* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Is Tesla telling us the truth over autopilot spat?

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Re: i think most people

The enforcement of hands on the wheel isn't "lax", it is practically non-existent. It won't disengage until you ignore three warnings to put your hands back on the wheel over the course of an hour. So basically once an hour you have to briefly place your hands on the wheel when it warns.

IMHO it shouldn't allow you to take your hands off the wheel AT ALL for more than 10 seconds without disengaging. If you can take your hands off for minutes at a time, what's the incentive to be paying attention? It encourages people to text, check email, rummage around in the back seat to find something, etc. Tesla can put up all the disclaimers discouraging such things all they want, but the lack of enforcement in the software shows they're basically winking at you and saying "do what you want, we won't stop you, we're just telling you not to because our lawyers said we should".

DougS Silver badge

"Immediate attention"

Is that why news of the crash only became public two months after the crash? If Tesla had their way they would have hushed it up forever. Even now they haven't learned their lesson, and still allow people to "drive" hands-free when they admit the software is not able to handle all situations.

More people will die before they come down off their high horse, the question is whether the company will be able to survive it.

FCC Comms criticized

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They're political appointees

They aren't supposed to be independent. I don't know if they are supposed to be sharing information with congressmen in their party, but being surprised for partisan appointees to act partisan is kind of silly.

If they wanted the five member board to be "independent" they wouldn't have a requirement for three of one party (the one holding the White House) and two of the other in their bylaws.

FBI overpaid $999,900 to crack San Bernardino iPhone 5c password

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The FBI would have overpaid even if they knew about this option

The only reason the FBI went for outside help was because the slam dunk case they thought they had to make Apple look bad backfired badly on them. They felt public opinion would be overwhelmingly on their side, because "terrorism" but it was a 50/50 split at best. That's why they originally filed the case in public, even though Apple wanted it filed under seal - because no doubt they were worried about bad publicity as well and had to be pleasantly surprised by the support they received.

Rather than fight a battle they knew there was a good chance they would lose, the FBI decided to save face by accepting outside help which they obviously could have found before filing the case. They wanted to go to a specialist company that charged a lot because they feel it will aid their case down the road when they decide to try pressing their case for backdoors. They can tell congress "look, it cost us $1 million for one phone, maybe we can justify that for terrorism, but what about drug dealers and pedophiles, they are getting away now - THINK OF THE CHILDREN!"

iPhone 7's Qualcomm, Intel soap opera dumps a carrier lock-out on us

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Apple's die size

The A10 is the largest one they've done. What I'm curious about is what is all that extra area for? They've grown by 30% and the small cores could only account for a tiny fraction of that. I'm sure the image processing for the dual camera is part of that, but can't begin to account for it all.

A6 - 96 sq mm

A7 - 102 sq mm

A8 - 89 sq mm

A9 - 96 sq mm / 104 sq mm (TSMC / Samsung)

A10 - 125 sq mm

DougS Silver badge

Re: It isn't enough for the ARM to match i5 perofrmance

As others already said, Apple could quite trivially have the Mac compiler build fat binaries - x86 and ARM64 - just like they did with the PPC transition. You'd only need to emulate old code, anyone producing Mac applications that were performance sensitive like Photoshop would be first on the block with those fat binaries.

The problem isn't Mac software, that's easy. The problem is Windows. A lot of Mac buyers run Windows at least occasionally, and the A10 is simply not an option there because when they are running Windows they're running x86 Windows and old school x86 Windows apps, not the ARM version (is that even supported on Windows 10 or did Microsoft give that up as the abject failure it was?)

It does seem like Apple has something in mind for their SoCs beyond phones/tablets, because they are really pushing the performance. The A9 is still faster than any SoC you can get in the Android world, and the A11 will probably be around the corner by the time they finally exceed A9 performance let alone A10. I'm leaning towards Apple having some performance target in mind for VR that they want to hit before releasing something. Sort of like how they started development on the iPad in 2002. They could have released it years earlier - in fact they did release a small version of it called the iPhone in 2007 - but waited until 2010 when they reached the performance and battery life targets they had set in an acceptable size/weight.

Based on TSMC's roadmap they should be able to get another 30-40% with the A11 next year, and probably an overall doubling (i.e. Geekbench 4 single threaded score of ~7000) by the A13 in 2019. That's sure not something anyone needs for their smartphone.

