* Posts by DougS

12862 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Confused as to WTF is happening with Apple, the FBI and a killer's iPhone? Let's fix that

DougS Silver badge

@tom dial

Sure, a court order allows them to enter your house and search it. Let's say they're looking for the books for your illegal gambling business, and they find them but all the numbers are written in a secret code only you understand. They are powerless to force you to tell them your secret code that would allow them to make sense of it.

What the FBI is trying to do would be immediately thrown out of every court in the land if it was about forcing someone to reveal the secret code they've written on papers found via a properly executed search warrant. Let's hope the courts are smart enough to see the parallel, instead of bowing to the no doubt heavy pressure the Obama administration (and all the republican candidates, and Hillary) will be putting on them to "do the right thing for the families of San Bernadino".

DougS Silver badge

Re: Which raises an interesting question,...

The ability isn't in their codebase, it is in the heads of their engineers. The FBI is asking them to write the code to do this, but even if that code stays within the walls of Apple people won't be able to trust that it doesn't escape. And having success at this once will encourage the FBI to ask them again and again, so the "well once you use the code you delete it" idea probably isn't feasible.

Give them an inch and in a few years the FBI will be getting judges to order Apple to unlock the phones of petty criminals like tax cheats and drug mules.

DougS Silver badge

Re: It's probably just a false flag case...

You and the other people who are talking about "1000 VMs" are utter morons who haven't bothered to read any facts about how Apple's encryption works. You can copy the entire contents of the flash and it will get you nothing, because the key isn't stored in the flash, nor in RAM. I won't tell you where it is, on the faint hope that you might decide to educate yourself and learn where it is stored, but I assume you'll continue spouting nonsense from a position of ignorance instead like most fools.

DougS Silver badge

Re: "For Your Protection", yadda yadda.

Why do you think there's "nothing stopping the Feds from accessing the content on the phone"? They don't have the PIN, and after 10 failed attempts the phone will discard the encryption key that allows it to read the data partition where everything except the OS is stored, wiping it in an instant.

The FBI is asking a judge to force Apple to help them because they cannot do it at all, not that they can do it but are in a hurry. With Apple promising to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court this may not be decided for years.

FBI iPhone unlock order reaction: Trump, Rubio say no to Apple. EFF and Twitter say yes

DougS Silver badge

Apple has supported alphanumeric passwords for ages

Since at least when I owned my 3gs back in 2009. If the terrorists were smart enough to trash their PC's hard drive and both their personal phones, I think the fact that an insecure PIN was used on this phone instead of a password and it wasn't destroyed was because the terrorist knew it contained nothing incriminating. It was a work phone, and thus used for work and not contacting ISIS HQ.

The FBI is using this request as a publicity stunt because no one was listening to them whine about how modern encryption gets in their way. They chose to fight this battle because it is gives them the best possible position they could ever hope to take - not a suspected terrorist but a proven terrorist who killed Americans on American soil.

There is no useful intelligence on that phone, and they know it. It is security theater.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Touch ID

Its an iPhone 5c, too old for Touch ID. Even if it had that feature if it hasn't been unlocked for (I believe) 48 hours Touch ID won't work, it will insist on the password/PIN. Touch ID also won't work if the phone was powered off.

What smart people will learn from this is:

1) use an iPhone 5S or newer as the secure enclave provides additional security that the terrorist's phone lacks (though it is obviously pretty good even without that if the FBI has been dicking around for two months and hasn't got anywhere)

2) don't use a PIN, use a password instead - Apple has long supported using a password that can use the full UTF-8 set. A PIN can theoretically be brute forced if you can find a way around the phone wipe and retry timeout. Good luck doing that with a nice 12 character nonsense password that includes punctuation etc. That's more feasible with Touch ID since you don't have to type it in every time you pick up your phone.

3) using Touch ID is fine if you know the limitations - when you hear that pounding on your door and they say "open up its the police!" don't reach for your gun (they'll bust in and shoot you) reach for your phone and quickly power it off. Then only your password can unlock it, and so long as you don't live in a backwards country like the UK the police can't threaten you with jail to force you to tell them your password.

