* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Snowden SLAMS iPhone, claims 'special software' tracks users

DougS Silver badge

Re: Maybe it's because he can't afford a smartphone.

He seems to have been pretty well prepared for what would happen, presumably he had saved some of the money he was making and stashed it outside the reach of US banking authority.

DougS Silver badge

"He's got a simple phone"

So he's not using Android, either.

It said he BELIEVES this software exists, which is probably a reasonable belief given how many revelations he had about the amount of spying, and cooperation from big companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and others. He probably believes the same about Android. He may well be right - Android is only partially open source, after all, and Apple being closed source would have no difficulty including this.

Though given the black eye all the tech firms took when their cooperation with PRISM was revealed, and their more recent moves that have upset the spies, if they were cooperating in this way in the past it is less likely they're still doing so now.

Anyway, other than using a dumbphone, there's not much we can do about this...

Will fondleslab's fickle finger of fate help Windows 10?

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@Flocke Crowes

Getting online with a router is easy. People used to use the default SSID and no security, now routers either come with a random SSID/password on a sticker or an "EZ Setup" button that works in concert with Windows to help you set the SSID/password or set one for you without needing to go into the router GUI.

"Millions of Pi's used as video servers". That's a laugh, considering that the 4 millionth one was sold just a few months ago (there was a ZDNET article about this milestone) and I imagine a lot were bought by geeks/tinkerers to mess with but ended up in a desk drawer alongside other stuff. They are a geek toy, they are not used in the mainstream at all.

SCREW you, GLASSHOLES! Microsoft unveils HoloLens

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Microsoft just saved Windows Phone... Now stop whining

DougS Silver badge

Re: I have one and it's really good!

I imagine you probably think it is fine that Windows users have been allowed to post on articles about OS X and Linux all these years, right? Hurts when the shoe's on the other foot, doesn't it?

The solution to what you apparently see as unfairly negative comments from those who don't use WP isn't to silence such criticism and live in an echo chamber where only positive reinforcement of your views is allowed.

Elon Musk snowed under with Googley dollars for Space Internet

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What's wrong with crackpot ideas?

Why is this a crackpot idea? Hyperloop, I kind of agree there. Still, what's the harm in him pursuing crackpot ideas that never amount to anything? If I was a billionaire, I'd probably do some crackpot things too, just because I could and I don't have to worry about a bunch of money when I'll still have more than I could ever need. Isn't that better than spending all that money on art and locking it away so only I could enjoy it, or on jewels that sit in a safe all the time?

If he's spending money on pursuing crackpot ideas, he's advancing the frontiers of technology. In the pursuit of Hyperloop he's going to have to overcome a lot of technological issues. Even if he can't solve them all, and it goes nowhere, he'll solve some of them, which may be useful to other dreams.

If he launches all these satellites, and this company goes bankrupt, someone will buy this huge fleet of satellites for pennies on the dollar, and do something useful and profitable with them. A lot of jobs will be created to build/launch them, and people will be employed by the guy who buys up the fleet for cheap.

DougS Silver badge

People who live outside the US just don't understand

In rural areas, there is no cable or telco internet AT ALL. That's true in probably 50% of the continental US landmass, if not more. People in Europe just don't realize what rural is, because "rural" areas in the UK or Europe are far denser than rural areas of the US. The farms are smaller, and less distant from the nearest populated area.

There are a surprising amount of area where people can't even receive OTA TV, not because of hills or mountains getting in the way, but because of the curve of the Earth! I doubt there is anywhere inside Europe where this is true.

The population in question isn't large, but if you assume a few hundred thousand homes where this is true, and they're willing to pay the same $30-$50/month people elsewhere in the US pay, that's $100 million a year. Now add in all the people who have other options but choose this option, people who want internet that comes with them in the RV or car, the fact this would allow cell phones to work everywhere, even in the still surprisingly vast areas (look at US cellular coverage maps in the western half of the US) where there is no coverage at all and probably never will be.

Of course, with the number of satellites they're talking about launching, this is to cover the world, not just the US. Internet/phone coverage on fishing boats, at remote vacation destinations, for aid workers in Africa, and so forth. LEO internet is far faster and has much better latency than the GSO internet currently available.

