* Posts by DougS

12862 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Apple exec says music labels, Hollywood, 'old fashioned' on copyright

DougS Silver badge

Thieving?

It's only thieving if you don't have a choice about buying it, which you certainly do for Apple products. If this was done for food or petrol, then you'd have a point. If everyone in the UK decided to not buy from American companies who price this way (and Apple is far from the only one) then maybe they'd lower their prices to get back into your market.

You have little room to complain - if you own Apple products you presumably felt that even at the inflated price they were still worth it. If you do not, then you have no more right to complain about their pricing than a vegan does complaining about the price of a Big Mac.

Apple: Our data centers are green. The other 98% of what we do ...

DougS Silver badge
Flame

Re: Another cog in the Great Green Swindle

The biogas Apple is using comes from a landfill. How is using it to generate electricity in any way a bad thing? It is fortunate that landfills and energy users are starting to look for ways to utilize this waste product rather than simply burning it up as most of it currently is (even that is only being done because the EPA wouldn't let them simply vent it to the atmosphere as was the practice a few decades ago)

You're either one of the people who finds a flaw in any sort of renewable energy (wind kills birds, solar uses energy to build panels, geothermal will "run out of steam") or an Apple hater who would find a way to hate on them even if they were using a zero point energy extraction method personally invented by Steve Jobs a week before he died to power their datacenters.

Sure, this isn't as clean as not building any data center would have been, and like any big company they're on the lookout for any tax advantage they can get, but the lawmakers put those incentives in place to get projects like this to happen. If they didn't want companies of Apple's size to take advantage of them they would have written that into the laws.

Isn't it better than just hooking up to the local coal powered utility and telling them "hey, we're going to be drawing a lot of megawatts soon, better buy more coal!" Because that's pretty much what happened when anything drawing this amount of power was built not so long ago. Whether they did it for tax advantage, PR advantage, the local power grid not having sufficient capacity, or because they're simply being good citizens is irrelevant. It is still a good thing, even if you think it isn't good "enough".

Flame icon, since that's what would have happened to a lot of coal had they not made these renewable energy investments.

Another iPhone passcode bypass spell revealed

DougS Silver badge
Trollface

Samsung even copies Apple's security shortcomings

Shortly after the Apple screen lock bug was reported, one was reported for Samsung. Now on the same day as this report of a second lock screen bug comes out for Apple, the guy who found the original Samsung lock screen bug found a second one on that platform that's even worse than the first - it allows completely disabling the lock screen, no matter what type of lock (PIN, passsword, or face) that's being used, with full access to the phone.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57575305-83/samsung-lock-screen-flaw-found-company-working-on-fix/

Apparently this is a bug introduced by Samsung, generic Android is not vulnerable.

First sale doctrine survives US Supreme Court

DougS Silver badge

Overturning a Supreme Court ruling

For regular people like us when the Supreme Court rules, it is over and decided. For deep pocketed companies it just means they need to spend more money if they want the ruling overturned. They need get out that checkbook and buy themselves a few congressmen!

So long as a decision isn't based on a constitutional issue, and this one isn't, overturning it is as simple as getting a new law passed. DMCA anyone?

Apple fixes iOS passcode-bypass hack with 6.1.3 update

DougS Silver badge

@Dana W - fixing jailbreaks

Apple isn't terribly concerned about jailbreaks that require a bit of work on the part of the end user, because they can't be made accidentally. No one downloads jailbreak software and connects their phone then runs it. I suppose theoretically a PC virus could lie in wait until it sees an iPhone connected, but unless it could leverage that to then infect the iPhone there's probably not much point to a 'jailbreak virus'. Jailbreaks that can be done via visiting a website on the phone, which I believe is what an early one did, are obviously a REAL security issue that they'll want to plug up quickly as it could obviously affect people who have no intention/desire to modify their phone.

The "evasion" jailbreak no longer working as of 6.1.3 may have nothing to do with Apple wanting to stop jailbreaks (otherwise why not fix long ago when that jailbreak first came out?) but was probably as a result of unrelated changes that happened to break the jailbreak. After all, some people who own iPhones probably wouldn't if it couldn't be jailbroken, and the jailbreak authors are a good source of security holes for Apple to fix. Better they find something which is widely publicized due to being distributed as software (which Apple can simply look at to identify the security hole being used in under an hour) than having people who have evil intent finding it first.

CCTV hack takes casino for $33 MILLION in poker losses

DougS Silver badge

$33 million in EIGHT HANDS?

I guess the guys at the table with him have way more money than poker smarts. Think about it. In so few hands, the odds that you see one of your opponents get some great cards that inspire him to bet to the wall, but you have even better ones, aren't all that great. So that probably isn't what happened. Smart opponents would take longer to take to the cleaners, unless they got really damn lucky with the cards in the 8th hand. I would love to see the CCTV footage for the eight hands, but that probably isn't in the cards :)

Samsung's new co-CEO: 'Windows isn't selling very well'

DougS Silver badge

Re: If it ain't broke, don't...

