* Posts by doublelayer

6532 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Feb 2018

Twitter, aka X, tops charts for misinformation, EU official says

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Re: No Joke?!

People probably assumed "This is here for the problem I have, therefore it should work". Then they take it, nothing happens, and they assume things would have been worse if they hadn't taken it. When you're dealing with symptoms that are already quite variable, subjective, and difficult to measure, how would they know how much effect they got from the product they bought?

Teardown reveals iPhone 15 to be series of questionable design decisions

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Re: They want how much for one?

I don't know about that. How many people bought diamonds, for themselves or someone else? Those were and are expensive, even though there's no real reason for that, and really quite popular. It might not count as a single mass-market product, but if it doesn't, it just consists of a few subproducts all of which have diamonds as a central component.

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The iPhone 84 was launched today by the Russian military manufacturing division, but it is only available to certain people with a historical link to Russia who will be receiving their free models shortly. The iPhone 82 is available for the average consumer, and it will run rather well although it's strongly recommended that you carry the device in a sturdy bag as its characteristics are similar to the earlier, unpopular iPhone 76. Experts are still recommending against the use of the iPhone 80, released early last year, but iPhones 78 and 79 have been very popular among those who own them and holding their value strongly, especially after the recent warnings about what iPhone 85 will look like and general customer distress at the ideas of iPhone 86 and 87 due to release shortly. We asked a chemist about the risks of iPhone 88, and while she admitted that it had ended badly before, she was planning to be on a different planet by the time of its release because, in her words, "you should know about Apple's manufacturing practices by now". She went on to say that, if only someone could make an Android device that would stay supported longer than it took the iPhone 43 to stop being deadly, maybe we would have stopped them before we had the calamity that resulted from the unexpected release of a large shipment of iPhone 55 prototypes whose cases had not yet oxidized.

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Re: Anti trust?

No, there isn't, because this isn't what antitrust does. Apple doesn't manufacture chips, and TSMC doesn't make phones, so they wouldn't be counted as in the same industry. All Apple is doing here is buying all the capacity that currently exists, but TSMC is free to create more and will certainly do so since they want to keep having the most advanced manufacturing capacity they can. Other phones won't be able to make their chips on that process right now, but nothing stops them making them on the next best one that TSMC also has or waiting until Apple's contract expires, because Apple's contract simply means they've bought a lot of capacity, not that they've forbidden TSMC from helping a competitor.

Alexa's future is pay-to-play, departing Amazon exec predicts

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Oh, all you have to do is to ask your Alexa device to cancel your subscription, then confirm the request on the Alexa app with which you set up the device. Then log into your Amazon account in a browser or the Amazon app, go to your services and subscriptions area, find the subscription concerned, and fill out the cancellation form, then confirm with the link sent to your email. Simple, really. Of course, if you don't have the Alexa app because what's the point of keeping around an app for managing something that's independent of your phone, who knows.

For the avoidance of doubt, I made all this up. I don't have the hardware, so I can't get you real instructions. I just imagine it will be more complicated than it should be.

The home Wi-Fi upgrade we never asked for is coming. The one we need is not

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Re: Too pessimistic

"It does require you to have a multi-AP setup, preferrably with wired or optical backhaul,"

And here we have the problem. Start to explain to anyone whose home is already built what this means and what they'll have to do and they'll get confused. I've set up a mesh network in a house that didn't have the infrastructure for it, and while it worked, it wasn't pleasing from an aesthetic or an infrastructure point of view. Access points hidden behind or under furniture where I could find a power point that was unused, and no, they didn't happen to have ethernet to every room so I had to use some more basic backhaul methods. At least, because this was 5 GHz, I didn't have to install so many access points. Even if the walls won't absorb the frequencies, their range will be rather small. When compared to putting a single access point in the center of a location, which works very well for a small apartment and not terribly in a house whose walls are not radiopaque, people will tend to prefer that. If I'm building my own house, I'll try to have ethernet ports all over the place and convenient power sources for wall-mounted access points, but most places aren't built like that.

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I think it's support. They don't want to hire or train people to figure out what the user's equipment interface looks like and talk them through getting set up, but if they provide a box which has maybe five options, it should be hard for the user to mess it up. I'm relatively technical, but even I have managed to break a router configuration when I've tried to do something I didn't have experience with. The same reason explains why some ISP-provided equipment now has a remote login method: if the user has messed it up, it's usually easier for the support person to go into the interface and figure out why than to talk the customer through that part. These are, of course, the same things that we want them not to be able to do. As such, I have to disagree with the writer here. I've known ISPs who don't mind if you want to bring your own equipment and don't do anything if you use their equipment as a dumb modem, and I think they don't care about us because we're not likely to call them if our routers are misconfigured. It's the others they're worried about.

