* Posts by DougS

12862 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

The plucky local Mom 'n’ Pop phone maker faces death

DougS Silver badge

Re: total cost of operation/use case

If you have an iPhone older than a couple years old, it is best to skip the .0 release and wait for the .1 release. Often people will report the .0 release slows the ones 3+ years old like your 6 - the reasoning goes that Apple is concentrating on testing with the latest models (i.e. the 8 & X in this case) and not worrying about optimization on older models. The .1 release often addresses these issues, it is probably the optimization/cleanup release.

iOS 11 should if anything be faster on your 6 because it is 64 bit only, whereas iOS 10 supported both 32 and 64 bit models, and thus included run time support for 32 bit libraries that is no longer present now. I can't say my 6S plus was faster on 11.0, but it was certainly not slower.

Want a new HDMI cable? No? Bad luck. You'll need one for HDMI 2.1

DougS Silver badge

HDMI came first, so if two is too many why should HDMI be the one to go away?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Article is wrong

Maybe they'll do like USB and create a superultrawhizzyfast designation for the 48 Gbps capable cables.

I wouldn't worry about it, you aren't going to own anything that outputs or displays 8K anytime this decade.

DougS Silver badge


The latest displayport CAN support HDCP but almost no displayport hardware can use it. In fact, I've never seen a displayport monitor that supports HDCP.

The reality is that displayport was only created because of limitations in HDMI bandwidth/resolution that now no longer apply. Hopefully displayport goes away and we can settle on HDMI.

DougS Silver badge

8K movie releases will be few and far between

If they ever come at all. You'd see the grain on 35mm film at that resolution, so it would only make sense for 70mm. Now that a lot of stuff is shot in 4K digital, you can't magically upgrade it to 8K unless it is almost entirely CGI (and if so, re-rendering an entire movie would be fantastically expensive, and could never be recouped on sales of an 8K version, so it won't happen)

Besides, it is pretty damn hard to tell the difference between native 4K and upscaled 4K on a quality 4K TV unless you are eyestrain close to it. The main improvement we'll see with 4K is HDR, which we could have had with HD but didn't, because reasons.

It is a simple law of diminishing returns - the difference between SD and HD was huge, especially since most also upgraded from analog to digital at the same time. The difference between HD and 4K is a lot smaller, and that's even accounting for the fact that in a lot of cases (at least in the US) it is an upgrade from 720p to 4K which is a 3x jump. The upgrade from 4K to 8K would be a simple 2x jump, on top of the already diminishing returns - I just don't see there being any real demand for it.

Sure, you'll be able to buy 8K TVs, because TV OEMs have to find reasons to get people to buy new TVs when they don't need them. And Netflix will put out a few 8K titles just for the heck of it. There just won't be enough demand for 8K to make it a real standard. Heck, the jury is still out on whether 4K will be more than a handful of major channels, along with movies, rather than the "nearly everything" that the HD upgrade was.

Can't wait for 5G? Don't then, Gigabit LTE will be around for ages

DougS Silver badge

Re: Gigabit LTE is meaningless

Spending less time on the air using three bands at once isn't saving anything. You could spend 3x as long on the air and use only one band and allow two others to use the other two bands during that time. Besides, trying to pull 1.2 Gbps is a problem because you generally can't get that over the internet - you'll end up running out of buffer and pausing more often trying to drive that speed so you're better off trying for "only" 400 Mbps anyway.

The only way higher speeds help is if they are using higher order modulation to get more bits per symbol (i.e. QAM256 instead of QAM64, which is up to a 25% increase) In reality you don't get that much because that requires more error correction, and you have to have enough SNR to pull it off. But at least it helps those who are close enough to the tower and outdoors.

DougS Silver badge

Gigabit LTE is meaningless

Note that "3 carrier aggregation" required. In a busy cell resources are much better spent using those three carriers for three different clients - which would be limited to "only" 400 Mbps maximum.

