* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Pentagon email hacked, Russia already blamed

DougS Silver badge

I doubt it was a sophisticated attack

More likely the Pentagon was doing something stupid like running Exchange 2003 and was shocked and appalled that someone dared to attack it using one of the dozens of known exploits.

If it was a state actor who really wanted to disrupt the US military, they wouldn't waste a good hack until they needed it (i.e. when the US military was preparing to or in the process of attacking them or their allies)

Android faces SECOND patching crisis, on the same scale as Stagefright

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Re: Apparently OEM only

Well good thing the vast majority of Android users are running stock. Oh wait...

DougS Silver badge

This may delay the Stagefright patch

The OEMs have to integrate that patch into their code base, work with the carrier to get it deployed etc. Rather than do that twice I'll bet they wait until this one is fixed so they have to do it only once. If another one is found in the meantime it may delay things further...

Virtually no one is using Apple Music even though it is utterly free

DougS Silver badge

Virtually no one?

How long did it take Spotify to hit 11 million users? If 90% of those people leave once the free trial is up you might have a point, otherwise I think El Reg is reaching and hoping for another bite at the "peak Apple" meme.

Pale backside of lovely Luna flits past in imagery from 1 million miles out

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Where's the Nazi base?

I was told there was a secret Nazi base on the dark side. Or maybe it was an alien base, I forget.

FBI may pillory Hillary with email spillery grillery

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@AC - Trump says what he means

But he never takes any positions. He says he'd build a wall on our southern border and make Mexico pay for it. How? He just talks about how he's a great negotiator like he wrote about in the Art of the Deal. Same story with China trade, Iran's nukes and anything else. The only position he seems to have taken is that he'd defund Planned Parenthood and would support shutting down the government to accomplish that (but is on record saying the government shutdown a couple years ago was "stupid")

It is easy to speak your mind if you never are forced to say if you are for or against anything, but instead just claim you'll do X better than Obama or any of his republican rivals.

Court KOs irate Apple iMessenger woman's bid for class-action face off

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@Steve Evans

Except suing over faulty software and assuming it was a deliberate evil scheme to screw over iPhone owners who defected to Android is making a pretty big assumption that will be hard to prove in court.

When I try to send an iMessage sometimes it falls back to SMS, but I remember there were cases in the past where it would just fail to send (not show "delivered") and it would end up being sent hours later. I remember this happening when sending messages to people at football games, when the cells were too overloaded to be able to get any data. So it wasn't just a bug that affected Android owners, and once it was fixed it helped iPhone owners as well. So pretty clearly it wasn't deliberate on Apple's part.

Lenovo topples Apple from PC summit by declining less slowly

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I agree. I don't think tablets should be included, except maybe for Surface Pro like devices that are really full fledged laptops that are extra thin and light and feature extra shitty keyboards.

Microsoft vacates moral high ground for the data slurpers' cesspit

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@Arctic fox

He was critical of Google, but the article would have been long indeed if he'd laid out all of Google's privacy problems. The big difference though is with Google, you're trading your privacy in exchange for free stuff. Free search, free email, free maps, free smartphone OS, etc. It may not be a trade most consumers are conscious of and make willingly, but it is there.

But what are you talking about with Apple? Where are Apple's data slurps and pushing ads in your face? Yes, Apple's record is not spotless (i.e. the collection of location information on the phone back in the iPhone 4 days....but which was never sent to Apple and was fixed in the next iOS release) They've never pushed in that direction and have been actively moving away from it the past couple years and highlighting how they are different - i.e. how they do not get any information from your purchases made with Apple Pay, for instance. More and more they are marketing themselves as an alternative to the privacy invasions of the Googles and Facebooks of the world. This is as it should be, since Apple makes plenty of money off my purchase of an iPhone, they do not need to nickel and dime me for additional revenue by selling off my personal information.

I figured Microsoft would end up in Apple's camp here, since they make plenty of money off each Windows license. OK I grant that it is possible the "free" Windows 10 upgrades have different privacy defaults than the ones you pay for in the form of a new PC, but I doubt it. They're trying to stick their snouts in the trough on both ends, making money on your purchase of Windows and then making more money selling off your personal information when you actually use it.

