* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Apple to crunch iOS 10 local backup password brute force hole

DougS Silver badge

They didn't say they could get everything from an iPhone 7

They said "We can definitely extract data from an iPhone 7 as well - the question is what data." If they could get everything off it, they'd have said that.

Or are the Apple haters here going to assume that because they didn't use a newer Android for their demonstration that means they couldn't crack it, but because they mentioned they could get "data" off an iPhone 7, that they can get everything?

Obviously these guys are going to try to present themselves in the best light possible - the article was provided free advertising for their services for all the police forces in the UK. So use an old phone that can be cracked instantly for a demonstration, and let people make their own assumptions about how much they can actually get off an iPhone 7 or latest Android.

Lean in and pivot: Even Steve Jobs didn't work alone, startup boy

DougS Silver badge

@LDS - marketing guy gets rich

You list Gates in there, but he's a software guy. Yeah, he went on to run a big business but he's more like Zuck than Jobs. Ballmer was the marketing guy. Both got very rich, but Gates was more rich because he had a greater percentage of the shares.

I think the reason Jobs got richer than Woz was mainly because once Woz was a multi millionaire he was set for life as far as he was concerned. Jobs wanted to do more, but Woz was satisfied that he was then in a position to do whatever he wanted for the rest of his life.

Jobs wasn't hugely richer than Woz in the Apple II days, but he went on to buy Pixar and later sell it to Disney for billions, then return to Apple and massively increased the value of Apple stock - benefiting both him and Woz (assuming Woz still had Apple shares at that time; maybe he'd sold them at some point)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Exactly

And Woz could have never sold more than a couple hundred computers - without Jobs the Apple I would have been a footnote in history like the Altair and the Apple II never existed - which is why both of them needed each other to create Apple.

'Everyone' is buying Twitter

DougS Silver badge

Re: Sigh, It was inevitable I guess.

And that's why it is in trouble and looking to be acquired - they haven't figured out how to monetize it so its stock price is going to continue to sink. If it is, someone will change the things you like about it as they flail away trying to figure out how to place ads in 140 character tweets.

UK copyright troll weeps, starts 20-week stretch in the cooler for beating up Uber driver

DougS Silver badge


I only wish that defendants who plead for mercy on the grounds of "it will destroy my life" or "I own businesses and it will cause my employees to lose their jobs" would get a BIGGER sentence because of that instead of often a lighter one.

Basically he was arguing that people on the bottom of society should get harsher punishment for committing the same crime he did because they have less to lose, which is the exact opposite of how it should be. What an utter twat!

Uni student cuffed for 'hacking professor's PC to change his grades'

DougS Silver badge

Re: 15 yrs in prison! He's a kid for fucks sake!

That's just the maximum sentence under the class of felony he was charged. There are other offenses covered under that same felony class that are much worse, that might rate a 15 year sentence, but he won't.

If they didn't have offenses that are defined as "class C felony" or whatever they'd have to create separate sentencing guidelines for each one and that would be a lot more difficult to manage. Even then, if the crime was defined as "gaining unauthorized access to a computer for the purpose of committing fraud", it could also cover breaking into a bank computer and stealing $10 million, or planting evidence of child pornography to try to get someone they don't like sent to prison so even if that crime had its own specific guidelines it might still say "up to 15 years".

You could prevent that by having a law specifically for breaking into a computer to change your grades, but if you are going to write laws that narrowly, we'd need a whole library just to hold all the books for the laws in a single state!

Moron is late for flight, calls in bomb threat

DougS Silver badge

Re: Only 1 year?

I thought they replaced them two iPads, in case one had a problem? Being hit with a bag containing two full sized iPads would be pretty painful punishment, and they could make the bill for their replacement part of his fine.

EyePhones packing Iris-scanning authentication to go mainstream

DougS Silver badge

Re: How is an iris different from a fingerprint?

You don't swipe your finger with Touch ID, you touch it. It works the same at any angle - I just tried it with my thumb upside and with it sideways and it unlocked instantly as normal.

DougS Silver badge

Re: How is an iris different from a fingerprint?

