* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

US government pushing again on encryption bypass

DougS Silver badge

Re: for goodness sake

Unless Telegram was designed by the NSA to use subtly flawed encryption and the Russian ownership is just a front to ensnare the terrorists! If it isn't, the CIA should plant rumors to that effect so the terrorists never know for sure what's safe to use.

Encryption is hard to get right, even mega companies who can afford best in field experts like Google and Apple don't get things exactly right every time. What chance does the loner or tiny company creating the apps the terrorists might use? Maybe the spooks just want to create enough bluster to scare terrorists off iMessage and WhatsApp "just in case" the government is forcing secret back doors on them, knowing that odds are good whatever terrorists end up landing on will be have multiple flaws they can work with. The ones that don't they can FUD out of use by starting rumors it is a CIA front.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Whenever this issue comes back to the table

Does it have to be only 1%?

DougS Silver badge

Re: There is rather an easy solution.

Now we see why it is being talked about. Some big government contractor like MITRE or Raytheon will get a huge contract to develop this solution, and after multiple extensions and huge cost overruns they'll say "it can't be done". But not before the sponsoring legislators retire from Congress and get cushy board jobs paying $500K for 10 hours of work a month.

DougS Silver badge

Re: for goodness sake

iMessage is encrypted end to end, as is WhatsApp. So these big companies are offering this stuff, not just Blackberry and whatever the heck Telegram is.

If they passed a law that prevented this sort of thing it would be offered via apps from somewhere outside the US. The only question is whether Apple, Google and Facebook would relocate their headquarters so as to continue being the ones offering these apps instead of letting someone else eat their lunch. I hope they would - it would serve morons like Comey right!

DougS Silver badge

The problem was that the data pile was ALREADY too big

They had flagged various pieces of information about these people before, but hadn't put it together because they have flagged so much information about so many people it is impossible to correlate it all or follow up on it all.

The spy services think "if you just give us access to more stuff, we can prevent incidents" but this demonstrates there is already too much data. They aren't able to drink water fast enough to keep up with a garden hose, so their solution is to replace it with a fire hose.

Tablet computer zoom error saw plane fly 13 hours with 46cm hole

DougS Silver badge

If only they required pilots to have good eyesight

They wouldn't need to zoom their tablet to be able to read the runway names!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Goooooooo Bill

You can hardly blame Windows (if indeed the tablet was even running Windows) for a poorly designed app. If a guy driving a Focus runs over your dog, is it Ford's fault?

Social media snitching bill introduced into US Congress by intel bosses

DougS Silver badge

"recently stepped up their efforts to shut down accounts promoting racism"

So Twitter shut down Trump's account?

Spectralogic CTO talks up hybrid flash-tape cartridge. Welcome, tape robot overlords

DougS Silver badge

Re: Tapes will become too expensive.

Flash is cheap, and 8GB would be way more than you need for metadata information here - you really only need pathname, size and tape location information for each file. No need for triple checking, ECC protection is fine. This is just a cache of metadata that already exists on tape, so if it went away entirely you are no worse off than with a tape today.

A bigger problem is that unpowered flash is not always non-volatile over a scale of years, though that would be easy to work around by having the LTFS driver regularly insert each tape and check/refresh the metadata.

Caching in the library is a bad idea. What happens if you have it replaced? If you want a centralized store of metadata, why not store it servers? Backup servers keep this sort of information today in their catalogs, so I see no reason why a couple servers couldn't keep replicate copies of the cache instead of the library or the tapes.

All eyes on the jailbroken as iOS, Mac OS X threat level ratchets up

DougS Silver badge

Re: Yet more excuses for Apple to wall off OS/X even more

Neither Linux nor Unix are or ever were being run on a PC by "average people" like OS X is. It is a lot harder to trick a typical Linux desktop user into typing the root password in a dialog box just because it is asked for than it is to trick the typical Mac/Windows user into doing so. It doesn't matter what OS you are running if the user provides the root/admin password - the only defense is to take power away from that password.