That is what is particularly galling here. Google has to do this, advertising is their only revenue stream, the money they make selling your personal information goes to support all their servers, and all their engineers developing search, Android, and so forth. Microsoft sees their income from selling Windows licenses dropping due to the falling number of PCs sold, and the new CEO apparently decided it was time to look for additional revenue streams - and hey, look at what Google is doing, we should do that too!

Samsung looks into spam ads appearing on Brits' smart TVs

DougS Silver badge

Before long there will only be smart TVs

But that's fine, a smart TV also functions as a dumb TV. If you don't connect it to the internet and use it purely as a dumb TV, you don't have to worry about being spammed by ads or care about its software becoming obsolete.

Most TV makers are unlikely to provide updates after it is a year or maybe two years old so you shouldn't depend on its existing smart functions being useful for very long, let alone being provided new 'apps' to handle online services that are still in the "two guys in a garage" stage today. They'll tell you "buy a new TV" if you want to support that hot new service that's kicking Netflix's ass in 2019.

I, for one, welcome the rise of the Infrastructure Endgame Machines

DougS Silver badge

Care to point out which link of the 20 or so you provided, some of which are just simple definition of terms, others that are links to corporate sites, etc. provides the proof that somehow application management will go away?

That will certainly be news for all those companies that have internally developed applications - I guess their developers better re-skill as the IEMs will take over development, the how of which is somehow explained in one of your links?

I don't disagree with your basic premise that the convergence will continue to grow, I've seen that with vBlocks, with some technology I can't talk about yet that is essentially vBlock 2.0, and will continue to evolve as more layers of abstraction are thrown on top so you get further and further away from the actual metal. That only takes the infrastructure management out of it.

That may allow me to not only migrate a running application from Texas to California to London at will, but an entire application suite or even an entire (virtual) datacenter. That would mostly free us from today's infrastructure concerns like RAS and DR, but the software running below all that abstraction still has to accomplish something. Someone has to tell it what to accomplish, how to collect information it needs from the outside and how to deliver what is accomplished to whoever or whatever requires it. An IEM isn't going to do that, people are.

And we won't be there by 2020, either.

STOP! You – away from the keyboard. There's no free speech in our China

DougS Silver badge

Too bad they don't have electronic communication

Then the police officers wouldn't have to be based in the internet companies, but they could use some sort of fanciful futuristic network connection that would allow them to monitor what is happening in those companies in real time, and be able to communicate with the staff in those companies.

But until technologies that have only been written about in Science Fiction like fiber optics and ethernet are actually invented, they'll just have to be based on site I guess.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Don't be fooled...

You do realize that China has a trade surplus, right? What do you think they do with it? They have a very large foreign investment fund - something like $1 trillion in US treasury bonds alone! Then there are all those Chinese billionaires who own shares in companies around the world, property in London, San Francisco and so on.

If China nationalized all foreign held assets, and the foreign governments retaliated by doing the same, China and its citizens would suffer a net loss of trillions of dollars. At least make your idiotic conspiracy theories have some logical sense, you might as well argue that Russia is going to launch its nukes against Moscow, that would be the same level of stupidity to what you propose.

DougS Silver badge

@asdf Re: hmm

Got news for you asdf, China already IS a developed country. They are the world's second largest economy and have a larger middle class than the US and UK combined - and are rapidly closing in on including the whole EU in that math. You'd have to twist the definition of "developed country" pretty far to find a way to keep them off the list - and I suspect a definition that did that would knock out a few European countries that would be surprised to learn they'd be demoted to undeveloped status!

If you think the monitoring China does is incompatible with being a developed country, what about the very similar monitoring the US did on "subversives" like MLK and Jane Fonda during the Vietnam years? I guess the US needs to clean up its act to gain the status of a developed country?

Apple goes to crapple in stock plunge kerfaffle: $113bn wiped off in days

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Re: "What goes up must come down."

