* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

'Green' Apple: We've smudged a bit off our carbon footprint

DougS Silver badge

What if they make it so you don't need to repair them? Other than a broken screen, what else is there in a cell phone that a user could even hypothetically service? If the wifi quits, it isn't like anyone else has a socketed wifi chip you can simply pop out and replace.

Give an exoplanet a new name: Fill in this form and hope these astro-boffins pick your $input

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Are they sure these exist?

Given that three "Earth-like" planets they thought were out there were shown to be sunspots last week.

Global protest calls for canning SOPA-by-stealth treaty's IP bits

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Re: Bah!

The average Joe certainly wouldn't understand it, but we don't have to read and understand it. Someone else will, and they'll tell us what it means, and we'll be all up in arms against it based on their interpretation.

The failure of TPTB in this is trying to keep it secret, and therefore being unable to try to spin its terms differently. If they did that, they could claim the interpretations of others are inaccurate and many sheep would believe them. But if the first thing they hear about it is some sort of worst case doomsday interpretation, they'll rise up against it and kill it like they did with SOPA.

I think it is becoming harder and harder to push through these kinds of backdoor deals by treaty, because someone somewhere in the negotiations will leak them, and social media makes it very easy for average people to rise up against something they'd otherwise never hear about. Just tell them it means losing Facebook, Netflix or eBay, and they'll raise hell!

Think Google Glass is creepy? Wait until it READS YOUR MIND

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What we all need?

Speak for yourself, I have no interest in having a computer strapped to my face 24x7.

Apple rats on Google to FTC: You thought WE were in-app-ropriate?

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It is pretty sad

That anyone had to tell the FTC about this. Google isn't exactly a small company, and they'd been investigating Apple for the same issue. Didn't they consider maybe checking the competition, especially the one competitor that sells more units than Apple does?

No wonder companies get away with so much!

Siri, did we just take a hit in that voice-recog patent fight?

DougS Silver badge


I just double checked, and multiple sources show Apple buying Siri the company, not just licensing the technology. Perhaps you're thinking of something else like Liquid Metal that Apple has only licensed?

DougS Silver badge

Apple purchased them, so they now own the patents - and the liability if others' patents are violated by it.

IBM's $3bn bet on next-gen computers: Carbon nanotubes, neuro chips

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Re: how about this for a solution?

Just because a chip CAN run faster doesn't mean it must be allowed to do so. They could continue to segment them with their random incomprehensible product numbers, and limit the throttle on the lower numbered ones.

They'd also be able to continue to segment by power usage, which is more important than performance to most people these days (since modern quad core CPUs are more than fast enough for the vast majority of common PC tasks)

DougS Silver badge

Re: how about this for a solution?

Seems "easier" making chips asynchronous, and avoiding the problems of global clock distribution entirely.

Snowden leaks latest: NSA, FBI g-men spied on Muslim-American chiefs

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Re: Don Jefe Muslim president

How would it be for the "good of the nation" to vote to impeach Obama? We've got more important things to worry about than another political show trial. If you impeached every president who violated the Constitution, you should have also impeached Bush II, Clinton (for stuff other than lying about a blowjob) Bush I (for Iran-Contra if nothing else) and Reagan (for Iran-Contra - or if he really didn't know what his underlings were doing, for dereliction of duty)

Besides, if you impeach Obama you have President Biden! Does anyone really want that, other than Joe Biden?

DougS Silver badge

Re: @ DougS

I think it is standard for all presidents these days, since things are so partisan. George Bush was criticized by democrats for his silver spoon upbringing and fake good ol boy shtick.

There are more racist republicans than democrats, but the number of racist democrats is far from zero and there were some lifelong democrats down south who voted for McCain and Romney because they wouldn't vote for Obama simply due to his race.

DougS Silver badge

@Charles Manning

What difference does it make if his "black genes" originated from Africa instead of from US blacks with a slave history? The genes are equivalent, they don't acquire something special because a few generations of ancestors were slaves.