In a lightly used cell, sure let a client race with 1.2 Gbps if they are close enough to the tower to have an adequate SNR to support 256QAM - but what's the point? Who needs mobile data delivered at that speed? Is someone watching three dozen 4K streams at once on their phone or something? Did you feel a need to download the full 1.5GB iOS 11.0 update in 10 seconds instead of 30?

5G is NOT NEEDED for mobile because no one needs a gigabit to their phone, let alone more. It will find its niche with fixed wireless. Verizon, AT&T et al will be able to offer high speed internet anywhere within decent range of a cell tower (or a microcell put up on a phone pole to serve the purpose) to a fixed antenna on your eave by on the wall by your bedroom window. That's the only reasonable alternative for low density areas, but even high density areas will eventually use as it will allow new competitors to go up against the cable/telco duopoly in the US. Spending money to run fiber to the home in Dec. 2017 is stupid, 5G fixed wireless will be so much cheaper to deliver - it won't cost $1000 per home.

The End of Abandondroid? Treble might rescue Google from OTA Hell

DougS Silver badge


OK, let me see if I understand this. If you get such a "certified" phone now it will have to be able to boot a minimal release for basic functions, but won't support features that aren't in that minimal set like say fingerprint reader, wireless charging, IR blaster or one of many other features that some Android phones may have but all don't have so Google can't include it in their minimal/basic HAL.

So how would that help OEMs patch more frequently? They can't deliver the Google patches directly to the user, because people who buy phones with beyond minimal feature sets will assume those features won't be disabled. Sure, with work the OEMs can port those fixes into their "full" OS but they can do that today so it isn't helping them at all.

So if I understand this correctly, the bargain basement sub $100 Androids may be able to be kept up to date better than a $500+ flagship with lots of bells and whistles? That might encourage the security conscious just buy the cheap model in the first place, and learn to live without the features...

DougS Silver badge

Re: Google could help a lot

You mean swapping a windows installed hard drive to complete new hardware? You can do that for Windows, it's just all your drivers will be mess up

So what you're saying is that I'm right and you CAN'T simply swap hard drives. The drivers are part of the OS, after all.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Google could help a lot

Sure, Windows can be installed on many different pieces of hardware but you can't swap a drive with an active Windows install between PCs. That's what the article claims is now possible with Android, where an identical OS load can be booted on multiple different types of hardware.

Though I have to think even they do that the OEMs still have to distribute it. Google can't simply update the kernel underneath OEM customizations and "just assume" it will works. With OEMs left in charge, they still won't have incentive to invest anything into updating phones older than a 18-24 months - once they are no longer sold anywhere it is all a cost and there's little benefit to the OEM.

The better Android gets at updates the more problems there will be, simply because software updates are never perfect. Google has been insulated from that because the OEMs drive the updates, and even when updates happen they are so spread out they keep under the news radar. If that changes - well just look at Apple with the autocorrect bug that replaced 'I' with 'A <wackysymbol>'. Google hasn't had to deal with this yet thanks to fragmentation, so they don't make the news / become a pop culture meme like the 'I' thing did for a hot minute.

Used iPhone Safari in 2011-12? You might qualify for Google bucks

DougS Silver badge

Re: Actually

Apparently Apple hatred can be so strong it overwhelms brain function in some people, to the point where they trust Google with their privacy more than Apple. I'm not sure I'd trust Google with privacy more than ANYONE, except perhaps Uber and Equifax.

DougS Silver badge

"Less than £1000 per person" sure would cause Google financial distress, if they collected on near that amount for 5.4 million UK users. Sure, they can absorb that loss globally, but it would eat up all the UK profit they've ever made and ever will make for years (even their real profit, not the much lower profit they claim on UK taxes) If such suits were successful throughout the EU that amount could quickly ratchet up to where it would really hurt.

Of course I'm guessing that by "less than £1000 per person" they mean "around £10 per person" which would be typical of a US class action lawsuit. If so, Google would probably spend more on lawyers to fight it off than it would cost them if they lose.