You obviously don't understand the stock market AT ALL to claim that it is based on the "expectation of continued explosive growth". A high price or high market cap doesn't tell you anything about expectation of future growth - it is only when you measure it against profit, which is what the P/E ratio measures, that the stock price/market cap has any meaning in this context.

Apple's P/E ratio is 13, which indicates very modest - even mediocre - future growth expectations. Even Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett's company mostly composed of staid old utilities, railroads and insurance companies has a higher P/E at 17 and therefore higher future growth expectations than Apple!

By contrast Google's P/E is 32 which indicates the expectation of pretty robust growth. Microsoft's is also 32 - yes the market really expects far more future growth from Microsoft than Apple, and the same growth as Google! The only growth I've seen out of Microsoft in the past decade is growth in multi-billion dollar writeoffs from failed acquisitions so I'm not sure what this is based on besides wishful thinking of Microsoft investors (wishing they had sold their Microsoft shares a decade ago and invested in Apple or Google)

For a real laugh, look at Netflix's P/E ratio of 278....sometimes investors are just stupid.

Biggest security update in history coming up: Google patches Android hijack bug Stagefright

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The first time mass Android patching will ever be tested

If there are any glitches in the process, Google, Samsung and/or LG will have some egg on their face and negative publicity to deal with. Even if the carrier is ultimately responsible.

With a multiple step process for the patch to go from Google to OEM to carrier to user, with the potential for each to add their own fixes or "enhancements" along the way, this could get very interesting. If I owned an Android phone I sure wouldn't be willing to install this the day my phone notified me. I'd be searching the internet for evidence few people with the same phone on the same carrier had successfully done so before proceeding given that Stagefright isn't actively being exploited.

John McAfee cuffed by Tennessee cops, faces drug-driving, gun rap

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He's got a smile on his face

The smile of a guy who knows he's got very expensive lawyers available, and won't end up having to serve time like us little people would.

Epson: Cheap printers, expensive ink? Let's turn that upside down

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I want a cheap low volume printer

I may go a month or more without printing anything, and average maybe a few pages a week - I buy a new ream every 2+ years I think. The ink cartridges go bad after a year when they have hardly been used, so I end up spending a fortune per page. Maybe I need to buy a used color laserjet next time, if the toner never goes bad it'll probably last me a decade!

Wait, what? TrueCrypt 'decrypted' by FBI to nail doc-stealing sysadmin

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"not go into sleep mode or require screen unlock"

That instructions one as to how you need to set things up if you are doing something where you fear you may be raided by the FBI (or worse) at any given moment.

Rather than inactivity timeout, have your screen lock automatically once an hour (or whatever) even when in active use. Might be a bit annoying, but the FBI would really have to have their shit together to be prepared to deal with the evidence that quickly. If you think they can deal with it in 10 minutes, then your screen needs to autolock every nine. You can add other precautions such as having it autolock if it loses wifi; use the G-force sensor in the hard drive to detect movement and autolock it, and anything else you can think of.

The other thing is to insure that the in-memory copy of the key for your encrypted volume is erased when the screen locks. That will make the software unhappy (at least I'm sure Linux would complain a lot if it lost read/write access to your home directory every time the screen locks) but spamming your logs is a small price to pay for avoiding a decade in Leavenworth (or worse)

None of this will guarantee you don't go to prison, but it will make it harder to prove your guilt. Though in this case this idiot kept DVDs of the classified material so they didn't even need to break his TrueCrypt volume. They presumably only did because they figured he had more stuff than what was on the DVDs. Not sure if the DVDs were encrypted...one would hope so, but who knows.

Asian worries for Samsung and Apple as local brands chop up the market

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@Scouler

A company like Samsung may be cyclical with regard to a single product (like the GS6) but isn't very cyclical with its smartphone business as a whole because it is always releasing new products at various price points. So this news of falling share for Samsung in China is far more likely to represent a problem for them than it is Apple.

