* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

On yer bike! Boffins teach AI drone to fly itself using cams on bicycles, self-driving car

DougS Silver badge

My bicycle has pretty good intuition for avoiding collisions with people and objects when I'm not riding it. It will immediately fall over, thus limiting the chance of said collisions!

DougS Silver badge

Adult groin height = toddler eye gouging height. They literally couldn't choose a worse height to operate at in this test!

Fortunately people don't have rotating blades attached to them so when they bump into an unseen toddler the risk of permanent injury is significantly less.

DougS Silver badge

Treadmill?

If consumerism of the future is funded by steps on a treadmill (maybe this is a literary reference I didn't catch?) then one of the first products sold will be robot legs to do your treadmilling for you. Sort of an updated equivalent of bots to level up in MMOPRGs.

Billionaire bros Bezos, Buffett become bonkers bio brokers: Swap W in AWS for H for healthcare

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The health care industry is right to be terrified

Since they are proposing this be non-profit, and with a million members from day one would be a powerful negotiator on the market. I'm sure many other big companies would be interested in joining once they get it off the ground.

Look for them to lobby congress to pass a law making this illegal, and republicans to sell the law as being good for America with undertones of socialism/communism as the reason.

Eggheads: Cities, don't woo rich Amazon with sweetheart HQ deals

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Game theory

Says there is no way 20 cities will agree not to give incentives. It would be hard for two to agree on that and not go back on their word, in fact.

Plus if they really did so, Amazon could and probably would say "turns out none of our finalists met our criteria, so we are considering the additional cities in the following list". It would be a "lesson" to them to provide the giveaways corporate America thinks it is entitled to, and insure the next crop wouldn't make such an agreement.

The only way around this is to pass laws banning the practice, and it would have to be done at a national level otherwise it would be in the interest of states to drag their feet on doing so to give them an advantage over states that went first.

This ought to be a position all conservatives support, if they are true to their position about being against "welfare" and government interference in private markets. Funny how so few of them speak up about this...

Kremlin social media trolls aren't actually that influential, study finds

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Trollface

Re: Sigh...

He's responsible for ... Global warming! ... Burn him, burn him now!

Wait, isn't that going to make him even more responsible for global warming?

The green way to dispose of people is to bury them in the concrete footings of a really well built building. That means less concrete is needed, so a bit less concrete needs to be produced and the greenhouse gases in the body may remain sequestered for centuries.

Borked bog forces flight carrying 83 plumbers to bug out back to base

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Mushroom

Wonder if they could have fixed it anyway

I have a feeling those airline toilets operate quite a bit differently than what they're used to, and trying to fix something when you don't know how it works could lead to ...interesting... results if they accidentally reversed the vacuum flow and turned "flush" into "eject"!

Crooks make US ATMs spew million-plus bucks in 'jackpotting' hacks

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Re: Sounds like a social engineering attack

They do know when they're running low on cash, and presumably the other stuff. I just wonder if they're worried about esoteric (at least at the time they were designed) attacks like breaking into it to replace the hard drive so they don't check for it. I'm sure they'd receive an alert when it is rebooted as part of the hard drive swap, but they probably ignore those alerts because 99% of the time they are from power outages or other stuff that had nothing to do with the ATM.

DougS Silver badge

Sounds like a social engineering attack

Dress like workmen and "service" the ATM during the day so its not suspicious that it is being opened up and the hard drive replaced. Those people need to be slick talkers in case someone at the location knows the "regular" service guy. Then you have a confederate come back in the middle of the night to "jackpot" it.

I would think that ATMs have some sort of tamper indication, but maybe that's easily bypassed. Maybe the firmware should call home if it detects the hard drive has been changed...

Twilight of the idols: The only philosophy HPE and IBM do these days is with an axe

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Re: Add DXC to this burning pile of shite

Aren't Wipro and Infosys Indian companies? What low wage countries are they going to outsource to, Bangladesh?

The Zuck promises to give you more local news – and so save the world

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Re: Fake local news? No thanks

The Russians just want you to BELIEVE Mrs. Edmunds cat was stuck in a tree and the fire department had to be called.

Timeout everyone. Y'all know that Musk's $500 'flamethrower' is literally a Boring blowtorch?

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This will be the only thing the Boring Company ever does

There's certainly no chance of him ever creating his cross country high speed tunnels. With this stupid "flamethrower" he's selling now, I'm starting to think he's just seeing how ridiculous he can be before the public calls him out on it!

