* Posts by DougS

12862 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Apple files patent for refrigerator-magnet iPads

DougS Silver badge

@Piro - style over substance

That's sort of the point. Apple wants to figure out how to do things that don't compromise the design of their products. Most other CE companies design products that are functional and generally have little regard for style. They'd just tack some magnets onto the back of a tablet and call it good.

You may feel that style has no place in the products you buy, and don't understand why someone will pay more for a product on that basis - let alone items that are purely style like in the fashion world. However, just because you feel that way doesn't mean that others are wrong in feeling differently. Have a bigger world view than your own narrow minded biases.

That said, nothing in here appears to be original enough to deserve a patent, but if The Reg would pick and choose the latest patents from Microsoft, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung et al I'm sure they can find similarly silly patents they apply for. Apple may have more "style over substance" type patents than others, but that's not surprising since they're one of the few companies that considers style as important as functionality. Sony always did in the past, though less so these days, while other companies care in some of their products but not others. Then you have companies like Microsoft that seem to agree with your world view that style actually detracts from a product, or at least that's the only conclusion I can draw from looking at their previous attempts at a tablet before they just crossed an iPad and Galaxy Tab to create the Surface.

US Congress proposal: National Park will be FOUND ON MOON

DougS Silver badge

This should be done via the UN or treaties

I don't think other countries will like the US laying claim to part of the moon. Even if it is just a small part, it sets a bad precedent.

The big issue is avoiding having some commercial enterprise go up there and bring back souvenirs. Though once a commercial business has the capability to bring back enough stuff to make a real dent in their mission cost, they'll probably be on to bigger ideas like figuring out a way to darken the moon square miles at a time to put a Nike Swoosh (TM) visible from the earth...

We'd honestly be better off if the entire moon was a national park, whether it is a US, Chinese or Indian park wouldn't matter, just keep it out of the hands of the people who want to sell it!

Dead STEVE JOBS was a CROOK – judge

DougS Silver badge

Loss leaders - @Anon 17:22

Amazon had a 90% share of the e-book market before pricing was changed to agency model. Most would argue 90% is well over the threshold for a monopoly.

Amazon priced that way to keep competitors out of the e-reader market, and they were succeeding quite well in doing so. If the iPad had flopped, there still might not be a tablet market and they'd have successfully maintained their monopoly in e-books.

The tragedy in this is that while what Apple induced the book publishers to do was illegal, so was what Amazon was doing. It is fortunate that now that there's a tablet market Amazon doesn't have as large a share of the digital book market, though if Amazon goes back to selling e-books at a loss as they were doing before they may regain and enhance their former monopoly. After all, there's a Kindle App available for iOS and Android, so anyone with a tablet who wants to use it to read books (which they suck for, IMHO, but YMMV) would probably buy from Amazon if they're going to buy very many, to save money.

If Apple's book sales become so low isn't worth doing, and they shut it down, and other competitors do the same, Amazon will be free to raise prices back up and make up for the losses they took and then some. No one would spring up to take them on, because they would know after they spent a bunch of money to start up an e-book store, Amazon would start selling a loss until they went under.

Apple: Ta for blowing £££s on apps, fanbois. Now we've set them FREE

DougS Silver badge
Facepalm

Why should it make you mad they're given away for free?

If you spent money on an app last week, presumably you thought it was worth what you paid for it. The fact it is free for a few days this week doesn't change its value to you. If you're hungry now would you let yourself starve a few days if you knew you would be treated to an all you can eat buffet on Friday afternoon?

I guess some people are cheap and whiny, and apparently the fact that other people get something for free only makes them whine more.

Decade to 2010 was hottest, wettest: WMO

DougS Silver badge

Coastal cities

So, worst case, people have to move. Not overnight, but over a period of a century or more that it would take for sea level rises to become enough of a problem for coastal cities (other than places like New Orleans, that are already largely below sea level) to become too much trouble to continue to inhabit.

More likely, rather than fleeing, they'll use tried and true technologies like seawalls and pumps that already work. Hopefully built to Dutch specs rather than New Orleans specs in areas where big hurricanes are a possibility.

Which is more reasonable? That billions of people have to make adjustments in their lifestyle and/or economically to stop a problem that we aren't 100% sure is caused by human activity and aren't 100% sure even major changes in our lifestyles could stop at this point? Or that millions of people, living in the affected coastal cities, might have to give up some of their nice views to allow the construction of seawalls?

Snowden: 'Hey, Assange, any more room on Ecuador's sofa?'

DougS Silver badge

I wonder how long before Ecuador ends up on the "state sponsored terrorism" list

and gets a US invasion to root out Al Qaeda or whoever we'll claim is over there.

Nearly-transparent screen adds solar charge to phones

DougS Silver badge
Meh

Re: Leave your phone in the direct sun?

