* Posts by Whitter

712 posts • joined 13 Aug 2007

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Let's dig into how open source could KO the Silicon Valley chat silos

Whitter
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Meh

Re: Quick - call a sociologist

In forum software of yesteryear, posts are often editable for a short while so typos can be corrected. There is usually a flag that the post has been edited and sometimes a history. Other platforms allow editing at any time until the next post is made (at which point all previous posts in that thread become non-user-editable), or a combination of the two. Or edit whenever and so what - its just a forum board.

It seems odd that FB didn't take any notice of who people like to edit/maintain their posts on a public(ish) thread-based conversation model given all the prior history. Probably just because they didn't need to, so less work.

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You can't find tech staff – wah, wah, wah. Start with your ridiculous job spec

Whitter
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Meh

Not specific to IT

companies claiming there aren't enough "good people" and "failing schools/education" is commonplace, and for very common reasons:

a) They won't pay enough to recruit the skilled people that are already present (except at C level)

b) They won't pay enough to keep the skilled people they already have, so typically leak skills

c) They won't provide training to create new skill sets of use to them

d) HR interpret all requests for "would be nice to have" as "must have", resulting in impossible skill sets

e) They want to replace experienced staff with new-starts to reduce staff costs but retain all the benefits of expert staff to maintain company performance. Hint: you can't.

f) Poaching good staff can be more difficult than you think: its not just about money. Skilled technical people expect a combination of poor management and no loyalty from most management, certainly faceless new management, and thus need to factor-in the risk of being replaced at the drop-of-a-hat by notionally (and erroneously) cheaper new-starts by a potential new employer

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Microsoft Azure ████ secret ██ █████ ██ US govt's ███ ███ centers

Whitter
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Boffin

"Secret" isn't a very high classification level

It sounds very important of course, but isn't.

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Raspberry Pi burning up? Microsoft's recipe can save it and AI

Whitter
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Boffin

Re: Flirc case

Its likely no longer made, but the Hush case was simply beautiful.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/08/13/review_hush_atx/

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Apple's iOS password prompts prime punters for phishing: Too easy now for apps to swipe secrets, dev warns

Whitter
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Unhappy

Overengineering

Given that a huge swath of folks use the same password for everything, all you need to do is a write an app (or webpage) that requires a password and odds on you've now got it.

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Microsoft's foray into phones was a bumbling, half-hearted fiasco, and Nadella always knew it

Whitter
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Unhappy

What the market wants...

It's always tricky to reliably determine what "the market" wants, particularly if your own job relies on a getting specific answer.

In my spectacularly unrepresentative case, I'd like a phone that doesn't spy on me.

So Google? Hmmm...

Apple? Hmmm....

Windows to the rescue? What's that? "Remember Windows 10"? Hmm......

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Dumb bug of the week: Apple's macOS reveals your encrypted drive's password in the hint box

Whitter
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Joke

Its a feature

Hint:

What is the name of your first pet?

Password:

What is the name of your first pet?

It's even got a special character!

Might have to rethink the strategy if they refuse spaces or insist on including a number...

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The axeman strikes again: Microsoft has real commitment issues

Whitter
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Angel

OpenSource

If you are going to dump it, please first consider Open Sourcing the project so others may maintain it if they so choose. If that would bring undesired competition, then why are you dumping it in the first place? If not, then what's the harm? (possibly shared internal libraries, but I doubt there are many of such really).

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China cools on Apple's high-priced iBling

Whitter
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Paris Hilton

What do we want...

This smacks of having done no upstream marketing: i.e. find out what your customers want before trying to sell it (and ideally, before making it in the first place).

There are local/cultural issues all over the world: big and obvious digital stuff in China and Africa; big and obvious SUVs in large swathes of the USA (vs obviously small and electric in other USA markets); Chelsea tractors in metropolitan UK (a.k.a. Barbour and Landrover) and so on.

It's not like Apple don't have sufficient capital tied up offshore to target such markets - it just doesn't want to, or more likely (and worse) just can't believe anyone can refute whatever they declare to be ideal.

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Brit prosecutors fling almost a million quid at anti-drone'n'phone ideas

Whitter
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Meh

£50k doesn't cut it for being "commercially exploitable"

% of sales however...

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Trump's tax tease will be a massive payday for Valley tech giants and their shareholders

Whitter
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Flame

charitable trusts

"Currently they have to set up charitable trusts or other tax-efficient vehicles to pass on their hoards to the next generation."

