* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Big mistake, Google. Big mistake: Chrome OS to be 'folded into Android'

DougS Silver badge

So what's your point?

Windows 2000 was NT kernel 5.0. Windows XP was Windows NT kernel 5.1, plus some eye candy.

Are you suggesting that Google is doing to dump Android and replace it with Chrome? No, Android has a 1 billion+ user base, and Chrome has a user base of a few tens of millions at the most (and that's being charitable, assuming most of the Chrome laptops aren't sitting in closets like we know they are) Android will win, and Chrome will disappear.

Your 30-second guide to why Samsung is acting all Smugsun today

DougS Silver badge

Because product quality and aftermarket support aren't necessarily correlated to market success, especially in a competitive 'race to the bottom' type market. Look at the US carriers for an example - you'll find people who swear undying hatred on one of them, but the "one of them" is different for each. So for every guy who will never do business with AT&T again, there's another who won't do business with Verizon, so they merely trade customers. Could work the same way in the Android market, where those unhappy with Samsung will switch to HTC or Motorola, and those unhappy with them will switch to Samsung.

Patch this braXen bug: Hypervisor hole lets guest VMs hijack hosts

DougS Silver badge

Re: has there ever been a hole like this in vmware esx?

Even been? There might still be one now. Maybe even one that they know about that was requested by the US government back when they were hitting up all the tech companies for their cooperation. A backdoor for a VM to own ESX and thus every VM running under it would be a pretty handy tool in the NSA's toolbox, would it not?

Insurance companies must start buying security companies

DougS Silver badge

The auto insurance industry might just disappear instead

Why should you and I buy policies for our self driving car? Shouldn't that be included in the purchase price, or more likely as part of a subscription that provides you updates, warranty, service, etc. Basically we'll be buying "transportation as a service". The automaker will either be self-insuring, or it'll offload part of the risk onto a reinsurer like Berkshire Hathaway.

Northrop wins $55bn contract for next-gen bomber – as America says bye-bye to B-52

DougS Silver badge

Re: Timeline

The Chinese aren't dumb enough to copy a manned bomber. Theirs will be unmanned, and superior to ours because they'll have 3x as many at a quarter the price.

DougS Silver badge

The only reason they're crewed

Is because the guys making these decisions used to fly planes and think you need people to fly a plane, because it devalues their career if computers can do their job now. They might reluctantly support drones for boring stuff you don't get medals for like surveillance, but they'll insist to their dying breath that fighters and bombers will always need to be manned.

Remove the meatbags and you can fly above any clouds. Then you can communicate with them via laser from our satellite network and you don't need to worry about hacking or jamming. They can operate pretty autonomously, you upload a flight plan and they'll go there. No need for constant communication, basically tell them where to go and someone has to make the call to release their bombs or not when they get there.

They'll be too high for fighters to bother them, and could be far more maneuverable not having to worry about human issues with G force so they can do a better job of evading missiles etc. Because they could be made so much cheaper you don't even have to care if you lose a few, since you could fly ten for the cost of one of these gold plated human rated bombers.

DougS Silver badge

I hope you don't believe that $55 billion number

Something like this that is that far out will triple or quadruple in price even before the order number is cut. The real problem is that we are building gold plated bombers because we think there's a need for them to be crewed.

Meanwhile opponents like Russia and China that build next gen bombers will build them at 1/10th the price because they won't be manned, they'll fly higher (above the clouds) because of the lack of the crew and their life support / protection systems and thus be harder to shoot down, and they'll communicate with them via lasers from overhead satellites so you don't need to worry about jamming, spoofing or hacking.

Adrian Mole, Wimpy Kid are your new security mentors

DougS Silver badge

How is that any different than having notes in the ticket, or an internal blog?

If it is relying on people to update manually as they perform work it'll be as useless as all the rest, with most of the techie types forgetting to add some entries so you'll think something hasn't been tried when it already was.

If you look at the notes in a typical incident ticket, you're lucky if you see a good explanation of the problem and what solved it. Let alone a running account of all the troubleshooting steps that were taken and unsuccessful attempts to resolve the issue.

