* Posts by DougS

12862 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011


DougS Silver badge

Re: @ Captain DaFt

Being American, I did a double take when I read that, as I read "mozzies" and thought for a moment you meant felines. That would be one hell of a nasty spider to take down a cat!

I'm not afraid of spiders per se, and quite like tarantulas, but I'd have to draw the line at seeing a furry 3" blur zipping across the room out of the corner of my eye, regardless of its ability to kill flies and mosquitoes. If insects that much of a problem, I'll be sure to keep my window screens in good repair rather than sharing my house with prowling spiders!

Come to think of it, can moggies share a house with huntsman spiders? It's bad enough when the cat tries to bring in a half eaten something it caught outside, but if it's catching them inside it'd probably bring a half eaten spider into my bed first thing in the morning. No thanks!

Asus: we ship a million Google's Nexus 7s monthly

DougS Silver badge

Re: I want a really high resolution display for reading

That's just stupid. If they sell you a 4K movie and you view it on a 10" tablet and think that it having 4K resolution will make any difference over 2560x1600 you're even more of a sucker than you probably consider Apple buyers to be. If you can't see the extra pixels they're just wasting GPU performance and battery. Or did you think pushing around all those extra pixels was free?

Hurricane Sandy stops Apple stock deflating

DougS Silver badge

Google is expensive

Ignoring for a moment that Apple only does acquisitions with prices with an 'm' in them and not a 'b', they'd be far better off buying Nokia. Nokia's mapping software is from all accounts superior to Google's, they have a much larger cache of mobile patents, and fewer businesses they'd have to sell off or close. More importantly, it'd cost a fraction of what Google would.

I mean c'mon, I could maybe see Apple keeping search if they owned Google, but they'd have no interest in running all the stuff like Mail, Apps, Shopping, Google+ and the dozens of others. Apple likes to specifically target on particular businesses, while Google is willing to try anything and see if it works. It'd be like Exxon buying P&G.

Hmm, I think I'll order an iPad Mini on Amazon ... Oh no I won't

DougS Silver badge

If this hurt Apple's sales, Apple could just pull the product from Amazon

People don't go to Amazon to look for a "tablet" to buy, they presumably already know if they want to buy an iPad, a Galaxy Tab or a Kindle Fire since Amazon is not exactly a great place to do product comparison. But if this gave Apple buyers some doubts and caused some to switch to the cheaper alternative (I could see this happening if buying it as a Christmas present for someone else, saving the buyer $130) then Apple could stop selling to Amazon with little or no effect on their sales since people looking to buy an Apple product aren't going to give up just because Amazon doesn't carry it.

If I was looking to buy one and Amazon didn't carry them, I'd check Newegg or whoever. The only reason I'd be buying from Amazon in the first place is avoidance of sales taxes, but there are certainly other places that don't have a nexus in my state I could buy from - I just check Amazon first out of habit.

Intel halves SSD power draw with 20nm chip shift

DougS Silver badge

Reduction in power consumption

I wonder why Intel is even bothering to mention this, as I doubt there's anyone that cares. It isn't as though previous SSDs were power hungry beasts causing laptops to become too hot to touch. While it sounds like a big drop in percentage terms, it's less than half a watt after all! If they shaved two grams off the weight would they think that's worthy of mention as well?

Apple turns off Siri’s potty mouth

DougS Silver badge

I think the Chinese authorities should like this

Is the crime they are trying to prevent telling people where to find the escorts, or offering escort services? If the latter, the cops can ask Siri where to find the escorts and go arrest them. Now the escorts will still be out there, but presumably it will be slightly less easy and convenient for both customers and police to locate them.

Would the authorities in the US want to make it illegal to have Siri tell where to find a hitman? I would hope they'd be fine with it, and if anyone is stupid enough to advertise somwhere Siri can find they deserve the sting operation and long prison term that would result.

It isn't as though Siri has any special knowledge of anything, she's searching Baidu, using Wolfram Alpha, whatever. If you block Siri, the information is still out there, it just requires one extra step to locate.

