* Posts by Whitter

669 posts • joined 13 Aug 2007

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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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Microsoft's in-store Android looks desperate but can Google stop it?

Whitter
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Unhappy

The Maginot Line

"... But is it legal? Microsoft evidently thinks that Google's Maginot Line can be circumvented..."

"Evidently thinks"? Not necessarily. It may be no more that a tactic to overtly illustrate the current anti-competitive restrictions being applied by Google.

Many might smirk with schadenfreude given Microsoft's history of similar market abuse but, as immoral as Microsoft were, the rest of us do not benefit from another company applying similar tactics/morality in the mobile OS world.

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How Ford has slammed the door on Silicon Valley's autonomous vehicles drive

Whitter
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Boffin

... start your vehicle and warm it up from inside the house on a cold day...

Not if you are in the UK (and don't have a garage) you can't:

"You MUST NOT leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road."

http://www.highwaycode.info/rule/123

I imagine many potentially helpful (and therefor potentially dangerous) actions may have troubles somewhere in the world for somebody, so the whole approach may require "legal-region" localised APIs or the like.

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I've Been Moved: IBMers in same division slapped with 2nd redundo scheme in 2 months

Whitter
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Meh

Fire the bottom 10%

Wasn't that General Electric? (CEO Jack Welsh if google serves aright).

Regardless, it rather pre-supposes you have a means to measure employee "value", which most companies don't. They have lots of metrics on their employees of course, but few of them illustrate anything meaningful.

And as was pointed out above several times: it always hits the snag that if you pay somebody bonuses to fire people (be that directly or in short-term shares where short-term market "valuation" via the clueless share-price rules), then that is exactly what they will do.

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Boffins Rickroll smartphone by tickling its accelerometer

Whitter
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Boffin

Given the description of a controlled aliased signal

Given the description of a controlled aliased signal, doing the ADC sampling properly would have avoided the problem in the first place (anti-alias analogue prefilter in hardware; over-sampled DAC, digital downsampling filter; downsample). I'm going to guess that was too much bother for the manufacturers.

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US regulator looks at Internet of Things regulation, looks away

Whitter
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FAIL

"... or is likely to cause harm..."

Alas it seems they don't understand their own words.

IoT insecurity is currently likely to cause harm.

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Rap for chat app chaps: Snap's shares are a joke – and a crap one at that

Whitter
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Go

Re: High frequency trading people

Screw those guys. Never did anything for anyone.

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Whitter
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Mushroom

Slow it all down.

By whatever means might have a chance of working.

e.g. Buy a share: can't sell it for 6 months.

That example is too simple to work in reality, but there must be some reasonable system that encourages stocks to be bought because they represent a company of value, rather than bought as part of a numbers-game that reflects no meaningful sense of worth to anyone outwith the game.

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Shopping for PCs? Ding, dong, the Dock is dead in 2017's new models

Whitter
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Devil

"... which it's agreed will intrigue business buyers this year"

My marketing-speak dictionary needs an update it appears. Yet another extension to the "hope like hell sales go up but, in the likely case they don't, cover yourself by copying everyone else" category.

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Stop the press: Journos not happy losing jobs to journo bots, say journos

Whitter
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Trollface

Given that most rags do little more than copy/paste PR puff from politicos or companies, one wonders if the robots will stop at just replacing the middle-man in this arrangement and target the other sides too? Robots creating PR drivel to be tweaked by robots for "local news" to be read by robots (to dive up the advertising "seen by" figures)?

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Awkward. Investigatory Powers Act could prove hurdle to UK-EU Privacy Shield following Brexit

Whitter
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Boffin

"An SNPMP asked..."

"Who's "she"? the cat's mother?"

It was Stuart C. McDonald as it happens.

The committee transcript is linked below should anyone want to see the gory details.

http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/home-affairs-committee/eu-policing-and-security-issues/oral/48082.html

there are some nice lines such as "You used the expression “no indiscriminate mass collection of data”. According to the European Court of Justice Act, that is essentially what DRIPA was. It is almost certainly how it would regard the Investigatory Powers Act. That suggests that it would be impossible for anything to pass this adequacy assessment without changes to that legislation."

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Uber loses court fight over London drivers' English language tests

Whitter
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Meh

"Uber has said it will appeal against the judgement"

Have they said what grounds they will appeal on?

When a company's (or indeed, person's) immediate reaction to a verdict they don't like is "appeal", it always sounds to be a combination of financial bullying with contempt of court.

