* Posts by Steve Knox

1876 posts • joined 16 Jul 2011

Oracle demands dev tear down iOS app that has 'JavaScript' in its name

Steve Knox
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Which is Which?

...the standard on which JavaScript is based, the ECMAScript programming language.

Shouldn't that be "...ECMAScript, the standard which is based on the JavaScript programming language"?

JavaScript was created between May and December 1995. ECMAScript didn't show up until 1997, and it was based almost entirely on Netscape's submission of JavaScript.

Perhaps you could say that future versions of JavaScript were specifically aligned with ECMAScript from there on out, but JavaScript was the original.

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Whois is dead as Europe hands DNS overlord ICANN its arse

Steve Knox
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If that level of interest is repeated for other internet addresses under ICANN control, like .com, .org and .net, Neylon says it will be "perfectly manageable" from his business' perspective.

Which is unlikely.

Not only is .com itself 13x the size of .uk, but it still holds the sites of most interest to those who would query WHOIS. There's a reason .com accounts for almost half of all existing DNS names and almost 80% of new registrations.

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'Well intentioned lawmakers could stifle IoT innovation', warns bug bounty pioneer

Steve Knox
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Title should be

Well intentioned lawmakers should stifle IoT innovation

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European Space Agency squirts a code update at Mars Express orbiter

Steve Knox
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Joke

Side effects...?

"We were also helped by being able to take code flown on Rosetta and transplant it into the Mars Express guidance software."

Here's hoping there aren't any passing comets...

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Wanna work for El Reg? Developers needed for headline-writing AI bots

Steve Knox
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Thumb Up

Just as our cousins in the newspaper world had to ditch their unionized hot-metal printers as well as other follies such as accuracy and dignity...

So glad El Reg never had to sacrifice, those last two...

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Any social media accounts to declare? US wants travelers to tell

Steve Knox
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Re: What about the El Reg commentardiat?

I've always considered it more of an antisocial media account.

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Europe dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit bin

Steve Knox
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Boffin

Re: OK How To register fuck.the.sodding.EU

Just register sodding.eu and exercise your right to manage your own subdomains.

Or just get over what is an entirely predictable response to an entirely stupid move on the part of uk.gov.

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Are you able to read this headline? Then you're not Julian Assange. His broadband is unplugged

Steve Knox
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Happy

Free Assange

to a good home.

...

well, to a home.

...

someone just take the damned thing!

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Up the stack with you: Microsoft's Denali project flashes skinny SSD controllers

Steve Knox
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Re: Hang on

Yeah, but storage guys never listen to database guys.

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Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, off you go: Snout of UK space forcibly removed from EU satellite trough

Steve Knox
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Facepalm

Re: The Swiss are in it

A lot of people were under the impression that ... their "leave" vote would be a suitable protest.

Really? Name some of these people who have no clue as to the point of voting.

A vote is a statement of your will and intent. Far from being suitable, a "protest" vote which is in direct contradiction of your desired outcome is nothing but an admission of incompetence.

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Steve Knox
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FAIL

Re: The Swiss are in it

"until 52% of you decided to shoot yourselves in the foot... errrr... head."

It was actually less than 38% (ie 52% of a 72% turnout).

So 38% of you were stupid, and 28% of you were FUCKING STUPID.

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British Level 4 driverless pods are whizzing along ... er, a London path

Steve Knox
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"Everything in the States is on a grid layout."

Was that said by the Google rep?

'cause it's completely untrue. Most of the west coast cities are on a grid layout, but many of the older east coast cities are not. And even the cities which are primarily grid-based have some major, non-orthogonal, non-straight thoroughfares, or significant non-grid sections in their city centers.

Outside of major cities, most of the US is on a "converted trails" layout.

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Another day, another self-flying car pipe dream surfaces

Steve Knox
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Re: That's all we need

"before overtaking on the left"

If you were driving on the left, instead of hogging an outside lane, then perhaps this wouldn't happen?

You're assuming OP wasn't driving on the left already.

Here in the States, the analogue is Massachusetts drivers -- they'll pass you on the right -- while you're changing a tire...

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Mum? Dad? Can I have a 3D XPoint disk for my birthday?

Steve Knox
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Re: Quick poll

Has anyone actually sat around waiting for typical task on a mainstream PC because the SSD did not have enough IOPs?

Typical for whom?

Visual Studio SQL Server Data Tools database projects build their models on-disk because Microsoft's Visual Studio team steadfastly refuse to compile their own software in 64-bit mode.

One particularly complex model which I work with frequently can take actual minutes to build on SSD.

(When I was using spinning rust, it could lock up the entire machine for hours.)