It doesn't necessarily have to be sunlight. It wouldn't charge as much under artificial light, given that isn't as strong as the sun, so I'm not sure if it is worth it. I wonder how much of a charge it could pick up sitting under typical office lighting all day?

The reason this is a big "who gives a ...?" to me is that I keep my phone in my pocket. I really don't want to be leaving it lying about to pick up a charge. Nightly charging is fine for me.

I told you I'd be back: Arnie set for another career revival

DougS Silver badge

Bet he doesn't play a terminator

He probably plays some guy who works for Cyberdyne who the T101 will eventually be made to look like. They'll show the first one rolling off the assembly line at the end or something.

Big browser builders scramble to fix cross-platform zero-day flaw

DougS Silver badge

Re: How about the REST of the "Browsers"?

Why should that graph concern anyone, or show that IE is better as you seem to be trying to imply? The number of blocked threats is irrelevant, the number of unblocked threats is all that matters. The graph is silent there.

Isn't it possible that there are websites that do something like 'if browser = IE then attempt exploit' but maybe don't do it for some other browsers? This is rather like saying Windows AV software is better than the same company's AV software on Mac OS, because the Windows version neutralizes 100x more viruses!

Magpie Apple plunders the competition for cosmetics, as egos run wild

DougS Silver badge

Flat icons as a "copy"

What alternatives are there? You can have the icons they had before with a bit of depth to them, try to go whole hog and make icons as 3D as possible, or go retro with a simple and flat look. Flat icons aren't a copy of Windows Phone any more than Windows Phone was a copy of Windows 3.1, or MacOS 1.0 or Xerox Star. Those all had flat icons (low res and with little color, to make them less pleasing compared to what is possible on a modern high res screen)

Apple haters hated on Apple for having the same look for iOS for years, and said it needed updating. They've updated it with something different, and now they hate Apple for copying. I wonder where exactly they think it would be even POSSIBLE for Apple to truly innovate and come up with something even the most anti-Apple person would be forced to say "wow, that is a completely novel GUI". That couldn't happen because there is nothing anyone could do to come up with something new if even basic qualities like the flatness (or lack of) of icons are considered a copy.

It probably doesn't make any difference to most of us in the usability of a GUI whether it is flat or has depth, this is more a matter of taste. That's as opposed to say color and resolution, where more color and resolution (up to a point) are useful to create better representations of the functionality behind a given icon - one just needs to look at the ugly 256 color low res icons from early Windows to realize just how true that is. Ive is making a design choice to remove what he feels is unnecessary in the interface. Every OS added depth to its GUI at some point over the past 20 years because it became possible as graphics power increased, and differentiated those who did it from the rest - until eventually everyone did it.

You can agree or disagree with Ive on his decision that depth in a GUI is unnecessarily distracting from the user experience, as he feels the OS should be as invisible as possible since you use a phone for what it does, not what the OS does. Just like you can agree or disagree with his steampunk Mac Pro design. Despite that being a complete departure from what came before in PC design (for better or for worse) I'm sure there are some Apple haters who will argue that was a copy of R2D2, a Dalek, or a fire hydrant, or will make jokes that Apple is planning on patenting a cylinder :)

Planetary Resources may upgrade crowdfunded satellite into alien-finder

DougS Silver badge

Gravitational lensing

This would have a longshot of being VERY interesting, as it could find Dyson spheres we'd otherwise never have a chance of detecting.

Apple at WWDC: Sleek new iOS, death of the big cats, pint-sized Mac Pro

DougS Silver badge

Re: Just one more thing...

Sure it is interesting for the rest of us. Anything that increases sales of 4K monitors causes them to be made in larger quantities, which brings down the price for those of us who might be willing to pay a few hundred dollars extra for one, but not willing to pay a few thousand extra.

The idea that Apple may start selling the first mass market 4K monitor excites me, even though I will not be buying one, because it will spur a long overdo increase in resolutions for monitors. Say what you will about Apple and Retina, but they pushed things in the small device market to the point where even a $100 Android phone now ships with a resolution better than any phone anywhere had before the iPhone 4 shipped.

Apple didn't "invent" high resolution screens, but they purchased enough of them that they spurred the industry into providing them at cheap price points more quickly than they otherwise would have. I'm eager for them to do the same with desktop monitors, which have been stuck at 1920x1080 (with a big jump higher for 2560x1600) forever, even as freaking PHONES get that same 1920x1080 resolution in a 5" screen!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Just one more thing...

I'm sure around the time Apple starts selling these new Mac Pros they'll offer a 4K monitor. I'm willing to bet it replaces the current 30" Cinema display at the same price.

If Apple's is too high priced for you, or you think 30" is too small, buy 3 50" 4K Seiki TVs for a TOTAL of $4500...