I read the article, and that part threw me off. What position is Samsung in to move away from Android?

Samsung is in the position of the company that sells more phones than anyone else in the world, a world in which the majority of buyers don't know or care what OS a phone runs anywhere near as much as people who fight the Android/iOS battles in this forum think they do.

Most people here seem to believe that people choose Android, but in reality most of these people are choosing Samsung, and have little understanding exactly what Android is. They don't care that Android is "open", or that Apple has a "walled garden". They buy based on what their friends have, or maybe the Samsung's bigger screen strikes their fancy over the smaller iPhone. Or, and I know I'll get downvoted by many for daring to suggest this, perhaps the massive advertising and media attention that BOTH companies now get sways them one way or another.

Samsung could easily switch the OS in the next GS and the die hard Android fanboys might wail and moan and say they'll refuse to ever buy another Samsung product. Or might not, if it isn't all that different user experience wise aside from sending all the money from their eyeballs to Google. After all, Tizen will still be open source because it's still Linux, and will most likely (at least at first) be capable of running all their Android apps. The loss of the Android faithful would hardly make a dent in Samsung's sales, and that would be more than made up for by all the money they now send to Google that they'd be collecting instead (yes, Samsung is in this to make money, just like Apple)

Look hard for how little Samsung even mentions Android anymore if you want a clue as to what direction they are going.

Mozilla to Apple: we don't care about iOS

DougS Silver badge

@Andy

Wait, what? You're surprised that Windows apps are not available for iOS? I assume you meant OS X? Because I'm not seeing a great clamor for people to run Quickbooks or Turbotax on their phone or tablet, whether it runs iOS, Android or WP8. There aren't any more Windows apps available on Android than on iOS, and aside from Office and other MS apps, I really doubt the situation is any better on WP8.

Setting aside your point about iOS and Splashtop, since there are more iPhone owners who don't own a Mac than do, I don't see why OS X owners booting Windows to run a few apps is a problem. They've left Windows behind as much as they can, but are currently unable to leave it behind entirely. You seem to see that a victory for Microsoft, but it is more likely a temporary situation they'll remedy over time.

If you own Office on Windows 7 and later buy a Mac, maybe you don't want to pay for it again on OS X? But if/when you ever decide to upgrade it, you might buy it on OS X next time, or decide that the not-quite-100% compatibility offered by iWork or LibreOffice is "good enough". I have an iPhone and run a Linux desktop, but my laptop dual boots Windows 7. Mostly I just boot it for iTunes (oh, the irony) I used to use Office on Windows often but LibreOffice is so good now it doesn't matter anymore. I have an old copy of Office that I didn't even bother to install on Windows 7 because I haven't had any reason to do so yet.

Google's Wi-Fi sniffing to result in $7 million fine

DougS Silver badge

Re: It's not stealing in the first place

So what if they drove by your house and recorded your encrypted wireless traffic? I guess you'd be fine with that, because you took steps to encrypt it? What if they decided to put some of their massive computing power to use and randomly chose some people's wireless traffic to crack, and you got chosen? Still fine with it?

I view this as being rather like if your daughter left her blinds up in her bedroom and Streetview went by with a special camera on it with a zoom lens aimed at the second story of houses it is passing by just to see what it could find. It's "her fault" that she might be caught undressing by the zoom camera, but I don't think that would make you or her feel about better about it.

The paltry fine Google was given is basically license for them and any other large company for whom a $7 million fine amounts to almost nothing to violate people's privacy in any way they wish. There's no sense of scale in corporate fines in the US, if a company 1/1000th of Google's size did the same thing they are much more likely to fine them $7 million as well than to fine them $7,000. If they made it commensurate with the size of the company doing it, they (or Microsoft, or Apple, or Goldman Sachs, or whatever company you happen to feel is "evil" where you obviously feel Google isn't) will not worry about getting caught if a similar idea occurs to them in the future.

World's 'smallest' mobe unveiled in Japan

DougS Silver badge

Intel, Apple forging chip-baking deal?

DougS Silver badge

Intel needs to fill fabs if they want to go to 450 mm wafers

Those wafers are 50% larger than today's 300 mm wafers, thus you get ~2.25x as many chips per wafer. Assuming the 450 mm equipment processes wafers at the same rate, you need half the number of fabs or twice the volume of chips. Intel really only has 4 full sized fabs today, with only two they'd lose a lot of the economies of scale that have helped them for years.

Apple would be a good pick for them because they are highly unlikely to ever go x86, because they're expanding their custom SoC designs to include designing their own GPU (they reportedly hired away an entire team of top ex-ATI guys who mysteriously left AMD last fall) You don't make moves like that if you want to go back to buying off the shelf SoCs designed by someone else.

