* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

'Apple Watch' sapphire glass maker files for bankruptcy protection

DougS Silver badge

Re: Speculation

I have to think Apple had done some due diligence of the suitability of sapphire for their needs before committing all the money to loan to GT to build the factory, and bought all the furnaces they equipped it with. They will have worked out all the production issues before making an investment of that size, but there are a lot of steps after proving something will work to proving something will work in 150 million devices a year.

I'll bet it was either GT not delivering on their end, or possibly it isn't hard to cut the screens in small numbers but making them by the tens of millions has proven to be problematic so far. Sapphire is very hard, after all, so you pretty much need to use diamond coated tools or lasers to cut it.

Maybe Apple couldn't source enough of those tools in time to produce the screens at a high enough rate to be used in the iPhone 6. That might be where the August rumors of "sapphire will only be for the 6 plus" or "sapphire will only be for the 128GB version" came from, if rumors were based on some truth that Apple was considering whether to try to make due with a severely restricted supply.

I'm imagine it'll probably come out in the bankruptcy hearing, or shareholder suits against GTAT management.

DougS Silver badge

Apple loaned them the money to build the big factory in Arizona

The original deal was that Apple would loan GT Advanced the money to build the factory, Apple would buy the furnaces to equip it, and GT Advanced would operate those furnaces and sell the sapphire to Apple. Reportedly at full output it would produce 10x more sapphire than all the rest of the factories in the world combined (sapphire doesn't have a huge market, so it isn't as gigantic as Telsa's battery "gigafactory")

GT had an upcoming $350 million payment on this loan, which they can't pay. The question is, is it true Apple was originally planning on using sapphire in the iPhone 6, or was that a rumor? If they were but changed their mind, was it due to GT not being able to deliver what they promised, or due to Apple not being able to use sapphire in the way they originally planned?

They don't lay blame on Apple (yet) so either it wasn't Apple's fault, or they're avoiding accusing them for now, hoping Apple will cut them a break in bankruptcy since they're the major debt holder. Apple might end up owing this factory in lieu of debt repayment, but if so that really won't change much in the relationship, so long as Apple doesn't blame GT for this. If they do, they could contract someone else with sapphire expertise to operate the factory for them, and GT Advanced would probably not emerge from bankruptcy.

Sucks for all those who get caught up in the GTAT stock hype, they've seen the price drop by 95% in less than a month, but that's why they call it speculation not investment!

Linux systemd dev says open source is 'SICK', kernel community 'awful'

DougS Silver badge

Assholes seem to be part of the deal for success in the tech world

Linux has Linus

Apple had Jobs

Microsoft had Ballmer

Sure, there are plenty of exceptions, but those are three pretty good examples that even if it isn't a requirement, it certainly hasn't proven to be an impediment. They weren't even assholes in the same way.

The first holds everyone up to his own very high standards of programming. The second held everyone up to his own very high standards of taste. The third held everyone up to his own very....well, he was an asshole too.

CONSUMERISM IS PAST ITS SELL-BY DATE: Die now, pay later

DougS Silver badge

Article is a load of crap

First of all, no tablets are "welded together". You don't need to bin them if the battery goes dead, but unless you're pretty handy you'll need to have it serviced to have that done. What percentage of people do you reckon replace their car's tires themselves, versus going to a shop and having it done? Every car comes with the equipment necessary to change your own tires, so why do so few do it themselves?

The reason why you have non user serviceable parts like the batteries in tablets, or can't replace a tiny part in your TV like you used to but have to replace the entire control board is not because of a vast conspiracy to force people to throw away stuff that is 99% working. It is because it is cheaper to make them that way, and this integration and design with "no user serviceable parts within" makes the product more reliable!

You know why TV repairmen are a thing of the past? Because fifty years ago TVs broke down WAY more frequently than modern TVs do, and they were VASTLY more expensive. Go look at some ads for TVs in 1950s and 1960s, and compare those prices with the typical incomes of the day. Even a 70-80" TV is much cheaper now in real terms than a 20" color TV was in the 60s! When your TV effectively cost $5K or more and broke down on at least a yearly basis, of course you're going to fix it! Tossing it out would be like buying a used car for $5K and tossing it out when the brake pads wear out.

The trend toward greater component integration has driven down costs, which isn't just in the manufacturer's interest, it is in the consumer's interest. Most people will not pay more for something based on a higher expected reliability, and almost no one will pay more for something based on it being user serviceable. People would rather have something for less now, and if worried they might fail too soon will purchase the extended warranties that most retailers offer.

