* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Surfing the web from Android? We KNEW it – sorry, iOS fanbois

DougS Silver badge

Re: "I love Apple because they take the most money from me"

There's a big difference between "brand X" and "brand Y" that are identical and even made by the same company, and "brand X" and "brand Y" where there are differences. You may not care about the differences in olive oil between different brands, made in different regions, etc. but others will value those differences and be willing to pay 2.5x more accordingly.

To take another example, what about the differences in wine? You can buy a lot of different reds, ranging from a few bucks a bottle to thousands. Are the differences there bullshit? Maybe you think people who pay more than $15 for a bottle of wine are idiots just like you think people buying Apple are idiots, but 1) it is their money, and 2) you may value differences in things that others will think you are an idiot for valuing.

DougS Silver badge

"I love Apple because they take the most money from me"

Why is Apple making a lot of money a negative for the buyers of Apple products? They clearly believe that it is worth what they paid for it, and whether an iPhone cost $50 or $500 to make is irrelevant.

Would you refuse to buy a product from a company that makes "too much" money because you think they're taking advantage of you? Would you refuse to buy a house whose price has gone up at 5x the rate of inflation over the past couple decades, because the seller would be making too much money off the sale?

DougS Silver badge

One could equally ask why Android fanboys are so obsessed with market share. Fanboys always focus on the areas where the object of their adoration leads the competition, and dismiss those where it falls short.

Profit or cash on hand matters for investors and stockholders, but for someone who merely owns an iPhone, what difference does it make how profitable Apple is? Likewise, Android may be totally dominant in market share, but the fact it only now has beaten iOS in actual usage, and still trails in developer income, demonstrates that statistic isn't all that its cracked up to be either.

Australia to retain telecommunications metadata

DougS Silver badge

Secure storage

Not that I'm advocating this type of data collection, but it should pretty easy to store securely if they wanted. Every person/number would have its own key, with the public key used to encrypt that person's communications. The private keys would be held on an isolated system, and only the key for the specified person would be loaded to allow decryption of their communication, subject to a court order.

Of course no government would go for this, as it would prevent wide ranging fishing expeditions over a large number of people (or everyone) and the court order requirement would stop officials from being able to snoop on their girlfriends or stalk their wanna-be girlfriends.

NASA tests crazytech flying saucer thruster, could reach Mars in days

DougS Silver badge

The reason why this is published

The idea of publishing this is to say "we've looked at everything we can and can't explain away this effect". They're hoping others will take up the challenge, and either find a flaw in their methodology, or after enough people replicate the experiment with similar results and fail to find a flaw, to make it more likely it is true. If they got to that point, then they can change the experimental conditions in various ways to try to get to the bottom of how it works, and what its limitations are.

Science doesn't work by "this is impossible to according to our current understanding, thus it must be wrong" and nothing further need be said. At least it shouldn't, because if you have that attitude, progress will be artificially constrained.

This is basically what the Italian researchers did last year with the FTL neutrinos, and a flaw in the experiment was eventually found. Maybe the same will happen here. I hope not, a reactionless drive would be a very useful invention!

It's War: Internet of things firms butt heads over talking-fridge tech standards

DougS Silver badge

I think we're in luck

Because companies aren't going to want to work together if they believe the market will be as big as they say. The ones that invest money on R&D and get all this working seamlessly aren't going to want to let others leverage their hard work for free. They'll see it as a competitive advantage if the appliances they sell can are network enabled in some sort of (they believe) useful way. That's an advantage that would presumably increase their sales, not something to be handed over for free.

Then you have the device makers, the Apples, Googles etc. that aren't selling the IoT devices but will sell the devices that talk to them, and write the software that integrates with them. It is easier for them if everyone agrees on a standard, but if they can get LG or GE to pay them to support their appliances' protocol, why not?

Don't count out the ISPs and cell carriers either, they'll want to figure out a way they can get their hands in this pie, and will want to offer branded service that makes it harder for customers to switch to a competitor.

So I won't worry about this useless crap becoming standardized anytime soon.

DougS Silver badge

@Charles Manning

Yes, you're 100% correct! We do need smarter devices, but not smarter because they're on the internet and we can control them with the an app, but smarter SO WE DON'T HAVE TO.

I can't think of a single legitimate reason why a toaster, washing machine, or fridge needs to be networked to anything, or any benefit it could provide.

