* Posts by DougS

12862 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Official: EU goes after Google, alleges it uses Android to kill competition

DougS Silver badge

Re: @DougS

Paul Shirley - the days when the carriers "took liberties" with phones in the days before the iPhone and Android were dark indeed. But trading a bunch of little kings in the form of carriers "taking liberties" in their own best interest for one big king in the form of Google doing the same in their own best interest is a worse deal. At least with carriers there are plenty to choose from. There is only one king in Google's Android ecosystem.

Android is open, except where Google doesn't want it to be. In those places it is walled off every bit as much as iOS, and it is being done for purely financial reasons, to support and enhance Google's data collection and advertising empire. You can argue that Apple sucks because (for example) browsers have to use WebKit, but it is hard to argue this is being done to make Apple richer. Maybe you think their reasons are misguided or wrong, but not allowing a "proper" Firefox on iPhone isn't making Apple any money. When Google blocked on day one and continues to block (again, for example) alternative location services, that's purely because they don't want ANY competition in the ability to collect and sell data on their users.

Does the average person know or care about this? Of course, they just want a device that calls, texts, runs Facebook and Snapchat, and so on. If it costs less they aren't going to care to ask why that is, or maybe even care if told. Likewise, they didn't know or care about how their phone was being limited by their carrier a decade ago. It did what they wanted - what they understood a phone of 2006 was capable of which aside from calling and texting and taking 1 megapixel photos if they were lucky, was "not much".

DougS Silver badge

Re: Others?

Why would Apple need to make their own apps removable? I can install any number of Mail apps today, the only thing missing would be setting it up so if I click on a link it will use Mail+ or whatever instead of the default app.

Anyway, the EU doesn't care about this because Apple has what, 10% of the EU market? You can't abuse a monopoly position in the market if you don't have (and aren't even close to) a monopoly position in the market. Unlike Google, Apple does not have a vast advertising business that iOS is designed to direct traffic to, they have their own ad network you can use in your apps but it exists only for convenience for app writers who don't want to deal with third parties and just want the ad revenue without the hassle.

DougS Silver badge

@Paul Shirley

If Google started making its own phones and refused to license, the problem would self correct because they wouldn't have that large majority of the market that Apple doesn't control.

There are three primary reasons for Android's success today. One, Google made it free, back when it cost money to license a phone OS. Two, Google allowed OEMs to customize it by adding their own UI details to try to build some brand identity (i.e. using a Samsung isn't quite the same as using a LG, even when both are Android underneath)

Three, and most importantly, when Apple turned the smartphone world upside down and made every other phone look like a rotary dial by comparison, Google was able to execute a quick 180 and get their own modern touch UI version out before anyone else did. Perhaps it was dumb luck that the major competition of the time (Nokia, Blackberry and Microsoft) was too stupid to recognize the need to do this until it was too late, but their failure to see the future left the playing field wide open for Android phones. By the time the others caught on, it was too late.

Had Nokia introduced a competitive touchscreen UI within a year of Android's late 2008 release, I suspect the outcome would have been very different, with Nokia today owning a large segment of the market. The EU wouldn't be going after Google because they wouldn't have a majority of the market, let alone the 90% or whatever it is they have in the EU.

FBI's PRISM slurping is 'unconstitutional' – and America's secret spy court is OK with that

DougS Silver badge

And this is why

Apple is making it so even they can't access iPhone data. The government has shown they have no respect for the law, so Apple wants to disambiguate itself out of the conflict between citizen (i.e. suspect) and government. Let it be their problem how to get at the data.

Google warned by EU

DougS Silver badge

Re: This could sway my brexit vote.

How is Apple's privacy policy not clear? Google's is basically "we can take everything" and I guess you don't mind selling yourself out for free search and maps, but to say Google is a nice guy compared to Apple is to laugh.

Look at the privacy you get for Apple Pay compared to Android Pay. Apple doesn't collect any information and what's more prevents the merchant from even getting your name - some merchants don't like it because they consider it "too private"; they get more information from traditional credit card purchases.

