* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

California Uber Alles: Google wants to become the World Privacy Court

DougS Silver badge

Written in US English

If it is like too many laws in the US are written, this will have been written by lobbyists (i.e. Google in this case) which explains the US English. I guess Google Translate needs a US English -> UK English they can run it through to obfuscate the origin!

UK boffins DOUBLE distance of fiber data: London to New York WITHOUT a repeater

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Re: This would be big if it can also be applied to copper

Shannon is only relevant if the SNR remains constant. As I read it, this technique reduces the signal distortion which would reduce the noise, effectively raising the SNR.

DougS Silver badge

This would be big if it can also be applied to copper

The article says at the end they're going to look into this next, but keeping a coherent signal longer would make G.fast deployments much less expensive if it could double the distance for a target data rate.

ALIENS are surely AMONG US: Average star has TWO potentially Earth-like worlds

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Re: Atlantis

Troy was fiction until someone found it. An "advanced" civilization 10,000 years ago wouldn't need to be all that advanced to seem amazing to others at that time. If they had farming with human built canals, some type of sewers, and skyscrapers as high as three stories they'd seem as advanced compared to others of that time as flying cars and interstellar travel seem to us today.

I suspect there's a lot of history older than 5,000 years old that is lost (probably forever) due to rising sea levels from melting ice sheets. Maybe Atlantis is part of that. Without writing the story would be corrupted a lot over the centuries as it is retold over and over again.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Sadly not the case,

We know it is much older based on ice cores alone. The latest estimates place its age at 34 million years old. So no, the planet is wobbling around to place Antarctica on the equator and being Atlantis.

Ofcom can prise my telly spectrum from my COLD, DEAD... er, aerial

DougS Silver badge

It hasn't been a problem in the US

Why do people think it would be a problem in Europe? Are there places where the whole spectrum is filled so the higher numbered channels can't be reclaimed and the remaining channels reorganized as necessary to fit?

If you have so many channels that they won't fit if the high numbered ones are lost I could see the outcry, but even then if it is done by a reverse auction process where stations are paid for giving up their broadcast licenses the less viewed ones would sell out and could use the proceeds to move to a different delivery model.

Swap your keyless key for keyless key-less key. You'll need: a Tesla S and Apple Watch

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Obviously it needs to be set up in some secure manner with the Tesla, you won't be able to input the license plate number, the VIN number or other publicly available data and have it tell you where that Tesla is!

Tom Wheeler flings off dressing gown, dons gloves for net neutrality RUMBLE

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Government shutdown is not a threat

Obama called their bluff last time, and the republicans suffered for it in public opinion. The tea party contingent will always be game to do this because it plays well with the extreme right, but most of the rest will not follow them down that path again.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Presidential vetoes are usually empty threats

He had only two vetoes because the Senate was democratic all six years. The republicans had very little power to pass bills through congress that Obama didn't like. Now that republicans control both houses the chances are raised, but democrats still have the ability to filibuster in the Senate.

A bill striking down net neutrality would need to attract 7 democrats to break the filibuster if all the republicans vote for the bill which is not a foregone conclusion - a handful who hail from more liberal states and face difficult elections in 2016 may side with their constituents on this one.

US anti-backdoor bill: If at first you're shot down in flames – try, try again

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US and UK seem to be diverging on this issue

Be nice if my government was no longer the most oppressive in the "free" world, though too bad it will require the UK becoming even more oppressive to do so.

DougS Silver badge

Re: wow

Why do you assume those people are always Americans? Do you think that you folks across the pond are all too smart to believe that?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)

The main damage was done via stuff the PATRIOT ACT never permitted, but were done via executive orders/findings by the Bush admin (and expanded by the Obama admin) Maybe he still thinks the PATRIOT ACT was good, but it shouldn't have been allowed to go beyond what it permitted.

Sad to see that we're pining for the "good old days" of the PATRIOT ACT being the limit on government's spying power!

Zoinks! Is that Mystery Machine Apple's SELF-DRIVING FAMILY WAGON? You decide

DougS Silver badge

Re: Rented to Apple...

Buying one wouldn't help, it would still be registered to Apple.

But you're right, they could have easily spun up a shell corporation to rent the car under so they aren't going out of their way to hide it. Maybe they don't care, maybe they want to worry the competition (Google, Tesla, various automakers/suppliers) that they might be treading on their turf.

