* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

So why the hell didn't quantitative easing produce HUGE inflation?

DougS Silver badge

Changing the CPI basket

You can argue at the margins about what the mix should be, but you can't argue about whether the mix or contents needs to be changed as times change.

A century ago the average person spent quite a bit more of their earnings on food than they do today. Food is a pretty small cost at the level of sustenance. The thing is, most people prefer to buy food at well above sustenance levels, buying "natural" or fancy foods, craft beer, expensive wines, going out to eat (paying someone else to make your food and do the dishes for you, basically) So it is probably a much larger portion of your income than it really has to be. Likewise fuel expenses depend to a large extent on how far you choose to live from where you work. They're also subject to fluctuations in price unrelated to the condition of the economy due to trouble in the middle east, drought, etc. So pulling those out of calculations of 'base' inflation makes a lot of sense.

Then you have technological advancement. 100 years ago no one had expenses for internet, cell phones, TVs, and so forth. Only the rich city dweller had to worry about bills for electricity or telephone. When the average person adds something to the basket of goods they buy, like cellular service/phones and internet over the past 15 years or so, it reduces the percentage spent on many other things. Hopefully because they're making more money, maybe because their saving less/going into debt, but regardless of that on a percentage basis of how much they spend on everything they're spending less on something else like landline telephones, buying CDs, going to movies, replacing their car less often because they shop online instead of driving to the mall twice a week or whatever.

Is it right to add stuff for buying computers and TVs? Well, consumer data shows people are buying an average 0.whatever computers and 0.whatever TVs each year, so obviously it isn't a crazy idea to represent it. The price of those do drop, so you get a much better computer or much better TV today than you did for the same money in 1995. That is exactly what the CPI is supposed to reflect. If you don't think that measures things accurately, come up with your own way of measuring inflation and get people to accept it as superior. Claiming that they're gaming the system by adding stuff that falls in price serves no one except conspiracy theorists. They're only gaming the system if they add things that fall in price that typical consumers are not actually buying.

DougS Silver badge

Re: lack of twins

Isn't that true with anything a state does? What if the US hadn't invaded Iraq in 2003, how would the world be different now? What if the US had invaded Saudi Arabia in 2001 since that's where most of the 9/11 terrorists actually came from and were funded from?

We can't go back in time to answer those questions any more than we can investigate whether the Eurozone would be better off if it had adopted QE or what state the US would be in if we'd tried austerity. Obviously people will have their pet theories both for these questions and the former more politically-charged ones, but no one can prove their case.

That's why it is always so easy to run against the incumbent - no matter what he does, you can always claim you'd have done it differently, and we'd all be better off.

Apple preps summer bonking bonanza for Brits

DougS Silver badge

Re: Wall Street is reporting problems for Google?

Apple's tokenization is an implementation of the EMV standard. Visa didn't "mimic" what Apple developed, Apple was simply able to implement it on their own before Visa was able to set up a way to support others trying to implement the EMV standard.

When Apple's deals with the banks that give them the 0.15% expire they may not be able to collect any more. But I think they will be able to keep collecting it - if they have stats that show fraud on iOS devices is less than fraud with traditional cards, due to the fingerprint reader or reduced ability to steal iPhones (due to Activation Lock) than stealing someone's wallet containing EMV compliant cards.

Kaspersky says air-gap industrial systems: why not baby monitors, too?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Connection nagging

Apple doesn't get a share of data revenue. I think they had some sort of arrangement with AT&T and a few early exclusive carriers where they got a share of the monthly fees, but those are long gone.

The message comes up if the app doesn't check before it tries to access the net. iOS lets you know why it doesn't work. If you had mobile data disabled for Facebook, you'd want to know why it wasn't loading anything if you forgot you had that disabled or thought you were connected via wifi but weren't.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Connection nagging

So blame the developer of the music app and tell they if they don't correct this you'll find a different app. Apple may be able to ban a calculator app from trying to access your contact list, but a music app needing internet access (not only for iTunes, but maybe also to download cover art, lyrics, other tunes by this band, etc.) is reasonable. Be glad you have the ability to disable mobile data on a per app basis, since there are some apps where you obviously want this (maps) even if you want to limit your mobile data usage as much as possible.