Crusading lawmen want more details on Apple's iOS 7 'Activation Lock'

DougS Silver badge

You are assuming that this will be keyed to the IMEI. Given that there are some unique hardware serial numbers embedded in each iPhone, it makes more sense that is what they'd use.

Even if it isn't perfectly secure, if they raise the bar significantly for the amount of work/knowledge required to get a stolen iPhone into resellable condition it would greatly reduce the number of thefts. If it cost an extra $100 of work (to pull a number from my ass) to get a stolen iPhone into a state where it could be resold, the value of stolen iPhones instantly drops by $100.

Add enough extra expense, and even if remains technically possible to steal and resell an iPhone, it is no longer worth the trouble for criminals and they start looking for GS4s instead, or go back to pickpocketing.

It is rather like the problem of being part of a group of people running from a hungry tiger. You don't need to outrun the tiger, just outrun the fat guy. And hope there isn't a second tiger.

KEEP CALM and Carry On: PRISM itself is not a big deal

DougS Silver badge

"immense cryptologic and analytic resources"

They don't need to decrypt everything in realtime, or at all. PRISM isn't about searching everyone's email and phone calls in realtime (though I'm sure that is on the whiteboard as a future goal) It is about seeing the graphs of connectedness between everyone on the planet. They want everyone's phone/text/email "Bacon number" versus known or suspected terrorists. They don't care about the 3s, 4s or 5s today, but today's 5 can be tomorrow's 1 if a guy he knows from college turns up on the terrorist watchlist (whether with or without justification)

They don't need to decrypt data to do this, the data they want is IP addresses and those aren't encrypted (except for those using Tor & friends, which is a miniscule fraction of a percent of all internet traffic) Ideally they want to store as much of the content as possible, at least in the short term, so if they find a person of interest and work backwards on his graph of connectedness a few levels they can see what was being exchanged. This was made pretty obvious if you paid attention to the investigation of the Boston bombers.

If the traffic is well encrypted they probably can't look at it, but given how little email (for instance) is encrypted these days, the mere fact you send emails that are heavily encrypted would probably up their suspicion of you several levels if you also turned out to be only two degrees away from the Boston bomber.

Tim Cook: Android version fragmentation is 'terrible for developers'

DougS Silver badge

Re: CEO of company slags off major competitor

Jobs spent much more time during these events talking about how great Apple stuff was, and mostly left insults against competitors up to the users. Apple may have poked fun at their competition with stuff like the ads with the Mac guy and the PC guy, but they never said the kind of stuff Cook said, which was basically "you suck, neener neener neener!"

While I'm sure this plays well with the audience at the WWDC, it makes Cook and Apple look small when he's quoted in the media.

Ex-CIA techie Edward Snowden: I am the NSA PRISM deepthroat

DougS Silver badge
Big Brother

Bush said of terrorists: "they hate us for our freedom"

If he was right, they should no longer hate us, because we resolved that problem by eliminating our freedom!

Sexy models clash at big bash over catty tweets: Yup, it's HTC v Samsung

DougS Silver badge

Re: All rather pathetic

I can't figure out if you're being sarcastic or are an Apple fanboy. I'm downvoting you either way, despite owning an iPhone myself. The idea that there is one "best" phone is ludicrous, as people have different needs and wants, different people will conclude various phones are best for them.

Giving out a "best phone" award is like giving out an award at school for most popular. Maybe you can brag about it for a day and a half, but a year later it is forgotten by everyone.

New Android plan: Gurn at your phone to unlock it

DougS Silver badge
Pint

Re: Speech Recognition

Because no one has the technology to record your voice if they happen to be around you unlocking it?

This is a waste of time. Biometrics is never secure by itself. That's why all high security systems that use biometrics also require something else like a password or smartcard - in some cases all three!

The point of locking your phone and unlocking it with your face, fingerprint or voice isn't that it is super secure, but that it is more convenient than typing in a pin or password. And more secure, unless you're one of the paranoid folks who won't unlock your phone with someone standing behind you. Google is just going to give people a false sense of security on top of making them look like they've having a seizure trying to reproduce the right face.

This could have an unintended side benefit, however. That of reducing drunk dialing/drunk texting, since drunk people might not be able to re-create the proper facial expressions and end up locked out of their phone until they sober up! :)

Sneaky new Android Trojan is WORST yet discovered

DougS Silver badge

Re: Conspiracy theory

Please. Are you claiming Android has no known exploits? Everywhere knows it has security holes, just about all software of any significance does. The article even mentions that the malware uses several previously unknown exploits to do its dirty work.

