* Posts by DougS

12862 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Apple ups revenue estimates in wake of nine million–phone weekend

DougS Silver badge

I guess the Reg will have to wait a bit longer for "Peak Apple" to actually happen

Not that this will stop them from continuing to write articles claiming otherwise.

Steve Jobs' boyhood home may become protected historical shrine

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Re: Crist Drive?

I think it might be a bit late to knock his ego down at this point...

How does declaring his boyhood home a historic landmark hurt anyone, except the egos of Apple haters who would dislike the nearly 100% positive view most have of Jobs and try to make up for by having a 100% negative view of him which is equally unrealistic.

People outside the US probably don't understand what a historic landmark designation means. In Europe it might mean something, but here it is just used for anything of even the most minor significance - specifically because the US has so little history compared to Europe. There is a house a few blocks from where I live that's on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the first Mennonite Church in the county, and other than being made of brick doesn't look any different from the homes around it. It is barely 100 years old. My entire neighborhood is a "historic district", which just means that you have to jump through a few more hoops to make changes to the structure that might change its character, like replacing windows or siding.

It is only the Register calling it a "shrine". I doubt either the neighbors or the city would tolerate having a bunch of tourists coming through the place. It'll still be just a regular house where people live, they'll just be a bit more restricted in what they can do with it. Primarily they won't be able to knock it down and put up a bigger house there, as is pretty common in places like Palo Alto where the value of the land far exceeds the value of the structure on that land.

New iPhone sells out, millions in hands of lucky fans, Cook cock a hoop ...

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Re: In other news today...

since Apple made 5 times as many 5C's as they did 5S, Apple lost a shit-ton of cash even though they had record sales.

How exactly do you leap to this conclusion? They will only lose money on those 5Cs if they're NEVER sold, which is ridiculous on the face of it. They may not be sold out like the 5S, but they aren't going to sit on the shelves until they become obsolete and have to be written off like Blackberry's ill fated tablet.

Chaos Computer Club: iPhone 5S finger-sniffer COMPROMISED

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Re: Pinky?

You really think a thief is going to cut off a finger? Given a choice between cutting off someone's finger and just holding the knife in front of them and saying "unlock your phone for me or I'll stab you" I think most thieves will choose the latter since it would be a much shorter sentence if you're caught.

El Reg seeks new mobile, wireless tech writer - could it be YOU?

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Re: Working out of London Office?

Sorry Mr. Pitiful, that parenthetical statement just disqualified you from consideration for this post.

Boffins: Earth will be habitable for only 1.75 BEEELLION more years

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@Don Jefe

I wasn't suggesting we do it in the next couple decades. The Earth has 1.75 billion years, I think we can take our time on this since the odds of an extinction level event or something that turns back the clock on our technology level happening in the next few centuries or even few millenia are pretty tiny.

It probably would be done by some rich individual. The 24th century equivalents of the Gates spaceship, the Buffett spaceship, and the Jobs spaceship....spots are filling quickly, apply now!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Gliese 581d, getting there

We don't need 3000 trips, we only need a single one way trip. Sending ~1000 people with sufficient genetic diversity would work. They might take a few thousand years to get up to current levels of technology, but I'm sure there are plenty of people who'd be willing to take on the challenge. Actually we'd probably be OK sending a team of a few dozen females and a few thousand fertilized eggs, if you want to keep down the size of the ship given that we're unlikely to be able to travel anywhere near c for a while, if ever. Of course we'd want to send crews more than one planet, in case when we arrive we find it is already occupied by people who don't like houseguests, or creatures that make velicoraptors look like koala bears by comparison.

Not that I think it is too likely that humanity goes extinct. Sure a big asteroid could put a massive dent in our civilization, but won't kill us all unless something knocked the Moon into us again. The idea that CO2 could cause us to shorten the timespan that the Earth can support life is laughable to the extreme. Even if we melted every bit of ice on the planet it will still support life - this exact thing has happened naturally several times in the past and while we might render more species extinct making it happen more quickly than it happened naturally in the past, we aren't going to kill them all. Those species that have been around essentially unchanged for a quarter billion years like cockroaches and crocodiles are not going to care what we do to the climate, and our technology will let us survive any level of climate change (at a reduced population if necessary, so it may not be pretty, but we'll survive just fine)

Google tries putting an NFC ring on it: Bonking will keep you SAFE

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Provides a browser URL?

