* Posts by pop_corn

80 posts • joined 20 Sep 2011

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Google contractor HCL America accused of retaliating against unionized techies by shifting US jobs to Poland

pop_corn

Re: IT skills are fungible

> "Make it unattractive to employ you and companies will find more attractive options."

Agreed. Whilst unions may have started out with laudable goals and were useful 50 years ago when there were few employers in town and workers had little choice and fewer options, that's not the case any more for many industries, IT especially.

Any form of protectionist interference in a labour market (which is what the unions exist for) is anti-competitive, anti-business, and ultimately anti-worker. Why do you think China has become the factory of the world with a positive balance of payments of around a $Trillion (with a T!) every year? Lower regulation / less red tape, it's as simple as that.

Unionisation is short term gain for long term pain, as evidenced by this story.

If you don't like your working environment / conditions / pay, then either make yourself indispensable and renegotiate from a position of power, or vote with your feet and leave, retraining / up-skilling as you go if necessary.

Unionisation will not only work against you in the long term, but it's a lazy move, abdicating your individual bargaining power to someone else, hoping they negotiate in good faith on your behalf.

Five bag $300,000 in bug bounties after finding 55 security holes in Apple's web apps, IT infrastructure

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Re: And nobody at Apple spotted this massive attacks on their systems?

I would imagine they get millions of hack attempts every day.

My insignificant little wordpress blog was hacked 3 times in 3 years before I figured a fool proof way of locking it down (putting a .htaccess file in the wp-admin directory to block all ip addresses except my own).

But last time I looked, the site was still getting attacked dozens of times a day. So often that I have to sporadically clear out the error_log as it grows and grows due to hack attempts.

Prepare your shocked faces: Crypto-coin exchange boss laundered millions of bucks for online auction crooks

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Re: Quite close to home

I had a similar problem. Someone registered a domain name in my company name, setup a pukka looking website, and registered an address at a serviced office site. Then they ordered 10 brand new iPhones in my LtdCo's name.

I only found out when my normal £50 pcm phone bill suddenly jumped to £850, as they'd managed to get their order added on to my account!

Fortunately it was stopped before any phones were sent out, my bill was sorted, and I successfully seized the domain. But it wasted about 10 hours of my life.

FYI: Mind how you go. We're more or less oblivious to 75% of junk in geosynchronous orbits around Earth

pop_corn

Re: One wonders what the future of satellites and space explorations is going to be...

> "We clearly need to build an orbital tower."

I assume you mean an orbital tower with space elevator? It's a fine idea, that will never happen.

Even assuming it could be physically built (extremely unlikely) when the risk of it breaking leads to it whipping around the earth, destroying everything it collides with, it will never be acceptable.

You had one job... Just two lines of code, and now the customer's Inventory Master File has bitten the biscuit

pop_corn

Re: Defensive Coding

> "The interpreter didn't cache values, it was all immediate by reference therefore there was a distict difference between the two statements:"

That's a shocker! And people wonder why programming is a lot harder than it should be.

I gave up coding when I realised I was still solving the same problems that I had started my career fixing 20 years earlier, e.g. writing a UK formatted date to a database, and reading it back later only for it come out in US format!

Even this very week I've come across the same issue using SharePoint. *facepalm*

pop_corn

Re: Defensive Coding

Thanks for saying that Bill, my work here is done. :D

pop_corn

Defensive Coding

Back when I was a coal face programmer, coming from a VB background, I got caught out by this C error 1 time too many:

if (a = 1) {

// Bug: code here always executed irrespective of 'a'

}

Of course the first line should be: if (a == 1) {

Before compilers cottoned on this common mistake and issued a warning, I started reversing the variable and constant, so:

if (1 == a) {

because if I accidentally used a single = the compiler would catch it.

Oddly I never convinced any other code to follow suit. They just didn't like it.

Boffins baffled as supergiant star just vanishes – either it partially blew itself apart or quietly turned into a black hole

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“Lost a [star] Master Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing.” - Yoda

20 months behind bars for IT support worker who nicked £30k worth of crypto-cash

pop_corn

Re: Self-employed!

