* Posts by Twilight

56 posts • joined 11 Nov 2010


Alexa, are you profiting from the illegal storage and analysis of kids' voice commands?


I'm willing to bet permission for recordings is buried in the Amazon Alexa agreements you have to "read" (yeah, right) and click "accept".

I don't understand why Amazon needs to store the actual recordings though. Voice print can be done without the recordings. Database of lots of info can be done without the recordings. Why does having the recordings benefit Amazon?

IT pro screwed out of unused vacation pay, bonus by HPE after judge rules: The law is a mess but it's still the law


Re: Beware spinoffs; they allow HR policy changes

I took this to mean he was an employee and the contract is the employment agreement (which is a contract).

Hours before Congress backs robocall blocking law, guess what the FCC boss suddenly decides?


I'm just shocked that Pai is making it even more obvious that he's just a shill for big telecom. Okay, not really - he's made it pretty obvious even before he became commissioner.

As the article notes, this is the standard industry (any industry) practice when they have a shill in a key office - throw up some nearly useless "rules" that later get watered down even more in order to avoid any actual laws being passed that might interfere with profits.

Put a stop to these damn robocalls! Dozens of US state attorneys general fire rocket up FCC's ass


Re: AT&T

The DoNotCall list is actually very effective - at blocking legitimate tele-marketers (which is important). However, it does absolutely nothing at blocking scams as they don't care because they are already doing something illegal (so violating DoNotCall is meaningless).

This move by Dropbox will reduce users' files to tiers: Rarely, regularly accessed data now kept separate


Re: Youve blown it - so long dropbox!

$100/year is extortionate? I guess we have very different ideas of unreasonable pricing. I only have about 4 GB of data on DropBox but I have no issue paying $100/year for the service. No issues with data retention on DropBox but I do backup all my DropBox data.

Fee, Fi, bring your own one... Google opens up Project Fi to mobes built by Apple, LG, Samsung


no WiFi calling on iPhone?

I fail to understand the lack of support for WiFi calling on iPhones. My iPhone currently has WiFi calling with AT&T. And why no international hotspots for iPhones? That seems to make even less sense.


Re: Good news

>>>I've used Fi for several years, but I've never recommended it to my friends because the phones have been so flippin' expensive. This is good news.<<<

Generally true but the Moto models were much cheaper than all the others.

Microsoft yanks the document-destroying Windows 10 October 2018 Update


Re: But that wouldn't bring three thousand million, seven hundred and sixty-eight deleted files back

>>> Oh "shock horror" doing a quick sync/backup before updating?

How exactly do you do that when Microsoft can and does arbitrarily decide when your machine should be updated. I've gone down in the morning to find my laptop rebooted after an update overnight (with no prior notice that it was going to be done that night) and I've gotten notices that Windows 10 was updating "right now" to "improve Windows". I have also sometimes gotten "there's an update pending - do you want to update now?" to which I almost always delay a little to let other people find as many issues as possible.


Re: Why even touch user folders? Onedrive

How about Microsoft decouple OneDrive? I have absolutely no need for a OneDrive update (or at all). OneDrive is inferior to DropBox or many other solutions.

US govt confirms FCC's broadband speeds and feeds stats are garbage


Mine is accurate as to who but seems iffy on the bandwidth. I live in an urban area (inner suburb of large metro) and my choices are:

Comcast (they deserve all the hate) listed as 250/25 Mbps - maybe if you live right next to the CO

CenturyLink (if anything, worse than Comcast) listed as 20/1 Mbps (about right)

Nextera (wireless) listed as 6/6 Mbps (no idea - too slow to check out)

and multiple satellite providers which might work for streaming but not work or gaming

So, in reality, we have a choice of 1 (Comcast). We're in the process of dumping Comcast phone and cable tv but really have no choice on internet.

The most ironic part is they just ran two fiber bundles through our front yard for the high school (way more than 1 school needs) but we can't pay to have fiber run to our house.

US Supreme Court blocks internet's escape from state sales taxes


Re: Yo! Yank ... Er ....

Basing taxes on zip code does not work. Zip codes do not align to the boundaries necessary to determine local sales tax. My zip code (in most databases) incorrectly places me in an adjacent city that has a higher sales tax. I know of one zip code that is split across 3-4 cities (with at least 1 having a different sales tax). To properly determine locale in the US, you need the full address (not just the zip).

Max Schrems is back: Facebook, Google hit with GDPR complaint


Given that Facebook and Google both pay for their "free" services by doing things with your personal data, I seriously doubt they will ever comply with GDPR in a way that most people want. If they allow people to opt out of their slurping of data then the alternative will likely be a paid service (instead of "free") - personally, I'd be happy to pay a reasonable amount for Google to have GDPR-compliant data usage (however, I'm in the US so I probably won't have that option).

