* Posts by ratfox

3465 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

Retailers risk libel nightmare over 'no-work' database

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Not happy about this

I understand that employers do not want to go through the hassle of lodging a formal complaint against an employee. They would lose more time than it is worth.

But if you're not confident enough to go to the police, you should not be able to put an employee on this database. Especially for something as flimsy as "Causing a loss to the company or a supplier". What does it mean?

"Oh, the sales are lower than before you arrived (which happened to be Christmas season), so you must be the cause we are losing money now. Get out, you're on the list".

If you put somebody on the list, you should be ready to show proof of the employee dishonesty (and being lazy or inefficient is NOT being dishonest) in front of a judge.

Also, the employee should be told. I understand there is a risk the employee might attempt to retaliate by burning the shop down, but it is unacceptable to make it impossible for people to find a job without their knowledge.

Swiss ponder the 'dignity of plants'

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Great to see that the government is taking up important issues

I mean, they could be wasting their time on the way chickens are bred, killed (if they survived the breeding) then eaten. Killing baby seals is tame in comparison.

-random Swiss citizen

Washington cops may be compelled to use gun-cams

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Don't miss the new documentary they released recently!

Yahoo! shareholders thump Yang in the fiduciaries

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"The Yahoo! board and its CEO are there to serve the shareholders and no one else - that is the reality of being a public company."

Is that true? Really really? Like, for real?

On the other scale of interpretation, aren't the investors funding these guys to do whatever they want, and taking the risk that what they want is not bringing back any money?

That I know, if a start-up goes under, the venture capitalists cannot sue the head of the start-up. They trusted the guy, if the trust was misplaced, that's too bad for them.

If the only thing that mattered was money for the shareholders, you would actually see undervalued companies firing all employees and selling all their assets - by themselves, without waiting for a corporate raid. How often does that happen?

The way I see it, they can vote to kick Yang out, but not sue him.

NASA confirms manned mission to 10 Petaflops

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Well, they haved a budget to use...

I doubt it is really necessary to use that much power for the mission.

But well, how else are they going to justify spending so much of the taxpayer's money?

Amazon sues New York over Amazon Tax

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The problem is that the sales tax system is way more complicated in US than it is in Europe. In Europe, there is only one sales tax system for each country, which means less than 20 different tax systems.

In US, not only does each state have a different sales tax, there are also regional peculiarities. I remember buying a Tomato juice in Gran Canyon, and finding on my bill a federal tax, state tax, and ENERGY tax. "To pay for the energy necessary to bring the tomato juice to Gran Canyon", the waitress said.

US warez sitemaster jailed for 30 months

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@copyright infrigement is not theft

I heard many time this argument that copyright infringement is not theft, because "nothing was taken". Well, even when you don't take anything, there's a load of things you need to pay for, and even if it is not theft, it is still criminal if you don't pay.

For instance, you need to pay for live concert, or for watching a movie at the theater - even though you're not "taking" anything either. You need to pay for riding a bus or a train. You need to pay hookers. In some place, you need to pay for going to university.

Maybe copyright infringement is not technically theft, but it is still illegal, and the word most closely describing the activity is theft.

I also am quite tired of the argument that if everybody is downloading the music, some people are even going to hear it by chance and say: "Hey, let's buy this stuff". I bet for everybody who does that, there's a shitload of people who will want to have it, and decide to download it instead of paying.

In case anybody is wondering, I am not an artist and I never plan to be one.

Is the earth getting warmer, or cooler?

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Paris Hilton

@Dr Stephen Jones

"As a species we're also incredibly inventive and creative. We never stop being inventive and creative. We devise economic systems that put our inventiveness and creativity all over the planet."

Huh?... Did you just imply the human species is great because we invented ECONOMIC SYSTEMS??

Shit. I've seen people admiring human arts, literature, music, possibly science and technology, but it's the first time I see somebody justifying the existence of the human species by the economic systems it devised. It is especially rich, considering how great the global economy is doing now...

Paris, because I have more respect for her than for the economic models.

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"Scientists reached a wide consensus that [global warming is] SCIENCE!"

As a scientist, I protest against the idea that "consensus" can determine what is science.

That said, it is not surprising that we are getting different observations from different sources. It is reasonable to expect that such observations, especially on a short amount of time (only a few years) are going to differ significantly, as will the models which are built from them.

What I would like is for people to stop yelling abuse against each other every time they get different results. If we suppose earth is getting warmer by 0.6 C every year, it is normal to assume some will measure +1.2 C, and some will measure no change. Remember, science is not as exact as (we) scientists try to make it seem.

