* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

High-speed broadband fiber in America: You want the good news or bad news first?

DougS Silver badge

Re: How can this "micro trenching" possibly work?

Around here I love it when i see them resurfacing a road with asphalt instead of redoing the concrete. If they redo the concrete it will be closed all year, and sometimes take longer than that. Asphalt may need to be done more often, but it is very quick - if they aren't messing around taking advantage of the closure for other maintenance it they can do a mile long section in a week, easy.

From what I can tell they will do a road in concrete, then they'll redo it with asphalt several times, but I guess at some point the concrete underneath gets in bad enough shape that they have to rip everything out and start the whole process all over again.

I love riding my bike on newly done asphalt - it is so smooth. Concrete never is as smooth due to the expansion joints, and the texture they 'comb' into it. Of course 10 years down the road, the asphalt is a minefield of patchwork that has me praying for it to get resurfaced ASAP, while 10 year old concrete is still in pretty good shape...

DougS Silver badge

How can this "micro trenching" possibly work?

Whether they put it 2" deep like they tried and failed in Louisville, or 6" deep like they say works great elsewhere, this seems like a huge problem. Because they've got to patch the road where they tore it up, freeze/thaw cycles are going to create the edge of a pothole there. Potholes can easily grow to 6" deep...

Even ignoring that, what happens when they need to do some minor work on the road, like tearing up a small section to fix whatever utility they need access to. If the fiber goes through it, does Google come out and reroute the fiber around the work area? Or is your neighborhood just down for a couple days until the work is finished?

There's a reason the only utilities routed under the street are WAY under the street, and wires are either run through a duct deep under the street, or in the median. If I saw a company doing that around here there's no way I'd sign up with them. Maybe in a place where it almost never snows like Austin it would be OK, but in most of the US freeze/thaw cycles are a real thing and these microtrenches are a problem waiting to happen.

But hey, Google doesn't care. They will probably end Google Fiber before long, just like they unceremoniously drop 2/3 of the products they start.

Lovely website you got there. Would be a shame if we, er, someone were to sink it: Google warns EU link tax will magnify media monetary misery

DougS Silver badge

Re: You'd need to switch to compare

Can't help there, it doesn't do that for me. Maybe Google is detecting the DDG bypass in your case and trying to make it a pain to use so you go direct (allowing them to collect your data!)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Ah, capitalism at its best

I'm sure that was just a "bug" that Google innocently introduced. I'm sure it would just be a coincidence if that also happened to be the last Android update for a few hundred million phones...

DougS Silver badge

You'd need to switch to compare

Just add '!g' to your DDG search and it will search via Google. If I can't find what I'm looking for using DDG and think maybe Google has the answer I'll do that. Very rarely does Google get better results, a search that returns crap on DDG returns crap on Google. Maybe not the same crap, but the same (lack of) quality.

There are other '!' codes like !a for Amazon, !e for eBay, !w Wikipedia so if you know what you are really looking for you can skip the extra step. Google won't let you do that because they would lose on the advertising dollars, gotta grab all the money they can!

OK, Google. Music in 2019 isn't what it was, but Play nice, will ya?

DougS Silver badge

All I know

Is that I would have saved SO MUCH money during my teenage / college / post-college years when I bought tons of music, first on cassette tape and later on CD if I could have paid $10/month for all the music I wanted!

If I could have got that deal back then but price was that there would randomly be a few days a month when I couldn't listen to it due to DRM issues, I would have still taken the deal.

National Enquirer's big Pecker tried to shaft me – but I wouldn't give him an inch, says Jeff Bezos after dick pic leak threat

DougS Silver badge

Why would you want to reward his slimy behavior? And give him a nest egg to start hire away all the people from the company you bought and start over (working behind the scenes with a frontman if you get him to agree to a non-compete) so that the only thing you'd get out of the deal was the name and a bunch of office furniture. He'd take the vault of secrets with him, of course.

DougS Silver badge

Re: I have some questions

There are strong indications it was Bezos' girlfriend's brother. Apparently he's very pro-Trump with personal connections to some of the really shady people in Trump's orbit like Roger Stone and Rick Gates. So at best he was acting on his own going after Bezos thinking he was helping Trump. Of course it could be a lot worse than that, Trump's feelings about Bezos and the WaPo are well known and he's been friends with Pecker for years...