File this under "it is nice in theory"...

Rosetta probe delivers jaw-to-the-floor find: Molecular oxygen

DougS Silver badge

Even if the comet's atmosphere was 20% oxygen like Earth you couldn't breath there, since that atmosphere is a lot thinner on the comet than it is on Earth.

Seagate unveils enlarged spy drive with support for 64 spycams

DougS Silver badge

Re: The difference between a Surveillance Drive and a Hard Drive is..

No, the video drives aren't made to a higher standard, they just charge a bit more to account for the larger failure rate they'll see due to 24x7 use. There are some that are made differently, but it isn't made with better components, they simply have reduced advertised capacity to allow for additional ECC bits and spare tracks that help them take longer before throwing off unrecoverable errors.

We're getting kick-ass at seeing through walls using just Wi-Fi – MIT

DougS Silver badge

Doesn't really matter if you have drywall

Even with lath and plaster walls like I have I still get wifi out and LTE in, because I have windows in my house. Most people cover their windows with blinds or curtains, not metal, so you'd be able to use this or similar technology to spy on people at least through their covered windows even if their walls blocked the signals.

Come to think of it my outer doors are solid wood with no metal aside from the hinges, so they'd be mostly transparent to RF as well.

DEFCON 1 to DEFCON GONE: One of NORAD's spy blimps goes missing

DougS Silver badge

Tracked by F16s?

Seems a bit of overkill, couldn't they have sent a couple drones after it? Or the slowest speed training aircraft they had available? The F16s would have to do a lot of circling since this blimp is probably traveling at a fraction of their stall speed.

IBM splashing $2bn on Weather Company – reports

DougS Silver badge

Re: @Ledswinger Exactly right...

The Weather Channel doesn't do climate forecasts they do weather forecasts - 7 to 10 days out at most. More computational power increases the accuracy of those forecasts, but they still get things wrong, especially further out.

They're certainly a lot more accurate for weather five days out today than they used to be for three days out when I was a kid (and the "extended forecast" back then was only five days instead of the 7 or 10 common now) But going from (just throwing out random numbers I have no idea of the real ones) let's say 30% accurate to 60% accurate still means they're 40% inaccurate, which is what people remember - "the weather man said it would be sunny this weekend, and it has been raining all day!"

Top watchdog probes IBM over 'transactions in US, UK, Ireland'

DougS Silver badge

Re: Here' how to evade the SEC

If they're investigating related to transactions involving Ireland, it sounds like they're concerned that revenue that should have been booked in the US was booked internationally. That doesn't evade taxes permanently (they are still due when the money is brought into the US) but it reduces their current tax liability. And would reduce the money the IRS collects from them if the US government is stupid enough to do another overseas tax holiday.

Waiting for a second crack at a lower repatriation rate is why US companies work so hard to keep money overseas now - much harder than they used to when it was seen only as a way to stockpile untaxed money overseas that they might use for building overseas manufacturing facilities or doing acquisitions of non-US companies.

Unfortunately the only way I can see to stop them stockpiling money overseas is to make a law change that increases the repatriation rate above the normal tax rate for money that has been overseas for more than say five years. They'd have quite a big windfall from Apple and Microsoft alone if they did that.

Apple: We're going to sell $77bn worth of iStuff this holiday season

DougS Silver badge

Re: Whatever happened to Peak Apple????

They've saved all their Peak Apple jokes, they'll just rerun them again down the road. After all, Apple has to actually peak for real eventually. Doesn't look like the 6 was the peak, and next year is the 7 so they should be fine there. Maybe the 7S will finally be the model that sells less than its predecessor?

DougS Silver badge

Re: iWhat?

Where do you get the idea that everyone already has the latest model iPhone? Cook said last summer that fewer than 20% of iPhone owners had upgraded to the 6, so there were and still are plenty of people who are still using a 5S, 5 or even older device who might upgrade to the 6S (like I did last month, from a 5)

He also said that 30% of the sales of the 6S were coming from Android users, so they are expanding their market and not just upgrading existing customers.

Apple is always conservative with their estimates, so if they think they'll do $75-$77 billion you can be sure they'll crack $80 billion.