Obviously Google will fix the ones they know about when they make a new release, but that really only helps the people on devices running stock Android who can and will update right after it is released. If Microsoft was able to make Windows 8.1 100% secure at release, there would still be Windows exploits out in the wild 10 years from now, because there will be a lot of people running something older than 8.1. And even Windows 8.1 machines would have security issues, because of all the third party software they might be running (Adobe, Java, etc.)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Conspiracy theory

No, they see a second source of revenue if Android users start buying AV software.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Manufacturer & Mobile operator

Android is open source, how exactly is Google supposed to force updates on Android phones? If they had code to do that, it would be among the first things Samsung removed in the process of building their own version to install on a GS4.

As for why Samsung doesn't do it, they've got a ton of different models, with more coming out every month. Even the models that use the same version of Android probably have different bits of customization in them, simply to patch existing versions to fix a security issue is probably a big job. Let alone taking a newer generic Android version from Google, adding back the customizations for their dozens of models, and then testing it to make sure their customizations didn't break anything when matched against the newer Android code. No wonder it is mostly only the high end Samsung models that get updates, and even then not in a particularly timely fashion.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Couple of questions

Who says it was an app? Maybe it can be spread from an infected PC on the same network, or spread from an infected phone to other phones using the same AP, maybe you just have to visit the wrong website, or maybe visit the right website that unfortunately has a contract with the wrong ad provider.

There are a lot of ways for malware to spread beyond downloading dodgy apps. It's just that that's been such an easy path so far that malware writers haven't really had to try as hard. Sort of like how PC malware used to be spread by infected floppies and .exe attachments, and because that was so easy there was no reason to write something as complex as Stuxnet.

NSA Prism: Why I'm boycotting US cloud tech - and you should too

DougS Silver badge

Re: Good op-ed, but unfortunately Canada is probably part of the system.

Probably true that Canada doesn't need to depend on the US for defense, though your GDP is puny measured against that of China, and they can make better robots than you, and you have natural resources they want (to build more robots)

Since you have to cooperate with the US in many ways, whether you like it or not, simply because you have the misfortune to share a huge ungoverned border with the US, you might as well take advantage of the situation by letting the US pay for much of your defense.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why be bothered about 'the cloud' in particular?

Forget about 'US cloud technologies'. Pretty much 60% (or is it 80%? does it even matter?) of all internet traffic gets routed via some major bit of infrasstructure in California, so pretty much every packet can be inspected

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Uh, no. Unless they've figured out FTL fiber technology, the latency alone makes that a ridiculous assertion. Not to mention gigantic such a facility would have to be.

Are you going to tell us next that we don't see it because it is underground in Mojave desert (as are the power lines for the gigawatts of power such a facility would require)

Crazy claims make it easy for people to dismiss most everything as the ramblings of conspiracy theorists. Here's how it works:

1) people in the know make claims that are seen by the average person as conspiracy theories (like the room 641A stuff) so the mass media ignores it and the government, if they comment at all, denies it

2) it eventually comes out that they're right and the mass media reports on it

3) people in power downplay the significance and create cover stories, claiming it is limited in scope and not as bad as previous reports have indicated

4) the mass media start to backpedal a bit, not wanting to question those in power and risk losing access to people in power

5) tin foil hatters extrapolate anything being reported by the mass media as being only the tip of the iceberg of what really must be going on, so they start making claims that defy the laws of physics, economics, etc.

6) the public gets wind of the crazy theories, deciding to believe the government's cover stories because the alternative is becoming identified with the crazy conspiracy theorists

Tech patents latest: Google, Cisco search pockets to sling $490m at TiVo

DougS Silver badge

Re: invention

The idea of a DVR was obvious. I was using a VCR in the late 80s/early 90s and wishing there was a way to record programs to hard drives so they'd have random access. I'm sure there were a million others who thought the same thing.

What Tivo invented were some of the little touches that are obvious only in hindsight, like how when you're fast forwarding quickly through commercials and hit 'play' to resuming watching after you see a bit of your program, it automatically backs up by an amount determined by how fast your were fast forwarding, so you don't need to back up every time like you did with VCRs.

Of course, the patent system being what it is, they probably do/did have a patent that covered every instance of recording broadcast video onto a hard drive.

Apple pulls back the iRon curtain to register iWatch trademark in Russia

DougS Silver badge

I wonder how many places have iWatch registered?

Simply because of the rumors about Apple releasing a watch? Its not as though their product names are difficult to guess. About as hard as guessing the names of new Audi or BMW models. If they named them like Lamborghini does, they wouldn't have to worry about trademark conflicts, or someone jumping their registrations in anticipation of the name they're likely to use.

YES, Xbox One DOES need internet, DOES restrict game trading

DougS Silver badge

Re: PS4 will likely be the same

That assumes people don't refuse to buy Xbox One over this. From all the complaints about this and predictions of doom for Xbox One, that's probably not the best assumption.

The game companies that went exclusively Xbox One as you suggest would quickly go bankrupt, and those less stupid game companies that produced titles for PS4 would benefit. Sure, it sounds good to sell games for a console that has no used market. It also sounds good to Ford and Toyota to sell cars that don't have a used market, but they'd quickly find that they simply gave GM and Honda a lot of new customers if they changed policies to prevent their customers from selling their cars used without handing them a cut.