The main reason your music app's developer cares is probably because it can't download any ads, so they're hoping by nagging you you'll enable it so they can make some money. That's the hazard of "free" apps...

Dre-stic measures: Apple Beats retreat from iTunes brand – report

DougS Silver badge

Re: Slowly moving away from the 'i' naming scheme?

If they really wanted the name iTV, they clearly have the cash to own it. I'm not sure that's a very good name anyway...three letters makes it sound more like a company name than a product.

DougS Silver badge

Slowly moving away from the 'i' naming scheme?

Most were expecting the iWatch or some variation, but it was Apple Watch. Dropping iTunes branding is pretty big if that's really what they're going to do. Will iCloud become Apple Cloud next?

Soon your car won't let you drink. But it won't care if you're on the phone

DougS Silver badge

Obviously it will be easy to circumvent, and would increase cost of new cars as well. The easiest method of circumvention being "drive an older car".

If insurance companies are allowed to provide discounts to drivers with these, there would be an incentive to install them. Eventually they might require them for any cars someone under 18 would drive, since they are traditionally the most expensive to insure and some carriers already refuse to write policies on cars that include a teenage driver.

While there are some obvious issues like "what if I just slammed down the rest of my one beer" or women with hairspray containing alcohol or whatever, I think this would be a good thing as a sanity check to insure you're right that you're OK to drive after you've had a couple.

Of course the way things are going, texting/calling (whether hands free or not) are going to be causing more accidents than drunk drivers before long. Studies have shown that even hands free use is about equal to driving at the US legal limit of .08%. So if they do someday require these, I hope they also block people from using phones in any way while driving too, otherwise you are just fixing the old problem while ignoring the new one.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Calibration?

Not every place has annual inspections. Where I live cars are never inspected, you renew your registration via mail and that's it. Other than meeting tough-than-national-requirements smog tests, I don't know why some states require it, it is a waste of money and time.

Everything old is new again: Man mugged in New York, only this time for his Bitcoins

DougS Silver badge

Why was he selling bitcoin on Craigslist?

I have to think the "victim" was involved in something shady, otherwise why the need to get cash for his bitcoin instead conducting an electronic transaction that would deposit money in his bank account?

ISIS command post obliterated after 'moron' jihadi snaps a selfie, says US Air Force

DougS Silver badge

@streaky

Sure, if you don't care about killing tens or hundreds of thousands of civilians in the process. They aren't living on bases away from the population like a typical army, they're living inside cities and villages among the population. Even if each ISIS fighter was tagged with a GPS locator we'd kill thousands of civilians if we targeted them all with air strikes.

Anyway, the US didn't defeat the Iraqi army twice by killing them, but more by showing up and accepting their surrender after we bombed their infrastructure and deliberately tried to minimize the casualties inflicted in doing so. They didn't want to die, and neither did the US soldiers they were facing. ISIS fighters are quite willing to die, which is what makes them much more difficult to defeat than any conventional army. If we launched an all-out war against them, they'd probably gain more new recruits based on that than we could ever kill and ISIS would grow in numbers!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why do we tell them this?

Well if we did have another way of knowing this and we're trying to hide it by claiming it was a selfie, if that detail had been leaked by Snowden they'd have held it up as an example of how he's damaging our ability to fight terrorism.

Apparently leaking operational "secrets" is OK if you're a general, but not if you're on the administration's shit list. Sort of the military version of the Valerie Plame thing.

HTC execs: Oh dear, did we say we'd sell lots of smartphones? Our bad

DougS Silver badge

All the traditional Android OEMs are or will be hurting

They can't compete with the pricing or inbuilt language/nationalistic advantages of Chinese and Indian firms that are gaining share rapidly in those hot markets.

I doubt it is problems selling their flagships, but that market is saturated so they're pretty only stealing share from each other. With reduced volume from the lower/mid range products they have fewer units to spread their costs around and profitability inevitably suffers. Not that any of them were making much of anything selling Android phones, aside from Samsung.