Will it be profitable? We'll see, but it is good that some are willing to invest without certainty of profit.

Facebook: Yo 'people'! Zap fake news on our giant ad farm, would'ja?

DougS Silver badge

Imagine all the flagging Fox News and Huffpo articles will get

The polarization in US politics is such that many strongly conservative and liberal people don't want to hear/see anything that conflicts with their views. The liberals will flag every Fox News article as slanted, the same for conservatives flagging Huffpo articles (or for the most conservative, every "lamestream media" source from ABC to NYT)

This will flop, unless there is a whitelist of major sources that, for better or worse, can't get flagged status, or there is some sort of curation by people who look at highly flagged articles and make a judgement call. Hopefully the Onion is whitelisted, because it is funny seeing the responses from the occasional moron who thinks it is serious.

Ad agency Turn turns off Verizon's zombie cookies

DougS Silver badge

Now that other ad agencies are aware of it

Usage will go up. Publicizing Turn's use of it is going to backfire. The real solution (and challenge) is to get Verizon to drop it, or at the very least allow opting out of it.

Telcos try to head off net neutrality rules with legislation

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Let's try to delay and run out the clock, hoping that a Republican president is elected in 2016 who can replace Tom Wheeler with another former industry lobbyist who hopefully remains true to his masters.


DougS Silver badge

Boffins != trick cyclists

The Reg uses both, and they have a different meaning in Reg-editor-speak.

Google: What this planet needs is INTERNET FROM SPAAACE

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Uploading to satellite

LEO satellites are much easier to communicate with than GSO. You don't need a dish, and if you wanted the increased gain one offers there are ways around that now. Google 'Kymeta', for instance.

Your upload channel will be limited compared to downlink, because it is easier for the satellite to send more data (using more complex modulations / better FEC ratios) than to receive the considerably weaker and less focused signals you send up.

Sorry, Qualcomm, Apple – your patents don't scare us

DougS Silver badge

Basing licensing costs on price of the device rather than the chip is ludicrous

I doubt GM holds any 3G/LTE standards essential patents. When they include a cellular chip to implement OnStar, should Ericsson be entitled to a percentage of the dealer invoice price of an Escalade?

There is no history in the cellular market of charging this way, but companies that are failing in the marketplace seem to seize on this as a way of increasing their revenue from those who are succeeding. It is no one's fault but their own that Ericsson couldn't cut it in the smartphone age, or that Motorola couldn't keep their early Droid momentum going once Samsung jumped into the Android market and ate their lunch.

So both seized on the idea of increasing licensing revenue 10x or more by basing it on the sales price of the phone rather than the cellular SoC. Companies at the end of their rope always reach for the patent lifeboat before going under (which Motorola already has, effectively, as Google bought them and parted them out)

Snowden doc leak 'confirms' China stole F-35 data

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The F-35 is a good thing for the US, as is China stealing the plans

Because it is taking up so many resources and has so much momentum, it sucks the oxygen that a new manned fighter program would require. That's a good thing, because if we started another one now we'd follow it through to the conclusion 20 years from now, long after manned fighters have become totally obsolete.

That we're (hopefully) getting China to follow us down that stupid path is even better. Otherwise they might realize how simple it is to beat the US's best planes in a dogfight in the very near future (or maybe even now): Build a shitload of cheap unmanned fighters with little or no weapons. They could probably build 50 of them for the price of one F-35. The F-35 pilot will run out of missiles long before they're all gone. How is the F-35 going to dodge or otherwise avoid 30 missiles shot at once? Or avoid 30 planes trying to ram it at once?

Verizon sprints to crush FiOS account exposure hole

DougS Silver badge

Re: 5 million, hmm

I don't know how many FIOS users there are, but not everyone uses their ISP's email. I don't have an email account with my ISP, though I could have one free for the asking.

Apache retains perch atop global web server market

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Re: measrued...

So many are junky linkfarms it is hard to tell whether there was an actual decline in websites, or fewer linkfarms since Google/Bing are better at pushing those down in the search results and they're less profitable.