DougS Silver badge

Support for LTE band 66

Considering the auction was only a year ago, it will be a long time before they are put into use. Why add extra hardware to support something that will not be put into use for years. That would be like building 5G capability into a phone sold next year, in case 5G actually appears in 2020.

Apple's tax bill: Big in Japan. Like, $120m big

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Re: Scapegoats

Talking about "big money" and looking at banking, oil, etc. doesn't preclude looking at Apple, too. Apple is a lot less politically connected than say the Rothschilds, so if I was looking under my couch cushions for extra money I'd leave those guys alone too!

As for the drug trade, I doubt Japan or any other major country is too worried about taxing drugs they consider illegal. Yeah, technically the US has a law on the books allowing you to pay taxes on illegal drugs, but that is mainly there to give them a way of putting away drug kingpins who are successful at making it appear like all the murdering, smuggling and selling were being done by their underlings - if they are making a $1 billion a month in cash with no explanation while guys around them can be proven to be involved in the drug trade and they can't, the US will put them away for years on tax evasion instead.

Brexit will happen. The EU GDPR will happen. You can't avoid either

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Re: 6th May 2018 - Article 50 deadline

How could the EU possibly "force" the UK to trigger it? It is entirely up to the UK to determine the timing - or to do it at all.

Personally I think the UK government will be unable to reach agreement to do it, because as far as I know it is still unclear who or how it is trigger in a way that is official to the EU, and there seems to be a lot of Brexit-regret.

Google: There are three certainties in life – death, taxes and IPv6

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Could you translate that into English for those of us who are not well versed in IPv6? My understanding is that part of your IPv6 address is fixed from your MAC, so if I travel around with my laptop, Google could tell it is the same device connecting via IPv6 from anywhere in the world? Is that not the case?

That is honestly one of my bigger concerns with IPv6, is making it easier for Google and everyone else to do their tracking with no way of disabling it.

I still think IPv6 was over-engineered with silly decisions like going to 128 bit addresses when 64 bits would have been far more than were needed that is mainly responsible for its low adoption rate. If they just made IPv5 largely like IPv4 except with more address space we would have transitioned long ago, and then we would have had time to think about what is really needed for a truly next generation system without the push to implement it because we're running out of addresses.

T-Mobile USA: DON'T install Apple's iOS 10, for the love of God

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Re: Hmmm... not around here

It was fixed yesterday, if carrier update 25.2 loaded when you updated you got the fix when you installed iOS 10.

DougS Silver badge

It was a T-mobile screwup

Given that T-mobile is now claiming "Apple has addressed the issue within iOS 10" but the fix is actually to install a new carrier update (version 25.2) it sure looks to have been T-mobile's issue...

Fanbois iVaporate: Smallest Apple iPhone queues ever

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Waiting for all the haters

Who think "this time, Apple really is going to suffer" to be disappointed once again when Apple reports their sales the next few quarter and they see that while the iPhone 6 was a sales peak they'll never match due to some obvious factors, that iPhone sales do not keep falling and falling. Especially because of stupid stuff that most people don't care about, like a headphone jack.

DougS Silver badge

@d3vy - selling out every year

No it does not mean they are "shit at planning", it means that the demand at first is far higher than it is the rest of the year. They can't have Foxconn build/staff manufacturing facilities sufficient to supply 5x as much for a month as what they do the rest of the time.

They could start working on building them months earlier to build up a much larger launch inventory, I suppose, but there are a few problems with that. 1) it lengthens the time when details about them will leak, 2) it causes them to have to use older technology since it would need to be in a "final" state months earlier than it does now, 3) they'd still have to guess how many people are going to want to buy each combination of model, color and storage, and since they are further segmented by other stuff like the cellular chip used (at least in the US) that's yet another. If they ended up with a million extra rose gold 7 plus 128GB AT&T/T-mobile models, what the heck do they do with them?

DougS Silver badge

Re: What else can you queue up for any more?

I'd say the decreasing lines are because fewer and fewer people think it is any fun to wait in line when they can preorder what they want and have it shipped to them. It is really just the diehards who probably do it every year who are still out there participating in that silliness.

