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Comment Re:Are these sponsored stories? (Score 1) 136

Oh and by the way:

I memorized the locations, names, flags, and capitols of every country when I was 10 years old. I don't know everything about other countries but I picked up information about the languages from a discussion with a pair of PHD linguists we have in the family. I have trouble relating to them so I like to ask them about stuff in their field so at the very least I can learn something. This Christmas I get to learn about Celtic.

Comment Re:Are these sponsored stories? (Score 1) 136

So Walloon doesn't get a look in? You were caught out. Admit it.
Not sure what this means

Plus you didn't actually read article 13, as it states they will process the data internally, and that it is kept in accordance with Belgian & EU data protection laws.

I did read article 13, nothing in Belgian/EU privacy law would prevent what I'm talking about. It doesn't state that it will process the data internally, just that it's being processed (in accordance with the law - ) - they can sell the data to anyone within the EU without informing the customer and outside of the EU if they have permission, which they give themselves with that "unless you give us your explicit consent" -> "explicit authorization to exploit" trick.

Comment Re:Are these sponsored stories? (Score 1) 136

The opposite is happening of course... women's insurance is steadily going up as the new data, combined with the old, is starting to change the statistics. The problem is that these data points create falsehoods. Speed involved in an accident means speeding is bad to them, they collect data on speeders and charge them more... what really happens though is speed difference and distraction causes most accidents. Complex interactions that are not easily found in the single point data streams.

Anecdotally, I cruise 30% above the speed limit on the highway and have never got in an accident in that situation. I credit this to the fact that I am constantly on the lookout for idiots who pull into the high speed lane without accelerating or properly judging the time it will take me to overtake them. If I see the possibility of one of those situations I'll drop my speed closer to theirs and overtake them more slowly. That kind of data point is not something you can easily gather but it makes me a very safe driver (only accidents I have been in were due to blind corners with snow drifts > 6" deep.) By looking at these single factor issues you can rarely identify the truth of a thing, and those that you can (like drunk driving) have already been weeded out.

Comment Re:Are these sponsored stories? (Score 1) 136

a) Not American
b) Nederlands is the *Dutch* word for Dutch
c) Vlaams is the *Dutch* word for Flemish
d) The local vernacular varies wherever you go. Just because you haven't experienced it, doesn't mean it's universally that way. Take for example. If you ask someone in California for a "pop" they likely wouldn't know what you're talking about while someone in Montana would. Here's a university reference for for Begian-Dutch:

Comment Re:Are these sponsored stories? (Score 2, Interesting) 136

If the insurance company wants the data, they would just mail them out honestly, offer a discount for people who use it, then raise rates across the board by the same amount as the discount. The vast majority of customers will be using it, and the average is all they care about.

This product is about selling a false sense of control to parents, which is exactly what it is supposed to be. No conspiracy needed.

The problem with insurance companies doing that is that they get the data on their customers only. Yes, that's useful for them and lots of them do that but it does not tell them anything about their new customer or customers they want to target. Third parties going after young drivers habits will allow insurance companies to target the drivers they want while having advanced warning about potentially costly customers before they get their first quote. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, it does make the point of insurance less and less meaningful (ie: distribute the costs of accidents/liability over a large base so lives aren't ruined due to lack of money). It's a path that leads to people's options being limited due to their inability to pay high premiums.

It's already occurring due to historical data that showed that men under 25 were the most dangerous drivers, where I live that data lead to ~$900-1200/year initial premiums for young women and $2,500-3500 initial premiums for young men. It can be a serious impediment when your cost of employment for any job requiring a car (either on the job or just to get there) is 4 times hire than someone else with the same driving history as yourself. The sad part is, where I live anyway, the data that all that was based on was from a generation that grew up with drinking and driving, very little driver education, significantly lower safety standards, etc. Looking at only data from the 2000s onward, men under 25 were among the safest drivers on the road and paying among the highest premiums.

What's really wrong though is the deceptive way they go about getting the data - making it seem like you won't sell the data without explicit permission then burying that explicit permission in another language/document. It's deplorable not conspiratorial.

Comment Re:Are these sponsored stories? (Score 2) 136

Sounds all well and good but then you go to the general conditions, which are in Belgian (even though the rest of their site is English)

Extraordinary, they invented a new language as well?

Belgian is the short form for saying Belgian Dutch which is a group of four dialects used in the North of the country.

Comment Re:Are these sponsored stories? (Score 5, Interesting) 136

Of course it's bullshit. So is the story itself - these devices are not about warning parents that their kids are driving too fast, it's a backdoor to gather driving data to sell to insurance companies. They do a very nice job of trying to conceal that fact though.

Privacy Policy

Your data will not be shared, lent out, sold or made available in any other way to third parties, unless you give us your explicit consent hereto or if we are obliged to by court.

Sounds all well and good but then you go to the general conditions, which are in Belgian (even though the rest of their site is English)

Dongle Apps is also the sole owner of the information collected automatically by the dongle or while using the corresponding Services by the Client.

The Client grants Dongle Apps explicit authorization to exploit these data in accordance with Article 13 of these conditions.

Basically, they can do what they want with the data and fuck you very much.

Comment Re:Could this be unintentional? (Score 1) 50

Shouldn't that cable cut be affecting more than just Apple services though?

Not necessarily. They could simply have been routing all apple traffic along the line that was cut. It shouldn't take them 4 days to re-route but it could simply be lack of available bandwidth to route such a major set of services through. If that were the case it likely became a choice of letting one service slow/fail or have the entire network slow/fail.

Comment Re:The algorithm isn't clever, but scales well. (Score 0) 82

The human brain is known to take shortcuts to do string comparisons so why can't a computer to a certain degree? If memory serves, and I apologize if I'm off it's the end of a long day, when reading English at least the brain will read the first letter and the last letter and approximate the length of word to make the connection to the word stored in the brain. This apparently works up to a character limit then the brain chunks the words so compliment and complement might get confused as cplt+length for both or split into cit+length vs cet+length depending on the person. While this doesn't have any effect on unknown strings, it could shorten known string comparisons. ie: English has 1m+ words but fewer than 300 start with an X, only 2 that end in X so in length+3 character comparisons I've either correctly identified "Xerox" or "Xanax" or I have determined it's an unknown string and needs a full "best algorithm" comparison which would have been just as slow. Obviously that's a simplified example but it took 40% of the comparison away (and added index lookups)

A freelance is one who gets paid by the word -- per piece or perhaps. -- Robert Benchley