* Posts by DougS

12862 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Don't rely on fitness trackers to track number of calories burned

DougS Silver badge

Not sure how they can ever measure calories accurately

The gold standard involves a breathing mask to capture your CO2 metabolization, which would be an inconvenient way to wear a watch.

Unless there's a proxy that can be measured via trace gases coming through the skin, all you'll ever be able to do is estimate based on heart rate. Perhaps the accuracy of that might be improved if you had it calibrated via a proper measurement, because a HR of 100 indicates a different amount of calories burned for a fit person vs a fat person, but if it was calibrated that when you have a HR of 70 you are burning X, a HR of 120 is burning Y and a HR of 170 is burning Z, your now-calibrated watch should be a lot more accurate (if still not perfect)

Apple has finally found someone to support HomeKit

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We are years away from a REAL "smart home" market

The industry will be decimated at some point when a widespread hack hits popular devices like Alexa or Google Home or WeMo that are or will be in a few million homes, and then it will regroup and decide security actually matters.

So Apple has plenty of time to either get people to come around to their way of thinking, or give up its insistence on a hardware based solution.

Venezuela increases internet censorship and surveillance in crisis

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Re: What can a lonely despot do?! With only all military and police at his disposal?!

There might be a lot of people who hate Trump, and don't like his use of executive orders any more than Trump and his followers hated Obama's use of them, but the situation is very different - might I even say "bigly different"?

We don't have to worry about him 'changing the Consitution' on his own or finding a way to delay the 2020 elections (assuming we don't have president Pence by then...) We still have a free press, as evidenced by his dislike of them, along with all sorts of alternative media for those who only want to hear his version of the news.

Ironically some of the 'fake news' sources the last few years had constant claims about Obama's secret plan to declare a national emergency and delay the next election to stay in office, or somehow repeal the 22nd amendment on his own so he could serve as president-for-life. Guess they were wrong about that!

Your roadmap to the Google vs Oracle Java wars

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iOS vs Fuschia

iOS uses the Mach microkernel with a BSD runtime. I would guess that Google's "mostly BSD" means a similar strategy, but likely with a different/newer microkernel (Mach is pretty old, but its lineage stretches back to NeXT's first cube so it is obvious why Jobs made that the foundation of OS X and of course iOS which is basically a stripped down OS X)

Apple asks FCC to let it run mm-wave tests - for backhaul?!

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Re: Cupertino to Milpitas?

Not unless the bands are ones they use. The 28 GHz band is uplinks to Ka band satellites, so the airport doesn't care about that. Not sure what 39 GHz is, but that is far above any airport radar or guidance radio.

If airports could just say no to any radio traffic at any frequency we wouldn't have cell phones or TV.

Orbital boffins cut four years off NASA mission to shiniest object in the Solar System

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Re: Shiniest, you say?


I know it works the other way, but it just sounds wrong with the goofy name for the asteroid.

DARPA orders spaceplane capable of 10 launches in 10 days

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If Boeing is successful with this

I wouldn't be surprised to see them make a bigger model that could hold modern communication satellites massing 10 tons into GEO. A lot cheaper than current launches, and should be very competitive with SpaceX's reusable first stage.

DougS Silver badge

What about Kim Jung Un?

Countries that don't have satellites of their own or depend on those of others, want to hurt countries who depend on them, but don't want to kill anyone and risk having themselves attacked might be interested in shooting down satellites.

While everyone is so worried about North Korea gaining the ability to hit Honolulu or Los Angeles with an ICBM, perhaps we should be more worried about them using those missiles to shoot down satellites, or explode a nuke in high orbit for an EMP that fries many satellites at once. Bring the rest of the world down to their dark ages level of technology...

SSD price premium over disk faaaalling

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Re: No, they will completely disappear

If you read that post of mine you dug up from 2 1/2 years ago, you'd see I was replying to the idea that hard drives and SSDs would reach price parity in two years (i.e. now) and I suggested it would be around a decade before there would be enough NAND capacity in the world to satisfy all storage demand.

Which, surprise surprise, is about the 2024/2025 timeline we're talking about for price parity and hard drives going away...

DougS Silver badge

Re: No, they will completely disappear

Yes, but they are constantly upgrading their hardware, so you don't have to worry that your data and all its replicas are sitting on equipment that becomes so obsolete it can no longer be read. That's what you're paying them for!

