* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

A whopping one in four Apple fanbois uses OBSOLETE TECH

DougS Silver badge

Re: @DougS

When I said "upgrades" I was talking about the users who purchased a device originally running iOS 6.x or earlier, and UPGRADED it to iOS 7. I wasn't trying to suggest that 90% of the iPhones out there had been purchased in the past few months, that would be quite ridiculous!

If there are 600 million iOS devices in use, and 75% are running iOS 7.x, that's 450 million devices running iOS 7. If Apple has sold in the ballpark of 35 million iPhones since iOS 7 came out (therefore sold already running iOS 7) plus 10 or 20 million iPads, that means the remaining roughly 400 million devices running iOS 7 were UPGRADED to iOS 7.

How many devices running Android never get an upgrade offered to them, or only get one? Yes, I know you can root and upgrade, but only a tiny fraction of Android owners do that. That's the difference between iOS and Android. Whether it matters all that much is another matter, you get some new features with upgrades, others that depend on hardware you can't get (i.e no fingerprint scanner on an iOS 7 upgrade, just as you don't get BLE on an upgrade to Android 4.3 unless the device has the hardware) For security issues, it can be a big deal however.

You talk about the much larger number of Android devices out there, but that makes the problem worse for Android, because not only are there fewer iOS devices in the first place, there are MANY fewer running an outdated version of the OS. That leaves a big opening when security issues are found in older versions of Android, because the owners of those devices are for the most part entirely screwed, because once the phone is sold the vendor no longer cares about you so you aren't getting upgrades 4 years later as Apple was doing for 3gs owners.

DougS Silver badge

Re: @DougS

Of course some 7.0 users are new installs, but Apple has sold perhaps 35 million phones since 7.0 came out, so around 90% of the 7.0 users must be upgrades.

Samsung Galaxy is one of the few Android phones that has enough resale value to make it worth selling, though I'm surprised you anywhere near that much for it. I just priced out gazelle.com for a AT&T GS3 in "good" condition and it was $110.

If the UK prices are that much higher I see an opportunity to buy up thousands of GS3s here for $150 and sell them in the UK for $300 :)

DougS Silver badge

@The Real SteveP

Yes, Apple users upgrade as well. The thing is, a two year old iPhone is worth a couple hundred bucks resale value, while few if any two year old Androids are worth anything. The iPhones are sold to Gazelle and friends, refurbished, and resold. Two year old Android devices are far more likely to end up in a drawer or the trash.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Android fragmentation

That's hardly surprising, since 4.0 is over two years old, and most Android devices are replaced within that time frame. It isn't because people are updating in large numbers - if they even have the choice to do so at all.

This is like Microsoft's inevitable press release crowing about fast adoption of <insert new Windows version here> which ignores that it isn't happening because people are upgrading, but because they're replacing old PCs and take whatever Windows version it comes with.

Drooping smartphone sales mean hard times ahead for Brit chipmaker

DougS Silver badge

Apple will have their own GPU

They better not depend on Apple for long. It was widely reported last year that Apple started hiring a lot of GPU designers from AMD and elsewhere to join their CPU design team they acquired from the Intrinsity purchase that designed the A6 and A7. So the odds are good it will release the A8 containing an Apple designed GPU next year, or if not certainly by the following year with A9.

Unstoppable data growth in storage has ... er, stopped

DougS Silver badge

Maybe the flood induced price premium ending?

As well as the fact we've run into a bit of a wall the last couple years in terms of hard drive densities, so the 4GB drives are getting cheaper and cheaper, rather than 4GB drives getting cheaper and 6GB and 8GB drives replacing them as had been happening for the previous decade.

And deduplication becoming slowly becoming the norm, instead of something only certain specialized hardware was capable of.

Poker ace's vanishing hotel laptop WAS infected by card-shark – F-Secure

DougS Silver badge

Re: Protection

Hotel rooms usually include a safe, keeping the laptop (if it will fit) or the hard drive in there is better than carrying it around with you. For that matter, the hotel itself usually has a very secure safe you can request to put things in, in case you don't trust the room safe.

