* Posts by Charlie Clark

3610 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

Microsoft's magic hurts: Nadella signals 'tough choices' on the way

Charlie Clark
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Re: WinPho not doing better than before?

I thought Windows Phone was actually picking up market share?

Where? If it is, it's not enough to matter. The costs of standing still are high, especially in the consumer market.

There's certainly a demand for phones with a high-degree of integration in the Windows world. But that doesn't mean the phone has to run Windows. At some point Microsoft will have enough installs of Office for Android and IOS to be able to forecast how much money it can make from subscriptions. My guess is that this will be somewhat more than they're currently making from Windows phone.

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Cambridge boffins: STOP the rush to 5G. We just don't need it

Charlie Clark
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Re: Why does 5G have to be faster?

Well, then it would just be 4G LTE…

5G is currently just marketing. The future is most likely going to be multimode – handing off to WLAN wherever it's available. This allows for a much more flexible deployment of infrastructure and will also support 4k cat videos most of the time. If the networks pursue 5G then they will risk losing out to disruptors such as Google's "Project Loon".

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We forget NOTHING, the Beeb thunders at Europe

Charlie Clark
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Re: Lawsuits inbound

Let's keep this in proportion.

The "right to forgotten" never applied to original articles, merely their representation in search results.

At most such pages may be required to contain a disclaimer that the information was subsequently shown to be incorrect.

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Google creates cloud code cache

Charlie Clark
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Re: WTF?

This looks like the basis of an enterprise service going after the lucrative CI market.

Hosting repositories and bug trackers is easy but there is little money it, despite GitHub's success in recent funding.

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Britain beats back Argies over Falklands online land grab

Charlie Clark
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Re: Outer Manchuria before the Falklands

Although it's hard to imagine countries actually going to war over TLDs, stranger things have happened.

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

There are loads of overseas territories with TLDs.

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AMD: We're not splitting our gfx and servers biz, ignore all the rumours

Charlie Clark
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But where would be the RoI for such an investor? I guess Apple could do it to have everything in house (getting AMD's graphic chips would certainly be appealing, the dependency upon Intel is shrinking all the time). It's certainly got the cash and the margins. Apart from that it's difficult to see a definite business case.

If ARM ever makes it into the data centre in any volume then it's still possible that Intel would be allowed to do the takeover. Keeping AMD around just for the illusion of competition isn't fooling anyone.

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Vodafone splashes €2 BEEELLLION to kick German TV sideways

Charlie Clark
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Re: DVB-T is essentially dead in Germany anyhow

All reports of the demise of DVB-T in Germany are exaggerated. The number of channels certainly doesn't compare well to the UK, and satellite is more entrenched, but there are still a sizeable number of households for whom DVB-T is the only option. This is one of the reasons why RTL isn't abandoning ship as early as previously announced.

Mind you, given the generally awful quality of programming, the shift to online only is going pretty fast.

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Windows Phone is like religion – it gets people when they are down

Charlie Clark
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It's nice to read the number of people who are happy with their Windows phones. The hardware is good and if Microsoft can't get the Exchange integration working for business then you do have to worry for them. Still, I think the move to provide their services on both IOS and Android will bring Microsoft more in the long term.

I'm not trolling but I can't remember seeing a Nokia here in Germany this year. Meanwhile one of my corporate clients is switching from BlackBerry to Apple. That would be about 5 % of all the Windows phones sold in the UK in Q1 and with much fatter margins.

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JavaScript creator Eich's latest project: KILL JAVASCRIPT

Charlie Clark
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Been a while in coming

At last year's PyCon Gary Bernhardt gave an entertaining and informative talk on this kind of thing called The Birth and Death of Javascript. Basically, the combination of LLVM and modern hardware (lots of memory required) allow compiling from one language to another in near real-time.

Javascript was thrown together in a matter of days and has struggles with all kinds of things which could not really have been thought of at the time (yes, I know proper languages had already solved most of the problems correctly) considering its extremely limited domain. Personally, I hate trying to write anything in it but the web has made it ubiquitous. Hence, the desire to find reasonable solutions to the limitations without creating new, incompatible runtimes. Be interesting to see where this goes but I think it's got legs.