One other advantage for Intel is that Apple has a lot of cash, and they've demonstrated they're willing to pay in advance for guaranteed capacity. Supposedly they tried to cut a deal with TSMC for guaranteed capacity last year but TSMC turned them down. Problem is, TSMC already has more customers than they have capacity.

Military-industrial patent troll demands BEEELLIONS from Cisco

DougS Silver badge

Following the tried and true patent troll recipe

Hit the smaller fish first, then the bigger fish, then save the whale for last. If you have VPN patents, Cisco is definitely the whale. Considering what they got out of Microsoft and Apple, Cisco could net them billions in damages.

Samsung's next smartphone to scroll by watching your eyes

DougS Silver badge

Sounds cool in theory

But then I think about how when I'm watching TV I'm often half watching and half reading sports news on my phone, and my eyes keep going back to the same place on the screen to read the same paragraph over and over because by trying to do two things at once I'm doing neither well. I'd hate to have that paragraph scroll out of view if its at the bottom of the screen. Or even scroll to the top, since I haven't really registered that paragraph in my brain I sort of need the one I know I've read above it for context to find my place - especially if my place moves without me wanting it.

This sounds like one of those things that would be cool to impress your friends "hey look what my phone can do" but most people would probably turn it off. If they can make it work well enough that you don't get annoyed by it on a daily basis, they deserve a gold star.

Global smartphones sales set to outpace standard handsets in 2013

DougS Silver badge

Re: Definition please

I think it is a worthless distinction anymore, so I ignore any market share/growth data about smartphones and look at the entire mobile market. In a few years every phone will be a "smartphone", at least by the definition we were using five years ago. But analysts will probably have moved the goalposts so they can keep talking about it.

I wouldn't personally consider anything that used WAP for browsing as a smartphone, because IMHO it was essentially useless. I used it to check the radar when I was out on the golf course and dark clouds appeared on the horizon, that's it. That pretty much knocks out everything before iPhone (I don't know if iPhone was the first phone that used a real browser, but assuming there were others before it they didn't predate it by much) Clearly there were phones 10+ years ago that people considered "smartphones", even though they were total crap compared to the dumbest smartphone you can buy today, but they were surely a lot smarter than the other phones you could get back then.

New Japanese craze: Knickers for iPhones' nether regions

DougS Silver badge

This just goes to show

The Japanese can almost always out-weird everyone else with their fads.

I'm struggling to think which is worse, underwear for your phone or a bra for your car. If you're old enough, and lived in the US you might remember those. Dunno about outside the US, perhaps those of you in more civilized countries were spared this particular abomination!

Apple 'insider' explains why vid adapter hides ARM computer

DougS Silver badge

Except Samsung did a propriety port also

GS3 11 pin MHL connector

If Apple had used a standard like MHL but created a proprietary connector for it, all the Apple haters would be out in force. But here we see the Apple haters praising Samsung. Double standard much?

Flexy 'iWatch' glass said to be three years away

DougS Silver badge

Re: 3 years?

Say what? If you think wearing a watch is bothersome now, why in the world would you think it is fine to wear one that is only useful when you're near to a "display mounted in a public area" and have need of some of its services. For some reason, your scenario makes me think of what a Sci Fi writer in the 60s might have thought we'd be doing in 2013.

I would assume that the iWatch, if such a thing comes out, would interface with the iPhone or iPad you already have. It would have bluetooth to communicate with your device, and GPS so that it would have the same use case as all the training watches that are out there now and have some limited use when it had no phone/tablet to talk to. If Apple doesn't include GPS it would need to have those new hyper accurate MEMs accelerometers I read were in development a few years ago as they could give you an accurate position fix even if the last time they had a proper GPS fix was hours ago. I have no idea if those are ready though.

There really isn't much you can do in a watch form factor to make it useful as a standalone device beyond what has already been done, not until speech and grammar recognition is good enough. Siri and the Google equivalent are years away from where a device could be truly useful without the ability to type anything at all.

DougS Silver badge

Just because the bendy glass isn't available for three years

Doesn't mean that Apple would wait three years to release this. I highly doubt the product's success or failure would hinge on the ability of the glass to bend.

Besides, the rumors about the iWatch said the glass was CURVED, not that it was flexible. There has been curved glass since the first time someone made a bowl or vase out of glass, but for some reason when a tech writer hears curved glass they think it is flexible, because of all the pointless hype surrounding flexible glass. Until you can bend the case, the electronics and the battery, the ability of the glass face to bend is rather meaningless except for improved impact resistance at the cost of being less scratch resistant.

I guess some of these tech writers are envisioning the iWatch as a techie version of the slap bracelet, with all the fiddly bits inside the watch magically able to flex along with the face.

DougS Silver badge

@rcorrect

When I was a kid a personal computer, cell phone and the internet were all unknown to me.

I second the guy asking what rock you were raised under? Or perhaps it was the south? When you were born I was 14, and I was using a friend's Apple II and pestering my parents to buy an Atari 800. Pretty sure I'd never seen a cell phone then, but certainly by the mid 80s I knew one guy who carried one of those 10 pound bag phones with him (he needed it for his business) I think I first used the Internet in 1987 in a Comp Sci class, and regularly used it starting in 1990.

