* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Apple erects measures to stop app-happy kids splurging parents' dosh

DougS Silver badge


Say what? The amount of money Apple makes from apps is a drop in the bucket compared to their overall profits. They've sold $10 billion worth of apps in all the time they've been selling them, which gives Apple $3 billion from its 30% cut. They make more than that from the first month's sales of a new model of iPhone.

Could Apple do more to hamstring the bad actors developing games targeted at getting kids to spend money on useless in-app "stuff" like smurfberries? Sure, but if they do it too much, those game developers will just flee to Android, since Google doesn't have any sort of walled garden the games developers will be free to pull their underhanded tricks there. Before you say "parental controls", these exist on iOS too, the problem is parents don't know how to secure their devices until its too late.

Now that Android tablets are outselling iPads, there will be more of these types of games coming to Android since parents buying a tablet for a small child are probably going to want to buy one for $150 instead of $450, knowing that it has a higher than average likelihood of being broken when its left in the hands of an 8 year old.

Google takes the same 30% cut Apple does, when the reports of kids spending $1000 of their parents money on berries on an Android tablet start coming out, will you make the same claims about Google you did for Apple? The amount Google makes from its 30% cut is of course a similarly trivial percentage of Google's overall profit.

Brocade boss drops F-bomb: 'Everyone's for 32Gbps Fibre Channel'

DougS Silver badge

The lack of success for FCoE is down to two things in my experience:

1) control - who runs this network, the storage guys or the network guys?

2) sharing - the parts of the business dominated by storage consumers like databases don't want a bunch of ethernet traffic mucking up their latencies and the parts of the business that care only about the network faints from thinking about what terabytes of storage traffic will do to their network bandwidth. Doesn't matter how true this is, the perception of those who control/influence the purse strings does.

Since in many cases it isn't practical for the above reasons to share a common fabric, you still need two fabrics, which badly wounds the case for FCoE. While there would probably be some benefit to using 40Gb PHYs from ethernet instead of designing new 32Gb PHYs for FC to reduce the cost for both, I'm sure Brocade is avoiding that because they don't want to do anything to hasten the day when FCoE might succeed - because if/when it does, Cisco wins.

YouTube Wars: Microsoft cries foul as Windows Phone app pulled again

DougS Silver badge

Why do they need a Youtube app?

When iOS 6.0 removed the built in Youtube app and you had to download it from the app store, I never did because I never used the app to find videos, I'd search for them or follow a link in the browser, on Facebook, etc. and they'd play within that app just fine via WebKit. After all, PCs don't have a YouTube app, they play videos using the browser.

In fact the user experience I have now without the app is better, because before sometimes when I watched a video it'd spawn the YouTube app and I'd have to go back to the app I started with, now it always stays within the app I was using! I really don't see the point of a standalone YouTube app, can anyone tell me why the heck it matters? Won't a WP8 device still play YouTube videos without the app? If so, what's the big deal?

DougS Silver badge

Re: re: Evil

These days Microsoft seems like one of those 90-something year old Nazi war criminals you read about them going after from time to time. You know he was truly evil back in the day and deserves his fate, but somehow against your better judgment a small part of you can't help feeling sorry for the poor doddering old fool.

Apple files 'Bonk to Gift' near field communication patent application

DougS Silver badge

Re: Sounds just like

Did anyone ever give someone a song using IR in the 90s? How many songs could a 90s era phone hold back then, 4? At the crappy bit rates of IR compared to the size of songs, it certainly isn't something you'd do while each of you was holding the phone, that's for sure. Maybe a ringtone, I can't remember if those were a 'thing' in the 90s or if it wasn't until after Y2K they became hot.

Not to say this deserves a patent, it certainly doesn't. But claiming sharing via IR as prior art for sharing via NFC is as much a stretch as claiming that tin cans and string were prior art for the telephone.

DougS Silver badge

Just because Apple files for a patent using NFC

Doesn't mean they'll ever actually offer a product using it. There are plenty of patents filed (not just by Apple, by everyone) for technologies that never see the light of day.

This seems like an odd thing to want to do, if I want to give someone a gift for iTunes I want to give them an iTunes gift card, not buy them songs they may or may not like (and can only give to them in person) I suspect the way this would be used would be if I have a song on my iPod/iPhone and let a friend listen to it, and he likes it, that I can 'gift' it to him directly and I'm charged the 99 cents, rather than him having to go iTunes and locate it himself.

