* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

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

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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.

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The goal is to keep potentially harmful materials out of landfills, especially stuff like lead and rare earths. Gold, silver and steel are harmless in a landfill, but you have to break everything down to remove the bad stuff, so you also end up with piles of harmless materials.

So long as it is separated, you might as well recycle it - though it would be interesting to see what would happen if Apple said it had dumped 2,204 pounds of gold in the Cupertino landfill :)

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Re: Does the report say how much they lose?

They aren't doing it to make money, they are doing it to be good corporate citizens.

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Re: Love 'em or hate 'em...

The 6 and 6S have had pretty good repairability scores - scoring a 7 out of 10, which is the same as the Nexus 5X & 6, OnePlus 2, and even the first generation Fairphone - which is supposedly designed for easy part swapping. They did much better than the Galaxy S6's 4 and the S7's 3. Unlikely Samsung who started high (with past models scoring as well as 8) and got worse, Apple has been improving over time - they had several models that scored a 6, and the original iPhone scored only 2.

The only models listed in iFixit's site released in the past couple years that beat a 7 were the LG G4 scoring 8, and the Fairphone 2, which scored a 10.


Big telco proxies go full crazy over cable box plan

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Imagine if the cellular market worked the same way

We wouldn't have anything that resembled a modern smartphone, because the iPhone could have never happened. We'd be using something with the same form factor as a Nokia 5110, built like a tank to insure it would last forever so they never had to replace it. We would rent it for $20/month and would keep using the same one for as long as you were with that carrier. The only time you could get an upgrade would be if the technology in your phone got so out of date that it wouldn't support their network upgrades, or if you moved to a higher priced package like the option to get one with a camera for an extra $10/month!

When you went to a new carrier, you'd be more likely to get a refurbished phone turned in by one of their former customers than to get a new one. The manufacturers would not sell you a phone, and if you did manage to acquire one somehow the carrier would refuse to activate it on their network, so it was pointless to even try. If we lived in that world, we wouldn't know that far better phones in terms of interface, performance and overall capability were possible. We'd think recent innovations in the last few years like a camera and 160x120 1.5" color LCD display were fine, because that would be the state of the art since there wouldn't be anything else we could compare to.

If the FCC came along trying to set rules to open up competition, the cellular companies would be playing the same games the cable companies are, claiming that allowing phones they don't control onto their network would cause all sorts of problems. They'd argue that they are pushing technology forward every bit as fast as a competitive market would, and claim almost no one would be willing to pay hundreds of dollars up front to own their cell phone so it would be a lot of expensive effort for no benefit. They'd try to make it a partisan issue, because there's no quicker way to get a government initiative bogged down than to make people on one side think it is a scheme that benefits the people in the other party.

This headline will, in part, cost pepper-spraying University of California, Davis $175k

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They deliberately don't hire people above a certain IQ level to be police. I'm not sure the people they do get are capable of understanding that experiment. Or worse, it will give them an excuse to not feel bad about treating people like that.

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And now the top search result will be

The SEO campaign trying to hide the pepper spraying. Welcome to the Streisand Effect, UC Davis!

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They might "officially" be California state police, but I doubt they go through the same hiring and training process as real CHPS officers do. Where I live there's a state university that has its own police force, and they are not trained nearly to the extent the city or county cops are (let alone the state, who I assume have even higher standards) Nonetheless, a few years ago they won the right to carry firearms.

If we ever have a Ferguson style incident here, I have no doubt it will be the campus cops who are responsible.

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

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What is the point of this?

Wouldn't North Korea simply not have anyone living within 10 km of the border, other than the guards? It is like two kids fighting by screaming at each other while covering their ears and shouting "I can't hear you! I can't hear you!"

FOUR Avatar sequels

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Yay, just what we need, another reboot. Terminator: Into Darkness, anyone?

ExoMars works! 2 Mbit/s link established and camera snapping

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Those bits that are following it

Why should those be a problem? They can't catch up, so as long as they aren't alongside of it and get hit during the course correction in July they won't be a problem. If they think they might be alongside, maybe they will need to recalculate a bit to speed up slightly before the course correction. At any rate, once the course correction is complete those pieces won't be an issue any longer.

