think a lot of people think of this as an "Apple idea" so they reject it out of hand, but it is a good idea no matter what kind of phone you have. Hardware SIMs have no advantages for the end user over software SIMs.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Speedy?

Ah so now the Android fans way of denying the iPhone's superior performance is to falsely claim it is shown in benchmarks only? Keep living in your bubble, buddy.

FBI drops bombshell, and investigation: Clinton still in the clear

DougS Silver badge

Re: Hatch Act, politically motivated violation of.

Are you really suggesting it is "unseemly" for Obama to publicly support Clinton? I guess you must have forgot about Reagan campaigning for Bush back in the day? The reason Clinton didn't campaign for Gore and Bush Jr. didn't campaign for McCain is because they were both quite unpopular by the end of their terms, and Gore/McCain didn't want their help!

It is a time honored tradition for presidents to campaign for their party's successor, or their party's congressional candidates, governors, etc. This is why the Hatch Act specifically exempts the president and vice president.

DougS Silver badge

@Brian Miller

You're right that there's almost nothing Clinton could do to get one of her supporters to switch their vote to Trump, and the same is true for Trump's supporters, of course. Maybe not quite reaching the level of shooting someone on Fifth Avenue, but pretty close...

What moved the polls after Comey's bombshell wasn't Clinton supporters abandoning her, it was people caught in the middle who hate BOTH candidates, and are voting based on "who sucks less". He caused some of those voters in the middle to go from "Clinton sucks less" to "Trump sucks less". Now that he's said they looked at everything and there's nothing there, most of them will probably go back to their former position. Of course, some will have cast early votes for Trump, or might not listen to the news very often and not hear about Comey's takeback before they vote so undoubtedly the whole thing was a pretty big net win for Trump - if nothing else it allowed his handlers to convince him to stay on message for the last couple weeks and not keep bringing up stuff like how he's going to sue all his accusers.

I imagine if Trump wins a squeaker there will be a lot of recrimination about how the whole thing was handled - though Clinton winning by a comfortable margin seems most likely. What it probably accomplished was taking "Clinton landslide" off the table, and increases the chances that republicans will be able to hold the senate. That's certainly still up in the air, but a couple weeks ago it looked like they had little hope there.

Google makes it to third base with Home digital assistant

DougS Silver badge

There's one clear reason you'd choose Echo over this

Google already has too much personal information you on, why let them eavesdrop in your home to collect even more? At least Amazon has pretty limited information about you, they don't know what you search for, where you go (if you have an Android phone), who you email and the keywords in that email (if you use GMail) and so forth. They know some of what you buy, and some of what you watch (if you have Prime instant video) but far less than Google.

The value of collecting personal information on someone goes up the more they have. So why in the world would anyone want to give Google even more by buying one of these? Though the best would be some third option with a privacy policy that actually limited what information they would keep and sell about me, which neither Google or Amazon have. If you have to have one of these, that is...

GoPro revenues skydive

DougS Silver badge

The market is probably getting saturated

Anyone who wants one of these already has one, so they have to convince people to replace their older perfectly good one. Smartphones may be in the same boat these days, but it is a lot easier to internally justify a "not really needed" upgrade for something you use for perhaps several hours a day than something that most owners probably use less than a few hours a month.

As well, smartphones perform a lot of functions, so incremental improvements in multiple functions increases the odds of hitting a particular consumer's "sweet spot". What can be upgraded on a Go Pro other than the quality of the camera?

No spin zone: Samsung recalls 3M EXPLODING washing machines

DougS Silver badge

This will be more expensive than the Note 7 recall

Because washing machines are far more expensive to pick up and ship than a phone.

Is password security at just $1/month too expensive for most?

DougS Silver badge

@Bob Vistakin - use of throwaway hotmail accounts

Surely you don't give your REAL email when you sign up for an online forum, or some online shopping site you might use only once?

