* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

It's the thought that counts: Illinois emits 'no location stalking' law

DougS Silver badge

What about Google?

They will "ask for permission" on Android phones, but it will be buried in a huge long EULA type thing you have to agree to if you want to use the phone. What good does a law like this do when you can bury terms in a novel length 'contract' written by lawyers, and you can't use a product if you decline?

Shadow Brokers hike prices for stolen NSA exploits, threaten to out ex-Uncle Sam hacker

DougS Silver badge

"No fallout from last month's sale"

Maybe the buyer was a CIA front? That's one way to keep their exploits from falling into the hands of malware authors. For a while at least, unless you trust Shadowbrokers won't double dip and resell them elsewhere down the road!

Maybe they suspect the CIA was the buyer, and decided to jack up the prices since they can afford more. If I were them, and thought I was selling to the CIA, I'd just keep doubling the prices every month...

In touching tribute to Samsung Note 7, fidget spinners burst in flames

DougS Silver badge

Even if they didn't have to be plugged in to be charged up, they'd still have a LiON battery, which is what catches on fire.

It's the iPhone's 10th b'day or, as El Reg calls it, 'BILL RAY DAY'

DougS Silver badge

Another reason Android fans should thank Apple

Without the iPhone, Microsoft would have ended up being the second competitor in the smartphone world. No doubt once they had a foothold they'd have played their typical anti-competitive games to damage Android and probably locked it out of the corporate world entirely, plus they'd compete across the whole price range instead of just at the high end like Apple.

No way Android would have anything like the market share it has today against that combination.

DougS Silver badge

Re: "apart from the intuitive UI"

Yeah, I kept the list down to the highlights...

Some of the "problems" like built in battery or lack of headphone jack are or before long will be "problems" on the majority of Android devices, so the bitch list is a bit of a moving target.

DougS Silver badge

"apart from the intuitive UI"

Apple knew that most people didn't give a shit about the hardware's capabilities, they wanted something that was easy to use. "Easy to use" is not how 98% of the population would describe any previous attempts at a smartphone. WAP? Seriously...who came up with that pile of shit?? Downloading apps via the IR port??

This is still true today, despite a decade of whining from Apple haters about non-removable batteries, lack of SD card and picking and choosing specs where the iPhone is lacking compared to their pet favorite.

Inmarsat flings latest Wi-Fi-on-airliners satellite into orbit

DougS Silver badge

I wish Emirates Air flew in the US

Other than Southwest who is passably decent if spartan, the remaining carriers in the US are horror show of terrible comfort and worse service, all for a high price!

'Janus' resurfaces: I was behind the original Petya. I want to help with NotPetya

DougS Silver badge

Re: Regular ransomware authors must be terribly frustrated

Some sort of a grey hat hacker making ransomware unprofitable in the future, at the cost of damage being done now? Arguably that would be justifiable on the "greater good" measure over the long run, but if the courts catch up the perp(s) I doubt they'd see it that way - and those affected today definitely would not...

America throws down gauntlet: Accept extra security checks or don't carry laptops on flights

DougS Silver badge

Re: Laptop rental

How do you know YOUR laptop isn't compromised, either at the factory or sometime later? Not all malware announces itself by asking for ransom...

DougS Silver badge

Laptop rental

Use VMware P2V to copy your laptop's image to a VM file on a USB key, bring that overseas, plug into a rental laptop with VMware Player installed and you're in business. One less to thing to carry through the airport with you, too.

Surely someone is looking at it from this angle, and will make a lot of money.

Murderous Uber driver 'attacked passenger and the app biz did nothing. Then he raped me'

DougS Silver badge

Re: Interesting.

It could be the same person, and he could be both an activist and convicted of attempted murder. Maybe prison changed him, maybe there is more to the story of his conviction, or maybe the 'activist' thing is just a ruse to find vulnerable people.

Kaspersky Lab US staff grilled by Feds in nighttime swoop

DougS Silver badge

I think the government has figured out what a gaping hole AV is

It is trusted with access to the inner workings of the OS, and its behavior is allowed to be updated constantly in an automated fashion without the OK of admins. Since no major Russian company is allowed to operate if it goes against Putin's orders, it is safe to assume Putin at least has the potential to exert influence on Kaspersky - i.e. maybe he never has, but if he "asks" they either comply or stop doing business.

