* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Tesla to stop killing drivers: Software update beamed to leccy cars

DougS Silver badge

I've got no problem with Google showing ads in their self driving cars

I would never buy such a car, but if Google is willing to sell them for thousands less because of all the years of ad shoveling they'll do, and you're willing to endure those ads for the savings, its none of my business.

I can almost see the same fanboy debates twenty years from now, where the Google car owners are claiming the Apple car owners are wasting money and buying for looks, and the Apple car owners say part of the reason they're willing to pay extra is not to have ads shoved in their face everywhere they go.

DougS Silver badge

Re: "start slowing a car down if they see something that they suspect may cause a collision"

Its just common sense. If you are driving down the road and see a couple six year olds playing catch by the side of the road, you slow down in case one of them throws the ball out into the street and the other runs after it without looking.

A self-driving car can't really "annoy" another self-driving car if it slows down because it detects a situation that could be dicey and decides to slow down, even if the car following it doesn't interpret that situation the same way. And the passengers in the car won't be annoyed, because they won't even be paying attention to what the car is doing, they'll be on their phone, watching a movie, sleeping or whatever else they will do with the time they used to have to spend paying attention to the road.

DougS Silver badge
WTF?

"start slowing a car down if they see something that they suspect may cause a collision"

YOU MEAN IT DIDN'T DO THAT BEFORE?

Sounds like Tesla is testing alpha software on human lives. Good to know.

Phones exploding in kids' hands, shares tanking – but it's not all good news at Samsung

DougS Silver badge

@Avatar of They

Yes, a phone blowing up or catching fire, and possibly injuring or killing people, is the same thing as a phone that suffers slightly reduced reception if you hold it in certain ways. Do please make yourself look the fool by trying to equate the two situations.

Every model of phone that sells enough has a few reports of phones catching fire. Probably every model of iPhone has had a few, the same is true with Samsung. They also had several models that had problems where the battery would swell and crack the case. But none of these iPhones OR Samsungs have ever been recalled before, because those issues weren't a systemic manufacturing problem as is the case with the Note 7, where some are shipped with Samsung manufactured batteries that are flawed and have a risk of exploding any time you charge them.

DougS Silver badge

@Naselus

Phones and other devices using lithium batteries, including both iPhone and Samsung, have been exploding or catching on fire once in a while since before the first iPhone was sold. But not anything traceable to any manufacturing or parts supplier defect, it was either damage, substandard third party parts/chargers used, or good old "dumb luck".

Samsung's exploding phone problem is NOT dumb luck, some of the batteries that Samsung itself manufactured and installed in the phone are faulty in a very dangerous way. Enough that they already had 35 cases within a week of the launch, and is obviously higher as reports keep coming in.

The Reg has reported cases of iPhones and Galaxies exploding or catching fire before, but no recalls were conducted nor was anyone suggesting there should be, because none have ever happened at even close to the unprecedented rate it has happened with the Note 7.

You did a good job of making my point though - suggesting that if there are any reports of an iPhone 7 blowing up, you will claim it is the same thing. If there is even one report (and if there is I'd say there's a 50/50 chance it is made up) of an iPhone 7 blowing up, people like you will be ready with criticisms asking why Apple is not doing a recall, why the US government isn't forcing them to recall like they did Samsung and so forth, trying to equate the two situations which will not be even remotely the same unless Apple has quite a few blowing up (they would need more for the problem to be on the same scale, since they will have 5-10x as many iPhone 7s in customer hands by this time next week than Note 7s)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Wouldn't it be funny...

Well Samsung timed the release of the Note 7 hoping to steal Apple's thunder and have the press talking about the Note 7 instead of the iPhone 7. Mission accomplished.

Given that devices with lithium batteries explode/burn once in a while - especially if damaged or using a damaged charger etc. - I'd say the odds are nearly 100% that within the first few weeks of Apple's launch there will be one or two reports of an iPhone 7 catching fire, and El Reg will breathlessly report it with a headline suggesting that Apple has the same problem as Samsung. And won't follow up or correct the original article when that turns out to not be the case.