Google wants to know everything you buy, from whom, and for how much to tie back into their vast database they keep about what you've searched, what ads you've seen or clicked on, what web sites you've visited etc. because that whole pile of information from original intent signaled by a search to completion of purchase is extremely valuable on the open market. No one has ever been able to assemble that complete picture before.

Android appears free only to those who place no value on their privacy.

DougS Silver badge

Re: This could sway my brexit vote.

I guess you are one of the few who still believes Google isn't evil.

Prof squints at Google's mobile monopoly defence, shakes head

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Why do people keep whining about Apple?

Do you not understand the definition of the word "monopoly", and why Google qualifies while Apple most definitely does not?

SpectraLogic debuts big, bad exabyte-tastic temple of tape

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I remember a company by that name, and thinking how ridiculous the concept of an exabyte of storage was. Back then I sure didn't think I'd ever see a single device for sale that could actually store that much, even a petabyte seemed impossibly far off back when big hard drives barely cracked one gigabyte in size!

How Apple's early VR experiments accidentally led to RSS

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Re: Where is the Apple VR angle?

Not only was it not VR, it was really more of a 3D hypercard UI for the web. The author apparently doesn't understand what it was, despite the example he provides. How in the world is moving through links "VR", except in Hollywood's odd vision of how hacker's computers work.

HTC 10: Is this the Droid you're looking for?

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Re: UI design

Having every OEM sell phones with the same generic Android might be what you want as a consumer as it lets you switch brands easily, but it is definitely not good for OEMs. The more Google tightens the screws on the differentiation they are allowed to have, the more likely they are to look for alternatives like forking Android or some sort of non-Android Linux. So long as the masses can run Facebook and Snapchat on it, they aren't going to care what OS it is running.

Cybercrooks turn away from banks. Your health records are far juicier

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Re: Another NHS Win

One of the major reasons I'll bet hackers are after this data is to make false Medicare (US public health system for those over 65) claims. I saw something that Florida alone had over $2 billion in Medicare fraud per year - and almost none of that come from hackers. Getting all this medical data will only increase it, by making fraud that much easier and on a much larger scale.

Here's Mrs. Smith's medical records, we can use this information to submit a $30,000 claim that our clinic operated on her and gave her a new hip. Here's another 500 records, so let's do 500 more claims. Doesn't matter if one guy had his left leg amputated and you made a claim for replacing his left knee - pretty sure no one would bother to check such a thing!

I don't really know much about how NHS is structured, so maybe this type of fraud isn't possible, but if it is you can bet the hackers will be going after your medical records as well.

Utah declares 'war on smut'

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War on common sense

Watching the election coverage here in the US, I'm pretty certain that all four major candidates have been actively waging - and winning - a war against common sense for quite some time!

Hand over our code to China? We're no commie patsies, Apple cries

DougS Silver badge

What you are thinking about are NSLs, that's a different thing.

DougS Silver badge


Because the FBI was lying when they said it was "just one phone" and concerned terrorism and national security as was revealed only a few weeks later when they introduced the second case in NY for a phone belonging to a low level drug mule.

How exactly is Apple supposed to manage thousands of custom versions of iOS, each targeted for just a single serial number. Why should it be Apple's problem to do this, is the FBI going to pay them for their time? What about the loss of engineering talent Apple will suffer, as they had a bunch of engineers reportedly say they would resign if their manager told them to create such a backdoored OS.

This whole thing was the FBI trying to set a precedent that they could force tech companies to undertake an unlimited amount of work to do what they want, and it blew up in their face. Boo hoo for them.

BTW, it is impossible for an employee to "walk out with the signing keys". If you knew what sort of security is involved with signing keys (not just for Apple, but in general) you wouldn't make such an ignorant suggestion. The one who is commenting outside their realm of expertise is you.

DougS Silver badge

Apple is refusing to create a custom 'hacked' version of iOS or hack the phones using exploits they may know about. Why should that be raising concerns? Apple should be at the FBI's beck and call to do their work for them?

The requests Apple is responding to is likely for iCloud data, which they can get at (at least some of it, like text messages and call records) But the FBI's actions have already caused Apple to rethink their strategy and they are reportedly working on a way to encrypt all iCloud data with a key the phone owner controls (this is currently only done for sensitive stuff like passwords) at which point it will be IMPOSSIBLE for them to respond to any law enforcement requests.

