* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Lawyers for Marcus Hutchins: His 'I made malware' jail phone call isn't proper evidence

DougS Silver badge

Re: Signed a Miranda waiver form after being read his rights

They record people before they have been advised of their Miranda rights all the time - just look at all the dashcam video you see these days. The law doesn't say they can't record stuff they say after arrest and before they've been read their rights, only that it can't be used against them in court. There's certainly nothing stopping them from recording the part where they read his rights, and I have to agree with those who think it looks odd they don't appear to have done so.

And THIS is how you do it, Apple: Huawei shames Cupertino with under-glass sensor

DougS Silver badge

Re: an under-glass fingerprint sensor.

Mirrored sunglasses don't stop Face ID. They may be mirrored, but they aren't 100% reflective. For some reason the wraparound sunglasses I wear when biking causes more of a problem, I have to type in my password at least half the time. Or it could be the helmet, I suppose.

DougS Silver badge

Re: A removable notch, that's Genius!

The notch is a compromise since we can't put cameras underneath a display. Eventually it will be figured out (and it will be cooled the first time you see the display go black for a split second where the camera is when you take a picture) I don't see any way you could ever put a camera underneath an LCD display, but it should be possible with an OLED or microLED display.

Probably the next step on this is a "not a notch, instead there are randomly sized holes where the notch would be" that isn't going to be an improvement - will probably look worse in fact. When it becomes possible to do I'm sure some OEMs will go that way just to separate from the crowd a bit.

DougS Silver badge

If it were an Apple or Samsung error

It would have affected at least an order of magnitude more of El Reg's audience, and therefore be a much bigger story...

DougS Silver badge

Re: an under-glass fingerprint sensor.

Yeah, I don't get what the big deal is about putting it under glass. Lots of phones do that - Apple's are under sapphire in fact.

The trick is putting it underneath the LCD/OLED display, and this phone has not done so. For it to be useful to Apple (or "shame" them) it would also have to be something that 1) works at least as reliably as Touch ID and 2) can be mass manufactured at a scale of 100 million the first year, 200 million the second.

El Reg is hyping something totally meaningless here.

Pointless US Congress net neutrality vote will take place tomorrow!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Just Political Ad Fuel

Sorry bob, but I think you'll find a lot of independents - especially women - have a real problem with Trump. The tax cuts amount to chicken feed for most people, it is only when you get into six figures that you really start to notice (but not so much in a state like California thanks to the state/local tax deductibility changes)

If you think republicans are going to sweep this fall based on that weak (for most) tax cut, prepare to be surprised. Trump and republicans in general have a huge problem with women, which is only growing. Relying primarily on white men is not a good long term strategy for the republican party.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Just Political Ad Fuel

Yes, same reason republicans held meaningless votes on repealing Obamacare. At least the democrats will (hopefully) only vote on this once, instead of dozens of times!

If democrats think net neutrality will be a winning issue for them this fall, then we can look forward to the "blue wave" crashing onto the rocks before it reaches shore.

The only way net neutrality becomes an issue is when ISPs begin to abuse their "freedom" and start trying to extort money out of streaming companies that use a lot of bandwidth - especially those who directly compete with their TV offerings like Netflix, Directv Now, Sling TV, etc. - and "de-prioritize" those who won't play ball. They aren't going to be dumb enough to do that before the 2018 elections, and undoubtedly will start small - just ask for a small amount to get them all used to paying up, then ratchet up slowly to see where the streamers start to become screamers.

If/when it does become an issue, republican legislators who voted it against it won't face any repercussions because their vote will have been years ago. They will say "my thinking on this issue has involved" or profess shock that ISPs couldn't be trusted to self-regulate and admit that this is a rare case where regulation is required.

Astroboffins spy the most greedy black hole yet gobbling a Sun a day

DougS Silver badge

Re: Pinpoint of light 10x brighter than the Moon

The X-rays have been stretched out into the infrared and at that distance the emitting part of the accretion disc would need to be about 10^19 times the diameter of the sun to make it as warm as we feel the sun.