High-freq trade biz sues transatlantic ISP for alleged spiteful cable cut

DougS Silver badge

Re: High-frequency trading companies = parasites

The fact the company isn't raising capital doesn't mean it isn't an investment. You are buying part of a company, so when they distribute profits as dividends you get your share (see why they're called that now?) If they buy back shares you get it too, in the form of your ownership percentage increasing since there are fewer total outstanding shares. It is hard to argue these are not investments.

If the company never makes much of a profit but at least has a fairly low multiple (i.e. AMD) then you are believing/hoping it does better in the future and can starting making more money - or you can find someone else who believes harder than you to buy your shares. Perhaps not an investment, more of a "bet" - this is where research can pay off.

If you invest in a company that never makes much of a profit but is at a high multiple (i.e. Amazon) then you are hoping it grows beyond all precedent, or becomes a monopoly, or you find a bigger sucker to buy you out. This is somewhere between gambling and a Ponzi scheme.

If the company loses tons of money, and needs constant inflow from investors to pay for it (i.e. Uber) then you are hoping it becomes a monopoly that isn't broken up by antitrust laws or that you were an early investor who paid almost nothing for your shares so you can sell them to later investors whose cash is used to make up the sea of red ink. This is betting that illegal behavior pays off, and crooks like Travis Kalanick get away with it.

DougS Silver badge

Re: "It doesn't "rob" other participants in the market - "

You're wrong on HFTs. Almost all HFT traffic is on the same market, there are actually comparatively few playing in the market the article is concerned with where they are using transatlantic cables to arbitrage between different markets.

Now granted HFTs do fulfill the role "market makers" used to fill by adding liquidity, the problem is that when they get spooked because their algorithms turn negative they pull ALL liquidity from the market in a fraction of a second, which makes the market more volatile than it used to be.

HFTs do have a positive role to play, but that role is overwhelmed by their negatives. The biggest (besides pulling out completely in a flash) is that they deliberately try to manipulate markets. If there was a high enough fee (the shorter the order is open the higher the fee) associated with order cancellation so they couldn't strategically place open orders without any intention of ever filling them, in an attempt to move the price in the direction they want so they can pounce, then I wouldn't have as much of a problem with them. Unfortunately the NYSE board is controlled by big banks who have their own HFT operation they make a lot of money from, so they have zero incentive to address this.

DougS Silver badge

Re: High-frequency trading companies = parasites

There's nothing wrong with investing in a company you think is going to increase in value. If you think you should only "invest in a company you like or think has a good plan" without regard to wanting your investment to increase in value you are not investing, you are making charitable contributions.

i.e., you might like AMD because you think Intel needs competition so they don't become a complete monopoly in x86 CPUs, but that doesn't mean you should buy AMD shares unless you don't care about making money.

As Apple fixes macOS root password hole, here's what went wrong

DougS Silver badge

Two stupid things happened

1) Apple should have required a password on the root account or set it to a random password if the user didn't want to set one, not left it blank

2) the researcher who found this decided to tell the world immediately instead of telling Apple privately and giving them the chance to fix it before it was made public - he's getting castigated in the security world for doing this, and rightly so

Obviously all the blame belongs with Apple for allowing this to happen, and I hope their ultimate fix is to eliminate root accounts without a password - disabled or not - because if they simply fix this bug there's no guarantee there is another one lurking somewhere that allows the fact root has no password to be exploited. I'm sure hackers are looking for such cases very intently right now. No excuse for such stupidity.

Apple and Qualcomm become best pals... lol jk the sueballs keep flying

DougS Silver badge

Re: Interesting move

There's no more chance of Apple being able to stop import of Qualcomm SoCs than there is Qualcomm being able to stop import of iPhones. The ITC only orders that for egregious violations. This is more trying to point out to Qualcomm that these "other innovations" aside from cellular they claim they hold patents for can be easily matched by Apple who is years ahead of them in CPU design.

