* Posts by ratfox

3715 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

Consumer orgs ask world's competition watchdogs: Are you really going to let Google walk off with all Fitbit's data?

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Paris Hilton

Does FitBit data even register compared to how much data Google already has? There's way more Android phones than fitbits...

The incumbent President of the United States of America ran now-banned Facebook ads loaded with Nazi references

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Happy

Re: Pro Tip...Again

I downvoted your second post, and I wouldn't normally have bothered to say why I disagreed; but I'll make an exception this time: Downvoting is a fast and easy way to say I disagree, but I don't see the need to explain every single time the details of my opinion and how it differs from yours. The voting system is a useful way to measure sentiment for and against posts, but second-guessing the meaning and value of each vote is at best a waste of time, and at worst masturbatory.

Feel free to downvote my post without replying to it.

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Devil

Waiting for the Trump campaign to claim they were using it as a symbol of family planning.

iPadOS 14: Apple's attempt to pry fondleslab from toddlers' mitts and make it more businesslike

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Why not give the choice to people?

I find it annoying when designers decide they know better than you how you should use their product and what for. In general, this happens by removing features which I find useful, and adding others which make no sense to me.

Admittedly, listening to users often results in designing a faster horse rather than a car; and Apple has had some success in designing products that were hugely successful even though nobody had asked for them. But they've been burnt a few times as well.

Step on it, I've got the police on my hack: Anon swipes, leaks online 269GB of crime intel docs from cops, Feds

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Happy

Nice

These documents would or should be available with a Freedom of Information request anyway, but this saves a lot of time

Facebook accused of trying to bypass GDPR, slurp domain owners' personal Whois info via an obscure process

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Trollface

"That’s not the answer that’s going to work for us."

Sucks to have to obey the laws, doesn't it?

Couple wrongly arrested over Gatwick Airport drone debacle score £200k payout from cops

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The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. — Henry VI, part 2, act 4, scene 2.

EU aviation wonks give all-electric training aeroplane the green light – but noob pilots only have 50 mins before they have to land it

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It's good that this is becoming possible, but what I'm wondering is if it will open new possibilities. Electric engines are more versatile than gas ones; for instance it's not a problem at all to cut the engine and restart it later. Could this enable hybrid plane-gliders that would glide as much as possible, and only restart the engine when needed?

One thing that has struck me is how remote-controlled drones are almost always quadcopters, instead of looking like regular helicopters. If you take away some constraints, suddenly you have a lot more possibilities and you find different solutions. I hope that electric planes could bring some fresh designs.

City of London Corporation explores options to escape Oracle's clutches

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Go

Good luck, they'll need it

Huawei's latest smartphone for the UK market costs £1,299. And yes, that's without Google apps

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Devil

Re: OTOH

At least with this device (excluding the price) you are free of their snooping.

You wish

City of Los Angeles sued for tracking rental scooter rides – that's the rideshare company's job says EFF and ACLU

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I guess from the city's point of view, they're tracking the position of the scooters, not the users... I think that the city has a legitimate interest in knowing what type of trips are made, if only to optimise traffic, possibly add new bus lines, etc. Of course, it might be wishful thinking to imagine something useful is done with this data, rather than just letting it sit in an unsecured AWS storage. The city has a better chance of winning the lawsuit if they demonstrate that the data is actively used for legitimate purpose, rather than just Silicon Valley-style data hoarding "because we can".

25 years of PHP: The personal web tools that ended up everywhere

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I think this excerpt from Rasmus himself pretty much encapsulates how PHP was designed:

Well, there were other factors in play there. htmlspecialchars was a very early function. Back when PHP had less than 100 functions and the function hashing mechanism was strlen(). In order to get a nice hash distribution of function names across the various function name lengths names were picked specifically to make them fit into a specific length bucket. This was circa late 1994 when PHP was a tool just for my own personal use and I wasn't too worried about not being able to remember the few function names.

https://news-web.php.net/php.internals/70691

BoJo looks to jumpstart UK economy with £6k taxpayer-funded incentive for Brits to buy electric cars – report

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Paris Hilton

That's sure to jump start Tesla sales...

Are there any UK manufacturers of electric cars?

Moore's Law is deader than corduroy bell bottoms. But with a bit of smart coding it's not the end of the road

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Pint

The authors stress the need for hardware makers to focus on less rather than Moore.