4) even if you don't use Touch ID, unless you have your phone set to require an unlock code every time (no grace period if you use it shortly after it locks) you should power it off anytime you want to be sure it is truly locked if you aren't absolutely certain your grace period has expired.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Dissonance without cognition

Don't forget, they also believe that the government that can't be trusted with the least influence on health care or have any control over schools is fine to be trusted with hundreds of IBMs, drones that can quietly kill someone half a world away and hundreds of huge ships armed with cruise missiles.

It is funny how the same government that is automatically incompetent in so many things should be given carte blanche to do whatever it wants without citizen input or even knowledge for anything it thinks falls under the umbrella of 'homeland security'.

Why Tim Cook is wrong: A privacy advocate's view

DougS Silver badge

As I understand it, the 10 try limit is enforced by the secure enclave on the 5S and newer. So this trick would only work on a 5c. But I doubt the Feds would appreciate the distinction and still ask Apple to find a way to break into a newer phone next time.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why Trev Pott is wrong - a privacy advocate's view

A flaw that only Apple can take advantage of (since only they can create iOS updates that are signed with an encrypted certificate held only by Apple) is not the same thing as a flaw that a random hacker or even state actor can take advantage of. Unless they can break into Apple and steal the key used to sign iOS updates. Hopefully Apple restricts access to that to a few people, and keeps it on an air gapped system, but obviously I have no knowledge of their procedures.

DougS Silver badge

You have to copy the information currently stored on the phone into that VM (assuming they even have such a VM and wouldn't need months to develop it) The phone's hardware is designed to make that difficult, it is more than just copying the data that's in the flash. You would at minimum need to decap two chips and read the two IDs that make up the separate halves of the encryption key using an electron microscope. On newer phones than the 5c at issue here, you'd need to compromise the secure enclave, which is probably designed using tamper proof methods meaning you'd have to do this work in an unlit vacuum.

DougS Silver badge

There's a larger problem than that

If they do it once the FBI will demand it again and again. Next time it won't be terrorism, it will be pedophiles. Then it will be drug lords. Then it will be tax cheats. Apple will get a lot of these requests and be required by the court to create a special version of iOS for each one that will only install on one particular phone. Maybe the court says that this process slows things down too much, so compels Apple to create a version of iOS that the FBI can install on ANY phone to brute force the passcode. And order them to find a solution around a password so it won't only be dumb people who use a 4 or 6 digit passcode who'd be vulnerable to the FBI bypass.

Even if it was just this one instance, what stops the UK, France, Germany, Russia, China, Iran etc. from putting the screws on Apple - "we know you can do this since you did in the US, if you don't do this for us you are banned from selling any products in this country". Maybe not much of a threat in Iran, but in China which is now Apple's largest market? Do those who think giving the FBI the ability to bypass iOS passcodes for 'probable cause' think that giving it to China or Russia is also fine? How does Apple say no to them if they are forced to say yes to the FBI?

DougS Silver badge

Re: a few thoughts....

One proviso to that otherwise excellent article. The phone the terrorist had was apparently a 5c, which is an older one that did not have the secure enclave. Only the 5S and newer have this.

I'm not really sure if everything he describes there is the same since they made some changes to strengthen the device's security when they added the secure enclave.

DougS Silver badge

Copying the memory will not work

The phone's flash isn't encrypted by the PIN number, it is encrypted by a 128 bit (or maybe it is 256 bit) AES key which is unlocked by the PIN - though since this is a 5C that doesn't have the secure enclave I'm not sure how that part works.

Either way if it was as simple as copying the flash and trying only 10,000 ways to decrypt it the FBI would have done that without even asking Apple.

Toshiba rolls out PC-busting monster: 1 terabyte TLC flash SSD

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why SATA

I'd much rather buy a laptop that comes with the smallest amount of memory possible. They always mark that up a lot so selling me less means I am tossing out a smaller DIMM when I replace it with the amount of RAM I need.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why SATA

Because not everyone buys a new PC when they buy new storage.

More to the point, if you take a 10 year old PC with its spinning hard drive that seems slow even with a fresh install or Windows or Linux on it and toss in a SSD and max out its RAM, unless you are gaming or running demanding workstation level software you are unlikely to notice the difference in performance between that 10 year old PC and a brand new one.

DougS Silver badge

NVMe is nice to have but only accounts for a minor bump

Compared to absolutely massive boost between HDD and SSD. Yeah SSDs don't look like that big of a difference if you are talking about copying big files, but the thing it really speeds up is dealing with small files and fragmented filesystems (to the point where there's no point in caring whether they get fragmented or defragmenting them if they do)

Sure NVMe boosts that sequential I/O and drops latency that helps gives you more IOPS for random I/O, but you are unlikely to notice the difference. That's why there's been no rush to put NVMe in the typical laptop.