France again threatens Google with link tax

DougS Silver badge

Cable TV

What next? Are they going to ask television stations to pay them to put up annoying adverts between the shows I want to watch?

Or even more crazy, will they ask consumers to pay to watch TV shows saturated with advertising? Oh wait...

Apple exec behind Maps and Siri to exit One Infinite Loop

DougS Silver badge

Re: Forstall was a polarizing figure, so this may be good for Apple

Jobs was probably the only guy Forstall would listen to, and from all accounts he expected and believed he deserved to succeed Jobs as as CEO. He probably thought he was untouchable and indispensable and acted like it, even to Cook.

The lack of respect is rather like how a certain segment of the US don't consider Obama to be "their" president, and the similarly sized segment before them who didn't consider Bush "their" president. Sometimes there is nothing a leader can do to earn someone's respect. When you're CEO, you may not worry about a few janitors that don't respect you, but if you have someone like that in your senior management ranks, if you can't get them in line you have no choice but to get rid of them.

DougS Silver badge

Forstall was a polarizing figure, so this may be good for Apple

From the description of him in articles like the below, it sounds like he may have been more trouble than he was worth. Basically he acted like Steve Jobs did, but wasn't Steve Jobs. Whether this is a good thing for Apple in the long run depends on what they're losing by getting rid of him, but if I worked at Apple and had to deal with a guy like him I think I'd be glad to see him go.


BridgeSTOR: They called us mad, but we've put deduped data on TAPE!

DougS Silver badge

10:1 for user data

What are you smoking? Unless everyone is storing identical PDF files or the email software keeps a separate copy of attachments that are mailed to large cc lists, I don't see how you can achieve this. Dedupe is more typically a win on full disk backups that include a lot of identical OS/application files.

Google goes ahead, unveils Nexus 4 and 10

DougS Silver badge

Gesture Typing

I read elsewhere that Android 4.2 includes something called Gesture Typing, which sounds exactly like Swype. Isn't Swype patented? How is Google getting around those patents to do their own seemingly identical version? Seems like this will eventually bankrupt Swype - why would someone pay for an alternative keyboard that comes builtin to their phone for free?

4G: Bad coverage, crap battery life - but at least it's really expensive

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why no VoLTE?

No one in the US (or anywhere else in the world AFAIK) supports VoLTE yet. Not sure what the holdup is, it was supposed to be deployed already but now AT&T says 2013 and Verizon says end of 2013.

The lack of VoLTE is why the iPhone 5 can't do simultaneous voice and data on Verizon's network. Apple didn't have room for the extra antenna and amplifier chips in such a thin phone (look at the teardowns, it is PACKED) but didn't think it would be an issue at all or for very long since VoLTE will allow simultaneous voice/data with just the one antenna. Now that it's delayed so much, iPhone 5 users on Verizon's LTE network will have to endure this limitation when they're away from Wifi.

Microsoft: Just swallow this tablet ... the rest will take care of itself

DougS Silver badge

Good hardware with bad software gets returned

The idea that Surface will sell because the hardware is great is silly. As is the idea that Apple stuff because the hardware is great, and in spite of the software. Add to that the idea that Microsoft is great at software (rather than being great at milking a monopoly IBM accidentally handed to them 30 years ago) and it makes for one huge FAIL of an article.

Surface RT: Freedom luvin' app-huggers beware

DougS Silver badge

Here's why it's confusing

Okay, Windows 8 on x86 is more confusing due to the split personalities of touch and desktop. But I suspect few people will be running it on a desktop until forced to do so.

You answered your own question!

As for Windows RT, given that Microsoft has called their consumer OS Windows 3.1, 95, 98, ME, XP, Vista, 7 and 8, could you blame a consumer who doesn't read tech news from not understanding that "Windows RT" isn't just the next version of Windows that comes after '7' and be totally confused when it can't do everything his PC can? Microsoft's advertising isn't helping this perception, either.

iPad Mini vs Nexus 7: inch makes all the difference, says Apple CEO

DougS Silver badge

Re: They would say that, wouldn't they...