You think if they're going to go to all the trouble to break into some guy's room specifically, they'd have used some higher quality spyware that leaves no visible trace? And would have installed it quickly enough that the player doesn't see that his laptop was gone and later returned. Nothing would make me more suspicious than that!

Cheap 3D printer works with steel

DougS Silver badge

Re: This is not "post scarcity"

How is it hurting the environment to put solar panels in a desert? What is being hurt by covering up sand and rocks with solar panels?

Fusion will hopefully become the future, but until we get it working at economic scales it won't be. Nor will the power be free. What if installing solar panels costs less per watt than it costs to buy fusion power from the grid?

DougS Silver badge

This is not "post scarcity"

Unless someone is offering free steel to put in it and free energy to run it with. For small quantities, like making a few guns, that's pretty much irrelevant, but post-scarcity implies that everyone can have as much as they want of whatever they want. Even if you limit "whatever they want" to "whatever these 3D printers can make" that's clearly not the case.

Having mature versions of 3D printers will change things greatly, but won't offer a Star Trek fantasy world where money has become obsolete. It'll reduce the amount of work available to unskilled and semi-skilled labor, and put the first small wedge into disrupting Amazon's goal of becoming Buy'N'Large - anything you can make something yourself is one less thing you need to buy.

If/when you can for example make 1000 washers or 1000 nails to a certain spec for less cost in terms of materials and energy than it costs to buy them from Lowes or Home Depot, and especially if you can make them for less than it costs to make them the old way, the world will begin to change a lot, but it won't be post-scarcity, not even close. You don't need to have a 3D printer able to make a toaster or cell phone for it to have major repercussions to the world economy.

I've read about the "singularity" and my thought is that the one thing that will determine wealth in that world is energy. That in turn will be determined by land, since solar power will be the limiting factor on what humans can do in the long run. Anyone who believes the singularity will occur within their lifetime should start buying up as much cheap desert land as they can afford. Doesn't matter how inaccessible, so long as it gets plenty of sunshine. They'll be the Rockefellers of that brave new world. Australia and North Africa could become the new economic centers of the world.

iSPY: Apple Stores switch on iBeacon phone sniff spy system

DougS Silver badge

Re: Emptyness is always empty

They will probably use it for that purpose too. They could use different displays/demos in different stores and see how it changes things. i.e. demo A at the iPad station results in people standing near it for a certain length of time and a certain percentage of people loitering actually buying, demos B, C, and D result in different numbers. Choose the one that produces the best sell through and implement it in all their stores.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Emptyness is always empty

It isn't really useful for Apple stores, except maybe a few flagship stores that are really large, the intention is that it will be used in large department stores to help you find stuff, etc.

Likely Android, or at least some Android phones, will support Beacon at some point. It isn't proprietary Apple technology, it was invented by Paypal. Apple calls it "iBeacon", but it only requires BLE to run, and the most recent Android update supports that and probably some Android phones have the required hardware for it. It is just a matter of the software. For all I know there's already a Beacon app in the Play store.

Not useful yet, but if/when Home Depot or Walmart uses it, it could be helpful to direct you to where the label makers are at or something like that instead of wandering around for 10 minutes then giving up, wandering another few minutes finding someone who can help and finding it is one aisle over from the first place you looked.

DougS Silver badge

Re: paranoia

You're not paranoid enough. The NSA gets location data from the cell companies, and have no need of using the data from location services. They can get this information from any model of phone no matter if you've rooted and it and personally compiled your own software for it, since they aren't getting it from the phone itself.

The only way to stop them knowing where you are is to prevent your phone from contacting the cell site (airplane mode for moderate paranoia, wrapping the phone in several layers of foil for maximum paranoia) Might want to leave your phone at home when you do something highly illegal, in case the NSA is sharing this information with the FBI.

