* Posts by ratfox

3439 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

US Supreme Court says 'no sale' to Amazon's New York sales tax appeal

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Re: Time for change

Oh, the sales taxes are already based on the location of the customer. What is broken is that currently, out-of-state businesses do not have to charge the sales tax to the customers; it is the customers who are supposed to report to the authorities the fact that they bought something from an out-of-state business, and that they want to pay sales tax on it.

Surprisingly, they quite often forget to do that.

That toolbar you downloaded is malware? Tough, read the EULA

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Re: Meh… EULAs

"Everything in a EULA is absolutely binding unless there is a constrasting local, state, federal, international or other law or legal allowance. "

I doubt that. Instead of killing your first born, try "I owe Microsoft one million dollars for every second I use this product". Giving money is legal, but I don't think it would fly either.

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Meh… EULAs

It is impressive how EULAs and other T&Cs can contain so much crap, without any clarity on what is legal or not. I would think that good lawyers could put a hole through this particular one, but in general the field is full of gray.

Google in Dutch: Privacy changes BREAK data law, says Netherlands

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Very interesting!

"The consent, required by law, for the combining of personal data from different Google services cannot be obtained by accepting general (privacy) terms of service"

I would be very interested in having a better idea on distinctions such as this one. Most EULA and T&Cs are accepted without reading any of the details whatsoever. On one hand, the responsibility technically is on the user to actually read and accept the terms before clicking on the button; on the other hand, you certainly could not add "and the user owes us a million pounds" to such a document and expect it to be held up in court.

Unfortunately there is a world of gray between what is clearly fine and what is clearly not fine; I severely doubt that a law could be written which would make the distinction with any clarity. No wonder companies just write whatever they want and wait for the government to complain.

Ultimately, my opinion remains that the only way to have proper privacy T&Cs is to have the government dictate them, and apply them to every company. Call it a Privacy Code, like the Tax Code. Considering how fuzzy the law is, you simply cannot expect the corporations to write T&Cs which make sense.

Microsoft hires Pawn Stars to shaft Google

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Chromebooks must be doing well

It's impressive that Microsoft is feeling threatened by the, what, 1% marketshare of Chromebooks?

Google tries to MAP its way out of competition trouble in Brussels

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Re: 3 years! Come on.

Believe it or not, this is the fast track. The usual process would take at least twice the time.

Google, please DRILL through Great Firewall of China with your HTTPS LANCE

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"This is where Google is going too far"

Did you read the article? Google has nothing to do with these propositions. And the article makes it clear they are unlikely to implement them, because probably they agree with your 1st and 2nd point, if not the 3rd…

Leaked MS ad video parodies Chrome as surveillance tech

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Is this News?

Video was posted on YouTube last May. Hello?

'High impact' Gmail password security hole blew accounts wide open

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Re: Uhm?

There are not a lot of details, but there must be more to it than phishing. The link in the phish looks like a legit google.com address, protected by https and all. There must be some more serious trickery behind the scenes.

Google puts Dr Who's Tardis onto Street View - and you can get INSIDE

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You missed the Dalek

Get out of the Tardis, in the field, and have a look around. Anonymised horse, sheesh.

The buttons on the control panel have tooltips indicating what they do.

Oh, and if you use the red button for the map, you can go back to Earl's Court Road, use StreetView and get inside the Tardis again, while being inside of the Tardis.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with having the Tardis on the inside of the Tardis, since it's bigger inside…

'Fatal flaws' in Google's revised search antitrust overhaul, says Foundem

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I don't know where you live or what's your search history, but when I type gm, I get in order:

-the General Motors stock price

-the General Motors web site

-the General Motors entry on Wikipedia

-the Yahoo page about the General Motors stock price

-yes, Gmail

Vint Cerf: 'Privacy may be an ANOMALY, now over'. And it's no secret I think that

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Privacy is not an anomaly, anonymity is

People used to mostly have privacy, unless somebody cared enough to pay a man to follow them around. Remember when divorce cases involved private detectives taking pictures of the unfaithful fooling around? It seems old hat now that we have Internet (though I'm sure it still exists). But apart from that, people used to have privacy.

