* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Oooooklahoma! Where the cops can stop and empty your bank cards – on just a hunch

DougS Silver badge

Don't get too excited

There are also a lot of Bernie supporters who are thinking about voting for Trump because they can't stomach voting for Hillary, the consummate Washington insider.

This year's election is going to be really weird. Don't blame me, I'm voting for Gary Johnson.

DougS Silver badge

So the use case for paying with a phone has finally arrived

Don't carry cards, import them into your phone instead....then keep your phone locked, and the cops can't steal your money. This is probably the real reason why the FBI wants Apple to give them a backdoor, so they can keep stealing money from people who "look suspicious".

DougS Silver badge

@Sgt_Oddball - bullshit it is too graft

You think it doesn't end up in the cops' pockets? How do you think they pay for all that overtime they accrue? Or their fat pensions when retiring at the tender age of 50? The only thing it doesn't pay for is when a cop is successfully sued for killing an unarmed citizen or using excessive force - then the municipal budget is forced to pick up the tab. It should come straight out of the cop's pension.

This is a legalized theft, and is the worst abuse the pointless war on drugs. This why the cops use so many scare tactics about drugs, because they know if drugs get decriminalized the gravy train is over.

Wikimedia boss scoops $100,000 payrise – after stepping down

DougS Silver badge

They don't realize the negative influence this will have on donations

It wasn't that long ago that Wikipedia had that donation banner begging for money. Obviously they don't and never did need any money if they have that kind of money to waste on overpaid staff. Ideally they'd run lean and either bank the money for a rainy day (to the extent of the law governing nonprofits) and use the rest in a way that benefits their ideals.

Heck, Britannica has yearly revenue of about $35 million from what I understand, not counting its expenses which are probably similar in size. Wikipedia probably could have purchased them, and merged the content!

Get ready for Google's proprietary Android. It's coming – analyst

DougS Silver badge

Why devs choose Android

Some developers have personal principles that demand open source, and they would choose Android based on that. I doubt that's a huge number though.

Certainly the audience penetration of Android is far greater, but Apple's advantage in revenue from the App Store versus the Play Store actually increased last year, from 70% in 2014 to 75% in 2015! There are several obvious reasons why developers earn more from the App Store than they do from the Play Store despite Android's huge market share advantage, but it comes down to the fact that while the Play Store has twice as many app downloads as the App Store, developers will still make more money developing for iOS. I suspect most of them still write apps for iOS first, since that's still where the money is.

The remaining growth in the size of the Android market will all be at the extremely low end, so even once feature phones are gone entirely these numbers are unlikely to change much. Unless you think people will start abandoning iOS for Android in greater numbers than those abandoning Android for iOS, developers will continue to make more money from the App Store.

DougS Silver badge

It isn't like Google has the only maps

There's Bing Maps, Here Maps, Mapquest, OpenStreetMap, hell they could even talk to Apple about using Apple Maps. I'm sure Cook would make them a deal just for the poke-in-Google's-eye value.

For search they could use Bing or DuckDuckGo. Likewise there are alternatives for anything Google is providing. Now some may object and claim that Google's stuff is superior, but even if that was true (and I'm not prepared to admit that's the case, at least not across the board) most people really wouldn't notice the different if their phone started using Bing search instead of Google Search, or Here Maps instead of Google Maps.

DougS Silver badge

Re: If it works for Apple...

Pseu Donyme has it right. Apple has ~15% of the worldwide smartphone market. Google has almost all of the remaining 85%. That's a dominant market share by almost any definition, and EU law holds them to stricter requirements. I don't know the exact numbers in the EU, Apple may be a bit higher than their worldwide market share since the EU is richer than the worldwide average, but I doubt Apple is above 20% there.

If anyone is wondering why the FTC in the US hasn't acted, they don't talk about "dominant" they talk about "monopoly" and Google could easily make the argument that it is a competitive marketplace when the world's most valuable and most profitable company is the the second placed competitor in the market. Plus the fact that Android doesn't have anywhere near 85% in the US, they are barely above 50%, with Apple holding 40% and Microsoft and RIM less dead in the US than they are worldwide.

DougS Silver badge

You're overstating the value of the network effect

There are two levels of network effect.

It is a big hill to climb to port your app to a totally different environment. App writers will support iOS and Android, because both are profitable for them. They would be very reluctant to support a new mobile OS, because it would be starting out with zero customers and would entail a lot of work developing to a totally new API.

