* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Why 2014 might just be the year of the Google Chromebook

DougS Silver badge

Re: HUGE flaw in these stats that people keep missing

There's no reason schools need Windows laptops, so this is a good thing since it saves money.

In addition, it probably makes them less likely to be stolen since the cheaper they are the less it is worth a thief taking the risk (assuming the thief knows what he's stealing, which is only sometimes true)

DougS Silver badge

HUGE flaw in these stats that people keep missing

NPD's numbers cover only sales from stores who report to NPD.

Significantly, it doesn't include sales through Apple (Apple Store or internet) nor does it include ANY sales to businesses large enough to go through the channel, or directly to Dell, Lenovo, etc. Many internet retails don't report to them, though I believe Amazon does (that still may leave out the second tier like newegg, PCmall, ...)

Between the two Apple's share is probably about right (adding in stuff bought directly from Apple would increase the percentage, but corporations buy few Macs, dropping it) and the Chromebook share is probably overstated by at least a factor of two since no large businesses have or will adopt them in the near future.

Report: Prez Obama kicks Healthcare.gov contractor to curb for web disaster

DougS Silver badge

Makes for good PR but

it isn't a good thing for any project to switch contractors in mid stream. Even if the incumbent sucks.

A lot of knowledge will be lost and have to be re-learned by Accenture. But they don't mind, they'll just bill the government for all the on-the-job learning that will be required to learn the things the current group already knows. The administration doesn't mind, because if something is broken, making it look like you're taking concrete action to fix the problem counts more than actually fixing the problem.

Is your IT department too tough on users?

DougS Silver badge

Just discussed this topic at lunch today

I had lunch with a friend who has the job I had at the local university over a decade ago. Some of the faculty are using cloud services like Amazon EC2 for certain needs because they're faster to set up and cheaper to use than depending on the central IT resources. They still prefer grants that give them their own hardware to use for HPC type research, but for stuff that isn't compute heavy these cloud services are apparently viable and in many cases better alternatives.

It amused me to no end that the de-facto monopoly the central IT leadership thought they had is starting to fall apart due to availability of cloud resources one side, and personal resources like smartphones and tablets with data plans on the other.

Even a company he used to work for (whom I consulted for for a year) is planning to switch their ancient Lotus Notes environment to Google Apps - including Mail. At least that's what we were told, though how they can manage that when they do defense contracting neither of us could figure out. Even if the email itself is encrypted, I doubt GMail could ever be used for email regarding classified work. On one side you have problems with interception by parties who maybe can crack it given enough time, on the other side you open the door to social engineering attacks by allowing the mapping of social networks connecting members of a project by email recipients and cc: lists.

Supermassive BLACK HOLE to stuff MYSTERY gas BLOB into open maw

DougS Silver badge

Re: Dense enough?

I was going to take issue with that as well, but you beat me to it.

If there's a star inside that miss the black hole, on what is the assumption that it'll "miss" the black hole based? That the star is in the exact center of the cloud? Can we assume that?

Have we ever observed a "local" black hole eating a star? That might be something to see. Is the center of our galaxy visible in the night sky in the northern hemisphere? It would be cool if something happened that made it visible to the naked eye. I'm sure those lucky aliens in other galaxies with active supermassive black holes have much more interesting stuff to watch. Well, until the gamma rays kill them, at least.

Apple, Samsung get a room to settle patent war. Forgive us if we don't hold our breath

DougS Silver badge

Re: I wonder if Google are rergetting releasing Android under ASL?

That license only matters if someone is taking Android code and putting it directly into other products. Taking notification center as an example, Apple may have copied the idea of having a notification center screen accessible from the home page, but they didn't copy Android source code. The Android source code would be useless to Apple, it would be like trying to copy Windows source code into Android.

DougS Silver badge

Ah, another person who doesn't understand FRAND

Doesn't understand how patents come to be FRAND, and how they can't charge different prices to different licensees just because they're being sued by one of those licensees.

No one should be able to enact an import ban based on FRAND patents. Surely if Apple doesn't invent anything themselves and Samsung is the font of invention as Apple haters claim, they ought to be able to come up with a single non-FRAND patent they could have used to try to get that import ban?

