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* Posts by ratfox

3295 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

Microsoft tweaks WinPhone YouTube app to fix Google gripes

ratfox
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YouTube must show ads

Note that Google's hands are rather tied on this point. The only reason they have not lost their lawsuit from Viacom and been sued into oblivion is that they provide with ContentID a way for copyright owners to automatically show ads against their videos uploaded by users. They are simply not allowed to show these videos without ads.

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Kim Dotcom claims invention of two-factor authentication

ratfox
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Prior art

I'm fairly certain that Swiss banks were using two-factor systems such as a credit card-like object displaying a number since before 98, though it may be a close thing.

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FLABBER-JASTED: It's 'jif', NOT '.gif', says man who should know

ratfox
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Headmaster

Brave attempt to use logic!

What about LASER? It means Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The S of Stimulation is unvoiced, yet the S of LASER is voiced.

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Attention large Linux workloads

ratfox
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Meh

Yeah, I was going to say the heading should be "IBM solution is the best, says IBM employee"

On subject of the message, I was under the impression that the reason most companies simply don't consider using anything else than Linux servers is that they are vastly cheaper and easier to manage. Proprietary solutions were always better, but stopped being used because the "power, security, administration licensing and management benefits" were not worth the trouble and lock-in. What percentage of IT workers can manage such a system, compared to a Linux server? How easy is it to find replacements?

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Chocolate Factory chucks out Checkout

ratfox
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Angel

They did

This year's April fool announcing YouTube is shutting down in order to select the very best video of the web. Also, don't miss the 12-hours video announcement of the nominated videos!

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Schmidt: Don't like our tiny tax bills? Google this... 'Change the law'

ratfox
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Holmes

"The law is what it says it is"

This, gentlemen, is the problem that scientists and technical people have with the legal system. They are so used to argue with pure logic that it is extremely hard for them to understand that there are grey areas in the way laws are interpreted and applied.

In the real world, you unfortunately sometimes need a lengthy trial and a lot of money spent on lawyers to figure out whether something is legal. And the outcome of the trial can actually depend on how good the lawyers are! From a scientist point of view, this is pure madness — they assume that the law is so clear that any intelligent person could determine infallibly whether something is legal after thinking for a few minutes. Would it be that simple…

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Nintendo throws flaming legal barrel at YouTubing fans

ratfox
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Don't worry…

It's there. But as usual, the fact that there is a land grab of the rights of the user in the T&Cs does not mean the land grab is legal. It goes the other way too: the absence of a copyright line does not mean something is not copyrighted!

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Congress asks Google to explain Glass privacy policies

ratfox
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Facepalm

Won't someone think of the children?

It is weird how everything Google Glass can do could be done years ago by smartphones, and even more discreetly if using hidden cameras, and yet it is today that people start wringing their hands…

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Amazon slashes DynamoDB cost to counter Google Datastore

ratfox
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Unhappy

Scary

Having two competing giants who basically don't need the money slashing prices against each other is not what I would call healthy competition. What will happen once everybody else has been priced out?

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London Olympics site to become digital mega-hub

ratfox
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Trollface

"digital and creative" workers who won't have needed to be "brilliant at school"

Is that the new euphemism after "correctional facility"?

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Google 'DOES DO EVIL', thunders British politician

ratfox
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Facepalm

"Hodge said the point was not illegality, but immorality"

If that is the best thing she can say, then Google is safe from HMRC…

Seriously, what does she expect with lines like that? She is practically saying outright "don't worry, we are still not able to find anything illegal in what you did"

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Senators: You - Cook. Apple guy. Get in here and bring your tax books

ratfox
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The US are special that way

Indeed, I believe that very few countries tax income earned abroad. They have the same thing for citizens: US citizens living in other countries do have to report their income and pay tax above a certain level. Practically no other country does that.

It used to be that the attraction of a nice US passport was great enough that people would not care, but I am personally glad my children were not born in the US, otherwise they would have been on the hook with the IRS their whole life.

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Google tells Microsoft to yank its new WinPhone YouTube app

ratfox
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Google does not even have the choice

Many videos can be served by YouTube only if accompanied by advertisement, as part of the contentID thing. Even if they did not care about their own T&Cs, Viacom would soon sue them for not enforcing them. Or simply add the complaint to the current lawsuit.