DougS Silver badge

Apple's market is cyclical

Let's see how they do in Q4 with the 6S and Q1 with Chinese New Year - the two quarters where they led the Chinese market - before claiming "worries". These stories come around every year as Apple's market share declines as people begin holding off purchases so they can buy the newer model (or get the older model at a bit of a discount)

But nice job trying to work the "peak Apple" angle back in, guess the stock price correction after such large gains is causing Reg writers to get excited about the possibility they might be able to resuscitate that meme!

Mac fans! Don't run any old guff from the web: Malware spotted exploiting OS X root bug

DougS Silver badge

It'll need to somehow be made into a browser based exploit, because no one is using Flash let alone Java on their Mac (or anything else) anymore.

If you do there are so many security holes in those pieces of trash that need weekly patching you couldn't further reduce your security if you posted your password on Facebook and Twitter!

Radian ready to replace the flash translation layer

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Too easy to update driver software

Putting all the smarts in the driver that runs on the host CPU that's far far higher performance than the controller running the FTL firmware sounds like a smart idea, except that you're now trusting a driver.

Every time you patch your server, you'll probably be updating the driver, and definitely be updating the OS hooks the driver relies on. It is too tempting for Radian's engineers to keep tweaking for better performance or add features, etc. since you know people will update drivers. With firmware you only fix critical bugs because no one upgrades drive firmware other than to fix serious bugs (except in controlled environments like inside an enterprise array)

I like the idea of keeping the FTL in firmware exactly because it is probably never going to be updated there, unless it is to fix a specific issue. You don't have to worry about patching your server and causing problems with the drive - worst case losing your data. I'm sure Radian will claim they take all sorts of steps to prevent this, but consider in both Linux and Windows there's no memory protection between drivers. If some other driver has a wild pointer and writes in the Radian driver's address space, goodbye data no matter how careful Radian is.

I'll let others take the risk, and think about getting on board after suckers early adopters have baked it for a few years.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Crazy Thought

It might use a more "native" block size for stuff like DBs, but you can't use a 64K block size (which is still smaller than flash's erase block size by more than an order of magnitude) for a typical filesystem (or VMFS that will contain many typical filesystems) without wasting a lot of space. Most files are small.

Hacktivists congratulate Daily Show's Jon Stewart via Donald Trump's website

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Re: Donald Trump

Trump was given control of his father's company in 1971. If back then you bought 10 year treasuries, reinvested the interest, rolled over, etc. you'd have a 20x gain. Not saying that's the best investment you could have made in that time, but he's unlikely to have done much better than 20x unless you believe his fanciful claims of a net worth of $10 billion.

DougS Silver badge

@phil dude

Sanders beats Trump when pollsters ask, "if Donald Trump was the republican nominee, and Bernie Sanders was the democratic nominee, who would you vote for?" They aren't asking an open ended question "between Bernie Sanders and the 17 republican candidates, which one would you vote for?"

However, beating Trump head to head is a slam dunk for any democrat because over half of republicans say that would not vote for Trump under any circumstances in the primaries, and something like 7% say they'd vote for any democrat over Trump in the general election if he was the republican nominee! In reality I suspect most republicans truly couldn't bring themselves to pull the lever for either Sanders (an avowed socialist) or Hillary (an avowed Clinton) and would just stay home, but either way Trump winning would essentially guarantee the democrats win the election - and if enough republicans stayed home because they didn't want to vote for Trump probably hand congress back to the democrats as well.

Trump is an unmitigated disaster for the other republicans, who want to be talking about Obama and Clinton, not Trump. He's really a disaster for everyone but Clinton, as keeping the focus on Trump keeps Sanders from gaining publicity and mounting a serious challenge on her from the left when she wants to run from the center.

DougS Silver badge

Trump "not beholden to corporate interests"

This is a ridiculous idea. You say you don't want Candidate X because he received a few million in contributions from Corporation Y and he may grant favors that benefit Corporation Y. Trump cuts out the middleman, since he owns Corporation Y!

If you installed Windows 10 and like privacy, you checked the defaults, right? Oh dear

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Advertising ID?

So while Apple has taken steps to eliminate the ability of an app to access any sort of unique ID connected to the user, Microsoft is going full steam ahead with this? And adding this to Windows 10 on PCs - when they are already getting paid good money for the OS?

