* Posts by MrF

36 publicly visible posts • joined 28 Oct 2011

Google closes briefcase on Italian job: Execs 'not liable' for privacy breach


Re: "They also can lose exemption if they monitor content."

Not 'even one comment', but yes -- that's a good thumbnail characterization of how it works in the USA. It's an extension of an age-old principle that the *distributor* of a printed work has scant liability for its content.

The idea is that distributors perform limited review of the materials (content) being provided. No reasonable person would expect his local librarians to read (or edit) every page of every book & magazine, for example.

However, publishers are a different matter. Since they often employ editors and they deal directly with the authors, they are assumed to have greater opportunity for review of all content. This carries implied liability.

Establishing 'Net analogues was tricky. What is 'distribution' or 'publishing', online? After some legal wrangling, we got Section 230 of 1996's Telecommunications Act; it grants distributor immunity to 3rd-party content hosts.

Thus, if a site-owner elects to restrict or edit his user's content, he risks losing his 'distributor' status ('How could I know? I just host the stuff. I can't read/watch all of it!') and could face a different standard for liability.

Again, this is the US view. But in the jurisprudence biz, once somebody arrives at a reasonable-sounding precedent like this, you won't have to wait long before it has an impact on case law, pretty much everywhere.


Snapchat seeks to muzzle 'third founder' leaks in lawsuit over who invented it


Talk about burying the lede...

but then I'm not a lawyer either, so I've no idea how the rules work.

Deserves pride of place as your topic sentence, no?


Keeping warm in winter the el Reg way: Setting a NAS box ON FIRE


I love the smell of burning 'lectronics in the morning...

Smells like...Christmas. :-)

♮Chestnuts roasting on a NAS Box fire...

Vaunted Windows 8 RTM updates 'actually featured from Win2000'


Natural for Sinofsky to gild the farthing, where it suits his vanity...

...since everybody knows he's gunning for Ballmer's job.

Cash in the asset: Nokia may flog global headquarters in Espoo

Paris Hilton

Re: They are turning into a US company anyway

>> Oh good, we can watch Nokia implode in a blaze of Microsoft and RIM-style management styles.

Um, haven't we been watching Espoo play out a RIM-style train-wreck for the past 5 years? And with nary a Canuck in sight until well past half-time.

In fact, seems to me the Finns have shown still more talent in trashing their habitat than they ever did in building it up. They've managed the speed and scale of their self-destruction brilliantly -- no need of foreign assistance if your business plan involves downing some vodka, then swimming out into a vast, frogid ocean of Nordic hubris.

[Paris for the general cluelessness on Nokia's Bod.]

Google engineer finds British spyware on PCs and smartphones


Speaking as an American, I'd like to...

...thank you lot for taking the pressure off us, via this delightful demonstration that UK-based slimeballs are at least so cheerfully vile and reprehensible as our home-grown variety. Greatly appreciated.

Next time we can return the favor -- say, by distracting the world press with a routine Mideaast invasion or perhaps just some despicable human rights violation(s) -- please don't hesitate to ask. ::mwah!::

Lawyers: We'll pillory porn pirates who don't pay up


Oh, joy -- our US gun nuts have reached El Reg.

Regarding your take on the benefits of an armed citizenry, listen up, freakshow:

(a) The 2nd Amendment was not created to ensure average folks could own guns -- or Ak-47s; or bazookas -- for pleasure, nor for hunting or any other of the usual 'traditional culture' excuses.

(2) How can I be sure of this? Easy -- because that's not what the 2nd Amendment says. It refers quite specifically to the maintenance of, 'a well-regulated militia'. Google that, bokay?

(3) And there's no evidence that gun ownership has any effect on violent crime much less white collar stunts like extortion or blackmail. Want to reduce crime? Educate your citizens, while keeping your town clean and affordable. Problem solved. You're welcome.

Tech hacks should admit taking corporate coin, but don't start a witch hunt


Well said. For the right price, I'd...

...give Hitler the broadsheet version of a tongue-bath. Just let me know when the check clears.


"which is always what you see with Mr Muller" Oh, sure, you see that admission...

...exactly once, entombed somewhere near paragraph four of his first blog-entry in a 27-part series.

Muller's take on full disclosure should be given pride of place in the OED entry for 'disingenuous'.

Paris Hilton

"Because they want to"? The 'real media' (Ha!) quote Muller...

...purely because they're lazy thinkers who avoid actual reading/research to the point they are completely lost unless their source(s) are kind enough to provide topic sentences and the occasional tl;dr summary.

Paris because it's always her doing yet never her fault.


Hear, hear!

Had exactly the same thought within seconds of checking the byline.

AuthenTec sells out to Apple to the sound of 1,000 lawsuits


If 'we' cannot see the point in instigating further bids...