Personally, I don't doubt global warming, but I do wonder how much of it is human-made. The models are brand new and have little data to work with. Also, Earth had had tropical ages in the past, before there was any human to pollute.

Google readies for action against Dutch smut site

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Aaaaah! That's why I couldn't... Ah... Erm... Nothing nothing.

Every Italian's tax bill published online

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Why not?

I really hate companies who forbid their employees to tell each other how much they earn. Just make everybody keep secrets from each other, THAT will help morale... Also, it practically means they don't pay you as much as the guy next door, and they don't want you to find out.

Seriously, life would be easier if we didn't try to keep information from each other so much. As for the risk of identity theft, there are plenty of directories on the web giving the name and address of people. I do not really see how adding their total income or how much tax they pay is going to make identity theft easier...

Homeland Security takes pity on terror list Ted Kennedys

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Now if the terrorists were intelligent...

...They'd use the alias John Smith.

Even with the birthdate, it will still piss off a lot of people...

Governator outs Dubya's global-warming 'time bomb'

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Funny how the republicans...

...who are usually so big on empowering state governments,

are bending over themselves to say this particular issue can

only be regulated by the federal government...

Go Arnold!

Motorised meat-smoker droid vigilante patrols Atlanta

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@N C Hoffman

The cops already know there are dug dealers in your neighborhood, since they're here every night. It's perfectly useless to call them.

Jokes aside, I wonder about the legality of all this. I'm sure people are allowed to wander in the streets without being soaked in water... And as far as I know, it's not illegal to be a bum.

Department of Homeland Security website hacked!

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In a way, the curious thing is that such attacks are possible in the first place...

Would it be so hard to have a "secure" mode on the web server/database interface which automatically stops any request containing brackets or such?

I'm not in the business, but I find weird that with all the so-called "security specialists" in the world, such a simple thing as automatic sanitizing of user supplied data has not been implemented yet... or is not the default setting.

Scotland Yard pokes crooks on Facebook

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So many weapon experts here!


Eye-o-Sauron™ border beam barrier tech too crap to keep

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Maybe I should propose the next generation

I can propose another failed system which will cost much less!

Okay, I want only $5 millions, then I'll build you a camera on a stick

Oh it doesn't work? That's too bad, better luck next time

...But think that it cost you much less this time ^^

Office 2007 fails OXML test

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LaTeX is wonderful, but only if you can accept treating your letter as CODE which needs to be COMPILED, and more often than not DEBUGGED.

Of course, I use it... And it looks beautiful... But damn, user-friendly it is not. Basically, if you want to do anything special, you better pray that somebody else tried before and posted the solution on the web...

TeX is also a very interesting programming language. In the APL sense of "interesting".

PETA offers $1m for test tube chicken

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Not taking too many risks, are they? A 4 years limit to MASS PRODUCE and sell at a COMPETITIVE PRICE? If it was anywhere in the realm of the possible, it would have been done long ago.

All right, here's my challenge:

- The prize is 100 billion dollars (100'000'000'000$)

- The goal is to find a way to reverse global warming

- The time limit is next Sunday

- Oh, it has to be cheap, too

US crunch hits India

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ONLY 24% more than last year

It is funny that what would be an incredible and wonderful increase in US or Europe can be so disappointing in India... The world is not yet flat.

Though it must be a real problem for them. They probably invested in prevision for a much larger growth, and find now they over-extended themselves. Still, I'll count that as a sign the world economy is NOT crashing down, whatever people in the financial sector might think.

Apple gets (slightly) less sneaky with Windows Safari play

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"Err, so that'd be the fault of the web developer not checking the site in ALL available browsers then.... not exactly the browsers fault."

I disagree with that. It is true that Safari is "mainstream" enough to be tested, but God, it's not possible to test ALL available browsers... Think Lynx, Netscape 2.0, IE 1.0...

Also, I still believe that showing web sites correctly is more the job of the guy coding the browser than the job of the guy making the website. Maybe that's like believing in Santa Claus, though...

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No paypal for them

For those who accepted and adopted the new browser, they might get surprised when they try to access PayPal:


Japan: Wii Mario Kart more popular than PSP erotica

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You'll understand when you're older, I think...

F1 chief seeks French ban on orgy video

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Rather weird

Of course the ban is unenforceable, but at least it would stop it from being on the official website of tabloids... And having more pictures printed in more newspapers. I'm not sure I approve the judge's reasoning.