Apple wants the case to be about cellular patents alone, because then they can better argue that Qualcomm's method of charging a percentage of the sales price for the phone unfairly gives Qualcomm more money when Apple adds new non-cellular features. Why should Apple including 3D face scanning and an OLED display in the iPhone X, which makes it cost more and therefore sell at a higher price, mean Qualcomm gets more for their cellular patents in an iPhone X than an iPhone 8?

The six simple questions Facebook refused to answer about its creepy suicide-detection AI

DougS Silver badge

Ridiculous trying to automate this

All it can do is basically what amounts to keyword search, but it can't really derive emotional state from them. How could it tell the difference between a serious suggestion of suicide and a sarcastic one? I know some people who have a broken sarcasm detector who can't tell the difference, and are forced to infer it from how others respond to a sarcastic statement.

The only way to address it is to have a way for people to flag statements/videos they are concerned over, and have humans at Facebook quickly respond. That's if you believe Facebook has a responsibility to address it at all - I'm not sure why it is their problem... Do the owners of tall buildings take responsibility for quickly detecting someone standing on a window ledge threatening to jump? No, they rely on passers by noticing and calling 911.

Twitter's fight to kill Uncle Sam's censorship of spying numbers edges closer to victory

DougS Silver badge

What a bizarre argument

Exact numbers below 250 are OK, but above 250 they can only be in bands of 251-500 etc.?

In what world could knowing the difference between 247 and 248 not harm national security, but knowing the difference between 643 and 725 would?

FCC boss Ajit defends axing net neutrality by… attacking Cher

DougS Silver badge

Pai logic

Federal regulation of internet service providers = bad

Federal regulation of internet services like Twitter = sounds like something he is arguing for?

States rights are also out the window as the "deregulation" adds new regulations to prevent states from enacting regulations of their own. Because states rights are only good if states do what conservatives want, otherwise states rights are bad. (To be fair, liberals are equally hypocritical, as they tend to prefer federal regulations that take precedence over state regulations, except when the federal government regulations aren't what they want)

Judge stalls Uber trade-secret theft trial after learning upstart 'ran a trade-secret stealing op'

DougS Silver badge

Corporate death penalty

If ever there was a company who deserved such a thing, it is Uber.

SpaceX 'raises' an extra 100 million bucks to get His Muskiness to Mars

DougS Silver badge

Come now, it won't take them until 2040 to be able to make that many model 3s in a year.

Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Siemens tease electric flight engine project

DougS Silver badge

Distribute electricity using cables?

Too bad no one has figured out room temperature superconductors yet, so high amperage wires could be light. Since that's not the case, they'll have to carry extremely high voltages to distribute multiple megawatts or use very heavy thick wires. Either has its own set of problems to consider.

'Break up Google and Facebook if you ever want innovation again'

DougS Silver badge

How would you break them up?

All you could do for Facebook is to require them to divest Messenger and WhatsApp. I can't really see how Facebook could be broken up beyond that in any reasonable way.

Google would be a little easier, splitting search and Android would not damage either but the advertising behemoth would be two smaller behemoths, who would now have to compete with each other.

Not arguing for this, I think it is a bit early to be concerned with "break them up if you ever want innovation again". Microsoft wasn't broken up - barely touched in fact - but Ballmer's sheer incompetence caused them to miss out on advertising, social networking, and mobile, allowing Google, Facebook and iPhone/Android to create huge new markets that are nearly 100% Microsoft free. Here's hoping for a Google and Facebook version of Ballmer to take over the reins when the founders decide to move on...

ML fails: Loyalty prediction? Not really. And bonus prediction? Oh dear

DougS Silver badge

I made a recommendation to a friend this past weekend

I rarely do, but I became aware of a Chinese company that sells products (for a commercial kitchen, not IT related) for much lower prices than the competition. That alone wasn't enough to get me to recommend them, but the products are of very high quality as far as I can tell and I'm able to get service on them from a local supplier should it be necessary.

The best part is that when I google the products everyone on the internet is selling them for the same price as that local supplier so I don't feel like I have to choose between a better deal that screws the local guy who I will need to count on for service or overpay to guarantee I have a happy supplier who will provide quick service if it is necessary.