DougS Silver badge

Without knowing what he finds 'shit' about Android and iOS

You can hardly recommend BB10 to him. Besides, it sure looks like Blackberry is abandoning its OS in favor of Android, so what you think is so wonderful may not even be sold in another year or two.

By 2019, vendors will have sucked out your ID along with your cash 5 billion times

DougS Silver badge

Re: Only reason I might start using Apple Pay

They also both use EMV, so your actual credit card number is never exposed. Even if your details were slurped, they can't be used by the attacker.

DougS Silver badge

Only reason I might start using Apple Pay

Is because paying by card in the US with the chipped cards is a big slow hassle! It used to be you could just swipe your card, and optionally sign if the purchase was over a certain limit ($50 in many places) so it was as fast as could be. I always said there was no reason to want to pay via NFC because it wouldn't make things any faster so what's the point (this was back when Android phones had NFC payments that didn't use EMV but rather passed your actual credit card number so they offered zero added security)

With the chip readers in the US you have to swipe your card, wait for it to tell you to insert your card instead (you can't just insert it first, I have no idea why) then insert your card and wait 10-15 seconds while it does who knows what until it tells you it is OK to remove your card.

Fortunately places around where I live are just starting to upgrade their readers, and those I frequent haven't yet. So I haven't taken the time to get set up for Apple Pay yet, but when I do I'm going to try it just to see if this speeds things up, which I imagine it will. I can't understand how they could have made the new process so slow - was there no user acceptance testing?

Dad who shot 'snooping vid drone' out of the sky is cleared of charges

DougS Silver badge

Re: There are several court rulings...

NYC is a special case where air rights are something you can buy and sell. They're worth many millions in some cases, and are the reason why you see little buildings next to giant skyscrapers.

In most of the US I'm not sure what the rules are, but while I'm sure I don't own the airspace above my house hopefully they will come up with some rules about what others can do with it. I guess the days of having privacy in your own backyard (if it is otherwise covered from view of your neighbors) are gone, because even if they restricted drones to 300 ft above your property it doesn't take much of a camera for someone to take all the video he wants of teenage girls sunbathing or whatever (which is the claimed reason for the shoot down if this drone)

DougS Silver badge

How about a simple garden hose with a jet attachment? I have to think that a nice narrow water jet at 100 mph would knock down a drone, though perhaps with less satisfying destruction than a load of birdshot.

If Amazon can have delivery drones, we want them too, says Walmart

DougS Silver badge

Re: Walmart was warned.

Schiff was one of the clueless idiots who said QE would lead to hyperinflation, so I wouldn't read too much prescience into his comments.

Google and cable pals oppose LTE-U's spectrum grab plan

DougS Silver badge

To my knowledge, the LTE-U discussions have never been about any private/allocated frequencies. The 'U' in LTE-U stands for unlicensed. i.e. the 900 MHz range the old cordless phones used, the 2.4 GHz range the newer cordless phones and first generation wireless used, and the 5.8(?) GHz range the second generation wireless used.

I believe it is only the latter being discussed in relation to LTE-U - they want to use the higher frequencies because it has more bandwidth and can support higher data rates.

DougS Silver badge

Re: US cable companies?

Yeah they just don't want this because it gives cellular companies more bandwidth = better ability to compete with cable companies for internet access and streaming video.

DougS Silver badge


Except if I use the unlicensed 5 GHz range on my wireless router, it broadcasts at a fraction of a watt. A cellular tower using it will broadcast a lot more powerfully than that, so anyone who lives anywhere near a LTE-U tower will be unable to use that band in their wireless router. Even if you lived a ways away if your next door neighbor was connected to a LTE-U cell the tower would be constantly shooting signals back that would swamp your router's output.

Listen before talk is what Ethernet does with CSMA/CD - and there's a reason why Ethernet is limited to 100 meters. If it allowed 1000 meters there would be a much higher probability of collisions. Imagine the expansion of the collision domain due to LTE-U with a range measured in kilometers!