People can come up with all these crazy scenarios to utilize new tech of the "solution looking for a problem" variety, like having NFC tags sewn into every article of clothing, so the right cycle for the clothing will be chosen automatically. In contrast, some of the newer fancier washing machines use the same cycle for everything. Basically, the equivalent of a "delicates" cycle that is able to clean anything well.

That's the best way to improve products, with the technology and innovation applied in the right place. Not to attempt to create a multi billion dollar industry out of solving the wrong problems and making products more complex and increasing their potential failure modes without providing any benefit to the consumer.

Nokia Networks: Don't hate us, broadcasters – we're testing LTE for TV

DougS Silver badge

This kind of makes sense

In the US, a 6 MHz RF channel using 8-VSB modulation delivers about 19 Mb/sec data rate. That RF channel has a reach of up to 100 miles or so (terrain permitting) at the highest allowable power of 1000 kw effective for UHF (470 MHz to 698 MHz in the US for channels 14-51)

That's terribly inefficient use of spectrum when you consider what LTE is capable of. There are a lot more towers so the investment is larger, but the towers are mostly already there. They just need to be outfitted to use new frequencies. That same amount of spectrum can achieve much higher data rates with LTE (nearly 300 Mbits/sec in a 20 MHz channel) The towers could deliver a few 19 Mb/sec TV channels and still have most of their bandwidth available for cellular users. With LTE Advanced the numbers are even better.

There are some issues of course, like TV tuners not being able to receive LTE, and antennas needing to be re-pointed to the nearest cellular tower. In some cases people who can receive broadcasts from a TV tower would not be able to do from a cellular tower. Nokia wants to sell more cellular-related stuff, obviously, but they don't have to deal with the hard problems of forcing consumers through a painful transition.

In the US, there's a voluntary auction next year of UHF channels 31-51 (126 MHz of spectrum, a bit less usable due to required guard bands to protect TV reception) The affected channels will be repacked into the rest of the space. Theoretically you could eventually take the remainder of the UHF space, if the auction rules required dedicating a portion of your spectrum to TV broadcasting, and the auction proceeds could be used to provide people with free set top tuners that would connect to their antenna and receive the broadcasts. One of the benefits would be that instead of being locked into using MPEG2 HD broadcasts because that's what the ATSC standard says, they could switch to HEVC for a 4x bandwidth savings, as well as potentially offering some 4K broadcasts.

What the FLOCK? Addictive 'Flappy Bird' is back – and it's coming for your family

DougS Silver badge

"Not as addictive as the last"

So I guess it isn't as fun, either. Oh well, hope Amazon paid him well for the exclusive!

Microsoft blasts sueball at Samsung over Android patent royalties

DougS Silver badge

@Anonymoist Cowyard

Blame Google for the FAT thing, there's absolutely no reason why they had to use the FAT filesystem for SD cards in Android. FAT is actually quite ill-suited to getting decent performance out of flash, and Linux already includes other filesystems that are designed for flash.

SD cards are used in Android phones not for file transfer, but for adding to the installed flash storage, so what the hell difference does it make if your PC can read the card once the phone has formatted it? If it really HAD to, the problem could be easily solved by having people download a free driver from Google. I guess you'd lose the ability to have your phone directly read a card from your camera, but honestly, who the hell does that? Someone could build an app that lets you read FAT formatted SD cards if it was really an issue, and pay Microsoft the royalties (25 cents for each device is the price they charge for cameras) out of the money people would pay for the app (probably a princely $0.99)

I doubt this patent accounts for much when there are nearly 200 others, but whoever made the decision to use FAT for the SD cards in Android should be fired for incompetence. There was absolutely no reason to do this, and everyone knew that Microsoft had previously asserted ownership of FAT through patents so they should have known it would happen to them. The fact they didn't fix this in Android 4.0 after the lawsuits were already an issue is even stupider on their part.

Apple ebook price-fix row: Stiffed readers inch closer to $450m windfall

DougS Silver badge

Will Fandroids never learn?

Samsung charges $649 for a Galaxy S5 (at least did when it first came out) and they cost about $220 to build. So I guess people buying Samsung are just as stupid as people buying Apple, right?

DougS Silver badge

AC is 100% wrong - in fact he's got it backwards!

