* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

You know when you spill your drink but keep on dancing anyway? That's totally Intel right now

DougS Silver badge

Intel's tablet drop

Quite expected if you paid attention. Intel had a "contra revenue" program where OEMs paid full price for their tablet SoCs, and then Intel refunded them MORE than what they paid as a kickback. As one wag said, basically they're giving away their tablet SoCs wrapped in dollar bills. They didn't do this for the 'real' x86 CPUs used in Surface Pro, only for the SoCs designed specifically for the true tablet market.

Obviously when you slow or stop that program, companies that were buying x86 SoCs for tablets (other than Surface Pro, which is really a laptop in disguise) because they were 'free' went back to ARM SoCs. Thus the large drop in tablet revenue, even with Surface Pro sales staying constant or even increasing.

Volvo to 'accept full liability' for crashes with its driverless cars

DougS Silver badge

Re: Risky strategy at first

The problem isn't going to be the amount of experience, but the programming that applies it. Software is buggy, it could have the equivalent a trillion road hours of driving in every possible condition; it won't matter when the program applies that 'experience' incorrectly. Or sensor data is interpreted incorrectly, or wrong conclusions are reached about the condition of the road, or what have you.

Despite all the controls and testing of the software running airplanes experiences bugs, sometimes fatal ones. Look at what happened to that Mars lander that crashed due to metric/English conversion issues? That's what will trip up the self driving cars, and lawyers will know they have a deep pocketed defendant to go after. Look at all the people wanting to sue VW (in the US at least) for the lost value of their VW diesels.

Think about people who are against mandatory seat belt laws. They'll point to those rare accidents where someone is thrown clear and survives, but clearly would have died if they were belted in. Doesn't matter to them that 99% of the time being belted in is better. The same thing will happen with self driving cars, when they do have an accident that is due to a programmer error or sensor error it will be something where a human driver would have been fine. That's the Achilles heel.

Add in a coverup, which automakers love to do because they're eternally optimistic that the cost of making it public makes trying to cover it up worth it (makes one wonder how many SUCCESSFUL coverups there are if we keep hearing about stuff that was covered up and wondering why they'd do it when it harms them so much more than just coming forward when the issue is found)

DougS Silver badge

Risky strategy at first

If someone is run over and killed, their family is probably going to sue Volvo for a whole lot more than they would sue you or me. They'll claim "Volvo rushed their cars to marked, ignoring known safety issues" and try to tack on $100 million in punitive damages. Depending on the jury (in the US, other legal systems differ) they might even get it, since the safety record of self-driving cars will be quite short at first, and there's a long list of known safety problems buried by automakers - always something big in the news every year or two.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Whitman slams EMC/Dell deal

DougS Silver badge

Re: Dell & Microsoft - they are already together

You obviously have ZERO understanding of what antitrust is, if you think that Dell owning VMware would have antitrust implications but Microsoft (who owns the number two hypervisor) owning VMware would not.

DougS Silver badge

How could Microsoft possibly "force" Dell to sell VMware to them for peanuts? There is no carrot or stick big enough to induce them to take a $10-$20 billion loss on VMware selling it to Microsoft. If they have that kind of power, why not force Dell to sell their entire operation to Microsoft for $1?

Is streaming pirate video legal? Europe's highest court will take a look

DougS Silver badge

Re: I still remember the film: The Brain (1969)

Sorry, recalling a movie is a copyright violation. Please report yourself to the nearest MPAA outpost (local police station) for fine and incarceration.

ebook price-fixing saga: Apple rids self of court-appointed watchdog

DougS Silver badge

Re: And in next weeks news...

One could only hope, otherwise Amazon is going have a monopoly in e-books. You don't think Amazon's long term plan is to keep the same pricing once they no longer have any competition? Amazon's investors certainly don't think so, or it wouldn't be so massively overvalued based on future profit growth that never seems to materialize.

Internet Architecture Board defends users' rights to mod Wi-Fi kit

DougS Silver badge

There's little point to increasing TX power of your router

The limiting factor is the device on the other end, which is typically a phone or laptop. Unless you have a router to router link, cranking up the power on one side to solve issues with a poor connection is like trying to have a conversation in a loud room. If one person shouts and the other continues to talk normally, the conversation doesn't work any better because the shouter still can't hear the person talking normally.

EMC chief Joe Tucci to score monster pay-day in Dell deal – analysts

DougS Silver badge

Re: Because he's worth it

It doesn't make sense from a shareholder perspective to have such clauses in CxO contracts. As you say, it may put shareholder interests at odds with the interests of executive leadership. If they legitimately worry about "we want our team to stick around through a merger to insure it goes smoothly" they can tell them "if there's a deal where we sell out, we'll discuss a separate contract/bonus to cover that period if necessary".

