* Posts by veti

2633 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

So, tell us again how tech giants are more important than US govt...

veti Silver badge

Re: What do they think "publishing" is?

Tell that to, e.g., Charles Dickens...

Publishers take as much of the profit as they can get away with. Quite a lot of the time, that's "everything".

veti Silver badge

What do they think "publishing" is?

It's interesting how Twitter, Facebook and Google think they're not "publishers", because their content is "user-generated"...

(Which is itself a patently false claim if we're talking about their newsfeeds.)

What do they think "publishing" is?

Hint: it means taking someone else's content and identifying those people who want (/will pay) to consume it, and giving those people the means to do so. That's what publishers do, it's what they've always done, it's the only thing they do.

veti Silver badge

Re: Your opinion is is nice to see ...

Ask yourself: if no-one is dumb enough to fall for scams, then why are the scammers still doing it?

Remember how naive you were when you first went to college? Now, consider how many people are in their first year at college right now.

Then think, those people are by definition already above-average in terms of education.

Maybe you don't know anyone who'd fall for it (although I'd question that assumption, too). But the set of "people you know" is limited by the neighbourhood you live in, the people you talk to at work, the forums you hang out on online - all of which are selected by you based on your own preferences, status and interests. That's how bubbles are formed.

veti Silver badge

Because lawyers are so good at being transparent and honest and authoritative?

Zuck in particular is rumoured to have political ambitions himself. If nothing else, it would be a useful training experience for him.

US says it's identified six Russian officials as DNC hack suspects

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Re: Incident response firm Mandiant ..

@Tom Paine: I think you underestimate both Putin's trolls and their software.

A draft US law to secure election computers that isn't braindead. Well, I'm stunned! I gotta lie down

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Re: A burst of common sense from two common sense people

It took three (R) senators to stop Trumpcare - Collins, Murkowski and McCain. (Plus every single one of the (D)s. Let's not forget, they actually turned up to vote. Go them.)

And strangely enough, all three of them are now widely reviled in their party for it. Search for any of these names on breitbart.com, and you'll see no shortage of people clamouring that they need to be imminently deselected, or worse.

But you're right, it's a welcome reminder that not all politicians are the same, some are almost human. We do ourselves no favours when we damn them all and ignore the differences - Trump proves that...

Facebook and pals to US Senate's Russia probe: Pleeease don't pass a law on political web ads

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Re: Personally

Blah first amendment yada yada... Certainly not going to happen in the USA.

But it's probably a non-starter in the UK too. Think what it means. If I want to put up a poster in the window of my own house, expressing my support for some candidate or cause, are you willing to call the cops to make me take it down?

How about if I want to take out an ad in my local paper, for the same purpose? You want to ban that?

Whether the answer is "yes" or "no", the same followup question applies: how do you draw the line? How to define which ads are acceptable, and which not? Is there someone who's tasked with deciding what qualifies as "political", or "advertising" for that matter, and what's just personal expression? Does the ban apply only to certain media, or only if you spend more than $something, or... how should it work exactly?

I know, I know - details. But these details are pretty important. Get it wrong, and you'll have created exactly the kind of oppressive police state we spend all our time fretting about.

I think the UK's best defence against political ads of the sort that turn the USA into such a hellhole is the much-reviled BBC. (Which is one of the main reasons why it's so reviled. Rupert Murdoch(1) knows he's never going to get big bucks from political parties, as long as he has to compete with a medium that doesn't take that sort of money at all.)

(1) Included for illustrative purposes only. Other media owners available. Some assembly required, void where prohibited etc.

Fine, OK, no backdoors, says Deputy AG. Just keep PLAINTEXT copies of everyone's messages

veti Silver badge

Let's look at that quote again:

"I simply maintain that companies should retain the capability to provide the government unencrypted copies of communications and data stored on devices, when a court orders them to do so."

I don't see any demand there to store the plaintext. Merely "the capability" to produce plaintext on demand. I.e. the encryption key.