Yes, that is a problem. Touch ID on the iPhone stores information only in the secure enclave of your phone, it is never sent to Apple or backed up to iCloud, and doesn't even store your actual fingerprint but rather a representation of it.

But if you used a fingerprint on some other system that didn't have those protections, and what is essentially a scan of your fingerprint gets out, then you can probably use it to bypass Touch ID. You can switch to a different finger for Touch ID, but eventually you'll run out...

DougS Silver badge

Re: How do you protect your iris?

Iris is "better" in the minds of mindless tech analysts because it is new, and fingerprints are now old. In a few years, when someone decides to use a voiceprint authentication on a phone, that will be the new hotness, and what you want instead of tired old fingerprint or iris recognition.

The only purpose for iris recognition would be that you wouldn't have to actually touch the phone in a particular place, and it would work when you are wearing thick gloves in the winter (but not if you have sunglasses, so it has its downsides) I suppose the best of both worlds would be either, but of course that makes it easier for an attacker as they have two ways to compromise my phone, depending on whether it is easier to lift my print or my iris.

DougS Silver badge

How is an iris different from a fingerprint?

Unchanging -> also the case with a fingerprint (barring injury in either case)

Completely unique -> also the case with a fingerprint

As for protected, I guess the idea is that it is easy to lift your fingerprint off a glass or whatever, but how is an iris protected? The camera a Note 7 is using costs only a few bucks and is able to read your iris from a couple feet away (at least, not sure of the distance but if you have to hold the phone 6" from your face it is utterly useless so I'll assume that's not the case)

If you are willing to spend a few hundred dollars on a high resolution camera, or just put a tiny telephoto lens on the tiny one from the Note 7, you could read the iris from across the room - you just need to get someone to look at it. How to do that? Hide it next to a TV, or build it into the jacket a woman with nice cleavage is wearing as she walks around the room and you'll get the iris of everyone in that room before long. Or show them something on your phone, if you can't be bothered to plant a camera somewhere...

I want to remotely disable Londoners' cars, says Met's top cop

DougS Silver badge

Re: Because Criminals will follow the rules?

The engine computer is just a board. Surely you could wrap it in a grounded screen and call it good? Might take a few hours to disassemble the dash to get to it depending how deeply it is buried, but considering all the DIYers who replace the chip in their engine computer to change timing and improve performance a little bit (or a lot if its a turbo) it can't be that difficult.

I have to think refitting a modern engine to work with a carb would be WAY WAY harder than that.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Because Criminals will follow the rules?

Shouldn't be that difficult to Tempest screen the engine computer in a typical car, seeing as how it is already surrounded by a lot of metal as it is. That would be a lot less obvious that robbing a bank in 35 year old car.

DougS Silver badge

Re: I am amazed...

They don't want to shoot missiles at the car, they "merely" want a directed EMP weapon to scramble the car's electronics (and somehow magically not bork a bunch of other cars, traffic signals, people's phones, etc. in the process)

A drone with a missile might do less damage, because at least then they'd be less tempted to use it when people are around!

DougS Silver badge

I don't see any reason an automated drone couldn't follow a car and avoid obstacles. If it is traveling at say 200 ft up there isn't too much to hit, and what there is should be easily avoidable. The problem is that the driver can take advantage of the drone's weaknesses and 1) drive near an airport where the drone wouldn't be permitted, 2) drive on streets lined by big trees that will obscure it (though maybe IR will get around that) and 3) drive through tunnels, parking garages, etc.

Or better yet perhaps a small drone that follows the car closely at roof height, and shoots a magnetic GPS tracker onto the rear license plate?

Not enough personality: Google Now becomes Google Not Anymore

DougS Silver badge

A childhood? WTF!

Yeah, Siri/Cortana/<insert whatever name Google gives theirs> don't need a backstory. The advance I want isn't for Siri to become my best friend or a shoulder to cry on, what I'd like is to be able to tell her "I'm looking to buy a Raspberry Pi to drive commercial signage. I need it to have HDMI or composite output, ability to play a slideshow, and for non-technical people to easily update the slideshow. Go research what I will need to do that, including any accessories, find the best price, and place the order."

