* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Spin doctors crack 'impossible' asteroid hurtling towards Earth

DougS Silver badge

Why would dealing with this be any more difficult than a solid one?

If it was solid, we'd try doing something to push it out of the way (landing on it and thrusting, painting one side white, exploding a nuke to one side of it) You can still do any of those things (maybe landing might be difficult) and if it stays together, you still push it out of the way. If it falls apart because the van der Waals force fails, it will spin itself to a widely distributed state.

So long as we take care of it in less than 900 years, that should give it plenty of time to disperse to the point where all that happens is we have a nice meteor shower to watch from the comfort of our flying car. Well, assuming flying cars aren't still 30 years away in 2950.

FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'

DougS Silver badge

Re: The iPhone was a copy anyway

Movies and TV shows are not prior art. The thing that stops someone from patenting a Star Trek style medical tricorder isn't because Star Trek had the idea, because you can't patent an idea. The thing that stops you is because no one has a clue how to make one, which makes it rather difficult to patent since that is required.

Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes

DougS Silver badge

Why would a small business help Amazon?

Amazon is competing with them, at least if they're a retailer rather than a sandwich shop. If I owned a retail shop I wouldn't use this as it would help Amazon. You know if this is successful, Amazon will have their own card at some point that allows them to keep the whole 1.75% and cut out Visa/Mastercard. Then they'll offer people deals for using it at amazon.com. More incentive for your customers to buy online instead of at your shop, and quicker path to bankruptcy for you all because you were seduced by a short term savings.

Chinese regulator fires antitrust advisor over alleged kickbacks from Qualcomm

DougS Silver badge

Not good for Qualcomm

As he'll likely be replaced by someone hostile to them.

Marvell: NO WAY should we have to pay jumbo $1.54bn patent judgment

DougS Silver badge

Re: USPTO liability?

No, they have no liability. The reason they approve bad patents is because congress has made the USPTO self-funding. They charge for approved patents, not rejected ones, which provides an incentive to approve questionable patents and leave it up to the courts to sort it out later.

If they charged for applications, that might fix some of the issues. If it "cost" them funding when an approved patent was rejected by the courts, it might help further. Requiring some true presence in East Texas to file suit there might help too, jurisdictional shopping should be stamped out whether for patents or anything else.

Apple BANS 2 chemicals from iPhone, iPad final assembly line

DougS Silver badge

Texas? California?

Since when does Apple make iPhones and iPads there? They make Mac Pros in Texas now, but what are they making in California? Anyone know??

Chinese Bitcoin farms: From scuzzy to sci-fi

DougS Silver badge

Re: Isn't this

I know you were being tongue in cheek, but gold has a few major advantages over bitcoins. Besides the obvious fact that it has been used as money for thousands of years, it has uses beyond that for jewelry (it looks nice) and industry (it doesn't tarnish and is a very good conductor) It is easier for average people to deal with since it is something you can touch and don't have to worry about your wallet being corrupted or mysteriously disappearing like those using MtGox.

Gold will still be around and still have value in a decade, and in a century. Even bitcoin's biggest proponents can't say the same about it with any degree of certainty. There will most likely be something like bitcoins in a century, but I think it is quite likely actual "bitcoin" will be a footnote in history by that point.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Isn't this

What's the benefit to you to using it to pay for stuff? How is it better than credit cards, debit cards or cash? If it is because it is (supposedly) "untraceable", why is that something that appeals to you?

If you're using them to pay for stuff, you're a speculator of some type simply by holding them for weeks/months, unless you're buying the bitcoins shortly before using them.

It's time for PGP to die, says ... no, not the NSA – a US crypto prof

DougS Silver badge

Not saying PGP is perfect

As it certainly lacks in user friendliness and ease of use, both of which will be required if it is ever to be adopted by the masses.

But key length on business cards? What a non-issue, given that business cards are dying out these days... But if you must, sounds like a good use for those 2D bar codes that every smartphone on the planet can read without issue.