ANYONE on Google+ can now email you, with or without your Gmail addy

DougS Silver badge

Its almost as if Google wants Google+ to fail

A couple years ago I signed up for Google+, hoping it might be an alternative to Facebook's ever increasing anti-privacy and pro-creepy changes. Probably 10 or 15% of my Facebook friends also did so, or at least that's how many found me or I found when I'd login a couple times a week those first few months. Yeah, throwing my lot in with Google was naive, but I figured it couldn't hurt.

Rather than trying to provide a refuge for people who feel Facebook was going too far, they seem to be trying outdo Facebook in that respect. As a result I still use Facebook (because that's where everyone else is) and my Google+ account is acquiring tumbleweeds that rival those of my Myspace account.

Anatomy of a 22-year-old X Window bug: Get root with newly uncovered flaw

DougS Silver badge

It looks like NO ONE ever audited X Windows

Many eyes only works when there's at least one person who doesn't assume that someone else has already looked at it!

This is such a basic fail, an unbounded sscanf() is the sort of thing you'd look for when trying to discover buffer overflows. The fact it survived that long demonstrates that no one ever looked at it. Glad someone has, and if he's the first it is not surprising he's got 120 or them.

Hell, you could probably write some code in lex or use cpp to find stuff like this, I'm stunned something as basic as this was never found. Hopefully they'll all be local privilege escalation, as I know that code that touches the external port it uses has been looked at pretty well - or at least better than the rest of it apparently was.

BlackBerry CEO: I LOVE keyboards, so if you want them, you'll get them

DougS Silver badge

Blackberry should try something different

Make a phone that has the traditional Blackberry keyboard and small screen on one side, and full sized touchscreen on the other side. It would cost more, but at this point Blackberry isn't going to gain share doing what others do. They need to try something different, to provide a more traditional experience for those who have stuck with them or would consider going back, while still giving those people the regular smartphone experience when browsing.

Circuits so flexible they'd wrap around your hair

DougS Silver badge

Re: A more interesting concern is trying to actually look at anything

So detect the saccades and move the image around to compensate.

DougS Silver badge

You might still look like an idiot

When you walk around with a faraway look in your eyes because you're surfing the web and not paying attention to the world around you. When you walk into a fountain, off a dock, or into traffic. When you crash headlong into a line of stopped cars ahead of you.

Maybe YOU won't, but people will. Technology is great, but giving people more ways to ignore what's around them is going to inevitably lead to more people ignoring what's around them. As has already been shown by the large increase in accidents attributable to texting while driving.

Imagine if you can read texts/emails in your contact lens and send them by thinking. Hopefully by the time that becomes a reality self driving cars are also a reality so distracted people are only a danger to themselves, instead of others.

Sony seeks mojo reboot with 147-inch 'honey-you-can't-afford-me' 4K home projector

DougS Silver badge

@petur

I owned Sony's special screen. They don't work nearly as well as you'd like to believe. In artificial light they're passable, but if you have even the most indirect sunlight (i.e. coming through drawn shades and reflecting off another wall) the projector image is severely washed out.

You pretty much need to put it in a windowless room, or a room where the windows are so well covered it can be dark in there in full daylight.

Of course, if you do that, then your room is dark so you no longer need the special screen...

Apple asks judge to axe ebook price-fixing watchdog

DougS Silver badge

The monitor is a long time friend of the judge

The whole appointment stinks to high heaven. If an impartial monitor wanted to look into some stuff that's related to the case he was appointed to monitor, that's one thing.

I think Apple should be within their rights to demand someone else be appointed. They can't keep refusing to work with everyone, but it sounds like this guy is on a fishing expedition and wanting to look into things totally unrelated to the case. While Apple haters may cheer that on, that's not what the law allows.

It is as if Google lost a court case regarding search and the monitor wanted to interview the CEO of Motorola and the head programmer for Android.

Pre-Xmas phone numbers: Apple slips, Windows Phone grabs 1 in 10 new sales

DougS Silver badge

I don't follow the analyst's "logic"

He says Microsoft will have to choose between the USA and China? Really? Because all the Microsoft employees and 32,000 Nokia employees aren't able to market WP8 devices in both places at the same time?

It would be pretty embarrassing if this was true, and the combination of mighty Microsoft and (formerly) mighty Nokia isn't able to handle the two largest markets in the world at the same time.