DougS Silver badge

Re: That'll derail the fanbois...

Microsoft/Nokia haven't had any bad news lately. But they probably wouldn't mind bad news, as at least it would mean people would remember they still exist :)

Delete Google Maps? Go ahead, says Google, we'll still track you

DougS Silver badge

Re: Paranoid

Location data is also "sensitive data that needs to be handled appropriately". If someone collects data on where you are, for how long, etc. they can get a lot of other data about you. If I know you visit a cancer treatment center every few weeks, then are at home and don't touch your phone for the next 48 hours, I can make a good guess you're getting chemo treatments. If before going there you stop off at a flower shop, I can guess you are visiting somewhere there, etc.

DougS Silver badge

How to secure your Android phone from Google snooping

1. remove your phone's battery

2. throw away the battery

3. enjoy your snoop-proof phone

HP doorsteps Apple shoppers at the altar of dreams

DougS Silver badge

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

What will HP say when Apple gets that market share back once they refresh their product line? They'll probably stay silent, wait for Apple's gear to get long in the tooth a year or two from now, and then crow about clawing back that same share :)

DougS Silver badge

Bang & Olufsen

Did they actually design the laptop, or just had something to do with the audio and their name is on it because HP knows that name sounds more premium than "Hewlett Packard" does in the minds of buyers?

Apple, Google auto auto woe

DougS Silver badge

I think it would be funny

If despite all the press hype over Silicon Valley companies like Google, Apple and Tesla, good old Detroit, Tokyo and Wolfsburg end up bringing self driving cars to market first.

Double-negative tweet could be Microsoft Surface Phone hint

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Re: Surface Phone?

Microsoft can use the same CPU used in Surface, underclocked/undervolted via a special SKU if necessary. They'd prefer Intel had continued the mobile line, obviously, but they weren't keeping up their end of the bargain, and Intel was utterly incompetent in their efforts in trying to get x86 into Android mobile devices - their usual PC market arm twisting techniques just didn't work there, and bribery only worked so long as the bribes kept coming.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Surface Phone?

The x86 compatibility would be for Continuum. It is a phone that runs phone apps, but when you plug it into a monitor and provide it a keyboard and mouse/trackpad (I guess the phone could be the mouse or trackpad in a pinch) then it lets you run them just like your Windows PC.

I could see that being very appealing for road warrior types who don't want to drag around a laptop if they can help it, and can arrange to have a monitor and keyboard/mouse available to them at their destination.

Microsoft thinks time crystals may be viable after all

DougS Silver badge

Why is Microsoft researching stuff like this?

I didn't understand it well enough to know, but I assume it is part of some scheme to retroactively provide a forced upgrade of all Windows 7 & 8 PCs to Windows 10 last February 18th.

US Congress blew the whistle on tax-dodging Apple, claims Europe

DougS Silver badge

Re: US "favorable corporate tax structure"

26% is "about 30%", especially since I believe Tim Cook was addressing overall income taxes paid, which included payments for state corporate income taxes which would put it right at the "about 30%" mark I believe he claimed.

I can't find his exact quote, but I wouldn't be surprised if Cook didn't claim Apple was the biggest individual income tax payer in the US - he's not going to come into a setting like Congress and make statements that haven't been fact checked three times over by his team. You're correct that there are taxes that oil companies pay that other companies don't, but on the other hand, there are big tax breaks that oil companies receive that other companies don't. Not to mention the cost of all those wars (assuming you believe the US would not be nearly so entangled in the middle east if there was no oil there) which amount to a massive subsidy for the oil industry that isn't reflected in Exxon's books or our gas price at the pump.

Averaging Apple's income over the past half dozen years is rather disingenuous, given how quickly their profits have grown during that time. In five years that might be a reasonable way to state things, as they've stopped growing and are probably going to be in more of a steady rate the rest of the decade. The other problem is that to the extent they have paid taxes overseas, those are a credit against US taxes. I think (but I'm not 100% certain) they can take the credit when the foreign taxes are paid, even if the money they paid the taxes on remains overseas. If they were paying more taxes overseas, their US tax bill might be zero because of all the credits...so don't be surprised to see their US tax payments drop if they start paying higher taxes in Ireland...