Fifty years ago it was common for car owners to change the oil themselves. It is quite uncommon now (at least in the US, I can't speak for the UK/EU) It isn't because it has become more difficult, the process is pretty much the same for modern cars as those from the 1950s and 1960s. One might try to argue that it is because they don't have to, as automakers have recently started including basic maintenance such as oil changes during the warranty term - but that ignores the fact that people no longer changing their own oil PRECEDED that change, so it could not have been caused by it.

Why should companies put a premium on user repairability, or any repairability, if consumers do not put a premium on it, as evidenced by the fact that most are not willing to pay more to get it, and often don't take advantage of it even where they still have it?

Why US Feds and g-men kick up a stink about a growing smartphone encryption trend

DougS Silver badge

Re: What about encrypting calls?

Exactly right that the problem is convenience. That's why PGP has not been adopted by the masses, because no one has ever tried to make it smooth and simple for the average person.

If you have to fumble with settings or exchange keys in a way that isn't automatic to the process of making a call, end to end call encryption won't happen either. If Apple decided they WANTED to do this, I'm sure they could make it transparent - this assumes that the voice data sent by the phone is not altered or processed in any way by the carrier, as changing one bit would render it impossible to decrypt on the remote end.

However, being able to call only other iPhone owners securely buys very little - and is already possible with Facetime which already does proper end to end encryption - thus why this would need to be something done in cooperation with Google so the vast majority of phones could call each other securely (obviously WP and BB could use this too, but they wouldn't be necessary to its success)

As for pwning the phones....that's fine in theory, but how exactly is that supposed to happen? Since all known attacks against iOS require jailbreak, would the Feds ask nicely that everyone please jailbreak their iPhones? Not saying such an attack doesn't exist that isn't publicly known, or one couldn't be found, but it can't be blithely assumed.

DougS Silver badge

What about encrypting calls?

I know the GSM standard supports call encryption, but anything that involves the carrier is automatically suspect.

Short of using VoIP, would it be possible for GSM and, in the near future, VoLTE calls to be encrypted on the phone? If the caller and callee's phones both supported it, with secure key exchange the call could be encrypted in transit so the carrier and spooks couldn't eavesdrop. Sure, they could break the encryption or use a MITM attack against the key exchange, but that would still raise the bar for them being able to capture everything we say.

That would be something that even the most ardent iPhone and Android fanboys would be happy to see Apple and Google cooperate on!

Sprint starting mass layoffs to 'improve operational efficiencies' in mobile network

DougS Silver badge

I can think of a few people they can fire

Like the ones who thought buying Nextel after PTT's heydey had passed, going with Wimax instead of LTE at the start of the 4G rollout, and more recently pursuing whatever the hell "Spark" technology is.

They seem determined to use technology incompatible with other phones in the US, guaranteeing their customers will always have a tiny selection of phones that actually implement their crappy technology du jour.

Apple to unveil new iPads, iMacs and OS X Yosemite on 16 October, claim sources

DougS Silver badge

Re: I Do Care

Pretty sure that all tablets will bend (or snap) if you apply force by hand (maybe using your knee as leverage) That won't stop someone from making a video of them bending a new iPad, and the haters coming out in a frenzy to decry Apple for making shoddy hardware.

What I wonder about all the bending videos is the people doing so with their hands, not even wearing gloves. Do they not realize the screens are made of glass, and if that glass breaks the injuries to their fingers could be quite severe? Can't say I'd feel bad for them, sometimes you have to endure the consequences of your own stupidity.

OMG! With nothing but machine tools, steel and parts you can make a GUN!!

DougS Silver badge

@AC

So if the people of the UK wanted revolution, someone is going to manage to import millions of guns despite what would undoubtedly be seriously stepped up border/import security by the UK government to prevent this as it would lead to their overthrow?

I think the reason countries with revolutions always have weapons available is because armed revolutions don't happen in countries where guns aren't available. Where guns aren't available they don't suddenly appear, instead they're forced to take the Ghandi approach, like the people in Hong Kong are doing right now. That doesn't always work, just ask the guy who stood in front of the tank in Tianamen Square (if you could find him; if he's still even alive)

DougS Silver badge

Defending against the government in the US

Guns are seen by many as a way of insuring that if revolution was required, it would be possible. Yeah, the military has tanks, jet fighters and nukes, but the idea is that if there's a truly popular uprising against the government (i.e. not some wacko nutjob militia outfit in Nevada or something, I mean tens of millions of Americans) that it would be impossible for the government to get its military to use force against the populace.

You can drum soldiers up into an "us against them" fervor where maybe they don't think too hard about knocking heads and taking prisoners against unarmed masses. It is another thing entirely to be asked to shoot and kill your fellow countrymen who won't easily be taken prisoner and will be willing to shoot at you to prevent it. (Hopefully) enough soldiers would refuse such orders that the government would be unable to wage an effective campaign against a large popular uprising.

