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* Posts by Squander Two

803 posts • joined 26 Mar 2012

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Drones CAN'T deliver goods ... oh. Air traffic control system backed by NASA, you say?

Squander Two
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The really important questions no-one's asking

1: Will drones leave a little card with "We called but you weren't in" on it?

2: Will they do this even when you're in?

Without this basic functionality, I fail to see how they can possibly replace van drivers.

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Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?

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> Why would they possibly want to vote to reduce the value of their life savings so you can buy a cheaper house?

So their children will move out?

> For a great many people paying these large mortgages, their house is their pension. They need to sell it and downsize to fund retirement, and they made that choice decades before you want to start meddling with the market.

Who's meddling with the market? The state, not me. The proposal in question here is to stop meddling with the market, not to start.

The decision to use houses as pensions has already been screwed by that meddling in the market, as insane house price rises increasingly lead to people having to use their houses to fund their children's houses. It doesn't look like a particularly reliable decision either way.

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Re: Economists solving the problems the last one caused @ LucreLout

> the Baby Boomers should feel everlasting shame, for it is they, not Gen X, that created the mess to their own advantage.

Couldn't agree more.

> Nobody will pay a 10, 20, or 30 year mortgage to get to the end of it and watch the state take half their house value.

In what conceivable way would the state be taking anyone's house value? The suggested policy is that the state give permission for more houses to be built.

> Any change you telegraph over any timescale you choose has an impact starting the moment you announce it.

Yes, which is fine. People can change their behaviour over very short timescales -- and changing behaviour is of course the whole point of the policy. The problem with mortgages is that they take your behaviour and preserve it for a quarter-century, putting you at a disadvantage to people who can change their behaviour quickly. So announcing the policy now stops people taking out inapproriate mortgages now while enacting it in 30 years protects the people who made decisions recently which were appropriate then but will not be after the policy is enacted. Yes, people's houses will end up being worth less than they've paid for them, but that isn't a problem if (a) they've paid off their mortgages in full, so there's no negative equity, and (b) the effect is market-wide (which it would be), so it doesn't impact the ability to upgrade to a better house.

Obviously there are problems with the policy -- I only said that my idea solves the problem, singular, not that it solves all problems. But there's a huge bloody great problem with allowing one selfish generation to blackmail all future generations too. At some point, we need to break the cycle. People need to be able to afford to live.

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Re: Economists solving the problems the last one caused @ LucreLout

> The difficulty is that it effectively bankrupts Generation X who had to buy the overpriced houses off the first wave of Baby Boomers, and are now stuck with large mortgages.

Stuck for how long? 25 years. So phase in the change over 30 years. Problem solved.

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> It's fundamental flaw is in assuming a perfect market, with homogeneous products, universal knowledge, no one person or group having unfettered control and all players act rationally.

Not really. There's a whole branch of economics devoted to studying the interesting ways in which people don't act rationally (for a given definition of "rationally"). Also, it's authoritarian centralised pricing that assumes universal knowledge -- specifically, that it is possible for a person or a committee to have enough knowledge to decide the "right" price. The reason to prefer markets is specifically and explicitly that no-one does or can have universal knowledge and that markets are an excellent mechanism -- the best yet devised -- for aggregating the little bits of imperfect knowledge of everyone into an optimum price.

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Re: The Missing Piece

> If your house is now worth less than you paid for it, and specifically, if it's now less than the outstanding mortgage what happens if you need to relocate? ... It makes mortgages sub-prime and look where that lead.

Sub-prime mortgages were actually sub-prime due to their customers' inability to pay for them, not their properties' value.

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> If we suddenly made it such that enough houses could be built then all these expensive houses would suddenly be worth about what they should be worth.

So don't do it suddenly.

> Free up enough land to hold house prices

Why only hold? Why shouldn't house prices go down?

The reason a major drop in house prices would be disastrous is that people's behaviour is based on the assumption that it will never happen. That behaviour is manifested in mortgages. Mortgages last 25 years -- 35 in a few silly cases. So just phase in the removal of artifical scarcity over 30 years, and there's no disaster.

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Re: Economics lesson 2

That would be an excellent point if Tim had written "There can be no cheap housing because landlords won't build housing to rent for lower profits." Oh, but he didn't. So, er, why did you put it in quotes, exactly?

