* Posts by ratfox

3461 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

Google must cough up contact info for 8,000 employees in gender discrimination case

ratfox Silver badge

Re: We must be doing it wrong.

I'm sure if I was a Google partner, I could pull millions of people's personal information for advertising purposes no sweat.

Think again. Google doesn't let anybody see that data, because it's much more valuable if they are the only one to know it.

Guess who doesn't have to pay $1.3bn in back taxes? Of course it's fscking Google

ratfox Silver badge

we all know France doesn't like capitalism and much prefers state subsidy/regulation that suits it's own industries and agriculture

Right. Unlike the UK, who never complained about how little tax money they get from Google.

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Change the law, then

Well, the French can't change the law by themselves, but they might manage to convince Germany that the European law should have an exception for multi-national corporations that have a presence in the country.

It would be a huge burden for small companies to have to declare taxes in every country, and that is why the treaties were written as they were. But companies like Google already have a presence in every country and are paying taxes on that. For them, it would be absolutely not difficult at all to declare in each country what they earn there. The reason they don't do it is not that it would be a huge operational burden, it's really only because they would pay more tax.

In a sense, my suggestion is a bit similar to the presence laws created in the US to force Amazon to collect sales tax. It used to be Amazon did not collect sales tax in most states, because sales tax on interstate transactions is supposed to be paid by the buyer. Then laws were written to say that if the company had any presence whatsoever in the state, even just a warehouse, then it shouldn't count as an interstate transaction, and the company had to collect sales tax. In the beginning, Amazon tried to only have a presence in a small number of states, but now they gave in and are collecting sales tax everywhere.

Forcing companies to declare revenue earned in the country, in each country where they have a presence, would not affect small companies; but it would prevent large corporations from shopping around for the best tax deal.

ratfox Silver badge

Change the law, then

There are good reasons why a small company based in Ireland can sell services in other European countries without going to the trouble of declaring and paying tax in multiple places. This is an obvious way to make the economy more efficient. It makes sense even when there are third-parties in each country who help sell those products.

But the way it is now, nothing stops Google from having 700 employees in France who act like travel agents and help the French choose which contract they want to sign with Google Ireland. And the 700 travel agents receive a small compensation for their work, for which they duly pay tax.

I'm pretty certain that the UK saw nothing wrong with the whole idea, and in fact thought they would profit a lot, having relatively low corporate taxes. They just never saw Ireland coming from behind.

Now, if we want to change the situation, we need to change the law. Maybe something like "if the company controls a subsidiary with a significant number of employees in the country, then the revenue must be declared in that country". Lawmakers should stop complaining, and act.

Just in time for summer boozing: Boffins smash world record for the most perfect ice cubes

ratfox Silver badge

an important process that could improve climate change models

I've read too many papers with the word could thrown about. Sometimes, they even use could potentially, and then you know it's even more far-fetched.

OMG, dad, you're so embarrassing! Are you P2P file sharing again?

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Youtube

What I don't get, is why bother with ripping the audio stream when you can listen to it at any time on YouTube? It's already free.

UberPOP is Finnished in Helsinki until 2018

ratfox Silver badge

Seize the personal assets of the exec to punish the company? That's an interesting move. I wonder if it's common in Finland, or if there was some particular circumstances.

European MPs push for right to repair rules

ratfox Silver badge

There are good reasons why batteries often cannot be replaced easily.

With phone and laptop makers competing on who can put the largest battery in the thinnest device, the requirement of having the battery be a single big block is pretty devastating. If the battery is distributed in small chunks around the device, you can get a lot more power with less overheating problems.

Making devices easy to repair comes at a cost, which is either less power, or bigger sizes. And let's be honest, it's a small fraction of people who care so much about repairing their phones.

Get the Canuck out: Vancouver vows Airbnb, Expedia crackdown

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Oh what we don't talk about.

Yeah, contrary to San Francisco, the problem is that a lot of Vancouver's homes are empty. They just exist as speculative investment, and as a way to use their money out of China.

TfL, WTH is my bus? London, UK, looks up from its mobile

ratfox Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Why the complex technical solution? Aren't printouts of the timetable displayed at bus stops?

NASA: Bring on the asteroid, so we can chuck a fridge at it

ratfox Silver badge

Program scientist Tom Statler says the experiment won't “change the orbit of the pair around the sun”.

This makes no sense to me. If they change the movement of the smallest asteroid, without changing that of the biggest one, then surely they are changing the total movement of the pair.

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

ratfox Silver badge

Re: really? this is what they nail Google for?

I assume the difference is that online commerce is where the money is.

French general accused of nicking fast jet for weekend trips to the Sun

ratfox Silver badge

To be honest, I suspect that £500 per flight is relatively small potatoes compared to how much expense budget a general disposes of. Though I don't know how often he's done it.