Why Apple's adaptive Touch Bar will flop

DougS Silver badge

Re: Oh dear Apple

The home button change is IMHO incremental on their way to the iPhone 8 next year, which rumor has it will be all display, with the home button/fingerprint sensor under that display. This gives them time to work out how best to get the haptics working to make it feel as "button like" as possible for something that doesn't actually depress.

DougS Silver badge

Stupid reasoning

There are two assumptions here. One, because Lenovo users didn't like their implementation, Mac users won't like Apple's implementation. I don't know anything about how Lenovo did theirs, but pretty sure it wasn't identical to how Apple has done it. Think about this: Apple didn't sell the first touchscreen phone, but a couple previous attempts failed utterly in the market. Should Apple have decided to stick a Blackberry like keyboard on it because the market showed it to be successful and touchscreens to be unnecessful?

Second, it assumes the typical user gives a fuck about the function keys. HE DOES NOT. Most people wouldn't miss them if you dropped them entirely, most of those who did would be OK with it if you added a "function" modifier ala control & alt that used the top row of keys as stand-ins. Some Windows power users use function keys instead of selecting menus with a mouse, and vi users need Esc a lot, but those are hardly majority users - and Mac buyers probably have a pretty small overlap with Windows power users and vi users. Much less so than Lenovo users, to be sure.

UK prison reform report wants hard-coded no-fly zones in drones to keep them out of jail

DougS Silver badge

Surely there are better solutions

How about requiring them to recognize transmission on a certain frequency meaning no fly zone? Then it is useful for airports, military bases etc.

Or put netting above the yard to catch whatever they drop?

Brexit judgment could be hit for six by those crazy Supreme Court judges, says barrister

DougS Silver badge

Are you sure the government didn't WANT to lose this case?

That way they can abdicate responsibility for pulling the trigger and put it on Parliament. If they feel they "won" from that perspective, it wouldn't make sense to appeal.

Accessories to crime: Facial recog defeated by wacky paper glasses

DougS Silver badge

Re: "ways to trick the system inconspicuously"

It becomes 'inconspicuous' if those frames become a fad, so enough people are wearing them. Get a few celebrities to start wearing them and soon you'll see them everywhere!

Brexit may not mean Brexit at all: UK.gov loses Article 50 lawsuit

DougS Silver badge

Are there any current polls on Brexit sentiment?

If there was a do-over vote, would the majority still vote Leave? While I agree that the MPs in areas where there was a clear majority for Leave would feel a lot of pressure to vote the same, the areas where it was close like the overall 52-48 margin might argue that some are having "Regrexit" and it is therefore no longer clear whether a majority of their constituents still want to exit the EU.

At least with all the craziness this will evoke, if we end up electing Trump over here the UK will be too busy dealing with their own strife to have time to laugh at us!

What should the Red Arrows' new aircraft be?

DougS Silver badge

No Antonov An-225?

Flying those in formation at low altitude, now THAT would be impressive!

MacBook headphone hell

DougS Silver badge


Leaving aside the argument over whether a "generic little D to A converter plus power amplifier" provides noticeably worse audio to a "half descent[sic] D to A and PA" to someone who isn't an audiophile, why in the world do you think that high end headphones would include a DAC that's worse than the one in phones?

Phone OEMs aren't not spending a lot of money on a quality DAC, and those OEMs that keep their 3.5mm connector will spend even less on them in the future because people who believe the DAC has a real influence on audio quality will use Lightning or USB-C for audio when they have headphones with a built in DAC even when they have a 3.5mm connector at their disposal.

DougS Silver badge

Apple did remove the keyboard

99.999% of phones before the iPhone had a physical keyboard/keypad. A lot of people (especially Blackberry fans) said it would never succeed with an on screen keyboard, and 99.999% of them are using a touchscreen iPhone, Android, Windows or BB10 phone today.

DougS Silver badge

Break out the soldering iron?