I don't see why anyone would complain about Apple's rootless mode, since it protects the clueless from themselves - clueless people being clueless is what most malware relies upon, after all. Probably the reason it is a bit of pain to disable is to avoid clueless people being even more clueless and following instructions to do just that! The fact there is still malware circulating even today that requires people to open random attachments demonstrates that there are still a lot of clueless users out there.

HPE's private London drinking club: Name that boozer

DougS Silver badge

Re: HP Packaging

I think we have a winner! Not only totally fitting for HP - the world's single largest offender in packaging to contents ratio even for trifles like license certificates - but also fits in perfectly with the typical English "x and y" pub names!

Motorola’s X Force awakens a seemingly ‘shatterproof’ future

DougS Silver badge

Re: More Apple screens?

From what I've seen of friends with iPhones and Android phones that have sustained a broken screen, the iPhones almost always keep working just fine when the screen shatters, while the Android (at least the Galaxys a few friends dropped and broke) lost touch sensitivity on part of the screen making them paperweights.

Apple's release cycle also factors into it. If you break it in May, maybe you just keep using it while broken for a few months until the new ones come. If you break an Android any month, unless you are locked into a certain phone like Galaxy Note, there is always a "latest and greatest" model that just came out so less incentive to wait and use the broken one in the meantime.

Donald Trump wants Bill Gates to 'close the Internet', Jeff Bezos to pay tax

DougS Silver badge

'only 12% of voters voted in republican primaries'

Trump may not have as much support in the republicans who skip the primaries, but if they find him unacceptable that's their own fault for skipping the primary and letting him win (if he does end up winning)

Maybe if it gets close to the Iowa caucus and NH primary and he's still up there, it will galvanize record turnouts in both states to hand him a loss, and he'll quickly fade once he's lost his mojo.

DougS Silver badge

Trump beating Hillary in GE

The polls don't bear out AC's claim:


The only poll that shows Trump beating Hillary is the one from Fox News. If Trump was a sure fire victor over her the republican establishment wouldn't be so terrified of him winning the nomination, since the likelihood of Hillary not winning the democratic nomination is about 1%.

The real problem the republicans have in this election is that they've been pushing their anti-government agenda so hard over the years that now the majority of their primary voters are unwilling to support any republican politician, because he's a politician. Previously that might have only hurt republican congressmen while governors could claim they have avoided the taint of Washington on them, but now their voters see even them as tainted. So you see non-politicians like Trump, Carson and Fiorina taking all the attention away from the people the republican establishment wants to push.

I can't remember the numbers but I was amazed at the percentage of likely republican primary voters who said that they saw little difference between Bush and Clinton, and some even said that about the self-styled anti-Washington Washington guy, Ted Cruz. If the establishment is seen as pushing out guys like Trump/Carson to make way for one of their guys like Bush or even Cruz, they might have enough people staying home from the polls that they lose the house/senate that way too. They've really sort of let themselves be boxed in by allowing the anti-government rhetoric to take such a strong hold in their party's message.

Anyway, it is far too early to say who wins the general election between the two. Some republicans who are loathe to support him will decide they'd rather have him than Hillary. Some democrats who want "anyone but Hillary" will decide she's better than Trump. And there's 11 months for them to take a big fall. What's more likely in that time, a new scandal to come up that actually sticks to Hillary, or Trump to shoot himself in the foot so many times that he's managed to alienate most of the republican base to the point where they view this election as a lost cause and start concentrating on finding some to beat Hillary in 2020?

Kill Flash Now: 78 bugs patched in latest update

DougS Silver badge

Very few sites demand flash

Those that do won't work on any iOS and most Android devices, which are a large and growing chunk of browsing activity today.

I think you'll find that if you remove flash (don't just disable it with flashblock) most sites that use it when it is installed won't "demand" it but will instead use whatever they are using on mobile. It is only crappy sites that base the decision on whether to use flash based on browser/OS checks that will insist on it on non-mobile platforms based on a judgment that they "should" have flash installed. Vote with your feet by refusing to patronize them, and they'll either come around or die.