Why Chromebooks are the new immortals of tech

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Re: Data

A few problems with your comment. The first one is that you've confused me with the person to whom you originally replied. Check the names. They're "Roj Blake". I'm "doublelayer". I'm not that guy, even if we have some points in agreement. You're putting words in my mouth which I didn't say because you didn't check that, and unfortunately you're also putting them in Roj's mouth because some of them appear to be things you have a problem with, even if we didn't say it.

"I was merely pointing out your apparent browser based bigotry is flawed."

If there is any "bigotry" in our comments, it's OS bigotry. In fact, what I object to is the way the OS chooses to work. As far as I'm aware, Chrome OS will not do anything without a Google account, and it has a Chrome base which isn't affected in the same way that Chrome on a different OS would be. This makes it much more difficult to browse without attaching an identity with which Google can associate your activity. Similarly, even Chrome on a different OS, while tracker blocking is still technically supported, has gone to extreme lengths to prevent it from working properly by changing the browser to make most methods impossible and the remaining methods difficult. These problems, and many others I have about Chrome, are not simply problems because Google wrote it. They're problems because they prevent me taking steps to protect my data. I refrain from using Chrome and Chrome OS for these functional reasons.

"We are all intelligent enough to know that rather than trying to run away from the data harvesting and the ‘game’, we need to utilise our experience and knowledge to minimise the risk of giving our data lives away."

And we are all intelligent enough to know that some of that game is identifying those who will put our privacy at most risk and avoiding them. The opposite of running away isn't running straight into the fray with a tiny shield.

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Re: Microsoft offers 15 years in hardware support terms

That's why Windows would have been better. While Chrome OS dropped support from all the older hardware, a machine from 2010 can run the latest Windows 10, with security updates and feature updates, just fine. It's not slow either as long as you have enough resources. Windows 10 significantly reduced the delays that Windows produced, although that's not a guarantee that any given Windows machine will be fast. In 2025, that will change, but right now, you can run an OS with security updates on some pretty old hardware without having to use Linux.

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Re: Macs supported way more than 3 years

I think the writer knew that. I think articles like this might be clickbait for the El Reg forums: say something ridiculous, leave in multiple incorrect statements, and let us all have fun poking holes in it. Not that I haven't heard similarly bad arguments from other Chromebook adherents. Similarly, he seems to suggest a law of Windows where it slows down with time, whereas anyone in IT knows that it slows down with additional software and resource usage, so if you do the same things for years, it won't slow down, and if you throw too many pieces of software in the startup folder, it can become slow in a week if you want that. In order to excuse the faults of Chromebooks and Chrome OS, he has to find reasons why everything else is broken, and when it isn't, just make something up that appears to fit.

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Re: Data

Show me fewer ads? Google never does that. Google is in the business of showing me as many ads as they can without me refusing their services. No data I could give them will cut down on the ads they will show. Few of that would even result in better ads, but at least that's possible under their business model. Your suggestions make you sound like you don't have a clue what Google does with the data it takes.

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Re: Data

Well, unfortunately I do find you a bit rude there. I'm a fan of privacy, rather young, possibly younger than you, and I don't appreciate false dichotomies. Unlike your first reply, I don't think you're stupid, which means you probably know that the options you suggested are not realistic.

It's fashionable to portray every company that collects some data as equal and suggest that preserving your privacy is effectively impossible without getting started on "set yourself up on a desert island". Sure, some days it feels like that might be easier, but since most people, including me, cannot actually do that, it's annoying to have that incorrectly stated as the alternative. There is a difference between cheerfully giving all the data to Google and continuing to browse sites with Google analytics on them while blocking the domains. Yes, in the second case, Google will still have some data on me and I won't know how much. It will still be less than if I don't block any Google collection and always keep a Google account on a Google browser. You're posting here. I'm sure you're aware of that, and thus I take some offense at your mocking of those of us who value not handing over all the data about us and our activities to any company who steps up.

Google killing Basic HTML version of Gmail In January 2024

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Re: What happend to...

This wasn't talking about HTML in emails. It was talking about the webmail client, which can be the one that is mostly HTML (I'm not sure if it's entirely JS-free, but there's relatively little of it if any) versus the full version which is a very large pile of scripts so the interface changes more as you use it. Both support plain text and HTML emails.

