* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Obama's intel chief says Russia totally tried to swing it for Trump

DougS Silver badge

Re: Its a great narrative..

I guess you would have let Nixon off too, because it took a lot longer than 7 months to build the case against him. Seems more likely you are just getting worried about the case being built and what it will mean for president cheeto.

But yes, Clinton ran a bad campaign that amounted to pointing at Trump and saying "Really? REALLY?? This guy??? You gotta be joking!!!!"

NSA leaker bust gets weirder: Senator claims hacking is wider than leak revealed

DougS Silver badge

Re: OTT

They showed a picture of one of her social media accounts on the news and her name was listed as Sara Winner. So she might have had crazy parents, but apparently did not go by that name to her friends.

Gotta give her parents credit though, she was born in 1992 when the first reality TV show, MTV's Real World, started. They saw the trend coming and named their daughter for it! :)

DougS Silver badge

Re: It could be worse ...

No, the proposed reason is because she leaked classified information. Granted, it is something that happens all the time, but she got caught. And caught because she did something totally stupid, sending scanned images of printed pages to a journalist using her work computer! I know 10 year olds that would have more sense than that!

DougS Silver badge

Re: curiouser and curiouser

He's not "confirming no hacking actually took place". He said no such thing. He's saying he's not aware of any vote totals being changed. The fact they tried to hack registration databases and voting software should be very concerning, even if completely unsuccessful. Unless we defend better, next time they might be more successful.

This isn't a partisan issue, or shouldn't be. It is obvious why Putin would prefer Trump and dislike Clinton, but in general he's probably more likely to prefer democrats over republicans as until Trump republicans generally have taken a harder line on Russia. So next time his guys try to interfere with an election, it might be to help democrats.

Consider that what Putin wants the most is chaos for the west, and the US in particular. So he'd probably love it if the democrats take back the house and senate, to guarantee a state of partisan gridlock.

Australia to float 'not backdoors' that behave just like backdoors to Five-Eyes meeting

DougS Silver badge

Re: Quandry in the making....

Given his 'tough guy' stance on terrorism and crime, and his calls for boycotting Apple over their refusal to help the FBI break into the San Bernadino terrorist's phone, I don't think you have to worry about finding yourself in such a quandry.

Pretty sure if he'd back May's stance 100%, and probably claim she isn't going far enough.

Hotel guest goes broke after booking software gremlin makes her pay for strangers' rooms

DougS Silver badge

Re: never use a debit card for credit ?

I guess the 'fee for using a credit card' thing must be outside the US. I've never seen anywhere in the US where it costs any more to use a credit card than a debit card. Unless that sort of thing is universal in some countries I'd simply choose somewhere else to spend my money...

If they are doing it I guess I didn't see the signs, I use my credit card all over the UK, Ireland etc. and wasn't aware of any difference. But as I'm dealing with exchange rates, that savings could be wiped out if my bank gave a less favorable exchange rate. That's the main reason I use a credit card even for small transactions when traveling internationally - the exchange rate for withdrawing cash from an ATM sucks!

DougS Silver badge

Re: She has to sue

I hate trivial lawsuits but this is not trivial. She should sue even if she doesn't want the money - she could always donate to a favorite charity, but it should cost the hotel money and hopefully some of the pain will be felt by the executives getting reduced bonuses because the lawsuit and bad publicity impacts the quarterly results!

DougS Silver badge

Re: never use a debit card for credit ?

I agree completely. I NEVER use my debit card to pay for anything - credit only. The fraud protections are better on credit cards, and you don't have to wait for money to be put back into your account if criminals get the number or some hotel decides you're "buying a round for the house" this month.

I can't understand why anyone who has a credit card would choose to use a debit card. In what way is using a debit card ever better?

Cuffed: Govt contractor 'used work PC to leak' evidence of Russia's US election hacking

DougS Silver badge

It was microdots AND the audit

Read another article that says they were able to use the microdots to track which printer had printed the document, they found six people had printed the document, and she had emailed The Intercept from her work computer.

Can't believe she was dumb enough to email it from her work computer. Even without the microdots or auditing they could probably have counted the number of NSA staffers who emailed The Intercept in the past month on one hand, and zeroed in on her!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Dear "The Intercept"

I know the process for obtaining 'top secret' clearance, having done so myself at one point (long expired now) They want you to provide them a lot of information, but it all seems focused on getting you to give them information they are almost certainly able to obtain themselves, so I think it is more to detect deliberate omissions or lying.