Google proffers plugs in Android MMS pwnfest

DougS Silver badge

"95% of phone users don't care about [updates]"

I agree with AC, and think the same is probably true for iPhone users despite the large uptake on updates. I have an iPhone and appreciate the regular updates that last five years or so after the phone is introduced, but fixing security holes is pretty invisible to the typical user. While iPhone users update in large numbers, it is because they will hear about some new feature like Apple Music. When there's a x.y.z point release that just fixes a few bugs it I doubt it gets much attention beyond people who update just to get rid of that little red "1" on the Settings app...

I think it would take a severe security issue (one that is being exploited in fairly large numbers that is hard to defend yourself against via simply being careful) before the masses really appreciated the difference in the speed of updates and support life of devices for iPhone over Android. Even then those who go for the less expensive devices might think to themselves "I can buy a $150 Android or $650 iPhone, and if there's a security issue I can always "update" by buying a brand new $150 Android and still come out ahead". That's not exactly a strategy that Android OEMs would have a problem with, so you can see why there's little incentive for them to change their behavior.

FWIW, while writing this I wondered if iOS 9.2 was out and found it had just been released this morning. Just finished updating while writing this :)

Rounded corners on Android phones cost Samsung $548m: It will pay up to Apple after all

DougS Silver badge

Re: Err.....

Of course chip prices went up, Apple has needed to buy more every year since they sell more iPhones.

If you think they just added $1 billion to an already contractually agreed upon rate to recover the cost of the suit, you don't understand much about contract law. If they raised prices much Apple would simply go to another foundry such as TSMC or GF - certainly they couldn't get away with anything like a $1 billion price increase in a new contract without sending Apple packing and getting nothing from them and having tons of unused capacity in their fabs.

Booming Ballmer bellows 'bulls**t' over Microsoft's cloud revenue run rate

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@Charlie Clark

Microsoft indeed made money hand over fist, but only on Windows, Windows Server and Office. Pretty much all the other businesses they tried to enter were money losers. Basically Ballmer was handed a cash machine by Gates, and he kept that cash machine functioning, but to say he did a good job as CEO you have to ignore not only all the billions wasted on failed acquisitions but the further billions he burned on failed reactionary attempts to enter huge new markets he saw others were successful in.

During his tenure Microsoft never lead the way into any new markets, instead he lead from behind and lost money trying to follow others in search, online advertising, social networking, consoles, music players, smartphones, and on and on. Shareholders would have been better off if Ballmer just ignored what everyone else was finding success in and worried only about Windows, Windows Server and Office.

Think of all the money that was thrown away pursuing those failed attempts to enter new markets, the failed acquisitions, and all the money spent on all those employees working with those failures who contributed only red ink to Microsoft's bottom line. Not to mention slowing Windows' momentum after the success of Windows 7 thanks to ruining the UI with Metro. All to add a touch interface to support the money losing mobile efforts (one can argue Surface Pro is successful in a way that Windows Phone and the original Surface have not been, but that isn't because of the touch support - it is successful precisely because it can be used as a traditional PC running traditional apps without touch!)

He was probably one of the worst CEOs of the century so far, simply because he was handed the most valuable company on Earth with its primary businesses still growing at a good clip, but he managed to fritter away a conservatively estimated $30 billion in shareholder value.

Darkode 3.0 is so lame it's not worth your time reading this story

DougS Silver badge

Low trust in the new darkode site

Maybe the FBI was responsible for poorly implementing a new version of the site specifically to cause that reaction. That way the guy who slipped the noose will have a harder time getting his former members back since they're now leery about trusting him.

Boffins could tune telescopes to listen to lasers on Mars

DougS Silver badge

What about having satellites receive it?

Without the atmosphere they can receive across a wide range of wavelengths, and they could be separated at appropriate intervals to insure several were always within view from any direction and the greater distance between them would improve their fidelity. The satellites can relay what they receive down to Earth where supercomputers can crunch the data received on each together based on their location for proper interferonomy calculations.

