* Posts by DougS

12862 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Privacy advocates rail against US Homeland Security's Twitter, Facebook snooping

DougS Silver badge

You can set the privacy to prevent outside access

If your Facebook is accessible only to friends, or only to friends of friends, then DHS staffers won't be able to see anything. They'd have to ask for your passwords for there to be a point to asking at all.

One would presume those entering the US with plans to commit terrorism would either have no social media accounts, lie and claim they have none if they do, or have dummy accounts that look presentable to US authorities. Any terrorists they caught with this are the ones who were not really serious or who would have been caught in other ways. Then there are all the false positives, from people who may show some sympathy towards terrorists or at least hostility towards the US, but have no intent on committing any sort of terrorist attacks. Last time I checked, thinking good thoughts about the US and its foreign policy wasn't required for entry - though undoubtedly there are some who would change that if they could.

Tesla touts battery that turns a Model S into 'third fastest ever' car

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Volumetric energy density vs energy stored per unit mass

The former matters for smartphones, especially if/when they're foldable.

An end to rude emails?

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Re: I don't think so

when the reply makes less sense than an AI answer would

Why is AManFromMars sending you emails?

Google broke its own cloud by doing two updates at once

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Re: Change management 101

Yes, you have your emails which you sent warning about it and the potential consequences that included a list of potential remediation plans, and their response where they rejected your conclusion and/or remediation plans.

But too often admins will point to stuff and say "that's broken" or "that's a disaster waiting to happen" where they include no remediation plan at all, or give only one option (replace it with something new) even when they damn well know there are more choices than that. They just look at it as an opportunity to replace that Windows Server they hate with Linux, or that Linux server with dedicated hardware that the vendor will manage so they can wash their hands of it, or buy a software upgrade they've been pushing for for other reasons, etc. and their boss is smart enough to know that.

NIST spins atomic gyroscope to allow navigation without GPS

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Re: dead reckoning without a starting referencence would be useless

The article wasn't well written in that respect, but you will always have a starting reference. Anywhere you have differential GPS available you can correct any accumulated errors in your dead reckoning. If it was accurate enough - lets say a nanometer of accumulated error per second under normal use - you wouldn't need to return to "known" location for months. A sub travel underwater for six months with no access to GPS would have an accumulated error of only 3cm. I have no idea what the accumulated error of this dead reckoning would be, that may be a bit optimistic...

Be nice if they could make it smaller/cheaper, as it would be very useful for self-driving cars.

Breaker, breaker: LTE is coming to America's CB radio frequencies

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Re: Unlicensed LTE

There is NO WAY the incumbent telecom interests are going to allow unlicensed bands that can be used at power levels high enough to cover a community. That would provide competition from community groups who would buy a single high speed link and provide cheap broadband to the whole community.

They've mostly managed to prevent communities wiring themselves for broadband, but if there is a frequency range that's available for their use so no utility right of way is being used, they will have to really stretch to come up with a reason to convince lawmakers to make it illegal.

Oracle reveals Java Applet API deprecation plan

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Re: True enough.

Just pick an existing language that was designed with security in mind and support it in browsers. The last thing we need is yet ANOTHER language being created for this purpose.

No, we haven't found liquid water on Mars, says NASA

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What's the point of a colony on Mars?

It would take massive investment for many generations before it could become truly self sustaining - i.e. able to continue to progress forward technologically completely separate from Earth (if we took a massive impact and civilization here - if not all human life - was ended)

Aside from the "backup of humanity in case Earth is destroyed", why have a permanent colony on Mars? Why is it better to live there than the Moon? The Moon is less hospitable, but Mars is so inhospitable that the difference is academic, and due to shorter distance and lower gravity it would be far quicker and easier to bootstrap a lunar colony than a Martian colony. Sure, there is a possibility that Mars could someday be terraformed, but until we really know how to do it that's no more realistic than planning to build a ringworld.

Google Fuchsia OS eyes non-Linux things

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"Reworking Android as radically as necessary..."

What's this talk about how "old OSses will struggle" to keep pace with stuff like hyper-contextual awareness (whatever the fuck that is) AI-driven search and query, voice and image recognition, and virtual/augmented reality?