They could have done 1136x640 like the iPhone 5 if they want to dispense with the 4:3 ratio. So they clearly decided that having the extra square inches of screen was more important than making the form factor fit Youtube without black bars.

As for the low resolution, higher resolution screens require more backlight and thus a bigger battery. They wanted to make the Mini significantly lighter than full sized tablets and they've done so. Despite having 30%+ more screen real estate than competing 7" tablets, it actually weighs less. That seems useful to me for something that's small enough some people will want to hold it one hand while reading.

The more transmissive Retina screens Sharp is working on for next year will solve the backlight issue and allow them to keep the same format in the Mini 2.

Apple CEO: Microsoft Surface 'compromised, confusing'

DougS Silver badge

Re: I'm curious

I'm surprised he even bothers to comment on it at all. Right now it has 0% market share, unless it starts competing with Android for second place in tablet sales it should be pretty much a non-factor to Apple.

Apple slips bomb into ITC filing: Samsung being PROBED by US gov

DougS Silver badge

@EvilGav 1

The fact that Apple have been selling products and walking rough-shod over FRAND licencing that *every* other phone manufacturer has been paying seems to miss them completely.

This is 100% Samsung's fault. They pulled the license to Qualcomm specifically for chips made by Qualcomm to sell to Apple. They decided they wanted to screw over Apple and violate FRAND rules, and they are rightly getting investigated. The fact Apple is trying to assert stupid patents on rounded corners doesn't change the fact that Samsung is violating the agreements they made with ITU and other standards organizations.

Perhaps when 5G is being defined, these standards organizations will tell Samsung to go away and not allow them to participate, because they shouldn't want someone who doesn't play by the rules everyone else does to take part.

Awaiting the inevitable downvotes from clueless fandroids who up-vote anything anti-Apple and down-vote anything that's not anti-Apple, regardless of whether it is true or not.

Speech systems lawsuit sours Apple's day

DougS Silver badge

Re: Dynamic Advances picked the wrong sucka!

Since the article says that not just Apple, but also HP, Microsoft, Sony and Google reference this patent in their own patents, apparently Apple isn't the only one who thinks this patent means something. If they beat Apple, seems likely they'd go after Google next.

Not sure what HP and Sony do with voice recognition, maybe some left over Palm stuff for HP and something on PS3 for Sony?

Apple's iPad Mini mishap: scratching out the retina screen

DougS Silver badge

Re: Death of a salesman

Well, you're obviously a moron who has no concept of how to value stocks, but rather just an idiot fanboy who hates Apple and thinks "worth a lot, thus must be a bubble". Apple trades at the market multiple, below what Google trades for and well under 1/10th of the valuation of Amazon. Amazon is quite likely to be worth a 1/10 of what they are today in 2020, but not Apple.

In fact it is impossible for Apple to worth that little, if they announced tomorrow they were closing up shop and laying off all their employees, closing their stores and no more iProducts would be produced the price would only drop to 1/5th of the current price, as that's how much cash they have on the books. It would take a hell of a lot longer than eight years to drop down to 1/10th of the current price, even if every product they produced for the rest of the decade was such a total flop they make Zune look like a massive hit.

However, given that their sales are still growing, the stock price is far more likely to go back up and make new highs. Where will it be in 2020? Who knows, the tech industry moves fast, it's not like oil companies that basically print money because people will still need oil in 2020 and most likely for several decades after.

Naughty Siri breaks law by listing Chinese escorts

DougS Silver badge

I should think the Chinese authorities would like this

If prostitutes are as easy to find as asking Siri, why aren't the cops doing this and busting them? It would seem to make their jobs a lot easier!

And why not crack down on Baidu for making this information available, as Siri has to be getting her information from somewhere and I'm pretty sure it isn't stored on Apple servers or found with Wolfram Alpha.

I just LOVE Server 2012, but count me out on Windows 8 for now

DougS Silver badge
Thumb Down

What are the "under the hood changes that make it a fantastic improvement over Windows 7"?

If you are going to make that your first sentence, you need to back it up since it sounds like something Steve Ballmer would say. Where's the proof, because I'm not aware of anything major under the hood that 8 does differently than 7 that would make anyone want to abandon 7 unless they needed the touch screen support.