Intellectual Ventures: Toshiba is violating our patent! Toshiba: What patent?

DougS Silver badge

Re: About time...

Charging a higher fee hurts small inventors and prevents them from access to the patent system.

How about charging a modest fee to file a valid patent that is accepted, and a much larger fee for rejected patents, to force the inventor (or more likely his attorney) to do a better job of looking for prior art themselves? If you know you're onto something novel, no worries. If you're patenting a minor variation of existing state of the art (those "xxx but on a computer" or "xxx but on a cell phone" type garbage patents) you'd be well advised to spend the money having a very close look at prior art, lest you end up spending several times that amount in fees if your patent is rejected.

Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future

DougS Silver badge

What other tech tycoon does this remind you of?

Brilliant in some ways, micromanaging some stuff while ignoring important details, can be an asshole at times...

Ed Snowden should be pardoned, thunders Amnesty Int'l

DougS Silver badge

Re: He's a traitor

So I take it you'd like to retroactively court marshal General George Washington, for leading troops into battle against the lawful government of the Colonies?

DougS Silver badge

@ma1010 why are you surprised?

The victors write the history. If the British had won, the name John Hancock would be remembered like we remember Benedict Arnold today, or the British remember Guy Fawkes.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Meanwhile, back in the real world....

If they didn't have parties, maybe. But he won't do it, because he cares more about the party than what's right. As do all the republicans other than Paul, who are forced to take even more extreme anti-privacy positions in order to claim Obama and the democrats are soft on terrorism.

The problem is that the politicians know they can't really do anything to address the root causes of terrorism against the west in general and US in particular without admitting the US has been doing a lot of wrong stuff for decades. So they're left with two options that don't do anything about the problem, or make it worse, but allow them to claim they are doing something: more spying and more meddling and military action in the middle east.

FBI: Apple and Google are helping ISIS by offering strong crypto

DougS Silver badge

Bench warrant?

Diffie is charmingly naive. If the spooks had this capability, they'd decrypt as much as they can get their hands on and sniff through it just like they're doing with unencrypted data today.

The public might have believed they would abide by their end of the deal when key escrow was first proposed on the 90s, but post-Snowden only hopeless fools and our congressmen (but I repeat myself) would believe the spooks would be required to obtain a court order to access the escrowed key.

DougS Silver badge

What non-American networks are there?

With tapped undersea cables, spy code built into cellular base stations, and so forth, just avoiding Facebook and Gmail is not enough to avoid the reach of US snooping.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Not only them!

I've never understood why the US doesn't have the ability to remotely disable its weapons (big ones like tanks, not talking about M16s)

If they could have a satellite send an encrypted signal to a tank with serial number xxx and cause it to do something that fries a bunch of circuit boards and makes it useless, that would have avoided ISIS getting their hands on the weapons we gave Iraq when their soldiers cut and run. Maybe Iraq wouldn't have liked that, but since they were free I doubt they would have refused them. They would have been glad of it about now when those weapons are being turned against them.

I suppose someone would worry "what if someone hacks it" but we manage to keep nuclear launch codes safe, I'm sure we could treat the kill switch codes for weapons with similar safe handling. Or deservedly learn our lesson the hard way if we fail to do so.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple/Google supporting ISIS? No.

A million employees across everything encompassing Homeland Security perhaps (including paper pushers, janitors and the lowest level, the TSA screeners) but the NSA itself is estimated to have 30-40K employees, nowhere near a million.

Anyway, Snowden was a contractor, not an employee, so no matter how many there are, none of their employees had the conviction to call them out.

DougS Silver badge

Republican fearmongering

The republicans are the ones who fucked it up by trying to whip up fear after 9/11. They found they did very well in past elections with the "red scare" and when that started dying down in the 80s with fear of violent crime (google Willie Horton) so they know very well how fear swings votes their way.