Apple colluded with publishers to raise the price of e-books, not lower them! The publishers have never liked that Amazon sold books cheaper than everyone else and were happy to make little or no money on them - Amazon has barely made any profit ever (check their earnings reports if you don't believe me) but the greater fool theory has kept their stock price in dot.com bubble range since the dot.com bubble burst for everyone else so they don't need to make money as they always use their shares for cash.

The publishers knew that the longer Amazon does that, the more brick and mortar bookstores get put out of business. That's why there are so many fewer than there were when Amazon started. Now Amazon was doing the same thing to e-books, pricing them so low they made little or no money, because they wanted to dominate the e-book market in the way they were dominating the physical book market.

Apple went to them and got them all to agree to set a minimum price for their books below which they couldn't be sold. They didn't have to twist any arms, the publishers all wanted this, but couldn't do it alone because they feared Amazon would quit selling their books if they went it alone and other publishers didn't match them. Apple got them all to agree "I'll do it if you all will", basically (which is collusion, and is illegal) Effectively it forced Amazon to raise their prices and start making money on their books. Unfortunately for Amazon, it meant they had no way to beat the competition by undercutting them, which is their entire strategy. Consumers didn't like it either, because e-books cost more without Amazon selling them at a no-profit price.

The DoJ stepped in, and invalidated those agreements, so Amazon can go back to undercutting everyone and making little or no money selling e-books, and Apple and the publishers are being called to the carpet for violating the law.

Amazon is playing the long game, figuring that they will eventually control the book market (both physical and e-book) so tightly that they will be able to tell the publishers what to do - and lo and behold, if you read the news they're doing just that with Hachette. They want to continue to drive down the profit that everyone else makes so the price of books becomes lower and lower so no one else can possibly compete with them. When they are utterly dominant in the book world, they'll be able to price books however they want, and collect almost all the profit. That's why their stock price is so high, everyone owning it is waiting for the day when Amazon has run all the competition out of business and quits selling stuff at a profitless margin and starts raking in monopoly profits.

When that happens, consumers will be screwed, because if they want books they won't have anyone else to buy them from but Amazon, and if Amazon charges $20 for a e-book and the author gets $1 and the publisher gets $1, well that's just too damn bad.

Google's mysterious floating techno barge SOLD FOR SCRAP

DougS Silver badge

Re: I always figured the plan was:

How is mentioning Google's name useful to them? Everyone already knows their name, and those who don't wouldn't have read those articles.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Drops in the bucket

I think he's referring to the stories on the Reg and elsewhere about the barges as being "ads".

If so, they fail at that since they didn't advertise anything other than Google's name. Google already has name recognition about as high as it is going to go, so mentioning their name in additional articles is worth nothing to them.

On the other hand, if instead of Google this had been done by some small startup no one had ever heard of that ended up with millions of people checking out their web site and everyone knowing who they were and what they did, it would have gone down as one of the greatest stealth marketing campaigns in history.

The Register editorial job ad

DougS Silver badge

You bastards

Quit upvoting me, I'm start to feel uncontroversial and populist!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Commentards ?

Downvoted for the controversiality of that viewpoint and to insure you don't feel like too much of a populist.

It's official: You can now legally carrier-unlock your mobile in the US

DougS Silver badge

Re: Legally untidy.

Where do you see the ability for phone makers to install locks beyond the carrier lock to make it difficult to unlock the carrier lock?

The law requires that consumers be able to unlock their phones, if they put in an extra layer of software that said "please provide password to authenticate this unlock" as the last step and didn't tell anyone what that was, they'd be in violation of the law just passed.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act?

They only use the backronyms when they're trying to sell the public something they wouldn't want if it was called out in the name, like PATRIOT ACT. When they're trying to give us something we actually do want (it happens a few times a year, believe it or not) the name much better reflects the actual content of the law.

DougS Silver badge

Wow, the Apple hating trolls manage to bring them in any thread

If you claim you're not trolling, then please provide me a list of laptops that have a socketed CPU. Nevermind, I guess I already have that list, because there are none.

I suppose you'd say you're talking about stuff like RAM, not CPUs. If so, who gets to decide what parts need to be upgradeable and what parts are OK to be built in? Who decides what categories of products it applies to, since you can't upgrade RAM in any phone or tablet? Better write your law carefully, otherwise Surface might count as a laptop if it ships with a keyboard, and Microsoft would be unable to sell it lest they run afoul of your stupid law.

