* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Spyware sneaks into 'million-ish' Asus PCs via poisoned software updates, says Kaspersky

DougS Silver badge

Re: Nation-state operation

We could probably figure out which nation state if we knew the location/ownership of those 600 MAC addresses. I'll take location = Iran and nation state = Israel at 3/1.

NASA 'nauts do what flagship smartphone fans can only dream of: Change the batteries

DougS Silver badge

Re: Big fail

Let Musk sell stock to suckers to fund a company to send people to Mars. That's just a huge waste of effort since there's no real advantage to living there over the Moon and several huge disadvantages.

It remains to be seen if private manned LEO launches are safer than NASA's, but at least they'll be cheaper since there will be multiple companies offering it a few years from now.

Techies take turns at shut-down top trumps

DougS Silver badge

Re: The problem with poorly located buttons

Sorry, but if the room is so full of smoke I can't see anything or there's a chemical leak blinding me I'm ONLY worried about leaving. Screw the damn EPO button!

TV piracy ring walks the plank after Euro cops launch 14 raids and shutter 11 data centres

DougS Silver badge

Re: "Don't buy a Ferrari"

Buy houses in other countries in an untraceable manner (or at least as close as you can come) Even if they find some of them, they won't find them all, then you have somewhere to live when you get out of prison :)

Altered carbon: Boffins automate DNA storage with decent density – but lousy latency

DougS Silver badge

Re: Long lasting

Presumably you would keep your "data center in a sugar cube" in conditions ideal for the longevity of DNA, and since it is so small have lots of backups. The reason little survives is because DNA rarely ends up in ideal conditions.

For bonus points, create a life form with a LOT of junk DNA you can use as scratch space, and put it in a zoo. With enough redundancy you can get your data back from one of its descendants :)

Our amazing industry-leading AI was too dumb to detect the New Zealand massacre live vid, Facebook shrugs

DougS Silver badge

The news doesn't show people being shot or blown up. It shows people shooting, or explosions from a distance. Very different from a helmet mounted camera showing people being shot only a few feet away.

DougS Silver badge

Re: You mean make more money?

If they detected the audio signature of gunshots and blocked those videos for further review, someone would edit the video to dub "pew pew pew" for the gunshots.

We fought through the crowds to try Oculus's new VR goggles so you don't have to bother (and frankly, you shouldn't)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Not seeing the mass-market appeal

I think it will gain mass market appeal eventually, but it will need the right product which hasn't come yet, and a killer app/game to go along with it. There are still a few more wrongs to go before we get to right.

I don't hate US tech, snarls Euro monopoly watchdog chief – as Google slapped with €1.49bn megafine

DougS Silver badge

Re: At some point Google will do a calculation

You must also consider the LOSS OF PROFIT in the rest of the world if they are forced to change their business practices, divest holdings, etc. to conform with EU rules. If the EU tried to force them to make changes which would cost them 25% of their worldwide profit, it would be an easy decision for them to pull out.

Now in some cases they might be able to do business differently only within the EU, but with the EU pulling a United States and thinking their rules apply everywhere (i.e. claiming GDPR applies to EU citizens anywhere in the world, so you can't assume access to a US site from a US location is free from GDPR obligation) that's probably not going to fly.

DougS Silver badge

Re: At some point Google will do a calculation

Google can still index the EU even if they don't do business there in terms of selling advertising, etc. And of course making it punitive for EU citizens - if they aren't going to make money there they would geoblock Google Search, GMail etc. including on Android phones operated in the region.

If Google has no offices or employees in the entire EU, doesn't make any money that's taxable in the EU, the EU can't touch them. They can't prevent them from indexing anymore than they could prevent Baidu from indexing EU sites despite not doing business in the EU - the sites themselves could prevent it if they so chose by blocking Google's crawler while leaving Bing etc. alone.

DougS Silver badge

Re: At some point Google will do a calculation

"EMEA" > "EU".