Boffins' 5D laser-based storage tech could keep terabytes forever

DougS Silver badge

Re: Safety Margin

Since the guy I was replying to said "backing up your hard drive" I thought it was obvious my reply was in the sense of the needs of people in the home.

Obviously outside that world you can get tons of data, and I imagine compared to the NSA the LHC's 30 PB/yr is puny. I suppose if everyone started wearing a Google Glass type thing that was recording their whole life in high quality 4K video 24x7x365 you could easily see the need for a hundred TB of year of personal storage. I hope if that world ever comes I'm already dead!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Safety Margin

You would need a lot of hard drives and SSDs at home to fill up one 360 TB 5D laserdisc. You could download every song and movie every made and not come close to filling that up. So I wonder what exactly you'd be storing there to fill it up.

Yeah yeah multiple backups but hopefully even home backup software does deduplication now? Or if it doesn't I'm sure they're readying that feature for release. Most people could probably store every election file they collect in a daily "full" backup and not fill up 360 TB in their lifetime.

All-American Apple challenges US gov call for iOS 'backdoor'

DougS Silver badge

Nothing stops them - that's how it works now

Apple has encrypted the entire contents of the phone's flash since the 3gs using hardware encryption that cannot be disabled. However they held a copy of the key so if someone lost their passcode Apple could help them out and unlock their phone. They changed this in iOS 8 so the key exists ONLY within the phone's secure enclave, and that key can ONLY be unlocked by supplying the passcode/password (the key is NOT generated from the passcode)

So since iOS 8 if you forget your passcode then you lose all the data on your phone unless you made a backup.

DougS Silver badge

They might go to China or Russia for a "secure" phone

I've stated this several times before and I think this is a perfect illustration. Given a choice between a device I knew was bugged by the US government and one that was bugged by the Chinese or Russian government, as a US citizen I'd choose the latter. Because the Chinese or Russian governments are not a threat to my personal liberty, which the US government is since I live within its borders and am subject to its laws and whims.

All you really need is a company using Android, removing the Googly bits, and based in a country where they don't have to bow to the demands of the US government (or their government to pressure from the US government)

Patch ASAP: Tons of Linux apps can be hijacked by evil DNS servers, man-in-the-middle miscreants

DougS Silver badge

Re: @doug

Linux (at least the distros I use) have /lib and /lib64 linked to /usr/lib and /usr/lib64. Why in the world would you have a separate filesystem for /lib in 2016?

DougS Silver badge

Re: @DougS

The kernel has dynamically loadable modules, but obviously a kernel doesn't include libc!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Updated

Static linking has been effectively dead on Linux for some time now. I don't think any Linux distros ship with statically linked binaries. You'd have to jump through a lot of hoops to build one these days if for some odd reason you wanted to.

Apple must help Feds unlock San Bernardino killer's iPhone – judge

DougS Silver badge


The device key is actually stored in the secure enclave, which is essentially a tiny isolated computer on the SoC. If they removed the flash and copied its contents it doesn't help them, because it is encrypted with a 128 bit AES key that's unlocked via the 6 digit PIN not generated from it.

I think if the terrorists went to the lengths of destroying their personal phones and hard drives, the fact a PIN instead of a real password was used on the work phone (and it wasn't destroyed along with everything else) means there is probably absolutely nothing useful on it.

But that won't stop the FBI from using this as propaganda in their war against encryption.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Damned if you do?

Clearly the feds are going to get all the mileage they can out of this. Either "this is terrible because even in a major case like this we were unable to break Apple's encryption and access the phone" or "this is terrible because we had to go through a big hassle of getting a court order and the delay cost precious time".

Hopefully Russ Feingold can take back the seat he lost in 2010 this fall, we need more guys like him and fewer CIA dupes from both parties like Diane Feinstein and Richard Burr who support laws requiring encryption backdoors.