Wow, what took you so long? Comcast bends net neutrality rules

DougS Silver badge

Its all going to get more complicated

It is going to be a lot harder to distinguish this type of offering in a few years when cable companies cease using QAM channels for video and go all IP delivery (i.e. every customer will have a cable modem, even customers who don't subscribe to them for internet) Maybe Comcast is hoping to get a test case going now so they're ready for this future that will be enabled by DOCSIS 3.1.

If Comcast today made a deal with Netflix to have a Netflix channel you could tune to and watch Netflix content, that also gives you access to Netflix's VOD content library how different is that really from their deal with HBO today that gives you access to multiple HBO channels and HBO VOD content through your cable box (i.e. without internet service) When everything is IP there will really be no difference at all, so for better or for worse this part of net neutrality just won't be able to be enforced in any realistic way before long.

WDC's shingle-free stocking filler: A 10TB helium disk drive

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@Steven Roper

Yes, I can certainly see where someone might need 10 TB in cases like yours, but do you see that you are reaching the end of the line for 'needing more'? The reason storage needs kept climbing is that we kept getting richer and richer media to feed our senses. We're now at the limit of what our senses can perceive with no room left to go richer.

In the 80s people mostly dealt with text files, or lightly formatted word/excel type files, maybe some simple MIDI files. Pictures and audio files were rare, video non-existent (MPEG2 didn't even exist) If you were one of the lucky ones with a hard drive, 20 - 40 MB was about it. In the 90s you got pictures and MP3s, but video was still rare. Hard drives became common, but were still measured in megabytes rather than gigabytes until the end of the decade. In the 00s you got lower quality video, now we get high quality HD video with 4K video on the horizon, and hard drive sizes exploded three orders of magnitude in size in 15 years.

Where is the richer media of tomorrow that will cause another order of magnitude demand for storage? There isn't any, even 4K is pretty much pushing what people will care to demand. Unless we can do some sort of 3D volumetric display, we are reaching the end of the line - simply dictated by our senses.

The same is true for internet speeds. There's little point in having a gigabit connection, but certainly once you have one there's hardly any reason imaginable why you should need more. You could stream a dozen 4K Blu Ray quality videos at once at that speed. Unless you want to be a major bittorrent node and pirate every movie and song ever made, there's not much point to having a 10 Gbps connection and 100 TB hard drive.

Now when I've posted something like this before some dumbass always comes along with the "640K should be enough for everybody" but when I repeatedly ask for the use cases for internet speeds greater than a gigabit no one can ever come up with a reasonable answer aside from hand waving about copying multi gigabyte files to/from work instantly, as if that's a thing normal people do on a regular basis and can't afford to wait 30 seconds to have happen. I'd lump drives greater than 10 TB in with that, though someone like you who works with very large files might need more simply by keeping a copy of every version of every file you ever work with. An improved filesystem that does deduplication and only needs space for the deltas would be the fix for that.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Not to be picky, but how much do they cost?

Its all relative. 24 years ago I remember seeing a 1GB 5.25" external drive that cost a mere $2500, and being amazed at how affordable a whole gigantic gigabyte was.

Now I have more RAM than that in my phone.

Apple pays two seconds of quarterly profit for wiping pensioner's pics

DougS Silver badge

Re: It's official now.

A standard iTunes install will sync those photos to a Mac or PC when the iPhone is connected. The setup procedure in a new iPhone also encourages enabling iCloud (it asks "are you sure" when you skip the iCloud setup step)

Safe to assume he didn't do either. What I can't figure out is how the Genius could have deleted his photos. Only way I can think of is a full reset of the iPhone, and that requires entering the password. Maybe the guy didn't have a password set either?

Galileo, Galileo, Galileo good two go

DougS Silver badge

Re: I cant really understand

When Apple added GLONASS support (back in 2009 I think, via whatever Broadcom's first chip that supported both) they mentioned it would allow improved accuracy due to more sources.