10 months. He'll be out on parole after serving 50% of his sentence.

How did the victim manage to prove it was him though? I know the blockchain is visible to all, but how did he determine the thief's wallet belonged to this guy?

Fire Brigades Union warns of wonky IT causing dangerous delays in 999 control rooms

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Re: Maybe the FBU shouldn't have sabotaged FiReControl then

Can you explain how 46 CEO's is necessary replication? Or 46 HR mangers? How about 46 procurement managers? What about 46 differently specified IT suites, complete with 46 admins to manage and upgrade them?

Apple tells European Commission it's nutty for slapping €13bn tax bill on Irish subsidiary

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Re: Ireland's taxes are within it's [sic] remit

> "in short - it is the EU interfering in a sovereign tax matter"

And that, in a nutshell, explains Brexit. The 1975 referendum to join the "European Community" of like minded but independent sovereign states, in a loose trading block, was never about handing over that level of control.

Talk to the old timers who voted in it. They'll tell you they never voted for the EU as it is now, and would never have voted to join if they'd been told the truth about how it would turn out.

Or indeed dig out old TV footage of the original EC referendum for & against debates. The Join side explicitly denied it would become what it has.

That's why so many older people voted to leave, because whilst they voted to join, they never wanted nor voted for the EU, and the Brexit referendum was the first proper chance they had to say so.

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Happy

Re: An an Irishman

> "allowing the EU to interfere in it's sovereign tax laws"

Well that's what they voted for when they joined the EU. The solution of course would be an Irexit, freeing up Ireland to rejoin the UK, which would solve the border problem! :D :D :D

pop_corn

Re: Ireland's taxes are within it's [sic] remit

If it wasn't for the tax advantages of being in Ireland, none of the big companies that have their European HQ's there would have gone to Ireland. I'm talking about: Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Paypal, eBay, LinkedIn, Accenture, Johnson Controls etc etc etc.

It's a simple choice for the Irish gov't: run the lowest corporate tax regime in the EU and accept lower corporation tax receipts, in exchange for a massive domestic employment boost and inward investment. These foreign companies employ over 1/2 million people (Irish citizens and EU citizens working in Ireland) nearly a quarter of the entire Irish workforce who all pay income tax there and spend their money locally, and these companies still pay over 3/4 of all its corporation tax take. Hence Dublin in sometimes referred to as the EU's Silicon Valley.

That's why the Irish gov't itself is fighting this. It's worth more to them in the long run to forego the €13bn windfall and not scare off all these companies employing its citizens and propping up the entire economy.

Hey, it's 2019. Quit making battery-draining webpages – say makers of webpage-displaying battery-powered kit

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Happy

> "Save the family joules"

That's journalism at it's finest right there. Thomas Claburn, I salute you!

Let's see what the sweet, kind, new Microsoft that everyone loves is up to. Ah yes, forcing more Office home users into annual subscriptions

pop_corn

Is the Microsoft Action Pack wheeze still a thing? I'm looking at 2 MAP boxes on my shelf right now, which have supplied most of my software needs for the last 15 years (yes I'm still clinging onto my Windows 7 Professional edition for grim death!) all for a few $hundred. :D

Science and engineering hit worst as Euroboffins do a little Brexit of their own from British universities

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Re: Well, you're leaving

Errr did you read a different article to me?

> "The number of EU academics in all disciplines working in the UK is still growing"

E.e.: they're not leaving faster then they're still coming; net growth; numbers going up. Which bit don't you understand?

Anatomy of an attack: How Coinbase was targeted with emails booby-trapped with Firefox zero-days

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Re: Discovered 'simoultaneosly', or leaked?

Given that the estimate is $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency was stolen just in 2018 alone, there are people with very deep pockets, who would likely pay very handsomely for as yet unreleased vulnerabilities.

