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* Posts by ratfox

3285 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

Google Glass driver told she CAN wear techno-specs while on the road

ratfox
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Paris Hilton

What about mounted cell phones?

You can buy mounts for holding your cell phone on the dashboard. Of course, you're supposed to use them as GPS and not to watch YouTube while driving. But I wonder whether this law applies to them.

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Clink! Terrorist jailed for refusing to tell police his encryption password

ratfox
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Priorities?

Maybe GCHQ has better things to do than looking into proof against a guy who is already serving time? Though you could argue that this is could have been info allowing to find other terrorists…

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Let Google's tentacles fondle your mobile's web downloads and Chrome will put the data on a diet

ratfox
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Re: It's a nice idea, but...

Hardly more than if you were already using Chrome, I would guess...

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Wells Fargo gathers bank 'n' gov bigwigs to discuss Bitcoin 'rules'

ratfox
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Unhappy

Re: No, what is REALLY funny to me is the WFB logo, which is kinda appropos...

I suspect you might be thinking of an older logo… The current one (since 2008) is not that funny:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wells_Fargo

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Google appeals against French data watchdog over privacy policy fine

ratfox
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Re: Question time,

On way or another, the sum is insignificant; they want to save face and make sure that other countries don't start piling up the fines. I wonder if they really hope to overturn it or if it is just a delaying tactic. I'm not sure what is the court they can appeal to.

Possibly they really believe they have a chance, though personally I would bet against it. The whole thing is more political than logical, and the current climate in Europe is not propitious to large American corporations, especially since the Snowden revelations.

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Tales from an expert witness: Prior art and patent trolls

ratfox
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@Evil Auditor

The way the system is set, if fifty people invent the exact same thing at the same time, there is only one of them who is allowed to use it. And that is the one who runs fastest to the patent office. For the life of me, I cannot imagine why this guy has more merit or should have more rights than all the others. He does not bring anything to society, since society would have lost nothing if he had slept that day. On the contrary, he takes something from society, as he prevents all the others to exploit the idea in various and possibly more interesting ways. I don't see why society rewards this guy.

The patent system is not an end in itself. It was created to foster innovation, and ultimately to benefit society; not to recognize some moral rights of inventors. If society does not benefit from granting exclusivity to first inventors, it should not be done.

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ratfox
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"In return for making the details of his invention public, the inventor is given protection for a specific time period in which he can exploit his invention."

This feels at odds with the apparently prevalent habit to patent random crap with the hope that sometimes in the future somebody will infringe it unintentionally.

Personally, I feel the main problem of the system is that people who invent something on their own should be allowed to use it, even if somebody else happens to have had the same idea before. In other words, the worth of a patent should be proportional to its inventiveness. As it is, every patent is accorded the same protection, whether the invention is incremental or ground-breaking…

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EU gives Google JUST WEEKS to submit stronger search biz concessions

ratfox
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Missing the point

The complaints are not about how the results are ranked. They are about adding to these results boxes which display information obtained from other Google products, like Maps, Finance, Shopping.

When you google for "London", you get a box on the right which contains a map showing London, linking to Google Maps.

When you google for "nikon d3200", you get a box titled "Shop for nikon d3200 on Google", linking to Google Shopping.

This is the part that competitors are complaining about. It is not part of the organic search results.

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Apple fails to shake antitrust watchdog loose, receives judge slapdown

ratfox
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Re: Judges usually don't like to be played for fools

It does seem strange to whine about this. I would have thought it was best to keep the whole episode as private as possible, instead of shouting to the world you have a court-appointed watchdog who is there just to make sure you toe the line.

Especially complaining about the salary. Are they trying to get points with the general public by painting the guy as a one percenter? Even if the guy was a complete workaholic, they could save maybe 1 million a year if his salary was reduced. That's got to be irrelevant to Apple…

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Sniff, sniff, what's that burning smell? Oh, it's Google's patent-filing office working flat out

ratfox
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Patent everything in sight

In case you haven't noticed, Google's nice principles of not patenting things and hoping not to get sued by other corporations has worked a bit like a country saying peace is better than war, choosing not to have an army, and hoping not to get attacked: not really well.

At least, Google has not initiated a patent fight with anyone so far (though it has kept alive the lawsuits started by Motorola before its acquisition).

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Parisian cabbies smash up Uber-booked rival ride

ratfox
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Happy

circumventing the heavily regulated systems

They are certainly doing that. You could argue it is a feature!

...but yeah, the regulations exist for a reason. Why don't they apply to these companies? In what way is their business model different?