If you eventually support all four major ones (even ones that are only partially complete like all except GPS are) that extra accuracy is nice but what you probably like better if you are a non US resident is that if the US ever decides to degrade civilian GPS where you live due to imminent attack, if there are enough other satellites in orbit you can still find the nearest bomb shelter :)

Monster fund manager sticks pin in Silicon Valley's unicorn bubble

DougS Silver badge

Re: These valuations are not surprising

You are ignoring that the VC exit for these unicorns is the IPO. It doesn't matter whether the valuation is realistic or whether there is profit to be had. The risk of an economic downturn is that the IPO market dries up, but they will keep investing in new companies (getting much better deals due to reduced competition) and start the whole cycle over again.

Venture Capitalists would have gone out of business a long time ago if it wasn't profitable...

DougS Silver badge

These valuations are not surprising

They are essentially options on future profits - or a lottery ticket if you prefer. If you were able to invest $1000 in 100 $1 billion companies and 99 of them went bust and one became the next Google, you win, getting a better return than you would in more traditional investments.

So it isn't dumb for guys like Andreessen to invest in these because they are investing in a whole mess of them. What's dumb is to invest in a small number, or to be the lucky yet unlucky souls who work for them and have stock options that may end up worth a fortune, but likely will end being worth zilch. Which wouldn't be so bad if not for the fact many are willing to accept really low salaries in exchange for the stock option package, meaning they end up making almost nothing for the time they put in for the now-decreased unicorn.

Google to end updates, security bug fixes for Chrome on 32-bit Linux

DougS Silver badge

Re: Don't people ever write portable code?

Compiling for 32 bit isn't a problem. Doubling the amount of time they have to devote to testing is. Nothing will stop someone else from grabbing the source and doing a 32 bit build; they will have to be responsible for their own testing, however.

Can't get a break: Pwned Linux ransomware pwned again, infects 3000

DougS Silver badge

Re: @chemist - only ONE attempt to attack SSHD?

The times when I need to get in via SSH are when I'm doing something like helping my parents out with their PC and need to look up something on my home computer. I can ssh via my phone, but it is such a pain trying to type Unix CLI commands on a phone it just isn't worth the hassle.

So yeah, I have a password login exposed to the internet, but if they can somehow get hold of my password they deserve to get in....not like I keep state secrets on my desktop computer - I'd probably be more concerned with someone getting hold of what's on my phone.

DougS Silver badge

@chemist - only ONE attempt to attack SSHD?

I get them all the time, just ignore them - though I'm running on the standard port 22 I tried moving it for a time and found it didn't stop the attacks for long, I guess they found it via port scanning. Here's what I've had in just the past hour:

Dec 1 12:53:48 REDACTED sshd[610]: Connection closed by [preauth]

Dec 1 13:03:48 REDACTED sshd[738]: Connection closed by [preauth]

Dec 1 13:13:48 REDACTED sshd[872]: Connection closed by [preauth]

Dec 1 13:16:13 REDACTED sshd[882]: Did not receive identification string from

Dec 1 13:16:14 REDACTED sshd[883]: Address maps to localhost, but this does not map back to the address - POSSIBLE BREAK-IN ATTEMPT!

Dec 1 13:16:14 REDACTED sshd[883]: Invalid user support from

Dec 1 13:16:14 REDACTED sshd[883]: input_userauth_request: invalid user support [preauth]

Dec 1 13:16:15 REDACTED sshd[883]: pam_unix(sshd:auth): check pass; user unknown

Dec 1 13:16:15 REDACTED sshd[883]: pam_unix(sshd:auth): authentication failure; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=

Dec 1 13:16:17 REDACTED sshd[883]: Failed password for invalid user support from port 51949 ssh2

Dec 1 13:16:18 REDACTED sshd[883]: Received disconnect from 3: com.jcraft.jsch.JSchException: Auth fail [preauth]

Dec 1 13:23:48 REDACTED sshd[910]: Connection closed by [preauth]

Dec 1 13:33:47 REDACTED sshd[1225]: Connection closed by [preauth]

Dec 1 13:43:48 REDACTED sshd[1346]: Connection closed by [preauth]

Dec 1 13:47:33 REDACTED sshd[1354]: Did not receive identification string from

Dec 1 13:47:34 REDACTED sshd[1355]: Invalid user support from

Dec 1 13:47:34 REDACTED sshd[1355]: input_userauth_request: invalid user support [preauth]