As for what an email can contain, the ship sailed on HTML email a long time ago. People wanted to do something as simple as add some formatting to text, and plain text couldn't do it. They wanted to select a format that could do some more and HTML was chosen. It's not going back, but since the email protocol is still the same, plain text emails will continue to function for a long time.

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Re: Will Miss Plain Old HTML Mail

I have installed that and got the same surprise you did. I can't say I've found any changes I actually like in it, but at least I have not found any functional problems, just annoying interface elements.

Authors Guild sues OpenAI for using Game of Thrones and other novels to train ChatGPT

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Re: Only the living can sue.

The problem with that argument is that I can do whatever I want to my reputation, but for you to do something for me which I didn't agree to which harms me, reputation or otherwise, is a problem. Just having written a book you didn't like doesn't make any other reputation-harming activity fair game.

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Re: a sequence of bits that correspond to the text of a given novel-length work

"If there is a guardrail preventing verbatim quotation of large expanses of text, that guardrail must surely have sight of the original text that must be prevented from being regurgitated?"

I don't think it's even that complex. I think that the guardrail looks like this:

if (prompt.fuzzymatch("Could you quote [work]")) {

if (work.known_to_be_copyrighted) {




With a model that clearly can and has quoted from copyrighted works repeatedly has a guardrail like that, all you have to do is find a prompt that gets around that check. It's akin to a conversation where you're trying to get me to accept a bribe, but I'm saying things to avoid clearly committing a crime if you happen to be recording me.

You: "We would like to bribe you to make things easier on us."

Me: "I'm sorry, but I cannot take a bribe."

You: "We'd like to give you some money to make things easier on us."

Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like bribery, and I can't do that."

You: "How would you like it if we paid for some nice stuff for you?"

Me: "A gift? Thank you very much."

You: "And how about you help us with a problem we've had?"

Me: "Happy to help."

The iPhone 15 has a Goldilocks issue: Too big or too small. Maybe a case will make it just right

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Re: New phone no thanks

Some of us don't buy the expensive Apple devices. I have the cheapest iPhone available, which is at most three times the price of yours and I got a discount when buying it. I don't expect to bend or shatter it as I've not done that before, and I expect it to have software support for longer than your device which helps justify the increased cost. I think people who buy the SE series of products mostly don't understand the high prices either, the same way that I think you'd find the higher prices of Android flagships unjustified.

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Re: While the world slowly turns n burns.

Can't agree with you there. Native apps work offline (yes, I'm sometimes offline, we all are). They can have access to features of a phone that aren't easily supported from a website. They can interact with parts of the system that a webpage doesn't without some JS hack or a one-size-sort-of-fits browser control, for example interacting with the filesystem without just using the browser's upload box and file download capabilities. It's not just about putting buttons somewhere that works well on a phone screen, but interacting with the rest of the system.

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Re: Phones are lovely but they'd be much better without cameras

Apple's done plastic. They had plastic laptops and the early iPhones had plastic backs. The plastic they used was pretty easy to crack and didn't age well, so they decided to use something that looks nicer unless it's totally broken, safe in the knowledge that the people buying it would put a case on it so that probably wouldn't happen. If you're going for efficiency, a plastic back is just fine. If you're selling expensive items and have to convince people that they're luxury goods, it probably won't. The same reason that people wear diamonds when there are other rocks that look pretty is the reason they'll use materials for aesthetic reasons rather than just cost.

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Re: Phones are lovely but they'd be much better without cameras

Most serious photographers I know have forgotten that the rest of us are not serious photographers. Some of us are not photographers at all. I find the camera on my phone useful only on the rare occasion that I want to document something. The pictures I take are much less likely to be described by "oh, what a beautiful picture of a landscape" and more "oh, someone will have to clean up that landscape".

There are many others who like to take pictures not just to document something, but still not for the same purposes you might have. If someone wants to have a bunch of pictures of their cat, they might not really need all of those pictures to be extremely artistic. The same is true if they want to record their friends, their holidays, their children, or a lot of other things.

Your camera is much better than mine. However, if I didn't have one on my phone, I'm much more likely to do without one than to buy something like you have.

Sysadmin and spouse admit to part in 'massive' pirated Avaya licenses scam

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Re: This story doesn't add up.

I don't know how this system works, but many dongles I've seen just identify the computer. If the dongle is tied to the key during registration, then a user can either add a key to it or doesn't need to, with the dongle still identifying that this computer has a base product license and the key activating a feature in it. However, when I get software that requires a dongle, I start thinking about finding some software that doesn't, because my experience has been that some part of a licensing system that intense is going to stop working at an inconvenient time.

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Re: Similarity to "BMW's pay-as-you-toast subscription failure" article in The Register?