Apple assumes you'll toss the Watch after three years

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The Reg author conveniently ignored that part of Apple's statement, because it doesn't fit their narrative about "throwing away" devices after a 3 or 4 year lifetime.

I have owned my iPhones for between one and three years, but I sold them all for between $200 and $450, and they were in good shape when I did so. They all went on to second and perhaps later third owners.

Cinema boss gives up making kids turn off phones: 'That's not how they live their life'

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So have a cell phone section

It won't bother me, and it will be better than the current situation where there is almost always a few screens lighting up here and there in front of me during a movie and distracting my eye. If it is all taking place out of my field of view I'm fine with it.

Bonus points for theaters with a balcony - make that the cell phone section and it would be impossible to see from the regular seats even if you try.

At least it won't be like the smoking section on planes I remember from when I was a little kid, where everyone is breathing the poisoned air no matter how far away they were or where they looked.

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

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Executive orders

If presidents could do whatever they want via executive order, it wouldn't matter who is in congress, because the president would be an emperor and do whatever he wants.

Can Trump make Mexico pay for the wall via executive order? No. Can Bernie make college free via executive order? No. Can Cruz make all abortions illegal via executive order? No. Can Hillary raise the minimum wage via executive order? No.

Sure, presidents can do some things at the margins via executive order, since every president pushes that boundary just a little bit further every term. Yeah, the democrats whined about Bush's overreach during his presidency, and now it is the republicans turn to whine about Obama's overreach. But neither side truly cares, because they know before long the shoe will be on the other foot and it will be their guy who pushes the boundary just a little bit further.

Now what happens if an "outsider" takes office and tries to do something that isn't partisan, but something anti-establishment (i.e. anti Washington powers that be) that neither side really wants? They'll quickly pass a law an overrule him, or if that's not possible and the stakes are big enough, vote to impeach for his unconstitutional action.

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Re: It's time for government in general to stop being weasels...

The government is basically in denial about this. The Washington establishment (which is a single unit with two divisions indicated by a D and an R) views the support for "outsiders" like Trump on the right and Sanders on the left to be an aberration.

Even if one of them should become president, their ability to really effect any significant change will be nonexistent because nearly everyone in congress owes their allegiance to the current system, because it guarantees them a job for life and an even more lucrative job as a lobbyist should they lose an election.

While nothing stops an anti-establishment guy from running and winning a primary, and a seat on the house or senate, they have to play ball with their party to some extent to be able to wield much power via committee assignments, etc. Even with a lot of them in congress, how can a president Trump or president Sanders get enough of them focused on the same goals to get anything to pass against the combined might of establishment republicans and democrats who are too invested in the current system to want real change (i.e. trying to pass a constitutional amendment to reform campaign finance, enact term limits, etc.)

Music's value gap? Follow the money trail back to Google

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Article says Content ID is off by default

So no, he wouldn't get caught by it when he uploaded it.

Database of patent licence terms could help resolve FRAND disputes, says expert

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The "ND" part of FRAND is easy

The "FR" part, not so much. However, most FRAND disputes center around the 'ND' non-discriminatory terms. That should be pretty clear to a court if you are charging one company $1 and another company $10 for using the same patent(s) to implement the same standard that's discriminatory. Because one is a phone that sells for $50 and another is an Airbus that sells for $500 million should be irrelevant to the value of the patent.

Flying Spaghetti Monster is not God, rules mortal judge

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Why only scientology?

Who says the Christian religion wasn't founded by Peter to piss of the Romans, or that Islam wasn't created by Mohammad because he wanted more than one wife? Just because we have records of how Pastafarianism was created it doesn't get to call itself a religion?

That's a pretty slippery slope for officials to be making that determination. Since prisoners have nothing but time, I hope it appeals it all the way to the Supreme Court. It would be interesting to hear their take on how freedom of religion applies here.

iOS 'date bug' can be exploited over Wi-Fi using NTP

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NTP unauthenticated

The only real solution to this problem is to create a new encrypted NTP protocol - the same as the current one except that the messages from the iPhone to the server are encrypted with a public key that only the NTP server having the private key can decrypt, and replies with messages encrypted with that private key which the phone can decrypt using the public key.