TiVo: Cisco and pals could owe us BILLIONS over DVR patents

DougS Silver badge

A massive step up?

To play Devil's advocate, wasn't the iPhone a massive step up from what came before? I'd argue it was, but what about it should be patented? There's a hundred little things that all by themselves where most/all don't justify a patent unless you're a true believer in software patents. Unless there's some sort of "the sum of the parts" patent that covers a re-imagining of a product there's no way patents could protect either one without letting in all the dodgy software patents. Anyone supporting Tivo's patents but not Apple's is obviously a Tivo fanboy and/or Apple hater, because they have similar quality.

Now as a Tivo owner, I'll agree that it was a massive step up from the VCR I had before it, but most of the advantage was derived by using a HDD instead of tape. Random access beats sequential access. Tivo's program guide wasn't any different than the program guide that some cable boxes had at the time, other than being able to hit 'record' on a show. That's kind of obvious for a device that records...

The idea of a DVR is like visual voicemail, where myself and I'm sure millions of others came up with the idea before there was ever a product that did it. Because we know that random access beats sequential access.

The only real innovation in Tivo's product was having it record stuff for you based on what you liked. The method by which they do it should be patentable, but not the idea of doing it. As for me, that's the first thing I turn off when I buy a Tivo, as I find it completely useless.

Gates: Microsoft will merge Phone and Windows platforms

DougS Silver badge

Sorry, Microsoft

Your attempt to embrace and extend phones will fail. People don't want to run a full desktop OS on their phone. Don't try to sell a Swiss army knife to people who need a screwdriver.

This is the mistake they always made in their tablet designs (and continue to make, with Surface Pro) These are different markets - tablets are for people who are content consumers, not content creators. Microsoft always tried to make their tablets all things to all people, eventually Apple showed them the proper recipe of making a successful tablet by making something serves some people's needs without trying to make something that would keep even power users and content creators happy.

Had Microsoft built a tablet like the Surface RT two years before the iPad, they would own the tablet market now and be cannibalizing their own PC sales instead of letting Apple, Samsung and Amazon do it for them. Now they are too late and have no chance of being first in either the phone or tablet market, and could end up where Zune did.

FTC offers $50,000 bounty for robocall-killing tech

DougS Silver badge


Sorry, blacklists are a dead end too. Anyone with their own PBX (i.e. every single telemarketer out there) can set the caller ID info to anything they like. Nothing stops you from changing it on a daily or hourly basis, making the blacklist useless unless almost everyone was using it and instantly hit a "spam" button on their phone to report it in real time. Unused numbers are cheap, but you wouldn't even have to pay for them, since as a telemarketer who is calling millions of numbers, you could simply use all the numbers that come up as out of service - no one to complain that you're joe jobbing them!

All of these arguments still remind me of email spam solutions that proponents used to claim would fix the problem, overlooking the obvious workarounds that spammers would put into place to sidestep them that take 30 seconds to come up with.

DougS Silver badge

Re: It's a monumentally stupid contest...

Siri can solve any math problem you throw at her (I just asked "what is the square root of the cube root of three thousand four hundred and twenty five" and she answered it with no problem) Given that telemarketers could easily implement voice recognition and hook it up to Wolfram Alpha like Siri, math problem captchas are a dead end.

A secret PIN? SERIOUSLY?? How many friends will you have still calling you if you expect them to remember that just for you?

If you ask the address number, you'll be out all those friends and business associates who have no idea where you live (and if you ask for the "civic address number", most people will say "WTF is that?")

It's easy to come up with solutions that make it difficult for telemarketers to call if you don't care how big of a hassle it is for your friends, family and business associates to call, but pretty sure the idea of the contest is to not demand callers remember PINs, get prior approval to call you to be added to a whitelist or do graduate level math to pass a Turing test.

DougS Silver badge

This is rather like someone offering a bounty for an email spam busting solution

And will have about as much success, unless they change the law so the penalties for violations are draconian, and the US is able to extradite the players behind even overseas operations. VOIP and robocalling makes calls close enough to free that it is essentially the same thing as sending spam emails.