Your 33% figure doesn't tell us how much revenue they make from the EU alone, nor does it tell us how much they'd lose in the rest of the world if they were forced to enforce EU rules worldwide because of the "what if an EU citizen elsewhere in the world conducts a search, buys an Android phone, etc." factor which they've already claimed to have the power to apply with the GDPR. Why would this be any different for EU overreach?

DougS Silver badge

At some point Google will do a calculation

On the one hand they will put the profit they make from operating in the EU.

On the other hand they will put the fines they're paying, and the loss of worldwide profit from changing the way they conduct business everywhere else to fit EU rules.

If they find the second number is larger, things could get interesting. Not that I don't agree that Google is clearly abusing their monopoly, but if the EU is going to be the only one enforcing it Google will have to at least consider walking away from that market. Brexit (if/when it finally happens) would help swing the scales a little in favor of a "Goo-exit" since they wouldn't lose UK revenue by pulling out of the EU.

Is it wrong that I really want this to happen, just because it would make for fascinating reading in the comments section of El Reg for years to come?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Tip of the iceberg

But they might go along with Spotify's argument that Apple only allowing the App Store on iPhones means that the App Store is a monopoly, even though iPhones are a clear minority of overall smartphone sales.

If they buy that argument, I imagine next we'd see ARM claim that Intel CPUs ability to only execute x86 code and not also execute ARM code constitutes a similar illegal monopoly...

Super-crook admits he nicked $122m from Facebook, Google by sending staff fake invoices for tech kit

DougS Silver badge

Re: It took TWO YEARS to notice 122 millions in extra payments?

If they are ordering billions in gear each year, 30 million a year for each company might well be below the radar. Not that they wouldn't notice it, but they'd assume someone fat fingered an invoice number and it would resolve itself eventually. Probably no one at Google/Facebook was personally invested in it enough to dig deeply until it became big enough for the Cxx suite to notice. It isn't like it is their money.

DougS Silver badge

No way he didn't have inside help

In order to do a credible job, he'd have to know what Quanta's real invoices look like, what bank they use when dealing with Google/Facebook, what kit Google and Facebook are ordering so the invoices seem reasonable, etc.

He had to have help within one or more of those companies, or at least have compromised some email accounts so he could see the real emails.

Super Cali optimistic right-to-repair's negotious, even though Apple thought it was something quite atrocious

DougS Silver badge

Re: RAT

If a machine outlives me or its usefulness to me, I would consider it to "never go wrong".

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why should apple care?

Getting a replacement part is easy. There are other phones that are broken you can cannibalize parts from. Why would you need a supply of new parts for a consumer item that sells in the tens of millions each quarter?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why should apple care?

It is impossible to "repair" a chip, you'd have an easier time repairing a car that's been through a crusher. If you have a tiny fiddly board with two dozen chips ranging from a grain of rice to a thumbnail in size, on both sides, how could it possibly make financial sense for anyone to take the time to diagnose and then desolder and replace one? Arguing "well my time is free I don't care if it takes 15 hours" and we should create some vast infrastructure for buying individual chips, tons of schematics so you can diagnose their problems etc. is stupid when one in 50,000 people would do it.

The idea that anything other than batteries or displays will be "repaired" in a smartphone is silly. Maybe the odd button or connector in certain circumstances. That's all we should be worrying about.

DougS Silver badge

Re: RAT

While it isn't a standard, iFixit does teardowns of popular devices and assigns a repairability score to them - and in the process shows you have to disassemble them so you can e.g. replace the battery. I'm not sure how you'd "standardize" such a subjective thing.

Brexit text-it wrecks it: Vote Leave fined £40k for spamming 200k msgs ahead of EU referendum

DougS Silver badge

Re: What I don't understand

Well maybe someone needs to make a law that when a referendum is proposed that it must include the vote share it needs to get, explicitly state whether it is binding or not and it is not binding then state clearly it can't be used to justify what it proposed but only to see where public sentiment lies and a binding referendum would be required to actually accomplish the change.