Not saying that's typical, but I'm hardly a raving geek waiting with baited breath for wearable computing crap like the iWatch or Google Glasses.

Canadian cyborg says Google Glass design is cracked

DougS Silver badge

Re: @DougS: The difference between Steve Mann's glasses and Googles version is ...

How can Apple "match" something which isn't a product yet from anyone? Personally I find all glasses uncomfortable to wear for long, no matter how light, so there's no way I'd be a customer for this no matter who makes it unless it provides capabilities so revolutionary I'd be willing to endure constant discomfort in exchange. So far nothing I've heard discussed as its use cases sounds likely to change my mind, though I'm sure whenever there's a real product that isn't just for uber geeks like the Google Glasses will be for the first couple generations I'll give it a try for a few minutes and see what it's like.

Given the surge in distracted driving accidents caused by people on cell phones while driving, I hate to imagine exactly how much carnage would be caused by drivers wearing something that could let them read their email in one eye while "driving" with the other. Sure, we'll make laws against wearing this while driving, and I'm sure they'll be every bit as effective as the laws against texting while driving. As far as I can tell, the main thing that changed since that law went into effect where I live is that people now hold their phone down low where the cops can't see it instead of in front of them, which surely makes things worse.

DougS Silver badge

Re: The difference between Steve Mann's glasses and Googles version is ...

Oh, Google's still make the wearer look strange. If you don't think that, I guess you're a candidate for wearing one of those idiotic things.

The reason that Steve Mann looks an order of magnitude dorkier than the Google guy is more the unnatural forced smile of someone who never smiles, the yellow teeth and unshaven face, the balding head and the apparent lack of a shirt when the picture was taken. If he thinks Google is damaging the wearable computing "movement", then he needs to take a look at himself in the mirror first for his suitability as its poster child!

Health pros: Alcohol is EVIL – raise its price, ban its ads

DougS Silver badge

Re: Say WHAT, bro?

Funny, I thought it was his leadership in helping the Allies win WW II that was most responsible for his lasting popularity. If the war hadn't happened, that other stuff wouldn't have him remember any more fondly than Johnson has been for Medicare.

It's open to debate whether what he did really ended the Great Depression, or if it was the ultra massive stimulus program we know as WW II that finally did so. Oh, and it didn't hurt that by the end of it our industrial base was the only one that hadn't been bombed to rubble! For some of the world the Great Depression lasted a lot longer than it did here.

HGST: Nano-tech will double hard disk capacity in 10 years

DougS Silver badge
WTF?

Only DOUBLE the density?

I'm glad that we've been able to increase density faster than that in the past, or the gigantic 1GB 5.25" hard drive I remember costing a group I was affiliated with $2500 in late 1992 would now provide all of 4GB.

Google Chrome feature helps you silence noisy tabs

DougS Silver badge
Holmes

This is why I have always used Flashblock

Then I never have any tabs making any sort of sound without my permission!

Intel throws open chip ovens to Altera - but who's next: Apple?

DougS Silver badge

Re: 3 ¢rApp£€ references?

Get over yourself. If you don't want to read any references to Apple, don't click on articles with Apple in the title, idiot. There is a good point to Apple's mention, because they have been rumored to be talking to Intel about fabbing their SoCs for over a year now, but the main roadblock has been seen as the fact that Intel has never taken on any foundry customers with a lot of volume.

Sorry that you hate Apple so much you can't bear to see mention of their name. Since you're going to downvote me anyway: Apple, Apple, Apple, Apple, Samsung, Apple, Apple, Apple.

No mobile signal? Blame hippies and their eco-friendly walls

DougS Silver badge

low-e window coatings

These are what block the signals, regular glass is pretty transparent to cellular frequencies, which is why usually going near a window helps you get a signal in typical steel beam construction buildings that are hard to get signal in elsewhere. It's also why old lath-and-plaster buildings, which are essentially a Faraday cage, don't block cell phones except in interior rooms (unless you replace all the old windows with modern ones, then you're screwed) The low-e coatings are typically very thin layers of tin and silver, which in addition to reflecting IR do a pretty decent job of reflecting (or at least attenuating) cellular frequencies.

Even the apparently cheaply built houses may have fiberglass insulation with a reflective foil layer on it. That thin layer of metal that also does a pretty good job of blocking cellular. Even if the walls are so thin you can hear people talking outside you might go from 4-5 bars outside to 1-2 bars inside even though you only moved six feet. If you care, use the expanding foam type of insulation instead. It costs more but has a much better R value per inch and leaves no air gaps so you don't need Tyvek wrap on the exterior (which can create problems of its own when condensation occurs between the wrap and the exterior coating)

Mobile operators look to Firefox to beat back Google, Apple

DougS Silver badge

They'll sell more non-Android non-iOS non-WP8 non-BB10 phones than people think

It might be FirefoxOS, it might be something else, but they'll sell. Many. Very many. A lot of people, particularly those who are buying low end "smartphones" in name only that are built on Android because it is a handy free (or near free, if they pay the MS tax) OS to use. If they build these to avoid the MS tax, that savings alone will be enough to let FirefoxOS replace Android on the very low end.

