* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

US watchdog legal fight against Qualcomm and pushy chip deals closes with argument over how awful lawyers are

DougS Silver badge

Re: Jury Duty

Wow, I think I'd move out of concern for my safety if nothing else if I lived in such a criminal hotbed!

I've been called exactly once, many years ago, and when I called in to the number the night before as instructed and entered my ID number a recording said I wasn't needed and didn't have to show up the next morning.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Q: Default mandatory Licensing in US?

There is no US law that provides for FRAND. FRAND is a contractual agreement entered into voluntarily by companies choosing to participate in a standards process that requires it (as the LTE and 5G standards processes did)

It applies to all companies that agreed to participate all over the world, or at least in any country that enforces contract law. The question isn't over whether FRAND is enforceable, no one disagrees with that. The question is exactly what the terms mean, since there is some potential wiggle room which is where this dispute comes - i.e. whether you can license based on a percentage of the cost of the entire device or only on the cost of the device that implements your IP, and whether you can tie other IP your company owns to that license in an all or nothing fashion.

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

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Re: It’s a rotten corporate culture

The corporate culture of companies that make money off mining personal information is to reward employees who come up with ways of collecting ever better more detailed more real time personal information. The guy who came up with this probably got a bonus, and his boss got a promotion to a corner office.

DougS Silver badge

Re: But but - Apple protects our privacy!

Ah yes, blame Apple for what Facebook and Google did that clearly violated their rules!

Yes Apple should not have trusted such obviously unethical companies, and should put better restrictions in place to enforce the restrictions so there's no way around them. Name a company that has a better track record on security and privacy. There isn't one, despite Apple's known failings on these fronts from time to time. Everyone can do better, including Apple, but companies that make their money off mining personal information don't respect privacy even as a concept because if people started to care about it their bottom line would take a real beating.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Do these "scandals" have any adverse affect though?

It doesn't have to result in people closing accounts to hurt them. It could result in people using Facebook less. A lot of people won't delete it because it is their only link to a lot of people, but you don't need to visit daily to keep in touch. If you go from daily to weekly, or weekly to monthly, that impacts Facebook's revenue even if their user count remains the same.

I'm more concerned with whether Google's scandals hurt them. They're caught doing basically the same thing here, but since Facebook was found first it will get most of the attention. They've been caught doing a lot of bad stuff, maybe not as many cases as Facebook but with a bigger long term impact on people's privacy.

It is easier for people to hurt Facebook by using it less, but unless people actively take a step to avoid Google like using DDG instead of Google search, switching from Chrome to Firefox, or switching from Android to iPhone, they aren't hurting Google. You can't "use it less" by searching less or browsing less, it is all or nothing. Those steps are all harder to take (well maybe not the DDG change) than going from daily to weekly Facebook visits, and thus people are less likely to take them.

DougS Silver badge

How do these "enterprise developer certificates" work?

The regular "enterprise certificates" require you install a specific certificate on your phone through a separate process before you can install corporate signed apps. That extra step makes it hard to abuse.

From what I can read of this, the enterprise "developer" certificate doesn't require doing anything special, you just download the app, then click through a prompt and you've given the app special powers? Why hasn't Apple been checking for this? Just because they aren't granting enterprise developer certificates to just anyone doesn't mean the Facebooks and Googles of the world aren't just as evil as anyone else if not worse! Did they trust them too much and not think to look for abuse, or is there some reason why they couldn't find this during app review (i.e. did Facebook / Google try to hide their use of this?)

If these companies are using it for testing internal builds of software or special corporate only apps, they should be able to provide an MDM server for employees to get a certificate from. Require some sort of delivery method like that which would be IMPOSSIBLE for outsiders to do, thus guaranteeing that only employees of a company can do this. Sorry Facebook & Google, you'll have to find another chink in the armor to steal people's information, and make more excuses about how it isn't as bad as it sounds!

