* Posts by DougS

12862 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Bill for half a billion quid lands on Apple's desk in Facetime patent scrap

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why east Texas

The IP specialists came because the lawsuits did. East Texas didn't decide to set up a cottage industry for patent lawsuits, it just happened.

DougS Silver badge

Why east Texas

At some point patent lawyers crunched the numbers and found they had more success in that east Texas district than any other. So it makes sense to file there.

I suspect it is more down to the judges than the juries. The juries decide who wins and the award, but the judges decide what the juries will and won't hear. I don't know what VirnetX's lawyers said in their closing statements that Apple had a problem with, but if it is something that Apple could have successfully objected to in another court but not in this one, and it had a bearing on the jury's ultimate decision, how the judge runs the courtroom is having a major impact on the outcome.

Like your iPhone, but not enough to touch it? This patent's for you

DougS Silver badge

WTF is this article talking about?

Yes, the iPhone and Android phones have true multitouch. iPads can handle 11 simultaneous touches - which can be from one person (don't tell me what you're using for the 11th) or multiple people. I don't remember the limit for the iPhone, but the number 7 sticks in my head for some reason, but it is definitely at least 5.

Android devices have a different number depending on hardware, some are as few as 2 and others are a lot more.

If you scaled an iPad up to whiteboard size, 11 touch inputs is more than enough for multiple people to be drawing on it at once.

And none of that crap had anything to do with Apple patent for NOT touching your screen. Sheesh, Reg writers lose their minds when it comes to Apple sometimes...

Mall owner lays blame at Apple's door for dragging down sales

DougS Silver badge

Re: Mall landlords DO know tenant stores' sales

Apple has done better YoY every quarter, but that doesn't mean sales from Apple Stores aren't down, if more people are buying from apple.com.

It might even be just that the Apple Stores in the US are down, or just Apple Stores in General Growth's malls are down.

I'm pretty sure that in years when Apple Stores in their malls have experienced a big growth in sales they aren't calling it out and saying "our 6% growth would be only 3% if we didn't include Apple". But now that Apple is a drag they want to separate it out. Live by the sword, die by the sword...

Lights out for Space Vehicle Number 23: UK smacked when US sat threw GPS out of whack

DougS Silver badge

@Crazy Operations Guy

This year they increased processing power by 70% (benchmarks run by anandtech and others proved their claims were quite justified) so that's not a "slightly increased" amount, but the 6 was already 'fast enough' so there are diminishing returns in utility of faster SoCs even if they were able to do that every year, which they obviously can't.

They'd prefer to add something unique that Samsung and other competitors can't easily duplicate, I'm just not sure "faster and more accurate GPS positioning" is going to move the needle. Perhaps combined with improved MEMS that allowed dead reckoning to a high degree of accuracy for when are out of range of GPS they could have a winner - and that fab they bought would allow them to gain economies of scale for their needs while similar capabilities would be too expensive for the competition unless they were willing to commit to ordering fifty million a year (and even then require a few years to catch up)

So I wouldn't be surprised to see something that's unique and not very easy for the Android world to duplicate in the 7S. Whether it is something that people care enough about having to influence their choice of what phone to buy (whether it means getting people to switch to iPhone, or stop them switching from iPhone) well that remains to be seen I guess.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Chip Scale Atomic Clocks (CSAC) - $1500 price class

MEMS devices used commonly in smartphones used to be in that price range too, when they were produced in quantities of tens of thousands a year.

The advantage to including an atomic clock in a phone would be a massive improvement in position acquisition time as well as some improvement in accuracy (especially altitude) but you have a chicken and egg situation. The only chance for the price of a CSAC to drop like six axis MEMS did to allow their inclusion in cell phones would be if someone commits to ordering massive quantities. So probably Apple would have to think it is worth including to drive the price down enough for widespread adoption, as they did with flash and MEMS.