However, anonymity has barely ever existed, outside from anonymous letters to newspapers and graffiti. The anonymity that people take now for granted on the web, and which they are outraged about when they lose it, has existed for max 20 years. How the world changes…

Carl Icahn: I don't want to fight with Tim... but I will

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"Apple has all this money"

I don't know where he gets this idea from. Apple has almost no cash available. In fact, it had to raise money from bonds to pay its dividend. All the cash Apple is hoarding is overseas, and Apple cannot bring it back into the US without paying tax on it.

What Icahn is proposing is borrowing money on the basis of future presumed returns, and give that money to investors. It's kind of the reverse of investing for the future.

Google WILL wriggle away from Euro probe... but THEN what?

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Re: Interesting

Here.com, Bing maps might also be comparable, but probably not superior…

Michelin has awesome road maps for travelling, but their web site is unfortunately crap. I understand many still use it, because they prefer the arguably superior road maps design.

Google coughs up $17m to end Safari STALKER COOKIE brouhaha

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"If you have a claim, then prove it or shut up"

Unfortunately, laws are not and cannot be written in a way which defines clearly and exactly what is and what is not legal. There are always grey areas, corner cases. The only way to determine whether something is "legal" or not is often to wait until the end of a lengthy trial; and the worst is that the outcome depends on which side has the best lawyers! This sounds ridiculous, especially to scientists and IT people who live in a world defined by clear rules, in which claims can indeed be "proven". But nobody has invented a better system yet.

In those circumstances, this kind of settlements save a lot of time. It sends the message that what they did was probably wrong, and that anybody doing this will have to pay for it one way or another.

Schiller: 'Almost everyone' at Apple works on iPhones - not Macs or anything

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Thumb Down

"I don't see any progress that couldn't have been accompished by a team of 30 people."

Considering apparently nobody else came up with it, it might well be that they needed thousands of people to make many trials, and 30 of them came up with the right solution?

More probably, you are severely underestimating the amount or work to create the iPhone. That I remember, it took years for the competition to come up with a phone that was about as good as the iPhone. (I'm thinking Galaxy Nexus, which came out four years after the first iPhone.)

People are always at their most clever in hindsight.

Google Earth SHOCK: ZERO point ZERO ZERO SIX of world forests disappear each year

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This does not look good

Despite the seemingly cheerful tone of the article, I find losing 5% of the world's forests in 12 years is extremely worrying. Unless a huge effort to reverse the trend is done, there won't be any forests left in just two centuries.

I would really not be comfortable with kicking the can and just say "our grandchildren will take care of that in a hundred years".

Snappers attack Google Image problem, demand action from EC officials

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"abusing its dominant position in search"

There might well be something to the idea that Google makes it easy for people to view images without visiting the websites. This is an especially big problem when you can see the images in big resolution directly from Google. This is not like an article excerpt, which induces viewers to read the full article on the web site; in many cases, you don't even need to visit the web site after having seen the image.

On the other hand, I fail to see how Google is particularly abusing of its dominant position in search in this.

Canadian teens cuffed over alleged Snapchat child sex pics ring

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Paris Hilton

Good example of the way words can be twisted

This fits in every way the definition of child pornography. Except that when politicians suggest upending the way the whole Internet works in order to fight child porn, they probably don't have this kind of petty crime in mind.

That aside, the Snapchat claims seem completely bogus to me. Surely you can just snapshot a snapchat, and keep the picture forever…?

Web giants cry foul over US gov's refusal to budge on NSA spy gag orders

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Re: A secret opinion issued by a court meeting in secret about secret warrants with a gag order

"It's fine! They are only listening to foreigners, not us. Or really really bad Americans. And anyway, we're the good guys."

High-end Samsung slabs, cheapie Androids take healthy BITE out of Apple's market share

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Offside! There was offside!

Send him off, ref!

Chinese web firms sue search giant Baidu for video piracy

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Ricoh Theta 360˚ camera: Point and click immersive imaging

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Re: No Photosphere ?

Indeed, this would seem a great accessory for Photosphere.