Perhaps the analyst is looking to blame the inevitable failure of WP8 devices in China on Microsoft not "trying" to market there? It sounds like the price is right, but for those prices and less you can get Chinese Androids that go to a Chinese app store and have Baidu built in instead of Bing, etc. Those who have money to spend are much more likely to buy more popular devices like an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S.

Amazon, Hollywood, Samsung: PLEASE get excited about 4K telly

DougS Silver badge

@PetPeeve

Oh, you mean the rigged demos where they show you high quality 4K content on a top dollar 4K screen, then show you a deliberately crappily encoded HD version on a middle of the road (at best) HD screen?

I was lucky enough to see a demo in Vegas last year that was exactly what you need to see to actually see the difference (or lack of) It was a 4K screen that was running a high quality demo next to a middle of the road HD screen blah blah blah as usual, but they screwed up and at one point in the 7 minute long demo they showed the same content in 4K and HD on the 4K set - first with upscaling and next without. It was designed to show you how great the upscaling of HD content was, but if you looked at it from the distance you'd view that TV if you owned it, you found the 4K difference was not really noticeable unless you looked for it - and even then it was minimal. It is miles from the difference between HD and SD.

Those 4K viewing distance charts are right, unless you sit so close to your TV you need to turn your head to see action move from one side to the other, or you have a 80" TV in a NYC apartment living room, the difference is so tiny you'd never notice it if unless you knew to look for it.

Panasonic will go Firefox OS for TVs

DougS Silver badge

@JDX

Turning your TV off doesn't turn it OFF, it puts it in standby mode - that wouldn't help any more than putting than suspending your laptop makes Firefox run faster. It would need to have the plug pulled for a moment to give it a real restart. If there's a menu item to "restart" the TV, you'll know to avoid buying it :)

DougS Silver badge

FirefoxOS?

So channel changing will become slower over time and I'll need to restart my TV every week to make it fast again?

Hacker backdoors Linksys, Netgear, Cisco and other routers

DougS Silver badge

Re: Simple solution

The private key has to be present on the system that's getting the HTTPS requests to be able to authenticate the public key in the router. The next time there's a vulnerability found in the web server software being used, hackers will grab the private key.

I think encrypted/signed updates would be the way to go, now that routers have enough CPU power to deal with that. Then social engineering is the biggest risk - dangle an untraceable payoff (Bitcoins, perhaps?) to people on the inside and one might bite and give you the key to allow you to sign a hacked update, then you use the other pieces in the puzzle (hacked HTTP server and/or exploited DNS servers at $BIGISP) You can only raise the bar for the attack, not eliminate it.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Simple solution

Use as little power as possible? An additional device draws what, maybe 10 watts? I'm all for not wasting power unnecessarily, but anyone who is serious can save a lot more energy by adjusting their thermostat a single degree.

Why single router manufacturers out for a duty of care? How is it different than the security of software on our phones or in our cars? The idea of fixing firmware for a few years is a nice one, but how many people upgrade their firmware? Sure, they can make it automatic, but man that sure is an inviting target for hackers if they could break it - hacking the URL where it checks for updates or hijacking the DNS of a big ISP to point that URL elsewhere. I'd sure as hell turn off automatic updates on a modem or router!

I've always used two devices because my DSL modem, like almost all DSL modems, run proprietary software. I do manage my own at least, so I'm up on others in that respect, but it is way too useful to be able to have proper control and security of your wireless device to leave it up to the updates of a manufacturer. In many cases, it works like Android updates and you have to get them from your carrier because they've hacked them to not accept "generic" firmware updates. I can't believe anyone with a clue about IT and security would allow themselves to live in such a situation to save a measly 10 watts and a 1/20th of a cubic foot of space.

DougS Silver badge

Simple solution

Don't use a single device. If you use one of those combo modem/wireless router devices for everything you deserve what you get - especially if it is provided/managed by your ISP.

Turn off the modem's wireless and get your own wireless router, and install DD-WRT on it. Then you don't care so much if the modem (or DD-WRT) have a backdoor, so long as both don't. Even if both do, an automated attack is unlikely to get through both.

Yeah yeah, I know, preaching to the choir here at El Reg. Most who are reading this already know this and do this. The average person gets a device from their ISP and it has a button that enables wireless that's automatically configured, so they do that because its easy. These are the people who will get their bank details stolen by hackers once this attack is scripted.