They're talking about replacing the Linux kernel in Android or "radically reworking" it to enable those things, as if there's no way the kernel in current Android could possibly handle that, and also talk about "leaving iOS in the dust" I guess assuming that the iOS Mach kernel can't handle it either - and that Apple will just on their hands and watch it happen.

The kernel has nothing to do with enabling those things, that's a problem for higher layer software. In fact, pretty much all research into that stuff is running software on either Linux or Windows. They aren't developing special kernels.

Why is it whenever Wireless Watch articles are posted on the Reg they're filled with meaningless tech buzzwords and an utter misunderstanding of basic technical issues, like the relationship between a kernel and tasks like image recognition? They belong on a puff piece site like Infoworld, not the Reg.

Kaspersky launches its own OS on Russian routers

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Re: And another thing......

Even with the signing key, they have to get the update to their admins to install. Routers don't just go out on the internet and automatically download their own updates.

DougS Silver badge

Re: It's a dirty job, but SOMEbody has to try

Saying everyone puts security last is not really fair. That was true in the past, both Microsoft and Apple had times where security was an afterthought at best, completely ignored at worst.

While Microsoft has a lot of things you can complain about, since Windows 7 Windows has been pretty stable, gets regular security fixes, and hasn't had another Code Red / I Love You type scenario for years now. The blue screen of death used to be common with Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP, it is pretty rate these days.

Apple certainly deserved their reputation for thinking "we are invulnerable to hacking, so we can ignore security" in the past, but they do a better job than Microsoft or Google now. They file a CVE for every single security fix they make, even for issues discovered internally, and document them all for each patch, so you know exactly what subsystems are being touched from a security perspective. They published a 60 page iOS security guide that goes into great detail about the inner workings of iOS with relation to encryption and other methods of keeping your data secure both on your device, as well as with services like iCloud. They designed a secure enclave into their SoC, which runs the formally verified L4 microkernel, and is used to protect encryption keys, fingerprint data, and other ultra sensitive data. That's hardly "putting security last".

DougS Silver badge

Re: And another thing......

If they do, they still have to trick the router's owner into installing the "open NSA backdoor" update.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Secure router, vulnerable SCADA & ICS behind ?

I'm sure some in the government would try to pin the blame on Snowden's revelations, but if Kaspersky has been working on this for four years, it predates his leak. There have been rumors of NSA/CIA activities where they've i.e. intercepted routers being shipped to a hostile country to install backdoors before that though. If you were Russia, wouldn't you rather be sure?

Since you might reasonably assume Russia could do the same, I guess the best protection would be to use three routers - one from Cisco, one from Kaspersky, and one from Huawei, one behind another. No way anyone knows the backdoors for all three, and even needing three different exploits would raise the bar considerably for more "standard" attacks.

DougS Silver badge

@Charles 9

Perhaps some industrial control systems need the lowest possible latency, but the bulk are mostly unchanged since thinnet and token ring networks were common. If you have a SCADA control for your power plant you want it behind a router that won't be compromised. If it can only deliver gigabit throughput instead of 10 gigabit, well, you probably don't care when SCADA data rates are generally measured in kilobits.

As for L4, it is used for embedded stuff, not general purpose. For instance, Apple uses it as the OS for the "secure enclave" in the iPhone. Its performance is not the top priority, security is, so that is a reasonable trade. Using it for iOS itself might not be - and since the rest of iOS would still be just as complex, security holes would still be possible, you just wouldn't be able to get ring 0 with an exploit.

'NSA' hack okshun woz writ by Inglish speeker trieing to hyde

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Re: The 'insider' theory

Your logging isn't worth much if you can suspend it without anyone becoming the wiser. There are plenty of ways to detect such a thing, which I would hope the NSA would be using.

DougS Silver badge

Re: The 'insider' theory

Amending log files would require admin access though, which restricts it to a Snowden type. More to the point, if the logs are sent over the network to another machine or stored on write once / sequential media even admin access won't let you modify the logs.

DougS Silver badge

The 'insider' theory

One would presume there are logs kept of who accesses what files, so copying that repository could only be done by someone with a job related reason to do so. But does anyone have a job related reason to copy the ENTIRE repository? Perhaps not, but I doubt it would trigger any alerts as if you needed most of the files, it would be easier to copy the whole thing rather than pick and choose only the ones you need.