The entire point of the article (did you read it?) is that there can be cheap housing.

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Re: Economists solving the problems the last one caused

> Any landlord with two bits of sense to rub together would prefer a tenant whose rent is paid directly by the local authority, and would be happy to take a lower rent with that kind of certainty.

That's an interesting theory, but is the opposite of what actually happened. The reality is that receiving rent direct from the state meant that there was (a) loads of bureaucracy to deal with and (b) zero chance of avoiding declaring the income, so landlords avoided it like the plague. Anyone who was actually looking for a place to rent before 1997 will remember all the ads which stated up front "No tenants on housing benefit."

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Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE

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Tolerance

> Have you overlooked the fact that if society doesn't tolerate intolerance, it is no longer tolerant?

No, tolerance isn't just a binary on/off switch; there are degrees. For instance, saying "We'll tolerate any type of sexual behaviour, as long as the participants are all over eighteen" is not intolerant: it's simply setting a boundary within which tolerance will happen.

Also, there are two different classes of thing here: the opinions and behaviours that members of society exhibit, and the bounds within which society allows them to exhibit them. There is no logical inconsistency in allowing the airing of any views whatsoever as long as they are aired without violence, for instance.

Thatcher's policy towards the IRA is a good example: there was no censorship of Irish Republican views -- which were routinely openly espoused by the SDLP and the Labour Party -- but there was censorship of anyone who was trying to achieve their aims via terrorism and/or war crimes, on the grounds that you either join the debate in civil society or you kill people outside civil society, but you can't have the advantages of both. I know a lot of people disagreed with the policy, but my point here is not whether it was right or wrong, merely that it was not logically inconsistent and that it was clearly not intolerant of any political belief. It quashed a particular strategy, not an opinion.

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Network effects

> [The Web] contains more than a fair share of the views of people who are extreme in one form or another, because they're motivated enough to spend the time putting their views out there.

Yes, it does, but motivation is not the main reason. It's an interesting network effect to do with the size of minorities.

If you have a minority interest that is generally rejected by society at large -- the classic example being paedophilia -- until recently it was quite difficult for you to meet other people with the same interest: you wouldn't tend to come into contact with them via coincidence and you couldn't advertise. Your sphere of existence was your town or city, in which very very few people agreed with you and you couldn't find the ones who did. What the Net -- and more so the Web -- has enabled is for people with interests which are unpopular in any given region but which are widespread across a large number of regions to find each other and to organise.

It may also be the case that the very fact of being able to form communities online makes it easier for people with such views to convert new adherents: there's a world of difference between joining the village weirdo and joining a group of two hundred weirdos spread across three continents.

I still think the pros outweigh the cons, though.

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IT blokes: would you say that LEWD comment to a man? Then don't say it to a woman

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Denial and progress

I remember on a previous thread on this subject (months ago) that the comments filled up with the usual "Why don't women have a sense of humour?" "It's just a bit of banter." "Women do it too." I pointed out at the time that not only was the very first comment in the thread a reference to placing an object into the author's vagina but that you can guarantee that one of the first comments to any such article in IT circles will always be a reference to placing an object into the author's vagina, and that this is not true in other industries. I didn't see the first comment to this article before it was moderated away, but I'm guessing I may have been proven right again, even if only approximately. Still, the rest of the comments are way better than last time, so, you know, maybe we're progressing.

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Re: You'll Get The Respect You Deserve

h4rm0ny,

I usually agree with your posts, so can't for the life of me think why you'd usually agree with Don Jefe but disagree with him on this occasion. This post of his is a simple rewording of what he always says, with "Not being harrassed" substituted for his usual "Having oodles and oodles of money and being terribly successful and important".

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Re: Men AND women

> If you work IT in an investment bank, I'm sure a lot of the arrogant asshole banker culture rubs off on people.

I've worked IT in lots of different types of corporate environments, and have to say that investment banking has consistently been the one with the least amount of the attitude described in this article. In my experience, the treating-women-as-sex-objects attitude comes from the Net and from gaming (any woman who plays online multiplayer games can tell you how routine it is for the other players to tell her they're going to rape her), and both these things become more prevalent in workplaces with a lot of downtime, such as some IT support departments which have enough staff to handle major disasters but where major disasters don't happen most days.