The big problem is though that even if the FTC found a perfect solution IT WOULD NOT MATTER. The law exempts political and polling calls, and those are 99% of the robocalls I receive (the only telemarketer robocall I get is every few weeks is someone telling me it's my last chance to lower my credit card interest rate)

Because of this, if I had a perfect solution, I'd file a patent on it before I'd give it to the FTC for only $50K, then I'd offer to sell it to a telemarketing organization for millions - which they'd pay to insure it could never be used against them. Then I can hire someone to screen my calls, and not have to hear the phone ring for all those political calls the FTC is powerless to stop.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Subscriber service class

Yes, because telemarketers are known for being honest and not finding ways around the system, such as incorporating a business they tell the phone company is a hospital but is really a call center. If the phone company figures it out and gives them the boot? No problem, they've got a bunch of fake hospitals and retirement homes incorporated, and run through a network of shell companies extending overseas so they won't see that the owners are the same.

If it is as simple as enforcing that telemarketers not lie, just make them show TELEMARKETING in their caller ID, and all consumers need are phones smart enough to refuse to ring for calls identified as such.

Apple breaks ground on massive Oregon data center

DougS Silver badge

Re: Staffing & Kit

How many people should it employ? Modern data centers are "lights out", with no one on the floor at all unless something goes wrong and needs to be attended to. Facebook, Google, and Amazon's datacenters are similarly staffed.

As for the servers, Apple doesn't make servers, so unless they custom build them ala Google and Facebook, they will have to buy them from someone.

Tape vendors thrust LTFS tool at punters: Go on, you know you want our tape

DougS Silver badge

Missed opportunity

LTFS should have specified a bit of flash storage used for the metadata that lives on the tape cartridge itself and some way to read/write to it (i.e. a connection that gets made when the cartridge is in the drive) This would add very little cost but add a lot of speed and flexibility.

Apple ordered to open its books on iPhone, iPad profits

DougS Silver badge


And the court will care about profit, not revenue. If Apple had to provide some info on how much it costs to run the app store that would be quite interesting. I suspect they make very little when all is said and done, but the app store was never intended to be a major profit center.

DougS Silver badge

That part is not hard to figure out

They show iTunes profits (which include the app store) separately from the hardware sales of iPhone and iPad. They reported just under $2 billion in revenue (not profit) in Q2 2012, for example, but didn't break that out between songs and apps. The profits on the apps can't be more than a few percent of what they make on the hardware.

Given how few products Apple has, it hasn't been hard for analysts to make some very educated guesses about the profit margins on both iPhone and iPad given that the total revenue and unit sales for each are reported quarterly, and as the mix changes the effect of iPhone's higher and iPad's lower margins move Apple's overall gross margin. There wouldn't be anything in these numbers that would surprise or inform Wall Street analysts who've done the math, or those who have read articles detailing their findings.

Air China passenger arrested for in-flight phone abuse

DougS Silver badge

@Graham Re: @DougS

You may want to check your dictionary for the meaning of the word "most".

DougS Silver badge

Re: Shame the West isn't as proactive about antisocial phone behaviour.

To be fair, we also did most of those things without the airplane, either.

Google hails hacks to WinPho 8 spoiler event

DougS Silver badge

I wasn't aware announcement dates were first come/first served

If they were, and Microsoft had paid for this date, then I could see people calling it "shitty behavior". Quite a comedown for Microsoft from the 90s when people would have thought it insane to schedule a press event on the same date as Microsoft, such would be the overshadowing that would have occurred!

Chinese 'Thunder God' plant could crush cancer

DougS Silver badge

Kind of ironic

That Steve Jobs died because he tried alternative treatments and waited too long to go with Western medicine, when a few years later Western medicine's cure may be taking a pill made from a plant used for many years in alternate treatments!

Caltech shrinks optical accelerometers

DougS Silver badge

Nike+ on steroids

You could take it on a run or bike ride and have a very accurate second by second graph of your speed and elevation change that shows your the changes in your pace as you encounter hills or get tired.