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EU wants the Swiss and pals to cough up IT giants' hidden bank info

ratfox
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Good luck with that

One of the reasons that Starbucks is inflating the price of its coffee in Switzerland is that the VAT there is 8% instead of being around 20% like in most countries in the EU. The reason Luxembourg has a VAT of 15% is because it is the minimum the EU allows.

This is not a small loophole; setting the VAT at the standard European level would augment the revenue of the Swiss government by almost 50%.

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Foundem urges Brussels: REJECT Google's search biz offer

ratfox
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Devil

I think they found out

That they would not be one of the three top competitors to which Google would display a link.

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Who is Samsung trying to kid? There will NEVER be a 5G network

ratfox
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Trollface

Yes, but

If Samsung phones have 5G, they have to be better than the iPhone, which only has 4G… right?

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Google abruptly shuts down search-by-SMS portal

ratfox
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Happy

So THAT is what they mean by "it's complicated"…!

Suppose one keeps several friends or contacts in the phone, one of whom has a permanent restraining order to stay away from another contact in my list. Now, if one of these apps, including google and facebook, start meta analyzing these people and determines we have not listed either on our friends list, but one or both of them has a fb or g+ account but has not told the other, and both set themselves up to be diffficult for the other to be found…

Sounds like it would make a good novel!

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Google pools cloud storage

ratfox
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Makes sense I guess

With services becoming more integrated, it is probably a pain to figure out which quota files should count against…

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Rules, shmules: Fliers leaving devices switched on in droves

ratfox
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Angel

I admit I did not know

I had always assumed that putting my iPhone in airplane mode and pressing the power button to turn off the screen was enough to make them happy. I was really surprised on my latest trip when the stewardess asked me to hand her the phone and proceeded to shut it down completely by holding the two buttons for a few seconds.

Chances that I will remember to do that in the future are approximately zero.

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Yes! It's the NFC phone-bonk doorbell app AT LAST

ratfox
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Pint

Congrats

"Quaint tiny-screened models whose design has hardly changed for 5 years" is definitely a new and innovative way to describe iThings. It actually took me a while to understand.

...You should patent it!

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San Francisco caves over mobile radiation warnings

ratfox
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WTF?

Free speech ground

Not that I care much about that ordinance, but how can you fight such an ordinance on free speech ground? "It's our right to decide not to disclose information to consumers"?

What's next, claiming that health warning on tobacco products violates the privacy of cigarettes? Or would reveal the "trade secret" that cigarettes contain tobacco and tar?

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German court: 'Nein' to Apple 'global consent' on fanbois' privacy

ratfox
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Happy

German law requires that consumers know exactly what their data is being used for

My bet is that just the explanation of how wireless data is used to enhance the detection of the location of the user would take a heavy book to explain "exactly" to the consumers...

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EC: Motorola abused its patents in Apple iPhone spat

ratfox
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Go

Good

The less patents, especially standard-essential patents, can be used to shut down your competitors, the better.

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Samsung Galaxy chip confusion halts bonking plastered apps

ratfox
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Re: Selling point

Yes, but do these Bluetooth apps know precisely which device you just bonked? Or do they display "we have scanned the surroundings for bluetooth devices and found three cell phones, two laptops, a television set, a pair of headphones and a sound system, which is it you wanted to bonk again?

NFC seems to have solved this particular problem tight. So far I have never been able to use Bluetooth without a device selection screen.

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ratfox
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Selling point

It seems good for instantaneous handshake between two devices. E.g telling a speaker system "play music from this phone" in a single bonk. Bluetooth can be set up using NFC and take over, but would be much more clumsy to set up by hand.

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Yahoo! scuppered! in! Dailymotion! buyout! attempt!

ratfox
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"Realistically"

You seem to severely underestimate the power of a government. Regulators can easily find any number of reasons for blocking such a deal. Appealing is difficult; complaining to the WTO would take years, and is not a viable strategy.

Personally, I think the deal would have made sense. Competing with YouTube requires a heavy infrastructure, and Yahoo certainly has the means and the required knowledge.

I would add that I have never noticed Arnaud Montebourg say anything intelligent. Every time I hear about him, it is some chauvinistic populist statement about French exceptionalism.

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Climate change forces women into prostitution - US politicians

ratfox
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WTF?

Wow

There is contrived legislation, à la "we need complete government control of the Internet to fight child porn. If you fight this, you are siding with pedophiles".