The encryption would need to be in both directions to avoid a replay attack.

Then they can sit back and listen to the howls of protest from people who complain that Apple is abandoning the NTP standard in an attempt to lock their customers in :)

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Re: client should never accept a time that's wildly different

Yes, this one was a much worse bug because it could impact anyone. The previous was more of a "you do something stupid, you deserve what you get" kind of thing.

It also shows the more general need for widespread support for DNS authentication. It is stupid to the extreme that Apple's NTP would blithely accept any date given to it no matter how much the phone's idea of the current date differed, but the fact that it is so easy to feed any device, whether Apple's or Google's or Microsoft's, bogus data by running a rogue DNS server is a problem shared by everyone. Its 2016 and still hardly anyone uses DNSSEC. Rogue DNS servers are the basis of the majority of MITM attacks, yet we are hardly any closer to resolving that issue than we were a decade ago.

Line by line, how the US anti-encryption bill will kill our privacy, security

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Show me where

I have seen nothing in the text of the proposed law that makes it illegal to make, sell or import any sort of device based on government access. Only that tech companies have to help the government access them, but it is silent on what happens if the tech company is UNABLE to help.

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@P. Lee - passcodes

Passcodes - i.e. 4 digits PINs are definitely a problem, but you do not have to use them. iOS supports using passwords. You don't need too much entropy before brute force becomes utterly unwieldly - this isn't like password cracking where can try a rainbow attack using a dictionary of billions of pre-encrypted passwords.

If your password was a single lowercase dictionary word you'd be vulnerable, but if you simply added a couple digits or punctuation marks to it, you'd have enough entropy to be safe as the solution space would too large for a dictionary attack to be practical given the limitations of being able to enter them (even if you bypassed the delays for wrong passwords and the ten try limit)

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Re: I don't see how this would be a problem for Apple

Apple would not be "refusing" to comply, they would be unable to comply. It would be no different than the FBI trying to get Apple to break into a phone that had been damaged by fire, and Apple telling them "it has been destroyed too badly".

The law says the covered entity 'shall' provide certain things, but does not specify that they must design their products to be capable of providing those things. That's a whole different law, and Apple will already be at that point before this law can ever pass - congress would never pass something so controversial during an election year, and by the time there is a lame duck session in November Apple will have already changed iOS 10 so they cannot comply.

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I don't see how this would be a problem for Apple

They are going to make it so it is impossible to get at the data under any circumstances. Obviously I haven't read the full text, but what I have seen doesn't seem to require that they perform the impossible. So if presented with an iPhone 5c they might be forced to create a hacked OS to help the FBI break in, but if presented with an iPhone running iOS 10 that includes the changes that make it impossible to Apple to help, the FBI will get the court order and Apple will say "what you are asking is impossible".

If the government could compel impossible things they should just have a court order that compels Apple to hand over a list of every active terrorist in the world and where they are located. That would save a lot of hassle trying to decrypt phones and doing police work if you assume you can force someone to pull a rabbit out of a hat.

Google broke its own cloud AGAIN, with TWO software bugs

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Like I said in another article

Once you get past 4 9s or so downtime is mostly related to human error. From the list in the article of all of Google Cloud's outages since August, only one was not human error. And assuming all outages were of the 18 minutes magnitude of this one, Google Cloud is running at about 3 1/2 9s.

Warrant-less email snatching by cops, Feds under threat by draft law

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Elections are coming, sorta

Feinstein isn't up for election until 2018, so no hope of doing anything about her. But Burr is, and the first poll in NC gives him just a 5 point lead over the democratic challenger, with a libertarian candidate polling 7%.

Between Trump scrambling things up on the republican side, that challenge from the libertarian candidate and North Carolina's controversial new law, Burr could be in for quite a fight so there's hope on that front! The problem is, he might be replaced by someone of like mind, and if the democrats retake the senate then Feinstein will be chair of the intelligence committee.