A phone is typically "seen" by multiple towers, even though it only locks onto one. So the phone itself doesn't get a very good idea of where it is based on the cell signal it receives, which is why you want stuff like GPS and Beacon (which is Paypal's technology, not Apple's, so don't be surprised if Android doesn't support it at some point) for a phone to pinpoint its location more accurately.

But given the data from every single tower, which the NSA gets according to Snowden's disclosures, you could easily triangulate the location of any phone closely enough to pinpoint the address it's located at.

Have I increased your level of paranoia? You're welcome.

Apple bests Dell for first time as preferred US consumer PC choice

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple is shiny and overpriced, true

Cinema Display is the name Apple uses for their monitors.

4K for TV is 3840x2160, 4K Digital Cinema used in movie theatres is 4096x2160. Hardly any difference, and no one would "clean up" if they had that 5% wider screen. Blu Rays will be cropped to 3840x2160 so you'd end up with thin black bars on either side if you had a 4096x2160 display.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple is shiny and overpriced, true

Actually, when Apple pushed the Cinema display at first, it was the best deal going for a monitor of that size and resolution. Apple knows they're going to get pretty good sales volumes with a product like that compared to what others might get, so they can do larger production runs and get some economies of scale. Before long others who work on much lower margins undercut them, then quality starts getting cut in a race to the bottom leaving Apple looking expensive.

But I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple offer a ~30" 4K display that's cheaper than what Dell is selling. And note the difference in size/quality between their three 4K models and note one is already a cut-quality version compared to the other two...

DougS Silver badge


Apple will never beat the whole PC market, just like they'll never beat the whole Android market.

They've never claimed they're trying to do so either, and if they are secretly are they're obviously stupid because there isn't one single mass market product in the world where something sold in the high priced end has the biggest market share.

Still, if someone had claimed in 2000 that Apple would someday be more profitable selling computers than everyone PCs combined (talking OEMs like Dell & Lenovo, not including Microsoft and Intel who sell stuff used in PCs but not PCs themselves) everyone would say they're crazy.

Apple isn't taking the PC world by storm, and never will, but being the most "preferred" choice in these markets at least means that more people buying a computer/tablet/set top are looking at Apple's offerings first. Some may be turned off by the higher price and go for their second or third choice to save money, but most companies are pretty damn happy to be on consumers' short lists, let alone at the top of their short list. That's half the battle.

Boffins devise world's HARDEST tongue-twister

DougS Silver badge


In the dense spruce thickets pick the nimble finches efficient.

Whatever that was translated from MUST be the world's hardest, because even after it is translated into English it is a damn good tongue twister! Much harder than the "world's hardest" from the article, at least.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Quite agree

Totally agree. I tried and while first time through this "world's hardest" tongue twister gave a slight bit of difficulty, I was then able to rattle off 10 times quickly with no issue at all. That sixth sheik's sheep thing is so damned hard I've never been able to say it fast once, EVER, and never will. Hell, I've never been able to correctly say it slowly, not even REALLY slowly!

Perhaps there is some issue where different people have problems with different sounds repeating, and those of us who have no problem with the "pad kid" one but have problems with the "sheik" one are more susceptible to issues alliterating s's? All I know is that if I can do it easily, it isn't close to the world's hardest, or anywhere in the running.

This is like seeing the article, "world's hardest math problem devised" and solving it in 30 seconds.

32 Gig Fibre Channel takes another step towards reality

DougS Silver badge

You're wondering why an industry association isn't showing a roadmap using the physical layer of its mortal enemy? The closer FC comes to ethernet, the more likely people are willing to accept the limitations of ethernet in exchange for the speed, and FC goes away. Where is the FCIA if that happens?

The main reason that FCoE hasn't gained much traction in my experience (as a consultant who often works in the storage field) is that the group managing the network and the group managing storage (whether or not there's a dedicated group or there are part of a larger server-related group) are different.