And then, there is really contrived legislation. Is there a contest somewhere? Perhaps this could qualify for the Ig Nobel awards.

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Continued lack of women in tech bemoaned by ex-techie lady MP

ratfox
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Trollface

You've got it all wrong!

Rather than changing the work environment so that it becomes attractive to women, we should teach women they should stop trying to interact socially, and get them to stare at the screen the whole day like the male engineers!

And please stop showering so often, I can't stand this lack of smell coming from you!

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Fanbois vs fandroids: Punters display 'tribal loyalty'

ratfox
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FAIL

Click bait

Take any random model, put any random parameters, get a provocative result, publish. Watch as people click on the link and enjoy the free publicity.

I wonder how they explain that Android went up to 34%, taking from iOS, if iOS users had exhibited this staunch loyalty. If you apply your model to past data and it predicts the present wrong, maybe you should change the model…?

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How Google lost the trust of Europe’s data protection authorities

ratfox
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Megaphone

Privacy is <i>complicated</i>

If you walk in the street, anybody who sees you can blog about it. There is at the moment no expectation of privacy about it. However, it is almost certainly illegal to set up a web site tracking the movements of people in the street. Where is the limit? I will quote in full this excellent paragraph from Simon Bell:

"Tax is too complex and too intimately tied up with subjective political ideas about the size and role of the state for it to be reasonable to expect people to be guided by their conscience. That is why we have law. If the government doesn't like the outcome of current tax law, then it should change it."

There is a corollary to this: Just replace the word "tax" by "privacy". Privacy is a very complex problem; it may never be solved, but a lot could be achieved by the government setting up a privacy code, akin to the tax code. Rather than leaving it to companies to write privacy policies that are supposedly understood and accepted by the users, the government should write the rules. You simply cannot trust a private company to even write a privacy policy that is easy to understand by everyone. As an example, this article from a company specialised in information law in an IT website just to explain the finer points of a single company's privacy policy and how it may not respect the law.

In fact, I fully expect the expression "privacy code" to become part of the political vocabulary — You saw it here first!

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Pirate Party wins seats in Icelandic election

ratfox
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Re: What exactly do they think they are going to change?

Looks like you don't know much about politics… 3 over 63 seats is plenty enough to influence decisions, if only as part of exchange deals.

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New Google Play terms ban non-store app updates

ratfox
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Thumb Up

Setting rules on the playground

The Google Play Store being supposedly safe (well, as much as possible) it makes sense not to allow apps which require you to disable the third-party App Store lock. Especially for silent updates! The third-party App Store lock can be disabled temporarily to explicitly load an app that you trust; disabling it to allow silent updates completely defeats its purpose.

Not that I particularly distrust Facebook, but the security hole they are opening for others is just too big to ignore. Smartphone security is still uncharted land, but it is better to think ahead.

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Microsoft off the hook for billions in Motorola Mobility payout

ratfox
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Go

Good

Anything that limits payments on patents is a good thing. Now I wish it was possible to limit payments on non-FRAND pseudo-patents that effectively make it impossible to develop new technologies.

Some of these are a bit like claiming property on a one-micrometer wide strip of land going across all of the US, and asking $1000 for anybody wishing to "cross your private property".

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Google's Euro antitrust offer: Fine! We'll link to our search rivals

ratfox
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Alert

Re: Not only that

Actually, that is a bit different. Without even going into htaccess properties, the robots.txt file allows you to tell Google which pages of your site it is allowed to crawl. But the problem of web sites is another one.

Currently, either you allow Google to crawl a piece of information in your site, or you don't. And if you do allow Google to crawl it, Google can analyse it and display it to the user in all kinds of ways.

So you are in a Catch-22 situation: You might have super nice information on your web site, but if you don't allow Google to crawl it, then Google will not show your web site in results, because it does not know you have the information. And if you allow Google to crawl it, Google will show your web site in results, but it might also display the same information in a big splashy frame on the right side, and then users will not click on the link to your web site, because they have your information already. They don't need you anymore.

The way I understand it, under the new propositions, web sites will be able to allow Google to crawl their web sites, but stop it from showing the information in the big splashy frame, so that users will click on the link to your web site. It is slightly more work for the users, but your contribution is better rewarded.