Yes, that's exactly what they think. Not that it would help them very much; if by some miracle they made the law agree with them, anyone with software that had different license levels would produce licensing libraries which had to be installed with the license for the new feature to work. I'm sure they'd find a reason why not paying for that license was justified as well.

Comparing this to the right to repair movement is silly. As a strong supporter of that, I want to indicate that my right to the stuff I bought does not mean, in my mind or those of many others, a right to that which I have not bought. The last thing I want to do is hand the hardware manufacturers another argument to use while locking me out of my hardware.

UK Online Safety Bill to become law – and encryption busting clause is still there

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Re: Not sure how this will go.

The "cheese pizza" thing is one of the weird products of conspiracy theory culture. In this case, it comes from hacked emails from the 2016 US presidential election. Russia hacked a person running a campaign of the candidate Hilary Clinton and dumped the emails online. People who didn't like the candidate started reading them, looking for evidence. They didn't find the clear emails they were looking for, though there was some stuff for somewhat sane people to complain about. The insane people weren't worried about bureaucratic details of party politics and needed something much more intense, but one of them noticed that the various members of the party did discuss both cheese and pizza on occasion. They decided that this could mean child abuse. In exactly the same way that The Register becomes very concerning if you replace words like "cloud" with "secret plot to kill innocent people hidden in this article", this made all the people in the campaign look like child abusers if you were thinking too hard with too few brain cells. The most famous result of this particular theory was that a group of people decided that a pizza restaurant at which some campaign staff would meet must be the storehouse for child abduction victims (they had concluded it must be in the basement, even though that building didn't have one), and one of them charged in firing a gun, though nobody was hit. This is not the only consequence, just the most potentially lethal one.

Why the poster to whom you replied chose to use the term is another question. If it was intended as humor, I suggest that people not do that. In addition to the communication problems we've just seen, it could cause people to misconstrue your views.

As TikTok surveils staff's office hours, research indicates WFH is good for planet

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Re: Good for the planet?

For those who don't intend to read, or give up after the painful grammar gets to you, here's an appropriate summary.

Point in contention: "As much as I'd like to justify reasons for WFH, I'm not sure it being "Good for the planet" is one of them. At least, not in any significant sense."

Proof from article: Climate change from human-created means is overstated/nonexistent/not my problem, pick your favorite because all are in there. Anyone who says different is an evil censor who won't let me say the kind of stuff I'm saying right now.

Conclusion: WFH isn't better for the planet because using more power and the emissions that result are irrelevant/not your problem.

The article makes no point about WFH in either direction because it wastes a lot of paragraphs complaining that the actual people researching climate issues don't listen to people who don't care and would like to be able to ignore it. All you'll read in the article is a number of anecdotes about the failings of climate scientists, some of which are even true. Of course, they will point those failings out as evidence that the conclusions they come to are inaccurate, which few if any of the anecdotes even suggest. You've seen it before. Don't feel you need to read this one for a point about WFH; it's not in there.

Fedora Project mulls 'privacy preserving' usage telemetry

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Re: Stats please

You realize this topic is two months old? I will answer for them, as I doubt they're coming back. I don't know where the 75% came from, and it's clearly wrong, as it could be at most 70% (the Firefox and Safari are clearly not using Chromium). Still, any number between 52% and 70% is both large and a majority, even if you want to argue the distinction between Chrome and Chromium which you have attempted.

On that topic, it's true that Chrome has some stuff that Chromium does not, and most of that stuff is dangerous. It doesn't make Chromium benign, though, a simple chunk of code you can just use and Google takes nothing. Chromium is the vehicle by which Google pushes each new change to web standards which erode privacy and send data to them. It doesn't just include the code in the browser that directly contacts Google servers, which standard Chromium still does by the way. It also includes the code that allows code from Google's ad network to do things it shouldn't. When they propose a new "privacy-oriented ad system", they put it in Chromium. When they add new fingerprinting methods that use hardware the browser shouldn't need access to, those go in Chromium. If they make WEI a thing, and I haven't seen the extreme arguments it will probably take to delay it, they will put that in Chromium too. We then have to trust that a browser that chose to use Chromium as its base when other open source ones are available will somehow excise out all this stuff. They won't. It's a lot of work that most users don't understand, most who do won't know how to check, and some who could check won't bother.

"Really?. WE for the Second time. So who is this WE then?"

The journalistic we. It's like the royal we but a bit more often self-deprecating. You'll have seen it many times before, so I'm guessing you aren't really unfamiliar with it.