Add that to the fact that no enterprise will trust running their SAN on the same network as, you know, network data (except possibly storage related data, like a dedicated backup network) so you end up having separate infrastructure anyway, and see why FC looks to be around for a while longer, even as ethernet speeds past it. Ethernet will take over as a cheap low end SAN, and slowly work its way up as people gain trust in it, but it'll take quite some time before it takes over more conservative enterprise SANs.

DougS Silver badge

What's the 128G FC?

It shows 4x, is that 4x wavelengths on a single fiber, four strands in a single jacket, or what?

Apple said to ink deal with China Mobile, adding 760 million potential iPhone customers

DougS Silver badge

Verizon average revenue per account of $156?

That must include corporate accounts, even including family plans wouldn't pull the average near that high. That makes the number rather useless for comparing with China Mobile, as it would depend on the mix of corporate/family plans each has.

Though undoubtedly Verizon has a much higher ARPA than China Mobile. Even if everyone in China had incomes comparable to Americans, Verizon charges more for equivalent service compared to Verizon. US providers charge more than anywhere else in the world that I'm aware of, as a matter of fact - even if you take subsidies into account.

Consumer disks trump enterprise platters in cloudy reliability study

DougS Silver badge

Re: Enterprise drives are NOT designed to be more reliable

Go check the numbers for nonrecoverable read errors per bit read on Seagate's consumer and enterprise drives.

The difference used to be a lot larger, probably for SATA they are getting close to be identical, but not quite. Back in the day you'd see about 5 orders of magnitude difference, instead of the one order of magnitude difference.

The formatting is different to accomplish this, more ECC bits, etc. And to the guy who said failures all happen without notice, you're an idiot. You've never once had a disk that started reporting errors but you were able to get the data off? If so, you're the most unlucky person in the world. There is generally notice before a drive fails. I guess you've never worked in an EMC environment, and have the EMC tech come along to replace a working disk, because their diagnostics show it is about to fail.

DougS Silver badge

Enterprise drives are NOT designed to be more reliable

They're designed to have better error checking so potential failures can be identified before they become actual failures, and better error handling/correction so they can get by longer in a degrading state to give you time to replace them.

Radio amateurs fret over G.fast interference

DougS Silver badge

Not a problem for DSL

If the line throws up too many errors it'll reset and redo the training phase and notch out the frequency it is broadcasting because it'll see that range has having too low a SNR.

Transmitters are not really an issue, unless someone is broadcasting a 100 MHz VHF wideband signal down the street.

DougS Silver badge

Something people seem to be missing

It won't use the entire frequency band up to 100 MHz (or whatever figure they top out at) They can notch out whatever frequency ranges they wish to avoid interference. This is how DSL works now, if it didn't it would only work on 'perfect' phone lines. A lot of older plants have bridge taps and other impairments that will knock out certain frequency ranges.

The training phase of DMT identifies these impairments and avoids using those ranges. These ranges can also be programmed in, so if there is a strong VHF channel 4 in town, you might avoid using that, if there are certain bands used for police radio or FM or whatever, they can be avoided, etc.

The fight for amateur radio enthusiasts isn't against G.fast, because if they fight that battle they'll lose. They are a tiny minority, versus all the people who want faster internet. The proper battle is to identify some frequency ranges they think ought to be notched out, and work with their telco provider(s) in the area to see if they can reach a reasonable agreement.

Icahn rallies the troops to pump Apple for cash at next shareholder meeting

DougS Silver badge

Re: Where was Icahn when Apple needed money?

He doesn't have any real power, other than name recognition. If I won the lottery (20 times in a row) and had $2.6 billion to buy Apple stock, I wouldn't have anyone writing articles about what I thought Apple should do, or get private meetings with Tim Cook, because I haven't been doing this for 30 years like he has.

But maybe if I did it for a couple decades I'd be well known and The Reg would write about me trying to get Elon Musk Jr. to borrow a bunch of money to pay out more of the profits from Fusion Powered Flying Cars, Inc.

DougS Silver badge

The debt still has to be paid back, so if the US based profit stream can't support that, they'll need to bring in and pay taxes on overseas earnings. TANSTAAFL.

