* Posts by ratfox

3439 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

Bipartisan Kumbaya: President Trump turns Obama's open govt data policy into law

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Fake news!

It's essentially impossible that Trump continued and reaffirmed a policy started by Obama. This can't be correct.

Cops told: No, you can't have a warrant to force a big bunch of people to unlock their phones by fingerprint, face scans

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Law is a funny thing. If I remember correctly, if you have a safe with a key, the police can force you to give up the key; but if the safe has a combination, they cannot force you to reveal the combination, because that would be forcing you to testify against yourself, which is forbidden by the fifth amendment...

German competition watchdog toys with ban on some Facebook data-slurps

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I think I've found the perfect solution

To make sure users are properly informed, how about this: Every time you access Facebook, a small window shows up on the screen titled "Your privacy". Follows a small text of a few sentences explaining that Facebook might be using your data to improve your experience. You can click on "OK", or on "More information" to get the complete picture of what is going on.

Don't you think that this will solve the problem once and for all?

Dozens of .gov HTTPS certs expire, webpages offline, FBI on ice, IT security slows... Yup, it's day 20 of Trump's govt shutdown

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Re: About this new wall

It's pretty much irrelevant, as drugs are not flowing through the places where the wall would be built. In fact, neither are illegal immigrants.

The whole thing is largely symbolic. The money Trump asked wouldn't be enough to build the wall in the first place; but it would allow him to claim victory. It would allow him to claim the wall has been built (even if incomplete, useless and unmaintainable). That's why it's so important to Trump. And that's also why the Democrats are opposing it so much, even though when you come to it, it's a relatively small amount of money.

The UK politics are in a crisis right now, but at least the stakes are huge. It's pretty much the most important decision the country will take for decades. In comparison, the US is fighting over who gets to sit by the window.

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Re: Comparison

I don't think we can say that Congress should roll over for any campaign promise. The idea that Trump got elected because he promised the wall is already itself very flawed; you cannot assume that all the people who voted for him actually want the wall.

I've seen the argument that Trump was mostly elected because he promised not to be Hillary Clinton, and because he promised to belong to the Republican party.

Americans are just fine with facial recognition technology – as long as they get shorter queues

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I'm a fatalist. I believe you cannot restrict the use of technology.

Practically the only technology whose use has been curtailed effectively is nukes; and even then it feels like a constant struggle.

Just for EU, just for EU, just for EU: Forget about enforcing Right To Be Forgotten outside member states

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Re: The DMCA does it

It's actually fairly well accepted that copyrights should be respected across borders (though the duration of copyright protection varies a lot). The RTBF is not generally accepted as a right outside of Europe.

IBM insists it's not deliberately axing older staff. Internal secret docs state otherwise...

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Re: Just to play devil's advocate here

The answer to that is probably that people over 40 have no more experience than youngsters in the technologies people care about now, like cloud and containers.

Fake news? More like ache news. Grandma, grampa 'more likely' to share made-up articles during US election

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Re: Level of engagement?

Of course, there's the usual caveats about correlation vs causation. But as long as the study only says that older people share more fake news, they have done their job well. What you are raising doubts about is why they share more fake news.

Chinese rover pootles about... on the far side of the friggin' MOON

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Paris Hilton

How does communication work?

I assume that it's impossible to send radio waves through the moon? Is there a subsidiary in orbit to act as relay?

Cops: German suspect, 20, 'confessed' to mass hack of local politicians

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Re: "Hacker Attack"

I'll go further and assume until proven otherwise that in fact he had nothing to do with it. It's especially suspicious that he "destroyed" his computer before calling the cops. Maybe he just wants his 15 minutes of fame?

AT&T (sucks) upgrades folks to 5G (Evolution) that isn't actually 5G

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Paris Hilton

5G is 20 Gbps?

Bloody hell. I'm impressed. Then again, my monthly limit is currently 2 GB, which I guess would be exhausted in about 1 second at those speeds, and I rarely reach it. So this makes me ask, what would I use such a speed for? Streaming movies in 4K to my phone?

You can blame laziness as much as greed for Apple's New Year shock

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Re: It really is as simple as

It's hilarious to read the comments on the appleinsider article, from the people complaining that allowing Android phones to scan the NFC chip of your passport is a terrible security hole that will inevitably cause mass privacy leaks, to those saying "they should have used a QR code instead".

Happy new year, readers. Yes, we have threaded comments, an image-lite mode, and more...

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Finally icons are available to mobile phones!

Beautiful. Have a beer!

Google settles Right To Be Forgotten case on eve of appeal hearing

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"Google settles"

The only other article I could find on the subject (Grauniad) has the title: "Man withdraws 'right to be forgotten' case against Google".

There's no telling what happened and if money exchanged hands, but I find it interesting how different the two titles sound, even though they convey the same basic information.

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Re: "Google settled the case out of court"

found the right amount to shut him up before a judge could lay in with a decision that might hurt Google long term more than losing the case would.

Why would Google even be hurt by losing the case? The only thing it would mean is that they would have to remove the results, just like they did in the other case that they lost on first ruling.