A lot depends on what he means by "companies". If he's talking about ISPs or hosting companies, then - yes, he's an idiot and we've made only slight progress. But if he simply means that if an employee of "XYZ Inc", acting in their official capacity and using company channels, sends an encrypted email, then a court should be able to demand a decrypted version from the company - that doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

Manafort, Stone, Trump, Papadopoulos, Kushner, Mueller, Russia: All the tech angles in one place

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Re: Confused

No, "THOSE Republicans" are not "the 'good ones'", except compared with Trump, next to whom Richard Nixon, Warren Harding - heck, even Andrew frickin' Jackson looks good in comparison.

The "other side" dropped their investigation into Trump when it became clear he was going to be their party's nominee, like it or not. By then Fusion had done enough research to think that it was on to something, and was understandably eager to find a new buyer for it. Which they did.

But the dossier is a sideshow. Nobody cares about the dossier. It's not the basis of the current investigation, nor is it remotely relevant to any of the charges yet laid. If Mueller wants to investigate it, I guess he will - but so far, at least, we have no reason to believe he's taken it even slightly seriously.

veti Silver badge

Big John, I think you're getting your FBI directors mixed up.

Mueller stepped down as director in 2013, some 3 years before the Washington Free Beacon commissioned "this laughable dossier".

When it was passed to the FBI - by a Republican senator - what do you suggest they should have done with it? Ignored it? Buried it? Laughed at it? No, they did their job, which was to investigate - without, be it noted, publicising the fact that they were doing so.

And now a totally different FBI head is conducting an examination into Trump. To call it "endless" seems a bit premature, when the Whitewater investigation went on for more than 4 years, and the Benghazi attacks were investigated by five separate House committees over 2 years. Mueller has already acquired more indictments, with less resources and in a quarter of the time, than all of those committees put together.

Given that the indictments so far handed down include charges of "lying to the FBI about meetings with known Russian agents" and "acting on behalf of Russian-affiliated Ukrainian politicians", it also seems a bit - well, not to put too fine a point on it, false - to claim that it's "abandoned any Russia angle completely".

Please rephrase to clarify - exactly what the heck point you're trying to make.

veti Silver badge

Re: Confused

No, you don't really have that straight.

First paragraph: yep, that looks about right.

Second paragraph is where it starts to fall down. "No details of the information passed (if any)" - actually, some of those details have come to light, and others will likely follow. "No further wrong-doing" - yeah, actually quite a lot of that is alleged. Just not yet at the stage of indictment, because the investigation is ongoing.

Third paragraph: you neglect to mention that the "other side" took up the idea of paying the former MI6 officer from a conservative website. When Trump looked set to become the Republican nominee, the former sponsors promptly dropped the project, and its erstwhile subcontractors looked around for a new client, and found - the DNC. Note that, assuming this account is wholly accurate, it doesn't imply that either the author of the dossier or the DNC did anything wrong.

(Nor did the original conservative website, for that matter. Researching your opponents is a totally valid thing to do. What matters is whose help you accept in doing it, and on what terms.)

Fourth paragraph: now I'm not even sure what you're talking about. By "miniscule payment", do you mean the small amounts of advertising spending that have been identified by both Facebook and Twitter as definitely paid for by Russians? Or do you include the battalion of full-time Russian trolls that have been employed to pollute virtually every online forum for the last 4-5 years? Because that spend probably dwarfs what the Clinton and Trump campaigns spent put together.

Fifth paragraph is just plain whataboutism - the fallacious argument that there's no point punishing one crime while worse things are going on. Newsflash, these things are not unconnected. Nobody is going to do anything (positive) about health care, rural poverty or the prison population as long as Trump is in the White House.

Oh wait - Harvey Weinstein? Sorry, now I know you're trolling. As you were then.

veti Silver badge

To be fair to Barnaby Joyce, his situation isn't unusual.

Under current New Zealand law, every Australian citizen has the right to live, work, own property and vote in New Zealand without a work permit or any other special paperwork. In other words, they have all the rights and privileges that New Zealand citizens have.

