* Posts by ratfox

3439 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

Google India must pay back-taxes on $225m after cheekily funneling cash through Ireland

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Paris Hilton

As it has done repeatedly in Europe, Google Ireland "licenses" the American web giant's Adwords technology, through which it makes most of is money, to other subsidiaries in Europe

Now I might be mistaken, but I believe this is completely wrong.

If I understand correctly, Google Ireland is not licensing Adwords to other European subsidiaries; it is simply the only Google subsidiary selling ads in Europe.

If you go to Google France and you ask them about ads, they will advise you, then put you in contact with their counterparts in Ireland who will sign the actual contract. Google Ireland pays Google France a small stipend for their services, and keeps most of the money.

The problem in Europe is not the licensing of technology; it is the European law which allows Google Ireland to sell in other countries while only paying taxes in Ireland... (And as a separate issue, to pay almost no taxes in Ireland through licensing arrangements involving Netherlands, but that's a separate issue, which Europe is trying to fix)

How to make your HTML apps suck less, actually make some money

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Paris Hilton

56MB for its iOS app and 9.6MB for its Android app

I'm not sure whether it's terrible or not; after all Apps are downloaded once and used forever. But I'm wondering: Anyone know why the iOS one is so much bigger? More feature for the premium user, or is it an OS thing?

Apple Cook's half-baked defense of the Mac Mini: This kit ain't a leftover

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Paris Hilton

Re: Too late

Would you replace a 8 to 10 year old Mac with a 3 year old Mac? No.

Why not?

If you're considering the mini line, you're looking for a cheap option that's good enough, and the 3 year old model fits that. It's not like you need to double the speed of your computer every year to run the latest programs; that era is over. What else do you want?

If you're looking for performance, or any kind of pride in having a recent, cool model, then you're not buying a mini anyway. That's what the iMac is for.

You know that Apple is still selling the iPhone 6s? That's because for people who are not chasing after the latest gadget, it's plenty good enough.

IBM: We're now a, what's not losing money? Ah, a cognitive cloud champ!

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Baton Rogue

I like the new name!

Kubernetes has won. Docker Enterprise Edition will support rival container-wrangling tech

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Re: Oh, what a surprise...

I tried "docker container orchestration", only two of the results contain Kubernetes in the title (2nd and 4th). The top link is a linux.com comparison between 8 orchestration tool. Maybe Google knows what you're looking for (I basically never search anything about containers).

Dying! Yahoo! loses! fight! to! lock! dead! man's! dead! account!

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Re: No need to rule on terms of service

If I understand correctly, the law does not say much one way or another. Yahoo claimed they had no choice by law but to lock the account, and the courts said this wasn't the case.

I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing Gluon: Amazon, Microsoft hope easy AI dev tool sticks

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Rushing for developers

We're not really sure what AI can do, but we want it to be done on our cloud.

Swiss banking software has Swiss cheese security, says Rapid7

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Re: How is SQL Injection Still a Thing?

How is SQL itself still a thing?

I mean, this is a language that is roughly the equivalent of COBOL. It's been invented almost forty years ago, on the mistaken assumption that programming languages should look like English. Its syntax completely obfuscates the execution logic.

So now we have computers concatenating strings to build SQL statements, which are sent to other computers, only to be parsed at the other end, which is pretty sad; and when you think of it, that's the only reason SQL injections are even possible in the first place.

I yearn for a modern language based on the abstract concepts underlying the execution tree. The only way I can explain we don't have such a language is that by the time engineers understand the execution tree, they already have Stockholm syndrome about the syntax.

'There has never been a right to absolute privacy' – US Deputy AG slams 'warrant-proof' crypto

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Die Gedanken sind frei, wer kann sie erraten,

sie fliegen vorbei wie nächtliche Schatten.

Kein Mensch kann sie wissen, kein Jäger erschießen

mit Pulver und Blei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

Google: This may shock you, but we also banked thousands of dollars to run Russian propaganda

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"Democracy in danger"

The thing is, these amounts are a drop in the ocean compared to what Trump and Clinton paid in advertising. If I remember correctly, Hillary Clinton raised half a billion dollars, and she did not get elected.

It would be a bit weird if 100k spent on Google ads were enough to upend the election, considering they represent 0.01% of the money involved. If Putin is that good at advertising, he should just become a marketing consultant, and he'd make enough money to save the whole Russian economy.

Microsoft's foray into phones was a bumbling, half-hearted fiasco, and Nadella always knew it

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It's interesting, because historically, Microsoft has been quite good at copying the competition, and making their product just a bit better to be preferred. Windows, Word, and Excel were all products that basically copied somebody else, cheaper and as good, or maybe just a bit better.