She might come back with some questions like "do you need wifi or will wired ethernet do?" and "do you want to put it in a case or leave it bare?" then "a fancy case or the cheapest that will do?" as she surfs and digests web pages 1000x faster than a human and understands within three seconds that my initial query didn't provide everything that was needed to complete the task. I'd expect her to complete the task in a minute or two and confirm it was done.

This is something I actually did yesterday, which took me about an hour and a half (I had zero experience with Raspberry Pi, so I had to start from scratch figuring out what I needed) We are many many years away from an assistant doing something like this - something I would task my personal assistant with if I was a Hollywood star or CEO mogul and had a personal assistant.

Today we're at "hey Siri, can you can Shazam this song for me?" Or at least I assume we're there, Siri is supposed to interact better with third party apps but I haven't upgraded to iOS 10 yet and I don't know if Shazam has added any support for Siri, but that's about the limit of what I can expect today. There isn't even any "memory" like a real assistant would have - I can't say "please go to iTunes and buy that song I asked you to Shazam last night". I'd have to provide the song name.

Intel XPoint over-selling criticism surges as Chipzilla hits back

DougS Silver badge

Seeing "up to 10x throughput increase and 4x latency decrease"

Does "up to" mean those are the peak readings with datasets that are worst case for flash? Or were those the best they did against the various flash SSDs they compared with? Speaking of whose flash are they measuring against, Intel's? The consumer or top tier enterprise stuff?

Their statement doesn't fill me with a lot of confidence. I guess we will have to wait until someone like StorageReview or Anandtech gets their hands on it to see if it is even any sort of an advance over the best SSDs can do!

WTF ... makes mobile phone batteries explode?

DougS Silver badge

I thought the cause was known/reported already

I've seen other articles claiming that Samsung had nailed it down to the battery itself, and the ones produced by Samsung SDI in particular. The ones they got from a Chinese supplier, used in phones sold in China, have not blown up.

Reportedly they were "squeezing" the batteries to try to fit more capacity in the same volume, and that was done incorrectly in some cases which either put the + and - too close together, or the layer between them was damaged.

As one wag already suggested, perhaps they should have removed the headphone jack to make more room for the battery instead of squeezing it!

Zombie Moore's Law shows hardware is eating software

DougS Silver badge

You can already write code to design a chip

VHDL has been used to do this for some time, and it can be fed into simulators (i.e. interpreted) or compilers. It can't do everything, and doesn't produce the most efficient design, but for doing stuff that's more run of the mill than designing an A10 or 24 core Hololens chip, it works well at a much more reasonable budget.

The expensive part of a chip, especially in a leading edge project, might not even be the design team but rather the mask set, the cost of which can now exceed $10 million.

Man accused of $180k ass-based gold smuggling scam awaits verdict

DougS Silver badge

If they had believed the walk through metal detectors it wouldn't be a problem, since previously he didn't set them off and suddenly he started doing so (randomly, since I doubt he was smuggling gold out every day)

It would only be a problem for someone who had some metal in their body due to joint replacement or the like, who would set the detector off every time.

Anti-ICANN Cruzade continues: Senator Ted still desperately trying to defund US govt

DougS Silver badge

"unlikely that President Obama would allow a government shutdown over the IANA issue"

So they're banking on Obama caving, rather than standing firm and leaving it to the republicans to refuse to approve a continuing resolution, and be seen as the culprit for shutting down the government AGAIN?

Last time it really hurt them in the 2014 elections, even though they'd forced the shutdown a full year before that. This time they'd be shutting it down five weeks before the election. Are they trying to hand the election to Hillary, along with a democratic majority in both houses? Because being responsible for shutting down the government right before the election, over something so arcane that few voters will understand or care about it, is exactly the way that would happen - probably the only possible way the democrats could take the House.

If the republicans are dumb enough to do this, the only explanation would be that they're worried Trump might win the election and they believe there's a good chance that would cause the end of the republican party.