Can we get rid of the word "charitable" when describing trusts who's only purpose is to reduce the tax bill?

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3D selfies? What could possibly go wrong?

Whitter
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Paris Hilton

Masks

I'm assuming the cost of 3D ink you make this a non-starter for the base-layer of a custom Halloween mask?

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In a surprise to no one, BT and TalkTalk top Ofcom's whinge-list

Whitter
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Unhappy

Compenation for failure to provide minimum target, not pretendy maxima

"The regulator has proposed requiring providers to pay automatic compensation to landline and broadband customers who suffer slow repairs, late installations or missed engineer appointments."

Until there are fines for breaking minimum bandwidth / latency thresholds (in a meaningful manner, most notably at times you are likely to be using them rather than 04:00am) then I don't see the industry getting much better.

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First big Privacy Shield review has ended – and yep, it's great! Just don't ask about mass spying

Whitter
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Max Schrems

Any news on whether Max Schrems feels up to bashing this one down too?

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Revealed: The naughty tricks used by web ads to bypass blockers

Whitter
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Re: convenience of paying

I quite agree that I have no interest in giving out personal info, particularly credit card info, to websites all over the place. Any model that needs this is going to fail.

And from the (legit) website owner's POV, I don't want your details either (unless I'm selling stuff): its just a data protection nightmare with no upside.

Using PayPal / Google wallet / Apple store or whatever as an intermediary payment system that can avoid you handing over such details is, a minimum, a must. They still provide some "leak" of contact details - perhaps they should start enacting web-only transactions as anonymously as possible (no postal address etc.). Hell, they might even do so these days - I haven't looked for ages.

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Programmer's < fumble jeopardizes thousands of medical reports

Whitter
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Thumb Up

Re: We had this problem

Well played sir!

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Whitter
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Boffin

Re: We had this problem

It is fairly standard practise to use tilde as "approximately equal to" as it resembles the standard mathematical sign quite well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilde#Approximation

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Approximation#Unicode

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Trump-backed RAISE Act decoded: Points-based immigration, green cards slashed

Whitter
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Boffin

Re: Up to 140,000 a year will be allowed in.

Note that Canada's Work Permit system requires that "the Canadian employer must first demonstrate that unsuccessful efforts were made to hire Canadian residents for the position being offered to the foreign worker".

I'm not sure if this is "requirement" is more than political window dressing, not being a Canadian employer or employee myself!

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Europe's 'one patent court to rule them all' vision may be destroyed by EPO shenanigans

Whitter
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Mushroom

"Battistelli may finally face serious consequences"

I very much doubt it. Got paid a whack while in office, will have a huge life-long pension when he leaves. A glorious example of the complete and utter failure of management to manage management.

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Funnily enough, charging ££££s for trashy bling-phones wasn't a great idea

Whitter
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Mushroom

Why?

"Uzan will keep control of the Vertu trademarks and patents with an eye on eventually relaunching the company through a separate corporation"

Why?

The folks they owe £168m should get first dabs at the assets, not the boss of a failed company.

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Wi-Fi firm Purple sneaks 'community service' clause into its T&Cs

Whitter
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Meh

T&Cs

All it shows is that T&Cs as currently implemented are a waste of time - the can't be enforced as they were never read.

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'Many' ways to create artificial intelligence. Just ask the UK's AI businesses

Whitter
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Paris Hilton

AI or expert system?

The engine degradation and flash-point examples sound like expert systems, probably based on regressions of previous data, rather than any real demonstration of "AI" as such. Is this just tech buzzword bingo or is there more than first meets the eye?

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Good news: Samsung's Tizen no longer worst code ever. Bad news: It's still pretty awful

Whitter
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Boffin

NaN

A bit of pedantry which has nothing to do with the error in the article: comparing a variable to itself isn't always madness, as it is a specific property of floating point NaN values:

x= NaN

y = x

x != y

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Tory-commissioned call centres 'might have bent data protection laws'

Whitter
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Boffin

Re: ICO involvement?

Only a bit wrong: it's illegal to pay anyone to campaign to election day.

And the call centre staff were indeed being paid.

Representation of the People Act, Section 111: prohibits ‘payment as a canvasser for the purpose of promoting or procuring a candidate’s election’.

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Whitter
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Re: ICO involvement?

They also did campaigning on election day, which is flat out illegal (and a matter for the Police).