DougS Silver badge

Apple has ALREADY taken that next step

There's no bypass as of iOS 8 in Sept. 2014 - that's what has some in the government so whiny about Apple and encryption. They changed it so they don't hold the encryption key for a user's device, the only place it is stored is in the secure enclave in the phone. The only way that key can be accessed is via fingerprint (if you have that enabled) or via the password/passcode (depending on whether you use 4/6 digits or the full keyboard for an unlimited length password) Thus it is impossible for Apple to unlock, even with a special version of firmware installed on the phone.

However, since OS updates control how many attempts you get to unlock it, they've found a loophole - compel Apple to provide them a one-off OS update that allows unlimited attempts - and I assume no delay between attempts, so they can make some poor first year agent get carpal tunnel trying 1,010,000 possible passcodes. They're lucky a password wasn't used instead, there's no brute forcing that.

DougS Silver badge

Another reason why you should use a password not a PIN

I assume it is coming up with the number screen where you type in your PIN and that's how they know it is a 4 or 6 digit PIN. Of course iPhones have supported a password using the full text keyboard for ages, if the terrorist had used that the FBI would have little chance of brute forcing it unless she used 'Allah' as her password or something else easy to guess.

OK, maybe that's a pretty flimsy reason as most of us don't have to worry about the FBI getting a court to compel Apple to create and apply a special one-off OS update that allows them unlimited guesses to break in to your phone.

Despite what the first post AC who got downvoted into oblivion thinks, I say good on Apple for making them work for this. I'm sure the feds are planning to use this as a showcase example of why we need a law to require backdoors, but the government has no one to blame but themselves. They're the ones who secretly violated the Constitution in multiple ways and forced Apple's hand into making it so they no longer held the encryption key for people's phones!

Public enemies: Azure, Amazon, Google, Oracle, OpenStack, SoftLayer will murder private IT

DougS Silver badge

Not so fast

I agree that privacy concerns may cause those future projections to be a little iffy. All these big cloud players are US based. Even if they maintain data centers in Europe, are European companies comfortable with housing their really important data on Amazon or Google servers? Are they truly compatible with EU data protection laws? Even if they are today will they be tomorrow if a new administration and new terrorist attack makes people forget Snowden and rush headlong into more corporate cooperation with the US government?

EMC energizes Star Trek-style matter-phasing warp field coils, emits VxRack Neutrinos

DougS Silver badge

Re: Holy Hell

I agree. Its like they just divided their engineers up into a half dozen teams and told them "go invent your vision and don't worry if it does pretty much the same thing another team's product does, we'll leave it to marketing to sort out where it fits in our overall product line and strategy"

Who the heck knows what sort of support you'll get for some of these a few years down the road, if you happen to choose an unpopular solution that gets killed a year after intro like some of their lines have been.

Khronos releases Vulkan 1.0 open graphics specification

DougS Silver badge

OS X and Windows?

Have either Apple or Microsoft announced that they will be supporting Vulkan in OS X or Windows, respectively?

Vulkan may end up only being a real option on Linux/Android, and the only way you might be able to get it on OS X or Windows would be third party drivers.

UK to stop children looking at online porn. How?

DougS Silver badge

Google image search

So will they try to force Google UK to add age verification for disabling filtering of explicit results? And then say that because most UK residents visit google.com instead of google.co.uk that Google needs to do it for google.com also?

I'm sure that will put a light bulb above the head of the Saudi regime, and they'll demand that any pictures of women not wearing a hijab be censored on google.com!

Samsung now pushing Marshmallows into the Galaxy S6, Edge

DougS Silver badge

Re: Pay for updates?

Sure, it would be in Apple's short term interest to not provide updates for 4-5 year old phones since it increases the incentive to junk them and buy a new one. But that's not in their long term interest, as abandoning customers shortly after you get their money is not a good way to build customer loyalty.

DougS Silver badge

You can have a single worldwided model that supports all bands

That's not really true anymore, and it was never an issue of chipset so much as an issue of the discretes like power amplifiers and antenna switches, but Qualcomm sells a solution for this (google qualcomm rf 360)

Apple sells three part numbers of the iPhone 6S (and three more of the 6S plus) that are all essentially identical world phones. The only difference between the three is that one supports LTE band 30, which is used by AT&T only and is just rolling out so no one would really miss it. There are two otherwise identical models, one is sold in China only and one is sold everywhere else, but both support all of China's special bands etc.

