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Comment Re:For those who may have forgotten (Score 1) 57

That certain was an important decision, but the Bell System was still requiring customers to have expensive coupler equipment installed for many years afterwards (that article was from 1974). Those couplers involved transformers that would have made even 56k modems impractical, much less DSL.

For sure, where I lived, the Bell breakup was the dividing line, after which we were allowed to buy phones from someone other than the phone company. I still remember when we got our first non-Bell telephone, though I was a young kid at the time, and it was after Bell broke up. More amusingly, we weren't even in Bell territory; we were served by GTE. That's how wide-ranging the implications of the breakup were. It rocked the industry, and changed things pretty dramatically for the better.

Comment Re:Yes, deleted files are (sometimes) recoverable (Score 1) 57

For spinning rust that works just fine, most of the time. Flash is another story entirely. It's likely that your overwrites will get put into _other_ free cells, and the flash controller will mark the cells you're trying to overwrite as free, rather than overwriting them. Depending on your usage patterns, they might _never_ get overwritten. Aaaaaaand we're back to the problem we were trying to solve... just one layer lower. :(

There actually is a way, but it involves creating a file that's as big as the remaining space on the volume, to ensure that there are no flash pages that don't get rewritten. And even then, that doesn't quite guarantee that it will get overwritten because the flash page you're trying to overwrite could get spared and replaced with a free page. Obviously if you do that enough times, it will eventually get overwritten, but you'll also drastically shorten the life of the flash disk.

A better solution, of course, is to have a flash controller that supports TRIM properly and guarantees that overwritten pages get zeroed in a timely manner. If you have that, then overwriting the data once is sufficient, because the data will eventually get zeroed. And frankly, there's no good reason for a flash controller to not aggressively erase pages that are no longer tied to the filesystem (the old version of the data), because they are unlikely to ever be used again.

Comment Re:Not a SQLite problem (Score 1) 57

In SQLite, you can do "PRAGMA secure_delete=ON;" and it will subsequently overwrite all deleted information with zeros. This is turned off by default because it does more disk I/O. Alternatively, one can run "VACUUM" at any time to ensure that all deleted content has been purged from the database file.

The concern goes deeper than just disk I/O. On flash, there's a limited number of writes per flash erasure block, and using it in a mode that continuously overwrites everything you delete significantly increases the rate at which you burn through those write cycles. The OS is likely to coalesce a lot of those writes if they happen close enough together, but you're still abusing the hardware pretty badly by doing that.

The right approach is to come up with a reasonable policy for retention, e.g. "Guaranteed to not retain data more than n hours" and then vacuum the database every n hours, or when the OS tells you that your app is about to get terminated (assuming you can safely do it in such a short time), or when your app gets backgrounded (if you can't). Either way, vacuuming constantly is bad for the hardware, and never vacuuming is bad for security. The key is to find the right balance, and that pretty much requires your programmers to know that this issue exists, which most SQLite users no doubt do not.

And a couple of aspects of the design of iOS contribute to this problem negatively. If this were on a real computer:

  • You'd probably have a MySQL or PostgreSQL instance holding that data, and it would scrub periodically in the background. You can't do that you iOS, because you can't have a background daemon running when your app isn't running, so everybody ends up using SQLite, which is just barely enough of a database to be usable.
  • You wouldn't have the OS killing your app randomly while it is backgrounded, making it impractical to guarantee that you'll get n seconds to scrub every so many hours.

I'd love to see iOS add a centralized SQL database running on it at all times, with periodic scrubbing, with the ability to selectively share tables across apps, etc.

Comment For example (Score 1) 12

Blocklist: Trump, Hilary, Clinton, DNC, RNC, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, gun control, s**t, f**k, h**l, ...

Actual posts filtered:

  • Google Trumps Apple as #1 on NASDAQ
  • California Drought Finally Over? Green Grass Says "Maybe"
  • Shitake Mushrooms Pulled Over E. Coli Concerns
  • Hello. My Name is...

Word bans don't work. They never did. To do this right would involve significant amounts of machine learning, and you wouldn't need a list of things to ban if they were doing that.

Comment Re:For those who may have forgotten (Score 3, Interesting) 57

Are you kidding? The breakup removed Bell's ability to prevent people from attaching arbitrary non-Bell equipment to the phone lines, which made modems practical, which basically made the Internet viable. It also made multiple long distance carriers available to a lot more people than had options previously, which was responsible for a lot of the cash that Sprint eventually used to build a cellular network. So basically, we have the Internet and multiple cellular carriers because the government broke up Ma Bell.

Comment Re:Teams (Score 1) 244

There's only one sane way for companies to respond: by continuing to post about the Ol****cs, but avoid using any of their trademarked terminology. For example, they could censor it (eg. Ol****c G***s), or even better, use hashtag #LameGames reflecting the way they are running things.

And if they sue, countersue. Try for at least a ten-figure payout.

Comment Re:Headphone Jack is Pretty Crappy (Score 5, Informative) 533

So what's the objection to everyone using BT headsets? People hate wires today.

In no particular order:

  • Hitting pause on NetFlix, then hitting play again, and having no sound for the first two seconds, thus missing half a line of dialog
  • Relatively poor sound quality
  • Having a radio transmitter basically in my ear
  • Having another device to charge every day, and possibly more than once per day

That first one by itself is a showstopper for me. The rest just add more reasons to question the sanity of Apple's upper management. Not that I needed more reasons to question their sanity given that they're still trying to make the d**n things thinner even after they were forced to reengineer parts of the iPhone 6 Plus to fix bending problems....

Comment Re:Headphone Jack is Pretty Crappy (Score 4, Insightful) 533

This has been my experience as well. Not every jack fails - but it still happens more often than for any other jack type that I commonly use.

If that is true, then it is true because it is the jack that you use far more often than any other type of jack. I treat headphones like crap, and headphone jacks even more horribly. The last time I had one actually break was on a PowerBook 145 (where I broke at least two or three headphone jacks). Even with massive abuse, I haven't broken one in any hardware built in the past twenty years.

On my first iPhone, I did have one instance where the jack thought headphones were plugged in when they weren't. That took a little bit of jiggling with a pair of headphones to resolve. But at no point have I ever seen a modern jack break. Not in my gear, not in gear belonging to anyone I know.

I have, however, seen Lightning plugs break off in the jacks. Not only will you lose your headphones when that happens, but also the ability to charge your phone. On the plus side, Apple is going to sell a LOT more AppleCare plans after people break their third or fourth Lightning jack. So my stock loves the idea....

Comment Re: How? (Score 1) 346

The reason that companies like Logitech get cranky is that they assume the goods are probably grey market imports, which you're allowed to do, but you have to clearly advertise the fact that it has no U.S. warranty. But if you have receipts to prove that it was purchased in the U.S., they have no legal grounds to challenge you reselling it as new.

Last I checked, most (if not all) major retailers routinely take unopened returns and put them back on the shelves as new. So if the law considers those to not be new, then that is the most consistently ignored law in the history of the world. And I've dug through California's code, and I see nothing that defines "new" in any way other than "not used". And an unopened package clearly precludes use of the product, so at least in California, I'm about 99% sure that you're wrong. Obviously the answer may vary from state to state, but it seems unlikely that an unopened product could ever be considered anything but new by a reasonable person.

Again, as I said, for automobiles, the law is explicitly different. Once it is transferred to a non-dealer, it is considered used. But as far as I know, that is the only product for which this is the case, and only because there is a specific body of law that explicitly defines the transfer of an automobile to a consumer as "use".

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