Chinese fireworks, Indian orbits, and NASA names Maxar as maker of its first Moon module

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It's already been done with the satellites now orbiting the moon:

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LRO/news/apollo-sites.html

Not to mention that we can and have double checked by bouncing a laser off the reflectors they left behind on the moon:

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2mlszp

Tesla's autonomous lane changing software is worse at driving than humans, and more

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Re: Incomplete

> "its when you kill other road users that the shit will really hit the fan"

Tesla's will always kill other road users, as will all self driving type cars. As long as they kill fewer road users than humans (approx 5 per DAY in the UK!), that's an improvement.

Mumsnet data leak: Moaning parents could see other users' privates after cloud migration

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Re: Mumsnet penetrated

Hmmmm, is this dodgy reporting by theReg? I got the mumsnet email about this and it clearly says:

> "How many people are affected? We're confident that number of users affected is 44 (2 accounts were breached twice, bringing the total occasions to 46). We have emailed these users directly. "

Apple: Good news, everyone – sales are less bad than we thought. Not amazing but not bad. $84bn is $84bn, tho

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Re: Hmmm ...

At 24% it's a GINORMOUS profit margin. Compare to say Tesco for 2018:

Group Revenue: £57.5Bn

Operating Profit: £1.6Bn (before exceptional items)

Margin: 2.9%

Source: https://www.tescoplc.com/investors/reports-results-and-presentations/financial-performance/five-year-record/

Get drinking! Abstinence just as bad for you as getting bladdered

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Re: More likely hypothesis

Dressing up correlations is "science" really annoys me. Isn't it far more likely that the majority of people don't drink alone (your A), and that drinking alcohol is a social activity (your C), and that being sociable with people prevents dementia (D)?

Please forgive me, I can't stop robbing you: SamSam ransomware earns handlers $5.9m

pop_corn

Re: What can save us from this malicious computer ransomware infestation

Yeah, because the death penalty has done such a good job of stopping all violent crime in the US hasn't it? Oh, wait...!

The issue with the death penalty, is no one doing a crime that calls for it (or pretty much any crime) believes at the time that they're going to get caught, so the ultimate sanction, is ultimately useless.

Sysadmin trained his offshore replacements, sat back, watched ex-employer's world burn

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Re: Not in IT...

> "And most HR departments pretend they care for the employees but they don't. They are their for the company and that's it."

The hint's in the name. When "Personnel" departments became "Human Resources" departments, humans just became resources to exploit.

Boss sent overpaid IT know-nothings home – until an ON switch proved elusive

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Plugging in the phone

Many moons ago, the mother in law decided she wanted to get on "that internet thing". To her credit, she'd popped down to Tesco's and pickup up a Tesco.Net CD and was studiously following the instructions therein. She called me when it wasn't working.

After much over the phone diagnostics, I discovered her mistake: when it came to plugging the computer into the "phone line", she'd actually plugged the computer into the "phone".

She had literally unplugged her 1980's style phone from the wall, then plugged the cable from the phone handset into the back of the computer... so now neither were connected to the wall socket (she was calling me on her mobile)!

Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, off you go: Snout of UK space forcibly removed from EU satellite trough

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Re: The Swiss are in it

Agreed, ESA has nothing to do with Brexit. From ESA's own website: https://www.esa.int/About_Us/Welcome_to_ESA/ESA_and_the_EU

> "The European Union (EU) and ESA share a common aim: to strengthen Europe and benefit its citizens. While they are separate organisations, they are increasingly working together towards common objectives. Some 20 per cent of the funds managed by ESA now originate from the EU budget.

> "ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, whereas the EU is supranational. The two institutions have indeed different ranges of competences, different Member States and are governed by different rules and procedures."

Opportunity knocked? Rover survives Martian winter, may not survive budget cuts

pop_corn

Re: Crowdfunding

> "or that the Earth is getting warmer, so it must be stopped!"