I assume the reason for two identical models that differ only in part number is some regulatory thing that reduces cost. Why there's a different model that only adds support for one AT&T band is also a mystery, maybe it was a late addition after they'd already received regulatory approval in some areas - I think that one is sold only through AT&T or if you buy an unlocked phone direct from Apple.

Having one model that supports everything costs more so it probably isn't reasonable to expect on budget Android phones, but there's certainly no reason Android flagships can't do it if Apple can.

The real reason Android OEMs tend to have carrier specific models is because that's how the carrier wants it. That's why you might be able to buy a certain phone on AT&T but not Verizon, or T-Mobile is the only one that sells it in white, or whatever. Because there are so many Android OEMs out there making phones that are mostly the same, the carriers can play them off each other and get concessions from them that aren't in the interest of consumers. So you end up with more models and more difficult updates.

Not sure what the fix is, if HTC says they aren't playing those games they might only be available on some carriers, or only available unlocked for full price, which would hurt their sales. So they really have no choice but to go along. That's the downside of all that competition in the Android world that gives you so much more choice and lower prices than in the Apple world.

Virgin Atlantic co-pilot dazzled by laser

DougS Silver badge


If it is frequency doubling you really only have to block two specific wavelengths. IR is less of a concern since we can't see IR anyway, so no one will miss it if the entire IR spectrum is filtered.

I agree with the comment that having glasses that detect lasers and darken are no solution, since the pilot is blinded either way! One possible fix (which would take forever to implement due to all the testing required and retrofitting of commercial airlines) would be to get rid of the windows and replace them with displays. If they malfunction during flight (all of them? seems unlikely) then it is an instrument only landing I guess - they do those anyway. This might help since you could "see" in the dark or the fog using IR, radar or whatever.

Obviously the cameras generating the images for the display would need to be protected against lasers, but that could be easily accomplished by using two or three cameras per display (helping with redundancy) with different color filters on each and combining the images via computer. If one gets 'dazzled' by a laser the computer would detect it and not add it to the image processing - so if a laser hit all that would happen would be your image showing messed up color (or maybe just black and white would be easier) during those few seconds.

ESA's Sentinel satellite to ride converted ICBM

DougS Silver badge

@Hurn - they have multiple failsafes

Just after JFK took office in 1961 the US almost nuked North Carolina. A B52 broke up in flight and two 4 megaton hydrogen bombs fell to the earth near Goldsboro. In one of them, three safety mechanisms failed and the fourth and final one was all that prevented detonation.

I have to think that close call (and there were others back when we were always flying around carrying nukes) probably caused us to add more/better safety mechanisms, so I really doubt you have to worry about an ICBM rocket exploding on the launch pad causing a nuclear explosion of its payload.

Higher US Fed interest rates will hit startups over the head

DougS Silver badge

Re: The FED my be reversing that 0.25% rise

There has been some discussion in the Fed about whether they would have the option of setting a negative federal funds rate (the rate that is quoted as the Fed's "interest rate") A couple other countries have successfully done this so rather than being theoretical it is something they could actually consider. The idea is that by charging banks for the privilege of parking their excess reserves at the Fed it will encourage lending.

I'm not sure how much charging them 0.25% (for example) versus paying them only 0.25% affects the lend/no lend decision, but I suppose it could mean even easier money for rich VCs to borrow and bid up the valuation of so-called unicorns...so if nothing else I'm sure the scumbag running Uber would like it.

Hopefully the worst effects of the economic slowdown in China don't pass to the US and we avoid recession, and this isn't necessary. Since employment growth has continued to be relatively strong in the US even despite the layoffs induced by the oil price crash, and wage growth has recently strengthened, I don't think the US will tip into recession. It isn't like the US economy was ever growing strongly enough to get overheated, so barring some major 2008 style shock I think we'll muddle through and not see rates lowered, and instead see the regular 0.25% increases that had been assumed for 2016 simply delayed.

DougS Silver badge

US money printing has been in reversal for a couple years now

The US did three cycles of QE, but after the conclusion of QE2 the Fed adopted a policy of allowing the bonds they held to mature without replacement, and continued this even during QE3. So over time as the bonds they hold mature they are effectively undoing that money printing - but at a slower pace than it was "printed" so it will take 7-8 more years for the Fed's holdings to reach pre-2008 levels.