That's why the US population should be armed. They can't take on the best the US military can dish out, but they won't have to. They just need to be armed and ready to fight, and the generals won't have very many infantry willing to take them on because they know they'd be asked to kill those who resist.

NAKED CELEBRITY PICS LAW BOMB dropped on ad giant Google

DougS Silver badge

@Fluffy Bunny

Sounds like victim-blaming to me.

You're saying I should assume that ANY photo I take will end up on the internet? What about texts I send, phone numbers I call, web sites I visit? Why did I visit girlswithgoats.com if I didn't want that fact made public on the internet? Why I did buy that "Bondage for Dummies" book on Amazon if I didn't want that fact made public on the internet?

Ditto for cloud. You aren't uploading your photos to "the internet" you're uploading them to a server. Yeah, that server can be hacked. Your PC or phone could maybe be hacked. Or maybe you leave a polaroid print in your desk drawer and your girlfriend or 5 year old gets into it. There are risks associated with storing anything, but especially electronic information. The solution is not "leave no digital footprint". Why even have a computer or smartphone if you must be so limited that you can't do anything you wouldn't want the world to know?

[Scary sidebar: just for the heck of it, I checked and there IS a girlswithgoats.com registered but not in use...there are some messed up people out there!]

DougS Silver badge

Re: Huh?

One would assume that the celebs or their representatives contacted Google at some point with a takedown notice, and are unhappy it wasn't acted on quickly and/or completely enough. Otherwise this lawsuit won't go very far if Google is supposed to just "know" that they should take down these pictures without being told.

I assume the lawsuit is over sites that Google controls like blogspot, and not stuff that's findable in search results. Because Google could clean up every link on Google search but another dozen could pop up the next day. Once the pictures are out there, anyone can set up a site with them at any time, and short of applying image matching software to every image they index to look for an (ever growing) list of images they're supposed to reject, I don't see how they can guarantee Google search is forever free of these images.

DougS Silver badge

Re: A total waste of time

If by "hacked" you mean someone went to icloud.com, clicked the "forgot password" link and entered the answers to security questions that the celebrity answered truthfully not thinking that the information about stuff like the high school they went to, name of their childhood pet, etc. is out there on the internet already from interviews they've done, etc. then yeah, Apple was "hacked".

HEVC patent prices are out. Look who's NOT at the codec party: Microsoft and Google

DougS Silver badge

Re: VP9 has no chance

I was talking about decode on the client end, not encode on the server end. Unless they're streaming live content, they don't care too much about encoding performance.

If decode of HEVC can't be done in real time, then VP9 really really has no chance, because it is highly unlikely that SoC vendors will spend die area accelerating it when they're already going to be adding a HEVC decoder.

DougS Silver badge

VP9 has no chance

What the Faultline article seems to have omitted is that unlike with h.264 there will be NO FEES for streaming content over the internet, or on Blu Ray discs.

What reason would any streaming site have for using VP9, which would only work on Android phones (and even then it would take several years before the majority of them are on a recent enough software version to support it) and those with Chrome browsers, versus the equally free to use HEVC which will work on everything? People using Firefox and IE don't want to have to install a plugin to view a video, that's so 10 years ago.

Even if Google chose to be stubborn and not support HEVC in Android, the device makers would all add it because they'll know the users want it. Before long all the ARM SoCs on the market will include at least HEVC decode in hardware, so they'll be paying for it anyway.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Just how much better is HEVC

Can't speak to the UK, but in the US Directv plans to drop MPEG2 in a few years. Earlier this year they stopped doing new installs of MPEG2 hardware - but had been doing a majority of MPEG4 (required for HD) installs for the past several years anyway. When they drop MPEG2 they will no longer have SD duplicates of HD channels, though the HD receivers can of course output composite for those who will have SD TVs.

They'll almost certainly be using HEVC for 4K, though it remains to be seen whether there will be much 4K content at all, aside from movies. Certainly not enough to have very many channels that will be broadcast in both HD and 4K in the way today they have a SD/HD duplicates of the large majority today.

SanDisk hopes to lure in enterprise clients with a little TLC (SSD)

DougS Silver badge

Re: 128GB minimum?

Just as with spinning hard drives there's a minimum efficient size due to the overhead - controller, DDR cache, SLC NAND cache, assembly, test, along with a certain contribution needed to cover fixed costs like R&D to develop the product line, marketing, etc.

You may only need 32 GB (and certainly aren't typical in that regard) but you're not going to see drives that small anymore. So long as they keep doubling the number of bits they can store every couple years, the minimum efficient size for a drive will double. By 2020 you might have to buy 1 TB drives to store your 32 GB. The good news those 1 TB drives would cost the same as a 128 GB drive does now, or the 32 GB drive you bought a few years ago.