That's a new one, I've never heard of stopping the earth as a solution to global warming! ;)

Make Apple, er, America Great Again: iGiant to bring home profits, pay $38bn in repatriation tax

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Re: 15.5 percent and Apple Incentive

So that you can return that money to the shareholders, i.e. the people making the decision to repatriate the money.

pop_corn

Re: 80 hours

Just because you're massively in debt, doesn't mean you should give up trying to repay it.

Stop us if you've heard this one before: Tokyo crypto-cash exchange 'hacked' for half a billion bucks

pop_corn

Stolen crytocurrencies could be managed like this

I don't get it. There seems to me 3 possible solutions to stolen cryptocurrencies:

1) The Blockchain records what a legitimate transaction is and is visible to anyone. When the NiceHash wallat got raided for $60M in bitcoin, the destination wallet was there for all to see. You could go to the public blockchain and see the stolen bitcoins were still sitting in the destination wallet.

As transactions are committed when a miner solves the mathematical puzzle to prove the next block in the chain, and as miners are often part of large networks of miners working together and sharing the reward when one of them hits on the solution. Could not the exchange that was robbed submit a reversal transaction to the blockchain (effectively stealing it back) and as long as enough miners agreed to try to validate the transaction in that block, is it not possible to validate that transaction?

2) Again as the stolen currency in visible in the wallet address, could all the exchanges work with law enforcement to make sure that transactions out of that wallet are tracked, and where possible the recipients identified as handling / laundering stolen goods.

Basically you should be able to keep a track of where the money goes, because all transactions are public (at least bitcoin transactions are), and in the same way as if you buy a stolen car, that car isn't really yours, the stolen bitcoin etc could potentially be recovered, maybe bit by bit (pun INtended, haha).

3) Again because it's all public, exchanges around the world could agree to block any transaction from the wallet that's the recipient of the stolen currency, effectively freezing out those funds. Sure this would require considerable global co-operation, but it's doable. There could be a public black-list of wallets, and subsequent wallets, all of which are frozen out of the system for handling stolen goods.

Anyone then could check, or their software could check, any transaction against this public list, to flag up that they may be transacting for stolen goods. Ok this may not get the currency back, but if the people who steal currency suddenly discover that it's worthless because they can't use it for anything, that's a massive deterrent.

pop_corn

Re: What unpleasant memories?

Presactly! I seriously considered taking a punt of £10k in Bitcoin when it was £250 a few years ago, i.e. 40 BTC. In today's money that would have been £240,000! Cool, awesome, great, I'd have been rich!!

But the reality is, when it doubled to £500 per BTC (£20,000 in total) not having a crystal ball, I probably would have sold half (20 BTC) to get my original £10k out.

Then when it doubled again to £1,000 per BTC (again worth £20,000) I probably would have sold half (10 BTC) to get another £10k out, realising a 100% return on my original investment.

I suspect I would have repeated this formula of selling half every time it doubled, so by now I'd have extracted £40k profit and still hold £10k in BTC. Don't get me wrong, £40k would have been very nice to have, but it's a far cry from the theoretical and mortgage clearing £240k it could have been.

Aut-doh!-pilot: Driver jams 65mph Tesla Model S under fire truck, walks away from crash

pop_corn

Re: Don't call it Autopilot, for a start

> "... accidents like this will happen."

What's your point? Are you saying that "autopilot" or whatever you want to call it, is only worthwhile if it's 100.0% perfect?

Of course not, it only has to be better than humans, and as the article says, it's already 40% better than humans, a figure I expect to improve as time goes by.

If we put self driving (or whatever) on a pedestal of perfection, it's doomed to fail. It's the very fact that it's already very good, in that accidents like this are rare, that make them newsworthy. If Tesla's were crashing like this every week, we wouldn't be reading articles like this.

Brazil says it has bagged Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean for £84m

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I typically translate the national debt interest repayments (approx £43Bn*) into Wembley stadiums (appox £800M).

Roughly we could build a new Wembley stadium every week all year long, a new one in every city in England (51) in a year. That's how much money the gov't gives away servicing (not decreasing) ours, our parents', and our grandparents' debt.

