* Posts by DougS

12862 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

More households invite creepy smart speakers indoors: Arch-slurper Google top dog for Q1

DougS Silver badge

I think it is more they don't understand

They don't realize just how invasive these things can be, and don't realize just how invasive Google is overall. The general public doesn't understand stuff like cookies and trackers, and how databases can be used to relate data collected from all sorts of different sources both online and off. Heck, I don't claim to fully understand it and I doubt more than a couple percentage of El Reg's readership (i.e. only those who have worked at Google, Facebook, etc.) possess the full picture either. If they don't know why using Chrome or Android is bad because it gives Google details of all your internet browsing, all your movements, etc. why should they be worried about it?

What they need are concrete examples, talking about how much data they have is all well and good, but it is meaningless to them. They need examples of WHY this hurts them, but the close hold Google etc. keep on the reams of personal data they collect means it is usually limited to anecdotal stories of "creepy" like "I searched for x on my phone and then started seeing advertisements for x on TV" (in the US cable/satellite companies use DVRs to insert targeted ads during the ad time reserved for the carrier/provider whether watched live or recorded) This happened to a few of my friends, when I explained why that can happen they were angry at the cable company and not Google who was truly responsible...

Ideally the truly scary details would be provided by a well placed former employee blowing the whistle, but when you hold millions in restricted stock in your former employer it tends to act as a disincentive to rock the boat even once you are out the door.

Google open sources standardized code in bid to become Mr Robots.txt

DougS Silver badge

Re: No feedback

Why is it Google's problem if you don't configure your server correctly to allow indexing? How are they supposed to tell the difference between a server where "disallow: /" was supposed to have been removed and one where it is very much desired to be left in place? That is 100% a server side issue, you should talk to Red Hat about a possible solution there, not Google (i.e. when you first change the default contents of the WWW tree but leave robots.txt unchanged, send an email to root to remind them it needs to be changed if they want it indexed)

Agreed on removing stuff from the index that doesn't belong, maybe there should be a "purge" directive that tells crawlers to immediate remove anything covered under that directive rather than observing whatever policy they may have for caching/retaining it. Then the site owner is in charge of triggering it.

DeepNude's makers tried to deep-six their pervy AI app. Web creeps have other ideas: Cracked copies shared online as code decompiled

DougS Silver badge

Re: All we need now is

More likely they would talk to the dogs they see leading humans on a leash, who pick up their poop and carry it for them!

DougS Silver badge

Re: This might be a good thing

That may be but once it is learned they aren't going to unlearn it anymore than someone who is mortally afraid of spiders or butterflies or whatever is going to stop being afraid. Your 'solution' does nothing for anyone over the age of 5.

DougS Silver badge

Re: This might be a good thing

Well OK "true porn" shots of a woman actually having sex are a different matter than being naked, but those are already faked with Photoshop (just ask any female celebrity) and they will get harder and harder to tell from the real thing.

The point is that as all the technologies to fake pictures improve to the point where they are indistinguishable from real pictures, eventually everyone will have no reason to believe any picture that includes someone they know is real whether they are engaging in BDSM or walking their dog topless in a park.

If a woman had a real porn/naked picture of her "in the wild" she would have much less reason to worry if her friends/family/co-workers/neighbors saw it, because there would be much less fear of consequences. You can't get fired from your teaching job when the school board knows the picture can't be proven to be real, etc.

DougS Silver badge

This might be a good thing

If there's an app that can make clothed women appear naked, then you can't trust ANY pictures of naked women. All the women who wish they hadn't sent naked selfies to that ex boyfriend, or otherwise have real naked pics of themselves out on the internet they wish weren't out there have plausible deniability that those pics are fake.

Pretty much would end "revenue porn" and hackers getting hold of someone's pics from blackmailing them into sending them more. They have no hold on the victims any longer if a naked pic of her can be trivially faked and everyone knows it.

Trouble in paradise: Just a day after G20 love-in, Japan throttles chip part exports to South Korea

DougS Silver badge

Re: There should be a law against.....

As much as I'd love to finger Trump for yet another terrible thing he's done, this has been going on for far longer than he's been on the political scene. Hell, its been going on far longer than he's been alive.