I love photospheres, but it is a bitch to do right. I tend to have to make at least three attempts to get something correct. And if there are people walking around, then you have body parts flying around.

My wife tends to get annoyed at having to wait for me while I turn slowly around…

Is it all up for LANDFILL ANDROID? BEHOLD, the Moto G

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Paris Hilton

I'm confused

The second paragraph talks of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, and the second-to-last paragraph talks of Android 4.4 KitKat. I assume it's the latter that is correct?

Publishers reject Google's revised offer to fix search biz in Europe

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Colour me surprised

I was certain they were going to thank Google for their generosity.

That said, I thought that the last sticking point was about placement of competing web sites. Weren't the other issues solved? Why are the publishers unhappy?

Google makes Gmail EVEN NOISIER, or should that be nosier?

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Re: If google ever believed in "don't be evil"...

Alternatively, you could just turn off the sharing. You may need a Google+ account, but sharing is optional.

Google to web: SHUT YOUR MOUTH or Chrome 32 beta will do it for you

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Re: Or...

Turning the speaker off would be fine, except I'm listening to music. Possibly even from YouTube, on a different tab of the same browser…

Woz: Google Glass will be SO COOL... just like BLUETOOTH

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Re: On the spectrum of coolness

On the spectrum of coolness, there is a guy who has founded a very successful company by creating its first best-selling computers. And much lower on the spectrum, there are people who make fun of him because he uses a bum bag.

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Apple Newton also comes to mind

Not really successful, but first in an explosion of PDAs. Of course, they are called smartphones now.

HUMANITY STUNNED - Apple Retina iPad Mini arrives. A solemn moment

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Nice display

I had not realized that it has the same number of pixels as the big iPad. That's fairly impressive on such a smaller screen.

'F-CK YOU GOOGLE+' ukelele missy scoops BIG WAD of $$ - for Google

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Re: yea google F*ck you

Indeed, it's becoming rarer and rarer that you can just leave a comment without registering. Number of websites use Facebook comments too.

I remember the astonishment, 15 years ago, at how wild people were behaving on the web, trolling newsgroups and the like. In general, anonymity was fingered as the reason. Are these days over? Will the times come when using your real name on the web will be the norm, and using a pseudonym considered the equivalent of wearing a mask in the street?

Buy-curious minxes and chaps fancy hot wrist action, rest of us baffled

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Re: I don't want a watch, I want a Leela-from-Futurama wristcomp

Mostly, I think the biggest problem at the moment is the weight. It would probably be too heavy to be comfortable.

And also, probably too few people want something like this for it to be produced in reasonable prices. Wait 10 years of failed products first.

How Google paved the way for NSA's intercepts - just as The Register predicted 9 years ago

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Re: I expect to get a zillion downvotes but...

Seems like playing on words to me; users do click a box saying that Google can collect and use the information in their emails, and not that the NSA can collect and use the information in their emails.

The exact definition you give to "read", "search", "scan" and "analyse" are pretty irrelevant here.

Furious Google techie on NSA snooping: 'F*CK THESE GUYS'

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SSL encryption (https) at the user end

Isn't this already done? When I go to www.google.com, I get an https web site. I think it's been that way for years.

Google's secret search offer to EU antitrust chief LEAKED by rivals

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If Google left European Union…

Yeah right. Google makes tons of money in Europe, and as long as they want to do that, they'll have to comply with European regulations.

And no, redirecting all traffic to your .com domain and shutting down .fr and .de domains does not make you exempt from EU regulations either. If it was that easy, all corporations would have their sites in .tv

Google Helpout live vids: Helping you help us help ourselves, says web giant

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Paris Hilton


Google entering the most profitable business online… Private paying video chats!

PH, if you get my drift…

Is it TRUE what they say about the 'Moto G'? We FIND OUT on the 13th

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Re: Simple is ...

Careful: the iPhone 5c may have been a knock-off, but it was not cheap!

iPad Air peels off in racy pics for wide-eyed geeks, reveals 'worst battery ever

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Re: So what did Google say about Android

"At least Apple still supports the iPhone4 with iOS7"

Well, yes, kind of. My own iPhone4 under iOS7 is definitively sluggish though. Safari crashes at least once a day, more often when I visit heavy web sites.