Gmail is secure. Netflix is secure. Together they're a phishing threat


I would be perfectly happy to have gmail stop ignoring dots in email addresses IF all sites actually supported valid email addresses with + in them. It still baffles me the number of email validators on many sites (including government sites) that claim + is not a valid character in an email address.

Over the years, I've gotten lots of emails for lots of people that clearly typo'd their email (and not just a dot difference). I've gotten email from lawyers, order details for an artist in CA, email from doctors, and many other probably important emails. In some cases, I did attempt to notify the sender to the error if it seemed important. By far the most annoying was somebody signing up for a TON of payday loan sites using my email address (fortunately Google sent most of them to spam even without me doing anything).

Man who gave interviews about his crimes asks court to delete Google results


I often like EU law but the whole RTBF is ridiculous. If the original sources exist then it makes absolutely no sense to force Google to remove links to them (for many reasons). If the original sources were taken down or edited and Google still linked them then there would certainly be a case against Google. RTBF is absolutely editing history.

Also, curious, a lot of websites use Google search internally. Would RTBF ruling against Google mean that these sites would not even be able to return results for articles on their own site (assuming they are in the EU)?

Uber: Ah yeah, we pay women drivers less than men. We can explain!


"You're stating your personal opinion as if it were objective fact. It isn't -- it's just your opinion. My opinion is that both types of drivers are annoying, but the aggressive ones are far more so. And it's the aggressive ones who are more likely to endanger my physical well-being."

Actually, you are provably wrong on this one. There have been several studies recently that have shown that the too-slow, hesitant driver is actually far more likely to cause accidents than the aggressive, too-fast driver. Here's a link for a UK article on it http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2016721/Slow-drivers-dangerous-roads-cause-crashes.html

It gets worse: Microsoft’s Spectre-fixer wrecks some AMD PCs


Microsoft used to give much better information on each patch (and I would read it and select which ones to install). I think this was on XP - I would even "hide" some updates which would prevent them from being installed or showing up in the list again.

Unfortunately, at some point, Microsoft apparently decided users didn't need to know what the patch was actually fixing and stopped giving any sort of information that would allow us to choose.

Robocall crackdown, choked Lifelines, and pole-climbing: Your new FCC rules roundup


Re: Wait, what?

Robocalls are not illegal in the US. There are restrictions placed on them that are often ignored illegally (most often in my experience is that a robocaller must have a fully automated way to be placed on a do-not-call list (eg "press 9 to be removed from our list")).

Google says broader right to be forgotten is 'serious assault' on freedom


I have to mostly side with Google on this one. If the information is provably false then it should be removed everywhere (including Google). If it is something else, it should be left to a court (similar to expunging records). The very tricky part still comes down to differences in national laws - there are certainly corrupt countries where a court would order information expunged that most other countries would say should be kept and available.

This is something that certainly needs to be addressed but I don't think the current "right to be forgotten" laws in the EU are the correct way to do it.

Another complicating factor is international corporations. Google is (or at least started as) a US corporation but they have branches all over the world. In that case, does only the EU branches/divisions have to follow EU "right to be forgotten"? That seems complicated but may be the most straight-forward approach (I believe Google already does some changes based on country).

Equifax's disastrous Struts patching blunder: THOUSANDS of other orgs did it too


Re: What a sad state of mind

The real problem is with the credit agencies. Many companies consider lawsuits as "cost of business". However, this breach at Equifax exposed 143 million sets of PII that will be valuable to criminals for years/decades. Equifax (and the other credit bureaus) need to be held to a MUCH higher standard than Bob's Software Company. The damages assessed on Equifax from this breach should be WAY more than enough to bury the company permanently. Of course, I think the odds of that actually happening are pretty low. :(

Firefox doesn't need to be No 1 – and that's OK, 'cos it's falling off a cliff


I'm not sure why the article is unclear on why Firefox has lost market share. Continuously changing UI, dropping full plugin support, plus (my personal reason I dropped Firefox) continuing to use a single monolithic process (rather than a process per tab as Chrome does which is more secure and much less likely to crash the whole browser).

Google hit with record antitrust fine of €2.4bn by Europe



This honestly makes no sense. I really hope Google does win on appeal. A comparison shopping service is nothing more than a generic search engine with filters and aggregation. Does the EU actually employ anyone in the courts that understands technology? Comparison shopping was a completely logical (and obvious) extension of Google's general search engine. It may or may not be a separate "market" (whatever that means) but it is the same technology so why wouldn't Google promote its comparison shopping in search? It does the same with Image Search and that is no different (if anything Image Search is more different than comparison shopping from generic search).

