* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

FURY erupts on streets of Brussels over greedy USA's data-slurping appetite

DougS Silver badge

C'mon you guys

Europe is bigger than the US. Don't let us push you around, PUSH US AROUND FOR A CHANGE: make us change OUR data protection laws to something that actually protects us, rather than protects the big corps!

If at first you don't succeed ... Fire, FIRE again: Amazon mulls smartphone sequel

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Anything to keep fooling the investors

Gotta justify that ridiculous stock price by keeping the dream alive that they might someday be profitable.

Super Cali's futuristic Tesla batt swap focus – even though car tech test is an expected bonus

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Three minutes is fine

That's about how long it takes to pump a tank of gas, after all, and if they can make it automated enough that you don't have to get out of the car even better.

ICANN: The TRUTH about that hacker attack on our DNS zone file database

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El Reg uses two factor authentication?

Apparently Team Register values a few dozen news stories a day and associated commentard boards more highly than Sony values IP worth billions!

Feds finger Norks in Sony hack, Obama asks: HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE KOREA?

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What if it was South Korea?

It wouldn't be the first case of this sort "attack an ally and make it look like your sworn enemy did it", or even the thousandth case of it.

Google Tax part 94: EU's H-dot wavers over copyright levy

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They charge people or pay them? If they're charging, that's the opposite of the model the publishers want Google to work under...

Merlot and hot dogs: Atos snaps up Xerox's outsourcing biz for $1.05bn

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It is turnover, and margin is reported as 8%, so the price for that yearly profit is pretty much what you'd expect.

Disk areal density: Not a constant, consistent platter

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Re: Doesn't everyone who works in storage know this?

I wasn't talking about short stroking, where did you get that from?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Doesn't everyone who works in storage know this?

I'm not sure how what you're saying conflicts with what I'm saying. I'm not suggesting the outer tracks are more dense from a bits per inch standpoint, but they are denser from a bits per track standpoint. The outermost tracks are bigger/longer (2π * r and all that) so a ZBR drive writes more sectors in them. Thus, the head is passing over more data per revolution in the outer tracks, meaning faster read/write performance in the outer tracks. Significantly so; definitely worth optimizing for, especially with sequential I/O.

DougS Silver badge

Doesn't everyone who works in storage know this?

Otherwise you'd miss out on optimizing storage by whether LUNs were placed on the outer (faster) or inner tracks. The sequential read/write performance is about 2x different from the innermost to the outermost track, so this is definitely something worth paying attention to!

Never wondered why EMC's tools specifically document that LUN assignment starts on the outer tracks and works its way inside? If they were all the same, no one would care...

Forget Google's robot cars, now it's on to ANDROID cars

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I guess you haven't heard about the recent hack of a car with a smart infotainment system that allowed controlling all the systems onboard. Do you really trust that there would be an impenetrable wall between the two? You can bet the infotainment programmers would, so they'd say "security doesn't matter, the worst thing that happens if it is hacked is you need to take it to a dealer to have it re-flashed".

DougS Silver badge

Re: No chance

I agree. Having Android actually running in a car, especially if it had access to a GPS would be an instant no sale for me. No way I trust Google not to track me and use the information for their own purposes, that's their whole business model. They'd love to sell information that would let someone email coupons for Dairy Queen to the car's registered owner because it was in the DQ drive thru three times last month.

Of course that sort of abuse can be done with any OS made by any vendor. This might be a place where we need the government to step in with some tight regulations to nip any clever ideas in the bud before they get started.

The other reason I'd object to Android is security. Having security holes in a phone is one thing, you can live with that because the potential damage is mainly inconvenience. Security holes in a car could literally be a matter of life and death. What would ISIS do if they discovered a way to cause the throttle to be opened wide, the brakes to be disabled, the transmission locked and the start/stop button disabled in every drive by wire car in the US? Yeah, the infotainment system should be isolated from all that stuff, but it isn't today and things will only get worse with the proposals for dropping the CAN bus for ethernet in autos.

Give me a microkernel like QNX, or maybe a stripped down purpose built Linux kernel like the article mentions. Build a car that runs Android, or worse, Windows, and you'll never sell it to me or any of my friends after I explain to them why it is a terrible idea.