I still wouldn't feel like I could give them a 10, or even a 9, because I've only had a couple items for a few months - too early to gauge reliability. The price I paid was less than double what I'd pay for used "guaranteed for 90 days" equipment, and almost half of what I would have paid for new equipment from other companies so I felt it was worth taking a chance on a new player. If I'm still happy after a year or two then it's a 9, and if it is trouble free for 5+ years then I'll call it a 10. I guess I'm hard to please, but the NPS scores don't seem to jive with my recommendation threshold since they would consider 8 to be 'neutral'.

Net neutrality nonsense: Can we, please, just not all lose our minds?

DougS Silver badge

@Rupert Fiennes

You are missing the point. Without net neutrality, Google could pay ISPs like Verizon to slow down or even block a hungry young competitor that Google was concerned might have a better way of doing search. Doesn't matter if its footprint is "light" or not if you can't even connect to it, or it runs like it is connected via a 28.8K modem on the Moon.

DougS Silver badge

Actually, Google and Facebook win either way

With net neutrality ISPs can't prioritize their own traffic over Google and Facebook's and the power of Google and Facebook grows. Without net neutrality, if ISPs make companies pay to get their traffic prioritized then Google and Facebook have to give up some of their cash to Verizon and anyone else who wants to play that game (I'll be charitable and take Comcast at their word)

But that's fine, because Google and Facebook have lots of money, and can afford it. Know who can't afford it? The Google of 1999 or Facebook of 2005, who could never have never grown beyond infancy if Altavista and Myspace were free to pay ISPs a lot of money to insure their traffic was prioritized and Google's and Facebook's was slowed to a crawl. Google and Facebook's money will insure that they are never challenged by any upstarts that are better than them in a world without net neutrality.

Surveillance Capitalism thinks it won, but there's still time to unplug it

DougS Silver badge

Uh, "provides ... to any app that wants to measure your emotional reactions"?

I think you'll find you need to give the app permission to do this.

Other than violations where you aren't given any choice in the matter or a setting that should 'disable' something doesn't, it is all down to your own choice. You don't have to use any Google products, and can thus avoid their tracking. You don't have to use Facebook, and can avoid sharing your deep dark secrets with the world. You don't have to buy a smart thermostat or smart doorbell or smart lightbulb.

The alternative is nanny-statism where you can't buy certain things because they're "bad for you".

Apple embraces El Reg! iOS 11 is now biting the hand that types IT

DougS Silver badge

I think there might be a specific set of conditions required to trigger it. I never saw the autocorrect symbol bug until I sent out one quick text right before I upgraded from 11.1 to 11.1.1. It is almost as if my phone knew it was about to be upgraded and decided to let me see it so I felt included. I haven't see any corrections of it or is either.

They must have made some changes to the autocorrect algorithm with iOS 11 that can cause it to screw up on very short words. Puzzling why it only affects a subset of people, but I guess that's why it wasn't caught in testing.

Watch how Google's AI catches shoulder surfers spying on your phone

DougS Silver badge

Wonder how long your battery would last?

Running the front camera and facial detection algorithms every moment your phone is awake would take a hefty chunk that's for sure!

I also can't help thinking how damn annoying it would be when you wanted to show someone something on your phone, and instead it switched to a front camera view of them rainbow vomiting so you'd quickly end up disabling this "feature" unless you were a spy or had no friends.

iPhone X Face ID fooled again by 'evil twin' mask

DougS Silver badge

Still more secure than fingerprints

Even if this hack is easier than their first cut at it, that's still a lot more work required than to fool fingerprint authentication, or any other phone's face scanner or iris scanner for that matter. It isn't as if these guys are selling a phone with unbeatable biometrics so I'm not sure what their point is other than trying to score some free publicity.