Authorizing debt lets you get at the money now, and leaves the task of repatriating cash for later. Icahn is all about making a quick buck and moving on to his next target, so of course he takes the short term view, and would love Apple to take on $300 billion in debt and leave them exposed to bankruptcy down the road if sales fell due to changing markets and future profits weren't quite enough to keep up with their debt payments.

He's not dumb enough to ask for that because it would be clear what he's doing, but if he is able to push a vote and get it passed, he'll go back for more and more until he's shot down, then he'll sell his Apple shares and move on to his next target.

FCC boss hints at change to neutrality policy

DougS Silver badge


There would seem to be little point for Netflix to pay ISPs to insure the "best possible transmission" of a movie. Most people already have links much faster than a stream requires, so you don't need any sort of guaranteed bandwidth. Just let the stream get ahead and stay ahead, and I don't care if the data from Netflix is coming in at 20 Mbps one minute and 20 Kbps the next.

The only reason Netflix would pay for that is if the ISP makes it like a protection racket because net neutrality isn't enforced:

Psst hey Netflix, youse guys might wanta pay us ta insures youse packets is gettin through to youse customas. Lotta things can happin ta packets when dey passes throughs our netwark. Ya never knows, dey could mebbe falls down da stairs, breaks their legs or sometin like dat.

Hey, George Clooney. LOST in SPACE... and thirsty? Visit these 5 ALIEN worlds*

DougS Silver badge

Water is fine, but are the alien fish tasty?

WASP-17b fish sticks, yum!

Unite: HP 'addicted to culture of job cuts' as axe raised again

DougS Silver badge

Regular cuts are smart

But only if they were able to target them to get rid of the least effective employees. Every company has some idiots who accomplish nothing, or worse, make more work for others. A company that never has layoffs never gets rid of these people, so you don't want to be a company that never has layoffs.

Unfortunately that isn't what HP does, they decide on a certain amount of "savings" they must have, internal political battles between factions determine who bears the brunt of the cuts, and they preferentially target higher paid more experienced employees were possible (buyout packages, early retirements, etc.) because then they have to lay off fewer people to reach their goal.

Digital GIANTS in BLOODY battle to put your EYEBALLS in a JAR

DougS Silver badge

Becoming a bank

Banks are regulated a couple orders of magnitude more, which I suspect is the reason why no big company has tried to become one since GM and GE.

I do think Apple would benefit from direct consumer financing, in areas where phones are unsubsidized. But they prefer to stay very narrowly focused on a few things, so if they ever did that, you'd know they finally buried Steve Jobs.

MINING in SPAAAACE! Asteroid-scoopers? Nah - consumers will be the real winners

DougS Silver badge

I have some problems with this article

First of all, whole the He3 mining thing seems to be written by someone who failed economics. What difference does ownership of the ground make when the entire lunar surface is effectively a He3 mine? It isn't like mining materials on Earth where there are limited areas/seams where the good stuff is found, surrounded by a lot of crap.

The incentive to develop technology to exploit it would come from patents that protect you from others using the same method as you, ownership of the ground you're mining would be pointless and unnecessary, because if someone else develops a competing process and they have no reason to want to mine the same ground as you. Though I suspect given the time required to ramp up commercial operations, rather than patenting He3 mining technologies they'd be kept as trade secrets. It isn't as though people could sneak up on your operation from the next crater over and figure out how your machines work.

Maybe ownership of "land" starts to matter if there's a lunar settlement, since ground nearer the settlement would be more convenient to mine that ground hundreds of kilometers away. By the time there is a full time settlement on the moon, housing people engaged in purely commercial, as opposed to research, activities, the moon will need to have a functioning government of some sort that will regulate this sort of thing.

Second, I'm curious exactly what we'd be hoping to mine on asteroids. Mining gold would be clearly stupid, because if you find a way to get many tons of gold from asteroids, the price of gold would fall through the floor, just as it has in the past when major additions of supply came online - except in this case, the potential available supply would be almost limitless, so the price would drop and never recover. Gold's problem is that has little use, mostly we dig it up so we can bury it in the ground again in a safe. Maybe platinum or palladium would be useful to mine, since they have real uses, but if the supply increases greatly the uses would need to as well or they'd suffer the same fate.