Google wants to KILL apps with the 'Physical Web'

DougS Silver badge

Have objects automatically sling ads at us?

Who in the hell would want this, except a company that makes its living selling our personal information to target ads at us??

I can see it now, walk by a Coke machine and have it tell me even though I always drink Pepsi and haven't had a Coke in months, how about a free Coke to show me what I'm missing. Walk by a pizza joint and have it tell me I haven't ordered a pizza in two weeks, $5 off if I order a large pepperoni and sausage in the next 30 seconds. Walking by a car dealership and have it tell me my car is out of warranty, they'll give me extra trade-in credit on a new car that's got a great 7/70 warranty if I buy today. And Google, supplying that information about me needed for those ads, makes a few cents each ad.

What a shitty future Google wants to create for us. Guess their engineers all watched stuff like Blade Runner and Minority Report and thought those futures didn't look as dytopian as they look to normal people.

Verizon: We're throttling broadband. FCC: WTF? Verizon: Lol, jk!

DougS Silver badge

Re: The joke is on you! You need to read between the lines...suckers.

Yes, they will make you pay full price if you buy a new phone through them. Basically any change to your contract causes you to lose unlimited data, and a subsidized phone purchase starts a NEW two year contract. You also can't change your minutes, texts, add/remove a line, etc. All are considered contract changes.

JPMorgan Chase: 76 milliom homes, 7 million small biz thumped in cyber-heist

DougS Silver badge

Zero day flaw? Shell shocked, perhaps?

I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a CGI script somewhere in Chase's systems.

Apple, Google mobe encryption good news... for TERRORISTS – EU top cop

DougS Silver badge

Re: Won't make much difference at all

Hang on, you think the police are going to be able to break this? How exactly? By trying 10,000 PIN codes one by one, hoping you're dumb enough to have a 4 digit PIN, and hoping you're not paranoid enough to enable the option to wipe your device with 10 wrong guesses? By removing the flash chips from your phone and loading the encrypted data off them to work with?

Too bad Apple salts the encryption, so rainbow tables won't work. It won't take a very complex password to keep them out, unless they hand the problem over to the NSA, in which case you might want to consider a complex 16 character password.

Our governments have no one but themselves to blame. It used to be if you were worried about the government slurping up data on normal citizens you were fitted for a tin foil hat. Now the ones wearing Reynolds Wrap are the ones who still think the government can be trusted.

Supercomputer water-cooling comes to solar power

DougS Silver badge

@Ian Rogers

That hot water isn't totally useless on a hot day - unless you take cold showers and don't use any hot water for washing clothes or dishes. But yeah, most of it will be wasted.

On the other hand, you produce a lot of hot water on a sunny day even when it is 0F outside, and you can definitely use hot water then. Perfect as a secondary input to a desuperheater on the front end of a geothermal radiant heat system.

One Windows? How does that work... and WTF is a Universal App?

DougS Silver badge

Both Windows and Linux are monolithic kernels

Being able to load/unload drivers don't make a microkernel. Having drivers run in userspace is (one of several) minimum requirement for a microkernel. Neither do that, both run drivers in kernel mode. Microsoft doesn't even make the display driver loadable, they gave up on that back in the early NT days because it hurt performance, and paid for it with years of BSODs until the display drivers got more stable.

Calling Windows a "hybrid kernel" is laughable, there is no such thing. That's like saying "she's partially pregnant". You either have a microkernel or a monolithic kernel, there is no in-between except for Microsoft apologists who don't want to admit that the original NT concept of a microkernel was never realized because they couldn't make it perform well.

If Windows has a hybrid kernel then OS X's / iOS's XNU a microkernel by comparison. At least it uses a few more microkernel features like message passing instead of shared address spaces. But it doesn't qualify as a microkernel either.

The only true microkernel in mass market PCs / mobile devices I'm aware of is the L4 microkernel running on the security co-processor in the iPhone 5S / 6. That's only because for security purposes you want the privileged portion to be as tiny as possible, and L4 is certainly tiny, and the performance penalty of a microkernel isn't a concern for this use case.

Apple tool: Buying an iPhone in a carpark? Find out if it's STOLEN

DougS Silver badge

Re: hmmm

Bzzzt, wrong.

The site isn't even a database of stolen phones. The Reg as usual has named the article poorly. It tells you if Activation Lock is enabled on the phone with the IMEI you enter. If it is, you can tell the seller "hey, can you deactivate that for a moment so I can tell you're the owner", and if not, you know they aren't.