It might even replace the speedometer in your car, which is currently subject to inaccuracy as it depends on a fixed tire diameter, even though that diameter varies depending on inflation, temperature and wear.

A lesser-known new feature in iOS 6: It's tracking you everywhere

DougS Silver badge

@mickey mouse

When step one is "root", it is something for advanced users only. The typical Android buyer will not do this.

Billion people now own a smartphone

DougS Silver badge

Re: Actually the iPhone...

How do you figure? I doubt even 0.1% of smartphone owners in 2006 wrote and installed their own software. That may have been a feature YOU valued, but it never has been and never will be something the typical buyer would care about.

Outside the techie/geek crowd, the "freedom" argument of having Apple control the app store versus Google allowing alternative app stores and the ability to install stuff you write yourself influences only the merest fraction of purchase decisions. I bet I'd have to ask a lot of Android owning friends before I could find a single one who even knew there was a different between Apple and Android in regards to what apps you are allowed to install.

Pacemakers, defibrillators open to attack

DougS Silver badge


Why is an implanted device capable of generating that level of voltage? The hardware should be incapable of this, otherwise a simple malfunction could kill you.

Map law could see China confiscate mobes at Customs

DougS Silver badge

What if Japan did this too?

You'd either have a phone that could enter China but be banned from Japan, or have on that could enter Japan but be banned from China.

Then the only solution will be when the GPS/cell tower info indicates it is in or near China, show the China mandated version, and when it indicates it is in or near Japan show the Japanese version. When elsewhere it can show whatever the hell they damn please because no one outside of China or Japan cares one whit about those islands.

Microsoft Surface ad targets preppy, Glee-watching youngsters

DougS Silver badge

Re: All that's missing

//wonder how long it will last in the market?

Zune lasted a couple years

Kin lasted a couple months

You do the math

Apple hires top Amazon search exec to take over Siri

DougS Silver badge

Uh, this says nothing about Apple doing their own search

I suspect this is more about his experience heading up the huge infrastructure required to support search at a firm like Amazon. Which Apple has and perhaps needs help with for their huge infrastructure supporting Siri and iCloud.

Claiming this hire means Apple is going into search is like that hiring an exec from Citibank would mean Apple was planning on becoming a bank.

Windows 8 and the ‘Dad test’ stunts

DougS Silver badge

iPad vs. Windows 8

The Reg commentards also panned Vista, and it was a disaster - only recently did Windows 7 beat Windows XP's installed base, while Vista never rose above single digits.

I don't think Windows 8 will be as bad as Vista, but Windows 7 has the chance of becoming the next XP - something that OEMs will sell with new PCs far longer than Microsoft would prefer due to customer demand, just as they did when they continued selling XP long after Vista had been released.

The iPad was a different animal altogether. Take some Apple haters, mix in some "but it's just a big iPod touch" and a little "Microsoft has tried tablets several times and they've always flopped, why should this be any different" and it's obvious where all the doubters came from. A lot of techies still don't understand the explosion in tablet sales, and what that says about the future of PC sales. For them, a tablet is totally inadequate for the types of tasks they use their PC for, so they extrapolate this to everyone. But for a lot of casual users a tablet is a better PC - a PC that is both more portable and has no malware worries...

Retailer leaks iPad Mini price list starting at £200

DougS Silver badge

Re: ThomH - who is going to bother with an iPod touch?

They aren't the same product.

If you want something to carry around with you to listen to music on the go and strap to your arm when working out, a 7.85" iPad is NOT going to be what you choose, even if it sold for half what the iPod touch does.

Likewise, if you want something you will use mostly as a tablet, clearly the nearly 4x bigger screen on the little iPad is a no brainer even if the iPod touch was priced lower.

DougS Silver badge

4:3 vs. 16:9

"The 'Mini' iPad will not be 4:3 ..... "

Want to bet? If its not 4:3 then the existing stock of iPad software won't work with it, and you introduce fragmentation. 4:3 would make the tablet a little wider but not damage it's portability much.