How much debt interest will we saddle on our children and grandchildren I wonder? An aircraft carrier (£6.2Bn) a month perhaps?

*When interest rates were higher, IIRC this figure was over £50Bn pa.

That was fast... unlike old iPhones: Apple sued for slowing down mobes

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My iPhone 5S runs just fine...

... because I'm still running iOS v9. Yes it's annoying to have to dismiss the weekly "Do you want to upgrade?" and "Are you sure you don't?" (paraphrasing) messages, but by not upgrading the iOS I've skipped this very predictable problem entirely.

Sadly I wasn't so clever with my iPad which despite being blisteringly fast when I first got it, now struggles to notice that I'm even typing, forcing me to wait every 3rd word for it to catch up.

I realise that from a security point of view, not upgrading to the latest iOS is not ideal, but I don't do any internet banking on my phone so the risk is minimal.

NiceHash diced up by hackers, thousands of Bitcoin pilfered

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Bitcoin is basically a Ponzi scheme

The only way investors who already have bitcoins can get their money out, is when new investors put their money into the scheme. That's the definition of a Ponzi scheme.

Everyone's rushing in because the returns are amazing at the moment, which is pumping more money in at the bottom.

Eventually however you'll run out of new investors (people buying bitcoins), and existing investors will want their money out but won't be able to find new buyers, and the price will crash. Simples.

WW2 Enigma machine to be seized from shamed pharma bro Shkreli

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Re: Enigma

Don't forget the very small matter that the Polish intelligence enigma breaking efforts were disrupted somewhat by the rather inconvenient invasion and occupation of Poland by German right near the start of the war!

Which is why (so I believe) that all their enigma breaking material was rushed out of Poland to England, so Turing et al could continue their work.

French activists storm Paris Apple Store over EU tax dispute

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Moving tax to a tax haven explained

Of course it's more complicated than this but as many people don't seem to understand how companies like Apple move corporation tax profits offshore, I thought a simplistic example would help:

Company A in country X makes a widget for $100 and sells it for $150 making a profit of $50.

- Corporation tax in country X is 10% so they pay corp tax of ($150 - $100) x 10% = $5.

Company C in country Z buys the widget for $150 and sells it to the end-user for $250 making a profit of $100.

- Corporation tax in country Z is 20% so they pay corp tax of ($250 - $150) x 20% = $20.

With me so far? Now company C is unhappy about paying 20% corp tax, so opens a new company B in country Y. Country Y is a tax haven that charges no corporation tax. Now company B sits in the middle of this transaction so buys the widget from company A, like this:

Company B in country Y buys the widget for $150 and sells it for $250* to company C making a profit of $100.

- Corporation tax in country Y is 0% so they pay corp tax of $zero.

Now company C in country Z has bought the widget for $250* and sells it to the end-user for $250, making no profit.

- Corporation tax in country Z is 20%, but they've made no profit ($250 - $250) so they pay corp tax of $zero.

The same widget has been sold to the same end-user by the same company, but by putting a middle company in the way in a tax haven, and here's the crucial bit: inflating the price of the widget to company C, company C have made no profit from the sale. Therefore, there is no corporation tax to pay by company C and company B doesn't pay any, it's in a tax haven. Of course really they're same company group.

This is how Apple, Google, Starbucks, Microsoft etc etc all divert profits to low or zero corporation tax havens. It's why Ireland's 12.5% corp tax rate attracted so many IT companies. This is why Apple are sitting on $250Bn in cash, all of which is offshore in low / no tax havens. They've saved about $50Bn in tax doing it this way!

* In reality the figure charged from company B to C flexes enough to allow company C enough profit to pay it's staff and bills, but not enough to make anything more than a token taxable profit.

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Re: But which Tax are we talking about?

There is an attempt to close that loophole with the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED) tax now:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/annual-tax-on-enveloped-dwellings-the-basics

China: Cute Hyperloop Elon, now watch how it's really done

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Re: Pressure suits?