This DVD will self-destruct in 48 hours

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More trash

It is quite sad that it's cheaper to use throw-away stuff rather than find a way to reuse it. Unfortunately, the only way to change that is to impose huge taxes on throw-away stuff. We don't really need that either...

Google paid click rate decelerates (again)

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Well, it had to stop somewhere...

Otherwise, we would have had to click non-stop to support google's growth.

Google's explanation mean strictly nothing. Probably, they have no idea themselves of what percentage of the clicks are voluntary or not. But ultimately, the revenue should be a good indicator, because if they just raise the price of clicks, companies can and will go somewhere else. The dog-eat-dog mentality of Silicon Valley insures that brand new start-ups will pounce on any weakness they can find in the google armor.

The rise of the Malware Mafia

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Paris Hilton


OR fattening ^^

Paris, as an exercise to find in which category she belongs to...

French sites fined for linking to privacy-invading Kylie content

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This calls for another automatic disclaimer

Something like...

"This website is in no way responsible for the information it is linking to"

followed by more legalese.

Maybe it could even be added automatically by the servers at the end of every web page... And Voilà, you are back in the previous situation.

Billy Bragg: Why should songwriters starve so others get rich?

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I like the way you say that artists shouldn't expect to earn a living of the music they make.

I guess you shouldn't expect the music to be any good either... Why should they try to make it good, if they get nothing in return? Why should they make a high quality recording? They can listen to what they play, and nobody else cares, right? I mean, if they'd CARE about the music, they'd be willing to actually PAY for it...

Old people can sabotage software too

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Wonder how they're gonna do it...

I think it will rather hard to stop the sysadmins from having access to the system...

And well, what if the antepredisgruntled employee is the one who is actually supposed to have access to the system?

Al Gore's green job bonanza - can we afford it?

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Creating jobs

The trick in creating jobs is to make people to pay for them. If you have no good incentive, people are going to keep their money. But if you say the world is gonna end otherwise, they'll shell out...

As it stands, I prefer it if we create jobs in a possibly unnecessary "green" industry than in fighting other countries...

Botanist sues to stop CERN hurling Earth into parallel universe

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This guy's in the wrong business

He'd do extremely well at the Microsoft law department.

Didn't he study law for three years? And he's got the FUD

tactics down pat

Transgender man prepares to give birth

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What's in a name?

That which we call a rose,

By any other name would smell as sweet

It does not really matter what that person is called.

For him/her, what matters is what s/he thinks.

As long as nobody's suffering from it, it's all right with me.

And about the child's life, there are children born in far worse

situations everyday... Without attracting the attention of newspapers.

Apple forbids Windows users from installing Safari for Windows

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Down with the EULAs

I pray that one day, a company will put some really weird stuff in the EULA, such as:

"By reading this, you agree to pay the maker of this software 10 dollars a second

when using the software", And then try to enforce it.

I wonder how courts would manage to declare this EULA not legally binding, without having it apply to all others EULAs...

US auto-emissions cleansed in urine-tech shower

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Diesel more costly??

Sure, a gallon of diesel costs more than a gallon of unleaded, but as its gas mileage is so much better, it should be way cheaper to use diesel... Especially on long distances!

If you're really paying more to drive a diesel car, you should have it checked.

FBI agents lured suspects using fake child porn hyperlinks

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I remember, when I thought a website was interesting, I used to program a script to download automatically all the images that were linked from it...

I guess it would be a bad idea to do that now...

HP CEO asks investors to do more

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Actually, no.... investors do not purchase stock with high yield, but with high prospects, usually... Therefore his claim the stock is under-evaluated, which means "It's going to go up soon! Don't miss the train!"

Both 1.4% and 0.7% are waaay under what investors hope to get in a normal year.

Of course, the investors might have changed their habits recently...

EU wants data sharing network for driving offences

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End of the free ride

I know a lot of people who just do not care about speed limits when they're driving in a foreign country. Why should they? They will not be fined...

It has been obvious to me that the cars breaking speed lmits in Switzerland are French, and those breaking speed limits in France are Swiss (Or German, Italian, etc.) I am not necessarily happy about the governments getting together to fine us more, but you do need limits.

Google ships database porn tool

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Aaah, marketing tools...

Please note how the Pyramid or the Funnel Widget can be used

to make a section of your chart look much smaller than it is,

or in reverse, much larger... Porn indeed.

Note to self: Never trust a shiny chart.

I know you know it already, but I insist.

Apple US retail sales leap past PC par

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Why I changed

I just ordered my first Apple (MacBook Pro) after using PC all my life. Why?