Certainly using their software on US election or other critical infrastructure is a bad idea, almost as bad of an idea as Iran trusting that hardware or software with a US origin hasn't been compromised by the CIA to damage their nuclear program upon presidential order.

FWIW I don't think you should necessarily trust e.g. Symantec either. I think you should use Microsoft's AV products because you already must have blind faith in them if you use Windows, so using their AV doesn't change anything. AV is so dangerous if compromised you don't want those eggs in a second basket if you can help it.

DougS Silver badge

So I guess you must run Kaspersky on Linux, since if you won't use US products you don't use Windows nor Mac. Only problem is that there's no point to running AV software on Linux - the only reason anyone does is 1) to meet a pointless checkbox requirement for e.g. PCI compliance or 2) to protect Windows PCs that may receive the files from those Linux hosts later (which supposedly doesn't apply to you)

It seems like Microsoft is the best choice for Windows AV, since you don't have to add an extra company to trust and worry about possible Russian govt ties or a certifiable loony CEO. The reality is that no AV software detects new malware automatically, they almost always have to receive updates to do it - none of the big ones detected today's most recent ransomware without updates, for example.

US trade watchdog boss goes all Kendrick Lamar on self-driving cars

DougS Silver badge

Treat personal info like medical info

That would be nice, but I have a feeling Google will be lobbying heavily behind the scenes against that. Knowing where you go and when is more information to feed their advertising monster, and they won't willingly give it up. Oh sure, publicly they'll probably say they don't want to collect that info, but privately their lobbyists will be working overtime coming up with loopholes they can quietly use!

Search results suddenly missing from Google? Well, BLAME CANADA!

DougS Silver badge

Didn't the EU (or was it Germany?) already try this?

I thought they were trying to rule the "right to be forgotten" extended to google.com, not just country specific google.xx or geolocated results.

Same thing, same stupid idea.

Facebook hit two billion users today and SugarCRM reminded us you are Zuck's product

DougS Silver badge


Just curious, but why did your wife create five accounts? What were they for? I could understand a second account, if you wanted to have one that's "public" (i.e. the one your employer / government knows about) and one that lets you be the real you. But five??

Mozilla dev and Curl inventor Daniel Stenberg denied travel to USA

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Re: Save the Planet!

Guess he must not have been flying United. They don't bother with cunning ruses, they'd simply drag him off the plane if they were overbooked!

Ever wondered why the universe only has black holes in S or XXXL? No? Boffins have an answer

DougS Silver badge

Re: Sorry, but I am still not buying it...

The 'growing at the rate of one solar mass every 10,000 years' is for supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies only. It does not apply to the small black holes that are remnants of stars. A few might get lucky and have another star move close enough it can be captured and eventually "eaten", but that's going to be quite rare.

Generally a stellar mass black hole remains roughly the same size forever - there is no mechanism for it to get bigger. If the Sun was transformed into a black hole, it wouldn't swallow the planets, let alone other stars. After all, it has been there for about 5 billion years, and has swallowed no other stars, nor Mercury, Venus, Earth, etc. Since the destructive act whereby a star (more massive than our Sun) becomes a black hole costs it a lot of mass, its ability to swallow other stars is actually reduced after its life as a black hole begins, making it even less likely to do so than when it is a star.

Blunder down under: self-driving Aussie cars still being thwarted by kangaroos

DougS Silver badge

Deer may be worse in the US because of what's around our roads

Correct me if I'm wrong, but where kangaroos are hopping in front of your car there are generally no ditches on the side of the road. Is there generally vegetation up close to the road or is there a 'buffer zone' where you'd be able to see kangaroos? The lack of ditches and especially if there's a buffer zone, it would provide autonomous cars a fighting chance to see them out there before they get on the road. It might not be possible to predict their movements, but the car can at least slow down to give itself more ability to evade the kangaroo or stop completely if necessary.

Where I live roads outside of cities/towns typically have ditches on both sides, and often tall weeds in those ditches and farm fields or pastures to the other side of the ditch. After June when the corn is taller than a human, the deer can go from invisible to leaping into the path of your car in one second, which is why deer carcasses (or the dried blood from its aftermath before it has rained) are so common. Hopefully heat sensing cameras would be able to see them even if they are 5-10 feet deep in the cornfield, giving the car much better notice than us meatbags get with our pathetic visible light only eyes.