Apple bought an outdated fab in San Jose from Maxim last year, there was some speculation as to exactly why since it uses a very outdated process and would only be suitable for things like MEMS devices. I suppose there's a chance it could be used to produce a couple hundred million CSACs a year - to give Apple the benefit of this improvement in the iPhone without driving up volumes in the industry to where it is cheap and easy for everyone else to quickly match them.

Tesla PowerWall is a good deal if you don't mind a 25-year payback

DougS Silver badge

New version 'delighting version 1 owners'

How is this different than buying well...anything...that changes over time? Should you be upset if you own a 2016 car when the 2017s come out? Should you smash your iPhone 6S against the wall in a fit of rage when Cook announces the iPhone 7? Should you write an angry letter to GE because they made this year's refrigerator 2% more efficient than the one you bought last spring?

The people who bought the version 1 Powerwall did so on its own merits. If they felt it would pay back in x years that's still true. If they bought it because they wanted to be the first on their block to have whole house battery backup power, they still have that as well.

Google licks its lips at sight of Qualcomm's 64-bit server ARM chips

DougS Silver badge

Apple switching to Intel's cellular

Speculation is the main reason Apple would be interested is that Intel is willing to license the IP, so Apple could include the modem block in their SoC, which saves money and reduces power draw. Qualcomm won't do that, they will only sell you a modem chip (or a SoC that includes their modem)

Still it bodes well for Qualcomm if they can have some success in the ARM server market, since they have several strikes against them for the future of their mobile business (not just Apple maybe leaving, but Samsung using their own SoCs more and Chinese companies using cheaper alternatives like Mediatek)

Microsoft buys SwiftKey, Britain's 'stealthiest software startup'

DougS Silver badge

@AC Xbox making 'profit'

Xbox is only profitable if they don't count the original one they lost $6 billion on. They're still in the red on Xbox overall, and with the most recent one losing to PS4 in the marketplace - and consoles in general not as big of a deal in this generation thanks to mobile gaming - Microsoft is unlikely to ever reach breakeven on the overall Xbox product line.

Microsoft intended Xbox to be their wedge into the living room that they could leverage into bigger things, but it has remained almost exclusively a gaming platform. I suppose there may be a small number who use that silly HDMI passthru feature to try to integrate it with their TV viewing, but while there was a lot of initial speculation they'd turn that into something bigger it has gone nowhere.

If they hadn't been wasting their time trying to beat Sony in the living room, they might have stood a better chance of noticing Apple and Google beating them in mobile before it was too late.

How many Surface power cords are a fire risk? 2.25 million in the US alone

DougS Silver badge

Re: Microsoft's Shortage of Electrical Engineers

Yes, but then they are heavier/bulkier which they would try to avoid in a portable device.

There's a huge difference between this (a cable that can possibly become dangerous if twisted too tightly as some people may do when packing up their stuff for travel) and the dodgy USB-C cable the Google engineer purchased on Amazon (destroys the device it is plugged into and is actively dangerous if it was to cause a fire as part of that destruction)

Microsoft is doing the right thing by replacing them all, so it is hard to fault their actions here. Since it dates back to the first generation Surface it isn't like this is a problem that became apparent a week after release.

For sale: One 236-bed nuclear bunker

DougS Silver badge

Re: Interesting

That's a good plan. Presumably there would be some communications links with those inside. Just send them "wow that's a bright flash....I think I'm blind....oh god I think its over for the human race" then pull the plug on all communication links.

They'll think it is over for us poor bastards on the surface and won't even bother checking the door - if they found it welded shut they might have cutting tools that would allow them to get out given enough time so you want them to WANT to stay inside!

Why the Sun is setting on the Boeing 747

DougS Silver badge

Tail mounted engine damage

Which is worse, an uncontrolled failure of a tail mounted engine or uncontrolled failure of a wing mounted engine? I don't think the plane will fly well missing either the tail or the one of the wings...

