* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Russia campaigns to stop SUICIDALLY STUPID selfies

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Anytime there's an awesome video of people doing crazy stuff

I don't even have to look, it is always Russians. Taking dangerous selfies is the tip of the iceberg. Those guys are nuts, must be all the vodka!

If it wasn't for Russia, the MTV show Ridiculousness would have half as many episodes, and Youtube would have a much higher ratio of cat videos.

Ford's 400,000-car recall could be the tip of an auto security iceberg

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Re: How do you turn an engine off if the off-button doesn't work?

Disconnecting the battery would certainly do it, though probably there's a fuse you could pull to make it a bit easier.

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OTA updates? Hell no!

Even ignoring the possibility of hackers cracking or otherwise obtaining the private key used to secure the updates, this is a terrible idea if it is just applied willy-nilly without the driving having a say or worse yet even knowing. How many times has a borked update been distributed over the years by everyone IT vendor out there? The supposedly "identical" environments actually aren't, or don't account for different settings, etc.

I don't want my car bricked and needing a tow out of my garage sometime because it received an update overnight, and especially don't want it if the updates are silent so I don't even know that was the cause - because you can be damn sure automakers will not want to give us this information willingly, to avoid the inevitable lawsuits that result from people getting in work or legal trouble because they missed an appointment due to their car not working!

It needs to be a requirement for any update that 1) drivers are notified when a car has received an OTA update 2) we must be told exactly what it is fixing (can't just say "bug fixes and performance improvements" like too many release notes say these days) and 3) I get to choose when to apply it, though it should be forced after a certain time (maybe a couple weeks so you don't have to get it in the middle of a cross country family trip if you would rather wait until you're home)

US senate committee wants Twitter, Facebook to report 'terrorist' posts

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Re: Facebook and Twitter must raise a red flag on terror activity

The ones who are dumb enough to post their intentions aren't the ones you need to worry about. Some lone bomber who isn't so much a terrorist as a mentally ill person might post their intention or at least hint at it because he's looking for attention, but real terrorists with the kind of major plot that we're really worried about will only post something that means anything in hindsight (i.e. something like "after today the infidels will feel the pain our people have been feeling" or something oblique like that which could never serve as advance warning)

The sad song Samsung's sung: SEVENTH quarterly fail in a row

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Re: It's your lousy battery life, schmucks!

If it is a fault in his battery that's one thing, but if it is the bloatware's fault then "install CyanogenMod" is not a reasonable answer. 98% of people don't even know what it is, much less be willing to install it to fix something that is broken as shipped (if it is the bloatware)

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Re: Too many models

Late last year they said they'd fix their falling sales & profits by reducing the number of models "by 30%", which seems about 30% too small of a cut. I haven't seen any evidence they actually cut anything though, given that there's the S6, S6 Edge, S6 Active and S6 Mini and S6 Plus coming that's five models just of one phone, and they still sell the S5, S4 and S3 versions, plus at least a half dozen versions of the Note. Since those 39 models don't include some I've listed here, maybe because they aren't sold worldwide (like the S6 Active that's only available in the US on one carrier) the actual number is even higher.

I find it especially amusing Samsung will be selling a 5.5" S6 Plus to compete with the 5.5" iPhone 6 Plus. If Apple calls the new one the 6S as expected, they'll sell a 6S Plus versus Samsung's S6 Plus. Maybe Samsung's latest strategy to compete with Apple is stealing dyslexic buyers from them :)

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Re: Did they think that continual bloat would help the issue?

Like PC makers, they get paid for installing some of that bloat. That's why it is there, not because they care what you think about it.

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Samsung is fighting the wrong battle

Yeah the "supply shortages" thing is really stupid, since they make nearly all of the components themselves. Apple runs into shortages with every new model because they always break the record set by the previous model and stress their whole supply chain, Foxconn manufacturing, etc. especially since they come closer and closer to a full worldwide release every iteration.

Samsung tries so hard to compete with Apple, they completely forget there are a bunch of other Android OEMs who make phones using virtually the same software, and mostly the same hardware, and don't all charge Apple-like prices like Samsung does. Maybe they should try telling people why they should buy a Samsung over a HTC or Xiaomi, instead of wasting their time trying to convert iPhone owners?