Only Jonathan Richards mentioned the tremendous amount of power needed for the acceleration, but I don't think anyone mentioned the nearly equally amounts of power generated by the deceleration (reduced by losses due to the minimal friction and heat).

Remember that the track is essentially a linear motor, which means for the time it's decelerating, it's essentially a linear *generator*. In order to keep running costs in terms of power down, that 86 GJ of generated electricity has got to go somewhere, somewhere preferably reusable for the next / return journey's acceleration.

Two million customer records pillaged in IT souk CeX hack attack

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Re: Some credit and debit card data was also slurped

My thoughts exactly. The 5th principle of the Data Protection Act is the one I believe is the most widely breached, as has clearly been the case here:

> Fifth principle - Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.

UK gov draws driverless car test zone around M40 corridor

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Re: "that buyers of driverless cars"

> "or the car automation is perfect"

> "A self driving system that is nearly perfect is more dangerous (in the long run) than one that is rubbish."

I don't agree. Car automation just has to be better than humans for it to be worthwhile.

Currently 10 people a day die on the roads of the UK. If 100% car automation is only twice as safe and so kills 5 people a day, we'll be saving 1,800 lives a year.

There's no such thing as "perfect" and to put any technology on a pedestal of expected perfection is to doom it to failure from the outset.

Two million recordings of families imperiled by cloud-connected toys' crappy MongoDB

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> "I would name and shame the guyz on the Internet, never to find a job in IT again."

Right because you've never made an IT mistake, and all the rest of us are perfect programmers too, who sprang into the world with all the knowledge we have now?

People learn far more from their mistakes than successes. Sure fire the IT dept, but can bet your boots those guys/girls won't make the same mistake twice. To suggest that for 1 mistake someone should lose their career, livelihood, then possibly their house and wife, is ridiculous.

Chrome 56 quietly added Bluetooth snitch API

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I appreciate what you're saying Martin. Yes we'd all like less / no adverts, but the reality is that's not going to happen, so the least I can hope for is that they are made more relevant to my needs and wants.

And yes, though most people don't like to admit it, we are influenced by ads, that's an undeniable fact.

I used the example of drills just cos it was an easy stereotype. Here's a better example perhaps: last week I bought a card game (Hero Realms if you're interested, it's excellent), so if this week I were to see adverts for card sleeves perhaps, that would be a relevant crossover product. Or ads for the expansion card packs, they would be a relevant up sell advert.

That's got to be better then getting bombarded with random ads, surely?

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> "Merely scanning for nearby devices is a marketer's dream"

I have never understood why people think marketers having more information is an issue? As a middle aged, balding, pot bellied man, I don't want to see adverts for Barbie dolls or frilly dresses, I want to see adverts for powertools, beer and gadgets.

Marketers being able to target ads is good for everyone concerned: I see ads for things I'm interested in buying and that are relevant to me; and they spend less money on advertising, so the cost of their product is cheaper, which helps to keep the cost to me the consumer down.

Further more, if all ads could be better targeted, that would likely lead to less adverts overall, as many marketing schemes currently just go for the blanket approach, hoping to hit their intended audience. E.g. if pizza companies know I don't eat pizza, that would save 30+ leaflets a year being shoved through my door unnecessarily.

Let's use a more practical example, if I want to buy a new case for my phone, wouldn't it be useful for the website to be able to check what phone I've got and warn me if I've accidentally picked the wrong model case, without me having to manually remember my model number, and then compare it to the probably very long list of supported models?

Now of course that's a task you and I may find easy, but my pensioner parents certainly don't!

So I see no problem with this at all, though yes of course as long as we can turn it off... at those times when we *do* want to buy that special frilly dress! :)

Beancounter nicks $5m from bosses, blows $1m on fantasy babe Kate Upton's mobe game

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Re: What a loser

Agreed, he should have just approached her agent and bought some private "consultation" dinners with her.

Brexit judgment could be hit for six by those crazy Supreme Court judges, says barrister

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Re: @ Pete4000uk - Should I Stay or Should I Go?