Europe seeks company to monitor Google's algorithm in €10m deal


really? this is what they nail Google for?

There are very likely things Google should be nailed for but I don't think this is one. They are penalizing Google for promoting its search engine in its search engine. Comparison shopping/pricing sites are nothing more than targeted search engines. It's no different than penalizing Google for promoting Google Image Search in its Google search results (if anything, Froogle is closer the the core Google engine than Image Search is).

That apple.com link you clicked on? Yeah, it's actually Russian


It's interesting that Chrome 57 is broken. I found a note on the Chromium project that Chrome 51+ should display punycode (rather than the IDN characters) if latin is mixed with either cyrillic or greek (or cyrillic and greek are mixed). Apparently this isn't actually happening (never actually implemented? bug?).

It's also rather disappointing that Chrome has no way to turn off the display of non-english characters in URLs (it's not a fix but it would be far safer for me since I very rarely go to any sites with non-english URLs).

'At least I can walk away with my dignity' – Streetmap founder after Google lawsuit loss


Re: At the risk of sounding controversial...

>>>This is just business. Build a product. Promote the product effectively. Grow the business. Eat up or destroy the competition. If you're clever, gain monopoly status (or get close to it). If Google had used underhanded tactics to take down Streetmap then fair enough, there's a case to answer. But simply promoting its own product over the competition, on its own website? I'd say that's just tough titties.<<<

Nope. Actually this is exactly what the laws are SUPPOSED to prevent. Google clearly had (and has) the dominant search engine. They (according to Streetmap) used this position to then promote another completely different area of their business to the detriment of (supposedly) superior companies in that area of business.

Assuming what Streetmap is saying is true, this is basically exactly what Microsoft lost its antitrust case for (bundling IE (and other software) into Windows for no reason other than to promote its own product at the expense of other companies because it had the dominant OS).

Two words, Mozilla: SPEED! NOW! Quit fiddling and get serious


Re: Couldn't have put it better...

Actualy, Chrome is the #1 browser because it works the best. It has the best speed, the best security, and a robust plugin system (though not as good as Firefox (at least used to be - I stopped using Firefox as my primary browser years ago due to its shortcomings)).

Trump decides Breitbart chair Bannon knows more about natsec than actual professionals


Re: familiar behavior

There are rumors (possibly proof too - I haven't looked hard) that Trump has business interests in the not mentioned countries.

Most of the ones not mentioned are ones that would create a massive headache for State if Trump included them (so maybe he did talk to someone that gave him some good advice). I can't see it going well if he included Saudi Arabia or Egypt (or others).

Zuck quits anti-social Hawaiian land title lawsuit


Re: Of couse, the "sacred Hawaiian land" claims are bogus

How exactly are the sacred Hawaiian lands claim bogus? There have been people on Hawaii for a millennia or more. That's plenty of time to develop sacred lands and such.

UK.gov tells freelance techies to slap 20 per cent on fees as IR35 tax hike looms


Re: Both feet, and the ankles

If it's not that hard to get on preferred vendor lists in the UK, that's very different than the US (where it is usually very hard to get on private-sector preferred vendor lists and nearly impossible to get on government ones (though state-level is usually easier)).

FCC's Wheeler gives passionate defense of net neutrality rules


Re: "going forward"... over a cliff!

Bombastic bob, you seriously think getting government "out of the way" will make things better?!?! The whole reason the FCC stepped in is because things were bad and getting worse.

Like other posters, I have the choice of Comcast (up to 2 Gbps if I was willing to pay $300+ per month) or CenturyLink (MUCH slower). Both have horrible customer service. Both had or were working on deals to force customers to pay more to get "competing" services (eg Netflix and the like) at a reasonable speed. I could get business service from either for substantially more money but there's no guarantee with those that they wouldn't do the same filtering/prioritising if not for the FCC rules.

Sony tells hacked gamer to pay for crooks' abuse of PlayStation account


I had thought about buying a Playstation 4. Now I'm glad I didn't. This comment reminds me that Sony has been doing this for a long time. I had a similar experience around 2004 or 2005 with EQ1 accounts being renewed/charged even though they were canceled (which are now banned because I did reverse the charge via the cc company).

Renewable energy 'simply won't work': Top Google engineers


Nukes are the answer

I've been saying for years that nuclear power is the answer.

If you don't believe me, look at France. France gets 75% of its power from nuclear plants, is the world's largest exporter of energy, is on its 3rd generation nuclear plant, and 17% of the nuclear power uses recycled fuel.