By contrast, if you already have an Android app at the Google Play store, if there was a 'alternate' flavor of Android using the AOSP that was either supported by an open source project or run by a big company like Microsoft, it would be a tiny hill to climb for those devs to port their "Google Android" app to "Microsoft Android" or "GNU Android". Same API, they'd just have to test that it works with the alternate location services etc. and upload to a different app store. Nothing Google can do about that, any more than they could prevent an Android dev from porting his app to iOS.

DougS Silver badge

They already have

Most Chinese phones are sold without the Googly bits, in favor of Chinese stuff like Baidu. They will continue using the AOSP code like they always have been.

If Google quits updating AOSP, which they probably would, no doubt an open source project would quickly spring up to maintain it. Heck, Microsoft might pick up the ball and write in support for Bing and sell their own Android that is freer than the one Google offers. Wouldn't that be a crazy turnaround?

Surveillance forestalls more 'draconian' police powers – William Hague

DougS Silver badge

Re: "We will defend your freedom at any cost..."

You win the internet today.

Marauding monkey blacks out Kenya

DougS Silver badge

How did the monkey survive?

Aren't these situations typically caused by a short across the animal? At least in my experience where I've heard about squirrels causing outages, there is generally very little left.

Either the monkey simply pulled a lever that basically turned off / tripped the plant - in which case they need to monkey-proof it somehow - or the monkey was incinerated but they chose to show a picture of a different monkey so they could claim he was unhurt.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Huh?

Whether its $2 or $20 billion, if that number is even remotely correct, it is a small price to pay for insurance against what would happen if an EMP (natural or otherwise) took out the US grid. If the industry is looking for an excuse to raise my prices a few percent to pay for this, please do!

Why everyone* hates Salesforce's Marc Benioff

DougS Silver badge

This is a real concern

It is mostly a concern for those affected, but the number of people affected continues to grow. Between automation, outsourcing, and other economic shifts (i.e. away from coal/oil to green energy) more and more jobs in rich countries like the US are going away. When it is an economic shift, generally jobs are created that offset the loss of jobs. The problem is that they might be created elsewhere - i.e. coal miners and oil workers in the US who lose their jobs because of solar energy becoming more and more viable will be "replaced" by Chinese workers making solar panels.

The unrest of those who are displaced could be explained away by the powers that be as communist/socialist sympathizers when it was only factory workers - i.e. those who claim unions are communist or socialist organizations and should stamped out. Now that it is starting to impact some white middle class jobs it will be harder and harder to ignore as the number of voices grow. They see the republicans as caring only about the rich and screw the little guy, while the only answer they see from democrats is to have the government help them with handouts. They don't like either answer, so it is no surprise they are rejecting both and looking for alternatives in greater numbers. Even those who aren't affected today see friends who are and worry what will happen to them, or their children.

Self driving cars will be great, but all those "jobs" created by Uber (by displacing cab drivers) will simply go away within a decade of the first 'official' self driving car hitting the road. Truck drivers will go away also, with people needed only to load/unload goods at each end. School bus drivers probably go away - unless school buses go away. They might be replaced by slack capacity from the local self-driving cab company, or parents in a neighborhood could band together and use one of their self driving cars. Better to transfer them in groups of 4-8 than 40-80 that inevitably means it takes the kids a lot longer to get there with all the other stops.

When we reach the point where we can build a robot able to do most of the physical things a human can do (some better, some worse) and is able to carry on a conversation well enough to serve customers and communicate as needed with human "co workers", look out. Those displaced will be permanently out of the workforce. A society can't educate its way out of this, those who are simply not intelligent enough or physical capable enough to do better than robots are "useless" to society, and their number will grow as the capabilities of the robots improve.

What do you do with people who are effectively useless as far as productive work in society? There are various options, some that will be unpalatable to those who own the robots and think they deserve all the benefits from their investment, to those that will be unpalatable to (or threaten the very existence of) those deemed "useless" to society. Just look at what we do with the "useless" today, using the example of those with severe mental or physical handicaps. While some places (typically non-profits) create what are effectively charity jobs for them, mostly they are given handouts. That's fine for a small number of them, and the temporarily (for some definition of temporarily) unemployed. That won't work well when you're talking 25% of the population, and is unsustainable when you reach 50%, for obvious reasons.

