* Posts by DougS

12862 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Net neutrality: Email trail reveals how Prez Obama bent the FCC to his will

DougS Silver badge

Re: Nothing new here...except maybe the IT angle.

A new level? More so than the Bush administration, who tasked one of their lawyers to come up with a new legal theory and forced the Attorney General to sign it while hospitalized, then used that document to order the NSA to violate the Constitution in multiple ways to spy on every American?

And we're supposed to be worried about bringing the FCC chair to the White House for a few meetings?

We survived a five-hour butt-numbing Congress hearing on FBI-Apple ... so you don't have to

DougS Silver badge

Re: Hmmm

iCloud is stored on AWS, not on Apple's servers (at least not yet)

iCloud is used as a backup for your iPhone, why would Apple make backups of backups? The data is stored redundantly on AWS, but they don't offer any way to recover something you've deleted from iCloud. Once its gone, its gone.

Photographer hassled by Port of Tyne for filming a sign on a wall

DougS Silver badge

No, it does have to do with government

Yes, the Idiots With A Badge phenomena is why he was treated that way, but it is the ridiculous response of governments because they have to be seen "doing something" about terrorism is why the supposed need for heightened security at ports, so where a guy on public land is seen as a threat.

The 'photography is suspicious' crowd are going to have to realize that with Google Maps that there's nothing you can see from public land around private property that isn't already on the internet. With drones flying over public land you can easily see that private property and count the number of guards visible outdoors or through windows, track their typical movements, etc. so you have to treat that as publicly known information and adjust security procedures according to that fact.

There is no reason to be worried about photographers around ANYTHING on public land, even if they happened to be known terrorists - whatever a photographer can publicly find out with that camera they could secretly find out with a drone operated by a guy hidden from view a quarter mile away - and find out more that way due to better angles.

Irate IT distributors chase Amazon over unpaid bills

DougS Silver badge

Re: Amazon's "Uh oh" moment:

Probably there are enough competitors with greedy management who will take their place that Amazon doesn't care. The sales people who negotiate the deal with Amazon will get a huge bonus. The public announcement of that huge deal (which probably just says "major new customer" so investors won't know who it is) will cause their stock price to soar, meaning huge windfall for management whether they are paid bonuses or receive stock options (or double dip if they receive both)

When it all falls apart and the company finds it isn't profitable and they need to cut ties with Amazon, the management has already got rich and they can flee the sinking ship and sell their stock before its value plummets. This is a perfect example of why management compensation needs to be tied to long term success of the business, not short term measures like signing a deal or causing the stock price to spike for a few quarters.

Bonus points if the fleeing managers find refuge at a different company, call up the guy they worked with at Amazon last time, and do the same thing again!

Gartner to FBI: Stop bullying Apple and the tech industry

DougS Silver badge

Assumption 0: that if the iCloud password hadn't been changed, the phone was still configured to sync to iCloud. It apparently hadn't synced to iCloud for a few weeks prior, but it isn't clear why that is - was the sync to iCloud disabled? Was the phone turned off? Was the phone in a location where it didn't have access to a known wifi network? Had the phone not been used so there was nothing new to sync?

Not sure about assumption 2 either. Currently iCloud data is stored on AWS. I'm sure Amazon gives their customers the option of backing up AWS, but iCloud already is a backup so why would Apple want a backup of a backup?

Institute of Directors: Make broadband speeds 1000x faster than today's puny 2020 target

DougS Silver badge

Re: No one needs 10 Gb today, or the foreseeable future beyond 2030

A lot of the advances in broadband have been the result of Moore's Law's inevitable march. We couldn't have built 56K modems in 1985, because the ASIC that does the signal processing would have heated your house, and probably cost as much.

We're starting to approach Shannon limits in communication - both over copper and RF. DOCSIS 3.1 has a path to 10 gigabit, and 5G to several gigabits, which is more than enough for the foreseeable future in my mind. So where's the need to press for more? Sure, we can get 'more' if we run fiber to everyone's house, but where's the return on investment for doing that if they've got coax run to it that can be upgraded to DOCSIS 3.1 for far less money? Or for wiring a low density rural area when fixed wireless (LTE today, 5G in the future) can serve their needs.