No more turning over a USB thing, then turning it over again to plug it in: Reversible socket ready for lift off

DougS Silver badge

Re: I don't need another damn connector type

No other USB connector delivers anything like 100 watts. You don't really want to use one of the existing connectors, so you may as well make it not suck while you're at it.

Secretive Apple's super-secret university is full of BULL chic – leakers

DougS Silver badge

Re: Full of bull bloat then?

This has to do with the article how? Higher crash rate than what? The OS that uses less resources than Android is somehow the more bloated?

WinPhone's Halo hottie Cortana to hit desktop in next Windows – report

DougS Silver badge

Cross licensing

Apple and Microsoft have a fairly extensive patent cross licensing deal which would probably cover this, even if Apple wanted to try to enforce this.

Besides, Microsoft has prior art in the form of Microsoft Bob, though if they were sued they might prefer to pay up rather than admit to it!

Apple's new iPad WON'T be late: Tablets kicked to suppliers' factories

DougS Silver badge

Re: Market Share means nothing!

It will be interesting to see how the 5.5" iPhone affects iPad Mini sales. I wouldn't be surprised to see Mini sales drop as a result of a phablet sized iPhone being available, while full size iPad sales rise next year once that IBM deal gets going.

But overall market share in tablets will continue to fall, as the main competition becomes less Samsung and more the ultra cheap Chinese players who are making plans to sell more into the US and Europe. Easier to buy multiple tablets for everyone and not worry about being too careful with them when you can get them for well under $100. Even if Apple wanted to try to grow its market share, they couldn't compete with those unless they sell at a loss.

NIST wants better SCADA security

DougS Silver badge

Re: My SCADA is already secure, ta you very much.

The SCADA system controlling Iran's centrifuges wasn't on the internet either, you know...

Google leaves STUPID vuln on Nest devices

DougS Silver badge

Re: I guess you could also

Security or flexibility. Choose one (at most)

Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp

DougS Silver badge

Re: Is NetApp talking price not cost?

You can't buy 5 TB flash drives, at least not at the same price per GB as you can buy sub 1 TB flash drives. So even if they cost less per GB than a 5 TB SAS drive, you'll need more/bigger Netapps.

Looked at that way, it kinda makes sense that Netapp would try to get people to focus on the cost of the drives, not the array they're going into :)

Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum

DougS Silver badge

This doesn't look like throttling to me

Or at least not "just" throttling. If you have some users that are heavy bandwidth users and some that are using very little, why would you want to allocate them the same amount of spectrum. Yes, this could be used to give less spectrum to heavy users and slow them down, but it could also be used to give less spectrum to the light users, making more efficient use of spectrum.

The technology is good, and something that would help everyone. That it can be put to bad purpose by carriers is irrelevant, as they can already throttle customers at the IP level. If they're going to throttle, this would be a better way, as it would free up some of the spectrum that would be wasted if they're throttled at the IP level to improve service for other users.

AMD's first 64-bit ARM cores star in ... Heatless in Seattle*

DougS Silver badge

Just pushing this out the door, wait for version 2.0

Building it using ARM designed A57 cores means it will not have very impressive performance. ARM designs competent cores but it is not targeted at servers since that's not their market. Nor do they have the level of engineers that AMD does.

Using A57 let them get this out the door quickly, but this will be more of a developer preview and the real thing will follow in a year or so when they have an internally designed core ready. I'd expect a very significant performance boost over a compromise design like the A57.

It won't beat Xeon, but neither do AMD's x86 cores beat Xeon. AMD should however be able to handily beat the performance of Opteron at a similar power budget - because it'll be designed for that lower power budget, unlike Opteron, and there is no legacy cruft to drag along (I'm assuming AMD supports 64 bit ARMv8 only with their own design core, no 32 bit code or Thumb)

America's hot and cold spots for broadband revealed in new map

DougS Silver badge

Heat map

Of the fastest available connection for under say $100/month would be more interesting. Who cares what the "average" is, as some might be fine with paying $20/month for the base rate DSL or cable internet if they don't use it that much and drag down the average.

ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water

DougS Silver badge

Re: The Glass half full...

Really, you're advocating for wishing over research into mitigation for something we all know will happen again?