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Security slip-ups in 1Password and other password managers 'extremely worrying'

Whitter
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Paris Hilton

"our advice to the customers is to always update their apps"

My mobile (being a few years old) doesn't have the latest 'droid and as such doesn't have revocable permissions. Thus, as apps have been developed (in most cases, seemingly just shark-jumping) they have invariably asked for more and more permissions for the next update.

As each permission is an increased risk, but not updating is also an increased risk, what's a commentard to do?

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Revealed: UK councils shrug at privacy worries, strap on body cams

Whitter
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Big Brother

How long until the general public follow suit?

Indeed, a number of cyclists, drivers and bouncers already have. I'm fairly sure there was a Black Mirror episode about all this...

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Alcatel wants to be Android, but different – and another crack at the Windows market

Whitter
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FAIL

"... Android vendors struggling to differentiate their brands..."

They struggle because they add so little value themselves*: who's fault is that and why should we pity them for their failings?

*One might even argue that most remove value rather than add it.

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LG, Huawei unwrap 'Samsung Galaxy-killers'

Whitter
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Re: Gimmicks

The new meaninglessly-improved models make the previous generation models significantly cheaper: that's the only benefit I tend to see (though your mileage may vary: e.g. gamers for can almost always actively use incremental benefits to their genuine advantage)

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Omg, that is, like, sooo 2007... Retromania set to grip this year's MWC

Whitter
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Unhappy

I suspect most of us are at the point where the phone we have is not the problem: it's the piss-poor mobile data connectivity that app/web-site/phone designers seem to be oblivious to.

As for what might work in the modern age: a genuinely secured phone, which would require a genuinely secured browser (not going to happen) pus a genuinely secure/robust means to run 3rd party apps (also not going to happen). So more of the same then.

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More brilliant Internet of Things gadgetry: A £1,300 mousetrap

Whitter
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Trollface

"best solution"

The next question really should have been "Do you know what the word 'best' means?"

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Oh UK. You won't switch mobile providers. And now look at you! £5.8bn you've lost

Whitter
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Boffin

Coverage maps

uSwitch does have some somewhere on their site but they make them a bugger to find (I've lost the link I once had: and what they showed certainly didn't tally with my own experience anyway).

Useful coverage maps (IMHO) can be found at https://opensignal.com

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Automated, insight cannot be: Jedi master of statistics was good – but beware the daft side

Whitter
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Trollface

"... clear and unequivocal fashion..."

"Because analysis begins not with visualisations, with the presentation stage, which if it is to mean anything should be about presenting to your audience in clear and unequivocal fashion the results of analysis, but with the data."

Have we got an icon for irony?

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Drop the F-bomb, get your coding typos auto-corrected

Whitter
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Pint

Awesome idea for a sequence of articles!

A beer for El Reg!

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Errors in Australia's Centrelink debt recovery system were inevitable

Whitter
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Boffin

Base rate fallacy

Whether 99% accuracy is a good result or not depends very much on the split between false positives, false negatives AND the underlying base rate (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_rate_fallacy).

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GRAPHENE: £120m down, UK.gov finds it's still a long way from commercial potential

Whitter
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Devil

Don't discount the experience gained in material production techniques while this research has gone on. Maybe graphine won't be a money spinner, but the next material will start off with a wealth of production experience behind it. Assuming one doesn't loose large numbers of experienced academics who just so happen to be from other European countries... oh well. £120m down the tubes then.

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The Register's guide to protecting your data when visiting the US

Whitter
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Big Brother

Silver lining

My company stopped us taking laptops etc. years ago going anywhere: a fresh pick-up device was always arranged at the destination before we went.

But for the more entrepreneurial in the USA, I'd think there might be money to be made at the airport shops, car-rental or major hotels in renting out laptops/tablets/phones for visitors with a genuine-wipe on return.

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Whitter
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Unhappy

Re: Don't accept it, act on it

I love the sentiment and will hold to it for holidays; but were I to suggest to my employer that the USA was a no-go, then I'd be on the first train out-of-town to P45 land. The sad reality that neither the USA nor my employers really have any regard for me (or anyone really).

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Vivaldi and me: Just browsing? Nah, I'm sold

Whitter
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Boffin

Per-site permissions?

Does Vivaldi use old-opera's per-site permissions setup out-of-the-box?

That was my fav feature of Opera back in the 6.2 days!

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Who do you want to be Who? VOTE for the BBC's next Time Lord

Whitter
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Devil

Here are some names.

Rufus Sewell

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Shirley Manson

Ruth Negga

Laura Fraser

Rupert Grint

Tom Felton

Other names are available.