Sure, improved computation, beamforming for better directionality or new techniques that allow bidirectional traffic at full speed instead of reserving some bands for downlink and some for uplink will make things more efficient, but that's really only of benefit in the aggregate for shared mediums like a DOCSIS node or 5G tower, not because you need 10 gigabits to the home.

DougS Silver badge

No one needs 10 Gb today, or the foreseeable future beyond 2030

As TRT says, what do you need it for? Even if you want multiple 4K streams like the one guy did, you won't get much above 100 Mb, let alone a gig - Netflix is using 15.6 Mbps for delivering their 4K streams. You must have a lot of TVs if a gigabit isn't enough for 4K streaming, let alone 10 gigabits!

The primary driver for faster broadband has been richer input to our senses. We went from text based content like BBSes to early web pages with small pictures to illegally sharing MP3s to rich web pages with big pictures to early Youtube flash videos to DVD quality Netflix to live HD streaming and live 4K streaming is around the corner.

Once we get there, the drivers for faster broadband run out of gas. Even if (and its a big if) we go to 8K and maybe a higher frame rate we still don't need a gigabit unless you need that to a dozen TVs simultaneously. The bureaucrats saying we need 10 gigabit by 2030 are simply extrapolating from past growth in broadband speeds, as if demand will continue for faster and faster broadband. It won't, because the driver of demand for faster broadband speeds runs out of gas as it catches up with supporting our most dense sensory input, 4K streaming video.

If you extrapolated the trend in cell phone size from phones like the RAZR in 2005 to 2015 where screens over 5" are very popular, you might conclude we will be carrying phones the size of an iPad Pro by 2025...

Note I'm just talking about speed to your house - the backbones and ISPs will need to handle more, as more and more people stream richer video. But even that will level off, it will just take longer until almost everyone is streaming all their video instead of watching 'traditional' broadcast TV.

Intravenous hangover clinics don't work, could land you in hospital

DougS Silver badge

Re: @IvoryT

Ah yes, one of those who believes that drinking top shelf vodka (or scotch or gin or what have you) makes you immune to hangovers in a way that drinking cheap vodka does not. I've never noticed any difference in that regard, I think it is an excuse people like to tell themselves since they know if challenged they pass a double blind test between the cheap stuff and the expensive stuff once its been drowned in mixer.

DougS Silver badge


I wasn't trying to imply (nor did she say) that it was a salt imbalance alone. Just that taking care of that to fix the problem of your body excreting water to balance salt levels on its own handles enough of the hangover symptoms that you aren't miserable the next day - just a little run down.

Your link is interesting but I was speaking from the point of view of the occasional binge drinker, not a chronic alcoholic. When I have college friends come into town a few times a year for a football game I'll drink more on the Friday night and subsequent Saturday day/night than in the previous month, so all I want is something that will leave me feeling reasonably OK on Sunday. I found from experience the alternative without taking the salt tablets is not feeling reasonably OK until Monday no matter how much water I drink (or whatever I eat along with it) on Sunday!

I'm sure this 'cure' (or rather prevention, since it must be done in advance) could be improved by adding some other stuff to better balance electrolytes etc. but I'm not drinking like this often enough that's its a big concern. Besides, I figure you should have to pay a little something for drinking to such ridiculous and glorious excess....if it didn't hurt at all it would be too tempting to do it all the time and then I'd be in that chronic alcoholic category and this cure apparently wouldn't work anymore :)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Not quite

Actually it sort of is a loss of saline. Specifically, the dehydration is the result of an imbalance in salt levels in your body caused by a combination of imbibing large volumes of non salty liquids like beer and mixers, and the diuretic effect of alcohol causing you to excrete saline in the form of urine. Drinking water doesn't really address that imbalance, which is why you crave the sort of 'unhealthy' foods that are high in salt content after a bout of drinking and/or the next day.