Windows 10 overtakes Windows 8.1's market share

DougS Silver badge

Re: XP systems

Uh, if you're air gapped what sites are you going to browse, exactly? I suppose there could be internal ones on the 'inside' of the air gap, but an out of date Chrome is hardly an issue (most probably use IE for this since the sites on the inside of the air gap won't be getting updated to require new HTML5 features)

Even for a non air gapped XP machine, who cares if Chrome is no longer updated? That's not the same thing as "it will stop working" and while that may leave security holes in the browser unfixed, you've already got so many security holes in XP that hasn't been patched for a couple years that a few recent security holes in Chrome is nothing to be concerned about.

Rooting your Android phone? Google’s rumbled you again

DougS Silver badge

Re: Google has no incentive to make it easy for you to remove that stuff

What phone are they going to get instead of Android? It has no real competition except the iPhone, and that's only at the high end price (and those who are looking for SD slots or removable batteries like you are won't find them there either)

If there was a mass market competitor for Android then Google might be encouraged to act differently, but so long as they are the only game in town for the under $500 market (yeah, technically there's Windows phone in the sub $500 market, but if people consider that at all obviously not enough do or it would have more than the 2% share it gets)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Maybe I just don't get it

Apple uses a secure element in the iPhone, no security exploit against iOS can access it so it remains secure. And it doesn't store the actual card number in any case, but a special substitute number that is only valid for use with Apple Pay from that one phone, so even if you got it it would be useless to you. The only "exploit" anyone has found against Apple Pay is to use social engineering to get a bank to allow you to enable someone else's card on an iPhone - which is really no different than simply stealing their card number and either using it online or making a counterfeit card using that number to use in a store.

Google doesn't use a secure element for Android Pay - they use host card emulation. That's a software based solution so they can't allow rooted devices to use it because it would defeat the security - it also means compromising the security of Android compromises its security. Google made that choice because requiring a secure element would lock out the lower end Android phones that choose not to include it for cost reasons. They care less about security and more on getting their hands on as much juicy purchase data as possible to help their advertising business. Knowing what people end up actually buying and how much they spend is the crown jewel for online advertising - it is so valuable I wouldn't be shocked if Google starts paying people to use Android Pay (at least for certain people with lots of disposal income who are the most valuable to advertisers)

DougS Silver badge

Google has no incentive to make it easy for you to remove that stuff

That stuff makes phones cheaper, by creating other sources of revenue / future revenue for the phone OEM. Cheaper phones means more phones sold which means more eyeballs for Google to sell.

Microsoft sinks to new depths with underwater data centre experiment

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why put it all below water?

Yes, typically you wouldn't pump seawater, but you pump water with some additives (to prevent corrosion) in a closed loop to dump their heat in the heat. The other problem with seawater is that it isn't just salt that's in it, there are a lot of living things. You suck in marine life you have all sorts of other problems, not to mention having environmentalists upset (they won't care about microscopic life, but suck in a few starfish and there's hell to pay!)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Haven't they heard

Heat as a general concept has no value for energy recovery, it is only in the context of temperature gradient it has value. Unfortunately the temperature difference between inlet and outlet air in datacenters isn't very large so it is difficult for it to do work. If you could run datacenters hot enough to boil water then you could drive a turbine...

The heat has value if you want to heat buildings or make hot water, but they are already recovering that heat in many heating dominated climates. Google 'datacenter district heat'. It isn't of much use in say coastal California unless you could locate the world's largest laundromat next door to use up all that hot water.

DougS Silver badge

@TonyJ - divers

No one will dive to it. If they need to service it they'll raise it up. Probably isn't worth the cost of servicing, they'd just replace the whole thing as a unit.

It is the same theory as mega datacenters that are built as units that fit in shipping containers. They don't service those either, they just replace the container when enough stuff inside it has gone bad.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Haven't they heard

Seriously? It isn't as though the heat will just concentrate around it and boil the oceans when you approach it.

If every datacenter in the world was moved underwater it wouldn't cause ocean temperatures to rise far enough to be measurable. Do you have any concept of just how much water there is in the world's oceans?