It would be funny if the van was incidental to what they're doing (testing a new cellular modem for the iPhone 6S or whatever) and they just put all those cameras on it to mess with people and see what rumors the press would come up with!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Alternatively..

If I ran Apple, given how the press seizes on anything that indicates a possible future direction, new model of iPhone, etc. I'd be willing to spend a bit on dead ends for them to follow so when they make announcements they are still a surprise once in a while.

They used to be good at keeping secrets, but that's when no one really cared what they were doing because they were small fry in the CE world. Now they're the 800 lb gorilla, so everyone is watching.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Remember...

And how long has it been since you saw a misplaced city or whatever in Apple Maps? Yeah, those were all fixed, just like when they occurred in the early days of Google Maps they were fixed.

Likes of Google to have undue influence in Brussels, say activists

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Re: Letting companies sue governments for lost profits

You realize the whole point of organizing as a corporation is to shield owners from liability. That's why corporations (C corps in the US) are taxed twice, at the corporate level and again at the shareholder level.

If shareholders were able to be sued directly, there would be no advantage to a corporate structure and you'd probably see the majority of today's public companies taken private in short order.

'Ruskie' malware pwns iOS 7

DougS Silver badge

The Reg left out a lot of VERY important info!

When the "click here to install application" part is accepted, it is followed by a message "Untrusted App Developer" that asks if you trust developer xxx to install apps on your phone. In order to even allow your phone to do that the device ID must be registered with Apple's developer site - so this means it can only be used for targeted attacks. If I did whatever to try to install this app it would refuse to do so.

So this is a complete non-issue for the average iOS user (they need to get my device ID to target me) It is a very serious issue for clueless CEOs and politicians who have iPhones and don't know better than to refuse to install apps despite the warning "Untrusted App Developer", assuming the hackers have a way to get the target's device ID via social engineering (or maybe hacking the PC he runs iTunes on, so they can grab the device ID from it)

SPITTLE SPATTER as America weighs into FCC net neut shoutgasm

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Michael Powell's quote sounds almost like an endorsement of net neutrality

He's saying you can do this without resorting to Title II. A year ago, he was against net neutrality at all, so maybe Title II is just a stalking horse threat to the cable/DSL/wireless companies to accept net neutrality principles in exchange for not using Title II to do so.

Where "accept" in this case means signatories agree to such rules and more importantly agree they must abide by them in the future even if FCC rules or law changes drop such requirement. Then they'd all join the fight against new FCC rules or laws that loosened rules because it would let a new competitor that wasn't a signatory (like some future satellite internet Google is talking about, or if Dish uses its wireless bandwidth for anything but resource squatting) play by a different set of rules.

It will be interesting to see how things plays out. Victory for consumers is by no means guaranteed, but the odds look far better than they did a year or two ago.

German 700MHz auction signals start of Euro spectrum flogoffs

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Re: Planned Obsolescence

How would selling off part of the TV spectrum obsolete a TV? It would be able to tune to channels that no longer exist, while newer TVs wouldn't be able to tune to those channels since there'd be no point.

If they change the modulation or compression then your old TV wouldn't be able to tune those channels. If they do that for all channels THEN your old TV is obsolete. But that has nothing specifically to do with the sale of spectrum.

If you're concerned, just buy the cheapest TV you can and it'll probably break down before 2022 anyway :)

Indian phone buyers decide home is where the heart is

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Is it about national pride, or about language support?

It sounds more like it is about proper support of all the local dialects. Samsung and Apple can try all they want, but it would be hard to match (for questionable return in Apple's case, given the price points Indians buying at versus where Apple is selling at)

Who's come to fix your broadband? It may be a Fed in disguise. Without a search warrant

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Re: Very slippery slope...

Who said the repairmen just showed up? Maybe they waited for the guys to call the front desk and ask them to send someone up before sending them? Even if they did, it would be easy to argue that the hotel provided monitoring the state of the connection as a service. Vegas hotels bend over backwards for high rollers (whether they bet a lot or just spend a lot) so that would not make me think twice if I was in their situation.

Though you'd think they could have dug up a couple FBI guys who actually knew tech so they didn't have to fake it...