They also purchased mortgage backed securities as part of QE3, which Fannie and Freddie would have otherwise ended up holding, so while this technically counts as monetary expansion had they not purchased them Fannie or Freddie would have ended up holding them so they're just in a different place on the government's books. Likewise these holdings decrease over time as the WAL decreases via principal paydown or payoffs resulting from sale/refinancing. But that's really just transferring them off the Fed's books as the ones that are paid off via sale or refinancing will mostly end up on Fannie/Freddie's books[*]

[*] Fannie/Freddie are making a lot of money for the US government these days, and are primarily responsible for the fact that TARP turned out to be profitable for the US government - over $65 billion in profit so far and continuing to increase - which is probably why even republicans who are loathe to have the US government involved in the private mortgage market have done little to re-privatize them since it would make our deficit bigger!

Haptic developer fires patent suits at Apple

DougS Silver badge

Why are they suing AT&T?

I can understand Apple, since they are making a phone that uses haptics so there's at least some link there.

WTF does AT&T make that infringes? The article (nor the story it links to) is silent about this other than stating that AT&T is being sued.

Earthquake-sensing smartphone app fires off early alerts of disaster

DougS Silver badge

This probably makes more sense to build into the phone's OS

That way you don't have to leave the app running in the background all the time. A confirmed quake notification should ideally be sent out via the phone's emergency alert system (so it is on TV too) for maximum reach rather than just those who have the app running and their smartphone nearby.

Coding is more important than Shakespeare, says VC living in self-contained universe

DougS Silver badge

What's the goal of teaching kids how to code?

Obviously teaching them anything in primary/secondary school isn't for a career, so why do those who say "all kids should learn this" say it?

Is it to understand how computers work? If they taught assembly, or even C, I could see this happening but they aren't going to learn anything about how computers work if you teach them a modern language like Java or Swift.

Is it to make them more computer literate? I don't think that's a concern with kids today, they are exposed to computers practically from birth, and are probably on average more computer literate than the adults teaching their classes in school.

Is it to make them more savvy about computers, the internet, etc. i.e. so they understand why they shouldn't give out their personal information freely, be careful about what software/apps they install, who they converse with via email, text or social networking? Those are laudable goals, but they'll hardly learn that that by coding (but this is what we should be teaching them in school, IMHO, because most of their parents don't understand these things well enough themselves to be capable of teaching it)

Is there a goal I'm missing? Teaching kids how to a code is like teaching kids how to change the tires and oil in a car. Is that useful to know? Sure. Is that the best use of their precious time as a student? Hardly.

I'm sure I'll be lambasted on the Reg for suggesting such a thing, but I think it is ridiculous to teach kids coding. Sure, offer it as an elective in secondary schools, just like you might offer woodshop, cooking, and other classes that kids can take if they're interested. But it isn't something that is useful to teach to every kid in the way that teaching them math or science is.

The reason it gets taught is because parents who are not really tech literate want their kids to "learn computers" and want a mandatory class or two they wished they had when they were kids. The technically literate (geeks) often remember learning how to program as one of the first things they did when they learned about computers, and think that's how it should work for everyone.

1Gbps quad-antenna mobile broadband chip dives off Qualcomm's drawing board

DougS Silver badge

Re: Call Me A Crumugeon

That's why I said "no more order of magnitude increases in our needs". Yes, maybe we can step up the frame rate and resolution a bit more, but it isn't like quadrupling the resolution and frame rate requires 16x more bandwidth for compressed images. More like 2-3x since you still have plenty of areas of similar color where resolution doesn't matter and most of the frames are similar to the previous frames - moreso the faster your frame rate.

Anyway, like I said it is unlikely we'd be remotely streaming live video or fully rendered VR. More likely it would be done locally, just like most video gaming is rendered locally rather than streamed today.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Call Me A Crumugeon

As I've posted before many times, show me the potential use case. Even for technology that doesn't exist today (providing you don't go crazy and talk technology that may never exist like Star Trek holodecks)

The reason why we kept needing faster and faster broadband speeds is because our media became more complex and used more bandwidth. We went from text only, to pictures, to audio files, to video to HD and soon 4K video. That's the more complex and information rich media we can provide to our senses. Why are we going to want faster and faster connections when we've reached the pinnacle for maximum information density we can input to our senses?