If Sony does the same thing, it won't help Xbox One, it'll just mean that this will be the last generation of consoles.

Forget phones, PRISM plan shows internet firms give NSA everything

DougS Silver badge

Interesting when Apple gave in

Right about a year after Jobs died. I wonder if they took so long because he refused even under all the pressure I'm sure the government put him under, but once he was gone Cook quickly knuckled under like rest of the cowards at all the other tech companies.

Say what you will about Jobs, and you might not agree with his ideas, but it was nearly impossible to get him to change his mind on something if he believed he was right.

Apple claims shot in arm for Cupertino from new Fruit Loop HQ

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple fines its staff? WTF?

It says Cupertino fines them. That's the name of the city. That's actually not much for the number of employees they have. Cupertino must not have very many parking meters.

Elon Musk pledges transcontinental car juicers by end of year

DougS Silver badge

@gujiguju - solar powered supercharging stations

Musk has another IPO, called SolarCity. Buying a Tesla means that you have access to solar-powered Supercharging stations for free, FOREVER

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The supercharging stations aren't solar powered, the solar power is to "offset" the energy consumed by the supercharging stations. You'd need acres of PV panels to provide the juice to serve as many cars as a typical gas station sees in a day. Maybe out in the desert that would be a feasible plan (assuming you had the grid connection for net metering, otherwise add a small warehouse for all the batteries) But not in the cities, where, you know, most people tend to live.

NASA: Trip to Mars would exceed 'fatal cancer' radiation risk

DougS Silver badge
Happy

How about choosing astronauts who already HAVE cancer?

Then you don't care about the risk, and don't have to worry about a return trip. I'm sure there would be plenty of volunteers, even some healthy people would volunteer for a one way mission knowing that they wouldn't last more than perhaps a year or so (you can recycle your food/water only so long with current technology)

Plus, as a bonus, you'd get free radiation treatments along the way :)

Gigabyte's BRIX fall into place

DougS Silver badge

Re: HTPC?

Or you could join the modern age and use a touchscreen device (phone, tablet, iPod) as your remote over Wifi for the ever growing number of IP controllable devices, along with something like a GlobalCache gateway for the IP to IR translation to handle older IR only devices.

Because, let's face it, IR passed its sell by date years ago. Yes, it is ubiquitous in CE devices, but I'd sure hate to wake up in 2033 and find whatever CE devices we're using then are still controlled by something as archaic and limited as IR!

Revealed: Google's plan to float BLIMP NETWORK over Africa, Asia

DougS Silver badge

Maybe the warlords will be happy to have it?

How exactly will the warlords stop it, if they untethered and high enough that even those warlords that get ahold of shoulder launched SAMs can't reach them?

I think a bigger concern is that the warlords might get more out of this development than those they're oppressing. This would greatly improve their ability to oversee and communicate with their soldiers. One guy working for them sees a convoy loaded with food driving by, alerts HQ, and HQ alerts the nearest unit to deploy a roadblock and take the food. That would be an unfortunate improvement over the haphazard way this is accomplished now (which is mostly randomly set up roadblocks being in the right place at the right time)

Tim Cook: Wearable tech's nice, but Google Glass will NEVER BE COOL

DougS Silver badge

@eAbyss

The article didn't quote all of what he said, but that's not surprising in a Reg article designed to get views and promote a healthy fanboy flamewar. If you google it you can find better written articles that include more of what he said.

Here's what he said of watches: "I think for something to work here, you first have to convince people it's so incredible that they want to wear it." He's not assuming that if Apple introduced a watch people are going to buy it. They're going to have to have a reason to do so. Assuming Apple releases it, it will be up to the market to decide whether it meets the "incredible" standard or not.

I think he'd agree that if glasses provided an "incredible" experience you could get people to wear them too. The point was that the bar to get people to wear a watch, which is pretty unobtrusive as far as wearable tech goes, is a bit lower than the bar to get people to wear glasses, which is about as obtrusive at it gets, short of an implant. I think that would be a reasonable way to look at it, given that most adults wore watches a few decades ago, but most people only wear glasses when necessary (prescription, or sun)

The privacy concerns of Google Glasses may prove to be a big roadblock to them, something which wouldn't affect a watch (I'm assuming a watch would not have a camera)

Lenovo planning US smartphone push as PC sales stall

DougS Silver badge

Re: Unknown brand

No, there are three kinds: iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, and "other". Maybe if you feel charitable you can include Windows phones and Blackberries as categories, as while they have small user bases, they are as rabid as any Apple or Android fanboy.

