* Posts by ratfox

3465 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007


ratfox Silver badge

Wrong view point

From the protesters point of view, if buses stopped running, Google employees would move out of SF rather than facing the hellish congestion in and out of the city.

They actually consider the congestion as a feature which keeps rich people from living in SF and driving up prices, so they are angry that the corporate buses are bypassing the congestion.

Justice minister tries to further delay snoop silo laws in Germany

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Go Germany!

Pass the popcorn, watch the fireworks.

Amazon, Hollywood, Samsung: PLEASE get excited about 4K telly

ratfox Silver badge

How about a better frame rate?

I believe just doubling the frame rate would increase much more the quality of movies…

Defamation expert: New '1 year after publication' rule means EASY LIFE for UK libel judges

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Re: Bad fix

The assumption is probably that if it takes you over a year to notice, it's not important enough to bother the legal system about it.

Rockstar swells Spherix patent portfolio with 100 new licenses

ratfox Silver badge

Only half correct

At the same time Google was attacked over search, Android manufacturers were attacked over Android. This can easily be considered as a general attack on Google, with the manufacturers as collateral damage in the fight to diminish Google's clout from Android.

Bay Area plots Googlebus tax after local residents riot

ratfox Silver badge

Fair's fair

These bus stops are normally reserved for public transportation, as in buses that anybody can ride on. If the tech companies want to use these bus stops, it is normal that they pay for their use. I understand that generally, an event happening on a public square requires renting that square from the town, e.g for putting a circus tent. This is no different.

Of course, this is not going to solve the main problem, which is that residents of San Francisco have worked hard through regulations and activism to have a super cool city, and now they are very disappointed that they cannot afford to live in that super cool city, because their own choices have made it too expensive for themselves. There is a great article on this here: http://www.sfweekly.com/1999-08-18/news/welcome-home/full/

Gorilla Glass fights dirty, dirty germs with antimicrobial coating

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I would consider this barely useful, considering this only protects the glass and not the parts of the phone you are holding…

Then again, there are people who spend an awful lot of time on the toilet seat playing with their cell phone.

How to kill trolls and influence Apple people: A patent solution

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Change the incentives of the patent office

Currently, the USPTO has all the incentives to accept just about anything as a patent. More patents accepted is seen as more productive; I believe applicants even have to pay more, once a patent is accepted, to actually get the patent, than if the patent is rejected.

Instead, ask full price to apply for a patent, and give back a small percentage if the patent is accepted. The incentive to apply for real patents instead of bullshit is not very important; the important part is that now the USPTO gets more money for rejecting a patent than for accepting it.

Google poised to become world's first TREEELLION DOLLAR company?

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Re: A quick look

Apple and Exxon are giving back dividends, while Google is not. It would be fairly logical if Google kept growing faster than them.

The thing is, Exxon and Apple put limits on investing in new markets, while Google does not. I personally find it a bit disappointing from Apple. They do nice products, but they are unwilling to double down in less successful products. Look at iCloud, and their maps: They are not interested in making them available to everybody. The maps are offered to people who have an iPhone or a Mac. That's it. Not even a web site!! They are a hardware company, and all their services only exist to support that. They could probably grow a lot their software and services, but instead? They give back a dividend. This is openly admitting that they don't know what to do with the money. That they don't plan on growing.

Can you imagine Google doing that? Google will invest in all kind of crazy projects trying to find something interesting. And that, I believe, is why Google will be a trillion dollars company before Apple.

Facebook bots grope our 'privates', and every wronged user should get $10,000 – lawsuit claims

ratfox Silver badge

A fool and his privacy are soon parted

That said, though I'm not surprised that the data from private messages is thoroughly harvested to select what ads should be shown to the same user, I would be astonished if the target web site of a URL shared privately was notified of which particular user sent or received the message.

Want Google to erase your data? Just wait for it to kill off one of its apps

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Re: Why

From what I understand, this Bump thing is now included in standard Android... Only they call it beam or something.

Get lost, fanbois: Nokia pulls HERE Maps from Apple's App Store

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I think you haven't watched the news in a while

Google for "Microsoft buys Nokia"; I think you will learn that Nokia is not going to make Android phones any time soon…

ratfox Silver badge

They should have a web site

Honestly, to get better maps, you need more users. Maps is not a small thing you can reserve to your walled garden. But Apple would have trouble doing that…

Apple only does software if it helps sell hardware; while Google and Microsoft only sell hardware if it helps sell software. They cannot change this easily.

Google BLASTS BACK at Apple, Microsoft, Sony in Android patent WAR

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Rockstar claims to be independent from Apple and Microsoft

They also claim that "pretty much everybody out there" infringes their patent.