*clap clap clap*

Google India says Play store policy, not geopolitics, behind removal of Chinese-app-deleting app

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Re: Tiktok versus mitron: What a crock

Mitron seems to be back.

This makes sense. If an app just shows videos, it matters little that the app resembles another, as long as it does not show the same videos.

Amazon declined to sell a book so Elon Musk called for it to be broken up

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Re: Oh Elon - where did you lose your way?

I think he's never been extremely stable, and often he's said stuff that were downright stupid. He's just currently ranting on a particularly bad subject, because his precious Tesla factory in California got impacted by the shutdowns, so he's yapping at the mainstream Covid response.

For a guy who has admittedly accomplished quite a lot, he does seem to have a rather fragile ego. I'm not sure whether he thinks giving his kid a stupid name is a proof of his genius or originality...?

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Headmaster

We would not have this problem if the word had been properly formed as podometer from two Greek roots, rather than as pedometer from a mix of Latin and Greek!

Legal complaint lodged with UK data watchdog over claims coronavirus Test and Trace programme flouts GDPR

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Paris Hilton

GDPR?

I thought Brexit had happened?

'5G for Five Eyes!' US senator tells Parliamentarians the world would be better without Huawei

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Go

Do it! Chicken.

I'm betting that the proposition to restrict the sale of F35 is reaaally popular with the other part of the government which is trying to sell as many of the birds as possible... And that a lot of people in UK are hoping this will happen.

Watchdog slams Pentagon for failing – for a third time – to migrate US military to IPv6

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Angel

I appreciate the fact that all of these steps that the Pentagon were supposed to accomplish are preparatory. As in "scope the project". The hard part of actually doing it, ah well, miracles require a delay.

Trump issues toothless exec order to show donors, fans he's doing something about those Twitter twerps

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Happy

Re: Trumpetsters Trumpet Drumpfs Lumps

It's a spell to make you very small. You can also take a potion labeled "Drink me"

Paying Arizona: Google sued by state for location data revenues after tracking state's citizens via mobiles

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Re: UK Government

To be fair, the mobility data they showed is hardly different or more privacy invasive than the traffic jam warnings they display in Google maps... To the general indifference.

Switzerland 'first' country to roll out contact-tracing app using Apple-Google APIs to track coronavirus spread

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Boffin

Re: Switzerland as a model

One possible reason for the fast launch is that Swiss universities had a hand in the development of the DP-3T decentralized protocol. Newspapers in Switzerland act as if it was invented there, so national pride is involved.

And yet, even in Switzerland, polls seem to indicate nowhere near enough people will download the app...

Mulled Chrome API shines light on long-neglected privacy gap: Sites can snoop on your find-in-page searches

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The examples I know where the website reimplements the search functionality are when the page content is dynamically loaded. One such "website" is Google Sheets. You don't want the huge spreadsheet to be loaded in the browser, so only the part you see is downloaded. For the search functionality, the tool actually sends the search query to the server, which finds and sends back the relevant part of the page.

IBM's sacking spree reaches Australia – and as staff wait to exit, they're offered AU$4k to find new workers

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Paris Hilton

Re: Why anonymous?

Looks like Google or Microsoft to me. Microsoft has more employees in total, and I would assume older employees in general. Google has doubled in size in the last five years, and I think they do hire mostly right out of college...

Indonesia imposes 10% digital services tax

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Angel

The problem with a turnover tax is that it hits businesses so differently depending on their profit margin. If you take 10% of Google or Apple turnover, they'll hurt but still make money. If you take 10% of Amazon turnover, they'll have to close shop!... er... And that's a bad thing. Yeah.

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So this is a VAT, and therefore technically paid by the end user... Though in practice companies sell at whatever price point which gives them the most total revenue, so it's likely they will lower their theoretical VAT-less price to compensate. It's easier to tax digital services, because the marginal cost of selling more is near-zero; meaning once you've produced the thing, there's almost no chance you will decide not to sell in Indonesia because you make less money there.

It's an interesting move. Seems a lot fairer and more efficient than taxes on turnover proposed by various EU countries; maybe because EU rules would not allow them to raise the VAT in this way?