DougS Silver badge

Re: No, they will completely disappear

The same would be true with hard drives, if you had an IDE hard drive you'd need something to read it. If you have thousands of DLT tapes, you should probably keep a few DLT drives in the archive as well (and hardware to read them - same problem as if you had IDE drives...)

No physical storage hardware is immune from this. Cloud has an advantage here, though you'd need to store to multiple clouds to insure your information was recoverable in case e.g. Google Drive disappears at some point like Google stuff seems to do sometimes.

DougS Silver badge

Re: 160 GB is probably more than enough for 99% of people

How soon do you expect this "Windows 12"? If a PC bought in 2017 with a 160GB SSD can't handle an OS released in 2025, who cares? You'll be able to buy a new 1 TB SSD for well under $100 if you want to keep using that PC.

DougS Silver badge


Take the write lifetime of a quality consumer SSD and divide by 100 MB/sec (about the fastest sustained write you can get from a single hard drive) and you can still count on a couple years of service, more if you make that your main buying criteria. Obviously if you are pushing data as fast as the SSD can handle that lifetime will be much shorter, but in that case you'd have to compare with an array of striped hard drives to deliver the same throughput!

If you compare a solution designed for the 600 MB/sec SATA3 limit you'd need to compare a half dozen hard drives striped together (plus a SATA controller card to handle them, and external box to put them in) versus a single SSD. Even if you spend more on that SSD to get one with a higher DWPD (using one with more capacity than you need is a good way to do that, or buy an enterprise model) the cost crossover is a lot sooner for this than it is for a single drive versus single SSD...

DougS Silver badge

Re: No, they will completely disappear

I guess you don't understand economies of scale, if you could think that fixed capital requirements mean the product with a larger up front capital investment can never be cheaper. If you have fixed capital requirements of $1 million and variable costs of $50 versus fixed capital requirements of $1 billion and variable costs of $10, then if you have enough volume the $1 billion fixed capital requirement products will be FAR cheaper.

The only variable costs for making flash chips are the per wafer processing costs, which are less than a thousand dollars per wafer - regardless of the number of bits the chips you carve from that wafer hold! While the fixed capital investment for a new process that doubles the number of bits per wafer is huge, it is nowhere near double the capital investment for the previous generation process, thus the cost per bit is constantly being driven down - and at a much faster rate than the cost per bit of hard drives is being driven down!

How else do you think that SSDs have gone from 100x premium to 20x premium to 5x premium over the years? If some new breakthrough that let hard drives double in storage every couple years (like was happening in the early 2000s thanks to the GMR technology IBM developed) then they'd be able to keep pace with flash, but that's very unlikely to happen since R&D into hard drives is a fraction of what it used to be. Otherwise unless we stop being able to put more bits on a NAND chip, SSDs will catch up with and then be cheaper than hard drives.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Unused capacity

They could offer a 160 GB SSD or 1 TB hard drive at the same price, and let the buyer choose. A lot of people will be stupid and choose the hard drive, but at least those who are being helped by people who know what they're doing will get them to make the right choice - because 160 GB is probably more than enough for 99% of people who don't understand that choice.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Most/many of us

Yep, I bought a 250 GB SSD to replace the 500 GB hard drive my laptop came with. I would have bought it without a hard drive since I knew I was never going to use the drive it came with, but that's unfortunately not an option. I wonder how many hard drives are sold in laptops these days that are immediately removed and put on a shelf to gather dust and never be used?

DougS Silver badge

No, they will completely disappear

Why wouldn't hard drives completely disappear, once the price premium disappears? OK sure, SSDs will lose information if left unpowered in a safe for a few years while a hard drive is probably OK, but tape is probably a better alternative for such situations. Yes, I'm saying tape will outlive hard drives!

The premium won't even have to go to 1x for hard drives to go away. The more it goes down, the smaller the market for hard drives becomes. Once cloud providers feel SSDs are better than hard drives even for cold data and even if they still cost a bit more (because they are smaller, no spinup delay, use less power, or whatever) and they stop buying, that's pretty much the end of the market. Even if a few niche cases like 'keeping hard drives in a safe' remain, sales volumes will be too low to make it worthwhile to continue production.

RightNow founder turned politician gets assault charge after 'bodyslamming' reporter

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Unlikely to change the outcome

Reportedly 250,000 absentee ballots have already been received, and about 400,000 total votes are expected. Polls had him winning by anywhere from 3-8 points, so if the polls are right and that's about the split in the votes already cast, there would need to be nearly a 2:1 vote against him today to swing the election.

