* Posts by ratfox

3465 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

Korean boffins vow 1,000km-an-hour supertrain

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There has been no shortage of maglev-in-vacuum projects. So far, none have been even close to being built. The speed increase over a normal train is only worth it over long distances, so the initial investment is huge. And then, the advantages are small over a plane.

I predict that the very first to be actually built will be a white elephant bleeding money.

Google harvests school kids' web histories for ads, claims its Mississippi nemesis

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Re: ratfox

Sorry, I'm going to be a stickler. The lawsuit says:

G52: Google expressly commits to: "disclose clearly [...] what types of [...] information we collect, if any, and the purpose for which the information [...] is used or shared with third parties."

G53: Despite this [...] obligation, Google does not clearly disclose in a manner easy for parents to understand what types of information is [...] used, nor does it accurately disclose that it takes certain rights to which it is contractually prohibited from doing.

Hood says:

we want to know the extent of Google's data mining and marketing of student information to third parties

The article says:

the state believes Google has been collecting and selling information [...] to third parties

The lawsuit says: Google does not disclose what it does, and does "certain things" it's not allowed to, leaving it unspecified. It does not claim explicitly that Google is selling or even sharing the data to third parties. Hood says: we want to know how much Google is marketing to third parties; he does not explicitly state that Google is doing so. He also uses "marketing" rather than "selling", and I'm not sure that this means the same. The Reg article says: Google is claimed to sell the data.

The confusion between the first two might be on purpose from Hood in front of the press, but what the article claims is yet another thing.

ratfox Silver badge

Re: veti

I believe the problem is here:

collecting and selling information on student activity [...] to third parties, who then use that data for targeted advertisements.

I can't find any other website claiming that Hood is accusing Google of selling data to third parties. Pretty much everybody else agrees that Google is accused of collecting data and using it for its own ads, no third party involved.

Apple sings another iTune following Brexit as prices rise by up to a third

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Paris Hilton

"United Kingdon"?

Is that a mafia thing?

Stanford boffins find 'correlation between caffeine consumption and longevity'

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a substance called theophylline found in tea and the compound theobromine found in chocolate also seem to help.


Google reveals its servers all contain custom security silicon

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Re: Security on a lockable chip

If you patented your idea, maybe...

Otherwise, no.

Maps and alarm clocks best thing about mobes, say normies

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I do think this case is different, since people really do mostly use their smartphone for other things than making a phone call... To the point that there are devices that are sold that are exactly like smartphones, minus the ability to make phone calls.

I don't think there's a major car manufacturer which sells car-like devices that cannot transport you from A to B.

Autocomplete a novel phishing hole for Chrome, Safari crims

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Autofill does give my address, but not the fake CC number (which I just added for the test).

Using Chrome. Could they have fixed it already?

BOOST! LEGO's computing future and its ground-breaking past

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Too late for me

We just bought a dash robot. You cannot build your own, but it's impressive how many features it has!

Apple's CEO Tim Cook declines invitation to discuss EU tax ruling with Irish parliament

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Let's just say I chose to use the broader definition of government as "the system by which a state or community is controlled" rather than the narrower Commonwealth definition, which is restricted to the executive branch...

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I'm a little bit surprised that the Irish government thinks that it's necessary or useful to invite the CEO himself. Surely Apple has accountants who are more knowledgeable about the fine details?

This feels like a dick-waving contest.

Cancel! that! yacht! order! Marissa! – Verizon's! still! cold! on! Yahoo! gobble!

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Re: Where's the value?

In fact, the Yahoo core business has indeed repeatedly been estimated to have a negative value. For a long time, if you added up the shares of Alibaba and (independent) Yahoo Japan owned by Yahoo, you would get more than Yahoo's market cap... Which meant that the core business (even though it was still profitable) had a negative value.

I don't feel like doing the computation, but I believe this is still the case today.

Swiss defence firm snaps up Brit security outfit Clearswift

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Terms not disclosed

I kind of wonder just how that is possible, considering RUAG is 100% owned by the Swiss government.

Non-existent sex robots already burning holes in men’s pockets

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Re: I want one.

For the cooking and cleaning, it's probably cheaper to just hire a maid.

Uber's self-driving cars can't handle bike lanes, forcing drivers to kill autonomous mode

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"No, our cars are not self-driving, they are way more dangerous!"