Since violent crime had peaked around 1990 and dropping every year they needed a new boogeyman and seized on the opportunity to give us something new to be fearful of on 9/12. The democrats, spineless as always, immediately caved and went along with all the bad ideas like the Patriot Act and invasion of Iraq, because they didn't want to risk being seen as weak on terrorism if there was another 9/11. That is probably why Obama has gone along with and even doubled down on Bush's policies, he knows if he gives in on anything he personally and the democrats as a party will have the blame laid at their feet. It isn't about what is best for the country, it is about what helps the future of his party.

It is sad that freedom has become a bargaining chip in politics, but the men who seek power do it for their own sake, not because they give a damn about the country. There are undoubtedly some republicans who would like to see an ISIS strike in the US so they can blame Obama and by extension Hillary and all the democrats, for allowing it to happen.

Your servers are underwater? Chill OUT, baby – liquid's cool

DougS Silver badge

Works better now that SSDs have taken over for internal storage

You wouldn't be able to run your Vmax immersed since the hard drives would allow liquid inside, but that would seriously reduce your cooling footprint.

I assume you have to get server blades designed to run without fans without complaining, since I'm sure those puny CPU fans wouldn't do well trying to turn against the resistance of a liquid.

HP is 80 per cent closer to breaking up. Now, about the IT estate...

DougS Silver badge

IT is quite as big of an issue as you'd think

HP currently operates under a model where internal IT is a 'customer' of their managed services arm. When they split off the PC/printer division, it just becomes another customer.

Obviously there are many many systems that process data for both, so there's still a ton of work required, but at least HP Inc can utilize the same datacenter infrastructure.

T-Mobile has a network, Dish has spectrum it can't use. Oh, HELLO

DougS Silver badge

Re: Second best....

Murdoch hasn't owned Directv for a while now, they're independent. At least until the AT&T deal is complete.

LG G4: Be careful while fingering this leather-clad smartie pants

DougS Silver badge

Re: Nice LG advert...........

And the small difference between Samsung and LG performance matters why, exactly? In what way does a faster phone benefit you, are you using it as a server or compiling code on it?

Some will argue that more speed means entering low power mode faster, but the Samsung has more speed and worse battery life so if that was their goal they failed.

Science teacher jammed his school kids' phones, gets week suspension

DougS Silver badge

@Peter - lining the room with film

Easier/cheaper to wrap the entire exterior in grounded conductive mesh. Doesn't need to be fancy, probably 1cm openings are more than small enough to block all cellular frequencies. You can leave the film off the windows in the office, teacher's lounge, and student lounge/cafeteria so there are places they work.

Doing the blocking on the exterior allows wifi to still work where desired. Obviously they'll only permit student devices to access it in designated areas as allowing them to access it on their phones in classrooms defeats the purpose of blocking cellular.

If they're worried about "how do I call 911 for a school shooter" install a phone (traditional or VOIP) in each classroom that can only call the office and 911. Today they solely rely on "everyone has a cell phone" - the next school shooter just needs to order a high powered jammer on the internet and plug it in to his car's cigarette lighter before he goes on a rampage. I doubt he's going to be too concerned with FCC penalties at that point...

DougS Silver badge

Its the parents

If a teacher did that I bet the parents would raise hell, because they want to be able to text their kids to let them know they're going to be late to pick them up or worrying "what if there's a school shooting and Johnny's phone is locked up so I can't reach him?"

Don't know how my generation survived where the only way for parents to contact us during school hours was to call the main office and have us paged over the intercom. Never happened to me, but I remember it happening once in a while. It was always bad news, like someone died, not "I'm going to be late picking up you". That wasn't a problem because unless there was a blizzard, other than the few who took the bus, we walked home.

Waiting for the new Apple TV? No? Good, because it's not coming any time soon

DougS Silver badge

Is the hardware not ready?

That's the article seems to be implying, but it is more likely that Apple wanted to release the new model along with some sort of streaming solution and is having trouble getting those rights. Currently no one has streaming rights for the big 4 networks - that's one of the big holes in Dish's Sling TV. If Apple wants that as I expect they do, it may be a long time in coming.