The US has the same problem when it sends troops overseas, there is almost never a clear mission statement, or it is unattainable (i.e. "wipe out Al Qaeda / ISIS") with no clear trigger for or plan for exit.

DougS Silver badge

Re: What I don't understand

No, a supermajority should be required to LEAVE, because that changes the current status quo. Just like I'd say that if Scotland wanted to be independent from the UK they should do it by 2/3 majority.

Going back and whining about what requirements existed when the UK joined is silly, if you go back far enough (i.e. 1214) you had a monarch with absolute authority so you could just as well argue that the Queen should decide on her own. You can't fix history, but you can fix the future in the present.

I hate to think what the state of our Constitution would be if it could be amended by a simple majority in house/senate and states - given how weak in the knees Trump makes republican congressmen, he'd have become the first emperor of the US sometime last year, and had Mueller publicly executed.

DougS Silver badge

What I don't understand

Is why you'd do such an important vote by a simple majority. Seems to me that you should require 2/3 majority, so it is clear that the population wants such a major change. What would happen if a few years after Brexit there's some buyer's remorse and a new referendum is called and rejoining the EU gets a 51% majority? You could end up flipping back and forth when you only need to win by one vote either way.

Don't get the pitchforks yet, Apple devs: macOS third-party application clampdown probably not as bad as rumored

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple are Nazis thinking - REJECTED

Your mistake is assuming that most people are like you. To the average person a computer and a smartphone ARE "appliances", and they have no desire to fiddle with them in the way you do. They'd prefer to have what they can do limited if it means having less chance to cause problems for themselves through clicking on the wrong link etc.

You probably also want a car with a manual transmission instead of an automatic, a carburetor instead of fuel injection so you can work on it yourself, you think a heated steering wheel is for sissies and warning bells for not buckling up or taking the key out without turning the headlights off are dumb. Most people like those things, because most people see their car as an appliance too.

DougS Silver badge

Leave it up to the end user

You should have three system states:

1) totally wide open (i.e. like today)

2) one time pop up requiring admin approval (i.e. Windows 7 type UAC) to sign unsigned code with a system signature

3) signed code only (i.e. enterprise IT lockdown model, $99 pay to play)

The default should #2, so if you compile code yourself it attaches a user signature ("signed by DougS") so you can run it yourself without doing anything extra. If someone else on your Mac or who downloads it to another Mac wants to run it, they need admin permissions to attach a system signature ("signed by MyMac") which lets anyone on that Mac run it.

Android clampdown on calls and texts access trashes bunch of apps

DougS Silver badge

Show me software that "got it right the first time" and then I'll accept your premise. If you have that mythical perfect software, and people are still buying it, why wouldn't you simply increment the version number by 0.01, add a blurb claiming "fixed an obscure bug a few users reported" and send it to Apple for review? Surely an hour's work doing that would be worth continuing to get App Store revenue?

They get rid of those apps because they have been abandoned by their developer, and aren't getting updates to cope with changes in iOS, hardware, etc. If they still have a high rating from all the people who bought it years ago, people will be fooled into thinking it is still good.

Ransomware drops the Lillehammer on Norsk Hydro: Aluminium giant forced into manual mode after systems scrambled

DougS Silver badge

We already know the answer. I've never heard of "cyber insurance" paying out any real money. Anyone know of an example?

Wondering why 'Devin Nunes herp-face' was trending online? Here's the 411: House rep sues Twitter for all the rude stuff tweeted about him

DougS Silver badge

Re: Round 1?

There are clearly different rules if you are president, there's no way someone who has posted what Trump has wouldn't have been banned by now if he wasn't.

DougS Silver badge

Re: @HVC

No, he's the ranking republican of the HOUSE intelligence committee. A position he was using (when republicans had the majority) to whitewash the treasonous activities of Trump's minions, and possibly Trump himself. Now that he can't, he's forced to use lawsuits to try to take attention away from the inevitable downfall of his orange puppet master.