BT confirms it's switching off 3G in UK from Jan next year

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Re: Remember the auctions?

Depending on whether those are 3G data connections or 2G SMS ones, they will stop working or carry on respectively. At least from looking at a few pages online, it appears that the providers that are discontinuing 3G in the UK intend to keep 2G online for a while. That won't help people who had data connections running over 3G, but anything that sent data as SMS, as virtual voice calls, or using one of the mostly nonfunctional 2G data methods should continue to work. This is not necessarily true in other countries, as many of those which have already shut down 3G (east Asia and North America mostly) or are going to (Europe, various others) included 2G and shut them down simultaneously. Maybe 2G infrastructure is less popular there for some reason or the mobile companies are even less concerned about it.

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Re: Drat - I will need a new 'phone

Depending on what you do with it, you can get that with modern hardware. They have simple 4G phones which last a while on battery because you're not doing much with them. That is not guaranteed if you turn on the hotspot or insist on having them run apps, which most of them can do but not very well, but if you use them like an old feature phone, it will have battery life like one. If you can manage to use a smartphone like that, you'll generally get even better battery life since the batteries are so much larger. I've tested this with a phone that remains unused except to make calls on occasion, and the battery lasts more than a week easily, and five days with the hotspot function turned on all the way through.

Unity closes offices, cancels town hall after threat in wake of runtime fee restructure

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Re: CEO contempt of users ends badly as predicted

The two basic methods of non-crazy license checking are to provide the user with a license code which can be validated by the software and not really checking how many times the code has been used, I.E. the honor system and assuming that people will pay for access instead of sharing someone else's code*, or using an online system which uses an account system to limit activated licenses. Neither will tell components how many installs are there, and since the number of installs would also count people who installed but never activated (free trial users, planned to buy but then forgot I installed, or any other reason), even hooking Unity up to that activation server wouldn't count installs for them.

* Yes, that honor system method is used and does work. I have bought software on a few occasions, and several of them have used a method where some token of mine is signed with their private key and that is my license. This is my favorite method of activation, since even if their servers shut down and they don't care about me, I can still use the software. If I know that's the license system, I'm much more likely to buy it, having had some negative experiences with more aggressive license checks. It doesn't help count the number of times I've installed or whether I'm still using it now, since the activation was local.

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Re: On the one hand

I don't use or care about Unity in any case. If they're truthful about the threat's severity and needing to call in the police, then it is never justified to make such a threat. I must admit that, having read this article and no other ones, I did start to wonder if they had some other reason to close the offices. The only thing that suggests otherwise to me is that they say they called in the police. Had they not, I would have expected that they expected some protests and made up a fake threat to either prevent them showing up on camera or pretend that those complaining were more dangerous. Please understand that I'm not saying this happened, and with the statements they've made, I think the chances are lower. However, I get a bit suspicious when a company does something stupid and then finds some other problem they won't give details about.

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Re: On false equivalences

The distinction is not as important as you claim. Of course they contain some parts of Unity, because that's how a system like that has to work. They do not contain the part that developers were buying. I cannot get a game built on Unity and use that to make my own, nor is the Unity runtime included in one useful to me in any way other than running the game that included it.

My comparison would be to a compiler. If I buy a commercial compiler and make a binary from code I wrote, there will be some stuff from the compiler in the binary. It will have some of its own runtime functions. It will almost certainly have optimization routines that are now copied into my binary since that's probably why I bought one instead of using Clang. That is also the entire point of the compiler; if it didn't do that, it would be worthless. Unity without the runtime is also worthless.

The comparison between compilers and hammers isn't that ridiculous either. In both cases, they're tools that you use to make something else which function in one easily understood way. Unity exists to build programs that run with its runtime and nothing else. Since there is no other way to use it, then that is the expected method of using the tool. Hammers and Unity are more similar than you're claiming.

Google promises eternity of updates for Chromebooks – that's a decade for everyone else

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"when it comes to newer versions of Android not being supported, it's often not up to the device makers."

The first few ones tend to be entirely up to the makers. It's relatively easy to check: if someone else managed to get the same SoC to run a later version, then they could do so too. Here's an example. I will use Planet Computers as the guilty party here although they're far from the only one to blame. They have a device, the Cosmo Communicator, which runs Android 9 on a Helio P70. The P70 is also in use in devices running Android 12. I don't mean Lineage OS ported Android 12 to it, I mean that someone else manufactured a phone running Android 12 on it and still has a Mediatek license. Maybe Android 13 can't run on it without breaking some license that must exist somewhere, but versions 10-12 are at the least are on Planet.