Thar she blows: Strava heat map shows folk on shipwreck packed with 1,500 tonnes of bombs

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How is this evidence people are messing with the wreck?

Couldn't they be rowers who rowed over it? The area may be posted for ship traffic, but unless it is physically roped off how would someone in a little human powered or wind powered craft know or care they are over that old wreck?

Firefox to emit ‘occasional sponsored story’ in ads test

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Re: Easy as this:

I know how to get a blank tab, extensions aren't and have never been needed. What I'm worried about is that the option for a blank tab will disappear, or effectively disappear, if they pollute with ads.

Exactly how much money does Mozilla really need to operate that they need to consider selling out and eliminating by far the biggest point in their favor over Chrome and IE? I'd wager ads in new tabs that couldn't be disabled would cost them a lot more revenue due to lost users than they could ever hope to gain from the ad revenue. Hopefully they will get a lot of seriously negative reviews in the beta and abandon this stupidity.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Easy as this:

If that doesn't work, I hope changing the DNS addresses for pocket's sites in the config will work, because I like having a BLANK window when I click a new tab. I don't want a list of recent tabs, I don't want a home page and I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WANT a damn ad!

Apple whispers farewell to macOS Server

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It is strange they are still supporting it at all

If they are still producing updates for it, why shut off the parts people presumably bought it for? Just announce that the next update will be the last, and be done with it. If they quit selling it eight years ago, no one is going to be too put out that updates have stopped.

All your base are belong to us: Strava exercise app maps military sites, reveals where spies jog

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Coat

Re: Fail!

Care to describe how stalking is a BDSM activity?

I suppose it depends on what you're wearing while doing said stalking.

DougS Silver badge

Re: I've never understood

I've seen this with some female Facebook friends, and pointed out to them that it makes it easy to figure out where they live. Some care, and correct it, others say "it isn't that hard to find out where someone lives" and don't worry about it.

I suppose that's basically the same argument that you get against "security through obscurity".

FYI: Processor bugs are everywhere – just ask Intel and AMD

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Re: @Nick Kew - satellite telemetry, tracking and control system

Its from the movie Real Genius.

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Joke

@Nick Kew - satellite telemetry, tracking and control system

You worked on the Hathaway project at Pacific Tech?

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Re: Even the 6502

Wanna bet? Formal verification does not mean a design is bug free.

Yes it does guarantee the design is bug free. What it does not guarantee is that the actual device is bug free - i.e. when manufacturing issues rear their ugly head like they did with the Intel Atom C2000.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Even the 6502

I know for certain there are some bug-free formally verified cores, used for security roles. I don't know this for sure, but I'd bet on the CPU core Apple is using for its secure enclave was formally verified. The L4 microkernel it is running is formally verified, but without the CPU it runs on also being formally verified that's not really worth much.

Any CPU you want to formally verify would have to be a very small simple in-order with a single core. Once you go OOE or SMP I'd have to think it would get too complicated for formal verification, even if you could automate most of it.

DougS Silver badge

Yes, because you know the list of flaws. They really aren't intended to public consumption, it is the people who design the PC hardware, write the BIOS/UEFI, write the operating systems and write the compilers who need to know that stuff. The average Joe who buys a PC with an Intel CPU doesn't need to see the list of two dozen errata for the stepping (which will grow over time a few more are found) Most of them are corner cases of a corner case, and not worth worrying about (i.e. they'll find a way to mitigate it if they can but a lot are basically marked "wontfix" because they don't matter in the real world)

There aren't any chips that are errata free, at least not anything much more complex than a 6502, so while in a perfect world chips would have no errata its the same perfect world where software has no bugs. It doesn't exist in the real world when humans design things.

Stop us if you've heard this one before: Tokyo crypto-cash exchange 'hacked' for half a billion bucks

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I wonder how many of these are inside jobs?

These are small companies with only a few employees, who know the weak spots and could even design in some weak spots. Wait and let it get popular, then "attack" from the outside and put it somewhere you can't touch it until the statute of limitations runs out - if possible in a non crypto cash form, since the tulips may be worthless by the time you can no longer be prosecuted!

Western Dig revenues take $0.82bn spanking from US tax shake-up

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Re: Why are they western?