One can argue he's not as black as many African-Americans, since he's part white and had more of a white upbringing. But he still faced/faces a lot of racism, especially as president, as is obvious from the number of people who still insist he wasn't born in the US and is a Muslim.

Thought PCs were in the toilet? They're STILL eating Apple's lunch

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Re: Profits?

Indeed, if the comparison was by revenue, let alone profit, Apple would fare much better. Even seeing double digits is good for them considering they were down below 5% in the US at their bottom a decade ago.

PCs are a small part of their overall profit anyway, the iPhone alone accounts for roughly half of Apple's profit.

What PC sales slump? That's ALL OVER, declares Gartner

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Gartner is always more optimistic about PCs than reality

They only predicted drops after 2+ years of PC sales drops going against their predictions, so they predicted much smaller drops than what actually happened. Due to a brief blip from XP replacement they seem to be thinking growth is back on the table, but that blip will be past before the year's out and it'll be back to negative growth.

Gartner continues to not understand just how much of the PC business has been based on people who have very modest needs from a PC, which can easily be satisfied by a tablet or smartphone. Same mistake techies make when it is suggested to them - they defend all the things they do that they couldn't do on a tablet, but it isn't about people who work with computers 8 hours a day. It is about ordinary people who use them 8 hours per week or per month.

ATTACK of the Windows ZOMBIES on point-of-sale terminals

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Re: Bah!

Not sure about everywhere, but in the business I own, one of the POS devices is able to take over as master in case the server has problems. So it at least would require the ability to accept incoming connections from the other POS devices, and thus still need to be on a separate network.

I suspect that some people don't obey the "separate network" mandate and have POS devices connected to a wireless router. Maybe PCI compliance won't let them do that anymore, but I'm sure it was often done in the past.

Amazon woos dispute-stung Hachette scribes with 100% ROYALTIES

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Uneven relationship

It is easy for Amazon to give up revenue on books, they are only a small part of their overall revenue. Publishers are in business to sell books and only sell books. They don't sell TVs, candy, makeup, tires and cans of paint.

If Amazon was only a fraction of their sales, it wouldn't be a big deal, but Amazon accounts for nearly all their e-book sales, and e-books are increasing their overall share of the book market every year.

This is a shameless PR move by Amazon to try to make Hatchette look bad, but if the situation were reversed and forgoing this revenue would have the same relative effect on Amazon's bottom line as it would Hatchette's, they wouldn't even consider it.

Today's Facebook fury: Coppertone-like baby pic ban baffles US mom

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Facebook's "reporting" is a problem

You only need one person to report it, and Facebook seems to knuckle under and delete it. The rules are based on the most extreme viewpoints, rather than being in the center (or perhaps where they belong, on the 95% percentile or so)

Bloodied Samsung's profits down 25% as it clings to mobe crown

DougS Silver badge


You made my argument for me. Even Apple hasn't revolutionized much...I would argue they did with the iPhone and iPad, but others will disagree. Getting a major new product that has sales to move the needle for a company of the size of a Samsung or an Apple is very difficult. Apple may not do it again, but it has arguably done so in the past. Samsung never has, which is why I was rather credulous of the idea there was a chance they might.

Samsung doesn't even try for these types of launches. They take what's out there and glue some extra bits on it or make the hardware incrementally better than what came for in some ways. These things don't move the needle and change the perception of an entire product category as Apple did with smartphones when the launched the iPhone (making a smartphone something that a regular person might want, instead of just nerds and PHBs)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Being squeezed from both ends

When has Samsung ever come out with a "whizzo product that will shock the market"? The initial Galaxys succeeded because they were the first to see the desire for larger premium phones, but they used someone else's OS and the 'touch screen covering the whole front' format wasn't their invention.

All the extras they added on in various iterations like eye tracking didn't prove to be "whizzo" in any way. Now their profits are dropping because their formula of "same as before, but a few tenths of an inch larger and some more half baked features we hope will gain traction added on" doesn't excite consumers.