DougS Silver badge

"Often" correct?

Bullshit, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. They aren't journalists, they are grifters, hackers and other criminal types who may occasionally run across a real story totally by accident.

They illegally obtained Bezos' private photos, which he or his girlfriend owns the copyright to, so he should sue them for $150,000 per picture times all the issues they sold containing those pictures. If we are going to have shitty copyright law it might as well be used for good and exterminate the cockroach of the grocery store checkout line! That's probably an easier way to bankrupt them than going after them for blackmail.

The best part is that the immunity deal Mueller made for Pecker's testimony requires that the National Enquirer has to abstain from the types of illegal conduct they admitted to in the deal as of the date on that deal. Since this blackmail attempt is after that the date of that agreement, now the feds can go after Pecker and the National Enquirer for all the things they admitted to. Oops!

US lawmakers furious (again) as mobile networks caught (again) selling your emergency location data to bounty hunters (again)

DougS Silver badge

Re: The free market will fix this

I guess people didn't read the "150 years" part, or have brain damage that leaves them immune to irony.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Lock him up

They keep us fighting over stuff like walls and at what point in pregnancy abortion becomes illegal, so we won't notice democrats and republicans alike taking huge heaping helpings of corporate and dark money donations. They pretend to care by offering token resistance that goes away once they are in power - like republicans claiming to fight for term limits, or democrats against Citizens United.

Anyone with half a brain can figure out that when people are able to spend over $100 million to win a single senate seat, there is well over $100 million of value collectively being extracted from having that person in their position.

Even if you screen out groups and industries that donate overwhelmingly to one party, there are plenty who hedge their bets by donating to both sides - maybe not in the same race since that looks bad, but donating to republicans in red states/districts and democrats in blue states/districts is a cost efficient way to buy the outcomes you want by owning plenty of those in office.

The ones who can't easily be bought like Ron Paul and AOC are demonized not only by the other side but by some in their own party as "crazy" or "too extreme"...when they really mean "won't play ball with big business".

Reliable system was so reliable, no one noticed its licence had expired... until it was too late

DougS Silver badge

There were ways around it

If two digits were stored for the year, and it didn't have any years earlier than "65" for instance, you could add a bit of logic to do "if year < 65 then fullyear = 2000 + year". Before someone says "what about birthdates" anything that was written in the dusty deck era would have had to assume the possibility of people being born prior to 1900 so would have have had other issues with a two digit year.

Of course Y2K provided a great excuse to rip out the old equipment, if someone had fixed it then you'd never get upper management to agree to replace it. I often wonder how much of the economic boom in the late 90s was due to Y2K spending - and how much the recession that had already begun prior to 9/11 was due to "all our equipment is brand new, we don't need to replace anything".

Apple puts bullet through 'Do Not Track', FaceTime snooping bug and iOS vulnerabilities

DougS Silver badge

Safe to say

If a site is able to monetize personal information in any way, or depends on advertising, it likely does not honor DNT.

What a re-leaf: IBM's AI smarts to tell 'leccy companies when their bushes need trimming

DougS Silver badge

Where I live

In rural areas for high power lines they cut a ~50 foot wide corridor through the trees, not specifically because of this problem (the towers are higher than the tops of the trees) but because they need access to drive big equipment in there if maintenance is required. Cutting corridors may be a bit unsightly, and more expensive to maintain (I guess they run a bush mower through there every few years or something?) but it would seem to be a better strategy for places like California where a single fire can cost billions.