I can't be bothered getting into theories as to why so many of the geeks who spent their school years being downtrodden and bullied and having zero success with women have turned into such mysogynists, but, frankly, who cares? I was one of them, and I don't do it.

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Has Europe cut the UK adrift on data protection?

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> I find that a good proportion of people around my parents age (and younger) are very anti Europe - for no logical reason other than it's inbuilt.

Rather than just assuming that anyone who disagrees with you must have no logical reason for doing so, why not try asking them?

> They've become increasing insular (or it was always there but now they have an outlet with the UKIP party and can voice it)

UKIP's policy is to trade with the whole world and to allow controlled immigration from the whole world rather than the current system of giving preference to the EU and allowing the EU to enforce protectionism against the rest of the world on our behalf. How does that give an outlet to insularity?

> I think most of their stance is a mis-guided form of nostalgia, fed by the Daily Mail and all.

You think? Again, why not try actually asking them?

I'm not nostalgic and I don't read The Mail. In fact, I used to be staunchly pro-EU. I've turned against them on simple grounds of democracy: the UK, for all its imperfections, has it, and the EU doesn't.

Since I have actually seen pro-EU politicians use the fact that Italian restaurants are really nice as an argument in their favour (as if we won't have any Chinese restaurants unless we cede some of our sovereignty to China), I find it amusing when people tell me that it's my side who are illogical.

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> I don't see any growing demand to pull out

Well, the Irish did vote to pull out in a referendum, which surely constitutes some demand to pull out.

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Re: Democracy

> Whatever formulation you choose, it boils down to one thing, you drew a parallel between being outvoted and being denied the power to vote. Those are two fundamentally different things and the analogy is an offense to everyone that has ever truly been oppressed and unrepresented.

No, because, as I already explained, it is not the job of committees to vote. Their job is to discuss and negotiate.

> the Reg's source

You mean, the Information Commissioner? Why are you trying to make it sound like this is some dodgy information from a mysterious figure? Like, you keep saying that he's "unnamed". Oo, how shady. Except, of course, that it is simply established tradition that senior civil servants are not named, not to keep their identities secret, but because, unlike politicians, it is their job that matters, not them. His name's Christopher Graham, apparently. Does knowing that make his report more credible?

So the Reg's source is the official report published by a senior figure an important part of whose job is to publish such reports. And I don't know whether you know any diplomats, but they generally take these things pretty seriously, and what they report is what has been happening in negotiations, not how they feel about things.

Viviane Reding, the Commissioner responsible for the Regulation, was reported in the German press saying that discussions with Britain and Ireland were "not important"

That's an unelected Commissioner refusing to discuss legislation with elected governments prior to overruling them. I hardly think pointing that out is an offence to anyone who has ever been unrepresented.

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Re: Democracy

> Try sitting on a committee, constantly disagreeing with points that everybody else agrees with, and threatening that soon you might leave altogether. See how much notice anybody takes of your views.

Two things. Firstly, you're claiming that British representatives to EU committees keep threatening to leave? But that is not the case. What is happening, rather, is that the UK as a whole -- certainly not the British Government -- is perceived to be threatening to leave, which means that what is being punished here is not some unsavoury debating tactic in committee but the fact that the populace aren't sufficiently pro-EU, the fact that the populace are actually discussing the option of leaving. It is sad that anyone might need it explained to them how bad that is, in a supposed democracy. Again, is this what the UK does to Scotland? No -- in fact, we have been doing the opposite.

Secondly, are you even reading what you write?

> constantly disagreeing with points that everybody else agrees with

God, yeah, how appalling that such a thing might happen in a democracy. You're right: democratic bodies should be composed entirely of people agreeing with each other at all times. Disagreement is so crass. We should get rid of that tiresome "Opposition" we have in Parliament, too. Did you know, they keep disagreeing with the Government! The nerve!

This isn't some ad-hoc committee for managing the sixth-form common room we're talking about, where everyone can ignore James 'cause he's such a wanker and frankly it doesn't matter. It's supposed to be part of a democracy. The other members aren't supposed to decide whether to listen to each other based on how much they like each other or whether they're annoyed at each other's opinions. They are supposed to incorporate everyone's views because each member is representing the views of an elected government of the people.