Bay Area man forced out of his $400 box home

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The guy chose to live in a box, he didn't answer an ad for living in a box. He is living at a friend's house and instead of paying him a few bucks to crash on his couch he hired a carpenter to build himself a box and made a big deal out of it by telling people.

If he'd said "I'm paying my friend $400/month to crash on his couch" no one would have batted an eye, there are countless thousands doing the same in SF, NYC, London and every other major city.

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The only places that fire rated sheet rock is required is in between units. Inside the boundary of your apartment/condo/house the walls will typically be ordinary paper faced gypsum drywall (in newer construction) that is most definitely not fire rated.

There is absolutely no reason for them to claim his box is a fire hazard, as it is no different than the walls of the bedroom(s) in that apartment. I suppose he could cover the plywood with drywall, or make the box out of drywall instead of plywood, if they insist that bare wooden walls are the problem. I wonder what specious excuse they'd give then?

Him paying $400 to live in his box inside someone else's apartment is no different than answering an ad for a roommate. A lot of places (not sure about SF) have requirements about number of occupants versus number of bedrooms/beds, but that's typically in areas trying to limit the areas where college students or immigrants can live, so I doubt SF specifically addresses that as they are hardly anti-immigrant.

'Apple owes me $2bn'

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Stupid on many levels

1. Apple wasn't the first to market with a smart watch and never claimed to invent it

2. "Computer wrist watch" can't be patented (well, shouldn't be) since it is an idea, not an implementation

3. Plaintiff doesn't provide proof of any such patent like a patent number

4. Suing in Michigan instead of east Texas shows the stupidity of the plaintiff, if you have a real claim that's where you go for the friendly jury

HGST has an entry-level 14PB archive box... is that enough for your, er, home collection?

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15 9s

This is stupid. Once you get to 4 9s, human error becomes the dominant factor in outages. Even something that should never be screwed up like replacing a bad drive sometimes is - I saw a three hour outage on a VNX pool last fall when the EMC contractor replaced the wrong drive.

You can mitigate that through strategies that remove the human element from the picture as much as possible, but there's no way you can remove the human element enough to get to 15 9s. That's just stupid stuff some marketer came up with that the engineers in the company were probably all against claiming.

USB-C adds authentication protocol

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I wonder how they prevent copying the key off a whitelisted device onto either a cheap Chinese clone or an evil device that will try to compromise the USB host.

What USB need is a way to limit devices to certain functionality - if I plug in a charger cable it should only be capable of providing power, it should be unable to do anything else. I don't know if the USB standard even allows for the host to do this - like for instance, only if I hold down the home button while plugging in my phone would I enable bidirectional data access on the USB port. Otherwise it would only be able to receive power, nothing else. That's a much better way of preventing rogue USB chargers, and something it would be impossible to overcome by simply copying a public key.

Samsung's dimmer Galaxies can make calls when locked, cabled

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Re: Samsung's 'apple moment' perhaps?

I'm downvoting you here only because you posted it THREE times!

FBI 'zero-day iPhone hack'

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Guess Apple needs to start buying 0 days on the open market

Just so they can close them up.

Would you let cops give your phone a textalyzer scan after a road crash?

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Absolutely not

If the crash is my fault, it doesn't matter whether I was on my phone or not. If the crash wasn't my fault, it doesn't either.

Besides, since we currently have stupid laws where "hands free" use is legal, how are they going to tell the difference between you being on the phone hands free versus holding it? The phone just shows calls made/received and texts made/received. It doesn't show whether you were dictating or punching them in manually.

This is just an attempt for cops to go fishing, and intimidate people who might try to record the cops when they show up the scene - they can check the phone and "accidentally" delete something they don't want the public to see.

Cash, fear and uncertainty: The Holy Trinity of Bitcoin and blockchain

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Buying land

If you fear the collapse of government and want to avoid having currency, let's say dollars because you worry about the US, holding land in the US is no better. Without a government, who is going to enforce your ownership rights over that land?

