* Posts by ratfox

2339 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

SEX: Naughty female stegosauruses offered it on a PLATE

ratfox
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Holmes

Whenever biologists can't figure out something about an animal, they say it's for mating rituals.

And whenever archaeologists can't figure out something about a civilization, they say it's religious.

Probably because if that's the only explanation they can come up with, well then it must be the truth. Sherlock Holmes has a lot to answer for.

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Chat app WhatsApp gift-wraps free yaps for Apple iPhone saps

ratfox
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Devil

It is a service that will almost certainly upset telcos

Good.

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Fed-up Colorado man takes 9mm PISTOL to vexing Dell PC

ratfox
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Flame

> homeopathic store owner

Prison's too good for him.

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Dead Steve Jobs' wage-fixing pact in Silicon Valley was news to us, claim Apple directors

ratfox
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Angel

De mortuis nil nisi bonum

Unless in a court of law, in which case, pile on 'em.

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'Leaked' EU digi wish list: Junkets for Eurocrats, sops to copyright and telcos

ratfox
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WTF?

Google does a good job of filtering pornography uploads to YouTube but refuses to apply the much easier technical challenge of filtering unlicensed music or movie uploads to YouTube.

Wait, what? That is exactly what the ContentID system does.

And how is that a much easier technical challenge? Google can rely on users to report porn, because the average Joe knows it when he sees it. That's basically free. To filter unlicensed works, Google must scan and fingerprint every licensed music and movie in the universe and compare them to the the fingerprint of each uploaded video. And from what they claim, 5 hours of video are uploaded to the site every second.

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Mt Gox LEAKED Bitcoin for years before heist, says WizSec

ratfox
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Paris Hilton

Still don't understand

I still don't understand how the money could have disappeared, when every bitcoin fan claims that it's impossible to steal bitcoin because all transactions are recorded forever.

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AssangeTM ♥s dictator Kim Jong-un say Sony Pictures' lawyers

ratfox
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Go

BWA HA HA HA HA HA

Sounds promising! I hope the newspapers will dig out whatever it is that Sony is trying to hide.

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Google has tested its speedy QUIC internet protocol on YOU – and the early results are in

ratfox
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Holmes

Re: Nope

Google doing something altruistic or in the public interest?

That's silly. Google does a lot of stuff for speeding up the web, like this and SPDY, because that is both in its own interest and the public interest.

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Google drives a tenth of news traffic? That's bull-doodie, to use the technical term

ratfox
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Re: How many of these are using Google as their address bar?

That's a good point. Maybe The Register can give us the breakdown of how many users coming from Google go to the home page, vs. to an article. Those going to the home page probably googled for "the register" and clicked on the first link.

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ratfox
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The publishers in question found that their images and headlines were simply removed from its service, prompting them to accuse Google of blackmail.

It's a little bit hard to make the case that Google should be forced to display their snippets and pay for the privilege. Seems to me, giving the permission to Google should be considered as a cost of doing business, just like marketing. If your competitors pay more for advertising than you do, your sales will suffer from it. And if your competitors allow Google to display their snippets and you don't, your traffic will decrease.

Google News is a place where publishers have to compete for attention. They can refuse to participate, or dictate what Google is allowed to display of their own data, but they can hardly complain that other publishers are willing to go further than them; no more than they can complain about their competitor's bigger marketing budget.

Of course, big publishers might well consider that it's more advantageous for them to just make Google shut down the whole service like in Spain. Users probably then search for news on the biggest websites, to the detriment of smaller ones.

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You! GOOGLE! HAND OVER the special SAUCE, says Senate (of France)

ratfox
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Re: I didn't know a court could compel a company to divulge a trade secret.

Not a court; a government. Though my understanding is that the French Senate is a bit of a joke, and has far less power than the Assemblée Nationale, the lower chamber.

It's a bit funny that they want the link to three competitors. I suppose the competitors will not be forced to the same.

But it's very funny that they want Google to reveal their algorithm. It's very clear that Google will close down their .fr website and their French offices before doing this. And keep selling ads on French websites from Ireland.

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Someone PLEASE stop patent trolls' stroking their favorite tool, cries Google and friends

ratfox
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Coat

So Google, Apple and Microsoft are all agreeing to the same thing??

…On one hand, this might mean the apocalypse is at hand. On the other hand, it might mean it's a no brainer.

…Or that they're all trying to screw us. Hmmm…

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India tech firms flee from Facebook's 'freebie access' Internet.org

ratfox
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Holmes

Sites served over the initiative includes Bing, Accuweather, Dictionary.com, and Wikipedia.