Even if we do some sort of a 3D VR like Oculus/Hololens type of thing that's still basically streaming a couple 4K images at us at a slightly higher frame rate (and most likely you won't stream live images to it but rather have it build the images itself like a video game does, you'd only be streaming it if this became a popular way to get a skier's eye view of slalom races or something)

We've maxed out the bandwidth our senses can really use, so there are no more order of magnitude increases in our needs. A single person or family won't be able to usefully consume even a gigabit, and there's certainly no market for ever going higher. Yeah, if it helps make better collective use of resources its useful to upgrade in that sense, but no one is going to say "man my 300 Mbps connection is holding me back, I wish gigabit were available where I live!"

DougS Silver badge

Re: Call Me A Crumugeon

Nevermind that, no one needs anything close to that data rate even if they have unlimited data. What can you do with all that bandwidth unless your phone is a hotspot for your whole office? You can only watch one video at a time on your phone, and even 4K video from Netflix requires about 1/60th that rate. Even if you could stream full 4K Blu Ray quality that's only a tenth of that rate.

At that speed you would fill up a 128 GB phone in under 20 minutes.

Google wins High Court fight with StreetMap over search results self-pluggery

DougS Silver badge

It's about abuse of their search monopoly

Google has an effective monopoly in search. A lot of that is because they simply offer the best search engine, but it allows them to drive traffic to their own properties and starve out competition.

Let's say today I search for 'linux', I see entries Ubuntu, Debian, etc. in their top 10. If Google introduced their own Linux distribution, and gave it the same time of prime placement that they give Google Maps, their shopping links and so forth, they could quickly win a lot of share for their own distro and unfairly handicap the future success of Ubuntu and Debian. Maybe Google's Linux is better than those, maybe it is worse, but because such a large portion of internet searches use Google most of them will see Google's Linux in a prominent place.

Obviously this only works for things people search for. No one looks for social networks by searching for 'social networking', otherwise Google+ might have been able to take on Facebook. If you're looking to buy an electric car you probably don't search "electric cars" and even if you do seeing a potential future Google car in a prime place and Tesla down in the list probably won't matter in influencing a decision where people are spending tens of thousands of dollars.

Zero. Zilch. Nada. That's how much Netflix uses its own data centres now

DougS Silver badge

@Steve Davies 3

If they do get out of AWS totally perhaps this rush for 'everything must be in the cloud' might slow down a tad. Probably wishful thinking though...

Why would Apple leaving the public cloud for their own private cloud slow down the "everything must be in the cloud" rush? Apple isn't abandoning a 'cloud strategy', just using their own cloud.

DougS Silver badge

Not surprising Apple is leaving

They've been building mega data centers of their own, clearly they had a reason for that. Some type of cloud environment is the only thing data centers on that scale would reasonably be used for since I don't think Apple is going to try to become the next Facebook or Google Search. Once they have their own why should they pay Amazon?

When their needs were small it made sense to use AWS instead of doing it internally since that gave better fault tolerance and a better price, and it was easier to keep up with growth. That's no longer true as they can afford to build multiple data centers to provide that fault tolerance, and at their scale can probably do it cheaper than what Amazon charges them.

Even if it doesn't save them any money keeping control of their data is important in this age with customers concerned about privacy and our government doing its best to pressure companies to strip away that privacy.

DougS Silver badge


Not sure why the downvote, but Apple leaving would free up a lot of capacity. If Amazon wants to sell that capacity they'd have to lower prices to generate new demand.

The only way around that is if they are seeing enough growth from existing customers needing more capacity and new customers joining that they could cover Apple's departure by simply slowing down their build out of new capacity over the next year or something.

Global crypto survey proves govt backdoors completely pointless

DougS Silver badge

Double encryption

If some governments required encryption that includes a backdoor, one could just their broken encryption to re-encrypt something already properly encrypted.

The government would only discover that if they used their backdoor, so it citizens of that country would quickly find out their government really was using the backdoor only with proper legal procedure (search warrant or whatever) followed.

Health and Safety to prosecute over squashed Harrison Ford

DougS Silver badge

Hydraulic door?

Too bad they didn't operate the doors like the original Star Trek did - manually operated by stagehands hidden off camera!

Carly Fiorina makes like HP and splits – ex-CEO quits White House race

DougS Silver badge

Resting bitch face

Isn't a good look in a president.

Nor is whatever weird expression Trump always has where he purses his lips and sticks out his chin (my guess is that he must have a weak chin from the side and got in the habit years ago of doing that to cover it up)

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