* Posts by big_D

1961 posts • joined 27 Nov 2009

US trade watchdog deep-sixes patent infringement claim against Microsoft

big_D
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Re: Lawyers: Failure is success!

In some regions, Windows Phone is very popular, for example in Italy, so it would be interesting to know the basis for this claim.

US sales under US law.

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Wow, Barcelona really has a problem with tech disruptors. Watch out Airbnb

big_D
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Re: oh dear god.

@Number6

No, Uber doesn't ensure that their drivers are legal in Germany. If fact most (if not all) of the drivers are driving with domestic insurance, which covers driving to and from a permanent place of work and driving for please. It explicitly prohibits plying for hire.

To be able to ply for hire, whether that be hailing a cab at the side of the road, phone a central office or using an app, the drivers need a professional driving licence in order to be able to get commercial insurance for carrying paying passengers.

If the drivers are caught, they will be fined and their insurance is void (in which case the insurance company will insist the vehicle is de-registered - and will send an agent to collect the registration plate in some cases), they will probably face a driving ban and points on their licence.

If they are involved in an accident, then their insurance is automatically void and the driver will have to pay for all damages and injury claims out of his own pocket.

So, Uber isn't disrupting, it is acting illegally. They either need to ensure their drivers have the relevant driving licence and insurance or they need to get out of the game.

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big_D
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Re: What is a tourist?

@Quip

If it is a matter of raising revenue for city services, then that should be covered 'rates'/council tax or whatever the local equivalent. You can even have a special rate for hotels etc if you want to discourage/encourage tourism.

They do have a special rate, they pay a bit less as a basic rate, but then for every guest they pay a subsidy (0,65€ a night). That means if you have 100 rooms (we'll say singles to keep the math easy), they pay the council 65€ a night when all of the rooms are let, but if only 10 rooms are let, then they only pay 6.50€ a night.

If is the same for a normal household, I assume it is similar to here in Germany, where you pay for every registered person. So if you let out a spare room, you would either have to register that spare room as "occupied" for the year, or you pay the guest tax for each night you have a guest, to cover the costs local services.

Obviously, if you have family or friends coming to stay for a few days, they are exempt, but if you are commercially letting a room or bed or couch, then you have to pay the tax.

It is very much like the Uber issue, just what are you trying to do: control quality, raise tax revenue,or rig the market?

I would say it is the same as the Uber issue, they are currently operating illegally and they need to get their house in order. Although in this case, the Mayor seems to be deliberately putting additional obstacles in their way - maybe as a way of getting them to come to the table and do things legally...

I think there is a big difference between being disruptive and breaking the law. If the law is in the way of you doing business, then you either need to change your business model to comply with the law or you need to get the law changed. Just ignoring the law and carrying on as you wish is just wrong.

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big_D
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Re: What is a tourist? (NOT a tourist tax)

A lot of towns, especially spa towns and health resorts have a similar tax in Germany. If you rent a property of stay in a hotel room, you have to pay the tax.

We rented a holiday bungalow in Harz a couple of years ago and you had to go to the council offices and pay for your stay when you arrived.

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Google: Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am – stuck in the middle of EU

big_D
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Re: What...

I don't run an adblocker, but I've never seen such ads on Google... I get a text ad at the top, a white box with Asics homepage to the right and 4 text ads under that...

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Take two mobes into the shower? I didn't before, but I do now

big_D
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Re: For dopes addicted

Or a Sony or a Lumia or any number of other devices...

That said, I run around with two devices, I have a company phone and a private phone. I am not allowed to put the company SIM in another phone, so no option.

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Windows 10 blamed (partly) for stalled PC sales recovery

big_D
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Re: Five year old

My 2010 Vaio notebook was faster under Windows 8 than under 7. Under Windows 10 it is a bit slower than 8 at the moment, but it has only been a couple of days, so I'm assuming re-indexing has something to do with it at the moment.

The 2010 notebook (Core i7, 8GB) is more powerful than my 2014 Windows tablet (Atom, 2GB). Windows has been put on a diet since Vista and lower and lower powered processors have been released for mobile devices, so Windows couldn't really bloat up.