Why should they move? The US has switched to a territorial system for corporate taxes like everyone else in the world now, so they will only pay US taxes on money they make in the US. There was reason to move before, to avoid paying taxes on non-US income. Now that's no longer true, so what's their incentive for moving to another country?

Driverless cars will lead to data-sharing – of the electrical kind

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Re: Why they're pushing Smart Meters...

You could buy an old IBM mainframe to keep in your basement, and tell the power company that's what is drawing all the electricity. Tell them you only run it at night because it hits up your house too much during the day :)

DougS Silver badge

Re: First create the infrastructure for taxes

Pay tax on leccy that I use to charge my car that I have generated myself?

If you plan to drive your car on public roads, yes. Probably they can do it a better way though, by charging a per mile tax. That wouldn't have been practical back when fuel taxes originated, but any electric car is modern enough to have GPS so you only pay UK tax for mileage driven in the UK, and not for miles driven in Europe (though they'll probably want a way to collect for miles you drive there) Someone would need to create a standard for electric cars to adhere to, that would reliably record/report the miles. Purely agricultural vehicles like tractors would be exempt, rather than having to worry about "red diesel" type stuff.

No one likes taxes, but being taxed per mile for using the roads is the fairest way to pay for them - the more you use them, the more you pay.

If you've ever wondered whether the FCC boss is a Big Cable stooge – well, wonder no more

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The previous FCC chair was expected to be a cable stooge

When Obama nominated Tom Wheeler, who was formerly president of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications Internet Association, for chair of the FCC a lot of people (myself included) assumed he would be a cable/telco stooge.

Turns out he was not beholden to their interests, perhaps because he was retirement age and didn't plan to return through the revolving door. Ajit Pai is in his mid 40s, and obviously plans to return to the industry so he's feathering their nest now and knows he will be rewarded later with a cushy job and fat salary.

Too bad Trump was all bluster when he said he was going to drain the swamp.

Here we go again... UK Prime Minister urges nerds to come up with magic crypto backdoors

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Re: Biometrics

Apparently you're under the impression that biometrics are foolproof. That's a mistaken impression.

Even if they were, and they could be kept secure, every judge in the US is supposed to get these powers? So what about judges in the UK, EU, Israel, Russia, China, Japan, Korea, Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan and so forth? What if the laws differ in some countries so they don't require a judge but anyone who works for the government should able to decrypt?

If a US company provided a backdoor for judges in one country, other countries are going to say "give us the same or we will ban the sale of your product in our country".

I don't know that I agree that judges - even with a proper court order - should be allowed to search someone's phone. Why? There's no precedent for this in the past - look at how much information someone's phone carries. That's basically the equivalent of a blanket search warrant covering not only your home, car, office, etc. but also your mind. I mean, in the past if someone told me something important I have to memorize it. Now I don't have to bother, because if they told me in a text message I know I can find that text again, even five years later. Why should judges have unrestricted ability to search my memory? Because it makes overly fearful people a little less afraid when they read about the latest terrorist attack, knowing that the government has unlimited power to snoop?

New Sky thinking: Media giant makes dish-swerving move on Netflix territory

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Re: So much for rural telly...

How many customers does Sky have? I saw some math recently for Directv, which has 20 million plus subscribers in the US. If you assume a 20 year satellite life, costing $400 million each, they need a fleet of five long term. That means they need to launch one every four years on average, costing $100 million per year. That's $5/year per subscriber, or less than 50 cents a month.. That's less than 1% of the average bill.

Streaming to 20 million subscribers sure as hell wouldn't be free, and might even cost them more...

Even if half their customers eventually decide they want to stream instead, it is still under a buck a month. Satellite is cheap, it won't be going anywhere.

Europe slaps €997m antitrust fine on Qualcomm

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Re: Great.

Because the network capacity increases for the same amount of licensed spectrum.

Sorry, but you're wrong. The Intel & Qualcomm modems in the latest iPhone (as well as Qualcomm's newer X20) all use QAM256 on the downlink and therefore get the exact same data rate from a given amount of spectrum off a single antenna on the tower. The uplink speed is the same with all of these modems at 150 Mbps using QAM64, using the same CA & MIMO with each.

The more recent LTE categories that the more recent Qualcomm modems support use more spectrum (i.e. carrier aggregation) or more antennas (i.e. more MIMO) to achieve their higher speeds. In a congested cell a single phone isn't going to be able to grab more than one band or more than one antenna, so all these chips will run at exactly the same speed! Sure, in a less congested cell you can go faster, but again what's the use case for going 1 or 1.2 Gbps instead of 600 Mbps?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Great.