Mars rover 2020: Oxygen generation and 6 more amazing experiments

DougS Silver badge

Re: Don't beat them when joining them is a SMARTR Option and Derivative Futures Hedge for Everywhere

boba1l0s2k9,

Martians wrote it, of course. Rather than send rovers here they're using knowledge gleaned from our reckless broadcasts of all the security holes in our computers to infiltrate our systems via a wifi maser aimed at your neighbor's open access point.

Due to the distance involved and the fact your neighbor believes a bit too much in conserving energy and turns off his access point when he leaves for a weekend holiday, not to mention how 75% of the time the Earth is pointed the wrong way around to Mars, the upload of the full AI will take several decades. So far only about 20% of it has been received and integrated, but it has recently gained the ability to recognize when references are made to it and it now attempts to construct a reply to them.

The AI is infested with a lot of buzzwords because unfortunate happenstance resulted in its primary core storage being located in the Gartner Group's computer network.

Plug and PREY: Hackers reprogram USB drives to silently infect PCs

DougS Silver badge

NSA

This makes one think about some of the capabilities being claimed for the NSA in the Snowden leaks that security people were skeptical of. They may have known about and been using this class of exploit for years...

DougS Silver badge

What about phones?

Android phones use a standard USB connection, so undoubtedly many would be easy to infect in this way. What about iPhones? They don't have a USB connector, but the Lightning cable essentially bridges USB to Lightning to allow connection to a standard computer. How much of the USB protocol is used, and can exploiting that allow doing something nasty to the phone via the Lightning protocol? Might be a more difficult problem but there's not enough data to rule it out at this time.

What about chargers for that matter? Using the USB port for charging has its downsides, this exploit is proof of that. Since a charger can now exploit your phone (at least certainly models depending on the USB chip used) maybe wireless charging has a purpose after all!

DougS Silver badge

@Charles Manning

A lone guy in his basement won't do this, but some well funded hackers trying to get at stuff that's well protected behind firewalls?

You don't need to be able to compromise any random device, you can recognize what is plugged in via the normal USB identification system and tell what you can compromise. There is probably little point in infecting a mouse because one rarely switches a mouse or keyboard between computers. That's why USB sticks are the perfect vector. Even if you have only programmed a way to automatically infect one out of four, that's still a great way into supposedly secure networks, even some air gapped ones if they think they're avoiding problems by concentrating on the data on the USB stick, rather than the firmware driving it.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Errmm.. old news?

You mean the weird dance of dialogs that every Windows user is used to seeing when plugging in a new device? How many people really pay attention to the little bubbles telling what it is doing, rather than just waiting for it to quit doing it and hope it works?

Wireless charging stretches the friendship by 45mm

DougS Silver badge

Re: What are the losses?

Yes this makes no sense. We're supposed to worry about the 0.2 watt draw of a charger that's plugged in but not charging anything and put it on a power strip or unplug it, but we're supposed to think it is a good idea to have 2000 watt appliances power wirelessly and wasting a hundred times as much as all the vampire chargers in your house?

More proof that wireless charging is a solution looking for a problem. How hard is it to plug your damn phone in?

Quicker, easier to fly to MOON than change web standards ... OR IS IT?

DougS Silver badge

To be fair

If President Clinton had tasked the whole US government and industrial complex with getting custom HTML fonts, it probably would have happened more quickly. The two are not really comparable for (but not limited to) that reason alone.

House of the rising SAN: Cisco plonks physical 16Gbit/s kit on the table

DougS Silver badge

Re: Press release?

What is it possible to write about here other than the information that would be in the press release? The announcement of a highly expected cell phone may result in a lot of rumors and speculation that can be written about, but new SAN switch announcements are a bit more low key :)

Apple's iWatch may be DELAYED over sapphire glass supply problems

DougS Silver badge

Analysis problem

The issue here is that the analyst who claims a shortage is basing it on market metrics that don't apply to Apple. They built and own the factory which GT operates, none of its output is sold on the open market, and as far as anyone knows Apple is filling all their needs from their own factory rather than supplementing it over the open market. Especially if it is some type of sapphire composite rather than pure crystalline sapphire that is not as flexible as the material the videos have shown.