Siri? Are you seeing another man?

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What they're really saying

Is that this could be done on anything that uses digitized voice, from telephones to voice commands. They mentioned Siri since "potential security problem in Siri" draws headlines. Though I would have thought "terrorists can use steganography to send hidden messages even on lines tapped by the authorities" might garner them a chunk of research funds. Too bad they aren't smart enough to think of that.

Nevermind that the old fashioned code word method is a lot simpler and has a higher data rate, but I guess they're researching steganography and trying to claim it is some serious issue...

Its getting to the point where I kind of tune out any researchers talking about security issues having to do with Apple, when they later reveal the issue isn't specific to Apple at all. It is like a producer talking about a new movie and suggesting "maybe Tom Cruise will play the lead role" to get publicity even though he's never spoken to him about it.


DougS Silver badge

Data networks on Mars?

Surely the first settlement will be all in one place, and people aren't going to be living all over the planet. If they are, they can deal with GSO latencies to talk to the other country's (presumably) settlement - they'll be rather used to it given the latencies involved communicating with Earth!

This could be a case for Mulder and Scully: Fox 'in talks' to bring back The X-Files

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Sounds like it would be a limited run series

Since they compare it to the single season of 24. Or really any season of 24, as they were all self-contained stories that did little to set up the following season.

This sounds ideal, as they could have enough time to have an engaging story arc without leaving a bunch of loose ends for next season and risk an unresolved cliffhanger if the series isn't renewed.

'It's NOT FAIR!' yell RICH KIDS ... and that's a GOOD THING

DougS Silver badge

$100 is a lot to someone living on $2/day

Wouldn't you need to adjust the amounts to fit the economic condition of the subjects? If the total pot is one fifth of my yearly earnings (50 working days, since those of us in rich countries don't work 7 days a week) I might be more willing to accept a 90/10 split than I would if the pot is only $100. I'll happily give up $10 or $20 to say a big F U to the other guy who got too greedy.

I'd still be pissed at the guy grabbing 90%, but getting the equivalent of a week's pay for taking part in a little experiment is nothing to sneeze at. Especially if it is in cash so I won't have to pay taxes on it :) I'd probably offer the other guy less with that large a pot than I would if it was only $100, because I know like me he'd be more willing to take it. Not sure I'd do 90%, but I could see 75/25.

‘Whatever happened to Vladimir Putin?’ and other crap New Year prophesies

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Re: Y2k

Of course the banks fixed only the relevant systems and forgot about it later on the assumption they'd have them replaced, and on the bigger assumption that management would turn down spending money to fix a problem now, when they could leave it for 20 years in the future when they would be retired.

BMW: ADMEN have asked us for YOUR connected car DATA

DougS Silver badge

iBeacon vs Google

iBeacon isn't Apple technology, it is Paypal Beacon relabeled. It also doesn't send out any information from the user's phone, and is easily disabled. It is designed to receive ads, not send out a user's personal information. The ads relevance is based on the fact you're already in the store - it is the modern equivalent of announcing a special over the PA system in a store.

Can you disable Google from collecting and selling your data from using their apps and using Android? No, you can't, so they're not nearly so similar as you try to imply.

DougS Silver badge

Re: No need a car for that

If you're running Android, yes. Not if you're running iOS. Apple isn't selling that data, iPhone owners are its customers, not its product as with Google.

DougS Silver badge

Re: This could really hurt the rollout of connected cars and eventually self-driving cars

You think it is only a problem if they deliver ads to you in the car? If the automaker sold your info to advertisers, they'd surely sell it alongside your name so they'd know where you go, where you live, where you work, where you shop, what pubs you visit, what airports you leave your car parked at and how often/for how long, etc.

This is a gold mine for advertisers, and they'd link it to all the various ways they deliver crap at you so you'd get everything from calls offering better medical plans if you spend a lot of time parked at the doctor's office to emails offering discount parking if you choose to fly out from a competing airport.