Surely on an Android phone it could 'type' in the password the same as when you insert it in a computer as a USB device. Then it would actually be sort of convenient. Why would they have it providing a URL and unnecessarily difficult to use? This makes no sense at all.

I don't always bring my keys with me when I leave the house and wouldn't want to have to, and I certainly don't want to have to keep them by my computer to log into my bank. What a pain. Maybe the "something I have" for two factor security could be something that I do have by my computer....like, say, my phone? No, that would be too obvious.

Couldn't phones have (if they don't already) a private key built into them so they could be uniquely identified and thus be your security device instead of requiring something separate? Yeah, a phone can be compromised, but a security solution that isn't convenient to use won't get used, and therefore does nothing to improve security. Google could put the access to the security routine in some low level firmware that can't be touched and thus would be secure even on a compromised Android device.

First look: Apple iPhone 5S and 5C

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Re: Equally tiresome...

Given that Apple hasn't added NFC yet, the odds that they ever will continue to drop. Especially given that there isn't much momentum behind the standard even on the phones that have it. I've never seen a NFC payment terminal, I've never been anywhere that used NFC tags for anything (or if they did they didn't make it known well enough for me to know about it, so if my phone had NFC I wouldn't know to try it) You see QR codes all over the place, you see places here and there where it is possible to pay for stuff with your phone.

If NFC was so great, given that so many Android phones now have it, you'd see massive uptake despite Apple not having it. Even if Apple got behind it, I don't think it would help much. Maybe they believe this also and don't want to back a failure.

What problems does NFC solve that only NFC is a solution for, and Bluetooth or Wifi are not solutions for?

Microsoft explains its new financial reporting structure – sort of

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You're surprised?

With the PC market in terminal decline, Microsoft is going to have a harder time hiding the loss making divisions (i.e., pretty much everything that isn't Windows or enterprise related) Now they have the additional problem of hiding the scale of revenue & profit declines on the cash cow Windows side. A reorg is just the ticket to do so, and just in case people start figuring out how to decode it, I'm sure there will be another reorg in a year by Elop or whoever takes Ballmer's place as CEO.

If the shareholders realized how many billions Microsoft has pissed away over the years (and how fortunate they are that Yahoo declined their offer, preventing a loss of tens of billions more) they'd have revolted against Monkey Boy years ago.

Microsoft probably would have been better off if the FTC has required they be broken up, they could have had the Windows & Enterprise business in a separate company tossing off utility-style dividends like clockwork, and let IE and the rest of the Internet/Home stuff sink or swim on its own without relying on digging into the gigantic Windows piggybank to keep them going. Maybe a company unable to lose unlimited money with no consequences for bad decisions wouldn't have been caught flat footed by Blackberry and later iPhone in the mobile space and Google and Facebook in the Internet space over the past 13 years!

Rotten Apple iOS 7 fury: Glitchy audio or is today's music really that bad?

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.0 releases

Yes, I agree. If you are going to complain because some random app doesn't work quite right or you get hit by one of those random corner case bugs of the "x.0 killed my battery life!" type bugs that you see reported (though I don't know anyone that personally experienced this) then wait until x.0.1 or if you want to be extra careful, x.1.0.

This was the first time I've ever updated on release day, mainly because Apple shipped me a new 5 a couple days ago - mine was nearing the end of the warranty and I was worried the intermittent issues I had with my sleep/wake button might become less intermittent over the next 12 months. I figured I'll try 7.0 out for a couple days, if all goes well I'll throw it on the new one, make sure that is trouble-free over the weekend, then I can send back my old one on Monday :)

So far, so good with 7.0, I haven't run into any bugs. Not sure I like the overly plain white look of the Messages app and keyboard, and the white text on the lock screen required I change my background as it had some white in it. But on the whole I think it's a nice improvement.

Windows Phone overtakes Apple's market share ... in India

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Re: Low End

That's fine, so long as when they rise up the income ladder they continue to buy your products. It remains to be seen how well that works for Nokrosoft.

Windows Phone may be beating the iPhone in market share, but by doing it mostly selling cheap phones with little margin, Apple is still making an order of magnitude more money in India than they are. By not chasing the low end market, Apple is trying to maintain their status as a high end aspirational brand. If they succeed, a good portion of those current Lumia 520 owners will buy an iPhone in the future if/when they can afford it.