The only difference is that typically the US tried to intervene diplomatically when our allies had trade disputes, because barriers to trade make things worse for everyone. That's unlikely to happen with Trump's administration, since he believes trade is a zero sum game and that if these countries trade less with each other they'll be forced to trade more with the US.

Oracle goes on for 50 pages about why it thinks the Pentagon's $10bn JEDI cloud contract stinks

DougS Silver badge

Re: Oracle would not complain about the DoD contracting from one supplier alone

I don't think Oracle has ever claimed they should be the sole winner. They just don't like that a sole winner was chosen, since it will be such a big advantage for the cloud provider who gets it.

I tend to agree, the DoD "stamp of approval" on Amazon as the sole source for this contract will legitimize them with other government agencies and they may grow so big it may be impossible for other cloud providers to compete for non-government contracts due to their advantages of scale.

There's no reason they couldn't have split up the contract several ways. Though I think it would be funny if they did and Oracle still wasn't one of the winners!

What would Jesus tweet? Church of England hands down commandments for Anglicans on social media

DougS Silver badge

So you're saying the Old Testament is worthless?

Since it can be so easily overruled by the New Testament?

I guess that might be a good argument to use against the idiots who think the world is 6000 years old.

Google's reCAPTCHA favors – you guessed it – Google: Duh, only a bot would refuse to sign into the Chocolate Factory

DougS Silver badge

Re: I like polluting Google's data set

If those engineers have Boeing's management overruling them, there will be blood in the streets when they look at the traffic light for the next street down, see "green" and plow into cross traffic...

DougS Silver badge

Re: I like polluting Google's data set

That would make a nice add-on for someone to write for Firefox (hint hint)

Just set it loose going to sites from your site history that use Google CRAPTCHAs and have it click random boxes for a minute and then abandon it. It would need to be clever with random delays and varying behavior so Google couldn't suss it out. Maybe even fake the browser identification to claim it is Chrome so Google can't simply ignore non-Chrome users.

DougS Silver badge

I like polluting Google's data set

I deliberately click on all the wrong boxes for 30-60 seconds before finally trying to get it right. Fuck them if they think I'm going to help their self driving cars tell what traffic lights are.

Yuge U-turn: Prez Trump walks back on Huawei ban... at least the tech sector seems to think so

DougS Silver badge

Re: @AC

Whenever Trump says something unforgivably stupid, his apologists claim he was "joking". Whenever he does something unforgivably stupid, they claim he's playing the "long game". Anyone who believes Trump is actually smart is either blinded by party or even more stupid than he is.

He lacks all intellectual curiosity, he's immune to facts that differ from what he believes even when he's proven wrong, and he has one and only one strategy for what he calls "negotiation". Threats, bluster, and knocking down everyone's sand castle including his own then saying "let's all build our sand castles almost identical to what we had before, and I'll take credit for everything"

Apparently the game will be so "long" that after he leaves office and the plans he was supposedly working on via bluster and threats like getting North Korea to denuclearize and getting Iran to permanently give up their nuclear plans instead of for 15 years ultimately fail, he'll blame whoever succeeds him. Whether democrat or republican. And some idiots will probably be dumb enough to believe him, and say "if it wasn't for president X, Trump's plans would have worked and North Korea would have a Trump Tower ...er I mean would have no nuclear weapons".

Suspected dark-web meth dealers caught by, er, 'using real address' when buying stamps

DougS Silver badge

That sounds like the perfect job for one of those "work at home in your free time" businesses people post ads for on web forums. For bonus points, you ship a boxes of envelopes 100 at a time to different people around the country so the drugs not only don't come from a post office near but not even from the same post office.

Iran's blame-it-on-Bitcoin 'leccy shortage probably isn't a US hack cover story... yet

DougS Silver badge

Capped draw would inconvenience legitimate uses for short term higher draws, but having small caps on monthly usage would make 24x7 high draw like bitcoin mining untenable while not affecting those who use normal amounts of power.

One teeensy little 13-minute power cut, and WD you look at the size of that chip supply cut!

DougS Silver badge

There have been cases in the past

Where big memory players have been shown to collude to distort the market.

Get them together, eenie, meenie, minie, moe, and they pick the one who will take the hit and suffer an "accidental" power cut.

In Rust we trust: Brave smashes speed limit after rewriting ad-block engine in super-lang

DougS Silver badge

Pfizer sell antibiotics...