I guess 99% of people are Apple's "ideal customers" by your reckoning, because hardly anyone knows how to wield one.

Making up for broken design by having to self repair versus making the damn thing right in the first place by socketing the cord is a perfect example of why engineers should have NOTHING to do with product design.

DougS Silver badge

There is zero need for a 3.5mm to Lightning converter

If you have Lightning headphones you wanted to use, you'd use a USB-C to Lightning converter, which do exist.

Though if you buy any decent pair of high end headphones, the cord is detachable, so you could use whatever you need. I'd never buy a headphones with the cord built in, not because I could only use it with a 3.5mm port but because the cord is the weakest link and you don't want to throw out something that cost a lot because a 50 cent cord got pulled out.

Amazon guarantees bitterly contested Ohio wind farm project

DougS Silver badge

Re: Green PR BS

All the wind farms I see around here use underground cabling between the turbines, which connect to the above ground high voltage towers at a single point.

DougS Silver badge


While I agree with you about nuclear, getting new nuclear plants approved in the US is pretty much impossible. A quick google shows Iowa has just one, and given that more will not be coming online for the foreseeable future, the question becomes whether aside from that nuke plant Iowa is supplied 66% by fossil fuels or 100% by fossil fuels.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Green PR BS

I picked Iowa because it is generating the most wind power as a percentage of its overall electrical needs of any state. Texas generates much more wind power, but it is obviously a far larger state.

The subsidies help because the big cost of wind generation is the initial investment to build it. After that the power is free, unlike gas plants which require fuel that fluctuates wildly in price and has some rather unpleasant side effects (i.e. all the earthquakes in Oklahoma, for example)

The fossil fuel industry is massively subsidized, with trillions in defense spending over the years to "secure" oil supplies in the middle east. If we really did give a shit about bringing "freedom" to the people of Iraq, Libya, etc. to save them from their nasty dictators, we have a lot to answer for to people in Africa who suffer under far worse dictators but we ignore since they don't have billions of barrels of oil underneath their feet.

As for transmission line capacity, that's part of the infrastructure your buddy Trump is claiming he's going to revitalize. Or is he just going to build more bridges to nowhere like that idiot senator from Alaska wanted?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Green PR BS

The state of Iowa generates a third of its electricity from wind, and is on pace to exceed 50% by 2025. Yes, that relies on natural gas plants to spin up additional capacity on days when the wind is calm, and idle them when the wind is blowing. Fortunately that's easily done, versus say nuclear plants which can't vary their power levels too much.

Since the wind turbines are spread across the state (more concentrated in the west, but since Iowa is larger than England, that's still a pretty big area) the instantaneous fluctuations of individual turbines as the wind gusts and calms cancel each other out, leaving plenty of time to adjust the natural gas load as weather systems enter/leave the state.

It is surprising on how even in a very light wind you barely notice those massive blades on a big turbine are still turning.

Which job is AI going to eat next? Step forward, CCTV operators

DougS Silver badge

As far as looking for a wanted criminal or missing child, it depends on how much of the AI's 1% left over from its 99% success rate is false positive versus false negative. If it is almost all false positive, which is typical with facial recognition, then it massively reduces the search space for humans to give it a look and see which leads are worth pursuing. A computer can search a day's footage on a whole city's camera network in the same amount of time it takes a CCTV operator to grab a coffee and a donut.

That sort of use for facial recognition doesn't bother me, but stuff like "let's identify everyone we can so we can track their movements in public" and "let's let a computer make judgments over what sort of activities look 'suspicious' is where I draw the line!

As far as racial profiling, it is a lot easier to program a computer to not be racist than it is to get a human to not be racist...

Ghost of DEC Alpha is why Windows is rubbish at file compression

DougS Silver badge

So why not create a new v2 compression scheme?

How often are you going to remove an NTFS drive from a Windows machine and try to install it in an older Windows machine? Push out patches for all supported versions of Windows (7+, Server 2008+) to understand the v2 compression, provide an option to force usage of v1 if you want to be sure you can remove the drive and put it in an outdated Windows machine and problem solved.