The cellular companies are sick of having to spend billions on spectrum so they'd just rather take unlicensed spectrum for their own. Even if they agreed to listen to talk (which they haven't yet) their powerful transmitters and constant use would pretty much ruin it for the rest of us. They know that, but they don't care because they can deal with some bad feelings to save billions.

The battle of Cupertino: Jailbreakers do it for freedom, not cash

DougS Silver badge

This is a good reason why Apple shouldn't offer a supported jailbreak

If they did, these guys wouldn't be helping them secure it. I'm sure there are black hats (like the NSA and GCHQ) who work on finding their own ways in, but at least having someone publicly breaking in and thereby allowing Apple to close up the holes may make things more difficult for our spooky friends. And I'm sure we all agree that's a good thing (well except for the apologists who feel that trading freedom & privacy for the illusion of security is a good thing)

Android Security: How's BlackBerry going to fix it?

DougS Silver badge

Re: This could be popular with enterprises

So Google is FINALLY adding that capability they should have added six years ago?

DougS Silver badge

This could be popular with enterprises

The Blackberry name probably still carries some weight. But if they sell based on security, they better follow through. They shouldn't even need to wait on Google's "official" fix if a discovered problem has an obvious fix, that would really help tip the scales in their favor if they can beat the patches out for Google's own Nexus devices.

The other thing they can do is provide Android users with the ability to control permissions individually even after install, like iOS users can. There's no good reason why Google hasn't provided this ability, but doing so may get Android users who are knowledgeable enough to realize why this is a big win to move to the Priv (at least if they introduce a model that drops the unnecessary added weight of the slide out keyboard)

As for the inability to root it, well iOS does the same "secure boot" thing but jailbreaks abound. I'm sure there will be ways found to jailbreak your Priv just as with iPhones for those so inclined.

Russian subs prowling near submarine cables: report

DougS Silver badge

Re: Pacific?

Its 1963 all over again, we'll do another blockade and hope the X Men help us out of a jam like they did last time.

DougS Silver badge

Re: war games

Then it is no longer a surprise attack, and the plan in Europe has always been the mutual assured destruction of nukes.

The very idea that Putin would try to attack Europe and start bombing satellite stations in the UK is so ludicrous it doesn't even deserve the 30 seconds it is taking me to type this comment.

DougS Silver badge

Not so easy to detect

They'd have to have a ship trailing a camera go the entire length of the cable, moving the camera up and down as necessary for the terrain of the sea floor. I don't know what spies attach, but they could make it nearly invisible if they dug a small hole in the ocean floor and had it facing down. With a good repair job on the cable it might be impossible to detect unless they got within a few feet of it. Obviously whatever they install has to communicate the captured data out from the cable, but the cable that carries that information could be buried under the seafloor for a half mile before coming up and proceeding normally.

As for tamper resistance, if they install 'pingable nodes' (for want of a better term, but I imagine most Reg readers get my gist) every mile along the cable they could ping it from both ends and unless both cuts were in the same one mile segment they could tell there were two cuts. Though maybe if cut carefully even this could be bypassed. Or maybe it would add a lot of cost to the cable.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Lucky for them we can't afford an effective Navy

Europe outsourced most of their military responsibilities to the US, because the NATO treaty means we'll come and fight a war of survival for you - provided you occasionally go and help fight us our undeclared wars outside of Europe, so we can claim an international coalition.

DougS Silver badge

Re: war games

Wow, your username is appropriate....or maybe you should have chosen 'troll'.

Do you really think that Russia could ever locate and cut ALL cables simultaneously, and destroy ALL communication and surveillance satellites simultaneously? That's what they'd have to do for a surprise attack. And hope no one in Europe owns a shortwave radio, and hope the US doesn't wonder "hey, we can't communicate with Europe at all, not even our bases, and can't even see what's going on" and maybe deploy everything we've got over there before that million man army reaches the German border?

Though I'm pretty sure such an aggressive act would simply result in Europe nuking Moscow and various other locations, Russia responding and so forth. I guess the media's demonization of Putin I mentioned in a post above has already worked on weak minded fools like you, if you think this is something even worth considering as a possibility. Some things don't need 'war games' because once war escalates beyond a certain point it goes nuclear, and not even North Korea is dumb enough to escalate things to that point.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Reds are under the bed!