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Philae warms up nicely, sends home second burst of data

Charlie Clark
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Re: Bounce @Charlie Clark

@Sir Sham Cad

Thanks for the update. I hadn't heard about the thruster problem. So now we know that Philae was actually under engineered and the next one will need a backup solution in case of the same problem…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: It does seem as if its a bit of a hole

It was known back in November that it had landed in some kind of ravine. This was bad both for power and communications: little light gets in and the antennae are limited in where the can point. The current problem seems to be that the probe's radio beam seems to different than expected, so Rosetta has to adjust its orbit for a more effective fly-through. Given that the probe woke up because its getting warmer and is on a ball of ice and dust, it's hardly surprising that its position has shifted slightly as the environment around it warms up.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Bounce

Why spherical? Considering the extremely low gravity on a comet, the shape isn't really important but the one thing you don't want is something that can bounce well and thus escape the comet's gravity. Finding out why the various attempts to mitigate bouncing failed is more important.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Over engineered?

What on earth do you mean by "over engineered"?

Space is dangerous and getting things anywhere particular is difficult. If you want an example of something cheap, cheerful and also a complete failure then look no further than the Beagle 2.

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Apple CORED: Boffins reveal password-killer 0-days for iOS and OS X

Charlie Clark
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That's why those who believe you can always fix a vuln in a few weeks are those who never worked on a complex piece of software, with a lot of other software beyond your control depending on it.

It's primarily a design issue that should have been picked up a long time ago. How do you think the liability should be handled if someone experiences harm as a result? Disclosure isn't really any different to finding defects in laptop batteries, or car accelerator pedals.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Keychain on iOS is secure

OSX has different holes....

FTFY…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Don't think Apple's got it where proper OS design is any more

It has rather gone downhill since Snow Leopard.

Snow Leopard has enough problems of its own due to the switch to 64-bit…

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Charlie Clark
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Re: SIx months??? Apple was lucky it wasn't Google to find them...

LOL! It's astounding how MS is evil, Apple and Google always right.

What a load of crap! Time to burn your strawman!

Apple is known to have a terrible record on security updates. That's why many of those who use Macs don't really on Apple for POSIX libraries. Interestingly, however, it looks like they have learned from the openssl debacle and are moving to libressl for the next version.

Google might well want everybody's data but does have a good track record when it comes to bug-fixing. This may come from having a pretty good open source culture within the company: they have long been good players in many projects. The proof will, of course, come when someone discovers a major flaw in something like Android that they want holding back.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: SIx months??? Apple was lucky it wasn't Google to find them...

So, the note about the Chromium team disabling the affected part escaped your notice?

You need bright light to find bugs. Delaying publication does not really improve security. Who's to say that other people (criminals, spies) haven't found the same vulnerabilities?

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Charlie Clark
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Journalism 101

The article is generally better than Mr Pauli's dashes but still contains some misleading and poorly expressed parts. For example,

They found "security-critical vulnerabilities" including cross-app resource-sharing mechanisms and communications channels such as keychain, WebSocket and Scheme.

In this context "security-critical vulnerabilities" should not be quoted because it is in the context of the report. If the author wants to emphasise that this is a claim made by the researchers that has yet to be confirmed then more explicit context can be added: "the researchers claim that there are security-critical vulnerabilities…"

Resource-sharing is essentially what an operating does for applications and is always "cross-app". However, this sounds more like it is related to resources being shared between apps.

"Scheme" is a programming language, LISP like as far as I know but I'm probably wrong. Further down in the report this is clarified as referring to the URL-scheme used and not the programming language. BID is thrown in later without explanation of the acronym.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: What are all these papers good for ?

True, but I'm not even sure if this that much about programming. It sounds a lot more like design, especially Apple's much flaunted app sandboxing that seems to have been undermined.

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Vodafone hikes prices to 37.5p/min – and lets angry customers flee

Charlie Clark
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FWIW in Germany all such call centres are no longer allowed to charge while you're in a holding pattern. They're now pretty much all single fee (understandable) affairs with an explanatory note at the start of the call.