Apple: Wow, thanks for the $10bn-a-year App Store. We'll be on the beach with our 30%

DougS Silver badge

Re: Disintermediation

If you think 30% is excessive, you might want to learn how much markup there was on packaged software sold in stores like Best Buy.

If you want to get 100% of your sales you can develop Android apps and have them on your own website (which you pay for, and do your own payment processing for) The fact that isn't done much demonstrates that getting "shelf space" even on a virtual store like the App Store or Google Play store is worth the 30% cut both Apple and Google take.

Planning to rob a Windows ATM? Ditch the sledgehammer and bring a USB STICK

DougS Silver badge

Bad design

If the ATM's computer is accessible, there are any number of possible attacks. There's got to be a wire from the computer to the secured cash box, to tell it to dispense cash. Anyone want to bet on whether these ATMs with unprotected computers use some unencrypted signals over this wire that would be easily reverse engineered?

How to kill trolls and influence Apple people: A patent solution

DougS Silver badge

Loser pays turn the tables 180* in favor of the big companies

The current system sucks because as the author states, a little patent troll can cheaply file and get settlements because the cost of all the expensive lawyers a big company uses for such matters will be higher.

If there's a loser pays system, what's to stop a big company, an Apple or a Samsung, for instance, from going out of their way to rack up big legal fees to scare little companies away from suing them at all? If some little company with a net worth of a couple million tried to sue one of them in a case that might go on for a while they can bring out their $500/hr lawyers and $1000/hr expert witnesses at trial and run up $2 million pretty easily.

The fear of that outcome is as likely to keep small companies from suing as the current situation makes the big companies more likely to settle.

I'm afraid there isn't a simple solution that's fair to both parties.

Apple: C'mon, flick on iBeacon. Let us track you. You'll get BADGES

DougS Silver badge

Re: Hamill clueless as usual

Too true. Not only that, but Paypal invented the Beacon technology Apple is using under the name iBeacon. Had Android received support for it first and Apple added iBeacon later, we'd be treated to the inevitable sight of fandroids complaining about Apple copying Android.

Popular app gets Apple acquisition for founder

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple wouldn't tell the WSJ what plans it has for the acquisition.

Isn't it obvious? They're going to integrate the functionality into the Camera app on iOS.

Google's acquisitions disappear too. Have you looked for the Bump app lately, or tried to visit Where 2's website since its URL was changed to maps.google.com?

Google poised to become world's first TREEELLION DOLLAR company?

DougS Silver badge

The problem with anyone getting to a trillion dollar market cap

Is that no one is going to believe such a large company has growth prospects, so even a P/E of 10 would be difficult to maintain. Thus you have to earn over $100 billion profit, after taxes, and have the prospect of continuing to do so for at least a 5-10 year horizon.

Google is already at a P/E of 31, so not only do they have to grow 3x bigger in market cap, their P/E has to flatten by 3x as well. Where is Google going to earn 10x more than they do today? There are far fewer potential fewer customers than customers they have now, so it isn't via organic growth. They can't show us all 10x more ads than they do - more than that actually since the ad rates keep dropping over time as advertisers see that Internet advertising is saturated already.

Some will argue "they'll move into new businesses" but everything Google does, every business they're in, comes back to pushing more ads in our faces. They give Android for free, because they can get their services - and the ads that go with them - on a billion phones. It is highly unlikely that of all the car companies and various research going on that Google's self driving car technology will be what ends up in everyone's car. But if it does I have a feeling they'll use the Android model and give it away free, and find a way to force ads into the car where the "driver" suddenly has a lot of free time to surf the web and buy stuff. That method of making money is just as much in their DNA as making money off selling hardware at premium prices is in Apple's DNA.

DougS Silver badge

The "trillion dollar cap" prediction is the kiss of death

I remember seeing it for Microsoft in late 1999, and Apple in the summer of 2012. If we hear a few more nutters with the same prediction it'll be time to short Google!

Given the already inflated P/E, and the requirement to grow either the P/E, EPS or both by over 2.5x to accomplish this, anyone who thinks this will happen is crazy. Well, unless they're talking 20 years from now. Inflation alone will probably double everyone's P/E, and if the positions stayed the same Apple would hit first since even at their lower prices they're still halfway there - Google has to go up 50% just to match Apple!