This unfortunate idea has taken hold in recent years that concensus is a good thing in government. As Tony Benn pointed out, every time two opposing political sides agree to agree with each other, what they are actually doing is taking choice away from the electorate.

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Re: Democracy

> So, you were comparing the situation where none of the rights of the UK delegation were removed with a hypothetical situation where Scottish MPs would have their voting rights removed?

I was comparing a situation in which the ability of the British representatives to influence legislation was removed to a hypothetical situation in which the ability of Scottish representatives to influence legislation would be removed.

> I'd like to make a distinction between the (objective) facts and an unnamed person's subjective opinions and impressions. ... Everything else are one unnamed person's personal (subjective) impressions, opinions and speculations.

That's interesting, because I was just reacting to what was in the article. You want to make confident assertions that you know what's really going on and that you, who weren't there, have more insight into the proceedings than someone who was -- and that this is you rejecting impressions, opinions, and speculations.

> Their trail of thoughts is, apparently...

Wow. You're even, in your stand against subjective opinion and speculation, telling us what someone else's train of thought was. Impressive.

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Re: Little Englander syndrome

> if we were the first country to leave the EU they'd no doubt make an example of us

You're making my point for me. Does anyone think that's what the English will do to Scotland after they vote Yes? Punish them for it? Refuse to trade with them in the hope that their economy will suffer? Of course not.

If that really is what the EU are like, that is a reason to leave, not to stay.

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Re: Democracy

> N.I. no longer has a Democratic Government.

What ill-informed bollocks.

NI has a democratic government in which the democracy is constrained by certain constitutional limits that arose as a result of horse-trading by democratically elected representatives with the aim of guaranteeing safeguards from the tyranny of the majority. Much like, say, every democratic state on the planet. I may not like all those constitutional limits, and I certainly may not like the idea of making a murderer Minister for Education, but it is still democratic.

> It's an example of a place where Democracy doesn't work.

No, it's an example of a place where a majority exercised tyranny and have been prevented from doing so again.

In this place where democracy can't work, the people chucked out a party leader from his supposedly safe seat and my own MP, Lady Hermon, quite rightly left her party and thrashed them in the subsequent election as an independent.

Even if you were right, the problems Northern Ireland faced were basically the ridiculously long-drawn-out tail-end of the English Civil War. If problems caused by that war make an area unsuitable for democracy, that area would be the entirety of the British Isles.

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Re: Democracy

> Except that no one is stripping UK of their voting rights.

And I didn't claim they were. I was making a comparison. Since the EU's decisions are not made by voting (the EU "Parliament" exists in a merely advisory role to the unelected EC), I thought it was a reasonable analogy: voting is the way British MPs affect legislation, and wrangling in working groups and committees is the way representatives to the EU affect legislation.

> Guess what, no single nation's opinion has enough weight to change EU policy when that one nation's opinion is contrary to everyone else's.

That will come as news to the nations who want EU economic policy to favour their collapsing economies more than Germany's.

However, that's not what the article said. See my other comment above: the UK is not being ignored because of the substance of its arguments but because it might at some point in the future leave the EU.

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Re: Democracy

> What part of democracy do you not understand? We are in a minority of one: in a democracy, that means we lose.

Looks like I understand it a bit better than you. Democracy is the system whereby we choose our representatives and leaders. Once we have done so, they are supposed to discuss things. The whole point of committees is that they look into things and gather lots of information, not that they just count how many members they have and have the biggest faction make a decision.

Meanwhile, here's what the actual article says (maybe you should read it):

At the Information Commissioner’s press conference to launch his latest Annual Report (15 July), he reported that in the Working Party 29, it was difficult to get the British pragmatic view across – irrespective of the arguments. This was not because the UK was speaking in runes and riddles, it was down to the presumption that the UK could easily leave the European Union and therefore what it had to say carried little weight.

The claim is absolutely not that the UK is being outvoted because it's in a minority; the claim is that the views of the UK's representatives are being wholly ignored not on their merit but simply because the UK's population are not sufficiently pro-EU. Again, can we imagine doing that to Scots MPs? No, because to do so would be appalling and undemocratic. Hey, even Sinn Fein have elected MPs, who may appear and vote in the House if they wish (that they choose not to is another matter). They're in a tiny minority, yet Parliament, quite rightly, takes their views into account.