And Facebook, Times of India, BBC News…

Hm. There's no going around the fact it would greatly advantage these sites at the expense of all the other ones. India being an emerging market, it would probably pay to lose money now by subsidizing the Internet access of the country, shut out the competition by not allowing it on your free offer, then reap the benefits as the online population grows. I'm guessing that say Google has not been invited to participate to the program. I understand Google has a competing program, and it has not invited Bing to participate either.

So yeah, that sounds like a good call.

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'We STRONGLY DISAGREE' that we done WRONG, says Google

ratfox
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Meh

Re: There's a lot of bad to be said of Google

My point is that those shopping results are themselves a distortion. I didn't ask for them explicitly nor were they part of the natural page rankings.

Meh… If I search for an address, chances are I want to check it on Google Maps, even if I don't ask for it explicitly. I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to guess what the user really means. The only problem is displaying results that favor your inferior products rather than superior products from the competition.

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ratfox
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The allegation here is specifically that they made their own product worse by showing results to their own products instead of superior alternatives from the competition.

Though I'll admit that their Shopping results are probably better than showing anything from Foundem, Google+ results are almost certainly worse than Yelp results. Thank God they seem to have cranked down the Google+ thing.

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ratfox
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Devil

The fact they did not manage to kill competition does not mean it was okay to try…

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EU says dominant Google ILLEGALLY FIDDLES search results

ratfox
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Alert

Re: Eh?

Note that Google is claiming they are not doing it, but just showing the "most relevant results". So at least, they think it's not something they should be doing.

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Android lands on Microsoft's money-machine island fortress

ratfox
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Paris Hilton

NCR picked Android, it said, because this offered the clearest roadmap in Linux with support from Google – it evaluated Red Hat, CentOS and building its own, too.

Not sure what this "clearest roadmap" means. What's a example of thing that would be easier on Android than Red Hat? Security updates?

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Puny humans flub ANOTHER Google cloud patch

ratfox
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WTF?

do cloud users really want or need to know about every operational hiccup?

Is that a serious question? If something is not working, it is probably a godsend to users to know it's not on their end that the problem resides. And if they didn't notice anything, where's the harm with more information?

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Daniel Radcliffe to feature in GTA biopic flick. Well, it's work at least

ratfox
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Pint

Re: Not A Lawyer

Wow. There are lawyers, scummy lawyers, and then there are lawyers that are so scummy they even get disbarred.

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Foreign firms must obey EU laws no matter where they're based, says EU. Hear that, Google?

ratfox
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Unhappy

No merging of information about users between services

Ok, so Google Now shows me info about flights I have tickets for (which it knows from my emails), about my upcoming appointments (which it knows from Calendar), about the last train home (which it knows from Google Maps), about recent updates to websites I like (which it knows from my Chrome history), about the weather where I am (which it knows from the GPS in my Android phone).

How is it supposed to be doing any of this, if Google is not allowed to use information from one service in another service, even with my consent?

But oh, perish the thought Google could show me ads for flower shops because I have a dinner appointment on Valentine's day!

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Bell Canada pulls U-turn on super-invasive web-stalking operation

ratfox
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Windows

Re: Boycott BELL and send a clear message

Canada is almost even worse than the US when it comes to choice. You may have to stop using the Internet to follow this advice.

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Liberal MP threatens journo with metadata probe

ratfox
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Megaphone

Australians have been told metadata retention is necessary to stop terrorism and sex crimes against children

Once it is possible to read the minds of people with a machine, will they also say that mandatory weekly brain checks are necessary to stop terrorism? Or will they decide that people's thoughts are their own?

Don't answer that.

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Google, Microsoft and Apple explain their tax tricks in Australia

ratfox
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Apple has lobbied for a tax amnesty.

Essentially, the argument is that there's no way they will bring the money back to the US if it is taxed at the usual rate. So it makes sense for the US to give them a "tax holiday", allowing them to repatriate the money at a lower tax rate! Because that way, the money can be invested in the US economy instead of sitting uselessly in an offshore bank account.

Apple's Tim Cook To Propose Profit Repatriation Tax Changes

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Bonking with Apple is no fun 'cos it's too hard to pay, say punters

ratfox
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Re: What study?

If you read the article, you'll find that a lot of iPhone users do indeed try to use it at least once; it is once they've tried it that they stop liking the idea. So "just waiting for it to be launched over here" actually confirms what the study says.

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Dailymotion staying VousTube thanks to Vivendi offer

ratfox
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Interesting

Vivendi is a big content provider; it's a bit as if Viacom bought YouTube.