Assuming someone can copy it, they'd have to copy it into some media they can bring in and sneak out. Snowden used a CD marked "Lady Gaga", but the question is: could a non sysadmin copy data on a CD, USB stick or SD card? One would hope their secure systems have no CD drive, the USB ports blocked up (or at least the drivers for the USB storage class removed) and no SD slot.

However, some employees will have to copy data onto such devices as part of their work - how else to get it off the secure system onto the internet to be able to actually hack someone? So some employees must have a system available to them capable of writing to removable media. Since Snowden was able to sneak out a CD with little trouble, one would assume a USB stick or SD card would be even easier to smuggle in, especially if you didn't need to "smuggle" it because you are SUPPOSED to be removing it and if checked contains the files you are supposed to be taking to the outside world! (With maybe a little extra since you copied the whole thing, but that could be easily explained away in the unlikely event he was checked and that fact was noticed)

I wonder how many people this would narrow it down to for the NSA security people who would try to track down the leaker? Hundreds? Thousands? The contents were several years out of date, which makes it more difficult - is that because the leaker no longer works at NSA, because they wanted you to think that, or because they wanted to leak the material (for whatever reason) but didn't want to risk ongoing operations by leaking the "latest and greatest" tools?

Stop lights, sunsets, junctions are tough work for Google's robo-cars

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Re: Light Spectrum and some lateral thinking

The Sun is only really a problem when it is directly behind the traffic light. It outputs on all frequencies from long radio waves to X rays so just using something outside of the visible range doesn't solve anything. Fortunately the Sun is only behind the traffic light from certain direction/distance combinations, so as long as the hidden signal was strong enough to be visible from a couple hundred feet away you don't have to worry about the Sun because you'll have some views of the signal without the Sun overwhelming it. When it is very low in the horizon it might not be visible to the car until you get close so maybe the car will need to slow when approaching those intersections near both dawn and dusk but that's not a big deal.

Whatever frequency you use it should be 1) able to travel well through fog/rain/snow at least 50 feet or so and 2) directional enough that the car can tell it is coming from the traffic light (to avoid bad guys trying to fake signals and cause trouble - you could encrypt it with a private key, but with millions of traffic lights it would only be a matter of time before it became known)

DougS Silver badge

Re: How it will happen really

I agree, merely getting to the point where they can operate entirely autonomously on freeways but hand control back to you when you exit would be huge. While I certainly wouldn't mind being able to drive myself to the bar, have a few drinks, and have my car drive me home, the biggest win for me would be when I'm traveling on the freeway for more than 10-15 miles, and would rather be doing something else like working, surfing the web, talking on the phone, or maybe even catching a nap if the trip was long enough.

If I wanted to go to Times Square in NYC I'd have to catch two flights, and from the time I leave for the airport I have:

30 minutes to airport

60 minutes from arrival to take off

60 minutes first flight

>=90 minutes until next flight

150 minutes second flight

>=90 minutes getting off plane and reaching Times Square

That's at least 8 hours, assuming no delays. It is roughly 1000 miles to drive for me, a self driving car obeying all speed limits could probably do it in 14. If you add in sleep it is basically a wash. If I started out in at say 7 pm Central I could watch movies (or whatever I might do if I was at home on the night before travel) until I get tired, lay the seat back flat and catch some sleep, then wake up refreshed and miss the worst of rush hour with my 10 AM Eastern arrival.

My current car gets about 30 mpg on the highway, for that round trip with gas selling at about $2.20 currently that's only $150 - WAY cheaper than a round trip ticket AND far more enjoyable than a TSA groping and sitting in coach! It would still be a great deal even if gas went back up to $4/gallon. It would be even cheaper with an electric that's both more efficient and can be charged with renewable energy to reduce pollution versus an airplane (assuming enough others did this that there were fewer flights scheduled)

DougS Silver badge

"Missed" traffic lights

Sometimes you will miss or otherwise not see a signal, due to sun blindness, something being in the way, or driven snow covering the signal (the downside of the new LED traffic lights is that they don't output enough heat to continually melt snow impacting them like the old school bulbs did)

But people are smart enough to take other cues, such as "if cars traveling the opposite way are stopped, I probably need to stop also" or "if cars are crossing in front of me, that probably means they have green". It is easy to train cars for the latter (they hopefully wouldn't cross a green light no matter what if there were cars traveling in front of them) but I'm not so sure about the former.

