* Posts by DougS

12862 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

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

DougS Silver badge

Like that's a problem

I'd happily move a hunk of junk every year for a quarter century if it would sell for that kind of price!

Ooh, my machine is SO much faster than yours... Oh, wait, that might be a bit of a problem...

DougS Silver badge

Beautiful polished concrete

It would have cost almost nothing to set conduit pipes before pouring that concrete. Assuming they knew where the desks would be, they could later add what they needed and it wouldn't even show. Heck they could run have it pop up every couple meters in a grid and just cover the unused ones in trafficked areas with a stainless steel cover - which would go nicely with the polished concrete and almost look like a deliberate design feature!

Dear humans, We thought it was time we looked through YOUR source code. We found a mystery ancestor. Signed, the computers

DougS Silver badge

Interesting link. That story could make for an interesting movie, though the "immortal man" movie has already been done with "The Man from Earth".

FCC: Oh no, deary me. What a shame. Too bad, so sad we can't do net neutrality appeal during the US govt shutdown

DougS Silver badge

While I agree the speaker of the house shouldn't leave the US

In the middle of a government shutdown, it was pretty petty on Trump's part to cancel her transport. If he wasn't such a dolt, he would have let her go and take all the well-deserved negative criticism from those affected by the shutdown. Public opinion is not on his side, but something like that might have been able to sway it in his favor.

Most munificent Apple killed itself with kindness. Oh. Really?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Look it's really quite simple.

It isn't "marketing". If nothing else, history has shown Microsoft security issues can be exploited on a pretty widespread basis even when people are updating pretty often. Falling a few months behind is probably not an issue, but continuing to use Windows 7 two years later in 2022 would not be a smart move.

We haven't seen such a truly widespread attack on phones, but it is probably only a matter of time. Especially since Android source code is public, it is pretty easy for bad guys to identify security issues that were patched and know that there is a nearly unlimited number of potential targets that don't have and never will have an update containing that patch. Open source's "many eyes" go both ways - because security bugs become shallow too it relies on everyone keeping up on the latest patching and not having "orphan" devices that are left behind but remain in use.

DougS Silver badge

Some would have resulted in upgrades

Others would have resulted in battery replacements at the original more expensive price, or a cheaper price for third party replacement at a mall kiosk. Some would have resulted in customers continuing to use a phone that didn't work as well as it used to, which leads to a bad experience which leads to bad word of mouth and possibly a switch to Android. Would it be worth it if they got half those 11 million to buy this fall, but a million others switched to Android? In the short run sure, but in the long run definitely not.

IMHO the lesson Apple should take here is to offer a lower tier version of Applecare for phones over two years old that replaces the battery if it gets worn, or replaces the phone for other problems but does NOT cover the screen. Replacing the battery is a cheap way to keep customers happy, replacing the whole phone in the unlikely event something else goes wrong on the logic board or whatever is pretty cheap to do for the small percentage of customers who would need it because Apple has a continuous supply of older phones available when they get traded in by people buying newer ones (I've traded in to Apple a 5 for a 6S plus and a 6S plus for an X)

While there's a short term loss in sales of new phones from people who are happy with their older phone and continue using it, it is a net gain in the long run. It makes iPhones more valuable the longer people can expect them to live. Couple that with the now 6 year (at least) OS update support life of the 5S and the installed base will continue to grow which will help services revenue continue to grow (especially as they add more available services like the rumored streaming offering and the "applecare lite" I suggested above)

Consider that iPhone unit sales peaked in 2015(!) but since then the installed base has grown by double digits. Apple's long term value proposition will mean that even as sales of new smartphones fall for everyone, due to market saturation and longer replacement cycles, that Apple continues to increase their share of actively used phones. All those old phones that get traded in help establish Apple's presence in countries like India where their sales of new phones is minuscule - the used/refurbished market is the "low end" entry point to the Apple ecosystem. As they move up the economic ladder some will eventually be able to buy new iPhones (especially once Apple starts making them there and avoids the huge import tariffs that make their already high prices really high.