I hadn't ever really thought about it before, but I guess the author has a good point that there would be an incentive for miners to sabotage each other, as the less the guy on the next asteroid over brings home, the more what I bring home is worth. That would tend to increase the risk and therefore cost of mining and this needs to be taken into account by anyone hoping to make a commercial profit from mining.

I am skeptical of the whole idea of mining asteroids to bring stuff home, at least not stuff we already can get here like gold or palladium. I suspect most/all asteroid mining will be for things that are built in space, or on the moon, rather than returned to Earth where we already have plenty of materials to build stuff. The cost of lifting materials to orbit, or to the moon or Mars makes those materials worth 100x more in orbit than they are once you drop them down to Earth, especially if others are doing the same. You may not need a whole lot of gold to build a lunar settlement, but even the cheapest metals like zinc would almost certainly be far more valuable delivered to the lunar surface than gold or platinum would be delivered to Earth's surface.

NSA-proof Euro cloud gang: Cool idea, bro... until it turns into MARKET-EATING beast

DougS Silver badge

What a stupid idea

The EU already has tighter privacy laws than the US, which sometimes affect/influence US companies (like Google or Apple) that operate in the EU. Why not pass some regulations that NSA-tainted US cloud providers probably will be unable to qualify under, that take effect in say 2020 or so? The demand for EU privacy regulation compatible cloud services from companies wishing to do business in the EU would cause EU companies to spring up organically.

Doing this for airplanes makes some sense, because of the huge economic barriers to entry in that market, as well as economies of scale. Neither of which affect cloud computing.

Accused Glasshole driver says specs weren't even turned on for traffic stop

DougS Silver badge

Re: "nothing illegal to be wearing Google Glass"... yet.

Mini-roundabouts are accident generators. There's nothing like coming into one when the yahoo coming in the opposite direction decides to make a left the wrong way 'round

Have you got morons of an even higher level than the usual variety where you live? I've never seen that, and where I live in the US midwest they've been adding roundabouts here and there over the past decade. Only on those intersections not busy enough to warrant traffic lights, too busy for a two way stop, but where they don't want the traffic flow impediments of a four way stop. They published some accident figures recently, and they had fewer accidents than slightly busier four way stops did.

I think the key to the implementation here was that the first few places they added them were three way intersections, so there were fewer directions for traffic to enter, as well as including signs that make it clear how it works. I'm sure it is still confusing for people from out of town since they are still pretty rare in most places in the US, but it hasn't been a problem.

The signs look sort of like this: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/80ECE784-A6A9-4A26-B1CD-FEEA44BF4C44/0/LaneControlSign.jpg

DougS Silver badge

Re: "nothing illegal to be wearing Google Glass"... yet.

How about getting the new technology to actually provide those benefits, rather than letting people do the Glasshole equivalent of texting while driving and potentially killing people while we wait for these future benefits you're talking about?

The same argument could be made to let any self driving cars on the road today, because they'll eventually be better at driving than people are. I'd prefer that before they open the floodgates to this that they make sure the cars can do at least as good a job of driving as an average human, thanks.

Apple patents facial recognition tech for mobile log-in

DougS Silver badge

Re: Filed March 6, 2008

The priority date on Google Patents for that one is Dec 25 2007, for Apple's is Jan 3 2008. However, Google says the "priority date is only an estimate", so it isn't clear from the available information which patent would take precedence (if they even have overlapping claims)

DougS Silver badge

jealous spouse

So instead of saying "text message from Jane" or "text message from Bob" it just makes the alert tone.

Which is worse, the jealous wife saying "who is Jane" and maybe not worrying about Bob, or the jealous wife saying "who the hell was that texting you" after every single text message you get.