In intersections with separate left turn lanes, you might be green in your direction and the other direction will be red until yours turns red then they get green. Or they will be red for a time until all your left turners have turned. The car would need to be able to tell the difference between cars waiting to turn left because they either have a red light, or they have a green but must yield. Or there could be cars waiting to turn right, but they can't because cars traveling in your direction are turning left and have the right of way.

There are a lot of complexities that software can't easily capture. The worn lane markings will make that even more difficult, and that's not something easily solved. Where I live it snows in the winter, and the plowing and sand spread and so forth wear down the paint. They re-paint the lanes every year on major roads, but they get worn down to the point of almost disappearing in the next year. In the winter when there's snow on the roads you determine where the lanes are based on where cars have driven. If it is fresh snow, you are basically blazing your own trail and hopefully get it right so it doesn't confuse cars who follow you later.

I recall this past winter in such a situation I was driving in several inches of fresh snow on a street that is two way that becomes one way further on. I shifted over into the left lane as I needed to turn shortly after the one way transition but I guess I wasn't paying attention because I had shifted a block too early, and had to switch back because the little 'island' that directs traffic from another one way traveling the opposite direction to become the opposing lane of the two way was right in my path. If a self driving car decided following my tire tracks was a good way to know where the lanes are, it would risk driving into oncoming traffic if a car happened to be going in the opposite direction at that time. At the very least it would concern its passengers!

The TPC-C/SPC-1 storage benchmarks are screwed. You know what we need?

DougS Silver badge

The problem is that there's a moving target

Imagine you did this 10 years ago. You would not take deduplication or SSDs into account in your testing scenarios. So let's say someone creates something that meets these specs. Now XPoint comes out, or using cloud for tier 3 becomes a popular built in feature....suddenly your test scenarios have changed.

I agree that current storage benchmarks suck, but they have ALWAYS sucked. Even when TPC-C was new everyone realized the problems with it. If you wanted to get better numbers, you'd fill the entire array with short stroked 15K drives - yeah, that would up your $/transaction by using a configuration almost no one would ever actually use but the top line figure looked great!

No matter what benchmarks we get, there will be a way to game them, and it will take some fairly deep knowledge to read the submission and figure out how they gamed them and whether that's applicable to your situation or not.

Crims share vulns but vendors don't. This needs fixing

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Vendors have different policies

Some will have a CVE associated with every security issue they fix, even those that are discovered internally and never known outside the vendor. This provides the greatest transparency as to what is being fixed. (But not how it is fixed, unless it is open source)

Others don't have a CVE associated with every fix, but every fix is at least documented separately - even if the patch only says something like "this patch fixes security related issues in XXX" you at least know what is being touched.

Still others not only don't have a CVE associated with every fix, but they don't even document all security fixes. They document some/most, but others are fixed silently. This seems to be what Google does - maybe they are worried that as open source, specifically noting a critical security issue they found internally and wasn't ever made public was being fixed would basically invite people to check the patch - since often that alone makes it easy to construct an exploit. Due to how many Android devices will never receive the fix in question, it is hard to argue that's an unreasonable strategy even if it offers the least transparency as to what is being touched from a security standpoint.

Microsoft's HoloLens secret sauce: A 28nm customized 24-core DSP engine built by TSMC

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Re: What about heat dissipation?

For a point of comparison, the average human brain is supposed to consume about 20W of power, about 20% of the body's 100W. So it's not that unreasonable an amount of heat for the Hololens to dissipate.

Unless your brain stops working while you're playing, it means doubling the amount of heat your head must dissipate. I suppose couch potatoes playing Hololens games will feel like they are getting a workout if their head gets sweaty, and ignore the fact that's the only part of their body sweating :)

DougS Silver badge

There's no fooling heat conduction

Whether you use an insulating layer (like an air gap) between it and your head, or use metal to try to concentrate the heat elsewhere to somehow "radiate" it out, heat still follows paths that are more thermally conductive over those that are less. Air is a very poor conductor of heat.