I having a sneaking suspicion that the washing machine, cooker and fridge industries went through something similar, after they matured. At some point it all slows down and people just buy when the old device stops working or consumes too much electricity to be economical...

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big_D
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Have we become such a wasteful society, that we just throw working things away, because there is something new?

My 2010 notebook is still more than fast enough for Windows 10 (a bit slower at the moment than it was under Windows 8, but that is probably down to re-indexing). We have moved towards more mobile and more energy saving hardware over the last couple of years, so the bar for the operating system resources has come down, not gone up, so it isn't a wonder that many older PCs, especially high-end when they were bought, are still doing their job.

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Perhaps the AIpocalypse ISN'T imminent – if Google Translate is anything to go by, that is

big_D
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Re: Google Translate? It's actually useful/usable if you know what you're doing

I wouldn't like to use it to translate into a language I didn't know - that's what professional translators are for - but for translating some unknown foreign text into 'usable' English it is pretty good. And free.

I found, for my industry (software for the food industry, especially meat processing), Google is fairly useless at going back and forth between German and English.

Translating documentation and press released that my company produces (I am theoretically a project manager, but have to rush out translations all the time), I find that Google is good for about 20% of the translation, I tend to use Leo and Linguee much more often. I have noticed that Bing Translate has improved recently, I did a head to head between Goolge and Bing on a press release, around 20% in Google was usable, in Bing probably closer to 40%.

Using your noggin and Leo / Linguee is still a much faster, safer and more accurate translation, if you understand both languages.

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big_D
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Joke

Re: Google Translate? It's actually useful/usable if you know what you're doing

Dealing with that is easy. Replace DB with Pig, before translating from English to German.

Just because you don't like Oracle, you don't have to be mean. :-P

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big_D
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Re: Google Translate? It's actually useful/usable if you know what you're doing

@Irongut agreed.

I had to translate a user manual into German from English. I thought I could save a bit of time by putting it throught Google Translate and just tidying up. After my sides stopped hurting and I could climb back on my stool again from laughing so hard, I started from scratch.

Translate seems to have real problems with formal English as well. If you use "do not" it translates it as "do", if you use "don't" it translates it as do not... Not very helpful if you are writing safety instructions. It translated "do not open the case, high voltage electricity inside" into the German equivalent of "open the case, high voltage electricity inside." Google had obviously noticed that I had swapped my Android phone out for a Lumia.

Or, how about, "do not open the case, no user serviceable parts inside"? That got translated into "do open the case, no parts inside." I was robbed during translation!

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Twenty years since Windows 95, and we still love our Start buttons

big_D
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People didn't like the Start Menu at first, there was a vocal minority asking for Program Manager back... But unlike now, there weren't that many public platforms to shout from and most weren't on the Internet anyway...

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Amazon to trash Flash, as browsers walk away

big_D
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Re: It's a start...

Agreed. I deinstalled Flash 8 months ago and haven't felt the need to re-install. If a news site requires Flash, I just look for another site...

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Sysadmin ignores 25 THOUSAND patches, among other sins

big_D
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Re: On occasion

Some IT services companies aren't any better. I took over at one company and the IT company had never patched the Windows XP machines and they had never run virus scans on any of the PCs. Better still, my employer had Exchange Server, with every account externally available via Outlook Web Access. The problem? The service had reset all of the passwords for every user and stopped them from setting their own passwords, so every user in the company had the same password, 12345!

The first thing I did was disable OWA, set all passwords to need to be changed and only turn OWA back on as users requested it - from 200 employees, 2 users who actually knew they had access.

The reason why they had never run AV? The Windows XP machines still had SP1 and 256MB RAM, I turned on local scanning, the PCs were unusable for nearly 2 days, for scanning nearly empty 40GB drives! I managed to get most of the machines upgraded to 2GB RAM and patch them.

I also had an IT department who thought Linux servers didn't need patching because, well, Linux. I mean SUSE Enterprise from 2001 isn't going to be vulnerable to anything, is it?

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Windows 10 Mobile Build 10512 rolls out, but progress is sloooow

big_D
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Re: It does what it says on the tin...