Google follows Amazon with auto-encryption of cloud data

DougS Silver badge

Re: Encryption needs to be on the client side to be secure

Why do you assume this? The documents Snowden leaked made clear that Google (and Microsoft, Apple and others) were actively providing information to the NSA. True, the NSA captures the traffic on the Internet, but also gets help from Google to get the information. After all, splitting SSL traffic isn't going to give the NSA much, but giving them their SSL master key will.

Google's assurances here are worthless, they would be legally prohibited from telling us if they were providing the NSA access to our data.

DougS Silver badge

Encryption needs to be on the client side to be secure

With it taking place on Google's end, all the reassurances in the world aren't going to make anyone with half a brain believe that they won't provide the NSA access to your data.

Even if they still held to Don't Be Evil (which they clearly abandoned years ago) they could be subject to a secret interpretation of a secret law by a secret court, and be legally obligated to keep the fact they're providing access to the NSA secret. Welcome to the USsr!

Poor Google/Amazon/Apple/IBM and everyone else in the cloud storage game based in the US. They are doomed to play second/third fiddle to someone setting up in Switzerland or an Eastern European country who doesn't have to play ball with the NSA and their Echelon friends.

Samsung faces Brazilian rap: Factory bods work '15hrs without break'

DougS Silver badge

Safe to assume that means 27 days without a day off.

Rate-my-boink app scores frisky fanbois, fangurlz' SCREAMS, VIBRATIONS

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Re: @thesykes

There was some survey that made the news a couple years ago that said iPhone owners had twice as much sex or twice as many partners or something like that than owners of other phones.

That may no longer be true, since Android has reached such penetration (sorry about that) that it approximates the average of the general public. Well, minus our grandparents, few of whom have either smartphones or sex.

WoW gold farmer throws sueball over real world gold theft

DougS Silver badge

@kevin king

I agree with everything you said, except the part about the bank having to tell the tax office. Maybe safe deposit boxes work differently where you live, but in the US the bank explicitly does NOT know what you have in your box. I could have the Hope Diamond in mine, and the bank (or IRS) will never know.

The way the IRS usually finds out about undeclared income is when it is spent. If you make a bunch of undeclared income but live within the means of your declared income, the IRS will be none the wiser if you stuck your ill gotten gains in a safe deposit box. Of course, if you don't have a use for that money, why bother earning it and always have to look over your shoulder wondering if the tax man will come knocking on your door and make your life hell?

Philips' smart lights left in the dark by dumb security

DougS Silver badge

Frankly I'm surprised it had any security at all

A lot of CE products don't. And in a way, that might be better - rather than trying to do security correctly in tons of connected devices, have it behind to a device (a wireless router in the home, whatever gateway is managing all such devices in a commercial environment) that handles security for it.

If you rely on its security, what happens if it is cracked? (security, not the glass) Do we really want to live in a world where we have to do firmware updates on our light bulbs? If you say "it can download them automatically", what happens if the support life of your light bulb is a lot shorter than its bulb life? Are you left only buying from major vendors, because you worry a small firm might go out of business and the site the bulbs access for firmware updates goes away?

Peak Apple? HOGWASH! Apple is 'extremely undervalued,' says Icahn

DougS Silver badge

Icahn can't play his usual game this time

Typically he buys a big enough chunk of a company to get a seat on the board, and controlling enough of the outstanding shares to be able to ram through proposals at annual meetings, etc. The implied threat is "if I dump all my shares at once the share price will drop like a rock, and shareholders will lose confidence in the CEO".

As the author points out, even if he put his entire fortune into Apple (which he hasn't) it would be maybe 1% (then only if he's worth $5 billion) He may be big enough to make the news with his comments, and score a meeting with the CEO, but such a tiny share won't let him push anyone around, nor will it inspire much fear in Cook or anyone else about what would happen if he sold all his shares at once.

PEAK Apple: Cupertino's hopes died with Steve Jobs, says Larry Ellison

DougS Silver badge

@Don Jefe 12:18

You don't need (or even want) new products all the time when people are buying what you've already got at really great margins.


Too many companies have lost out because they were afraid of cannibalizing their own products, and let someone else do it instead. Apple isn't afraid of doing so (iPhone cannibalized the iPod, the iPad Mini cannibalized sales of the regular iPad, etc.)

Sometimes however, there isn't anything out there to a cannibalize a market. Smartphones are like that now. The only "must have" features in a smartphone these days are a touchscreen, a full browser, ability to run apps, a GPS for mapping, and obviously phone functionality. Apple may have been the first to put all those pieces together in a single phone, but all those pieces have been around since before the iPhone.