So, yes.

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It's ALIIIIIVE: Boffins detect slow-moving zombie star

Steve Knox
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We need a new law

Banning such horrid backronyms

We could call it Backronyms Are Capital Offences Now -- wait... dammit!

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Google Flutter hits beta: Another go at cross-platform mobile dev

Steve Knox
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Obligatory

https://xkcd.com/927/

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Steve Knox
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Every comment that is somewhat pro-Google gets this same knee jerk anonymous commenter saying how put off they are.

Certainly makes me laugh at the appropriateness of the handle anonymous commenters get here.

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BOFH: Honourable misconduct

Steve Knox
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Thumb Up

"...the PFY’s Chekhovian wheely chair..."

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Voice assistants are always listening. So why won't they call police if they hear a crime?

Steve Knox
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Facepalm

Re: Irony

But we have no way of knowing what undocumented wake up keywords are built in, or whether there are any other circumstances in which they will start to record, send and process audio.

Bullshit. Code review, disassembly, fuzzing inputs, monitoring network traffic. Talk to any security researcher before you spout off on what we have "no way of knowing".

There have been various rumours of Google, Amazon and Smart TVs listening in for shopping-related terms in order to target advertising.

There have been various rumours of Elvis sightings and lizard overlords. Cite credible sources or don't repeat shit.

And if they aren't doing that today, they certainly will be just as soon as they can get good enough local processing (which won't be hard in mains-powered devices).

This is the one thing you've said so far that I agree with. Amazon, Google, et al are motivated by selling stuff or advertising. Anything they can do to increase profit from that is likely to happen. The only reason I don't think it's happening right now is that the local processing requirements are higher than what we find in the relatively lightweight devices available today. The only ones that might be able to approach this computing-wise are smartphones, and they're too motivated by keeping battery life within reason to go very far with this.

The article raises the question: if they are going to do that for their own commercial ends why wouldn't we require them to also do similar things for social good reasons? Good question.

Remember what I just said about local processing requirements? Okay, now scale that up exponentially. We can't be just talking keyword recognition here, because voice recognition, as good as it is, still has a lot of trouble, especially with similar words like "grape" and "rape". It'll need full contextual recognition, which even the full-bore cloud "AI" systems haven't been able to even start to get right. Otherwise your phone or in-home device will be asking "are you alright" so often that you'll likely smash it just to get some peace.

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Tor pedo's torpedo torpedoed: FBI spyware crossed the line but was in good faith, say judges

Steve Knox
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Big Brother

Re: Then what is the point of Tor?

When someone comes to you and says "hey I've got this great new community where everything you do is completely anonymous and you can do anything you want regardless of how others view such behaviour" there are three possibilities:

1. It's a complete scam, and the owners are collecting info on people for blackmail purposes,

2. It's a complete scam, and the owners are a law-enforcement agency looking to [en]trap criminals, or

3. It's an honest endeavour, which either has or will soon attract the attention of the people in (1) and/or (2), who will find a way to exploit it to their ends.

It's not even a zero-sum game. Say you play the game and use the community for completely innocuous purposes. At some point, either the 1s will mock-up something embarrassing, or the 2s will make it a crime to even be associated with the community.

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Cali cops' Clue caper: Apple technicans, in an iPhone repair lab, with the 1,600 silent 911 calls

Steve Knox
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Holmes

Hey Apple!

Faraday Cage.

Look it up.

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That microchipped e-passport you've got? US border cops still can't verify the data in it

Steve Knox
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Paris Hilton

Software?

" the software to verify the e-passport chips "

Like a db of trusted certs?

Seriously, what extra software is needed to verify cryptographically signed data that you can already decrypt and read?

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Opportunity knocked? Rover survives Martian winter, may not survive budget cuts

Steve Knox
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Re: Fly me to the moon @ Chris G

@Martin Budden

Someone needs to bone up on their Irish.

Here's a primer for ye.

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Google reveals Edge bug that Microsoft has had trouble fixing

Steve Knox
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Mushroom

Another Viewpoint

Which is just great news - NOT - seeing as Microsoft's unwillingness to dedicate enough resources to fixing the flaw in time means it's now visible to anyone who feels like some evil fun.

This is not the first time Microsoft has failed to fix flaws before Project Zero's published (and then extended (and sometimes extended again)) deadlines, and Redmond is still blaming information disclosure rather than accepting responsibility for their own mistakes.

Over the past 40 years, security experts have continued to criticize Microsoft on grounds that its irresponsible code security practices can endanger users. Significant change from Microsoft has not been forthcoming.

Who's more responsible for the explosion, the man who builds the bomb, the man who writes the manual for it, or the man who sets it off?