Lawsuit claims SpaceX laid off hundreds without proper notice, pay

DougS Silver badge


In most companies, far more than 5-10% are underperforming or otherwise slacking off. Everyone reading El Reg while at work, for instance :)

IBM boffins stuff 16 million-neuron chips into binary 'frog' brain

DougS Silver badge

5 billion gates and 70mW?

If accurate, it must only power a very small percentage of gates at any one time. Even less than the 10% of their brain humans are (inaccurately) claimed to use.

Ex-Apple man Sam Sung - for it is he - sticks namebadge on eBay

DougS Silver badge

Re: Do Apple lawyers have a sense of decency?

No, he's not overcompensating. Tim Cook is reportedly gay, so taking part in Pride Day is something he might want to do whether Apple has the best or worst reputation in the world for charity-wise.

'Up to two BEEELLION' mobes easily hacked by evil base stations

DougS Silver badge

iPhones on Sprint?

I wonder how the heck the carrier could possibly make an iPhone using it vulnerable? Wish I knew more about this since I'm curious, but as I'm an AT&T customer it sounds like I'm safe from whatever is going on for Sprint customers...

Flying United Airlines? If you could just scan your passport with your phone, that'd be great

DougS Silver badge

@Brenda McViking

I thought all Brits are born with level 6 queuing proficiency?

DougS Silver badge


Automated check-in, so you don't have to arrive earlier than you otherwise would to stand in line and show your passport to an agent. Waiting in line just to see an agent, give them your passport for a three second check while they type randomly before issuing you a paper ticket is a big waste of time.

Nothing United can do about the TSA's processes, but even if you could skip the passport step there it wouldn't speed that up by more than a couple seconds.

Gov.uk's broadband boast: Superfast fibre piped to 1 million Brits

DougS Silver badge

Re: Superfast? Infill more accurate

Once the government gives a handout once, or even talks about it seriously, it acts as an impediment for companies to do anything on their own because it would put them at a financial disadvantage compared to the competition if they did it on their own and then later a government handout finances the effort for their competition.

This is why all those US companies like Apple and Google have so much cash kept overseas, because the US had a repatriation holiday about a decade ago and hope springs eternal it will happen again. If Apple brought back $100 billion and paid taxes on it, they (and their shareholders) would be kicking themselves pretty hard if there was another repatriation holiday the following year that could have saved them $20 or $30 billion in taxes!

The only way around this impasse is for the government to commit that if they do some further handouts for wiring rural areas in the UK that anyone who has done rollouts on their own is eligible for the same handout, plus an additional 10%. Then they wouldn't fear losing out, and there would even be an incentive in place to go ahead and do it now. Best of all, the government may not need to provide the handout down the road, if everyone has been wired :)

Simian selfie stupidity: Macaque snap sparks Wikipedia copyright row

DougS Silver badge

Who owns the copyright if you borrow my phone and take a selfie?

Who owns it if you take my phone I left laying out while I went to the bathroom and took it without my knowledge? Who owns it if you break into my house at night and take a selfie of yourself robbing me, but I later get back the phone?

I think the answer to these questions matters more than whether a monkey can hold copyright, since the monkey could only take a selfie with the camera the photographer owned.

Russia, China could ban western tech if they want to live in the PAST

DougS Silver badge

Re: alt

I thought the jet engine was mainly developed with German help after the war...

The "basic engineering" of the atom bomb hadn't been done by anyone before the Manhattan Project. It was a huge expense just getting enough material for a fission reaction, then figuring out how to make that fission reaction occur. You seem to be overlooking these as trivial final steps or something.

Radar definitely was developed by the British, but what did the US keep secret from them later? Stealth technology was developed 30 years later.

Ecuador follows Bitcoin ban with digi-currency proposal

DougS Silver badge


Just because it is decentralized and something that others can mine, if it is only used for transactions in Ecuador, what is the reason those outside Ecuador should want to use it?

Bitcoin reached critical mass mainly because it was first, and the vast majority of the hundreds of imitators are not worth the electricity consumed to mine them. Why would Ecuador's currency be any different?