How much for a wrist job? A tenner normally, but for this one, over $30k

DougS Silver badge

Isn't that just a blingy band for the Gold watch?

I guess it has the benefit that it can be reused when you trade in the 2015 Gold for the 2016 Gold, and presumably used on a regular watch if the whole smart watch phenomena turns out to be a fad.

New fear: ISIS killers use 'digital AK-47' malware to hunt victims

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Where does it get the IP address from?

If it gets it from the PC, wouldn't it be or something like that? Surely each PC in an internet cafe doesn't have a routable IP? The US having hogged the bulk of the IPv4 addresses may end up saving lives....talk about random unintended consequences!

Android gives Google a search monopoly? Not so fast, says judge

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The US isn't who they should worry about, the EU is

It would be difficult to imagine a US court ruling either Android or Google Search has a monopoly in the US. Apple is very strong in the US (iOS has a shot at beating Android in Q4 in the US thanks the iPhone 6 launch) and Bing is probably strong 'enough' to prevent Google Search from being considered a monopoly.

The EU is a different story. Apple is much weaker there, and if the Eurozone slips back into recession or worse, deflation, that won't do Apple's sales in the EU any favors. The EU has a stricter definition of monopoly, and Android probably already qualifies. They're already looking at Google Search, if they rule Google has a monopoly in search, they'd likely consider Android a monopoly too and when they make the easy and obvious link that Google is using Android's monopoly to bolster their search's monopoly, things could get ugly for Google.

The real problem for Google if Android is seen as a monopoly is that their entire business model revolves around using Android (which costs a lot to develop but earns them $0 in royalties) to drive traffic to Google's services to enable them to sell the end users' eyeballs to advertisers. They'd have zero defense against the court making a link between the two, the EU would have a million Google executive's quotes to choose from to prove their case!

Microsoft was using the Windows monopoly to drive people to IE to control development of the web so they could make it depend on Windows and keep that monopoly alive. They were worried about preventing a future that might come. Courts view what Google would be doing, using one monopoly to create or strength a second monopoly that already exists, as much worse conduct.

DougS Silver badge

SEO "against the rules" with Google?

That would have the same effect as Google making it illegal to send spam to a gmail address. Google is always fighting a battle with the SEO guys, as does Bing, Baidu and so forth.

There are no "standards" for search engines in the way there is for the web. There's some user expectancy of quality results, but that's the same as it was for browsers. For a browser the average user didn't know or care about standards, they cared whether the site displayed correctly and that's why a lot of people saw no reason to leave IE. It rendered pages well, Netscape sometimes rendered them poorly. They didn't know the reason, to them it meant "IE is better".

If Google only provided search they'd have a better argument, but they sell ads that are shown in the search results, and offer services that compete with the services other provide that people will search for. You're really reaching trying to draw some big distinction between what Microsoft did and what Google is doing. They aren't exactly the same, but they're a lot closer than you want to believe.

CoolReaper pre-installed malware creates backdoor on Chinese Androids

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Not just a Chinese problem

They sell Coolpad phones and tablets in Walmart here in the states.

Scrooges rejoice! Beancounters find formula for perfect Xmas party

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Re: I'm no statistician but....

I had to google just to figure out what the hell "crackers" were, since I couldn't imagine "pulling" what we Americans call crackers. All I can say after reading the wikipedia article on Christmas Crackers is that you lot are weird over there.

Fedora 21: Linux fans will LOVE it - after the install woes

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Fedora is doing its best to drive me away

First they are the lone idiots in the forest sticking with Metro GNOME as the default. Now with 21 they've dumbed down the install to where you have to choose between server/workstation at download time, and forced live install on everyone unless you use server - but then you have a bunch of packages missing if you want a GUI.

All this talk about improving the install experience but it keeps getting worse for those of us with a clue. It isn't as though they can't put a big "EASY INSTALL" button and keep improving that experience, without taking away the features for those of us who know what we're doing and what we want.