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Charlie Clark
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Go

Re: Thanks El Reg

ah, I think you'll also find that that's the same lavatory where you go to vote in (next year's?) referendum!

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Would EU exit 'stuff' the UK? Tech policy boss gets diplomatic

Charlie Clark
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Greece in 2025 could be well on the way to being a solvent, independent, state building it's way back to prosperity.

Indeed it could. On the other hand, and the post-junta history would perhaps suggest this, it could still be a basket case. Greece's problem isn't its debt, which now has maturity dates that effectively are never never, but structural: non-extant land registry, ineffective tax system and inefficient labour market, etc.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Leaving the EU would be stupid.

The CAP is a mess, but you're right that the UK is a net contributor. However, it has increasingly little effect on prices.

If the UK were to leave the EU then there would be the following would happen:stuff that doesn't grow so well in the British climate would be harder to import and most probably more expensive (this would appreciably hit Spanish farms and British winter tables); it would be a lot harder to find cheap farm labourers from eastern Europe to work on British farms (this could push up prices and also reduce availability. In time, of course, new supplies could be found for both but the price could be higher.

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Charlie Clark
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The Greece thing is being hyped up out of all proportion. Financially nothing will happen but there is the political risk of having a "failed state" on the south eastern border of the European Union. The bankers, alas, have already taken the money and run with it. That was largely the point of the last five years.

Cameron, having dug himself in a silly hole but also having reasonably effectively seen off UKIP, is going to try and sneak the referendum through early while no one is looking.

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Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: “national measures” continue to entangle the single market

All of that is put at risk by leaving.

None of that is put at risk by leaving, given that it all existed and worked just fine before the EU existed, when there was just the common market (i.e. an EEA-level agreement).

Most of it at risk. The situation pre-1974 is not the same: there was little freedom of movement of goods; no freedom of movement of people and no freedom of movement of capital. The UK has profited significantly from all three.

Good luck wishing to turn back the clock. Why not go the whole hog and pretend Victoria is still Empress of India? The corn laws would still be in place and children could employed to do all kinds of useful work because they are cheap and nimble. Ah, happy days…

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Charlie Clark
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Stop

Re: A question of English?

The real questions are how to do that, and whether the EU will let it happen. Many of the Eurocrats are just petty enough to do everything they can to ensure that a country which leaves will fail, if only to avoid the embarassment of it being more successful outside of Brussels/Strasbourg's political control.

That's FUD.

The Single European Act is the basis for the single market and it is purely political. If the UK leaves and wishes to negotiate new treaties, then while they will be negotiated with the European Commission, it is the member states who will decide the fate. The UK can "survive" outside the EU but, given the scale of integration, then leaving will be extremely disruptive to large parts of the economy as well as things like research cooperation.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: “national measures” continue to entangle the single market

You don't need to be an EU member to be in the EEA. Furthermore, there's nothing stopping bilateral trade agreements with whatever countries you like.

Both true but the UK isn't a separate member of the EEA so it will have to apply to join and this will inevitably mean signing up to EU standards as the existing members have to. As to bilateral agreements, that was the basis for most of the agreements that Switzerland had with the EU. If you follow the current contortions that the Swiss parliament is going through to try and avoid implementing the immigration restriction, you'll see that bilateral agreements of any kind with individual member states, let alone trade agreements, are getting much harder to make because they potentially conflict with the Single European Act, so the Commission gets the chance to vet them.

Farming subsidies aside, the EU's budget is still tiny compared to national ones.

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Intel inside: Six of the best affordable PC laptops

Charlie Clark
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Not tempted by this lot

Would pay a premium for a nice, light 13" that can take a lot of memory and docks nicely. Not too fussed about screen resolution as it's going to be docked most of the time, but I'd rather shave 500g off for when I do have to lug it around.

No? Looks like I'll be sticking with Apple…

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'Nothing to see here', says ECJ as Safe Harbour opinion delayed

Charlie Clark
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Re: Amazon S3

This is why many companies, including those that run services on AWS, are moving European data to European data centres. Sufficiently pliant governments exist to give the US spooks access whenever they want it but there will be a fig-leaf of oversight.