AT&T takes aim at T-Mobile with $450 cashback lure

DougS Silver badge

"Latest and most popular qualify for $250"

So they're talking about the ones that would sell on EBay for $400+ then?

Merry Christmas? Not for app devs: That gold rush is officially OVER

DougS Silver badge

They can't double forever

Because smartphone/tablet sales are no longer doubling. Simple logic, unless devs were naive enough to think that everyone was going to greatly increase the number of apps on their devices to make up the difference. I know I have about 10x more apps on my phone than I use on a given day, and at least half of them I've probably used 3 or 4 times ever. If iOS worked like Windows and tried to "helpfully" clean up unused stuff I'd probably have at least half of them moved into some disused apps folder...

iPhone fanbois outsmart fandroids in totally reliable test of brain power

DougS Silver badge

I wonder if what is being "tested" here is something completely different

step 1) Get it linked at a bunch of places like CNET and El Reg

step 3) Profit!

The missing step 2 has something to do with seeing how many fanboys of all stripes who read these articles follow the link and try to get a fast time and boost the score of their favorite, or take a half hour while claiming to be a user of the "other guy" to drag them down.

The results they show came from an initial small test before people knew it had anything to do with their phone, but now they could get some interesting data seeing how many people take the test over and over again to boost "their" scores, or who take over 10 minutes (safe to say those people are trying the latter strategy)

The outcome of this study would be more interesting and relevant to the psyche of the various types of fanboy than the article was anyway.

You're spending WHAT on iPhone 6? Wells Fargo downgrades Apple stock

DougS Silver badge

@Mark - using a phone one handed

Just because you want to be able to use a phone one handed doesn't mean you don't use multitouch gestures. Sometimes people are just typing in text messages or whatever and don't need to pinch to zoom or do the various four finger swipes that hardly anyone knows about, let alone uses.

Personally I think the way to fix the issue with "phone too big to operate one handed" would be to have a way to compress the keyboard over to one side or the other (depending on which hand) since the problem for most people would be typing and having a hard time reaching across to the far end (i.e. Q key if you're right handed) If you have large hands that's not a problem and you can reach across with your thumb just fine. If you have small hands and can't reach across, having a smaller keyboard isn't going to be a problem.

Hmmm, maybe I should patent this, and sue both Apple and Samsung if they implement it :)

DougS Silver badge

New features != "must have" features

Things like GPS for maps/directions, full desktop browser, multitouch screen, wifi, MEMS/gyroscope sensors, a camera of sufficient quality to produce acceptable pictures when picture-taking isn't the goal of one's day, the ability to install third party apps that have access to an API comparable to PC apps are a must have in any smartphone.

Stuff like fingerprint readers, eye scrolling, 64 bit CPUs vs 32 bit CPUs, quad/octo core CPUs, NFC, being slightly thinner than the previous model, 1080p screens versus 720p screens, and so on are niche features at best, gimmicks at worst.

Apple was the first to put all the stuff in the first paragraph together into one phone - though they didn't invent any of it. Since then, there has been nothing added to smartphones, either from Apple or Android, that contained something that nearly everyone finds useful and has become a must have for every phone made.

There is some room for new killer features to be added. Like say a screen that is a bright in reflected light as it is under its own light (i.e. doesn't wash out in direct sunlight) But that won't be an innovation of Apple, or Samsung (at least not the part that develops phones) it'll come from the CE industry and be brought to phones when it is affordable and there are no other compromises (i.e. they're available now, but are slow and have terrible color)

Coca Cola slurps millions of MAC addresses

DougS Silver badge

16 million isn't enough for a MAC address per can

But if they needed a few thousand MAC addresses for some reason they'd still to get 16 million of them.

At least that 16 million is less than a millionth of the total available, so it isn't as bad as if they were holding onto a class A IP address...

Want Google to erase your data? Just wait for it to kill off one of its apps

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why

Who says they're shutting it down and never offering any alternatives?

I hear the same griping when Apple buys companies, but isn't Siri better integrated into iOS than when it was a standalone app? Isn't Where 2 better since Google bought it and called it Google Maps?