Though as another comment points out, the "public interest" will be used to avoid actually doing anything about it.

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In the week Uber blew up, Netflix restates 'No brilliant jerks' policy

Whitter
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Re: Parsing error

Got you: thanks!

Puts a lot on negative inference on "are also" to essentially mean "could but don't" (with the appropriate grammatical corrections to fit the sentence).

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Whitter
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Re: What do Netflix staff do that requires all these not-brilliant stars?

Cheers! I have heard it said in my office that Netflix does a very good job of not intermittently pausing on a bad connection when iPlayer (for example) would pause almost every other minute. That's the only reason I've considered them at all (mainly, to watch iPlayer via Netflix - does that work?)

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Whitter
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Paris Hilton

What do Netflix staff do that requires all these not-brilliant stars?

Just wondering.

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Whitter
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WTF?

Parsing error

"Brilliant jerks are still not welcome, because Netflix believes “that brilliant people are also capable of decent human interactions, and we insist upon that.”"

Does anyone understand what this means? Typo? Misspeak? nothing?

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IBM's contractor crackdown continues: Survivors refusing pay cut have hours reduced

Whitter
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Unhappy

Abuse, plain and simple.

Only those who cannot walk for whatever reason can conceivably still be contracted to IBM. This sounds like straightforward abuse of such people. Without doubt a mass walk-out by contractors would hit IBM where it hurts but sadly, it would hit the contractors that much harder.

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Is your research hot or not? US boffins create ‘Tinder for preprints’

Whitter
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WTF?

OMG!

OMG!

Swipe (whatever way is "No!" for this idea)

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France and UK want to make web firms liable for users' content

Whitter
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Thumb Down

Trust first?

'cos the UK state never misuses "terror-specific" powers (see section 44 et al).

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Hand in your notice – by 2022 there'll be 350,000 cybersecurity vacancies

Whitter
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WTF?

£87,000+ ???

"Demand is driving record salaries with 39 per cent of UK cyber workers commanding annual salaries of more than £87,000"

Really? I only know a handful of "cyber" people earning anything remotely close. Job ads (or agency phone calls) almost never have anything breaking £50k.

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BA IT systems failure: Uninterruptible Power Supply was interrupted

Whitter
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Headmaster

... not due to outsourcing...

If you don't know why it happened, then I doubt you know it was not due to outsourcing.

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Retirement age must move as life expectancy grows, says WEF

Whitter
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Unhappy

Retirement (and pension) age vs local life expectancy?

As chair of a World Health Organization commission on the social factors that determine health, Michael Marmot and his colleagues took Glasgow as an example of stark health inequities, noting that a boy in the deprived area of Calton had an average life expectancy of 54 years compared with a boy from affluent Lenzie, 12 km away in East Dunbartonshire, who could expect to live to 82.

<http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/89/10/11-021011/en/>

The example of Japan is simply inappropriate to many other countries.

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Microsoft court victory prompts call for data-grabbing regime

Whitter
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Unhappy

NYT article

A simple enough read which at no point asks if or when an editor or journalist should restrain themselves. In the specific Manchester case, the desire to publish first was the driver - any consideration of how that would adversely impact an investigation was nowhere to be seen.

But the lack or ethical journalism isn't really the source of UK anger here: its the lack of professionalism in the USA intelligence network.

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8 out of 10 cats fear statistics – AI doesn't have this problem

Whitter
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Boffin

The purpose of statistics

a) To describe a population clearly (be that theoretical or sampled)

b) To compare populations meaningfully (and thus make value judgments)

If nobody understands, then (a) has failed.

If a conclusion is not supported by the statistics, then (b) has failed (and probably (a) too).

i.e. The problem is not with statistics. It is with bad statistics.

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Supreme Court closes court-shopping loophole for patent trolls

Whitter
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Meh

The game is afoot!

And so previously where one court took the financial incentive to bias its proceedings to the prosecution (increasing the number of paying trials it got through its door), now the bias moves to the other foot: districts competing to bias towards the defendant in order to encourage incorporated corporation location in their district.

Swings and round-a-bouts as they say.

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LastPass now supports 2FA auth, completely undermines 2FA auth

Whitter
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Paris Hilton

Reuse security?

I have occasionally wondered if the more obscure rule sets imposed by some sites were more to do with avoiding password reuse (and therefor potential breach from any half-assed site the user has a password with).

Mind you, the 8-character maximum limit from Virgin Media is just madness.