These phones on the low end aren't products that buyers seek out and aspire to, like an iPhone 5 or GS3, they are phones that you get free or discounted, or you buy because they are one of the cheapest options out there. The buyers mostly don't know or care what OS it is running, either because they couldn't get the phone they wished they could afford, or because they have no interest in doing the sort of stuff all of us are doing on our fancy phones.

Carriers will push these on people by offering better deals to those who take them, giving customers walking in to the carrier store the hard sell on their virtues, or simply listing them near the top in the list of phones they have on their web page (seriously, who would ever read down to the bottom, getting placement in the first row is probably worth a ton of sales)

The carriers aren't our friends. But then neither are Apple, Google, Microsoft or Samsung...

Microsoft: You want Office for Mac, fanboi? You'll pay Windows prices

DougS Silver badge

What makes you think they're trying to attract NEW customers?

Someone needs to explain to M$ that increasing prices isn't the right way to attract new customers

The whole point of building a monopoly is that you have people who have little option but to buy your product, so that you can raise your prices exactly like they're doing.

The people who already own MS Office on OS X are going to pay the increase, because they wouldn't be using MS Office if they didn't need to. If they only needed office software that had OK but not perfect MS compatibility they'd be using iWork, LibreOffice or Google Docs.

Hard Man of Facebook: We might just eat those cheap TLC flash chips

DougS Silver badge

Why should techies be replacing disk drives at all?

I thought Facebook treated drives similar to the way Google does, so that bad drives can be simply removed from the storage cloud and left ignored and broken where they sit until the server gets replaced? It just doesn't seem worth the trouble to replace individual drives in such an environment, so TLC SSDs aren't needed.

Boffins FREEZE PHONES to crack Android on-device crypto

DougS Silver badge

Small capacitors exist

Intel 320 SSDs include six 470µF capacitors to write the contents of RAM to flash (unwritten user data isn't stored in RAM, but the FTL maps are) They have pretty much the same size/volume as a mobile phone, so if they fit in the SSD they can fit in a phone.

However, you don't need to do that. Just have a really tiny built in battery alongside the main removable (well in most, but not all Android phones) battery. So that if the main battery drains or is removed there is still the tiny secondary battery to do whatever is necessary for a clean shutdown.

Best of all, always zero out the RAM first thing in the boot process. I assume Android probably does this, but the use of the "fast boot" probably skips that step. Don't skip that step and make your fast boot a little slower, and this attack will be thwarted.

Of course, anyone who has your phone in their possession can freeze it and disassemble it to remove the RAM chips and read them. Not exactly a "do at home" task, so while this wouldn't allow a jealous husband to read his wife's texts, it would allow a corporate spy to snag the competition's secrets.

Unless a phone is built to be tamper proof, which AFAIK no consumer phones are, the RAM removal attack will work for any OS - assuming you can figure out where in RAM the encryption key is kept. That will be easier on Android since you have source than it would be on closed source operating systems like iOS, WP8 or BB. But once you find it, it will presumably be simple to find again on other phones of the same make. ASLR may mean the high bits are different every time, but it will be in the same location on the page each time with the same stuff around it.

Earth escapes asteroid flyby, boffins want lasers aimed at next one

DougS Silver badge

Vaporize a 500 meter asteroid?

If you can harness the energy to do something like that, it seems like a waste pointing it out to space. It should be pointed the other direction so we can get rid of all the fossil fuel and nuclear plants throughout the entire world.

If we had a year's notice, we'd probably be able to aim that thing at one side of the asteroid and the jets of material ejecting from the blast would steer the asteroid out of a collision course with Earth in a few minutes, or few hours at most. Vaporizing the asteroid only happens in Hollywood.

Kiwi cops to buy 6,500 iPhones, 3,900 iPads

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple Lock-In

It's a 10 year contract. Smartphones and tablets may look as silly in a decade as a guy carrying a flip phone and PDA would today, so being locked in to Apple (or anyone) on smartphones and tablets in 2023 might be worth as much as Palm's vendor lock-in is worth in 2013. Apple probably doesn't care about trying to lock them in after the contract so much as having other police departments who have been thinking along these lines to call up Apple because they know they're already involved in project(s) with other police departments.

There really isn't much choice if you want a long term contract (whether a ten year contract is a good idea or not is another matter) If you wanted to go Android, who would you call? There are a bunch of little fish who may or may not still be in the Android (or even mobile) market in a decade, and there's Samsung. But will Samsung stick with Android or fork it or start using Bada? There's Microsoft, of course, but they're a tiny fish in the smartphone pond. Maybe Google would be willing to work a deal based on Nexus, but might just tell anyone who calls them to talk to one of the Android OEMs.