If someone is using their phone to pay for stuff and instead of using biometrics is typing in a PIN or password it isn't that hard to shoulder surf it via video - easier than putting together a 3D model of their face with pictures of their eyes glued on it (that would be a little obvious at the Starbucks checkout)

If you want payment security, don't use your phone to pay for stuff because NOTHING is really secure if you assume people can take physical possession of your phone at will. Of course, the same is true for credit/debit cards whether signature or PIN, and is extra true for cash since no "hacking" is needed to use someone else's $100 bill...

Another way to avoid eye contact: 4G on the Tube expected 'in 2019'

DougS Silver badge

Re: Pfft...

Judging for the explanation in the links - that the clay surrounding the tunnels was eventually heated up - it would seem the solution is to cool the clay back down to 14C. Run some refrigerant behind the walls and use it to heat nearby buildings in the winter. Assuming you remove more heat in the winter that is added during the summer, eventually the clay will be cool year round without the energy waste of dumping heat in the summer.

Yeah yeah, it would cost a lot and be too disruptive to retrofit, but they could keep it in mind for when they run future deep level lines or do major repairs on existing ones.

Unreal, man: Amazon pitches new 3D VR kit at dev newbies

DougS Silver badge

Re: Solution looking for a problem

3D keeps coming back, even though the public keeps telling the market DO NOT WANT very clearly. It flopped on TVs again just a few years ago, but the 3D pushers have just moved on to goggles (either independent or that rely on sticking your phone in there for bonus dork points) stupidly thinking they have a chance to take 3D mass market that way.

It might work with AR overlaying the real world - but I only say there's hope for that because it hasn't been tried yet with good enough AR to blend into the real world. Amazon is just capitalizing on the hype from Apple's ARkit release and the hope that they are going to join the ever growing line of companies that tried to foist 3D on the public.

DougS Silver badge

Re: No experience necessary?

Obviously Daedalus never browses without adblockers, or he'd know the LAST place you want to click is a big green button that says "Click Me"!

I can see the difference quite readily on Facebook. When I look at a link in the iOS Facebook app, the adblocker is not active and there's all kinds of bad stuff to avoid (of which a green "click me" button is probably one of the least troubling)

I use the 'open in Safari' option for each link just to make it feasible to look at them, but I'll bet most people look at links via the Facebook app, and assuming Facebook on Android similarly doesn't use your ad blocker unless you open in your external browser that's a billion plus people every day who would have learned NOT to click on any green "click me" button they see!

Neural networks: Today, classifying flowers... tomorrow, Skynet maybe

DougS Silver badge

Because classifying between only two specific types of iris is WAY easier than classifying all the various plants you might find in a garden?

Pokémon GO caused hundreds of deaths, increased crashes

DougS Silver badge

I would suggest "Darwin award"

But let's be honest, people so into Pokemon Go they managed to get run over by a car or walk off a cliff were never going to reproduce anyway!

Team Trump goes in to bat for Google and Facebook

DougS Silver badge

Hating on the electoral college

I don't understand why people keep bringing up that Trump lost the popular vote (except Trump, who's ego was bruised when he found out so he claims millions of fraudulent votes for Hillary were cast to put her over the top) Those who wanted Clinton can say it would have gone the other way if it was popular vote, but might come to regret it if were changed and the popular vote went against their favored candidate a few elections hence.

It isn't as if the electoral college came as a surprise, or at least it sure shouldn't have to anyone who lives in the US and pays even the slightest attention to elections. Granted, typically the popular vote and electoral college both go the same way, but in very close elections like this one (less than 100K votes swung in three states would have meant Clinton won) they don't have to go the same way.

Those who advocate for popular vote should realize what that would mean. One, all presidential election related ads would be run on national TV instead of local, costing local TV stations a ton of ad revenue. Two, campaigns would focus on the big cities in the big states and ignore the smaller ones. They'd have less incentive to pay attention to ag-heavy states like Iowa or rust belt states like Ohio, when there are more votes to be found in California, New York and Texas. Those states already have a larger voice than the smaller ones in congress by virtue of having more representatives in the house, this would give them a bigger voice in the executive branch as well. I suppose those who live in those states might think this is a good thing, but I'm not so sure.