I suppose if it is stolen and Activation Lock hadn't been enabled you wouldn't know, but as it is enabled by default hopefully the number of people who disable it for whatever reason will be pretty small so it would be a pretty good way to tell.

The police or phone company could tell you but only within limited circumstances. If I steal a phone in the US, are the UK police going to be able to tell you it is stolen? Will you know where it was stolen from if I ship it off to the UK and have someone fence it there? Ditto the phone companies, is a carrier in Germany going to know if a phone was stolen off Telstra's network?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Remote IMEI check

No need for *#06#, it is found in Settings -> General -> About.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Remote IMEI check

Ask the seller to show a screenshot of the IMEI and serial number from the phone? Its not foolproof, as they could send you a different phone, but more likely if they knew why you were asking they'd just fail to respond and you'd have your answer right there.

If they do send you a different phone from the one they said they would, it will be pretty easy to get your money refunded by eBay. Not saying I'd recommend buying an iPhone from eBay though, you aren't likely to get much better prices there than you could get elsewhere and if you do, you have to ask yourself why that would be...

If you think the odds of getting your money back are tiny, I guess you've never had to get eBay to refund your money when you were sold an item that doesn't work or wasn't what was described. I have, and I've had no problem getting my money back. I did lose out a bit once because i had to ship the (DOA) item back at my expense, probably because the seller thought I was trying to scam HIM. The other two times the seller clammed up after the sale and wouldn't respond, and eBay refunded my money and it didn't cost me anything other than a few minutes filling out an online form.

DougS Silver badge

Re: hmmm

Who do you think has the most complete, accurate and up to date list of stolen iPhones? Apple, or some random site you found on the net?

Apple bats away yet another WiLAN patent sueball

DougS Silver badge

Well, not necessarily vindicated if the court costs were more than what WiLAN was asking for. Though typically patent trolls hit up little companies first and then go to the big dogs later, so the earlier settlements may have been paving the way for hoping that the settlements would carry some weight with the jury and make them more likely to think the patents were valid.

Though Apple may have incentive to go to court even if it costs more, to discourage the "let's sue those with the deepest pockets" method of litigation. If you get a reputation as "settle first, go to court only as a last resort" you'll find the trolls lining up outside your door for their settlements, even if they have nothing. Let them know they've got to beat you in court, and that should reduce the number of legal papers dropped off at 1 Infinite Loop if nothing else.

Apple blacklists tech journo following explicit BENDY iPhone vid

DougS Silver badge

@auburnman

How exactly can you construct a fair test that simulates an average day's (or year's) wear and tear?

The only way to do it is to actually use it, and there are a lot of 6 Plus owners who are doing just that. If this was a real problem for a lot of people, there would be more and more complaints every day from actual iPhone 6 Plus owners that it happened to them.

But there haven't been, at this point it is all noise from Apple haters, just like every new iPhone launch. The only issue for a new iPhone that actually affected more than a handful of iPhone owners was the antenna issue on the iPhone 4. All the rest - "yellow screen" on the 4S, "purple haze in photos" on 5, and so on were a few scattered reports than the haters did their best to blow out of all proportion, just like the bending.

DougS Silver badge

No "contract lock in"

Apple gives a full refund for 14 or 30 days (can't remember which) for any reason. So anyone who bought a 6 Plus, saw the bending video and was concerned they made the wrong choice and shouldn't have bought it could return it without issue.

Few people will though, because it is a non-issue. The ability to bend a phone when you deliberately try to do so with a lot of force doesn't mean that the handful of people who have reported it bending in their pocket will suddenly number in the millions.

Google "m8 bent". HTC had the same issue, and obviously it was the same small segment of the user base that had the problem. CR's test showed it is EASIER to bend that the iPhone 6/6 Plus, so if Apple was going to have a ton of returns for "not fit for purpose" like the fandroids vainly hope, HTC would have already.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Big phone = more easily breakable..

Yes it does. Google "m8 bent". Apple gets lots of publicity, both good and bad. HTC gets very little, avoiding both the positive and the negative...

Apple said they test for bending using 55 pounds of force, and always have. One can argue that this isn't enough and they should be testing with a higher force, as evidenced by a small number of people who claim they bent in their pockets. But a phone bending when you deliberately try to bend it by applying enough force to make your thumbs go white? Who cares! That's like complaining that the screen breaks when you stomp on it with a steel toed boot.

You dirty RAT! Hong Kong protesters infected by iOS, Android spyware

DougS Silver badge

@AC faking certificates

There are Chinese root CAs, like CNNIC. You don't think the government could order them "sign this certificate for google.com"? There's also HongKong Post, which they might be able to use similar arm-twisting with.