I would be totally unsurprised if a few releases down the road they eliminate the ability to change disk layout entirely. It'll just look for a Windows install, shrink the partition, create a new one in the open space, and install there. Because it'll be easier for the kind of drooling morons who think GNOME 3 is clever they're apparently targeting.

Nork-ribbing flick The Interview AXED: Sony caves under hack terror 'menace'

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Re: Terrorists win BIG time--America is now a nation of cowards

Is now? You just noticed it today? That was proven in the response to 9/11, where freedoms were taken from us and and the sheep applauded it in every poll I saw. Even now look at all the people who say Snowden is a traitor and don't see anything wrong with the government spying on everything and everyone so long as it saves one person from a terrorist attack.

If only the Soviets had known they could have beaten us not through nukes, tanks and propaganda, but by simply making us so afraid we'd willingly hand over our freedoms. I'll bet the old guard hardliners that are still alive in the Moscow nursing homes are kicking themselves to sleep every night.

DougS Silver badge

Re: NORKs ought to fund assassination of POTUS, staring Jackie Chan and Lucy Liu

There have been movies about plots to assassinate the president before. The only difference is they didn't use the same/likeness of the current president.

Not sure why you claim it is a "racist" attack. Would it be OK if Romney was president and he suggested Sony funding a film about assassinating him? You couldn't call that racist, so what would your objection be then? You seem to be playing the race card a bit quickly here, maybe you should wait until someone actually says something racist first.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Much capitulation, such disappointment

While I agree with your overall sentiment, and think what the Flight 93 people did was heroic, they didn't risk their lives doing so. They acted because they knew they were going to die anyway, so they felt they had nothing to lose at that point.

Seems the majority of Americans are happy to hide in their houses if they're warned against sticking their noses outside. The Americans of a hundred years ago would have nearly to a one stuck their noses outside to thumb it at those making threats, and not let anyone tell them where they can go or what they can do. Guess our borders have been too safe for too long.

Don't remember who wrote it (probably Heinlein or Asimov) but I remember long ago reading a book about a future world where mankind had basically cured all disease, including old age, so the only way you could die was an accident or murder. The people became completely isolated from one another, since everyone was afraid of taking even the slightest risk of an accident and didn't want to take the risk of being around another person, since they might have harm done to them. Those sci-fi greats could be really on the mark sometimes...

NY premiere of The Interview cancelled after hackers' terrorist threats

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Re: Actually...

A large theater chain that has a few around where I live cancelled it on all 247 screens nationwide. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the rest follow. The vast majority of Americans are scared sheep[*]. If this happened in a country where people were brave they'd defy the "terrorists" by going out to see the movie just to show them they weren't scared. Maybe this movie needs to be released in Israel or Iraq or somewhere where people are used to terrorism on a daily basis and don't let it rule their lives.

I don't normally see movies in the theater any more, since the experience gets more annoying every year, but I was thinking I'd go with my girlfriend to see this over the holidays when I heard that ridiculous threat. But now there 1) probably won't be anywhere we can see it and 2) all the publicity about theaters stopping the showings would make her mom crazy with worry (we'll be at her parents) if she finds out.

[*] Just so you know before you flame me, I'm an American, not a foreigner and I don't hate my country. But the response to 9/11 showed quite well what cowards we collectively are. OK, I've said my piece, flame away!

We are never getting back to... Samsung's baking Apple's 14nm 'A9' chips?

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Re: @Roo

I'm making that correct assumption on the basis that Apple was reported in 2012 to account for 89% of Samsung's foundry business. Who are Samsung's other major foundry customers? There are none. They are only a major foundry player because of Apple. Without Apple, they'd drop from the #3 spot out of the top 10 if they lost that volume of business.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Ha-Ha!

It was possible though not simple to convert a logic fab to make flash and back again. With 3D NAND the equipment is so different it is like converting a logic fab to make DRAM - i.e. not a chance.

DougS Silver badge


It is pretty obvious given the massive amount of capacity Apple was using. With an average die size of 100 mm^2, given the volumes of chips they'd be buying it is essentially the entire output of one modern fab. I saw figures suggesting that Samsung would drop to 30% utilization on their leading edge processes as a result of Apple ditching them for TSMC.