Which is a perfect example, since they aren't a permanent cure (i.e. if you get some type of infection and the antibiotics cure you, you can still be re-infected) and as organisms have become resistant to generic antibiotics there is now a need for new patented antibiotics to replace them!

DougS Silver badge

You think Chrome developers have a REAL reason for removing that API? They just need an excuse for handicapping its ability to block ads.

Google wanting Chrome to do a good job of blocking ads is as unlikely as Pfizer wanting to invent a drug to cure a disease, instead of a drug to treat it.

2001: Linux is cancer, says Microsoft. 2019: Hey friends, ah, can we join the official linux-distros mailing list, plz?

DougS Silver badge

They are now the Voyager Borg

They are not the fearsome Borg that debuted on TNG, they're the pathetic Borg of Voyager who are outmatched by a single ship alone tens of thousands of light years from its nearest spacedock repair facility.

They are more likely to get assimilated by Linux than the other way around at this point.

Your server remote login isn't root:password, right? Cool. You can keep your data. Oh sh... your IoT gear, though?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Trump is going to be so angry!

Ultimate Supreme Hyper Cyber Force!

IVE HAD ENOUGH! iQuit. Jobs done. Jony cashes out at Apple to run his own design biz

DougS Silver badge

Won't make much difference for Apple

Apple will be one of the clients of his new firm. To the extent he might have a bit less active role with Apple's hardware design could be a good thing - one might lay the butterfly keyboard fiasco at his feet for putting thinness above all.

Brexit: Digital border possible for Irish backstop woes, UK MPs told

DougS Silver badge

Comparison with the Chunnel & Gibraltar is a farce

The Chunnel is pretty tightly controlled, you can't "sneak" across to France. While Gibraltar isn't quite as small it is still small enough that you could easily monitor it if you had to. The border with Ireland on the other hand is large and goes over miles of private land, so it is pretty obviously the outlier here between the three.

Yes they have plenty of other land borders to worry about, but that doesn't mean they don't want to add more. Especially in an area where people going across freely has been the norm for long time.

Micron: Look, we've resumed trade with Huawei on a wee 'subset' of DRAM

DougS Silver badge

Re: "Company revenues for its Q3 ended 31 May were down a massive 38.6%"

To be fair, most of Micron's drop was due to prices dropping for DRAM and NAND which started before the whole China thing. If they listed those amounts in bytes the decline would be far smaller.

Trade between China and the US will be permanently impacted on both sides by this, with China finding alternative suppliers for farm products and ramping up efforts to make stuff like DRAM/NAND themselves (they already do, but at low volumes) and US companies moving at least some production out of China (but to other cheap countries like Vietnam, it isn't coming back to the US)

As I've said before, once this starts hurting the US economy badly enough Trump will be forced to cave. China will not blink, because they know Trump put himself over a barrel by starting the trade war when he has to face an election soon.

The fact both sides will permanently lose markets with each other is why trade wars are always a bad idea, unless the things being traded are not available elsewhere. Trump is simply too uneducated to know this. He'll be forced to cave, but will claim victory when things go back to the way they were, like he has for USMCA, his replacement for NAFTA which is almost identical to NAFTA in every way.

FCC adviser and fiber telco CEO thrown in the clink for five years after conning investors out of $270m with fake deals

DougS Silver badge

Re: Someone who broke into an ATM machine

Would you impose the same penalty for gentle seduction as for violent rape?

Theft is theft and rape is rape. I guess you think if a guy talks a girl into drinking too much and has sex with her after she's passed out he should get a light sentence? After all, it was just "persuasion".

DougS Silver badge

Someone who broke into an ATM machine

In the area last year received 10 years for stealing a few thousand dollars and a few thousand more in property damage.

If sentences were proportionate either he'd get an hour or she'd get a hundred consecutive life terms. Serves him right for not stealing hundreds of millions of dollars I guess!

Eggheads have found a positive link between the number of racist tweets and the number of racist hate crimes in US cities

DougS Silver badge

Yep, crime is more difficult in such small towns because everyone knows each other. They probably commute for their hate crimes!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Someone's Private Idaho

Why don't they buy an island and create their own nation? Then they don't have to boot anyone out and the rest of the world won't have to deal with them. Heck I'll contribute to help buy them an island just to see them off!