DougS Silver badge

Appointing conservative judges

I have no problem with appointing conservative judges, as you say that's one of the things an election is about, but appointing people that are declared unqualified by the ABA is taking things too far. There are more than enough highly qualified conservative judges that there's no idea to appoint nincompoops like Brett Talley - who has never even tried a case or argued a motion in a federal court! His only real qualification seems to be that he's really young so his lifetime appointment could mean the US is saddled with an incompetent judge for 50 years.

I hope conservatives who cheer this "appoint them young to pack the courts forever" strategy will appreciate it when liberals inevitably do the same thing. What's next, appointing judges who lack a law degree?

Tesla reveals a less-long-legged truck, but a bigger reservation price

DougS Silver badge

400 mile charge in 30 minutes isn't gonna to be easy

Tesla hasn't stated the size of the battery packs, but claims less than 2 kwh per mile. Thus a 400 mile charge is at worst 800 kwh, which means 1.6 megawatts in 30 minutes. Let's say it is really efficient and well under 2 kwh per mile at 1.4 kwh per mile, so it needs a megawatt for 30 minutes. For a single truck.

Anyone have experience with provisioning multi megawatt electrical service from a utility? How much lead time is there - especially if the high tension lines aren't located where you are able to put your truck stop? How much does it cost?

Obviously this will work at a relatively high voltage (likely 7200 volts in the US) but to put it into terms we are more familiar with, at 240v it would be equivalent to 5kvA service to charge a single truck. I'm not sure "fast charging" will be very practical a lot of the time. Sure, in the early days of electric trucks when you find a stop that can handle your truck you may be the only one there at the time. And in the far future after almost all vehicles are electric the grid will be built up to handle a couple dozen trucks fast charging at once. But in between the early adoption and mass adoption stage it is going to be painful. Truckers better get used to the idea that they will slow charge while they sleep, not do a 30 minute charge while they eat during all those in-between years!

I've always thought that natural gas was a more practical way to power trucks in the US for the next few decades. It isn't as volumetrically efficient as diesel, but trucks are big so that's less of an issue. It would run like a diesel electric locomotive, except probably use a gas turbine at a fixed rpm to buffer with batteries. There's already a huge natural gas grid covering almost the entire US, we're producing more of it than we can use and that looks likely to continue for decades, and it would give us time to get the grid ready to handle this by working up to it with electric cars before trucks go electric.

Boss made dirt list of minions' mistakes, kept his own rampage off it

DougS Silver badge

Keeping track of mistakes

When I was running a small department years ago before I decided consulting was more to my taste, I instituted a rule that if you screwed up you bought lunch for the team. The rule was it had to be end user visible, big enough it would interrupt the workflow of at least one person, and had to be your fault (i.e. fat finger type screwup or not thinking through what you were doing, not something that was really the fault of an application or OS vendor like a patch that broke something)

I held myself the same rule, of course.

Someone told Google to nuke links to mean reviews of disgraced telco True Telecom

DougS Silver badge

Re: Googled it

Where are you searching from? Google can't be required to remove links worldwide to comply with an individual country's or region's laws.

Not that it particularly matters outside the country where True Telecom does business, or did business.

Abolish the Telly Tax? Fat chance, say MPs at non-binding debate

DougS Silver badge

BBC programming exports your culture around the world

The BBC does more than provide you with programming. Some of that programming is exported all over the world, and your culture along with it.

Wait, did Oracle tip off world to Google's creepy always-on location tracking in Android?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Their explanation is a lie

Google doesn't have to care about following YOU individually if they log your movements. Then they can give that information silently to the various TLAs, or make it available upon demand, or have lax security so that it is stolen from them without their knowledge.

You might be one of those "if you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about" people, but you might think differently if someday they start using it to form lists of suspects by looking at the people who were in a certain area(s) at a certain time(s) and take them in for questioning on that basis.