But aside from that, while it'll rankle the fanboys who prefer HTC or whatever, it is pretty much true. That's no doubt in large part due to the fact that Apple and Samsung are pretty much the only ones who advertise, and the average person doesn't spend hours online researching when they buy a phone. Most people buy based on a combination of price, what their friends have, and what they've heard of. The weighing of the different factors may be different between different people, but that's what it comes down to for most.

Reports: New Xbox could DOOM second-hand games market

DougS Silver badge

@mmeier

Books can not be "copied and sold on" as easily as a game can. And they typically take longer to reach the "used book" market than games.

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To your second point. Its the game publisher's fault games enter the used market too quickly. They must not be very good if people get bored with them that quickly. Sometimes you buy a book that you read once and know you'll never read again, so you sell it or give it to a friend. Other times you buy a book and you come back to it again and again over the years. The game publishers need to write those kind of games, not the kind you can beat in a week. Who wants to pay $60 for that?

To your first point, I think most people would have no problem with Microsoft or Sony doing something to block you from playing a game off your hard drive once it had been installed on someone else's hard drive (unless you got the disc back and re-authorized it on your hard drive, which would de-authorize it on the other person's hard drive) Making it so one disc can only be able to be played on one console at a time is fine. Just don't make people pay to install it on different consoles, or otherwise cause problems that prevent someone from loaning out their game to others in the same way they can loan out a book, a DVD, or their car.

You know damn well that what Microsoft is reportedly doing goes way beyond this. They're trying to make it the equivalent of having to pay a publisher if you borrowed a friend's book in order to read it, or having to pay Ford something if he sold you his car. Games are not special and deserve absolutely NO special treatment. If the console gaming industry can't survive playing by the same rules as everyone else, then it deserves to die. I'm sure some people mourned the loss of the telegraph, too, but that doesn't mean we should have let the telegraph industry survive longer by letting them make special rules.

DougS Silver badge

@Charles 9

I think the big thing is that books, cars, appliances, and so on are self-contained. They operate completely in and of themselves with nothing else required except maybe for utility supplies (power, water, etc.).

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Making up definitions to suit you, I guess? How are LPs, 8 track, CDs, VHS tapes or DVDs self contained? They aren't any more than a game disc is. Both require a separate device to "enable" them. So if you think game companies have a right to restrict used sales, I guess Hollywood really missed its chance!

The courts have allowed EULAs only to the point where they don't overstep what is legally allowable There are illegal things in EULAs now, but they've never been tested in court, because Microsoft and other software makers don't want them tested, because they know they'd lose.

If they upheld the right for Microsoft to create a EULA with illegal terms, such as those that restricted sale of used items, what is to stop Ford from selling cars with a EULA? They could require you to visit a Ford authorized service center every 10,000 miles to have the car checked out and enabled for another 10,000 miles of travel. If you refuse, once you go over the 10,000 mile mark, the next time you turn the car off, it won't start, but flash a message telling you to call a Ford service center and have it towed in for service. They could require you to pay Ford a fee to transfer the warranty to someone else, or even to sell the car to someone else.

Why should that kind of thing be permitted for software, but not for cars? Just because of a EULA, and because you have invented this "self-contained" and "enabler" bullshit to suit your argument?

DougS Silver badge
Mushroom

Game resellers as "parasites"

How are game resellers any different than used bookstores, or used car dealers? I guess you think they're all parasites too? Or is the game industry a special snowflake that deserves special treatment under the law? If Sony and Microsoft sell consoles at a lower price hoping to make it up on games, that's their choice, and doesn't give them leave to carve out a special right to inhibit reselling of property that other industries don't enjoy.

If someone reads a book, watches a DVD, plays a game, or wants to acquire a new car or new phone they shouldn't be required to keep it forever or throw it away, just so the company making it can make more money by not competing with sales of their own products on the used market.

I'm sure Apple and Samsung, or for that matter Mercedes and Toyota, wouldn't mind it if lawmakers chose to change the law on their own and hand them much larger profits, but only a company like Microsoft could be arrogant and stupid enough to think they can do something like this on their own. And this idiot fanboy is even cheering them on! What a world!

World's richest hobo (Apple) has worked 'tax-free' in Ireland since '80s

DougS Silver badge

Re: Research is needed

Jamaica?

Googorola loses bid to ban US Xbox sales after ITC slapdown

DougS Silver badge

Re: Patent pools

All of the 'benefits' you've just listed pale into insignifigance when compared to having people like Apple use your patented technology, which you put into the pool, only to then tell you they won't be paying the same as everyone else who uses the patented technology, they'll be paying whatever they see fit. Just ask Samsung, who've been royally fucked over in exactly that way.

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That would be true if correct, but you're apparently brainwashed by Google's lie. Motorola wants Apple to pay 2.5% of the cost of their ENTIRE PHONE to license a few patents. No one pays that. Not even close. What they pay is 2.5% of the price of a single chip that goes in their phones, and the chip costs only a few dollars. It is not fair, reasonable, or non-discriminatory to charge one company 15 cents for your patents and another company $15.