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Ex-Oracle manager claims he was fired for asking to give Indian staff equal pay

ratfox
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Oooh boy

This doesn't look good for Oracle. They're gonna have a lot of trouble convincing people they are clean on this one.

That said, does the sentence "He knows everyone on the team, and will of course, know what they earn within days of arriving" reflect reality? People are pretty tight lipped at my company on the subject. I believe that technically, a company is not allowed to forbid workers to tell each other their salaries, but guidelines are often respected that I understand.

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Google gobbles Wi-Fi thermostat maker Nest for $3.2 BEEELLION IN CASH

ratfox
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Coat

I should create a company

I don't know why people bother buying lottery tickets when the odds of getting rich are so much better creating a company and getting bought by Google. Just make sure to play to the personal tastes of Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Still, they just bought a company that makes thermostats for $3.200.000.000, which is about 500 times what I expect to earn during my whole life. Please excuse my loser self while I go cry in a corner.

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Google stabs Wikipedia in the front

ratfox
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Angel

"Google has not been able to dredge up anything really useful for a long time now"

And there was no unemployment before, and we had proper money, and young people were polite to their elders, and winters were less cold, and stairs were less steep?

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ratfox
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Is it a real problem for Wikipedia?

After all, in contrast to most of the web, Wikipedia does not rely on advertising. So a comparative decrease in views is not as important for it as it is for others.

Anyway, Wikipedia's real value is not on the blurbs that may appear in Google's Knowledge Graph, but in the more detailed information it provides. Until there is a drop in contributors, I would say they have no reason to worry...

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Google kicks 'bucket-list' service

ratfox
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Never heard of it

Funny they discontinued Google Reader before that one... I can only assume they had completely forgotten about it

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ANYONE on Google+ can now email you, with or without your Gmail addy

ratfox
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Many people will want to jump on their settings

Though I have to say it matters little to me: Anyway, my email address is easy to find on the web for anybody who knows my name. So for me, this makes about no difference at all.

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Didn't get a Nook for Xmas? That's OK, hardly anyone else did, either

ratfox
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Holmes

Well yeah

You axe the product line, you make less sales.

It's not like they can do much about it. It was a good effort, and they reportedly told Microsoft to stuff it when it threatened a patent lawsuit, so they will always have a place in my heart for that. But realistically, going up against Apple, Google and Amazon was a tough proposition.

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UK 'copyright czar' Edmund Quilty quits as Blighty's Director of Copyright Enforcement

ratfox
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Trollface

Well done!

Getting hired by a large IT corp in 3, 2, 1…

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'Leaked' iPhone 6 pics will make cool fanbois WEEP - it's a PHABLET

ratfox
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Unhappy

Re: It's a normal sized iPhone...

I logged in to make that joke… Too late. Have an upvote!

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Pesky protesters FORCE GOOGLE STAFF INTO THE SEA

ratfox
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Wrong view point

From the protesters point of view, if buses stopped running, Google employees would move out of SF rather than facing the hellish congestion in and out of the city.

They actually consider the congestion as a feature which keeps rich people from living in SF and driving up prices, so they are angry that the corporate buses are bypassing the congestion.

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Justice minister tries to further delay snoop silo laws in Germany

ratfox
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Mushroom

Go Germany!

Pass the popcorn, watch the fireworks.

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Amazon, Hollywood, Samsung: PLEASE get excited about 4K telly

ratfox
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Meh

How about a better frame rate?

I believe just doubling the frame rate would increase much more the quality of movies…

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Defamation expert: New '1 year after publication' rule means EASY LIFE for UK libel judges

ratfox
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Re: Bad fix

The assumption is probably that if it takes you over a year to notice, it's not important enough to bother the legal system about it.

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Rockstar swells Spherix patent portfolio with 100 new licenses

ratfox
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Only half correct

At the same time Google was attacked over search, Android manufacturers were attacked over Android. This can easily be considered as a general attack on Google, with the manufacturers as collateral damage in the fight to diminish Google's clout from Android.

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Bay Area plots Googlebus tax after local residents riot

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Fair's fair

These bus stops are normally reserved for public transportation, as in buses that anybody can ride on. If the tech companies want to use these bus stops, it is normal that they pay for their use. I understand that generally, an event happening on a public square requires renting that square from the town, e.g for putting a circus tent. This is no different.

Of course, this is not going to solve the main problem, which is that residents of San Francisco have worked hard through regulations and activism to have a super cool city, and now they are very disappointed that they cannot afford to live in that super cool city, because their own choices have made it too expensive for themselves. There is a great article on this here: http://www.sfweekly.com/1999-08-18/news/welcome-home/full/

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Gorilla Glass fights dirty, dirty germs with antimicrobial coating

ratfox
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I would consider this barely useful, considering this only protects the glass and not the parts of the phone you are holding…

Then again, there are people who spend an awful lot of time on the toilet seat playing with their cell phone.