Brussels cunning plan to save the EU: No more Cookie Popups

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When is it required, then?

circumstances in which consent is not required can be interpreted more broadly

When is it required? When do users actually want to be informed that cookies are used to track them? They say that the consent is not needed for analytics cookies, but I believe those are by far the most objectionable cookies, since they are used by Facebook et al to track you across the web. What's left?

UK Home Office slurps 1,500 schoolkids' records per month

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Beware of unintended consequences

If I remember correctly, it is explicitly forbidden for schools in Switzerland to give to the police the list of the students. From what I heard, the reason is that it is better to have children of illegals in school rather than roaming the streets. Maybe also, it is more important for all children to get a school education, than to catch all illegals.

Not OK Google: Tree-loving family turns down Page and pals' $7m

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I would retire

It's a boring answer, but with the current rates, I would get about the same income from the money as my current salary, and I'd get nearly three decades of freedom. These days, I lack time far more than money.

Tech titans tentatively trot toward Trump Tower to talk turkey today

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Re: Yeah. Nothing happened

I have to say, I agree with Twitter not being important enough to participate. It's not about size, it's about innovation.

Trump meets Google – exclusive transcript

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Sounds about right

I understand that there's going to be way more than just Google at the meeting, and by and large people who came out against Trump. Oh, to be a fly on the wall...

Look out, Brussels: Google's moving the goalposts, barks price comparison rival

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Re: Interesting idea

The problem comes when Google lists the ad at the top of the page, with a great big hyperlink, and has a very small [ad] tag listed at the start of the site description.

Which is why I started my post by If Google marks these results as ads and separates them clearly from search results. The point being that if those are clearly ads, it stops being a competition problem.

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Paris Hilton

Interesting idea

I'm not quite following Foundem's arguments, but from what I understand, Shopping results are just ads.

If Google marks these results as ads and separates them clearly from search results, doesn't that solve the competition problem? On one side, you would have organic results, where Google must not favour its own products in any way. And on the other side, you have ads, where Google has every incentive to favour the highest bidder. If they put ads for their own product, they lose the money from other advertisers; which is equivalent to Google outbidding other advertisers on its own ad network. Sounds fair?

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube team to ID terror content

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"Google-shaped hole"

FYI: YouTube is part of Google, and that's where Google has most of its user-generated content.

Unless you're worried about the terrorists proselytizing on Google+? <snicker>

Apple Watch sales go over a cliff: Down 2.8 meellion per quarter in a year

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Looks like everybody who could be convinced to buy a smartwatch has already done so... And it's apparently not something people are willing to buy every year.

Local TV presenter shouted 'f*cking hell' to open news bulletin

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Done on purpose

Looks to me like there was a disagreement between the presenter and the camera operators. The recording started before he was ready, and the presenter wanted to restart the recording. The operators didn't want to do it again, so he deliberately said fucking hell to make the recording unusable, just so they would have to restart.

And then, the annoyed operators forgot to do their job of cutting the first part. Or maybe, possibly, they called his bluff... Because in the end, he's the one who ends up looking stupid.

Team Trump snubs Big Internet oligarchs

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Re: "Blackstone ... employs six times as many people as Google"

I'm not sure what this means: Wikipedia says (I know, I know) that Blackstone has about 2'000 employees.

Now it may be that companies bought/controlled by Blackstone have in total hundreds of thousands of employees. I'd hesitate to say that Blackstone created those jobs, though.

Take that, creationists: Boffins witness birth of new species in the lab

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Power-crazed scientists create unnatural species!!1!

A group of so-called "scientists", in a futile attempt to deny the majesty of God's creation, have done the unthinkable. These individuals, whose funding should immediately be rescinded, have created in their unspeakable experiments a chimera-like living creature. Disturbingly, they are now claiming that their despoliation of the God's work was somehow the result of a "natural process".

Given that the perpetrators have admitted their crime against God's order, and have even published it in a scientific journal, the news of their arrest by the Spanish inquisition is unexpected any time soon.

Apple again late to another market others pioneered. Or is it?

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Machine learning seems the tend of the year. I should start a drinking game.

Renewed calls for Tesla to scrap Autopilot after number of crashes

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Re: Consumer Watchdog?

Consumer Watchdog is a recent org based in California. So far, I mostly noticed them complaining about Google, but it seems they have expanded their field of activity to Tesla.

No spoilers! Norway won't tell Snowden if US will snatch him on a visit

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If I was Snowden, I wouldn't push my luck either...

Then again, if I was him, I'd still be working as a contractor for the NSA.

Experts to Congress: You must act on IoT security. Congress: Encourage industry to develop best practices, you say?