FCC's answer to scandal of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile US selling people's location data: Burying its head in the ground

DougS Silver badge

Re: You don't understand how it works

Every ex-president gets paid big bucks for speaking engagements. Reagan used to make at least that much (after adjustment for inflation) as did both Bushes and more recently Obama.

Instead to trying to use the presidency to get rich through shady hotel deals with Russia or whatever, Trump should have realized that merely being president would open him up to big speaking fees. He's better at speaking in front of crowds than he is as a businessman anyway so it would be win/win for him. As it is now he's going to need do a lot of speaking engagements afford the lawyers to keep himself and his kids out of jail after he leaves office! Real ones not "TV lawyers" like Rudy "truth isn't truth" Guliani.

DougS Silver badge

Re: You don't understand how it works

If you make $174,000 a year and have no children living at home you have absolutely not excuse for not socking away plenty of that and with normal investment gains from a safe portfolio like index funds getting to a million dollars is easy.

I made it to "millionaire" status by my mid 30s and my best earning years weren't all that much more than $174K. Granted I wasn't living in a city as expensive as DC, but I daresay I spend more on booze and women than Bernie :)

A decamillionaire is the real mark of success, that's what a millionaire was in the 70s.

DougS Silver badge

Re: You don't understand how it works

As far as Bernie goes, I would think pretty poorly of the financial management skills of anyone who failed to become a millionaire on a senator's salary. You'd have to REALLY work hard to avoid it, by either getting yourself a really big drug habit or giving away several tens of thousands of dollars a year to charity.

DougS Silver badge

You don't understand how it works

They don't get bribes while they have their administration posting. That is clearly illegal and would lead to guaranteed jail time if exposed so only a few clueless idiots do that. Instead, after they leave they get big money as "consultants" that don't actually do anything, or for serving on boards that hardly ever meet. IF they play ball. If they don't, they won't get such offers.

No one needs to make any promises, no money needs to change hands in exchange for favors, so nothing is done which violates any laws. It is all just understood, because everyone does this and always has, in both republican and democrat administrations. This is the swamp Trump promised to drain, which has instead been getting deeper since he took office. Don't look for that to change, even if a "do-gooder" like Sanders is elected in 2020.

Having AI assistants ruling our future lives? That's so sad. Alexa play Despacito

DougS Silver badge

Re: Nothing new...

Wait, you mean the "downside" that Facebook is experiencing due to their repeated bad news stories about privacy? Too bad about the hundreds of millions of users fleeing them....oh wait, there is no detectable loss of users, they are just fine! People grumble a bit but they keep using Facebook and keep seeing all those ads Facebook is getting paid for.

Amazon knows that no one will care - the only ones who do are people like me who don't and never would put an Amazon or Google listening device in their home. So they have nothing to lose by snooping on the rest, and you are willingly allowing them to do it to and your family. You "market trust" argument is just another way to live in denial in exchange for a slight bit of convenience.

US comms watchdog's industry-friendly 5G rules challenged by fresh legislation

DougS Silver badge

Re: $270/year?!

Pretty sure that "maintain" in this case means all the paperwork, not that they are required to have a tech who will go out and service it when it breaks. Obviously it isn't the property of the local government, there's no way they can force them to pay to fix something that isn't theirs when it breaks.

Paperwork meaning stuff like filing away applications for the sites, perhaps yearly nspection to verify that the hardware installed is what is listed on the application and that it is FCC approved, that sort of thing.

Iran satellite fails: ICBM test drive or microsat test? Opinion is divided...

DougS Silver badge

That doesn't matter. The point is whether they have them, not whether they broke a promise - something every country does all the time (including the US)

If the US truly cared about non-proliferation they'd have pressured Israel to not develop nukes. Since everyone knows Israel has them, OF COURSE other middle eastern countries are going to want them too. If the situation was reversed and Israel had signed the treaty and Iran had not and so they could develop nuclear weapons, you damn well bet the US would fully support Israeli efforts to develop nukes in violation of the treaty. We'd have a big pile of senators (at least the ones taking AIPAC money) saying that it was Israel's right to counter the Iranian threat.