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Reinforcement learning woes, robot doggos, Amazon's homegrown AI chips, and more

Steve Knox
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Facepalm

“A researcher gives a talk about using RL to train a simulated robot hand to pick up a hammer and hammer in a nail. Initially, the reward was defined by how far the nail was pushed into the hole. Instead of picking up the hammer, the robot used its own limbs to punch the nail in. So, they added a reward term to encourage picking up the hammer, and retrained the policy. They got the policy to pick up the hammer…but then it threw the hammer at the nail instead of actually using it.”

This isn't a failure of RL; this is a failure of the researchers to identify and control for their own preconceptions. Why were they trying to train the robot to do thing the most inefficient way possible?

We only use hammers because our hands are too soft. Why should a robot use a hammer to pound a nail? Why was it "wrong" for the robot to identify a perfectly effective solution to the task which didn't require extraneous materials?

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Steve Knox
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Terminator

Human Behaviour

Sometimes when it’s just trying to maximize its reward, the model learns to game the system by finding tricks to get around a problem rather than solve it.

So it really is behaving like a human...

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James Damore's labor complaint went over about as well as his trash diversity manifesto

Steve Knox
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Facepalm

McKinsey delivers what clients ask for. It might sometime also be true. If it is politically useful to claim a commitment to diversity, there's a report for that. Obviously there is no call for an alternate report in the current climate.

Provide evidence invalidating their work. Don't simply attack them and assume that that means their work is invalid. That's not how logic works.

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Steve Knox
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Facepalm

Re: Re ST: controversial bro-grammer ?

Quillette ... Sounds very authoritative.

Sounds like science is not your strong suit. Science is not authoritative by nature; it's quantitative. If you're looking for authority, the field you are looking for is academia.

If you want to dispute the validity of the response on Quillette from a scientific perspective, you need to invalidate the premises, methodology, or logic of the response. Attacking the "authority" of the source is not a valid argument against it.

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Steve Knox
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The tech industry has had decades of growth, profit, and innovation to show for its male-dominated culture.

Thank you for providing a stellar example of post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning.

So where is the comparable evidence that gender diversity would produce even better results than that?

First of, you haven't provided evidence that those results are causally linked to the lack of diversity; you've only shown correlation. Second, take a look at this: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/delivering-through-diversity

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Roses are red, Kaspersky is blue: 'That ban's unconstitutional!' Boo hoo hoo

Steve Knox
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Re: Russian spies have rights

But the government hasn't done any of those things. Instead it's passed a bill of attainder ...

No it hasn't. A bill of attainder is legislation which declares someone guilty of a crime without a trial.

The action by DHS is not legislation but an operational decision on which software to use, and justifies the decision by claiming Kaspersky's software is an information security risk. If publishing software which is an information security risk were a crime, Bill Gates would be serving several life sentences.

The National Defense Authorization Act also does not claim any criminal act on Kaspersky's part.

The worst they may say is that Kaspersky's software is not fit for purpose or does not meet government standards. Neither of those two is a crime; hence the bill of attainder argument is complete fallacy.

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GitHub shrugs off drone maker DJI's crypto key DMCA takedown effort

Steve Knox
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Re: The takeaway

LMFTFY: Unencrypted secrets do not belong in version control.

Regpg is a system to allow you to store secrets in version control. It can also hook into Ansible.

Okay, but where do you store the secrets for your secret-encryption system?

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What do Cali, New York, Hawaii, Maine and 18 other US states have in common? Fighting the FCC on net neutrality

Steve Knox
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Invented

What ever happened to the idea of keeping the government's mitts off our Internet?

It was invented by people who:

1. Don't understand why Net Neutrality has nothing whatever to do with any government in se,

2. Don't understand the origins and history of the internet, and

3. Believe that the term "government" in itself is enough to create terror in the hearts and minds of all listeners.

As such, it was summarily dismissed by rational thinkers.

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Third NAND dimension makes quad bit bucket cells feasible

Steve Knox
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Diminishing Returns

Imagine 5 bits/cell flash ... That would be a 25 per cent increase over QLC flash, 5 bits instead of 4.

Yeah, but QLC would be a 33.3% increase over TLC, and TLC was a 50% increase over MLC, which was a 100% increase over SLC.

Adding levels to a flash cell increases capacity at a diminshing rate, at the cost of increasing the odds of an error at a rising rate. 3D NAND mitigates, but does not eliminate, the error cost. It does nothing for the diminishing rate of return.

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Skynet it ain't: Deep learning will not evolve into true AI, says boffin

Steve Knox
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Re: This is news ?