I'm not sure how come they did not manage to do it again here, maybe they left it too late, and the network effects of first movers were too powerful this time. And they couldn't undercut on the price of free Android (though they did manage to make it non-free by forcing makers to pay for their "patents on Android"). Or maybe everybody hated them too much by that point.

Google hooks up with Scale for cloud collab?! What does it all mean?

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Re: Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide

3 stars, would get trolled again.

Russian suspected of $4bn Bitcoin laundering op to be extradited to US

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Re: At what cost?

Same reason that any law is ever enforced. If you don't chase criminals, you get more criminals.

Facebook, Google, Twitter are the shady bouncers of the web. They should be fired

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The truth is that as much as people instinctively don't like the authorities deciding what can and cannot be shared online, when it gets to a point where society is damaged by a lack of controls, it is time to introduce them.

And we are at that point.

Really? I for one prefer to have fake news showing up a few hours before they are taken down, rather than having some people opaquely deciding whether I'm allowed to give my opinion; whether done by algorithm, corporations or bureaucrats.

Despite the recent noise made about fake news, they're not a recent invention. 9/11 conspiracy theories did not need Facebook or social media. In fact, they never needed the internet to propagate. And before, it took weeks until they were recognized as fake, if ever.

People just have to learn that "I saw it on the internet" doesn't mean it's true. We've been through this before.

Schrems busts Privacy Shield wide open

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Waste of time

The US are going to keep on spying, the corporations will not add strong end to end encryption, and people will keep using their products. And neither Europe nor anybody else can do anything about it.

Dot-Amazon spat latest: Brazil tells ICANN to go fsck itself, only 'govts control the internet'

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Thumb Down

I can't remember the last time I typed a full DNS address

In practice, my browser autocompletes the whole address (e.g I type "the" and then I choose between www.theregister.co.uk and www.theonion.com), so I rarely have to type more than three letters. Rarely, I type the full name of the web site, and let google find what I mean.

TLDs are basically remains of a bygone era. They serve no purpose anymore. At best, they're a gimmick. In a better world, ICANN would have been forbidden to create any new ones.

'Alexa, play Charlie Bit My Finger.' I can't do that, Dave. No, really

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Let me guess

Alexa wasn't playing the ads, was it?

Web devs griping about iPhone X notch: You're rendering it wrong

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To be honest, I find the idea of a non-convex screen rather silly. We'll see what kind of hash developers make out of it, but I suspect most will just ignore the left and right pads to simplify their lives. I mean, it is Apple, and the people buying those will be rich, but there is a limit to how much money you can get out of people by having your app display something in two awkward corners of the screen.

Why Uber isn't the poster child for capitalism you wanted

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Poor research

an industry that has been competitively fragmented and structurally stable

Rather than "competitively fragmented", I think "local monopolies" is the proper term. E.g The service offered by London black cabs is horrendous. If there had been any proper competition, they'd have gone out of business long ago.

No one can demonstrate a clear link between specific Uber product features and its meteoric growth

They have an app which allows you to order a ride in most of the Western world, and they accept credit card payments. I believe just those two advantages over most incumbents are enough to explain their popularity.

explain why no one else had ever recognized these opportunities

Because the incumbents were so entrenched that they could afford to sit on their asses, considering the multiple layers of regulation protecting them, and it was so hard for new entrants to get into the market that it took near-organized crime methods to do it.

or document how they are powerful enough to allow Uber to rapidly drive all incumbent taxi and limo companies out of business.

As soon as any alternative to the incumbents was created, customers couldn't switch fast enough.

Uber has broken the laws in many ways, but I for one am really happy that the incumbents got the kick they deserved. And I'm not really worried about Uber becoming a global monopoly, because it's actually easy to replicate the business model. You just need not to suck.

Bing fling sting: Apple dumps Microsoft search engine for Google

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Paris Hilton

I wonder if Google is paying for that

It seems that Google is paying Apple billions to be the default search engine on Safari. I wonder how much the change is due to Google's superior search results, and how much to them bidding higher? Apple also knows how to monetize their users...

Though Bing is still the default for images, for some reason (is Bing good for images? Anybody knows?), so maybe there are complicated trade-offs.

Wanna get started with practical AI? Check out this chap's Rubik's Cube solving neural-net code

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Yeah right

Solving it is either something you can do in minutes to impress

Please. The world record is 4.69 seconds. The guy sitting next two me can solve it in 30 seconds. Using only his left hand. And he's not left-handed.

Hi Facebook, Google, we think we might tax your ads instead – lots of love, Europe x

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"Digital economy"

It's not the digital economy they have a problem with. Facebook and Google are just two big companies that happen to be digital. They have the same problem with Apple, which when all is said and done is mostly selling hardware.

More are paying to stream music, but YouTube still holds the value gap

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Re: Elsagate

I'm not sure the Googles and Facebooks are those that have most to fear from such new regulations. They have the size and the cash to adapt and create the systems that will keep them out of trouble.