Galaxy Note 7 short stack

DougS Silver badge

Re: Most people aren't listening to the warnings

Especially when being wrong means it might burn down your house and/or put you in the hospital?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Maybe in fact

Yes, as with the iPhone the battery is easily removed/replaced once you have the phone opened up. Though you'd probably lose the water resistance if you opened it yourself, unless you had the right materials and know how to reseal everything just so.

However, didn't Samsung say they'd replace them with a NEW Note 7? Granted, a month old device is still pretty "new", but class action lawsuits have been filed over less...

DougS Silver badge

Most people aren't listening to the warnings

I believe Samsung stated only 5% of Note 7 buyers in the US had contacted them or one of their resellers about replacement. So 500,000 will probably be more than enough, at least for now, since most people are stupid and will think "it won't happen to me". I'll bet we continue to hear about Note 7s catching fire through the end of the year, unless the flaw is so bad in the affected phones that odds of surviving a few months of daily use without exploding are minimal.

Samsung intros super-speedy consumer SSDs, 'fastest M.2s ever'

DougS Silver badge

Laptops with dual M.2 slots?

Anyone know of any? I keep hoping to see that, so you could RAID a laptop as was possible in the old days (in models that let you remove the CD/DVD drive and replace it with a second hard drive)

Considering how small the M.2 cards are, that should be possible even in something going for thin-n-light...

She cannae take it, Captain Kirk! USS Zumwalt breaks down

DougS Silver badge

Here I was expecting some sort of computer breakdown

And it is just an old school water leak. Oh well, I'm sure it will have something odd happen to it eventually, like only turning left below the equator or something fun like that!

Lethal 4-hour-erection-causing spiders spill out of bunch of ASDA bananas

DougS Silver badge

Spiders on bananas used to be common

My mom grew up in a small town in rural Kansas, and when she was a little girl the general store would get bananas delivered as a complete stalk, and once in a while they'd find a tarantula had tagged along when they were breaking it up into bunches for sale.

They'd catch it and put it on display under a bell jar in the front window for everyone to see. According to my grandmother she about had a heart attack once when my mom opened up the bell jar and let it crawl around on her arm...apparently spiders were one of my grandmother's phobias, and my mom must have had a devilish streak in her back then :)

We live in a world where a 'Hamdog' burger hybrid is patented

DougS Silver badge

How did an Australian think this up before an American?

Surely the percentage of obese Americans is greater than that of obese Aussies, and since this is obviously targeted at fatties, I'm ashamed for my country that we're falling behind in the race for ways to increase your waist size.

Clearly we're too focused on building walls and standing up during a national anthem to continue working toward the ultimate national goal of reaching an average cholesterol level of 1000!

AT&T tries broadband over power lines again

DougS Silver badge

Re: And another thing...

They're probably targeting this for rural areas who aren't served by cable/DSL currently. Power lines are always above ground in such areas, it is too expensive to bury them.

Likely the "last mile" to the house will be LTE from a fixed antenna on the power pole to a fixed antenna on the house, using one of the bands they own that isn't used for cellular.

In areas where homes already have nearby cell towers that have a fiber connection, AT&T would just add an antenna there and be done with it. But in some areas, due to terrain or low population density, the towers may be spaced too far apart - or be running on a pair of T1s and the cost to run fiber to them is deemed too high. The power line method is presumably a cheaper way of connecting customers in such areas.

VMware's secret security plan revealed

DougS Silver badge

Re: Virus Checker

Or maybe that most servers don't need virus checking because they only allow admin logins so there's no way for users to deliver viruses to them so the utility of a virus checker that only works for VM guests is somewhat limit.

It could be a win for a VDI server though, as there's no way a virus checker running on the hypervisor could be slower than running one in each of a thousand VMs.

DougS Silver badge

I think this could be a very good thing

Especially if vendors get on board and ship apps complete with "birth certificate" (or VMware builds them and allows you to download them) that you could import, so very little post hoc adjustment would need to be made.

The best part is that you could integrate the updating of VMware's expected behavior with updating the documentation, so you would have documentation that actually represents the running state of an application/environment, instead of just what it was (hopefully) like when it was rolled out. And if someone didn't follow proper procedure when making a change, it would quickly become apparent from the alerts VMware would pop.