UK transport's 'ludicrous' robocar code may 'put lives at risk'

DougS Silver badge

Re: Missing the obvious

There's a difference between just running a red light without slowing, slowing down until you can see it is clear as if it was a yield sign, and stopping and then going through the red light as if it was a stop sign. I'm not advocating any of that (personally I always stop at red lights and wait for the green unless it has a sensor that my bike can't trigger, but I will blow through 4 way stops when I see no traffic coming)

Again though, I wonder why the anger toward cyclists? Are you jealous that they can run red lights and aren't getting nabbed by the cops? Were you hit or nearly hit by one as a pedestrian? Because you face absolutely zero risk of injury from a bicycle when you are in a car, so I don't see why you should care unless one is running a red light into the path of your car and forcing an emergency stop - and if so you should probably go easy on the poor soul as he won't have long to live doing something that stupid!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Missing the obvious

So I gather that in the UK a lot of cyclists go through red lights. I assume that's after making sure there aren't any cars coming? Otherwise such cyclists would be an endangered species. While that's annoying and they shouldn't do that, how does that affect you as the driver of an automobile other than annoying you because you wish you could treat a red light as a stop sign like you see them do?

Cyclists have some pretty obvious disadvantages on the road since if they are in an accident that would be a minor fender bender to a car that will end up in the ER, and if they are in an accident that would result in injury to someone in a car they will be dead. So they have a lot more stake in road safety than automobile drivers do.

At least Sony offered a t-shirt, says macOS flaw finder: Bug bounties now for Macs if you want this 0-day, Apple

DougS Silver badge

Re: Well if Apple won't pay ...

Given that there are over an order of magnitude more Windows boxes in use, the Windows flaw has a lot more potential targets for the bad guys. Couple that with the fact that Windows has an even larger installed base advantage in the corporate world (where such a flaw would be more easily monetized by the bad guys) and you'd think that if macOS was $50K the equivalent for Windows would be $1 million...

DougS Silver badge

Re: In a way it is blackmail

I guess I assumed that he was going to release the exploit, but if all he's going to do is not tell Apple then why should they care? The only difference it makes is that it gives blackhats a place to look for a bug, but it also gives Apple a place to look for it...the race is on!

DougS Silver badge

In a way it is blackmail

Maybe he's being truthful when he says he's doing it to point out a shortcoming in Apple's bug bounty program, maybe not, we don't know. But let's say they pay him. What stops the next guy from saying he's holding back telling them because he thinks they aren't paying enough, and wants a guarantee he will get a certain amount of money? What if he wants more than their highest payout, because he thinks that's inadequate for the bug he found?

At what point does it go from 'changing corporate behavior you think falls short of an ideal' and become blackmail?

Treaty of Roam: No-deal Brexit mobile bill shock

DougS Silver badge
Trollface

As a yank

I had no idea how important Brexit was to the maintenance of potholes. So if I want all the potholes caused by our snowy winter to be fixed, should I tell my congressman to petition for entry into the EU, or tell the EU that the US still isn't interested in joining?

Chrome devs attempt to slip muzzle on resource-guzzling browser beast with 'Never-Slow Mode'

DougS Silver badge
Thumb Up

Better solution

Firefox.

As a bonus Google won't collect data on every web site you visit, what you click on, how long you visit etc.

Who are the last people you'd expect to spill thousands of student records? A computer science dept? What a fantastic guess

DougS Silver badge

Re: Confidential?

In my day your test scores and grades were on a bulletin board outside the professor's office, but your name wasn't attached to it. Instead they used your student ID - which back then was your SSN!

Would have been pretty easy to steal the SSNs of people in class by:

1) if one person is known to be way smarter or way dumber than everyone else, look for the highest/lowest score

2) just hang around the bulletin board and watch people - about half of them will run their finger down the list of SSNs until they reach theirs and trace across. If you know their name, now you know their SSN.

If only scam artists knew how valuable someone's SSNs would be some day, they could have compiled lists of them back in their college days. As a bonus you'd know that everyone on your list is a college graduate, or more.

Hands up who reuses the same password everywhere, even with your Nest. Keep your hand up if you like being spied on by hackers

DougS Silver badge

Re: Nest could, of course, do more

I'm sure Google engineers are busy adding that "functionality" as we speak.

Apple hands keys for retail to HR boss amid flagging iPhone sales

DougS Silver badge

All this discussion

Assumes that this move will be permanent. Being in charge of retail is a big promotion from being in charge of HR, and it doesn't make sense for one person to do both jobs. I'll bet they announce a new head of HR by April. Everyone is reading the announcement seeing it doesn't say that she is a temporary fill-in running retail, but ignoring that she might now be exactly that in her old job.