DougS Silver badge

Filed March 6, 2008

Clearly others filed for patents on facial recognition earlier, probably not for unlocking a mobile device but perhaps for say unlocking a laptop using the built in webcam.

No comments on the merits of this patent, but you can't use the "Android phones did it first, that's prior art" as an argument, since there were exactly zero Android phones for sale when this patent was filed, nor can you claim Apple is copying Android if they do choose to implement it someday.

Seems a bit unlikely they will implement it since they've already thrown in with touch ID, though I suppose doing both facial recognition and fingerprint recognition would raise the bar to some degree for someone trying to bypass the protection since they'd now have to fool two (albeit neither are terribly difficult to fool) separate systems to do so.

Beijing leans on Microsoft to maintain Windows XP support

DougS Silver badge

Two problems with your post

One, you can install bog standard Windows 7, then install the widely available 'Windows Loader' freeware. Granted, that's closed source, but considering how many people use the most popular one, the author is playing the long game if he has evil intent, not to mention that Microsoft adding a NSA backdoor is a likely source of attack than the Loader.

Two, Microsoft bases their support based on the date of the last service pack. Releasing another XP service pack would reset the timer. Why do you think they decided against releasing SP2 for Windows 7? They're looking forward to the scheduled end date in January 2015 (yes, barely a year from now!) though I'm sure there will be huge pressure applied against them to extend that date given the dislike of Windows 8.

Gadget world's metals irreplaceable, say boffins

DougS Silver badge

Re: Um......

And once that runs out, there's always seawater. Long before we've extracted what we want from that, we'll either be mining asteroids or be extinct.

Amazon's non-existent drone delivery army ALREADY P0WNED

DougS Silver badge

Amazon's drones are autonomous

So no takeover attack is possible since they aren't radio controlled.

OK, obviously there has to be some way for it to communicate with home base, at least in emergencies ("help, I've been shot, going down at the following coordinates") but the problem of encrypting/securing communication is well solved, if not solved well.

Of all the issues to worry about with this plan, 'Amazon drones in 2020 will be vulnerable to a takeover attack that works on hobbyist equipment in 2013' isn't one.

OHM MY GOD! Move over graphene, here comes '100% PERFECT' stanene

DougS Silver badge

Been waiting for the Reg to pick up on this

Read about it a couple weeks ago elsewhere. Guess the Reg's science desk must have been on vacation :)

Nextgen rolls 100G, muxes about to 400G

DougS Silver badge

Re: unregenerated ?

I had to look up how far that is though I assumed it from pretty far from context.

While that's impressive, you can always make up for attenuation loss by using a stronger signal at the input, as well as having a receiver able to amplify the signal as necessary while introducing as little noise as possible. The cost of doing that is practical when you're doing a small number of links, but not so practical to do that for millions of homes.

Sort of like the difference in cost between consumer satellite dishes and those used by major broadcast networks.

Apple prepping 4K resolution 12.9-inch MaxiPad – report

DougS Silver badge

Foxconn doing UI debugging? NOT

You can tell from that alone that the story is a complete fabrication, or such a poor translation that almost nothing in it can be relied upon.

I still think if Apple is ordering 12.9" Retina panels (whether 4K or not) that they're for the 13" Macbook Air. If they do a 12.9" iPad, well, I fail to see the market for a larger, heavier tablet. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the success of the 7" iPad Mini, and the near total lack of success almost all 10" Android tablets have seen compared to their smaller brethren, that the demand for tablets above 10" will be rather tepid, and not worth Apple pursuing.

Think back to 2008-2010, when the rumors of an "iPhone Mini" were rather strong, suggesting a 2.5" or 3" screen. How many times did we read one was being worked on and release was imminent? That was before phablets took over, and analysts still remembered how phones had become smaller and smaller in the past, or perhaps compared with iPods, and assumed there was a market for smaller touchscreen phones. Today analysts can't help comparing tablets to phones and maybe TVs and seeing the trend towards bigger and bigger screens, and assuming tablets will work the same way.