Humanity will only buy 47 smartphones per SECOND in 2016

DougS Silver badge

The reason the smartphone market was growing so quickly was because smartphones have been replacing feature phones. There are still some feature phones sold that Android will replace when they are able to make them cheaper (they're already under $50) But that's not growth that will make anyone any money, not even Google.

DougS Silver badge

Not quite

According to Gartner, Apple had 15.9% of the worldwide smartphone market in 2015. So out of 47 phones, 40 will be Android, not 43. Maybe 39, if Microsoft & Blackberry together can manage one for the "other" column.


Freeze, lastholes: USB-C and Thunderbolt are the ultimate physical ports

DougS Silver badge

WiGig will not replace HDMI

Only reaches 7 Gbps (under ideal conditions that won't be always be realized) which isn't enough for a 4K display. Try again.

FBI tries again to get warrantless access to your browser history

DougS Silver badge

You don't understand what they're asking for

By mentioning NSLs, they're talking about asking ISPs and backbone providers for this information, which they expect them to log. You can use your live CD distro in a VM running a browser using only private pages, and they'll have your history just like everyone else's.

US military tests massive GPS jamming weapon over California

DougS Silver badge

That was my thought too. Too bad they don't have a "secret" base in the middle of nowhere in Nevada, where there is only one major city within the distances they're talking about here. If only they did, they could have tested there.

So. Why don't people talk to invisible robots in public?

DougS Silver badge

Who said they had to be sentient?

It would be great to have a personal assistant you could say things like "schedule an appointment for a haircut for me next week, either Monday, Tuesday or Thursday morning or Wednesday afternoon" and it knew where I got my hair done and the number. It could call and carry on a basic conversation with the receptionist to make that happen without pissing off the receptionist and making them hang up. Or I could say "next time I'm at the grocery store, remind me to pick up some toilet paper" and it would use its GPS or wifi or something to figure out when I'm at the grocery store and it would start vibrating until I wondered what the hell was going on in my pocket and when I grabbed it I'd see the alert pop up on my screen. These are things an IQ 85 personal assistant could do for me.

They don't need self awareness to do that, but they do need a quantum leap in the amount of "intelligence" they have now. Sure it is great I can ask to set reminders about stuff, or do a web search or whatever, but the only time I do those things via voice instead of manually is if I think of something when I'm in bed halfway asleep, because I don't want the bright screen messing up my attempt to get to sleep.

Why does an Android keyboard need to see your camera and log files – and why does it phone home to China?

DougS Silver badge

Re: That's yet another point caused by needless complexity

So you want Google to wall up their garden with higher walls than Apple? Even Apple doesn't require submission of source code, which is what it sounds like you're suggesting. I'm sure app writers will be totally comfortable giving up their source code to Google, one of the world's largest software companies...

DougS Silver badge

Re: No worries, its not like Android has a huge share of the phone market....

What do you mean you never see any warnings in the mass media? I see stories about Android malware in places like Cnet all the time. Until there is some Android malware that causes real consequences for a lot of users the problem will be ignored. Look how many years Windows malware (and DOS malware before it) was around before it really got the kind of attention required for Microsoft to do something about it. It wasn't until stuff like Code Red, I.Love.You and so on all hit over a short period of time and caused a lot of problems that people took notice, and bad publicity forced Microsoft to act.

The same will be true of Google (and Android OEMs who are part of the problem as far as not updating Android) Until it becomes a big problem, they will mostly ignore it because it isn't hurting them financially. I'm not sure why you think Google should be "fined megabucks" because of apps in the Play Store. Should Comcast be held liable if hackers use their pipes to cause trouble? Should AT&T be liable if terrorists use their phone network to call each other and plan attacks? Should HP be liable if the KKK uses their printers to print racist materials?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Suggestion for stories like this...

And silly AC is ignoring that many Android users paid a fat wad for devices they can't expand with SD memory and has no removable battery. Or was the Galaxy S6 just a figment of my imagination? And it wasn't the only one.