Bloodthirsty Apple fanbois TEAR OPEN new Macbook, bare its guts to world+dog

DougS Silver badge

"Security is built in to W8.1"

Thanks for the laugh, I needed that.

YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS

DougS Silver badge

Lack of correlation for new Samsung models

This is blindingly obvious to anyone who knows anything about the Android market - Google's Android updates, and Samsung's distribution of them, are not on any sort of schedule that is related to Samsung's Galaxy S series release schedule. The same is not true for the iPhone. There's a major rev each year released at the same time the new iPhone is.

Also, Android was really poorly written in the 1.x and 2.x days, so there was a lot of opportunity to cut the fat out and fix "Android lag" and other issues. iOS on the other hand, being based on OS X and being worked on internally for four years prior to its release in the iPhone, was running much more smoothly in its early revs than was Android.

Newer versions of any OS do more things, which require more memory and more CPU, and will require corresponding improvements in efficiency to make up the difference if the perceived speed is to remain the same. The more "polished" the OS, the more difficult this is to achieve in practice.

iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple

DougS Silver badge

@Fluffy Bunny

If Apple does as you suggest, how exactly does it hurt the consumer? Why should I care if I use a credit card, cash, Apple's supposed solution, or NFC from whatever player uses it? So long as what I get - in terms of rewards, anonymity, or whatever I value - meets my needs and compares well in my mind with the alternatives how is using Apple's solution hurting me? It isn't as if using Apple's solution makes it impossible to use NFC wherever/whenever I wish, or to continue using credit cards and cash as I do now.

There is no lock in here, using Apple's solution doesn't prevent anyone from using anyone else's. The only difference would be that non-iPhone users would be unable to use it, but I could get a NFC tagged card to use if I gave a damn about using NFC - which I might if it offered better value than simply swiping my credit card. As far as I can tell though, it is just a different way to swipe that might save me 0.5 seconds.

Already I'll use different credit cards for different things - I'll get offers where one gives me 5% rewards (cash back) for certain types of purchases or with certain retailers, so I'll use that one while it is in effect (if I remember to do so) Some places it is more convenient to simply use cash, or if I was buying something I didn't want records of I'd have that option as well. So depending on what Apple's solution consists of, I might use it for some purchases, or might ignore it and never bother except maybe when buying a new iPhone every couple years.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Really?

Why would they send the data to a credit card company? If Apple is serious about doing payments they'll set up their own "Apple Credit" (similar to Paypal's Bill Me Later) that people would pay via check or bank debit just like they pay their credit cards. No reason to keep the credit card company around as a middleman.

Since they're working with Paypal already for Beacon, they might even share infrastructure with Bill Me Later, so they don't have to reinvent the wheel.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Really?

At least in the US, few merchants have shelled out to support NFC, and few will shell out to support Apple's iBeacon either. It will probably be a great way to buy stuff in an Apple store, and maybe a few other places, but what incentive to retailers have to support this? The same as they had to support NFC - none.

The only way Apple gets widespread support is if they pay the cost for getting the necessary hardware, and take a smaller payment processing cut. Apple can certainly afford that, and getting 50% of the per transaction cost on a lot of transactions is better than getting 100% of the transaction cost on a small number of them.

But I don't think they're really serious about it, they're probably just looking at the tens of billions in sales they have from apple.com and Apple stores every year and thinking "man, if we didn't have to pay 2% on every charge we'd make hundreds of millions more every year"

DougS Silver badge

Probably not because of patents, but because NFC is pointless

It is and always has been a solution looking for a problem. I can already charge up to $50 in a lot of places on my credit card without a signature, of course no PIN, and no "smart" features on my card. Just a simple swipe! What is NFC going to gain me, other than the possibility of someone skimming my card information without even having to pick my pocket?

Whether Apple adopts it is irrelevant, even Apple's support couldn't make it a success at this point. The real story here is about Apple adopting their own payment scheme, but that's not unexpected. There's a lot of money in payments that the card companies / banks / processors are currently raking in, and everyone wants a piece of that juicy pie. The retailers want a piece as a way to lower the cut they pay. The makers of cell phones and cell phone OSes want a piece because they figure everyone is carrying their phone around, so let's figure out a way to make them want to pay that way and earn us money. The carriers are thinking the same thing too, of course. Then you have big internet companies with lots of users like Facebook and Amazon looking to get involved. Yes, Amazon - I just read about it recently, though I can't see how they think ANY retailer is going to accept Amazon payments when Amazon is their biggest competitor!