How the NSA hacks PCs, phones, routers, hard disks 'at speed of light': Spy tech catalog leaks

DougS Silver badge

@GrahamsTenPenneth

So because you don't have an iPhone or Windows Phone - by which I assume you have an Android - you feel you're safe?

Too bad the mention of the iPhone pointed out this capabilities list dated from 2007, before the first Android phone existed. Safe to say they have a backdoor into your Android phone, too. But you won't listen, you're probably naive enough to believe that open source = no backdoors. Go google "on trusting trust" and get back to me after you've smashed your undoubtedly bugged phone with a hammer.

DougS Silver badge

@Pete 2

The problem with your statement is that if it was true, China, India and Indonesia would have been dominating the Nobel Prizes for decades now.

It is much more than just numbers, you have to have a support system (education, financial) in place to allow that. China has that now, India is halfway there, Indonesia less so. Beyond that, there is more required, which is harder to define. You can educate someone, and make them smart up to the best their abilities will allow. That doesn't make them creative. You can't teach creativity - or at least we don't know nearly as well how to do that, as we do how to teach people calculus or Spanish.

DougS Silver badge

@Phil O'Sophical

That's a nice idea, but unless Snowden really is still working for the NSA and the entire thing is a disinformation campaign, to release information we know has already leaked in the past, along with some stuff we can live with deliberately leaking, in order to leak disinformation, it seems rather unlikely.

In theory the NSA could keep disinformation on its servers just in case someone ever did a massive leak like this, but I'll bet they had too much hubris to believe anyone could ever take information from them wholesale.

I agree with you that I wouldn't read anything into the idea that companies not mentioned are "safe". The file is supposed to be from 2007 (according to the paragraph about the iPhone) so that's a lot of time for them to fill in their gaps. As well, stuff that didn't exist then like Android and Windows Phone would have been bugged by now.

It is amazing to me that the iPhone was bugged back in 2007, when only a million or so sold and it wasn't at all clear it was going to be the success it was. I mean, why bother? If they go to the trouble of targeting that, I doubt anyone should feel proud of themselves for using one of the last WebOS phones and thinking they're safe!

DougS Silver badge

Re: hoi8st on their own petards ...

Given what they know, are you sure they did the redaction on NETWORKED computers?

They undoubtedly started with a heavily encrypted file. If I were them, knowing what I know (let alone what other details they know they haven't published yet) I'd transfer that encrypted file via a brand new USB stick to a laptop with the wireless physically disabled. On it I'd have a virgin OS, running a VM with a virgin OS, and perform the decryption and redaction there, before copying the redacted file out on a different brand new USB stick to be transferred to a network computer. After which I'd wipe the hard drive in the laptop, and destroy both USB sticks.

Even that wouldn't protect against all the stuff they're capable of, but it is probably the best you can do under the circumstances. Maybe select some really off brand laptop that never sold well, so they'd be less likely to have created a firmware/hardware exploit for it.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen: Y'know what, we'll go back to enterprise stuff

DougS Silver badge

Re: Yes, just look readers...

So you're just going to keep using your existing phone that grows ever more obsolete, hoping for them to come out with a new model you feel is capable of replacing it? At what point would you give up and concede the company shot itself in the foot, the leg, the arm and the groin, and the bleeding is at this point impossible to stop?

LG to bring Palm's webOS BACK FROM THE DEAD in TVs next week – report

DougS Silver badge

What difference does a TV's operating system make?

Unless companies are trying to get developers to write third party apps for their TVs, it is pretty much irrelevant. Is anyone going to base a TV buying decision on whether it runs WebOS, or Android, or $Proprietary_OS?

The only apps we ever seem to get on "smart TVs" are the 10th different method in a household to access Netflix or Youtube. TVs don't need to browse the web, display information from your thermostat, do a slideshow of pictures on a SD card, or send emails. TVs shouldn't be smart, they should be dumb as a rock, but allow control via IR, serial/USB, and network if available, with published codes including plenty of discretes and multiple code sets. Make it easy to control by whatever method the user chooses to employ, but beyond that it should be a display device with speakers and a tuner.

The TV makers are struggling for reasons to get people to pay twice as much for a TV that's identical to their low end model except they slapped on a network interface, SD card reader and a few useless apps.

