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* Posts by ratfox

3067 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

Google says broader right to be forgotten is 'serious assault' on freedom

ratfox
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About what is lawful or not: The awkward thing about the right to be forgotten is that it prevents Google to display certain results for certain search queries, even though it's perfectly legal to publish the content on a website.

So for instance, it's legal to have a website stating that Mr. Mario Costeja went bankrupt in 1998. It's fine for Google to show that website as result for "la vanguardia 19 January 1998", but they're not allowed to show the same result if you search for "Mario Costeja".

The website is legal, Google is allowed to index it, they're allowed to show it, just not for this particular search.

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Google aims disrupto-tronic ray at intercoms. Yes, intercoms

ratfox
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Devil

the domestic intercom industry

Man, that's another thousand-dollar industry that Google is destroying.

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You, Google. Get in here and explain all this personal data slurping – Missouri AG subpoena

ratfox
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Re: Missouri GDP ~$230B - Google market cap ~$720B.

Careful: the Missouri GDP is the total yearly revenue of the state, while the market cap is a measure of what Google is worth. For comparison, Google's revenue is about $100B a year. It's growing fast, but it will take 4-5 years until it catches up with Missouri. So no, Google cannot buy Missouri.

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ratfox
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What happened to the fight with the AG in the neighboring Mississippi? If I remember correctly, Google managed to convinced some judge that the AG's subpoena was too broad, and a fishing expedition. I'm not sure it's over yet though.

Since the FTC decided to give Google a pass, the state AG are apparently taking things into their own hands.

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Uber loses appeal against employment rights for workers

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However If they were a decent company and had plenty of competition then the actual business seems legitimate.

To be honest, even though the legal system is supposed to blindly apply the law, I think people underestimate how much the reputation and general behavior of a company can influence rulings. I wouldn't be surprised if the ruling had been different, were Uber indeed a decent company with plenty of competition.

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ratfox
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Re: How far

It is the skimping on this which makes Uber "competitive".

That, and the fact that they are pretty much subsidizing all the rides with the billions they have raised with VCs.

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Android at 10: How Google won the smartphone wars

ratfox
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The good thing is that no matter how dominant Windows was in 2003, and though it is still pretty important today, it is far from being as unavoidable as it used to be. MacOsX is a fairly acceptable alternative, and depending on your needs, so are Linux or ChromeOS. So Android will probably not keep its crown forever. And I would argue that Windows was far more dominant in 2003 than Android is now, considering the most famous flagship phone is an iPhone.

In fact, there is pretty much no major app or game which only runs on Android and not on iPhones, while there are even now tons of software, in particular games, that run on Windows and have no MacOsX version.

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The NAKED truth: Why flashing us your nude pics is a good idea – by Facebook's safety boss

ratfox
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viewed by a "specially trained representative from our community operations team," to check the photos are actually legit nude snaps

I'm surprised that in this day and age, a major tech company would actually claim it's necessary to have a human in the loop. Surely that's what machine learning is for? Seriously, even without going to machine learning, Google and others have had porn filters for ages, and they're pretty reliable most of the time.

In the very least, I'd suggest a two-tier system: A first check is done with an automated detector, and if the image is not detected as a nude, then the user is asked for permission for an actual human to look at it and check the actual nakedness. This way, most pics can be submitted without anybody having to see them, and Facebook even saves money on the manual work.

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Harry Potter to get the Pokémon GO treatment

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I hope it's done a lot better than Pokémon Go. I was really disappointed by the gameplay. When the most interesting part of the game is the grinding to find more Pokémons, you know something went wrong.

It's a pity when you consider that their first game Ingress had way more interesting mechanics, whether for playing solo or in a team.

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Better filters won't cure this: YouTube's kids nightmare

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I really wonder why these videos have to be so weird. I mean, that videos for children don't need to be high quality and can be churned out at low cost, fine. But why do they need to be disturbing?

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Seven years on, Spain rattles tin cup at Google over Street View slurp

ratfox
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The privacy row first arose in 2010, when people realised that Google's then-kinda-new StreetView photo-collection-mobiles were collecting the names, MAC addresses and locations of WiFi access points in homes and businesses.