Stupid analysts, incapable of original thought, all they know how to do is plot two points on a graph "yesterday" and "today" and draw a line through them to tomorrow. Took those idiots over two years to figure out that PC sales were in a long term decline.

Calling Doctor Caroline Langensiepen of Nottingham Trent uni

DougS Silver badge

Re: A bodacious attempt, it sits well with this commentard.

Surely a round for the El Reg staff would cost more than £500?

Do you think their staff that large, or their tastes that high end? I have no idea, but I suspect neither is true and you could get away for well under £500 for a single round.

If you had to take the staff out for the whole night, on the other hand, you will likely need to up the limit on your card and may want to consider a second mortgage just to be safe.

Sony brags: We've hit over 2 MEELLION PS4 console 'sales' worldwide

DougS Silver badge

Of course it isn't a "finished product"

Why should anyone be surprised Sony is promising new features in the coming months and years. What would be surprising if Sony said at launch "what you see is what you get, don't go whining for new stuff because we plan only fix bugs and never add any sort of additional functionality, no matter how the world changes over the next half decade".

The new features will likely be mostly/totally useless, as is always the case with anything that is or plugs into a TV - all of which are somehow required by law to at least do Netflix and Youtube, as near as I can tell, because if six ways to watch Netflix is good, nine ways is apparently better!

US Supreme Court says 'no sale' to Amazon's New York sales tax appeal

DougS Silver badge

Re: @DougS

Also it is a SALES tax. There is no way to NOT pass it to the consumer.

Sure there is. If you charge $10 for an item now and don't have to charge sales tax, and are later required to charge sales tax and still charge $10 for it, you are eating the cost of the sales tax, not the consumer. The seller collects the sales tax on behalf of the consumer. If you buy that item from your distributor at $7/each, you can probably afford to do that.

Go to a bar and ask to see a beer menu and a food menu. You see a beer for $5 and a burger for $10, how much is your bill if you buy first one, then the other? Answer: $5 for the beer, and $10.60 (assuming 6% sales tax) for the burger. One is advertised with the sales tax included, the other isn't. I'll leave it up the reader to realize why that is.

Microsoft leaks reveal 'Threshold' projects looming in 2015

DougS Silver badge

Re: Major revision to Windows RT will probably be to kill it

RT may be brilliant in your mind, but why should developers develop for it when they can target the Windows market and hit Surface Pro, or develop for Windows Phone?

Has the non-Pro Surface sold even a million yet? Microsoft is having a hard enough time getting developers to develop for Windows Phone, which has many many times more sales than the Surface RT. The Surface RT will never have many apps unless they merge its API with Windows Phone at some point (perhaps at Windows 9, though in keeping with Windows Phone 7 and 7.5, current Windows Phone & Surface RT devices probably won't be able to upgrade to it)

On the matter of shooting down Amazon delivery drones with shotguns

DougS Silver badge

Getting electric drones from distribution centers to rural houses

They wouldn't have to fly direct. A delivery vehicle could go part of the way, then multiple drones go the rest of the way to the individual houses. Saves the delivery vehicle having to drive out to each one individually, while still staying within electric range. The drones return to the vehicle, perhaps at a different location if has its own deliveries to make of larger items that a drone can't carry, and are driven back to the distribution center.

I still think the idea is rather silly and fraught with many problems, but this particular one Lewis picks out isn't one of them.

DougS Silver badge

You don't shoot them, you net them

They have to land or hover very close to the ground to deliver a package. Drop a net over it and take the package and the almost certainly far more valuable drone. Much easier and less risky than trying to drop a net over the UPS delivery guy (and he's probably not worth much in ransom)

The net will cause the blades to stop on the craft, then you can quickly disable it and put it inside a container that will block its signals from getting out until you have time to do proper surgery on it to extract the valuable parts and throw away the rest. Or toss it in the dumpster because you hate drones.

Darth Vader outs self as iPhone fanboi

DougS Silver badge

Re: Erm

Certainly not a Windows Phone, they don't have Instagram.

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