What people like you ignore is that not everyone cares about those features as much as you do. I remember in the early days of Android when one of the touted features that Apple was missing was an FM radio. Many Android phones still include that feature, and Apple still doesn't, but I have yet to every personally meet ANYONE who uses their phone to listen to FM radio. Sure, if you want an FM radio or SD card or removable battery Android is your only choice. But don't act like these are features that everyone wants. I'd prefer not to have my performance go in the toilet since the SD interface sucks so bad compared to properly designed internal storage, thanks.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Almost every app I consider for installation

I don't buy the "users have just surrendered". That may be true of Reg readers, but the average Android or iOS user doesn't really have a clue what it means when they are asked for permission to use location information. They'll just agree if asked, just like they will agree every time Windows 7 asks for permission to do something that needs admin rights, etc.

The thing in Apple's favor is that since this sort of permission has been required forever, app writers know they can't get away with requesting ridiculous permissions, like wanting access to contacts or photos for an app which has no earthly reason for wanting it. The average user might not know why that's a bad idea, but the ones who do give one star ratings that kill it in the app store.

Eventually the same might be true for Android, the problem is it will take many years until app writers are forced to change their ways because there will be hundreds of millions of people on Android 4.x and 5.x for years and years now. Another problem is that many Android apps simply break if a permission is denied, because they haven't been updated to expect the possibility of a permission being refused since that's so new. But Google is finally doing the right thing, the only thing I question is how it could possibly have taken them so long!

You've got a patch, you've got a patch ... almost every Android device has a patch

DougS Silver badge

Re: Dead

Selling less and less? They have had one quarter where sales dropped after sales have been rising ever since the iPhone was first sold in 2007! Your problem is looking at smartphone sales stats, which have shown Apple falling for years because smartphones keep getting made cheaper and cheaper and displacing feature phone sales.

Look at their share of the overall mobile market, which properly shows them gaining year by year and peaking at 15.9% last year. With their drop in sales in Q1 (compared to Q1 2015) they still recorded 14.8%, so they're going to be fine even as Android grows bigger by displacing the remainder of the feature phone market over the next few years. It doesn't matter, people buying $40 Android phones are not customers that Apple (or Samsung, for that matter) wants anyway.

Apple will remain as an option for those who want their phone's OS supported longer than a year or two even if their sales do fall somewhat due to longer replacement cycles. The short length of Android support hasn't mattered too much up until now since most people were replacing their phones so often, but as replacement cycles lengthen due to new phones on the market not having any improvements you really care about having a phone that's supported longer will become a bigger factor. You can spend more up front and get an iPhone, or you can buy cheaper Android phones more often, but that erodes a lot of the Android price advantage. It remains to be seen whether Samsung will continue to be able to sell its phones at premium prices despite their subpar ongoing software support.

DougS Silver badge

Samsung is adopting the strategy Microsoft used to have

Sell them a product knowing it will be compromised by security issues where the fix is "buy a new one". It was great for Microsoft and the whole PC industry back when people bought new PCs because their old one was "slow" due to malware let it by Microsoft's shoddy security. Bad publicity forced that to change, and a Windows 7 PC is still pretty much as fast as it was the day it was purchased.

Maybe that's why they've been so aggressive about trying to push free Windows 10 on people - hoping a lot of them will turn off automatic updates, their PC will become infected and slow, and they'll need to buy a new PC. Bring back the good old days when people were forced to upgrade once in a while...maybe that will cause PC sales to finally stop falling!

Just like how Microsoft didn't change their ways until there was bad publicity, Samsung won't either. The problem for Google is that all Android OEMs have this issue, so it won't be just Samsung phones that get compromised when someone writes a "successful" Android malware that spreads to hundreds of millions of devices ala Code Red and I.Love.You. Samsung is probably banking on Google taking the hit and not losing any customers over it.

Unless Google changes the Android license terms to require OEMs who have a license to deliver updates within certain criteria (x length of time after Google provides it, for y years after the first sale of the device) nothing will change. Even then they might worry that this causes them to simply drop Google's services. I'm sure Microsoft would be happy to step in with substitutes based on Bing, Cortana, etc. that they'd license to them for free without the restrictions Google imposes.

'UnaPhone' promises Android privacy by binning Google Play

DougS Silver badge


I'm not sure why you think the only choices are a police state or anarchy. If you have a Constitution that is actually followed, you should be able to hold the line against a police state.

However, given those choices I'd rather take my chances with anarchy. At least from anarchy there's a path to a functioning government where people are free. The only way out of a police state is a revolution, and if you live in a country where they've already taken away your guns, a revolution is not possible so you will be stuck in the police state until some other country invades yours (whether they do it to "free" you or to conquer you isn't important, as it likely can't be worse than an unarmed populace living in a police state)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Terrorism!!!