As for Hong Kong not being behind the Great Firewall, it doesn't have to be for China to have control over its internet. They just have to maintain control of the routers for traffic entering/leaving the country, which you'd have to be naive to think they don't have.

If by some chance they don't have such control now, you can bet they will make sure they do in the near future.

DougS Silver badge

Since the government has full control of the internet, DNS, etc. as well as the ability to fake certificates it would easily be within their means to perform a MITM attack when Android owners connect to the Google Play store. Or, even easier, perform this attack (possibly via a complete takeover) using one of the Chinese app stores that people in China have come to trust. The idea that Android users in Hong Kong are safe if they avoid downloading apps from dodgy sources is a bit naive.

A device that's only capable of running signed apps may be limiting in some ways, but it prevents a lot of mischief that a state actor that possesses total control over the internet might possibly accomplish to get malware onto your phone.

Apple is GOLDBRICKING IT: BEHOLD the iPad Glister-Slab

DougS Silver badge

Why would having a touchscreen murder the battery? The delta between two displays that are identical except one is a touchscreen is almost zero, it is actually touching it and making something happen that burns CPU that runs through battery.

I expect the Apple Watch will have a battery life closer to a week than a day. They never said how long the battery life was, there was one offhand statement Cook made that people assumed meant nightly charging. Since it doesn't have a cellular radio it would burn very little battery in standby even compared to a phone. Given that an iPhone 5/5S has a battery maybe 5-6x larger than the Watch's battery will be, and have standby of well over a week including cellular (if you've got a strong signal) with a much larger screen and bigger CPU/GPU I think getting a week out of the Watch is quite doable.

Don't mistake Samsung Gear's battery life for Apple's. Apple is better at getting more out of a battery than the competition, and the Gear has cellular capability which is a battery killer in such a small device - not only because it draws the battery but because the antenna must be smaller and less efficient, and that's made worse by having it on your wrist.

DougS Silver badge

I wouldn't really call it an "auxiliary touch screen" since the fact it is even a touch screen was downplayed during the event. There's a "digital crown", which is basically like a modern version of the control that many windup watches had on the side that you can use to control it, so that you don't have your finger in the way on the face. Having a touch screen as the only UI for a device with a screen 1.5" in size is stupid, because there's not much room for doing anything other than swiping in four directions or touching at most five locations (the middle and four corners) which doesn't allow for even as much control as an iPod's jog wheel provided!

Presumably Apple has some undisclosed capabilities in their Watch - something Cook hinted at in interviews after the presentation when he said he couldn't show the reporters the operation of his watch up close. If not, it will sell a few million to iPhone owners as a better exercise tracker than an iPhone, but the "let you do stuff with your phone without taking it out of your pocket" market has a size of essentially zero, unless removing one's phone from one's pocket has suddenly become a lot more difficult than I have previously experienced.

Apple's patent filings suggest it may go in the direction of providing some health information/support beyond simple fitness tracking. If it were possible for it to determine your blood sugar levels without a needle (via tiny amounts of sweat or gasses emitted from the skin underneath it) it would be a boon to diabetics. If it were possible to monitor the pulse rate to an extreme detail, maybe it could warn of problems like strokes or heart attacks more quickly - call the doctor for you. I don't know how possible things like this are, and if they can be done if they could be done cost effectively, but that's the sort of thing that would have to happen to expand the market beyond the fitness and technology obsessed to the mass market.

One thing I thought was very interesting that has hardly been touched upon is that it has not one but three different types of sensors for sensing your pulse rate. Either it is doing that to be more accurate (since devices that strap to the wrist are notably finicky in that regard in my experience) or it is doing more than simply measuring the number of times your heart beats per minute.

It is also using two different types of movement sensors, which may be to increase accuracy so that, along with the heart rate data, it can make a reasonable assessment of the amount of calories you're burning doing normal activities. The Fitbit is notoriously inaccurate outside a narrow range of activities, so there is a ton of room for improvement there. Not saying the Apple Watch would necessarily improve that by much, but it appears it may be trying to do so.

That PERSONAL DATA you give away for free to Facebook 'n' pals? It's worth at least £140

DougS Silver badge

Re: "Beverly Hills 90210" was the best show ever!

Or if you're a fan of the Blues Brothers, no doubt you'll report you live in Chicago at 1060 W. Addison St.

Want to see the back of fossil fuels? Calm down, hippies. CAPITALISM has an answer

DougS Silver badge

Hydrogen might be better used in the form of methane

If we can make hydrogen, we can make methane from it easily. That's something we know can easily store and transport today, and if we've already got a utility connection that provides natural gas that's our "backup" capacity if we have too many cloudy days in a row and our stored supply of self-made methane runs out.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Oh stupid, silly Hydrogen people...