Snowden leak journo leaks next leak: NSA, GCHQ dying to snoop on your gadgets mid-flight

DougS Silver badge

Re: I don't get it

But how does that match with the FAA approving cell use in flight? If they don't approve it, then no one uses their cell phone in flight, so they can only talk on the ground where the NSA is already tapping them.

The article makes it sound like the approval is to allow the NSA to more easily tap, but without the approval there's nothing TO tap...

DougS Silver badge

I don't get it

If you can't use your phone in flight, there is nothing for them to snoop. The only way you can use it is using infrastructure provided by the airplane.

HTC: Shipping Android updates is harder than you think – here's why

DougS Silver badge
Big Brother

Some Irish networks are faster than others to insert their spy software that forwards your call/text history information to GCHQ, in case us silly yanks let our guard down and some guy escapes with documents that prove that Google has been cooperating with the NSA and that the NSA has also been hacking them as a backup plan to that.

In that case the backup plan to the backup plan, the carrier back door that lets GCHQ and the NSA at your data, needs to take over, until they can come to a new secret arrangement with Google and hack them in a new way as a backup plan.

Slurp away, NSA: Mass phone data collection IS legal, rules federal judge

DougS Silver badge
Big Brother

Three cases cited where attacks were stopped

I don't suppose there's any way we'll ever get any real details on this to prove that assertion, but we (and the Judge) just have to trust the NSA when they tell us this?

And we should trust them when General Alexander lied through his teeth TO CONGRESS on at least two occasions (that we know about) this year? Because they have no incentive to lie to keep this program, and the funding that supports it, in place....

Google BLASTS BACK at Apple, Microsoft, Sony in Android patent WAR

DougS Silver badge

@big_D

@DougS yet there are a couple of Microsoft handset producers in the list of companies being sued (Samsung and htc both make WP8 phones).

Maybe they were seen as easy prey, as they had already signed patent deals with MS.

--

The patent deals they sign with Microsoft only count towards patents Microsoft owns, not patents Microsoft has a license to. You can't give someone rights to something you don't own, but only license, unless the license allows sub-licensing.

Rockstar is perfectly within their rights to sue Samsung and HTC, whether or not they have patent deals with MS, because those deals don't cover the patents that Rockstar owns. They buy Windows Phone software as a product from Microsoft to install on their phones, so any Rockstar patents in Windows Phone software is covered, but nothing stops Rockstar suing over their Android phones. If Nokia starts making Android phones it might find itself sued as well, who knows?

Are you saying that Rockstar should be nice and avoid suing anyone who makes Windows Phones? That would make for an interesting defense if Apple wasn't in Rockstar and iOS violated some of its patents. Apple might make a token number of Windows Phones just to avoid having Rockstar sue them :)

DougS Silver badge

The question is which patents are they selling off?

If they sell off the ones they've decided are pretty much worthless, they won't get much for them but something is better than nothing. If they sell off the ones they feel are the most valuable, and they happen to be mobile related, then they might end up in the hands of a real patent troll (i.e. even more aggressive about trying to "monetize" the patents) and cause trouble not just for Google, but suing many Android OEMs directly (one would assume a condition of the sale would be that the previous owners get permanent licenses so they won't get sued.

I remember reading they had a lot of web search patents that predate Google's existence, so they might be able to make money there, and Microsoft wouldn't mind anything that gives the red headed stepchild Bing a leg up on big daddy Google.

BEASTED: Apple fined $666k in Taiwan for iPhone price meddling

DougS Silver badge

Re: Music?

Not just Apple, a lot of companies do. MAP pricing, that sort of thing. That's typically used by manufacturers of high end stuff, for example AV components, so the shops that sell their gear won't get undercut by a discount reseller on the internet (i.e. to avoid "showrooming")

What I don't get is why Apple should care in this case. Unless they have some sort of deal with the carriers where they pay Apple x% of the sale price, Apple gets the same price for each phone whether the Taiwan carriers are charging full retail or selling them for 20% off hoping to sign people up for contracts. Is there anyone selling iPhones in Taiwan other than the carriers and Apple itself? Why should Apple care if the Apple Store pricing is undercut? A slightly lower price will result in higher sales and they come out ahead!

DougS Silver badge

Re: The seventh iSeal

Yes I'm sure they calculated the 20,000,000 new Taiwan dollars fine based on its conversion rate to US currency...

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