The problem is overclassification - for example the IP addresses and hostnames of machines in the DoD internal network are classified Secret. Let's forget that they are running DNS servers to tell you those things... Because so many things will be classified Top Secret, just about everyone who works in the DoD, let alone the NSA, will require Top Secret clearance. So they can't be particularly selective or have too intensive of a vetting process or they'll be short staffed.

As a result, all the real secrets are Top Secret - SCI (secure compartmentalized information) or the so-called 'codeword access'. I have to think (hope?) that access to the real secrets covered under some of those codewords will weed out people like her. Perhaps even people like me, who since I sympathize with whistleblowers conceivably could become one under the right circumstances.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Dear "The Intercept"

From what I read about it, when it was published the NSA did a search to see who accessed the document, and found that six people had, and she was the only one with correspondence with a journalist.

They didn't say whether she used her NSA email to correspond - one would hope not, but she's probably sending it plaintext which would get it captured by the NSA's backbone snooping.

No microdots required.

No hypersonic railguns on our ships this year, says US Navy

DougS Silver badge

Re: Optional explosive charge?

I think the LRP traveling at that speed would do so much damage on its own, an explosive tip (or explosive ass in this case, I guess) is superfluous. There will be a lot of shrapnel from the armor plating and various walls/decks it penetrates on its way to the vulnerable heart of an enemy ship, plus some from the projectile itself as it hits all that stuff and fragments.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Will it fit on a shark?

So you're saying it needs to be attached to a blue whale?

DougS Silver badge

Railguns vs lasers

The last paragraph of the article seems to equate the two, but I don't think they are remotely comparable - other than both potentially being able to shoot down incoming missiles. A laser never runs out of "ammo", while a railgun isn't much good when you run out of rods (or sooner, if the barrel wears out)

On the other hand, a laser can't hope to penetrate armor (unless they get a few orders of magnitude more power) while a working railgun would make armor on a ship or a tank within range of a ship effectively useless.

DougS Silver badge

So get rid of the barrel!

I've always wondered if they could avoid the whole wear issue by using superconducting magnets so the projectile never actually touches the "barrel". A weapon that destroys itself after a few shots, or even a few dozen shots, isn't much good for anyone but the defense contractor!

Break crypto to monitor jihadis in real time? Don't be ridiculous, say experts

DougS Silver badge

End to end encryption has been in iMessage from day one

But he's right that it is used for "profit", since Apple does market on the privacy - not just from marketing from even from over-reaching useless government functionaries like the one all butt hurt about it.

Ex-Waymo engineer pleads the 5th in ongoing Uber law fight

DougS Silver badge

Re: FFS...

I suppose you could have said the same thing about the technology for light bulbs or internal combustion engines at one point too. Self driving cars will be a huge market worth trillions, the fact it doesn't exist today and won't for some years doesn't change that changing market shares even a single percent adds up to real money. Now maybe Waymo's technology turns out to not be a big player, and they are fighting over nothing - but the reverse could be true, too.

Boffins have figured out a way of speeding up X-ray data collection

DougS Silver badge

Re: So...

I wonder what happens if your insides don't look like they should, like if you are one of those rare people with everything reversed, and the heart on the right and liver on the left?

Apple gives world ... umm ... not much new actually

DougS Silver badge

Re: Don't care where is my PowerMac?

The promised the replacement for the trash can Mac in 2018. They are already preannouncing the iMac Pro six months in advance - do you want them to announce something not available for a year?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Things fade

"The bottom has fallen out of the mobile market"? How so?? Because there it isn't seeing sales growth any longer? That can't happen forever, you know.

Eventually something will come along to throw the smartphone market into chaos, like Apple did with the iPhone. But if you claim the bottom fell out of the mobile market in 2001 it was a long time coming before someone come along with that 'right zeitgeist'. So maybe you'll get what you're looking for in 2025 or so...

DougS Silver badge

Re: Back to the 90s

People constantly whine about "lack of innovation" but who is showing innovation in the PC space, or the smartphone space? No one is, because both are mature markets, with incremental updates to capabilities but nothing revolutionary. Sure, Samsung has a new gimmick or two each year, but is a screen that wraps around the edge of the phone, or 'retina scan' that can be trivially fooled using a selfie innovation? Does it improve the user experience enough so that you say "wow, I can never use a phone that doesn't have this ever again?"

