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Comment: Scunthorpe Problem (Score 1) 135

by KevReedUK (#48544805) Attached to: British 'Porn Filter' Blocks Access To Chaos Computer Club

At least things aren't as bad as when the "Scunthorpe Problem" was rife! Those are days I'm glad to have behind me.

Running a school network and suddenly finding that you are unable to email colleagues or browse websites with Essex, Sussex, Wessex or Scunthorpe in their addresses was annoying... but having to explain this to the ISP who implemented the block was a challenge. Techs there just didn't seem to be able to get their heads around the concept of a SUB-string being a problem (they thought their filter was only parsing whole addresses for comparison against the "think of the children" list.

That being said... Chrome's spell-check remains convinced that Scunthorpe isn't a word!

Comment: Re:Article or link (Score 1) 113

by KevReedUK (#48182579) Attached to: BBC Takes a Stand For the Public's Right To Remember Redacted Links

The whole article is de-indexed. That is the only way it can work - the required form of complaint is that the information is inaccurate / irrelevant / etc., i.e. the complaint is that the information should be "forgotten", not that any particular search term should not lead to it.

WRONG! The ruling is that such articles should not be returned as results when specified search terms are entered. This allows for the article to be returned in response to other search terms. Such an approach is largely in the public interest, as it means that should an article no longer be a relevant result for one person, but is still relevant for others, you can still find the article by searching for the any of the others. Take for example the following:

An article is published stating that Mr A, Mrs A, Mr B and Mr C were all arrested in connection with crime X, committed against victim Miss D.
Mr B subsequently has charges against him dropped when it became apparent that he was not involved.
The media continue to report on the case as it proceeds through the courts without mentioning Mr B.
There is no media report about the charges against Mr B being dropped.

In your interpretation of the ruling (let's call this scenario 1), searching for Mr A, Mrs A, Mr C or Miss D won't bring up the article either, despite its relevance to them.

If it is implemented according to the spirit of the ruling (and, based on my cursory and untrained reading of it, the letter of the ruling), a search for any keyword or name in the article EXCEPT for Mr B's name will bring it up, but a search for Mr B will not (we'll call this scenario 2).

And why would Mr B necessarily care if someone searching for information on Mr A turns up this article. They aren't interested in him, so for it to turn up will have no impact on him one way or another. If someone was going to be researching Mr B (for a potential employment opportunity or whatever), why would they be entering search terms like Mr A, Mrs A, Mr C, Miss D or Crime X unless they already knew enough about him that they knew about the event (and therefore are likely to know that he wasn't mentioned in later reports, or may even know that the charges were dropped.). If they do know enough about Mr Bs past to know he was tangentially involved with (for example) Mrs A, a search on Mrs A will bring up both the article where Mr B is mentioned as being arrested, and the results for the rest of the case where Mr B is NOT mentioned, allowing the searcher to infer that the charges were dropped (and if they're not able to draw such inferences, are they really the sort of people you want to be working for).

If the status quo prior to this ruling remained in place (scenario 3), you would have the situation that a search on Mr B would bring up the article linking him to the crime, but because there was no mention about the charges being dropped, additional searches would need to be made to bring up other articles pertaining to the case that omit his name, thereby providing an implication of sorts that the charges were dropped. Would most potential employers search on other terms in the article to see if the proceedings continued without Mr B's involvement?

If you put yourself in the position of Mr A, Mrs A or Mr C, you are likely to prefer scenario 1. Mr B also benefits from this scenario, but what about Miss D (or the courts, police, media or society at large), who would want to ensure that no-one else become the victims of Mr A, Mrs A or Mr C? Mr B certainly won't be a big fan of scenario 3, as it is a pretty raw deal for him and him alone. In scenario 2, Mr B is afforded a proportionate degree of protection from the ill effects of the persistence of accurate, but no longer relevant, reporting, Mr A, Mrs A and Mr C remain easily linked to a report that remains both accurate and relevant with regard to them and Miss D gets the reassurance that, whilst she remains a victim, at least the chances of others falling victim to the same perpetrators is reduced with only minimal persistent risk of harm to the reputation of Mr B. If you put yourself in the position of Miss D, the police, the courts, society at large or the media themselves, which scenario would you rather be the reality?

OK... so the last group may not really be a valid test, especially with the current ad-supported media. To them any hit is a potential source of income, so they'd rather have as many search terms hit the article as possible. If you take ad revenue/ brand recognition out of the equation, however, and look at it from a pure fairness point of view, would you not agree that the courts' decision was the fairest outcome?