Apple solemnly agrees to pay France $570m in back taxes, turns to camera, gives us a wink

DougS Silver badge

Re: "But a loophole is a loophole"

Apple isn't losing anything over the "standard quite low 12.5% rate", assuming that the EU is only trying to claw back the difference between what Apple would have paid under that rate and what they paid under their special deal with Ireland.

The EU still has a serious problem with all the different tax rates, and the ability to for companies to move money and profits around as they like. Obviously the flow will go to whoever has the lowest rate, even if special deals are disallowed. This works in the US because the US as a whole has taxes, and then individual states are allowed (most do, but not all) to tax income themselves. Even a few cities (NYC for one) does.

If the EU had its own taxes, and then allowed countries to have supplementary taxes things would work better in the long run. But they'd never get the members to agree to that now, unless/until things get to the point where it looks like the EU may fall apart.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple will laugh all the way to the couch...

Well that's in dispute because Apple got a lower than "official" tax rate from Ireland via a special deal, and the EU claims such special deals have always been illegal. Since it was decided in a court that Apple needed to pay up, it looks like they were right (or at least right enough that EU judges agreed with the EU)

That's not the same thing as an ex post facto law.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple will laugh all the way to the couch...

Who says they are trying to PUNISH? They are trying to collect on back taxes owed, these are not fines.

BTW, if you taxed Apple of any other company in the trillions you'd bankrupt them. No company can afford to pay such a tax bill, let alone a tax bill from a single country. If any country created such a tax system, its consumers would no longer have any products to buy because Apple, Google, Facebook and every other US or EU company subject to such a tax would stop doing business in France instantly. France isn't such a big market US companies can't just say 'adieu' if they go crazy like you think they should.

DougS Silver badge

They don't really owe Ireland all that - that's their total EU wide bill. Since Apple and other tech companies funnelled their EU wide profits through Ireland to take advantage of Ireland's low rates, anything done to make them cough up back taxes in other EU countries would be taken out of that. So if they pay France a half billion, then that's a half billion they won't end up having to pay to Ireland. That's why the EU is trying to make them cough that up, and not Ireland (who was actually fighting the EU alongside Apple)

Don't blame US companies for doing what the EU laws allowed them to, and moving profits around to whatever EU country charged the lowest rate. They are just taking advantage of the laws as written. France has discovered that frictionless money movement throughout the EU has its downsides.

This whole problem is because the EU doesn't tax on its own behalf but rather lets all the countries do it themselves, just like the problems with Greece etc. are because the EU doesn't have a unified fiscal policy. It just isn't a sustainable model.

Crypto exchange in court: It owes $190m to netizens after founder 'dies without telling anyone vault passwords'

DougS Silver badge

Re: Lesson for us all...

That $190 million is just gone, no different than if he'd robbed a bank of $190 million in cash or gold, buried it somewhere secret and took that secret with him to the grave.

The one difference is that in five years that $190 million might be worth a fraction of that amount, whereas $190 million in US currency or gold will likely be worth pretty much the same in five years.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Bullshit

Since it would easily be known if someone took the money out of that wallet, he might be able to fake his death, and might be able to steal the money, but he can't do it without people finding out. Which rather defeats the purpose of faking one's own death.

Sysadmin's three-line 'annoyance-buster' busts painstakingly crafted, crucial policy

DougS Silver badge

Re: Oh yeah, _that_ fscker.

People who will believe that SELinux is an NSA conspiracy are going to believe that no matter what I say, no matter what you say, no matter what anyone says, so addressing that part of it seemed to be pointless.

The conspiracy theories will need to come up with a new conspiracy about iOS. Maybe they can find a link between Carnegie Mellon and the NSA and decide that secret NSA code in Mach is how they have p0wned iOS...

DougS Silver badge

Re: Oh yeah, _that_ fscker.

iOS is based on Mach/BSD, not Linux, so it is hardly surprising that Apple doesn't list (or use) SELinux!

OK, it's early 2019. Has Leeds Hospital finally managed to 'axe the fax'? Um, yes and no

DougS Silver badge

Re: What could go wrong?