You might say that raises concerns, but it would totally be the FBI's fault for overreaching and suing Apple to try to force them to create a custom version of iOS designed solely to hack their phones. And the NSA and Bush/Obama administrations for the secret spying programs that Snowden revealed. You reap what you sow, and soon they had better hope that hackers can keep finding holes in iPhones, or no one will be able to help them. I won't feel sorry for law enforcement one bit.

DougS Silver badge

Re: As a ratio?

Or the more likely explanation, that Germany, due to being a lot closer to the middle east migrations in the past few years, has a lot more people they consider 'suspicious' and have wiretaps ordered on. They've taken in what a couple hundred thousand Syrian refugees since their civil war began?

Peak Cable looms: One in five US homes now mobile-only for internet

DougS Silver badge

Re: Ala carte

Why would popular channels EVER accept only $1/month ala carte? This would be a huge revenue decline for them, you can wish all you want but the only channels that would accept a mere $1/month would be the least popular 400 of those 500 channels. The ones you might actually want to watch like AMC, Syfy, Disney, FX, Discovery, FNC, etc. would never accept such a low rate on ala carte terms. NEVER.

DougS Silver badge

Ala carte

Ala carte will never come to cable, the numbers don't work because they would have to sell you individual channels for far more than you'd likely be willing to pay.

For instance ESPN charges your cable company over $6 per subscriber because it is included in most people's plans. If only the 1/3 or so of homes who actually watch it regularly wanted it, they'd have to charge closer to $20 - but at that price they'd have fewer interested subscribers, so they'd have to charge even more than that. Channels like AMC are closer to a buck a month, but again they'd have to charge $5/month or more if it was only paid for by those who watch it. And these are what your cable company is paying in volume, before they mark it up to you.

If ala carte ever did arrive, over 90% of channels would disappear because they couldn't pay their running costs. You might say "who cares" because you'd think about all the garbage that's on but undoubtedly a few channels you like would be amongst those culled.

Be careful what you wish for...

Four hundred MILLION vulnerable Androids are out there

DougS Silver badge

Why is 4.4.4 the arbitrary line for "vulnerable"?

There are multiple known exploits for newer versions of Android, most likely the figure of Android devices vulnerable to known exploits is in excess of 99%. Sure, the older the version the more exploits they are vulnerable to, but it only takes one and an effective delivery method.

Something involving social engineering will only take you so far, but if a hacker compromised an ad network serving major domains like CNN they could infect millions of Android devices in a single day. It is only a matter of time before something like that happens.

So you’d sod off to China to escape the EU, Google? Really?

DougS Silver badge

The difference is that it is a lot easier for a developer to offer his app to app stores beyond just Google Play, than it is for a developer to port his Windows app to OS X or Linux.

I'm assuming that Google doesn't disallow distributing their apps via alternate app stores if they want them on Google Play. Someone correct me if that's wrong.

So the recipe for a successful alternate app store would seem to be enticing the developers of a lot of major apps on Google Play to offer them through your app store as well. The only way to do that is by promising them more money - that is, pay the developers of popular apps like Facebook and Angry Birds to offer them via your app store also. That would be pretty expensive, but might be the only way for someone to be successful with their own non-Googly version of Android.

Obama London visit prompts drone no-fly zone

DougS Silver badge

Re: Yes but...

The idea is that the law abiding citizens observe the no-fly zone, so that authorities won't spread their resources too thin investigating whatever might be left. Obviously a no-fly zone won't stop a terrorist intent on flying a drone filled with C4 into Obama's motorcade, but it would be easier to notice and react quickly to if there are only a handful of drones flying about, versus a couple hundred owned by hobbyists who want to overfly his motorcade hoping for a cool picture to post on social media.

Apple updates MacBooks

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Re: Confused... Advertising pieces disguised as articles?

I've noticed the Reg has several of these one paragraph articles every day now. Maybe part of the cost cutting measures when they booted Lewis Page and dumped his interesting military related articles for the DevOps article of the day club.