If Microsoft thought this way with everything they'd still be defaulting to the original 8.3 FAT filesystem...

FCC backs Google Fiber in Louisville spat

DougS Silver badge

Re: Comcast doesn't own the utility poles, does it?

Had the phone company had the same attitude, cable would never have existed. Whoever owns the pole, makes the rules. Just like if I have a pool party, the people that were there first don't get to decide whether a latecomer gets to dive in.

DougS Silver badge

Comcast doesn't own the utility poles, does it?

Weren't they put it in place by the electric or telephone incumbent years earlier? So why is Comcast claiming some special rights over them? What am I missing here?

America has one month to stop the FBI getting its global license to hack

DougS Silver badge

Re: Get Ready US Supreme Court. Abuses of Rule 41 Are Going to Slap You Back.

Hold on, the US does have treaties with the UN and various countries all around the world for respecting various human rights. Whether this "global license to hack" would be covered or not I have no idea, but since hacking has only become a concern recently compared to the life of many such treaties there may be a gap.

I was only objecting to the citation of the US Constitution as a reason why it would be prohibited in the US, and pointing out that the Constitution does not protect everyone on Earth. Nor should it. Most other countries' constitutions don't protect me, either. Don't act as if "everyone else has no rights" as far as the US is concerned if they're not covered by the Constitution, because that's categorically untrue and furthermore it is ridiculous anyone could be so stupid as to believe such a thing!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Get Ready US Supreme Court. Abuses of Rule 41 Are Going to Slap You Back.

The US Constitution is assumed to protect US citizens, and maybe resident aliens, but not everyone in the world. If the FBI hacks into a Saudi's computer while he's in France, that's not a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The French or Saudi government might have a problem with it, but it isn't a constitutional issue in the US.

Whoosh! China shows off J-20 'stealth' fighters and jet drones

DougS Silver badge

Human waves

They'll replace the human waves throwing themselves against superior but expensive firepower with drone waves throwing themselves against superior but expensive firepower.

The US is going to go from first to "not first" in military superiority over the next couple decades if someone doesn't come along capable of strong arming the idiot Air Force generals who do everything in their power to preserve manned aircraft. I don't care how good you make the boondoggle that replaces the F35 boondoggle in the 2030s, if the enemy can fly thousands of cheap unmanned drones for the same price taking potshots and going for kinetic kills, the human pilot and his billion dollar stealth plane are going to lose that battle every time.

Boffins coax non-superconductive stuff into dropping the 'non'

DougS Silver badge

Re: When I were a lad

Thus taking its place alongside fusion power, flying cars and a permanent Moonbase as "stuff we won't see during our lifetime".

Shadow Brokers leak systems hacked by NSA – mostly mail and uni servers in India, China

DougS Silver badge

@AC - how do we know what they're is worse than what we're doing?

Maybe they just don't like to let it be known when we hack them because it would make Putin look weak? Or maybe we're better at it and they don't catch us red-handed as often we do them?

Apple rushes out iOS 10.1.1 fix after health data flat lines

DougS Silver badge

Re: How else are Apple supposed to harvest all your most personal info...

Sorry, you're thinking of Google there. There's a huge difference between the privacy policy of Apple and that of Google. You might want to read them, and enlighten yourself.

Three-commas Thiel expresses love for himself, Trump and downtrodden millionaires

DougS Silver badge

All those things are correct

But "elect Trump" does not follow from those things. Of course, "elect Hillary" doesn't either. Electing someone not beholden to either of the two mainstream parties is potentially a fix, or at least the start of a fix.