As for $32 trillion tied up in tax havens, most of that is held by individuals or trusts/companies owned by them. US companies holding money overseas is a drop in the bucket compared to that, but it is all a part of the same problem (he who owns the gold makes the rules)

DougS Silver badge

@cd

Who are the employees they aren't paying? The people at Foxconn are not Apple employees. Who are the suppliers they "cheat"?

You're just one of those morons who think "if a company makes more money it should pay more money". If Apple sold their phones for $250 and lost money on phones like every other company aside from Samsung, I guess you'd be OK with them not paying employees and cheating suppliers? Because you can be damn sure the Foxconn employees assembling iPhones are doing better than the people assembling all those Chinese brands sold at cutthroat margins.

DougS Silver badge

Not sure what these senators had to gain

If Apple is ruled to owe Ireland $14.5 billion, they'll pay it. And as a result they'll have a $14.5 billion tax credit against US taxes. I'm not sure if that applies immediately, or only when they bring money into the US, but either way it is $14.5 billion that would have someday gone to the US treasury that will now go to Ireland's treasury instead.

That's probably only fair, since US companies stiffing EU countries through these crazy Irish and Dutch sandwiches isn't fair to them, but why should US senators support Apple paying $14.5 billion less to the IRS?

DougS Silver badge

US "favorable corporate tax structure"

Apple pays about a 30% rate on the money they make in the US. If they brought the overseas cash in, they'd pay 35% the amount, less whatever they've already paid on it overseas. They are and for the last several years have been the single largest taxpayer in the United States. Larger than any bank, oil company, or billionaire investor.

A company like Apple doesn't have much room for deductions, credits and loopholes. Look at the effective tax rates for companies like Walmart, that pay pretty much the full whack, versus banks, which pay very low rates and sometimes get multi billion dollar refunds. GE is the master of working the US tax system, they make billions every year but pay almost nothing in taxes. Why? Because they've been around forever, lobbying congress forever, and got favorable loopholes inserted for them. Apple hasn't been lobbying congress for loopholes in the US code, so they don't have any aside from general stuff like the R&D tax credit.

The reason for this whole mess is because the US taxes money made overseas, and hardly any other countries do the same. But because they don't make the tax due until you bring it home, it provides a perverse incentive for companies to leave the money overseas forever - hoping for another tax holiday like the one in 2004 where the money could be brought home at 5.5% or something like that.

If taxes were due on money made overseas in the year it was earned, like it is for US income, companies wouldn't go to such great lengths to avoid taxes overseas, so long as the US tax rate was higher. What would be the point of complex structures to lower your overseas tax liability when you'd pay your savings to the IRS, dollar for dollar? That's what the other countries should lobby the US to change.

Florida Man's prized jeep cremated by exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7

DougS Silver badge

Re: In the UK it isn't on sale yet.

That's the problem though, Samsung was originally seen by some as "doing the right thing" by offering voluntary replacement. It was obvious how serious it was from having so many incidents in the first week after the phone was made available - if you had 35 in the first week you can expect at least that many in the next week since more phones had been sold by then, etc.

Samsung didn't do a full recall because they didn't want the bad publicity that would go along with it. The US government forced their hand on the recall here in the US, and now with this six year old having one blow up while he's holding it over the weekend, they've been forced into the full recall anyway by instructing people to immediately discontinue use and get it replaced.

They took a serious problem where they could have been seen to be going above and beyond to take care of their customers with a full recall from day one, but turned it into a massive PR disaster with their wishy washy optional replacement program that they communicated by press only even though they obviously had ways of directly contacting customers and could have immediately recalled all remaining products off the shelves to insure no more were sold once they were aware of the issue and knew how serious it could be to life/safety.

This will go in business school textbooks as an example of what not to do.

DougS Silver badge

@PaulR79

Thanks for the update, I hadn't heard a conclusion had been reached on that already. That is indeed egg in Samsung's face, but this one case where Chinese made batteries were not the problem won't change the perception after all the cases when they have been, from replacement Blackberry batteries a decade ago, to the batteries in Chinese made hoverboards last Christmas, to many other cases in between...