In the 8? 10? years since there have been no new killer features for smartphones. So there's really nothing to cannibalize sales, it is all a matter of preference - do you like or dislike Apple's walled garden? Do you want a bigger screen? Etc. People complain Apple isn't innovating in smartphones, but neither is anyone else. No one has come up with a product that obsoletes the iPhone and other current phones in the way the iPhone obsoleted the smartphones that came before it.

ZTE to flog Firefox OS mobe worldwide via eBay

DougS Silver badge

Re: Lackluster

For $80 you expect to be wowed? This isn't really intended for the US or UK market, it will do fine for that part of the world for whom an iPhone 5 or Galaxy S4 may cost the better part of their yearly income.

The thing that will determine the long term success of Firefox OS is if its system requirements are lower than that a 2.x version of Android, allowing for lower priced phones. Microsoft also isn't extorting money out of makers of FIrefox OS phones, though if they succeed they may try the same trick...

If the Firefox guys are smart it won't support vFAT and similar stuff that Microsoft has successfully asserted patent rights over previously. They can leave that to third party apps who can come and go like gophers popping their heads up faster than Microsoft can knock them down :)

New blinged-up 'iPhone 5S' touted by Jobs FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE

DougS Silver badge

Just because previous fingerprint sensors didn't catch on

Doesn't necessarily mean this one won't. If it does, and Android phones follow by adding this as well, Apple haters could console themselves with the fact that not only was Apple not the first to put a fingerprint sensor on a phone (the Motorola Atrix had a swipe sensor on the side of the phone a couple years ago) but also wouldn't have invented the technology used in the 5S, but rather acquired it through the purchase of Authentec.

The main problem with the fingerprint sensors found in a lot of laptops (and at least the Motorola Atrix a couple years ago as far as phones go) is that they were the 'swipe' type, which are far less accurate, but are also much less expensive, which is why they get slapped onto cheap laptops and phones. The bigger problem for a phone is that they require a separate motion. If Apple could add a fingerprint sensor to the home button which you're pressing already, it could unlock your phone automatically with no need for a password (or for added security in addition to the password) People like me who have a password only after a period of inactivity, rather than for every unlock, because it is too much of a pain that way, could have the security enabled all the time.

Saving that extra second it takes to type in your unlock password isn't really worth much unless it improves security. While some of the schemes the Mythbusters used to lift prints and bypass fingerprint readers would likely work on this too (unless Authentec made some real breakthroughs) they're enough of a pain most people won't do them to snoop in a friend's/SO's phone. So a phone with a fingerprint sensor would be more secure from casual snooping than one using a PIN/password since the latter is pretty easy to figure out if you watch someone unlock their phone very often.

Those who really care about security would use BOTH the fingerprint and a password, which would raise the bar for anyone trying to access your phone. Though the fact you will leave your phone covered in fingerprints would not help if rather than a street criminal you and your phone were specifically targeted by thieves who badly wanted access to something contained in it!

Despite Microsoft Surface RT debacle, second-gen model in the works

DougS Silver badge

Re: Microsoft is too late

Who said anything about anyone using an iPad, or any other tablet, as their "primary technology tool of choice". It could be used as the device they bring with them to meetings and take home with them, while they still use a laptop/desktop of some sort as their "primary" tool.

Tablets are only a toy if you don't know what they can do, or are a software developer, tech writer or similar who can't do any work that doesn't involve a ton of typing.

DougS Silver badge

Microsoft is too late

If they had done it right last fall, Surface RT had a chance. Back then the iPad still accounted for 2/3 of tablet sales. There were a lot of people interested in trying a tablet, but didn't want to pay that much. There where cheaper Android tablets back then, but they were mostly crap. If Microsoft could have moved in with a compelling product, a lot of people who purchased tablets in the past year would have considered Surface. Now Android tablets are not crap, sell faster than iPads, and have blocked off any chance for Microsoft to compete via price.

Microsoft's first mistake with Surface RT was thinking they could charge Apple prices for a product that wasn't nearly as useful or polished as an iPad. Perhaps it could have competed with the original iPad had it came out within six months of it, but they competed with the FOURTH generation iPad, and iPad Mini. Microsoft's second mistake was trying to highlight the keyboard cover as its killer feature. They just ignored the fact that such covers had been available for iPad for a couple years from third parties and never sold well - because people don't want to turn their tablet into a laptop. Microsoft has always had that blind spot and that's why their previous tablet efforts had always failed. They saw it as a different form of laptop, where Apple saw it as a different class of device, which is why the iPad succeeded because it was targeted primarily at content consumption, with little regard for content creation.