The Large Hadron Collider is small beer. Give us billions more for bigger kit, say boffins

DougS Silver badge

Where's Elon Musk?

Waiting for him to claim his Boring company will build a tunnel that rings the entire Earth to make a really big ass accelerator!

A billion-dollar question: What was really behind Qualcomm's surprise ten-digit gift to Apple?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Missing figure?

Qualcomm's FRAND deal specifies a royalty of 5%, which Apple claims should amount to $1.50. It was easy to work out the price of the chip (you can also see similar number from BOMs on iPhones that used Qualcomm's chip so it actually comes from two sources)

DougS Silver badge

Yeah Rambus has always been the poster child for abuse of the standards setting process. The standards organizations all changed the contracts companies had to sign when they joined a standards setting effort to insure this sort of thing could never happen again.

I'm sure Rambus wishes they had come up with the mobile phone industry's "charge as a percentage of the cost of device" scheme for getting around FRAND commitments. Imagine being able to charge for your DRAM patents based on a percentage of the sales price of a PC or server! Someone upgrades the default GPU or substitutes a bigger hard drive in their order, bingo more money for you!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Missing figure?

Five years of phones from 2011-2016? That's about 800 million or so, so that's $24 billion for the chips themselves and then whatever else Qualcomm was able to collect in separate licensing fees.

The only reason they have such a complicated setup is because they don't want to simply charge for the IP as part of the chip. If they wanted to charge $20 per phone in IP just charge $50 per chip instead of $30. But that would add too much transparency for Qualcomm's tastes I guess, or make their chips seem too uncompetitive with other options.

DougS Silver badge

Re: I do wonder...

Just because Intel takes advantage of situations where it has market power doesn't mean it doesn't behave in a more civil fashion where they lack that power. They can't twist Apple's arm like Qualcomm can (or like Intel can when dealing x86 server OEMs) in the modem market, because Apple is their only customer. If anything, Apple has the power over Intel in that relationship.

From stuff just coming to light now, Apple exercised that power too. When Apple wanted to dual source the 2018 iPhones but Qualcomm said they would only sell to Apple in an exclusive deal, Apple went to Intel's CEO and said "instead of 50% of our iPhones we need modems for 100%". If Intel had said no, Apple would have had no choice but to enter into another exclusive deal with Qualcomm meaning Intel would have spent all that money developing their modems but have no buyers for them. Now you know where Intel's 14nm shortage last summer came from...

DougS Silver badge

Re: I do wonder...

I think Intel "paid" in the form of more reasonable pricing to start with, and not forcing a complex deal with incentive payments, rebates, cross licensing requirements and so on.

Google to yoink apps with an unauthorized Call Log or SMS habit from Android Play Store

DougS Silver badge

Re: Is it easier to start with a walled garden

Well its a good thing we want to allow the squirrels and cats in then :)

DougS Silver badge

Is it easier to start with a walled garden

Then try to make a few chosen holes in it, to allow squirrels and your cat (using his special collar) to get in/out, or start with an open slat fence, and try to board up every spot you see a fox or rabbit sneaking in for a feast?

It is good Google is doing this, but Google's openness means there are similar problems all over the place like say with location info or network information. Google will have to go back and deal with each and every one if they really want to improve things, instead of handling a few pieces of low hanging fruit that are leading to bad publicity. Every time they lock something down, some legitimate users who don't qualify under the new rules but had become used to the freedom that openness gave them will be shut out.

Google will be forced to bring in more of the heavy handed review/approval process Apple has long required, since for all the "AI" hype we keep hearing about a human is and will remain for a long time yet the only way to determine the difference between a 'legitimate' need for access to the call log or SMS, and an app that's overreaching or intent on bad behavior. Even with humans you can't be 100%, as Apple's occasional mistakes in refusing or approving apps demonstrates.