And the Australian constitution says that one can't be an MP if one "is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power".

So if being an NZ citizen is enough to disqualify you, then so is "having the rights or privileges" of an NZ citizen. Which means that every Australian citizen needs to be disqualified.

veti Silver badge

Re: Um, pardon?

Yeah, but Trump has been "pretty much admitting guilt" to lots of things for years now, and it hasn't greatly harmed him yet.

He could pardon all three of these guys right here and now, that would remove the FBI's leverage over them. Then he could pre-emptively pardon - basically, everyone who was ever involved in his campaign. Then he could pardon himself - yes, that's a thing, he can pardon anyone for anything right up to the moment he gets impeached, which won't happen because it would mean the entire Republican party admitting the guy who looked and talked and acted like a crook, but they backed anyway - really was a crook.

Is the FCC purposefully screwing up US school broadband projects?

veti Silver badge

Re: It's called Class Warfare

How exactly is fast broadband to schools going to make the working classes "intelligent and uppity"?

Is there any reason to believe that broadband access leads to better educational outcomes? A quick Google tells me, surprisingly few people have even tried to answer that question; and among those who have, there's no real consensus as to the answer.

Lots of people like the idea of IT in schools. The pupils love it, because new toys. Computer providers love it, because new customers. Legislators love it, because it's a lot cheaper than raising teachers' pay or improving their training. Employers love it, because free training. But does it, y'know, work?

If you try asking that, you're just spoiling the party.

F-35s grounded by spares shortage

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Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

Oh no, incompetence on this scale is a natural product of nurturing a for-profit defense industry.

When the US entered World War 2, its armed forces were tiny, and their technology was nothing to brag about either. But with a couple of years of dedicated development, they had planes and tanks that could match or beat both Japanese and German forces.

That's how you win a war: you don't develop all the weaponry in advance, you wait until you know who you're fighting before you decide what you need to beat them.

But none of that is compatible with the military-industrial complex.

veti Silver badge

New toys are always more exciting than repaired ones

So to get this straight: the planes are intended to be grounded for 2-3 months every time they need a new part? And that is the target that we can't even get close to meeting? (And let's not even mention "shipping the damn' thing to Turkey, of all places, and back").

Good grief, it starts to make the MiG-35 look attractive...

The EU is sooo 2016. We're all about the US now, say Brit scaleups

veti Silver badge

Re: Hmm

"Trump has put us to the front..."

In all seriousness, I would advocate cutting off all connection with America - total embargo on all trade, flights, exchange of currency, boot all citizens out of the country - if the alternative was signing a trade deal with Trump.

There simply isn't a spoon long enough.

veti Silver badge

Particularly since that same US is currently going through one of its periodic bouts of isolationism, and "buy American" is now official government policy at many levels. So all foreigners are handicapped before they even begin.

Could you pick a worse time to try to enter the US market?

What employs half a million people, just did $44bn in sales, and rhymes with Azerbaijan?

veti Silver badge

I don't know

Since when does Amazon rhyme with Azerbaijan?

Whois? No, Whowas: Incoming Euro privacy rules torpedo domain registration system

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"Whois" is already basically worthless

... to anyone but a lawyer, anyway, given the nonexistent quality control/fact checking of the data.

If you actually want to know who a domain belongs to - then you're dependent on whoever registered it having acted in good faith and entered truthful information. Often, they do. But sometimes, particularly when they have something nefarious in mind - they don't. They'll enter the data of a personal or political or business enemy, or a nonexistent person.

And there's pretty much nothing to prevent this, apart from the minimal amount of effort it takes to do.

If you're an IP lawyer, who wants to cover your arse by writing to a domain owner asking for permission to rip off their content - then that doesn't matter. You can write, and when they don't respond within a reasonable time, you can say you've done your due diligence. It's meaningless, but you've done it. Go you.

But if you're absolutely anyone else, just trying to find out who owns domain.com - it's useless.