Huh? The article was talking about it being 10x brighter than the Moon if it was the Milky Way's galactic black hole, which is what I was referring to, and I was wondering you could look at it if it was 30K ly away, assuming the X rays were somehow blocked (they wouldn't be stretched into the infrared at that distance, and I'd be a bit surprised if they were even at 12 billion ly)

DougS Silver badge

Pinpoint of light 10x brighter than the Moon

I wonder if you would even be able to look at it (assuming the X rays etc. were filtered) as it might be as bright as the Sun. The Sun is 400000x brighter than the Moon, but perhaps it would also be 400000x larger than a pinpoint 30K ly distant...

DougS Silver badge

Re: Where was the Ed?

Call me crazy but 200 million suns over a million years = 200 suns over a year, which equals one sun every two days, not two suns every two days.

But either way it eats suns like Trump eats big Macs.

Ex-CIA man fingered as prime suspect in Vault 7 spy tool manuals leak

DougS Silver badge

A frame job was my first thought too

But if he is claiming that, wouldn't the article at least mention that? Though maybe he isn't aware he was framed, if the government put the 54GB of child porn there without his knowledge then his "I didn't know it was there" is true.

If you could prosecute someone for operating a server with encrypted child porn on it, I'm pretty sure Google, Amazon, Microsoft and every other cloud provider is guilty many times over...

Julian Assange said to have racked up $5m security bill for Ecuador

DougS Silver badge

How can it possibly cost them $66K per month?

Even stationing someone outside his door 24x7 shouldn't cost nearly that much. Sounds like some funny money accounting where staff they would have had anyway have been designated to an "Operation Hotel" account so they can ask for budget increases elsewhere.

They ought to set a deadline for end of the year when he has to leave. The Swedish charges seem to have gone away, and the worst the UK will do to him is jail him briefly for dodging them. His fear of president Hillary Clinton stuffing him in a deep dark hole won't come to pass. Trump isn't going to allow the DOJ to do anything to him, Assange/Wikileaks know too much to risk them cooperating with Mueller's investigation. If he walked out the door of the embassy tomorrow he'd probably be a free man before the end of the year.

DougS Silver badge

Obama's Nobel

As best I can tell, he was awarded it for good intentions - what he said he wanted to do, rather than what he had already done. It isn't quite as meaningless as Time Magazine's "Man of the Year", but its getting there. If Trump ever gets one, then it will truly have jumped the shark.

The Nobel committee should declare that US presidents are ineligible for the prize until the US stops spending more on defense than the next ten countries combined, fighting in multiple simultaneous undeclared wars all over the globe, trying to destabilize governments we don't like (i.e. won't give our corporations access to exploit their natural resources) and so forth.

Heck, North Korea's "Dear Leader" deserves it more than any US president in the past 50 years does - they may have built nukes but they're hardly the only country to have done so and their military hasn't set foot outside their border in 65 years. How many countries other than Switzerland can say that?

US senators ask FTC to investigate Google's Location imbroglio

DougS Silver badge

Re: I must say I was unaware that Bluetooth could be used

Sure the phone can be geo-located by your operator, but fortunately for us cellular operators are clueless and have no idea how to effectively use misuse that info.

Google has become exceedingly efficient in finding ways to use and abuse your location data for profit, along with every other scrap of data they have collected about you, me and nearly every internet user on the planet.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Google said

I would suggest "vote with your feet" but for those who don't consider Apple an acceptable alternative for reasons of cost, walled garden, etc. there is no choice.

People complain about Apple's lock-in, but Google's is worse - even with an iPhone you can't completely avoid Google due to their dominance in in-app advertising and web advertising. I can do the 'reset advertising identifiers' thing but since I have a fixed IP address at home I'm pretty sure they aren't fooled and can trivially connect my old advertising identifier with the new one. Even if I got a new IP address daily they'd probably find other ways to do it...

Hopefully Microsoft is forced to support Windows 7 for longer than intended, as with XP. Given that NetMarketShare actually saw Windows 7's share increase and Windows 10's fall in the past two monthly reports Windows 7 may be tougher for Microsoft to eradicate from the market than XP was. At least with XP there were obvious improvements that 7 offered. Not so with 10.

DougS Silver badge

Re: users might also be unaware...

How can those apps access wifi and bluetooth configuration data unless you have expressly given them permission to do so?