At least Google has a valid reason for pushing this stuff on people, because they make nothing from Android aside from the advertising revenue. Microsoft wants it on both ends, payment up front and continuing to sell your eyeballs down the road, and bringing it to PCs to boot!

Glad I use Linux and iOS!

Sick of politicians robo-calling you? Bin your landline, says the FCC

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What about VOIP?

I guess it is only mobiles that are protected because you have to pay for your minutes?

Why do I think the solution to the ever falling number of landlines making it harder for people to annoy us will be AT&T and Verizon announcing a new "sponsored calling" service available to corporations and non-profits, which allow them to pay for the subscriber end of the call to allow mobiles to be telemarketed, politicked and push polled to their little black hearts' content?

Global spy system ECHELON confirmed at last – by leaked Snowden files

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Re: @Pascal Meh.

Americans have little choice in the matter, because there is virtually no privacy protection as a consumer. We are better protected from our own government's spying. Even though the government has often been revealed as breaking or skirting the law, at least there are laws. The US has nothing like the equivalent of the EU data protection laws.

It is supposed that we can choose the companies we do business with based on this, since they are forced to disclose privacy policies with those they do business with. Those privacy policies often say they'll collect and share "relevant" personal data to "various" third parties they do business with. Basically they mean nothing, and say anything they can get their hands on (which you can't get a list of) they'll collect and they'll share with anyone they have a business relationship with (and you can't get a list of them either) When Google Street View cars were found to be sniffing wifi SSIDs and passwords and logging them against addresses people were outraged, and Google quickly backtracked and made excuses, but that only happened because the public found out this was happening. If they hadn't, that information would undoubtedly still be collected today.

Somehow over a billion people now trust that same company to have closed source components on a device they carry with them nearly everywhere they go. I'm sure if it was revealed exactly what all Android collects and reports back to Google, there would be greater outrages, but so long as Google can keep the worst abuses secret, they are following their stated privacy policy and no one can complain about what they don't know!

DougS Silver badge

Re: I don't even know anyore.

They're both bad in different ways, but the spooks were getting data from Google et al before both with their cooperation and without their knowledge. They probably still get some via various means, and will constantly and continually seek access to more. Preventing Google and friends from gathering and storing so much information about us is important not just for its own sake, but for the sake of protecting us from others getting their hands on the data.

Between my country and my country's "friends" like the UK having access to data about, corporations like Google having access to data about me, and less unfriendly or unfriendly countries like China and North Korea having access to data about me, I'd prefer the latter. North Korea can't do anything to me unless I visit there, but I have to live in the US and have visited and wish to continue visit the UK, so those countries definitely can do something to me.

Some things I did as a teenager, had I been caught, would have at most had the cops over to talk to me to warn me to stop, and my parents grounding me for a while. If a teenager did them today he'd be arrested, expelled from school, and referred to the FBI as a potential terrorist. Had I been caught back then and got the proverbial slap on the wrist, I'd have something "on my record" that perhaps combined with writing posts like that critical of the status quo, would have resulted in me being put on a terrorist watch list (given that reports say over 1% of the US population is on some level of watch list, the bar must be pretty low)

It used to be a joke when teachers warned "that will go on your permanent record" that no one ever had to worry about something they did in 7th grade following them around for the rest of their life. That is no longer true, and what's worse somethign you did in the past that was entirely legal could be viewed in a very different light by a future government that is less free (and let's face it, neither the US or the UK have been trending in anything but a "less free" direction) If you have a legal abortion today, but the religious right in the US was able to take control and enacted the Christian version of Sharia law in a few decades, that legal abortion might result in your execution.

DougS Silver badge

Re: If...

I fully agree with Dropbear. Pointing to attacks it stopped, or could have stopped is meaningless. More people die on the highways in the US and UK each year than have died from all terrorist attacks in both countries this century.

If we lowered the speed limit to 10 mph and fully enforced that through mandatory speed limiters in cars, we'd save all those lives. Why are lives lost to terrorism so much more precious that we should want to give up so many rights to save them, but giving up a comparatively tiny bit of freedom by restricting the speed of travel to save even more is rightly seen by everyone as ridiculous?