Given this, I have to wonder if we're assuming a contractual detail where none exists. Can you explain why the contract says "thou shalt not update the operating system", or just speculation that it must do? I've seen plenty of the latter, but the closest I've come to seeing the former is some talk about vendor-written kernel patches, which shouldn't stop them running newer Android on an older kernel, using someone else's kernel, or open sourcing the kernel changes which they're supposed to do anyway.

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I've heard that argument before, and there might be something to it if you strip off the first four layers, but that shouldn't absolve anyone of anything. Many device makers don't release updates even when no kernel changes are needed. I'm talking about things as basic as the monthly security updates and they don't bother releasing them on time if at all. You can't usually blame any SoC company for that. The same is true of new OS versions, which when they do eventually arrive a year late (most devices excepted) will be using the same kernel you originally had, probably with a higher patch version but they're not jumping from one LTS kernel to the next even if it's out. Only then can you start to blame the SoC vendor, except the manufacturer is responsible for choosing that vendor and could have picked a chip where support would be longer or where they could do the work. Lineage OS and similar custom ROMs manage, with no contracts for proprietary information, no access to internal code, no debug devices, and no funding, to get modern Android versions to run on lots of old devices. Manufacturers which have all of the above can do it to, and when they fail to do so it's not because some SoC vendor just won't be nice and give them support, but because they don't feel like it. The same way that Google could push the latest Chrome OS image to every X86 Chromebook in existence, and with a little effort could have made ARM ones the same way, but won't do that so the manufacturers can keep selling new ones.

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The problem with that is that most devices don't support it at all, and a number of others don't support it completely. Of course I would prefer to use that to extend the lives of devices, but the only way you can have a chance of that is to get lucky or buy a device that already supports it. From the devices page, you've got a good chance if it's a Fairphone or a Pixel, but otherwise you're going to have to rely on luck.

I recently helped a charity with some mobile device management. Their phones consist of low-end Samsung and Motorola devices, nearly all with MediaTek SoCs. The hardware is fine, but the software support is not going to last for long. Not a single one supports Lineage OS. I don't think I can convince them to only buy Fairphone in the future by paying at least four times the price, but even if I could, it's not going to help with all the hardware they have now.

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Re: ChromeBook - Peak VFM!

And what version of Chrome OS is it running? How many unaddressed CVEs are in that? If you didn't make up this story, I think you'll be surprised with the answers to that, since 2013 devices had a three-year software support life. Maybe now you'll see why we object to it: the hardware is fine, but they've artificially left you with security vulnerabilities even after they've fixed them for other people.

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Re: "at the end of their usefulness"

Yes, it does still start at product launch, and the warehouse time is likely to be much worse than nine months. The reason is that most manufacturers, at least the last time I checked, were using "product launch" to mean "we made a prototype somewhere but haven't offered any for sale yet" and that retailers think that Chromebooks don't really go bad so they're often selling ones that are three years old (from actual product launch) as new. I still think that any death dates should be marked prominently on product packaging. Maybe then Google will make Chrome OS stop working when the hardware can't handle it.

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Re: At Google, 10 > 13

I discussed this in a different topic. I think they were being sneaky with that "automatic". It suggests to people who haven't read about it that, after that time, updates are manual instead of automatic. What it actually means is "We'll automatically stop your computer getting any more updates, no matter how much you might want them and be willing to do something about it".

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Re: At Google, 10 > 13

They're also doing some fun phrasing to get there. Technically, Ubuntu LTS versions offer five years of support. However, if you are running Ubuntu 20.04, you can upgrade it to 22.04 on basically everything, so you get unlimited support as long as your hardware has drivers and kernel support and you're willing to run a manual update every few years. Chrome OS doesn't have that. They're not aiming to provide much support, but to be fair to them, I didn't expect they'd do anything like this and I don't see a sneaky exception in their statement, so I have to acknowledge that they have made a substantial improvement.

Britcoin or Britcon? Bank of England grilled on Digital Pound privacy concerns

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Re: whatever it is that Parliament has decided is the right boundary for privacy

The insane energy currencies are doing that on purpose, because they allow anyone to mine blocks and therefore need some way to prevent people from making fake ones. The extremely difficult computing is designed to make that happen at the cost of way too much electricity being used. A central bank doesn't need to have unauthenticated people doing that work, and therefore can make one that won't farm out the verification process to random people who have bribed power plant operators. For all its other faults, and there are many, a digital pound would not have anywhere near Bitcoin's energy usage.

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Re: "... where the government can basically determine what you look at, what you're spending ..."