It is probably better to limit such stuff to the OS, and let it figure out the location using whatever information it has, and then the "allow app <X> to use your location info?" permission governs whether you think it needs know. There are some apps (Facebook is a good example) that "want" access to location data that I don't allow it to have. Why does Shazam think it should know my location, how will that help it identify a song?

Other than some sort of special network management app why would an app EVER need to know the name of your current connected SSID, let alone the names of other SSIDs the wifi interface can detect?

UPnP joins the 'just turn it off on consumer devices, already' club

DougS Silver badge

Re: Doctor, where have you been all this time ?

If you weren't turning off UPnP from day one, you're an idiot.

That's true for El Reg readership, who are the technically capable portion of the population. For the unwashed masses, who want to buy a wireless router and just 'plug it in and go' with the minimum of fuss, if UPnP didn't exist the alternative would be worse: Applications that needed to accept connections from the outside would probably include instructions in how to place your PC in the DMZ and disable its internal firewall.

NAT has a lot of faults, but the security that rather unintentionally comes along for the ride wasn't one of them.

Pentagon on military data-nomming JEDI cloud mind trick: There can be only one (vendor)

DougS Silver badge

Re: In House IT

Because the real reason the US has such a huge military budget is because it is the trough at which a greater and greater percentage of pigs in Washington feed. It is a perfect place for pork because it is politically difficult to cut, and as politicians see it anything done in-house is merely a wasted opportunity for people to be wined, dined and bribed and later accept cushy consulting arrangements from both the contract winners, and the losers who will want to be considered the next time a big slab of bacon comes up for RFP.

You don't think the US really spends eleventy drizzillion dollars on defense, do you? The main expense that's in-house in the DoD budget will soon be health care - larger than salary. Which is why republicans have started talking about the need to privatize the VA, and I'm sure Tricare would be next on their hit list after that. They don't care that the free market has already proven it is worse at providing health care, they think about the never-ending stream of "lobbying" money from the winners and losers-who-wanna-be-winners-in-the-future and can already taste the five star meals and feel the breeze from junkets to Hawaii to check out their VA hospitals.

Did I say Chinese jobs? I meant American jobs says new Trump Tweet

DougS Silver badge

ZTE going out of business won't hurt US companies

The reason ZTE was buying from US companies was to make phones to sell to carriers in the US - for example they needed CDMA support so they bought Qualcomm. They weren't using Qualcomm chips in the phones they sold in China.

Whatever ZTE phones don't get sold in the US will be replaced by some other OEM's phones sold in the US - which will also likely use Qualcomm because CDMA support is required (though not for too much longer, so Qualcomm will have to give them a reason to keep buying theirs and not go with Intel/Samsung/etc.)

OpenWrt forums lost as hardware failure again crocks open Wi-Fi router

DougS Silver badge

Re: That's bad

But how do they not have a backup at least consisting of having a crawler go over the forums every month or two and some project member sticks them on old hard drive is in closet?

Come to think of it, surely Google and/or Microsoft has a copy...

Boffins urge Google to drop military deal after Googlers storm out over AI-based super-drones

DougS Silver badge

Companies most likely to build Skynet

1) Google

2) Microsoft

3) Facebook

4) Boston Dynamics

5) IBM (down from #1 a decade ago)

6) Uber (they want to, but they'd have to steal the code first)

How could the Facebook data slurping scandal get worse? Glad you asked

DougS Silver badge

The horse is out of the barn

Once ANYONE collects the data. I'm sure it wasn't just CA, and some companies that have a stash of this data have probably realized it is now a valuable commodity since Facebook is cracking down and are looking for ways to quietly resell it to whoever is interested.

The only thing Facebook slamming the barn door shut now does is prevent collection of data on people who join Facebook after this spring. Probably 95% of Facebook's current userbase is out there now thanks to the idiocy of letting apps collect data on people's friends.

Latest from the coming AI robot apocalypse: we're going to be fine

DougS Silver badge

Not true, rules are imposed on so-called "AI" all the time. If they weren't, those chess playing AIs would move any piece to whatever square they want, autonomous cars would take shortcuts through your backyard, etc.