US DoJ okays IEEE's patent troll ban-hammer

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Interesting that Google is missing from that list

But then they after they bought Motorola they didn't stop the effort to use these shady claims against Apple and Microsoft, so I guess its one more nail in the already overly-weighed-down-with-nails coffin of Google's "do no evil" spin.

hive mind informs climate change believers and sceptics

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Re: re. anti-vaxxers

There's a big difference between something absolutely proven like the efficacy of vaccines, and conclusions based on a combination of proven facts (like CO2's effect) and unproven theories about how the atmosphere works plugged into complex and constantly updated computer models. Even a climate scientist would admit equating the two is unreasonable.

DougS Silver badge

This AC's post is a perfect example of what the article was talking about

Ah, the old "if you don't like science, you can't use anything created by science". As much as I loathe the anti-vaxxers, I don't suggest that because they don't trust their doctor's recommendation on vaccinating their children, that they should visit witch doctors or whack jobs that heal using crystals instead of MDs if their child has a broken arm or pneumonia.

The debate for many people is religious, you are either on the side of AGW or you are against it. I guess that's true even for me. Religiously I'm agnostic, and I think that defines my position pretty well on AGW. Maybe if I was strongly religious I'd be on one side or another, either screaming "the end is nigh unless we reform our evil ways!" from the rooftops or claiming it is a gigantic conspiracy to control our economic future.

Windows is TAKING the TABLET market... what's left of it, anyway

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@Grease Monkey

Surface will never rise above a single digit percentage of either the tablet or the laptop market, it is a tiny niche to serve people who want to say they own a "tablet" because they think owning a laptop makes them look behind the times, but want to use it exactly like they use a laptop.

If the tablet market hadn't finally been created while Microsoft sat stupidly on their hands having no idea what mobile was, Surface Pro would have failed like all their previous attempts to create interest in tablets.

DougS Silver badge

I'd consider Surface more of a super ultrabook than a tablet

At least every one I've ever seen was being used as a laptop. People buy them over iPad and Android not because Win8 is a better tablet OS, but because it can run Windows apps and act as a real laptop which the others cannot.


DougS Silver badge

Re: Yes, but

They would surely be able to make an exception in the case of something like that, since this is just additional authentication but not the only authentication.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Yes, but

I don't see this as a problem, it could be one of multiple methods of user identification. See how he handles his mouse, his typing cadence, how often he switches windows/tasks, and so forth.

If something is 'off' about these measurements there are multiple options that don't involve "lock yoiu out from your PC", from asking for the user to re-authenticate or provide additional authentication to having someone in security physically visit his office and verify it is him.

Dish, the FCC, and a sly trick to leave American taxpayers $3bn short

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I find it hard to believe

That the loophole was as simple as "set up a front company to bid for you". In fact, it is impossible to believe. Does anyone really believe that with the army of lawyers AT&T and Verizon have at their disposal, neither thought of doing this?

I suspect we aren't getting the whole story, and it will turn out Ergen bribed ... made campaign contributions to ... bribed someone to write one of those specially crafted loopholes that benefit only a single company. Maybe not as bad as the ones that call out a specific city/state where a business is headquartered (and yes, those are unfortunately fairly common, especially in earmarks) but maybe something that allowed a subsidiary to be considered a 'small business' if its ownership was both below a certain threshold and the owner might hold spectrum but wasn't an actual wireless operator.

Ergen is a Grade A slimeball, he owns a company that owns a company that's leasing space on a Canadian satellite owned by a European company that is trying to use some ITU registration loophole to derail Directv's 4K plans by claiming priority on the spectrum Directv was granted in the US years ago. I'll bet if one was able to dig deep enough, he owns all the layers involved there. The FCC seems to be having none of it, but he might be able to tie it up in court for a while. He'd pimp out his own mother if it earned him an extra nickel.

You heard this Chicago electro underground sound? ... Yeah, it's 4G

DougS Silver badge

Re: "At 22 miles underground, the Chicago subway system is " ...

It is obviously an escalator, this is America - people are too out of shape to take the stairs!

Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblock' – report

DougS Silver badge

Re: Morality my ass!

I don't see seeking to go around ad blockers as "illegal" any more than ad blockers are immoral. If ad networks are able to get around your ad blocker you need a better ad blocker. If they're able to disable your ad blocker you need a better OS.

Every once in a while I visit a site that refuses to show me content with a message that you must disable your ad blocker to do so. I never do, as doing so only vindicates that strategy. I'm sure they keep track of the abandonment rate of people who get that message and don't later disable their ad blocker. The closer to 100% that is the more futile they will realize that strategy is.