It is a blatant violation of the deal Motorola signed that made those patents subject to FRAND. Google knows it, but they rely on clueless fools like you who believe the "Don't be evil" lie and think they're in the right and Apple and Microsoft are in the wrong. Apple and Microsoft are in the wrong on some things, but here Google is in the wrong and Apple and Microsoft are 100% in the right. I know it hurts Google fanboys to read that, but its true.

This was all a scam Google concocted as their rationale for massively overspending to buy Motorola, where they terminated the licensing deals with Qualcomm for only the chips they sell to Apple, which Apple had been paying the 2.5% on (to Qualcomm, which Qualcomm then passed back to Motorola along with the licensing costs that anyone else buying Qualcomm chips, like Samsung, was also paying) They pulled the same basic scam on Microsoft.

The courts have rightly said this is complete bullshit, and won't let them do it. No company is under any obligation to license any of their patents to anyone else. Unless they sign an agreement, like the cross licensing agreements Apple and Microsoft have. Or like the agreements companies sign when they join a standards group. They can't decide later that it is in their best interests to back out from that agreement, any more than you can go back to the house you sold in Malibu 20 years ago and say "I know I sold that to you for $200,000, but now that its worth $6.5 million I think it was a mistake, I'd like to go back on that deal".

DougS Silver badge

Patent pools

No-one will submit anything of worth to a patent pool in future, it's just been shown to give away everything for no benefit, and you're far better off keeping it to yourself to allow room to sue later.

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You've got a pretty narrow minded point of view here. Basically if Google/Motorola can't use it as a hammer in the way Microsoft uses whatever patents they've got that get Android OEMs to pay up, the whole idea of patent pools is flawed.

The reality is that companies have a tremendous incentive to become part of standards committees that decide the next generation standards:

1) they get to help decide the direction of those standards, instead of letting others do it for them

2) where they contribute their own patents they're turning the standards in directions where they've got engineering expertise, which may give them a leg up against the competition, especially during the crucial early adopter phase for new technology where the chance to become one of the major established players (or an also ran) is best

3) they don't have to worry about other members of the pool suing them over any of the patents within it (OOPS, I guess Google/Motorola violated this rule, but aside from them it has been almost universally observed in the tech world for several decades)

When the next generation standards get decided, anyone is free to sit on the sidelines and not take part. If they're lucky, maybe the technology that gets adopted is something they have patents to cover, and if so they might be able to cash in. On the other hand, maybe the experts in the standards committee are smarter than the average patent officer and able to do patent searches better, so they just design around your patents and you're left out in the cold with patents that have almost zero value.

Unless you believe you own some sort of basic patent that covers ever possible implementation (the type that the lawyers for a collective of dozens of tech companies would probably have little trouble getting invalidated) sitting it out is almost certainly a losing strategy and a way to guarantee your company is not seen as a tech leader. That would be sad fate indeed for a company with the history of a Motorola, especially if it was done out of clueless spite.

US Senator introduces 'Patent Abuse Reduction Act'

DougS Silver badge
FAIL

Dumb idea

It'll screw over small inventors. Let's say you have a 20 person company researching cellular technology and come up with a revolutionary new antenna that's smaller, works across all frequencies, and provides much better S/N ratio.

You file your patent, contact Apple, Samsung, and Nokia about licensing your patent to include your antenna in their phones. They include your antenna in their new products, but don't pay you a dime. So you sue. The way loser pays works, each side has to post a bond big enough to cover the others' costs. Otherwise a patent troll, who by definition has almost no assets aside from the patent, would have nothing to fear from losing a case. The troll's company would be bankrupt - no different than how it works today, so loser pays would not dissuade the troll at all from suing.

How big of a bond can your 20 person company afford? How long can you hold out against companies hiring a fleet of lawyers that bill $500/hour? Hell, it might encourage them to pay their lawyers $5000/hr to play golf, since by bankrupting you 10x quicker they wouldn't need to waste time preparing for a court date you could never hold out long enough to reach.

DougS Silver badge

Re: tax intellectual property!

I've seen this proposed before, for dealing with all types of property - i.e. copyright and trademark as well. Its a fine idea, but the republicans will not consider any sort of new tax, unless it was paired with getting rid of an old tax. That is, dumping the corporate income tax. That can't pass because the democrats won't stand for it! And so it goes...

Internet2 superfast-boffinry network peers with Azure cloud

DougS Silver badge

Re: Through Internet2 we can support a small number of very large flows

Fair point, but when what we know today as the Internet was ARPANET, it was just an experimental research network, and they had no idea it would grow into anything like what it was. Commercial use was forbidden until the 90s. There was no reason for MIT not to take a whole class A, because what possible worry would there be to run out of an address space measured in the billions when there's a limit of only a few tens of thousands of entities that would ever connect to what it was when these allocations were made in the mid 80s?