@TIm, I agree, but the rant should be going in the Microsoft bug reporting system, not an article.

The way it was written here is wrong for a beta-tester in an open forum.

Reporting that there are currently problems with Groove and logging onto the service is one thing.

Ranting about how this is infuriating for users is just wrong for a pre-release. This is a pre-release and normal users won't be using it, only those testing it and helping to improve the package. IF it was a report on the final bits that had been released for general public consumption, I would stand behind the comment.

This is a perfect example of people failing to distinguish between a pre-release preview of a product (where it is expected that things don't work, so you don't get worked up about it, you just report the bug in the tracking system) and a real shipping product.

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big_D
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It does what it says on the tin...

"Groove Music gave me an error – “Can’t play. To continue, sign in” – when I was already signed in. A few attempts later and it started working. This is the kind of thing that infuriates users."

Erm, this is a Beta preview for enthusiasts and testers. If you get frustrated with bugs like this, instead of being enthusiastic about reporting them, then the preview programme isn't for you... :-S

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Windows 10 PC sales boost? Don't hold your breath, say analysts

big_D
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My 2010 Sony is still going strong, upgraded through 8 and 8.1 to 10. I like 10, but some things (Start Menu - All Apps and OneDrive, for example) are a step backwards, compared to Windows 8.1, but otherwise it is looking good.

Waiting for the company to pull their finger out and upgrade Trend Micro, so that I can upgrade my Surface Pro 3.

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Apple and Google are KILLING KIDS with encryption, whine lawyers

big_D
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Re: Tough titty, this is the price we have to pay

This is the same argument that the anti-gun lobby uses. Hopefully the anti-encryption lobby will have as much luck as the anti-gun lobby.

(And I am anti-gun, at least carrying guns in public, going to a gun club is fine) ;-)

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It's 2015, and someone can pwn Windows PCs by inserting a USB stick

big_D
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It is like separating Ford Escort bugs from Ford Focus bugs, the same problem may exist in both vehicles, but they are different...

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Hillary Clinton kept top-secret SIGINT emails on her home email server

big_D
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On the other hand...

How many times has her email server been breached, compared to the government systems?

It is bad practice (and it should not be allowed by policy), but as the government can't seem to keep their own house in order, it seems a bit pot calling the kettle black.

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TXT message leaves Corvette wrecked

big_D
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Whoever thought it was a good idea to attach a device that can adjust the vehicles behaviour to the CAN-bus and SMS (or any external network) at the same time should not be allowed anywhere near a computer, let alone a car!

This stinks of lab technicians with no experience of the real world - that or Pointy-Haired-Boss syndrome.

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big_D
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Re: How Far?

It is SMS, so anywhere in the world, where your phone has a signal and anywhere in the world where the cars black box has a signal... Although it is only going to be fun if you can actually see the vehicle when you send the SMS...

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Thirty five Flash Player holes plugged (and there's one quick fix)

big_D
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I removed / disabled Flash from my machines at the beginning of the year. I haven't found a need to reinstall yet - only things like video at the BBC or adverts fail to load.

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Windows Server 2003 and the industry refresh that never was

big_D
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Re: 2003 ? Nooot that bad ...

We had 2 customers still on DEC Alpha Ultrix servers until last year! Now they have replaced their machines, we could turn ours off, lower electricity bill and the air con is not so stressed any more.

We still have some on SUSE 6 or 7 (1999 / 2000).

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Germans in ‘brains off, just follow orders' hospital data centre gaff

big_D
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I worked at a datacenter in the 80s and the aircon packed in. They couldn't shut the Vaxes down, so they opened the fire doors at both ends of the server room to enable some fresh summer night air flow through the building. It kept the machines just under critical until the maintenance company managed to get the aircon working again.

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Keep up, boyos! 20k Win XP PCs still in use by NHS in Wales

big_D
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Re: XP > 10

At least Windows 10 doesn't look like it was designed by Fisher Price!

I never got on with XP, I kept 2000 for a while, then went to Linux and OS X, before coming back when Vista came out, then 7 and 8.

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2015 Fiat 500 fashionista, complete with facelift

big_D
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Re: Leagues per hour?