DougS Silver badge

Morality my ass!

The idea that anyone could think it is immoral to skip ads is beyond belief. They've chosen that way to make money, if it stops working out for them because people are skipping/blocking them, then they'll need to find another way or another line of work.

How is this really any different than buggy whip makers put out of a job by Henry Ford, Ford autoworkers put out of a job by Japanese/Korean imports, call center staffers put out of work by someone in India or Costa Rica, or IT workers whose work has been offshored?

The world doesn't owe anyone a living, they have to adapt to changing conditions, same as the rest of us.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Mute Point

Can't speak for Android, but iOS has different volume level settings for stuff like your ringer and text alerts than Youtube. You can turn Youtube down and still have loud rings, or vice versa.

Well, so long as you aren't using the completely unnecessary and privacy violating Youtube app. Google probably found a way to crank the volume in their app to make sure people hear the ads they're subjecting us to more often. The one thing I wish iOS had real multitasking for is to allow me to background a Youtube video while it plays its ad (silenced when it is in the background of course) so I can return in a minute or two, reset back to the beginning of the actual video, and never have to see the ad.

Samsung gets KINKY with new Galaxy in 50 SHADES OF GREY

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A phone comforming to the curve of your head

Would have been gangbusters in 2005. But it is 2015, and most people hold their phone to their ear a fraction of the time they're using it for other stuff.

If the phone is bent that way, clearly it has to be flexible, because exactly no one would want a smartphone that is bent like that all the time. The problem with this is, there would have to be restrictions in where you can bent the phone and how much, since chips don't bend at all and antennas become much less efficient when bent. If all you can do is bend it into a head conforming shape similar to that shown and back again, it is just another gimmick like eye tracking that will be hyped as an iPhone killing feature, and then forgotten two weeks after the phone is released.

Call Gordon Freeman! Apple to build $2bn 'data command center' – BLACK MESA?

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Re: Sq/foot?

Because the western world has been using base 10 for many centuries? Just because you can come up with an argument why base 11 could have possibly been what we ended up with is irrelevant, we ended up with base 10. So it makes sense to design a measurement system around it.

If the English (we should probably call it "American" now...) system was base 11 or base 16 or whatever you might have an argument, but it is a hodgepodge of historical quantities that are based on no common 'base' at all. You know damn well why the metric system is superior, you're just being contrary.

The joy of six: VMware ecstatic after finally emitting new vSphere

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Re: 2k VMs per host

That's nice, but is anyone actually running anywhere near that many VMs on a single host? Given the pinned overhead imposed for even a little single CPU 1GB RAM VM, you'd need quite the brawny server to even consider such folly.

Enough is enough: It's time to flush Flash back to where it came from – Hell

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Thinking about uninstalling flash for good

It is used for very little aside from ads anymore, and I keep Chrome around as my "browse the occasional site that doesn't work right in Firefox, or has sketchy content" browser so I could use it if there is some backwater site that still hasn't got the memo and uses flash.

I think it is pretty much like when I dumped Java a few years ago, and Shockwave a decade ago. It will be a small inconvenience on the occasional site, but given the billion iOS devices browsing the web without flash any site that requires it isn't worth bothering with in 2015.

Obama's budget packs HUGE tax breaks for poor widdle tech giants

DougS Silver badge

They did bring it back at the 5.25% rate

The problem was, all the money they've earned since then they've kept overseas because they figured if they waited long enough they'd get another tax holiday.

Changing the repatriation rate and having the holiday be not all that much smaller is probably the best you can do to cure this situation. While it is possible some companies will keep some of their money overseas hoping to do better than 14.5%, the smaller the spread between the normal rate and the "hoped for tax holiday" the less it is worth waiting.

At least we're avoiding the sham that this is a job creator like the first time. The money goes to the shareholders in one form or another. Some shareholders might use that money to create jobs, but the people who are making millions off the repatriation dividends are mostly flush with cash anyway so if they had a business idea that was going to create jobs they would have already done it.

Whether one thinks the normal top corporation tax rate is too high, or that overseas earnings should be taxed at the same rate is one thing, but it was obvious to everyone with a brain that the repatriation holiday would have this effect - bring a bunch of money back then, and much less in the future as they waited for another. Basically all it did was help make the deficit look better in an election year. Hardly the first time incumbent politicians resorted to something so crass and calculated.