Yes, you can remotely hack factory, building site cranes. Wait, what?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Hardly surprising

Then I'm pleasantly surprised that there's actually a heavy equipment industry that takes security seriously. That's certainly not the norm!

DougS Silver badge

Hardly surprising

The companies that make these aren't thinking about security - they would not have seen any reason to encrypt/sign packets in their protocol. They would only care about interference to the extent that it could result in a 'misheard' command. If they address DoS at all, they would make the protocol have to keep repeating movement (go right for 1m, go right for 1m, go right for 1m) rather than have a "go right" command that keeps going right until a "stop" command is issued.

The good news is that the control units would be a tiny fraction of the cost of the whole crane, so it should be relatively easy to retrofit a much more secure controller. The question is: who is going to pay for it?

Ahem, Amazon, Google, Microsoft... Selling face-snooping tech to the Feds is bad, mmm'kay?

DougS Silver badge

This is a nice goal

But they will acquire this tech from someone. If Boeing or SRI provides it instead of Google or Microsoft, they still get it. Maybe it won't be as mature, but the DoD has an effectively unlimited budget so they can drive semi trucks full of cash up to their loading docks for as long as is required for them to meet the DoD's needs.

Huawei's horror show 2019 continues as Taiwanese research institute joins banhammer club

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why is this a surprise?

More a surprise they haven't banned mainland Chinese telecom hardware all along. It is hard to imagine that the Chinese government does not spy on Taiwan every chance they can get.

*taps on glass* Hellooo, IRS? Anyone in? Anyone guarding taxpayers' data from crooks? Hellooo?

DougS Silver badge

Re: There's a simple solution to this

The air traffic controllers went on strike for normal strike reasons like wanting more money or whatever. That's VERY different from going on strike because you are being forced to work without pay!

The two situations have as much to do with one another as the difference between refusing to pay your bill at the restaurant because you feel you didn't get a large enough portion size vs refusing to pay your bill because you were served a bowl of soup with a dead rat in it.

DougS Silver badge

Re: There's a simple solution to this

Not sure if authorizing back pay makes it a moot point, given that the employees have no way of knowing how long the shutdown will last. Getting back pay in July after a six month shutdown is probably not a viable solution for most. Sure, six months is very unlikely, but there's no way to know for sure and no way for these 'slaves' to influence the duration of their slavery. Except for one thing - going on strike.

Given that the only way of influencing how long the shutdown lasts is by striking, courts upholding a law against striking just seems to be very unlikely to me. And anyway, if they strike, Trump would have to order them to be fired which I think someone as sensitive to public opinion (or rather Fox News opinion) as he would be reluctant to do. Even if he did, there's a 100% chance a court would issue a stay order preventing them from being fired while a decision of whether the law allowing their firing for striking was unconstitutional or not.

The better question would be, how the heck do they hire any replacements for a position where they can't start paying you for an unknown period? Good luck with that!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Social Security Number

My dad got one for me when I was a kid, and promptly misplaced it. I've never seen it, though luckily he did keep track of what my SSN is. I've never once been in a situation where I needed that card, no employer has asked to see it, etc.

So I don't see why you would care about laminating it or replacing it. It is completely useless.

DougS Silver badge

Re: There's a simple solution to this

I think there's a very good chance the courts would strike those laws down as illegal based on the 13th amendment in the case of government workers who are forced to work without pay.

As for the argument this somehow proves the government isn't necessary or is too big, that's pretty rich considering over half the number of affected employees were deemed "critical" and forced to work without pay. The work of the rest will just pile up and their departments will end up hiring temps to help them clear the backlog once the shutdown ends. The shutdown will end up costing the government more, and costing the economy. All because Trump doesn't want his feelings hurt by Rush.

DougS Silver badge

Re: There's a simple solution to this

It is FAR easier for businesses to shift revenue and costs around than individuals, especially large businesses. So a local restaurant or machine shop will pay full freight on the taxes because they can't move their revenue around, but I'm sure you understand all those US companies that have an office in Bermuda aren't doing so because that corporate structure makes sense.