Microsoft now thinks that adding Outlook will make people want to choose Surface RT as the tablet they use at work, but the people who have BYOD options at work and want a tablet mostly already have iPads or Androids by now. Why are they going to dump a perfectly functional tablet to switch to Surface RT? Outlook is not a sufficient reason, especially since companies with BYOD already allow tablets to access their Outlook via IMAP. That half functionality is good enough for most.

The name Surface and "Windows RT" have become tarnished by all this, and Microsoft would almost do better by rebranding. I know they won't, because that would mean admitting failure, but that's where they're clearly headed. It is amazing that after so many failed attempts to sell tablets Microsoft still fails even when tablets now outsell laptops!

Werner Herzog's latest film warns drivers not to text while driving

DougS Silver badge

Re: Insurance?

I didn't watch the video, but insurance laws in the US are determined state by state. Some states do not require insurance, but most do. Driving without proof of insurance is illegal in my state, though if you don't want insurance you can post a $50,000 bond with the state (the amount is clearly inadequate, but the law is probably decades old from when $50,000 would probably cover almost any conceivable medical expenses for injuries you caused)

What happens to you money-wise after an accident, insurance or not, is largely determined by civil courts, not criminal. If I run someone over and injure or kill them, it is up to them (or their family) to sue me. If they choose not to, or my insurance is enough to pay the cost of the suit, that is the end of it. If the judgment is more than my insurance covers, I'm responsible for the rest, and the judge may assign some sort of payment plan if I don't have enough to cover the rest at the time.

The criminal courts are only concerned about whether you were breaking the law at the time of the accident, and they could for instance find both parties at fault legally (I was texting while driving, the guy I ran over was jaywalking)

DougS Silver badge

Re: I refuse to watch it.

The "training" thing is bullshit anyway. Someone who says "I've been texting while driving to/from work every day since 2003" could claim to have more training than anything the police could have possibly had for typing on their dash computers but that doesn't mean they are driving safely.

There are many cities in the US (including mine) where police have been banned from pursuits because of all the carnage they've caused or too many near misses that worried people. It is one thing to be able to safely drive through city streets at high speed, it is another to do so when there is other traffic there, and pedestrians, even with lights and siren on your vehicle to warn them. Radio waves travel faster than cars.

Apple wins Samsung import ban, loses 'Battle of Rounded Corners II'

DougS Silver badge

So many lies in these comments

I grow tired of reading this "Apple refused to negotiate" meme.

Apple was buying chips from Qualcomm which used the FRAND patents owned by Motorola and Samsung. They paid for these patents at a percentage rate of the chip's sales price, Apple was thus paying for the licensing through a third party.

At some point Motorola cancelled their license to Qualcomm, FOR APPLE ONLY, so from that point Apple was no longer paying for the FRAND patents. It isn't clear how Apple was notified of this change, or who notified them. Motorola expects Apple to pay the same percentage rate (2.4% I believe) of the sales price OF THE ENTIRE IPHONE.

Motorola pulled the same thing with Microsoft for patents used in chips within the Xbox they were buying through third parties, expecting them to pay based on the price of the entire XBox. Samsung thought "hey, great idea!", and did the same thing to Apple. If Apple wanted, they could pull the same thing back at them both, using Apple's large portfolio of FRAND h.264 patents they invented as well as FRAND LTE patents they acquired from Nortel.

Admins warned: Drill SSL knowledge into your Chrome users

DougS Silver badge

Re: hmm

Why is this a problem? I still use Firefox, but having the "non-IE" market split between them is better than if Firefox had it all.

Obama proposes four-point plan to investigate US data spooks

DougS Silver badge

Obama "satisfied that the intelligence agencies were obeying the law"

I'm sure the NSA is following the law, because the administration, like Bush's, obtains secret interpretations of what the law is that allow them to do what they want to do.

I'm also sure that "civilian oversight is working as it should", because they want no oversight, and there is none.

People are saying Obama lied, but what is really bad about this is that he told the truth. He may even have been truthful about the review not being conducted in response to Snowden. They probably did this review sometime in the past to have in their back pocket if/when details were leaked, sort of like how the New York Times has obits for a number of famous people ready to run in case they die.