DougS Silver badge

They literally have a scandal every week

And expect people to keep believing the same excuses each time!

iPhone price cuts are coming, teases Apple CEO. *Bring-bring* Hello, Apple UK? It's El Reg. You free to chat?

DougS Silver badge

Slight error in the article

The 900 million units Cook mentioned is not the "units flogged to date", they passed the mark of selling their billionth iPhone a while ago. 900 million is the installed base of currently active and in-use iPhones. Despite the sales decline, the installed base is still increasing, something they will focus on more because of its implication for continued future growth in Services (also why they broke out the gross margin for Services for the first time)

Iceland starts planning for new undersea internet cable to Europe

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Re: Mainland Europe

Well technically it would be possible to walk from London to Paris, if they let you walk through the Chunnel, so as far as cable routing goes it is part of the mainland since they don't need to lay undersea cable from the UK to the "proper" mainland.

Apple: Good news, everyone – sales are less bad than we thought. Not amazing but not bad. $84bn is $84bn, tho

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Re: Hmmm ...

Apple says Services has a gross margin of 62.8%, compared to the overall company wide margin of 38%.

Mozilla security policy cracks down on creepy web trackers, holds supercookies over fire

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Mozilla and Safari are the only hope for browsers to help privacy

With Google making pretty much all their money from advertising, and Microsoft hoping to, you sure can't expect their browsers will do any more than the bare minimum...they don't want to bite the hand that feeds them!

Ouch, Apple! Plenty of iPhones stuck in tech channel. How many? That's a 'wild card'

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Foxconn's Wisconsin plant will make LCDs

It isn't going to have anything to do with iPhones, they just implied it would to fool Wisconsin's governor into making a terrible deal - not even tax rebates but up front cash payments. The state of Wisconsin will lose most of it, since the plant won't employ anywhere near as many as were claimed and is 20 miles from the Illinois border so some workers won't even pay taxes in Wisconsin!

PSA: Disable FaceTime. Miscreants can snoop on your iPhone, Mac mic before you pick up call

DougS Silver badge

Surely it should be powered off and wrapped in tinfoil for 100% security!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Hopefully this will save someone a few seconds:

Not necessary, the trigger for the bug were the recent changes Apple made to allow group Facetime calls. They've already disabled those, so exploits are no longer possible. Once the update has been out a few days and people have had time to install it, they'll re-enable group Facetime.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Patch is already out...

iOS 12.1.3 came out recently, but it does NOT contain the fix for this. The short term fix is Apple disabling the new group Facetime calling option that made this bug possible, in a few days we'll get 12.1.4 to address it (and a rev of the 12.2 beta for developers) and then they'll be able to re-enable group Facetime.

Disk drives suck less than they did a couple of years ago. Which is nice

DougS Silver badge

Probably more

That since they are no longer under such pressure to minimize cost for those larger models being shown, they don't have to cut corners they way they did when they needed to squeeze the last cent out of the cost of a 500 GB drive going into the $200 low end PC/laptop Black Friday special.

Whats(goes)App must come down... World in shock as Zuck decides to intertwine Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp

DougS Silver badge

Re: a way to block messages entirely from my Facebook

They don't have my phone number, or my "real" email. They have my real name, but wrong birthday and I don't have a name so unique I could be reliably tied to it unless they had my exact birthday and year.

DougS Silver badge

I just leave them there and after a few days I'll login on my computer (using a private browser window to avoid polluting myself with a bunch of Facebook cookies) so I can read the message. Which is usually not worth the bother, or out of date by the time I get to it.

I wish there was a way to block messages entirely from my Facebook account.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Signal

Yep, network effects mean this isn't a feasible alternative for most.

Six Flags fingerprinted my son without consent, says mom. Y'know, this biometric case has teeth, say state supremes...