Fake-news-monetizing machine Facebook lectures hacks on how not to write fake news that made it millions

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Re: Good idea

@Big John: It's true that there is good writing, but that's not the most important point of journalism. The most important role traditional journalists used to play was not in writing the news, but curating it. Reporting the things (they judged) their readers needed or wanted to know, and not wasting their time with everything else.

Facebook and Google are both trying to do that now, and Facebook is closer to succeeding than Google. There are still major issues with the online model (most problematically: newsfeeds "customised" to the user means that you will never know what "news" someone else has or hasn't been exposed to), but it's currently the only plausible place to insert some kind of firewall between the user and the deluge of clickbait.

@Ledswinger: To be fair, the Economist offers me a digital subscription for £240 for one year. And that drops considerably further if I'm willing to pay for 3 years up front.

But then, their paywall is trivial to circumvent anyway.

The Independent is a sad case. It used to be my daily paper of choice, back in the days when I had such a thing. Now it still has some great writers, but the editorial team has been allowed to co-opt the whole thing into... not exactly an ideological mouthpiece, more like an apologetic (in the old sense of the word) propaganda rag for the metropolitan elite. Almost every story is shamelessly spun toward that single axis. So shamelessly that it's actually intrusive, now.

The Guardian is not bad, for news. (It's often better at covering my home country's news than the native press.) The BBC is OK, although the obsession with video gets more irritating every week - there's less and less actual content shown on the home page. The Telegraph's paywall seems to me to be mostly for clickbait - if you don't want to read those articles, most of the actual news is outside it.

veti Silver badge

Good idea

No, seriously.

Nobody can regulate the press. It's some combination of illegal, politically suicidal and logically impossible.

But there's nothing to stop someone like Facebook from creating a code of conduct for publishers, and then sanctioning those who refuse to follow it by cutting their audience.

Will they be perfect? Of course not. (What is? Seriously. If your objection is "I don't want Facebook making that decision", then who do you want making it? "Informed and educated readers" is no answer; that's like saying "if we lived in a perfect world we wouldn't need this shit", which is true of everything and helpful to nothing.)

If there's any way of dragging journalism back out from the abyss of clickbait and trolling that it's fallen into, it's going to be something like this. Something that goes straight to their bottom line.

Australia Bureau of Statistics may wind back internet usage data collection

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That would be "policy-based evidence".

veti Silver badge

Double standard, or just saving effort?

Is this the same government that requires its ISPs to store all their users' complete internet histories for 2 years? Why, I believe it is. And the government itself can't even afford to store a few statistics?

I guess if you can trawl through everyone's internet histories, then a separate survey of internet usage becomes redundant...?

There's a battle on over two US spying laws: One allows snooping on citizens – one bans it

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It's not just that it's a foot in the door. The US constitution itself recognises that - except for a few extremely specific, limited purposes - it's inherently unjust to treat "citizens" any differently from "non-citizens".

The 14th amendment says "No state shall... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." And the Supreme Court says (historically, at least) that this provision also binds the federal government.

I've always thought this is the provision that's meant to discourage the citizenry from fascism. If there is anything that an American agent, on American soil, can lawfully do to an illegal immigrant or a foreign spy, then they can also do it to a born citizen.

After all - in practice, exactly how are they supposed to tell the difference anyway?

Let's make the coppers wear cameras! That'll make the ba... Oh. No sodding difference

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Re: Rational vs irrational behaviour

Thank you for a note of reason.

Policing is hard. Most mistakes are honest ones. Sure there will be exceptions, and they'll get all the attention - but to mistake the exceptions for the rule is one of the basic fallacies.

Google faces $10k-a-day fines if it defies court order to hand over folks' private overseas email

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Re: The real story...

It's probable - no, make that certain - that MS has an actual written policy that states exactly how long emails will be retained on a dormant account. Doing something like that outside of that policy may lay them open to whole new kinds of legal trouble.

veti Silver badge

Re: Why not make it a fair bet ...

There is such a thing as "making an honest mistake".