One of the things you're going to want in this sort of big contract is be able to run multiple vintages of hardware that are all at the same OS level. You probably don't want the hassle of supporting a bunch of different rev levels that have different bugs/features and don't run apps quite the same way. That's easy with iOS, updates are given for everyone at the same time, until your hardware gets so old it is no longer supported by the latest and greatest. Apple clearly won't be giving them the same hardware for a decade, and likely wouldn't plan to replace all phones or tablets at the same time every few years, but stagger the hardware refreshes like most businesses do with PCs.

Unless you go with Nexus, you won't be able to get everything on the same version of Android unless you do hardware refreshes all at once, because it is up to the OEMs to provide the updates, and they often don't seem too interested in pushing them out for old hardware. They'd rather sell you something new and shiny if you want to get the latest version of Android.

Official: America now a nation of broadband whingers

DougS Silver badge

For a decade all we've heard is how bad our broadband is compared to other first world countries

So it is not surprising that people eventually have come to believe it, even though the situation has begun to improve more recently.

I don't know how what I'm paying for DSL compares to those elsewhere ($65/month for 20M/5M uncapped if you're curious) but I'm sure what I pay AT&T for cellular service is a ripoff because I've seen the tariffs being advertised in the UK and Europe, and they're about half what I pay. That's with me getting off easier than most since I'm grandfathered in with 1000 texts/month and 200MB of data. If I signed up now I'd pay $15/month more since the cheapest options require unlimited texts for $20/month and a 300MB data plan for $5 more.

Android? Like Marvin the robot? Samsung eclipses Google OS - Gartner

DougS Silver badge

@ThomH

People aren't buying Samsung phones just because they like the word 'Samsung', they're buying them because they like Android

----

If you talk to average non technical people, you'll find you're mistaken. The article is correct, most people don't really know what "Android" is, they are buying a Samsung phone, not Android. If Samsung changed to a different OS, most wouldn't really notice unless they went out of their way to make it really look different.

I also think you'd find that developers wouldn't abandon them, because Samsung is the big dog in the market, and is still growing share. The remaining Android market is fragmented amongst a number of small players who each have their own GUI layer added on top of standard Android, run different versions of Android etc. so a platform as uniform and updated by end users as quickly as iOS would quickly be accepted. I don't know how Bada's C++ works, but it can't be any more alien to developers than Apple's Objective c++, can it?

I think Samsung will move to cut Google out, one way or the other. Why should Google make all the money after sale and Samsung get nothing? They're going to make sure they take it.

Kiwi Coroner says Coca-Cola helped kill woman

DougS Silver badge

Crane operator

He brought HOW much with him at the beginning of the day? Forget getting fat, I want to know whether he was refilling the empty bottles during the day or 'making it rain' for the poor schlubs on the ground?

Only way to stop the iPad: Flash-disk mutant SPEED FREAKS

DougS Silver badge

Wrong optimization point

Who the hell cares how fast boot is? At most, you do it once per day! It annoys the crap out of me that hybrid hard drives seem to care primarily about caching the stuff you access when booting to make that fast because it makes for an impressive benchmark, and maybe keeping a few frequently used apps cached, but doing nothing for the things that have always made a hard drive so painful to use.

The thing that makes hard drives slower than SSDs is random access. Use the cache to fix that - start by holding a copy of ALL the filesystem metadata in flash. Then you only need to read the file's data off the drive, and so long as it isn't badly fragmented, that will happen quite quickly. When you write to the disk, you'd write the metadata changes to the flash and data for small files could be staged in cache, with larger ones written through to the drive (and assuming you have adequate free space, it should be a streaming write happening at ~100 MB/sec so not too painful versus SSD)

Apple said to develop curved glass iWatch with Foxconn

DougS Silver badge

Flexible glass is the wet dream of the tech press

It is totally impractical, unless you don't think having chips inside whatever the glass covers is important (yes, I read something about bendy silicon chips recently but that is research only and years if ever from being for sale)

No matter how bendy the glass, watches using it aren't going to wrap around your wrist, so quit dreaming about phones that fold or watches that curve around your wrist. Not going to happen, at least not anytime soon in the way it is being presented to a gullible public. Not to mention the bendy glass scratches much more easily than the Gorilla Glass used on phone screens and can still shatter, so might not be the best thing for something you wear around your wrist!

Watches that don't bend have been around for a long time, and people are fine with them. While having a good part of it (i.e., the band) fit nicely around the wrist is a good thing, it really doesn't matter if the whole thing does. In fact, I think I might find it harder to read if it did.

If Apple does come out with a watch, the deal they signed with the Swiss Railroad about using their clock might come in handy, as if I had to bet I'd guess the "show the time" mode for an Apple watch would show an analog dial, while a Google watch would show digital, complete with seconds.