The problem is, as these aren't real AI, that it is easy to see the output and program constraints into it. When you have true AI, we won't be able to interpret the "output" because it won't be something simple like 'chess moves' or 'where the car goes'. The best you could do would be the equivalent of following someone around and jumping on them to stop them from killing if you see them pull out a gun.

DougS Silver badge

It depends on how they're programmed. If some future real AI robot is given 'free will', I'm not sure it would even be possible to program self preservation along with Asimov style laws in it. Even if it was, it would be up to whoever programs it to decide whether to include them.

Unfortunately our world doesn't include Asimov's fantasy of having some type of hardware where the laws can be somehow fundamental to the hardware and no one can make similar hardware that doesn't include them.

Decades-old data reveals shows Jupiter’s moon sprayed alien juice over Galileo probe

DougS Silver badge

Why do they think it would only be microbial scale?

They think the ocean might be 20-30 miles deep, so it would have as much water as the Earth's oceans. Before life crawled up onto land, it had become complex - and BIG in some cases. Even if you look at the life that has evolved around the vents at depth where there's no sunlight, there is complex life there. Maybe not blue whale sized, but we certainly don't need a microscope to see it.

I see no reason Europa should stop its evolution at single cell.

How many ways can a PDF mess up your PC? 47 in this Adobe update alone

DougS Silver badge

Last decade?

More like 90s, those exploits were common two decades ago and are SO easy to fix with instrumented code you have to have a zero dollar development budget for security not to use something like Purify.

I remember using Purify in like 1993 or 1994, it has been around forever...

FTC names its dirty half-dozen half-assed tech warranty bandits

DougS Silver badge

Re: My approach

What I don't get is this: If your warranty is expired, you don't care whether they say your warranty is invalid if you use non-Microsoft (or whatever) parts. If your warranty is in force, why would you make repairs using third party parts, instead of having the vendor repair it for free?

The only thing I can think of is if the warranty is like "ship your Xbox back to Microsoft, we'll repair and you'll get it back in 2-3 weeks" and the problem you want to fix can is trivial to DIY for $10 in parts and a Youtube video.

DougS Silver badge

If Apple's warranty doesn't require Apple parts

Then this particular FTC action won't affect them. What Apple has done in some cases is have OS updates refuse to operate properly if third party parts are used (like the error if you used a third party display replacement in recent iPhones)

That's a separate issue, and may come in a separate FTC action. If such action occurs, likely their first target will be farm equipment - equipment costing half a million dollars is restricted to only be serviced by authorized dealers similar to what automakers did until ODB-II made them standardize the ECM data.

Prez Donald Trump to save manufacturing jobs … in China, at ZTE

DougS Silver badge

Trump does not deserve credit

Giving Trump credit for NK wanting to talk is ridiculous. They want to talk because their nuclear program has reached a successful completion. They've demonstrated nukes, a hydrogen bomb, and missiles able to reach the US. They have nothing to prove by further tests, since the only thing they haven't demonstrated is the ability to deliver a nuke on an ICBM which they can't do for obvious reasons. Their H-bomb test supposedly caused significant damage to their test site, so it is easy for them to make themselves look good by saying they will decommission it "as a sign of good faith".

After they expended so much effort developing nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, they aren't going to "denuclearize". They might claim they will, but with such a closed off country we know so little about internally, it would be easy for them to have long ago hidden a few nukes, international inspectors can only look in places they know to look, and they wouldn't know where to find them. NK has previously made "deals' before they haven't kept, only a fool would take them at their word that will denuclearize.

What they really want is for sanctions to be lifted, so they will agree to decommission their useless test site, hand over / destroy their centrifuges, allow international inspectors to check their reactor(s) to insure they aren't generating high grade uranium that can be refined to weapons grade, etc. They will hand over a few nukes and missiles, claim that's it, but it won't be. They would never give up everything, even in exchange for the US pulling all troops from SK (which we might agree to but will have such a long timetable it will never actually happen)

Anyway, why would they trust the US to keep a deal after Trump tore up the Iran deal? There's zero guarantee that the next president wouldn't decide Trump made a bad deal with NK if he agreed to remove all troops, and reverse that order.

Chap charged with fraud after mail for UPS global HQ floods Chicago flat

DougS Silver badge

Re: """Fake""" address changes.