WikiLeaks offers $100k for copies of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – big biz's secret govt pact

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Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

"But Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months."

"Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything."

"But the plans were on display ..."

"On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."

"That's the display department."

"With a flashlight."

"Ah, well the lights had probably gone."

"So had the stairs."

"But look, you found the notice didn't you?"

"Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'."

Elon Musk's $4.9bn taxpayer windfall revealed

DougS Silver badge

Re: Seems legit

I see you're using the standard talking points for "the rich are taxed too much" that uses shady statistical methods - the top 1% of earners or top 10% of earners do NOT earn 1% of all the income or 10% of all the income. Not to mention it only considers federal income tax, when payroll, sales and property tax not to mention state/city income tax is always larger than federal income tax for people making less than six figures.

Look at the numbers again with the SHARE of income the top 1% and top 10% make versus their share of taxes and it doesn't sound like the rich are being soaked quite so badly. What's worse is if you look at the share of income and share of taxes (all taxes, including payroll) of the next 10% you'll find they pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than the top 10% do! That's the biggest unfairness with the US tax system that needs to be addressed.

When you look at the bottom 50% of earners keep in mind that they all make less than the median income which was $54,000 for a household (not an individual) in 2014. Instead of counting only income taxes, include what they pay in payroll taxes, sales tax etc. along with the taxes they indirectly pay like the employer half of payroll taxes, property tax if they rent, etc. and the amount of taxes they pay doesn't look so tiny anymore.

Someone who makes $30,000 may end up not paying any income tax especially if he has kids, but you'll find he pays a higher rate of taxes overall than the hedge fund guys who use the carried interest loophole and average a tax rate of about 15%. The $30K guy pays 15.3% for the employee/employer FICA tax alone!

Dump the SS tax and roll it into a flat federal income tax of 20% for every dollar over $20K (or whatever) that treats all types of income the same and dumps 90% of the deductions/credits there are these days and things would be a lot fairer (not to mention way simpler) But since it would "raise taxes" on the poor struggling hedge fund guys they'll never do that, they want a flat tax at an even lower rate and make poor guy struggling along at $30K keep paying the 15.3% FICA on top of it so he can never get ahead.

AT&T: We'll play nice with net neutrality, just let us gobble DirecTV

DougS Silver badge

Re: So...

AT&T + Directv is still smaller than Comcast is without the merger. Most people will still have the same number of options for TV service (cable, Dish Network, Directv/AT&T) The only ones who lose an option are those who live where AT&T offers Uverse service as a fourth option, but since it isn't fiber all the way like Verizon FIOS it is a pretty poor option so there's no loss.

Sorry we called you a fatty, say Kiwi spies to Kim 'Slim Jim' Dotcom

DougS Silver badge

Traffic offenses?

Wow, transparent much? Bet he'd be the first person in history deported because he got a few speeding tickets.

Forget black helicopters, FBI flying surveillance Cessnas over US cities. Warrant? What's that?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Better yet

Of course drones can be blinded, how do you think they see? CCDs don't work well when a laser is shone at them. You don't even need one able to blind people, an IR laser that's invisible to the naked eye would work to blind the CCD in a spy drone unless they've got an IR filtering lens (which I doubt they do as that would make it unable to see in the dark)

Not that this would do much to stop it from slurping cell data, for that I think Apple and Google ought to get together with Qualcomm's best cellular guys and figure out a way to makes smartphones smarter so they don't use the government's fake aerial base stations. We've got accelerometers in the phones that let it know what direction is 'up' and whether its moving. Refuse to associate with a base station that's in motion or is at more than a 30* vertical angle unless the signal strength is so high and RTT is so low that you can tell the phone is essentially in its shadow.

US Senate passes USA Freedom Act – a long lip service to NSA reforms

DougS Silver badge

Re: A weaker system

The telcos kept this information already. Worst case someone hacks into them and knows who you called/texted. That's not a problem in general, only if they're able to target you and do that specifically (think mob hits, stalking battered wives, etc.) How do you think they know what to bill you? Maybe not today with unlimited everything, but a decade ago when you were charged per minute on each call and per text, and AT&T would send you a 10 page paper bill detailing every single call and text message...