If you're appy and you know it: The Huawei P40 Pro conclusively proves that top-notch specs aren't everything

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Re: Chocolate teapot

"Playing the long game" — Not like they have a choice.

Author of infamous Google diversity manifesto drops lawsuit against web giant

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Alert

There are some big holes in the logic though. The argument for diversity programs is that they right an "unjust" disparity in representation. He attempts to justify the disparity between the number of men and women in IT by claiming it is caused by women choosing not work in IT. He says that this is the natural order of things and we should not try to force it.

However, he notes himself that the diversity programs at Google also try to increase the number of black people hired in IT; yet he offers no explanation as to why black people would be underrepresented in IT. Is that the natural order of things that black people choose not to work in IT? And if there is no particular need to justify the disparity in the number of black people, why even offer a justification for women?

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Happy

Re: Hmmmm

Not sure what you mean by that zero sum comment? If I understand correctly the argument, there is limited charity money, and limited jobs. Charity money is only given to poor people, because they don't have enough money, and some jobs are given preferentially to women, because they don't have enough jobs. Both are unfair, and rich people and men are entitled to complain about discrimination.

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Re: Ran out of money...

Lawsuits against large companies are usually free, with the lawyers getting a big part of the settlement in case of victory. From what I understand, this particular lawyer is a politician treating similar cases as free campaigning opportunities, and is unlikely to insist on getting paid to keep going with a lawsuit.

Microsoft claims AWS has used new JEDI mind trick with secret contract objection filing

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Paris Hilton

Question: Were companies allowed to bid against each other during the call for bids? Or did each company give out a single bid in a sealed envelope that nobody but the customer was allowed to see? Or would the DoD come to one of the company and tell them y'know, your competitors are a lot cheaper...?

Not sure what would be best, there are probably hidden implications in every solution.

Uber, Lyft struck by sue-ball, no, sue-meteorite in California after insisting their apps' drivers aren't employees

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Angel

Re: Uber and Lyft have yet to show a cent of profit, right?

the venture capitalist mob who are underwriting these outfits to the tune of billions have left themselves with little option but to continue the money flow. If they don't, then it folds and the lose everything

That's the sunk cost fallacy! But actually, the VC mob got its money back when Uber went public. Now it's private investors who would be left holding the bag.

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Paris Hilton

Uber and Lyft have yet to show a cent of profit, right?

And last year, Uber lost 8 billion dollars. Ah well, with the current crisis and everybody staying at home, they should actually lose less money than usual, right?

Colombian tech minister quits, heads off to overseas job as aborted .co contract sale triggers in-depth probe

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Paris Hilton

How to fix this?

Arguably, the vast majority of users never even type a URL, so you could say that it doesn't even matter which TLD you are using. People Google for facebook instead of typing fb.com. On the other hand, I do know that El Reg's website ends with .co.uk, and I can therefore trust that I am on the right website... Though that logic is full of issues, starting with lookalike unicode characters used to write stuff like "tнеrеgɪѕtеr.сo.uk".

So, maybe the whole thing ought to get revisited, and companies should just register a domain name under the cheapest TLD available...?

We beg, implore and beseech thee. Stop reusing the same damn password everywhere

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Meh

On the other hand, I use the same password for many websites because I couldn't give a rat's ass about people hacking into, say, my commentard account on The Register. Of course, I don't use that password for more important matters...

Google Australia says government pulled pin on content-for-cash talks, hands in its homework anyway

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Boffin

I recall that in Germany at least, publishers were able by law to choose whether to allow Google to display snippets; the intent was that Google would have to negotiate with them a fair price. Google offered them zero, and they all accepted sooner or later.

Of course, even though big publishers initially refused, you'd have cheap fly-by-night new sites that would accept it immediately, which meant their results were more attractive to users and received more traffic, which meant that the big publishers lost any leverage to force Google to accept their terms. Typically, bigger outfit would be able to out-advertise small operations, but since Google News is free for everybody, they can't. This makes Rupert Murdoch very unhappy.[citation needed]

The big problem of Google News is that it makes not much difference if you're a great outfit with carefully researched stories, or a one-man outfit copy/pasting stories with automated scripts; for a lot of news it makes no difference.

This makes it possible for Google to just say: "We'll let you decide exactly what you want to us to display on Google News, and we'll pay you nothing at all". And publishers all fall over themselves to allow Google to show everything it wants.