DougS Silver badge

Pumping does not cost more than you save in cooling costs!

If it did geothermal heat pumps would not work. The common variety pump what is essentially radiator fluid in a closed loop through the ground outside your house (or straight down under it if you have limited land) and are typically about several times more energy efficient than air to air heat pumps (which themselves are more efficient t than traditional heating and cooling) If you have a body of water nearby that is deep or fast moving enough it won't freeze all the down during the winter nor disappear during a drought, you run the pipes through it and it is even more efficient.

I was thinking the same thing as the OP, "why not put it on the coast" but quickly had the same thought as others did here - coastal property is very valuable. Once you move inland very far your savings would evaporate due the added distance making initial construction more expensive and reduction in efficiency.

Once you progress to the "sealed shipping container" building blocks for your data center which we have several years ago, dropping sealed containers on the ocean floor is at least worth exploring. I'd wonder how much a storm could disrupt things - you'd need it far enough away from shore that big waves won't affect it on the bottom. Things that can get churned up pretty good down there when seas get heavy so I wonder if 30 feet is deep enough.

Alphabet, cough, Google most valuable biz on Earth as it pours billions into 'other bets'

DougS Silver badge

Exactly. If you 'negotiate' once you are opening the door for many others to want to negotiate, and risk accusations of unfair treatment.

Let's say Apple and Facebook come along wanting to "negotiate" but the UK says no, or offers a worse deal. In the US, Google spends several times more on lobbying the government and donations to PACs (donations to political parties/candidates) than either Apple or Facebook. Let's say the same was true in the UK.

It sure would look to a lot of people like Google bribed the government for the deal in a quid pro quo by making donations to the right political parties/people, or spending money on lobbying (where politicians go once they retire or get voted out, at least in the US) Even if that's not what really happened, the appearance is enough for the accusation to be reported in the press and believed to be true by political opponents and cynical bastards like me.

DougS Silver badge

Re: I wonder...

If a US company holds cash aboard they pay only whatever foreign taxes are due on it. When they bring it into the US they owe US taxes on it, but foreign taxes previously paid on it are taken as a tax credit against the US taxes due. So the less foreign taxes you pay, the more you will owe in US taxes when you bring it home.

Windows 10 will now automatically download and install on PCs

DougS Silver badge

Why not just update it?

And if the update doesn't work, or the PC becomes unstable, or whatever then what? Giant hassle of re-installing Windows 7 from scratch to get back to where it is now, and I still have the problem of how to avoid Windows 10. Or are you living in dreamland and assuming a 100.0% success rate with every automated upgrade? I have no experience with Windows 10 and while it might be similar it isn't identical so when they do have problems it will waste more of my time trying to figure out how to fix them.

Why should my parents and me go through ANY additional hassle and take even the SMALLEST risk of problems just because Microsoft wants to get them aboard the data collection machine known as Windows 10? Windows 10 provides them exactly ZERO benefit and will not improve their PC usage experience in any way whatsoever. What's in it for them?

If the manufacturer of your car decided they wanted you to bring your car in for service and leave it for the entire week so they could replace the engine with one they assured you was identical, but might not be quite identical, and would collect metrics about how many rpms it was at during different times of the day or whatever, would you simply do it because they say so? Not talking about a recall, since it isn't a safety issue or fixing something that is broken, it was just because they wanted to and there were no guaranteed benefits over the engine you have now other than your warranty that now runs until 2020 would be extended a bit. I think you would say "my engine works perfectly fine now and I see no reason to inconvenience myself by bringing it in, and risking that maybe my mileage will not be as good and possibly waste time getting used to different noises it makes from the ones it makes now, and the data collection thing is not for my benefit"