Kangaroos look like they're probably a little heavier and therefore do more damage to the vehicle and its occupants than the typical deer (at least the white tailed deer around here) so I can see why those collisions are probably a bigger issue from that standpoint. Up north they hit moose which can exceed half a ton, the occupants of a car/SUV often do not survive. Luckily they're slower and don't leap about like deer and kangaroos.

Researchers blind autonomous cars by tricking LIDAR

DougS Silver badge

@Doctor Syntax

The car remembers exactly where all other cars around it were and their speeds, and where any cars pulled over were, so unless it is very heavy traffic it should know enough to successfully pull over. If it can't safely do so it will slow to a stop where it is, and other cars will have those other lanes available to divert around it.

Assuming someone hasn't jammed all communication abilities with other cars, it would also be telling other cars about its plight and desire to pull over, and they'd make room. Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, this theoretical attacks blinds ALL sensors and disrupts ALL communications, right? If it does that then all the cars will be slowing to a stop where they are, and it won't be any different than what happens today when a truck jackknifes and blocks all lanes of traffic - except that it will happen a lot less often.

DougS Silver badge

So what would you do if you were blinded while driving?

You'd slow to a stop and pull over to the best of your ability, using your last memory of the road ahead. A self driving car would have a more accurate memory of the road ahead and know exactly the steering input to get it there, so it could very neatly pull over out of the way. It isn't going to "slam on the brakes" like people are suggesting here, that's ridiculous and counterproductive.

There are laws against blinding drivers and pilots, there would be similar laws against blinding self driving cars. Sure, criminals might use this to make a self driving armored car pull over so they could rob it, but they better blind ALL its sensors in every direction inside and out lest it record them committing their crime, they better jam its cellular lest it call the cops the instant it is blinded providing GPS coordinates, and they better disable its ability to move before they leave lest it follow them to help the cops track them.

DougS Silver badge

No encryption would be used, it would simply pick a random number at startup and encode that in the beam's modulation, so that it could tell which beam "belong to it" when reflected back.

Google hit with record antitrust fine of €2.4bn by Europe

DougS Silver badge


Apple has about 15% of smartphone market share, so it is no way comparable to Android's 85% share in terms of market dominance. You don't like the walled garden, no one is keeping you there.

As for the 30% cut, maybe you should check Google's cut of app store revenue? Yep, same 30%...

DougS Silver badge

If you were to invent a really great device...

What percentage of all advertising is a recently invented really great products that most people haven't heard of yet, versus the assortment of me-too products that bring nothing new to the table, useless products that bring nothing at all to the table, assorted scams that are a drain on society, or worst of all, political ads?

I'd say about 0.1% or so is really great product you haven't heard of, at a guess. And I'm probably overestimating at that!

Idea to encrypt stuff on the web at rest hits the IETF's Standard Track

DougS Silver badge

That may be their intention.

US engineer in the clink for wrecking ex-bosses' smart meter radio masts with Pink Floyd lyrics

DougS Silver badge

Re: Good he didn't reprogram the radio towers

Surprised they didn't try to get him for copyright violations at $150,000 per incident for copying the lyrics onto the devices!

DougS Silver badge

Or if he was a cop who killed a black man he'd be acquitted, serve no time, and have been on paid leave during the trial.

Intel's Skylake and Kaby Lake CPUs have nasty hyper-threading bug

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Re: This is gonna suck.

intel-microcode might help in this limited circumstance (assuming it handles suspend properly) but what about other issues that require UEFI patching, like the recent ME exploit? That can't be fixed through the Linux kernel since it operated below the level of the OS or even a hypervisor. Any laptop that doesn't let you patch UEFI directly that is running Linux needs a Windows partition - that's the only reason I have one on mine.

DougS Silver badge

Re: This is gonna suck.

I stand corrected on OS X UEFI updates. I hadn't ever seen them on Intel's site, but it makes sense Apple would distribute them directly.