I use Nokia Here, a cute German female voice.

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Crims and politicians using RTBF to scrub themselves from Google? Not quite

big_D
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Removing index cards?

If Google are doing it properly, then they aren't removing all of the index cards. They should be removing the index card with a specific name on it, all other index cards should remain in the box...

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Run Windows 10 on your existing PC you say, Microsoft? Hmmm.

big_D
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I did an in-place upgrade of my wife's Sony VAIO when Windows 8 was released. It went fine and the VAIO was a lot more responsive afterwards.

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Microsoft nixes A-V updates for XP, exposes 180 MEEELLION luddites

big_D
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Re: It's a sad indictment of our industry....

Any real-time protection relies on knowing what bad things are out there or how malware generally behaves (holistics). It can only work based on knowing what has happened before. If new malware comes along, working in a new manner, then the protection system won't recognize it, so won't protect.

Therefore the first defence is to ensure that any know security holes are patched.

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FLASH MUST DIE, says Facebook security chief

big_D
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Re: A message from Mozilla

Mine doesn't... Oh, wait, I don't have Flash installed.

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The END of WINDOWS EVERYWHERE! Is that really what Nadella wants?

big_D
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Re: where's the new hardware

@dogged the ad platform results for the last quarter have 2 quad HD Windows Phone devices cropping up (check out Thurrott.com).

So it looks like the new top end phones are at least in testing.

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KILL FLASH WITH FIRE until a patch comes: Hacking Team exploit is in the wild

big_D
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Re: Ok

I uninstalled it in January, I haven't missed it so far.

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Robo-taxis, what are they good for? Er, the environment and traffic

big_D
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Petrol taxi?

I haven't seen a petrol based taxi, ever.

All the ones I've used and seen have been diesel, since I was a nipper in the 70s.

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How a Cali court ruling could force a complete rethink of search results

big_D
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Re: Irritating

@noem, I'd rather see "We couldn't find any products matching your search criteria. Here are some similar products."

That would be fine, for me. I then know that there is no point searching through 40 pages of results, because what I want isn't there, or I can look at the alternatives, knowing that they are the only option.

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It's all Uber! France ends its love affair with ride-sharing app

big_D
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Only if i have comprehensive insurance, if I have third party I can't claim on my insurance.

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big_D
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Re: Correction, here ...

@gnasher729 which is a problem for Uber drivers, because they don't have a meter at all... Without a calibrated and sealed meter they cannot carry any passengers for profit.

There is a loophole, you can carry a paying passenger from A to B, as long a 1) you were going from A to B yourself or that A and B are on that route and 2) that you do not charge any more than their share of the fuel used on the journey.

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big_D
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They want unregulated, unlicensed, uninsured taxis. The state does not allow it.

There, fixed that for you. Personally, I beleive that the state should not allow you that particular consumer choice.

Certainly as a road user, I don't want any uninsured vehicle in my vicinity. If they cause an accident, then I am left to sue them for the repair of my vehicle and personal injury, which means they will probably just file for personal bankruptcy...

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big_D
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Re: Correction, here ...

ANY taxi can have their prices lower than the competition. Regulated taxi fares are a CEILING not a floor.

I don't know about where you live, but here in Germany, it is not a ceiling, it is the price and the taxi meter is calibrated by the local authority and sealed, so there is no fiddling with the price.

If a driver is caught with a tampered meter, then they are in big trouble, will face a hefty fine and possibly lose their licence.

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big_D
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Re: Worried about their safety !!!!!

In Germany it is the same, the local council sets the per kilometre and per minute (standing stationary in traffic, for example, or waiting while the passenger goes into a shop etc.). The taxi company have to display the official rates and they have to have a calibrated meter (it needs to be recalibrated on a regular basis) and taxi inspectors make spot inspections at taxi ranks etc. to ensure the vehicles are in good working order, the driver is licensed etc.

I haven't heard of passengers being assaulted here in Germany, but drivers get attacked now and again.