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Oculus gift: VR biz to cough up half a billion dollars for ripping off software copyright

Whitter
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Trollface

"Oculus ... focused on being found not guilty ... and said it plans to appeal the decision."

"Oculus in its statement focused on being found not guilty of trade secret theft, and said it plans to appeal the decision."

So it wants to be found guilty?! There's a turn-up for the books!

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MEEELLIONs of Brits stick with current broadband provider rather than risk no Netflix

Whitter
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Pint

Re: Lack of useful customer data to blame

I'll try it out.

Cheers!

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Whitter
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Re: Lack of useful customer data to blame

I plug a laptop into the telly as it happens. Running Chrome in that particular case, though both IE and Opera have similar problems.

I've heard rumour that nexflix boxes do a good job in a shoddy download environment: any reg readers have any info on that?

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Whitter
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Unhappy

Lack of useful customer data to blame

My Virgin media "fibre broadband" can't cope with iPlayer without commonly experiencing intermittent buffering - the thing their adverts say doesn't happen with them. I assume it's due to high contention in my area as the data rate shouldn't be that high (standard def streaming, not HD). Why don't I switch then? Well, because there is no way to know if the service from the alternative will be any better. As far as I am aware, there is no means to evaluate an alternative before taking the plunge and, as the article says, there's a lot of hassle in doing a switch which may leave me in a similar or worse state than I already am.

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Trump's visa plan leaks: American techies first

Whitter
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Mushroom

"SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

Sounds like every tech company in the UK then. Tech salaries lag well behind similarly qualified posts in other disciplines (finance, marketing, legal etc.).

Thus the "we need more scientists" waffle we hear in the press every year. No you don't. You need to pay technical posts inline with the non-tech alternatives that STEMI folks are qualified to do.

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Want to bring down that pesky drone? Try the power of sound

Whitter
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Happy

Re: more distant attacks could be achieved by ramping up the power output.

Old school sound mirrors always make me smile!

http://www.andrewgrantham.co.uk/soundmirrors/locations/denge/

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AI eggheads: Our cancer-spotting code rivals dermatologists

Whitter
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Devil

Why google?

Low hanging fruit perhaps? Google have lawyers on tap while the app designer likely can't afford the bus ticket to court.

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Whitter
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Boffin

91% sounds good but...

Whether 91% accuracy is a good result or not depends very much on the split between false positives, false negatives and the underlying base rate (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_rate_fallacy).

For automatic technical solutions, one is almost always best to avoid trying to diagnose but rather to screen instead: bias the technology to avoid false negatives to act as a gatekeeper to reduce the number of cases a genuine doctor has to see.

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Americans fear their data isn't safe, yet do little to defend it

Whitter
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Meh

Public wifi networks

I never link my phone to public wifi due to basic security concerns (like most El Reg commentards I assume). Which rather calls into question why they exist at all. Is it even possible to design a safe one? (assuming that it wasn't an actively miscreant honeytrap for the unwary).

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UK.gov departments are each clinging on to 100 terabytes of legacy data

Whitter
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Trollface

Data Protection Act

You mean nobody has applied the Data Protection act to all this stuff? All those tricky bits about defining what personal data is collected for and then deleting said data once no longer needed. Who knew or even suspected!

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New Windows 10 privacy controls: Just a little snooping – or the max

Whitter
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Trollface

"Vital"

You keep using this word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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Verizon is gonna axe its 'unlimited' data hogs

Whitter
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Re: Obviously not actually unlimited

Or indeed gambling houses who banning patrons who win.

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How Rogue One's Imperial stormtroopers SAVED Star Wars and restored order

Whitter
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Re: How many Stormtroopers does it take to...?

Except they did turn up earlier: dressed as Harkonenen troops. Thus one of the (many) threads that the Emporer would do nearly anything to avoid being caught having used his crack troops vs. one of the noble houses. And while his troops may have been the best (until the Fremen show otherwise, and there is a suggestion that the Atridies may also have had the edge), they were a well-known "extreme" force - one he could not use without political cost.

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Who killed Pebble? Easy: The vulture capitalists

Whitter
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Re: On the plus point

Like the Sony FES U? Alas, only available in Japan.

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Fitbit picks up Pebble, throws Pebble as far as it can into the sea

Whitter
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weaselling

It may (or may not) fall under "successor liability":

"... successor liability is most commonly litigated under the “de facto merger” exception. In general, the de facto merger doctrine creates successor liability when the transaction between the purchasing and selling companies is in substance, if not in form, a merger... A court is more likely to find successor liability under de facto merger doctrine when the Seller discontinued its operations or dissolved soon after the asset sale occurred"

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