Furor rages over ICANN and Facebook's bid to publish home addresses of website owners

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Re: So will facebook.com show Mark Zuckerberg's home address?

That may be so, but he should get the same chance to be added to useless mailing lists by unscrupulous marketers like the rest of us!

DougS Silver badge

So will facebook.com show Mark Zuckerberg's home address?

If not, they aren't serious about this plan.

Firefox to speed up dev cycle, go multi-process, rip and replace UI – soon

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Multiprocess is a good thing. Then when you close a tab all the memory associated with it will be freed when the process dies.

I've never seen Firefox be a CPU hog, except when you have a runaway script and get that "stop script" popup.

Ginormous HIDDEN BLACK HOLES flood the universe – boffins

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Couple reasons why this can't be the missing mass

1) Everyone suspected every galaxy had a supermassive black hole at its center, we just couldn't directly observe many of them

2) The behavior of galaxies indicates that the missing mass (assuming Newtonian gravity, not MOND) is not concentrated at the center, but far away from it. Unless the big bang created a huge huge huge amount of tiny black holes they can't be responsible for the missing mass.

Personally my money's on theories needing to be revisited. Not necessarily MOND, but something that indicates our calculations are off. Given that we not only have dark matter but also dark energy as fudge factors now, and can't identify either. Or maybe that's just what I hope, because I don't want Einstein's theories and the standard model to be it, with only quantum gravity as the last unknown. I want Douglas Adams to be right, and once we figure out the universe it is replaced by something even stranger. Bring on supersymmetry, hidden dimensions, hell at this point I'd even take Electric Universe just so things don't get boring!

Americans in Europe like using Wi-Fi calling, Ericsson discovers

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Re: How?

It is not really standardized, doesn't work all that well, etc. but Americans in London like it because the alternative is being raped by overseas call charges from American carriers, or dealing with the hassle of trying to switch SIMs which may not be doable if you bought your phone on contract and it is still locked.

My carrier doesn't support it yet, so hopefully they'll get it sorted by the time AT&T gets around to supporting it.

Canuck chump cuffed over helium balloon flying chair stunt

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Unfortunately his stunt worked

He got the publicity he seeks, and probably everyone in Calgary knows his business' name - probably better than if he'd been able to get a pilot to fly him in and skydive where he planned.

This will hardly stop future morons from doing the same thing, until one of them dies and it starts to look like less of a good idea.

Chinese takeaway, hold the Google: Xiaomi Mi4 LTE Android

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They'll both be obsolete soon enough, as I'm willing to bet all Android phones will be using USB-C in a year or two.

I have a feeling even Apple will eventually switch to USB-C as well, though they can't do it too soon after just going through the Lightning change. Maybe they'll wait for a future faster USB standard to make up for USB having half as many data pins.

Samsung, Oppo collared in smartphone bloatware probe

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Re: I took a stand against bloatware a while ago

What does that have to do the carrier installing bloatware? T-Mobile is pushing some bleeding edge features that many carriers are not yet using, like VoLTE and wifi calling. Their customers may have hit something most of us can't use (and thus doesn't get well tested during beta phases)

There are also some "carrier settings" that get installed when you activate your phone on a given carrier's network. The bug might exist in there, though that's just a data file so it shouldn't be the source of the problem unless T-Mobile and/or Apple really screwed up validating the data.

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Re: Is this regional / per carrier?

I rarely downvote anyone's posts. Certainly not because I disagree with them, only if they're just plain clueless or trolling. If there is someone (or maybe three someones) following you around downvoting you, it isn't me, but I find it humorous you are so paranoid...

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Is this regional / per carrier?

Do Note 3s sold in the US/UK actually ship with 44 bloatware apps, or is this just China? I knew there were a few, but I had no idea the problem was that bad. No wonder Android users consider a SD card slot to be mandatory - they don't have any internal storage left with all the undeleteable crap they're forced to take!