> our government is doing everything it can to engineer that exit

If that were true, UKIP's last election performance would have been mediocre at best.

> so from a purely pragmatic point of view: why waste time on us?

Pragmatism? Well, from a purely pragmatic point of view, why bother with all that tiresome voting at all? It's expensive and inefficient. Everyone knows the most effective way to run a country is to have one guy at the top who makes all the decisions.

Honestly, it's almost as if we have democracy and freedom for principled reasons, not pragmatic ones.

> Particularly when we're esssentially just another lobbyist for business interests with zero concern for our citizens' interests?

What, you mean to a greater extent than other EU members? Are you on crack?

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Re: Little Englander syndrome

> Here we are in an ever increasingly connected world that gets smaller and smaller by the day. Travelling and connecting to places that were a pipe dream forty years ago are now easily achievable and greater integration makes sense because of that.

So of course you believe that the USA, Canada, and Mexico should be amalgamated into a single nation-state. And that China should merge with Mongolia. And that the USSR should be reformed. And that Scotland should not be allowed to leave the UK. Come to that, we should probably take back Ireland.

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Democracy

Looks like yet more evidence of how undemocratic and tyrannical the EU is. Can we imagine stripping Scottish MPs of their voting rights and disallowing them from joining parliamentary committees because Scotland is going to have a referendum on UK membership? Although it's even worse than that, as there is still no EU membership referendum: can we imagine stripping Scottish MPs of their voting rights for the last thirty-odd years simply because Scots nationalism existed and was quite popular? To ask the question is to ridicule it.

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Microsoft's Brit kid Cortana lands on UK WinPhone 8.1, but China's is the real cutie

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Re: Which WinPhones will get 8.1?

Oh, my skin's plenty thick. But I still like to point out tongue-dragging fuckwittery when I see it.

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Re: Which WinPhones will get 8.1?

I know some people round here just HATE Microsoft, but seriously: a downvote for saying "If you want the update, here's a way of getting it"? It's psychotic.

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Cortana aside....

As well as the Cortana updates, the Windows Phone package is going to include the ability to group apps into Live Folders on the Start Screen, improvements to the Xbox Music app and SMS merging.

It had fucking better have improvements to the Xbox Music app. I'm a big fan of Windows Phone in general, and 8.1 is broadly excellent, but the move from Music to Xbox Music is an unmitigated disaster.

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Re: Which WinPhones will get 8.1?

Just sign up for the "developer preview". You don't have to be a dev and it's free, and it's not a beta. The rumour is that Microsoft implemented it because they were pissed off with carriers being so damn slow to roll out updates so created a way for users to bypass the carriers. Regardless of whether that's true about their reasons, the result is that they have created a way for users to bypass the carriers. So yay.

I've had 8.1 on my 1020 for months now. A couple of downsides, but mostly up. The Swype-like typing and the predictive text are both astoundingly good.

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YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS

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Re: Bricking Old Hardware

Sorry, are we discussing the Apple who claimed they could fix an antenna design problem with a software update?

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Re: Somewhat missing the point

> An iPad 2 will quite happily run iOS7 without crashing.

Yes, it will, The iPad 2's user, on the other hand, might get a tad pissed off at the UTTERLY FUCKING HORRIBLE INTERFACE. AAAARRRGH!

Sorry.

Calm... calm....

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Re: Upgrades to software, other platforms.

> you take ONE MASSIVE HIT in time just trying to work out WTF to do with it

I am not a genius. It took me about a minute.

I can't understand why so many people who work in IT are so keen to boast about their total inability to learn how to use a new interface.

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British Lords: Euro 'right to be forgotten' ruling 'unreasonable and unworkable'

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Re: Smaller search engines???

Sorry, I realise I went off at a tangent there. The really important point -- regardless of what you think of the law in question -- is that the ruling states unequivocally that it doesn't apply to small uninfluential search engines yet our Lords & Masters have stated unequivocally that the ruling is unworkable because of how it affects smaller search engines -- which means they haven't bloody read it. Always nice to have competent people in charge.