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The S in IoT is for security

There's many years of wild West to come.

Google and Facebook pledge to stop their ads reaching fake news websites

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Do people want to be lied to?

Sometimes I wonder. People are known to be irrational.

Google: If you think we're bad, you should take a look at Apple

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Google is very hard-line anti-Muslim? Since when?

The hated Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will soon be dead. Yay?

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Funny though how the same people consistently bought those items made in Mexico, and declined to buy items made in America, for even the tiniest price differences...

Amazon guarantees bitterly contested Ohio wind farm project

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Paris Hilton

I never understood why people oppose wind farms. They do not pollute or even smell bad, unlike practically any other rural development.

The only argument I've heard which I could technically accept is that they spoil the scenery. I personally disagree (I find them quite decorative), but it's a question of taste. I still don't think it justifies such acrimonious opposition.

Uber, Lyft drivers shamed for 'racial bias' by uni eggheads

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I always thought the incentives of taxi drivers were skewed. The longer the ride, the more they get paid.

Now, with technology, this can finally be fixed: given a trip and traffic condition, Uber can set in advance what is the price of the ride. You could even subtract a bit of it takes too long!

Getting your tongue around foreign tech-talk is easier than you think

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Cul-de-sac is the word that naturally comes to my mind for a dead end. It took me an effort to find synonyms like impasse and voie sans issue. Impasse is certainly the word which is used whenever naming a street, though. Voie sans issue is a description rather than a name.

EU announces common corporate tax plan

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Sounds good

In theory at least. It's going to be much less interesting to shop around for lower taxes when all the taxes are similar. The loopholes are not going to disappear though.

Exit through the Gift Shop? US copyright chief was assigned to shop till, tweeting

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Pallante had sought to modernise (PDF) the post, taking the Copyright office out of the orbit of the Librarian Congress, and making the post a direct Presidential appointee.

That would have made sense... Maybe? Offices that are controlled by Congress seem to get often threatened with losing their budget when their decisions displease the current majority.

EU ruling restricts rights to resell back-up copies of software where originals are damaged, destroyed or lost

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Request a backup copy as soon as you buy the software, and use it. Keep the original in a safe.

This is what soldiers do: they receive equipment, which they must prove on demand to be clean and well taken care of. They don't use it, buy their own which can be as dirty as they want.

US DNC hackers blew through SIX zero-days vulns last year alone

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Well, that certainly gives some credibility to the claim it's a state actor.

Meanwhile, in America: Half of adults' faces are in police databases

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I'm pessimistic

I believe that "technology cannot be stopped". It will eventually be so easy to scan and identify people that almost anybody will be able to build a fairly comprehensive database of everybody's face.

With internet, the world is becoming a global village — and like in any village, everybody knows who you are and what you are doing, you have no anonymity, and it's impossible to hide.

Swisscom claims world's first G.fast broadband service

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Re: What is G.fast?

Yeah sure, it's just I like articles to be somewhat self-contained.

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What is G.fast?

I was hoping the article would define the term, but...

Not that it concerns me. Swisscom already has fiber to my place.

Who killed Cyanogen?

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Re: "try to leverage its market power"

Rather than simply "use", the meaning of "leverage" is that you obtain much larger in return than what you exert. It is the standard expression used in sentences containing monopoly or market share.

It's the kind of words that makes lawyers go wobbly in the knees.

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But in 2014, Google scaled back Google+, and Facebook snuffed out Graph Search.

Not sure there was a need for a secret deal for this to happen, seeing as Google+ and Graph Search were both resounding failures...

Facebook is writing a Mercurial server in Rust. This is not a drill

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Git is great

I never had a problem using it since I found the man pages on the web.

Spain's iPhone killer actually a rebranded Xiaomi – new claim

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Paris Hilton

Is that illegal?

Buying stuff cheap and selling them more expensive after a lick of paint is a well-established business practice... Maybe it comes into false advertising?

Apple's car is driving nowhere

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When it comes to the key factors that car buyers look for - reliability, performance and comfort

Citation needed, especially for performance. Despite what car advertising look like, most people don't give a shit about driving faster than 130 km/h, which is anyway illegal when not in Germany.

Google has unleashed Factivism to smite the untruthy

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I'm wondering how many people believe Trump when he says Obama created ISIS.

I'm aware that Trump meant that Obama's policies allowed or partly caused the rise of ISIS, but I'm wondering how many of his supporters believe that Obama directly created it.

I guess it's a version of Poe's law.

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