Dec 1 13:47:34 REDACTED sshd[1355]: pam_unix(sshd:auth): check pass; user unknown

Dec 1 13:47:34 REDACTED sshd[1355]: pam_unix(sshd:auth): authentication failure; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=212-83-161-12.rev.nameserverdot.com

Dec 1 13:47:36 REDACTED sshd[1355]: Failed password for invalid user support from port 56924 ssh2

Dec 1 13:47:37 REDACTED sshd[1355]: Received disconnect from 3: com.jcraft.jsch.JSchException: Auth fail [preauth]

Bitcoin cloud miners a '$20m Ponzi scheme – there was no cloud at all'

DougS Silver badge

Central bank to stabilize its value

Bitcoin is no different than gold in that regard, and gold has managed to work as a currency for most of history. Lacking a central bank to (try to) help via controlling money supply or interest rates leads to a lot of inflation/deflation/depression episodes, of course, but as 2008 showed even with a central bank at best you can only limit their severity.

Theoretically a world central bank could do some of that if gold was a worldwide currency, but Europe has shown what happens if you try to have a central economic authority that controls monetary policy while having no control over fiscal policy (and anyway good luck getting the US to cede authority to a 'world' anything...)

One thing gold gets right is that it has a constantly increasing money supply - it isn't a controlled increase so there are economic shocks caused by major new discoveries, but that's way better than Bitcoin's hard ceiling on the money supply, which would guarantee eternal deflation and endless depression if it was the one world currency.

DougS Silver badge

There's a difference

The difference with real money like pounds or dollars is that they are the ONLY money acceptable to pay taxes with. You can't pay your taxes with bitcoin, gold or Picassos, even though all three have some sort of value that would allow you to exchange them for some amount of pounds or dollars.

It is the government's taxing authority that gives a more important value to the currency they issue, and make it impractical for people to decide they want to abandon the the government and use an alternative currency. One could, with some difficulty, conduct their personal affairs using bitcoin or gold, but they'll always have to convert it to real currency to pay their taxes (though the type of person willing to 'arrange their affairs' in this way, at least in the US, is the type who generally has reasons why they think the government doesn't have the authority to levy an income tax)

Pentagon gets green light for WAR ... of web propaganda against IS

DougS Silver badge

Re: Money Wasted

Depends on if the propaganda is "you shouldn't join ISIS and here is why" or "join ISIS by doing X" where X has you showing up somewhere for convenient rendition to a black site.

Samsung's mobile chief gets shunted aside for software guy

DougS Silver badge

Re: Premium

Vanilla Android also means no product differentiation, and no ability to get a piece of the ongoing revenue streams that Google is collecting from Android.

If vanilla Android proved popular to the masses, Xiaomi or Huawei would introduce a phone with like specs costing a third of what Samsung sells its premium phones for running vanilla Android and then Samsung is really screwed.

Europe launches search for Einstein's space-time ripples

DougS Silver badge

Re: "identical 46mm gold/platinum alloy cubes, each in its own evacuated enclosure"

I don't think the enclosure is supposed to be a better vacuum, just that it is an enclosure. So the cubes aren't hit by micrometeorites or solar wind particles that would affect them far more than gravitational waves.

Australian test finds robot essay assessors on par with human teachers

DougS Silver badge

This isn't a problem if the teachers use it to help them

Teachers probably waste a lot of time marking for stuff that would be better performed by a neutral unbiased machine anyway. This will give them more time to read the essay for quality of thought and defense of the author's position (at least in theory, in practice they might spend more time on Facebook, but either way the quality and consistency of marking on basic grammar etc. should go up)

You could even make a game of it, if a student disputes the machine marking them down on something they don't believe is incorrect, and can prove their position to the teacher - extra credit!

Belkin's N150 router is perfect for learning hacking skills – wait, what, it's in production?

DougS Silver badge

Can telnet be disabled or the password changed?

If so, I don't see why this is a problem. You have to leave a new router open for people to access it, or they can't do any configuration. They all start out wide open in the GUI, and make you change the password first thing. If the password for telnet isn't reset when you reset the GUI password that's a problem, because the typical home user would say "what's telnet?" if you told him about this.