NFC SD crew gives up: No one wants our safe bonking tool

DougS Silver badge

Not just network operators versus platform owners

As the article author states. If it was just those two, they could probably come to some agreement.

But the payment processors want to make sure they get their cut, and that it is at least as large (if not larger) than they get from credit/debit transactions today. This is why they want to link NFC to individual credit/debit cards, rather than phones, and are pushing retailers to install NFC capable readers - not because they care if anyone actually uses NFC, they just want to stop Square or Paypal from installing NFC readers that would cut them out.

The network operators think that since they're already billing people monthly, they should add all the transactions to that monthly bill and cut the payment processors out. This is why they want to link NFC to the SIM.

The platform owners, Apple and Google, already have banking/credit card information for many millions of people via their app stores, and would be happy to take that cut instead of the payment processors as well. Not to be left out, the Android OEMs, especially big ones like Samsung, no doubt believe that they deserve this revenue instead of Google. This is why these guys want to install NFC in the device, not the SIM.

The payment processors and their overlords, Visa and Mastercard, can also play the merchants and consumers off each other. The merchants want to pay lower processing fees, and consumers want the freebies that go with their credit (cash back/miles) and debit (higher interest rates, no fee accounts) cards. Can't have both, so while merchants may try to push NFC if they can get lower fees, they'll have to offer something to consumers to make up for losing their freebies.

There are just way too many corporations and interests fighting each other who each want all or most of the revenue pie. It is made even worse that one of the players owns this market and will lose their current revenue stream if NFC is adopted in a way that's outside their control. They'll do anything and everything to make sure that doesn't happen. NFC has no chance against all this, even if the very real security issues of a "near field" protocol that can be easily read from 10+ feet away with less than $100 of equipment didn't exist.

DougS Silver badge

@Anon 15:30 - merchant accounts

I suppose you realize that pretty much anyone can get a merchant account. It is not exactly as complicated to get that as it is to, say, become legally recognized as a bank.

Samsung: Never mind Steve Jobs, let's snap off a piece of stylus biz

DougS Silver badge

Handwriting

You people talking about using it for hand writing notes / annotations or worse yet actually using it for text input must have far better handwriting than I do. I had decent handwriting as a kid when I was taught it in school, but it has atrophied since I rarely write anything longer than a sentence or two for the past 20 years.

I can see it for the types of tasks (drafting, photo editing, etc.) that have historically been done with Wacon digitizers, but I don't see the appeal otherwise. I guess by including it rather than making it an option Samsung wants to differentiate itself, which is fine, and it would add less than a dollar to the price.

I can't help thinking that if Apple had done it, the haters would have said Apple was hoping they'd lose their iStylus and be forced to buy another from Apple for $29.99 :)

US retail kingpins swoon: Nobody bonks like Google does

DougS Silver badge

Re: Moar!

In the US we don't have to bother with the PIN or signature for small transactions. I don't know the current limits on debit card transactions that don't require a PIN, but for credit cards I don't need to sign for anything under $50. Just swipe my card on the reader, the salesperson never needs to touch it. That takes away a lot of the convenience argument for small transactions using NFC, at least in the US.

DougS Silver badge

The problem with NFC payments by phone in the US

is that everyone wants a share of it:

the payment processors (Visa, Mastercard)

the carriers (AT&T, Verizon, etc)

the phone OS companies (Apple, Google, Microsoft)

the phone OEMs (Apple, Samsung, Motorola, etc)

the wildcards (Paypal, Square, etc)

There simply isn't enough money for everyone to get a cut, unless it becomes a lot more expensive to pay via NFC than with a credit card - and if that happens the merchants will refuse to support it.

So we're at a stalemate while everyone is trying to go it alone or partner up with someone else in various alliances, or waiting to see what happens before trying to swoop in and undercut everyone else.

The biggest problem, of course, is that it doesn't solve a problem anyone has. Why do I want to pay with my phone rather than something in my wallet? If I want to pay via NFC (I don't, but let's assume I'm ignorant of security and wish to do so) then why shouldn't I have an NFC enabled credit/debit card and bonk my wallet against the reader instead of my phone? What exactly is the advantage of bonking my phone, other than some geek points if you're with the right crowd?

Official: Fandroids are smarter/tighter* than iPhone fanbois

DougS Silver badge
Holmes

The reason for this is obvious

High end smartphones, like the iPhone and the Galaxy S3, are purchased by people who make heavy use of the smartphone features, and thus are much more likely to get a gold plated data plan when compared to buyers of low end smartphones (a market in which Apple doesn't participate and Android has essentially 100% market share at this point) who are more likely to buy cheap or even no data plan at all.

I'll bet if they compared just iPhone and S3 owners there would be very little difference. But once you add in all the owners of the Galaxy Ace and even lower end Android phones, it drags down the Android average when compared to the iPhone.

You thought watching cat videos was harmless fun? Think AGAIN

DougS Silver badge

What percentage of the bird/mammal population are they killing?