So why doesn't / didn't he put his billions behind a credible third party candidate that all the "I don't like [Trump | Hillary] so I'm going to vote for [Hillary | Trump] to stop [him | her]" voters could vote FOR? If ever there was an election where a third party candidate had a real chance, it was this one where most voters dislike both alternatives. Pushing a demagogue who is all bluster and no actual solutions and who has chosen to run within the two party system isn't helping solve any of those problems.

I have hopes that 2020 might be that year - but only if Hillary wins this time around. If that happens, Trump will probably start his TV network, be jabbering on for years about his pet alt-right conspiracy theories, and run again in 2020. Maybe as a republican, or maybe as a third party if the republicans take steps to rig the game against him. Either way, there would be enough disgusted republicans who don't want to lose again to go along with democrats who aren't enthusiastic about four more years of a neocon in liberal's clothes for a third party candidate to have a chance - if he's a reasonable guy and not a little crazy like Perot or a lot crazy like Trump.

ARM draws new Mali GPUs

DougS Silver badge

Live streams of 4K video?

Hope you're on wifi, or have unlimited data!

Google drops a zero-day on Microsoft: Web giant goes public with bug exploited by hackers

DougS Silver badge

The difference is the Apple one was not being actively exploited

It sounds like this Windows bug was being, so there's not much gained by keep the details "secret" when they're already out in the open.

This is sort of like when hackers grab something and Wikileaks releases it - complaining that the news is discussing your classified material when it is no longer "secret" is kind of pointless.

WebAssembly: Finally something everyone agrees on – websites running C/C++ code

DougS Silver badge

Yeah, I'd really like to learn more about why they claim it will be 'safe'. It sounds like some type of managed code that's designed for speed. Managed code is always designed for safety, but they always overlook things and it isn't safe after all.

1.13x slower compared to native doesn't leave much room for checking, so it sounds like the format is "assumed" to be safe. Which doesn't make ME feel safe.

NASA's asteroid orbit calculator spots a hot rock zipping past

DougS Silver badge

No amount of nukes will break up a planet killer sized asteroid

At least not if what comes at us is a single giant rock, rather than many thousands of Everest sized chunks. Most of the blast will reflect off the surface, so while it might melt and vaporize a slight dent in the thing it isn't going to do much. There's no atmosphere to contain the shock wave like there is on Earth.

Instead of one giant rock hitting us, we'd have one giant radioactive rock hitting us, though we wouldn't live long enough for the radiation to matter. It might leave an interesting mystery if intelligent life evolved again in a billion years (no matter how big the rock, it would only affect surface life, subsurface life and hydrothermal vents aren't likely to be affected)

Come to think of it, is iridium a possible long term decay product of any theoretical type of nuclear weapon? :)

DougS Silver badge

Five days notice

I seriously doubt we will ever have the technology to do anything about a planet killer if we had only five days notice. Maybe someday five months will be enough notice, but even those born today probably won't live long enough for that to be true...

iPhone fatigue and fading Samsung. This planet is bored with big brand phones

DougS Silver badge

Re: "Re-encoding to Bluetooth"?

It doesn't sound like Apple will be using standard Bluetooth audio, with their mention of that W1 chip.

DougS Silver badge


I'm sure there are solutions for that if it something you do a lot, but playing music isn't a particularly demanding task. Unless you've run the battery down pretty far already, you can just wait to charge until you've gone to bed.

I suppose having to recharge more often than nightly might be a problem for heavy users that are on their phone constantly, but I charge my 6S plus every other day because 9 days out of 10 when I start with a full charge I've got over 60% left at bedtime. For example, it is exactly noon local time and I'm at 62% and didn't charge last night.

EU announces common corporate tax plan

DougS Silver badge

@tom dial

Well you're probably right that Clinton wouldn't do anything to solve the problems, but Trump certainly would not either. He's resonating with them because he's fooled them into thinking he understands their problems, and they don't realize that his solutions are juvenile and either impossible or unconstitutional, and wouldn't fix the issues even if they were implemented.