If you're planning on downing way too many pints some night try taking a dozen salt pills a couple hours before your first beer (not all at once, it may give you a bit of an upset stomach and put you off drinking that night...they're best taken with food) That will raise the salt levels in your body 'too high' so your body will try to equalize the salt levels by retaining water from what you imbibe - a bonus meaning that you don't need to piss as often while drinking all those pints!

You'll feel much better the next day, because your salt levels will be better balanced. You still won't feel perfect because that's not all a hangover is, but I find I can function pretty well the day after a marathon drinking session when I've taken the salt pills beforehand versus laying around feeling miserable and doing pretty much fuck all if I haven't.

Of course this requires advance knowledge of a bender, so it is more appropriate for those past their 20s where benders tend to be planned rather than something that is equally likely to happen on any normal night out without any way to tell ahead of time.

As for the negative health effects of salt ingestion on blood pressure etc. that's up to you to work out if you're overweight or otherwise have high blood pressure. I'm not a doctor but dated one for several years (and it is she who taught me this highly valuable anti-hangover technique)

Windows Phone devs earn double what poor Android devs pocket

DougS Silver badge

Where are they located and who are the apps targeted at?

Probably lots of Android developers in countries with lower cost of living, so they can make a go of it for less than someone based in the US or UK could.

The share of Windows phones sold into the corporate market, and the share of apps purchased for that market, has to be a lot higher than for Android or iPhone. If for example 1% of Android app sales, 5% of iPhone app sales and 20% of Windows app sales are corporate focused apps - which would be sold for more - that's going to raise the developer's average revenue. There are probably a lot more iOS devs doing corporate apps than Windows devs, but they are still a small percentage overall, with their revenue averaged down by the low revenue from devs doing what they love (i.e. games) even though there's less money in it.

Commodity flash just as good as enterprise drives, Google finds

DougS Silver badge

Re: More than 20 per cent of flash drives develop uncorrectable errors in a four year period

If you are that paranoid that you can't run for even a short time unprotected, you need to triple mirror or use dual parity RAID6.

DougS Silver badge

Re: More than 20 per cent of flash drives develop uncorrectable errors in a four year period

Sudden catastrophic failure (and hard unrecoverable bad block) is the easiest to recover from if you mirror. I think laptops ought to include one M.2 and one 2.5" slot so you can either include cheap bulk storage in the form of a 2.5" HDD while still getting the benefit of SSD speed, or two SSDs if you prefer data protection. The laptops that want to dump the 2.5" slot to go thinner/lighter could at least include a second M.2 slot - or someone needs to invent a mini M.2 format so you can plug two such drives into a single M.2 carrier for mirroring.

Donald Trump promises 'such trouble' for Jeff Bezos and Amazon

DougS Silver badge

Hillary 'sold out to big insurance'

Or she's, you know, a pragmatist who knows there is no possibility of getting a single payer system through congress unless the democrats control a supermajority in the Senate (and maybe not even then, as house democrats worry about losing their next election) so she figures why bother advocating for something that will never happen.

Regardless of how one feels about Sanders' plans for single payer health care, 52% top tax rate and so forth he might as well include "a human settlement on Mars before the end of my first term" because that is no less likely to happen than the other things he's running on.

DougS Silver badge

Re: The Issue

Due to the large number of republican senators up for re-election this fall it is highly unlikely they hold the senate.

I think Trump would probably have some initiatives that would interest democrats, some that would interest republicans, and some things (like building a wall and sending Mexico the bill) that would interest very few though he won't ever try to do that if he gets into office.

Trump is just telling people what they want to hear. Between the idiots who actually believe what he says, and the reasonable but fed up people who think that he can't possibly be worse than the career politician alternatives in both parties, he's got a lot of support. Maybe not enough to win the general election, that remains to be seen (polls about who wins a general election have historically proven to be useless at this stage of the game)

The US had an actor as president in the 80s. Not sure why people think a real estate developer would be so much worse. I wouldn't mind seeing the republican party fall apart as a result of him winning the nomination - if that happens the democrats will quickly follow suit as they decide to take advantage of their easy majority over the fractured republicans by purging all moderate ideas and people on the logic of "we don't need to compromise any longer". Maybe something better will rise up from the ashes of the two destroyed parties that actually represents my views...it could hardly be worse than what we have now!