DougS Silver badge

insurance scam

Fire investigators are actually really good at determining the source of fire, so if the guy torched his car and blamed the phone, he'll probably be found out.

Even if he did that doesn't absolve Samsung of the responsibility for selling a phone that does indeed explode / catch on fire at a far greater rate than other other phones.

DougS Silver badge

Re: In the UK it isn't on sale yet.

Samsung was reported to have narrowed it down to the battery being used, though it is possible it might be vulneable only in combination with other stuff to do with USB-C or converters. Apparently the ones sold in China are fine, because they used a different battery.

I wonder who made the battery in the Chinese ones, and who made the battery in the rest? It would be extra egg on Samsung's face if they made the dodgy batteries, and the phones sold in China used some Chinese made battery that was fine...

Wait, wait – I got it this time, says FCC as it swings again at rip-off US TV cable boxes

DougS Silver badge

Re: loop the loop

Unfortunately the cable companies have been successful making it a partisan issue, so it is seen as a "democratic regulatory overreach" by the republicans. If Trump wins, this effort will sink like a stone as he'll be able to make an appointment to the FCC so it will go from 3-2 democrat that it has been since 2009 to 3-2 republican.

The cable companies are basically using stalling tactics hoping that happens, and just generally delaying to push out any implementation if Clinton wins. They throw out an unworkable scheme for apps, that lets them choose winners and losers by only offering apps on platforms they want. The FCC has called their bluff by throwing out an unworkable proposal of their own, which would require the cable companies to support ANY platform that has sold more than 5 million units in the last three (I think?) years, which basically means Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Apple TV, Roku, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, plus maybe a few models of smart TVs and some other stuff I'm sure I'm forgetting. I think the FCC knows it is unworkable, but are hoping to get things back on track with the gateway if Clinton wins.

Google's AI finds its voice ... and it's surprisingly human

DougS Silver badge

I don't want machines to sound human

Just like if I had an android I wouldn't want it to look indistinguishable from a human. Even if it were possible, I'd want it oddly colored like Data from Star Trek, or that Trump robot running for president, so you know the difference.

I'm sure Google wants machines that sound human, so they can get companies to outsource their call centers to Google's server farms - more income for Google, too bad about all the people who lose their jobs. They could even lie and say you have to wait for the next available operator to take your call, and sell ad space for that downtime instead of playing Muzak. I'll bet if you do a patent search, you'll find they've already patented that!

Petulant Facebook claims it can't tell the difference between child abuse and war photography

DougS Silver badge

Re: now a significant source of real world news

Like it or not, a lot of younger people get most or all of their news from Facebook and Twitter. They don't read newspapers or watch the news on TV.

Heck, I get some of my news from there. I'll see links friends post to stuff and read the articles. Sometimes they are articles from the New York Times, sometimes they are from...shall we say...lest reputable publications that are a bit looser in their journalistic standards. Sometimes you'll see something followed by something interesting appearing in the "related links" - and I'll give Facebook props for how often Snopes links debunking the story it is 'related' to appear, which saves me the trouble of looking it up before I tell the person who posted it that its bogus :)

It is terrible that some people get all their news from that source, as it is subject to all the worst echo chamber effects for those who have friends that mostly like them, and Facebook's algorithms give them more of what they've read before rather than something different they probably should see. But no amount of denial will prevent that. Nor would all news organizations boycotting Facebook fix it - there would probably just be more links from places like infowars if that happened.

Save us, Jack Dorsey!

DougS Silver badge

I guess here we have an example of someone dumb enough to believe Trump's "the only way I don't win if the election is rigged" line, and thinking of alt-right worthy conspiracy theories about the Supreme Court handing the election to Hillary. If the Clintons are so powerful they could control the court in the way you describe, why didn't they find for Gore instead of Bush in 2000?