DougS Silver badge

This could really hurt the rollout of connected cars and eventually self-driving cars

I had decided years ago that if I buy a new car that includes something like OnStar I'd remove the SIM, because I don't want to be able to be easily tracked. But now that I carry a phone with me everywhere, worrying about the government tracking my car is pointless - I'm forced to trade that privacy if I want a smartphone.

If I have to worry about Google-like data slurping for advertisers I may be forced rule out buying a new car and stick to the used market, because "connected cars" do not provide me anything I care about. When we reach actual self-driving cars someday, then I'd probably be willing to make that trade because that's a pretty big step up in convenience.

You can bet Google won't have any compunction about selling us out if any automakers use their technology for self-driving, so hopefully there will remain options like BWM that refuse to sell us out - similar to the Apple option where I pay more for my phone but don't get sold to advertisers like Google does for Android.

Saudi govt pauses flogging dad-of-3 for Facebook posts – after docs intervene

DougS Silver badge

ISIS $10 million a month

ISIS isn't a terrorist organization, it is a jihadist army. It is a lot more expensive to fight a war than to train suicide bombers.

Anyway, ISIS gets their money from selling oil, smuggled into Turkey from wells they control in north Iraq and Syria. I suppose the price decline has or will eventually affect them, as they'll need to move over twice as many barrels per month for the same revenue.

DougS Silver badge

@Mark 85

I think you're engaging in a bit of wishful thinking that terrorist funding will dry up. Sure, if increased production in the US can be sustained at current price points and eventually replicated elsewhere, the Saudi government will no longer be able to provide its population the good life and will be deposed in a manner that would likely be pretty violent.

That isn't likely to affect the flow of money to terrorists though because they 1) don't need a whole lot of money and 2) don't get a whole lot of money measured as a percentage of the Saudi oil revenues each year - we're talking like a fraction of a fraction of one percent. If the Saudi royal family wanted to support them from exile, they could so at the same levels using only the interest on the interest from their holdings!

What's more, as Afghanistan showed before, and Syria and Iraq showed more recently, an unstable state breeds violence and terrorism. Having Saudi Arabia become another isn't going to help. What will help is if we don't need their oil so we quit meddling in the region (other than to defend Israel, since I'm sure there's no way western governments will change their position on that anytime soon)

Let them go back to fighting over Shia vs Sunni and the various sects like Wahabbism and leave the west out of it. Their hatred of each other goes back far longer and is way deeper than their hatred of America or even Israel. Given half a chance, they'll go back to killing each other and forget about us. If we intervene to stop the killing of innocents, we're only putting the killing on hold. We can't stop them anymore than an outsider could have stopped the wars between various European nations until they'd finally worked out all their differences well enough to live in peace. The middle east has been held in check by various powers for centuries and haven't had the opportunity to settle their differences the hard way like the west.

Boffins: It's EASY to make you GRASS YOURSELF UP for crimes you never did

DougS Silver badge

Pretty sure this was already known and used by police and others

The only revelation is that they've done a study to quantify exactly how easy it is to do. Those who use it to extract false confessions or as a push-polling strategy don't need the scientific proof to use something they already knew generates results.

Elon Musk: Wanna see a multimillion-dollar rocket EXPLODE? WATCH THIS

DougS Silver badge

Being harder is a GOOD reason to do it on water

If you can make it work reliably on water when the station keeping isn't necessarily exact and the waves will move the platform up and down to some extent, it adds an extra level of assurance that doing it on land will be problem free.

Still, hopefully when it is done on land that is very near a large body of water, or at least an uninhabited area like a desert, so there's a convenient place to abort to if problems are encountered on the descent.

Microsoft turns the power of fine print onto enterprise licensing

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Microsoft needs to take responsibility for this

They should create a tool that an enterprise can install onto each client and server that keeps track of all this data. Why should enterprises be forced to seek out and combine multiple third party tools to accomplish this? Apparently they've been taking lessons from Oracle in how to add more and more requirements onto their customers, while simultaneously making it more and more difficult to verify compliance.

Google unleashes build-it-yourself 'Ara' slablet phones (in Puerto Rico)

DougS Silver badge

Re: @proud2bgrumpy - "people like to tinker"

Exactly right, AC.