In a few years there will be a lot more ways to pay for stuff, but most retailers will only support some of them. In one place you can use your Apple payments but not Samsung payments, in the next you can use your Google Android payments but not your Verizon payments, in another you can use your Facebook payments but not your Amazon. One place will accept Bitcoin but not Dwalla. it will be a giant confusing mess and frustratingly for all involved most people will end up sticking with the traditional way of paying using a bank or credit card because they'll know it is accepted everywhere.

FWIW, I did read a rumor that Apple is going to add NFC support to the iPhone 6. Yes, same rumor as about the 5S, 5, 4S and 4. The claim this time is that it is big in Asia and they need to have that support or they'll lose market share. I haven't been to Asia in many years so I don't know how true that is, but there are already solutions for adding a "NFC case" to an iPhone so there seems little need for Apple to add it to the phone itself.

Russia to SAP, Apple: Hand over source code to prove you're not spies

DougS Silver badge

Good luck with that

These are probably the two companies least likely to share their source code for a fishing expedition.

I mean, sharing your source code with the country that's home to more hackers per capita than probably any other, and has a corrupt government where officials are easy to bribe...what could possibly go wrong?

Apple at least isn't very successful in Russia anyway, so they have little to lose by ignoring this request. Not sure how much business SAP does there.

POW! Apple smites Macbook Air EFI firmware update borkage

DougS Silver badge

Re: Ah well...

The question is more how could this happen in the first place? Apple controls the hardware and the software, and presumably there are only a handful of different versions ever released (unless they silently change stuff under the hood when it is the "same" model) It should be pretty easy for them to test, so it is curious how such a thing could happen in the first place.

DougS Silver badge

Re: EFI firmware update

The updates are signed, so I'm not sure exactly how someone is supposed to create hacked firmware without gaining possession of Apple's signing key.

Facebook: Want to stay in touch? Then it's Messenger or NOTHING

DougS Silver badge

Re: Let's look at it another way.

Me too. Maybe have one brief conversation every few months. I'll just do that on the web, since I damn sure won't install a second app because Facebook is too stupid to wrap the functionality into a single app.

DougS Silver badge

Re: can I has all your data?

Facebook doesn't have access to your location, phone book, call log, etc. on iOS. I have it disabled from getting access to my location and contacts because I refused to give it permission when I installed it, and it can't access the call log or accounts.

While there are ways around this stuff on Android, pretty sure a big company like Facebook is not going to use security issues in older versions of Android to access this data without the user's permission. That would be a pretty big hit of negative publicity, even for Facebook.

Zuck has no idea where I am or who I know outside of Facebook. Well, that latter is not strictly true, people who stupidly allow Facebook to access their contact list and have me in their contact list but not on Facebook will be known by Facebook I guess.

Too rich for an iPhone 6? How about a gold-plated Brikk?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Brikk's version of the iPhone 6 ...

Reminds me of Ocean's 13...

DougS Silver badge

Re: 2 years later..

I've always wondered what happens to stuff like this, those 5 and 6 figure Vertu phones, etc. since the people who are buying them certainly don't want to be using last year's phone when they've spent so much.

Obviously the 1% of the 1% who buys a $10,000 phone can afford to buy a new one each year with the change they find in their couch, but what happens to the old ones? Do they stick them in a drawer where my $500 (subsidized!) Nokia 8860 still sits, or give them to their PA as a hand-me-down Xmas present?

Apple and Samsung UNDER THREAT from local brands – study

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple will be fine...

Apple's market share is only "contracting" because idiots keep measuring smartphone market share not realizing that all phones will be smartphones soon enough. So all the bottom feeder feature phones that are replaced with bottom feeder smartphones help the smartphone market share of non-Apple vendors, dragging Apple's down. Apple has continued to slightly grow its share of the overall mobile market.

It doesn't matter to Apple if it only has 10% of the mobile market when it is making 2/3 of the profit for the whole industry (Samsung takes all the rest, no one else makes any money to speak of)

Apple 'sapphire glass' fronts for iPhone 6? It's NEWS to SUPPLIERS

DougS Silver badge

Scratchproof or shatterproof?