DougS Silver badge

Re: So I gather

If the park licenses the fingerprint technology from someone else, as is probably the case, it would be a very high bar for a court to get the algorithm. Even if they can, a "match" is unlikely to hold up in court, given that there are published ways to defeat these types of fingerprint scanners. They have an error rate of something like 1 in 50,000 - and that's in perfect conditions, I'm sure a defense attorney would eat an argument based on that for lunch so I doubt a prosecutor would attempt it.

DougS Silver badge

Re: So I gather

The fingerprint is probably so you can go through a special automated entrance without having to wait in line with the rest of the plebs, as another benefit for season pass holders. If you use a photo, someone has to squint at the person holding the pass to see if they match the picture.

DougS Silver badge

So I gather

The fingerprint was so the season passes can't be shared by his friends, which seems like a reasonable precaution. I guess Six Flags needs to make it clear that if you buy a season pass you'll have to submit your fingerprint, because that's how they can tell it is the buyer using it, and not someone else. If they refuse that, then presumably there are other alternatives like a 10 visit pass or something which would have no reason for a fingerprint.

The other gotcha is what are they doing with the information. If they treated it like Apple does fingerprints for Touch ID, where it generates what amounts to a 'hash' of your fingerprint, so it can compare A to B to see if they match, but would be unable to produce a copy of your fingerprint for e.g. law enforcement, then people would probably feel more secure about it. Most likely their system works the same way, if so they need to make that clear. One gotcha is they'd have to keep that info in their system, to allow for entry at multiple entrances and maybe multiple parks, while Apple keeps it in one phone, so it is inherently less secure. It isn't clear what the risk of that would be, since you can't reconstruct the actual fingerprint from that data, but the type who will sue over this would not find that reassuring.

Should the super-rich pay 70% tax rate above $10m? Here's Michael Dell's hot take for Davos

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Re: Simple solution to Dell's problem

Astounding how clueless people are about the tax system, no wonder it is so easy for the rich to game it to their whims and get enough of the underclass to go against their own interests.

The top rate was 70% when Reagan took office, and many tax shelters and other schemes had been added to the code over the years to benefit various types of income, so only the unlucky rich who fell through the cracks and didn't quality for any of those dodges actually paid that rate.

Unlike Trump, Reagan actually did tax REFORM, not just cuts. The top rate was cut dramatically, but almost all those dodges were cut out of the code as well (many new ones were added since, of course) so many rich people ended up paying much more than they had been at 70%. With Trump's cut, the rates were cut but none of the dodges and schemes rich people have added to the code over the years were removed, so not one rich person is paying more than they did before, unlike with Reagan.

Oof, are you sure? Facing $9bn damages, Google asks Supreme Court to hear Java spat

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Better if they refuse cert

Than to hear it and find for Oracle. If they refuse cert then there's no precedent set across all courts, and even in that circuit they can view it pretty narrowly. If the Supreme Court hears it and rules in favor of Oracle, not only will it apply to all lower courts across the country, but depending on how they word their decision it could end up being read pretty broadly - perhaps broadly enough that theoretically if there are still a few undead cells left in SCO's dried up husk they could take another crack at Linux.

I do NOT want to risk even the slightest chance they find in favor of Oracle, so I really really really hope they refuse to hear Google's appeal.

Facebook didn't care if your kids ran up gigantic credit card bills – lawsuit

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Re: They spent how much?

With games you can run up an arbitrary amount, if they sell ways for you to advance in the game more quickly. They have an incentive to make it as unclear as possible that you are spending real money, because even if 90% of transactions end up getting reversed, the remaining 10% of transactions that range as high as $6000 would add up quickly!

We did Nazi see this coming... Internet will welcome Earth's newest nation with, sigh, a brand new .SS TLD

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Single letter domains?

I want to register a.ss, just to be one.

Sprint subscribers: What do your updated iPhone and Tonga have in common? Both are cut off from the world

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Re: Just newer iPhones??

If she gets a carrier update from Sprint and the problems go away, then maybe it is more widespread. If you check the rev number of the carrier 'blob' before/after an iOS update you can see if the carrier had an update that tagged along. They're responsible for testing iOS updates on their network and issuing updates to the carrier settings if required, looks like Sprint screwed up.