Basically you're making excuses for Google because you think targeted ads are somehow "better" than non-targeted ones. Why? The only possible reason is because advertising works on you, and you will buy something you see advertised for that reason alone. Otherwise why would you care whether the ad is for a breakfast place near you and you like pancakes, versus for a steak place two hours away and you're a vegetarian.

DougS Silver badge

About this "Oracle has been shopping this around for five months" thing

Would it really be that hard for a company Oracle's size to have difficulty getting a story like this in the press? Heck, they could send it to El Reg, and assuming they provided some proof or a way to independently verify it, El Reg would be happy to have a scoop. The same would be true of many tech news sites, bloggers, etc.

Was Oracle trying to get this info out there without it being known it was coming from Oracle? If so, I guess they've failed since that's being reported. But why would they care? Obviously they have a lot of enmity towards Google over Android, so why not be public about it? If they found something Google is doing and can give them a black eye in public, shouldn't they like that? Or better yet, if Google was using this information for profit (via better targeted localized ads) making it public and causing Google to pull it would cost them money.

Something here doesn't add up, I don't believe Oracle would struggle for months to get a story like this out there. Unless they are more incompetent than I'm giving them credit for, I suppose...

DougS Silver badge

Their explanation is a lie

They claim it is "part of an experiment to optimize the routing of messages through mobile networks", but a phone's OS has NOTHING to do with how cellular traffic is routed. That's entirely up to the carrier.

I'm with the guy earlier in this thread who suggested it is/was related to targeted advertising. They want to know where you are to better target ads at you, and location services being off was getting in the way of Google's profit. Maybe they weren't saving the information, since it would only be needed at the moment to deliver the best ads to you (i.e. if you are near ice cream shop A, you get their ad, whereas if you are near coffeeshop B you get their ad) but it still is against the user's wishes if they've disabled location services.

Sorry 'strange physics' fans, IceCube finds the Standard Model stands

DougS Silver badge

Nah, they'll just build a bypass around you.

DougS Silver badge

Ugh, the standard model is so boring

I really hope it is wrong, but that seems to be less and less likely.

To fix Intel's firmware fiasco, wait for Christmas Eve or 2018

DougS Silver badge

I wonder about motherboards

I have an Asrock motherboard with a vulnerable Skylake in it, but the latest BIOS is from last November. I somehow doubt I will be getting an updated version from them. Not a big deal since it is on my home network and isn't a laptop, but someone using it say in a school would have some real concerns.

I assume my HP laptop will get the fix since it is only a year old, and that's the one I'm really more concerned with.

Linus Torvalds 'sorry' for swearing, blames popularity of Linux itself

DougS Silver badge

Its really pretty simple

If you are going to change behavior in userspace, especially if by "changing behavior" you mean the kernel will panic in cases it previously didn't or a process will get killed in response to something that may not even be a problem, the correct way to handle it is with warnings to the kernel log.

Then kernel maintainers can collect reports and see which warnings are real (i.e. actual security issue) and which ones are false alarms, and adjust the code appropriately. Once you have it down to where you are sure the warnings only come for the real thing, then you can change behavior, because you know you are actually fixing something (i.e. closing a security loophole or simply fixing a software bug that was exposed by a process doing something it really shouldn't do but actually didn't want to do)

Iranian military hacker fingered for 'Game of p0wns' HBO leak

DougS Silver badge

Re: Forever?

My understanding of the statute of limitations in the US is that the "clock" on charges is stopped while you are out of the jurisdiction under which you've been charged. Technically that's true even across state lines, so if I broke a law in Alaska tomorrow and was charged for that crime after I'd left, and then visited Alaska again 20 years from now they could arrest me and make me face trial even if the statute of limitations on that crime would otherwise have long expired. Probably if the crime was so minor they wouldn't bother extraditing me they wouldn't bother arresting me when I returned but you never know.

Since Iran isn't going to extradite one of their citizens to the US - especially if he was working for the government - over this, the clock will remain forever stopped. He'd have to visit a country that had an extradition treaty with the US to have any worry though. Technically that could be Iran if someday relations got better, but in that case I imagine such cases would be dropped by mutual agreement.

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