And claiming that owning a PC means you "like to tinker" is ridiculous. What percentage of people have EVER opened up their PC? What percentage of people are willing and able to even do something simple like swapping a failed power supply or hard drive?

Raspberry Pi has sold only four million units since inception (based on a ZDnet article saying it hit that total three months ago) It is a geek only toy, not some widespread phenomena that indicates a groundswell of general public sentiment for tinkering!

So maybe in a few years Google sells four million of these lego phones....is that enough for them to bother, or will they abandon it like it looks like they're abandoning Glass and have abandoned any number of things they started and decided to quit because it wasn't big enough to have an impact on their bottom line?

DougS Silver badge

@proud2bgrumpy - "people like to tinker"

As is all too typical here, Reg readers assume they are similar to the average person. Only a small fraction of people "like to tinker". The vast majority just want to buy a working product. How many people "tinker" with their PC and upgrade their own RAM or hard drive? About as many will want to replace bits of their phone.

This would be at best a niche market. Google's engineers are always thinking they are representative of the average person, but they are not. That's why Glass was a flop, and why this will be too.

DougS Silver badge

Re: No way, no how

There might be a market for a replacement screen, but an upgrade screen when yours works fine? What's the market for an upgrade battery in a world where many phones already have a replaceable battery, and those that don't can have a battery 'case' that adds capacity?

I think it is unlikely to extreme that anyone will ever want to upgrade the wireless, cellular or GPS in their phone. Does anyone with a phone that does "only" wireless N want to pay to upgrade to wireless AC? If your phone "only" does LTE will you pay to upgrade to LTE Advanced? (assuming you actually have towers with it nearby)

Just don't see the market for this. At all. It will cost more than the sum of its parts, so getting people to pay more for upgrade capability, whether they are buying on the low end, midrange or high end is gonna be really tough. I predict it disappears with a whimper and we never hear about it again.

For pervasive 5G and IoT, prepare for wind turbines on cells

DougS Silver badge

Re: Where are they putting these towers?

Can you get multi gigabit links using microwaves? IIRC microwave links require more power than cellular base stations, so they'll still need power pulled out there either way!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Where are they putting these towers?

Yes I was wondering that too. 5G requires fiber to carry the data volumes it supports, so if you have to pull fiber to the tower you can pull power at the same time.

This seems like people looking for a reason to push renewables more than anything else.

Fertiliser doom warning! Pesky humans set to wipe selves out AGAIN

DougS Silver badge

What is the problem he says will occur?

Are we going to run out of nitrogen somehow? Pretty tough, considering it is 80% of our atmosphere!

Are we putting too much nitrogen into the fields, and therefore the oceans? What is he saying that is causing in the oceans? And if too much nitrogen is the problem, why he's complaining about not enough nitrogen in Africa? The reason they don't use enough there is that they are poor, and fertilizer costs money.

I live in the US midwest, home to some of the best farmland in the world. I don't really know farmers or farming personally, but from what I understand it has all gotten very scientific around here in the last decade or two. They do tests on the soil and determine the exact amount of fertilizer they need, and often put different amounts in different areas of the same field as it isn't uniform even on the small scale. There are different application technologies to reduce the amount that runs off and keep it in the field.

Maybe they're still using too much, and I'm sure in a lot of places this type of science hasn't made it yet, but this may be a problem that solves itself without raising alarm bells about ending civilization as we know it....if indeed there is really even any problem at all. Too many Chicken Littles telling us the world is ending to keep straight all the reasons why we'll all be dead before I can reach 100. Not to mention all of those in the past who told us we should have never made it this far, like Malthus.

Microsoft & Paypal link hands, turn round and slap Apple Pay

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why can't all the players...

Apple Pay is (or rather uses) a single international standard. It uses the EMV standard that banks and processors worldwide have agreed upon, though some people assume since Apple is involved it is proprietary. Anywhere Apple Pay is accepted EMV cards or devices which implement EMV will be accepted, and vice versa.

Apple wants your fingerprints in the cloud

DougS Silver badge

Re: "Apple wants to collect and store your fingerprints..."