Google barge erection hypegasm latest - What's in the box?

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Wait a minute

They started building barges in 2010. That's like two years before Glass was even known to the public. They would have started building them practically before they started working on Glass. This smells…


iPad Air not very hot: Apple fanbois SHUN London fondleslab launch

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Re: Re I'd missed your Apple bullshit for the last week

Heh. Compare with the gushing going on here:


IT'S patent WAR: Apple, Microsoft vs Google, Samsung, Huawei

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Willful infringement?

You mean, because Google wanted to buy a hoard of thousands of patents, it automatically means that they knew every single one of these patents, and estimated whether or not they were infringing it?

We'll build Elon Musk's Hyperloop ... if you lob us ONE-MEELLION dollars

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No chance in hell

The project as stated grossly underestimates the costs and the physics problems, and grossly overestimates the number of potential customers. This cannot work.

This is not the first attempt to have a levitated train-like vehicle in a vacuum tube. It's hard. And this project does not even go for full vacuum, so you have to fight air resistance.

I'm sure you can get a nice salary by trying for a few years to make it work. But you will not make any money by investing in it.

NSA, UK hacked Yahoo! and Google data center interconnects – report

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@Don Jefe

The diagram does not say removed/restored, it says added and removed.

This is because SSL is supposed to provide security on the Internet, where your data transits through semi random routing point you do not trust. That is the left part of the diagram. The right part of the diagram is Google's private infrastructure, where SSL is not needed. Google only recently realized that encryption is also necessary on its private infrastructure, but they are certainly not using SSL for this, but probably their own private encryption which may be both more powerful and simpler than SSL, because they can taylor it to their needs, and they don't need to wait for every browser out there to implement it, as they own both ends.

The central linking point between the two network is not where the NSA dastardly messes with SSL certificates because the protocol is broken; it is the point where Google removes the SSL (when going left to right) or adds the SSL (right to left) because it does not make sense to use SSL on the private infrastructure…

Just explaining, since, you know, you obviously can read diagrams but you apparently have trouble understanding the information.

Facebook Zucks up $2bn sales, record profit - but stock fell. What gives?

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Re: Gravity always wins

Amazon is reinvesting its profits for growth, and is constantly looking for new business opportunities. Facebook on the other hand seems not to want to be more than a social network.

As an example, Amazon has a line of tablets which sell quite well. Facebook offered a phone, kind of, and it did not sell.

Windows Azure Compute cloud goes TITSUP planet-wide

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Thumb Up

Blue Sky of Death?

I like it. May the expression stick!

Google's new broadband offer: 20-days of WiFi for a quid

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Black Helicopters

Must be the NSA

Google would lose money on the deal, so the NSA is paying for it in order to use it to spy on the international deals going on in Singapore…

And the barges are also controlled by the NSA, the Google thing is just a smokescreen!

Anonymity is the enemy of privacy, says RSA grand fromage

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Sounds illogical to me

But hey, not an expert.

I would like to note, though, that even though people might claim a historical right to privacy, it is much harder to claim a historical right to anonymity. Before the internet, anonymity was strictly the domain of ROMANES EUNT DOMUS graffitis, anonymous letters, and possibly certain private clubs for the connoisseurs.

I'm old enough to remember the articles in the early noughties commenting how all this "newsgroup trolling" and general uncivility on the Web were due to this strange and novel anonymity enjoyed by Internet users.

Dino-boffins discover 100-million-year-old BIRD TRACKS in Australia

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Mandatory XKCD

Dinosaurs are still living among us, for birds are dinosaurs.

Mozilla goes where Google fears to tread with geolocation service

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Wait a minute

"Google got into fearful trouble by recording the location of WiFi transceivers without asking for their owners' permission"

No. Google got in trouble for recording the data that was going through the WiFi networks. Recording the location of the WiFi networks has not been a problem at all, as far as I can tell…

How I BLEW my co-workers' HEADS OFF ... without going to jail

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Nerf guns. Lots of them.

From where I sit right now, I can see seven of them.

EDIT: sorry, eight. One guy has two on his desk.

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