Since 14 Mar 1980, France has had 10 nuclear "incidents" but *all* of them except one (27 Dec 1999) were INES 0 or 1 (and the 1999 was only 2) for a total cost of roughly $235m and *0* fatalities for the incidents (by far the most expensive was in 2002 when they screwed up installing condensers which forced a 2-month shutdown of a plant). In 1979-1980, they did have 2 INES 4 incidents but still 0 fatalities and only about $35m in cost. That's pretty good for 58 nuclear plants - show me another power generation method that matches that safety record.

Note however that "greenies" apparently got into the French energy policies in 2014. They are now planning to reduce their nuclear energy generation to 50% of total by 2025 with a hard-cap of their current nuclear power generation (63.2GWe) while at the same to reducing energy usage by 2050 to 50% of 2012 levels (which sounds completely unreasonable to me barring a new disruptive technology).

So long, Hotmail: Remaining users migrated to Outlook.com


I'm sure Outlook.com has cost them a lot of users

My wife used hotmail for over a decade (maybe going all the way back to '96). MS made some changes earlier in the year that screwed up some of her settings (I think it was around SMTP send so it may have now been fixed) and then the forced change to Outlook.com interface which she thinks is horrendous. The upshot is that there's now one more happy Gmail user.

I'm sure her story is far from unique - I wonder how many hotmail users bailed? Unfortunately, I doubt we'll ever hear the answer.

Socket to 'em: It's the HomeGrid vs HomePlug powerline prizefight


Re: Crud generators.

You do realize how hard it is to run CAT 5/6 in a lot of older buildings, right? That is the huge advantage PLT has over ethernet.

I completely disagree with you on Plasma TVs. They are superior to LCD TVs (and the so-called "LED" TVs) and I will continue buying them until something better comes along (hopefully OLED will show up one of these days and blow everything else away). I have not seen any radio interference from the Plasma (admittedly I also don't listen to FM much or operate a ham). Most microwaves put out far more interference than a Plasma TV.

Google, Apple, eBay shouldn't pay taxes - people should pay taxes


I suggest a compromise

This is mostly talking about US law...

I suggest a compromise. Corporations be allowed to pay lower taxes (say 10% - even lower than the 12.5% Irish rate that many companies are already using via various gimmicks) to help support services they do benefit from but they give up all aspects of person-hood besides being able to be directly sued (the purpose of the original law) - no more political spending (they aren't people so have no right to free speech as an entity unto themselves), etc.

US Trade Rep criticises tech trade barriers in Oz, NZ


Hopefully New Zealand does pass the laws eliminating software patents and requiring IP owners to pay a nominal fee to help cover ISP costs.

Software patents are a blight on innovation (which is odd since that's exactly what patents are supposed to promote). I am a software developer and emphatically agree with eliminating software patents - they serve no useful purpose (the only purpose is to pad the pockets of the big corps that have tons of them).

Windows 3.1 rebooted: Microsoft's DOS destroyer turns 20


Re: MS still the underdog then

Lotus, Wordperfect, etc didn't have trouble moving to WIMP. This was the height of Microsoft's monopoly abuses - Microsoft broke competitors office applications with almost every patch to Windows (so eventually people stopped using non-Microsoft office apps).


Re: I had WfW3.11

Calling the Intel P133 an "early chip" is amusing. My first PC was a 386-DX20 and I'd been using PCs since 8088.

My first PC used SIPP memory modules (normal 72pin except it had actual pins rather than surface connections).

Murdoch slams White House over SOPA in Twitter row


Murdoch doesn't like it? Must be the right thing then

As far as I'm concerned if Murdoch doesn't like something, then it is the absolutely right thing to do. Murdoch (and his corporate empire) are *evil*.

Feds propose 50-state ban on mobile use while driving


Actually, not wearing a seatbelt (or a motorcycle helmet (another brilliantly inconsistent safety measure in the US)) can have a *massive* impact on other people. This is the US - the home of the stupid lawsuit. By not wearing a seatbelt or helmet, the driver/rider is much more likely to sustain a serious injury and sue you (assuming you were at fault) for them being stupid. I have absolutely no problem with not requiring seatbelts or helmets if and only if there is a law passed that says there is no liability to anyone else if you are not wearing them if doing such might have prevented the injury.


so many reasons this is a terrible idea...

I would love to see texting banned but that is harder to enforce than DUI. Some states have banned non-hands-free talking (IL at least) as it is statistically worse than hands-free and it seems to be mostly followed (not sure about enforcement). I don't see any reason for making a distinction between hands-free earpiece and installed-by-manufacturer system - I can't imagine there is any statistical difference in distraction.