When some replacement government becomes the new local authority, whether it is the result of revolution in the US, military takeover by China or by Canada, or some post apocalyptic warlord like in Mad Max, they will be the ones who say who owns "your" land. Just because you have documents from the old government saying they are yours, even if you have been continuously occupying and defending it since the collapse, won't mean squat.

There is basically nothing you can do to insure against such a disruption. The US government won't go down without a fight, and during the time between its fall and the consolidation of power by its replacement, things would going get bad. Bad enough that having land or gold or certainly bitcoins won't be much better than having a stacks of $100 bills stuffed in a mattress. Canned food, clean water, and ammunition will be the new coin of that realm. I'll grant that the gold will come in handy after the new government is established, assuming you maintain physical possession of it and the new government doesn't confiscate all gold as one of their first acts to consolidate their power. Sure, you could continue hiding it, but if you have it and can't spend it, that's really no better than not having it unless you play the long game and hope things will change twenty years down the road.

Graphene solar panels harvest energy from rain

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How much energy comes from the rain?

There are no figures here, if it generates an extra 0.1% compared to regular solar panels then this is pointless. If it generates a significant fraction of water a solar cell does, then why not station a bunch of these at Niagara Falls to catch all that spray coming off it?

I suspect the energy recovered is so tiny it is just a press release opportunity but not anything that will ever be practical to include in a solar cell. They want to counter the dumb "but what about when it is raining" objection to solar cells, but if you say "yeah, now when it rains we generate a couple watts an hour" that will just make people laugh at the absurdity of it all.

Unless the paper's mention of hundreds of microvolts and microamps is actually more impressive than it sounds to me...why that's almost a milliamp at a millivolt, if they could boost it up to those levels that would equal a whole microwatt! Assuming that's per raindrop, that's only a million raindrops to generate a whole entire watt!

Websites take control of USB devices: Googlers propose WebUSB API

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Good, something needed to replace Flash for patch of the week club

This sounds like something that will be infested with security holes galore, good job idiot Googlers!

How long before the first website using this API is found to be taking over people's webcam and recording them?

PC market shambling towards an unquiet grave

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So they are admitting their forecasts a few months ago of 0.5% decline are wrong?

Or do they still hold to those forecasts I said were ridiculous, assuming that something magic will happen to increase sales in Q2-Q4?

This is bloody obvious, as people who have PCs have no reason to replace them, because a 2016 PC doesn't do anything a five or heck even ten year old PC can't do. Plus a growing number of people are getting along just fine with their phone or tablet, and doesn't see the need to own a PC any longer. The type of people who read the Reg can't imagine living without a PC, but the type of people who read USA Today or The Guardian certainly can.

We're not in Kansas City anymore, Toto ... Google axes free fiber internet

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Re: Classic scam model

The places where Google has been expanding have a lot of wealthier areas, so there were already good broadband options and competition in most cases.

It doesn't take Google really just anyone coming in and doing fiber causes better options and pricing from the incumbents. Where I live a fiber provider that operates in nearby cities made a deal with the city to come in. Immediately the cable company sued them for lacking a proper franchise agreement, even though that only applies for TV service and they are only planning to offer internet at this time. The incumbent always puts up a fight when someone forces them to lower their prices to a reasonable level!

Google ads probe blow

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This case is all about Google trying to keep incriminating documents secret

Back in 2011 they enter a "non prosecution agreement" over prescription drug advertising for $500 million, and half the payout went to Rhode Island because they apparently had some particularly incriminating documents in their possession. About 40 state AGs, lead by Mississippi, don't believe Google is keeping to the terms of their agreement and want to see those documents, but Google and their bought and paid for pawns in Rhode Island have been doing everything they can to keep them secret.

Apparently Google thinks that by paying off the smallest state with a quarter billion, they can buy protection from the laws of the US.

Seagate's Kinetic drives: They're moving... but in what direction?

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So you pay for the intelligence in each drive

Instead of saving money on the drives and having the intelligence at the application, OS, or array level. Which is more likely to see feature upgrades, the software on your individual drives (of varying models as you buy over time) or the higher layers?