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Popular crypto app uses single-byte XOR and nowt else, hacker says

ratfox
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Paris Hilton

Independent security bod Wade Alcorn (@WadeAlcorn) says the findings render the app insecure.

You don't say?

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Choc Factory's king codec serves 25 BEELLION Tube hours

ratfox
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Re: Must be my eyes

Can't say I see a difference between the two

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Samsung persuades US watchdog to review Smartflash legal dance over patents

ratfox
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Mushroom

Texas Eastern district-based patent licensing company Smartflash

FTFY

And stopped reading there.

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Boffins: Large Hadron Collider NOW movin', we're getting down and crush groovin'

ratfox
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Re: Are we all doomed?

Mathematical consistency of the theory might exist (insofar as one can be sure about that), but it might be totally useless in physics, describing a world that is not this one (e.g. a 2D+1 spacetime).

I think you mean a 2D6+1 spacetime.

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Microsoft drops Do Not Track default from Internet Explorer

ratfox
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I want to be tracked

I want the Register to remember who I am so I don't need to login every time I write a comment. I want Facebook to remember which messages I read so it can only show me the small percentage I'm actually interested in. I want Amazon to remember my tastes in books so they can tell me which of my favorite authors just write a new book. I want Google Now to tell me that XKCD was updated recently.

That doesn't mean everybody else has to be tracked, though.

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Prostrate yourself before the GNU, commands Indian DEITY

ratfox
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Re: Would The Reg please stop

Well, in order to stab it, they must first have your back, ain't it?

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Anti-gay Indiana starts backtracking on hated law after tech pressure

ratfox
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Re: Much ado?

A gedankenexperiment: Let's say Indiana affirmed the right of individual shops and restaurants to not serve kosher food

That is a silly comparison. One case is letting business arbitrarily decide what they sell, and the other is letting them arbitrarily decide who they sell to.

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Just WALK IN and buy an Apple Watch. Are you mad?

ratfox
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Re: Lazy facts

It seems to me that Apple is approaching the watch launch from a customer-focused perspective.

I'm pretty certain the customer would like to have their watch as soon as possible, and show it off on their wrist as they walk out of the store.

I rather assume that with all the possible options, between the size and band, they cannot provide enough stock to avoid having the light blue and pink models the only left in the store after two hours.

Apple doesn't usually have so many different versions of what they sell, and they are in general very careful about unintended consequences. The resulting atmosphere of unattainability surrounding the watch might well be considered an additional bonus.

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Europe could be drowned in 'worthless pop culture' thanks to EU copyright plans

ratfox
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Re: So... The Reg editorial line is in favour of geo-blocking? Didn't see that one coming.

Is a comment piece like an op-ed?

About the article, I don't think the intention of the author is to bash Europe; it is rather about protecting copyright holders, which is one of his recurrent themes.

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ratfox
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Didn't get that part either

Do they assume that a single market will make it easier for foreign goods to swamp the local industry? And they're trying to keep a complicated system in the hope that nobody will bother to do the administrative work for Poland?

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Facebook sued: Data center designs 'nicked' for Open Compute

ratfox
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Re: This one's not about patents though is it?

The fact that there are similarities between the designs does not mean one was stolen from the other. I suspect Facebook has been building data centers for a while now; in fact they announced their Open Compute Project in April 2011, months before ever meeting with BRG. It might well be that Facebook came up with the same ideas independently.

They're not talking about patents either, so this seems to have been a trade secret. Unless they can somehow prove that Facebook filched their design, I think they're going to lose this.

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Hedvig all set to Google-ise that enterprise storage

ratfox
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Re: no use of "Chocolate Factory"

Thanks. I came here to ask "why the chocolate?"

…Great. Now I'm hungry.

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EXPOSED: Google, Obama caught doing it once a week

ratfox
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Go

You mean, it's thanks to Google that we got the reclassification under title II? Way cool, Google!

And the White House actually listens to acclaimed and respected experts like Vint Cerf, Turing Award recipient, president of the ACM, "father of the Internet", without whom we all wouldn't have a job? Thanks Obama!

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Google-gate: 'Toothless' watchdog FTC nibbles furiously on journalists

ratfox
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Stop

Nor does the statement deny that there were a number of other concerns raised by the FTC's staff over Google's business practices that were resolved by Google agreeing to some voluntary changes to avoid an antitrust lawsuit.

Isn't this more or less what was supposed to happen in Europe as a result of the Almunia investigation? If I remember correctly, Google removed some clauses from its advertising contracts which stopped websites from using other ad networks, and they offered an easier way to export data about your advertising campaigns. And yes, they did it voluntarily (as in "do it or see you in court") without admitting having broken the law.