They probably lose the ability to send faxes anyway, since I imagine they converted to a VOIP based phone system at some point.

Even if they still use POTS for faxes, where would the documents you are going to fax come from if employees can't login to the network, access their file shares / cloud storage, or print to network printers? The only thing standalone fax machine + POTS would let them do they can't with the network based solution is receive faxes. That's not a big deal as when the send fails the sender will know this and try again later.

I'm a crime-fighter, says FamilyTreeDNA boss after being caught giving folks' DNA data to FBI

DougS Silver badge

Re: Shocked

They would get thousands and thousands of matches, because the hashing algorithm they use is by design lossy.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Shocked

There's also zero proof Google won't delete the entire contents of Google cloud storage tomorrow. You can't prove a negative, this kind of reasoning is stupid.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Shocked

Apple can sell their entire database of fingerprints, I'm fine with it. That would be a total of zero fingerprints.

Jammy dodgers: Boffin warns of auto autos congesting cities to avoid parking fees

DougS Silver badge

So bill them per mile for driving in the city

The move from human driven gas powered cars to self driven electric cars will mean that a lot of things will have to change. Gas taxes won't be able to pay for roads anymore, so you'll need some sort of per mile fees so that those who use the roads the most pay for them. Roadwork is more expensive in a city like London than it is in a small town, or a rural highway, so charging more per mile to drive in London is entirely appropriate. One could even envision having an "unoccupied vehicle" surcharge per mile, to address exactly this sort of situation.

On the other hand, you might have less space within the city wasted for parking since the cars could drive themselves to places that are used only by day for overnight parking - i.e. schools, stadiums, etc. if you know you want it to show up at 8am to pick you up.

Self driving cars are going to change a lot of things, worrying about "oh no they'll all be driving around the block in circles waiting for their owner to leave the restaurant to save a $10 valet parking fee" is way down the list.

Apple yoinks enterprise certs from Facebook, Google, killing internal apps, to show its power

DougS Silver badge

I think the disruption was appropriately long enough for each company to notice how much it impacts them, and no doubt executives are busy drafting policies for who is allowed access to the enterprise developer certificate to able to sign new applications, to make sure it can't happen again.

If Apple knocked them out for weeks, all it would accomplish is probably get a lot of Facebook employees to buy Androids and the quality of their iOS apps would suffer due to reduced internal testing. If you spank an unruly quick, one or two quick swats will accomplish the same thing as counting out 20 of them.

DougS Silver badge

Re: "but it also treats mobile users like adults capable of making their own decisions"

Yes it is unfortunate but keeping your personal information secure is pretty much an impossible task for the 99% of people who aren't full time IT professionals. And even for some of them.

Just look at what people caught up in this said - "I figured Facebook was going to get all my data anyway, so I might as well get paid for it". On its face, it is true that Facebook does steal a lot of your personal information, especially if you login to it using a browser and use that browser to visit other sites that have that Facebook 'like' button tracker code built in. But the volume and detail of data they were able to get access to with this app was a couple orders of magnitude worse!

I'd compare it to the difference between someone able to peek through a gap in the curtains in your living room window, and letting them set up 4K web cams in four corners of every room in your house, including the bathroom.

DougS Silver badge

Hinder browser competition?

Oh yeah, because Safari has such a huge market presence! Not sure why Apple cares if you use another browser, but I'm not sure why would you would WANT to use another browser on iOS? Surely only a drooling moron would want to use Chrome on iOS and give away one of the big benefits of using iOS in the first place - Google not being able to collect ever more personal information about you - so I assume you mean Firefox.

I like Firefox and want to see it succeed, and I use it on my desktop/laptop, but what would be the benefit of using it instead of Safari on an iPhone?

Another Apple engineer cuffed over alleged self-driving car data theft: FBI swoop on bod as he boards plane to China

DougS Silver badge

Grabbed documents to apply for a job in another part of Apple?

That excuse isn't going to go far, Apple's reputation for secrecy even extends externally - employees on the Titan project aren't supposed to share details with employees in other parts of the company, just like employees working on the 2020 iPhone aren't supposed to share details with guys working on Macs.