On the other hand, small players that are trying to enter the market won't be able to do the same; and they could be sunk by a single legal complaint...

Like net neutrality, it's the small players that have the most to lose.

UK PC prices have risen 30% in a year since the EU referendum

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Re: Markets are mostly psychology

Incorrect - check out the trade deficit figures.

Size matters. If trade between EU and UK grinds to a halt, EU loses 4% of its exports. UK loses 13%.

After all, if those in power would have thought that way, there wouldn't have been special rule after special rule for the UK. It's hard to imagine that that mindset is suddenly gone.

Dating is a very different circumstance from breaking up.

Google parks old pay-to-play auction in front of European Commission – reports

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Re: EU to Google.

I think there was a typo somewhere; the EU plans to fine Google ten millions Euros a day, not ten thousand. I think that's enough to make even Google pay attention.

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Paris Hilton

Curious to see the answer of the EU

In the end, it's the top of the google.com page which is valuable real estate. Google's price comparison engine does profit from being able to put ads there, but that's less space for Google to put text ads.

If the price comparison engine becomes a separate entity, or possibly a separate company, and Google runs an arm's-length auction to decide who gets to put their ads there, then it looks like a textbook solution to monopolies.

It's pretty much a given that FoundEm would complain, given that it's dead and buried, and the only money they can hope for is damage settlements; they have no interest in any solution. The big question is, will the EU accept it?

Google India launches payment service that sends money as sound

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Paris Hilton

Is sound really the best way?

Wouldn't actual QR codes be harder to subvert or tamper with? I would prefer NFC myself, though I guess that wouldn't work with iPhones (they have NFC, but only Apple can use it). Sound seems a very brittle solution.

Someone checked and, yup, you can still hijack Gmail, Bitcoin wallets etc via dirty SS7 tricks

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My bank has an app which identifies me if I scan a QR code on the computer screen, plus a password.

Of course, my bank in North America still has no 2FA whatsoever. And the password cannot contain special characters.

Apple’s facial recognition: Well, it is more secure for the, er, sleeping user

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I wonder how precise the 3D data is. A flat picture will not work, but if all you need to do is fold it a bit imaginatively, that's not much better...

But more generally, I find this inferior to the fingerprint sensor: slower, and more cumbersome.

Sacre bleu! Apple's high price, marginal gain iPhone strategy leaves it stuck in the mud

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Apple will be fine as long as they have an important enough percentage that they can't be ignored by most app developers and accessories makers. The fact that their customers are generally rich helps make their percentage heavier.

But it's a tricky game, and if they ever lose that, it will be near impossible to turn it around. Unlike desktops, smartphones don't command significant staying power in the workplace, so that when consumers leave, it's over.

Apple's adoption of Qi signals the end of the wireless charging wars

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I for one welcome this. It's all nice to have competition to determine who has the best solution, but at some point it becomes really annoying when things don't follow a single standard.

I would argue that it's better to have a single standard even if it's not actually the best one. For example, Betamax might have been superior, but it was very convenient for ten years when VHS was dominant and people could expect their tapes to work with any device they were likely to encounter.

Hi Amazon, Google, Apple we might tax you on revenue rather than profit – love, Europe

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For small companies, the cost of having to declare income in multiple jurisdictions is a nightmare. For big ones, it's a rounding error. Why not declare that the single market rule of paying tax in a single country does not apply to global corporations controlling subsidiaries in most countries? Seems to me simpler than inventing a tax on turnover.

If it makes it more difficult for mega corporations to compete with local businesses: well, that's just icing on the cake.

Crackas With Attitude troll gets five years in prison for harassment

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Re: American justice in action

How is it in the society's interest to pay for incarceration of a non-violent offender for a few years, and then make the person effectively unemployable for life due to the criminal record

Same as most punishments: deter others from following his footsteps. Unfortunately, what he did is both easy, and terribly costly to society. There is a high risk that many other "activists" would find it a very "funny" way to fight the system. A bit like swatting.

So it's very important to send a clear message that doing this will absolutely ruin your life.

Google will appeal €2.9bn EU fine

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But, uhm, first of all: how exactly is fining Google going to change anything?

Well, they're going to have to change the way they do their business at least. In fact, they already agreed to do that, appeal or no appeal. Which indicates that the goal of the appeal is more to reduce the fine or avoid further damage lawsuits than to reverse the decision.

Second: couldn't they have seen this coming for a long time already?

People have been complaining about this for about ten years already. What took so long is that the previous competition commissioner tried to solve this without a big fine, and that took about five years. Then they had to start over from the beginning.

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Re: Google has a monopoly in 13 out of the 14 top commercial functions of the web

I'm kind of wondering what are the "14 top commercial functions of the web"?