So basically you're saying you are willing to give up a whole bunch of privacy, because it is possible to use a mobile phone as a trigger? Mobile phones are hardly the only thing you can use to trigger an explosive device, they have been convenient to use lately because they're what terrorists had on hand.

If Spain managed to successfully force everyone to register their phones, and acted quickly to "deregister" them the moment they were lost or stolen (and people actually bothered to report some old crappy phone was lost or stolen) then terrorists couldn't use mobiles as a trigger. Exactly what amount of terrorism will that prevent, beyond the 0% that I think? I guess when I read about the IRA bombings back in the day they must have been using those old bag phones to trigger them, since you can't possibly use oh I know don't a walkie talkie or a wind up alarm clock for that?

Nevermind that if you are going to blow up a bunch of innocent people, you probably aren't too concerned with violating forgery laws and using a fake ID to register a phone if you really feel you have to use a cell phone to trigger your bomb. Or for that matter use your real name, if you plan on being out of the country when you detonate it, or will suicide yourself as another part of the overall plot.

Sheesh, attitudes like yours are why all your freedoms will eventually be gone. You are happy to hand over any rights you have if you makes you feel more secure, even if that feeling is a false sense of security. You make me sick.

Farewell, Fadell: Nest CEO Tony quits IoT biz

DougS Silver badge

Re: Two points...

The only thing Nest has going for it is it looks nicer on the wall than a typical thermostat. That's not worth $299, it just shows that companies like Honeywell ought to hire a couple people with a design background instead of letting engineers do their design...that never ends well.

Facebook to kill native chat, bring opt-in crypto to Messenger

DougS Silver badge

That's the only reason I ever log in from the desktop, for those rare cases when someone sends me a message. Is there any way to disable messages so no one can send them to me? I'd rather do that than install a bloated app just to read one message a month.

Smartphone sales falling

DougS Silver badge

Getting used to smaller phones

The first cell phone I ever owned was a Nokia 8860 back in 2000. Cost me $500 (subsidized!) but I wanted something really small. I just couldn't see having a phone I couldn't carry in my pocket, and just about everything back then was designed to be carried in a purse or clipped to a belt. Not for me!

I continued with small phones for years and when the iPhone came out I thought it was cool but it was huge, and was waiting for them to come out with something smaller! I finally bit the bullet and got a 3gs in 2009, and at first it seemed ridiculously big coming from a KRZR. I got used to it and had a few others and then Apple introduced the 6 and 6 plus. By then I was using my phone enough that I could see the value in something bigger, but couldn't decide between the two sizes. So I just waited until the 6S and bit the bullet and got the plus. At first I was almost ready to return it, but I got used to it, and holding an old 5/5S (let alone the even smaller ones before it) seems almost like a toy now.

I could even see the value in something bigger, but the size of my pockets (and the pocket in my golf bag and bike's saddlebag) couldn't handle much bigger so until the technology to make a phone that's the current size and thickness but unfolds to double its size exists, I think this is as big as I can get. If you told me in 2006 that 10 years later I'd be carrying a phone the size of the 6S plus, I would have thought you were on drugs! I was half expecting that phone from Zoolander to become a reality :)

DougS Silver badge

No, Apple would not do better to add a micro SD slot

Just because YOU want that doesn't mean they should do it. Apple's built in flash is massively fast, the SD card would be so slow it would be a bigger drop in performance than the increase I saw going from a 5 to a 6S. No thanks.

Apple has done just fine without your business advice, they are the valuable and most profitable public company in the world after all, so they're doing well without Mage's business savvy.

I don't know if they'll drop the headphone socket, it seems a bit silly to me (especially if the reason really is because it won't allow making the phone thinner...what's wrong with a 2.5mm socket if that's the case?) But if they do, it'll come with headphones like they always do, so most people who use the headphones it comes with won't be affected in the least. Those who want to use other headphones will need an adapter. I'm sure Apple will sell an overpriced one and all the Apple haters will scream, but two months later you'll be able to buy them off eBay for $3.99.

Stuff like SD cards and headphone sockets are not going to affect Apple's market. If they lose share, it will be because the iPhone people already have will still be fine and people won't see a reason to replace it just because the new one is faster or thinner or whatever. Samsung has the same problem and they've been flailing around adding and removing SD slots and other features the last few generations but that isn't helping them. Why buy a new phone if your old one still does everything you need it to do?