'iPhone 6' survives FRENZIED STABBING. Truly, it is the JESUS Phone

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Re: But will it blend?

Probably....but there's a chance the blades might just sort of bounce it up above the blades and it'll be continually bouncing off the blades and the sides/top of the blender until it is shut off. That's why I'd like to see it, because one can't be certain it will turn into a sandy grit within seconds as would be the case if one did this with a glass panel.

DougS Silver badge

Re: bull...

I wonder if Apple will ever get that Liquid Metal thing to work. One of its claimed properties is to be extremely resistant to scratches, harder than the hardest steels. So long as it is harder than quartz, it wouldn't scratch in most situations (short of trying to scratch it with a gemstone or carbide tipped tool)

If they have sapphire on front and still have aluminum on back, they'll still get scratched it just won't impede your view of the screen...

DougS Silver badge

Re: It is an exclusive for a while at least

Yes, those are very low volume phones sold as extra-durable (not just the sapphire, but other features to make them more durable)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Flexibility

Being synthetic doesn't mean it can't have the same atomic structure as natural sapphire. But I think this has probably had something added to it, though perhaps natural sapphire is equally flexible if you get a defect-free piece that's large enough and cut it thin enough.

DougS Silver badge

Re: But will it blend?

Actually I'd really like to see that. Its possible it won't.

DougS Silver badge


I'm shocked at how flexible it was. When he is holding it down with his shoe he bends it at nearly a 90* angle. Typically very hard materials are more brittle. Either that's not true of sapphire, this isn't pure sapphire but is some combination material (making it even harder for others to replicate) or the video was faked and that was a plastic panel he was bending.

While the latter is possible, it seems pointless to do since he'd be exposed once the real iPhone 6 surfaces.

DougS Silver badge

It is an exclusive for a while at least

Apple spent over a billion dollars in an exclusive deal with GT Advanced to build a special factory to expand the worldwide sapphire production by 10x to get enough for their use, and it took several years of planning, research and building to make this happen. This isn't something other companies can just buy on the open market, not in the volumes needed for anything more than a limited production run of a low volume product.

If Samsung or whoever wanted to do this, it would take them at least a couple years to do so, unless they already started working on it when the first rumors about Apple and GT Advanced surfaced.

DougS Silver badge

Re: bull...

Quartz is a 7 on the MoHs scale of mineral hardness. Glass is 5.5, hardened steel is 7.5, sapphire is 9. So it is not surprising that sand would scratch glass, but it will not scratch sapphire. Nor is it surprising that he failed to scratch it with a knife point.

I am utterly shocked it is as flexible as his video showed, however.

10Gbps over crumbling COPPER: Boffins cram bits down telco wire

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Re: not round here

I think the idea here is running fiber to the curb, and hooking up to the copper going into each house. As opposed to VDSL2, which has nodes a kilometer or less from houses but maxes out at around 50 Mbps or so.

'Ribbed' for your pleasure: Jony Ive unveils NAKED IPHONE

DougS Silver badge

I could see them doing this

Ive has always believed that devices should be as beautiful inside as they are outside, so I imagine he'd like a way to show that off.

Not sure how interested consumers would be, but there would still be an option for an opaque case, so the nudists who like to let it all hang out can get this phone, and the rest of us can get the more modest model!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Seal

As long as physical SIM cards are required and can't be built in (something Apple has been talking to carriers about forever) a phone can never be sealed. If Apple ever gets them to go along with software SIMs (certificate based I assume) then they might try be interested in building a sealed phone. It would be waterproof enough you could take pictures with it underwater....I wonder if software can correct for the distortion of the water or if can only be done with a special lens?

DougS Silver badge

Re: TSA Proof?

They'd still make you turn it on, because TSA employees from the lowliest to the head are robots running through a checklist, and not allowed to use logical thought - even the ones capable of it.

DougS Silver badge

Aquariums are made from very thick glass and have to survive a lot of internal pressure. Neither is true for a phone. The patent isn't "we invented bonding pieces of glass together", but if you wanted to look at it that way the patent office would be on patent number 50,000 round about now.