DON'T PANIC: Amazon's Chromecast late-ship email was a blunder

DougS Silver badge

Re: Don't see the reason to use Wireless

No one is going to buy a Chromecast if they already have a smart TV (unless they're too dumb to know they have a smart TV, but only if Chromecast is easy enough to use that even people that dim can figure it out)

You're not the target market, the target market are all those people who bought a low end Vizio because it was the cheapest HDTV at Walmart and want to be able to stream Netflix movies to their 42" TV instead of their 20" PC monitor.

Google Glass: Would you pay a mere $299 to plop one on your brow?

DougS Silver badge

I'll be surprised if it goes beyond geekdom

Compare with smartphones. They've existed for over a decade, since well before the iPhone became the first smartphone that non-geeks wanted to own (I don't count Blackberry because its non-geek owners didn't use it as a smartphone, but merely as a phone that let them access their email on the go and/or send text messages for free)

I really don't see Google Glass becoming something that regular people want to own, like how they do an iPhone or Galaxy. Could they sell a few million if it becomes a hot geek toy? Sure. But expect regular folk to look at wearers funny in the same way they probably did back a decade ago at people using a Nokia Communicator to ssh into their home server.

Glass doesn't have any killer app that will make a regular person want to own one. Perhaps that will change, but if so it won't be the 1.0 version, it will be some future version, perhaps not made by Google at all, that crosses that divide.

NSA gets burned by a sysadmin, decides to burn 90% of its sysadmins

DougS Silver badge

"What matters is competence" @Anon 18:02

The thing you got wrong in your post was the part about "untrained monkeys think the only way of dealing with a problem is to throw massive amounts of manpower resources at it". It is more that they don't know any way of dealing with a problem other than dealing with it.

The main difference is that bad admins deal with a problem and once dealt with, go on the next problem. They like having the same problem constantly happen, because they know how to deal with it, it gives them visibility and the boss knows they're working, and they don't have to learn anything new. Good admins deal with a problem, and once dealt with continue dealing with it. In order of preference:

- fix the root cause so it never recurs

- partially fix the root cause to mitigate its impact to something you can log and ignore

- automate the "dealing with it" part so people aren't necessary to fix it when it recurs

- automate the monitoring so a ticket can be created automatically for the level 1 or level 2 guys to that tells them what the problem is and what steps that need to be followed, so they don't escalate it your way

Tax dodging? It's harder to do - and rarer - than you think

DougS Silver badge

Re: Having our cake and eating it too

When Dell, for instance, sells a computer to PC World (I assume that's the UK equivalent of our Best Buy?) then PC World picks up the cost of the shelf space and PFY. In Apple's case they pay for the shelf space and PFY - which at least for shelf space cost Apple far more given that Apple stores are typically located in some of the most expensive real estate around. Presumably they pay their PFYs more, as even though they aren't really "geniuses" they at least know which end of a power cord goes in the wall, something that the typical Best Buy employee would have trouble with and I'm guessing the same is true with your PC World guys.

So using the difference between the wholesale price that PC World buys a computer for, and what it sells a computer for probably isn't the correct metric, though if it was used it would benefit Apple - they'd probably be able to show a net loss in the UK!

DougS Silver badge

@Oddlegs - Re: Having our cake and eating it too

But what is the source of that £499 profit? If it costs them £500 to make and sells for £999 that is indeed an extra £499 that Apple makes. But there are a lot of other costs they have to pay, like R&D, keeping the lights on and floors clean at Apple HQ, and so on. If all that profit was booked as being made in the UK it would be just as unfair as booking only a £1 profit.

In reality, the reason why Apple is able to sell things for significantly more than the production cost, unlike many of their competitors, is because of additional value created in the US. Whether you believe Apple's products really are better because their R&D team takes the time to get the user experience right, or whether you believe their marketers have a lot of people brainwashed, those R&D and marketing guys are in the US - that's where the additional value is created that allows them to charge £499 more than the production cost, versus the £49 some of their competitors are limited to.

So I'd argue the profit applicable to the UK is much closer to the £1 figure than your £499 figure. And indeed, that is how Apple's corporate tax structure has things set up - almost all their profit accrues to the US. Much of it is 'delayed', because according to US law their overseas profits aren't taxed until they're brought back into the US. But it will eventually be taxed here, they're just sitting on it hoping for lower rates in the future than the current 35%. That may make them look bad in the US, but that's exactly what hundreds of other US companies are doing and is in keeping with their responsibility to do what is best for their shareholders - it is better to sit on the money now and hope for another corporate tax holiday like was very stupidly done in 2004 (or whenever it was) which has made all US companies with significant overseas profits figure if it happened once it is worth hoping (and lobbying) for again.

