* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

One-way Martian ticket: Pick passengers for Musk's first Mars pioneer squad

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Signing up for a life locked in a small room with only a computer

Don't forget the internet connection with anywhere from 6 to 51 minutes of ping latency to Earth.

Termination fees for terminated people now against the law

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Re: I would have thought that

Hey, they call it an Early Termination Fee. Your life terminated early, your fault!

Ladies in tech, have you considered not letting us know you're female?

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And if you're hiring an accountant, or a sysadmin, or a teacher, how exactly are you going to judge them on the quality of their work? Ask to see some books an accountant has worked on, some servers a sysadmin has maintained, and some kids a teacher has taught?

Its all well and good to judge people on the quality of their work AFTER they are hired, but very few jobs allow are like the orchestra example and allow for an interview to consist of "do your job for a few minutes / hours and a fully informed hire / no hire decision will follow".

Want to make US$1.5m this weekend? Just jailbreak iOS

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Re: Interesting

Things that aren't listed aren't there because they are deemed too secure, but because they aren't used enough for exploits to have any value.

Trump: Google hides Hillary

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He's expecting to see headlines like on Breitbart

He gets his news from heavily slanted alt-right sites, so when Google doesn't produce similar results of course he thinks it is slanted.

Someone who gets all their news from whatever the "alt-left" sites are that make Huffington Post look moderate would surely see Google to have a rightward slant.

Tokyo man arrested for selling jailbroken iPhones

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Re: Arrested? Wow

If you read the article it sounds like his arrest wasn't because he sold jailbroken iPhones, but because he included a cracked version of a game.

Human rights orgs take Five Eyes nations to court

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Re: People in other countries should sue the US government

To the extent that Saudi Arabia has any assets in the US, or the US has assets in another country that does a tit for tat, enforcement isn't a problem.

DougS Silver badge

People in other countries should sue the US government

Congress just stupidly overrode Obama's veto on a bill to allow 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi Arabian government and officials, despite warnings from all quarters of the administration and officials from past (republican) administrations. Apparently cowardly congressmen across both parties felt they had to support it, lest their opponents use it against them in attack ads before the election (I'm sure the only reason Obama vetoed it was because he wasn't up for re-election and could do the right thing....perfect example of why term limits are a good thing!)

So if we feel like our citizens have a right to sue a sovereign government in our courts, what's to stop people in other countries suing the US government in their courts? Might as well sue over NSA snooping, given that there is easy access to all the proof you need!

Londoners react with horror to Tube Chat initiative

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What's next?

Elevator chat?

Urinal chat?

USB-C is now wired for sound, just like Sir Cliff Richard

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Re: I don't have digital ears...

Analog parts complicate board design. The 3.5mm audio is the last analog part in phones, and in most laptops as well (other than those which still support VGA...pretty sure none are left with serial ports)

Putting the DAC and amplifier inside the phone or laptop means you have no choice as to its quality. If you don't care, you can use whatever cheap adapter you want - I'm sure the one Apple ships for Lightning and what Android OEMs like Motorola ship with their USB-C phones are good enough for most. But if you care about such stuff, you can spend a little more on something of higher quality.

Your ears may be analog, but unless you've never listened to the same song from multiple sources you don't realize how much difference the DAC and amplifier can make.

DougS Silver badge

USB audio and Lightning audio is digital ONLY, not analog!

Why do people keep thinking that having an external DAC is 1) so expensive and 2) so bulky that they'd never do it, and/or 3) so terrible if they did it?

The same crap is going around about the iPhone 7, with people claiming that it is passing analog audio over Lightning because "they can't possibly fit a DAC in the Lightning to 3.5mm dongle" or "Apple would never spend the money to put a DAC in there". So many people believed this ignorant crap that someone actually did a teardown of the dongle and proved that yes it does include a DAC. The Lightning earbuds also include a DAC.

USB-C audio is NOT analog. Like Lightning audio, it is digital ONLY. All USB attached headphones will need their own DAC. That's a good thing, because then no matter what you plug those headphones into, if you play the same stuff it will sound the same regardless of whether it is plugged into a low end crappy phone or a pricey high end stereo system (at least once they have stereos with USB-C ports)

Why should your listening experience by governed by the quality of the DAC in your phone over which you have no control? If you're an audiophile you can buy high end headphones with a high end DAC. Or if you already have high end 3.5mm headphones you're happy with, you can buy a USB-C to 3.5mm or Lightning to 3.5mm dongle with a better DAC than what you'll get included with your phone. Or if you test it and don't think the difference matters to you, you can continue using what your phone shipped with. I don't have an iPhone 7, so I can't comment on the quality of the DAC in the dongle.

