* Posts by ratfox

3439 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

Apple back in court as Shanghai firm takes offence at Siri

ratfox Silver badge

If anybody needed any proof

That the patent system is an obstacle to innovation…

US states: Google making ad money on illegal YouTube vids

ratfox Silver badge

First amendment?

It's probably legal to show these videos, otherwise they would get taken down… Are they suggesting that Google should show "moral leadership" and censor these videos?

Zynga zinger: Xbox chief bagged as new CEO

ratfox Silver badge

Wow. Leaving Microsoft for Zynga.

Is it me, or does Microsoft have trouble retaining people?

Google 'disappoints' US congressman over Glass privacy controls

ratfox Silver badge

"New technology should have built-in privacy"

No doubt that people of the RIAA keep dreaming of going back in time to insist that DRM be built in that new fangled Internet technology…

Brit fantasy artist sues James Cameron over Avatar world

ratfox Silver badge

I was strongly reminded of World of Warcraft

Floating islands in the sky - check

Blue people - check

Luminescent vegetation - check

Huge tree with mystical/natural meaning for the natives - check

I'm sure there are other examples; not that all of this has not been pretty much done a few times before.

Secret US spy court lets Microsoft, Google reveal their petitions

ratfox Silver badge

Passport revoked

Does that mean that he is officially not American any more?

FTC tells Google and pals: Not labelling ads properly is 'deceptive'

ratfox Silver badge

Doesn't everybody do this already?

In the vast majority of cases, it seems to me that ads are indicated clearly enough, though maybe my l33t Internet skillz allow me to avoid traps that more mundane surfers fall into…

'Do the right thing and tell on a pirate' - software bods

ratfox Silver badge


Do they also guarantee anonymity for snitching on your co-workers?

Internet daddies win Blighty's 'Nobel for engineering'

ratfox Silver badge

If anybody, it has to be them first

Of course there are other people, and these ones have been celebrated already; but it would make no sense not to give the prize to people who deserve it the most, just because they are already famous. It would be like giving the gold medal to the one who finished fourth, because the others are already standing on the podium.

US Supremes sit on hands in $625m patent case, hand Apple victory

ratfox Silver badge
Thumb Up


I approve each and every decision against patent holders.

Google defends search biz as EU competition market test nears end

ratfox Silver badge

So what would make them happy?

It was always obvious that the competitors were going to reject the proposal. So far, I have not heard any constructive proposal of what they think Google should do. IIRC, they asked for "clear guarantees" that Google would "stop pushing it own products" in the search results. That is practically impossible, unless Google made public its ranking algorithm; which it would most certainly never do.

It is true that Google having 90% market share makes it hard for others to compete, but nobody seems to have any feasible idea of how this could be fixed. Even the EC does not seem able to propose anything, other than telling them to "improve their proposals" somehow.

Google gets gentle Street View slurp slap from UK data cops

ratfox Silver badge

Won't somebody please think of the children??

Waiting for the outcry. Google must be guilty!

Google preps wave of machine learning apps

ratfox Silver badge

Re: One request

If teenagers want to find porn on the web… They will find it. No amount of work on Safesearch is going to help.

Hey mobile firms: About that Android thing... Did Google add a lockout clause?

ratfox Silver badge

What about the restrictions on forks by the Open Handset Alliance?

From what I understand, you can be a part of the alliance and sell Windows phones; however you are not allowed to sell incompatible versions of Android. As far as I know, this is the only place Google is putting restrictions on manufacturers.

Maybe that could be seen as an attempt from Google to strong-arm the manufacturers, though not in a way that Microsoft would care about it. What do manufacturers lose if they get kicked out of the Open Handset Alliance?

Julian Assange: I'm quite happy to sleep on Ecuador's sofa FOREVER

ratfox Silver badge

Reality show will come out any time now

It's usually the way used by people desperate for attention.

That said, at look with much anticipation to the day Assange will leave the embassy. It is most likely he will get out in a very large Diplomatic bag, which would be disappointing; but I have not lost hope that he will eventually get sent to Sweden, and get sentenced there to a month of community service.

Six nations ask Google for answers on Glass privacy

ratfox Silver badge

When they say… They mean…

How does Google intend to address the specific issues around facial recognition in the future? (Dear Google, we have no clue how to solve this problem. Can you solve it for us?)

Has Google undertaken any privacy risk assessment the outcomes of which it would be willing to share? (Dear Google, we really have no clue, but you people seem to be more intelligent. Can you help us write new regulations?)

Would Google be willing to demonstrate the device to our offices and allow any interested data protection authorities to test it? (I WANNA TRY IT! ME TOO! MY TURN!! WANNA WANNA WANNA!)

Tor users locked out of Facebook after wave of dodgy traffic

ratfox Silver badge

Wrong enemy

It is not third parties they are afraid of; it is of Facebook.

They are using a fake identity on Facebook, and they want to be sure that Facebook itself cannot trace them… Cos, y'know, the US gov can ask Facebook to do that at any time.

ratfox Silver badge

There are people who use Tor to go on Facebook?!