...then 'we' (read: the author of this execrable excuse for an editorial) are a mouth-breathing moron and a total waste of said oxygen.

Immediately after hearing Apple's offer, if you are the CEO of Authentec the very *first* thing that should go through your mind is, 'Hang on a second -- why the sudden, extreme interest?' That's simple due diligence.

Anything less is dereliction of fiduciary duty if not actionable, per se.

Google orders spontaneous support for Parliamentary motion


I think I've found a small error...

...at the point in this article where you say, "The giant American corporation pays minimal corporation tax in the UK thanks to a series of complex legal avoidance mechanisms."

That can't be right.

Clearly, you meant to write, "The giant American corporation -- like many others, including Apple and Amazon -- pays minimal corporation tax in the UK thanks to a series of complex legal avoidance mechanisms."

Presumably it's simply a typo; or perhaps you suffered a transient ischemic attack, mid-sentence? I look forward to seeing this corrected, as time -- and your taste for accurate, scrupulous and unbiased reportage -- allows.

Google ditches the bits in the bottom of the box


Netvibes has been super flaky since day #1...

...with everything from lengthy outages to unsolved incompatibilities. If it works well for you, then adding you to all the satisfied Netvibes users I know would bring the total to exactly one.

BTW, El Reg Rats: Google know you're attached to iGoogle. And they know this move will likely alienate some of you. Even so, they are willing to take the risk because they also know that if you are still using that service then you are -- relatively speaking, of course -- a geezer.

i.e.: Not in their target demo for conquering hearts and minds of future generations.

Meanwhile, they are convinced that if they will simply append a few handy iGoogle-ish features and functionalities to Google's new, unified 'sandbar' then many (or most) of you will stick around -- no real harm done except for the occasional bitch session about them good ol' days.

Apple-Moto patent gripe almost thrown out the door


Well, he does have to follow standards of practice...

...meaning he has to give opposing counsels a chance to straighten up their acts. Not that this is at all likely to happen, as you, I, he and even the lawyers themselves are well-aware.

All he needs is reasonable proof and estimate of damages. And I type 'all' while simultaneously shaking my head and laughing my arse off. There's simply no way they can do that.


Exactly, but...

...if this kind of (highly sensible) ruling becomes the fashion -- and, after all, that's what 'precedent' is for -- then even a blatant troll like Apple will eventually go back under their expensively accoutered bridge, to stroke their Steven P. Jobs fetish dolls and grumble pathetically about how the world doesn't deserve their creative genius.

Thumb Up

Re: US Judges Getting Smart

Could happen. Easy enough to hide a Raspberry Pi under a powdered wig. ;-)


Re: Neither of you gets it!

Google didn't buy Motorola to attack, but as material for affirmative defense. They care not one whit if they 'lose', so long as Apple don't prevail.

It's Apple who keeps bringing suit against everyone in sight and it's Apple need to win. Any 'expert' who says otherwise is nothing of the kind.


Re: so yes, news then ...'really'.

"Sounds more like the judge is looking for more time because he hasn't done his homework"

Uh, no...quite the opposite.

We've reached this ignominious point because opposing counsels have repeatedly tried to ignore and/or sidestep the judge's orders. Apple's lawyers, in particular, have made fools of themselves to the point where His Honor has rebuked them in open session. They tried it again this time, with yet another absurdist, last-second motion.

And that's why his threat to terminate with prejudice is so important to the current state of IP litigation. This case proves it's easy to bring suit and request relief -- it's quite another to show how you've been harmed and how much. Is Apple claiming their #1 best-selling product would sell even better without Motorola as competition?


Please. Let's hear it for judicial sanity. At last.

ARM-Android to outship Windows-Anything by 2016

Thumb Up

Purely for sake of comparison...

Here in the US, most iPhone users I've asked will admit to doing several curious things. By 'most' I mean nearly every one I've spoken with; by 'curious', I mean supremely odd. Well, odd by my definition anyway.:

1. They buy a fair number of apps -- dozens, in fact. Mean is ~30.

2. They pay full price almost every time. Mean is > $3.

3. They buy them almost entirely on the suggestion of a friend or co-worker.

(Not a 'tech reviewer' or website article.) Maybe half the time this involves

a *very* brief demo by the recommending party.

4. The majority of said apps are used once, then never touched again. And

by 'used' I mean they open the app, muck around a bit, then close it.

Interesting, no? I'm not sure what it tells us about the average iPhone user, much less what it says about the long-term success of Apple's business plan. But definitely interesting.


Your reasoning is solid and I happily stipulate to your evidence...

...and yet your conclusion is completely off-base.