It has always proven rather difficult for companies to sell on the low end while simultaneously maintaining their status as a high end brand. It can work in the short run, but rarely in the long run. You often need to start another brand (i.e. Toyota/Lexus, Honda/Infiniti) to succeed. That works well for cars because Toyota dealers also sell Lexus, but if Lumia became devalued as a brand in India due to the prevalence of cheap Lumia 520s and Microsoft needed a new branding for high end WP devices, only those customers who walk into a Microsoft store would be likely to have the same conversion rates that Toyota owners do to being Lexus owners.

DARPA: You didn't think we could make a Mach 6 spaceplane, so let us have this MACH TEN job

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50% of the fuel for the first 100 feet off the launch pad?

Maybe "it's been said", but that is crazy on the face of it. Think how fast the typical rocket is moving when it reaches the 100 foot mark, and explain why you would believe such a wild assertion when you're only traveling a fraction of the speed you need to reach after only 100 feet. If this was the case, rather than lift all that extra fuel off the pad for only 100 feet, they'd have the rocket connected with a breakaway hose to supply it and make the first stage half as large or use that reduced weight to massively increase the lifting capacity!

Disclaimer: I'm not a rocket scientist, but I'm able to recognize off-by-at-least-a-factor-of-ten errors in logic when I see them.

Peak Apple: Has ANYONE at all ordered a new iPhone 5c?

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Re: Total lack of story here...

I doubt the difference is all that much. The only real difference is a colorful plastic case versus a machined aluminum case. Obviously there is a savings, but it isn't like the metal case added $50 to the manufacturing cost. Likely not even $10.

Twerking 'ell! Google BUMPs and grinds way to another app slurp

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Maybe Bump has patents?

There seems little point to Google buying them otherwise, since they've hitched their wagon to NFC and Bump allows "tap to share" type of functionality similar to what Android does with NFC (aka S-Beam for Samsung)

Jolla Sailfish OS to support Android hardware, apps

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What would be the point of Sailfish?

Is it supposed to be somehow better than Android in some way, some way that Android can't match for some reason? Cheaper due to reduced hardware requirements, perhaps? Will native Sailfish apps be able to do things that Android apps cannot and will not be able to match?

There has to be some reason for people to choose a Sailfish device, and some reason for developers to develop Sailfish apps, otherwise the whole exercise seems rather pointless.

At least the FirefoxOS project has some goals in mind (targeting lower hardware requirements to be able to hit that very low segment still dominated by feature phones which Android cannot reach) Tizen has the advantage of having Samsung behind it, and thus could guarantee millions of sales in months if Samsung decided to get serious about pushing them.

Microsoft no longer a top Linux kernel contributor

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Most of that code is drivers and the various architectures. If you stripped out everything but the x86-64 architecture and the drivers needed for the top 10 PC models that shipped so far this year it would be far far smaller, and show a very moderate rate of growth.

There really isn't as much worry about the possible state combinations as you seem to think since you can't run two architectures at once, so no conflict is possible there. While drivers can possibly conflict, the sheer number of drivers isn't as big of a problem as you might think because many classes of devices will never share the same running kernel. For example, you will never see an accelerometer on a Qualcomm SoC and a Fibre Channel HBA share the same kernel.

Microsoft mocks Apple and new iPhones in vids it quickly pulls

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@Rukario - Amiga vs. Mac

I don't remember ever seeing any ads for Amiga. Ever. If you can find it on Youtube I'd be curious to see it.

But advertising against Macintosh would have made no sense for Commodore. The Mac and the Amiga were totally different markets. The Amiga was color, about games, and fairly inexpensive. The Mac was B&W, not at all popular for games and expensive. It would be like running ads for a motorcycle against a pickup....totally different markets.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple makes consumer products

And that's exactly why Apple's Mac guy & PC guy ads worked so well. Apple wasn't so much making fun of Microsoft as they were saying PCs are for business and Macs are for people.

Exploring our way to the source of EMC's mighty VNX Nile

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50% more platters

If helium allows platters to be closer together, it is likely they'll just make the drives thinner while keeping the number of platters constant. That is, after all, what they've always done in the past when the ability to put the platters closer together has presented itself.

If you can fit 50% more drives in a rack, the outcome is the same, of course.

TWO can play this 64-bit mobile game, says Samsung, crossly

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Re: Apple 'i' device CPU's

You're correct that all the 'A' ones are designed by Apple, but the A4/A5 are different than the A6/A7. In the former, Apple used standard ARM cores and only designed the SoC. In the latter, they designed the core themselves as well, rather than using a standard ARM core (i.e. A9, A15, etc.)