DougS Silver badge

Re: I wonder how does electrocution through your ears feel like

Life threatening? USB-C has a max of 20 volts of direct current, I believe. If you think that will kill you, I hope you never wired the phone lines in your house without disconnecting it outside first. In the US that would mean a whopping 48 volts of direct current if someone called while you were doing that, enough to kill you possibly make you feel a slight tickle.

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Re: Consumers..

There are already a few Android devices that shipped without 3.5mm ports a couple months before Apple, there will undoubtedly be more. As with removable batteries I'm sure you'll still be able to get them if you think they're an important feature, but maybe not on the particular phone you want to buy.

Surprise! Leading 4-socket server vendor isn’t Dell or HPE

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Re: Why should HPE and Dell care if Huawei supplants them?

Yes, but that's a problem that would exist whether or not a vendor like Huawei could become large enough to supplant HPE/Dell. If they are still way ahead but the "others" category grows and grows because of a lot of small Chinese vendors at 1%, the problem is the same for them. The concern isn't Huawei getting big, but HPE & Dell becoming smaller due to factors outside their control.

DougS Silver badge

Why should HPE and Dell care if Huawei supplants them?

So long as they aren't taking away markets that HPE & Dell were selling in before, but rather taking market share away from Chinese vendors in the "others" list or capturing growth in China that HPE and Dell never had a chance at grabbing?

If customers in Europe that are buying Dell or HPE today start buying Huawei, I agree that would be a concern, but AFAIK Huawei's growth is mostly domestic. I'm sure Dell and HPE would like to sell more in China, but the Chinese government is making that more difficult and is going to encourage domestic vendors over US vendors for multiple reasons.

Analyst: iPhone 7 points to price jump

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Re: @DougS

I'm not arguing Apple is innovating either. I don't consider ANYTHING since the original iPhone to be true innovation. Now you can argue about all the parts that made up that first iPhone existed in one form or another in earlier phones, but putting them all together to get the resulting product certainly was - it was enough for the head of the Android project to admit they scrapped what they were working on and started over after they saw the announcement.

What has happened with smartphones since that first iPhone? They are a lot faster, they are bigger, displays are higher resolution, they use newer cellular/wireless standards, take better pictures, and so forth. Those are all incremental improvements over what came before.

I think the word "innovation" is overused, people try to claim NFC or wireless charging or even a bigger screen is "innovation". I think that's a word that should be reserved for a paradigm shift in the way you use something. Automatic transmission was an innovation for automobiles. Electric windows and door locks were not.

DougS Silver badge

Re: @DougS

I asked for important innovations and you give me wireless charging and customizable keyboards? Those are hardly advancements causing people to replace their old phone to get!

Wireless charging as it exists is pointless - you have to lay your phone on a pad. If you have to place it in a certain spot, what's the difference between that and having a cable stationed at that spot - which you ALREADY have to connect the pad to a power source! The extra second or two required to attach it if your battery is running low too difficult? It is just a gimmick.

If you could have a little antenna that beamed power a meter or two, then it wouldn't be just a phone gimmick, but you could put it on your desk and power your monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, wireless router, laptop AND phone. And watch, and glasses, and headphones and anything else you might use or wear while working. Now THAT would be useful, but that's either very difficult or impossible to do efficiently or someone would be doing it already.

DougS Silver badge


If you had proper reading comprehension, you'd understand I was pointing out that that quarter was an example of how the iPhone 6's sales figures were such a huge jump of the 5S's due to all that pent up demand for a larger iPhone and for China Mobile support.

That's why Apple saw sales fall with the 6S - they "regressed to the mean" as it were because there was never any chance that it could match the 6's sales figures, because there are no longer any large sources of untapped demand. The addition of any other "innovations" from the Android world like wireless charging, a stylus, a removable battery, an SD card slot, etc. would not move the needle in a measurable way.

DougS Silver badge

Apple haters keep hoping for evidence that Apple is on the way to bankruptcy, but other than the 6S failing to reach the huge peak attained by the 6, they aren't going to get much satisfaction. The massive sales peak of the 6 (so big Apple outsold Samsung and its full range of high end to low end phones one quarter) were never going to be matched, because there was pent up demand for a bigger iPhone that was finally satisfied, plus huge pent up demand in China for China Mobile and its 700 million customers to finally be supported.

Please tell me what important innovations are coming out of the Android world, other than phones that can cook your dinner?