Facebook wants Linux networking as good as FreeBSD

DougS Silver badge

Re: Simpler Solution?

FreeBSD may have superior network performance, but Linux has superior performance in most other metrics that matter for a kernel.

Gmail gains support for non-ASCII email addresses

DougS Silver badge

How will this handle codesets with different but same characters?

i.e. something that looks like a lowercase 'a' but actually has a different code? I see lots of opportunity for spammers to confuse and find yet more ways around spam filters.

I think most in the US would do better if we could set our spam filters to mark as spam any email using non-ASCII email addresses, because you could just about guarantee it will be spam. As it is, every few weeks I get a spam in Arabic. Does Pakistan have the equivalent of 419ers and Viagra sales? Who knows...

CIA infosec guru: US govt must buy all zero-days and set them free

DougS Silver badge

So he's asking for two changes

1) US buys all zero days instead of just some of them

2) US sets them free instead of using them for itself

I could see #1, because Congress has an unlimited appetite for giving money to defense and spy agencies with little or no oversight. #2 has no chance in hell of ever happening.

Who will kill power companies? TESLA, says Morgan Stanley

DougS Silver badge

Re: Left hand meet right hand

Its not so much scare-mongering as pointing out to investors that the supposedly safest investment there is, public utilities, may become a more risky investment in the not-so-far-off future.

DougS Silver badge

Re: lasts for at least 10 years, and sits quietly in the corner

Most houses have unused/useless space. Unfinished basements, attics. Heck, dig a hole in your yard, line it with concrete, seal it against moisture, and keep the batteries underground.

Edward Snowden's not a one-off: US.gov hunts new secret doc leaker

DougS Silver badge


Are you saying there used to be governments with the moral high ground? Where can I read about one?

What's the point of the Internet of Things?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Fishtanks are useless

With an unmonitored fish tank he has worries about a power outage or malfunction causing problems for his fish. If he can't interact with the IoT device (tell it to lower temperature, feed more, whatever) all he can do is get telemetry back showing his fish slowly dying.

If he can interact with the tank, so can hackers. It is pretty unlikely someone would target him for an attack to kill his fish, but a security hole hit by a script kiddie could have unpredictable consequences, like telling it to change the temperature or overfeed or starve his fish.

Plus as others said, if he's on vacation he's probably better off not knowing so it doesn't ruin his vacation, unless he's prepared to rush back home at the first sign of trouble.

DougS Silver badge

If you get decision fatigue figuring out what to have for dinner

Write down 6 standard recipes and make sure you always buy what is needed to make them on every trip to the store. Then when you're feeling too overwhelmed to decide what to eat, roll a die.

New iGasm: Apple to unveil not one but TWO iPhone 6 models on 9 Sept

DougS Silver badge

Well, coming out with two new models, rather than a new model that's an incremental update of last year's model and a "discount" model that's a repackaging of last year's model in a different case, is a lot different.

Also that Apple is venturing into the phablet segment, which may bring some who left for Android due to size back and keep some who were thinking about leaving in the Apple fold. So its important in that way. It will also be interesting to see what the sales mix between the two sizes is, and see what it does to sales of the iPad Mini.

It isn't Earth shattering by any means, but it is a lot bigger than what they introduced last year.

DougS Silver badge

Still with the rumors

So because Bloomberg is reporting a rumor that two models will be announced that day, the Reg uses it as the headline?

They don't know any better than anyone else has for the past few months, and I'm sure with a whole five weeks to wait, we'll be treated to multiple stories about how the 5.5" model is delayed due to shortages/delays/manufacturing issues/Steve Jobs rising from the grave and make them redo the design. Or that they changed their mind and aren't doing it at all. Or that 5.5" will be the only model and there won't be a 4.7". Or that there will be initial shortages and few will ship until October. Or that Apple will sell 100 million by Christmas. Or that September 9th will be to announce the iWatch, not the iPhone, which won't arrive until next year.

Apple wins patent on charging iThings THROUGH THIN AIR

DougS Silver badge


In your example it is well under 1%. Yes, that level of efficiency would be a problem, but that seems a bit unrealistic.