Also, there are plenty of other distractions far worse than even texting. You can't ban them all and trying to is just foolish. Although, I'd personally love to see a ban on unruly children in cars. ;)


worst distracted driver seen

The worst I saw was someone talking on the cell phone braced between their ear and shoulder while holding a notepad in one hand and writing in it with the other. I wonder if they ever thought of pulling over off the road?

Google top brass (and Zuck) hit Google+ privacy button



@nyelvmark, which completely misses the point. It appears that all these big-wigs are setting their profiles private and it was announced recently that private profiles would be deleted. So please explain what's going on (some of us aren't on Google+ yet and can't look at settings to see if you can have a "public" profile that gives no info (and then what's the difference between that and a private profile?)).

US state bans Netflix, Napster password sharing


same old RIAA rhetoric

Even if we assume the RIAA backed study numbers are correct, they completely fail (again) to address what percent of those "pirates" would have actually paid for the content or just done without. Every study that's looked at that in the past has concluded that very very few people would have paid for the content if the pirate material was unavailable (and also that the piracy may actually boost sales because potential buyers are exposed to music they would not have been otherwise).

FCC demands AT&T prove spectrum scarcity claims


mixed feelings

I'm against the AT&T takeover of T-Mobile on principle (they are the only two GSM carriers in the US).

However, I've been an AT&T customer for a long time (Cingular -> AT&T -> Cingular -> AT&T to be exact). I have very few issues with dropped calls but do experience relatively frequent decreases in data bandwidth while traveling (sometimes dropping down to Edge rather than 3G). The T-Mobile acquisition should give AT&T more bandwidth in dense markets and fill in some of the gaps (voice and data) in their network while also giving them a jumpstart on their LTE rollout.

Facebook absolved for exposing user info to advertisers


in favor of corps yet again...

Sigh. What a surprise - the courts side with the big corps again. This sort of case is very hard to bring without a sympathetic judge as it's nearly impossible to state "any real harm". It's easy to specify likely harm but pretty much impossible to give specifics without getting the internal records of the advertisers that Facebook leaked the data to. :(

Microsoft to Apple: 'Oh, yeah? Well, your font is too small'


Windows and Trademark

>>>"Windows" may be a common noun, but they filed for the trademark in the context of Computer Operating Environments (As Amazon did with bookstores).<<<

Except that X Windows existed long before Microsoft Windows and MacOS also predated MS Windows by quite a bit (MacOS had windows but the OS/environment was not referred to as Windows). MS never should have been awarded a trademark on Windows.

Then again, the US Trademark and Patent systems have been a massive joke for decades. Things awarded when either/both of obviousness and prior art tests are blatantly failed. :(

Steve Jobs unveils 30% subs model for ... everything


no diff pricing outside the app?

>>>Apple now *require* publishers to offer an in-app single click option if there is an outside-app version, *and* publishers can't provide links to external locations where the outside-app version is *and* publishers can't offer better prices outside the app.<<<

Wow! Publishers are not allowed to offer better prices outside the app? That's new (it was allowed as far as known last week from what I read). That is a ludicrous requirement - I would expect in-app content to cost 42% more (to cover Apple's 30%) - otherwise, the publisher is going to lose money (and likely withdraw iOS support (bad for users and Apple)).

Google to Microsoft: You're stealing our search results!


SEO is never legit

SEO by definition is gaming the system and cheating to get the page you want to the top of searches.

If you mean you advise clients on how to construct *useful* web pages that get to the top on their own merit without playing keyword games (and similar), good for you. I wouldn't call that SEO.

If, on the other hand, you do any gaming of keywords or content specifically to increase page visibility (especially for searches the page does not directly relate to), you are part of the problem.

Microsoft files US trade complaint against TiVo


software patents? what are they thinking?

I just don't understand how any government could think that software (or business method) patents are reasonable.

I work in IT and, even if not in my fields of expertise, the majority of software patents fail the "obvious" test just from me reading them - I expect that it would be more like 99.99% are obvious if you ask any developer working in the field the patent applies to.

Yet, they routinely get approved in the US (not sure about EU).

Verizon backpedals on unlimited iPhone data


I'm staying with AT&T

I've been an AT&T Wireless customer for a *long* time (Cingular->AT&T->Cingular->AT&T) and have never had issues with them. I very rarely drop calls and have great coverage (and, yes, this is in a metropolitan area). I bought an iPhone 3GS when they were released and have been happy with it (except for the extra charge for tethering which is free everywhere else in the world).

Also, I enjoy traveling so I will not even consider a non-GSM phone/carrier.

Another strike against Verizon is no simultaneous voice/data on the iPhone (which AT&T supports just fine).


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