I was in a bind. My current 4-years-old Dell is showing signs of instability, and it is probably better not to wait until it will finally crashes. I wish I could have stayed with XP. But apparently, no one will sell me a computer with it, except the slowest kind.

Aaaand Vista... You know... SP1 wasn't out yet... I tried, I really did. I went to look at the "benefits" on the Dell web site. They talked about Media Center, Parental Controls, Integrated Search and of course the cool interface... And I couldn't bring myself to think I actually wanted any of them. Really. On XP, I even use the classical 98 theme rather than the blue green XP one, because I like it better.

On the same page, I discovered by the way this insane statement of Dell that Basic Windows Vista Experience is "Great for booting the Operating System, without running applications or games". I know it's old news, but I hadn't seen it.

Anyway, since I couldn't have XP on a fast machine, I had to learn to use a new OS anyway, which basically put OSX and Vista on the same level.

Therefore, I am now waiting for my first Apple. I'm not sure I will enjoy it, but I can only hope for the best...

China blocks YouTube

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So how is history important?

Tibet has been controlled on and off by China ever since they both were invaded by the Mongols. Though many base their claims on history, the argument is pretty much useless. London has been part of the Roman empire, now it's not. France ruled half of Europe under Napoleon, now it doesn't. United States and India used to be part of the British empire, now they're not.

In the end, it does not matter whether Tibet was invaded by China in 1949 or if it's an old province which China temporarily lost control of. There is no legitimacy. The only thing that matters is who is controlling the situation there.

What is happening in Kosovo is a very good example. It does not matter that Kosovo is a historical part of Serbia or that the people there have a different culture and religion. Both are true. What matters is that Serbia is not currently controlling Kosovo.

ratfox Silver badge

By the way

...Let's not forget that Tibet has been the subject of much horse-trading between China and the British Empire at the beginning of the 20th century... Nobody seemed to think at the time the Tibetans could have their say in the matter...

Russian serfs paid $3 a day to break CAPTCHAs

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Boring job

I liked better the idea of giving free access to web surfers to a porn site on

condition they'd solve a captcha... The largest group of web users (i.e., those looking for porn) become your free captcha solvers!

Treehuggers lose legal fight to solar-powered neighbour

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So if your neighbours trees stop you from seeing the view...

Just put some solar cells at the limit of their shade. In a couple of years, the trees will have to be cut, and the view will be yours.

At that moment, be sure to move your solar cells in a way that he cannot plant any new tree, even a small one.

Microsoft opens APIs and protocols to all

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NOW we have a reason to change to Vista

I believe they were getting worried that nobody was writing new software for Vista... They hope that the open source community is going to fill that hole ^^

Facebook loses a few bitches

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Keeping in touch with old friends

I did find it somewhat interesting that people I had almost forgot about asked me to be their friends on facebook. I have now the e-mail address of half my junior school class, and that would have been difficult to get otherwise.

I guess there is also something to the idea of getting people used to organize their life using the computer. After all this time, I still know very few people who actually manage their appointments or organize meetings using outlook or similar.

Apart from that, I get an invitation a day to compare this or that with whoever. After finding out the first time that you need to bother 20 more people to see the results, these are deleted immediately.

Geordie cops arrest two for Wi-Fi squatting

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How about crossing the garden?

Suppose you are walking in a place you don't know, and you see flowers in the distance. You walk 5 meters on the grass to admire the flowers - that's illegal. You are trespassing on somebody's property. While it COULD have been a public garden, it is not, and you are committing a crime...

On the other hand, you do not get jailed for that, usually, right?

In my opinion, as far as your actions can reasonably be considered as in good faith, you should not get jailed for it. There are lots of people who open their network, because they WANT everybody to profit from it. I believe it is reasonable to assume, when you see a network that is open, to assume this is the case.

@Trevor: It is a bit weird that whoever can leave his router in the standard open configuration and expect that nobody to use it, but the poor guy who is too ignorant to change the standard configuration of his computer to take any wireless network will go to jail for it...

Warner Bros revs up live action Akira

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Oh my....

Akira in New-York... That's a bad first impression...

Also, since Akira is a japanese name, they'll rename the movie in "Peter"?

Wikileaks judge gets Pirate Bay treatment

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Reall efficient

When the New York Times puts up a direct link to the web site you're trying to shut down, you could say that's a backfire.

Obituary: HD DVD 2002-2008

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Universal is leaving...


What, don't they want to sell a format that no device can read?

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