I might be wrong, but I think that the big problem was not collecting the MAC addresses and locations of WiFi routers. It was that they were also recording whatever data was being sent over the networks.

Google was recording the locations of routers to make it easier for Android phones to find out where they are when they detect the same WiFi network, and this is something relatively uncontroversial which iPhones also do.

But they had no particular reason to record the data sent over the network, they didn't even know what to do with it, and it seems that they recorded it just because why not. That's the part that got them in trouble.

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Look, ma! No hands! Waymo to test true self-driving cars in US with Uber-style hailing app

ratfox
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Paris Hilton

Who told you that self-driving cars are based on deep learning? From what I understand, the technology is far more boring than that, all rule-based and algorithms...

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You know what's coming next: FBI is upset it can't get into Texas church gunman's smartphone

ratfox
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Pity they don't say what type of phone it is. I assume it's an iPhone, but maybe there's other phones that are hard to unlock.

Or maybe they tried both 1234 and 2580, so now they're stumped.

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Splitting off Google Shopping wouldn't fix the pay-to-play problem

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"Splitting not a solution"

First, I'm thinking that there are still price comparison engines in Europe, which unlike FoundEm managed to survive these past years, and some of them are trying the solution offered by Google. FoundEm, however, has no interest whatsoever in Google's solution being successful. They want it to fail, to augment their chances in a future lawsuit based on the EC decision. They're not really an impartial observer.

Second, I might be wrong, but if Google does split off the shopping property and considers it as a separate company, that means they stop doing anything anticompetitive. FoundEm's argument is that it would still be a crap product, but Google is allowed to make a crap product. Like putting ads on any website makes the website worse, but most websites have ads.

I read somewhere that if the EC does not accept Google's solution after six months, they will fine them retroactively €15M per day since September. That would more than double the original fine of €2.4B. I can only assume Google is feeling confident?

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Google, Twitter gleefully spew Texas shooter fake news into netizens' eyes

ratfox
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I never see it either. Maybe the Twitter thing might only show in the US?

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Pixel-style display woes on your shiny new X? Perfectly normal, says Apple

ratfox
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Windows

History repeating itself

"This is a characteristic of OLED and is normal behavior"

"Horizontal lines: The vertically striped Aperture Grille is stabilized by wires. The Aperture Grille allows more light to pass through the screen giving the Trinitron CRT more color and brightness. The resulting horizontal lines are a trademark of genuine Sony Trinitrons."

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Jeff Bezos sells ONE MEELLION Amazon shares, makes ONE BEELLION dollars

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Paris Hilton

*Insert standard joke about overcompensating*

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Take off, ya hosers! Silicon Valley court says Google can safely ignore Canadian search ban

ratfox
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Re: Just follow the law, Google, why won't you?

Actually, no. The only thing Equustek wants is for Google to follow the ruling of the Canadian court, and stop presenting links to fake copies of their products when searched for in Canada. Nothing more - but also nothing less.

You are mistaken. The decision of the Canadian court was that Google should stop showing these links, in all countries, to all users.

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Tesla share crash amid Republican bid to kill off electric car tax break

ratfox
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Pint

Because General Motors believes in an all-electric future…

Wow. Things sure have changed!

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First iPhone X fondlers struggle to admit that Face ID sort of sucks

ratfox
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The sad thing is that the only reason they went with face ID is that they wanted to have a full-face screen, they didn't manage to integrate the fingerprint sensor within the screen, and they balked at copying from Android the quite convenient fingerprint sensor on the back of the device.

If anybody needs a proof of how much they were willing to compromise to have an full-face screen, you only have to look at the ridiculous notches at the top of the screen. In my opinion, the fact that they went with face ID is a second proof.

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Crisis? What crisis? Samsung is raking in $109m profit a day

ratfox
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Paris Hilton

third-quarter record profits of $12.81bn ... $109m profit a day

Which means a quarter of 117 days. Is that an imperial quarter?

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Official: Perl the most hated programming language, say devs

ratfox
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I used Perl quite a lot, because at the time that was the simplest thing to read a text file and use regular expressions. I wrote a Perl cgi-bin script that would let you surf the web in Elvish letters, and I can't believe that it's been 16 years since The Fellowship of the Ring.