Telling them "I'll bring back the jobs" when there's no way to do that, sort of draconian changes that would cause many US multinationals to leave the country, sharply curtail foreign investment, and make things far worse, isn't a solution any more than Hillary's "we'll study the problems and implement concrete solutions to yadda yadda yadda". It just sounds better to angry voters who don't like reality and have chosen to believe Trump's fantasy.

I don't disagree with the premise that we need a political outsider to shake things up and try new ideas that neither party would consider due to entrenched interests, but a clueless demagogue like Trump is NOT that guy! Ideally we would have had a third party candidate come along this year - with such strong dislike of both Trump and Clinton, if any year was ripe for an independent challenger to win, this was it. Though maybe it can still happen in 2020, if Clinton wins this year. Assuming things just sort of muddle along so no one is particularly happy with her, democratic enthusiasm to re-elect Hillary would be pretty low and many would be ripe to consider an alternative. If Trump either wins the nomination again or runs as an independent and splits the republican Hillary-hater vote, there may be room for someone else to come along.

DougS Silver badge

Re: I guess this explains why we are leaving.

The fooling is universal, it isn't just in the UK with the people behind Brexit. Trump has somehow convinced a lot of angry lower middle class white men that he's a self-made defender of the people, when he's about as far from either as it is possible to be.

DougS Silver badge

The EU needs more integration if it is to survive

IMHO, the EU can't continue in today's halfway state in the long run. In order to solve problems like the Greek debt, they need to be unified from a fiscal policy and taxation perspective. That will mean more successful countries like Germany subsidizing less successful ones like Greece, just like NY and California subsidize states like Alabama and Mississippi in the US.

Just like the US has a single fiscal policy covering the nation (i.e. interest rates etc.) but split taxation (federal states and state taxes, but with states not maintaining long term debt like the federal government) so will the EU. If they do not do this, the imbalances causing problems in countries like Greece will eventually force them to leave the EU and the whole thing will fall apart.

While the UK was only halfway in as it was, they would be against such close integration of the rest of the EU, so maybe Brexit will be good for the EU by removing roadblocks to this future.

Cynical Apple gouges UK with 20 per cent price hike

DougS Silver badge

Maybe they're assuming another 5% is in the offing

Once the UK pulls the trigger and gives Article 50 notice in the spring? I have to think there's some amount of "maybe they won't really follow through" built into the current exchange rate, so there's probably a bit further to fall once Brexit is irrevocable.

Samsung's free-falling financial flameout

DougS Silver badge

Re: This class of problem will only get worse.

You know what else has the same amount of stored energy as a typical 3000 mAh phablet battery? Four raisins.

Don't point the finger of blame in the wrong place...if someone invents a revolutionary new type of battery that stores 10x the energy in the same volume it may be much safer than lithium ion batteries depending on the materials and the design.

DougS Silver badge

It almost certainly isn't the battery

Samsung has admitted they have no idea of the true cause at this point, and have pulled engineers off Galaxy S8 (which will delay it) to help them figure out the problem.

Given that phones containing both batteries that Samsung SDI made as well as a Chinese company that made the batteries for the ones sold in China (as well as all the replacement phones) were burning up, a battery problem seems extremely unlikely. They weren't using some novel type of battery after all, and while yes the occasional problem with lithium ion batteries can happen to anyone having so many failures over such a short period of time is unprecedented.

Something else was going on, and I'm sure eventually Samsung will figure it out. Until then it is probably good that the S8 will be delayed due to this detective work, as they obviously can't risk releasing it until they know for certain the cause of the Note 7 problems and thus can insure the S8 does not have the same fault!

New MacBook Pro beckons fanbois to become strip pokers

DougS Silver badge

Re: Strip or screen...

Not having touchscreens in their laptops and PCs is a conscious decision on the part of Apple. Not everyone considers them a good thing as you apparently do. I find them detestable, personally. It is becoming harder and harder to find a quality laptop that doesn't have a touch screen, unfortunately.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019