While Qualcomm is pushing gigabit LTE, Apple is trying to play it down, with the iPhone X not supporting it.

Please tell me just ONE use case for having a gigabit at the disposal of a mobile phone.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Great.

The goal of such fines is actually to SAVE money for consumers. Had Qualcomm acted above board, licensed their patents fairly etc. there would have been more competition for cellular chips and Apple as well as Android OEMs would have been paying less on average per phone for them. Instead Qualcomm has been extracting monopoly profits due to the need to include CDMA functionality in any phones intended for the US.

Now I suppose the EU could decide "hey it looks bad if we keep the money, people will think we're doing it for a shakedown" and donate it to a worthy cause, but winning cases like these isn't cheap. It isn't just the cost of trial, but all the research they do that leads up to deciding they have grounds to bring a case. And all the research they do against other companies that leads up to deciding they DON'T have grounds to bring a case.

If the EU makes money at all on the commission that enforces these laws, I doubt it is anything near as profitable as people think it.

DougS Silver badge

Re: WTF?

It is illegal when you are abusing a dominant market position. In a competitive market it is fine and the EU wouldn't have come calling.

DougS Silver badge

Re: and Apple's fine is ?

The Reg left it out of their article of course, but when the EU announced the Qualcomm fine they stated Apple was not at fault.

If Apple had refused this deal they would have paid a LOT more. Qualcomm licenses its non-FRAND CDMA patents to third parties at the same price as they charge for their chips, so there's no way for a third party to undercut them unless they are willing to sell at a loss. That's why there have never been any third party chips that use US spec CDMA.

But what about Samsung, you may ask, since they have recently started making Exynos SoCs that include CDMA. They made a different deal with Samsung after they started getting investigating for unfair trade practices in Korea - Samsung was allowed to use Qualcomm CDMA patents (no idea as to pricing) but they had to purchase one Qualcomm SoC for every Exynos SoC they shipped, and were banned from shipping Exynos SoCs into the US.

So even though it sounds like the latest Exynos has improved its CPU performance quite a bit, well ahead of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845, Those in the US will have to buy the slow version of the upcoming S9.

FYI: There's now an AI app that generates convincing fake smut vids using celebs' faces

DougS Silver badge

Re: Child ???

Some girls have pretty much grown as tall as they're going to get by age 13 or so. You don't think some jilted boyfriend putting the face of a 13 or 14 year old on porn with an 18-20 year old 'actress' and sharing the video with her classmates isn't going to cause a whole lot of trouble?

Biker nerfed by robo Chevy in San Francisco now lobs sueball at GM

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Re: The car will have video of the incident

Absolutely, because the car never needed to "regain" its lane, it hadn't fully moved out of the lane. The motorcyclist was impatient, and his injuries were 100% his own damn fault.

DougS Silver badge

Re: @kain preacher

That's not true. In some states it is illegal not to move over to the right to allow faster traffic by even if you are doing the speed limit or greater. As it should be.

Luckily you are wrong, if we had a combination of "you can stay in the left lane as long as you are driving the speed limit" and "it is illegal to pass on the right" some asshole could drive the speed limit in the left lane and hold up traffic for miles!

http://www.mit.edu/~jfc/right.html

DougS Silver badge

@kain preacher

Passing on the right isn't illegal, but allowing yourself to be passed on the right (because you aren't moving to the right yourself when faster traffic is coming from behind) is illegal in some states.

DougS Silver badge

@Doctor Syntax

The software didn't "think" the guy was doing anything illegal. It wanted to switch lanes, but the lead car in the lane it wanted to switch to slowed down so it had to abandon the lane change halfway through and return to its original lane. The motorcyclist prematurely tried to get past, was knocked on his ass for his trouble, and is now suing because he (or the ambulance chaser representing him) knows autonomous cars are a deep pocketed target.

DougS Silver badge

The car will have video of the incident

So if the motorcyclist tried to split lanes past the car before it had completely left the center lane, then he's at fault. Gonna be a bit harder to win these sorts of cases against autonomous cars since they will always have a video record from multiple angles.

Biggest Washington DC lobbyist is now a tech giant (yes, it's Google)

DougS Silver badge

I wonder how much of that was lobbying for the recent tax bill?