DougS Silver badge


Don't try to divine the meaning of a random downvote or two, it is not uncommon to see one or two to seemingly uncontroversial posts. It is odd that I didn't get any downvotes and you got one, but for a while there was someone who had taken offense to a few of my posts (too pro Apple for his taste I guess) who was downvoting every one of my posts no matter what the subject. Maybe you have acquired a similar 'stalker' :)

DougS Silver badge

Time to disable Windows update on my parent's PCs

Not what Microsoft intended, and will be more of a pain for me since I'll have to manually update them every few months (after carefully deselecting the Windows 10 updates unless they hide them as "security update for your Windows 7 computer" or other generic nonsense)

Look for Windows 7 to be the target of a lot of exploits over the next few years as many people end up turning off updates to get around this crap. Maybe that's what Microsoft really wants, hoping that the exploited computer will be seen as "slow" and trigger the purchase of a new PC.

Only problem for Microsoft is that "new PC" might be a Mac, or a tablet or "ever since my PC started having problems I've been getting along fine with my phone and borrowing a friend's computer once a month when I need a real PC, so I really don't really need to own one at all".

Little warning: Deleting the wrong files may brick your Linux PC

DougS Silver badge

This is a lot more serious than the article suggests

If it is possible to brick a PC by writing to the wrong memory location (memory that is inhabited by writable flash in the motherboad) then any root/Administrator level security hole on a Windows or Linux PC allows malware to brick the PC.

Now typically malware doesn't get so destructive, instead trying to leverage it to make money (send spam, capture banking info, lock files and extort the user) but all it takes is one person who's more assholey than greedy to modify existing malware and make it brick PCs to the point where it sounds like you need to buy a new one.

This is a huge problem in UEFI design that this is even possible. I thought they all had a "dual BIOS" type system where if it won't boot it can revert to a second copy, to allow you to recover from bad flashes or making inappropriate settings in your config? Does UEFI not allow for that? Is it just this MSI laptop that allows writing values that will brick it or is this a more general issue?

Sure, encrypt your email – while your shiny IoT toothbrush spies on you

DougS Silver badge

By "it isn't in tech companies best interests to provide it"

They mean it isn't in Google's best interests to provide it. You can't data mine people's Gmail if it is end to end encrypted.

Apple could easily provide end to end encryption for emails between Apple devices, but if I use a gmail.com address on my iPhone and someone sends me an encrypted email from theirs, sure I can read it fine from my iPhone but would present rather a problem if I tried to use the GMail web interface instead. Even if it supported decrypting I'd need to provide Google my key which rather defeats the point of encryption when the biggest snoop on the planet has my key!

With Google permanently against such encryption and being one of the largest email players they have been and will effectively remain a roadblock to this. They knew what they were doing when they bribed everyone to use their service with a free gigabyte of storage, back when Microsoft was busy thinking they could monetize email storage.

Chip company FTDI accused of bricking counterfeits again

DougS Silver badge

Re: Goodbye FTDI

Some of them are silkscreened "FTDI" so some OEMs are fooled by it.

Others are saving money by buying something cheaper than FTDI that claims to be compatible - there is nothing illegal about designing to FTDI's spec. Neither is there anything illegal about FTDI finding a check they will fail on to prevent those 'clone' chips from working. They better have a whole list of similar tricks, because they've probably already modified the microcode in the chips coming off the assembly line from today on to respond exactly like FTDI chips do to the test in the new driver. If FTDI doesn't have any more tricks in their bag, all they've done is piss off some people who will probably never know what happened, but still aren't likely to buy products containing genuine FTDI chips.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Goodbye FTDI

The point is that if the "petrol like fluid" worked for all purposes petrol did, and the only way to tell it wasn't petrol but some substitute was for your car's fuel injector to run a special test on it and refuse to run if it failed to pass, is it really the petrol station's problem? They thought they were getting petrol, and it works exactly like petrol does if that special test is skipped.

FTDI's problem isn't that the counterfeit chips don't work exactly like FTDI's chips, their problem is that they DO!