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Re: have I got this right?

> Upon discussing an individual it is surely entirely natural to mention ...

Whatever may or may not be natural, I think we can all agree that Google isn't, and there's no particular reason its search results should be regarded like a casual human conversation.

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Re: Smaller search engines???

Well, quite. And furthermore, the ruling specifically stated that it didn't apply to smaller search engines. I can't be arsed going and looking up the exact wording right now, but what it said was that Google have succeeded in putting themselves in a position where they are generally regarded by the public at large as the ultimate arbiter of information -- which, of course, they have. The ruling said that, where a company has managed to get itself into that position, they get more responsibility for their results than some small search engine does. Which seems fair enough: it's about influence: the results Google return attain the status of "truth" in a way that Yahoo's (currently) don't. Since Google worked very, very hard to achieve that position and influence, it does seem odd that they're complaining about it.

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Re: have I got this right?

> I believe that if you went around constantly saying "That big_D guy was arrested for murder", big_D would have a pretty good claim for defamation

Exactly.

I was once trained in the fine art of job interviewing, and one thing that was stressed to us very heavily was that, if someone has a big gaping hole in the timeline on their CV, we absolutely must not ask about it. The reason for this is that it could be prison time. If their conviction is considered spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, they are not obliged to declare it to employers, and employers, if they find out about it, are not allowed to hold it against them. If we ask about the gap in their CV and they either tell us they were in prison or they lie or avoid the question, then, if they then don't get the job, they have an extremely strong case for a tribunal against us, because, regardless of our actual reason for not hiring them, it's going to look pretty bloody obvious to everyone that it was the jail time. So far better, legally, to avoid finding out.

If other companies, due to the law, are making efforts to avoid finding out certain things about people, why should Google ignore those same laws? Which is, after all, all the EU court judgement said.

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Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart

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Talking of brainless....

8%! Fucking moron.

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Statistics

Point out that Adam Afriyie has a brain: 22 upvotes.

Suggest that maybe he might be PM material: 2 downvotes.

9% of Register readers demand brainless Prime Ministers.

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Re: I'm astounded

Yes, that sentence just leapt out at me as well. From an MP? Unbelievable.

I had not heard of Mr Afriyie until a few minutes ago. I am now willing to believe that maybe he should be Prime Minister.

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Google's Pankhurst doodle doo-doo shows the perils of using Google to find stuff out

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Re: Sources

> It was remarkable that it was either identical or out by 1 day. One of the explanations was that parents often make innocent mistakes when notifying various official or semi-official agencies of the birth of a new child.

From my own experience, I know that one reason for this is that a lot of babies are born in the small hours. If your baby is born at, say, 3am on the 18th after a 20-hour labour, you think of it as late on the 17th. Plus, of course, if your baby's born around midnight, there can be legitimate differences of opinion about what date it is, given that (a) there isn't really a precise moment of birth and (b) everyone's clocks don't always agree with each other.

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Re: Sources

> I can't see the parents getting it wrong.

I can see the bureaucrat writing it down wrong, I can see the bureaucrat writing it down correctly but it then being copied incorrectly by another bureaucrat (seriously, is this something we're classing as unlikely these days?), and I can see the parents lying in order to comply with a time-limit dictat.

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Sources

It's odd to see so many people here putting so much faith in paperwork. That's just the 19th-Century equivalent of "If the computer says it, it must be true." I'd hope IT people would be a bit more cynical about that, but apparently not.

Pankhurst, of course, did not misread her own birth certificate. She got her birthday from her parents, who one should assume might have had an inkling. Who you going to believe: the woman who actually gave birth or a piece of paper written on by a bureaucrat some days or weeks later?

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Google policy wonk patronises Brits over EU search biz probe

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Re: Google in a nutshell.

> [Citation needed]

Maybe you're such a geek that you're not familiar with the concept, but this thing here is called "a conversation". No-one's writing a reference book here. I have this thing called a "memory", which I use in my day-to-day life and in the course of "conversations". I don't take a photo of every single thing I read next to a copy of that day's newspaper, so cannot provide references for everything I say. And neither can you. But a lot of them are facts regardless.