The above notwithstanding, the implementation does leave something to be desired. Having the search engines handle such requests themselves is, IMHO, wrong. Each of the EU member states has, I believe, an (often independent) government department whose role is to protect the personal data of its citizens. Surely it would have made more sense to make this a responsibility of such departments, so that they can collate and vet such requests, then farm them out simultaneously to ALL search engines simultaneously, negating the need for the applicant to apply to each search engine individually, with the potential that some will accept the request, while others will not. This would ensure uniformity, and potentially negate the potential for search engines to compete on the basis of how they comply with such requests. I am not sure, however, whether the courts have such authority. It may be necessary for the EU Parliament to pass legislation to add this responsibility to those already held by these departments. If this were to happen, it would hopefully bring the added benefit of eliminating within the legislation any of the potential for misinterpretation that has resulted form this ruling (although there will always be those who, either through ignorance or deliberately being troublesome, will misinterpret it).

Comment: Re:The things is , individual abuse this (Score 1) 113

by KevReedUK (#48182291) Attached to: BBC Takes a Stand For the Public's Right To Remember Redacted Links

"if it's indeed a small error, surely you'd still find acceptance from some people, if not forgiven by all. It's for others to decide, not you."

This message board has <quote></quote> tags. Stop being a lazy cunt and use them, or even just hit that button at the bottom that says "Quote Parent".

Quick point to note... You don't get the "quote parent" button if you're using the mobile view of /. It's also a royal PITA to manually type those tags in using a mobile interface. Personally, I would like to see the "quote parent" button implemented on the mobile interface, and I'm sure that there are a sizable number of others who would concur. At least until they do implement this, cut posters like aepervius some slack.

Comment: Not the best wording of an ask Slashdot, but... (Score 1) 265

by KevReedUK (#48143447) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Can't Google Block Spam In Gmail?

Either I have completely misunderstood the OP's question, or, it would appear, everyone else has.

The way I read it is as follows:

I get a lot of SPAM in my spam folder, and I also get the odd (very) occasional false-positive dumped in there along with it. My inbox is almost SPAM-free. Other mail providers can block SPAM from even being received, so not only does it not appear in my inbox, it doesn't even make it into my SPAM-folder. Why can't Google do this too, as it would make hunting through the SPAM-folder for false-positives much easier?

If this is the question that the OP meant to ask, the only reason I can think of, off the top of my head, is that if they did reject, rather than receive and sideline, suspected SPAM, and they hit a false-positive with that approach, they are worried that their user-base would be up in arms about it. Better to let everything through and sideline (i.e. Dump it into a separate folder) anything that they think is SPAM, than to completely prevent the receipt of any legitimate email that they misidentify.

Whether this approach is better or worse than the alternative is obviously somewhat of a subjective question.

This all being said, I may have completely misunderstood the OP's question, in which case, I would agree that Gmail is working as intended and the OP is simply holding it wrong!

Comment: Re: What about other devices? (Score 1) 421

by KevReedUK (#47902381) Attached to: Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

to an arguably lesser extent Android (in that case there is a separation - the phone is made by Samsung, HTC etc, the OS by Google, so the argument that they're integrated is weaker).

Depends on where the court considers the finished product to end when it comes to the OS, I guess... How many handset manufacturers in the Android arena release their phones with just the reference Android OS? To date, I haven't seen a single one (barring the "Nexus" branded ones, although even they do seem to deviate somewhat from the reference OS) that doesn't come pre-installed with a customised version of Android. That customisation may be as simple as chucking a few bookmarks into Chrome, or throwing the odd skin on an app/ wallpaper on the "desktop", but it's still a customisation that could potentially be considered to make it a distinct version of the OS, thereby strengthening the link between the OS and the hardware manufacturer. This is even more the case where the hardware manufacturer does its customisations, then the network (Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, EE, whatever) do a few more customisations on top of that. At this point, are they bundling someone else's work with their product (which your theory says is the infringing act), or are they bundling their own work (albeit a derivative work) with their product (which you seem to be suggesting would be OK.)?

Comment: Re:What about other devices? (Score 1) 421

by KevReedUK (#47902253) Attached to: Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

Right now they "force" everyone buying a PC to get Windows, and they're able to do this by unfair OEM licensing schemes and as their position as the monopoly player.