DougS Silver badge

There's a simple solution to this

The IRS should simply not process any returns during the shutdown. That will guarantee it gets resolved VERY quickly, one way or another, because instead of 800K federal employees not getting paid, it will be 80 million people not getting refunds.

Though if I was one of those federal employees, especially one of the "critical" ones being forced to work without pay like the TSA or air traffic control, I'd try to organize all my co-workers into going on strike. Let air traffic grind to a halt in the US when no TSA employees show up, and that will get it resolved even more quickly than if the IRS didn't process refunds (since most people can't file until end of the month because they have to wait to receive their W2)

Talk about beating heads against brick walls... Hard disk drive unit shipments slowly spinning down

DougS Silver badge

Re: So mirror them

You've used "spinners" for many more years than SSDs, so you have more chance to encounter failures with them. I've never had an SSD die on me, but I've had hard drives die on me. But that makes sense, since I've owned a lot more hard drives in the past 25 years than I've owned SSDs in the past 10.

In fact I still use the same pair of 80GB Intel SSDs that were the first ones I ever bought, on my PC today (as root/home) They still work, they still have plenty of write life left per S.M.A.R.T., and they are mirrored in case of sudden unexpected failure, so they will probably still be working fine when I retire them alongside a collection of old hard drives that retired "working but too small to be useful any longer".

DougS Silver badge

So mirror them

If you trust hard drives you are dumb, they can fail without notice too. Sometimes you might see them throwing errors, but when the controller dies you are SOL with zero warning whether that's the controller on an HDD or on an SSD.

I used to have two HDDs in my PC. Currently I have two HDDs and two SSDs. The next PC I build in a few years will have two SSDs and no HDDs. I'm hoping some laptops will include two m.2 slots so it will be possible to mirror there as well next time I buy.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Steep drop in prices for SSD

Which is a higher per bit price than the 1 TB model. So it needs to drop by more than 75% in 10 months. Not a chance in hell.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Steep drop in prices for SSD

No one doubts that, but how small the drop is is more surprising.

As for as getting a 4 TB SSD for that price this year. NOT A CHANCE. I doubt you will even in 2020. Prices are not halving every six months!!

AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile US pledge, again, to not sell your location to shady geezers. Sorry, we don't believe them

DougS Silver badge

Then they shouldn't mind if there is legislation that enforces this

If they fight such legislation, and claim it is "costly regulation", then they should be asked "how can it cost you anything to not do something you have just promised us you would not do"? There's no way they could fight this, and without the telco lobbyists fighting it there's no reason why congress shouldn't pass it without delay.

If congress doesn't pass it, I'll suspect that not only are the telcos lying, but the congressmen who take money from their lobbyists KNOW they are lying.

Dozens of .gov HTTPS certs expire, webpages offline, FBI on ice, IT security slows... Yup, it's day 20 of Trump's govt shutdown

DougS Silver badge

So by your logic

The republicans should have stood aside and not complained when the democrats passed Obamacare, since that was one of his signature campaign promises? Being elected as president doesn't mean the electorate automatically supports all your campaign pledges - especially when the margin of victory was less than 100K votes across three states. Even Obama's somewhat larger margins didn't grant him a "mandate" to do anything he promised as far as I'm concerned. The congress is an independent branch of government, not a rubber stamp for the president's wishes like Trump thinks they should be.

And as suggested, if it was this important to Trump, why didn't he push it harder when he had both the house and senate? It is pretty obvious he's only doing this because a couple conservative media figures loudly objected, and he panicked about losing support from his base. If he believes he's able to declare a state of emergency to get his way, and ends up doing so, then what he's done by using the federal employees as pawns is abhorrent. He'll probably do so, only because it is the only way out for him at this point without losing face.

Peak Apple: This time it's SERIOUS, Tim

DougS Silver badge

Long support life is part of Apple's value

It leads to higher resale value than any Android phones, and greater customer satisfaction amongst those who choose not to upgrade.