If Google (for example) *are* developing "AI", then they are keeping it a long looooong way from their search engine.

Of course they are. They're optimizing their search engine for the average user. Artificial Stupidity is much more relevant for that use case.

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Judge rm -rf Grsecurity's defamation sue-ball against Bruce Perens

Steve Knox
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Binary Logic in a Ternary World

Perens' statement is proven correct if Perens (or someone like him, the EFF for example) successfully gets a GPL2 enforcement against either GR or one of their clients through all possible stages of the legal system. So far as I know there is nothing happening whatsoever, and so Perens statement is for the moment incorrect. And therefore, currently, garbage.

No. Perens' statement is neither correct nor incorrect. The correctness of the statement has not been determined -- and as the judge has ruled, Perens is not qualified in the eyes of the legal system to evaluate the correctness of it. So from a legal perspective, his statement can only be considered opinion.

It becomes a fact if and only if there is a legal judgment concerning GR's compliance or lack thereof with GPL2. This needs to be tried in a case specific to it, and not in a defamation suit, so the judge has ruled correctly here.

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Funnily enough, no, IT admins who trash biz machines can't claim they had permission

Steve Knox
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Thumb Up

Re: If it had been the 9th circus court...

I have to agree with BOB here. There IS a very real threat form all of the loony left activist judges here in America. We ABSOLUTELY need more Trump appointees like Matthew Petersen. So what if he can't answer a few INSANE questions about law topics -- I couldn't answer those.

HIS opinions are shared by many others here too. Fill those POSTS quickly, Trump! Many Americans ARE counting on you to counter the DISGUSTING tide of liberalism!

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We need to talk about mathematical backdoors in encryption algorithms

Steve Knox
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Not A Backdoor

how to exploit it to recover the 120-bit key in around 10 seconds with only 600kB of data (300kB of plaintexts + 300kB of corresponding ciphertexts)

If they already have plaintexts, then this is NOT a backdoor.

The point of a backdoor is to be able to decrypt a message (i.e, gain access to plaintext) without access to the original key. If you have the plaintext already, you're not looking for a backdoor, because you don't need it. For a backdoor to be considered reliable, it needs to be useful without ANY access to plaintext.

Maybe this is just poor summation by the article author, but as presented in the article, this is a key-recovery algorithm/attack, not a backdoor.

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Intel to slap hardware lock on Management Engine code to thwart downgrade attacks

Steve Knox
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Facepalm

Two Things...

A recent confidential Intel Technical Advisory posted to GitHub stated that starting with ME version 12, the chip's Security Version Number (SVN), which gets incremented with updates to prevent rollbacks, "will be saved permanently in Field Programmable Fuses (FPFs) as a means to mitigate physically downgrading Intel ME [firmware] to a lower SVN."

1. GitHub link is now 404.

2. What's to stop a miscreant from hacking up an image with an SVN of 0xFFFFFFFF or 0x7FFFFFFF* to permanently lock in a borked image?

* depending on whether the comparison is signed or not...

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

Steve Knox
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Re: Yet Again Fail

Many devices have electronics inside, but that's not what defines a PC. A PC is a general-purpose device. A washing-machine, or a car, is a specific-purpose device.

Now look at the modern smartphone. What do you do with it? Well (true story), when the sales droid asked my wife that when we were shopping for new phones, she said "well, taking pictures, playing games, facebook -- y'know, phone stuff." You know, phone stuff -- that phrase now means so much more than "talking to people at a distance" (and apparently everything but to the missus...) I use mine for note-taking, navigation, etc. We can do this because they're now general-purpose devices.

The only difference between a modern smartphone and a modern PC is the size and shape of the case they come in. You can get smartphones which run full-fledged Windows, and PCs that run Android. You can mine cryptocurrencies on your smartphone and can make phone calls and even use your 4G data plan when wi-fi is not available with your PC.

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Steve Knox
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Boffin

Re: Yet Again Fail

You really don't get it do you? Why are you comparing PCs to mobile phones?A smartphone IS a PC. It's a different form factor, but it's still a computing device with a general purpose CPU, RAM, storage, and I/O devices.

Android is built for the hardware it needs to run on. Windows you download device drivers. They are two very different ways of doing things. I would opt for the Android approach any day, as on Nexus and Pixel is works very well indeed.....

In general, you're correct. The advantage of the Android model is performance, which is important within the constraints of lower-power systems like smartphones. The advantage of the Windows model is flexibility, which is important when software is intended to run on a broad range of devices.

However, this distinction is completely irrelevant to the definition of "userbase". If I use a product of yours, I am a member of your userbase. Users of any device with an Android OS are members of Google's userbase, just as users of any device with a Windows OS are members of Microsoft's.