Apple is now beyond the point of "take that [ARM core] and add bits to it", they have no use of for ARM designed cores any longer. Qualcomm similarly designs their own ARM cores (Krait) Samsung has not yet done so, but they have ARM architectural license that enables them to do this, and have been assembling a team capable of designing CPU cores so I wouldn't be surprised if when they do produce a 64 bit ARM it will be their own design rather than using ARM's A53 or A57 core.

Samsung does fab all of Apple A* CPUs (the A7 isn't confirmed for certain yet, but it is likely) The relationship is similar to if Apple engraved printing plates for $1 bills and left it to Samsung to operate the presses that use their plates to put ink to paper.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Forky Forky Fork Fork

Huh? Why is it stupid to make 64 bit hardware but run a 32 bit OS on it? Doing that would allow the phone to be upgraded to run a 64 bit OS in the future when it is ready.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Which fab are Apple using?

WRONG. Apple licensed the ARMv8 architecture, the core is their own design. It is NOT an A53 or A57 core.

Samsung is also working toward designing their own ARM cores like Apple (and Qualcomm) are doing. The current Exynos CPUs are using ARM designed cores so they are comparable to the Apple A4 and A5, where Apple designed the SoC but dropped in ARM cores licensed from ARM, Ltd. It is quite possible Samsung's 64 bit ARM will be their own core, rather than using the A53 or A57.

One day we'll look back and say this was the end of the software platform

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The author's point was that none of that matters. Yes, Linux is thriving as a platform, but most of its success these days (in the form of Android) it is simply an enabler for the hardware being sold with it. If Google decided to replace the Linux kernel in Android with the Mach kernel, 99.9% of the buyers of Android phones wouldn't care in the slightest. Those who would would be those GPL/BSD license fundamentalists - not rejecting it because it isn't Linux but rejecting it because it isn't GPL.

DougS Silver badge

Re: What shifted Apple into the mainstream?

You're saying that Apple owes its success in the digital download market to iTunes and not the iPod? Pass me some of what you're smoking! iTunes is merely a tool that enables the iPod, that's why its free. Yes, it is functional on its own, but how many people do you really think use iTunes but do not own an iPod (or iPhone or iPad which can operate as an iPod)

\For a long time iTunes was quite hated in by Windows users. I'd say Apple succeeded in the digital download market DESPITE iTunes, not because of it. Obviously the iPod would not have been successful without iTunes - that was the only way to load songs on it. But if there had never been an iPod and Apple released only iTunes it would have been discontinued years old and dimly remembered in the way Plays For Sure(tm) is.

Massively leaked iFail 5S POUNDS pundits, EXCITES chavs

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iPhone leaks

I'm rather surprised Apple doesn't have a few next generation iPhones in development, the real one and a few decoys to throw people off the scent. It tends to make the announcements rather anticlimactic when everything is already known.

The only thing that wasn't well known was the A7 being 64 bit, there was a bit of speculation but it didn't reach the certainty level of the fingerprint sensor in the home button and new gold color option.

iPhone 5S: Apple, you're BORING us to DEATH (And you too, Samsung)

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Re: From the X Labs

Why the hell should anyone care about battery life longer than a day? Is it that hard to charge your phone nightly? Yes, battery life of 2 days or a week or whatever is nice to have, but way way way down the list of what I'd be looking for when choosing a phone. I could list dozens of things I'd rather have in a smartphone than battery life longer than a day.

And really, even the iPhone's 8 hours of talk time or whatever it is (which I'm sure is not really a day for people who are seriously heavy phone users) has been fine for me, I've only run out of battery before the end of the day a couple times, due to use of the LED as a flashlight for convenience reasons when doing some home improvement type tasks, which I wouldn't have done if I hadn't had my charger readily available.

Apple’s iOS 64-bit iUpgrade: Don't expect a 2x performance leap

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Re: It's not about addressable memory

And since I posted my earlier reply to this, Samsung has announced that they're working on a 64 bit ARM and it will be out but "not soonest", whatever that means. So they're clearly not going to be using PAE, because they too know that it sucks.