Trouble comes in threes: Yet ANOTHER Flash 0-day vuln patch looming

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@Charlie Clark

Really? That must be why the iPhone wasn't one of the first to support HTML5 video. Oh wait...

Why Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi 2? Upton: 'I drank the Kool-Aid'

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32 bit Windows 10?

I thought Microsoft was dumping 32 bit systems with Windows 10, but I guess that's just for x86?

Tango UP – Google graduates 3D tablet from the labs

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Re: If I had to make a guess as to it's use..

Its open source? Can you tell me how to fix the Middle East then, it never seems to work right in my copy.

Can't afford a BMW or Roller? Just HACK its doors open!

DougS Silver badge

If Google found this exploit

I wonder if they'd release it in 90 days? And if they did, I wonder if the insurance companies having to pay up for the crazy number of thefts that would occur from an publicly available exploit on the pre-2011 models would sue Google?

PEAK WINDOWS 7 may well be behind us

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Based on this data

Considering the large jumps/drops in Windows 8.1 and XP, I don't think you can conclude that much smaller moves in Windows 7 mean that it has peaked. All I can conclude is that the data is not particularly reliable on a month to month basis.

Google Now now SLURPS data from third party apps so YOU don't have to

DougS Silver badge

Apple and Google aren't the same AT ALL

Google made nothing off the sale of the 99% or so of the billion Android devices sold last year that weren't Nexus, so obviously they have to make their money in other ways to justify the expense of developing Android. Apple makes its money from the sales of hardware, especially iPhone hardware. They have a direct customer relationship with an iPhone owner, which Google does not with Android owners.

We have empirical evidence that selling out smartphone owners generates far less profit than selling them marked-up hardware like Apple: Android outsold Apple over 4 to 1 last year, yet Apple made 3x more profit on iPhone/iPad ALONE than Google did in everything they did! So Apple has a very strong disincentive to start selling out its customers, because whatever they may gain by doing so is far outweighed by what they'd lose if that customer never buys an Apple product in the future.

Why should Apple risk making hundreds of dollars off me when I buy another iPhone, by violating my privacy today to make a few dollars off selling my data like Google is doing here? Claiming that "it is OK that Google does it, because they all try to make money in as many ways as possible" is just plain wrong. Apple haters just don't want to admit that iPhone owners do get something of value for the hefty margin we pay Apple for our phones. Even if you figure one smartphone is pretty much the same as another in capability, how much is your privacy worth?

DougS Silver badge


Maybe this is Blackberry's way to remain somewhat relevant in the smartphone world. I can see the advertising campaign: "We're not Apple, Google, or Microsoft!"

Kill Facebook's creepy on-by-default Yelp 'killer' Place Tips – your guide

DougS Silver badge

Re: Glad I have an iPhone

Apple doesn't sell out its customers like Google does because they make their money from the sale of the phone, not the sale of personal data like Google. Google has no choice because they make zero from the sale of an Android phone in terms of either hardware or Android license.

But good on your for being proactive on cutting out Google. Unfortunately you're the 1% in that regard.

DougS Silver badge

Glad I have an iPhone

So I can easily disable Facebook's ability to get location information. Has Android 5.0 finally fixed it so you don't have to agree to all the permissions at installation time and have no ability to change them later without rooting or other special mods?

Google's latest letdown: Simply not enough billions since October

DougS Silver badge

Exchange rates

Funny how companies that fail to make earnings always blame unfavorable exchange rates if they've softened recently, but somehow the CEO always takes credit for himself and his management team when they make earnings even when it is obvious to anyone with a clue that it is because of favorable exchange rates!

How's this for customer service: Comcast calls bloke an A**HOLE – and even puts it in print

DougS Silver badge

Hey AT&T, Mediacom and Centurylink

You can put whatever name you like on my bill if you give me that deal with two years refund and two years free service! Hell, I'll do it for half that!!

SamSUNK! Korean giant's electronics biz takes punch to the smartphone profits

DougS Silver badge

SD cards & removable battery

aren't the selling points that people posting on Apple vs Android threads seem to think. If Samsung was the only Android OEM that had those features they could be effectively marketed, but they're not so if Samsung tries selling on those features it'll be wasted money marketing against Android competition. iPhone buyers are self selected from the set of people who don't give a damn about those features so it is wasted there, too.

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