Spyware slinger NSO to Facebook: Pretty funny you're suing us in California when we have no US presence and use no American IT services...

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Re: Class action suit?

It looks like their argument is that they're building and selling a weapon, but not using that weapon. It's disputable whether using that weapon can ever be legal, but it's not their problem.

As Brit cyber-spies drop 'whitelist' and 'blacklist', tech boss says: If you’re thinking about getting in touch saying this is political correctness gone mad, don’t bother

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In China, they use red for profit and green for debt.

Family meeting! Chocolate Factory makes its business-like video-chat service free to anyone with a Google account

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Angel

The first hit is always free...

From attacked engineers to a crypto-loving preacher with a questionable CV: Yep, it's still very much 5G silly season

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Re: 5C 5G Coincidence?

And you have three upvotes now. Half-Life 3 confirmed!

Famously flawed, it is 30 years since the Hubble Space Telescope was launched

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Pretty incredible

This thing has been up there since I was in high school. Meanwhile, code that has not been touched for a couple of years probably does not work anymore. Heck, there are many programming languages that have been created and have become obsolete since that time.

Forget tabs – the new war is commas versus spaces: Web heads urged by browser devs to embrace modern CSS

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Paris Hilton

So how do "modern monitors" do it?

My understanding is that monitors can normally only represent a triangle in the horseshoe of the full color gamut, because they only have subpixels of three different colors (usually red, green and blue), and that by mixing them you can only represent the convex hull of these three colors (therefore triangle). You can choose colors that are as far apart as possible and as pure as possible, but you cannot represent the full gamut because you cannot have a subpixel in a color that does not exist outside of the horseshoe gamut (you'd need to find a way to activate only certain photoreceptor cones and not others, even though they normally both react to a different degree to the same lightwaves).

So how is it possible for "modern monitors" to display more colors? Are they using four subpixels?

House of Commons agrees to allow Zoom app in Parliament, British MPs will still have to dress smartly

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WTF?

Why Zoom? Aren't there any solutions that are not actually known to be unsafe? Doesn't the UK government have any professional system for video conferencing?

Google productises its own not-a-VPN secure remote access tool

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The article says they've been using it internally since 2011 though.

Google pre-pandemic: User-Agent strings are so 1990s. Time for a total makeover. Google mid-pandemic: Ah, we'll reschedule to 2021

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Re: User-Agent strings are kinda useless these days...

Which seems an odd choice to me, as won't that mean servers will need to keep track of browsers and version numbers, in order to know what standards they can utilise?

That's pretty much what they do now, isn't it? My user agent string looks like "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_15_3) AppleWebKit/XXX.XX (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/80.0.XXXX.XXX Safari/XXX.XX" good luck figuring out what standards that means...

Google calls a halt on Chrome 82, but the version 83 beta has arrived early – so it's coding and bug finding time ahead

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Version 83??

Though I'm not missing the days of "release 2.17.32b", I'm wondering when they are going to reset the version counter...

All your jobs are belong to us... Amazon is hiring 75,000 people but if you want US home groceries, tough luck

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Re: Bets on who will be the first company with 1M+ employees...

Foxconn aka iPhone makers has 800k employees. A number one should remember when reading stories on how they had "dozens of suicides".

What's a Google Play? Huawei talks up fledgling AppGallery store, shows off another voice assistant with a female name

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I wouldn't bet much on the new assistant (I suppose Samsung has an assistant hiding somewhere and nobody cares), but the app store is something more interesting. Considering the percentages demanded by Apple and Google, there is a need for more app stores, and some game companies are already taking steps...

That said, does somebody understand why these sanctions make it impossible for Huawei to put Google Play on their phones, but lets Microsoft put apps on Huawei's app store? Maybe Google should put Google Play in Huawei's app store?

Internet samurai says he'll sell 14,700,000 IPv4 addresses worth $300m-plus, plow it all into Asia-Pacific connectivity

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WTF?

Re: Old blocks that not abide to current rules should not be routed

Who would benefit from that? And I don't mean in a money sense. Literally, what good would it make to make these non-routable? It feels to me like you just discovered somebody has been hoarding a collection of rare stamps, so you decide to... burn it all.

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