Two flashy VMAX bridesmaids bare ankles at EMC's DSSD groom

DougS Silver badge

Re: How Many All Flash Arrays Does One Company Need?

How many arrays period does one company need? You need something with enterprise RAS and lots of software options etc. The kind of thing CIOs won't get fired for buying. That's VMAX. Then you need something cheaper that starts small but is designed to scale up beyond VMAX in either performance (adding controllers/engines) or capacity (adding shelves/cabinets)

Time to pull the plug on limited dead end tech like VNX, and eventually settle on one or at most two others below VMAX.

Samsung starts cranking out 256GB mobile memory modules

DougS Silver badge

What's the use case for 700 MB/sec in an iPod? Listening to 100 songs in one second?

Google screening missed hundreds of malicious Android apps, researchers say

DougS Silver badge

Planting fraudulent clicks on porn sites

Oh noes!

So basically you're telling me these evil apps are helping destroy the value of web advertising by feeding bogus clicks? Biting the hand of the Googly ad monster?

Sorry, but that doesn't meet my definition of malicious. Heck, where do I sign up to download one of these on my iPhone? I'll disable it from using cellular data, but as far as I'm concerned while I'm sleeping it can feed bogus clicks over my wifi all night long. You don't even have to pay me, I'd consider this a public service!

Apple fires legal salvo at FBI for using All Writs law in iPhone brouhaha

DougS Silver badge

Re: One thing I don't understand

You guys should read the iOS security guide Apple publishes. It is 60 pages of great detail into how they handle all this. Short story - imaging the flash won't do you any good. Long story, read the document :)

DougS Silver badge


They will exactly do that - set a precedent. So the ability will not go to the chopping block. It will be improved and productized as a part of the GovtOS package and its supporting GovtCloud services.

The precedent will be irrelevant because Apple will lack the ability to load this "GovtOS" package onto the phones once DFU mode updating is removed. Which I hope doesn't wait until iOS 10 - the sooner the better!

The only counter would be congress passing a law that requires Apple (and every other tech player) leave a backdoor to allow loading a hacked OS to break into their products. That's a huge step over what is being discussed in this case - and exactly what Apple is warning about. I think a lot of the support for the government's position would dry up if Apple (and all those in their corner such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter et al) could stand up and point "See! I told you this was about more than one phone and they wanted a backdoor into everyone's phone!"

DougS Silver badge

Re: Completely pointless anyway

I think it is a good thing in the long run they screwed the pooch, as it forced this issue out in the open. And will create incentive for Apple to strengthen their protections even more - apparently the ability to install iOS updates in DFU mode (either in certain circumstances or completely) is headed for the chopping block. Without that, there would be no way for Apple to do what the FBI is trying to compel them to do. So by iOS 10 at the latest (but perhaps sooner) even if the FBI is able to set a precedent it will only matter for phones they've already collected, but not for the hundreds of millions of users that will be updated to the new version a few months after release.

Hopefully the other improvement they make is allowing a user selected key to be used to backup all iCloud backups (instead of just the portions containing more sensitive data like passwords and data in the Health app) That's the reason I've never used iCloud backups and continue backing up in iTunes, but it would be much more convenient to have nightly backups to iCloud instead of "every few weeks when I think about it" backups to iTunes. I understand the reason they don't do that, because if you forget your iCloud password you're screwed..but make a choice, it doesn't have to be mandatory I just want the option!

FCC gets Bern notice on Charter-TWC deal

DougS Silver badge


How does it worsen the situation? They have a monopoly today, and will have a monopoly tomorrow. You can't get worse than a monopoly, and at least being larger gives them better negotiating leverage with networks.

I didn't realize how much of a difference this made but 20 million customer Directv pays $17 per customer per month less to networks for the same stuff that the 6 million customer Uverse paid! A lot of the savings AT&T will realize from buying Directv will be as contracts are renewed for the 26 million customers in the combined company they will at least save that $17 on every Uverse customer, and probably beyond that as the extra six million customers may help them secure even better pricing than Directv currently has.