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London City airport swaps control tower for digital cameras

Whitter
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Paris Hilton

It's not all "cyber"

How physically secure are the cameras in question, be it cables, paint or laser interference?

What risk from a power cut?

And so on.

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Booze stats confirm boring Britain is drying

Whitter
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Unhappy

Government scientists

It was bad enough that politicos have made themselves the least trusted of all professionals, but they have started dragging down their associates too.

The shambles that was the last edict from the Chief Medical Officer (where the impact of alcohol studies intentionally filtered out all positive studies / effects and included only negative ones) was a glorious example of exactly how *not* to do science, but there it was, pinned up in all its glory.

And was it contested by the scientific establishment? Well, yes, a bit. A very little bit. By a few. Not many. And not so much as to make anything happen. Oh well. Keep calm and keep sliding down the slope to shitdom.

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Master of Dredd: Judge inker John Higgins speaks to The Reg

Whitter
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Pint

Well done sir!

2000AD was the birthplace of many a great British artist and/or writer.

Still is.

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Gig economy tech giants are 'free riding' on the welfare state, say MPs

Whitter
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Flame

Re: Not just the so-called "gig" economy either...

Whenever people are in full time employment but still need government benefits to make ends meet, then there is a strong argument that the employing company is in effect being subsidised by the state.

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CompSci boffins find Reddit is ideal source for sarcasm database

Whitter
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Joke

Re: The full quote:

But was Wilde being sarcastic?

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Stanford Uni's intro to CompSci course adopts JavaScript, bins Java

Whitter
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Meh

Re: real aims of the course

"... transition for the past five years, writing a new textbook ... Roberts wrote the Java textbook still used in CS 106A, The Art & Science of Java..."

I think you'll find the real aim is to maintain sales of a textbook written by Roberts to his students.

There will be benefits to all without doubt, but in further education one should always question the alleged reason for anything.

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Will the MOAB (Mother Of all AdBlockers) finally kill advertising?

Whitter
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Re: "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

True for some.

Some do hate them all, some hate their bandwidth requirement, some hate being tracked for advertising purposes (or indeed, mostly any purpose) and some hate the increased risk posed by poorly vetted 3rd party "source injection" (for want of a more accurate term occurring to me while I type).

There are likely others too, but that last one is where the assumption that adverts = insecurity is clear (though tracking and theft/misuse of that data is another type of insecurity too).

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Euro Patent Office reforms hit another stumbling block: Reality

Whitter
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Meh

How long is too long?

No doubt some companies like long processing times (likely phrarma who patent a lot) . I seriously doubt most small companies do though: the last patent I got through took five years! What odds your company's inventor works for you anymore by the time you know if spending R&D for v2.0 is financially viable?

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Yahoo! human! rights! fund! called! a! sham!! $13m! of! $17m! wasted!

Whitter
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Unhappy

Bribery by another name

I've no proof but I suspect this is not an uncommon use of corporate charity - and fairly worldwide too. Maybe "bribery" is a bit harsh in other instances, where "tax evasion" may be closer to the mark (and if there is a moral distinction worth making between the two).

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How their GDPR ignorance could protect you from your denial

Whitter
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Thumb Up

Customer-first doesn't mean cutting your bottom line

Unless you are just an abusive tosspot obviously.

For most companies, spending time and manpower contacting people with no interest in what you are promoting is a clear loss-maker. "Give me the good leads" as sort-of-said in Glengarry Glen Ross.

If your system's design reflects what your customers want you to help them with (rather than "keep everything and screw them"), and you interact well with those customers, your odds of getting the good leads from that system will be improved. If you assume that customer data needs modifying and pruning on a regular basis, you'll find maintaining your data won't cause apoplexy as editing was designed in at the start, not as an afterthought.

And as side-benefits, when your system gets breached (like we all know it inevitably will), if your setup was structured with customer privacy in mind, the impact of said breach will be lowered.

You can make acting professionally a winning proposition: the question is, will you?

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OK... Red wire or black... *Clickety* You've emailed the schematic? Yes, got it! It's opening. And... WHAT? NO!

Whitter
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Mushroom

New supplier?

With a high probability of all the old problems, if not worse, and a long minimum contract length to boot. Much like the rail system where "use another train line" isn't an effective an solution to poor service, a system of rebates for contractually poor service needs to be established.

And that needs some level of agreement as to what minimum* standards are for all those fictional "up to services" that everyone is on.

*a.k.a. "actual"

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