I think that would be great, because I'd love to see how quickly they'd start turning on each other and being racist against those who aren't blond with blue eyes, or deciding gingers aren't properly white, etc.

BTW, Montpelier is in Vermont, not Idaho...

DougS Silver badge

How do you assume casuality?

I think it is pretty obvious that all this proves is that in areas where there is more racism, you will have people both saying racist things and doing racist things. In some cases perhaps the same people, but there are a lot of people who are only brave behind the keyboard, and likewise some smart enough not to wave red flags to help cops find them when they do things that could put them in prison for years.

Where something was posted from on Twitter is TOTALLY irrelevant to what happens in that area, unless Twitter has a "see tweets from people who live near me" option that's popular. If I made a tweet and it said it was from the city I live in, how would people in the city who don't know me and therefore would never see my tweets be influenced by what I said?

If they took a random city with this tweet to deed correlation and booted all the racist tweeters off Twitter I doubt it would influence that city's rate of hate crimes at all. Some people might be motivated to commit racist acts by reading/hearing racist things, but a tweet from New Zealand would work just as well to trigger them as a tweet from across town.

RIP Dyn Dynamic DNS :'( Oracle to end Dyn-asty by axing freshly gobbled services, shoving customers into its cloud

DougS Silver badge

What's a good free DDNS solution?

The only thing I use it for is my mom's PC, I have her router update a DDNS hostname with her IP so if she has problems I can remote desktop in to it. Figures that Oracle would drop something like that which costs them almost nothing to run because they can't charge for it!

That's a sticky Siemens situation: Former coder blows his logic bomb guilty plea deal in court

DougS Silver badge

What the hell kind of contract did he have?

If he was an employee, his work product belongs to his employer. If he was a contractor, the same is true for stuff he developed while they were paying. It is only if they hired him and he used something he'd previously developed on his own time that he could claim ownership of it. But he better have some record of having made that clear when it was installed and them acknowledging it. You can't just install something you put together to over the weekend off the clock and logic bomb it to keep them paying you.

It's a fullblown Crysis: Gamers press pause on PC purchases, shipments freeze

DougS Silver badge

China is lifting a lot of people out of poverty every year so it is easy to grow at a fast clip. Once that's mostly done they'll be in the same position as the rest of the developed world where your growth rate becomes closely tied to your population growth.

The reason why the US grew at 5% back in the 50s and 60s isn't because American was "great" then, it was because the population was growing a lot faster because people were having more babies. If it wasn't for immigration the US might not have any economic growth at all today since the native born population has a birthrate below the replacement rate!

The Eldritch Horror of Date Formatting is visited upon Tesco

DougS Silver badge

Re: best way so far?

That ordinal date representation probably causes problems during leap years. I wonder how many systems assume DDD <= 365 because the programmer didn't consider that. Plus while I imagine the ISO standard specifies it, and I assume Jan. 1 is 001, there's room for ambiguity there as well if the programmer doesn't have that ISO standard in hand...

DougS Silver badge

How in the hell is a two digit year inadequate for a packing date? You stocking a fallout shelter you plan to hand down to your great-great-grandchildren?

Open-heart nerdery: Boffins suggest identifying and logging in people using ECGs

DougS Silver badge

Hope you don't need that to login to your phone

Could be a problem for calling 911 when you're having a heart attack!

The Great IoT Protocol War may have been won: Thread's 1.2 release aims at business

DougS Silver badge

Re: A plague on all of them

"Someone" will get right on that as soon as they do something about the insecurity of devices in the enterprise market, the SME market and home PCs/routers.

Bill G on Microsoft's biggest blunder... Was it Bing, Internet Explorer, Vista, the antitrust row?

DougS Silver badge

Re: So which company do you think DID see the future often?

I think one could argue that as the Macintosh's most important feature, its GUI, was based on tech from Xerox it wasn't solely an internally designed Apple product. And as I pointed out the iPhone wasn't solely internally developed either - they based its touch on acquired tech from Fingerworks and its OS/GUI on acquired tech from NeXT.

DougS Silver badge

Re: So which company do you think DID see the future often?