But as was pointed out, the boards are often composed of other CEOs, so the contracts they write are highly favorable to executive officers, not so much to shareholders...

Hackers can steal your BRAIN WAVES

DougS Silver badge

Number 34,590

Where "my brainwaves" are on the list of "my stuff I don't want falling into the hands of hackers".

Smut-slingers' malvertising allowed into Android apps, moan devs

DougS Silver badge

Is Google's optical character recognition seriously that bad?

Can it really be defeated by different spacing/fonts? I think they don't care because money is money, and porno sites will pay good money to advertise to Android users. They'll fix it when it is pointed out, but it'll keep happening because they obviously have a disincentive to truly fix the problem.

Dinosaur love hug: Dell's $64bn death pledge to EMC

DougS Silver badge

"dominant, to a degree even Apple hasn’t matched"

Who says Apple is dominant? Yeah they're the biggest company, but they don't have even a majority share of any markets. IBM was dominant because they effectively had a monopoly in the mainframe space. Apple may be more profitable than any other company, but they don't have even 20% share in the market they make most of their money.

If you wanted to argue dominance in the monopoly style IBM fashion you were talking about, you should have mentioned Microsoft or Google instead.

Top boffin Freeman Dyson on climate change, interstellar travel, fusion, and more

DougS Silver badge


Isn't the reason there is little snowfall because cold air holds less moisture, and the air over Antarctica is really cold? That's why I'd be curious to hear Dyson's take on how you induce more snowfall there. It isn't a simple matter of cloud seeding, because you need moisture for that to work. Maybe there are things you can do to the surrounding ocean that would potentially change wind patterns and bring in more moisture laden air (i.e. iron seeding or something) Of course that might bring its own set of problems, if it meant drought in South Africa or something...

DougS Silver badge


You wouldn't change the albedo, because the snow would be falling on top of other snow.

DougS Silver badge

Re: customising weather to combat sea level change?

Why would you need to keep inducing it? The rate at which the snow melts is a constant - making it snow more doesn't cause more melting. In fact it might mean less melting since when it is snowing the sun isn't out melting stuff.

Antarctica is big, assuming you were able to induce a meter of snowfall over the whole place, you'd cancel out several cm of sea level rise. I have no idea how you induce a meter of snowfall over a whole continent, but I imagine Dyson has a few ideas along those lines or he wouldn't have mentioned it.

The incredible IT hulk: Dell + EMC - did someone say 'synergy'?

DougS Silver badge

Revenue synergies

Yes, maybe Dell customers become more likely to buy VMware over HyperV since they'll get some sort of bundled deal. But HP and Lenovo may be less likely to push VMware than they used to because of the worry that Dell might steal the server buy, so they'll have more reason to get in bed with Microsoft and HyperV.

Scotland Yard pulls eyeballs off WikiLeaker-in-Chief Assange

DougS Silver badge

That's a good point

I have no experience in the matter, but I would bet that as prison time goes, prison time in Sweden is probably pretty soft. Probably no worse than being locked in the Ecuadorian embassy. Of course that assumes that going to prison in Sweden was of a higher probability than the US showing up and sending him on a one way flight to Gitmo.

Android users left at risk... and it's not even THEIR FAULT this time!

DougS Silver badge


Which malware is that then? I assume you are probably referring to the recent issue where some Chinese developers grabbed Xcode off a bulletin board instead of from Apple, which added malware (in the form of a popup to ask for your iCloud credentials) to the compiled code when these developers then uploaded to the app store? Apple remotely disabled all the affected apps, as they always do if any malware is found. What's the point of running anti-malware when it would basically do the same thing in relying on signatures from the outside to tell it what's malware and what isn't?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Updates

This OEM then ensure that the various networks toe the line in terms of updates and keeping crapware to a minimum

No, the networks are not involved AT ALL with iOS. They don't have the ability to install crapware or anything else on iOS, and all updates are delivered directly from Apple so the carrier has zero ability to control or interfere with you choosing if and when to update iOS.

The only thing the carrier controls on an iPhone is 'carrier settings', which you might see referred to in a popup once a year or so, or when you change carriers. Basically it is a small file that allows the carrier to specify stuff like LTE bands, roaming partners, carrier hotspots and so on. But since Apple controls the format and allowed content of the file, and it is not executable code, the carriers can only use it for the designated purposes and can't use it to mess with your iPhone. The only difference you might see if a few menu items in the Cellular settings go away for certain carriers or if your phone is SIM locked due to a contract. The carrier settings go away when you switch carriers via a new SIM and is replaced by your new carrier's settings.