'Google tax' already being avoided, says Australian Tax Office

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The problem is that it is hard to calculate "profits" on the web

If you are selling products it is easy. For items being sold at retail, the difference between the wholesale price and retail price, less expenses, is your profit. So it is going to be pretty hard for a company like Apple or Amazon to leave much dispute in what their profit is, unless they are throwing in expenses that should not be counted against sales in Australia.

For a company like Google, who makes their money from paid search ads, it is a lot more difficult. If you have an Australian based company placing ads to appear only in Australia, the revenue line is pretty simple. But what are the costs, especially if the servers are located in another country? For an Australian company placing ads to appear in many countries that may or may not include Australia, or a multinational placing ads to appear in many counties including Australia, just determining the amount of revenue that should be accounted for in Australia will be difficult, and calculating the expenses even more difficult.

In such a situation, how can Australia's tax authority go to Google and claim Google is underpaying, let alone try telling Google what they should be paying? I'm not saying they shouldn't try to make it more fair - if evidence suggests Google has revenues of a half billion dollars in Australia (just an example, I have no idea) but pays only $1 million in taxes, that sounds a bit suspicious given their margins reported in US filings. The trick then is to figure out how they are unfairly padding their expenses, and make what is currently legal but unfair illegal.

EU law: Brussels burps up aspirational copyright tweaks

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"Reduce the differences" in copyright regimes

Code for "strengthen copyright protection". They never reduce copyright terms or weaken anything, they always take the strongest bits and apply them everywhere. Then wait for whoever is able to further lengthen or strengthen, and repeat.

That's how Mickey Mouse will still be under copyright long after everyone reading this is dead.

Alleged buggy software wrongly flunks wannabe lawyers from bar exam. What happened next won't shock you

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Did it also work in reverse?

Did they license lawyers who flunked the exam? Bet they won't sue!

Did you know iOS 10, macOS Sierra has a problem with crappy VPNs? You do now

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PPTP had a fatal weakness exposed four years ago


If anything, Apple (and everyone else) should have done this several years ago. PPTP is easily crackable, with no way to prevent it.

DougS Silver badge

They did, the article even points that out. Apple had stuff up on their web site over two months ago, and there were articles about the iOS 10 beta mentioning it as well.

I agree with those who suggest that maybe they should have had some sort of pop up or similar notification in iOS 9 when connecting to a PPTP VPN, but PPTP's use by date expired years ago.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Damned if you do, damned if you don't

In fact if you look at the monthly numbers that El Reg posts fairly regularly, there are still millions of XP users in the US, and it is probably safe to assume the same is true in the EU also.

Googler mad over cop scrap

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The problem he faces in a civil trial is different

If the police force knows they're at fault, they'll offer to settle with him and he'll get a nice check. That check will be paid for by taxpayers in the locality where this happened, and nothing will happen to the officers involved. They won't even get a reprimand on their file. They'll continue being police officers, and acting the same way, because there have been and always will be zero repercussions for them.

What needs to happen is that municipalities must begin to require the police working for them to carry liability insurance to cover settlements against them. Then bad cops end up having their insurance premiums jacked up and are forced to quit, and taxpayers aren't left footing the bill for bad cops. To the extent that problems with a few cops in a force affect the insurance rates for all cops on the force, the "thin blue line" will break down and cops will be more likely to inform on their fellows who are bad cops.

The real problem with police in the US isn't the low single digit percentage of really bad/dirty cops who commit the sort of acts we keep reading about. It is the majority of otherwise good cops who will lie and cover up for their fellows, some because "brotherhood" and others because they know they will be retaliated against if they dare speak up.

Google GPS grab felt like a feature, was actually a bug

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Re: Only criminals use cash

Canada was just following the lead of the US. They pulled bills larger than $100 out of circulation like 50 years ago, and for a long time have been requiring banks to alerts to deposits of over $10K in cash. Since a lot of people were getting around that by depositing just under $10K, they now report on smaller amounts. I don't think it is set in stone but reportedly closer to $5000 now.

Hacker and chums jailed over gold bullion hack, track 'n' grab scam

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Any hiding place that's seen on a movie should never be used. Even cops who have never found anything in some of those places will check them all, because they know most criminals are stupid.