The biggest problem I have with this is using telnet instead of SSH. Not because unencrypted traffic on the local network in a product designed for home use is really an issue, but because telnet is outdated and you don't want to encourage anyone to use it even in cases where its insecurity isn't a problem.

BlackBerry to bug out of Pakistan by end of year

DougS Silver badge

Blackberry is considered a "mobile operator"?

Don't they just essentially provide cloud email? So Pakistan is presumably making the same request of Google (GMail) and Microsoft (Office365) right? Or are they just picking on Blackberry alone because almost no one in Pakistan uses their devices, so it is a low risk way for the government to appear that it is doing something about terrorism without actually offending anyone?

ACCC says Trans-Pacific Partnership's IP bits will hurt competition and consumers

DougS Silver badge

Don't worry

Assuming it takes all countries to pass legislation before it goes into force, you can rest easy since the US is unlikely to pass it anytime soon, if ever. The republicans, who would normally be in favor of anything claiming to be "free trade", have a lot of members very suspicious of it because it was negotiated under a democratic president. A lot of democrats, who would normally be in favor of something a democrat president is backing, have a lot of members very suspicious of it because of worries it will cost jobs in the US (and it doesn't help that said president is only going to be around for another 13 1/2 months anyway)

If Clinton wins, it probably goes forward IF she cares to push it, if a republican wins they'll probably press to renegotiate some of the terms they think weren't free trade enough, which would likely derail the whole thing.

How to solve a Rubik's Cube in five seconds

DougS Silver badge

Re: Here's the problem with this "record"

Cube envy? I already said my fastest times (when I got lucky with the initial setup) were almost 4x slower than him so I'm not claiming I was ever remotely in the same class (and I couldn't solve it at all now without re-learning everything, since I haven't touched one since)

All I'm saying is that there are probably others today who are as good or even better than him, who simply didn't get as lucky with the initial conditions in a timed run as he did. That matters. A lot.

DougS Silver badge

Here's the problem with this "record"

With a random scrambling of the cube, some solves are easier than others, so it is chance if you get an easier solve that takes less time.

Back when the cube was new I got one and got a booklet that showed various "tools" (using the article's terms) you could use toward solving it - yeah I should have figured them out on my own, but I was an impatient teenager! When I got good at it I could sometimes solve in under 20 seconds, but usually 30 was my average. The fast solves were just lucky in that I needed fewer tools to unscramble it.

Obviously to beat 5 seconds you not only need many more tools than I was using, but to execute them faster as well. But it will still remain up to luck how many tools you need (or tools with fewer individual moves required than other tools) If he got a different cube it might have taken him a couple seconds longer, if someone else who is as skilled as he is (if there is anyone, maybe he's really the best but the record isn't 100% proof of that) got that same pattern they would have got a similar time and owned the record instead of him.

The 15 seconds of inspection probably helps determine where to initially attack, but I found that I rarely had to stop and look at the cube during the solve. It is like anything where as you become good at it your vision becomes "faster" so you can instantly recognize the next pattern you want to attack and go from one tool sequence to the next. Perhaps with the more complex tools he would be using the inspection is more beneficial. What I was using were very simple sequences of 3-5 moves to do one thing, like flip an edge or rotate three edges, twist or rotate three corners, and so forth. He may be fixing all 8 corners in a single tool to start - inspection would really help there.

Connected smart cars are easily trackable, warns infosec bod

DougS Silver badge

Re: Vintage cars

A couple decades after self driving cars first appear, it won't be legal to manually drive except in very limited areas.