Fuschia has not been used for anything yet, so you are YEARS too early to hold it out as a success. They still have plenty of time to cancel it, or release it and have the Android world roundly reject it so it becomes a niche used only in Pixel phones.

DougS Silver badge

Microsoft never had a chance in mobile

Everyone was leery about getting into bed with them because they saw how they dominated the hardware manufacturers with Windows, and they didn't want the same fate. They ended up there anyway with Android, but at the time they believed Microsoft was much more evil than Google. Live and learn, I guess.

The few who did got burned badly. Remember Sendo? No one does, because their partnership with Microsoft bankrupted them. Nokia suffered the same fate, you only remember them because of what they used to be. Their list of other partners include has beens like Motorola, Palm, Nortel and Ericcson. The only companies that survived a mobile partnership with Microsoft are LG and Verizon, but only because mobile hardware was such a small part of their overall business.

Their other problem was they wanted so badly to tie it to Windows, and while that might be useful in the business world it was stupid and pointless for consumers. That forced a variety of dumb decisions, culminating in destroying the finally-usable GUI in Windows 7 for the abortion that was Windows 8. Google didn't have a desktop to worry about, giving them a lot of freedom to make radical changes like their quick switch from a Blackberry like device to an iPhone like device after Steve Jobs showed them the future. They were smart and realized that's where the market would go, meanwhile Steve Ballmer was laughing at iPhone and talking up the Blackberry imitating Windows Mobile.

DougS Silver badge

So which company do you think DID see the future often?

Google bought Maps, Android, Nest and many others - search is basically their only successful home grown product. If you want to know which products Google developed internally, look at those long lists of products Google has canceled. That's always the fate for stuff they come up with themselves.

Apple bought NeXT and based macOS/iOS on it, bought FingerWorks to get the capacitive touch software that made iPhone/iPad possible, bought Siri to bring the first 'assistant' to a phone.

If a company has to develop everything themselves to be successful, the only successful companies are those with a single product. As far as I can tell, it has never happened that a company with a single product anywhere near as successful as Google Search or Windows internally developed a SECOND product of similar success.

Maybe seeing the future doesn't need to take place before it happens, and being the one to recognize the potential of something that others miss and deciding to become the company that takes it from a niche where it will be forgotten is also of value. Nobody would remember Xerox's GUI if Jobs hadn't seen it, "stole" it and expanded on the idea to turn it into the modern GUI. Where would Android be today without Google? It probably wouldn't even warrant an entry on Wikipedia today, rather whatever Google bought instead of Android would likely be the dominant competitor to iPhone.

Iran is doing to our networks what it did to our spy drone, claims Uncle Sam: Now they're bombing our hard drives

DougS Silver badge

Re: Silver lining

If all the VAX with SYSTEM/MANAGER were logged into and had all their files deleted, I'll bet when they were rebuilt they'd use a different password.

Having someone point out "hey, this is a bad idea" is the stuff that gets ignored. Not the stuff that causes major headaches for everyone involved and long hours of overtime for the IT guys. They will take security more seriously in the future, I guarantee it.

DougS Silver badge

Silver lining

The computers that Iran compromises and wipes will be forced to be rebuilt with better security policies and employees having learned the hard way to be more resistant to social engineering. That will better protect them in the future when China, Russia et al try to compromise them.

Wiping is incredibly disruptive, so it is obvious you've been compromised. If someone silently penetrates your network and steals secrets they might continue doing that for a long time before it becomes known.

Biz tells ransomware victims it can decrypt their files... by secretly paying off the crooks and banking a fat margin

DougS Silver badge

Re: Doesn't matter

No, because it is obvious. If no one pays then holding files for ransom makes no money. The scammers will go back to sending 419 spam or whatever they were doing previously.

You really think they will keep doing this if suddenly everyone stopped paying?

DougS Silver badge

Doesn't matter

They are lying about how they are recovering your files, and they are padding the bill. Who would pay a middleman a premium to pay a ransom they could easily pay themselves?

If your wife was kidnapped and they wanted $100K in unmarked bills, would you consider it fine if you paid $300K for someone to "use their elite special forces skills" to get her back and then it turned out all they did was put $100K in unmarked bills in the drop off and picked her up when they divulged her location? This is basically what is happening here, except instead of "elite special forces skills" to recover your wife they are claiming to use "elite hacker/security skills" to decrypt the files.