DougS Silver badge

Apple is NOT claiming 64 bits gives them a 2x performance improvement

Just like anyone other chip designer, Apple is going to be able to make performance improvements in the design itself that would make it perform better even when running at the same clock speed. It is made in a smaller process, so will also be clocked faster, and given that the A6 was fairly conservative with its clock rate there would be a lot of room for improvement there should they wish it. The A7's transistor density (based on "over a billion" transistors in 102 sq mm) is twice that of the A6 and surprisingly is slightly higher even than Intel's 22nm Haswell (though Intel's design rules aren't set up to maximize density since production cost isn't their top concern)

Between improvements in IPC and improvements in clock rate over the rather conservative A6, getting a 2x performance boost compared to the A6 isn't really a stretch. Especially when you consider them saying 'up to 2x' means it is 2x faster in at least one thing and almost certainly less than 2x faster in others.

DougS Silver badge

Re: It's not about addressable memory

PAE sucks. It's a terrible kludge that was needed only because Intel held back on going to 64 bits in x86 because they wanted to push IA64.

Android will not use it, because Google is smart and knows it sucks.

DougS Silver badge

Re: So why bother with a 64-bit chip at all?

Actually by going to 64 bit early Apple is extending the life of the 5S. Given that it only has 2GB of RAM (or so reports go, I don't think that's confirmed yet?) it doesn't NEED 64 bits. If they wanted to screw over people like you seem to think, why not wait until you ship a device with 4GB of RAM and do the transition then? Then they could obsolete the 5S sooner.

Obviously they will go 64 bit only at some point, probably with iOS 10 or so. Consider that iOS 7 is the first OS that won't run on the 3gs, which is over four years old. If they want an equivalent lifetime for the 5, they need to wait until iOS 10 to make the transition. If they made the 5S 32 bit, then they'd either have to wait longer to make iOS 64 bit only, or obsolete the 5S sooner.

DougS Silver badge


Obviously YOU have never recompiled 32 bit code to 64 bit, or have done so only in a very limited environment that doesn't work the way most do. Otherwise you would know that in all 32->64 bit architecture migrations I'm aware of, an 'int' is still 32 bits even when you compile for 64 bits.

Depending on whether the iOS dev environment uses LP64 or LLP64, even a long won't be 64 bits, you'd need to use 'long long' to get that. That is likely what Apple will do for maximum code compatibility, and likely iOS has already supported 'long long' since the beginning as many 32 bit compilers do (they emit multiple instructions when operations are done on long long variables)

So likely only pointers will increase in size when you recompile iOS code to 64 bits, or if they use LLP64 like most Unixes do longs would increase too - but most developers would not use long in code targeted at a 32 bit environment since it is no different than int. They'd only use long if they intended for it to (maybe) increase in size in a 64 bit environment.

Assuming the 5S doubles RAM from 1GB to 2GB, any code/data size inflation will be far less than 100% and it will effectively have more RAM than the 5 did.

4K-friendly Thunderbolt 2 WILL ship this year, Chipzilla pledges

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HDbaseT version 2.0 supports 4K, carries up to 100 watts of power, AND carries USB! If your computer used this to connect to a monitor, it could power your monitor and allow USB connections on the base of your monitor for your keyboard/mouse. Your computer could be 100 feet away if you wanted. It also carries IR, RS232 and Toslink in both directions for CE/commercial control/AVR applications.

Version 2.0 also allows it to run over a normal network. Well, if you have a 10GBaseT network at home, which isn't exactly common these days but in another couple years I'm sure that will become affordable.

Imagine having a phone that supported this. You could plug your phone into a monitor that's plugged into the wall, and it would charge your phone. Or plug your phone into a switch that is also connected to your monitor, and both are powered by the switch. The phone would connect to the USB keyboard and mouse you have plugged into the monitor and if you ran a desktop GUI on your phone you'd have a full fledged computer with proper keyboard and mouse running on your phone. More and more people will bin their PC if that happens, and Microsoft starts to feel some major pain.

What's that you say, a phone is way too small for an RJ45 connector? No problem, the phone would just need some sort of mini 8 pin connector with configurable pins. Sounds like that Lightning connector on the iPhone 5 everyone was whining about....hmmm, makes you think, doesn't it? Not saying this has anything to do with the move to Lightning by Apple, but even if that was not part of the plan doesn't mean there might not be someone working on this in Cupertino right now.

Personally I think Apple will abandon Thunderbolt for HDbaseT down the road. HDbaseT just makes too much sense. Instead of having all these different ports on the back of your PC, you could do with just one, you don't even need USB ports, they move to your monitor. Apple loves eliminating ports, they'd certainly love to someday have a Macbook with only one port.