Plus I think you're massively overestimating the amount of power a keyboard would require.

As for the guy who posted the xkcd link, it is interesting but he's talking about how silly it would be to power a laptop through keypresses, not a keyboard. Perhaps powering a keyboard through keypresses is still a bit out of the realm of possibility given how little power each keypress generates, but maybe we need keys that require firmer action so they generate more power :)

DougS Silver badge

Inefficiency is irrelevant

For powering extremely low power devices like a keyboard and a mouse. Of course, a really slick keyboard would generate power from the keypresses, and the mouse from the movement...

China rips Apple out of govt IT mail-order catalogue – report

DougS Silver badge

Re: Could There Be Something Deeper?

Apple brought production of the Mac Pro back to the US, and there have been rumblings that this was just the beginning. If they bring all Mac production back to the US (or anywhere out of China) that's going to garner a lot of publicity, and it won't be favorable for China.

If they start making even some iPhones out of China, that's even worse for them, as that manufacturing adds billions to China's economy every year.

Other US companies (at least those not competing on razor thin margins) might say to themselves "hey, if Apple can make stuff here, we can too!"

DougS Silver badge

Frankly, I'm surprised

That Apple was ever on the list to begin with. I figured PCs were better for them because pirated Windows software is easier to come by...

Verizon to FCC: What ya looking at? Everyone throttles internet traffic

DougS Silver badge

Re: As long as...

If the FCC says no, they can either throttle all 4G customers equally, or tell everyone on a grandfathered unlimited plan that they'll be transitioned to a limited plan as X date.

PEAK APPLE: One MILLION fewer iPads sold this quarter

DougS Silver badge

Re: Correlation != Causation

A lot of us suggested that tablets would cause a slowdown in PC sales, and then they slowed down. Maybe we were right for the wrong reasons, but I know multiple people who ditched their PC for a tablet. The kind of people who only bought a PC because it was the only way to browse the web and send/receive email don't want a PC, they want to browse the web and send/receive email. A tablet is a superior way to meet this need.

Some techies will never ever understand this, because they can only think about all the things they do with a PC that a tablet is ill suited for, or how much of a pain it would be to spend 12 hours a day in front of a tablet. They make the mistake of equating how they use a PC to how everyone else does.

DougS Silver badge

Tablets have a longer useful life than a phone

People are more apt to replace phones because they're subject to more use and abuse, cellular standards are constantly evolving, and in some markets carriers often some sort of subsidy that make upgrades easier.

Tablets are more likely to stay at home most of the time, and aren't as "personal" a device since you don't take them everywhere you go. Thus people may be willing to live with shortcomings (real or perceived) of an older model tablet for longer than they would a phone.

Those using a tablet as a PC replacement, the type who need only a browser and email client and don't care about PC applications, probably don't run many or any apps on their tablet. My girlfriend has an iPhone and runs plenty of apps on it, but she never runs apps on her tablet. She uses it mainly for surfing the web. If you don't run apps on your tablet, it might not matter even to an iPhone owner whether they get an iPad or a much cheaper Android tablet. Used for browsing alone, there is precious little difference between the two aside from price.

DougS Silver badge

Re: I wouldn't say it is Peak Apple

To StimuliC's point, if he's right the release of a 5.5" iPhone might be a big hit on sales of the iPad. Not that Apple would mind, assuming that availability of a phablet-sized iPhone increases its sales. Not to mention that the iPhone has a higher margin than the iPad anyway.

US cyber-army's cyber-warriors 'cyber-humiliated by cyber-civvies in cyber-games'

DougS Silver badge

How about the NSA?

I wonder how their guys would do against these two teams, with all this crazy stuff like Stuxnet at their disposal...

Israel snooped on John Kerry's phone calls during Middle East peace talks

DougS Silver badge

Who says Germany doesn't spy on their allies?

Germany? Yeah, I believe them as much as I believe the US assurances that they will stop wiretapping Merkel.

Governments have been spying on both enemies and allies since bibical times. Only the hopelessly naive would believe an assertion from one of them that they are not.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019