You still can't get Linux executables to patch UEFI, if your UEFI doesn't patch itself directly like my laptop's doesn't, you have to keep a Windows partition around just for that purpose.

DougS Silver badge

Re: ugh

Well, have you seen those symptoms yet? If not...

Also, look at how long it took them to find this, since it affects all Skylakes it is at least two years since customer testing of Skylakes started, even longer since Intel did internal tests. It can't be all that common or easy to trigger, or it would have been identified a LONG time ago.

DougS Silver badge

Re: This is gonna suck.

Where "OS" = "Windows only", sure. You're going to have a long wait if you want OS X or Linux executables to patch your UEFI.

Queensland Police want access to locked devices

DougS Silver badge

I used to really think Australia would be a cool place to live

Sad that it is becoming more of a police state than the US, let alone the UK. Why are so many sheep letting the terrorists win? They have no problem driving their cars, even though the odds of dying in a traffic accident are orders of magnitude higher than the odds of dying at the hands of a terrorist.

Robocall spammers, you have one new voicemail message: Cut it out!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Fuck off Schumer.

Good luck getting any legislation passed, with just about anything being a partisan issue. We don't need a law for everything, the FCC can use existing laws to issue regulations to handle stuff like this. Unfortunately the FCC is now fully in the hands of big business with Pai. He'd probably drop do not call completely if he thought he could get away with it.

I think they should ban straight to voicemail calls completely. Make them illegal not only for those covered by do not call, but also by those who aren't - i.e. companies you have an existing relationship with, non profits, and politicians. There's no reason that AT&T should be able to insert a voicemail on my phone just because they're my cell carrier, nor should Greenpeace or Trump be able to drop one in asking me to donate.

Otherwise voicemail will become useless, and I'll have to change my message to ask people to leave messages in some other form.

Researchers solve screen glare nightmare with 'moth-eye' antireflective film

DougS Silver badge

How durable would it be?

With fingers swiping and pressing it all the time, those nanostructures might wear off pretty quickly. Worse yet, if they pick up fingerprints, you'll be cleaning it more often - and regardless of whatever instructions they might provide, the typical cleaning method will be wiping your thumb hard around the screen with the bottom of your shirt in between :)

Despite high-profile hires, Apple's TV plans are doomed

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple

No touchscreen

I have no desire to touch my laptop's screen - I don't want my fingerprints on the screen, let alone anyone else's greasy mitts! When I ordered my current laptop last fall (an HP 17t) there was an option to get a touchscreen, which I declined. It cost $50 extra, but I would have refused it if it was free.

No foldable tablet mode

Again, don't want, and most Windows laptops don't have this either. Are they all useless too? I guess you thought all laptops sucked until a couple years ago??

No replaceable HDD

No upgradeable RAM

I agree this sucks, but probably 1-2% of users would ever contemplate replacing/upgrading their HDD/RAM, so it is a Reg reader problem, not an average user problem.

Shallow keyboard that is impossible to actually type on

You mean like the shitty keyboard on the Surface Pro's type cover?

Last year's memory and processor to make Apple even more margin

Yeah, wouldn't want to miss out on Intel's annual 3-4% performance gain!

DougS Silver badge

Re: "Apple helped to destroy the music business."

Yeah, I didn't understand that line either. Apple destroyed the album model by selling everything as singles. But if they hadn't done it, someone else would - and arguably Napster did it first and Apple salvaged the music industry by giving people an easy/legal way to pay for singles they had already become used to downloading.

I think streaming has hurt the music industry more, due to the very low royalty rates. That's certainly not Apple's fault since they were late to that particular party, and they're still paying a lot more per stream than competitors like Pandora (probably because the contracts were originally negotiated by Beats, and they had a much smaller user base)

Apple is now trying to renegotiate to get the same rates as those competitors, and has a similar scale, so the music industry needs to design if they're going to let Apple pay less, or charge the others more. They have no one to blame but themselves if they're negotiating contracts for X and then saying "X is too low".

If anyone is going to destroy the TV business its Netflix. They're so dominant they're like Apple was with the iPod and iTunes, and now that they're creating so much original content the studios are becoming very nervous about the clout they're exerting. They might like to see a few other deep pocketed players like Apple and Google get involved to reduce Netflix's market share and outbid them for some of the content they're buying.