Do they also go to the beach in a full-body burqa?

/Jackie Chan meme

First look: iOS 7 for iPad

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Game Center Looks Childish

Anything to replace the old pseudo green felt crap!

Google flings another £1m at online child sex abuse vid CRACKDOWN

ratfox Silver badge

Re: ^ Very much this.

The reason people accused Google is because they have money to spare, and they care about their public image… And hey, it worked.

Google probably had a look at the subject and immediately decided to shell out the dough rather than have these people nag them any more.

Red Hat to ditch MySQL for MariaDB in RHEL 7

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Usage of this product is near zero outside of web hosting and internet companies

I think I remember people saying that about Linux too.

MPs demand UK rates revamp after Google's 'extraordinary tax mismatch'

ratfox Silver badge

Re: "pay its fair share of tax" - @ the goalpost-moving politicians:

I'm not sure it matters where the "selling" is done. European law seems to allow companies to pay tax in a single country, no matter where the "selling" is done. What matters is which country is on the bill. This was very explicitly meant to be a feature of European tax laws, and not a bug: It means that you can sell in many countries without the hassle of paying taxes in each of them.

Google may have been wrongly claiming that sales were happening in Ireland, but this is probably just for saving appearances; the fact is that they are allowed to pay taxes wherever they want.

You may go to a travel agency to buy a plane ticket; you may get convinced by the travel agency to buy a certain ticket; you may never talk to anybody from the airlines company. Yet, the ticket you buy is still a British Airways ticket, not a Kuoni one, even though Kuoni did the selling. The travel agency only pays taxes on the commission they get, which has nothing to do with the amount the airlines company earns.

Facebook turns on frigid Swedish ice-maidens in new data centre

ratfox Silver badge

data centers from Google […] run at between 1.08 and 2.12

I think you mean between 1.08 and 1.12

Google to punish sloppy mobile webmasters

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Butt hurt android?

This problem has existed for a while now, even on my own iPhone: http://xkcd.com/869/

It has been getting better as webmaster have learned, but there is no excuse not to do it right anymore.

Apple at WWDC: Sleek new iOS, death of the big cats, pint-sized Mac Pro

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Mavericks!?!

Naah, everybody knows that a maverick is a wild cow

Tim Cook: Android version fragmentation is 'terrible for developers'

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Something good coming out of this ...

On one hand, there are still 5% on iOS 5; this might be more than people want to ignore. On the other hand, a large chunk is going to move to iOS 7, so the statistics are already out of date.

BadNews not so bad, says Google

ratfox Silver badge

Really possible?

"users are simply ignoring messages inviting them to click on a link"…

Call me a cynic, but users click on everything without discrimination. If there are "low millions" of installs, then at least tens of thousands of users would have clicked the dodgy link.

The only Waze is Google: Ad giant tipped to gobble map app 'for $1.3bn'

ratfox Silver badge

Offensive or defensive move?

I.e. is Google trying to make its own product better, or just trying to keep others from making their product better?

I don't want to sound too cynical, but I am not sure what Google is hoping to get out of Waze (though Waze can undoubtedly benefit a lot from Google).

Google's Schmidt calls climate-change deniers 'liars'

ratfox Silver badge

@Nicho: not so simple

The tricky part is showing how much the effect is. Otherwise, you can replace CO2 with methane, and blame it all on farting pigs. In fact, a common way to "buy carbon offsets" consists in trapping the farts of pigs.

Culture Sec: You - Google. Where's the off switch for all this filth?

ratfox Silver badge

Re: other offensive material

In that matter, I always love it when child porn and copyright theft are mentioned in the same sentence… if you try to fight for fair use rights, it means you are "siding with pedophiles".

I wish people had not used this trick, but they have.

Boffins build gesture recognition using WiFi

ratfox Silver badge


... but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same program.

Report: IBM protests Amazon $600m CIA cloud contract

ratfox Silver badge

Neither Amazon or IBM had responded…?

Yes, but what did the CIA say, then?

Ecuador: Let's talk about not having Julian Assange on our sofa

ratfox Silver badge

I'm willing to bet…

That the US are laughing their ass off at all of it.

Seriously, it would be a significant problem for them to manage to extradite Assange; on the other hand, if he is willing to discredit himself on his own, what is there not to like?

Oracle to lop off Java's least secure bits to save servers

ratfox Silver badge

Removing unnecessary libraries?

Was that not one of the sins Google committed when it wrote its own implementation of the java language, thus causing fragmentation of the language and irreparable harm to Oracle's IP?

Groundbreaking Camino browser digs grave, jumps in

ratfox Silver badge

Great post

Do you mind if I call you aManFromMars?

Pour one for Camino.

First Cook, now Intel bigwig pokes Google in the eye over Glass

ratfox Silver badge

The reason it is not see-through

The way I understood it, the reason it is not see-through is that they wanted to have a general consumer product. It seems to me that while see-through might make you feel like the Terminator, there are simply very few people who actually want to walk around with a see-through device.

Though this might indeed be due to the fact that a see-through device would have to be way bigger than the "giant goggles sticking out strapped on your head" that is Glass.