Windows 10 market share jumps two per cent

DougS Silver badge

Re: Horrified - can be solved!

He didn't say he was chucking out the old one, only that he was getting a new one. If the old one is still working I imagine he'll give to a friend/relative or donate it.

It is funny when someone says "I'm done with Microsoft" there is always someone who is telling them what they need to do to continue using Microsoft, and someone else telling them to use Linux. But obviously those pitches aren't working, as Microsoft's share continues to slowly drop - but the loss is to the Mac, not to Linux, despite the best efforts of the pro-Linux crowd.

FWIW I am now and have been running Linux on my desktop since the late 90s, but I don't go around evangelizing it because people who might want to run Linux already know about it, and those who don't already know about it would not be happy with it if they installed it.

DougS Silver badge

No, the figure the Reg shows from them only show Microsoft

Visit their home page (analytics.usa.gov) and you can see their overall stats. Windows has just over 50% of their visits, iOS 21%, Android 16%, Mac 9% and "other" (Linux, Windows Phone, Blackberry, etc.) has 2%.

Obviously since these are measuring US government web site access it is mostly a snapshot of the USA - though 18% of their visits are international. I would have guess more like 1.8%! I remember seeing something where they showed how the stats changed on M-F days versus Sat/Sun to show the effect of access from work versus home - there was more Windows during the workday, more Mac and phone/tablet on the weekend.

The stats for browsers was particularly interesting. Is Firefox really only 8% of their visits, and IE only 18%? I can understand Safari at 23% given the iOS and Mac numbers, but where is Android? Are they all getting lumped in with Chrome regardless of what they're really using?

DougS Silver badge


I agree with your comments on Dell, but this paragraph made no sense to me:

For people like Asus, they have exposure to tablets, mobile, and to the Android and Apple device markets, and it is the saturation of all those markets that create a problem. But at least tablets and phones generally have a two year life expectancy.

First of all, how does Asus have exposure to the Apple device market? Do they sell some Bluetooth keyboard accessory or something? I'd hardly call that exposure to the Apple device market...

Anyway, tablets most certainly do NOT have a two year life expectancy. That's the whole reason the tablet market has been declining, current thought is that it has a PC like replacement cycle. My parents are still using their iPad 2, and I know a couple people still using the original one and it works just fine. Sure, a newer model would be faster, better etc. but a lot of people just don't use tablets or computers in a way that is at all demanding and doesn't need better performance. They might think it is nice to have, but not nice enough that they're willing to pay for it. PCs and tablets have more of a "when it stops working" replacement cycle these days.

With phones, yeah, they have a short replacement cycle but that may be changing. What reason does someone who has an iPhone 6 or Galaxy S5 have for replacing it with a Galaxy S7 or an iPhone 7? Is there any new functionality they can't live without? Will it make a big difference to them to have the improved performance? Phones may have reached the "good enough" point for most people....if Apple and Samsung see their replacement cycle start to lengthen, you can bet it will hit second tier phone manufacturers like Asus twice as hard because they are already playing in the budget market segment to begin with.

DougS Silver badge

Re: PC upgrades were compelling...

I agree that VR will be niche. Gamers will want it, but no one is going to wear VR goggles to run Office, browse the web, check Facebook or watch cat videos on Youtube.

Pretty much the only people that can be relied upon to upgrade their gear every 2-3 years are gamers, so the addition of VR isn't "revitalizing" anything. It is just another reason for them to do the upgrade they were already going to do anyway.

I think waiting a few years before supporting VR on a console makes sense. The current generation of consoles weren't designed with VR in mind and probably wouldn't do it justice.

Fact: Huawei now outspends Apple on R&D

DougS Silver badge

Re: What derision?

I saw a video once where people who work there were pronouncing it like "waa way" so I assume that's correct. Though I know of some companies where even the employees don't pronounce the name consistently so "waa way" may not be the only way!

DougS Silver badge

Phones are just a tiny portion of what Huawei makes

They make network equipment that compete with Cisco all the way up to their highest end, they make storage arrays that compete with EMC, Netapp and IBM, they make servers, and on and on. They don't have the broad range of Samsung making everything from chips to ships, but they have more in common with Samsung than they do with Apple.