OK Google, er, Siri, um, Alexa, can you invalidate these digital assistant patents, please?

DougS Silver badge

Re: And here magic happens

The problem is that a greater and greater number of things can be implemented purely via software, without reliance on hardware with any novel properties.

For example, if you can't patent software then ALL RF related patents become invalid using DSPs and software defined radio. So no patents on ethernet, LTE, 5G, wifi, TV, satellite, bluetooth and so on.

As netizens, devs scream bloody murder over Chrome ad-block block, Googlers insist: It's not set in stone (yet)

DougS Silver badge

Google doing this might actually HELP Chrome dominate

Website owners don't like people blocking ads, and since Chrome already has a dominant browser share website owners simply have to design their sites for Chrome and stop caring how they look using Firefox or Safari, on the assumption that most people using those browsers are "freeloaders".

DougS Silver badge

Perhaps Google could explain

Exactly how that specific API that is used by privacy enhancing extensions is being misused by rogue developers? If they cannot offer any reasonable explanation for this, then their motives become clear.

Wow, fancy that. Web ad giant Google to block ad-blockers in Chrome. For safety, apparently

DougS Silver badge

Re: Google are cunts

Yes I also run my own caching server on my router, and use the more private resolvers - not Google's!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Google are cunts

Yep I agree with bombastic bob here, DDG does what I need almost all of the time. I'll do the "!g" thing when I don't find what I was hoping to find, but usually I won't find it at Google either so I'll need to refine my search terms or give up. Not saying Google's results aren't better - they have orders of magnitude more dollars to throw at the problem, after all. But they aren't anywhere near better enough to be worth the price they ask, at least not to me.

The idea that Google gives me all these free things so I just should bent over and spread it for them to go up to their elbow collecting my "data" is moronic. I think the laws should be changed so that people are in control of their data and must OPT IN to such data collection. People who feel the google love in their nether regions can click "yes please may I have another!" and enjoy all the free services Google offers. Those of who don't will have the right to say no, and they'll be liable if they do it anyway against my expressed non-consent. In the meantime I avoid the problem as best I can by using DDG, iPhone, Firefox, uBlock Origin etc. to minimize my exposure to Google.

DougS Silver badge

Why cue the lawyers?

Chromium is open source, Google's lawyers will point that out and say "if you don't like it, fork it". Google is evil, this move is evil, but it is not illegal in any way.

Look out, kids. Your Tinder account is about to be swamped by old people... probably

DougS Silver badge

Super likes sound super useless

If you can hand out 5 a day, that's over 1800 a year! You'd think they'd want them to be something special and unique, but I imagine women who are a "10" (or have a suitably photoshopped profile pic to make them appear as such) will be peppered with so many of these that the profiles of the "likers" won't stand out at all.

They should let you give out one a week, then people would be forced to be judicious in their use instead of carpet bombing Tinder with them.

DougS Silver badge

Its pretty obvious

They based it on ability to pay, and difficulty in meeting people the ordinary way. Those under 30 have less of both.

Plug in your iPhone, iPad, iPod, fire up the App Store: You have new Apple patches to install

DougS Silver badge

Re: The Joy of updates

Ah OK I don't have iMessage/Facetime deactivated so I wouldn't be able to tell if they were activated against my will.

I do recall past upgrades turning on Bluetooth which I normally leave disabled, but that hasn't happened for a while. I think they must have fixed that issue a year or two ago. It is easy to imagine how minor issues like that would be missed during testing, since the internal Apple testers aren't likely to have that stuff turned off, and that probably extends to the sort who voluntarily downloads beta software ahead of official release.

I was thinking more in terms of stuff that would be more of a violation, like changing privacy settings.

DougS Silver badge

Re: The Joy of updates

Have you ever seen your iPhone change settings on you, and if so can you provide examples? If mine has, I've never noticed - I don't check settings before/after but I know what I've set things to so I would certainly notice eventually.