Samsung trolls Google, adds adblockers to phones

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Two-thirds of Android users vulnerable to web history sniff ransomware

DougS Silver badge

What's the point of forwarding their browsing history?

Who is going to read email filled with tons of URLs sent by one of your friends? I would delete that without looking at it, because I'd just assume it is some sort of spam. Even if I knew it was legit, I wouldn't care enough to look.

If you want to scare them, how about threatening to download a bunch of child porn and email the pics from your email address directly to the FBI?

AI no longer needs to fake it. Just don't try talking to your robots

DougS Silver badge

Computers are already proving they are better than humans

Even with a warning of an impending collision, computers do a better job of avoiding it: http://www.torquenews.com/1083/testing-group-says-forward-crash-prevention-and-auto-braking-could-save-you. That's nearly a 50% drop in rear end collisions resulting in injury.

It will take a while before computers are able to evaluate and make the best decision in complex situations like a oncoming driver crossing over the center line with a steep shoulder on the other side (not like humans will always make the right choice there either) The fact they never get sleepy or drunk or text while driving, and don't have fear, anger, boredom or other emotions clouding their judgment in the split second when something unexpected happens automatically gives them a huge leg up on humans. Humans have extremely slow reflexes by comparison, and can't see well in adverse conditions like dense fog, blinding sunlight or a torrential downpour. Those "high risk drivers" you think should be removed from the statistics are part of the reality on the roads of every country, and are the low hanging fruit that computers begin the process of driving better than people do.

Heck, maybe it starts with people convicted of drunk driving or having too many accidents being barred from manual driving for life - even if computers can't beat good drivers at that point they only need to be better than bad drivers and not doing anything 'unexpected' to help good drivers have fewer accidents.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Two accidents when humans "had chosen to take the wheel"

I'm not sure who you are responding to, but I certainly don't assume they will be 'nirvana'.

I think that beating us easily distracted humans is a pretty low bar, though in order to win wide acceptance they'll need to be proven to have a 10x lower accident rate - which is still a low bar. Some people won't think it is good enough until they have an accident rate that is zero, those will be the idiots still insisting on manual driving until the government makes a law preventing that except in certain circumstances (private roads and maybe a parade once or twice a year)

There will be stupid software bugs that kill people. Until laws/courts/insurance companies deal with that reality self driving cars will not be able to leave the starting gate. That's why I think they need to target a 10x lower accident rate. While there will still be the usual brand of idiots who think that everyone else is a terrible driver but they are great (they will dismiss any accidents they've had as the fault of the other driver(s) or the conditions, even if the police report says differently) that will be the point where instead of being limited to certain lanes or whatever that self driving cars can go anywhere.

That data that proves lower accident rates isn't likely to happen in the US or UK. Too litigious. There are other countries with fewer liability concerns (and higher accident rates) like say India where self driving cars will prove their mettle before they get released in large numbers in our neck of the woods.

DougS Silver badge

Re: I'm not that worried about intelligent machines taking over

It would probably be easier to make an ignorant/unwilling 10 year a suicide bomber than "grooming" one to do it, though both are possible.

But having them on a no fly list? That's going a bit too far - probably an error with same/similar names I'd imagine.

DougS Silver badge

Two accidents when humans "had chosen to take the wheel"

That doesn't mean it wasn't the self driving car's fault. The current ones have to have human drivers present to take over when they encounter a situation they can't handle. Maybe by the the time the human took over the accident was already unavoidable?

That doesn't speak to fault (it could tell the human to take over because someone was going the wrong way in its lane and it didn't know what to do) Or the human might have felt like driving it for a while.

But I'm skeptical of the stats when presented in this way because not enough is known about WHY the human had been driving, for how long, and what the circumstances were when he took over.

Investors furious that Amazon only made $482m last quarter

DougS Silver badge


That's a stupid article. They show the growth, peak and decline of the iPod, show the iPhone's growth and imply that it will peak and decline like the iPod. The reason the iPod peaked and declined was because it was replaced by another product that included its functionality. What's the point of a standalone music player when the phone you are already carrying can now do that job also? Same reason for the decline in the pocket camera market, or GPS, etc.