You thought NFC tags were Not For Consumers? Well, they're in Maplin's

DougS Silver badge

@DragonLord 10:14

It also means that he doesn't have to remember to change his phone every time he changes location. Esp. the car as I assume he has a phone holder/charger in the car

He still has to remember to change his phone or tap a different tag when he leaves his car. This is a geek solution, no average person is going to stick NFC tags in their car and think this is a good idea.

It would be FAR a better solution if his car had Bluetooth and his phone could auto detect it and go into car mode when it detects the car bluetooth (along with sending music through the speakers and maybe reading his texts to him, etc.) and leave car mode when it no longer detects his car's Bluetooth.

I assume buying something you could plug into your cigarette lighter to emit Bluetooth to allow this to work in an older car (minus the working with your car's audio, of course) would be quite inexpensive, as well as being a far better solution than what this guy came up with. It would drain your battery when you aren't in your car (unless it was wired into the ignition so it only operates when your car does) but it would probably take years for something using Bluetooth 4LE to drain a car battery.

Like I always say, NFC is a solution looking for a problem. And there are always better solutions to the problems it "solves".

iPhone 5S: Fanbois, your prints are safe from the NSA, claim infosec bods

DougS Silver badge

Here we go again

You can't patent an idea, no one can patent "fingerprint reader on a phone". They could, however, patent a particular way of doing it. If the way they managed to integrate the sensor into the home button was an invention in itself, they'd be able to patent that, and someone else who wanted to put a sensor in a button would have to find a different way to do it.

Of course, if Apple has filed some sort of patent on this the headlines will all read "Apple patents fingerprint reader on phone" and people will say "how can they get away with this, Atrix is prior art!" and not read the list of claims in the actual patent (assuming the article even bothers to link the patent)

Flying in the US? Remember to leave your hand grenades at home

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How it happens

This happened to a friend of mine about six months after 9/11, when everyone was still very jumpy.

He had a real grenade that had been rendered inert he kept on his desk as a souvenir from his time in Desert Storm. He was still in the National Guard at the time and thus had a military ID.

Unbeknownst to him, the night before an early morning flight, his son took the grenade off his desk and ended up putting it in his carry on bag he'd packed and set next to his desk. He went through security, they saw it on the Xray, and immediately hustled him into a room for further questioning. Fortunately for him the TSA guy was a former Desert Storm vet himself, could see the grenade was no longer operational, and bought his story, so he still made his flight on time. The grenade was confiscated, however (somehow I bet the TSA guy ended up taking it home)

Obviously he wouldn't have deliberately packed a grenade, live or otherwise, but sometimes strange things happen when you have kids. I'll bet he checks the contents of his carry on before leaving to this day :)

US plaintiffs can seek damages over Street View data slurp - court

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If the kid is Jay Jr.

Then it would be "Bye-bye, baby Jay Bybee"


DougS Silver badge

I wonder how the response would have been different had this been a GS4 feature?

People seem to be looking for things to criticize Apple about, but they've said clearly the data doesn't leave the phone. Likely it isn't even saving your actual print but some sort of signature/hash to compare with the signature/hash it gets when you try to unlock it. That's why it has you do it several times at first to build up a baseline.

Android has "face unlock" which seems more rife for government abuse when you think about it - once they have your face they can track your movements over security cameras everywhere Minority Report style. Obviously the US government already has the face of any US citizen with a passport or driver's license, but do the rest of you really want to trust that Google doesn't provide the face unlock data to the NSA so that you evil furriners can be tracked whenever you visit here or when you're in any place (like the UK) that works with the NSA?

Somehow I don't recall hearing a lot of privacy worries over face unlock, only the usual comments that it showed how Apple was behind in the feature lists. Now that Apple moves ahead (not first, but they'll beat Android's installed base of fingerprint readers in the first 15 minutes of iPhone 5S sales) suddenly it is a huge privacy concern. I remember hearing objections to the Xbox One having Kinect enabled all the time because it could recognize you and see who is watching TV. Why was it a great feature on a phone but a terrible idea for a console? Because you can turn it off on your phone? Do you really trust that not enabling face unlock keeps the front camera disabled on your Android? It has to have the front camera enabled to do all that gimmicky hands-free answering and stuff on the GS4, you know...