The bloke behind Star Fox is building a blockchain based casino. No, really

ratfox Silver badge
Paris Hilton

But does it do a barrel roll?


No way to sugarcoat this: I'm afraid Uranus opens and closes to accept particle streams

ratfox Silver badge

Uranus is a giant

and contains a lot of gas

Robocall spammers, you have one new voicemail message: Cut it out!

ratfox Silver badge


Not only they would be able to call anyone indiscriminately, but since it's just a voice message and not an actual conversation, they can just play a recording to your voicemail.

I'm curious to see if Idiot Pai dares wave this through. That would send a fantastic message.

Google to remove private medical data from search results

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Strange....

Point at the bit that is evil, or the bit I got wrong.

Deepmind is not a chess player, but they did create a program that can play go.

WikiLeaks doc dump reveals CIA tools for infecting air-gapped PCs

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Air gap with Windows gateways, you say (imply)

Have you tried swallows? I hear they're fast.

Tesla's driverless car software chief steps down

ratfox Silver badge

it did seem like a weird position for a programming language and compilation expert.

2 kool 4 komputing: Teens' interest in GCSE course totally bombs

ratfox Silver badge

computer science graduates regularly top the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency's unemployability rankings.

In this time and age, it's a pretty damning statement on the quality of the education.

Gartner confirms what we all know: AWS and Microsoft are the cloud leaders, by a fair way

ratfox Silver badge

Re: OS Share?

I think the idea is that you put whatever you want in the container, and don't have to care what's under. But under, I'd assume all the big sellers have their own heavily-modified brand of Linux, except Microsoft which has its own particular version of Windows Server.

Amazon and others sniffing around Slack

ratfox Silver badge
Paris Hilton

How come Slack is so popular?

I'm wondering, because the market was already crowded when it was founded in 2013, so it's impressive that it got so popular in just a few years, with companies like Microsoft having established tools and a large enterprise customer base...

Trump nominates a pro-net-neutrality advocate as FCC commish

ratfox Silver badge

Well, a broken clock is correct twice a day and all that. Maybe for Trump it's rather a broken calendar; once a year...

Has riddle of the 1977 'Wow!' signal finally been cracked? Maybe...

ratfox Silver badge

Re: I wish this wasn't true.

This is what conspiracy theories are for! "Surely you don't believe this fake explanation? They're lying to us!"

Watch out Facebook, Google – the EU wants easy access to your data

ratfox Silver badge

It sure is good that we have the privacy shield, and that the United States cannot spy on our private data, eh?

Ha ha.

Record number of non-EU techies coming to Blighty

ratfox Silver badge

Is that the karma of a former empire?

Now there are many colonies full of people speaking the same language and ready to work for half the price...

No hypersonic railguns on our ships this year, says US Navy

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Railguns vs lasers

Serious military-grade lasers work on large quantities of chemical fuel, and they do run out of ammo.

Ex-Waymo engineer pleads the 5th in ongoing Uber law fight

ratfox Silver badge

He probably owns over 100 million pounds. He'll be fine.

Two hot Jupiters around two similar stars orbiting at similar distances look similar, right? WRONG

ratfox Silver badge

over 1,000°F

Ugh. Fahrenheits.

Wowee, it's Samsung's next me-too AI gizmo: The Apple HomePod

ratfox Silver badge

I don't get how for so many years we were sold Hi-Fi stereo installations with expensive amplifiers and bass subwoofers, and suddenly we're told that a single speaker is fine. What changed?

Cuffed: Govt contractor 'used work PC to leak' evidence of Russia's US election hacking

ratfox Silver badge

These are not microdots

Microdots are actual text or images shrunk so small that people don't notice them, right? In this case, the metadata was contained in the pattern of the yellow dots. It's closer to a barcode than microdots.

Gay Dutch vultures become dads

ratfox Silver badge

- Homosexuality is unnatural!

- Animals commonly practice homosexuality!

- We're not animals!

Does Microsoft have what it takes to topple Google Docs?

ratfox Silver badge

Imagine someone from 10 years ago reading that title

Things sure change fast

WebAssembly fandom kills Google's Portable Native Client

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Why

I'm sure Google would have preferred it if the world had started using their thing... But if people don't like it, it's better for Google to kill it, rather than try and keep the zombie alive; that would be a waste of everybody's time.

Ransomware realities: In your normal life, strangers don't extort you. But here you are

ratfox Silver badge
Paris Hilton

For the plebes that don't have a business continuity plan:

1. Backup everything important, and keep all backups

2. When you're hit, format, reinstall and restore backups.

Your roadmap to the Google vs Oracle Java wars

ratfox Silver badge

I disagree with most of the article, but most of all I disagree with the notion that Oracle has lost money over this.