The problem is not everyone plans moves well (or even has a chance if they are evicted) so being able to personally receive & verify a confirmation letter from USPS isn't always possible. If they refused to change one's address without it, a lot of people would never receive a lot of their mail (and identity theft is no doubt made easier when you receive something for an old addressee like a credit card offer)

Many years ago I thought that postal service should allow people to sign up for a personal ZIP code that you could update with USPS. Instead of saying you live at 22 Wall Street NY, NY you'd give your address out as 29357025725 or somesuch. When USPS receives a letter with a personal ZIP they have a computer system that tells them it is 22 Wall Street and sends it there. When you update it to say you live at 33 Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills CA everyone would keep using the same personal ZIP but it would go to your new address.

For bonus points, you can have more than one, sort of like email where you have a few throwaways you use for signing up to web forums, which you can simply stop using if it starts getting spammed too much. Moving is currently the way to stop snail mail spam (and only to a new house, otherwise you get the previous occupant's spam)

Make masses carry their mobes, suggests wig in not-at-all-creepy speech

DougS Silver badge

I almost hope this happens

Then smart criminals will leave their phone at home when committing a crime, and if this dimwit Chancellor of the High Court is an example of the average intelligence of the judiciary, you'll be able to get off when your phone records show you were at home while the crime was being committed. If you get a particularly stupid one, you might even get off despite being caught red handed on the scene!

Unless the penalty for being caught without your phone is as great as the crimes you intend to commit, leaving it at home seems an easy win.

It will also help rid of us all those unnecessary old people and children, who are more likely to lose or forget their mandatory phone, and end up in prison as a result. Once they're locked up traffic will move better, park benches will be freed up, and we will hear far fewer screaming children on airplanes.

US prison telco accused of selling your phone's location to the cops

DougS Silver badge

Re: Simple change to the law will fix it

I don't think it is possible to eliminate lobbying without turning the first amendment into a smoking ruin. Nor do I think that would be a good idea - legislators are not experts on the internet, energy, defense, etc. (maybe one or two fields, but not all) and trying to have them write laws without having experts helping them isn't feasible. AT&T or the NRA spending money to talk to politicians and say "this is what we'd like to see in this new law" is not the problem. Campaign "finance", trips, jobs after they leave congress ("quid pro quo") THAT'S the bad thing, and that's what should lead to long jail time for both ends of the transaction!

It should certainly be possible (though likely require a constitutional amendment) to 'clarify' the first amendment that money is not speech so campaign finances can be brought under control - no corporate contributions, or contributions from other organizations (unions, non-profits, etc.) Individual US citizens only, with the amounts strictly limited, and political advertising would only be permitted by organizations that make their donors lists and amounts public, along with their charter (i.e. who/what they are advocating for or against)

I mean, while I'm wishing for stuff that will never happen to go along with the Euro style privacy protection and all...

DougS Silver badge

Simple change to the law will fix it

Make telcos financially liable at $100 per occurrence for giving out location information (or other private info) without a valid court order. They would fix the process PDQ!

Of course this won't happen, too many legislators on both sides of the aisle are in the telco's pockets, and if pressed would no doubt come up with some creative excuses as to why such a law was not needed (we don't need more regulation!) or that it would increase consumers cell bills by preventing telcos from making money selling location information to third party marketers.

We really need European style data protection in the US!

Fixing a printer ended with a dozen fire engines in the car park

DougS Silver badge

Do people really RUN when a fire alarm goes off?

I don't think I've ever seen this, and certainly haven't done it myself. If I saw smoke/flames then I'd be real quick in exiting, but just hearing an alarm I'll look around, and start slowly walking towards the exit if I see others doing so. If most people aren't, then I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and hope someone with the power to silence the alarm comes around.

I've probably heard fire alarms go off 100 times since I was a kid, and only once was a "real" fire (in college our toaster oven starting smoking thick black smoke when the crumbs in the bottom no one cleaned out caught fire) That many tests/false alarms, and it is difficult to get too worried when you hear it. So of like hearing storm sirens around here - if we took cover every time the sirens go off or our area is under some sort of severe warning (warning not watch, meaning there is real severe weather bearing down on us) you'd never get anything done.