I'm not arguing in any particular direction here, but I don't really see the consumer harm when this merger wouldn't change the competitive landscape, and would reduce costs for the combined entity (whether any of that is passed along to customers is another matter, of course) Consumers should be worrying about things that help increase competition (helping telcos be more effective TV and broadband players) or reducing the harm that cable monopolies cause (the recent effort on the part of the FCC to standardize on set top devices the base receiver/client type device can be built into TVs, Roku, Apple TV etc. instead of renting them from the cable company)

DougS Silver badge

Customers already have no option

Cable companies almost never compete for the same houses, so customers who would have no broadband choice after a merger have no choice today.

Not saying the merger should be approved, but surely they can do better than that for a reason to deny it?

Cook moves iPhone debate to FBI's weak ground: The media

DougS Silver badge

If Alice is a witness to Bob murdering Charlie

Then the court can compel her testimony about what she witnessed, but that's it. The equivalent in this case would be if Apple already had the PIN (stored on a server or something) and the court ordered Apple to produce it.

That's not what the FBI is asking the court force Apple to do. The equivalent in the Alice case would be compelling her to testify as an expert witness. If she was a psychiatrist, requiring her to meet with Charlie to prepare testimony as to whether he is sane enough to stand trial. If she was an actuary, doing research as to historic and future earnings prospects for him in his career field to provide her opinion on the "value" of Charlie's life in a civil suit. The court can't compel her speech as an expert witness. She must agree to be called, she can't be forced.

Apple does not have the ability to unlock the phone, without creating a new version of iOS that removes the 10 try limit and the delays between tries. That's what the FBI is trying to force them to do - create something new not provide something they already have. They want Apple to be sort of an 'expert witness' or an extension of the FBI's tech team. They were not a witness to the crime, and do not have the information the FBI wants (the passcode and/or the contents of the phone) available to them.

DougS Silver badge

Why are some deaths more important than others?

Over 30,000 people die each year from auto accidents in the US - far more than the total number of US citizens who have died in all terrorist incidents both domestic and foreign since 1776!

So let's pass a law requiring governors be installed in all cars so they can travel no faster than 10 mph, because it would eliminate almost every one of those deaths. No one in the cars would die (unless they drove off a cliff I guess) and they'd be moving slowly enough for pedestrians to get out of the way most of the time.

If all we care about is public safety and reducing deaths, why is this not seen as reasonable by those who back the FBI because 'terrorism'?

DougS Silver badge

Re: FBI vs Apple

Apple doesn't spy on your every move 24x7 and doesn't have access to the data on your phone whenever they want.

But yeah, equate them with a data collection and advertising behemoth like Google if it makes you feel better, even though its totally wrong. Look at Apple's guarantee of anonymity - both from them and from the merchant - when you use Apple Pay. Notice the conspicuous lack of a similar guarantee from Google for Android Pay - because this is very valuable data for them to sell.

Standing desks have no effect on productivity, boffins find

DougS Silver badge

Exactly. I've never heard this promoted as improving productivity, but that companies would want to do this as the benefit would be improved employee health, hopefully resulting in fewer sick days and maybe reduced insurance costs.

Though having seen it in action in a workplace with adjustable desks, I think you need higher cubicle walls to make it work. The standing employees look like meerkats having a look around, and when they're on the phone their voices aren't blocked like sitting employees who are shielded by the sound deadening cubicle walls.

Google wants new class of taller 'cloud disk' with more platters and I/O

DougS Silver badge

Re: Multiple arms

This has been done, and didn't prove cost effective. The RW arms are not cheap, adding more increases vibration so you can't get as much density unless you move the arms in unison so one arm isn't moving while the other is trying to read/write...

If they haven't been this work in all the years when they had tons of money to invest in new hard drive technology, they sure won't now when SSDs have taken the high end off the market and drive makers are barely able to break even.