Object store drives are a solution looking for a problem, where Seagate's problem is "how do we extract more money from our customers instead of having them give it to someone else?"

Aluminum-wrapped robbers fail to foil bank

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Perfect PIR defense

Except in Hollywood, where they use lasers that unaccountably allow gaps for a skilled acrobat to move between the beams! For some reason they don't use lasers in combination with motion sensors, but instead you face the lasers alone and then the ultrasonic motion sensors alone - never together because that wouldn't allow our hero/villain to get through!

SQL injection vuln found at Panama Papers firm Mossack Fonseca

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Re: Quite possibly a red herring

I think it is the law firm itself and the government officials concerned who have more of a reason to make people believe it was hackers rather than an inside job. The fact that a hole was found in the law firm's systems in no way makes the likelihood of a hack any greater, but that's what the powers that be are trying to imply.

If you had security specialists looking at anyone's systems you'd find something; no one has perfect security. If that one hole is all they've found, I'd wager they've got much better security than most organizations!

Saturn spacecraft immune to mysterious Planet 9's charms

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If Pluto is a planet, then we have to call the new one Planet X

And hope that any three headed lightning breathing dragons living on it aren't able to fly through space all the way to Earth!

Spinning rust fans reckon we'll have 18TB disk drives in two years

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Re: Wishful thinking ...

If they wanted to they could offer 100 TB SSDs, the fact those don't exist is due to a lack of market, not because they can't make them.

But as pointed out, what matters is getting the cost per TB reasonably close. I think when SSDs are less than twice as much is when spinning media will disappear entirely. We're a long way from that day. But we're close to the point where it doesn't make sense for home users to have anything but SSDs even for bulk storage. Unless you collect stuff off bittorrent or have a child you video constantly, you aren't needing 8 TB drives today and 14 TB drives tomorrow.

Anonymised search engine page found on 'kid-friendly' search site

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This kinda makes sense

You don't want your kid's searches being tracked by advertisers and cookies being saved to track their movements around the web, so an anonymized search engine makes perfect sense. What doesn't is an unfiltered search engine, but there is absolutely no reason you can't have anonymized filtered results, this site clearly screwed up in a major way on that front!

BlackBerry boss mulls mid-range Androids

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Hardly a surprise

Everyone knew that BB10 was doomed the moment they produced an Android phone. They are flailing around like a drowning person trying to grasp whatever they can to get their head above water and take a breath. They ported BBM to iOS and Android, then decided to quit charging for it since no one was using it because they were years late in this doing this. BBM running on Android and iOS in 2010 would have had a good chance at getting wide adoption - once unlimited SMS plans became commonplace and iMessage and then WhatsApp appeared, BBM was doomed.

All they have left is their email, they'll eventually quit making hardware and offer it as a builtin to Android OEMs who want to claim theirs is an "enterprise" phone. Unfortunately secure email isn't secure if the OS is compromised, and unless they insist on it running on pure Android, it will be vulnerable to innumerable exploits since the phone's OS will be updated once or twice and then forgotten, as with all non-pure Android phones.

I give them until 2018 to be bought out for their patents and BB email gets shut down, or 2020 if they try to stick it out until they run out of money.

Popular cable modem vulnerable to remote reboot/reset flaw

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Re: more people

What do you mean "can't reflash them normally". Look up TR-069, even if you change the password your ISP can still get in. I know how to block it in my DSL modem via a hidden TR-069 config page but have chosen not to - even though the modem is like 8 years old I still get several new firmware versions delivered by my ISP each year - presumably to protect against exploits like this that haven't been made public.

Picture this: An exabyte of cat pix in the space of a sugar cube of DNA

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Maybe someone already did that?

How would we know, if their data is compressed and/or encrypted? Maybe that's what the Grey's anal probes are for, to retrieve the data they stored in Egyptian times!

'Fart detector' wins Chinese Physics prize

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Maybe a Chinese phone will add 'smell' capability

Then it could support an app to detect who farted, a capability that would surely vault its sales past that of pretenders like the iPhone and Galaxy!

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