As compared to the replacement rate? I doubt they are doing any damage that matters except to crazy PETA types who like to think that no animal would "murder" another in the wild and it is somehow the fault of us nasty humans importing animals into areas where they didn't occur naturally.

The common house cat may not be native to the US, but bobcats and panthers sure as hell are, and there used to be a few orders of magnitude more of them around all over the US than exist today (for some reason ranchers don't like having their livestock killed so they shoot them) If you figure one cat is as good as another in hunting prowess, is a few million panthers and bobcats killing much larger mammals better than 50 million house cats killing small mammals? The big cats kill fewer animals because there are fewer of them, but they may win in pounds of animals killed. What if saber toothed tigers, also native to North America until 10,000 years ago or so, were still around? A few of them could supposedly kill a mammoth. That seems worse on the murder scale than a robin or squirrel, but maybe that's just me.

I wonder how many sparrows and rabbits equals one mammoth in their feline murder equations?

The Death of Voice: Mobile phone calls now 50 per cent shorter

DougS Silver badge
Meh

Does this stat include calls that aren't answered?

A decade ago if I called someone I always left a voicemail message telling them why I was calling, or at least saying "hey its me, call me back". Now everyone assumes a missed call to be a "please call me back later" message so once you get someone's voicemail you just hang up. Those 2 second calls have to drag down the average quite a bit.

Apple, Google tumble off top 20 trusted companies list

DougS Silver badge
WTF?

Re: Somewhat disturbing

The fact even one large bank is on the list makes me wonder what exactly they would have to do for people to stop trusting them?

I'd trust an Apple/Google/Microsoft/Intel/Samsung joint venture before I'd trust US Bank or Verizon, but somehow they made the list.

Three years since his Sun gobble, what hath Ellison wrought?

DougS Silver badge
Facepalm

HP

Amazing that HP didn't buy Sun instead. They have no problem blowing far more cash on much more expensive and risky acquisitions, which all get the goodwill written down in a few years anyway, but they ignore the one buy that was staring them in the face as as a perfect opportunity. Truly the most mismanaged of the Fortune 100 companies for the past decade.

Apple regains 'el numero uno' market-value crown

DougS Silver badge
Trollface

OS bloat

"In addition, the Microsofties couldn't have been too pleased with Tuesday's reports that a 128GB Microsoft Surface Pro is actually an 83GB Microsoft Surface Pro"

----

Good lord that's a lot of space for an OS. Nevermind whether 640K is enough for everyone, before long 640G won't be enough for Microsoft!

Yay for iOS 6.1, grey Wi-Fi iPhone bug is fix- AWW, SNAP

DougS Silver badge
Holmes

How a software update can "cause" a hard problem

Likelihood of a failed connection manifesting its failed-ness via a software upgrade is slim

Not really. Maybe iOS 6 added some improved error checking/diagnostics before enabling the various hardware subsystems, and phones with a loose connection to the wifi chipset fail the check and are shown greyed out, while under 5.x the test being failed isn't done so it shows up. Depending on what is being tested and how it is failing it might cause wifi problems or maybe it isn't noticeable - if, for instance, the particular failure only affects certain bands/channels/encryption schemes.

I mean, seriously, anything that can be fixed with a hairdryer is clearly not a software problem. Anyone with an iPhone 5 that has this problem would get it replaced for free. If you own an older one and it is out of warranty (good reason to be in the EU with the mandated two year warranty, I guess!) then you're SOL. Presumably in a phone with greyed out wifi the wifi was always a bit dodgy, or maybe the phone just happened to be dropped shortly before getting iOS 6 but since nothing broke externally the owner assumed it was fine.

Apple releases iOS 6.1, adds LTE carriers, tweaks security

DougS Silver badge
Mushroom

I HATE THESE DAMN SECURITY QUESTIONS!

I'm glad Rik referred to how stupid this is in a cleverly oblique way, though I wish we'd see an entire Reg article dedicated to this abomination.

Most of us who read The Reg are probably clueful enough to realize how stupid it would be to give truthful answers to these security questions, but the average person doesn't realize how insecure this is. This might have seemed like a good solution to the problem of identifying yourself on the web for relatively unimportant sites at first, but it has taken on a life of its own since. The ability to easily search the web for names as well as the propensity of people to give away "unimportant" information to Facebook makes this far more dangerous than using a dictionary word as a password.

But once something is deemed a "best practice" in security it lives forever like some sort of zombie. Much like the outdated idea that changing your password frequently is a good idea, these "three security questions" continue to be used everywhere. Presumably anyone actually working in the industry knows this is dumb, but I know from experience in my consulting work that no matter how smart and well regarded you are in your field, you can't fight "best practices" with your recommendations. You can recommend something, someone will point out it contradicts best practices, and you can explain why best practices are wrong in this case until you're blue in the face, but in the end you are forced to give in if you want to get anything accomplished aside from discussing this one issue.

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