Heat simply doesn't radiate well to the air unless it is moving fairly quickly (hence fans) Passive cooling with vents on top and bottom won't do much, nor will your head movements. If the heat can't get to your head due to an insulating air gap, and can't escape the device very well due to lack of moving air, then it will get hotter and hotter until it is so hot that even passive cooling, slow moving air and yes an insulating air gap between it and your (much cooler by comparison) head can be more easily crossed because of the larger temperature difference.

If it was wired instead of wireless they could run coolant through it, which could be radiated to the air (with a fan) elsewhere. It could also be a lot lighter since it wouldn't need an onboard battery. The problem is, of course, who the hell wants something like that if it has wires? I wonder if a compromise device would work better - you wear a little backpack or hip bag that contains the battery, CPU/DSP, etc. that is wired to your much smaller/lighter headgear which would only have a display so would output very little heat.

DougS Silver badge

Re: What about heat dissipation?

Regardless of whether the heat is concentrated in one spot or is well distributed, that heat really has only one place to go. Since your skin offers a far better thermal path than open air, almost all of its heat will go to your head.

Microsoft's maps lost Melbourne because it used bad Wikipedia data

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Re: Absolute proof

Indeed, I wonder how the data gets from Wikipedia to Bing. Is it a one time grab, so if the location is wrong at the time they get it Bing will have it wrong until it is fixed manually, or is it refreshed periodically? If the latter, then if you changed the Wikipedia entry for the location of Chicago to be in Texas and no one noticed, Bing Maps would eventually try to direct you towards the Lone Star state when you got directions to Wrigley Field!

Fujitsu: Why we chose 64-bit ARM over SPARC for our exascale super

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"ARM's larger and healthier software ecosystem?"

People are compiling Fortran (and to a lesser extent C) to run on supercomputers, they're not using assembly. I guess he must have been talking about support from the Linux kernel community?

Californian gets 50 months in prison for Chinese 'technology spy' work

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Article is a bit unclear

It makes it sound like she was trying to buy the ACTUAL jet engines. Surely she was just trying to get the plans for them, right?

Chocolate Factory exudes Nougat as Android 7 begins rollout

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New version of [Windows | iOS | Android] released

Security has had major improvements due to X, plus Y and also Z.

(a month or two elapses)

Important security patches fixing critical security issues have been released...

LTE-U’s window is closing and bigger 5G disputes may be coming

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Re: Carriers trying a spectrum land grab

No, wifi calling is something different - as you say support for it is still pretty spotty. Carrier wifi offload works for data only, but has been around for years.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Carriers trying a spectrum land grab

That's something different, the article you linked is talking about carrier wifi offload - that is, if you are in a coffee shop with AT&T (insert the name of a popular cellular carrier in Israel here) sponsored wifi, carrier wifi offload means your phone will make the call via wifi using that AT&T wifi access point.

What the Reg article is talking about is using wifi frequencies for cellular traffic. That is, they won't be using wifi protocol to talk to nearby wifi access point, it will use cellular protocol to talk a cellular base station. Exactly like it does now with cellular frequencies, except it will use the same frequencies your home wifi uses.

Carrier wifi offload has traditionally referred to using these carrier owned wifi access points to offload data. Calls/texts would still go through the traditional mobile network - though now that phones are supporting wifi calling even voice traffic could be offloaded. However, there's little incentive to do so as calls/texts account for such a small percentage of overall usage that this really isn't worth doing if your problem is overloaded networks.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Not consumer friendly

No, I don't agree.

This isn't about dropping wifi from phones (carriers sell fewer and fewer phones now that they aren't on contract, so how's that even going to work?) but about not spending more money buying licensed frequencies. Instead of spending tens of billions in the upcoming 600 MHz auction in the US, they want to say "screw that, we'll use all this free spectrum instead".

There would certainly be a lot of egg on the FCC's face if we went through this whole process to get TV stations to move their frequencies or sell their licenses entirely to clear TV channels 31-51, and then none of the big cellular players showed up because they decided they'd rather save that money and use unlicensed spectrum for free.