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How to kill trolls and influence Apple people: A patent solution

ratfox
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Change the incentives of the patent office

Currently, the USPTO has all the incentives to accept just about anything as a patent. More patents accepted is seen as more productive; I believe applicants even have to pay more, once a patent is accepted, to actually get the patent, than if the patent is rejected.

Instead, ask full price to apply for a patent, and give back a small percentage if the patent is accepted. The incentive to apply for real patents instead of bullshit is not very important; the important part is that now the USPTO gets more money for rejecting a patent than for accepting it.

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Google poised to become world's first TREEELLION DOLLAR company?

ratfox
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Re: A quick look

Apple and Exxon are giving back dividends, while Google is not. It would be fairly logical if Google kept growing faster than them.

The thing is, Exxon and Apple put limits on investing in new markets, while Google does not. I personally find it a bit disappointing from Apple. They do nice products, but they are unwilling to double down in less successful products. Look at iCloud, and their maps: They are not interested in making them available to everybody. The maps are offered to people who have an iPhone or a Mac. That's it. Not even a web site!! They are a hardware company, and all their services only exist to support that. They could probably grow a lot their software and services, but instead? They give back a dividend. This is openly admitting that they don't know what to do with the money. That they don't plan on growing.

Can you imagine Google doing that? Google will invest in all kind of crazy projects trying to find something interesting. And that, I believe, is why Google will be a trillion dollars company before Apple.

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Facebook bots grope our 'privates', and every wronged user should get $10,000 – lawsuit claims

ratfox
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A fool and his privacy are soon parted

That said, though I'm not surprised that the data from private messages is thoroughly harvested to select what ads should be shown to the same user, I would be astonished if the target web site of a URL shared privately was notified of which particular user sent or received the message.

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Want Google to erase your data? Just wait for it to kill off one of its apps

ratfox
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Re: Why

From what I understand, this Bump thing is now included in standard Android... Only they call it beam or something.

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Get lost, fanbois: Nokia pulls HERE Maps from Apple's App Store

ratfox
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I think you haven't watched the news in a while

Google for "Microsoft buys Nokia"; I think you will learn that Nokia is not going to make Android phones any time soon…

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ratfox
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They should have a web site

Honestly, to get better maps, you need more users. Maps is not a small thing you can reserve to your walled garden. But Apple would have trouble doing that…

Apple only does software if it helps sell hardware; while Google and Microsoft only sell hardware if it helps sell software. They cannot change this easily.

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Google BLASTS BACK at Apple, Microsoft, Sony in Android patent WAR

ratfox
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Devil

Rockstar claims to be independent from Apple and Microsoft

They also claim that "pretty much everybody out there" infringes their patent.

…I'm sure it's pure coincidence that they started their first lawsuits against Google and Android phone makers.

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Joke no more: Comedy virty currency Dogecoin gets real in big Xmas heist

ratfox
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I'm waiting for the FSMcoin

I'm sure it's coming. And I'm not sure if it's going to be a joke or not.

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What is the difference between a drone, a model and a light plane?

ratfox
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Happy

Re: Flying Machines and Flying People

"The engineer in me sees no difference in principal between an R/C aircraft and a full size/real aircraft."

I think the view it gives you is a bit different… no?

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Official: Apple hooks up with WORLD'S LARGEST MOBILE OPERATOR

ratfox
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Re: Wrong Metric

"Products can be changed to suit the need."

In the case of the iPhone, I would doubt it. It's not like Apple is going to make a different iPhone from now on just for China Mobile. If anything, China Mobile would have waited until they saw a iPhone (5c?) they liked before signing a deal.

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Cyanogen grabs $23m, will ship mod-installed N1 smartmobe on Xmas Eve

ratfox
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Happy

good for them

It means their business model is rock safe!

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Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

ratfox
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If the legislation allows it, they might even only have to include a "standard-to-proprietary" adapter, and keep having proprietary adapters everywhere.

Here's to hoping the American government does not decide to pass the same law, and go for a different standard. That would actually make the phone manufacturers happy, since that would make importation between countries impossible.

That said, I am against the legislation. All other matters aside, Apple has bloody good connectors for its laptops. Having a legislation like that (adapted to laptops) would have made these connectors impossible to introduce.