Who gets Teslas made and throws Apple shade? It's… MUSK!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Tesla is on the verge of bankruptcy

Selling a game console at a loss and making it up on the game licensing is not the same as selling a car at a loss, providing free electricity to charge them at a further loss and having nothing to make it up on.

If they grow their market they may eventually get economies of scale and make money, or maybe they'll continue to lose money while Musk and the other investors continue to pump money into it hoping a turnover is near.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Ferrari, Bugatti, etc.

Why should Apple's car be 30% more expensive than the luxury brands whose cars are already 30% or more more expensive than the more economical brands? They'd be competing at the same price point as those luxury brands.

Obviously they have no hope of building a better car than Mercedes, who has been in the business for over a century. What they have to do is build a better self-driving car than Mercedes. Just like Apple had no hope of building a better dumb phone than Nokia, but when the market shifted they were able to anticipate what customers would really want/need/use in a smartphone and get there first.

Apple will have to do the same in the coming shift in the automobile market. If Mercedes, Audi and BMW get there first, Apple has no chance. But I'm not sure that companies run by engineers like automakers or Google have a hope of figuring this out. Jobs was really good at this, but he's not around anymore so maybe Apple won't fare any better.

DougS Silver badge

Ferrari, Bugatti, etc.

Apple isn't going to be competing in that market, any more than they compete with Vertu selling $100,000 diamond studded phones.

They will compete with the mass luxury brands like Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, Lexus, not the guys who sell a few hundred or low thousand cars per year.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Dissing the competition always works right?

Why do you want Apple's car to be a "piece of crap"? If it is amazing, are you worried that you might be tempted to buy an Apple product?

Would you rather only one company (whether Tesla, Google or VW Group) comes up with a truly workable self driving car, and has the market all to itself? The iPhone being a great product didn't stop Android OEMs from also selling great products and across a much wider price range, and while RIM has given up Microsoft is still fighting the good fight to provide a third alternative.

Knowing where Apple positions itself in a market, there will be plenty of room left for the competition even if Apple's car is so amazing that Richard Stallman can't help himself and buys one.

Assuming Apple even makes one. Doing R&D doesn't guarantee they'll go forward when the time comes.

DougS Silver badge

Seems that he must view Apple as a threat

If he didn't, he wouldn't have bothered to go out of his way to dismiss them and trash the employees who have left Tesla. I wonder if those who left voluntarily (rather than being fired like he claims) could sue for libel?

Maybe when they gave notice he fired them, so while being technically correct he'd just be exposing himself as an asshole.

Dell buys out EMC in mega-super-duper $67 BEEELLLION deal

DougS Silver badge

Re: So this is a $67 billion roll of the dice

They don't happen because they make big bucks for the acquirer, but because they make big bucks for the investment banks that arrange them. This will be a fee of what, $3 billion or so? I wonder how many Wall Street bankers are checking listings on $10+ million Long Island homes right now.

Since the bankers already played this game by taking Dell private, it was pretty easy to sell Michael Dell on this acquisition. Probably appeals to his ego, and he doesn't have to care too much if it is flops because he'll still be a billionaire either way.

BBC bypasses Linux kernel to make streaming videos flow

DougS Silver badge

Faster than Windows?

Is that still true? I know it was certainly true in the past, but presumably Microsoft has made some improvements to something in Windows while they were ruining the GUI. Anyone seen any benchmarks comparing TCP/IP performance on the latest Linux to Windows Server 2016?

BT to shoot 'up to 330Mbps' G.fast into 2,000 Gosforth homes

DougS Silver badge

Re: Copper's last hurrah

Yes, calling it G.fast is a dead giveaway that G.faster is next, followed by G.ultra and then G.extreme!!! (the !!! will be part of the branding)

PC shipments slump in Q3, thanks to free Windows 10

DougS Silver badge

Re: Last quarter's fall

There's almost no improvement in Skylake, a few percent at best. Try again.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Last quarter's fall

I've been making fun of Gartner's "excuse of the quarter" for four years now, since they started making up reasons why PC sales were down YoY but it was only an aberration. When it was a only a couple percent drop at the start they might have fooled people, but since the drop has accelerated into the double digits more recently it is harder to say this crap with a straight face.

I think they'll milk this "free Windows 10 upgrade" excuse for a couple more quarters yet, until they can think of something new next year. Maybe they'll claim that next year being year of the Monkey in China is seen as unlucky for PC buying, making them want to hold off for the more auspicious year of the Rooster!