In 2012 the McClean report estimated that Apple was responsible for 89% of Samsung's foundry business. They essentially have no foundry business without Apple. They are not like TSMC, who has hundreds of customers from big ones like Qualcomm and Nvidia to countless small ones who use 10 year old processes to make microcontrollers for microwaves and toasters. They use some for themselves, but don't/can't use their Exynos SoCs in much of the world and their smartphone sales are falling so they can't pick up the slack internally.

http://www.icinsights.com/news/bulletins/Samsung-Jumps-To-3-In-2012-Foundry-Ranking-Has-Sights-Set-On-2-Spot-In-2013-/ (see paragraph above figure 1)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Yes, of course they would

Yeah, keep dreaming. That would be over $60 billion worth of stock!

DougS Silver badge

Samsung has never designed a custom ARM core

All the Exynos line uses ARM designed cores and licensed GPUs. Samsung designs the uncore only (similar to Apple with the A4 and A5 where they designed the SoC but integrated ARM designed cores)

Rumor has it Samsung is working on a custom 64 bit ARM core that will eventually replace the ARM designed A53/A57 in its Exynos line. I also saw rumors that project had run into trouble and was canceled, so who knows? Teams with the experience to design a complex modern CPU from scratch don't grow on trees, Apple was lucky to snap up PA Semi and Intrinsity to add that capability.

The Exynos 5433 shipped in some (non US/UK) versions of the Note 4 is 64 bit, but Samsung is keeping that on the down low, presumably because a lot of countries get the version using a 32 bit Qualcomm CPU and 64 bit Android hadn't been released when the Note 4 was.

DougS Silver badge

Re: How Does Anyone Know?

They don't know for certain, it is all rumor. There were rumors about Apple switching away from Samsung for a couple years before they finally did for the A8 used in the iPhone 6/6+. So this may or may not be true.

However, Apple probably doesn't care overly much if people find out Samsung is fabbing their chips again this year. Samsung wouldn't know what its capabilities are anyway, at least not beyond what is required for them to do testing before the chips are packaged.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Ha-Ha!

They can't, because Apple could go with TSMC like they did for the A8, or go with Global Foundries.

Samsung was left with a LOT of very underutilized fab space when Apple chose TSMC to make the A8 and A8X. Fabs cost billions to build and have a limited lifetime, if you have empty fab space you lose billions of dollars. They've every incentive to offer Apple a good price to get them to come back, and are certainly not in a position to fleece them.

Besides, as is always pointed out, Samsung is composed of several independent operating units, and the part that makes chips is different from the one that makes phones that is involved in lawsuits with Apple.

Screwball ruble closes Apple's Russia store, whole kit and caboodle

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Re: Apple has a tiny share in Russia

I suppose only the rich will be interesting in buying iPhones (or any high end smartphone) right now because the poor never were going to and the middle class is busy being worried that the ruble might make it too expensive to eat next month.

The rich have the means with international credit cards or whatever to buy an iPhone in another country and have it shipped to them, so they don't care whether Apple has a Russian site or not.

DougS Silver badge

Apple has a tiny share in Russia

I think I remember seeing something a couple years ago that they had a 1% share there. And I'm not sure whether that was the smartphone or mobile market...

So this is an easier move than it would be if this was Japan...

Gigabit-over-TV-cable spec DOCSIS 3.1 passes interop test

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Re: What's the frequency range?

Ugh, so cable companies that go DOCSIS 3.1 will lose the ability for their subscribers to tune channels without a cable box, because they won't be broadcast on the cable unless the box requests them? Great, more revenue for the thieving cable companies since everyone needs a box for every TV now!

DougS Silver badge

What's the frequency range?

They must have upped it a lot to get a 10x boost, because they couldn't have got anything like that from more advanced modulation.

At last! Something else for smartwatches to do as BMW promises park-by-wristjob demo

DougS Silver badge

Why is this "something for smartwatches to do"?

I see nothing about this that makes it more fit for a smartwatch than a smartphone. In order to justify a smartwatch they have to do things that a smartphone can't do or isn't as well suited for.