Sure Apple would love to sell everyone new phones, but cutting a bunch of older phones off from updates would cause their resale/trade in value to tank, which makes new phones effectively more expensive.

If anything they should try to extend the day where they obsolete older models as long as possible, and begin promoting that as an advantage to iPhones over Android. They could offer AppleCare for longer time periods, with a reduced rate over time to enable people who want to keep them longer to do so and pay for their battery replacements as they wear out every couple years (since all phones use the same battery chemistry they all start to lose capacity after ~500 charge/discharge cycles)

It is also valuable to Apple for the people who still want to replace phones more quickly. Those people aren't throwing away their perfectly good phones, they are being traded in to Apple or sold to a third party. Either way they are refurbished and resold as a lower price entry point into the Apple ecosystem. Most iPhones used in India were not purchased new, because their new prices are too high for most Indians (especially given their high tariffs for phones not manufactured in India) There are more people walking around with iPhones than you'd think with their 1% market share, which counts only new phones sold inside India, not secondhand sales or phones purchased elsewhere and brought into the country by travelers.

DougS Silver badge

Re: "and failed to honour the cynical tradition of built-in obsolescence"

The iPhone 5S, first sold in 2013, still gets updates. How many Android phones that age get updates? Zero is the answer you are looking for. Heck, the list of Android phones half that old still getting updates is pretty small.

I think they wanted to get to the point where all their supported phones were 64 bit, which they reached when they dropped the 5/5C over a year ago. I would not be surprised if the 5S gets yet another year, since Apple is trying to focus more on installed base than selling people new phones every year or two. I mean, sure, they'd love to keep selling everyone a new phone every year but there just aren't any improvements ANYONE is making to phones that justify that upgrade rate anymore. So they have started to switch their focus to increasing the number of people using iPhones to grow their services revenue.

And it has been working - their installed base has grown at double digit rates, even during the past three years when unit sales of iPhones have fallen since their peak in 2015.

Oracle's in-house lawyer denied access to Uncle Sam's procurement docs in JEDI legal battle

DougS Silver badge

Why would they think a 15 year employee should access competitive information?

That's obviously something that needs to be restricted to a third party lawyer hired by Oracle, not an in-house lawyer who would use Oracle email addresses etc., so the information can be protected against disclosure to others in Oracle. Knowing what everyone else bid would be a huge advantage for them, the courts have to insure that cannot happen.

Just for EU, just for EU, just for EU: Forget about enforcing Right To Be Forgotten outside member states

DougS Silver badge

Information wants to be free

Trying to censor stuff was a lot easier a couple centuries ago, when most people rarely traveled more than a few dozen miles from where they were born, and only the well to do were literate.

You want the benefits of a worldwide information network, you have to take the downsides - if indeed you think that losing a "right to be forgotten" is a downside which not everyone will agree with.

You can make laws that apply to your country, or to the whole EU perhaps if their governments agree, but you can't make it apply worldwide and there's nothing you can do to prevent your citizens from learning those things you want so badly to censor. If you try to make your laws apply worldwide, it is a slippery slope where every country gets to choose what to censor from the worldwide internet. Hope you weren't wanting to learn the latest on the Mueller probe (censored by Russia) or what people think Mohammad looked like (censored by Saudi Arabia) or how to break DRM so you can watch a DVD out of region (censored by the USA)

Amazon exec tells UK peers: No, we don't want to be dominant. Also, we don't fancy being taxed on revenues

DougS Silver badge

But how do you account for this?

Let's say Amazon UK (a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon which is a US based company) buys widgets from China for £1 each and sells them to you for £2. Easy to calculate profit on them selling one more widget as being £1. If there's an Amazon Bermuda (also a subsidiary of Amazon) that buys the widgets from China at £1 and sells them to Amazon UK at £1.99, they make only £0.01 off your transaction.

That's cost shifting from Amazon on a global perspective, but as far as Amazon UK is concerned - which is the only part of Amazon subject to UK taxes - they just aren't very profitable. How do you write UK tax law to allow them to tax Amazon as a whole, when it isn't located in the UK and doesn't do business in the UK other than via its Amazon UK subsidiary? I don't see any practical way to do so.