This is fraud, IMHO. What's worse, it encourages future ransom attacks by making it more profitable. I kind of wonder if bitcoin's recent resurgeance in price isn't largely due to all the ransomware attacks that require payment in bitcoin. There ought to be a law against paying such ransoms, if everyone was forced to stop paying the attacks would stop. Paying the ransom is a tragedy of the commons...

It's official. You can get FUCT, US Supremes tell scandalized bureaucrats in rude trademark spat

DougS Silver badge

Unleash a "flood of vulgarity"?

I don't see why this would result. All it does is let you trademark something like "New York Fucking City", it doesn't make consumers more likely to wear clothes that say that, or patronize a business called that. It just protects a SUCCESSFUL business selling such clothes or whatever from someone else stealing their idea. If you file a trademark for t-shirts that say that and no one buys them, then what difference did the trademark make?

Apple sued over fondleslab death blaze: iPad battery blamed for deadly New Jersey apartment fire

DougS Silver badge

Many lithium batteries have failed while being used exactly in the manner prescribed, because of either poor engineering or poor quality control driven by cost concerns of the manufacturer.

And many have failed while being used exactly in the manner prescribed, despite proper engineering and great quality control. It doesn't matter what the manufacturer of a device using lithium batteries does, if you sell enough of them you WILL have some of them explode and/or catch fire even if everything was done right.

A can of gas isn't "stored properly" if it is in your living room. There's a reason why it has recommendations for storage, filling and usage, and despite all that STILL would be against every building and fire code to store in it in your living room. Because it is known to be dangerous. Fortunately we don't use gasoline powered appliances so there is no reason to have gasoline in your living space, but no such luck with lithium batteries.

One has to wonder that if we had known of their issues before they appeared on the scene if consumer safety legislation wouldn't have banned them for use in devices intended be held in the hands or used in the home. I'd still have my lithium battery powered hedge trimmer that's stored in the garage, but my iPhone would use something else and probably be twice as thick.

DougS Silver badge

How do we know they didn't have working fire detectors? Lithium battery fires ignite very quickly, especially if it was sitting on something else that catches fire quickly like many couches and carpets.

These lawsuits are always kind of dumb though, everyone should know by now that nothing containing a lithium battery can be made 100% safe so it should be "buyer beware" as far as fires unless they can prove a specific manufacturing defect. You don't sue BP over gasoline catching fire.

Chrome ad-blocker crackdown preview due late July. Here's a half-dozen reasons why add-on devs are still upset

DougS Silver badge

Re: Then I have to stick on Firefox

Even if Chrome managed to do a better job blocking ads than Firefox with any extension could I'd still stick with it, because I don't believe giving Google access to all my browsing data is in my best interest. At all.

So while I hope Firefox continues being a better browser than Chrome, even if it was much worse I'd never use Chrome.

Alexa, am I having a heart attack? Here's how smart speakers could detect their masters spluttering to death

DougS Silver badge

No chance you'd want to trust an advertising company with this

The privacy policy for Amazon or Google is horrible. They'd use the information they collect from this to sell you anything from prescription drugs (in the US) to stop snoring solutions to cough drops.

It pretty much has to be a dedicated medical device, or at least something that's sold AS a product, not something sold subsidized because YOU are the product.

A $4bn biz without a live product just broke the record for the amount paid for a domain name. WTF is going on?

DougS Silver badge

Re: "Has whoever sold the domain actually got the money?"

"Cash" when used in the business world in the US means currency. Doesn't have to be paper currency, it could be a bank transfer or cashier's check. They basically mean anything that immediately changes your bank balance, as opposed to paying in other instruments that may have strings attached or not be easily fungible like stock, bonds, real estate, etc.

When dealing with real estate, sometimes you'll have buyers making an "all cash offer". That means they won't be taking out a mortgage and have enough to fund the entire purchase price themselves, not that they will show up at the closing with a suitcase stuffed with $100 bills.

Must watch: GE's smart light bulb reset process is a masterpiece... of modern techno-insanity

DougS Silver badge

They missed the obvious fucking solution

Have a hardware button on the base of the bulb. If you unscrew it, the button is released. Screw it back in and button is depressed which resets it and then it can be reprogrammed as if it was new.

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