These lawsuits are case-by-case, they're not going to be used as precedent to create new consumer rights. Winning or losing them means nothing to Google, except maybe feedback on what requests they should accept before they go to court.

As for "Justice has no say", if you read the story and read the previous articles, you'd know that there was already a ruling, and the decision was taken, without particularly interesting arguments.

London's Gatwick airport suspends all flights after 'multiple' reports of drones

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There are airports which keep hawks for getting rid of nearby birds...

France next up behind Britain, Netherlands to pummel Uber with €400k fine over 2016 breach

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Last year, Uber has lost that much money every day. Twice over.

Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail…

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Re: No problems here

Which leads me to suspect that the Facebook replacement may well be Chinese.

The good thing with the Chinese replacement is that you know from the start how much they will respect your private data.

US told to appoint a damn Privacy Shield ombudsperson already or EU will take action

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Re: Oooh just you wait

Looking forward to Facebook being banned in Europe! I wouldn't hold my breath though.

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raised questions about how seriously the US is taking the terms of the agreement.

Oh wait, you're serious. Let me laugh even harder:


Is Google purposefully breaking Microsoft, Apple browsers on its websites? Some insiders are confident it is

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Make no mistake, Google crippling GSuite on iPad is absolutely intentional. They can singlehandedly propel the narrative that MobileSafari isn't a good browser, especially in businesses and education.

Err... You mean that people in charge of the GSuite, who have quite serious competitors of their own, deliberately made their own product slower in order to help Chrome defend its massive market share from Safari? Seriously?

First, leverage goes the other way. You can use your position of strength to push your weak products, not the other way round.

Second, you should stop thinking that everything is always about you, fanboy. Google is very worried about Amazon and Microsoft these days. Apple? not so much.

Oh Deer! Poacher sentenced to 12 months of regular Bambi screenings in the cooler

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Re: 'Murica never ceases...

Hunting rifles are generally not very useful to perpetrate or prevent crimes, and the vast majority of countries allow hunting, though often license the activity and regulate it. And as in this case, punish violators.

I think the US gun laws are generally crazy, but it would be fairly ridiculous to ban hunting in the country.

US bitcoin bomb threat ransom scam looks like a hoax say FBI, cops

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Disagree. Terrorists use random attacks to make the whole population fear they could get attacked at any time. The goal is to spread terror and influence the public opinion though intimidation. Unless there is this element of influencing a larger amount of people, it's not terrorism. That's why terrorists don't generally announce specific targets, because it removes the fear that anybody could get attacked at any time.

Making threats and demanding money is just extortion.

Google CEO tells US Congress Chocolate Factory will unleash Dragonfly in China

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I'm surprised nobody asked about the Maven project. Some people seemed especially riled that Google was considering censoring results in China after refusing to develop AI for US drones.

Waymo presents ChauffeurNet, a neural net designed to copy human driving

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Re: I would dare Waymo

an artificial driver is no damn use if it can't do everything I can do, better.

That's a bit of a high bar. There's practically no machine anywhere that can do everything better than a human, yet we still use a shitload of machines.

You're legit and you know you are... Thanks to chanting racist footie fans, linking to dodgy stuff isn't necessarily illegal (well, in Europe)

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Paris Hilton

But what about memes? Can we still post memes?

It's interesting to see fairly important rules being decided to resolve case after case. Right now, it does feel like a lot is still undecided and constantly changing.

I would hope that in time, you could say with certainty that this or that is legal, but I'm not holding my breath.

PH icon, because it is a public figure whose representation is used for satirical purposes in this context, and therefore allowed under ruling 78290-λ of the ECJ. Or something.

Falcon 9 gets its feet wet as SpaceX notch up two more launch successes

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How do you launch 64 satellites from a single rocket?

Do they go one by one? Is there an automated robotic arm to take them out, so they can fire themselves in the right orbit? How much time does the process take?

I hoped there would be a video somewhere, but I can only find rockets taking off.

Do not adjust your set: Hats off to Apple, you struggle to shift iPhones 'cos you're oddly ethical

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Thumb Up

Re: Have to agree....

I started with bluetooth earbuds a couple of weeks ago; I have to say it's easier to get used to it than I thought it would be. Because of the lack of long wires, it's much simpler to carry them around wherever you go. When I forget to charge them, I'll probably curse the world for the rest of the day, but so far I don't miss the wires.

The only issue I can see is that wireless headphones are so convenient that a lot more people isolate themselves from the world while commuting or having coffee. I'll quote the mandatory relevant XKCD

Awkward... Revealed Facebook emails show plans for data slurping, selling access to addicts' info, crafty PR spinning

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Re: Yes, they really seized them

I did think while reading the article that this data dump would probably not displease Six4Three.

It was probably strictly forbidden for them to just disclose the data themselves. However, they might have let slip that their exec would have the data with him while traveling to the UK. Then of course, if the data was seized, there's nothing they could do prevent it, right?

After all, nobody would dream of taking to the US a laptop full of data known to be of interest to the US government... Unless they wanted the US government to have it.

Consumer group attempts to lob Safari workaround sueball at Google... again

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Re: another daily dose

I get the "unless absolutely needed" for Google; they are dominant in a lot of things, and where alternatives exist, they often come with issues of their own.