I guess the 5S fingerprint scanner, like Android face unlock, it is more of a concern for those overseas who don't want to risk giving the NSA any more personal data than they already likely have. In the US, those of us who have served in the military, been arrested, worked for the federal government, obtained a concealed carry permit, worked in a bank, works with children in any capacity and so on can be assured the NSA already has our prints on file so even if this gives them another copy it is too late to prevent whatever abuses they make of it.

Brazilian TV show accuses NSA of spying on oil firm based on leaked docs

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Re: Oh not to worry Brazil...

That's not free, even with Obamacare!

Fancy a new iPhone 5C or 5S? READ THIS or you may not get 4G data

DougS Silver badge

3G is fine if its not bogged down by all those subscribers

The AT&T "4G" HSPA+ works great where I live, I often get over 10Mb/s from it. So the fact I don't have LTE where I live yet is totally irrelevant to me, because I don't see any point to more speed than that. The only time it matters is when a football game drives up the local population by 50% and the cell sites start to become overwhelmed.

If I find 3G at a comparable speed when traveling, I certainly won't care if my phone can't access the local flavor of 4G - especially since I'd likely turn off mobile data entirely and rely only on Wifi for data because international roaming data prices are so ridiculous.

It is funny how the world seemed to agree pretty widely on 2100 MHz for 3G, but is so fragmented when it comes to 4G.

First rigid airship since the Hindenburg cleared for outdoor flight trials

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why compress helium...

I agree that Richard has an excellent point. You have to compress helium to 8 bar to offset its buoyancy, if you compressed the same volume of air to only 2 bar you'd get the same effect. Or compress 1/4th as much air to 8 bar. Either way it should require less energy.

Moving the helium around increases the risk you lose some, and moving air around only takes place one way (since you just vent it when you want your buoyancy back) meaning twice as much plumbing or more complex two way valves for the helium solution.

I also like the idea of squirting air to aid maneuvering. Having some air outlets around the bottom controlled by computer to aid maneuvering during takeoff/landing is cheaper than having a bunch of small extra propellers used only a few minutes per flight.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Back of the envelope calculation

A bicycle tire is typically pressurized to 110-125 psi, which is right in the 8 bar range. They don't kill or even maim anyone when they blow up. Perhaps the difference is because a car tire is thick and has nasty stuff like steel belts in it, while the inner tube in a bike tire is not much more than a balloon made out of something that doesn't stretch as well as a normal balloon. Car tires are not built for 100+ psi, they're built for 35 psi. I'm sure they could make them able to handle 200 psi if they was a point to doing so, but that would add unnecessary expense and make for a very rough ride!

Sounds like what COSH is doing is transferring helium from balloons (used during lift stage) to bicycle inner tubes (to reduce lift) With pressures in the 8 bar range I don't think we're going to need to worry about another Hindenburg because a few inner tubes give way inside a structure LINED WITH METAL. So long as they're durable enough such that one blowing up isn't going to cause the one next to it to blow up and start a giant chain reaction I think such fears are unfounded.

Apple's no-news Beijing event leaves it adrift in China

DougS Silver badge

Looks like the the 'C' in 5C stands for China, not Cheap

Normally Apple would have taken $100 off the price of the iPhone 5 and sold it, just like they took another $100 off the price of the 4S and continue to sell that. So why did they quit selling the 5 entirely and plan to sell the 5C at that exact same price the marked down 5 would have sold at? There are only two differences between the 5 and 5C that matter: colored cases and support for TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE.

If they sold the current 5 they couldn't sell it to China Mobile customers as anything more than a 2G phone, but they can sell the 5C as a 3G/4G device. Who knows when a deal will be done, but I guess even if there isn't a deal this would help them sell a lot more phones to China Mobile customers. They've sold something like 30 million to them over the years despite no official carrier support, even though it only works at Edge speeds on China Mobile's network, so there is obviously demand for them.

New iPhones are latte-sipping inner city elitists

DougS Silver badge

Re: Paleoflatus

Costs you heaps more?

Perhaps you ought to review the retail price of a iPhone 5S and that of the Samsung GS4. The HTC One probably does cost significantly less, since they've likely had to discount it to compete with the Samsung marketing machine. But at introduction I'll bet it was similarly priced.

Also note that iPhones hold their resale value FAR better than any Android phone, so unless you're keeping your phone until it dies, you can subtract $100-$200 from the difference between the for that factor.

Apple slugs Australia with iPhone tax

DougS Silver badge

Isn't this always the case?