Apple Pay's Brit biz bashed by banks planning to Zapp it out

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Apple Pay IS an open standard

Apple Pay is EMV. Same standard the new cards will use soon enough (maybe EMV cards are already shipping in the UK/EU, but AFAIK they are not yet in the US)

The bank's app will presumably implement EMV also, but it will be LESS secure on an iPhone, because it won't use the secure element to store the credit card info like Apple Pay does. I see ZERO reason any iPhone owner would ever use the bank's app - if they want to pay by phone they'd rather use Apple Pay since it is already built in. Plus it doesn't share the purchase data with the retailer - not sure if the same can be said about the banks' solution, but I'll bet at least some banks will share the data with at least some retailers. If they don't want to pay by phone they won't use the bank app either.

Once the new Android Pay thing that also implements EMV is available, the same will be true for Android phones as far as "why should an Android owner use the bank app instead of Android Pay which is already installed?"

The banks' effort is destined to fail in the UK just like CurrenC will fail in the US.

Pluto probe brain OVERLOAD: Titsup New Horizons explained

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Re: This is proper engineering

Well I wasn't around then, but in hindsight if I had been and seen how quickly things moved from "first artificial satellite" to "first man in space" to "first man on the Moon" I certainly would have thought we'd be doing bigger and better stuff than flying by Pluto and landing on a comet 46 years after Armstrong...

Not to dismiss this accomplishment, but we haven't had a man outside Earth's gravity well for over four decades now which is pretty sad considering how fast things were moving in the 60s.

Apple fanbois to be empowered to bonk each other

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Four thumbs down but no one offers the example of Apple suing over someone implementing something they've patented in a different way. No point in trying to educate fanboys, I guess.

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When has Apple patented something and sued someone trying to implement the patent in a different manner? Forget rounded corners, that's a design patent, which is a totally different thing than a utility patent which is what this article is concerned with.

The oft-cited statistic about Apple not spending "enough" on R&D is stupid because Apple spends more on R&D than almost anyone. But their revenue is so huge that it adds up to a small percentage. Should they spend an extra 10 or 15 billion to get the industry 'benchmark' percentage of R&D spending? It is pretty hard to spend huge sums of money on R&D when you are a company with only a handful of products, unlike a GE or a Samsung which has many thousands of product lines. I suppose they could start doing basic research like the old AT&T, but it would be hard to argue to shareholders that this is a worthwhile use of money. A monopoly like AT&T could do that because it would actually be able to use the sort of advances it was coming up with, at least until it was broken up and had to worry about profit margins etc. like all the rest.

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Re: FFS - Apple Strikes Again

I'm certainly not going to argue that NFC payments solve a problem no one actually has. The catch is that EMV (which Apple's NFC uses) does solve a real problem in the US with card fraud, though it won't matter once EMV compliant cards are issued to replace the mag stripe only or "chip" cards we have now that don't add the one-time-use card numbers.

The only thing paying someone with my phone would solve is if I wanted to give someone money but didn't have cash handy. I'm in that situation maybe once every few years so it hardly qualifies as a pressing need. But patents don't have to demonstrate "this is something you need" only a novel way of doing something whether you need it or not.

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Why does no one who reads the Reg seem to understand how patents work? You can't patent an idea, but you can patent a particular way of implementing an idea. That's what Apple is doing. Is anyone else using NFC for authentication and setting up encryption via a special secure area in the SoC but other means for transmission of the actual data? No, that's why they are able to patent this.

Apple's patent won't stop anyone else from using NFC phones to transfer money unless they want to do it in exactly the same way. Which they won't/don't, since Android always uses NFC for the data transmission, while Apple is not, nor do they have a secure enclave on their SoCs. There are plenty of other ways to accomplish this, at least one of which (Paypal's) is very likely patented as well.

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Re: FFS - Apple Strikes Again

Why is originality better than re-doing something someone else did poorly (it can be assumed since no one uses Paypal's 'original' idea) in a hopefully better way that gets actual uptake?

Apple didn't do the first smartphone or the first tablet, but they brought both from niche products (or in the case of tablets a wanna-be niche product that had never had market success) to the mainstream by developing a better and easier to use implementation of those existing products.