DougS Silver badge

Taller disks will have worse IOPS/GB

In today's world disks are bulk storage for stuff where IOPS is less important. So while I agree with taller disks to reduce $/GB and increase GB/rack, if they really want more IOPS/GB from disks they want the low end single platter disks...

US Congressman calls WIPO 'the FIFA of UN agencies' at hearing

DougS Silver badge


You know things are really messed up when non US citizens are fine with the US meddling in supposedly independent world organizations.

If only our meddling was limited to crooks like those in WIPO and FIFA, and didn't extend to entire countries. OK yeah the countries in question are often be run by crooks, but the problems created by bringing down FIFA[*] pale in comparison to the problems created by bringing down Saddam Hussein.

* [Well maybe not, if increased soccer hooliganism is a consequence...perhaps already more people die in each year in western countries from soccer hooliganism that than from terrorism...]

Barking spider prompts Spanish clan shoot-out

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Romeo and Juliet

Was this Shakepeare's missing backstory on why the Montagues and Capulets hated each other so much?

Linux lads lambast sorry state of Skype service

DougS Silver badge

Re: G+

You do realize the reason people are lamenting the lack of support for Skype on Linux is because Skype is so ubiquitous, right? So all you need to do is convince everyone you know who uses Skype (including corporate users) that they should switch to something else for YOUR convenience?

Apple hasn't announced the new iPhone 5SE and pundits already hate it

DougS Silver badge

I agree they need to keep a 4" phone in the lineup

But I would have thought they'd do it as a "6S mini". I guess the reason they are basing on the hardware from the 6 instead of the 6S is to meet a lower price point, but there are surely some people who like the smaller phone but want the latest and greatest hardware. Maybe there will be a 'mini' in the 7 lineup this fall....we'll see.

Prison butt dialler finally off-hold after 12-day anal retention marathon

DougS Silver badge

Re: I can see a marketting opportunity here

Didn't Google talk about making a phone where you could upgrade various pieces? The problem will be that the screen is not much smaller than the entire phone.

Hopefully he was using an old school feature phone like the Nokia 8860. We've all passed bigger shits that than before so at least it wouldn't have hurt him on the way out. Can't imagine the screaming if he had a Nexus 6!

Android users installed 2 BILLION data-stealing, backdooring apps

DougS Silver badge

Re: Pies, damned pies, and...

They don't say what they consider to be 'malicious' apps. An app that tricks you into providing your bank details or iCloud login is a lot worse than an app that tricks you into giving up your phone number.

Reminder: How to get a grip on your files, data that Windows 10 phones home to Microsoft

DougS Silver badge

"Nobody is forcing you to change to Windows 10 but Microsoft"

You say that like its no big deal that they are trying to force/trick people into upgrading 7 & 8 to 10. Microsoft has added opt-out full data collection as part of the bargain, which you can't even fully opt out of. If the US had any decent laws that sort of thing should be illegal. I don't see how it isn't illegal in the EU under their data protection laws, but they move so slowly it will probably get raised as a case in 2019 when it is far too late.

Since Windows 7 goes out of support in 2020 and Windows 8 was never fit for purpose, anyone who has to use Windows will be forced to upgrade in 4 years. I only use my Windows 7 VM for iTunes and to run the software that interfaces with the OBD-II port in my car, so I will probably keep using Windows 7 forever and not worry when Microsoft stops the security patches.

Randomness is a lottery, so why not use a lottery for randomness?

DougS Silver badge

Re: The numbers racket is better

If you want random sources, I'm sure there is some data you can get somewhere about solar activity levels that would be exceedingly random and impossible for anyone to influence. Well they can't influence the sun, but I guess you'd need to get this data from multiple sources, like say observatories in the US, Russia and China. That would be required to overcome the possibility of someone hacking the site you were getting your numbers from to replace the 'true' solar activity level numbers. If you have your own solar observatory like some universities do, this is less of a concern.

The problem with any 'public' sources like that is that someone can figure out what your "random" number was. If you use that alone (without mixing it with any 'hidden' sources others won't have access to) then it is very bad if you are e.g. using that as the 'random' input to generate encryption keys.