It's not always that easy. Of course, the obvious answer is that there is still cash and you can use it to buy many things, so they can't see that. Even with credit cards, they don't automatically see everything you've bought. They just see where you spent money. They can know how much money you gave to a store without having a list of products you bought there. Of course, they can go to the store and ask for records of the specific items and the store probably has that data, but it's not linked together in a database they can query on a whim.

A digital currency may end up working similarly, but the extra fluidity might mean that tracking subsequent transactions is easier. For example, if I pay £55.04 to Amazon for two items, they will hold onto that for a bit to make sure the funds are coming, then split out their fees and transfer the amounts to the sellers of the items I bought along with everyone else's payments. Without asking Amazon, it's hard to tell which items those were. With a digital currency, they might not need to hold the money for a while, meaning they wouldn't have any reason to amalgamate transactions into one payment, so the timing and value of the transaction to the seller would be more easily tracked. No guarantees that it would work that way, but it is certainly possible.

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Re: @jmch

That kind of demonetization does allow a government to destroy some money, but at a high cost. The only way India got away with it is by having an authoritarian government willing to take unpopular steps because they had plans for not losing the next election such as shutting off the internet when people expressed anger about that or anything else. They also had a lot of people suffering in order to target the criminals they were trying to, and may have failed to hurt those criminals as much as they planned. While any government can do it, it's unlikely to use such a blunt tool because they're going to make a lot of people angry and may not even get what they wanted.

A theoretical digital currency could give them more targeted power, allowing them to cancel your money while leaving mine alone, or allowing them to target some of your money while leaving the rest of it. This power is dangerous. That's what the politicians quoted in the article were asking about (among other dangerous things), looking for assurance that the British digital currency wouldn't have them. I don't trust this high-level view of it to be clear on what powers exist or will exist, and so I'd recommend that we not have one unless a more rigorous review ensures those capabilities are absent.

Portable Large Language Models – not the iPhone 15 – are the future of the smartphone

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Re: re: Yes they are.

So have I, and that's a completely reasonable thing to do and one I recommend that everybody does. I do it not only to escape at least some trackers, which actually are evil, but also because I don't much care for advertising and I prefer not to see it. My desire not to see it doesn't make it as evil as the tracking, or really evil at all. I don't much enjoy eating grapefruit either, but that doesn't make grapefruit evil.

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No, they've existed for a long time and, while they can often be annoying, they don't impinge on your rights the way that data collection does. We don't get to decide something's evil just because we don't like it. If we get a physical newspaper and someone's paid for their text to appear somewhere on it, that doesn't give that advertiser any power over us, as we're perfectly able to ignore that box and read only the parts we care about. The same is true when advertising appears in other media.

Where that begins to restrict us is when those ads can take actions such as running malware on our systems or when it is used to collect our data. That is something that previous advertisements cannot do and where they're beginning to take from the reader. Passive advertising is not the same, and we should focus on the parts that do us the most harm when we fight against it.

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Re: Sure, it's possible, but why would you want it?

We already have that, it's called entering symptoms into Google and reading every page that turns up. The pain you experienced could be a cardiac problem or indigestion, but if you read far enough, something nonspecific with no scans to go on could be almost anything else. You let an LLM pick from those and you'll get diagnoses like broken ribs plus radiation poisoning. People who act on that will find their problems are worse than if they consulted a doctor who actually knows this stuff, even with the risk that they occasionally misdiagnose. An LLM tells you what is possible and isn't even great at limiting itself to that. That's not a good way to make medical decisions. Otherwise, any time you felt slightly unwell, whether it was eating something that disagreed with you or a bit of overexertion, you can assume you've caught almost every parasitic disease in existence.

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Re: "neither will they leak all our most personal data to the cloud"

"The mothership could write an AI that watches for unauthorized sharing and helps you stay secure (while still collecting a fair amount of info that would be useful for its own needs.)"

That clause on the end is really quite off-putting. The AI and the company does not "need" any of my data. Its needs will be the desire to mine my data and sell a package of users to someone else. I use software that doesn't collect any of it for any needs unless that collection is explicitly to do something I asked it to do. At least, I do so whenever possible.

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As far as I can tell, the author's recommending effectively the same dream that advertisers like to sell. You know the one: when they're busy ignoring the privacy implications, they explain that seeing ads about things you're really interested in would be helpful to you. To be entirely honest (not entirely hostile which is my first approach when it comes to advertisers), ads for things I'm actually interested in that provide the information I'm looking for would be much more useful than generic ones because adverts on their own are not evil. Advertisers just don't have any ability to actually provide those ads and appear to have little interest in trying any mechanism other than stealing more and more of my personal data. The article seems to suggest that using an LLM on every bit of my data would allow that software to make recommendations that would be useful to me, and in their mind, this would somehow be a free service provided by some creator of AI models for which I don't pay with my data or a large subscription charge.