DougS Silver badge

The mere fact Twitter hasn't banned Trump's account

Is proof that they have no problem with a conservative posting racist, sexist, and slanderous lies 24x7.

Apple bestows first hardware upgrades in years upon neglected iPad Mini and Air lines

DougS Silver badge

Re: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

The best the Android world has, ARM's A76 in the SD855 etc. is roughly comparable to the A10, which Apple introduced 2 1/2 years ago. If Apple has only increased their CPU power 3x in the past four years, it is because they were already so far ahead of everyone else in the ARM ecosystem that it is harder to keep multiplying the speed.

Though I doubt Android SoCs have gained more than 3x during that time, either.

What was that P word? Ah. Privacy. Yes, we'll think about privacy, says FCC mulling cellphone location data overhaul

DougS Silver badge

Re: Screw first responders

Yes, but you will need a law to enforce that in the US, otherwise phone companies will want to have that location data collected all the time so they can resell it to bounty hunters, police, etc.

DougS Silver badge

Screw first responders

I'll take my chances at having an ambulance not get to me in time if it means not having accurate location data on me sold off without my consent!

Welcome. You're now in a timeline in which US presidential hopeful Beto was a member of a legendary hacker crew

DougS Silver badge

Re: Is the "fix" in?

Yes, the only thing missing from the states that are doing it right and using paper ballots that are optically read is not mandating random recount of a small number of precincts (with a statistician deciding the value of "small", not politicians or appointees) with a full recount mandated if the it differs from the machine count by enough (with a statistician also responsible for the value of "enough")

DougS Silver badge

Trump was calling for the execution of the Central Park 5 back when he claimed to be a democrat (and to this day he still believes they were guilty even though they were exonerated by DNA evidence) so his views didn't line up with the views of democrats back then anymore than his views line up with republicans now (i.e. tariffs, negotiating with Kim Jung Un as an equal, etc. were anathema to the party until Trump came along and the ones without principles looked the other way)

Trump became a republican because the "angry conservative" types Fox News and right wing web sites have bred were going to be more receptive to his divisive messaging. If he thought he could have fared better as a democrat he would have run as that, and have been nominating liberals to the court. He doesn't give a shit about judges, or any conservative principles beyond "what helps me personally". It is stunning that conservatives like bombastic bob don't see that, or if they do they simply don't care.

Unfortunately for him federal judges are appointed for life, so they have no reason to be "loyal" to the president who appointed them once they are on the bench. Especially on the Supreme Court, since they can't go any higher. If he loses in 2020 and resigns the day before with a deal from Pence to pardon him, I'll bet Pence doesn't do it. He may be an ass kisser, but I don't think he will want to go down in history as the man who pardoned the biggest criminal ever to sit in the oval office. Even if he gets pardoned, the state of New York will have enough to put him to prison for life, and his criminal spawn for a good portion of theirs. Shouldn't have become president if you didn't want people to start looking into your decades of criminal behavior, Donny boy.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Is the "fix" in?

In your mind it couldn't possibly have anything to do with Ted Cruz being universally hated, even by senators in his own party?

If Beto had run against a "generic" conservative republican instead of Cruz, he wouldn't have come as close. Winning in Texas is going to be a tough ask for any democrat, but the small handed orange traitor is doing his best to drive women and independents away so who knows by 2020?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Is the "fix" in?

Just about every state (except Georgia I think?) has abandoned electronic voting machines that leave no paper trail.

College student with 'visions of writing super-cool scripts' almost wipes out faculty's entire system

DougS Silver badge

Sounds like it was the fault of stupid instructions

At least it is if he was told to do one directory at a time. A manual process for one directory at a time would never be followed 100% correct over hundreds of directories, there would be a step missed or typoed in there somewhere - that's WHY you automate things.

The important difference is, when he tried to automate it the problem was obvious. If he'd done the manual job he'd have screwed stuff up but wouldn't have realized it until angry users called up about login errors or missing files. If he managed to combine the files of two users, which seems like a potentially likely outcome, it would be very difficult to split them up - and possibly lose data if they had files of the same name (especially dot files) that were overwritten.