VMAX flashes its virtues for all to see

DougS Silver badge

Re: all results?

Most vendors use various silliness to maximize their results in these tests. Similar to SPEC20xx CPU tests where the compiler guys have broken some of the codes using very narrowly targeted "optimizations" that happen to have a major benefit in some of the tests while being applicable to almost no real world code (not to mention that all results, even base, use PGO which is rarely used in real world code)

Not sure why EMC finally provided results other than that they didn't want to unless they could produce some results that make them look good. I wonder if the lack of them was hurting them in some RFPs, or they felt doing well will increase their sales? Since SSDs appeared on the scene array performance varies so widely based on the configuration you choose the results in these tests are not useful in any way.

Apple chief Cook cooks up rumours after BMW car talks, factory tour

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@Dieter Haussmann - Building iPhones in the US

If they built them the same way as they do in China, by having people basically assemble them by hand, what you say is true.

I'm sure they could use robots to do the assembly, but that costs more (if it didn't Foxconn would use robots instead of humans in China) The supply issues could be overcome by shipping everything to the US, but obviously that would increase costs also.

If "made in America" became an important consideration for electronics sold in the US Apple could certainly do it, and since they have high margins on iPhones it wouldn't hurt them nearly as much as competitors who operate on much thinner margins.

DougS Silver badge

Re: BMW was careful not to show off too much

Why would Apple want to tear apart an i3? Do you think they bought a Blackberry and tore it apart before they built the iPhone? They don't want to build something like existing cars, but without the expertise of a car company to help them redesign the things they want to change (or tell them why something they want to change shouldn't be changed) let alone manufacture it they won't get far. Pretty sure they wouldn't be considering Foxconn to assemble these cars. They also need a dealer network, as Apple Stores will have to get a whole lot bigger if they wanted to sell cars out of them, and the Genius Bar will need to become a full fledged service center. They will need to rely on BMW's (or some other car company's) dealer/service network.

BMW would make a good partner for Apple, but they aren't the only potential partner. Likewise, BMW may want to partner with someone who has more expertise in software and human factors engineering than they do, but Apple is not the only potential partner for them.

DougS Silver badge

Re: BMW was careful not to show off too much

It goes both ways. If Cook talked too much about Apple's plans and gave BMW ideas that hadn't occurred to them, Apple could end up losing out. When companies are talking on this level about a future market that doesn't exist today but will be worth trillions in a couple decades they're going to be careful about revealing too much in their area of expertise. On the other hand they have to reveal enough that they are seen as a viable partner.

If Apple chooses to pursue the self driving car market, they aren't going to want to design every part in the whole car. Just like they don't design the cellular radio chip in the iPhone but leave that to the experts at Qualcomm. They could hire a bunch of smart people and design their own, but there is no advantage for them doing so. Their "value add" for a car will be in the software and the way the car is controlled by the "driver". Obviously they'll want to put their own spin on the design (it would be interesting to see what Jony Ive thinks a car should look like) but they don't want to design all the parts, only specify what they want and leave it up the experts who know how to design windshields, seats, air conditioners and whatever.

Trying to do everything yourself from the ground up takes a long time - just ask Elon Musk, Tesla was founded in 2003 and has yet to sell its quarter millionth car despite hefty government incentives in the US. They will need a partner to be successful - as will Google and any other Silicon Valley (or Redmond) company that tries its hand at this market. Though maybe Google will follow the Android model and design self driving software and give it away free to all the automakers, with the requirement it has a cellular connection and GPS so it can blast ads at the passengers as they approach businesses. "Perkins is just ahead, tell your car to stop at Perkins now and we'll give you a Grand Slam breakfast for all four passengers for the price of two!"

DougS Silver badge

Re: BMW & Apple

Designing the hardware and software is harder work that mass producing someone else's design. Why do you think engineers make more than people who work on an assembly line?