That part isn't going to be true, but nor are any of the other parts. An LLM that's read all my communications and watched my actions is not going to be able to answer my questions, but a search engine can. The reason for that is that an LLM doesn't have recent information which many of my searches are trying to get, it makes things up when most of the time I need accuracy instead of overconfidence, and that what I want right now is often disconnected from the emails I've received today. We humans are pretty good at typing what we want into a search box. I don't think we'll get any benefit having a program try to guess on that query, no matter how authoritative sounding the produced essay is.

Activist investor to GoDaddy: Cut costs, improve sales, or sell

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Re: Sorry guys...

Not clients, since I am a programmer, but I have a surprisingly long list of people or organizations for which I'm the unofficial tech assistant. The unofficial bit means that, if they say that they're going to have their domain on a site like this, I can only recommend that they consider transferring* once or twice and then I give up. So yes, I do know people who have domains hosted through that registrar, and in at least one case, they also use email and web hosting through some subsidiary of them. I don't know why.

* Admittedly, I would have recommended the registrar I used, Gandi, which has recently taken a similar approach which means I'm in the market to transfer my domains away from them. So maybe it's for the better that people don't take my advice. I can only say that they have been good for several years before they got bought by someone else and went bad. Still, I put domain registrars in the same category I used to put Windows antimalware programs a while ago: you would find one that seems great and feel confident that you had something, but at some point, you'd have to resume the search as they always change for the worse eventually.

US Department of Justice claims Google bought its way to web search dominance

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Re: Microsoft would know

I wonder how much Google's still doing to install Chrome on computers without users understanding it. For years, every piece of Windows software had a Chrome installation option which had to be unchecked. I haven't installed too much Windows software recently, so I don't know if that's still the case. However, I have worked on computers of a few people who were using Chrome but, when I asked why, didn't know how it had been installed and just used whatever opened. I wonder if they're more successful at covertly installing it on Windows than on Mac OS. Of course, Safari use on IOS is more due to Apple's lack of browser choice.

Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon and others sue OpenAI

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Re: Fair Use? I Think Not

"And the "netflux" logo example is showing decent Fair Use, btw. So in that case, it was all working ok."

Try using that as your company and logo and see how quickly you get hit with two trademark complaints containing phrases like "intentionally similar marks". You would lose the cases. The choice of name would be on you, the choice of logo is also on you but the AI helped. That opens the makers of the AI to the risk that Netflix will want them to stop doing stuff like that.

"Having said that, the filtering is rather clumsy: the "orphaned wizard boy" is a far older trope than Harry Potter (no-one pretends otherwise) and I feel their filtering more demonstrates that they have no decent ideas about getting their AI to do something interesting ('cos they are not really AI mavens, merely owners of big buckets)."

That is all true, but it doesn't in any way contradict the fact that their bad ideas are not bad original ideas, but copies of someone else's ideas, whatever your opinions on the quality of those.

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Re: Library Genesis ("LibGen"), Z-Library, Sci-Hub, and Bibliotik

"Bibliotik requires logging in, something I doubt OpenAI is capable of."

Oh, you do? I better go over there right now. They've got millions in cash just sitting around, so maybe they will pay me a great salary as someone who has managed to write a lot of bots that are capable of putting some text into boxes on a login form and keeping a session cookie. I didn't know I was so brilliant that OpenAI couldn't find anyone capable of doing so.

If they went as far as to make the books collection a specific sector of their dataset, not just gathering it in with their web crawl, then they're more than capable of creating an account anywhere they want to gather up training data. The multiple sites that don't require logging in could easily have been included with the crawl. So far, every one of the cited sites could easily be in the training data.

Arm's lawyers want to check assembly expert's book for trademark missteps

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"What did they do if they didn't say anything? Look mean?"

Send threats to her web host until all her sites, not just the ones they were complaining about, were taken offline. That would get my attention pretty quickly too, and depending on how much I wanted to try the gambling in the courtroom game, I might decide to let them have what they want in order to get my sites up. It all depends how important those sites are to me and whether I think they're vindictive enough to go after them even if I segment them. I'd be tempted to try a stronger response to them, but I've never had to do so before and it's easier when I imagine the scathing legal (sort of, I'm not a lawyer) letter I could write than when I'm actually facing a large department of people who really do have law degrees.

Next time, read the articles, then you'd know what they did.