You mean like how all the existing iPhone software doesn't work with the 5 since it changed to 16:9? Probably 70% of my apps have been updated in the past month for this already, including all the ones I use regularly. Apple could use the same 1136x640 resolution the iPhone 5 uses - not Retina, but this is a lower end device. In a year the high DPI screens will be cheaper and the Mini 2 can get Retina which would be 2272x1280 - with a 7.85" screen versus the iPhone 5's 4", it would be very slightly higher DPI than the 5, basically right in the 300+ dpi ballpark of what Apple considers "Retina" for a hand held device.

If the leaked photos are correct it doesn't look its 16:9, but who can tell what's photoshop and what's real these days? The "narrower for the coat pocket" idea has some merit, but the width difference between 16:9 and 4:3 isn't that great....guess it depends on the width of the average coat pocket. You get more square inches of screen at 4:3, but 16:9 being smaller can also be lighter making it better to use as an e-book reader. There's pluses and minuses no matter which ratio they pick, but I don't think compatibility with existing iPad software is much of an issue. Knowing it will almost certainly sell well, developers will be more than happy to do a point revision of their software to support a new screen resolution and/or ratio.

Fukushima operator feared shutdown if risks revealed

DougS Silver badge

Sad to say, but this is probably true

The nuclear industry has no choice but to keep claiming/pretending there is no risk at all with current plants, because doing otherwise just give the anti-nuclear nutjobs something to hang the arguments onto. "If it's so safe, why do you have contingency plans in place for what to do in case a tsunami larger than any in recorded history of the island takes out the backup generators and there's a meltdown?"

This is true in a lot of industries, if for example an automaker thinks there's a chance its cars may be vulnerable to a high fatality rate in a certain type of crash, they're better off ignoring the risk versus doing studies and implementing fixes in future models they open themselves up to liability from relatives of those who die in the older models.

Australian boffins have a ball with lightning maths

DougS Silver badge

Re: With all the plausible ball lightning models....

I think it's likely there is more than one cause because one model could never explain all the observations that have been reported. Some of the observed characteristics are directly contradictory to each other, i.e., having it appear in sealed areas like diesel submarine battery banks where there is no lightning as such. Sometimes it can pass through a window without incident, other times it burns a hole through the glass.

My mom said when she was a kid she saw ball lightning come out of the mouthpiece of the phone (one of those old timey wall phones from the 30s) and float across the room and then dump into a bucket of wash water that was sitting on the other side of the room, disappearing with a loud pop and bright flash. When they got up the courage to touch the water some time later, it was still a bit warm.

Successful launch readies Galileo satellites for test

DougS Silver badge

The US can disable it only in certain areas

Back in 1991 when your friend had the issue, it was all or nothing. Now they can disable it only over a war zone, so they could deny access to Iraq if the Gulf War was today, but still use the encrypted military bands themselves. I believe this was done during "shock and awe" in 2003.

Of course any military making much use of GPS is going to use the multiple systems, so when there is the US, EU, Russian and Chinese systems available, and little chance of agreement from all four of them to disable their systems over a certain area, the ability of the US to disable theirs is probably becoming less and less useful...

Google readying on-device malware scanner for Android

DougS Silver badge

Re: The best response to malware is a permissions system that isn't broken

With Android apps, permissions are take-it-or-leave-it. You do not have a say in the matter (I'm not including rooting your phone, must of the people at work wouldn't even understand that phrase never mind actually do it). Users NEED to be able to say "oi! no."


No, leaving the users in control only helps the knowledgeable users who are a decided minority. The vast majority of people will just approve anything presented to them automatically, whether it is an updated iTunes T&C that gives Apple ownership of your firstborn, a Windows UAC query, or an Android installation permissions request. It doesn't matter whether the app will still run without the permission, most people are going to automatically approve it no matter what it asks for.

In order to be secure, the user has to be left with no choice. You leave an out that says "I know what I'm doing, let me override your choices" for the knowledgeable people (at least those who own the device in question) and the masses can be safely protected by virtue of not knowing how to flip the override switch.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019