Non-doms pay 10 times more in income tax than average taxpayer group

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Re: Laffer curve


So you have arranged your tax affairs to avoid tax when it is 40% but you wouldn't if it was "lower" like say 25%? Why wouldn't you similarly arrange your affairs to avoid taxes then? So long as your arrangement is legal, I don't know why you wouldn't arrange your affairs in that way even with a 5% tax rate, so long as the arrangement didn't have other costs associated with it, whether in terms of money or time.

DougS Silver badge

Laffer curve

Just so you know, Laffer created his curve in the 1970s, when the top tax rate in the US was 70%, much higher than the UK has now.

While there's no way to know for sure what the revenue maximizing rate is, the fact that the people subject to the 70% (for income over $180K) still worked once they'd reached $180,000 for the year and tried to earn another dollar, even when they didn't have deductions they could use against that extra dollar, seems to indicate it is far in excess of today's tax rates. So the idea that cutting tax rates from where they are in the US and UK today would increase tax revenues is pretty ridiculous.

The main incentive for cutting tax rates is not the fantasy of revenue increase, but to pair it with elimination of deductions to the extent politically possible, as they change behavior by favoring some investments or activities over others.

$200k Android bug contest

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Re: I don't think $200K is enough

Android IS insecure, but buying products won't fix that. Getting Google's patches to people's phones in a timely manner is the only thing that will.

DougS Silver badge

I don't think $200K is enough

Not to get someone to part with a remote code execution bug that meets their criteria. Being able to infect a billion Android devices worldwide must be worth something, especially since you know that even after your exploit becomes publicly known and Google fixes it in Nougat, that the majority of the devices will remain vulnerable until they are retired.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Whereas Apple, Facebook etc throw you in jail

Er, you do realize that Apple and Facebook offer similar bug bounties, right?

Map to the stars: Gaia's first data dump a piece of 3D Milky Way puzzle

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Re: Sub-arcsecond angular resolutions ...

And more accurate direct parallax is what lets us better confirm that the variable stars really do work the way we say they do as galactic yardsticks for much greater distances that are impossible to measure via parallax.

Ted Cruz channels Senator McCarthy in wrongheaded internet power grab crusade

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Re: I don't know much about Cruz.

If you want to know just how big of an idiot, consider that he's widely regarded as the least popular senator - even by members of his own party. His fellow republicans hate him more than even the big liberal icons like Reid and Pelosi! One long time republican said earlier this year "if you kill Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial is in the Senate, no one will convict you".

If only one of them would put that theory to the test...

DougS Silver badge

Re: Cruz

He only did it because he calculated that Trump was likely to lose, and that his position when running for the republican nomination again in 2020 would be enhanced by refusing to endorse him. If he believed supporting him would sure the nomination in 2020, he would endorse Trump and happily campaign for him. He has no scruples, he just wants power. But then that's true of the large majority of those who run for president, of course.

Songsmiths sue US antitrust over Google-friendly rules ruling

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Obama appointees in "nominally independent" postings in FTC, FCC etc.

Please Andrew, don't act like this is new with Obama. Every administration has done that since long before either of us were born. Bush appointed oil industry friendly types to head the EPA and DOE, liberals were unhappy but that's his right and his party's right for holding the office just as it was Obama's right, and will be Clinton or Trump's right next year. Those cabinet positions are an extension of executive power, and letting the executive pick the cabinet is what allows him or her to create policy.

Not saying that what Google is trying to do to the songwriters is right though - what Spotify does to them when Google and others aren't able to isn't right either but the fix is to stop Spotify from doing it not to allow Google to do it too!

Google's become an obsessive stalker and you can't get a restraining order

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Maps without GPS

Yeah that sounds like a problem, but before smartphones people still used Google Maps, Mapquest, etc. You'd plug in your starting point (or better yet a point near your destination you knew you could reach without help) and your destination, and get a list of instructions. I went places with such a printed list on more than a few occasions back in the days from the mid-late 90s when mapping apps appeared and 2009 when I got my first iPhone.