He'll be extra vulnerable in the 2018 election that is already looking bad for republicans. No doubt there will be plenty of ads in Montana reminding people of this incident during next summer's campaign.

Democracy-minded DEF CON hackers promise punishing probe on US election computers

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Holding a voting machine hackathon

I suppose that's fine if your voting machines are open source, but if you try to keep them under wraps you probably just make them easier to hack. If you wanted to hack voting machines, you might participate in the hackathon to get access to them, but keep any holes you find to yourself and tell the organizer "wow, these are very secure!"

Then you have the knowledge to hack into them later using the holes you found and didn't tell them about, which left them unfixed.

Schiaparelli probe crash caused by excessive spin, report concludes

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Why don't they test them on Earth first?

Drop a dummy load with the same shape/size/weight/balance from a plane over the desert, with any thrusters or parachutes adjusted/adapted to Earth's gravity and atmospheric density. Sure, it isn't an apples to apples test when compared to actually landing on Mars, but it would have caught a lot of the errors (like the infamous metric versus English unit conversion) that have tripped up previous Mars missions, and would stand a good chance of catching Schiaparelli's problem as well.

Huawei missed memo that PC's dead – so here are three new notebooks

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Re: Touch screen

I agree, but all the 20 somethings I know actually use the touch screen on their laptops, so I think even Apple will eventually be forced to give in and put a touchscreen on them. Just because it has one doesn't mean you have to use it, though it would be nice if it remains an order time option. The HP laptop I bought last fall had a touch screen option, which I declined to save $50 and an ounce or so.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Curiously placed fingerprint sensor

Assuming it is like the one integrated in the home button of an iPhone, you just touch it for fingerprint ID, you don't press it down. Significantly more force is required to actually press it, you don't have to worry about "touching too hard".

Google now mingles everything you've bought with everywhere you've been

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Another good reason to avoid Android

Or use one of the Chinese Androids that's had all the Googley bits excised from it.

GPU-flingers' bash: Forget the Matrix, Neo needs his tensors

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815 sq mm?

I didn't know reticle sizes had reached that high!

Britain's on the brink of a small-scale nuclear reactor revolution

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Lake Geneva tsunami

Only 50 feet high, that's nothing. The one in Lituya Bay in 1958 destroyed vegetation 1700 feet above the normal water level (and someone was in a boat on the water and lived to tell about it!) I don't think you can assume anything stays dry near a lake, especially one with the particular geography of Lituya Bay.

The problem with Fukushima wasn't that they didn't have the generators high enough, it was that they didn't enclose them so they could be underwater for the duration of a tsunami event and keep running. An underwater slide in the wrong place could create a tsunami larger than in Japan's recorded history, and putting them at a "safe height" above the highest tsunami in recorded history just means they are vulnerable to a record tsunami.

PAH! Four decades of Star Wars: No lightsabers, no palm-sized video calls

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Re: "..how long would it take to post-process her message?"

Well, the TOS computer was still pretty primitive. You had to address it as "computer", and it always replied "working". I guess that made sense to the writers given how the mainframes of the day operated!

What is frankly ridiculous about Star Trek is that they have all this fantastic tech centuries ahead of ours (if not more, transporters will never happen) and then computers that are shittier than the ones today. Seriously, you need a helmsman to steer "evasive pattern beta nine"? Or to "lay in a course"? The computer should be flying the ship, firing weapons, and doing pretty much everything if you can have FTL travel and transporters!

AI-powered dynamic pricing turns its gaze to the fuel pumps

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Prices already rise for a holiday weekend

If you're in the US, check prices today and then look again on Friday - they'll be up. No need for AI to do this, the stations (at least around here) do it on their own, because they know people will be fueling up for trips for the long weekend.

How good are selfies these days? Good enough to fool Samsung Galaxy S8 biometrics

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Re: If does not matter

Samsung's facial recognition was broken immediately - just hold up a phone with a picture of the face to unlock it! The iris scan was hoped to be the more secure option.

Some rumors claim Apple will be doing facial recognition using 3D scans of the face for the iPhone 8, which would prevent the "hold up a photo" attack, but such 3D scans can't be made too precise - if they are then if allergies made your eyes swell up a bit you couldn't unlock your phone. So while it would be more secure it won't be a panacea against all methods of attack, only raise the bar.

Nokia, Apple lawyers make peace over nasty IP wrangle

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Re: @DougS Mr Pot, meet Mr Kettle

I wasn't suggesting Nokia was a patent troll either. If they had ceased operations entirely and existing only as a patent holding/licensing company for patents they used to use, then they'd be a patent troll. But Nokia is trying to get back into the phone business, so while they may be a shell of their former selves, they're not a troll.