No worry of this with Internet2, even if they were still using a 32 bit address space, because technologies it develops would be adopted piecemeal by the real Internet. It isn't as though we'll say on Jan. 1 201x, everyone in the world has to update all network related hardware and software because they're picking up and moving everything over to Internet2. So if you get an email telling you to do that, it is probably spam :)

US power grid the target of 'numerous and daily' cyber-attacks

DougS Silver badge

Re: Working OK?

I was kind of thinking the same thing. I haven't been reading about massive power outages all over the place, and my power at home has failed only twice (during storms, for a total of a few minutes) in the past two years.

I guess they've been smart enough to keep the SCADA stuff on a network separate from their internal one after all, despite all the hand wringing predictions about how when hackers turned their attention at US power grids we'd become a third world country overnight.

COLD FUSION is BACK with 'anomalous heat' claim

DougS Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Please pass the Fluke TrueRMS DVOM

This is why I love reading the Reg for science articles like this, where I know enough to be dangerous but not always enough to see all the angles those who are more knowledgeable than me do. I was running some possible issues through my head as I read the article, but this one makes the most sense as being something that could simultaneously fool outside observers trying to debunk it, as well as allow insiders with good intentions to truly believe what they want to believe.

I always say the only way to test over unity power production claims is use a closed system where all input power is provided by a standard battery of known capacity. They might be able to fool power meters with the right waveform, perhaps even their utility, but you can't fool a closed system with something like that.

Let's give it a fully charged forklift battery that holds 1 kwh for its input. If it manages to fully charge two depleted forklift batteries providing 1 kwh each on the other end, with no wires connected to anything but the batteries and no "black box" we can't look inside that could hide something capable of storing anything near to 1 kwh, and it can be moved out of their lab - even only as far as someone randomly choosing a spot in their parking lot to set it up - then I'll be ready to seriously listen to their claims.

Startup hires 'cyborg' Mann for Google Glass–killer project

DougS Silver badge

For people who don't think Google Glass will make them look nearly geeky enough...

I doubt Google is going to lose any sleep over this.

Microsoft reveals Xbox One, the console that can read your heartbeat

DougS Silver badge
FAIL

Cable TV overlays?

Really? That would make you considering switching?? I think this is a total fail of a feature. It is just HDMI pass through, there is no cablecard slot in it, so it can't record anything, and probably can't even pause live TV.

If you switch channels you'll still see the cable TV box's banner on top, with whatever banner Microsoft has partially on top of that. If you want to record something on your cable DVR (since the Xbox can't) you'll still need to use the cable box's guide to find the program to select for recording, the Xbox's overlay guide won't be able to do it. IR commands are pretty simple, and aside from the odd discrete command like on, off a handful of others, are always modal. This greatly what the Xbox can do with the cable box without having it activate all the cable box's menus to get there. Having those on the same screen partially overlapped with the Xbox's menus will be UGLY! But then Microsoft never did care about aesthetics.

I'll bet the only cable "box" this Xbox gives a good experience to is Windows Media Center. I have a feeling that Microsoft read all the rumors of Apple's TV (most of which are probably way off the mark, just like they were for the iPhone before it came out) and read about the future plans for Google TV, and they figured they had to get out there with something to avoid looking as behind as they really are. If Apple ever does introduce a TV, and/or Google makes Google TV not totally suck, Microsoft will disown this functionality in the Xbox faster than they forgot about Kin. They'll release something else and anyone using this functionality in their Xbox will never see another update ever again.

Don't believe me? Let's watch how quickly Windows RT is orphaned now that Intel has some Atom CPUs that comparable to ARM CPUs...

The iWatch is coming! The iWatch is coming!

DougS Silver badge

Re: "It would need recharging every day."

Wouldn't this be a good use of wireless charging? Its unlikely Apple will put a dock connector in the thing, even the new smaller dock connector is pretty big compared to a watch. Take it off at night and set it on a charging pad next to your bed.

I wouldn't think you want a watch that needed charging EVERY day though, because who wants to take a charging mat with them when they travel. So a week's battery life would be a good compromise, any longer and you'd need a find a way to charge it (is it possible to do so through a headphone jack?)

I don't think a week's battery life is a problem. The screen needn't be on all the time, it could come on with a touch or maybe by waving your arm in a particular way (hopefully not a way that makes one look too silly) Ditto for the CPU, it would be idle 99.9% of the time, since it isn't exactly going to be calculating pi when the screen is off.

One of the big consumers of battery in phones is the cellular and wifi modems. This would have neither, and use only Bluetooth or some similar short range technology to talk to your other device, so it would also be idle most of the time.

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