Complaints against cops down 93% thanks to bodycams – study

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Re: Studying police officers improves their behaviour

He wasn't talking about a quantum observer, but an observer of a study. Google Hawthorne Effect.

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@Lee D

Typical cop apologist. You're assuming that the 93% drop in complaints was all bogus complaints against the police, but seem unwilling to believe that some of those complaints were legitimate - i.e. that the actions didn't happen because the officer knew he couldn't about it because there would be video evidence.

Police cameras work both ways - if they are on all the time without any way for the officer to shut them off. They protect the police against false statements about their conduct and provide evidence that can help convict perpetrators for crimes or admissions of guilt that are caught on camera. They protect the public against stops without cause, unnecessary use of force, planting evidence, etc.

It is so blindingly obvious why certain police unions are against cameras or want the officers to have the ability to turn them on or off at will. The silent majority wants to protect the small minority of officers who are worse criminals than most of the people they're arresting. The thin blue line is the problem here. If the good officers had the courage to stand up to the bad ones, there wouldn't be any need for cameras.

Apple puts on its grey suit: Firm, 40, keen to meet corporate types

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They seem to pick one enterprise initiative a year

First IBM, then Cisco, then SAP. D&T will be 2017's initiative.

They will never get anywhere on the desktop against the entrenched might of Microsoft, but phones/tablets is a battle they can fight. Microsoft has all but given up there (Surface Pro is purchased and used as a laptop, not a tablet) and Android is so fragmented between different OEMs and different OS versions they have a good chance of winning here.

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Re: Comedy gold

It sounds like Apple is only concerned with integrating iOS devices into the corporate world. The battle for the corporate desktop was lost two decades ago, there's nothing to gain by trying to fight that battle again.

FCC death vote looms for the Golden Age of American TV

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You're missing a fundamental problem

Cable cards allow third party devices to have direct access to the video stream. Meaning it can be recorded. The "app model" does not provide third party devices with direct access to the video stream, it can only be displayed. So if Comcast decided to put forth an app that didn't allow recording, then you'd still need to rent their boxes to record. They could drop recording from their rented boxes, and then you'd be forced to watch TV live again.

That's what the networks really want, they view this as a golden opportunity to get control over when and how their viewers watch their programming - to have control over whether something can be recorded at all, and if it can whether commercials can be skipped, how long it can be saved, etc.

You're buying into the stupid 'security' argument. If they were able to insure the security of cable card devices, why shouldn't they be able to insure the security of 'gateway' devices that perform the same function in software?

The cable companies and content providers pushed this 'app' model because they didn't like the gateway that preserves the same amount of consumer control that cable card allows for. When the FCC said "fine, we'll go with an app model" now they're unhappy that third party devices would be allowed to present their own UI - they want control of the UI as well. The only reason people buy Tivo is because its UI is better than cable company boxes (some are pretty good now, but a lot of cable companies still use archaic boxes that could be running DOS 6.22 by the looks of them)

The cable companies want the alternative to be so awful that everyone continues to rent their boxes. Content providers want to take back control over the content and force everyone to start watching commercials again. The "golden age" may end like the author says, but he's too clueless to understand that it is what he's supporting that would end it.

But is it safe? Uncork a bottle of vintage open-source FUD

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Its a double edged sword

Open source provides more opportunity for finding bugs, but that includes bad guys. OpenSSL turned out to have undiscovered bugs in it for years, and now bugs are being found in it at a fast n furious rate - because a lot more people are studying it a lot more closely since it has proven to be a lot less secure than people had assumed.

So you have to wonder - some of those bugs that have existed in it for many years, were they really first discovered when announced? Or were they discovered years earlier by some who used them for nefarious purposes?

M.2 SSD drive format is under-rated. So why no enterprise arrays?

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Re: So why no enterprise arrays

You wouldn't want to use it as a cache for random data, as it doesn't improve latency much. However, using it as a cache for sequential data would allow a smaller RAM cache that is focused only on random data.

South Australian mega-storm blacks out whole state

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Re: Memo to self

Lots of people in Florida have solar panels, and they get hurricanes there. A lot of newer panels are plastic, not glass. They are less efficient, but cheaper and more durable.

4K-ing-A! Roku bangs out broad range of new streaming boom boxes

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Yep, 3D utterly failed in the market. It was the gimmick they used to sell TVs before they had 4K. Asking why a modern set top doesn't support 3D is like asking why a modern TV doesn't support DVI.

Smartphone lost on QANTAS 'began hissing, emitting smoke and making orange glow'

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How powerful are those seats?