DougS Silver badge

Er, Apple updated their specs too

New CPUs, new graphics, faster SSDs, longer battery life... The article makes it sound like the only change was to offer the same exact models in a new color.

Obama to admit Moon landing was faked?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Not similar at all

As a former Chicago resident you might think that statement was in jest, however the Cubbies entered the season 4-1 favorites to win it all. I'm a fan, and I'm optimistic about this season, but I think 4-1 is crazy. I guess there are going to be an awful lot of people jumping on the bandwagon and claiming to be lifelong Cubs fans if they are on top of the world come Halloween!


DougS Silver badge

Re: Not similar at all

The number of years without a Superbowl win has absolutely nothing to do with how likely a win is in a given year. The Cubs are favored to win the World Series this year, despite not having won for the past 107 seasons. I think most sports fans would consider the "hell freezing over" moment to be the Cubs winning the World Series much more than the Saints winning a Super Bowl.

DougS Silver badge

Not similar at all

The Saints were 25-1 to win the Super Bowl at the start of that season, not even the longest odds in the NFL as there were a few teams at 100-1.


US congresscritter's iPhone hacked (with, er, the cell networks' help)

DougS Silver badge

Re: CTIA rep at end of article is LYING

Facetime is encrypted point to point. Some tried to argue that Apple's fight with the FBI was all theater to make people think it is secure when they were really providing the government full access in secret - but if that was the case then the FBI would have let them "win" that fight to provide the illusion that Apple was a safe choice for terrorists.

They wouldn't have publicly gone to a third party who broke into the phone, shattering the illusion the conspiracy theorists claimed was being carefully crafted to give terrorists a false sense of security.

DougS Silver badge

Re: CTIA rep at end of article is LYING

Lawful interception for traffic crossing a particular switch is one thing. That's what they are designed to do, and no one would be surprised about that.

However, there was never any intent to allow anyone with SS7 access to have "lawful" intercept capabilities from halfway around the world! That's clearly a big security issue, and from the sound of things it is a security issue with the protocol itself, not a specific implementation.

DougS Silver badge

Re: CTIA rep at end of article is LYING

If the exploit is in SS7, you just need to connect to the global telco network at that level. Any government/corporate office large enough that it has its own prefix (i.e. area code - 3 digit prefix - XXXX in the US) may have its own switch running SS7 protocol. As far as I can tell, that would be sufficient.

Pretty sure the NSA's Fort Meade office has their own prefix, and operates their own SS7 switch. In my modest sized city there's a university and at least one private company I know of that have their own prefix. I know the university has their own SS7 switch, no clue about the company.

DougS Silver badge

CTIA rep at end of article is LYING

He claims it has something to do with a German mobile operator, but the US congressman was in the US on a major carrier (they didn't name it, but safe to assume probably AT&T or Verizon)

Maybe they leveraged some extra access via a German operator, but if so whoop de doo, if you have to rely on every operator worldwide to be secure you might as well give up and assume even minor criminals can find their way in.

There has been talk of weaknesses in SS7 since the 80s, I'm sure the US government has relied on this for spying (both legal and illegal) for a long time, and has no desire to see these holes patched up. It will take a proven instance of a foreign power snooping on the President's phone for something to be done I guess (yes I know Obama is using a special Blackberry that can encrypt voice communications beyond the pitifully weak encryption GSM does, but that only helps if he's talking to someone else using a similar phone, so while it might help if he's talking to the SecDef, it won't do any good when he's talking to Putin or Merkel)

Though I wouldn't be surprised if the government's reaction was to issue encrypted Blackberries widely and claim that fixes the problem - so long as the elites are safe from snooping, who cares about us worthless scum known as mere citizens?

Translated: BlackBerry CEO John Chen on cops-snooping-on-BBM

DougS Silver badge

Re: So, what are YOU doing to protect yourself?

I'd want the company I'm dealing with to act lawfully if my government was doing so. They've proven they don't give a shit what the law or the Constitution says, and they'll just take whatever they want regardless of the law.