Tesla is over 100 years late with electric cars, should they not have bothered because they weren't first? Whoever brings the first fully autonomous self-driving car to market is unlikely to market the best self driving car 5-10 years down the road, but I guess in your mind once someone declares "first" everyone else should move on to something else because originality is all that matters?

Coming up with ideas and first cut implementations is one skill, making them work in the real world for real people is another skill. Rarely are they found together.

AMD looks at sinking sales, gulps: It's worse than we thought

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Intel no longer needs to keep AMD around

For years, Intel has left just enough room in the market for AMD to survive, so they wouldn't be seen as a monopoly by the FTC. If they really wanted to kill them, they could have done so anytime in the past 20 years.

Now they don't have to leave enough room on the low end for AMD to stick around, because they can argue that the "relevant market" for monopoly purposes includes not only PC/server CPUs but also mobile SoCs. Since they have almost no share of the mobile market, they can easily argue they are far from a monopoly in the relevant market when AMD is dead and buried (with the carcass perhaps bought by Apple for the GPU expertise)

Awoogah: Get ready to patch 'severe' bug in OpenSSL this Thursday

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Re: Older version safe?

It doesn't fill one with confidence that the newer versions of OpenSSL seem to be the least secure. Better to stick with the 0.9.8 series and patch any flaws found there than try to stay on the latest 1.0.x.

Florida cops cuff open-carry, balls-out pirate packing 'operational' flintlocks

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Re: Much fuss over nothing?

Everyone is trying to think of open carry versus concealed carry in terms of mugging. The real distinction as far as the legislators in each state has to do with the general public's feelings. In some areas people will not feel at all comfortable with people walking around openly carrying guns. These states tend to only allow concealed carry (whether a permit is required for that is another matter) or none at all. In other states, mostly out west, they are much less likely to be bothered by it, and thus they allow open carry. Some may allow both open and concealed carry, because freedom.

German gets 4 years in clink for $14 MILLION global ATM fraud

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"Warning to cybercriminals"

I think the warning is "don't be German" (or English or any other country that has an extradition treaty with the US) The Russian and Ukrainian hackers that have stolen far more in this way are never brought to justice. Even if they were at risk of doing so, a few kickbacks to the right government officials would keep the extradition in limbo indefinitely.

'The server broke and so did my back on the flight to fix it'

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Why would a clean room matter? We're talking about removing the circuit board, not the platters. Try it on a dead drive, you'll see nothing involving a clean room, or even a "has been vacuumed and dusted in the past three months" room is involved. You just have to be careful you don't zap the electronics with static electricity, so probably using a $3 wrist strap might be advisable (can't remember if I used one or not, but I know I have one around here somewhere I haven't used in forever)

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It would have been early 2000s when I did this, and yes after I got the data off it I trashed the thing.

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Yes, that part of the story seems a bit off. I've seen drives fail where the controller goes leaving it impossible to read/write from the disk, and it shows up with a capacity of however big the cache is. You can read/write from the cache, and since the cache would appear to be all 0s when it powers up, I could see the OS helpfully offering to format it. I think that's what may have happened here.

I even managed to bring such a borked drive back to life once by swapping the electronics out from another identical drive (same model) I read a lot of warnings about why that won't/can't work, but I had nothing to lose since the most recent backup (this was my home PC) was a few weeks old and it allowed getting back all the data fully intact.

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@John Sager "why you would want a server to have this way"

It probably wasn't a server, just a desktop Mac that was put into the role of a server. Apple hasn't made any servers for quite some time, and when they did AFAIK none ever ran OS X but rather A/UX.

Not that this is a good default for a desktop machine by any means... And surely if the disk is unbootable you'd still want the OS to scan around on it for a bit and see if it can find any hints it has a filesystem on it before offering to format!

I find it hard to believe that OS X doesn't do just that, and maybe the drive had suffered one of those controller deaths where the drive's data is left inaccessible for reading or writing, and it shows up with a capacity equal to the size of the cache (and Hubswitch formatted the 8MB cache)

Argentina finds messenger to shoot after e-vote vuln allegations

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Re: Plus ça change...