I forgot about the original iPhone lacking GPS, but the author acts like it is ridiculous to include a mapping app without it. Heck, before Mapquest there was the Rand McNally Road Atlas that we took on every trip with us when I was a kid which didn't have GPS either! My dad would drive, my mom would consult the map, he'd argue if she didn't tell him what he expected to hear, then pull over to look at it himself :)

DougS Silver badge

Re: So turn off mobile data

How does turning off mobile data stop your data from getting to Google? Do you also have wifi turned off? I suppose that would prevent Google tracking you, but a smartphone without any sort of internet connection is rather pointless, sort of like a car without tires - yeah technically you can still drive it but...

UK Science Museum will reconsider its 'sexist' brain quiz

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Re: History

Well I don't know if brexit/remain is the same, but there have been some interesting studies comparing the conservative brain with the liberal brain. The conservative brain was found to have a markedly stronger fear response, which may explain why conservative candidates are successful in playing on fear - fear of outsiders/immigrants, fear of terrorists, fear of crime, fear of communists, etc.

Sorry Nanny, e-cigs have 'no serious side-effects' – researchers

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Lack of side effects doesn't mean they can't be regulated

OK so banning them, or taxing them very heavily like cigarettes is obviously a bad idea if they help people quit smoking.

But regulating in terms of "you can't use them anywhere that cigarettes are not allowed" is a different matter. If people are already required to step outside the bar to smoke, what's the harm in requiring them to also step outside to vape? OK its great if second hand "smoke" from vaping won't harm you like second hand cigarette smoke does, so it isn't a public health concern, but if you're hanging your argument on "vaping helps stop smoking" then restricting it to the same places as smoking doesn't hinder that goal.

However, making vaping more convenient than smoking does hinder the goal of completely eliminating nicotine dependence - and that's what turns "smoker who substitutes vaping to fulfill his nicotine craving" into "former smoker who no longer craves nicotine". Leaving the nicotine craving in place obviously makes it more likely that a former smoker who vapes will go back to smoking versus a former smoker who has beat his nicotine craving entirely. It also makes it more likely that young people who have never smoked and start vaping will someday become smokers.

HP doorsteps Apple shoppers at the altar of dreams

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Re: Hey, we still innovate!

Well, what exactly can be improved about a Macbook? OK, perhaps they could have smaller bezels around the display to allow the laptop to become smaller and even lighter, but the basic design is pretty hard to improve on. When HP comes out with new designs every few months, they aren't making improvements to the design of laptops, just changes.

It is like phones. What must-have innovations have there been in smartphones since the original iPhone came out? Sure, they are faster, support newer cellular/wifi standards, have better cameras, have bigger displays etc. but that's not innovation, just incremental improvement. Once they got "fast enough" and the camera "good enough" for most people, upgrade rates started slowing because there is no particular reason why a Galaxy S5 owner should upgrade to a S7, or an iPhone 6 owner should upgrade to an iPhone 7. What they have is good enough, and an 'edge' display or dual camera that allows depth mapping isn't enough for very many to pull the trigger.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Ignoring that Apple hasn't updated most of its line for a couple years

I think it is almost certain they have been waiting for Kaby Lake, since Skylake was such a small improvement and its chipset had tons of issues on mobile that took many months for Intel to resolve.

Intel is supposed to announce the mobile Kaby Lake CPUs in January, but Apple has had early access to Intel CPUs before so I wouldn't be shocked if Apple made some deal to pay for a big pile of them up front in exchange for getting them early so they can be the only ones selling Kaby Lake laptops for the holidays.

Using a thing made by Microsoft, Apple or Adobe? It probably needs a patch today

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Re: Software development

Care to explain how to build a web browser out of an army of small 1000 line programs? And why, even if you do, it is somehow magically going to be less buggy than a monolithic browser with the same kLOC count? Having programs that are 1000 lines in size is really no different than having functions than are 1000 lines in size, but no matter how small you make your functions you can still have bugs in them. And if they become one liners to avoid bugs, then you just push the bugs into the interfaces between them.

DougS Silver badge

Don't know you, vulnerability counts roll over like an odometer, and have only three digits. They are racing to 1000, and then they'll claim they are bug free!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Software development

Are you trying to claim that back in the "good old days" developers produced less buggy code? The only difference was that the programs did far less and were thus far less complex, so I suppose to that extent they were less buggy but definitely no less buggy in terms of "bugs per kLOC", and of course you didn't have to worry about downloading patches because there was no internet!