Now that US is no longer taxing worldwide income, the incentive is far greater for US companies to play the same games, with the same result. This is probably why the US taxed worldwide income in the first place - which worked here since many multinationals are based here. The only mistake was waiting to tax it until it was brought back into the US - providing an incentive for companies to park billions offshore on the hope that someday it might be cheaper to bring home.

What's 23 times the size of Earth, uncomfortably warm – and has astroboffins excited?

DougS Silver badge

Re: "too hot for life at 150°C" ?

Given that life is likely to first evolve in water, if it evolved in deep water it might be cooler than that and would definitely be at higher pressure meaning a higher boiling point.

I think life could easily evolve on such a world. The question is whether complex life would be possible, but given that we've got a sample size of only one world on which life has evolved, there's a good chance that life is viable at a far wider range of conditions than what we have on Earth.

The trick might be recognizing it as such, if it is microorganism scale. If life inside a star was possible, not only would it be almost impossible for us to recognize as such it would be impossible for us to even be in a position to recognize it. It would be as cut off from us as deep ocean thermal vent life is cut off from grizzly bears.

Gyro failure fingered for sending Earth-gazing Digital Globe sat TITSUP (That's a total inability to snap usual pics)

DougS Silver badge

Directv had a gyro problem on a few years ago

On one of its satellites. They had backup gyros so they were able to recover it the next day and I think were able to get the original one working again too. It seems like a reasonable precaution when you have satellites in orbit that are generating $85 million a year in revenue!

Excuse me, sir. You can't store your things there. Those 7 gigabytes are reserved for Windows 10

DougS Silver badge

Re: Easy way to regain the 7 GB

I solve that problem by having more RAM than I will ever need, since it is a cheap and I don't do anything that uses massive amounts. I could still have a rogue app grab all the memory and cause problems - and that has happened a few times - but I never had a lockup. Just weird errors or the rogue application quitting on its own after a few seconds long lockup.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Easy way to regain the 7 GB

You need that for hiberation, but not for suspend to RAM, which is what I use almost all the time. Only if I'm not touching my laptop for about 4 days does it run the battery down all the way (and mine's a 17 incher, others probably get a lot more STR life)

Senator Wyden goes ballistic after US telcos caught selling people's location data yet again

DougS Silver badge

Re: The GSM/LTE call protocol may be an even bigger risk

I'm fine with that - pay more for privacy. Hell don't make it mandatory, just mandatory to offer and I'll pay more for it and the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" crowd can save money.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Re-seller

Or store the data, or leak the data. Once the call is over they no longer need it, there is ZERO reason for them to save it. For billing they can save the general area (city you are calling to/from) like paper phone bills used to back in the day (I haven't looked at mine for ages since I have unlimited calling, so I don't know what it lists tbh) there's no reason they need to save which tower in NYC you were calling from for billing purposes.

DougS Silver badge

Re: The GSM/LTE call protocol may be an even bigger risk

Should add this works with any carrier, it isn't specific to AT&T, but it seems the cellular modem and target's SIM have to both use the same carrier.

DougS Silver badge

The GSM/LTE call protocol may be an even bigger risk

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, because if this is true (seen on Slashdot, so I don't know) then it may not help much to block cellular companies from selling this info. If I have a cellular modem with an AT&T SIM, apparently I can call any AT&T subscriber and when their phone rings I'll get a packet back indicating the CELLID they are currently using. That would give a ballpark location estimate (within maybe 100m in a city, or a km or two in rural areas) using one of the free sites showing GPS coordinates for a given CELLID.

In a city that's easily enough for a stalker to tell if you are home, at work, at the gym etc. assuming they are spread out a bit. For a jealous spouse to determine you are not where you said you were. For a terrorist/assassin to determine a specific target is at the right location to set off the bomb. Maybe it will take the latter to happen before someone seriously considers the protocol security as a risk?

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