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INTERNET of BOOBS: Scorching French lass reveals networked bikini

Charlie Clark
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Coat

Re: So who will be the first to hack this device

I can think of a more effective monitor than temperature for that… Available shortly in Japan, no doubt.

Mine's the dirty grey mac with suncream and tissues in the pocket!

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Charlie Clark
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Basic flaw

If you're already exposed to strong UV, it's usually too late to start applying sun cream as that takes a few minutes to be effective. A dog-tag worn round the neck or attached to the shoulder straps, similar to a radiation detector, probably makes more sense as it measures the actual UV exposure rather than the intensity probably makes more sense.

Still, full marks for suggesting that the software was developed by women (I've no idea whether it was or not and I'm not suggesting it wasn't).

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Only good thing about Twitter CEO storm: 140 character limit gone

Charlie Clark
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Re: Large textual messages direct to another person?

Why should a company using Twitter for customer support

I think you mean why should a company use Twitter for customer support?

Twitter has always been about PR only. Every minute spent on using PR for support is a minute taken away from support.

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Microsoft spunks $500m to reinvent the wheel. Why?

Charlie Clark
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Re: Could be a couple things...

Microsoft is hell-bent on making a go of Windows Phone, and also hell-bent on convincing PC users that they'd rather be using tablets with Store-curated apps

Really? The recent announcements about Office and Cortana for Android suggest that Nadella is winning the internal services over platform argument. There's a lot of money to be made from the Exchange solution on Android and IOS which is why Microsoft is going after it.

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Compromised SSH keys used to access Spotify, UK Govt GitHub repos

Charlie Clark
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Fact checking

Python hosts its own Mercurial repository so there could only be a mirror on Github.

Oh, it's a Darren Pauli article, so fact-checking by readers is required.

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Germany licks lips, eyes new data gulp with revised retention law

Charlie Clark
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Report contains several factual errors

Once a fierce opponent of data retention

That's not true: Germany agreed with other member states on the directive that led to mass snooping (it was a pioneer of the technique back in the 1970s) only to have the law struck down as unconstitutional. Much to the disgust of the government at the time. There was no majority in the previous government for a revision and the Commission had initiated action for failing to implement the legislation until the ECJ ruled. The lack of urgency about drafting a replacement reflected current jurisprudence that the constitution trumps EU law.

There is no doubt that the current draft will be sent to the constitutional court even if the current opposition officially does not have enough votes to enforce this. It might squeak through because only metadata is being collected. There is even talk of putting the law up for automatic review given the lack of evidence that any of the mass surveillance has prevented any attacks and is very expensive.

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Google spins up 'FREE, unlimited' cloud photo storage 4 years before ad giant nixes it

Charlie Clark
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Re: Nonplussed

What Google giveth, it taketh away. Google Code, Glass, Reader, Wave, Talk, etc etc, projects axed when Google gets a bit bored of them.

Mixed bag there: Google Glass was never free and Google Talk got rolled into Hangouts. What about GMail and Maps? Both still there and still free as far as I can see. Personal data like photos are very sticky which is why there are so many services out there vying for our business. Be interesting to see if the paid option gets any traction.

There were good reasons for folding Google Code and Reader. Wave should never have been released.

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The 'echo chamber' effect misleading people on climate change

Charlie Clark
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Nothing really to do with the debate on climate change

You could substitute evolution, gun control. mass-snooping, etc. and get the same results. So, where is the relevance to climate change?

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That EVIL TEXT that will CRASH your iPhone: We pop the hood

Charlie Clark
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Re: Restart required

If you can cause a system to crash you're well on the way to hacking into it.

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Queen's Speech: Snoopers' Charter RETURNS amid 'modernisation' push

Charlie Clark
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Re: Well...

They hold a majority of 12, so if the rest of Parliament vote No, it isn't that far out to think 12 Tory MP's with a conscience could vote no as well.

That's the government majority but, as the Ulster unionists will generally vote with the government (there will be sweetener of course), and Sinn Fein MPs don't take their seats, the working majority is actually quite a bit more. At least when it comes to regressive measures.