That makes the smartphone more important than the iPod ever was to people because it does so much more. The replacement cycle of iPhones may lengthen as new ones don't offer as compelling reasons to upgrade, but that would not result in a decline as steep as the growth like the iPod, but merely a slow decline that levels off. Until someone replace the smartphone with brain implant or something people are likely to be carrying one around for a while. There's no reason to expect that people who prefer the iPhone today are going to switch tomorrow just because there are cheaper Android alternatives - that has been the case for several years already and Apple gains 3-4x more switchers from Android to Apple than are lost from Apple to Android.

The currency risk is an issue but only if the US dollar keeps getting stronger. That will equally affect any US company that does a lot of business overseas, but at some future day if the pendulum swings the other way and the dollar weakens then it will act as a growth accelerator. Given how low oil prices are now, unless they bottom out to $10 like some people believe, there's unlikely to be much additional strengthening of the dollar.

DougS Silver badge

"more than enough potential"??

My point is that investors are giving Amazon WAY too much credit. Do you seriously think it is undervalued?

Sure, they do $100 billion in revenue but they have $99.5 billion in cost, leaving a margin of only 0.5% for profit. They can't do much to further cut costs, because almost all of their cost is the wholesale cost of the products they are selling you. They can't do much to raise their prices, because if they do people will go to Walmart, newegg, or one of the countless thousands of other companies who are reselling many of the same goods and would be priced lower if Amazon tried to raise their prices.

You even admit yourself that they can't stop their spending on expansions etc. because it wouldn't lead to long term profits. So basically Amazon is going to earn 0.5% profit margins forever, and you think that justifies their ridiculous share price? In order to match Apple's profits last fiscal year, Amazon would have to grow their revenue from $100 billion to $10 trillion. Do you think it is possible Amazon could grow 100x? Investors seem to think so, as their multiple indicates a future growth of 75x in profits. So either they are going to get 75x bigger, or they are going to manage to collect margins of 37.5% (good luck getting people to pay 35%+ more than everyone else for the same products)

DougS Silver badge

Looking at it another way

Amazon's P/E ratio (after the stock price drop) is about 750. Apple's is 10. Apple made double the profit in a week in their last quarter as Amazon made all year, but their market cap is barely twice that of Amazon!

That's how overvalued Amazon is even after the ~13% after hours price drop...

They have a long long long way to fall - this is the only dot com stock from 2000 whose investors still haven't woken up to reality. I don't think this will do it, and it may take a few years yet (so don't waste your money shorting it) but it will happen eventually, mark my words.

WD notebook drive shipments plummet

DougS Silver badge

Drives may become optional in laptops

I wouldn't be surprised to see OEMs solder say a 64 or 128 GB SSD chip stack onto the board, which is enough for the OS and basic storage for people with smaller storage needs or who are using cloud or NAS.

CableLabs certifies first gigabit-class cable modems

DougS Silver badge

Well I have to hand it to you for admitting it, and I guess I shouldn't give Reg readers quite so much of a benefit of the doubt after all! :)

DougS Silver badge

While that's true from typical reported speed tests - some guy says "I have a 450 Mbps router so obviously that can't be the limiting factor" but ignores it is on the other side of the house and no one gets anywhere near 450 Mbps even right next to it anyway.

But give Reg readers the benefit of the doubt, since on the whole we're a pretty sharp bunch technically, so I doubt that was the case here.

Samsung: Is gadget lust still a thing in 2016? Nope

DougS Silver badge

Re: It's their own fault

I've never heard a real person (i.e. not someone on an internet message board) complain about the lack of SD card or removable batteries on Samsung's newer phones.

The confusing product line with too many similar devices with similar specs, with certain models or colors only available to you if you're with a particular carrier - that I've heard mentioned more than a few times!