This is why you don't assign "simple" manual tasks to peons, but have the experts write a script for it. If the script needs babysitting (i.e. control-Z and call me immediately if you see any error messages) THAT'S what the peons are for. That, and being the first line of defense when people call, so they can take care of the stupid problems like "your printer isn't plugged in".

Click here to see the New Zealand livestream mass-murder vid! This is the internet Facebook, YouTube, Twitter built!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Errr, censorship?

There are millions of copies because of that huge initial distribution. If it was limited to some obscure white nationalist board with 5000 members, far fewer people would have a copy to try to put on Facebook.

Though I'm not sure how they can't block it 100% of the time at upload at this point, unless people are putting it through complex filters to foil image recognition. This is one case where lots of false positives isn't a big deal - let people who get unfairly blocked complain and a human can fix the problem later.

DougS Silver badge

Re: It can be difficult, but..

You can't do anything about demagogue leaders like Hitler who spread their hate into a nation's consciousness, at least not from a social media perspective, but you can at least stop the nutjobs like the ones who did this NZ massacre from helping increase the size of audience who would be initially receptive to such a message.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Errr, censorship?

C'mon, what's worse between these two options?

1) the guy posts in a site that reaches over a billion people, so his white nationalist friends share the video to their friends, it gets re-shared and so on. The result is that a lot of non white nationalists are going to have this video presented in their feed - probably near the top given how quickly it went viral since that's how Facebook's algorithms work. Most of us will be horrified, but a few people might find it triggers something within them and they seek out more white nationalist content and become one themselves. Maybe they never would have if they weren't exposed to it in the first place.

2) the guy posts it on a white nationalist site none of us have ever heard of, and is hard to get to and has poor connectivity because reputable hosting companies, registrars etc. refuse to do business with them, his followers all masturbate to it and share it until the site goes down from being overloaded, and no one who isn't a white nationalist sees it because only white nationalists would seek out such a site in the first place. So there's zero risk that new white nationalists are created as a result of him sharing it to a white nationalist site.

DougS Silver badge

Re: It can be difficult, but..

Agreed. While driving them to underground sites might seem like it is no better, or even arguably worse, on underground sites they can't poison the minds of those whose minds aren't already poisoned. Because people whose minds aren't already poisoned aren't going to seek out those underground white nationalist forums in the first place.

We'll help you get your next fix... maybe, we'll think about it, says FTC: 'Right to repair' mulled

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

I shouldn't have to use an extra tool to help work the screwdriver because the screw is of a clearly stupid design, which flat blade slotted screws quite obviously are. That's like trying to tell people workarounds to make a square wheel roll. I'm sure you can make it work, but it was obviously not the best solution and never should have been used again once someone figured out "round" was better.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

What I hate is that people still use standard flat blade screws even today. Given a choice between mandating "right to repair" and outlawing those screws, I'd choose outlawing those screws in a heartbeat! Anytime I do something and have to pull out a flat blade screwdriver, especially if it is stubborn screw that requires a lot of force, I end up swearing up a storm that would make Marines blush.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

Torx screws can hardly be considered "weird". You run into those all the time, well outside the consumer electronics world. Now if it is super small - last year I ran into some #0 Torx screws and needed to buy a driver for them - then you won't have tools on hand, but anything #6 or higher anyone who doesn't have tools for them doesn't have what I'd consider a basic set of tools for non-techies.

Now tri blade I don't have a driver for, so I'd need a quick visit to eBay if I wanted to open a Nintendo I guess...

DougS Silver badge

Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

If a device is under warranty, the manufacturer will repair it. Once it is out of warranty and you are responsible for repair, then you no longer have any care about voiding the warranty.