I am not convinced about the graphics arguments, though. Don't jet fighter pilots already have heads-up displays in their helmets that overlay graphics across their vision?

Tim Cook: Wearable tech's nice, but Google Glass will NEVER BE COOL

ratfox Silver badge

Re: He's grasping at straws.

I actually wear a watch, and though it is cool and slightly expensive, I do use it a lot to check the time. In comparison to getting my phone out of my pocket, checking my watch is much faster.

Though paying attention to a difference of a few seconds might indicate that I am slightly obsessional-compulsive about time. I even maintain it synchronized to the second. Then again, I live in a place where trains and buses run on time.

ratfox Silver badge

@AC "People either wear glasses to see or glasses to reduce glare from the sun"

I really wish people would only wear sunglasses to reduce glare from the sun… Unfortunately, there are far too many who wear sunglasses after dark. One guy I knew even wore two pairs of sunglasses after dark: One on his eyes, and one on his hair, to hold in place his fashionably-ruffled hairdo.

Stop the Microsoft, Skype wedding, screams enraged Cisco in court

ratfox Silver badge

Good luck

There are a few big players who are not at all interested in sharing their users with the other guys. Without even saying that all these systems add subtly different features in order to differentiate their offer from the others, which makes it difficult to interoperate. For instance, the new Hangouts thing from Google had to mostly drop XMPP support, because it could not handle half of the extra features.

Forget tax bills, here's how Google is really taking us all for a ride

ratfox Silver badge

What about Internet?

Have you thought about all the opportunities of making money that got killed because of the advent of Internet? How many billions would people agree to pay for services that have become completely unnecessary because the Internet exists and has made them obsolete? Google even had the unmitigated gall to make Internet easy to use! All that money drained from the global economy!

And don't forget how the invention of the damn telephone killed the letter delivery business, and killed off so much tax revenue.

World's richest hobo (Apple) has worked 'tax-free' in Ireland since '80s

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Easy answer then

The problem is that laws need not follow the rules of logic. The US and a few other countries have so-called General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) that essentially state that it is illegal to game the system, even if you only use legal means.

This flies in the face of logic, but remember, lawmakers do not have a program to tell them that what they write does not compile…

Googorola loses bid to ban US Xbox sales after ITC slapdown

ratfox Silver badge


The only good patent infringement claim is the lost patent infringement claim.

'Catastrophic failure' of 3D-printed gun in Oz Police test

ratfox Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: (Streisland Effect && Do NOT press ME!) {GOTO FAIL;}

Exactly my thoughts. I would bet that more than one was spurred to download the plans by just this announcement.

…Could it be that the police estimated that having exploding and imprecise guns in the hands of the populace would diminish the number of proper guns bought illegally?

US Senator introduces 'Patent Abuse Reduction Act'

ratfox Silver badge

Wait for opponents to the bill to come out of the wood

And write down their names. Carefully.

Microsoft tweaks WinPhone YouTube app to fix Google gripes

ratfox Silver badge

YouTube must show ads

Note that Google's hands are rather tied on this point. The only reason they have not lost their lawsuit from Viacom and been sued into oblivion is that they provide with ContentID a way for copyright owners to automatically show ads against their videos uploaded by users. They are simply not allowed to show these videos without ads.

Kim Dotcom claims invention of two-factor authentication

ratfox Silver badge

Prior art

I'm fairly certain that Swiss banks were using two-factor systems such as a credit card-like object displaying a number since before 98, though it may be a close thing.

FLABBER-JASTED: It's 'jif', NOT '.gif', says man who should know

ratfox Silver badge

Brave attempt to use logic!

What about LASER? It means Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The S of Stimulation is unvoiced, yet the S of LASER is voiced.

Attention large Linux workloads

ratfox Silver badge

Yeah, I was going to say the heading should be "IBM solution is the best, says IBM employee"

On subject of the message, I was under the impression that the reason most companies simply don't consider using anything else than Linux servers is that they are vastly cheaper and easier to manage. Proprietary solutions were always better, but stopped being used because the "power, security, administration licensing and management benefits" were not worth the trouble and lock-in. What percentage of IT workers can manage such a system, compared to a Linux server? How easy is it to find replacements?

Chocolate Factory chucks out Checkout

ratfox Silver badge

They did

This year's April fool announcing YouTube is shutting down in order to select the very best video of the web. Also, don't miss the 12-hours video announcement of the nominated videos!

Schmidt: Don't like our tiny tax bills? Google this... 'Change the law'

ratfox Silver badge

"The law is what it says it is"

This, gentlemen, is the problem that scientists and technical people have with the legal system. They are so used to argue with pure logic that it is extremely hard for them to understand that there are grey areas in the way laws are interpreted and applied.

In the real world, you unfortunately sometimes need a lengthy trial and a lot of money spent on lawyers to figure out whether something is legal. And the outcome of the trial can actually depend on how good the lawyers are! From a scientist point of view, this is pure madness — they assume that the law is so clear that any intelligent person could determine infallibly whether something is legal after thinking for a few minutes. Would it be that simple…

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019