It could even be used for discovery, i.e. if you need to map out the data flows of an application that has no documentation and no one left at the company who knows anything about it. Just look at the alerts VMware pops up, and keep adding them until it runs without generating new ones, and you'll at least have a pretty good idea of what talks to what during any phase you tested against. Since it would come for 'free' once you have this, it would save you a ton of money versus the very expensive software you have to buy that would produce the exact same output.

Will US border officials demand social network handles from visitors?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Science Fiction

They would have no problem letting people out. You just won't be able to get back in. If such a future with Emperor Trump ever comes to pass, I'll definitely be good. Never been there, but New Zealand seems like it might be a nice place to live....hopefully they would accept refugee Americans even when the reverse would not be true :)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Another tick box,....

You think it is bad now, if Trump gets elected merely asking for social media handles will be the least of your worries trying to visit the US.

Indefatigable WikiBots keep Wikipedia battles going long after humans give up and go home

DougS Silver badge

Treat it like a mailer loop

If the bot makes the same edit X times, stop doing it and kick a message up to its "herder" to determine how to deal with it.

Robot overlords? Pshaw! I ain't afraid of no AI – researchers

DougS Silver badge

If we CAN build a human AI, someone eventually will. If we hadn't done the Manhattan project for WW II the A-bomb would have been invented eventually - if for no other reason than "what if the 'bad guys' do it first?"

Asian hornets are HERE... those honey bee murdering BASTARDS

DougS Silver badge

"Not to poke a stick in the nest"

Anyone that needs to warned not to poke a stick in a nest full of large stinging insects is too dumb to listen to such warnings.

Apple wants to buy Formula 1 car firm McLaren – report

DougS Silver badge

Re: Talk about the right company

McLaren seems to play in a higher range than where Apple would consider. Maybe the lowest end that I could find, 570S, which sells for $184K might be the top top range of where Apple goes but I'd bet on them going to the $50K-$100K range - expensive enough that there's some decent margin to be had, and they don't need to make compromises, but still affordable or at least aspirational for a good chunk of their current customer base. They go up from there all the way to multi million dollar supercars, it is hard to see how anything about that overlaps with designing and selling electric cars that mere mortals can afford.

As for the F1 team, not really sure what good it does them, but maybe it holds some IP that Apple wants.

Uncle Sam rules on self-driving cars

DougS Silver badge

Re: "self-driving systems can be considered a driver"

If the owner/"driver" doesn't have any control over the car other than giving it a destination, I don't see how they can have any liability for accidents the car gets into. A gun is a TOTALLY different thing, because someone has to load it, point it and pull the trigger, it doesn't do those things itself. It is a dangerous weapon, designed to kill, and leaving it accessible to say your small child who can't realize the consequences of using it leaves one clearly culpable in a way that telling your car "take me to the grocery store" does not.

So in the long run, liability insurance will be provided by the manufacturer, or some sort of "group" policy that covers many cars of the same class that people will pay for one way or another (even if the manufacturer provides it, you still pay for as part of the sales price) There is no way they'll hold individuals responsible for what their car does, any more than you are held responsible for paying credit card charges made by a thief who stole your card number off a merchant's POS system.

There will be a transition though, because autonomous cars aren't going to be introduced able to drive everywhere without human help or the possibility of human intervention. That's where legislation will be needed, to figure out how to handle insurance when the software can only handle certain driving tasks (i.e. expressway) but not everything so the owner must drive at times.

I think it is likely that once insurance companies are able to establish relative losses between autonomous and self driven miles, as autonomous miles get safer and safer relative to self driven, that driving yourself, especially by choice versus being forced to by the car being unable to handle certain conditions (i.e. gravel road in fresh snow) will quickly be priced out by rising premiums.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Here's hoping ...

The only way that will happen is if humans have some control over how their car drives. You know, like being able to root their car so they can tell it to go 10 mph over the speed limit to get them to their destination faster.

I do hope all the people who decry Apple's control freakery don't freak out when they are banned by law from doing stuff like that to "their" car like they do to their PC or Android phone.