Android approaches 80% smartphone share as Apple's iPhone grows old

DougS Silver badge

"mobile market share" matters, "smartphone market share" does NOT

The bulk of the growth in smartphones these days are very low cost (the so-called "landfill Android") phones that are replacing all but the cheapest feature phones.

iPhone sales are still growing, albeit much more slowly than they were a few years ago, and thus so is their share of the overall number of cell phones sold.

The fact is, however, that most people who want a high end smartphone and can afford a high end smartphone already own one, so other than people who become wealthy enough (or reprioritize their spending habits) there are not nearly as many first time buyers of high end smartphones.

Just to save people the trouble, Apple's mobile market share is about 9% or so. So you can pretty much assume that Apple's smartphone market share will eventually decline to about 10% by the time there are no feature phones left. Hopefully we won't have to keep reading articles about smartphone market share once 90% of phones sold are smartphones...

Flippin' tosser: Sun's magnetic field poised to SWIVEL on it - NASA

DougS Silver badge

Re: Low activity

Appreciate the detailed reply Trevor. One point I'd like to make in reply though. Even if it is true that human induced changes cause a bunch of extinctions, how can those extinctions be worse than what an ice age causes? All the time we read about some little wetland that is protected because there is some unique species of frog that lives there or whatever. How exactly do those guys not go extinct when their wetland FREEZES? An ice age has to cause a huge amount of extinctions - maybe not so much in the oceans, but certainly on land as it changes the climate massively over the bulk of the earth's surface. Perhaps not overnight, but while some animals may be able to slowly move south and survive, plants cannot.

DougS Silver badge

Low activity

Wasn't that what caused the Little Ice Age a couple centuries ago? Maybe this CO2 won't be so bad for the next few decades, if the prediction about low solar activity comes to pass.

Steelie Neelie finds phone calls are cheaper in Latvia than in Luxembourg

DougS Silver badge

I wasn't aware this article was about Apple

But I guess for the haters who live for the fix of their next chance to put them down anonymously on the internet, every article can be linked to them somehow.

BTW, I'm quite aware of the alternatives and chose to own an iPhone. I chose to run Linux on my PC/laptop, so I'm not some blind Apple fanboy who buys everything they sell. I feel the iPhone is the best phone, others have a different opinion because they weigh things differently than I do.

I guess by your logic Microsoft took advantage of YOUR lack of awareness when you bought a Windows PC (I assume you have one, since Linux has only 1% desktop share and you obviously hate Apple too much to use a Mac)

Report: NSA spying deals billion dollar knockout to US cloud prospects

DougS Silver badge

Open source does NOT insure no backdoors / spycode

Take your typical Android phone, a Samsung GS3. Open source, so you're safe, right? If you're using the OS your GS3 came with and was later updated to, you don't know what modifications have been made to it by Samsung, but it sure isn't generic Android. You don't even know if the source they publish (I assume it is downloadable somewhere per the GPL) is the same source they use to build what is installed on your phone. You're basically trusting that SOMEONE has checked this, but if everyone assumes "someone else" will have checked it? Not to mention that parts of Android, as well as some/most/all of Samsung's added special sauce are not open source, and may allow for a backdoor/spycode.

Even compiling from source you laboriously checked yourself is not a guarantee - if you don't believe me google "on trusting trust" and be amazed at what is possible.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Solution

Not true.

The two largest userbase clouds are Google's and Apple's (iCloud) and neither of them allow the user to locally encrypt backups with their own password, instead they are encrypted during transit and in place using encryption keys the end user does not control.

If you're backing up corporate data, sure, you are shipping them encrypted backups, but if you happen to use Windows and the NSA perhaps has a backdoor into it, that wouldn't help you much would it?

Google patents swish, swosh, swoosh pattern unlock app swipe

DougS Silver badge

Re: @Phil W - multiple PINs?

It generally isn't three extra numbers, because unless you're in a huge city there are only a dozen prefixes or so, then four digits.

Anyway, people USED to be able to remember those numbers, but no one I know remembers numbers these days ("in case they have to use a pay phone"? Are you posting from 2005? They don't have any around here anymore)

In fact, when I exchange numbers with people, sometimes they don't even know their OWN number, and I give them mine and they text me so I'll have theirs.