> Your statement also suggests that at some point the EU had gone "just about far enough".

What we joined was a good idea. We joined the EEC or Common Market, which at the time was 9 very similar "western" countries in terms of economic and political development. It was a simple agreement on the trade of goods and services (a common market and customs union).

It all started to go wrong in 1993 with the creation of the European Community, which significantly extended the group's remit to include politics, not just economics. It was at this point that there should have been a 2nd referendum.

Once the free movement of labour principle was established, combined with the EU's aggressive expansionist policy of hoovering up as many disparate countries as possible, irrespective of their match, and ultimately the introduction of the Euro, the writing was on the wall for the EU. It's break up and ultimate demise became inevitable.

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Re: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I completely agree that countries working together is the natural and proper progression of civilisation. We should do it as a country, and need to do it as a human race.

BUT I don't believe in Unity for Unity's sake, no matter the cost.

The artificial political construct that's overlays Europe called "The EU" has shown itself to be a morally and fiscally corrupt-to-the-core organisation, more interested in the power wielded by individuals than actually improving the lot of its constituents.

It was a good first attempt, I'm glad we joined all those decades ago, but it's time to call it quits.

Brexit is the first step in a 100 year journey of disbanding the EU version 1, and starting again, wiser and with lessons learned, with EU version 2.

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Re: Parliament must vote

I don't agree with that analysis at all. I voted to leave, as did dozens of people I know, and not one of them voted to leave for any of the reasons you just listed.

Zerg rush! Now Google DeepMind, Blizzard train AIs with StarCraft battles

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Re: An AI playing StarCraft II

As I understand it, Starcraft is a very popular game in the Asian pro gamer competition circuit. Indeed it appears there's an annual $1/2M prize purse for the StarCraft II World Championship Series winner:

http://wcs.battle.net/sc2/en/about

According to this page, there's been over $4M of prize money handed out in South Korea for Starcraft II and Starcraft leagues have been televised on 2 different channels. It's even had its own match fixing scandal with 11 players banned for life and convictions with prison sentences (suspended) for several!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional_StarCraft_competition

Uber drivers entitled to UK minimum wage, London tribunal rules

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Re: How to classify workers

Having been fighting IR35 as a contractor for many years, like others I'm sure, I know more than many about employment law and self-employment status test. Let's go through a few of the biggies, in no particular order, thinking "Does this point indicate employment?":

1) Personal service - does the driver have to personally perform the service, or can he substitute his brother/cousin/wife/friend etc if he feels like it?

=> YES, personal service is required, this is a pointer towards employment. [Confirmed in para 39 of the judgement.]

2) Mutuality of obligation - Is the driver obliged to turn up for work, and is Uber obliged to find work for them?

=> NO, the driver can stop when they want, this is a pointer towards SELF employment. [Para 43 in the judgement.]

3) Right of control - does Uber control "what", "how", "where" and "when" work is done?

=> YES, given that a driver accepts a job, Uber tells them what to do, where to go, and when. [Starting from para 47.]

4) Provision of own equipment - does Uber provide the equipment?

=> NO, the driver provides his car (though Uber provides the app, the car is the key here). [Para 44.]

5) Financial risk/ablity to profit - is the driver's profit the same, irrespective of their efficiency?

=> NO, if they drive a shorter / faster route, using less petrol, they make more profit.

6) Part and parcel of the organisation - does the driver look like an Uber employee?

=> NO, I'd say, though you could argue YES [Para 66]

7) In business on their own account - does the driver only use Uber?

=> NO, I'd suspect that most drivers use multiple similar apps concurrently, whereas most employees only work for a single employer, or at least don't work for 2 employers concurrently.

[However para 34 suggests that actually most divers are sole operators, which is a surprise, so maybe this should be a YES.]

Whilst it's not completely clear cut, on balance I'd say that Uber drivers are not employees as they don't have to accept work and can work for others simultaneously.

Whilst I agree that the contract is full of shocking weasel words, I suspect there's a moderate chance Uber will win at appeal.

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