DougS Silver badge

This happens every time there's a patent lawsuit. Lots of nasty talk gets thrown about, and then there's nothing but nice things said once a deal is done.

DougS Silver badge

"Once successful"? Apple is the most valuable public company in the world, worth over $800 billion in market cap.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Mr Pot, meet Mr Kettle

The definition most use for "patent troll" is a company that does not make any products using the patents, only sues others who do. That's not Apple. They only sue over patents they use in their own products - they don't even bother suing when someone infringes patents they hold but don't use in their own products.

They do sue about silly stuff though, even if most people don't understand the "rounded corners" in question were not on the phones, but on the icons.

It's just 'Pro' now, guys: Microsoft gives Surface a subtle resurfacing

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Why does it need a SIM slot?

Everyone has a phone these days, and tethering works just as well to provide network access via LTE. You'll probably upgrade your phone to faster LTE standards more often / more quickly than you'll upgrade your Surface, so even if you use the SIM initially after a few years you might switch to tethering - especially if/when you get a phone capable of 5G if that becomes available where you are...

DJI: Register your drones or no more cool flying vids for you

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Re: Two Words... F..

All it will take is one occasion anywhere in the world where one or more cheap drones with an IED payload is flown into a big crowd resulting in death to lead to calls for indiscriminate bans of drones and/or heavy regulation to begin.

Honestly, this makes more sense for terrorists since suicide bombers can only be used once, while drone operators at a distance stand a much better chance of getting away to wreak further mayhem in the future. They can also easily bypass metal detectors or bomb sniffing dogs at outdoor events such as sporting events in stadiums by merely flying over the gates/fences.

China's phone quartet is shouldering its way into Western markets

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Re: One if the GREAT things about living in VietNam is that we are ...

Many have said that Vietnam will be the 'next China' as manufacturing in China becomes more and more expensive relative to the other 'cheap manufacturing labor' countries.

'Tabby's Star' intrigues astro-boffins with brief 'dimming event'

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Re: Broken Planet

Not to mention that all large planets we've observed are gas giants. Rocky planets are smaller, and a single one wouldn't be enough to create the dimming we've observed.

Chinese e-tailer beats Amazon to the skies with one-ton delivery drones

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Re: Better make them REALLY secure

Er, if a one ton drone was dropped on your house I think it would cause you a lot more harm than preventing you from having a cup of tea and watching East Enders. It would cause you to have to move out of your house for weeks/months for repairs at minimum, end your life at worst.

DougS Silver badge

Better make them REALLY secure

Otherwise it would make for a pretty good terrorist attack to take control of all of them simultaneously, and cut power to the props over a gathering of people, or random suburban homes for that matter.

Huawei Honor 8 Pro: Makes iPhone 7 Plus look a bit crap

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Re: It's what it's connected to that matters

Apple does not use ARM designs, so claiming that "all ARM designs have the exact same features" is pointless. Apple does not use Trust Zone, their secure enclave is better in many ways. Apple has a 60 page security guide where you can read all the details.

As for 'weekly security patches' at least Apple has them. With Android you have to buy a new phone!

No nudity please, we're killing ourselves: Advice to Facebook mods leaks

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Pretty sure it is the opposite

It is anti-abortion people who would want to show videos of an abortion, because it is something everyone would find distasteful, and would be more likely to sway more people towards their side. I certainly can't imagine such a video getting anyone on the fence (if there is anyone left there) on the pro-choice side!

Even the most pro abortion people don't celebrate the abortions themselves, they only celebrate having the choice.

SoftBank-Saudi fund raises world's biggest tech pot at $93bn

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Re: Robots and AI software don't pay tax

Trump is doing his best to make the democrats electable again in the US, maybe the Brexiteers will do the same for Labour eventually.

Quick, better lock down that CISO role. Salaries have apparently hit €1m

DougS Silver badge

Having a million dollar/pound CISO wouldn't stop WannaCry

A cheap one could still say "patch early, patch often" as far as security patches go, don't use obsolete OSes and so forth, and when that causes pain like a patch that breaks stuff or expensive migrations off Windows XP, they have to be able to convince everyone affected that this pain is preferable to the pain of IP theft / malware / ransomware / etc.

I suppose spending a fat salary on a guy would impress upon everyone else "we think security is important enough to pay big bucks for", but it won't make convincing that everyone else of the above any easier.