I'm sure we'd see some discount plans / carriers evolve that used the unlicensed spectrum as much as possible, and offered only minimal speeds on licensed spectrum to keep it clear for customers willing to pay more. The unlicensed bands would quickly become so crowded as to be useless, and if they didn't share well with wifi then those bands would be useless for wifi in many places as well!

Honor 8: Huawei targets millennials with high-spec cheapie. 3 words – Food pic mode

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Re: "it handled video with aplomb"

Yeah, mentioning that in a review in 2016 is like saying "I was able to use it to successfully make a phone call, and could hear the party on the other end".

DougS Silver badge

Seven feet onto carpet?

Is there ANY phone that couldn't survive that? If so, it should be named and shamed so no one ever buys it!

IPv6 tipping point

DougS Silver badge

Which phones/carriers are using IPv6 by default for mobile data?

To be honest, I have no idea if my iPhone 6S is using IPv6 on AT&T's network or not. Or even how to tell, since I'm not sure if I can see what IP address AT&T has assigned me. I could use it to connect via the cellular network to my home computer but that would show some IPv4 NAT address since I'm not getting "true" IPv6 from my ISP.

Four in five Android devices inherit Linux snooping flaw

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The corporate apps probably can't be (well can be, but won't be) modified to make use of the iPhone's bigger screen until ALL the old Blackberries have been replaced. I assume an upgrade like that isn't overnight, and there will be some people who love the physical keyboard who will be the "cold dead hands" that they'll have to pry the last few from.

Google killing app format used only by The 1%

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ChromeOS is gonna get axed

Google loves to knife their products if they can't get popular the way their major products are, which doesn't bode well for ChromeOS. But far worse for ChromeOS's life expectancy is the talk about "merging" ChromeOS and Android.

Given that Android has a userbase hundreds of times larger, that means "give Android an optional desktop interface" and ChromeOS goes buh-bye. Hopefully an interface that doesn't remind one of Windows 8.

This announcement is probably the start of the ChromeOS phaseout, to insure developers don't waste any further time on it.

German minister seeks facial recognition at airports, train stations

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Random face masks

Unless it becomes popular for people to walk around in public wearing weird masks, the train station's security could solve that problem by just stopping everyone wearing a mask and making them remove it for a moment to have their face checked.

I'd be more worried about movie makeup techniques to make you look different. That, along with mirrored sunglasses, would probably make it pretty hard for facial recognition software. Though if it could simply determine who is wearing sufficient makeup to fool the software, it could flag them for further investigation by security staff.

That said, I do agree with those who say that with a large enough database, facial recognition simply won't work that well. If it was a "top ten most wanted" maybe they could get it to work, with some false positives which wouldn't be too much of a problem if people aren't treated poorly when flagged (i.e. don't go up to them to guns drawn and shouting like we probably would in the US) But the cries for expanding the database would quickly make it unwieldy, and driving down the false positive rate to an acceptable limit would mean a fair number of false negatives - including possibly one of those "top ten most wanted" people.

London cops hunt for drone pilots who tried dropping drugs into jail

DougS Silver badge

Re: Solution - Netting

Regardless of the welfare situation, the ridiculous prices for prison phone are just a giveaway to whoever gets the contract to provide them. It would be like if the prison decided soda was bad because the sugar was making prisoners violent, and they now had to pay $20 for a Pepsi. The same arguments that are made for high priced phone calls could be made for Pepsi - how prison isn't supposed to be cushy, and if the prison gets a cut of the money it could help defray what the taxpayers pay.

But when a rule causes a contraband headache those monetary savings evaporate (and then some) and you have a situation where the guys who follow the rules have the extra punishment (in the form of fewer calls with family or fewer Pepsis) and the guys who break the rules still get what they want, and the prison guards who are running the contraband or looking the other way get rich (and become subject to blackmail, leading to far worse crimes than sneaking in cell phones or soda)

For the guys who are well behaved, let them have all the time they want on the phones. Let them make a quick one minute call (or have a call in time prescheduled) and have family members call them which should cost nothing. The prison officials know the guys who are likely to be running gangs or criminal operations on the outside, and can still watch them like a hawk and listen in to their every call. But for the rest, the more connected they are to people on the outside, the more prepared they'll be to re-enter society, and the less trouble they'll be as they won't want to risk losing phone privileges. If you catch one passing a message for someone else (you still record their calls and spot check them) then they get extra time and lose the 'free callback' privilege so likely few would be willing to do so.