…I'm sure it's pure coincidence that they started their first lawsuits against Google and Android phone makers.

Joke no more: Comedy virty currency Dogecoin gets real in big Xmas heist

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I'm waiting for the FSMcoin

I'm sure it's coming. And I'm not sure if it's going to be a joke or not.

What is the difference between a drone, a model and a light plane?

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Re: Flying Machines and Flying People

"The engineer in me sees no difference in principal between an R/C aircraft and a full size/real aircraft."

I think the view it gives you is a bit different… no?

Official: Apple hooks up with WORLD'S LARGEST MOBILE OPERATOR

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Wrong Metric

"Products can be changed to suit the need."

In the case of the iPhone, I would doubt it. It's not like Apple is going to make a different iPhone from now on just for China Mobile. If anything, China Mobile would have waited until they saw a iPhone (5c?) they liked before signing a deal.

Cyanogen grabs $23m, will ship mod-installed N1 smartmobe on Xmas Eve

ratfox Silver badge

good for them

It means their business model is rock safe!

Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

ratfox Silver badge

If the legislation allows it, they might even only have to include a "standard-to-proprietary" adapter, and keep having proprietary adapters everywhere.

Here's to hoping the American government does not decide to pass the same law, and go for a different standard. That would actually make the phone manufacturers happy, since that would make importation between countries impossible.

That said, I am against the legislation. All other matters aside, Apple has bloody good connectors for its laptops. Having a legislation like that (adapted to laptops) would have made these connectors impossible to introduce.

Italy's 'Google tax law' could fall foul of EU discrimination rules

ratfox Silver badge

"stopping the so-called double Dutch and Irish sandwiches": Not quite

The double Irish and Dutch sandwich are stratagems which allow Google (and Apple, etc.) not to pay tax anywhere in Europe. But were these to be stopped, the companies would still be able to pay income tax in a single European country, whichever they prefer. Typically, that would not be Italy. And that is what this legislation is trying to stop. And that is what is the problem with the legislation, because the European laws were precisely designed to allow doing business everywhere in Europe and paying income tax in a single country.

Zuckerberg IN COURT: Judge rules Facebook investors CAN sue for IPO non-disclosures

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What are they com[plaining about?

The stock price is way above what they bought it for at the IPO.

…Oh, you mean they actually sold the stock while it was low? I think they did not quite get how to make money on the stock market. The secret is "Buy low, sell high". Not the reverse.

Feminist Software Foundation gets grumpy with GitHub … or does it?

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Paris Hilton

It's called COBOL!

Jokes aside, isn't it true that the first algorithm was invented by a woman (Ada Lovelace), and also the first compiler (Grace Hopper)?

Microsoft: Here, we'll make it easy for you Gmail lot. Meet our Outlook.com movers

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Thumb Down

I was not allowed to use outlook.com

A couple of days ago, I repeatedly tried to open an account on outlook.com, but every time I tried to send my very first email, it told me my account has been locked down for being suspicious, and to please give them my cell phone number so they could send me a verification code. And that, even though I gave an alternate email address specifically for doing this. What's the point of asking for an alternate email if you can only verify your account by phone??

'Don't hate on me for my job!' Googlers caught up in SF rent protest ruckus

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Paris Hilton

That bus is a luxury symbol

It provides actual, honest-to-God, proper transportation to Google employees. If it were not for those buses, Google employees would stay away from SF in order to avoid the hellish traffic along the peninsula.

In other words, public transportation is so bad, that the resulting deadlock at the entrance of SF has come to be seen as a feature which keeps rich people from living there.

If the buses are allowed to go on, it means that soon only rich people will be able to live in cool places!

PH icon representing how confused the whole situation is.

SHOCK! US House swats trolls, passes patent 'extortion' bill

ratfox Silver badge

Re: There goes Rockstar

You wish. And I wish it were true. But I don't see much in this that will stop Rockstar.

They said pretty much everybody out there infringes their patents. They're just getting started.

Accused Glasshole driver says specs weren't even turned on for traffic stop

ratfox Silver badge

Law seems clear

It says: "forbidden to have a screen mounted where the driver can see it. Turned on, or off. I don't see how this defense can fly.

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

ratfox Silver badge

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.

ratfox Silver badge

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

ratfox Silver badge

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

ratfox Silver badge

"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

ratfox Silver badge

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

ratfox Silver badge

"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?

ratfox Silver badge

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

ratfox Silver badge

"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

ratfox Silver badge

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

ratfox Silver badge

"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

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge

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

ratfox Silver badge

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

ratfox Silver badge
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?

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