New law would stop Feds from demanding encryption backdoor

DougS Silver badge

Re: laws vs laws

They've tried before, but unfortunately there are too many legislators who are worried about looking "weak on terror" or cries of "what if it is a pedophile" who will refuse to support the bill, like when they tried to block renewal of the PATRIOT ACT provisions, etc.

US Congress finally emits all 3,000 Russian 'troll' Facebook ads. Let's take a look at some

DougS Silver badge

Re: I fail to understand

No, he just played along with the half of the republican party that likes to see themselves as "anti establishment" because it gives them something to fight with. They aren't anti establishment, they are just for a slightly different establishment.

DougS Silver badge

Re: I fail to understand

A lot of this was just intended to widen the political division. Support the police stuff alongside pro-BLM stuff seen as "anti police" - Trump was making BLM into an issue and trying to paint them as akin to a terrorist organization, after all, so these divisions played right into his hands.

Score one for the bats and badgers! Apple bins €850m Irish bit barn bid

DougS Silver badge

Re: Planning Objections

Who cares about "posh" for a datacenter? It isn't like customers go there...

Paying a higher tax rate in Ireland makes it a BETTER deal to spend money there, since they get a bigger deduction and thus pay fewer taxes. The only reason for putting the datacenter elsewhere tax-wise would be if they can get a lower tax rate somewhere else in the EU. That seems unlikely given the EU clamped down on Ireland's special arrangements, so other countries won't be able to offer them either.

The reason they were spending money there was because they wanted to stay in Ireland's good graces and keep the sweet deal going. That deal is gone, but through no fault of the Irish government, and Apple already has thousands of employees at other locations in the country so it would still make sense to build a datacenter there if they could get approval.

IBM bans all removable storage, for all staff, everywhere

DougS Silver badge

Re: I see why they would do this, but ...

The field service guys will just carry a second miniature laptop that will be used for downloading stuff and putting it on USB sticks. If they need to download something from IBM's secure network they'll use their corporate issued laptop, and copy it over via cloud - until they block third party cloud services after someone copies sensitive material to one, leaves it open to the world, and it leaks into the wild...

You love Systemd – you just don't know it yet, wink Red Hat bods

DougS Silver badge

Init did need fixing

But replacing it with systemd is akin to "fixing" the restrictions of travel by bicycle (limited speed and range, ending up sweaty at your destination, dangerous in heavy traffic) by replacing it with an Apache helicopter gunship that has a whole new set of restrictions (need for expensive fuel, noisy and pisses off the neighbors, need a crew of trained mechanics to keep it running, local army base might see you as a threat and shoot missiles at you)

Too bad we didn't get the equivalent of a bicycle with an electric motor, or perhaps a moped.

Zero Tech Emitted: ZTE halts assembly lines after US govt sanctions cripple mobile maker

DougS Silver badge

Re: A cunning plan

The reason they were using US sourced components was mostly because they were trying to break into US markets, and didn't want to run afoul of US patents that would allow competitors to block imports. It isn't because they didn't have Chinese alternatives for SoCs to put in their phones and routers - there are plenty of companies using pretty much 100% Chinese components that produce phones and other products that are sold only in China.

Now that they have to shelve the idea of competing in the US, and probably EU, they will be free to use Chinese components that probably violate US/EU patents since they will only be sold in China or in countries that don't care about restrictions (i.e. Africa, Middle East, Indonesia, etc.)

At best this will cause China to push even harder to become technologically self-sufficient, at worst they will ban import of many US products - partially as retaliation, partially to help give their home grown products a leg up. Yay for short term thinking by Trump - but hardly surprising for a guy who can't even think far enough ahead to know how a sentence he begins will end.

You have GNU sense of humor! Glibc abortion 'joke' diff tiff leaves Richard Stallman miffed

DougS Silver badge

Re: The Issues

I agree, if it was funny it would be worth defending for inclusion but it is such a lame attempt at humor Stallman should be embarrassed for claiming it as his own.

Sadly, this is true of almost all the "jokes" in Unix man pages, like the "tuna fish" joke.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Shouldn’t quality and professionalism be the issue?

GNU doesn't believe in man pages, they use 'info'.