BlackBerry claims ugly duckling Passport mobe is a swan in the offing

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Reminds me of the Pyramid

From the US version of The Office. We're supposed to want a square shaped phone for whatever the reasons were that we should want a triangular tablet, I guess!

Samsung in Brazilian strip: Robbers snatch $6.3m in gear from plant

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Re: Point ?

If the firmware is signed this might be more difficult than you think.

Computing student jailed after failing to hand over crypto keys

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Are there any defenses to this law?

What if you legitimately forgot the password (which he might after some time in jail) or you used some sort of password manager app on your phone and never actually knew the password yourself, and when the police were at your door you deleted its contents?

Could they keep him locked away "forever" until he tells them the password, and if he says he forgot or destroyed it they can say "too bad"?

Wireless-controlled contraception implant is coming, says MIT

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Some corrections

I saw a much better written article on this (sorry I can't find the link) and assuming it was correct there are a few things left out here that were made clear.

It includes a battery supposed to last 16 years. Didn't specify the type, but nothing was said about the need to recharge it. Since all this does is distribute a microscopic dose of the drug each day, it should require a minuscule amount of power.

The dispensing is automatic, there isn't any way to tell it to dispense a dose, causing overdose or running out of the drug prematurely.

The one control you do have is being able to turn it on/off, so you can have kids without having to remove it. I hope the security is amazing and it requires something pressed right up against the skin to work. Stealing your SSN is one thing, but imagine if hackers could compromise home routers and have them run a program that flips the switch on birth control (makes the ones that are on go off, and vice versa) That would go down as the most catastrophic hack in the history of world for those affected.

Alabama quadchopper hits THREE THOUSAND FEET next to AIRPORT

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@Steve Evans

The fireworks may be clear of spectators, but what about the people operating them? Or the fireworks themselves? If a UAV takes a hit from a firework and goes down, odds are it crashes harmlessly, but those odds are far from 100%.

Star Wars: These are the 'unknown' actors we were looking for

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Maybe he finally started believing in all that Force stuff and found he had some ability with it after all. Leia didn't know how to use it either, they could take remedial Force 101 classes together to take up their time after the whole Galactic War thing was over after Episode III.

He was a pretty good pilot after all, maybe he had the help of the Force all those years as a smuggler and didn't even know it.

iWatch watch: Apple tags sales bod from luxury Swiss watch firm

DougS Silver badge

A use for wireless charging?

Unlike phones/tablets/laptops, this would be an actual use case for wireless charging - but only if it were something you might want to leave on all the time (i.e. it could some sort of useful sleep monitoring)

If it is on all the time you don't want to plug it into anything, but maybe a charging pad that doubles as a wrist rest in front of a keyboard, and in the future is built into Apple's keyboards/laptops?

Being able to charge via motion alone (as most movement watches do) would be the best solution, but it is hard to see how it could have much capability if it was so power limited. It would have to have an e-ink screen and BLE connectivity only if were powered that way, and a super low power CPU with little RAM. I suppose if it relied on an iPhone for doing any sort of real processing that might work though.

NSA dragnet mostly slurped innocents' traffic

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Re: Second leaker

Cory Doctorow and Bruce Schneier, to name a few. I figured most Reg readers would have already known this, I guess I give them too much credit.


DougS Silver badge

Second leaker

Some people believe this was not part of the Snowden trove, but for various reasons believe it originated with a second leaker.

Russian law will force citizens' personal data to be stored locally

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Pointless for the Russians to use this to aid spying

The data would be stored encrypted, and while I suppose they could seize the computers and put pressure on the company to give up the encryption keys, this wouldn't be something they could keep quiet.

Seems much more likely they don't want it stored in the US, or somewhere that the US can get to it. Heck, if I had my way I'd prefer all my personal data that US companies hold to be stored on Russian or Chinese servers rather than US ones. I know the US is spying on me, while the Russians and Chinese are probably not very interested in me unless I visit their country and start trouble.