Apparently, hydrogen stores well in nanotube-like carbon structures. Can we build such structures efficiently and get the hydrogen in/out of it easily? No, not today, not even close! But maybe someday...if we solve that problem we avoid the need to store hydrogen at low temperatures, don't have to worry about leakage, and damage in an impact (like a car crash) doesn't result in the possibility of hydrogen fires/explosions.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Clean energy NOW

Please explain under what possible circumstances a nuclear plant could concentrate fissile material at the required purity to reach critical mass for even a fizzle, let alone a full explosion. Even with a full meltdown of brand new rods couldn't cause this, because there would be too many impurities present. It might be really hot for a really long time and have lots of nasty byproducts, but it will never be at risk of detonation.

The consequences of nuclear disasters have been shown well by Chernobyl and Fukushima. Making stuff up about the chance for a nuclear explosion (rather than a simple hydrogen explosion breaking containment as with those disasters) doesn't serve your point, it just makes you sound like a loon.

Windows 10: One for the suits, right Microsoft? Or so one THOUGHT

DougS Silver badge

Enable clipboard on the command prompt?

Until today I had no idea there was a way to enable clipboard on the command prompt! I still don't know how to "enable click edit mode" either by default or otherwise, but it is terribly shitty design on Microsoft's part that I should have to enable or learn to enable anything.

The command prompt should have had normal cut and paste that works like everything else from day one, no one should have had to wait for the 9th generation of NT for this!

Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'

DougS Silver badge

Re: @ecofeco

Maybe you should read some IRS documents if you think 1% is purely a marketing term. Politicians may have popularized the term and caused some people to misuse it, but when the IRS shows incomes and taxes paid for individuals they divide it into quartiles, and further divide the upper quartile into the top 10% overall and the top 1% overall.

That's where the "one percenters" originated from, not on Madison Avenue.

DougS Silver badge

Re: @ecofeco

Perhaps you should have read what I wrote, which didn't make any claims about the 1%, but about the "upper middle class". Unless you think the upper middle class extends to people with incomes not far from $1 million/yr, I was not talking about the 1%.

A moment of brilliance? UPnP for Internet of Stuff lightbulbs

DougS Silver badge

I look at IoT like I looked at NFC

It is a solution looking for a problem. Eventually a problem might come along that is made easier to implement using this solution, but until then it is just a geek toy.

A good example of this for NFC is "merchants keep getting hacked and losing CC details". To which the solution is EMV, which uses a one time token to pay the merchant so a hacked merchant doesn't result in a bunch of hassle and/or fraudulent charges. One time tokens were tried years ago, using applications/web sites that would do the one time code generation to help secure online shopping (which at the time was felt to be less secure than in-person shopping) but due to the hassle involved it was a niche solution that was used by few.

Making it work for in-person purchases can be done using NFC instead of mag stripes to pass the details - either using a phone like Apple Pay or using a NFC enabled credit card. When all NFC payments consisted of was "tap to pay instead of swipe to pay" it was stupid and pointless, basically "look at how cool I am, I can pay with my phone!" When it can use EMV so you gain security (and some degree of anonymity) in the bargain it now has a real purpose.

It remains to be seen what the purpose is for IoT, if indeed anything is ever found. Like NFC, it is attractive to the sort of geek who likes technology for technology's sake. But the improvement in one's life is marginal at best, and certainly not worth the hassle of implementation and troubleshooting except for such geeks, to be able to turn lights on and off from any room, turn on the dishwasher while you're at work, or the wet dream of having a fridge that orders milk when you're out of it.

The smart fridge idea has always made me laugh the hardest. This smart fridge will have to be smart indeed, as it needs cameras inside that can see and identify items and when they run out. Good luck with that, we've been struggling with machine vision for decades now! Either that, or everyone has to pay for the technological masturbation of a few by including RFID tags on every single item we buy so the fridge knows when things are added/removed, what the expiration date is, etc. Though it still won't be able to tell how full the gallon jug of milk is, only that it must be empty when you take it out but don't replace it!

RFID tags on every item could theoretically make checkers redundant in grocery stores, so maybe that will happen anyway, but until that happens I sure as hell don't want to pay more for my groceries just to make your smart fridge work!

EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else

DougS Silver badge

Why Microsoft cares

Presumably they believe that phone makers have been discouraged from pursuing a mixed Android / WP strategy. One would assume the reason they think that is because they've been told so by OEMs "off the record", though it is possible such pressure was overstated to provide an excuse when they didn't want to sell Windows phones.