Apple borks Apple News ad-blocking app due to 'privacy concerns'

DougS Silver badge

No a third party is not "being punished", Apple is preventing them from inserting itself MITM because just because the app developer is using it only to block ads, or so they claim, they could easily use this capability to do more.

They told them exactly what needed to be changed and promised them expedited review. What more should they do?

Google doesn't even allow the ad blocking apps in the Play Store at all, if anyone should be criticized it is them!

TRANSISTOR-GATE-GATE: Apple admits some iPhone 6Ses crappier than others

DougS Silver badge

Apple is deflecting from the truth a bit

Granted, Geekbench's battery test is running the CPU flat out until the battery goes, which is not what anyone is doing with their phone in the real world. But what it shows is true - that there's a pretty big difference in how much better a TSMC fabbed A9 is compared to a Samsung fabbed A9 in power draw (and therefore heat originating from the SoC)

However, Apple is correct that the difference in actual observed battery life from real world use is only a few percent, because normally you are doing a lot of other battery draining things like chewing through LTE data, using the GPS, having the screen on, and so forth so a more efficient CPU is mostly lost in the noise since all that other hardware is identical between the phones.

DougS Silver badge

iPhone 6s Plus beats EVERY phone out there except Note 5 in Geekbench tests

Even beats most tablets tested. Granted this is mainly a test of CPU efficiency, but it sure puts a lie to Samsung's stupid FUD about iPhone users huddling near chargers. Funny how Samsung stopped those ads once they dropped their replaceable batteries and put their users in the same situation.


Porsche-gate: Android Auto isn't slurping tons of engine data, claims Google – but questions remain

DougS Silver badge

Yes, data Porsche is data talking is available via ODB, but...

The key here is that Google would be collecting it from millions of cars eventually. They aren't going to convince millions of people to connect a doo-dad to their ODB II port, then download the data off it to Google.

That sort of data has more value the more of it you have. Porsche doesn't want to just hand it over to Google and potentially advantage them.

Microsoft, the VW family sedan of IT, wants to be tech's new Rolls-Royce

DougS Silver badge


Apple had in house ports of OS X to ARM and was even running some desktop stuff on phones several years ago (according to a friend who used to work there)

So if they do introduce this later, don't assume because they weren't first to market, that they were copying someone else. Apple started developing the iPad before the iPhone - beginning in 2002 - but released it later because they didn't want to release it until it was "ready" (and available technology was good enough so that it wasn't a crappy experience)

DougS Silver badge

@James Micallef

iOS has been the same kernel as OS X with a few "bells and whistles" removed from day one.

DougS Silver badge

This strategy avoids pissing off their OEM partners

Since all the big ones have for all practical purposes abandoned the high end, or at least sell so little there that Microsoft eating their lunch won't piss them off too much, that's a lot safer than trying to introduce something that competes with the meat of their market.

But it basically comes down to Microsoft having no idea what to do for the past 15 years, so everything they do is a reaction to what someone else is doing successfully:

"Oh look, Sony is making a lot of money selling games consoles, we should do that"

"Those guys at Google are making a killing with search, we need search"

"That iPhone we laughed at is a big hit, we need to do our own touchscreen phone"

"Google makes a lot of money gathering the data of their users and selling them out, and they don't seem to mind, so we should have Windows start doing this"

"Apple seems to only target the high end and they can buy and sell us now, maybe we should concentrate there"

Google and pals launch Accelerated Mobile Pages project

DougS Silver badge

Re: Well, Google...

Perhaps that's one of the reasons they're pushing this now, before adblocking gets entrenched on all iOS devices.

Factory settings FAIL: Data easily recovered from eBayed smartphones, disks

DougS Silver badge

I admit I'm a little surprised there were ZERO iOS devices recovered

Surely some people don't bother to do a reset of their phone before selling it? Maybe Gazelle and Amazon do that as part of their normal process of checking out a phone before turning it around and reselling it, but surely there are iPhones available on eBay where the previous owner has stupidly left everything intact?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple did it right.

They've had default encrypted storage on iPhones since the 3gs - back when it was new. It and all subsequent phones have included a dedicated AES encryption block on the SoC (hence no performance drop)

The change they made a couple years ago was with key management, to insure that the users had the only copy of the key. Previously Apple held a copy of your device key - so they could help out the users who forgot their password (if they could establish they were the phone's owner)

With the NSA's and FBI's shady activities they felt it was better to leave it totally up to the user, which is why now they can't help you if you forget your password because they no longer have a copy of your device key. If you forget your password, and don't have a backup, you've lost everything and no one can get it back, not Apple, not a data recovery company, (probably) not even the NSA (unless they can crack AES)

Shuttle bus firm Terravision belatedly adopts https for credit card sales

DougS Silver badge

With an oversight like that

I still wouldn't give them my credit card number, because they've probably got gaping holes in their internal network where it isn't so visible to the casual observer.