The most annoying British export since Piers Morgan: 'Drones' halt US airport flights

DougS Silver badge

Re: 500g Drone vs 100 ton airliner

And they can fly well on one engine

In level flight, sure. During takeoff/landing when drone encounters around an airport would occur? Only if your definition of "well" is "a good pilot who isn't tired/hungover will be able to recover with limited panic from the cabin".

Core blimey... When is an AMD CPU core not a CPU core? It's now up to a jury of 12 to decide

DougS Silver badge

Its only a problem if you do a lot of stuff that uses the FPU. For most uses, it won't matter.

The lawsuit is silly because "core" is not a term with a precisely defined meaning or measurement. You have grounds to sue if you are sold 4GB of RAM but the CPU installed only allows accessing 2GB of it, because it is understood you are buying the use of that RAM not its presence. You could sue if you were sold an SSD but it was a hard drive with a small NAND cache, because it is understood that "SSD" stands for "solid state drive" and the hard drive you got has moving parts.

There was nothing preventing Intel from selling a dual core CPU with hyperthreading as a quad core CPU - you could have four active tasks simultaneously. Today they sell CPUs with up to 28(?) cores, but there are a lot of potential resource conflicts for stuff like cache access, DRAM access etc. and power/heat prevent all 28 cores from running at once at full speed, so it is never close to 28x faster than a single core. AMD's "8 cores" isn't 8x faster than one core either, the difference is simply a matter of degree.

We all love bonking to pay, but if you bonk with a Windows Phone then Microsoft has bad news

DougS Silver badge

Re: I had always been skeptical

If my grocery store was using the information to send me coupons in the mail like they used to I'd never go along with it. But free tanks of gas are worth it to me. I'm not an absolutist on privacy, I am willing to give up my information if I feel I am being adequately paid for it. I just want to have the choice, which in 99% of cases one does not.

And at that, the information they gather on me is limited to knowing what groceries I buy, and when and how often I shop. Google tries to collect EVERYTHING in your life, which is a step up of at least a couple orders of magnitude, and they offer far less value to me than free tanks of gas. I'm not sure what I would need to be OK with Google tracking me everywhere I go like those with an Android phone are, but it would be a lot more than free gas. Maybe if they make my mortgage payments :)

DougS Silver badge

I had always been skeptical

But I found a particular case paying via Apple Pay is a timesaver for me. My grocery store has rewards that pay in cents off for gas - and it basically works out that with me needing to fill up every 3-4 weeks I get free gas (well 0.9 cents per gallon) on each fill so it is worth doing.

I won't carry loyalty cards but they support Apple Wallet so I scanned in the card and can show them my phone and they use their little laser scanner on its QR code just like they would if I carried the card. Since I have to get my phone out at checkout anyway, paying via Apple Pay saves time over pocketing the phone, pulling out the wallet, taking the card out, and waiting for the frustrating long "authorizing" time the new EMV cards require.

In fact the authorization time is long enough it probably IS quicker to use Apple Pay (or Android Pay) than to use an EMV card. Its just a matter of not easily knowing where they are accepted, since the readers aren't always marked with the logo and I'm not going to hold my phone near the terminal just to see if it works. The fact payment is as anonymous as cash (at least for Apple Pay, with Android Pay not so much) is nice too. I may be willing to trade my privacy for free tankfuls of gas, but that's my choice and for most purchases I don't see any reason they should get to know my name.

Apple hardware priced so high that no one wants to buy it? It's 1983 all over again

DougS Silver badge

Re: PUB Underflated Inflation ALERT

Fox News only cites ShadowStats when a democrat is in charge. They quit doing it once Trump took over. Suddenly the inflation rate that was double digits was down to 4% - no wonder the brainless twits who get all their news from Fox think Trump has totally transformed the economy!