I get the "ease of repair" argument, but is e.g. Apple using weird screws really a big deal? If they created a special screw that was patented, and sued anyone who sold drivers for it, then you'd have a much better argument. But those little screwdrivers are available everywhere, you can buy an assortment to work with any model of Apple device for a few dollars on eBay.

The screws are just the tip of the iceberg, you will need to buy an iFixit kit to open just about ANY modern smartphone, unless you already have stuff like spudgers and suction cups laying around. Do people really think they should be put together so you don't need any of that stuff, and you can open them up with the tools most people have laying around? If you need to buy ANYTHING you don't already have, then what difference does it make if you need one thing or five things, if they only cost $10?

And think carefully if you REALLY want companies to stop using glue - if they use screws that's just going to make it even MORE difficult to take things apart when you have 200 more screws, which won't all be the same size/type so as you take things apart you'll have multiple screw types to keep track of. Unless you want the phone to be bigger/heavier, many of those screws will need to be even smaller the ones they have now...don't sneeze at the wrong time!

I get that the weird screws Apple uses are annoying, but at least they have taken steps to make some things better, like the tape to help remove the battery instead of cutting through gobs of glue like on a Samsung - that's one of the reasons why iPhones have had a much better repairability rating than Samsung Galaxys for years despite the goofy pentalobe screws.

Just look at Q! Watch out Microsoft, the next Android has a proper desktop PC mode

DougS Silver badge

Re: Watch out Microsoft?

I think this is a pretty obvious thing for Apple to do if/when they convert macOS to ARM. It would give them a big advantage over Android due to the amount of commercial software available on Macs. I think I first posted about this possibility about five years ago.

iOS uses basically the same kernel as macOS, you'd just need to run the OS X GUI as an "app", to interface with a wireless mouse/keyboard and a Lightning to HDMI connected display.

The real market for this though was Microsoft's to own, back when Intel made x86 SoCs. If they hadn't screwed the pooch with Windows Phone, there would probably be tens of millions of people running Windows this way today. With Android (or Mac, if Apple does it) it will remain a niche for people who have very minimal "PC" needs - the type of people who do everything on their phone and use their PC a few times a month. Microsoft could have had a significant usage base in the corporate world, if you could avoid bringing a laptop for business travel that would be huge.

It's alive! Big Switch stitches together an open-source Network Operating System

DougS Silver badge

Why would Huawei want that?

Then they are just shifting low margin hardware, and would be undercut by some other Chinese company willing to accept an even lower margin.

Bombs Huawei... Smartphone exploded in my daughter's pocket, seriously burning her, claims dad in lawsuit

DougS Silver badge

If this is just a one off

This lawsuit should be tossed. There should have to be a clear pattern of issues, like there was with the Note 7, before a court will entertain such lawsuits. Even ignoring the possibility she used a dodgy charger or the phone had sustained some damage from a drop, being in her back pocket and getting sat on all the time, etc. we simply don't have the technology to have a 100% safety record for lithium batteries. Some very tiny percentage will explode or catch fire without there being a defect in the device.

The HeirPod? Samsung Galaxy Buds teardown finds tiny wireless cans 'surprisingly repairable'

DougS Silver badge

Re: It's an unfair comparision

The iPhone is and has for years been more repairable than Samsung phones. That the earpod isn't is too bad, but given a choice I'd rather the phone be more easily repairable because it is a larger investment and more likely to need a battery replaced sooner.

It is simple to replace the battery yourself in an iPhone, at least for anyone typical of Reg readership. If you don't want to do it yourself you can have it done for you at one of about a million places from mall kiosks to cell phone shops. Yes, you will need a few special tools, but those can be easily found online, and the same is true for any phone (even if they don't have weird screws like Apple uses, opening pretty much any modern smartphone requires a few things most of us don't have laying around)

They're BAAACK: Windows 10 nagware team loads trebuchet with annoying reminders to GTFO Windows 7

DougS Silver badge

GWX Control Panel?

I already installed that on my mom's PC a few years ago to stop it nagging. I hope there will be an updated version that will stop this nagging as well!

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