All the corporations mentioned had ginormous piles of cash held overseas. Now they can bring it home at a lower rate, not pay US taxes on foreign earnings in the future, AND as a bonus pay lower taxes in the US.

I wouldn't be surprised if 2017 marks a high water mark for corporate lobbying.

Commvault's record revenues walloped by US tax law tweaks

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A lot of companies will be reporting this

Some companies like Apple kept deferred taxes on their books so they wouldn't have to take big hit on GAAP earnings, but many didn't because it allowed them to falsely inflate their reported profit and look better for analysts.

Hawaii governor: I wanted to tell everyone nuke alert was fake – I just forgot my password

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Re: Eh?

I think it would be a big deal because a lot of the time the development environment and tools are not on site even if the developers aren't halfway across the world. Trying to contact someone on a weekend is hard enough, trying to contact them on a weekend when everyone thinks the world is ending and they will be ignoring calls from their boss (and some cell sites may be overloading to boot) is much harder.

H-1B visa hopefuls, green card holders are feeling the wrath of 'America first' Trump

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@nerdbert - Einstein's "moral turpitude"

Einstein would have definitely been disqualified under moral turpitude if it applied to him at the time. He divorced his first wife so he could marry his cousin, and was an avowed socialist and opponent of capitalism.

The former wouldn't disqualify him today, not considering Trump's three divorces, affairs with porn stars and so forth. If they went to a merit based system and Trump's cronies were in charge of determining merit it isn't hard to imagine they'd refuse entry to an anti-capitalist socialist.

Pro Evo-lution shocker: Samsung SSDs focus on endurance over capacity

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They may not have really changed anything

They could have found their endurance specs were conservative after enough long term real world data. Or more likely determined that so few people actually wrote enough to their device that bumping the TBW warranty would cost them little but provide a marketing advantage over the competition.

I think most people seriously overestimate the amount of writing they do, and worry needlessly about wearing out their SSDs. I invite everyone to check their SMART data and see what the "media wearout indicator" shows. That's what tells you how close you are (lowering from 100 down to 0) to hitting the rated TBW of your drive. At the rate I'm wearing out my SSDs they may live longer than I do :)

29 MEEELLION iPhone Xs flogged... only to be end-of-life'd by summer?

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Re: I always thought the X would be one and done

Sure, that's definitely why Apple priced it at a grand a phone. Because they're always so anxious to ensure that they don't create demand that they can't satisfy.

I wasn't suggesting they had altruistic motives, but if you KNOW you supply is going to be limited you have two choices to handle it. One, have waiting periods of months to get one. Two, set the price higher so demand reduced to match supply.

The second one is a problem for when the supply becomes less limited - then you sell fewer of them so you may or may not end up actually making more money that way. But almost all of those who were put off by the high price of the X either bought a cheaper iPhone or decided to wait until next year.

It's 2018 and your Macs, iPhones can be pwned by playing evil music

DougS Silver badge

@insane_hound

How could Apple possibly make money from your personal information? They don't sell ads like Google does, and they don't sell products (other than their own, and I guess a handful of third party stuff they sell in the stores)

There's no way to monetize personal information without one of the two. In a way they have monetized personal information a little, by mentioning privacy a selling point for their products - that they DON'T collect all that info on you like others do.

They'd probably make more noise about that if there were more people who actually care about privacy, but the number of drooling morons who willingly put Google's and Amazon's always-on spies in their home shows there probably aren't a lot of privacy minded people out there. I guess that's why the US government is able to keep doubling down on spying of citizens and everyone mostly shrugs...

Maverick internet cop Chrome 64 breaks rules to thwart malvert scum

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Devil

Re: The question is, are there any sites making legitimate use of this?

Just noticed I said "Microsoft" in the second paragraph instead of Google. Guess I was mentally transported back a decade and a half when Microsoft was the evil company, instead of being the tech equivalent of the old Nazi with Alzheimer's you used to hate but now just looks pathetic.

DougS Silver badge

The question is, are there any sites making legitimate use of this?

If not it is an easy decision, standards or not. If there are, then Chrome's market share dominance will probably end up forcing those sites to change how they work. Basically Google would be exercising the exact same control over the web that everyone (including Google's founders) rightly castigated Microsoft for.

Basically Microsoft doesn't want people using REAL ad blockers, so they figure if they can block the worst malware type spam advertising there will be less incentive for people to block all ads including all the ones Google makes money from!

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