Just as Microsoft, Apple (and a great many tech reviewers) casually dismissed the infant Android OS as a second-rate competitor in smartphones, they -- and you -- would be foolish to repeat so gross an error in the connected devices sector.

The few holes in Android's ecosystem are rapidly being filled. More so than iOS or Windows, both Chrome and Android are improving in leaps...as are Google, themselves, pivoting their previously scattered forces to concentrate on a mobile future.

And Android still brings three powerful factors to bear: low cost, easy customization, plus (now) broad worldwide adoption across markets & manufacturers. That combination means far more than a handful of apps, however well-established.

Apple Oz offers refunds for confused 4G iPad owners


You hope they weren't being 'knowingly disingenuous'?

Now, why on Earth would you think that? After all, this is the same firm whose most recent OS rev causes all AT&T iPhones to show '4G' in their status bar.:


...and yes, practically every iPhone user you ask now thinks their phone's been 'automagically' upgraded. But 'knowingly disingenuous'...Apple? Never!

RIM punts annual investors meeting until 'later this year'


In other words, RiM execs need time to gin up a distraction...


Apple snags blockbuster multi-touch patent


Not so fast...

"So this does screw a lot of other companies but there are ways round it."

You can't be sure of that, given only the content of this article. In fact, it's possible -- if not reasonably likely -- Apple's patent does not apply to any of the other multitouch devices currently on the market.

Given what I know of US law (IANAL) plus that cornucopia of prior art refs, Apple would seem to have patented only the specific methodologies involved...not overriding concept of multitouch via capacitive display. Thus, far from any requirment to come up with a (entirely) 'different display', it's a fair bet that all a competitor need do is devise a unique mechanism and/or firmware for sensing/parsing the multitouch input.

Motorola Motoluxe Android smartphone


Re: I'm confused, maybe you can help me out..

Why do they offer so many models when it's clear that most will fail in the marketplace?

Simple, really: Motorola -- and, by extension, every other OEM -- builds to operator demand. Full stop.


Court defies Apple demand to ban Samsung tablet


It's Apple's (infamous) "rubber band" patent...

...where the user sees a "bounce-back" effect (usually accompanied by some kind of faint, momentary 'glow' in the background) as the kinetic scrolling reaches page-end. See:



This nonsensical waste of jurisprudential resources illustrates perfectly both the deplorable state of international patents in general, as well as the putrid depths which Cupertino are willing to plumb in defending their -- ahem -- superior innovation.

Samsung outsold Apple in world smartphone arena


...and you're forgetting the infamous operator kickback(s).

Apple make their money from playing both ends against the middle (consumers).


Ye olde excrement...

...with a silent 'e'. mayhaps?

Small pile of cash, dying platform: 2011 is bad news for Nokia


None of which is news, really...

For more than a year, it's been an open secret that both Samsung & HTC are pretty well fed-up with wasting time and resources on Windows Phone. That's why they keep giving it short shrift in several areas, not leastways in hardware. The only reason they are still in the WP game is to share in the buckets of 'promotional agreement' cash doled out by MS, annually.


...all of which Elop (and everyone else) acknowledged 12 months ago.

So, the question remains: what are Nokia planning to do about it?

Atlassian get top G'day gong


Remarkable how much of the isles' IT talent...

...was packed off to the colonies. :(

Suicidal Foxconn workers talked down from factory roof

Big Brother

Not sure this got any UK airplay...


Max Mosley sues Google to block 'orgy' vid searches


Yeah -- good luck with that lawsuit, Ace. Winning against Google on self-serving censorship issues is only just slightly easier than extracting cash from Disney over a personal injury claim.

Nazi Star Trek episode finally broadcast in Germany


The English Channel, of course. Duh.

Argentina stakes online claim on Falklands


Look forward to news that Britain has dispatched virtual fleet. Maybe offer to play 'Battleship' for Falklands, best 2 out of 3.

Steve Jobs: the Exclusive Biography


Lasseter joins the many cheated of their due...

...by Steve Jobs, 1st-order hypocrite and master manipulator.

And how much credit for Pixar's eventual success should go to their then-owner? True, Jobs kept the enterprise afloat during tough times and was never late with the paychecks. But he did so at the cost of calling in 100% of their outstanding shares. And long before 'Toy Story -- heck, even before the release of their first short subject, 'Luxo, Jr.' -- Mr. Jobs tried to sell Pixar. _Twice_.

With Pixar, as in many previous ventures (I'm looking at you, 'Lisa', 'Mac Cube', etc.) Jobs' vaunted instincts were dead wrong...excepting perhaps those of self-preservation & self-aggrandizement. Would that Isaacson had investigated the angle of Steve Jobs as phenomenal success _in spite of himself_, his fat pulled from numerous fires by passionate hirelings with genuine talent.