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Italy's 'Google tax law' could fall foul of EU discrimination rules

ratfox
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"stopping the so-called double Dutch and Irish sandwiches": Not quite

The double Irish and Dutch sandwich are stratagems which allow Google (and Apple, etc.) not to pay tax anywhere in Europe. But were these to be stopped, the companies would still be able to pay income tax in a single European country, whichever they prefer. Typically, that would not be Italy. And that is what this legislation is trying to stop. And that is what is the problem with the legislation, because the European laws were precisely designed to allow doing business everywhere in Europe and paying income tax in a single country.

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Zuckerberg IN COURT: Judge rules Facebook investors CAN sue for IPO non-disclosures

ratfox
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Trollface

What are they com[plaining about?

The stock price is way above what they bought it for at the IPO.

…Oh, you mean they actually sold the stock while it was low? I think they did not quite get how to make money on the stock market. The secret is "Buy low, sell high". Not the reverse.

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Feminist Software Foundation gets grumpy with GitHub … or does it?

ratfox
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Paris Hilton

It's called COBOL!

Jokes aside, isn't it true that the first algorithm was invented by a woman (Ada Lovelace), and also the first compiler (Grace Hopper)?

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Microsoft: Here, we'll make it easy for you Gmail lot. Meet our Outlook.com movers

ratfox
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Thumb Down

I was not allowed to use outlook.com

A couple of days ago, I repeatedly tried to open an account on outlook.com, but every time I tried to send my very first email, it told me my account has been locked down for being suspicious, and to please give them my cell phone number so they could send me a verification code. And that, even though I gave an alternate email address specifically for doing this. What's the point of asking for an alternate email if you can only verify your account by phone??

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'Don't hate on me for my job!' Googlers caught up in SF rent protest ruckus

ratfox
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Paris Hilton

That bus is a luxury symbol

It provides actual, honest-to-God, proper transportation to Google employees. If it were not for those buses, Google employees would stay away from SF in order to avoid the hellish traffic along the peninsula.

In other words, public transportation is so bad, that the resulting deadlock at the entrance of SF has come to be seen as a feature which keeps rich people from living there.

If the buses are allowed to go on, it means that soon only rich people will be able to live in cool places!

PH icon representing how confused the whole situation is.

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SHOCK! US House swats trolls, passes patent 'extortion' bill

ratfox
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Re: There goes Rockstar

You wish. And I wish it were true. But I don't see much in this that will stop Rockstar.

They said pretty much everybody out there infringes their patents. They're just getting started.

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Accused Glasshole driver says specs weren't even turned on for traffic stop

ratfox
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Law seems clear

It says: "forbidden to have a screen mounted where the driver can see it. Turned on, or off. I don't see how this defense can fly.

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US Supreme Court says 'no sale' to Amazon's New York sales tax appeal

ratfox
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Angel

Re: Time for change

Oh, the sales taxes are already based on the location of the customer. What is broken is that currently, out-of-state businesses do not have to charge the sales tax to the customers; it is the customers who are supposed to report to the authorities the fact that they bought something from an out-of-state business, and that they want to pay sales tax on it.

Surprisingly, they quite often forget to do that.

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That toolbar you downloaded is malware? Tough, read the EULA

ratfox
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Re: Meh… EULAs

"Everything in a EULA is absolutely binding unless there is a constrasting local, state, federal, international or other law or legal allowance. "

I doubt that. Instead of killing your first born, try "I owe Microsoft one million dollars for every second I use this product". Giving money is legal, but I don't think it would fly either.

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ratfox
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Unhappy

Meh… EULAs

It is impressive how EULAs and other T&Cs can contain so much crap, without any clarity on what is legal or not. I would think that good lawyers could put a hole through this particular one, but in general the field is full of gray.

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Google in Dutch: Privacy changes BREAK data law, says Netherlands

ratfox
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Very interesting!

"The consent, required by law, for the combining of personal data from different Google services cannot be obtained by accepting general (privacy) terms of service"

I would be very interested in having a better idea on distinctions such as this one. Most EULA and T&Cs are accepted without reading any of the details whatsoever. On one hand, the responsibility technically is on the user to actually read and accept the terms before clicking on the button; on the other hand, you certainly could not add "and the user owes us a million pounds" to such a document and expect it to be held up in court.

Unfortunately there is a world of gray between what is clearly fine and what is clearly not fine; I severely doubt that a law could be written which would make the distinction with any clarity. No wonder companies just write whatever they want and wait for the government to complain.

Ultimately, my opinion remains that the only way to have proper privacy T&Cs is to have the government dictate them, and apply them to every company. Call it a Privacy Code, like the Tax Code. Considering how fuzzy the law is, you simply cannot expect the corporations to write T&Cs which make sense.

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