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ratfox
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Some of these already exist

If you Google for AAPL, you can see a chart showing the stock price of Apple. Under the charts are three small, grey links, pointing to Google Finance, Yahoo Finance and MSN Money. I assume this is the type of links Google has in mind, though it may have to make the links bigger and more visible.

Google still has a clear advantage in the fact that clicking on the chart brings you to Google Finance, but it was not always so; it used to be that the chart was not a link at all, and you would have to choose one of the three small grey links in order to get more details about the Apple stock price.

Of course, from the statement of Foundem, it seems doubtful that they will declare themselves satisfied unless a guaranteed percentage of the Google traffic is redirected to Foundem… They seem awfully certain that one of these three links to rivals will belong to them.

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Court orders Visa partner to allow donations to WikiLeaks

ratfox
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Go

Makes sense to me

I wonder what would happen if Visa started refusing to make payments to Asda in favor of Tesco.

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Apple slips Antennagate victims $15 each. The lawyers get $16m

ratfox
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Happy

Wonder if I'll get it

I did buy two iPhones 4, got the free bumper thingies, but moved to another continent since…

I like the new "Cupertino idiot-tax operation" myself!

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Microsoft hoists ZTE onto the Android patent bandwagon

ratfox
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Devil

License will be $0.01 per handset

…and less than the price of a lawsuit by two orders of magnitude…

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Eric Schmidt defends Google's teeny UK tax payouts - again

ratfox
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Headmaster

Re: Did he really shave his head?

Actually, baldly does also have the meaning of "bluntly"; as in make a bald statement.

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Foxconn must pay Microsoft for EVERY Android thing it makes

ratfox
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Devil

…And we still have no idea what these patents are

Great business model!

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Hands up who wants 3D finger-controlled fridges? That's the spirit

ratfox
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Devil

I'm patenting doing anything at all

If you can prove somebody did the same thing as you before today, it counts as prior art, and my patent will be correspondingly restricted by the court. Otherwise, hand over the cash.

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Google erects tech specs tech specs, APIs hit the decks

ratfox
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Re: 640x360?

Though it would not be that surprising for such a particular display, I wonder where this 640x360 is coming from? I can't see it anywhere on the web site…

EDIT: Actually, it is in the User Interface Guidelines.

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Will Google's rivals swallow the 'labelling remedy' pill?

ratfox
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Black Helicopters

What could be the future:

Search for AAPL or GOOG. You get a small line under the chart linking to Google Finance, Yahoo Finance and MSN Money. Clicking on the chart does bring you to Google Finance, but that was not always the case; it used not to be a link at all. You could have this for maps: the map from Google maps would be followed by 3-4 links, each pointing to a different service. Depending on how much the EU insist, the map itself would link to Google Maps, or not be a link at all, so that users would be forced to choose one of the links.

Now that I think of it, this change in chart link/not a link might well be an experiment to see the difference in the way the traffic changes under these conditions.

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ratfox
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"What bureaucrat, in their right mind, would want to do that?"

It certainly didn't seem to bother the bureaucrats on the other side of the pond…

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Logitech launches MEGA-PRICEY 15-in-1 remote

ratfox
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Happy

"which moron is it aimed at"

A rich one.

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Google's 'power to switch off the lights in Europe' has 'chilling effect' - rivals

ratfox
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Re: "Microsoft has a diametrically different view about verticals than Google,"

I was wondering about this one. I don't see how Bing shopping is so much more inclusive than Google shopping when it comes to third party price-comparison sites…

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Ofcom: Parents, here's how to keep grubby tots from buying Smurfberries

ratfox
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Read the article

Unless I got it completely wrong, some games show ads which, if clicked upon, will call a phone number running at jacked-up prices. Removing your credit card details or having a password on the App Store is useless to stop this from happening.

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Google preps for Brussels wrist-slap

ratfox
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Re: Of little use

If by "commercial interests" you mean "links Google is paid to show to you", then I am pretty sure that they are labelled "Ads" or "Sponsored links"…

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Google tool lets you share data from BEYOND the GRAVE

ratfox
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Angel

I can imagine receiving the alert

I'm not dead yet! I feel fine! I feel happy!

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Google asks Blighty to slave over its Maps for FREE

ratfox
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Re: Tube lines

I think they do that for practically all public transportation, excepted for some bus lines. Trains and long-distance bus lines just "fly" straight to the next stop (which makes sense, as they probably really do not want to map the exact trip).

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