If you think about it though, the world would have been better off had that happened, as Bush was a disaster all around. There would have been no invasion of Iraq, and thus no surge to chase the foreign fighters into Syria and trying to overthrow Al Assad, and thus no ISIS. As (presumably) a conservative you'd probably enjoy that there would have never been a President Obama. You can bet the republicans would have placed the blame for 9/11 squarely on the democrats as they'd have been in their ninth consecutive year of holding the White House when it happened so they'd be out on their ear in 2004 and take a while getting back.

Not sure what republican would have won in 2004, hopefully McCain, and since Palin would have not yet been elected governor he wouldn't be fooled by the conservative wing into making that disastrous choice that sunk him in 2008! And to think, all that from a party line 5-4 vote, when if Gore had simply asked for the entire state of Florida to be recounted he would have won...

Call to kill FBI spying powers

DougS Silver badge

The US Constitution doesn't provide any protection to them, that's an issue for that country to take up with the US.

Wyden is worried about for example a judge in a district in California approving a warrant to snoop on a computer in New York.

Top smut site stops Flashing, adopts HTML5

DougS Silver badge

Re: You'll need more thana few days...

Pretty sure a good number of them would be something you'd never want to see, and you could watch four of them at once via split screen. So you could probably get that down under 10 years, easy.

Google hover-drones to drop burritos on campus

DougS Silver badge

Keeping food warm in the air

Well I presume they will be wrapped in the same foil that burritos you buy the old fashioned way are, so I don't see why keeping them warm should be a problem. The problem will be that it is a lot less efficient to take a minute per delivery (and that's being optimistic) when you can serve many times that number of walk up customers.

This is a ridiculous gimmick of no practical value whatsoever. Yeah it'd be fun - I'm sure I'd order one that way once just for the hell of it. But next time I'd go to the food truck and get one much more quickly.

No-fly zone suggested for Galaxy Note 7

DougS Silver badge

Re: I agree

It isn't as though the airlines are asking everyone to submit their phone for inspection at the gate, so they can see if you have a Note 7 and tell you that you can't use it on the flight. There's nothing to be gained by Samsung making a distinction between the old one and the new one - whatever they added to the "fixed" version to show it was fixed would just act as a scarlet letter reminding people of the fiasco for years to come.

They just need to make sure they are all replaced, even if it means pushing updates to the unfixed ones that informs their owners that they will stop working after date X and they will need to contact Samsung to have it replaced. The worse thing that can happen from their perspective if for reports of fires to continue for months, due to stubborn owners who assume it'll never happen to them and don't want to hassle with replacement.

DougS Silver badge

How they can abandon the built in battery?

They can't turn around a major design change like that in a week. Do you expect everyone who bought one to wait six months for their replacement?

WhatsApp, Apple and a hidden source code F-bomb: THE TRUTH

DougS Silver badge
Mushroom

WTF is with those "break label613;" statements?

Programmers who write shit code like that have no ground to stand on to criticize anyone!

Is there paper in the printer? Yes and it's so neatly wrapped!

DougS Silver badge

Locked in

Hopefully he billed for the time it took him to escape, I definitely would have.

The Rise, Fall and Return of TomTom

DougS Silver badge

The profit graph

They lost enough money those two losing years to totally wipe out all the profit they ever made, and then some. So don't pronounce them "returned" until they at least make enough money to show a break even over their entire existence...

Really – 80% FTTP in UK by 2026? Woah, ambitious!

DougS Silver badge

@JetSetJim

You don't get that it costs a lot more to have a router with a fiber port, in addition to costing more to terminate that fiber port, do you?

What's the point of the fiber? Copper can easily supply gigabit today - hell 10 gigabit if you used RG6 and DOCSIS 3.1 instead of GbE cat5. 10 gigabit ethernet will be cheap eventually.

And as I always say, show me the possible use cases for having even a gigabit to the home? Even a dozen 4K video streams doesn't come close, and video is the densest sensory input we have. I always ask this question and no one has yet provided a single example. Why go to all the expense to provide fiber when there is ZERO chance there will ever be a use for more than 10 gigabits into the home (and that assumes we are never able to do better than that over copper, which we surely will)

DougS Silver badge

Some weird adapter?