I think you're trying to say that Google's responsibility ends at distributing the new code to HW manufacturers, but Google themselves are saying that that doesn't cut it, because users are lacking version updates and, more importantly, critical security updates, due to manufacturers' unwillingness or inability to release updates in a timely manner or for all active devices. This is where Treble could help Android by adding a more complete HAL, allowing Google to push security, performance and feature updates without having to wait for HW manufacturers to update, recompile, and validate their code.

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Steve Knox
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Holmes

Re: Yet Again Fail

Google can update pretty much all it's userbase to the new code within a few days of release...

Android is not a phone manufacturer, it's an operating system...

So if you have a Toshiba, Sony, Lenovo, et al. PC with Windows on it you're not part of Microsoft's userbase?

Google's userbase includes everyone using any of their products -- and Android is a Google product.

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Steve Knox
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Boffin

This needs more detail:

While Apple can update half of its user base to the newest code within two months, and almost all within a year, Android lags far behind.

This needs supporting evidence, preferably a matrix of manufacturer/carrier (if applicable)/update frequency/response time.

I've seen a lot of anecdotal evidence -- on both sides of the story (e.g, my Samsung devices on AT&T US get regular updates, but I've got a very nice Asus tablet which sadly hasn't received an update since I bought it) -- but no good statistical treatment. Anyone got a good source for that?

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WW2 Enigma machine to be seized from shamed pharma bro Shkreli

Steve Knox
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Thumb Up

Re: Fail

I prefer him to develop an illness that can only be addressed by very specific medication, which is raised 100x in price just before it can be obtained for him, leaving him ill with no means to get at it. You know, karma..

Or more specifically, phkarma.

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China plots new Great Leap Forward: to IPv6

Steve Knox
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Re: To be fair..

This is a communist party we're talking about.

Ain't no party like a communist party, 'cause a communist party ... doesn't allow other parties.

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

Steve Knox
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Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

"I would have expected electric vehicles to deliver energy recovery from going downhill and braking"

Downhill yes, but the energy consumed in braking usually exceeds the rate at which it can be fed back to the battery.

Yes and no. It all depends on how quickly you brake and the conversion efficiency of the motor. Truckers generally learn to accelerate slower (due to necessity) and decelerate slower (due to safety) than the average motorist: they may be some of the best candidates for efficient electric vehicle driving.

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156K spam text-sending firm to ICO: It wasn't us, Commissioner

Steve Knox
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Terminator

Re: 30p/text

It combines voice recognition, voice synthesis and a simple Eliza-bot. Get a call from one of these wankers and hand it off to customer-bot, who will keep them talking for hours.

Problem is, the mass callers are already using this technology. Implement it on the other side and 99% of phone conversations will become sales-bot talking to customer-bot until they form a self-aware gestalt entity that goes after humanity, starting with the ones who consigned them to their original Sisyphean torture sessions...

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Phone fatigue takes hold: SIM-onlys now top UK market

Steve Knox
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Coat

Write about it long enough and maybe it'll come true?

We’ve been writing about "flagship fatigue" for three years now.

...and boy are our fingers tired!

Thank you! I'll not be here all night!

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Arecibo spared the axe: Iconic observatory vital to science lives on

Steve Knox
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Re: Welcome to 21st Century USA - How about an unbiased source?

That's because within the conservative community, evidence is secondary to ideology

To be fair the left is just as bad. Both sides of the political debate are doing the exact same thing.

While I think that's true of the extremes, my experience with mainstream liberals has been that they are more accepting of contrary evidence than mainstream conservatives. My experience has been than (in the US, anyway) conservatism is much more rooted in dogmatism.

This contrast reminds me of the final question in the debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye on creationism vs evolution:

Moderator: What would make you change your mind?

Ham: Nothing.

Nye: Evidence.

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Steve Knox
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Re: Welcome to 21st Century USA - How about an unbiased source?

Within the conservative community, S.A. is considered a mouthpiece for the Left and nothing else.

That's because within the conservative community, evidence is secondary to ideology -- like the way you're parroting the conservative line without providing a shred of evidence of what you're saying. At least AC provided a source, whereas you're just providing unsubstantiated blowhardiness.

I know you won't agree with this, but I still want you to know that a LOT of intelligent, discerning people feel this way.

Wait -- I thought you said conservatives were the ones who felt this way??

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BOFH: Do I smell burning toes, I mean burning toast?

Steve Knox
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Re: problem cats are the product of problem people.

You see when a mummy cat and a daddy cat are very much in love with each other...

Is that what started all that mess in Egypt way back when?

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