Who owns space? Looking at the US asteroid-mining act

DougS Silver badge

Re: This is not a problem for asteroids

A 1000km asteroid would have a significant gravity well compared to smaller ones. You need to economically get your material off it, especially if you aren't actually processing it in situ but are moving it elsewhere for easier processing (i.e. somewhere closer to the Sun where solar panels will work better than on Ceres)

Maybe you'd need to establish some rules about the sizes, or named bodies or whatever that can't be so claimed, but I think it is unlikely anyone would want to claim Ceres if it meant they had to actually mine it for real, not just stick a lander on it and claim they are "exploring". There's no reason to expect that Ceres is unique in the quality of its ore, and its size/gravity makes it likely the best ores are deep under the crust as they are with Earth (but unlike Earth, volcanoes aren't going to bring the gold from the deeps to the surface) Ceres is probably the wrong rock to set up on.

DougS Silver badge

This is not a problem for asteroids

There are apparently a lot of them up there, so if someone goes to all the expense to send a vehicle out to one and they can find something worth commercially mining, they deserve the profit from exploiting that one asteroid. I suspect it won't turn out to be profitable in my lifetime, unless someone with a really good telescope has spotted an asteroid that's 50% platinum by weight.

But people will try, and that will push the economics of space launching forward. And maybe I'm wrong (or eventually wrong) and we'll end all the pollution from wasteful gold mining on Earth as it becomes much more profitable to look for gold in the asteroid belt due to the volumes of it and Earth based miners are priced out. That would be a good outcome for our planet.

The only thing I'm really worried about is leaving space junk or rocks or whatever in Earth orbit where they will be a hazard. That needs to be very carefully policed - insurance should be required to cover this eventuality for any commercial enterprise going into space. We all know about the tragedy of the commons, so we need to prevent that from day one when it comes to space.

Final countdown – NSA says it really will end blanket phone spying on US citizens this Sunday

DougS Silver badge

Re: Same old program, different name.

While I agree, the "they didn't build that gigantic new data center for nothing" argument doesn't apply to the government. They would write off the data center if they didn't need it, and if they needed a new supermassive data center for something else in a year, they'd build a new one from scratch because the existing one would somehow be unsuitable for their current needs (where current needs = to line the pockets of government contractors who will build the new one)

Rooting and modding a Windows Phone is now child's play

DougS Silver badge

Re: One other potential use

That seems like such a stupid idea. What possible reason would you have for wanting to use a Windows phone to run Android? It isn't as though Windows phones offer some unique form factor. You might as well say you want to run Android on an iPhone 6S, that would be an equally useless endeavor.

German ex-pat jailed for smearing own pat all over Cork apartment

DougS Silver badge

It would be ridiculous if he actually ends up in jail. He's obviously got a serious mental illness.

I can see people wanting to see "justice" in the form of jail time for someone who commits a violent crime when the defense presses for time in a mental institution. Maybe Ireland's penal system is able to provide effective mental care? If not, he's just going to do it again once he's released. They might have him on probation and require someone to visit his residence regularly, but once that's off he'd probably go back to his old habits.

Research: Microsoft the fastest growing maker of tablet OSs ... by 2019

DougS Silver badge

I don't consider the Surface a tablet

Yeah, it can be used as a tablet, but it is not marketed with that type of usage in mind, nor is it used that way by those who buy it. I've seen a few in the wild, all being used as laptops. That's what people are buying it for, not to run tablet style apps.

DougS Silver badge

Useless prediction

Since the tablet market stopped growing, the current incumbents (iOS & Android) aren't going to grow. Microsoft is starting from a low bar with near zero enterprise acceptance for a product designed to appeal to enterprise customers, so if they get a lukewarm reception from them it will see SOME growth. So yeah, lukewarm growth versus no growth would make it is the "fastest growing". That's like being the tallest person at a midget convention.

That also assumes that Apple's iPad Pro and their deal with IBM doesn't cause them to end up getting that enterprise acceptance that Microsoft seeks. I don't think Apple/IBM will beat Microsoft in their own backyard, but you can never underestimate Microsoft's ability to shoot themselves in the foot, so they may yet do something stupid to turn those customers off from Surface.

Android on Windows is disruptive because neither Microsoft nor Google can stop it

DougS Silver badge

Re: How will you copy and paste?

Same way you copy paste out of a VMware VM. You have a virtual driver in the guest OS (i.e. Android) that handles stuff like copy/paste, file sharing and so forth between the guest and host OS.

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