I'm sure a few more numerically inclined (i.e. more geeky) people will think having a dozen PINs to open every app they commonly use automatically is a great thing, but creating features that 1% of people might use is a waste of time.

DougS Silver badge

How are fingerprint sensors going to help?

The (rather pointless, I agree with you) idea behind Google's patent is to save that extra fraction of a second after you unlock your phone to choose the app you want.

Assuming Apple puts a fingerprint sensor in the home button, it would only take away the need for the unlock PIN/password/pattern step, you'd still need to select the app.

The equivalent of this patent for a phone that had fingerprint unlock built into the home button would be to allow you to use a different finger to unlock the phone and have it automatically choose a different app. Right thumb is normal unlock, left thumb takes you directly to email, left ring finger calls your wife, middle finger calls your boss...

Let this post be considered proof of obviousness if Apple tries to patent the above :)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Obvious

Because not everyone patents something the instant they think of it? I, along with probably a million others, wished I could have my VCR use a hard drive instead of tape, so I could have random access to recordings. When I got my first cell phone in 2000 and had to listen to messages one at a time, I wished I could scroll through them on the screen to see what numbers they're from and the time they were left to be able to prioritize which to listen to first - visual voicemail, so I guess I should have patented that as well.

I've probably got a few ideas now that will eventually be patented, but its a long way from thinking "this would be a really useful improvement to this product" to hiring a lawyer and spending a lot of money to file a patent - the only way that makes sense is if you intend to turn that idea into a product (which isn't easy unless you're already in the industry or have a lot of money) or become a patent troll who sells no products at all (which wouldn't be easy if you have a conscience)

DougS Silver badge

@Phil W - multiple PINs?

Really? Most people can't be bothered to remember one PIN - that's why there are so many people using 1111, 1234, 6969 and the like from that list of 20 most popular PINs. And you expect people to remember different PINs for different apps?

DougS Silver badge


Seems patent worthy to me, especially compared to some of the stuff that does get patented.

In comparison to the stuff that does get patented, everything seems patent worthy.

'Look, give us Snowden' - this Friday's top US-Russia talks revealed

DougS Silver badge

I miss the good old days of the Cold War

Back then when someone in the USSR did something like Snowden did and he managed to escape the country, we were happy to protect him as a "dissident" despite the Soviet Premier angrily demanding his return. I was proud of my country for standing on the side of right.

Now the dissident has to escape the US and take refuge in Russia, while our President angrily demands he be returned. What the hell happened to my country?

Apple will swap fanbois' killer phoney phone chargers for legit adapters

DougS Silver badge

Re: Size of Apple chargers

The clone I have, and all the ones I've seen, are the same size. You can only tell them apart because the text is a bit different "Designed by Abble", "Designed by California", "Designed by <some hex string>"

I guess they don't want to say Apple to avoid getting sued, though I'm sure there must also some that are identical on the outside floating around - they're probably sold to unsuspecting buyers as the real thing at nearly the price of the real thing.

DougS Silver badge

I saw a blog where an engineer who designs DC power supplies for a living took apart Apple's charger and guessed it would cost $5-$7 to make, and stated it was better designed and built than several other chargers for other contemporary phones (which he didn't identify, presumably to avoid the wrath of haters) which though perfectly safe, had issues with the quality of their power output - apparently if your touchscreen is a bit funky when plugged in, you know your charger outputs crappy power.

He also checked several different type of Apple charger clones and found they all had various issues with either safety or the quality of the power output, and were all worse than the other chargers, as well as the Apple charger. Part of the reason for the cost of the Apple charger is its size, chargers are typically larger and it requires compromises in safety, power quality or cost to make them the size of Apple's. Obviously we know the cloners won't compromise on the latter...

If you want to fault Apple for anything, it should be for making their official charger too small for vanity's sake - if it was a bit bigger it'd be easier for the cheap copies to be properly designed. Not guaranteed, of course, but at least they could obey UL and EU rules for the distance between traces required to isolate the high voltage and low voltage components, and use enough of and the right components to produce clean power at the desired voltage.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Yeah right, and my saddlebacks run on Avgas...

Where's your call for Samsung to do the same? Or do you assume the reports of the GS4 setting an apartment on fire were fabricated, just because?

Regardless of whether a real or fake Apple charger was used, anyone dumb enough to use a phone plugged into a charger while taking a bath deserves their fate. Natural selection at work.