No, it annoys the people in power because they have to find another way to steal elections.

Yank my blockchain: Bitcoin upgrade SNAFU borks hungry miners' currency

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Re: You make it sound easy, but it is not

The idea of 'watching out for bugs' is fine (in theory at least) for those of us who work in the IT I suppose, but how does that help the average guy?

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You make it sound easy, but it is not

You're ignoring the not inconsiderable probability that being an early adopter on a new version opens you up to newly introduced bugs. Not only the "0 day oops", but bugs that can persist for years (i.e. the recent bugs in OpenSSL, some of which affected all recent versions, but did not affect very out of date versions)

You are potentially screwed either way. The problem with bitcoin is that if you screw up on a software upgrade like this, it costs you money. With dollars or euros, if your bank screws up and allows someone to spend their money twice, they are responsible so it costs you nothing. If a bank ever really screwed up and lost all their money due to dodgy software, the FDIC (and I assume something similar in the UK & EU) protects you.

We who read the Reg are mostly IT people who are amongst the most clueful about this stuff but even we don't and can't get this right all the time. What chance does the average Joe have to figure all this out? He only patches Windows because that's the default, and his PC does it while he sleeps so he may not even know it is happening.

Adam Smith was right about that invisible hand, you know

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Stock diversification versus multinationals

I live in the US, so let's use that as an example. My two largest holdings are Apple and Berkshire Hathaway. If those were my only holdings, you would probably say I'm 100% invested in the US and that's bad. That's not really true, however.

Apple makes the bulk of its income overseas, and China is rapidly becoming (if not already) their largest market, larger than the US. I'd argue that Apple offers 'indirect diversification' since I'm exposed to the economies of other countries through holding their stock. This isn't true of all stocks though, Berkshire Hathaway's holdings are highly concentrated in the US - the sort of holdings that are that way by default, such as railroads that have all their track in the US, insurance companies that only do business in the US, etc. It has some international exposure, but relative to Apple a small amount.

The US has roughly 20% of the world's GDP, so Apple is not a bad proxy if the argument is that I should therefore have 20% of my holdings in the US, 15% in China and so on down the line to a tiny fraction of a percent of world GDP in poor countries where Apple makes a tiny fraction of a percent of its earnings. Obviously you wouldn't want all your holdings in a single company, but as far as international diversification goes it works, or at least comes a lot closer than the "home country of the stock" does to determining one's exposure to the world's economy.

It's all Uber! France ends its love affair with ride-sharing app

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Bit of a flaw in your argument. The taxi firms in your city may have done mobile booking a while back, but being able to book from one firm's taxis is VERY different from being able to book for all firm's taxis. I don't want to have to shuffle dozens of apps - that are different in every city. Where I live in an area with barely 100K people we have nearly a dozen taxi firms, I can't imagine how many a city like London or Paris must have, and I don't want to install a bunch of them when I visit London because my own city's taxi apps are specific to my city only.

I do agree though that Uber is contributing nothing unique, all they've done is organized a bunch of taxi drivers who don't follow the rules for taxi drivers as far as fare regulation, insurance, etc. Now certainly the overregulation of taxi drivers to limit their number and drive up fares is something to be applauded, but Uber takes a much larger cut than can be sustained in the long run for basically providing an app that links driver and passenger. Once there's adequate competition on Uber's side, it'll be driven down to a small flat per ride fee. Uber's valuation is about 20x higher than can be sustained in the long run.

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And showed the way for others to boot them out

Don't want Uber in your city or country? Just follow the Paris roadmap and they'll leave...

Leap second bug?

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Leap second bug?

Is it a coincidence that the Register's web site has been totally messed up ever since the leap second hit? I click on links and it hangs and takes forever to display, or displays a blank page, or displays a 502 error page. I have to retry multiple times to open an article, post a comment, etc.

Did you guys just switch to a new hosting provider or ISP? If so, I hope it was on a trial basis and you can switch back!

Self/Less: Crap science, eyebrow acting, and immortality for the 1%

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Re: Imagine being 10^10 years old....