Supreme Court closes court-shopping loophole for patent trolls

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Re: The game is afoot!

That's a pretty bold claim to say that the East District of Texas biased its rulings deliberately to 'drum up more business' as it were. Where's your proof? Some court has to be the most troll-friendly, so they looked at the court records and found it. It might not even be a large difference, but it would be worth it even for a 5% difference between the most and least favorable district.

Choosing the location of or relocating your corporate headquarters involves MANY factors, and the patent owner friendliness of the local US district court is hardly going to be at the top of the list when you consider stuff like taxes, liability laws and so forth. I really can't see Apple or Google pulling up stakes from California and relocating to Ohio if they found that was the most patent owner friendly state...

Gravitational waves permanently change spacetime, say astroboffins

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Perhaps this is the 'dark energy' that causes inflation?

Back when the universe was young, there was a far greater concentration of mass, which would lead to more 'gravitational waves per cubic light year' than we have today.

The problem with this theory is that it would account for a lot of inflation early, which we observed, which slowed as the universe aged and the average density of the universe decreased, which we observed, but not the 'expansion is accelerating' observation from last week's astroboffin article. Well unless the effect is somehow cumulative, like how repeatedly stroking a cat in winter builds up more and more static electricity in its fur, until it gets annoyed and runs away.

Japan (lightly) regulates high-frequency algorithmic trading

DougS Silver badge

Re: No its a kind of Lefty / Commie plot...

If they just charged money to cancel orders they'd fix 90% of the issues, because that takes away the power of program trading to try to 'entice' other programs to stumble and make bad trades.

Wannacry: Everything you still need to know because there were so many unanswered Qs

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Android could become a vulnerability here

There are plenty of known Android attacks, some remotely via SMS/MMS. Obviously many devices will remain unpatched against these vulnerabilities for their lifetime, so I wonder when we will see the first hybrid malware:

stage 1: infect Android device using an Android vulnerability, and lie in wait

stage 2: when connected to a new wifi network, look for PCs to attack using Windows vulnerability

The Android malware could even 'update' itself by checking in at a master host (make to look like yet another advertising site, with traffic that could be triggered only when browsing so the no one is the wiser) which would allow it to upgrade the Windows vulnerabilities it is using over time as old ones get closed off and new ones are discovered.

I think one of the main reasons we haven't seen widespread Android infestations is because hackers are so mercenary these days. The time when they considered it good enough to print some message about being 'p0wned' are long gone, now they're at it to make money, and ransomware on PCs is where its at.

Being able to infect devices that far too many workplaces allow people to bring in and connect to their internal network (so they can get access to email, internal web sites, etc.) is an easy way to bypass the expensive firewalls and IDS systems companies put on their network perimeter.

Obviously the same could be done with iOS, but Apple gets fixes out too quickly and people apply them too quickly, making Android a far better carrier for such a hybrid malware strategy.

DougS Silver badge

I blame Microsoft

Yes yes, no one should have an SMB port open to the internet, but poorly configured DMZs or small branch offices that are supposed to get their internet from the main office but improperly add their own 'business internet' connection from the local ISP because it is faster are probably more common than anyone cares to admit.

Microsoft firewalls off most ports by default, but leaves port 445 wide open. Why? Surely it would make more sense to have it open to ONLY the PC's local subnet, since that will suffice for 99% of home/small business installs! Require a configuration change by the admin to open it up wider - i.e. if your company uses 10.x.x.x internally open it up to, and pop a warning before allowing someone to disable it entirely.

Cook fights for life after Google summit blaze

DougS Silver badge

Re: Buiilt-in extinguishers?

In the US, and probably everywhere in the world that accepts IFC fire code, commercial kitchens must have a class K fire extinguisher system in the hood above fryers, grills, etc.

Not sure what the code says about food stands, obviously they don't have a hood and even if they are required to have a class K extinguisher present it would require manual operation.

Man sues date for cinema texting fiasco, demands $17.31

DougS Silver badge

Reason for a movie for first date

At least you have something to talk about after the movie - how much you liked it / hated it, etc. If you go straight to dinner and find out you have nothing in common it could be kind of awkward. Plus a movie's cheaper.

I think the original reason was perhaps because before cars where could a young couple who both lived at home make out?

Julian Assange wins at hide-and-seek game against Sweden

DougS Silver badge

Re: So, are the Swedes going to pay

Imagine you are him, and are presented with such an offer. Are you really going to take them at their word that you won't be arrested once you leave the embassy grounds?

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