Boeing to start work on most powerful rocket ... EVER!

DougS Silver badge


They haven't proven themselves at all. They don't have the Falcon Heavy design complete, let alone built, they haven't done anything man rated yet, let alone safely delivered men into space. They are years away from competing for a contract like this, and NASA will want to see proof that they can do it, not just promises.

In another few years after they have done these things I definitely want to see SpaceX in the running for this type of contract, as I imagine that Boeing and Lockheed Martin will suddenly find ways to build rockets a lot less expensively than today. But given how risk averse NASA is it is hardly a surprise they don't want to take a flyer on an unproven company to save money, and risk getting sat down in congressional hearings for a few months trying to defend the decision if it "blows up in their face" (pun intended)

ARM arms devs for 64-bit Android push with 'Juno' board

DougS Silver badge

Re: 32-bit vs 64-bit

A 64-bit data path throughout your architecture means

Comprehension fail. A "64 bit CPU" has nothing do with the width of the data path, it speaks solely to the width of the address registers. The width of the data path is an implementation detail, and there were some 32 bit RISCs that had 256 bit wide data paths, Intel x86 had 64 bit and 128 bit data paths in its 32 bit days, and probably most ARMv7 implementations have had at least 64 bit data paths.

Voteware source code requester labelled 'vexatious'

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Those of you who live in Australia

Should all file a request for this source code. Maybe if a few thousand people do the same it'll gain some media attention and the regular citizens who maybe don't understand the issues will wonder what exactly the power that be are trying to hide.

Too bad we don't have this choice in the US, since we're using commercial software on our voting machines!

Your Android phone is a SNITCH: Wi-Fi bug makes you easy to track

DougS Silver badge

Programmers really need to start taking privacy seriously

There is greater awareness of security these days. Not that things are anywhere near secure, but the situation is better than it was a decade ago, and much better than the completely security unaware 90s were. But privacy seems to be something few programmers take into account, if they can come up with an easy way to accomplish something they don't even think about stuff like this, apparently.

Future Apple gumble could lock fanbois out of their own devices

DougS Silver badge

Re: re: modify security settings or other device behavior based on a detected location

Why would Apple want to include a feature that disabled iPhone owners from taking pictures at a concert? Even assuming the concert organizers would be willing to pay for it, that sum would be a fraction of what Apple would lose in sales from people who find out that they're blocked from taking pictures at the concert while their Samsung owning friends aren't, and decide their next phone will be a Samsung.

Honestly, some people go to such lengths to hate on Apple will moronic schemes that would never work in the real world. It is almost as if they're just wishing Apple will do something that dumb so their hopes that Apple crumbles will become real. Nevermind that Google is far from doing no evil, and giving them an effective monopoly on the cellphone market is not something we want, considering how they're treating their effective monopoly with Youtube lately.

Apple fanbois to talk at the iWatch, INSPECTOR GADGET style – report

DougS Silver badge

Re: How utterly pathetic.

But an Apple branded watch wouldn't be a target for thieves? I suppose it stops the snatch and dash thefts, but the phone theft issue is already being fixed by activation lock, so thieves are going to have to go back to pickpocketing or old fashioned muggings to get people's wallets or watches (the Rolex type, not the wearable tech type)

Rockall batters plucky Brit adventurer

DougS Silver badge

Didn't he tie them down?

Seems like it would be a reasonable precaution to hammer a piton into the rock and tie down all his gear to it. He'd have to have done so for his tent, and that is a lot more liable to blow away than a barrel full of food.

NSA man says agency can track you through POWER LINES

DougS Silver badge

Could a satellite detect frequencies on the power lines?

This would avoid the need for many detection points, and allow them to keep records of the frequency at all locations.

If this location detection via mains frequency thing is real it is yet another thing for people to worry about, if it is not it is plausible enough that one who wants to avoid such location detection has yet another thing to worry about, and waste resources "fixing".

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