Obviously only a small portion of Apple's $8 billion in R&D goes towards phones, because unless there's some major new revolution coming that changes 2016 -> 2020 expectations of phones as much as the iPhone changed 2006 -> 2010 expectations, there just isn't that much to do. A lot of it may be going towards making a car.

Comparing companies by their R&D spending only works if they are in the same markets and of the same approximate size. You might reasonably compare Oracle and IBM's R&D, or Microsoft and Google's. Comparing Apple with Huawei or Samsung is silly, you might as well compare Facebook's R&D with Exxon's...

Apple also considers acquisitions part of their R&D. They make eight or nine digit acquisitions here and there a dozen times a year, many of which don't make the press because they can't write an article about it referencing an iPhone rumor. If you see promising technology you can use someone has already started the R&D effort on, you can buy that company and continue their work.

Air-gapping SCADA systems won't help you, says man who knows

DougS Silver badge

Re: Said it before, will say it again

If that's the case, it looks like government regulation is going to be the only answer for this in the US.

DougS Silver badge

Not buying software from the US

That's great, if the US is your only adversary. You would have to add the UK, Australia, Canada and various other allies to that no-buy list. And insure that all your hardware is securely shipped directly from the factory with no opportunity for someone to intercept it and alter it. And hope that the factory (probably based in China) has good security to prevent it being bugged there. And hope that maybe China's government isn't willing to cooperate behind the scenes on certain things contrary to public statements that make them seem at odds about most things.

I think avoiding US software is only the tip of the iceberg, if you are an Iran or North Korea trying (for example) to set up centrifuges to purify uranium to weapons grade concentrations. You would probably be better off buying some 90s era PCs from a third world school and installing a fresh copy of Windows 98 on them to operate your equipment. Connect them with unmanaged 100 mbit switches. No worries about getting modern malware on them, or the hardware coming prebugged to target you. Go retro, in other words.

No USB ports means no USB sticks carrying Stuxnet. Probably don't even have to worry about boot sector viruses or TSRs anymore, because no one would be left using floppies except you :)

DougS Silver badge

Vacuum gaps?

At some point when trying to secure systems, you compromise their usability and administration to such an extent than you have to accept less than perfect security. A vacuum gapped system is where I choose to draw that line!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Remote overview

You could feed the status information from SCADA to a networked PC using a serial cable with the RX connector removed at the SCADA so it is send only. The networked PC can read and format the data it receives nicely for a web status page or two and trip the appropriate alerts if something is wrong. Doing that with a CCTV aimed at a monitor seems like a lot of work and error prone to boot...

If someone is able to hack a system over a serial cable with the RX connector removed then they have godlike powers and I bow at their feet. If even reading the SCADA data is a security problem then they still need to protect the networked PC but at least the attack surface is smaller and it is easier to defend a modern PC running a modern and well patched OS than the Windows 2000 PC that SCADA is probably using!

Why Oracle will win its Java copyright case – and why you'll be glad when it does

DougS Silver badge

Oracle asking for "non proportionate share of revenue"

IIRC, Oracle is asking for about 30% of the revenue. That's what Google and Apple charge developers to sell their apps from their respective app stores, so that's probably a reasonable starting point. I don't think Oracle expects that they'd actually get awarded the full amount, but in any negotiation (and that's what damages in a trial ultimately come down to in some form or another) you start high the other guy starts low and you eventually meet somewhere in between.

I get what you're saying about the 11,000 lines, but if the judge rules against them, they will be guilty of IP theft. Oracle would be well within their rights to ask the judge to order them to stop using their property immediately, meaning a stoppage of sales of Android phones until they could fix the problem - which might make those "Android v2" phones incompatible with existing apps meaning devs would have to rebuild/resubmit their apps. The threat of that makes those 11,000 lines more valuable than simple math dividing 11,000 lines versus however many you care to put in the denominator.

If some aerodynamics guru found that making a few simple changes to the design of the wing and fuselage of a plane saved 4% of its fuel, and these changes amounted to gluing a few bits of plastic in the right places, you could argue "well these are only .0001% of the mass and volume of the plane, and cost only a few hundred bucks to have a 3D printer churn out" but the inventor of that would say that the value was in knowing what the form of those plastic bits and where to place them, not the their contribution to the total weight/volume/price of the plane, and is better reflected in airlines paying millions more per plane to get one that is 4% more efficient.