And which one is not owned by Google? Cloud computing, owned by Amazon? Online shopping, owned by Amazon? Online payments, owned by... credit card companies? Bitcoin?

Extortion, owned by Oracle?

Facebook claims a third more users in the US than people who exist

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Re: What Is The Point of Facebook ?

ratfox ... Your "perfect" usage can easily be replaced with email.

No it can't. I don't know the complete list of all my old friends who live in LA, or who might happen to be in LA next week. And I'm not about to spam the mailbox of hundreds of people who might or might not live in LA.

Contrary to email, what you write in Facebook does not demand more than one second of attention of anybody who isn't interested. It does not guarantee either that people will happen to read it, and that's totally a feature.

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Re: What Is The Point of Facebook ?

There are people who genuinely use Facebook as an easy way to connect with people they don't see often. They say to all their contacts: "I'll be in LA next week, send me a message if you're there and want to meet". That feels to me the perfect usage, which is genuinely useful and cannot easily be replaced by another tool.

Apart from that, I mostly see: jokes, links to articles, family pics, pictures showing how cool the user is since he's on a beach/in a bar/on a mountain, pictures of vaguely interesting sceneries (like a cloud).

There are also people who treat is as a microblogging site, and post many times a day to give their opinion on some subject.

Artists tend to post pictures of whatever they're working on, at different stages. That can be interesting.

A furious think-tank boss, Google, and an academic 'fired' for criticizing ads giant

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Re: A bit off topic, but

Near Oxford, there's two little hamlets called Upper Slaughter, and Lower Slaughter.

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A think tank?

Isn't the very definition of a think tank that it is a lobbying organisation paid to promote the views of its backers? What's so surprising that you would be fired for saying the wrong thing?

I mean, there's a reason these people are not working for universities, or calling themselves journalists, right?

WhatsApp irons a shirt, dons a suit, prepares business services

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Paris Hilton

What are the requirements for a messaging app?

Writing a messaging app is easy, they're dime-a-dozen. Popularity is recursively the best predictor of success. App makers generally copy me-too features while trying to differentiate themselves any way they can. But what are really the features that would push you to use one rather than the other for your business? Apart from reliability?

Sub plot subplot thickens: Madsen claims hatch fumble killed Swede journo Kim Wall

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Yeah right

It's weird how after the third time you're found to be lying, people stop believing anything you say.

Vivaldi boss: It'd be cool if Google went back to the 'not evil' schtick

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Re: Well...

I think they're trying to sell the robots. Couldn't figure out where to put the ads, maybe.

On topic, I'm thinking Google suspend enough accounts for wrong reasons, and there are enough people criticizing them, for it to be a coincidence. That it took almost three months to reinstate the account is just an example of Google's great customer service.

Well, whad'ya know? 'No evidence' that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower

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Well they would say that.

Fake news! Deep government! It's all a conspiracy man!

Google's Hollywood 'interventions' made on-screen coders cooler

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Megacorporation influencing media producers in an attempt to change public opinion

You would need very few changes to make it really creepy.

I'm not sure if learning that The Amazing World of Gumball is a thing makes it better or worse.

15 'could it be aliens?' fast radio bursts observed in one night

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That much energy is equivalent to the total output of our sun over ten hours. What do we know requires the total output of a sun? Apart from Starkiller base?

US cops can't keep license plate data scans secret without reason

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Paris Hilton


Can somebody explain to me the difference between the two?

Nest cracks out cheaper spin of its thermostat

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Re: Colour me surprised

That puzzled me too. I can buy that it's more efficient or has more features, but I don't see how it can be easier to use...?

EDIT: I was making the assumption that normal people just set their favorite temperature and never ever change it. I now remember that American houses typically have crap insulation, which means that heat is perpetually bleeding out of your house, and people save money by not heating whenever they're not at home.

Tech soap-opera latest: Alexa marries Cortana, will share custody of customers

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This is good

It's very unfortunate that interoperability is often neglected, and sometimes actively sabotaged, in the hope of keeping users in walled gardens.

A typical example was Apple deliberately stopping Palm devices from accessing iTunes. After so many years, the hardware was finally compatible, so they fixed the glitch.

Nowadays, everybody's trying to be the single point of contact for everything you do, from cloud storage to music streaming. Sometimes I wonder if megacorporations will be the religions of the future, with people of the Apple church, the Alpha church, the WeChat church discouraged from socializing with each other, to prevent them from contacting unfortunate dalliances.

US Navy develops underwater wireless battery-charging tech

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Re: Obligatory XKCD...

Actually, in this case, considering they're practically the only customers, they can probably force this standard on the manufacturers...

Is it possible to control Amazon Alexa, Google Now using inaudible commands? Absolutely

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Don't the assistants reply loud and clear whenever you give them an order?

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