Snowden screwed up the "universal surveillance to protect against terrorists" line, as too many were starting to question going so far as even 9/11 killed less than 10% of the people who died on America's highways that year. So they need to bring back the Russkie threat and demonize Putin into someone so crazy he might push the button and kill millions with all his nukes. Then we gotta give up our remaining freedoms, because Russian agents are everywhere and even discriminating against brown people with beards isn't enough!

The iPhone 6 doused in bromine - an incendiary mix or not?

DougS Silver badge

Re: What a muppet

Or the three $300K Aston Martins destroyed in the latest Bond film. You could blend a lot of iPhones for $900K.

DougS Silver badge

Re: What a muppet

Ever since the 'will it blend' videos blended a 3gs, people seem to be competing with each other for most creative ways to destroy an iPhone.

I don't think the cost of the phone matters much to them though. If their Youtube video gets enough views to be talked about on the Reg, they've likely made the cost of the phone back and then some.

'iOS 9 ate my mobile broadband plan'

DougS Silver badge

Re: Bowsing Facebook seems to eat data at a fantastic rate!

True you can check only those apps you want using data. But normally I'd KNOW when I'm using data, because I'm not on wifi. So I might be using an app that I also want to be able to use on data when I'm at home, but because my wifi signal is a bit wonky at the moment due to my neighbor's signal interfering, I end up using a bunch of data without realizing it.

Maybe add a setting for allowing wifi assist, but it is easier just to turn the whole thing off because I can't really come up with a time when I'd want it. If my wifi is having problems and I really want to do whatever I was doing, I'll just turn off wifi and then I'm on LTE data, bingo.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Only one reason...

Always some idiot claiming a conspiracy theory. Apple is hardly cooperative with the telcos in helping them charge more, otherwise they never would have introduced iMessage which bypassed all their SMS charges.

This was just a poor decision since Apple employees probably all have unlimited data and don't know what it is like to have to worry about using too much.

DougS Silver badge

Who pays attention to changes in their phone's status bar?

This bit me when I upgraded to iOS 9, luckily I saw it mentioned in an article a few days later so I turned it off before I'd run up my monthly data allotment. Sometimes my Wifi signal is a bit weak in my bedroom so Wifi Assist would be handy if not for the fact that I have limited data since I'm on wifi 99% of the time and browsing Facebook seems to eat data at a fantastic rate!

What I don't get is how this was not noticed during the public beta period for iOS 9. While I imagine Apple employees involved in testing would have unlimited data (or Apple pays for it and doesn't care how much they use, which is the same thing) that wouldn't be true of some of the developers and general public testing it. Did they tell Apple and were ignored or did no one notice until it went live?

I get that when they add new features they might be unused if it is left up to the users to turn them on, but they should have known this would end up costing some people money and thus the default should have been 'off'. Even those with unlimited data might not want this, if it meant hitting the point where their carrier starts to throttle their data.

You own the software, Feds tell Apple: you can unlock it

DougS Silver badge

Re: @dan1980 - designing the phone so it is impossible for Apple to unlock

Dan it was a very conscious and deliberate decision on Apple's part to do this. There isn't anything to 'fail', because your password generates a certificate which is stored in the secure enclave and never backed up whether via a tethered iTunes backup or an iCloud backup. The side effect of that is that if you forget your password you're screwed and will have to restore from a backup (though I'm not sure exactly how you'd even reset that phone back to factory defaults, but maybe Apple can help there)

But yes, since it was a design decision that was deliberate, if a way around it is ever found I'm sure they'll correct it.

DougS Silver badge

Oops - corrected link

Duh, added the wrong link:


DougS Silver badge

@dan1980 - designing the phone so it is impossible for Apple to unlock

They've already done that, the problem here is that the phone is running older software - probably because this case has been winding its way through court since iOS 7 was the current version.