- things that rely on it being against your skin

- things that rely on it being on you at ALL times

Otherwise a smartphone is better or at least no worse at doing the same tasks. If I had to ask for my car 350 times a day, I might want the time savings that having the capability on my wrist versus in my pocket may afford. If I do it 5 times a day, I think I'll pass on saving those 3 seconds, especially since it'll give you something to do while you're walking to the place where your car will pick you up.

How does the US government run the internet? This is how

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Not sure what the point is

If the rest of the world wants to cut out the US, they can do it today. Just make a copy of the current root zone files, start up their own network of root servers, point all their DNS servers at those root servers instead of the IANA root servers...problem solved. Then they can start updating it independent of the US, and idiots can go suing them to try to take the .ir domain.

Apple WINS iPod antitrust fight, jury nixes BILLION-dollar payout bid

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Re: So let me get this straight...

Because that's not illegal. They did what Jobs said, yes, but in doing so they secured their DRM that was broken by Real to allow it to load onto the iPod, and made other improvements to iTunes as well.

Apple did not have a monopoly on music players, or online music sales. Apple didn't prevent anyone from loading music purchased from anywhere onto the iPod, they only prevented loading music encumbered with their proprietary DRM that they didn't license to others onto the iPod. Everyone was free to burn music purchased from Real, Microsoft or whoever onto a C (or buying a CD from the music store, back when they had those) load it into iTunes, and then onto the iPod.

Claiming "they made the process slightly more difficult" is a real stretch for a $350 million class action suit!

DougS Silver badge

In other news

The appellate court heard Apple's appeal of the e-book case yesterday, and court watchers say it looks like two of the three judges appeared to be looking very favorably upon Apple's case based on their questions and comments.

While this iPod case was obviously bogus from the start, the ebook one is going to upset a lot more people if it is overturned. One judge even hinted that she thought the government had taken action against the wrong company (i.e. Amazon)

DougS Silver badge

Re: copyright violation = theft

Just a copy was removed. They still owned the track, and if they kept another copy (or logged in to Real's site and downloaded it again) they could burn it to CD. Once on CD they could freely bring it into iTunes. The case was never about Apple preventing competition, only preventing the competition from hacking their DRM to load DRM tracks directly onto the iPod via iTunes. If this case was upheld the people jailbreaking their iPhones could sue Apple if they closed the security holes used to jailbreak, does that make any sense?

Basically it was just a law firm looking for a big payday, instead they've spent a lot of money and got nothing, which is more than they deserve. I hope Apple sues for its legal fees and bankrupts them so they can't roll the dice again with someone else.

Microsoft whips out real-time translator for Skype calls

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How you know text translation is working well (IMHO)

Translate the same page of text back and forth between the same two languages - does it keep getting harder and harder to understand, or is pretty stable after the first round trip?

In my experience, anything longer than a sentence fragment becomes laughable after a few round trips, whether using Bing, Google or any other online translation service. It is OK for getting the overall gist of what is being said (modulo a few errors that stand out as obvious, and undoubtedly a few that fly under my radar) if you want to read a news article in French or Chinese, but the result is to a professional translation as a Yugo is to a Maserati.

DougS Silver badge


I wonder how they'll be able to do "real time" translation of German, given how the sentences pile up all the verbs at the end like cars on the bottom of an icy hill? But I suppose halting conversation is better than no conversation.

'Turn to nuclear power to save planetary ecology from renewable BLIGHT'

DougS Silver badge

Re: All electric?

How much of your electrical use is for cooling? I'll assume you're from the UK, so as you're in a cooling dominated but rather moderate climate, if you use a geothermal heat pump, heating and cooling power requirements are cut by 50-70%.

Solar panels on the roof can take up whatever remaining slack there is in the grid. In a heating dominated climate where peak electrical loads will occur at night in winter (if everyone is on electric) you'd probably want some batteries to buffer that load. They could be in the home, or in the grid (maybe of the "pump water uphill" variety than actual batteries)

You can also do like the US does for peak electrical loads (which occur in the summer here) and give discounted rates to those who are willing to have their AC shut off for an hour or two during peak load - give a discount for those who are willing to have their thermostat lowered to 60F during peak periods. Most people are sleeping then, so 60 is fine then since you can always add a couple blankets.