It looks like it folded up the corner of that phone. As the 'bend' tests show, it is not that easy to do - the amount of pressure required would surely break fingers. Not only shouldn't you go digging around for a lost phone, you shouldn't go digging around for change, keys, or anything else you drop in there if the seat might be moved while your hand is in there...yikes!

Crusty Cat 5e/6 cables just magically sped up to 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps

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Re: More speed!

If you have cat6a, sure 10GbaseT makes more sense, but it is more expensive and more power hungry. I wouldn't be surprised to see devices that include a gigabit ethernet adapter to switch to a 2.5 or 5 instead of going to 10, since 10 requires cat6a that rules out most installs and would be a larger jump in cost.

It's all fun and games until someone loses an AI

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I remember posting pretty much this in the Reg's AlphaGo article

And being voted down by a lot of ninnies who don't get the difference between being programmed to play chess or play Go or play Jeopardy, and being programmed to LEARN, and being able to learn to do all those things plus many more. Because AlphaGo was programmed to "learn" from past games, apparently that meant it was an AI. :P

We are decades away from a true AI.

Redback sinks fangs into Aussie's todger AGAIN... second time in five months

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Maybe along with air freshener

That port-a-potty needs a can of bug spray with a generous cloud automatically released under the seat when the door is opened!

US govt pleads: What's it gonna take to get you people using IPv6?

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IoT is a red herring, and totally irrelevant

If you buy a smart thermostat, you do not need OR WANT it to be directly addressable from anywhere on the internet. Your router will assign it an unrouteable address, it will connect using NAT, and it will be just fine.

There are some valid reasons to move off IPv4, but people buying crap like that for their home is NOT one of them. IoT would be far more of a security shitshow than it already is if we were all using IPv6 now, and people had all that junk directly connected to and addressable from the internet!

Microsoft paid me $650 to scrub Windows 10 from my grandpa's PC, says man

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Re: $650 is nothing to MS

Can I charge them for having to learn about GWX Control Panel and download and install it on my parent's PCs?

I'll even be nice and give Microsoft a break, charging the same $65 hourly rate this guy got (even though I charge clients double that) and figure only an hour of work even though it was probably more.

DougS Silver badge

I want to hear more about this too! You got 28 upvotes and no downvotes so I guess it must be true, but how can so many people apparently know about something like this without El Reg ever writing an article about it?

I thought Windows 10 was awful before, but if they do this then I can promise my parent's PCs will stay on Windows 7 forever.

Oh Snap! How intelligent people make themselves stupid for Snapchat

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Re: Snapholes

With Google Glass, at least the Glassholes had to work a bit to get the video off their glasses and onto the internet. This will be integrated with the Snapchat app on your phone, and will allow uploading something seconds after it happens.

Snapholes will definitely be more obnoxious, but I'm not sure there's much difference in someone walking around with cheap glasses that are lit up recording, and holding up their phone recording. Well except that being only $130, anti-Snaphole bullies won't feel too bad about ripping them off the Snaphole's head and stomping on them.

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Re: the creepy part of Google Glass...

Since these would target the 15-22 year olds who are the primary users of Snapchat, so long as they are wearing them around others like them, it won't be too much of a problem. But I can see them being just as poorly accepted outside that group.

Looking forward to reading articles on Snaphole etiquette next year!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Snap!

Originally yes, but most stuff people post to Snapchat now is permanent. I don't know why the author has so much trouble explaining it. It is basically the same thing as Twitter, except instead of sharing 140 characters at a time, you share a picture with a one line caption, or a video that lasts a few seconds.

Like Twitter, I suspect they are having trouble monetizing it because there isn't a good way to insert ads, which is probably why they are getting desperate with the re-branding to "Snap!" and coming out with Glasshole mark two.

Narcissist Heidi Powell wants her dot-com and she wants it now, now, NOW!

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Re: Precedent?

Madonna was able to swipe it via WIPO. Maybe the evil Heidi Powell will try that if she doesn't get satisfaction from the US courts, though Madonna is even today about 10000x the celebrity this fitness instructor no one has ever heard of is.


Daesh-bag hacker gets 20 years for harvesting US military kill list

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Breaking up Iraq & Syria

That might have just about been possible if they had no oil, but the seats of power in both countries are not located where the oil is, so that's a non-starter.

It only worked in the Balkans (and only after a fair amount of bloodshed) because there wasn't much there anyone wanted - just a lot of people who will be forced to move from their ancestral roots, something which such simple minded solutions apparently don't consider worthy of consideration.