I get it that we're supposed to go "Oooh, they didn't deny it", but these types of "voluntary changes to avoid a lawsuit" are pretty standard and not an indication of a backdoor deal.

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Spookception: US spied on Israel spying on US-Iran nuke talks

ratfox
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Re: Pot...kettle...etc...

I suspect they still accept it better when it is done by professionals from other countries, instead of amateurs who're just gonna leak their secrets.

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Assange™ lawyers demand Swedish prosecution files or no London interview

ratfox
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Re: So basically Assange's lawyers are asking for favoritism?

Which is one of the reasons for the rule of law

Sure. Yet even the law can be unclear, considering that whistleblower protection laws exist and sometimes apply, sometimes not. Quoting from the Wikipedia™ article about whistleblowers:

"Whistleblowing in the U.S. is affected by a complex patchwork of contradictory laws."

I wish it was possible to know whether someone's actions are legal or not, but very often, the answer costs a lot of money and time spent in front of a judge.

Spying is also particular in the fact that its illegality depends on the place. Spying in the US is illegal in the US. Spying on the US might be illegal in the UK. Spying on the US is probably not illegal in Iceland. In general, people don't get extradited to another country for acts that are not a crime in the country where they are (blasphemy laws come to mind).

So you can say that Assange will be judged according to the rule of law (assuming he is); but you cannot tell me that this truly determines whether what he did was wrong.

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ratfox
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Re: So basically Assange's lawyers are asking for favoritism?

I'm not sure whether Assange really "assisted" Manning or merely offered a service for publishing leaks; but one way or another, I don't feel that these actions are ethically wrong. Suppose he had been an actual professional spy paid by Australia to spy on the US. The US would try to catch him and put him in jail, but spying is a game played between countries in which ethics do not enter; he would just be doing his job. The fact that he was working to inform the public rather than his country only makes it the more ethical from my viewpoint.

I actually find skipping bail more reprehensible, and I have no sympathy for him if the UK ever get him. And as a person, Assange does seem like a dick.

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ROBOT INVASION has already STARTED in HIPSTERLAND

ratfox
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Meh

Growth rates on tiny sales…

Are how Microsoft could claim to have the "fastest-growing" mobile phone platform.

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EU creative collection agencies want YouTube et al to pay their wages

ratfox
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Re: Organised crime is in the wrong business

On one hand it does definitely feel self-serving from these societies to try to make it illegal to not use their services. Especially so considering they give back so little of the money they collect supposedly on the behalf of authors. At this point, they feel very much like a middleman that should be bypassed and made redundant as soon as possible.

On the other hand, there is something to be said for protecting people from exploitative conditions. This is why minimum wage laws exist.

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AT&T, Verizon and telco pals file lawsuit to KILL net neutrality FOREVER

ratfox
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Paris Hilton

I'm not sure on what ground they can claim that Internet is so different from phone lines that it can't be put under title II, like phone lines…

Oh sorry, I was expecting logic, silly me.

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Massive DDoS racks up $30,000-a-day Amazon bill for China activists

ratfox
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I'm surprised Amazon does not have built-in protections from DDoS attack… After all, it most certainly have such protections for its own websites, you'd think it would be trivial and cheap to offer that to the websites it hosts…

I'm pretty sure Google offers such a thing, though I might be confusing with yet another X-as-a-service.

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FTC: All-powerful Google ABUSED rivals. So we did NOTHING

ratfox
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Re: Google dominance

Seems to be the FTC decided that what Google was doing was bad for the competitors — but not bad enough to kill competition. And in the US at least, Google does face significant competition in about everything they do. They have "only" 2/3 of the US search market, unlike in Europe. And yeah, they are the largest in advertising, but only at around 1/3 market share.

I can't think of any product where Google is able to get away with something that truly sucks. The competition is vicious in pretty much everything they do.

Apart for Google Reader, so they fixed the glitch.

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Studying humans for science? Wrap your eyeballs around our fine print, says Apple

ratfox
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I thought the data would simply be anonymized before it ever reaches the researchers?

Maybe that's not enough, and there is a risk to identify the Guinea pigs…

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Swedish prosecutors finally agree to London interview for Assange™

ratfox
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Re: Good for him… maybe?

"He still will face the jumping bail charges."

For an international arrest warrant which no longer exists?

Yes, very much so. The UK justice system told him to stay put and not run away. When he failed to do so, he broke the law.

On the same line of thought, if he had stolen a car and killed three cops to escape, it would be held against him even if the original charges are dropped. It's common sense.

No matter what Hollywood movies say about it.

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