You were lucky if they produced fixes at all, and if they did that you found someone who had got it off a BBS somewhere and could let you copy it onto a floppy.

Luxe cable crimper

DougS Silver badge

Re: Gillette invented this business model a long time ago

Perhaps so, but if like me you rarely make cables even if it adds an extra buck to the cost of each cable you won't care if it means they are perfect every time without fiddling around and without testing, finding out got a couple wires crossed, and having to clip the connector off and start again!

DougS Silver badge

Can you explain what you are talking about or better yet provide a link?

I rarely make cables so I've never learned the tricks people who have made thousands would have learned, or looked for labor saving devices. So I looked at this and thought "awesome, where I can buy it?" If there is something even better I'd like to hear about it.

iOS 10 bricks iThings

DougS Silver badge

Re: Early adpoters beware

The update notifications are typically phased in over a few days, otherwise I imagine Apple's servers would be overloaded if everyone tried to grab a big update the same afternoon. It would also increase the chances for more people to be affected by a problem, so it probably makes sense to at first require people to specifically check for updates if they want to get it right away and only start the phased "an update is available" notifications the next day.

As I've posted before, I have a few rules for iOS updates I use and have never had problems. Based on years of experience dealing with OS updates on many platforms, I always close all apps, shut down my iPhone, start it up, and THEN update. You want to do an upgrade after a clean reboot without any apps running. For a major a.x to b.x type upgrade, I always connect to iTunes, do a full backup, then update while tethered to iTunes.

I'll do OTA upgrades for the point releases, but not the big yearly one - and in fact the early adopters who were bit by this issue were doing OTA upgrades and the fix according to Apple was to retry the update via iTunes (some people had to reset and restore their phones too, others were able to do the update via iTunes without that...IMHO anyone who does a major OS upgrade ON ANY PLATFORM without any sort of backup/sync is playing with fire)

I never do the major update the first day. If by the end of the week this is the only issue encountered then I'll go for it. Worst case if I run into real problems with iOS 10, it is still possible to go back to iOS 9 the first few weeks, but I've never had any problems with any update, major or minor, following the above rules.

Ad flog Plus: Adblock Plus now an advertising network, takes cash to broker web banners

DougS Silver badge

Sudden? They've been letting through paying ads since version 2.0 was released several years ago. They are just extending that concept with this announcement, and there is still a checkbox where you can uncheck the "allow some non-intrusive advertising".

It actually will be Obama who decides whether to end US government oversight of the internet

DougS Silver badge

Re: I don't see why it shouldn't be delayed (or stopped)

There have been some in government calling for it though - like the ones who wanted to pull Iran's country code and hand it over to people suing them.

It is only a matter of time before dimwittery wins out and something stupid like that is seriously considered or even happens.

Nonetheless, ICANN needs much stronger controls in place before it should become independent of the US. At least under the US there's some sort of check on their more extreme behavior, who knows what sort of crackpot moneymaking schemes they'll come up with for more top level domains, selling off single letter domains, probably lots of stuff I never even considered is being planned in secret for when they win their freedom.

UK oversight body tipped to examine phone snooping tech in prisons

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Stopping cell phone use in prison

Too bad they don't make them out of steel and concrete, so they could turn the whole place into a Faraday cage and block illicit cell phone use that way...

I'm sure some will object "but what if the guards want to use their phones", but they don't need to be using them when they are on duty. They can have a picocell in their break room to allow them to make calls there, and use a landline elsewhere in the prison just like most people did until 15 years ago.

Nvidia: Eight bits ought to be enough for anybody ... doing AI

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Re: My CPU is a neural net processor

You're correct, the 6502 could add, subtract and shift only. It could multiply only by powers of 2, and only if the resulting total was guaranteed to be under 255 :)

Is hyperconvergence about to take over the enterprise data centre?

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The wheel turns

There's always a fight between centralization and standardization, and increased freedom to get what you need (or think you need) for a given task. That's how we went from mainframes down to PCs, but managing tons of PCs, departmental servers and so forth has proven to be a nightmare for most organizations, which only gets worse as people start bringing in their phone, so they want to centralize again.

People can now get that "freedom" they need with their BYOD phones and tablets, so they care less about having their PC centrally managed, or basically a terminal tied to a VM running in another building.

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