I've learnt Python since, and I would probably use that instead now. It's more verbose than Perl, but the additional readability more than makes up for it.

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Fine, OK, no backdoors, says Deputy AG. Just keep PLAINTEXT copies of everyone's messages

ratfox
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Meh

Yep. Short of banning Google, Facebook and Microsoft from operating in Europe, the EU simply cannot guarantee the privacy of its citizens. The privacy shield or whatever they call it is a gigantic waste of time to support the legal fiction that they can enforce their own privacy laws without making the internet illegal.

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Facebook, Amazon fund new trans-Pacific submarine cable

ratfox
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WTF?

How many of these cables are currently under construction? It's starting to feel like the exponential need for bandwidth means that in fifty year, half of humanity will be only laying cables so that the other half can watch cat videos...

Showing of which: is there really such as a thing as a cable "made for video"? Or do they just mean that they expect to mostly use it to transmit videos? A cable made for video sounds a bit like on of those USB keys "optimized for MP3"...

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Boffins befuddled over EU probe into UK's tax rules for multinationals

ratfox
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Trollface

Maybe they're just listening to Margaret Hodge saying that Google should pay more tax. "Look, your own politicians admit that global corporations are not paying their fair share! Now make them pay."

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Man: Just 18 Bitcoin babies and my home is yours

ratfox
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Re: This bit always confuses me....

On the other hand, the Swiss have thousand francs notes, that are worth over £750. For some reason, it doesn't bother them.

Of course, that's a country where ATMs give you hundred franc bills (£75), which you have no problem using to buy a pack of chewing-gums at newsagents...

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EU law bods closer to baking new 'cookie law' after battle

ratfox
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Re: you get an invasion-free Gmail if you pay for it.

No, you don't. Where are private paid options?

The G Suite offers Gmail, Docs, etc. for businesses. It's paying, but ad-free:

"Google does not collect, scan, or use your data in G Suite services for advertising purposes and we do not display ads in G Suite. We use your data to provide G Suite services, and for system support, such as spam filtering, virus detection, spell-checking, capacity planning, traffic routing, and the ability to search for emails and files within an individual account."

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Fappening celeb nudes hacking outrage: Third scumbag cops to charge

ratfox
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Paris Hilton

...and don't take pictures of yourself naked.

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

ratfox
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Paris Hilton

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

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

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

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

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

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

ratfox
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Paris Hilton

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

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

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

ratfox
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Paris Hilton

Re: Too late

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

Why not?

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

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

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

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

ratfox
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Happy

Baton Rogue

I like the new name!

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

ratfox
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Re: Oh, what a surprise...

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

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

ratfox
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Re: No need to rule on terms of service

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

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

ratfox
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Rushing for developers

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

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Swiss banking software has Swiss cheese security, says Rapid7

ratfox
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Re: How is SQL Injection Still a Thing?

How is SQL itself still a thing?

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

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

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

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

ratfox
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Megaphone

Die Gedanken sind frei, wer kann sie erraten,

sie fliegen vorbei wie nächtliche Schatten.

Kein Mensch kann sie wissen, kein Jäger erschießen

mit Pulver und Blei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

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

ratfox
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Facepalm

"Democracy in danger"

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

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

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

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

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

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

ratfox
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Happy

Re: Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide

3 stars, would get trolled again.

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

ratfox
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Re: At what cost?

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

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

ratfox
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Megaphone

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

And we are at that point.

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

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

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

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Schrems busts Privacy Shield wide open

ratfox
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Unhappy

Waste of time

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

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

ratfox
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Thumb Down

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

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

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

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

ratfox
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Meh

Let me guess

Alexa wasn't playing the ads, was it?

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

ratfox
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Meh

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

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

ratfox
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Poor research

an industry that has been competitively fragmented and structurally stable

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

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

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

explain why no one else had ever recognized these opportunities

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

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

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

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

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Bing fling sting: Apple dumps Microsoft search engine for Google

ratfox
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Paris Hilton

I wonder if Google is paying for that

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

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

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

ratfox
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Devil

Yeah right

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

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

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

ratfox
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"Digital economy"

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

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