Now, if they were to try and introduce any progressive legislation then that majority will look a lot thinner.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Well...

It's also likely to contravene EU legislation (data protection, civil rights, single market, etc.) which may be why there's also going to be a referendum on that. "We're British! We've never had civil rights and don't intend to start having them now!"

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German watchdog rips off Facebook's thumbs after online fracas

Charlie Clark
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Re: Good, but not quite right

And this is considered informed consent?

No, all the cookie notices are legally worthless. But as enforcement is largely dependent upon the national ICO, most of which have been deliberately hobbled, the issue is somewhat moot. Things will probably change next year with the new EU data protection directive. Fines for breaches could be up to 10 % of turnover though unlikely for that kind of thing.

The BBC's cookie page is pretty reasonable except all optional cookies should be disabled by default.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Twitter et al should be covered by this too

The search with Google is less of a problem because users actively seek it out and it's labelled as being from Google. The problem is with anything that automatically includes third party code in a page.

Google understood the problem earlier than most and, for example, explains how to embed YouTube videos in a page reasonably, ie. not tracking someone just because they load a page with a YouTube video.

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Charlie Clark
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According to the consumer watchdog, Facebook uses cookies to automatically track website visitors, whether or not they click the offending button, and whether or not they even have a Facebook account.

No, it's not according to the watchdog, it's exactly what's happening: the "like" button is a clever bit of social engineering to facilitate user tracking across websites.

Website owners should think twice about using these kind of things. Not only out of respect for users' privacy. These trackers aggregate data across websites which website owners don't have access to and are the basis for Facebook and co for selling adverts to the sites. With the data gathered they can, and do, happily talk to the competition about the kind of visitors that visit a site. By placing the button on the page you give these companies to hoover up data about your customers but they don't have to share this data with you.

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Windows and OS X are malware, claims Richard Stallman

Charlie Clark
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FAIL

Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

Because the GPL says it must be.

Fortunately, the law is not whatever the FSF says it is…

Encumbrance is a legal term, look it up. The provisos of the GPL count as encumbrance. Companies avoid it because they don't want to have to pay lawyers to check anything. Cases against TIVO et al indicate that this is the right approach: no GPL code in a product, no expensive court case.

The automatic assignment of copyright in the GPL is another bit of stupidity for fanbois. Why on earth would you want to assign your copyright to a litigious group like the FSF is beyond me. In most countries copyright is automatic and strongly protected.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

"Free" in FOSS does not mean "zero money cost". It means "free of encumberances". Meaning, you *must* publish the source code when distributing binaries.

I fail to see how you can draw the conclusion that published source is unencumbered.

In any case, in legal terms, GPL software is considered as encumbered (there may be a claim on it) which is why many companies have strict policies about when and where it can be used.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

And you would be very wrong. USL vs. BSDi had nothing to do with GPL or FOSS. Source code released under the BSD licenses is not FOSS, unlike GPL.

I never said it did have anything to do with the GPL but giving the distribution of open source software a legal footing.

Pushing for strict liability for software might have been an interesting tack, but, of course, the GPL makes a big show of abrogating responsibility.

Oh, really. And licenses other than GPL assume full responsibility? Have you ever read an Open Source license? I bet you haven't. Why don't you read the 3-clause BSD, which is the oldest one.

Again you miss the point: the FSF could have done a lot for consumers by pushing for strict liability in software. Instead it focussed on political side-shows.

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Boffins silently track train commuters without tripping Android checks

Charlie Clark
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Given how easy it is to get people to agree to giving away location information, and the current settings in Android are either give an app everything it wants or you can't install it, I don't think this has much general applicability. Add to that the fact that the accelerometer won't tell you very much about direction: it can tell whether someone is walking or running but not in which direction.

And this is in China where I'm pretty certain the state has access to all mobile phone data and the mobile phone operators routinely collect all the data they can.

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Charlie Clark
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Re: Research purposes

Not really as you have to get the software installed onto the relevant peoples phones. Much easier to use Wifi and Bluetooth snooping from people who leave these radios on, which is most. And this is indeed the method used to measure footfall in shopping centres.

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