Whatever happened to... virtual SIMs?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Mobile Phone is an App in the phone...

Strange that you think Apple is the one with evil motives here yet they still haven't implemented an eSIM but Samsung has. I guess they're the truly evil ones? Or can only Apple be evil in your twisted little world?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Mobile Phone is an App in the phone...

They physical SIM is a standard, you can use any operator who will provision you a SIM card. The virtual SIM would also be a standard, you would be able to use any operator who can provision your virtual SIM. You might not want such a phone for travel in the third world for a few years as operators who can provision a virtual SIM might be thin on the ground at first, but eventually such support would be ubiquitous.

Do Android phones have a USB connector that will only connect to certain devices? Do iPhones have a wifi radio that will only connect to certain access points? No, because those are both standards. Don't look for problems that don't exist.

The mobile operators don't want this because it takes away an element of control. There isn't any evil intent on the part of the phone OEMs - if they wanted to do your "single operator" model they could do that already by simply building the SIM card into the motherboard of the phone. Since some Android phones are sold with a single model sold only by a particular operator, if this was permitted by the GSM organization it would already have been done.

Apple fans take iPhone unlock protest to FBI HQ

DougS Silver badge

Re: This isn't just about one iPhone...

What good does it do to blame Obama? He'll be gone in less than a year. What are you going to do, threaten to impeach him? Do you really think that the FBI is going to change its stance on this when a new president takes office? Nothing changed the last time we got a new president - all the secret spying that Bush's administration started continued under Obama.

If any of the four candidates that still have a shot have said "if I win I'll order the FBI to stop this overreach of power" I must have missed it. Not that campaign promises are worth anything, just look at what Bush and Obama promised they would do versus what they actually did...

DougS Silver badge

It is not just about phones

They will want WhatsApp to provide them a way to view messages for certain "persons of interest" - maybe just to make it easy require them to keep six months' worth of records. They will want access to Amazon storage, to location information encoded in photos uploaded to Facebook, and on and on.

This is what they've been talking about for some time with their comments about how encryption is impeding their investigation. They chose this high profile terrorist incident, involving the world's most valuable company, for a very good reason. They wanted to set a precedent, despite what they claim. It is obvious to anyone with half a brain.

Got Oracle? Got VMware? Going cloud? You could be stung for huge licensing fees

DougS Silver badge

Re: Just VSphere?

Doesn't matter what virtualization software you use, the issue is the same. Not sure why they mentioned version 5.1, unless Oracle "clarified" their licensing when it was released. Perhaps Oracle would accept host affinity rules that limit what physical servers the Oracle VMs is eligible to run on to a subgroup of the full set. But I wouldn't count on it unless you get something in writing from Oracle.

I think segregating Oracle VMs onto a group of servers small enough to handle its load and allow for the downing of one server is the only route to minimizing your hardware cost while guaranteeing they won't try to come after you for more money later. If you have a bursty load i.e. you need more resources for end of month processing then you need to size your N+1 resources based on that peak. Which kind of sucks if it means you have a lot of idle capacity the other 29 to 30 days of the month.

Bill Gates denies iPhone crack demand would set precedent

DougS Silver badge

Re: Really? - Key bit they need apple to disable protection for such methods

No, it shows they can have their firmware upgraded in what is known as "DFU mode" which is a pre-boot state. That's to allow recovery of a bad flash that gets interrupted, or if a new iOS version caused a phone to not be able to fully boot up.

They may secure that - I wrote a post suggesting a way to use key pairs to authenticate against an iTunes install with the phone unlocked, which the phone would have to be connected to in order to update the OS in DFU mode so it couldn't be done with just any old PC/Mac.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Really?

I'm sure even 99.99% of current Apple employees couldn't digitally sign an iOS update with the legitimate key. I'll bet that signing takes place in a locked room only a few people have access to - bring in a USB drive containing the unsigned OS, plug it in along with one of several identical USB keys containing the signing key that NEVER leave the room to a Mac in that room that's not connected to any network, click a button to sign the OS. I'll bet they require another person present while this happens to insure they don't make a copy of the signing key or sign anything other than what they are supposed to be signing.