What's wrong with running copper alongside the fiber, and using it in the meantime? Though really, there's exactly ZERO point to having fiber running into the house. Run copper to the nearest corner, and interface with fiber there. Running fiber into every home just makes things cost more, because you will still have "some weird adapter" in every house to turn it back into copper.

Pains us to run an Apple article without the words 'fined', 'guilty' or 'on fire' in it, but here we are

DougS Silver badge

And why is placing your phone on a pad more convenient than plugging it into a charger? Either way you have to be in a certain location - where your pad is or where your charger is. Is the two seconds you save by not plugging it in really that big of a deal?

Anyway, I NEVER need to charge my phone during the day. In fact, I generally plug it in only every other night, despite several hours of usage during the day. Having a pad on my nightstand where I plug my phone in to charge would save me about 10 seconds a week. Dunno what I'd do with all that extra sleep!

DougS Silver badge

Re: To give them credit for one thing

Why do you feel people should take a phone with them while running? Because they'll get lost? Or hurt? Or due to crime? If the latter, you'd be much better off NOT bringing your phone, as if anything is likely to attract criminals to you its that. I've never heard of someone being mugged while running for their shorts...

DougS Silver badge

Re: Urgh

I remember hearing the same whining when they dropped the old dock connector for Lightning. If a decades old analog connector isn't a "legacy" connector in the same category as the floppy and serial ports, I don't know what is...

There is already one Android phone who beat Apple to the punch by a couple months in dropping the 3.5mm connector, and I'm sure it won't be the last. When Samsung drops it and includes USB audio earphones, people will find another thing to complain about Apple doing, I'm sure.

DougS Silver badge

They didn't get rid of any wires, almost all iPhone owners will use the provided wired Lighting earphones, or the provided adapter to connect to wired 3.5mm earphones/headphones. Listening via Bluetooth was an option before, and is an option now. Hardly mandatory.

Wireless charging is a gimmick until it can work at greater distances than that required to place your phone on a pad. Who wants to carry a pad along with them when they travel? I want to carry less, not more! And before you say "places you go will have a pad" how many really do? And which wireless charging standard do they use, and how many phones does that leave out in the cold because they use a different standard?

DougS Silver badge

L/R sync

How closely do they need to be synchronized for people not to notice issues? I mean in real terms, not something crazy audiophiles claim to hear? Because these aren't intended for the audiophile market, so they only need to satisfy average people. You know, the people who decided MP3s were good enough over CDs, while audiophiles were trying to push SACD and DVD-A.

Think about it - the phone has the digital synced audio, and sends it out via Bluetooth. The only possible difference that you can account for in when the actual sound comes out the L and R sides is the difference in light speed travel for the 2.4 GHz Bluetooth to reach each. If you seriously believe that the at most 1 nanosecond of difference in arrival time is going to mess with your audio perception, I guess these are not for you.

DougS Silver badge

Pricing is absurd?

How is it different from any other iPhone, which always started at $649 for the new one? The Plus with 256 GB costs $20 more than the Plus with 128 GB cost last year, due to the spread between all varieties of regular and Plus models increasing by $20 (due to the feature gap widening I guess)

Or are you talking in pounds? I don't know how this year's and last year's pricing in pounds compares, but if the GBP price has gone up across the board rather than blame Apple you might want to blame the people who voted to leave the EU...

DougS Silver badge

Re: 'Resistant' for how long.

The testing for IP67 specifies submersion in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. For Samsung's IP68 rating they tested it with 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. Neither rating involves pressurized water so you shouldn't have it in a waterfall, shower or even under a fully open faucet.

I think exposing either to water deliberately other than maybe worrying about it less if you're carrying it and it starts pouring rain is stupid, including pouring champagne on it like Samsung apparently advises if you believe their ad. Some people will be stupid though, so if they're smart they've over-engineered it a bit to handle at least 3 meters or so in case you have an asshole friend who throws your "waterproof" phone into the pool.