The time for innovation is when there are major compromises in usability in the current options, where a rethink of how things work or applying technology in a novel way can remove those compromises. Like how "smartphones" used to have keyboards with microscopic keys, browsed the web via WAP, had clunky processes involving proprietary cables or IR to load apps that did almost nothing and were dog slow at doing so. Like when PCs used to have 1.4 MB limit for easily moving stuff around, needed expansion cards for basic functionality like networking or graphics, always ran at full power even when doing nothing, and so on.

I'm not saying innovation isn't possible in those spaces, eventually someone will solve a problem we didn't even know we had. But currently no one else is doing it, so slagging on Apple for not doing it either is a bit silly.

DougS Silver badge

iMac Pro is NOT the replacement for the Mac Pro

Re-read the announcement they made earlier this year, there were two things coming, and the iMac Pro is one of them.

What I wonder is how the heck they're going to cool the thing in the iMac Pro form factor. An 18 core Xeon - even if Intel gives them cherry-picked parts with lower TDPs - will put out a lot of heat, as will the Vega. They must have using water cooling and ducting the heat around the entire body of the device to increase the surface area for cooling. It will be interesting seeing a teardown of that from Anandtech or whoever just to see how they manage this.

Wowee, it's Samsung's next me-too AI gizmo: The Apple HomePod

DougS Silver badge

Re: It's not very shiny - is it?

They don't want it to stand out, they want it to blend in and be invisible.

DougS Silver badge

hi fi is dead

Few people spend much time listening to music compared to the 70s/80s/90s when those "hi fi" systems were being sold. Oh, they play a lot of music, but they are doing other things - the music is just background noise. I can't remember the last time I just sat down and listened to music - where that was the only thing I was doing. When I was a teenager and in college I did that a lot, but there were no smartphones back then...

Who is going to spend a lot of money on top quality audio for background noise?

DougS Silver badge

Other than the fact it isn't a bug sitting 24x7 in your home like Echo and Alexa. Some people consider their privacy worth something. Maybe you think "well I'm not a criminal so I'm not worried that the cops could subpeona what I've said in front of my Alexa", but most of us aren't naive enough to fall for that line of reasoning. Dunno if Google will respond to subpeonas for the Echo, but they're the last company in the world you should want to have even MORE personal information on you!

I wouldn't put an Echo or Alexa in my home if they were free - hell, not even if you paid me! I don't see a need for any assistant so I won't be getting Apple's either, but if I wanted one someday, they're the only one I'd consider - and I'd choose it even if it did less than the competition. Because part of the "less" it would be doing is not spying on me.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why the Paranoia Without Verification of a Threat?

Apple has plenty of incentive to maintain that privacy - it is one of their unique selling points that Google and Amazon can't match due to their business models.

I think home 'assistants' are just a gimmick at this point, but if they ever moved past that stage and I wanted one, Apple's the only one of the (current) three I'd consider because of this. Even if Google's offered more functionality I'd NEVER consider it.

Consultancy titan EY to shift jobs to Indian outsourcer TCS

DougS Silver badge

Re: Differentiation?

You can tell a PHB type MBA from the rest by whether they include 'MBA' in their email signature. I have one, but I don't feel the need to tell everyone who receives an email from me. I mainly got it because I wasn't ready to give up being a carefree student, and that offered a way to shirk the real world for two more years :)

Going to Mars may give you cancer, warns doc

DougS Silver badge

Risk of cancer doubles?

So what, from 1% to 2%? OMG, let's forget all about it and stay home cowering in bed!

Imagine where we'd be today if the people crossing the Atlantic in the 1600s, or crossing the US in the 1800s, had worried about an additional 1% risk!!

Do cops need a warrant to stalk you using your cellphone records? US Supremes to mull it over

DougS Silver badge

Location services isn't binary

At least on iOS, you can turn it on or off individually for different apps. I can give the Maps app my location info, since it is kind of useless without it, without giving it to Facebook.

However, that's irrelevant because what the cops are accessing has nothing to do with your phone's settings, they're using the cellular company's tower triangulation information. That works even if you reject all smartphones and are rocking an old school Nokia candy bar phone.

Saying that "oh, because you decided to enable location services for Maps you don't consider that info private" is just plain ignorant. You can give your social security number and last couple years tax returns to a bank when applying for a mortgage, but still consider that info private. You can confess a crime to your wife, your lawyer or your priest without the cops feeling entitled to snoop upon one/all of them hoping to catch you doing so.

DougS Silver badge

This will probably be another unanimous decision, and the 'law and order' politicians that think police should have unlimited ability to grab information from all possible sources will point to London and angrily declare we shouldn't take away tools law enforcement needs. We might even be treated to something from the tweeter-in-chief, providing Fox News mentions the ruling so Trump knows about it.