Stop forcing benefits down my throat and give me hard cash, dammit

DougS Silver badge

Re: Thus spoke the contractor

Who says the contract has to give the contractor complete freedom to decide when to show up for work? The contract may require certain conditions, like working a set schedule unless you have previously notified the company you want that day off. If everyone is a contractor, the contracts don't have to be written in a way that "avoids making them look like an employee". In fact, some contracts would probably look very much like what they had as an employee - no reason the contract couldn't provide set hours, set holidays, the same number of paid days off, etc. If enough employees wanted that, the company would probably offer it as one option from a menu that ranged from that, to more flexible contracting arrangements.

If too many people want the same day off so there aren't enough people to fill the need, the contract could say days off are first come first served, so you don't get it off if too many others have asked for it. Or it could increase the pay for those days until enough people decide they don't need that day off after all.

In fact, the contract could be written with variable pay, so everyone bids on the times they want to work (maybe they bid for September in mid-August) by specifying which days they'll work and the minimum pay they'll accept. On days when everyone is willing to work, pay is lower. On days when everyone wants to take the day off, pay is higher and those willing to work are compensated for that. You already see this to some extent with shift pay, holiday pay, etc. but this makes that more flexible. Maybe you need to only pay employees 20% more to work on a weekend during the winter, because they weren't going to be doing anything anyway, but they want 80% more in the summer? That's better than setting an arbitrary amount like 40% that applies year round.

Sun? In Blighty? Nah, just build that rooftop data centre, it’ll be fine

DougS Silver badge

Redundant AC units

How is this usually handled? You have N+1 power, multiple levels of redundancy, but spec the AC at max load and assume it won't break. You laugh, but I know of a Fortune 100 company's main datacenter for which this was true. Maybe having two units, one of which is idle, is a bit much, but having 5 units, only 4 of which are needed... That would also solve the problem of variable loads, as one or more could be cycled off as the load changes. That way you can avoid the more expensive ones with multistage compressors - the savings might actually pay for that fifth unit.

Hopefully the design is smart enough that it isn't always the same units running and the same unit sitting idle, as we all know what will happen when the long-idle one is needed...

Uber holds out hand, hails another $1bn – mostly from Microsoft

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Re: actually

It is only lucrative if there are barriers to entry. Uber has been trying to knock down the barriers to entry into the "taxi" market all over the world. Where they succeed, they've delineated the exact boundaries in which they - and all other competitors - may operate.

If Uber makes a lot of money as a middleman, there is plenty of room for competitors to set up shop and accept a smaller cut, with the savings used to pay drivers more and charge riders less. It will be a race to the bottom, and Uber won't be worth a tenth of what they are today, though I think eventually they'll just go under completely as they'll stubbornly refuse to lower their cut even as drivers and riders abandon them in great numbers.

There may even be room for competition that takes ZERO cut, and relies on sponsorships to support the infrastructure. Bars, restaurants and nightclubs are an obvious candidate there. The drivers would be the only ones making profit, which is fair as they're the ones doing the work.

Windows 10: Buy cheap, buy twice, right? Buy FREE ... buy FOREVER

DougS Silver badge

Re: It's all about the developers

Except Microsoft's Astoria project plans to allow Windows phones to run Android binaries. What's the incentive for developers to create a Windows phone specific app when they'll already have the Android version Windows phone users can download.

Those developing PC apps aren't going to worry about making them run on Windows phones - does anyone think that Intuit is going to worry about making Quickbooks run well on a phone, or that anyone would want to use it on a phone?

Gay emojis? GAY EMOJIS?! Not here in Russia, comrade

DougS Silver badge

Re: $(name) Youth group

Maybe a good thing Putin doesn't have a son, or he'd try to set him up as another "president for life" when he's gone. Maybe he'll do that for a son-in-law, but more likely it will end up as a military coup. No way back into having proper elections when you're a dictatorship.

No, Microsoft: Your one-billion Windows 10 goal is just sad ... really sad

DougS Silver badge

What's the total number of Windows devices now?

Windows 7 is on over half of them, and that's probably about the ceiling Windows 10 can reach, unless a lot of Windows 7 owners are nagged into taking the free upgrade to 10.