There have been people who tested Samsung's claims and not all found they were able to handle submersion in water for 30 minutes as claimed. I'm sure there will be MANY on the internet people checking Apple's claims, but while Samsung's bad press amounted to a few reports on the internet that were mostly ignored, if people find the iPhone 7 can't handle submersion for 30 minutes you can bet the mainstream press will report it as another watergate (c'mon, you KNOW that's what they'd have to call it!) because the Apple haters always try to stir up a "-gate" for every new model whether there's really anything wrong or not. So Apple better be damn sure that every single one coming off the line can handle submersion tests (hopefully not done after they did bend and drop tests on it)

Star Trek's Enterprise turns 50 and still no sign of a warp drive. Sigh

DougS Silver badge

Re: It is all wishful thinking

It is one thing for commentards on the Reg who have no qualifications to say "why not reactionless drive?" or "why not warp drive?" and quite another for experts in the field to do so. There are experts in the field at NASA who have decided to look into things you somehow equate with "godlike powers", though on what basis I can't imagine. Let's give them that chance, NASA is not hiring people based on Electric Universe postings after all, so I think we should give them the benefit of the doubt if they think it is worth further research.

If they are successful with EM drive, even in a limited way only useful for satellites, then had we listened to those who say "it is a waste of time, Newton's Laws say so" we would have missed out on a revolutionary breakthrough. Warp drive is pretty out there, I'll be the first to admit, and even if it could be shown to be theoretically possible we might be unable to ever come up with enough power to make it happen. But what's the harm in at least doing a little research to see if it is even theoretically possible? So long as they aren't spending ridiculous sums of money on something that has a tiny chance of being real and an even tinier chance of ever being practical, the work they do expands the frontiers of knowledge. Maybe they discover some odd effect that leads to something useful in a totally different field.

DougS Silver badge

Re: It is all wishful thinking

The latter are probably right.

Perhaps so, but do you think it isn't even worth checking into if some smart guys think it is? There have been many times in the past when science thinks they had things figured out and then someone or something came along to prove them wrong. I don't know why that's no longer valid just because we're living in the 21st century.

If the Eagleworks crew really have got their paper peer reviewed and will publish something showing that the EM drive works, then it is worth investigating further. Maybe the power requirements make it something pointless for human travel, but it could be very useful for satellites to maintain their positions or slowly adjust orbital location using just the power from their solar cells and not needing to carry any reaction mass. If we ever do figure out a way of getting orders of magnitude more energy, then maybe it does become useful for human travel.

I'm pretty skeptical of warp travel too, but if we have some scientists who think it can't be completely ruled out yet then it can't hurt to try. Worst case they find more ways it can't work - and often that's where you learn the most in science. Maybe it doesn't work, but there's a "that's interesting" moment where something totally unexpected is discovered.

What's up, Zuck? FTC to probe Facebook for WhatsApp phone number mega-slurp

DougS Silver badge

Re: Bright Side

They don't need to send anyone to internment camps if they can get them to voluntarily sit in their basement staring at a screen 24x7.

Little boxes made of ticky-tacky: What Dell's record-busting $67bn EMC deal means

DougS Silver badge

Re: R&D budgets?

What is considered "R&D" for tax purposes in the US is rather liberal. A software company can write off all their developer salaries/benefits/etc. as R&D for instance. They might have a way to write off a lot of the cost of deployment of their computing capacity since they're developing them themselves rather than buying rooms full of Dell blades as Dell would prefer.

Without being able to break down exactly what various companies are spending the money on it is hard to compare R&D budgets, since none of the companies listed in the article (except maybe IBM) is doing what we used to call "basic research" that led to the creation of things like the transistor and the laser.

Nest offers its thermostat in three new pretty colors!

DougS Silver badge

Let Google have a camera at my house?

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

That was a joke, right?

Inside our three-month effort to attend Apple's iPhone 7 launch party

DougS Silver badge

Re: Here's a novel idea

If the review is one sided in only pointing out the flaws, then it is no better than a review that ignores flaws and points out only the advantages. Maybe "lying" wasn't the right word to use, how about "spin" then. Either way, an honest review takes a balanced approach and doesn't try to form a nit picky list of everything that could possibly be seen as a flaw by someone somewhere as you appeared to be suggesting.

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