So the real question isn't how many lines of code are involved, but their contribution to Android's success. Was the fact that Android used something that is basically Java, instead of C++ or something weird like Google Go important to its success? I'd argue that at least at first it certainly was, since most CS students worldwide had learned Java over the decade previous to Android's release, it helped jump start its app economy and contributed to its success. If Android used something else, fewer people would have been able to easily write apps, and it may have had a harder time getting apps in those crucial early days. Who knows, maybe Windows Phone would have got enough extra momentum to reach viability and today be a third competitor with double digit market share. Had that happened, Google would have collected billions less in Android revenue.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Well said!

No Reg reader should be surprised by the tone of Andrew's articles. I've learned to check the author before reading an article here to set appropriate defaults for my bullshit meter, outrage detector, spin gauge and vendor spiel de-regurgitator. Even if I hadn't read the title, once I knew he wrote it I knew it would be a full throated defense of Oracle.

DougS Silver badge

@DavCrav - true value of pi

Damn mainstream media, with their irrational bias towards irrational numbers!

DougS Silver badge

Re: The code is trivial

The code may be rather trivial, but Google even copied Java's errata. If they are claiming to reimplement the API, shouldn't they follow the definition of the API? Look at the code in the article's example, and compare with this Java errata:


This makes it pretty obvious they copied Java's code, rather than reimplementing the Java API. If they reimplemented the API, they would have set ANY_POLICY to "any-policy" like the API says, instead of setting it to "" like Java did before this bug was fixed. Kind of hard to argue they are reimplementing the API when stuff like this makes it obvious they lifted Java code and simply changed a few variable names!

EDIT: apparently the article was edited to remove the example while I was posting this? The example code showed a ~30 line code section, and it set a variable called ANY_POLICY to "" in both the Java and Android code. The errata I linked states this is in error and the API says it should be set to "any-policy". Not sure why this example was removed from the article, hopefully it will be restored but I figured I should add this update in case it is not...

Apple GPU screen rumors

DougS Silver badge

Re: wow.....

Thunderbolt handles 40 Gbps, which is enough to drive a 5K monitor at 60 fps 15 bpp 4:4:4. If you wanted more, using 4:2:0 to double the effective bandwidth and/or lossless compression is a hell of a lot easier and cheaper than building the GPU into the monitor.

DougS Silver badge

Re: wow.....

I doubt the intent is that the GPU in your PC is not used, just that it provides a different path - obviously the "GPU in monitor" would require a different protocol that passes graphics primitives to the monitor instead of raw HDMI data. Passing raw HDMI data that has already been rendered will still be supported.

Given that display chips are becoming more complex with stuff like built in scalers, going with a full GPU doesn't add much cost...certainly such cost is lost in the noise for what Apple is going to charge for a 5K monitor.

I wouldn't count on support for such a scheme outside of the Apple ecosystem, so it probably won't help you with a Windows PC, and almost certain not with a Linux PC. Kind of hard to see what the plan for this is, since I really doubt Apple is going to start selling PCs without a GPU intending that it is built into the monitor. Maybe it is intended for wireless use, since it is damn certain that you aren't going to deliver 5Kp120 12bpp wirelessly, but if you used primitives and had the monitor render it, it becomes quite doable.

Want a job that pays at least $90,000 a year? Get into ransomware

DougS Silver badge

Re: There's no point

Damn robots, even taking the jobs of criminals these days! (Say it in Bender's voice, it sounds funnier)

Flash. Bang. Wallet: Marcher crooks target UK Android users

DougS Silver badge

Trick you into downloading a "flash update"

Because flash is so compromised, PC users (who still have flash installed) are used to seeing notifications for updates all the time. If it they didn't use "flash update" as the reason, they could have used "Java update" or "adobe reader update" as those are just as noisy.

Is a $14,000 phone really the price of privacy?

DougS Silver badge

Silly idea anyway

Just because Android's security is "better" today doesn't mean it is good. Stuff like Stagefright existed for years, odds are good there are other things as bad or worse that have yet to be discovered. Or worse, have been discovered by a few and kept close to the vest for when they really need it (like when trying to hack a CEO who has secrets he thinks are worth buying a $14,000 phone to protect)

What's more, standard mobile encryption is simple to break, even for a random hacker with radio kit, let alone the carriers or spooks. This at least addresses that part of the problem, which even a hypothetical 100% secure Android or iPhone can do absolutely nothing about.

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