Silicon Valley now 'illegal' in Europe: Why Schrems vs Facebook is such a biggie

DougS Silver badge

Re: Now this is just hilarious

Which is why he DIDN'T carry a copy of the data "into China and Russia". He had already given up his copy by then. He doesn't need to carry it around with him, what would be the point once the journalists have it in hand?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Now this is just hilarious

I suppose you have proof he sold stuff to the Russians and Chinese?

The US does so much bad shit by the intelligence agencies under the cover of secrecy that it badly needs some light and air shed on it. If he's revealed sensitive stuff, he hasn't revealed nearly enough. If he went all out and dumped everything he grabbed our current and previous administrations would have a lot of their members on trial for treason instead of Snowden, which is how it should be.

DougS Silver badge

Protection against "an Enron"

This is easy. If the company itself is accused of criminal or financial wrongdoing, it must make its relevant records available to the US regardless of where they are stored. If they fail to do so, they will lose their corporate charter, be fined some huge amount or be leave their management subject to criminal penalties - basically, something bad enough they will want to avoid it.

That's distinct from "the company itself is not accused of wrongdoing, but someone connected to the company (as a customer, etc.) is so we want your overseas data. Too bad, can't force them to give it up.

It would need a lot of legal tightening and working through scenarios to make it workable, but that's the basic framework.

Linux kernel dev who asked Linus Torvalds to stop verbal abuse quits over verbal abuse

DougS Silver badge

"All the attempts to moblify Linux...have definitely been train wrecks"

Uh, Android?

Edward Snowden denies making a deal with the Russian secret service

DougS Silver badge

Re: Be accurate

Why do you keep claiming he was "lying about being a whistle blower"?

The US government was acting outside the Constitution. He made it public, i.e. blew the whistle. What other qualifications for being called a whistle blower are there in your mind?

Microsoft's HoloLens: Here by 2016, mere three THOUSAND dollar price

DougS Silver badge

Useful for "reading emails on the plane"?

Guess we'll need to come up with a new name for people like that. Holohole?

Surface Book: Microsoft to turn unsuccessful tab into unsuccessful laptop

DougS Silver badge

Re: Fastest... for a week!

Where did I suggest "Macbooks are automatically faster because there's an Apple logo"? Apple isn't using Celerons in their Macbooks, and Intel is advancing x86 speeds at a snail's pace these days. It simply isn't possible for this to be 2x the speed of a Macbook unless they're talking more cores (or maybe not talking CPU but are talking graphics, since Apple doesn't offer one with two GPUs)

Worker drones don't need PCs says Microsoft, give 'em phones instead

DougS Silver badge


Sure it fills a need, the "I don't want to buy/own a PC I hardly ever use" need. Many people do all their browsing and email on their phones and their PCs are gathering dust. However those PCs are still needed for a few things where the larger screen and better input interface than a touchscreen comes into play. Who wants to write a 10 page paper on a phone? Most people already have a TV (even the ones who've cut the cord, Netflix sucks on a phone) and of course the phone, so all they'd need a bluetooth keyboard/mouse if the phone provided that capability.

Why buy a PC if 95% of what you used to own a PC for is fulfilled by a phone (which is true for a lot of millennials) if you can do that other 5% on the phone as well?

Shutterbug drone biz fined $1.9m for buzzing New York City, Chicago

DougS Silver badge


The complexity is why "flying cars", if we ever get them, will not only be self-flying, they'll be centrally controlled in any busy airspace. Pretty much like how air traffic control works now, where pilots don't just decide how and when to approach the airport, but are told what to do by air traffic controllers.

If you go from having a few dozen planes in the area of a busy airport to a few thousand flying cars in the of a big city, obviously it will be beyond the capability for any human to participate without fucking things up. It will have to be automated.

It wouldn't be simple software either, but it is a lot easier for a program to track thousands of moving objects than a human. They'd probably want to force the cars into defined ranges to make it simpler (think Jetsons, where George's flying car rises up and joins a conga line at a certain altitude, and you can see other conga lines traveling in various directions at different altitudes)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Vertically challenged

If personal flying cars ever become available they will NOT be under the control of the passengers. They'll be centrally controlled so they can work with all the other flying cars, and other flying stuff in the area.

I think the FAA is right to slap these guys with a fine. If they let them get away with it, the skies will be lousy with drones flying around in big cities, and it will only be a matter of time before one gets ingested into a jet engine or suffers a failure and falls somewhere that causes a big problem.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019