Chrome devs hatch plan to mark all HTTP traffic insecure

DougS Silver badge

I'd consider "broken HTTPS" far more insecure than HTTP

Because a naive user doesn't understand any of this stuff. There is still a lot of HTTP out there, and stuff that really has no reason to be upgraded - why should The Register require everyone connect via HTTPS, is someone going to sniff my forum password and post as me...the horror!

Because there's a lot of HTTP, people will become used to seeing the "this site is insecure" indication and ignore it. A broken HTTPS, i.e. something like a MITM or other attack, should set off alarm bells even in the brains of a clueless surfer, but it won't if it shares the same indication as half the sites he browses!

Google's engineers are idiots living in their ivory tower, not understanding that not everyone is an ubergeek who implicitly understands this stuff. They think they're being clever and will encourage site owners to switch to HTTPS, but there's no point for a lot of sites to ever do so.

Sony to media: stop publishing our stolen stuff or we'll get nasty

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Re: "arms length" defense?

On what legal basis could Sony sue for reporting on what others are saying?

Anyway, even if they stop the major networks and AP from reporting it, there are approximately eleventy bazillion websites out there, and Sony can't send them all a letter. People who want to know what is going on can find them easily via Google, and some countries with different laws will have media that reports on it and Sony won't be able to do anything.

I wonder if they're fearful over the "Christmas surprise" that GOP has promised? Maybe something that will expose the famous "Hollywood accounting" and show evidence they knowingly screwed over people who have a "percentage". That could end them.

DougS Silver badge

"arms length" defense?

If say NBC ran a story on the evening news that said "websites who have seen the latest Sony material say that it includes the following", so they Sony can't get them for ever possessing the material? NBC would just be reporting the news, so I think it would be hard for Sony to successful sue them.

Secretive Chinese smartmobe colossus Xiaomi is on wafer thin margins

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Why is low profit a problem?

One guy owns three quarters of the company. I think most of us would be pretty satisfied with three quarters of $56 million.

He seems to be managing it pretty well, other than Samsung every Android OEM either never makes a profit, or when they make a profit they make a bigger loss later and it is erased. If he wasn't already the owner he'd make a good hire for one of the other Android OEMs to turn things around.

BYOD: How to keep your data safe on their mobile devices

DougS Silver badge

It is only the "best tool for the job" if you think Blackberry is better than iOS or Android for personal use. Being the best at managing home/work combined into a single phone (if that is even true - it was unquestionable a few years back but now it is open to debate) makes it the best option for your employer, but not for you!

The best solutions for employees who may need to come in to work at 3am to fix a problem server is to live across the street from the office, but while that's a good deal for the employer the employee may see things differently. The convenience of the employer is not relevant to an employee's personal decisions such as where to live or what type of phone to use. It is up to the employer to find a way to make the employee's personal phone work if they don't want to be paying for separate phones/plans for work use (some employees may be willing to compromise on the issue of what type of phone to get if it will allow them to avoid carrying two)

Uber surge pricing kicks in during Sydney siege

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Who makes the extra profit during a surge?

If it all goes to the driver, then that's fine - the whole point is to get more drivers willing to offer their services when needed (though typically during say New Year's Eve and not something like this) But if it goes to Uber, it certainly is profiteering if they're making more money from something like this.

The investor fascination with Uber is something I don't understand. There are very low barriers to entry for Uber, and no network effect - what stops me from writing a meta car hire app that checks Uber, Lyft, and so on for the best pricing so riders can decide for themselves? Nothing, that's what, and I'll bet someone is already working on it (or just started after they read this - if so pleas contact me for the address to send the royalty checks :))

Blam! Max Sound flings vid codec sueball number four at Google

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Notes left by execs

If those notes exist, and they can prove they were written by Google execs, Google is going to end up owing a lot of money regardless of the validity of the patents.

Finland ditches copyright levy on digital kit, pays artists directly

DougS Silver badge

Re: Tax

How does that benefit non-Irish artists the Irish listen to, or Irish artists the non-Irish listen to?

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