Don't let banks fool you, the blockchain really does have other uses

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Re: block chain for property sales

Since it "is not going to be centralized anytime soon" it should be centralized on a blockchain?? How can you use a blockchain to verify i.e. there are no liens on the property unless all mortgages are recorded in that blockchain? How can you verify there are no encumbrances against sale like easements unless all are recorded in that blockchain? Etc.

If you are centralizing all such information in a blockchain, why can't you centralize all that information in a database? The blockchain offers no advantages here, it is once again a solution looking for a problem.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Must try harder

It looks like they use a blockchain for the part of this deal that stuff like DocuSign currently handles (for less sensitive stuff...I've used it for some real estate related transactions but the final step is still signing paper because that's all the county/state will accept currently) Blockchain probably offers some advantages over DocuSign for this type of use, but this is hardly a revolutionary thing.

The only reason Barclays announced this was to cash in on the blockchain hype, and look like they are tech forward. They may have found a tiny niche where it is useful, but it is hardly going to be used for settling stock trades or credit cards, due to its massive inefficiencies in both transaction time and storage.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Blockchain <> Bitcoin

How is using a blockchain to track parts to planes any better than using a database? Hint: it isn't. As always, blockchain is a solution looking for a problem.

There is no reason for an organization to EVER use a blockchain for its internal needs. The only thing a blockchain provides you that you can't get elsewhere is basically a sequential log file that works in a decentralized and trustless environment. Two organizations with mutual distrust might have cause to use it for information they must share, but because it makes such an utterly shitty database, they'd probably agree to mutually trust a third party to maintain such data for them.

Mark Zuckerberg and the $3bn cash fling: He's not your father's tech kingpin

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Re: Check the figures?

It looks like they've fixed all those, but now I'm confused by assets of $36 billion and income of $53 million. That's a return of 0.147%. They must have the worst investment adviser there is. I get a better rate on my checking account!

DougS Silver badge

Key phrase is "by 2100"

They'd have a much higher chance of success if the $3 billion was invested until 2085, and then deployed towards the goal. The sum would be a lot larger, even accounting for inflation, and technology and human knowledge would have advanced a long way.

Spending any of that money towards the goal now would be a waste, I agree, given that only a couple decades ago we spent a hell of a lot more than that targeting a single disease, HIV/AIDS, and the best we could manage was to keep it in check, not cure it.

Intel, Lenovo officially gone to the dogs – with FIDO fingerprint logins

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Vein ID

Making a decoy finger to fool a scanner might be a little harder than fooling a fingerprint reader or retinal scanner, but a 3D printer could be programmed create something out of suitable material with the proper vein pattern and a fluid inlet to pump its 'blood'. Lifting the vein pattern would be easy - if it ever gets cheap enough to put in a smartphone, it would be cheap enough to put in a decoy replacement door knob or handle to lift your target's vein pattern.

This just raises the bar slightly over fingerprint or retinal scanners. It is still a username, not a password, because you still have only ten choices and then you are SOL.

DougS Silver badge


They won't boot Linux because of missing drivers. Same sort of issues you always run into when trying to install Linux on brand new hardware (though generally not with the storage, usually it is something like the NIC or audio isn't supported)

You don't run into those problems on Windows because you almost never do a clean install of Windows. If you do - surprise surprise you run into similar issues. I tried to install Windows 7 on my Skylake PC off a USB stick and it wouldn't work. Turns out that Intel removed the old USB hardware support and only XHCI was supported - but Windows 7 does not support that out of the box. I was able to work around it, but it was a pain.

Patch AGAIN: OpenSSL security fixes now need their own security fixes

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Working hard to beat Adobe?

I'm sure another Flash patch with 50 fixes will come out to put it back on top!

Hubble spies on Europa shooting alien juice from its southern pole

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Re: How did Clarke know ?!

I'm sure Ancient Aliens is working on an episode that will mention this, and that guy with the crazy hair will say "How did Clarke know Europa was special? How did he figure out geosynchronous orbit?" He must have got this knowledge from an extraterrestrial source". That show doesn't give credit for humans figuring out anything on their own after fire and flint arrowheads :)

Apple to crunch iOS 10 local backup password brute force hole

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Re: Weakening

Probably they had on their list of things to do "replace outdated SHA1 algorithm" for backups and it was poorly implemented. Hopefully a bug and not someone who didn't realize a single iteration is not nearly good enough.

Moving to SHA256, if it was as overall complex as the old SHA1 implementation, it should be quite a bit slower to crack than the iOS 9 backups were....once they fix it!

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