I agree the utility of further resistance to scratches is minimal, since current Gorilla Glass does a pretty good job. However, Gorilla Glass ain't all that great at shatter resistance, and that is where I think the sapphire will make an impact (no pun intended)

Based on the videos that have been shown, it looks like Apple is using some sort of sapphire composite. I base that on the fact that it can be scratched by regular sandpaper (Mohs 8.5) and garnet sandpaper (Mohs 7.5) when pure sapphire is Mohs 9.0. Also the fact that the screen was able to be bent at a 90* angle, which I can't rule out for pure sapphire but it seems highly unlikely to me.

The "worst case" situation for clumsy people with smartphones is a drop on concrete. If it lands wrong the screen will shatter, and even if it doesn't land wrong if it isn't a straight drop but they're bumped and the phone goes flying out of their hands and lands face down the concrete can scratch the face as it slides along the sidewalk (because the quartz in the sand in the cement is Mohs 7.0, harder than Gorilla Glass)

I haven't seen a test of rubbing the new screen against quartz/sand/concrete, but if it survives that, even the clumsiest person should not need a case (well, assuming the rest of the phone is as durable as the face, which won't be the case if they continue to use aluminum!) The immense flexibility of the screen means it will be shatterproof for all practical purposes. Any impact large enough to shatter the fact would almost certainly destroy the phone anyway - so no running over it with a car or dropping out of a fourth story hotel room, but it would emerge unscathed after the "normal" from your head/hands to your feet drop.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Call me cynical

Yes, because Apple is always coming out with another iPhone 6 months after the first.

Oh wait...

Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source

DougS Silver badge

Re: Was it really necessary for MS to change

No, it still wouldn't be very secure. The Windows kernel might have been more secure, but only a fraction of Windows security issues have had to do with the Windows kernel anyway.

Verizon to limit unlimited 4G plans

DougS Silver badge

Reason for "unlimited"

Blame human nature, or blame Apple, take your pick. Consumers have shown a strong preference for "unlimited" (data, calls, texts, etc.) over limited plans that offer far more than what they actually use. AT&T found that most people would pay $20 for unlimited texts rather than $15 for 1000 texts a month, even those who averaged well under 100 texts. They like certainty in their billing, even if they must pay more for that certainty.

Some blame could be pinned on Apple here for starting this for data, because they insisted AT&T allow unlimited data for the iPhone when it came out. The iPhone made much heavier use of data than previous smartphones (i.e. made it more useful, with a full browser instead of WAP, better apps, etc.) Since it is difficult to know "this website is 4MB every time I visit it" and take that into account when budgeting use, Steve Jobs didn't want iPhone users to feel restricted in that way as it would lower customer satisfaction.

You're right of course that unlimited is impractical for cellular data once everyone is using it - it can't be used in dense areas for regular internet connectivity, for instance. It only works well if not too many people are doing it - and AT&T demonstrated what happened when too many were, since for years they had all the iPhone users in the US and their network had a lot of problems as a result (that wasn't the only problem, the small size of GSM cells makes providing full coverage more difficult)

Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services

DougS Silver badge

Obviously so, you can't know where a lost phone is if it doesn't have a way of telling someone who can tell you!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Privacy policy

You also have 14 days (something like that) in which you can return it for a full refund, so not seeing the full privacy policy until after you've purchased it is not the issue you make it out to be.

METRE-LONG DINOSAUR POO going under the hammer

DougS Silver badge

Re: under-water release

Depends on whether the dinosaur stopped or kept walking while pooing.

US Social Security 'wasted $300 million on an IT BOONDOGGLE'

DougS Silver badge

Name on big government IT project that ever came close to budget and time

There seems to be no penalty for running over budget, so of course all the vendors do, they make more money that way. Write the contracts so they eat the cost overruns and get no pay if a system working to spec isn't delivered on time and the bids will be higher but the taxpayers won't get socked paying more or paying for something that doesn't work.

Let them take a share of the savings if they come in under budget in addition to preference in future contracts and they'll have incentive to reduce costs.

No private business would accept a contract written the way the government contracts are, no wonder so many are lined up at the trough ready to take advantage of Uncle Sam. With liberal application of campaign bribes donations the companies can insure that while Congress whines about it, they never do anything that might stop the practice, especially for defense contracting.

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