Note, I'm not saying that's what this case is - I know nothing about it. Just that the "trying to pull a fast one" conclusion does not follow.

In general, it's not a good idea to punish people for making honest mistakes. It's a way to get a workforce that is increasingly both demoralised and unscrupulous.

Facebook, Google and pals may be hit with TV political ads rules

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The law doesn't say anything about mentioning candidates or parties. Just that you have to say who paid for the ad.

Really, I don't see why that requirement shouldn't apply to all ads, political or not.

Of course all it means in practice is that the sneakier politicians, i.e. most of them, set up more-or-less-arms-length shell companies whose purpose is to pay for ads on their behalf, with names like "Americans for Motherhood & Apple Pie" - but even that gives you somewhere to start looking.

veti Silver badge

Re: Just wondering

Depends on the laws of those countries.

It's fair enough for the US government to pass laws about what goes on in the USA. What goes on in, say, Egypt - is for the Egyptian government to worry/make laws about.

Hate to break it to you, but billions of people can see Uranus tonight

veti Silver badge

Excellent news

... But you could at least tell us a bit more about where to look for it. Which Zodiac sign is it in?

Cue "couldn't find Uranus with a map and a telescope" jokes...

Microsoft concedes to Mozilla: Redmond will point web API docs at Moz Dev Network

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It's a wiki. If you think you can explain it better, or at least differently - go nuts, there's nothing stopping you.

NYC cops say they can't reveal figures on cash seized from people – the database is too shoddy

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Re: So if they don't know what they've taken

Doesn't need to be someone who's actually had stuff seized, either. Anyone could make that claim.

Someone tell David Davis, he was looking for a way to come up with $40 billion in a hurry...

veti Silver badge

Re: How seizure laws ever stood --

Both the 4th and 5th amendments contain weasel wording designed to give maximum wiggle-room to the plod.

The 4th bars "unreasonable" search and seizure. Who's to say what's "unreasonable"? Well, a court obviously. If you can square the courts, you're clear.

The 5th requires "due process of law", but doesn't say anything about what form that "due process" should take. There's nothing (in this context) about a jury, or grand jury, or even a warrant. If the law says "police can grab whatever they like, provided they give you a receipt scrawled on the back of a takeaway menu", then that is "due process" and the 5th has nothing to say about it.

Australia's IoT security rating might work, if done right

veti Silver badge

"You need updates continuously"

If that's true, I suspect you're doing something wrong.

If it can be patched, it can be rooted.

If it can't be patched - then at least it might take hackers a leetle longer to enlist it to a DDOS network.

No, the FCC can't shut down TV stations just because Donald Trump is mad at the news

veti Silver badge

Re: Actually

As William Russell said to Lord Lucan, of his conduct of the Crimean War: "If you don't want me to report all the damned silly things you are doing, my lord, my advice to you is not to do them!"

(Misquoted from memory, but the spirit is accurate.)

Ah, for those days when journalists had a bit of spirit...

Man prosecuted for posting a picture of his hobby on Facebook

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Re: Police Scotland = Morons with time on their hands

Apologies for the DM link, but I doubt that the Telegraph and Guardian will be covering that.

A quick MacGoogle could have told you, that story has been covered not only by the Telegraph, but also by the BBC and The Times.

Boffins suggest UK needs an 'AI council' but regulation is for squares

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We don't have an objective definition of what *any* "intelligence" actually means, so does that mean we should ban childbearing as well?

The classical Turing test has the right idea: it just needs more components. If a system acts like it's "intelligent", then it is intelligent, end of story. The mere fact that we still can't precisely define what makes it intelligent, shouldn't prevent us from recognising it.

Supreme Court to rule on whether US has right to data stored overseas

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The DOJ has every right to rule on how American companies behave, subject to the courts. This case is about which courts are applicable.

Forget about "data" for a moment, let's talk about something physical. Consider, e.g., ExxonMobil's operations in, say, Australia. Those are governed firmly by Australian law: no US court can order the company to drill here or move something there, in violation of Australian law.