Not Apr 1: Google stops scanning your Gmail to sling targeted ads at you

DougS Silver badge

Re: Cost

Well sure, but that's the "the vendor is lying to us" conspiracy theory which is made by every anti-X hater, where X can equal Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc.

If Google says they no longer scan emails for personal info to target ads after date 'X', they will still need to do the scanning for spam. Whether one chooses to believe them about no longer scanning for personal info is a different matter, but just like people who believe Microsoft builds in NSA backdoors to enable worldwide spying or Apple collects personal info just to be bastards even though they don't have any effective way to monetize it into ads says more about someone's biases than it does reality.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Cost

Scanning for spam detection and scanning for personal info for targeted ads are two different things.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Strategic withdrawal followed by....

I don't think they care. I go along with those who think that they already get way more personal info from every Android user, and the little info they can collect on the small segment who has Gmail but not Android isn't worth bothering with - adds more noise than signal because of all the spam etc.

However, with Gmail no longer having value to Google, they probably won't want to devote any additional resources to it. Maybe they will even discontinue it in a few years, because "email is outdated in the age of social media".

DougS Silver badge

Re: Cost

If the AI could filter out the spam and know which emails are relevant, it would be useful for regular email!

Tech giants flash Russia their code blueprints in exchange for access

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Re: Much ado

You assume they're doing what they say, rather than using their exposure to the source code to look for unintentional backdoors - i.e. security holes.

AES-256 keys sniffed in seconds using €200 of kit a few inches away

DougS Silver badge

There are ways around this

These types of attacks have been known for years, as has the defense. At the cost of some energy efficiency, the hardware can calculate results for both a '0' and '1' in each bit of the key, and throw away the result it doesn't need.


DougS Silver badge

Re: 10.7-12.7 GHz <<< Sat TV Ku Band

They'll power off their transmitters when they are nearing/crossing the equator. The client receiver coordination won't be any different than what it will already have to do with ones that orbit below the horizon.

What I'm curious about is the signal discrimination. Since the client receiver's antennas will obviously be omnidirectional, they'll pick up all the Ku and Ka satellites in GEO. I guess these satellites would have to reach the ground at a much higher power to not require a dish, so Directv et al should be received below the noise floor of the client receivers.

Ailing Brit chip designer Imagination Technologies up for sale

DougS Silver badge

If Apple had started making their own sapphire screens then sure. But they never did, so they obviously didn't steal any tech from GT.

DougS Silver badge

Apple didn't "walk away" from GT. GT was unable to produce what they said they could in even remotely useful quantities.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Help me understand

They lost 6 million, not 60 million. The 60 million was their revenue. Apple pays whatever the contract says they should. All we know is that Apple is nearly 70% of their revenue, a risky situation for any company to be so dependent on one customer. If Imagination had been able to get other customers they'd be fine, but pretty much the whole Android market is buying SoCs using other GPUs.

Imagination is in other businesses like MIPS etc. that may be responsible for those losses.

UK and Ecuador working on Assange escape mechanism

DougS Silver badge

Diplomatic pouch?

What are the rules for these? Would it be possible to ship him out in a box with airholes, and the UK be prevented from searching it?

Better yet, would it be possible to ship him out in a box without airholes?

Apple, LG, Huawei, ZTE, HTC accused of pilfering 'find my phone' tech

DougS Silver badge

Re: Nice try

The US only switched to first to file in 2011. The patents list a priority date in 2004. They will need to have VERY good records of that given the legal resources of the defendants.

In the week Uber blew up, Netflix restates 'No brilliant jerks' policy

DougS Silver badge

Who are they talking about here?

Do they consider the Uber CEO to be "brilliant"? He's just a typical thug businessman screwing over anyone and everyone to get to the top. He's had a history of ignoring laws - his previous startups were both file sharing related. He failed to pay withholding on his employees in one of them, which the IRS considers worse than simply not paying your own taxes.

Uber wasn't even his idea, it was his partner's. He may be a jerk, but certainly isn't brilliant.

Darkness to fall over North America from a total solar eclipse

DougS Silver badge

The solar eclipse happens over several minutes, and affects a pretty narrow band of the US. It isn't like someone is suddenly switching the Sun off for the whole United States.

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