The telcos aren't keeping what you're saying, just the info on what numbers you called. Even the NSA's new billion dollar datacenter couldn't come within three orders of magnitude of storing months worth of actual texts and calls, so they need this big haystack to determine which quarter million numbers to bug and intercept all calls/texts to/from to form the smaller haystack.

If you think that's too broad a net and they'll probably miss the next 9/11 because they'll have too many suspects and too much data, I'd heartily agree with you. Bugging everyone with two degrees of contact separation from the thousands of tier one terrorist suspects is a fool's errand.

Bank: Without software mojo, Android OEMs are doomed to 'implode'

DougS Silver badge

@AC Apple as a design company

You're looking at it backwards. Just because Apple charges money for iPhones and Macs but gives away iOS and OS X for free doesn't mean they're not a software company, because the two are bundled. If you want iOS or OS X you have to buy an iPhone or a Mac, that's the only way to get the software. Think of the price of the iPhone as buying the hardware plus free updates for that software for the next x years. It is much easier for customers to accept than if they charge less for the iPhone but had to pay for iOS upgrades - plus that would reduce uptake on iOS updates.

DougS Silver badge

Is Apple an exception?

I guess it depends on what you mean by "hardware manufacturer". Apple doesn't manufacture their phones, they only design them, but aside from Samsung few Android OEMs manufacture their own.

I think most would agree that Apple owes their success to the fact that they are a software company first. They design hardware as a vehicle to get their software in the hands of consumers in a way that provides the best possible experience for that software. Sony is a hardware manufacturer first, they regard software only as a necessary evil because it is required to get their hardware in the hands of consumers.

Network negotiations nix 2015 Apple TV streaming

DougS Silver badge

30% cut isn't all that big

Cable/satellite providers mark up the content more than that. If Apple was able to buy it at the price big boys like Comcast and Directv do and deliver it at 30% markup, they'd seriously undercut cable/satellite providers.

I suspect that's the real issue, the networks have two problems - they don't want to risk the wrath of providers like Comcast and want to find a way to use the transition to streaming to increase their take by eliminating all middlemen. If they can stream directly to home users they can make a lot more money.

The problem is that cord cutters are mostly doing it because they want to save money, because the bills have got too big. So they're either getting by with less new/live content, or cheating by using someone's credentials who has a TV subscription (i.e. college student streaming using his parents' login for ESPN, HBO, and so forth)

Microsoft: Here's what you'll cough up for Windows 10 next year

DougS Silver badge

Re: Free Legal Torrent for all

Why in the world would have an OS spread across three drives? Having some application data on other drives, that makes sense, but allowing the OS itself to do that is on you for poor planning.

Woman dumps ultra-rare $200,000 Apple 1 computer in the trash

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Re: Disappointed

I wonder what one of the first Dells that Michael Dell assembled in his dorm room would go for now? Not $66,000, but perhaps enough to buy a new Dell for $300? :)

DougS Silver badge

The guy who remembers her is the guy who took her drop off and figured out it was valuable, and is now trying to find her to give her half. If he was the sort of person you're implying, he would have taken the Apple I home with him when he left work and claimed he owned it all along.

DougS Silver badge

The guy said he remembered her and would be able to identify her when she returns.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Stupid widow

Why would they "reassess what might be garbage"? Should they go through everything and try to find out what it is and look it up online to see if it is worth something? Do you know how much time that would take? Most of the time junk is junk, and doesn't justify all that effort to make a few hundred dollars with stuff that has some minimal value. The odds of finding something mega valuable like an Apple I, an unknown Picasso or Superman #1 are about on part with winning the lottery. Takes a lot less time to buy a lottery ticket, and it only costs a buck.

Besides, the Apple I didn't have a case, so there's nothing with 'Apple I' emblazoned on it anywhere for her to see which makes this particular item even more difficult to identify if you're just going through a bunch of junk.