So when can you get in the first self-driving car? GM says 2019. Mobileye says 2021. Waymo says 2018 – yes, this year

DougS Silver badge

Re: wrong direction...

Flying cars would HAVE to be autonomous with no ability for the passenger(s) to have any control whatsoever over the car other than its destination.

While autonomous driving on the ground still has a ways to go (despite some irrational exuberance on Waymo's and GM's part) before it can go everywhere it needs to go, autonomous flying at low altitude (say 100-200 ft) is much easier so today's technology is already there.

That takes care of the biggest objection to flying cars, but does nothing about the biggest roadblock to them - technology to make a car fly without being very inefficient and noisy. Still, it would certainly tempt people who commute in slowly moving parking lots in many big cities...

Crypto chat app Signal's disappearing messages found hiding on macOS

DougS Silver badge

Re: Cant you just have...

I don't know how it works in macOS, but in iOS you can set notifications for iMessage to either preview the message, or just say you have a message (a friend of mine calls it "cheating husband mode", perhaps because she's a still-bitter divorcee...)

The idea that messages can be "disappearing" is silly, it is easy to preserve the messages if you want regardless of what the software wants to do or what platform it is on.

Congress vs Facebook: Great soap opera TV, but don't expect big results

DougS Silver badge

Some people need to rejoin the real world

Seriously, selling PCs without an OS installed? How many times have you tried to install an OS from scratch and ran into some issues that you had to work around? You think the average person is capable of diagnosing the problem and performing those workarounds? Are you dim enough to believe the average person even WANTS to install an OS from scratch?

While we're at it why don't we sell wireless routers without an OS installed, and so buyers have to open it up and connect to JTAG and load U-Boot via Xmodem protocol?

DougS Silver badge

It isn't feasible to break up Facebook

There was at least a potential path to do for Microsoft, by breaking up along desktop/server lines. How would you do so for Facebook? There's not really anywhere you can split it that wouldn't turn it into two or more islands, which wouldn't accomplish anything unless you could somehow bar people from joining more than one to prevent one from eventually getting enough critical mass it becomes dominant and the others fall aside like Myspace and Google+.

Facebook will have to be regulated, just like you regulate other monopolies. Regulation is against the republican religion the last few decades, but many of them also believe Facebook has a bias against conservatives so there might be enough people on both sides who want to regulate them - even if not for the same reasons - to enforce something that might help. The problem is the only ones qualified to write the regulation are people with deep knowledge of how Facebook operates. Maybe they could get some former employees, who have divested their stock, to do it because having congress do it would be a disaster since 90% of them understand less about tech than the average five year old.

Yes, people see straight through male displays of bling (they're only after a fling)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Funded by a car manufacturer by any chance?

Depreciation is heavily dependent on brand, and historic reliability data which often can only be inferred in hindsight (i.e. a brand with a good rep for reliability will still have a few lemons)

In the US, gas prices have a major effect - if gas spikes to $4+ per gallon again, the value of used SUVs will plummet, if it dropped below $2 per gallon they would be worth much more and the value of extremely fuel efficient and electric cars would drop.

Waymo robo-taxis to accept fares in Arizona in 2018

DougS Silver badge

Yes there are some where the car was not at fault. Then there's the one where the Uber car was clearly at fault - and had the safety driver been paying attention we would never have heard of it since she would have stopped the car and nothing would have happened. Now we're going to get (if I'm understanding this correctly) autonomous cars without a safety driver - imagine being a passenger in a car you know is crashing for no reason and can't do anything about it!

I agree the insurance industry will play a big part, but only when self driving cars are ready for prime time. They are not, Waymo/Google is just pushing for the publicity of being "first", and will regret it when the inevitable accident occurs and causes public opinion to sour on using public roads for beta testing products not ready for prime time, where program bugs mean someone can get killed.

Those who think autonomous cars only need to be better than human driven cars are not thinking straight. They will need to be about 10x better - because most people believe they are above average drivers, and most accidents occur due to distracted, tired, drunk etc. humans - the cars need to be better drivers than the best fully attentive human drivers before they will begin to be accepted by the general public.

Peak smartphone? Phone fatigue hits Western Europe hard

DougS Silver badge

Re: About time

A lot of people have gone broke over the years betting against what Buffett invested in.

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