A patent doesn't mean it will make it into a product...

The "I don't want to re-enroll my device" ease of use thing could be handled by having some special 'security sharing' mode the devices can be put into that copies this data over a point to point Bluetooth connection.

Or if it is uploaded to iCloud, it is encrypted by your own password so Apple couldn't read it or hand it over to the NSA even if they wanted. That's how I think all iCloud data should be treated, and until it is I have refused to use iCloud. If they do allow fingerprint hashes to be stored on iCloud, I won't care because I don't even have my Contacts going to iCloud, why would do so for this?

DougS Silver badge

Re: False Sense of Security

I think you overstate the need for and perception of need for true security in a mobile device. If someone steals your phone, what do they really get? They can find out your contacts, read your email, read your Facebook. Do you think this is something the average person is really concerned about? They aren't getting in anything critical like your bank account, because those apps will have their own password.

Look at the state of security on Android devices today, where most people draw a simple pattern between 12 dots that can be replicated after seeing it once or guessed in a lot less time than it takes to hack Touch ID. There was an article that said the percentage of people who had ANY security enabled on their iPhone went from under 50% to over 90% when they adopted a device using Touch ID. Some security is better than none, even if it isn't the "perfect security" you imagine normal people should care about having.

It is just a phone, after all, and even if someone snags it and hacks Touch ID to make purchases you aren't held responsible for them anymore than you are if someone snags your wallet and uses your credit card. The ability is there for you to have high security if you want, but it isn't and shouldn't be forced on your grandmother.

DougS Silver badge

"If it was the government, you could do something about it"

What fantasy land do you live in that you think you can "do something" about stupid things your government wants to do? If Apple wants to do something stupid, consumers can stop it pretty quickly by refusing to buy their products. If that happened, they'd U-turn, damn fast! When its the government doing something stupid, you have little say, because the lobbyists are in the driver's seat. Maybe Australia isn't owned by them quite so thoroughly as the US, but if not I'm sure they're well on their way.

Anyway, you don't have to enable iCloud. I don't use it for anything. Plus this is a patent, and may never be found in a product. Most patents (from everyone, not just Apple) never see the light of day.

Medic! Intel can't stanch bleeding from mobile chip biz

DougS Silver badge

To put things into perspective

If Intel hadn't wasted money tilting at windmills in the mobile market, their profit would have been almost 36% higher. Their stock price would be a lot higher too.

Even if Intel is someday able to make people want to buy Atom without essentially giving them away for free (which they're doing today with their "contra revenue") the margins in that market are much thinner than they are in the PC market. It dilutes their overall results, and will never be a huge profit center like the PC market.

It is kind of funny and kind of sad at the same time seeing Microsoft and Intel constantly struggle trying to expand beyond their PC market. Microsoft loses billions on boondoggles like MSN, Bing and XBox, Intel loses billions on Itanium and mobile SoCs. The sad fact is both are almost completely dependent on the PC market - both making over 100% of their profit in that market segment. If there's ever a true disruption that hurts that market, both are going to be in serious trouble.

I'll build a Hyperloop railgun tube-way in Texas, Elon Musk vows

DougS Silver badge

Re: Let's be fair here

The two are not comparable. Automobiles were known technology, as was using batteries to operate cars (some of the earliest cars built in the 1890s were electric) The skepticism was not "that technology will never work" but "it is too hard/expensive to start an automaker from scratch".

That's miles apart from the skepticism over hyperloop, which is not skepticism of Musk's business acumen (which he proved by making Tesla work) but skepticism towards making the basic technology and engineering of hyperloop work.

Get coding or you'll bounce email from new dot-thing domains

DougS Silver badge

+ is not a Gmail thing

It is part of sendmail. The fact some websites don't accept it is probably by design, since some people use it to redirect spam (i.e. DougS+spam@foo.bar) Or try to, I used to do that but many spammers figured out they should delete the + and everything after it, so it is better to use an underscore and rewrite rules in sendmail config to handle it.