Apple patents laser, incandescent projector for laptops, smartphones

DougS Silver badge

I could almost see it being feasible for a laptop...

...since they have far more power and cooling capacity available to them when plugged in (as likely any device used as a projector would be) A smartphone even when plugged in would melt from the heat if you wanted a projection large/bright enough to be easily seen by everyone in a typical conference room.

The question is, why? If you can make a projector small enough to fit in a laptop, let alone a smartphone, why not build a small standalone projector the size of a deck of cards you can bring with your laptop or smartphone if you need to do presentations for clients who don't have their own equipment? The 99% who would never use this don't need to pay for the 1% who might.

BlackBerry slides crown jewels into Samsung: BBM Android app touted

DougS Silver badge

This is probably a test

Seeing as how it is Africa and Samsung only, it wouldn't affect their sales all that much. Surely RIM sees the writing on the wall that Android will own the dominant share, Apple will take its 10%, and Windows Phone will be the alternative for the few percent who hate both Apple and those hippie open sourcers.

Not much room for a 4th player, especially given that the only reason people are buying it anymore is BBM. Better to find a way to make people pay to get access to BBM before it becomes irrelevant (though I think they're already too late, as BBM only matters in a few locales these days) Presumably Samsung is paying RIM for this, and if it is successful they'll try to hit them up for it worldwide, along with the other players. Can't see Apple or Microsoft interested, but maybe Moto or HTC might be?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Was Too little, too late.

The nesting depth appears to be based on the length of your screen name. Anonymous Cowards have a deep nesting, I should have a very shallow one. Let's see if I'm right...

Sergey Brin's 'test-tube burger' cooked, eaten, declared meat-like

DougS Silver badge

Don't worry

I'm sure if McDonalds started using this they wouldn't use beetroot for color, but something more familiar to fast food eaters like Red Dye #40.

Posh potty owners flushed by dodgy Bluetooth password

DougS Silver badge

Vulnerability analysis has officially jumped the shark

I mean, seriously? Who the hell cares about an attack that at its worst apparently causes you to waste water? Owner of this $5000+ toy can afford to waste a bit of water until they realize something is amiss and turn the water connection to it off. They'll start caring when you can cause it to plug up and flood their bathroom!

If you want to cause someone to waste water, just turn on the hose spigots outside their house. That would be a far worse attack on someone you must hate (because really, you're going to all this trouble to make their toilet flush a lot???) Not only will that waste far more water than a 1.1 gpf toilet flushing repeatedly, if left unnoticed for long enough, could cause some major problems with the foundation, get water inside their house if they have some below ground living area, etc.

Chinese Apple suppliers face toxic heavy metal water pollution charges

DougS Silver badge

Re: What other companies do we boycott?

Apple has had nothing but negative press in the past 12 months. But that's fair because in the 12 months preceding that they'd had nothing but positive press.

USA reverses iPhone, iPad sales ban

DougS Silver badge

@Anon 10:10

Yet another moron Apple hater who has absolutely no clue what the case is about because he doesn't care - he just wants Apple to lose.

Samsung wants Apple to pay for its SEP patents based on the price of the entire phone - $16 per phone. This is for a chip that costs just over $10, and everyone else pays just under 30 cents for these patents because they don't pay based on the cost of the phone but on the cost of the chip inside the phone. How exactly is that "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory". It isn't, but guys like you don't care about the facts so long as Apple is suffering. If Apple was pulling this on Samsung you'd be singing a different tune.

Apple has plenty of SEP patents, BTW. Just not for stuff like 3G because they weren't involved in phones when that standard was made. For instance, they are one of the largest licensees of the patents for h.264, without which there would be almost no HD streaming video. But don't let facts stop you from hating on Apple and claiming they have never invented anything. They're also one of the largest holders of LTE patents - through a purchase in this case so they didn't invent them, but licensing is based on who owns the patents, not who was responsible for inventing them.

If this ruling had been upheld, Apple would be within their rights to notify graphics chips licensees that they were ending their license for Apple's h.264 patents when used by Samsung (exactly what Samsung and Motorola did to Apple for 3G/LTE patents) Then Apple can charge a percentage of the sales price of a GS4 for use of their h.264 patents, instead of the same percentage of the sales price of each chip implementing h.264 they currently get. Do you really think if everyone was allowed to screw around with SEP patents in this way that it would be a good thing? Basic math will tell you that once the cost exceeded 100% of the sales price of the item that the cost of the item would be infinite!

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