DougS Silver badge

"autonomous" cars drove less than 1/35000th of the miles

Given the number of miles driven overall compared to the tiny number of miles driven "autonomously" (hint: Telsas are NOT autonomous vehicles, the idiot who died only thought it was) yes it is justified that it makes the news. And considering it forced Tesla to correct some of their poor practices that made it easier to use their vehicles as de facto autonomous cars, it was a good thing it made the news. Probably saved some lives.

People are much more willing to accept deaths they view as accidents, since in a car they at least feel a sense of control (well if they're driving I suppose) That's why they went nuts over 9/11 that only killed as many people as die every month on the roads. That's why many people feel so much stress or even outright fear when flying, even though they are statistically more likely to die in a car crash on the way to the airport.

In the minds of the average person, dying in an autonomous vehicle will be more comparable to dying in a plane crash than dying behind the wheel in a car crash because of that lack of control. They will find such a death much less acceptable, so even when autonomous vehicles eventually reach the point where they are safer than human driven vehicles, that will not be sufficient to gain public acceptance. They will need to be MUCH safer. A minimum of 90% fewer fatalities per mile (across ALL conditions, not just the most favorable ones where autonomous vehicles will be used initially, and where Tesla's "autopilot" only works today)

DougS Silver badge

Welcome to The Register!

Autonomous vehicles inquiry set up in the UK

DougS Silver badge


On the other hand, if autonomous cars aimed at horses as the standard, think of all the money you could save on fuel by letting your car graze in a meadow when you weren't using it.

Electrical box fault blamed for GS2 data centre outage

DougS Silver badge

UPS in the rack

In the long run, that almost certainly exposes you to greater failure risks. Though I suppose if you're clustered, and the clustered systems are in different racks on different UPSes, you mitigate that issue.

Still, like another poster said, the reason you have building wide UPS is so you don't also need rack level UPS. I've never seen servers with rack UPSes in a building protected by UPS. Not saying it doesn't happen (some posters here sound like they're doing it) but the issue here is that the building level UPS wasn't working - a 222 ms outage shouldn't affect a building full of servers that should be running off battery 24x7 - assuming it is configured as an "online UPS" rather than relying on something to cut over to battery when the utility power fails. Something which obviously failed in this case.

2,000 year old man found dead near 2,000 year old computer

DougS Silver badge

Re: Finding DNA could tell archeologists more about the ship and where it came from.

It can put a lower bound on the age of the mechanism, since it must be at least as old as this guy. While DNA won't be conclusive, it will provide some clues.

Microsoft lets Beijing fondle its bits in new source code audit hub

DougS Silver badge

Re: National Security

The only way it would be true that releasing source code would compromise national security would be if Windows had a built in backdoor. There were rumors about that (remember the NSAKEY furor?) but obviously if they knew they would be releasing source code they would remove or do some heroic obfuscation to that backdoor.

Hackers hijack Tesla Model S from afar, while the cars are moving

DougS Silver badge

Another reason to remove/block the cellular modem in any car you buy

Bad enough that automakers likely provide the government access (knowingly or not) to tracking data that shows where your car is at any moment, but it would also allow a way in. I'd also kill the GPS while I'm at it, so it can't record where I've been for the shop to download when I'm in for service.

If someone sells a car that won't operate without those unnecessary services, then I won't buy it.

Target lost, Cruz missile misses: Ted's ICANN crusade is basically over

DougS Silver badge

There's no way Cruz was going to get others to support him on this

Trying to explain to their constituents "I had to vote to shut down the government because of something about the internet that I don't understand, can't explain to you, and you wouldn't care about if I could" is not a winner for the republican party. These guys are having enough trouble trying to figure out how to walk the line of not supporting Trump, while not not supporting him to worry about this.

If they could have made it about a hot button issue that fires up the base like abortion, maybe, but no way would they ever shut down the government over ICANN.

Samsung wants your exploding Galaxy Note 7. Have a new one instead

DougS Silver badge

Re: They deserve it.

They are Samsung produced batteries that are blowing up, but not so much because they're cheap but because they tried too hard to cram as much capacity into them as they could. If they were willing to have it last a few percent shorter life they wouldn't have had these problems.

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