Presumably her husband forgot he still had it or didn't realize its value, or it would have been kept separate and she would have known about it.

DougS Silver badge

My original Atari 800 died, but I'm pretty sure I've got its replacement a 65XE that should still work as well maybe an Atari 400 in my parents' basement. Had a C64 but gave that to my uncle, he may still have it somewhere.

Unfortunately none of those are likely to be worth much, working or not, as they were produced in far larger numbers and don't have the same history associated with them. Maybe I could Craigslist them for $100 for the bunch.

American Idle: Seacrest keyboard startup Typo goes nowhere after BlackBerry bust-up

DougS Silver badge

Re: Seriously?

Don't forget that Apple won in court on rounded corners at least once. If that's your measure of the validity of a patent, you're going to find a lot of crap patents are "valid".

Anyone know if the key shape thing is a design patent (like rounded corners is) which is a different class of patent than a normal one, or if it is a utility patent, implying that it improves the functionality over other potential key shapes as the previous poster said?

DougS Silver badge

Seriously?

Blackberry holds a patent to the idea of a keyboard on a device with a screen smaller than 7.9"? So what about all those Windows Mobile devices and various other smartphones that had such a keyboard back in the pre-iPhone days? Was this included with other stuff in patent cross licensing deals, or have there been such settlements previously?

I would have thought "phone sold with keyboard built in" and "phone with touchscreen has aftermarket add-on keyboard that works with a capacative screen" would be sufficiently different, at least.

What a Zuckin' drag! 'Frisco queens protest outside Facebook HQ over 'real names' policy

DougS Silver badge

Re: Of course...

Yeah I don't get this. I'd estimate 5-10% of my female Facebook friends are using firstname middlename as their name on Facebook, a few to avoid exs/stalkers but mostly just people they don't want to talk to from their home town looking them up. There are a handful of both sexes who create their own middle name that's obviously totally fake, but the first/last is real. So what? Only a total dick would report them, they aren't hurting anything.

If drag queens want to operate a page with their stage name, I don't see anything stopping them. If they don't want to use their real name on Facebook to operate the page because they worry someone at work will find out their secret or whatever, why not use a made up but real sounding name. Is anyone really going to know John Smith is really David Jones who performs as Jane Doe? Is Facebook really going to contact John Smith and ask him to prove that's his real name? If someone reported me what does Facebook do, ask me for a notarized copy of my birth certificate?

Mac bug makes rootkit injection as easy as falling asleep

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Re: Without...

Sure you can brick a Macbook, but few hackers are interested in being destructive for no reason. They want a way to make money off it, and if you already had root on the Macbook you have all the access you need to do that. Destroying it is counterproductive to that goal.

If there was a desire for such destruction you'd see hackers who p0wnd Windows machines brick them by messing up the CMOS settings or doing a bad firmware upgrade. Yeah, those would be recoverable, but not for the average PC owner who would conclude "my PC is broken, time to buy a new one". I'm sure this happens, but it is pretty rare.

Android Bitcoin wallet Blockchain was briefly borked

DougS Silver badge

Re: Who, in their right mind ...

Indeed, the idea that bitcoin or gold offers any protection against issues serious enough to take down the USD is ludicrous. Every other major currency would fall along with it, and down would go the internet, electricity and world social order in quick succession. And that's only if we're lucky enough that nukes aren't launched as a last act of the US government before it falls.

The winners in all this might be the sustenance farmers in the poorest countries, the people on the bottom of the economic ladder today. They would hardly notice the difference and already know how to survive in the new world order, while the those of us at the top would starve in vast numbers once our cupboards and our grocery stores are empty. The only currency will be ammo and cans of food. Life in developed countries would be as portrayed on the Walking Dead except without the zombies (we hope)

Fortunately a quick collapse of the dollar anytime in the near/medium term is essentially impossible. If it does collapse it would be decades from now when enough had changed it had already become of less international importance than the Swiss Franc or South African Rand is today.

I think the bitcoin people are hoping for some sort of soft landing that is totally infeasible. The US government won't go down without a fight.

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