There are so many things wrong with this statement...

1. "unfair OEM licensing schemes"

Really? When did the planet where life is fair blow up and scatter its people across the galaxy and why did so many of them land here?

2. Monopoly player?

So Apple is out of business and no longer selling a Mac? I can't build a PC or order one from Dell without Windows and put Linux on it?

MS has a lot of market share, they don't have a monopoly. I know several people who own Macs.

The meaning of Monopoly, at least in legal terms, appears to have changed from the traditional meaning:

"The only player in the market"

to a somewhat more nuanced:

"The player, or co-operating cartel of players who have such a grip on the market that no other potential (or existing) player can be expected to have a reasonable chance of entering (or effectively participating in) the market".

This does not mean that all potential or existing players in a market should be expected to achieve parity, or be capable of it. What is important is the exclusion of ALL other parties from having the potential to effectively participate in the market. There is also the matter of related markets and the practice of players forming cartels where they essentially carve the larger marketplace up into smaller specializations and agree to split control of them such that each has a market that is "theirs".

As things stand at present, in the desktop market, there are two main commercial players, MS (Windows) and Apple (OSX). Both seem to have slightly different target markets, so aren't really considered to be in direct competition for the most part (when was the last time you heard about Apple trying to get a Mac on every desk in a large company, outside of the creative industries?). There is, however, enough of an overlap (Windows in some creative companies and OSX in an increasing number of homes) that neither can effectively be accused of dividing the market between themselves. This leaves the fight as being essentially between Microsoft and Linux. Granted, Linux is a very fragmented proposition, as competition goes, so you're not really comparing like with like, but it can be argued (and appears that it often has been successfully before the courts) that Microsoft's grip on the market, in particular via its commercial agreements with its OEM partners, has meant that whilst it is POSSIBLE to get a PC without Windows on it, it is sufficiently more difficult to do so, to the extent that they have an unfair commercial advantage over their competitors.

They may not be the only player in town, but to the average user, they might as well be. It is largely for this reason that they are regarded, including by several judiciaries, as monopolists.

Although... IANAL, and this is just my understanding of the matter...

Comment: Re:Windows the phone or OS? (Score 1) 352

by KevReedUK (#47901907) Attached to: Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

The aim was to do away with the mindless tautology of referring to a Windows Phone Phone. An Android Phone is called such, because the OS is called Android, not Android Phone, therefore, technically, until this move is completed, we should be referring to WP-based handsets as Windows Phone Phones. This simply allows you to drop the first "phone" when referring to them.

Comment: Re:Nokia Lumia Windows Phone (Score 1) 352

by KevReedUK (#47901835) Attached to: Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

The headline says they're replacing "Window Phone" with "Windows", but this is totally wrong.

They're replacing "Windows Phone" with "Microsoft Lumia", and dropping the Nokia name completely as fast as possible.

WRONG. They're doing both.

For the OS itself:
Windows Phone => Windows

For the hardware:
Nokia Lumia => Lumia

Comment: Re:They may not know any better (Score 1) 352

by KevReedUK (#47901745) Attached to: Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

...Microsoft is afraid to cut the old stuff loose. MS can never progress if they aren't willing to let the past go.

If they did make a complete break with the past code-base and did a complete redesign from the ground up, as you seem to be suggesting, how would you propose that legacy apps continue to run on it?

It would appear, from the tone of your comment, that you are suggesting MS's answer should be "F@#k 'em"!

If they were to take your suggestion, they would kill one of the biggest drivers in keeping MS entrenched in businesses. They may have made some pretty questionable moves over the last few years, but an all-out bid for suicide doesn't quite seem to be part of their game-plan.

Don't get me wrong, I agree that such a long-lived code-base could do with a complete rewrite to make it easier for them to support and build on going forward. They are, however, in the unenviable position of having a significant portion of their customers dependent on legacy applications that work only because the code-base is so long-lived and backward compatible.

Do you remember, for example, when Vista came out and a major component of the NT security model was updated (i.e. it actually started to have something resembling one with regard to what privilege levels an application could run in), killing the ability of many applications to run/install? At least there it was a new feature that had been added and could be turned off that was causing the programs not to work. How much worse do you think it is going to be if your proposed full rewrite broke a wide range of popular legacy applications and the only way to get them to work was to wither replace them, or downgrade back to an earlier version of the OS?

The more cordial the buyer's secretary, the greater the odds that the competition already has the order.