So they don't really need to do anything to help current Apple customers, assuming they are running iOS 8 or newer on their devices which the vast majority are. However, having a precedent set where the court can compel Apple's help would get the Feds after them to try to help hack into iOS 8 and newer devices. Since Apple designed the thing, it may be possible for them to disassemble my phone, desolder the chip containing the secure enclave, hook it up to some specialized equipment that knows how to talk directly to it (which only they would know since they designed it) and get it to provide the key required to decrypt my phone's contents. Even if that's not possible, with the precedent in hand the Feds would try to make them do it anyway.

What would you give to create Vulture Sweat?

DougS Silver badge

415km of climbing?

Damn, that's some pretty steep terrain for a ride of only 83km...hats off to anyone who can manage that!

Google can't hide behind Alphabet, EU competition commish warns

DougS Silver badge

Re: How can you fight a monopoly which offers products for free

Microsoft is "trying" but they are so unfocused now because everything they've done in the past 20 years has been a reaction to what someone else has done:

Web becoming a big thing? Let's build IE into the OS so everyone is forced to use it, and have Frontpage use HTTP extensions that only IE understands.

AOL is making a lot of money selling online access? We should sell online access, and build the client in to the OS so everyone is more likely to choose ours.

Phones are starting to get the capability to do email? Let's start doing our own phones, and have them do email also, and have extensions to Exchange that only our phones can access.

Sony is making a lot of money with the Playstation? Let's make our own games console, and not worry if we lose billions on it because eventually it has to make money, right?

Apple is having success with a music player? Let's make our own music player, and offer it in a shit brown color to be original.

Google is starting to make a lot of money in web search? We should make our own search and build it into the OS....wait, we agreed not to do that? How will we get people to use it?

Now Apple's got a phone that totally obsoletes our phone because it obsoletes the phones we were trying to copy? Let's try to copy Apple's phone....maybe we should offer it in brown?

After 15 years of us trying to sell tablets to an unwilling public, Apple figured out what people want in a tablet? Let's do a tablet like theirs, except make the largest change in the history of the Windows GUI so it is touch based even on PCs that don't have touch, because reasons.

No one wants our tablets even when we switched to ARM to make them like everyone else's? Let's stick an expensive x86 CPU in them so they can run full Windows and add a keyboard into the cover so it is essentially too heavy tablet AND a laptop with a super shitty keyboard! People will want that because Apple isn't smart enough to combine the worst attributes of tablets and laptops into a single device.

No one is buying our phones, let's buy the one company that makes most of our phones so we can brand them as Microsoft instead of Nokia, because when people hear the word Microsoft they think quality!

Apple is making a lot of money selling stuff at premium prices and not slinging ads at their customers, while Google is making a lot of money giving away stuff for free while collecting personal information and using that to sling ads at their users. For the next version of Windows we should double dip by following both strategies: We need to charge OEMs to install it and ALSO let consumers install it for free while collecting all sorts of personal information that we hope will allow us to sling ads at them. If they don't want to play along we'll make Windows Update do everything in its power to force people to upgrade to the new Windows whether they like it or not, because nothing makes a happy customer like forcing major changes against their will on equipment they paid for!

I wonder what their next failed plan to ape Apple and Google will be, and how Microsoft will fuck it up due to their inability to understand what parts of their strategies make them successful and more importantly what things they didn't do that made them successful.

DougS Silver badge

Re: How can you fight a monopoly which offers products for free

Not only was Google not first to do mapping (remember mapquest?) they didn't even develop it, they purchased the company who did. They also didn't develop Android, they purchased the company who did. They didn't develop Google Earth either, they purchased the company who did (the US government actually started that project)

Of your whole list the only thing they can take responsibility for is Street View.

We can't all live by taking in each others' washing

DougS Silver badge

Hopefully "x 7" isn't the new editor!

If so, we can look to some rather drastic changes that will undoubtedly drive all of us who like to be challenged away from this site rather quickly.

One thing I really liked about The Register is the wide variation of slant to the articles. Every news source has some sort of slant to it, those who think their preferred news source is unbiased have merely self selected one whose slant matches their own. You would have articles reporting the latest global warming studies and measurements that warn of a warming Earth and dire consequences if things don't change, alongside Lewis' article reporting something that appears to show the opposite, or casting doubt on such studies. Lewis received a lot of criticism, but some of us learned something from both sides of the debate, and were at least entertained by the closed minded people like x 7 who believe they know the truth and anyone who disagrees is being misled.