UK PM Theresa May's response to terror attacks 'shortsighted'

DougS Silver badge

Re: FFS!

You work in tech and you're undecided who to vote for?

That assumes that May's position on trying to force companies to backdoor their systems is the only determining factor on who to vote for. If you had a choice between her and Hitler, where Hitler promised to leave tech companies alone and focus solely on his "final solution", would you still imply that a techie couldn't vote for May?

Sorry, didn't mean to Godwin the thread, I went overboard to illustrate that there are some things the opposition could advocate for that some will see as worse - possibly much worse. I realize there are more than two choices, but even if the other choices didn't advocate for anything as bad as backdooring tech, but they each had 100 small bad ideas, are those 100 small bad things preferable to 1 big bad thing?

IBM: ALL travel must be approved now, and shut up about the copter

DougS Silver badge

Re: This is likely to upset some customers

If IBM was charging me 'per person per day' and I had a bunch of guys coming on site every week, and then they stopped coming and worked remotely, but I was getting billed the same, I'd raise holy hell.

I guess it depends on how the contract is written, maybe the customer has to lump it, but that would sure guarantee IBM isn't invited to bid on future contracts.

DougS Silver badge

This is likely to upset some customers

If they are spending lots of money with IBM on a big project and suddenly the IBM folks quit showing up at their site and being working remotely instead I can see some of them unhappy about this change.

Especially if it is customer funded - i.e. the consultants charge their travel to the client. It sounds like their numbers so far in Q2 are looking bad for senior management bonuses, and even customer funded travel costs them money up front since travel in the month of June typically wouldn't be reimbursed via billing the customer until at least July.

Bet this policy loosens up in a month, though it may come back at the end of August.

NASA brainboxes work on algorithms for 'safe' self-flying aircraft

DougS Silver badge

Re: Multi-vehicle collision avoidance

Who says they won't be centrally controlled? They'll have "air traffic control" with the big picture view telling them where to go, and the individual autopilots will execute it. Just like human air traffic control tells pilots where to go. Avoiding collisions should be way easier than on roads which are essentially 1D or 1.5D instead of 3D.

All those near misses (and some not-misses) in the air are because a human screwed up. The bar isn't that high for software to beat them.

DougS Silver badge

The Sully save

And if a plane can't do the Sully save, so what? What percentage of actual airline pilots could have pulled that off? I don't know the number, but it is surely well under half. Could Sully even do it again if the situation presented itself a second time? Even with all the skill his years of experience gives him, there may have still been some luck involved - i.e. what if there was a tour boat in the river right where he was going to touch down but he wasn't able to see it when he started his glide path because it was under a bridge?

There's no way you can make a computer able to recover 100% of incidents, but human pilots can't either. Like humans, computer pilots will get better over time as they handle more and more situations, but the experience comes from all computer pilots back to them all so soon it will be the equivalent of a Sully with 2000 years of experience, and no human pilot will be able to touch it. Yes, there can and will be software bugs, but humans do stupid things too - get drunk, fall asleep, hit the wrong button and so forth. Maybe have three separately developed software pilots, and they have to agree or 'majority rules' to minimize the impact of bugs.

DougS Silver badge

Re: I'm a Little Confused

What do you mean by "automated systems fail"? Just like there is redundancy built in for flight controls, there can be redundancy built in for the autopilot. If you mean a software failure - a "I don't know how to handle this" kind of situation, it would have to alert the ground at least a minute in advance of reaching such a situation. Even with a pilot able to assume remote control standing by, he'd need some time to determine the current state of the aircraft before deciding what to do. Latency would be another issue - even if the ground pilot wasn't halfway around the world, 50 ms latency might be enough to screw up any attempt at a Sully-like heroic save.

I don't think it would be practical, even if you had pilots standing by at the controls, monitoring every takeoff/landing (on the theory that almost all "oops I don't know what to do now" situations will occur then, rather than during ordinary flight at 35kft.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Waste of time

I personally wouldn't have a problem with a self flying plane. It isn't as though pilots never make mistakes.

I think younger people who have been around computers all their lives will have little issue with this. It is the older crowd who will be resistant to self flying planes and self driving cars.

The biggest British Airways IT meltdown WTF: 200 systems in the critical path?

DougS Silver badge

Odd language - shuttle reliabllity "necessarily 1 in 10^5"

I read that as that it was defined from up on high a long time ago that the shuttle needed to be reliable to that level, so they just assumed it was / refused to listen to any contrary information. Because that would require a lot of expensive design reviews and fixes to reach that level (if it is even possible to do so at our current level of technology)

If NASA required that level of reliability from all manned missions, we would still be waiting to put a man in space.