Little ARMs pump 2,048-bit muscles in training for Fujitsu's Post-K exascale mega-brain

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Re: Positive

Certainly zero reason to put them in phones, but I could see them added to at least some server CPU designs. Just because you can't afford a supercomputer doesn't mean you don't have number crunching needs. If there's ever to be any hope for ARM servers gaining a foothold, to start they'll need to find a few niches where they can be clearly better than the x86 alternative.

Microsoft’s Continuum: Game changer or novelty?

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Re: Compromised experience...

In the last few days I've had a little experience with Windows 10 - I was finally getting around to building a new PC (the current one dates from 2008 and the HDMI output was starting to show signs of flaking out)

While I run Linux, I like to keep a Windows install around 'just in case'. But I couldn't install Windows 7, it just hung. So I installed Windows 10 in a VM as a stopgap while I figured it out since I knew I'd need Windows to fix it (turns out the Skylake chipset doesn't have "legacy" USB support, so I needed to integrate USB3 drivers into my Windows 7 install image via NTLite)

From the few hours of using Windows 10 I have one thing to say about it: It REALLY sucks. When you boot it up it is unusable for at least several minutes (sometimes longer) while it apparently does some sort of malware scan. I imagine you can turn that off, but this is the default experience people are going to have. You can't even open a freaking folder or application, and if you do manage to do so you can't do anything with them, even the close button is ignored.

On a scale of Windows ME to Windows 7, I'd rate Windows 10 as Windows 3.0, i.e. worse than Windows ME. They really screwed the pooch with it in more ways than just their attempted data collection!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Compromised experience...

See that's the thing though, there's no reason Apple would need to do a converged OS to provide this feature. All you need is an "OS X GUI/API" app running on the phone when it is docked to a monitor/keyboard/mouse, to provide that OS X experience and provide the necessary libraries for OS X applications to run. The phone can still run iOS - iOS is basically a stripped down OS X anyway. Same Mach kernel, a lot of the same base layer. Just has some stuff added that OS X doesn't need, and some stuff removed that iOS doesn't need (at least not unless/until it is asked to run OS X applications)

So just because Cook said what he was quoted as saying there doesn't mean that Apple wasn't already working on a Continuum like feature. Just that they wouldn't do it in the stupid way Microsoft did - compromising their desktop OS to make it more mobile like. If Apple isn't doing it, I suspect the most likely reason is because they think it could hit Mac sales pretty hard. Since OS X already has a single digit market share, it doesn't have room for taking big hits the way Microsoft's huge share would.

DougS Silver badge

Re: No, it's not

I agree completely. Touch on laptops/desktops is stupid, Microsoft really screwed up when they went that direction instead of working toward Continuum back then. Maybe Intel would have been able to sell enough x86 mobile SoCs due to Windows Phone selling better that they wouldn't have had to give up and start fabbing ARM mobile SoCs to keep their fabs full!

I remember earlier this year a guy I know who is a long time Apple hater was complaining about how far behind the Mac is, because they didn't offer any touch screen laptops or monitors. I asked him what he used the touch screen for on his home PC "I don't have one, I just have a regular monitor, but the OS is touch enabled unlike OS X!" So I ask him what he uses it for on his laptop, since he'd demonstrated how it handles touch "well, I really don't I'm too used the touchpad I guess"

If even people who are evangelizing touch screens on PCs/laptops don't actually use them, safe to say pretty much no one is! The main thing they do is drive up the cost of premium laptops, because you have to take a feature you don't want in order to get the higher spec display.

DougS Silver badge

Re: The future of computing will be in your hands

And you know the keyboard/monitor you use at work isn't bugged, how exactly? You checked that the keyboard you bought at Best Buy or Amazon for your home computer didn't have any additional chips in them that couldn't be explained?

Your worry already exists for people who have a real reason to worry about it, but those who think they should be concerned about this but aren't taking steps to verify the integrity of the equipment they're using now are fooling themselves.

Besides, why bug your keyboard and leave behind physical evidence when it is so much easier to hack your PC or phone via software? That's how the NSA will target you today, and that's still how they'll target you even if you connected your phone to random keyboards in semi-public places.