Uber have the similar problems in Germany. Their drivers are for the most part illegal and how they are driving is illegal: they have to have a professional driving license in order to drive a taxi (and Uber is classed as a taxi service), Uber doesn't ensure their drivers have the proper driving license AFAIK and without that, they cannot get insurance for their vehicle - if they are caught carrying passengers (or have an accident whilst carrying a paying passenger), then their insurance is null and void, which means a heavy fine and, in the event of an accident, carrying the liability for all repair costs and personal injury claims.

That is why they are banned here, although it doesn't seem to stop them trying to do business. In their current form, there is no way I'd risk riding in an Uber and I just hope the drivers are never involved in an accident, because it will be a real struggle for the other parties to get restitution.

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YouTube is responsible for user content, says German court #1

big_D
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Re: GEMA

True Grumpen, but in this case YouTube has made them smell of roses...

In the last round, they lost because they said that GEMA had told them to block music... Only for GEMA to win against YouTube, because they never told YouTube to block the content.

That got YouTube to change the message from "GEMA told us to take it down," to "this content maybe copyrighted and we haven't asked GEMA if they mind." (Well, paraphrased.)

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big_D
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Re: TPB + Google

Given that every other website has been responsible for what is posted on it since the late 1990s in Germany, it is hardly a surprise.

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Uber execs charged, will stand trial in France

big_D
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Disruption?

New technology can be disruptive, especially for established industries but Uber is helping to create tens of thousands of new economic opportunities--as well as a reliable, convenient way to get from A to B. There is a way forward, with regulation that is focused on the needs and safety of the public, while also allowing more people to take advantage of these new opportunities.

New technology can disrupt, no problems there. But they are not disrupting, they are flagrantly breaking the law. If they want to disrupt, they should ensure they either do so within the law, or get the law changed before "disrupting"...

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French Uber bosses talk to Le Plod over 'illicit activity' allegations

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Re: In the mean time...

You can hire over time (E.g. rent a limo for a day or an evening), but everything else falls under taxi.

You also need a professional driving licence in order to carry paying passengers, another thing Uber refuses to enforce among their drivers.

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big_D
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Re: In the mean time...

I don't know about France, but over here (Germany) the local council sets the rates and all taxis have to run with a calibrated meter (including Uber vehicles, but AFAIK they don't, so are breaking the law). If they don't have a calibrated meter and use it, then they face big fines if caught.

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Google harms consumers and strangles the open web, says study

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Re: Fools and Horses

I hope your translation site is better than Google's. If you use theirs, then the recipient of your complaint probably won't have a clue what you are trying to say - or it will be praising it!

Interestingly the more formal the English, the less likely Google is to translate it accurately!

I tried converting a handbook to German for work and thought Google Translate would save some time. It just made me laugh, then I had to translate it by hand.

Things like "do not open the case, high voltage inside," translated into the German equivalent of "open the case, high voltage inside." Better yet was "do not open the case, no user serviceable parts inside," translated to the equivalent of "open the case, no parts inside." :-D

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We forget NOTHING, the Beeb thunders at Europe

big_D
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Re: Hurrah for the Beeb

Principled choice? This is how it is supposed to work.

General search must not return the information for the named person. That doesn't however mean the source material has to be removed. E.g. public record or one person in a group put on trial is found not guilty, so links should not be returned when searching for his name. For all other search combinations the pages should be returned.

If Google are disappearing the pages completely, for all search terms, then they are doing it wrong. The pages should still be listed, if you don't search on the "forgotten" name.

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Will a datacentre be driving your car in 12 years' time?

big_D
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Data centre?

No way! IF the car is going to drive itself, then it will need to do it without having to rely on a data centre! I have no problem with it getting traffic condition updates through the DC, but being driven FROM the DC? Nope, no way, no how! If that is the case, I'll stick with driving myself.

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Killer ChAraCter HOSES almost all versions of Reader, Windows

big_D
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Re: His Kung-Fu is the best

That was my first thought as well.

PDF is dangerous, read this PDF to find out why! P4WN3D!

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What is this river nonsense? Give .amazon to Bezos, says US Congress

big_D
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Re: Hoist by there own petard

Simple, which was founded fist, the river or the company? Which one was there the longest gets the domain.

But only people who actually live on the river banks can apply for the domain. Easy.

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