Europe: Go on. Ask us to probe the £130m 'sweetheart' deal HMRC made with Google

DougS Silver badge

The main problem is that Google 'negotiated'

That's why the EU was probing Ireland about Apple. It isn't Ireland's base rate, which they can set however they want. It is the fact that Apple was paying less due to a sweetheart deal that's not open to others. The same thing appears to be the case with Google.

If some guy who has a small business in the US that does some sales in the UK and EU did 1/1000th of the revenue Google does in the UK, do you think he'd be able to score meetings with the officials like Google did and negotiate his taxes down to 1/1000th of what the UK wants Google to pay?

Dream on, they'd tell him he has to pay the full whack, plus penalties, or he'll be banned from doing business in the UK and arrested if he ever turns up in Heathrow's customs line.

We've all suffered hangovers, but Qualcomm's right now is something epic

DougS Silver badge

Qualcomm has four problems

1) Intel possibly replacing Qualcomm cellular chips in iPhones

2) Samsung probably using more of their own chips and fewer of Qualcomm's in their phones

3) Chinese companies like Mediatek likely taking a bigger share of the non-Samsung Android market

4) the fact the smartphone market has pretty much peaked so there's no organic growth left

Expect to see more patent lawsuits from them - that's usually what happens when sales decline and executives instruct people to look for other sources of revenue - especially if the competition that replaced you is using your patents. For instance, they may have a patent cross licensing agreement with Intel, but if Intel licenses their cellular modem to Apple who includes it in the A10 or A11 SoC then maybe Qualcomm sues Apple if it isn't clear in the cross license agreement with Intel that Intel is allowed to license IP using those patents to others.

Sensors, not CPUs, are the tech that swings the smartphone market

DougS Silver badge

Comparing A9 to x86

It isn't quite so easy to say "it compares to X" CPU since most benchmarks aren't all that good.

But assuming that's the case, that E6700 bought in 2006 would have vastly inferior graphics, and have a spinning hard drive instead of flash. I'd consider the SSD the biggest advance in computer performance in a generation. Any PC with a spinning hard drive - no matter what the CPU and GPU - is inferior to an iPhone 6S performance wise for real world use because of that. Yeah, your game on an 8 core extreme CPU with a $400 GPU that sounds like a jet engine may run at some incredible frame rate, but once you start doing something that has to hit the filesystem very much in a random fashion (like copying a big folder of small files) your performance will drop through the floor.

Not trying to toot Apple's horn here, the A9 is faster than the SoCs from Qualcomm and Samsung but not by a huge amount. This is more about how transistor performance has evolved over time to the point where a CPU consuming 2 watts can perform at an appreciable fraction of a CPU that consumes nearly 100 watts. That's pretty cool no matter what brand of phone it is found in!

Wikipedia board stands by new ex-Googler appointee

DougS Silver badge

"thoughtfulness, transparency, diversity, and a focus on doing what is right"

If that's true, he won't last long before he's forced out!

Google DeepMind cyber-brain cracks tough AI challenge: Beating a top Go board-game player

DougS Silver badge

Re: Very Impressive

There's always someone who whines about people saying "that's not AI" and claims they are moving the goalposts.

Preston has it right. It is AI when a general purpose intelligence can read the rules of go for itself, watch a couple games, try playing itself, and work its way up to beating all the meatbags. Programming in the rules, pattern searches, all that stuff is cheating. Its like when Neo learned karate in The Matrix.

It is when you can tell a computer play itself at tic tac toe and it figures out for itself that the game is pointless and stops on its own. Then you have true AI. And you run.

Plexistor rolls out storage-defined memory for the masses

DougS Silver badge

Of course

DevOps is the current titleholder of "answer to every fucking IT problem you have", having taken over last year from "the Cloud".

UK Home Sec wants Minority Report-style policing – using your slurped data

DougS Silver badge

Government incompetence is the only thing preventing 1984

And inefficiency. Mustn't forget inefficiency!

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