DougS Silver badge

Intel killed its potential

If they hadn't dropped their mobile SoCs, Continuum could have been a game changer for Windows Phone as it would be able to run ANY Windows application. Restricted only to universal apps that can run on ARM, it is merely a novelty.

I think Apple would have best shot at making this work, as OS X already has the infrastructure for making fat binaries. If they added the ARM64 ISA as an automatic compiler target, it wouldn't take long for developers of major OS X applications to jump on board and the iPhone could provide a viable desktop experience. Not sure if Apple doesn't think this is a viable direction, or if they do but are afraid it would kill OS X hardware sales. OS X is already a niche, if they cut the hardware sales in half the platform's viability might be compromised before the iPhone 'continuum' could take off.

Yeah yeah, I know Android has done this too, but it is also a novelty since Linux has almost no presence on the desktop (and I say that as someone who has used Linux as my primary desktop since the late 90s) The primary market for a feature like this, at least at first, would be business users which means the ability to run major commercial applications is a must.

FireEye probes Clinton foundation hack: Reports

DougS Silver badge

Re: Blame the Russkies

If it is a phishing attack as suggested, the failure is humans. You can't patch them, unfortunately.

Microsoft can't tell North from South on Bing Maps

DougS Silver badge

Re: All done by the insertion of a few lines of code

Trump could simply move Mexico to the southern hemisphere and not need to worry about building the wall! Plus there'd be 2000 miles of new coastline in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California!

Google had Obama's ear during antitrust probe

DougS Silver badge

Re: transparency unlike unworkable limits is way to go

Don't go getting excited about a democratic victory, the democratic party has a lot of the same problems the republican party has - they almost nominated a socialist! Now probably he could have won against Trump, but if the republicans had nominated someone sane like Bush or Kasich, Sanders would have been eaten alive as they tied him to socialist failures around the world in ads.

The question I have is whether, assuming Trump loses, will the republicans decide "we need to broaden our base and avoid permanently becoming the party of old white men by becoming more inclusive of minorities and taking less extreme positions social issues like gay marriage and sex ed" or decide "the problem was we didn't nominate a true conservative like Ted Cruz". They might have to nominate a Ted Cruz and go down in flames like 1964 before they realize the majority of the country doesn't want a true blue conservative any more than they want a socialist. A mistake like nominating a Ted Cruz in 2020 might be the only way Clinton wins a second term!

It remains to be seen if Sanders was a one off, or if progressives will continue trying to push the party further left. If they do, I guess they didn't learn their lesson after nominating guys like McGovern and Mondale. Sort of like republicans might have to learn the Goldwater lesson all over again with Cruz. The only way an extremist like Sanders or Cruz can win a general election is if the opposition is running an extremist of their own, and the voters are left with two unpalatable choices (sorta like this year) The lack of participation in party primaries outside the ideologues is the source of that problem, but there's no really a good fix.

In an ideal world a lot of people would flee the republicans and form a strong libertarian party (and those incoming masses would dilute the ideologically pure libertarians with their crazy ideas like privatizing roads) and a lot of people would flee the democrats and form a strong green party. A four party system would be nice, but the two parties have stacked the deck so high against that I don't think it is feasible.

iPhone: Apple's Mac battle with Windows rebooted

DougS Silver badge

@Steve Davies 3 - "Do apple Actually want a huge amount more market share?"

Of course not, but not for the reasons you claim (that they would become a monopoly)

They don't want a lot more market share because the only way they can get it is to offer iPhones across a wide range of prices, just like Android phones. They aren't interested in selling low margin devices on the cheap. If they did, it would undoubtedly cost them money because some people who buy high priced iPhones today would decide that the $250 cheapo model was fine for them. Doubling your market share if it comes at the cost of making less profit is not a good business decision.

Adblock Plus chalk talk takes stock: Facebook's gonna block our block of their block of our block? Let's rock

DougS Silver badge

Re: Facebook may stop being a site ...

They wouldn't have to stop being a site, but they could just make it essentially run a Javascript app so there wouldn't be any way to block the ads. Well, I guess you could filter stuff in your router, but the percentage of people who would bother are so small they don't concern Facebook.

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