This remains true even if all the actual humans involved are American, and all the equipment was manufactured in America and transported on American ships (none of which conditions are likely to be true, but it makes no difference).

veti Silver badge

Re: What data did DOJ seek?

What if "citizenship" is part of the data that you're looking for?

Besides, legal discrimination on grounds of citizenship is unconstitutional in itself. Check the 14th amendment.

US Congress mulls first 'hack back' revenge law. And yup, you can guess what it'll let people do

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Re: erm isn't this what law enforcement is for?

And I wanted to have a bot do it, automagically. DAMMIT!

No problem, you can have your bot submit the paperwork to the FBI at the same time as it launches the retaliatory strike. The whole process doesn't need to take more than a few seconds.

There's no mention of "waiting for the FBI to respond" to your notification.

Calm down, Elon. Deep learning won't make AI generally intelligent

veti Silver badge

Re: There is Intelligence - AI is an approach not an outcome

The trouble with that, as a definition of intelligence, is that it's purely internal. So the only person who can truly know if you are intelligent - is you.

Based on that, it's not at all clear how we could tell if we had created a "true" intelligence.

veti Silver badge

Re: Bishop Bollocks

Yes, there's more going on in the brain than you can model with a neural net. The brain and the body are intrinsically connected in profound ways: electronic and chemical processes from all parts of the body affect what goes on in the brain. That's why drugs are a thing.

But that doesn't mean we can't, in principal, model all those processes as well, if we want to.

But the question of what happens if we build a sufficiently complex neural net, and then don't give it those sorts of connections, is to me even more interesting. If we built a brain without a body - a brain that has no concept of what it means to feel hungry or tired or cold or horny - what, exactly, would it think about?

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You seem to be implying that just because we can't "model" chaotic systems, we also can't create them.

If that were true, there'd be no such thing as "life". Chaos is an emergent property: it's something that happens despite a designer's best efforts, not because of them.

Video games used to be an escape. Now not even they are safe from ads

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Re: 407000 words? A transparent farce

It's easier than that, really.

What we need is a court ruling that the process of installing software on a computer, or running software once so installed, is not in itself an act of "copying", and therefore not subject to copyright law.

Then all EULAs will be rendered dead letters at a stroke.

veti Silver badge

I've already decided never to buy from RobCo.

Or Vault-Tec.

And as for Nuka-Cola - haven't touched the stuff in years.

It's 4PM on Friday, almost time to log off and, oh look, Disqus says it's been hacked

veti Silver badge

Maybe, but El Reg has yet to have its user list hacked.

As far as we know.

How long do you think it would take them to notice, if it happened? And how long after that to inform us?

I think Disqus comes out of this story pretty well, by notifying promptly. OK, on a Friday, but guess what? - the weekend is actually a pretty good time for most of us to deal with these things. Disqus is unlikely to be a mission-critical work account for most people.

How bad can the new spying legislation be? Exhibit 1: it's called the USA Liberty Act

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Which part of "the equal protection of the laws" do people not understand?

If there is a law that says "US citizens enjoy these protections, and foreigners in the same situation don't" - that law is already unconstitutional. The lawmakers who voted for it, and the president who signed it, all deserve impeachment on those grounds alone.

If the 4th amendment collides with the 14th, something's gotta give. And that "something" will be determined by whoever is making the judgment call that day. Guess how that's going to go?

veti Silver badge

Re: The meaning of words

Anyone who uses the word "liberty", in English at least, deserves extreme suspicion.

"Liberty" is to "freedom" as a Big Mac is to food.

Web uni says it will get you a tech job or your money back. So our man Kieren signed up...

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Re: product manager course

If you've ever put in the time to write a "well constructed email", you should know (1) it can take considerably longer than two hours, and (2) no matter how "well constructed" you think it is, at least one-third of recipients will still misunderstand it.

Given how much attention most people seem to pay to emails, I really can't fault any manager for calling meetings instead.

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