So fuck 'em, I want security for myself, if that means terrorist communications are secure I have no problem with that. Let them go back to actual police work, instead of collecting a giant haystack of information and using algorithms to look for needles - and when the needles aren't found decide the solution is to make the haystack much bigger.

How much faster is a quantum computer than your laptop?

DougS Silver badge

If it isn't any good

Why are Google and the US government using them? I know they aren't really quantum computers in the proper sense, but if they can solve a certain class of problem much faster than a regular computer does it really matter.

BTW, it was Google who claimed the 10,000 times faster on a 500 qubit problem, based on their own measurements. Either the DWave can do what they claim, or they are running a scam so good they are able to fool Google's army of PhDs. Either way, the DWave folks should have demonstrated to anyone's satisfaction that they are pretty damn smart!

US-CERT advice says kill Quicktime for Windows, quickly

DougS Silver badge


I'm used to unchecking QuickTime when I update iTunes. I last did so last fall, but I can't recall if it still wanted to (or gave the option to) install QuickTime as well.

Hopefully Apple has removed that option, at least for those who don't have QuickTime at all (it would make sense to preserve the option if you have an older version installed)

Telsa S robo-death-dodge

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Re: Butt clencher for the driver

Probably both. We aren't used to our cars suddenly steering somewhere we didn't intend, unless we lose traction such as on ice, which occasionally has unfortunate consequences. That is always going to be an "oh shit" moment so long as our hands are on the wheel.

Apple pulled 2,204lbs of gold out of old tech gear

DougS Silver badge

@AC - gold is not $1245 either

That's the per ounce price, multiply by 16 to get the per pound price. It does end up at around $40 million though, whats your point? Do you have any idea how many iPhones you have to recycle to get that much gold? Neither do I, but it is a lot, so if it costs more than a buck or two to process (which I'm sure it does) there goes all your "profit" from that ton of gold.

DougS Silver badge

@Doctor Wibble

And your point is? Anything you need one of that costs almost nothing is going to sell at a high margin, so if you want to buy the strips in bulk (they are available on eBay already in bulk, so you will have someone to buy from) and sell them individually and reap big profits, be my guest. I think most of us have something better to do than individually shipping $2 items, and the demand for them probably isn't that high as all the "replace your battery" kits you can buy include everything you will need including the replacement strip.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Memorial...

Unless you dig up Michelangelo and have him sculpt it, there isn't anyone who will add much extra to value something that has a melt value of $60 million.

Think of it this way, if you had any of those guys do it in bronze, would it be worth $10 million? If so, you just increased the value of the gold one a whopping 16% :)

DougS Silver badge

@Dan 55 - glued in batteries

Apple stopped gluing down the batteries with the iPhone 5 back in 2012, there is now an adhesive strip with a pull tab but it is easily removed, and replacement strips can be bought for a buck or two (they can't be re-used) Samsung seems to have picked up Apple's former glue habit in recent models, which is probably one of the big reasons their score has dropped in the last couple revs.

As for whether the benchmarks have stayed the same or not, who knows. Perhaps they have changed since the original iPhone was rated in 2007, but it is reasonable to expect the criteria for phones reviewed within a year or two of each other should be close enough that they are directly comparable.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Memorial...

Since people can float they're less dense than water, and gold is about 19.5x denser than water. Since Jobs was pretty skinny, we'll assume he was just barely capable of floating and therefore gold would be 20x denser than him. If we assume he weighed 160 pounds, we'd need 3200 lbs of gold, or another five months worth.

Plus several round the clock guards, as the statue would be worth around $60 million!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Recycling: My big fat hairy arse.

You obviously have no idea how expensive it is to do this. If companies could make a profit recycling their returned gear, they'd all be doing it.

DougS Silver badge

s/to be good corporate citizens/for the positive PR/

I wasn't aware those are different things. Name a company that does things solely to be a "good corporate citizen" but not for the positive PR impact on their brand image.

Job ad promises 'Meaningless Repetitive Work on the .NET Stack'

DougS Silver badge

Re: Honesty in advertising?

Indeed. Even more important I think is that your boss will really understand that your job sucks, and how, which might make having a job that sucks easier to take. The job they are offering is not that different than what a lot of people do, but their bosses think they should be happy and fulfilled doing it.