For those OEMs who also sell PC Windows products, maybe they feared Microsoft's response there - Microsoft better hope their nose is completely clean in that regard, as once the regulators start digging who knows what they might uncover!

Whether the near absence of Windows Phone products from vendors other than Nokia is due to Google pressure, rather than fear of Microsoft's close relationship with Nokia (before they bought them) or the general lack of market demand for Windows Phone, is something the EU will have to determine.

DougS Silver badge

Where does it say that Apple was involved in this? It is probably in Apple's favor if Android OEMs are chafing against the restrictions Google places on them, rather than everyone being happy and all singing from the same Android hymn book as Google would like people to think.

Expecting the OEMs to willingly provide details of Google's bad behavior is unrealistic. The PC makers weren't willing to rat out Microsoft and Intel, because they knew there would be consequences. It is like the police trying to get business owners to rat out the mafia for hitting them up for protection money. If the business owners think the mafia will kill them for talking, nothing the police can do will get them to talk.

They'll only cooperate with this probe if the punishment from the EU (1% of annual turnover for five years) is seen as worse than the damage that Google could do to their business if they retaliated. That's why such a large punishment is being dangled over their heads.

Icahn and I DID: eBay volte-faces, spins PayPal into separate biz

DougS Silver badge

They almost certainly will

Assuming this move makes Paypal truly independent, and eBay or its major shareholders don't retain a significant portion of shares, eBay has no reason to maintain an exclusive relationship with Paypal in the long run. They won't give any hints about this because they know it would damage the value of Paypal. Instead Paypal will talk about how it will be able to expand its markets since it won't be seen as being for eBay only, etc.

I think Paypal may be very interesting to me a few months after IPO when it starts trading LEAPS, buying some puts for the January after next when that happens could become highly profitable as the value of Paypal will crash once eBay opens itself up to other payment methods.

Apple Pay, along with Google Wallet once it also supports EMV, may become a preferred payment method online within the next few years. I think eBay is dumping Paypal now because they know it will never be worth as much in 2017 as it is worth today.

Anti-Facebook Ello: Here's why we're still in beta. SPAMGASM!

DougS Silver badge

Getting rid of spammers should be easy for them

In order to get in, you have to be invited by someone else. If you invite more than one or two (in case friend's accounts get hacked) spammers, your invite could be suspended. If you invite like a half dozen or more spammers, not only do you get suspended but everyone you invited (and those they invited, and so on) would get suspended.

That sort of policy would make it pretty difficult for spammers get a foothold.

You could make yourself more resist to "accidentally" suspension by having others "stand up" for you as a real non-spamming person. i.e. reputation based, so the higher your reputation the higher the bar for your account getting suspended for inviting spammers.

Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey

DougS Silver badge

I'd agree to that if I actually read the thing

Knowing that a clause requiring me to give up my firstborn would be unenforceable, I wouldn't worry about it. I'd worry much more if I gave my assent to receiving marketing surveys because that's something I know would be enforceable!

It's official: EU chiefs WILL probe Apple's Irish tax deal

DougS Silver badge

"Price Apple would have charged a non-Apple subsidiary"

So if finished phones were being transferred, the wholesale price they charge vendors - which, for Apple, is very high as a percentage of the retail price.

If IP was being transferred, a high price would also be appropriate as recent court cases against Samsung have shown that Apple assigns a very high price to its IP based on the amount per phone they felt was appropriate for just a few design patents.

Because of this, it might be difficult to prove Apple got a special deal even if its transfer pricing is significantly higher than the competition. While many will say that Apple's prices are too high and they have made ridiculous demands for licensing their patents, if the issue isn't whether those prices are impartially (somehow?) judged to be too high, but rather whether the prices are in line with what Apple would charge a non-Apple subsidiary, Apple may be in the clear.

Apple finally patches Bash Shellshock vuln that WAS NOT A WORRY, OK?

DougS Silver badge

Are these vendors working together at all on bash patches?

Because based on the patch of the day club at Red Hat (on version #3 and counting...) Apple having a patch that the poster above claims only addresses some of the flaws, others having patches for some of their products but not others it seems like everyone's security team is coming up with their own fixes for bash that only incrementally address the issues.

Hopefully at some point someone will have a patch that actually fixes the flaw 100% (without adding new vulnerabilities) and everyone else will copy those changes into their version. Apparently no one wants to work together because they don't want that cooperation to delay their fixes, but it is worse to put out patches that only partially address the issue than it is to be kept waiting for a complete fix.

Sounds like OS X will need at least one more cycle if this isn't a complete fix, and Red Hat has already had three and there's no reason to believe that's it, so given these two examples that's probably going to be par for the course for everyone. Sounds like a really shitty week to be a sysadmin, sure am glad I'm not!

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