Why is having the option to live 10 billion years a bad thing? I doubt you'd be forced to do it and prevented from ending your own life.

Anyway, assuming it is accomplished by downloading your consciousness into a machine - whether permanently or as a way station before it is downloaded into a new body, you could take a "break" from the rat race for as long as you liked during that period. Sign up for a sublight ship traveling the universe and tell them to wake you when they've found some intelligent aliens or the ruins of a long lost advanced civilization.

Rampaging fox terrorises rural sports club, victim sustains ‘tweaked groin’

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Is this "sports club"

The type where sporting "gentlemen" in ridiculous costumes with tall hats ride around on horses along with a bunch of dogs and chase foxes to death? If so, I say good on the fox for getting a little revenge!

Apple Music: First three months for free? We lasted less than 3 hours

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Re: Meh is right.

Someone who has "all their music" on an iPod already isn't the target market for this. It is people who like NEW music, but don't want to pay $1 each time something tickles their fancy and they want to hear it a few more times.

So pretty much the under 25 crowd who do the bulk of listening to new stuff, not the typical Reg reader who probably on average is older than 50 and hasn't bought any new music (as in music that came out that year, not buying an album from the 70s when they were young) in two decades.

Those who already have Spotify etc. probably won't switch (especially if they are taking the cheapskate way out and listening to all the ads) but Apple Music will be a pretty seamless thing for those who already have an iPhone or iPod Touch, and given that streaming is still a small portion of the market, Apple doesn't have to convert existing customers, only get a bunch of the ones yet to come.

Samsung ousts Apple as top US smartmobe biz

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That's not Samsung's mobile division doing that, but their semiconductor division. They operate as essentially independent businesses, and report their profit separately.

Anyway, the margins on chips are small because what Samsung sells are commodity products (DRAM, flash) and commodity services (chip fabrication) which would hardly compensate for the fat margins they make on Galaxy S and Note phones even if they were in the same division.

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Xiaomi doesn't seem in any hurry to expand into the affluent markets where Samsung is making most of their mobile profits. Sounds like they're finally moving out of APAC into Brazil, but it may be years before they appear in the US or EU and start to really threaten Samsung.

Trump carded: Wannabe prez's hotels 'ground zero' in banking breach

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Re: Only this?

True that, but he's always touting his business experience as the reason you should vote for him, not his crazy theories about Obama's birth certificates or illegal aliens. If he touted a special ability to secure our networks right before this Trump Hotel compromise, that would be the equivalent of touting your business experience and having Trump International file for bankruptcy a week before the election!

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Why should this affect his presidential aspirations?

I didn't hear him make any promises like "I'll bring the top flight people who make Trump Hotels IT so secure to shore up the problems the current administration is having securing their networks". If he said something like that, he'd look stupid, but he can quite reasonably say this is a problem that is affecting businesses and governments the world over, and make some blowhard claims about how he'll negotiate tough with other countries unlike Obama and force them to extradite the criminals etc. etc.

LG won't fix malware slinging bloatware update hole

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Re: Apply BDS policy...

So applying that policy to all similar situations, are there any modern smartphones left on the market you can buy?

Silly Google's Photos app labelled black people as gorillas

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Re: "Offensive"?

In the US, blacks have been compared to monkeys and apes as an insult in the past. If you called a black man a gorilla in the US, you might as well have used the n-word as far he's concerned.

Don't start reading the last rites for monolithic storage just yet

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Unless you save a LOT of money

Why would you want to move to from one (or a number of similar) monolithic arrays to a half dozen different more specialized arrays? You're going to incur higher management costs having all those, plus increase your exposure to failures.

Now in some cases you will save a lot of money, but in other cases chasing a higher peak IOPS that you don't actually have a need for with an all flash array, additional scale out capacity you won't need for at least five years in a product optimized for nearline data, etc. just makes your environment needlessly more complex. But I'm sure EMC will be happy to sell you different products fit for each type to replace your monolithic array - then add all that capability in future versions of VMax and VNX and try to sell you one of those to "simplify" your storage infrastructure...and so the wheel turns!

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