Of course this was all a scam to get publicity - I think they said "we can't find anyone qualified who wants to take this job, the only ones interested are vastly unqualified...what can we do to stand out amongst the thousands offering similar jobs?" Obviously they let the team doing this work currently write the job description and told them to be brutally honest and highlight the worst parts of the job. They hoped it would get attention like this.

Big telco proxies go full crazy over cable box plan

DougS Silver badge

@MR J - Directv

Directv doesn't charge extra for HDMI, but they do charge extra on older accounts for HD (it is included in newer accounts, if you sign up as a new customer today you can't even get SD equipment)

It sounds like your mother has SD receivers which of course don't have HDMI outputs because they are designed to connect to a SD TV. The extra charge she was told about to get something with HDMI would have been the $10/month charge for HD service.

She got a very old receiver because they haven't been making the SD receivers for years, so everything is refurbished. In a few years Directv will likely transition off SD entirely and replace everyone's old receivers with HD gear (but by then the ones they give you for these free/forced upgrades will probably be pretty old too...)

DougS Silver badge

@User4574 - cable card in the US

There are exactly ZERO TVs that can take a cable card, and the only popular consumer gear that uses it is Tivo. There is the HDhomerun, and you used to be able to build a media center PC using a PCI tuner card that accepted a cable card until Microsoft pulled support for it in newer versions of Windows.

Cable card is also limited - it is one way only so you can't do VOD or PPV, that only works with their boxes. What is funny is two way works just fine if you rent a Tivo from the cable company (of the ones that offer it as an option to rent) It turns out that the two way capability is proprietary, which is why the cable card standard doesn't support it. This was deliberately done by the cable companies to hobble card cable. There was a new standard that was supposed to replace it in the late 2000s called Tru2Way, but cable company obstructionism insured it was a failure.

Verizon bribes customers

DougS Silver badge

Interesting. This must be why - they blocked it to hold Google for ransom to share that purchase data Google wanted to keep to themselves.

DougS Silver badge

Is Google paying Verizon to do this?

Or has Verizon modified the Android load on their phones so they can get a copy of the purchase data Android Pay is collecting for Google?

Intel's XPoint emperor has no clothes, only soiled diapers

DougS Silver badge

Re: Is the author just trolling?

These days it is generally only used for the high end enterprise, or as a cache for MLC/TLC drives. I don't think Intel/Micron even sell SLC drives any longer, but they don't really play in the high end enterprise market.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Is the author just trolling?

Your unpleasant references to "pissing in cornflakes" and claims that the author is petulant, whining, nasty, bitter and 12 years old doesn't show you as any more mature than he.

While he could have done a better job of making his case (it read like a Charlie Demerjian article over at semiaccurate) his point is quite correct. The hype around "1000x" better has led a lot of people to assume that XPoint will become a new tier beyond flash, but the actual difference appears to be much smaller.

The numbers in the article look pretty much identical to SLC NAND performance, so unless it can beat SLC in cost it may not have any impact on the market. Sure, that's gen 1, and it can be further improved, but NAND isn't standing still either. Unless future generations of XPoint prove suitable for 3D it won't be able to compete with NAND in either density or price.

You won't believe this, but… nothing useful found on Farook iPhone

DougS Silver badge

Re: "armed forces are the only exception"

That's really only because one party wraps itself in the flag and supports the troops as a form of nationalism, with everyone (except, in some cases, Trump) trying to out-patriotic the next, while the other party feels lingering guilt for the shitty way they treated the troops in the days of Vietnam and their current level of support is a form of overcompensation.

Plus everyone realizes that the troops are just people, who were served a shit sandwich with the wars they've been asked to fight and how they've been asked to fight them. The blame really belongs with the people giving the orders, from today's commander in chief and his predecessor, along with the ridiculously bloated assortment of generals who still think they are fighting WW II and/or the Soviet Union.

South Korea to upgrade national stereo defence system for US$16m

DougS Silver badge

Re: What is the point of this?

Does it work? Has any NK guard ever defected? I doubt it, because the other guards probably shoot them if they try.

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