Obviously he disagrees quite strongly with Tim's libertarian philosophy, and while I share that to some extent I certainly didn't agree with everything he said, nor his interpretation of certain things in the field of Economics (having a father with a PhD in Economics meant I learned a lot about it whether I liked it or not) I read Andrew Orlowski's rants against the 'freetard' economy that supported the RIAA and MPAA's every position even though I disagreed with much of it, and learned from that. Even though I am an iPhone owner, I didn't bristle at the constant sneering at Apple, after all they sneered at Microsoft, Google and other IT leaders - that's on their masthead after all. Even when the "peak Apple" thing got a bit old I played along, and had a good laugh when Apple proved it had nowhere near peaked yet and they were forced to abandon that (or shelve it until the time next they think Apple has peaked)

I worry that The Register's new editorial staff is going to water down the site in order to expand the audience. Less sarcasm, less "biting the hand that feeds IT", fewer controversial articles and instead taking a more 'neutral' approach that avoids turning off people like x 7 who don't like to be challenged in their world view. While that would certainly expand their potential audience, it would make this site like any other, and they'd lose the dedicated band of commentards who make this place what it is. Because that's the real reason I spend so much time here. I can read an article about something random and in the comments find an explanation of something the article was confused about from someone knowledgeable in the field. Actual astronomers or rocket scientists in some cases. Try and find that in the comment section on 99.9% of other internet sites.

While I'm not ready to give up yet until I see what changes they make, I'm thinking my days here may be numbered. If this site is no longer unique, why should I visit it over anywhere else? If the signal to noise ratio of the comments declines to what's typical on the internet, or the comment sections become virtual wastelands with almost no one commenting, what will be the point of coming here for regurgitated press releases I can get anywhere? Hope my fears are unfounded.

DougS Silver badge

Losing Lewis and Tim - and who knows who else

Agreed. The confirmation that Lewis is going as well makes me fear this site will be undergoing some rather large changes, and since I really like the site currently odds are high that the changes will make the site worse than better (at least for me, maybe they want to chase a larger demographic so what's worse for me isn't necessarily worse for The Register's finances)

I used to regularly read The Inquirer in the late 90s / early 00s and was only an occasional reader of The Register, until changes at The Inquirer caused me to ditch it and become a regular here.

If this place sucks after the inevitable changes the new editorial staff makes, anyone have any recommendations on where I might go to get a similar blend and technical / interesting articles with a bit of a satirical bite? Anyone know where Lewis might be going - another internet site or is he moving onto a different career path?

DougS Silver badge

Re: The last one?

Agreed. Obviously his articles were very popular, judging by the number of comments they'd usually gather. I imagine he's probably in demand to write for others who may be willing to pay more.

Perhaps his last article should have been the economics of the decision (whether his, the Reg's or mutual) that led to this being his last article!

Joining the illuminati? Just how bright can a smart bulb really be?

DougS Silver badge

Re: cart before horse

The sort of simple FSK tones you'd use to implement this aren't going to cause radio interference, you'd use some low frequencies like maybe 75/150 Hz for the tones. Transformers would prevent propagation, so you don't have to worry about neighbors the next house over. It would be a problem in apartment buildings though since you aren't separated from your neighbor by a transformer, so for those people some simple PKI for security would be a good idea.

So what's the internet community doing about the NSA cracking VPN, HTTPS encryption?

DougS Silver badge

NSA as the original black hat

No. Cracking Enigma like Bletchly Park did, or the NSA cracking whatever codes the Soviets were using back during the Cold War wasn't evil, it was just ordinary spycraft.

Turning that capability on their own citizens was when it became evil. And the NSA didn't used to be evil, at least not completely. Remember, they were the ones who strengthened DES when IBM developed it in the 70s with some flaws the NSA knew about back then but the security research world didn't figure out until the 90s! Until those techniques were discovered, many had assumed the changes the NSA had IBM make to DES were to weaken it.

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