How much of one year's Californian energy use would wipe out the drought?

DougS Silver badge

Re: DeSal

Who is the "we've" who have been working to get a desal plant in San Diego? Is it a question of money, is it being held up by the state, by the feds, by environmentalists, or what?

DougS Silver badge

No new power infrastructure is needed...this really isn't that complicated

This isn't like turning on a light or the AC, where you need to have power available at that time. You can operate the desalination plants with off-peak energy, as well as buffer the variable demands (and supplies) during peak energy usage.

Given that this is a problem that has built up for years, and California is draining its aquifers even when they aren't experiencing a drought, you'd want to build the desalination plants so that they would be operated regularly (not continuously, we're using off-peak energy remember?)

Lewis' suggestion of adding 2% to California's energy usage to fix the problem over six years seems like a good initial target for the level of desalinization infrastructure you'd want to build. Enough to get "back to normal" in six years, and pumping the water into the aquifers to make up for those losses down the road. You can always add more plants down the road if the drought continues or worsens, or operate them less often if California starts setting yearly rainfall records.

OK, what about the environmental impact? California wants to reduce its CO2 impact, not permanently increase it by 2%! So how about wind or solar? The state I live in generates a quarter of its electricity from wind power. California's population is 13x larger, so if they added as much generation capacity as my state has, that would be their 2%. Though the desert may point to solar being a simpler alternative there - I merely pointed out the comparison with my state to forestall those who will claim "do you know how much energy California uses, there is no way renewable energy can produce that much".

The desalination plants wouldn't be directly powered by solar or wind, that would be added into the grid, and the desalination plants would act as buffers by using power that the rest of the grid doesn't need at the moment during peaks, and running on a more continuous basis during off-peak hours.

In this way renewable energy could solve California's water problems - and the water bills of California residents would pay for it. Using renewable energy may cost more today than just adding another gas fired plant or two, but getting new fossil fuel power plants built in California is not easy. Wind & solar is (at least comparatively speaking)

ATTACK of the ZOMBIE SATELLITE: Run radio hams, run!

DougS Silver badge

Re: can we use it for target practice?

The limited amount of harm this satellite is causing is not worth generating a bunch of orbital debris that will cause problems for years.

Maybe NASA should offer a $10 million prize to anyone who can send up a rocket to snag it and drag it into the atmosphere to burn up and/or into the ocean? Get Branson, Musk and Carmack thinking about how to do it.

They probably wouldn't though, because not just the US, but the Chinese and the Russians would be pretty freaked out by a private company able to perform this type of snag and drag (pretty sure all three countries could do this without much difficulty, though they aren't likely to advertise the fact)

Uber unleashes $1bn war chest to crack Indian market

DougS Silver badge

It will go towards bribes

Bribes of any officials that stand in their way, or can stand in the way of their competition, and more importantly bribes in the form of temporarily paying more to drivers to switch to Uber rather than stick with the local alternatives. Once so many drivers have switched the local alternatives go under, then Uber can shut off the flood of cash and the drivers will probably end up worse off as will the Indian economy. Guess they figure it will take about a billion dollars until they've choked the life out of their local competition.

In its short life Uber has demonstrated quite clearly that it is a very unethical company run by very unethical people.

What can't sell Galaxy S6s and keeps going down on you? Samsung and its profits

DougS Silver badge

Re: Taking off features to act like Apple lite didn't help them at all

Wait, so due to the removal of features from the S6 you bought the more expensive Note 4? It seems like Samsung got more money/profit from you, so how did it "not help them at all?" If everyone reacted like you, they'd be seeing record profits!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Stick a fork in Samsung, they're done.

The problem for Samsung was that the Chinese companies copied them and are not selling the phones at premium prices like Samsung.

DougS Silver badge

@Charlie Clark - dollar/euro exchange rate

How does the dollar/euro exchange rate hurt Samsung, as they are not a US company? If the won/euro exchange rate was dropping it might be a problem for them, and perhaps that is happening, but the dollar rising or falling isn't going to affect the won/euro exchange rate.

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