Isn't the PS3 and Xbox 360 more over there. Probably most American cars, too.

You could always visit the US, buy a few dozen iPhones, then sell them back home to make your trip to the US free.

New iPhones: C certainly DOESN'T stand for 'Cheap'

DougS Silver badge

Re: Fingerprint scanning less secure than a PIN?

If you get drunk enough at a party to pass out cold to where your "mates" can shave off your eyebrows and draw on your forehead, you sort of deserve to have them get in your phone.

Though I fail to see why using your phone for the picture rather than taking one with theirs and texting it to you (or posting it on Facebook) is a necessity for this sort of prank.

I presume that it will be possible to set iOS to require a fingerprint AND a PIN, so if you're on your way to that sort of a party, you might want to add a PIN or password for the night. You'll still no have eyebrows and a penis on your forehead when you wake up in the morning, but at least no one will have been able to get into your phone, because that's the worst of the three, right?

Shingle me timbers! Seagate brags of 1m SMR drives - where are they?

DougS Silver badge

Only a 25% capacity increase?

That's rather weak. Hardly seems worth the bother.

Google scrambles to block backdoors

DougS Silver badge

Re: I really don't understand this move

They aren't doing this to actually keep our information more secure, but to make us feel as though it is more secure.

Given that Google, along with other big name companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple and so on were documented as openly cooperating with the NSA, I don't know why we should trust that Google doesn't give the NSA access to our data when we deliver it to them, before they encrypt and write it to disk. Google will deny they do this, of course, but there is probably a "secret law" in place requiring Google to cooperate but requiring them to deny their cooperation.

The only thing that would make me feel (slightly) more comfortable would be if I encrypt the data with a key only I have so it is delivered to Google already encrypted, and sent back to me still encrypted and I have to decrypt it to use it.

Apple's iOS backups work this way if you backup to your own computer (though the encryption is optional, so most probably don't bother) but when you backup to iCloud it is protected by SSL on the way there and encrypted on disk, which is supposed to make us feel secure but I never did even before the Snowden affair. I'd like to use iCloud but wouldn't (and now definitely won't) use it under the current implementation so my backups go only to a Windows 7 VM on my Linux laptop that I use only for iPhone backups. Yeah, I don't backup as often as I should, but at least the NSA hasn't got their hands on that data. I think...

'Beat the lie detectors' trainer sentenced to 8 months in jail

DougS Silver badge

Polygraphs usually work because

most people believe in them. People who read The Reg are far more scientifically knowledgeable than the average person and thus the skepticism here is not reflected amongst the general public, in the US at least, where a sizable majority believe they work.

Those who believe that they work will feel anxiety when lying during a polygraph exam, which will be reflected on the polygraph's readings.

I would think the best way to teach someone to beat a polygraph would be to have them actually professionally polygraphed in an exam that has no consequences if they fail, as many times as is necessary. Once they are able to demonstrate to themselves that they're able to lie successfully they would feel less anxiety in lying in an exam that counts and be more likely to beat it.

Verizon finally drags FCC into court fisticuffs to end one-speed internet for all

DougS Silver badge

@Anon 20:41

It isn't that they want to make it illegal for you to buy a service better than whatever the standard offering is, but to make it illegal to sell you a better offering that creates WORSE service for those who do not pay. Your example of next day delivery isn't correct because the post office putting your package on an airplane and getting it to me tomorrow doesn't make the package my mom sends me take longer than it otherwise would.

Networks are a zero sum game though, unless they offer completely different infrastructure to be used for expedited delivery. If your packets have priority then those without priority by definition will take longer to arrive than they otherwise would have. If the networks are congested, the 'standard delivery' packets are the ones that will be dropped, while your expedited packets are not dropped.

You really don't see how this is akin to a protection racket? "Psst, hey Google, youse really oughta pay for Vinnie the Verizon's packet insurance like your neighbor Microsoft, we'd sure hate to see sometin' happen to 'em on the way to your users!"

Think about how refineries in the US always happen to go "down for maintenance" right about the time that capacity is reduced (like when they change from winter to summer blends and vice versa) Maybe when the links between SF and NYC are 80% utilized they decide to take a router or down for maintenance/testing and 'ooops!' suddenly we're over 100% utilization. So sorry we'll have to drop packets for those who aren't paying for expedited packet delivery, I'm sure this will in no way impact the future decision of people to pay for it...

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