Pai guy not too privacy shy, says your caller ID can't block IP, so anons go bye

DougS Silver badge

Re: Phones and cars

A lot of the issues with cops serving as revenue collectors would go away if cops acted like firefighters and first responders - stop driving around looking for people to fine and wait until they are called. You don't see firefighters driving around looking for people who have piles of brush next to their garage so they can fine them, or ambulances driving around fining people who are using a rickety ladder to paint the second story of their house.

But police unions would be against such a change, because the system could not support nearly as many cops as there are now without all those unnecessary fines.

DougS Silver badge

It is based on the false premise that police lives somehow matter more than the lives of the rest of us. Enhanced penalties for killing cops, now special alerts when they are threatened - but no special alerts when a domestic abuse victim is threatened. There's this myth that being a police officer is particularly dangerous, and thus they must have special protection. However, if you look at the stats, there are plenty of jobs that are more dangerous, including jobs like road construction and roofing.

Not that I support special alerts for either - like the above poster I disabled amber alerts and in fact all emergency alerts on my phone because they are too frequent, especially the weather alerts. If I only could disable them on my TV!

Amazon granted patent to put parachutes inside shipping labels

DougS Silver badge

Just what I always wanted

To have my packages conveniently delivered onto my roof, or a neighbor's tree!

Boffins find evidence of strange uranium-producing bacteria lurking underground

DougS Silver badge

Re: yes the Uranium is being used as metabolic fuel for the bacteria.

Well, if you believe the claims about nuclear explosions in Earth's past (mainly promulgated by ancient aliens believers) perhaps this has happened.

I don't know the veracity of the claims, but supposedly there is evidence in the form of byproducts of fission chain reaction explosions, and irradiation of some wood samples that show them to be of negative age (carbon dating of highly irradiated samples will show them being tens of thousands of years younger than they really are)

DougS Silver badge

WTF is this article?

The bacteria might take existing uranium atoms and combine them into larger groups (more convenient for humans to mine) but they sure as hell aren't taking other atoms and somehow using fusion to create uranium atoms from them!

Talk about a misleading title/article!

Google to give 6 months' warning for 2018 Chrome adblockalypse – report

DougS Silver badge

Fox guarding the henhouse indeed...

Google is the LAST company I'd trust to make decisions about which ads to block. Those "intrusive" ads won't be intrusive if a company pays them more, I'll bet.

Ad blockers should be written maintained by companies that accept donations from end users only, or charge a monthly fee of those users.

Your emotionally absent pic-snapping partner's going to look you in the eye again

DougS Silver badge

Re: google glass

Because there won't be idiots wearing them all the time. It is intended to wear during just those occasions you want to record, while Google was talking up Glass as something you'd use constantly - talking up future uses like wearing it when driving to give directions, or wearing while shopping to show price comparison.

The purpose of Spectacles is recording ONLY, and Snap videos are very short, so you probably won't see someone at a bar wearing them all night long asking to be punched.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why would anyone want one of these?

I think making them look tacky was a goal. They want them to stand out, to build brand association. I think it is a pretty smart design for the target market. Reg readers, especially those over 25, are not the target market.

Whoops! Microsoft accidentally lets out a mobile-'bricking' OS update

DougS Silver badge

iPhone funeral

Wow, I forgot all about that. The air certainly was thick with hubris back then, when Microsoft thought by just throwing something out there people would abandon the iPhone. Did they really believe people actually loved Microsoft products, instead of merely tolerating them because they had no choice?

Social media vetting for US visas go live

DougS Silver badge

Re: @AC - company email addresses

As an American, the biggest hassle this century I've had with entering a country was going to Canada of all places. No problem with Europe, not even the often-tetchy crossing into Gibraltar from Spain. Even Muslim countries like Morocco and Egypt (pre Arab spring, granted) were no problem.

Tech industry thumps Trump's rump over decision to leave Paris climate agreement

DougS Silver badge

Re: Tiny bit self-serving

Yes, Musk's timing was pretty transparent here.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Not as bad as it appears

The day after the US elections in 2020 is the first day it was possible for the US to cancel under the terms of the agreement? If so, kudos to the Obama team for sticking a little poison pill in there to prevent a republican administration (though I'm sure they never imaged it would be Trump when the terms were negotiated) from pulling out without giving a chance for the democrats to take back the white house in 2020 first.

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