Considering the potential cost to Apple if that signing key escaped (i.e. billions) I'm sure they have a very good process for keeping it secure and the number of people who will ever touch a device that has the actual key on it is in the single digits.

Latest in Apple v FBI public squabble over iPhone crack demand

DougS Silver badge

The secure enclave (in phones that have it) enforces the 10 try limit itself, so upgrading iOS would not work. It is an open question whether it is possible for Apple to deliver a firmware update to the secure enclave. They probably can, but maybe it is so simple that its 'OS' is read-only (or now that Apple has incentive to, it will be read-only in future versions)

I suspect that even if they can deliver a firmware update to the secure enclave, that may not be possible with the phone locked like regular firmware updates can (which can be updated from 'DFU mode' which is a sort of pre-boot state) If Apple can deliver new firmware to the secure enclave AND that can be done in DFU mode, it would be a simple fix to deliver a firmware update to the secure enclave that disallows such updates when in DFU mode.

I also outlined a way for Apple to limit firmware updates in DFU to using iTunes installs the phone has been previously connected to (when unlocked) So I think Apple has some ways to block future requests of this type even if they are eventually forced to comply in this case. Quite what the government's response will be when Apple announces "we made it impossible for us to ever do this again" we'll have to see. I imagine they won't be happy, because despite their assurances to the contrary, it is quite obvious this is being done to set a precedent (that's why they refused Apple's request to file this case under seal)

DougS Silver badge

Re: What does Snowden know?

For all we know the NSA cracked Apple's signing key through unknown/unpublished weaknesses in AES that only the NSA knows. No point in worrying about them, their capabilities are a black box.

DougS Silver badge

Re: FUD and nonsense

If Apple "does the work the government wants" but makes changes so they can't do that work in the future, do you think the government will just say "oh well I guess we're SOL now". No, they will demand Apple undo the changes that increased security beyond Apple's ability to help - or claim they can help even if they can't and hope that an uneducated law enforcement friendly judge will buy their version and order Apple to do something that is impossible.

Once Apple starts down this road there will be no end of demands. Did you see the link someone else provided to Charlie Rose, where the NYPD commissioner said they had 175 iPhones they couldn't access and would be asking Apple to access all 175 of them if this case was decided in the FBI's favor?

DougS Silver badge

The problem with blocking iOS updates in DFU mode

Is that there is no way to recover from an update that is interrupted in progress, or if Apple provides a borked update that stops phones from properly booting.

As a compromise DFU mode could authenticate the phone to iTunes. When an unlocked phone is connected to iTunes it would create a public/private key pair, with one half stored on the phone in a location where it can be read in DFU mode and the other in iTunes.

In order to perform a DFU mode update the phone would be required to authenticate that public/private key pair. If they did this it would still allow end users to recover from a bad flash (if they had access to an iTunes they had connected their unlocked phone to once) but block updates from third parties who didn't have access to an iTunes you'd used previously.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Precedent is a legally defined process, not just an accident of history

If the case goes to the Supreme Court and they reach a majority decision (that detail may be crucial as the Supreme Court looks to be short the 9th member for at least another year) then the decision IS legal precedent which every lower court is required to observe. Unless the opinion is written to specifically apply in just this one case, it will open up the floodgates for thousands of requests.

All the FBI wants to establish is that they can force Apple to do work for them. The fact that it may be far more difficult to do this on a newer iPhone, and will require tons of resources for them to do to thousands of phones once requests start rolling in from every podunk PD in the country, won't matter once that precedent has been established.

The FBI wanted Apple to fight it all the way to Supreme Court, so they can get this precedent.

DougS Silver badge

Corporate fines for contempt of court as pretty small

From what I could gather in a quick google yesterday (I'm not a lawyer, obviously) there's a Supreme Court case stating that a corporation can be fined a maximum of $100K for contempt of court. Even as a daily fine, I'm sure Apple would consider that a cost of doing business as $36.5 million/yr is chicken feed for them - less than 1/10th of one percent of their yearly profit.

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