But Facebook? Why would you absolutely need to use Facebook?

YouTube fight gets dirty: Kids urged to pester parents over Article 13

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Re: Isn't it bad?

The funny part is that half of comments complain that YouTube will have to close down, and the other half says that's a good thing.

Apple in another dust-up with its fans: iMacs, MacBooks lack filters, choke on grime – lawsuit

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Paris Hilton

Instead, Apple tells customers that they must replace the entire screen, at a cost exceeding $600, apparently in order to increase Apple’s profits at the expense of the customer



I agree that's probably more or less what they do (with the caveat that maybe sometimes the cheap fix would not work), but then what? They are treating customers like cash cows? Yeah, they are. You think it's scummy? Be my guest. But suing a company for doing that feels daft. Have they considered suing luxury brands for selling items at ten times the cost of production?

Interest in Kubernetes, chip design coding, Go soars among tech job seekers and employers

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Angry Googlers demand bosses pull the wings off 'Dragonfly' censored Chinese search engine

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Re: Nice to know that everything is okay....

It's no use to try being anonymous, amanfrommars. We all know it's you.

Apple heading for Supreme Court showdown over iOS App Store 'monopoly' gripe

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I use Apple devices precisely because you can only buy from one place and you know the apps will work.

Sure. But why do you have to pay 30% extra for that?

The problem is the markup. It might be convenient to you that there is only one place you can buy from, but from a different viewpoint, it's also a very convenient way for Apple to force people to overpay.

Other app stores have started reducing their markups for some of their inventory, and the fact that Apple hasn't done the same does hint that users are paying more than they have to.

Consultant misreads advice, ends up on a 200km journey to the Exchange expert

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Re: Spoilers in Tech Docs!

The GUI should be a metaphor for the physical world.

I strenuously object.

Maybe people thought that skeuomorphic design was a good idea when computers were new and users were terrified of using new concepts. But by now, imitating the physical world is more a limitation than anything.

Though I do agree that we need a better word than click, if only because nowadays people mostly tap.

Laptop search unravels scheme to fake death for insurance cash

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Bypassing warrant rules

The fake death story is funny and all, yes. But what's more interesting to me is this:

The feds apparently used the fact that border agents can search laptops without a warrant to fish for evidence.

While you are in the US, the police generally need a warrant to search for your things. At the border, border agents apparently can do whatever they want, even if it is completely unrelated to assessing whether you are entering the country legally or not.

Talk in Trump's tweets tells whether tale is true: Code can mostly spot Prez lies from wording

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Re: Accuracy

It's not very useful to claim "73 per cent accurate". What they should give is a percentage of false positives and false negatives.

Is Google's Pixel getting better, or just more expensive?

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"We're so sorry third-party apps don't work with our hardware, you'll have to use our app"

I'm surprised nobody seems to find this suspicious. If this was Apple, it would be the first reaction. Then again, Apple has a long history in this respect.

Facebook to appeal against ICO fine – says it's a matter of principle not to pay 18 mins' profit

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Re: "it's a matter of principle"

Precisely: from their point of view, they did nothing wrong that they should apologize for — not to the UK. It's like somebody coming up to you saying: I saw you being rude to that other guy, now pay me £10.

Holy moley! The amp, kelvin and kilogram will never be the same again

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Re: A mole of X

I didn't get that part. I thought that the Avogadro number was already the definition of a mole. What was it before?

Sorry, Mr Zuckerberg isn't in London that day. Or that one. Nope. I'd give up if I were you

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You guys ain't cool enough for the Zuck.

Oracle's JEDI mind-meld doesn't work on Uncle Sam's auditors: These are not the govt droids you are looking for

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More probably: "We don't know and we don't care"

YouTube supremo says vid-streaming-slash-piracy giant can't afford EU's copyright overhaul

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I feel a proper analogy should reflect the fact that the more they try to catch pirates, the more they are going to annoy innocent users with false positives.

UK.gov fishes for likes as it prepares to go solo on digital sales tax

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Paris Hilton

The government makes a stab at defining each of the three groups – social media platforms, online marketplaces and search engines – it is seeking to tax

Isn't it simpler to just say they want to tax Facebook, Amazon and Google?

Two fool for school: Headmaster, vice principal busted for mining crypto-coins in dorms, classrooms

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Re: 2K in bills

I read that the current Bitcoin price of $6000 is just above the average cost to mine one.

Of course, that depends a lot on how much you pay for electricity. The fact that miners are agressively looking into places where power is cheap is a pretty solid hint that they don't get a huge margin.

European Union divided over tax on digital tech giants as some member states refuse free money

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As far as I understand, services such as those sold by Google and Facebook (though not Amazon) are zero-rated. If some French company pays Facebook Ireland for an ad, Facebook does not charge for VAT at all, and the French company pays the French VAT rate to France.

Dutch cops hope to cuff 'hundreds' of suspects after snatching server, snooping on 250,000+ encrypted chat texts

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Black Helicopters

Looks like the plod should directly create the "secure" chat systems themselves, and advertise it to criminals.

Maybe they did already!

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