Kim Jong-Un shoot-em-up Glorious Leader! yanked

DougS Silver badge


They're lying, hoping to coattail on the public support for the movie. If they get a surge in donations from sympathic suckers they can finally start working on it, if they don't this provides a convenient excuse for why they never coded a single line.

Uber BLOCKS COPS to stop stings

DougS Silver badge

Re: How does Uber identify the phones?

As would virtual credit card numbers. Are those still available there?

DougS Silver badge

How does Uber identify the phones?

Apple fixed it so apps can't get a unique ID for the device, so I assume they were using Android phones here and the Uber app is getting a unique ID for the device. But given you can buy Androids for less than $50, why can't they raise the cost of the fines by $50 to pay for having to replace the phones? They can donate the "used" ones to charity.

If they're just blocking the number, they don't need new phones, just new SIMs. That should be easy to deal with, and has the side benefit for them that Uber will eventually block so many numbers that potential customers who get one of the numbers Uber has blocked can't become customers. Uber would be DoSing themselves.

What will happen to the oil price? Look to the PC for clues

DougS Silver badge

You quote that $95/bbl figure as though it is gospel. It is not. The NYT ran a story today that pegged the profitability figure (with 10% ROI) at $40/bbl for some fields, and I've seen other estimates that almost all shale oil is profitable down to $70.

The nice thing about shale oil is that it is short lived. You drill and most of your oil comes in the first 6-12 months. You drill, get your money, and go on to the next. It is relatively easy to deal with low prices - only drill the wells that will make money, and wait on the ones you know won't return well enough until the price goes back up again.

With conventional wells you have to keep pumping even if you lose money with every barrel, because if you stop pumping you can't restart that well again. Between that and the startup costs three orders of magnitude larger (no one starts a conventional project for less than a half billion now, it isn't worth the hassle) the risk is far larger for conventional.

The Saudis are thinking in terms of conventional wells, because that's all they know. If they drive the price down low enough to stop enough shale wells to bring supply/demand back into balance (requires sustained prices under $40/bbl) the minute the price goes back up, the shale guys will start drilling again and drive the price right back down. They might drive a few of the weaker companies that were overleveraged bankrupt, but the stronger players will buy their leases for pennies on the dollar and further lower their cost of production. The Saudis can't win this game, they're screwed.

If cities want to run their own broadband, let 'em do it, Prez Obama tells FCC

DougS Silver badge

The "bloated bureaucracy" is delivering just fine

He gave the speech in Cedar Falls, IA which has gigabit broadband available to its residents from the city. They also have the option of cable or DSL. Even if the bloated bureaucracy can't deliver, or some people are philosophically opposed to government involvement, they still have other options.

If they waited for Google they'd wait 50 years at the rate Google is rolling it out.

GoPro feels COLD BREATH of APPLE on back of neck

DougS Silver badge

No no no

You guys who think a movie constitutes prior art have no understanding how patents work. You can't patent an idea. You have to include in your patent how you are going to achieve it. You don't need to fully operating prototype, but you have to be able to describe it well enough that if you build such a product in the future it uses the methodology you've described. It isn't good enough to say "use hands for the UI" which Minority Report shows. You have to describe how you will determine the position of the hands, the resolution if you want to track individual fingers, and the way gestures will be used.

Saying "Minority Report is prior art" is pretty much the definition of hand waving!

I know it is asking a lot, but if you guys would actually look at the patent in question, you'd see it is lot more than "use your hands waving around in space to control a UI" There are descriptions of different speeds, directions, and amounts of motion and what they accomplish, how the UI interacts with it, how it is sensed.

Depending on how Kinect's patent is written they are probably not in conflict - though even if they were since Apple and Microsoft has an extensive patent cross licensing agreement they can't sue each other over this anyway.

I'm not sure how much of this I'd really want to do. Your arms will get tired if you tried to do that for very long.

BATMAN LASER builds smaller, faster hard drives

DougS Silver badge

Re: Questions for somebody who knows

Current record for a production drive AFAIK is Segate with 826 billion bits per square inch. I'll leave it to you to do the math for comparison, but the article says they think they can improve this technique to compete/beat existing technology so clearly it is not competitive currently.

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