It should be clear to anybody that their precious language is vastly more used now than it ever has been before. The vast majority of smartphones run Java, and a good part of all this IoT crap runs a lite version of Android.

Before Android, the idea of running Java on small devices had become so old a joke that it wasn't even funny any more. Android has made it a reality, by improving on the utter crap that Sun was peddling.

Google cloud glitch hits at Beer O'Clock Friday, fix coming Monday

ratfox Silver badge

Pushing an emergency fix on a Friday evening sounds like a good recipe for disaster. Doing manual backups over the week-end might entail a bit of risk, but probably much less.

Robot lands a 737 by hand, on a dare from DARPA

ratfox Silver badge


Sorry, in a fly-by-wire plane, I simply don't understand what's the advantage to have a robotic arm moving the controls, rather than a system directly interfacing with the plane's electronics.

Unless it's purely for the challenge of doing it harder than necessary.

Australia considers joining laptops-on-planes ban

ratfox Silver badge

Re: And in other news,

I'll be getting my P.45 in 6 weeks time.

For non-British people out there: This is not a gun. It is a tax form for the end of an employment.

Google DeepMind's use of 1.6m Brits' medical records to test app was 'legally inappropriate'

ratfox Silver badge

It is my view, and that of my panel, that purpose for the transfer of 1.6 million identifiable patient records to Google DeepMind was for the testing of the Streams application, and not for the provision of direct care to patients

...I may have misunderstood, but I thought the data was used to train an AI model, not test an existing application? Without the data, there would have been no application.

Oracle crushed in defeat as Java world votes 'No' to modular overhaul

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Sun was always a little arrogant about Java

Java still lacks first-class unsigned integer types

Not saying that Java is perfect, but really?? That's the thing that bothers you most about Java?

All that free music on YouTube is good for you, Google tells music biz

ratfox Silver badge

Re: not convinced

Who here has NOT done this: [four-steps to get music out of YouTube]

I haven't. Too complicated. I find much more convenient to pay a $10 monthly subscription to listen to anything I choose.

Don't waste your energy on Docker, it says here – wait, that can't be right...

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Business Evolution

It would be nice to think that at some point, most of your cost are energy, and you don't need to spend much on developers anymore. However, I would bet that companies which make that choice soon find themselves ran over by the competition.

As a data point, it seems that Google uses about 5 millions MWh per year, which should cost on the order of 200 million dollars per year. Google has 50'000 employees, which are certainly more expensive than that.

Don't panic, Florida Man, but a judge just said you have to give phone passcodes to the cops

ratfox Silver badge

I'm surprised that this could stand. Though the judge likened it to turning over the key to a security box, it is much more like revealing the combination of a safe, which has historically been considered protected by the fifth amendment.

The distinction between a physical key and a combination might well seem a bit absurd, but that's how it has been up to now. I wonder what the supreme court would say.

Republicans go all Braveheart again with anti-net neutrality bill

ratfox Silver badge

Re: *cough*. Ladies and Gentlemen

Google has been against net neutrality from the start and we have never seen Google not get their way with Washington. Obama was also against it.

I'm confused. According to the accusations, it's precisely these net neutrality rules (currently being killed) that were written by and for Google, thanks to their cosy relationship with Obama who was giving orders to the FCC. And now you're telling me it's Google who wants to kills these rules?

Microsoft sparks new war with Google with, er, $999+ lappies for kids

ratfox Silver badge

Trying to be Apple?

One of the main reasons Google is grabbing up students away from Apple is that their offer is way cheaper. You can argue that software quality/convenience also plays a role, and Microsoft might be able to compete with Google on that; but if the price is $999 per laptop, they might just as well pack up and go home.

Republicans want IT bloke to take fall for Clinton email brouhaha

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Bah!

> Irrespectiveless

You did this on purpose, didn't you?

Trump's lips sealed on surveillance, complains EU privacy chief

ratfox Silver badge

I think EU's bluff has been called

"No, we're not going to respect the privacy of your citizens. So? What are you going to do about it?"

Really, the only thing that the EU can do is to declare it illegal to store EU user data out of the EU. I'm not sure it would be very useful, and I'm not sure the users themselves care a lot; but it's completely silly to pretend that the US are going to respect the privacy of EU citizens, when they basically don't even respect that of US citizens.

That, or they drop the charade, and they admit that they are unable to guarantee the privacy of their citizens.

We're spying on you for your own protection, says NSA, FBI

ratfox Silver badge

Makes sense

It's illegal to gather data about US citizens; so they just hoover up all the data indiscriminately, then do specific queries for US citizens on the whole database, which is legal because they're just querying data by this point, not gathering it. Sounds legit.

Why Firefox? Because not everybody is a web designer, silly

ratfox Silver badge

I lost it at the Haskell mention.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019