* Posts by ratfox

3728 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

At historic Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google CEOs hearing, congressmen ramble, congresswomen home in on tech market abuse

ratfox Silver badge
Angel

Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

Looks like preconceived opinions are more important than actually reading the article

Irony isn't dead... Facebook sues EU on data privacy grounds for requesting too much personal data

ratfox Silver badge
Paris Hilton

I'm sure Google isn't hurting much about the €600k fine, but... How does that work? The ECJ ordered Google to examine requests for delisting, and now Google gets fined every time the regulators thinks it didn't take the right decision?

I thought the regulators had outsourced their job of handling privacy requests to Google, but I hadn't realized they would also make Google pay for the privilege...

Google allowed to remember search results to news articles it was asked to forget. Good

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Suing the wrong party

The recording industry is fighting millions of individuals each looking for a personal gain. This would be against a handful of websites that probably don't care that much.

ratfox Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: Why I love the Right to be Forgotten

In this case, I think that a stronger law should be used to completely take down the pages, and possibly go after the ex-boyfriend. The RTBF is made for removing results on old stories that no one cares about; it would be relatively powerless against a deliberate character assassination strategy.

'First ever' snap emerges of something vaguely resembling our solar system 300 ly away. We'll take 10 tickets

ratfox Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Are those numbers right???

Gravity goes on forever, in theory.

Well actually, gravity does not transmit faster than the speed of light; so it stops at the Hubble horizon!

My life as a criminal cookie clearer: Register vulture writes Chrome extension, realizes it probably breaks US law

ratfox Silver badge

Re: My computer, my rules.

Some websites refuse to show you articles if you are incognito, though. In principle, it should be impossible to know that you're in incognito mode, but preventing detection is an arm race between browsers and websites...

Microsoft accused of sharing data of Office 365 business subscribers with Facebook and its app devs

ratfox Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Wait. The claim is that by default, unless you turn off an option somewhere in some disused-leopard-lavatory settings screen, Microsoft sends the email address of its paying customers to Facebook? If it's true, wow. Just wow.

Apple and Google, take note: Newly enacted EU law aims to protect developers from arbitrary decisions of tech giants

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Well let me tell you a story...

As mentioned by the article, apps are usually kicked out because the AI thought it was doing something illegal or dangerous. Of course it's often a false positive, but they are not going to wait to kick out illegal stuff.

USA ends Hong Kong's special treatment, crimping flow of tech to territory

ratfox Silver badge
Meh

There's no such thing as international law. At best, there's international peer pressure.

A match made in SEV-en: Google touts Confidential VMs using AMD's Epyc on-the-fly memory encryption

ratfox Silver badge
Paris Hilton

I would have thought that if you are willing to let your code run on somebody's cloud, you are fine with the basic promise that only your program can read your data (at least, I'm assuming that Google is promising this with or without this encryption). Ultimately, you have to trust Google are not lying to you and that they know what they are doing, because I don't see how you can get proof that your program is really running on the encrypted machine and not any old random server.

So Darned Kind of you, Facebook: SDK bug sends popular iOS apps crashing earthwards

ratfox Silver badge
Mushroom

Should have bought an Android. OH BURN!

FYI: You do all know that America's tech giants, even Google, supply IT to the US military, right?

ratfox Silver badge
Happy

Re: Aid and comfort?

If the Navy and the FBI is using GSuite, does that count as Google helping, or sabotaging the US military?

Linux kernel coders propose inclusive terminology coding guidelines, note: 'Arguments about why people should not be offended do not scale'

ratfox Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

That concept was in the English language a thousand or more years before anyone English encountered a black person

Er, no. Black people were known in Europe since before English language existed. Vikings were actually known for traveling a lot and bringing back prisoners, e.g:

"In 862 AD the Annals of Ireland record the landing of black slaves [...] by Vikings returning from raids on Spain and North Africa."

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

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge
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.

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge

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

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge

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

ratfox Silver badge

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

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge

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

ratfox Silver badge

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

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge

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

ratfox Silver badge

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...?

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge
Paris Hilton

GDPR?

I thought Brexit had happened?

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

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge

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

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge

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

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge
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.

ratfox Silver badge

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

ratfox Silver badge

Re: Chocolate teapot

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

Author of infamous Google diversity manifesto drops lawsuit against web giant

ratfox Silver badge
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?

ratfox Silver badge
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.

ratfox Silver badge

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

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge
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.

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge
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

ratfox Silver badge
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.

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