Anyway, Google were most certainly doing this with share prices, sites such as FT quite rightly complained, and Google have now stopped doing it with share prices. I believe (I did say "unless my memory is playing tricks") that the same thing happened with weather forecasts.

Regardless, as someone else pointed out above, we have a Google VP here claiming that weather forecasts aren't even a product and don't belong to anyone. If you think that comment is an unthinking fuck-up rather than Google policy and part of their usual drip-drip-drip of attitude-manipulating propaganda, historical evidence is against you. If you want a citation for that, it's the Register article you're currently commenting on.

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Re: Over the top?

> What is Google? A website which expresses an opinion about what it found on the Internet.

... and builds driverless cars, and takes photos of every street in the world, and provides a free video service, and denies the free video service to musicians who won't do what the fuck they're told, and provides a blogging platform, and provides online office software, and provides a free email service, and scans every email that goes through the free email service to sell the data to advertisers, and grabs encrypted wifi data from people's houses, and lobbies governments to change copyright law, and scans millions of copyright books and puts the text on the Web ....

There's some good in there and some bad, but they're definitely not just a search engine. Are you living in 1998?

> Why do people use it? Because they choose to. Of. Their. Own. Free. Will.

See, that only worked as long as they were only a search engine. No-one chose to have their wifi data slurped; no-one chose to have their house photographed; authors and publishers did not choose to have their books scanned -- quite the opposite: they fought Google to try and stop it; and no-one voted for the Google ideologues in the Intellectual Property Office who are trying to change copyright law in Google's favour.

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Re: Google in a nutshell.

> In the case of the UK (where me be) the best forecasts tend to come from the Met office

Very funny.

> I have paid for those forecasts with my taxes, I expect to find them as simply and clearly as possible.

You are thinking of the Public Weather Service, which is one thing the Met Office does. But see here, for example:

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/advertise

> Although I guess you could post some links where Google has published the entirety of someone's copyrighted work without permission

What, you mean like Google's project to scan every book in existence and put the text on the Web, which prompted legal action from various quarters? Would that count?

You may of course point out that they have permission, to which I will counter that they did what they always do: started the massive and obviously illegal project first, without permission, and eventually negotiated permission and terms after being dragged through the courts by their victims, fighting every step of the way. I think their argument at the time was "Knowledge wants to be free" -- which is classic Google: sounds like a grand philosophical position, but is in fact a business plan that involves taking other people's work without paying them.

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Re: Google in a nutshell.

> You seem to imply that Google in effect steals its weather data from around the web… However, a bit of searching reveals that Google gets its data from Weather Underground

Oh, they do now. But, unless my memory is playing tricks, their original scheme was to nick the data and they were pushed to change when various site's owners made exactly the point I'm making.

> The issue is, should Google show data on top of the page, or should it have the user click on one of the result links? The first is easier for the user, and the second is better for competition.

It is slightly more complicated, since, for some firms, the income that allows them to generate the content in the first place comes from page-clicks, so Google's giving the data directly to the user can only work short-term; long-term, it destroys the source of the information.

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REVEALED: Google's proposed indie music-killing contract terms

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Can't you read or something? What I've pointed out, repeatedly and correctly, is that Google lobbied hard for the DMCA to be worded the way it is, and that the DMCA makes life very easy for copyright infringers and much harder for copyright owners.

> Are you trying to say that an author having to send an email with details of the infringement is far to onerous a task for them to do?

The onerosity of the task is surely something to be judged by the author. However, what you have repeatedly claimed is that there has been no change, that the principle of copyright law is exactly the same as it's always been. The fact is, MMS didn't have to do this before, and now he does. And so do other authors. That is what we in the reality trade call a "change".

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Amazon sues former employee who took Google cloud job

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Re: Hold On

> I dealt with that during the year I spent in London. Commercial interests long ago argued, successfully ...

The EU ruled on this very recently -- in the last two years, I think (though time flies by so fast these days I lose track). So any long ago argument has probably been superceded.

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Re: Can't see the gray area here

The EU ruled a while ago that non-competes are a restriction on the free movement of labour, and thus unenforceable in the EU. Free movement of labour trumps most things here.

Since Google are a multinational, they could have avoided this by just relocating the guy to the EU for the duration of the non-compete clause.

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