Texas lawyer suing Apple over FaceTime bug claims it was used to snoop on a meeting

DougS Silver badge

My understanding of this bug

Is that while the phone 'rings' for the incoming Facetime call, anything said during that time can be overhead by the other participants in the Group FaceTime. It rings a limited number of times, so your window of opportunity would be limited. You'd have to keep calling back over and over again to record an entire deposition.

How does that work, even with the phone on silent it will vibrate and the screen will light up. No one noticed a phone doing that during an entire deposition? If it is in a pocket/purse/briefcase its ability to "overhear" would be limited, it would have to be out in the open to be capable of capturing everything said (even then it would probably miss stuff said by people in the opposite direction of its microphone, we all know cell phone microphones are not studio quality omnidirectional jobs)

I think this lawyer is very likely of the ambulance chaser persuasion.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Ambulance chasing at its best?

And how does he know it wasn't someone who was there sharing the information illegally?

Furious Apple revokes Facebook's enty app cert after Zuck's crew abused it to slurp private data

DougS Silver badge

Re: But but - Apple protects our privacy!

Google used the same enterprise developer license bypass.

While I agree "something needs to be done" fining them is a non-starter. Facebook and Google violated a private contract they had with Apple, that's not a criminal matter and governments should not get involved. Well they can get involved for investigating them on why they seem to do anything they can, and even what they specifically agreed they won't, in order to violate people's privacy even further, but they shouldn't get involved in those guys breaking a contract with Apple. If the contract gives Apple grounds on which to sue them for damages they should do so, if there's no such remedy all Apple can do is cut them off - which both have had done to them.

Apparently there's a lot of chaos at Facebook over this, and Google is no doubt experiencing much the same (though I have to imagine the percentage of iOS users at Google is much lower, for obvious reasons) Some have even suggested Apple should cut their apps off from the App Store, but punishing consumers for misconduct they had nothing to do would be exactly the wrong thing to do, so I'm glad they haven't done it.

Apple is presumably seeing if they can come up with ways to lock down this offering to prevent such abuses in the future, and if nothing else make sure there are clear and LARGE financial penalties if Facebook & Google are ever caught distributing enterprise developer apps to non-employees. Like billions in penalties, so that they will be forced to institute whatever internal controls are necessary to make sure no "clever" middle manager can do this again as a shortcut to steal iPhone users personal information.

DougS Silver badge

Re: But but - Apple protects our privacy!

I was surprised to find it is possible to install an app distributed by means other than the app store without needing to install some sort of special certificate like you do for enterprise apps (non-developer)

Apple does need to address that in some fashion, because I have to think these isn't the only cases where people are being fooled or bribed into installing stuff on their phones in this manner. I'm not sure how many enterprise developer licenses there are out there, but it looks like it is basically a "license to sideload" - and if you get people dumb enough or greedy enough to click through the "trust xxx" prompt you can probably get them to OK it when the app asks for permission to access your contacts, photos, messages etc. Without the App Store vetting they can ask for permissions for everything, and dumb people will be dumb and let the app do it.

What's Farsi for 'as subtle as a nuke through a window'? Foreign diplomats in Iran hit by renewed Remexi nasty

DougS Silver badge

Re: renegade Mid-East nation?

The younger Iranians are much less anti-western than the old guard, so the pendulum may swing the other way (if we can stop our "old guard" like Trump from forcing a confrontation before they eventually take power)

The D in SystemD stands for Danger, Will Robinson! Defanged exploit code for security holes now out in the wild

DougS Silver badge

The downside of open source

Is that it isn't possible to buy and permanently bury such offensive code to prevent it from ever being used again.

Team America tries to crash Little Rocket Man's Joanap botnet from within, warns owners of infected boxes

DougS Silver badge

Running since 2009?

A botnet that's been running for a decade is quite an achievement, and surely a record.

The chips are down: Now Microsoft blames Intel CPU supply shortages for dips in Windows, Office sales

DougS Silver badge

Getting rid of Exchange admins is bad?

Its doing the poor bastards a favor, they would probably commit suicide after 10 years of doing that!

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