If we get a recession in 2020 which more and more people are predicting we will due to the signs they are seeing, no doubt Fox will find a web site with 'alternative facts' so they can tell viewers that the official government numbers showing a recession are fake news from deep state / career democrats and in reality the economy is stronger than ever!

Clone your own Prince Phil, says eBay seller hawking debris left over from royal car crash

DougS Silver badge

Re: William the Bastard

Especially since "don't be a catholic" would have ruled out pretty much everyone, there not being a church of England at the time...

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apologies

Unless the other party is recording you or there are impartial witnesses (i.e. not people riding with him) to you saying that, what difference would such a statement make? The other person can say "he said sorry I didn't you there" but be unable to prove you made that statement so it won't matter when it comes to determination of fault.

French data watchdog dishes out largest GDPR fine yet: Google ordered to hand over €50m

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Why is waiting 20 years fine?

Not having to pay the fine for 20 years means Google has 20 years before they have to change their behavior. Sure, they will know they have 19 more years worth of fines hanging over them if they end up losing the case, plus fines with from other countries who adopt similar laws.

Why should Google's management care about that now, when long before the impact is felt Google's management will have earned fat bonuses on GDPR violating behavior and retired to an island somewhere?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Well that took long enough.

Ah the "nothing to hide so nothing to fear" crowd rears its naive head again. You do realize this isn't an all or nothing deal, right? You don't have to choose between giving up all privacy, or maintaining perfect privacy. There is plenty of room in the middle ground.

If Google didn't collect tons of personal information on you, they could still show ads that have to do with what you are searching for. If I search on "4k hdr tv" having a few sponsored links from Amazon, LG and Samsung to where you can buy or learn more information about their 4K TVs might be what I need. Certainly that's more likely to be useful in the moment than showing me a sponsored link for a place selling TItleist golf balls, based on an all knowing Google knowing I play golf and all my online purchases of golf balls have been Titleist.

The problem is they want to sell ads all over the internet, and want ads for 4K TVs and golf balls to follow me across the internet whether I'm reading news about GDPR fines or looking up information on wifi 6. And it may help make their mostly useless assistant technology slightly less useless. For those who are filled with horror that Google's assistant might end up dumbed down to Siri's level if they only knew as much about you as Apple does, you can always volunteer to shed your privacy if a moment's convenience is worth more to you.

Just give people the choice, you "nothing to hide" people can give Google full access to your medical history for all I care, and have ads advertising a discount lobotomy follow you across the internet.

EU will have agreed a tech tax by March, says French finance minister

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Companies will do the math

And might decide it is better to simply not do business in France than be subject to such a tax, or simply as a way of discouraging other countries from doing the same thing. I suppose the French government thinks that home grown alternatives to Google and Facebook will just appear to fill that market vacuum?

Any tax scheme based on global revenue is doomed to failure for this reason. Imagine if every country did this, and a company was taxed at 101% of global revenue when you added them all up? That's obviously impossible to pay (if they raise their prices their taxes also go up by 101% of that price increase) so it is clearly ridiculous.

Just forget what Gartner said about AI in June 'cos CIOs are all over it now apparently

DougS Silver badge

By "improve customer service"

I take it you mean lower both the quality and cost of customer service, a tradeoff companies are prepared to make every time because compensation for upper management doesn't incent caring about repeat business - who cares if customers are pissed off and will never return, the decision makers have their bonuses / stock now! They will move on before the business feels the effect of customers who endured crappy support moving on as well.

Big Red's big pay gap: $13,000 gulf between male and female Oracle staffers – reports

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Its funny how hardcore conservatives

So badly want to see California fail. It must really drive them crazy that California continues to be so successful despite all the Trump hating liberals who live there and control its state government, but they continue to claim its days are numbered despite all evidence to the contrary.

DougS Silver badge

Re: I would be less likely to employ female employees for those reasons

This would indicate a reason in favor of companies practicing age discrimination. In reverse, by hiring both men and women over 50 who are far less likely to take advantage of paternal leave.

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