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Comment Re:No issue. (Score 1) 106

No, it hasn't been blocking third party cookies for years. This is the core of why such policies are a bad idea. It says it blocks third party cookies, but there are actually lots of exceptions to that rule in order to avoid as the summary says "false positives". You can read about what really happened with Google on Lauren Weinstein's blog, it's very different to how you paint it (there was no "trying to circumvent" involved).

Comment Re:Ummmm.. (Score 1) 106

The only thing 3rd party cookies are useful for is tracking you. Anyone who says otherwise makes their living out of stripping you of your privacy.

Reading fail! The summary itself says the policy is being delayed because of false positives, ie, things that they are blocking that is causing users to complain.

This is exactly what happened with Safari. Somebody decides that "privacy" can be viewed exclusively through the lens of particular technologies, that advertising is bad and they will "save the users" from targeted advertising that's wrecking the web (or relevant advertising that funds the web, depending on your perspective). Then they discover that 3rd party cookies are not exclusively used for advertising, and start punching holes in the policy, until it gets to the point where any site that wants to can set a third party cookie by writing their code in a different way. Then some company offers their users a feature they can opt in to that requires third party cookies, so the documented workarounds for the blocking policy are used to make it work, then there's a big media story about how said company is "working around privacy protections".

For example, this happened with Facebook and Safari. The Safari guys got bug reports that their users were being randomly logged out of Facebook but not when other browsers were used. After a long time, they tracked it down to third party cookie blocking interacting badly with the Like button, which is the sort of thing that uses them. So they added yet another heuristic to try and distinguish "good" stuff such as Like buttons from "bad" stuff such as adverts, and ended up making the policy so weak it could even be triggered by accident!

Comment Re:Page was just dissembling anyway (Score 4, Informative) 201

(usual disclosure: I'm a Google engineer).

Those are all really bad examples.

Retiring ActiveSync for consumer accounts is not "trying to prevent Windows Phone from syncing calendar and contact data". Not even close. ActiveSync is a Microsoft-specific protocol which is so heavily protected by the patent system it requires fees. There are open equivalents for all its functionality. Perhaps if Microsoft doesn't want to implement CalDAV or CardDAV like its major competitors do and would rather its competitors pay them per-user license fees for the privilege of using a crappy syncing protocol, they should not be surprised when support for said protocol goes away. They can catch up with everyone else and support the non-licensed calendar and contact syncing protocols instead. For corporate users, well, they pay so the costs of ActiveSync can just be passed straight through.

By "hindering the development of a YouTube app" you actually mean requiring Microsoft to obey the terms of service, right? The sort of co-operation Page was talking about doesn't mean Microsoft can do whatever they want, demand whatever they want, and everyone gives it to them on a plate for nothing. It means cooperating to find a reasonable solution that works for everyone. In this case, there's already an HTML5 website Windows Phone users can access, and if WP becomes popular enough then probably Google would make a native app that follows content creators requirements and allows the site to be funded. Or maybe provide the access they need to build a proper app that does follow the ToS. After all, that's what happened with the iPhone app despite the iPhone being Android's biggest competitor (it started out written by Apple and later moved to being written by Google).

The sort of thing Microsoft does here is exactly what Larry was talking about. They must have known when they were developing the YouTube app that the features they added were not allowed - because it says so right in the YouTube ToS. So what was their goal here? Apparently to try and confuse people and try to score points when they got inevitably told to stop. And it's working on you, isn't it? It's exactly the same kind of immature behaviour they're pulling in so many other ways. This is not co-operation. It's playing politics instead of building better technology. Larry isn't the only one that's sick of it.

Comment Re:To err is human, to really screw things up. . . (Score 1) 507

Yeah, I thought about that, but the meter had a screen on the front that counted down the amount of time remaining. When you point coins in, the time goes up. Pretty simple actually. So I am not sure how I could have been accidentally cited for that either because there was over an hour left on the meter when I left. I suppose there could have been some other infraction I'm not aware of, though.

Comment Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (Score 1) 507

I had two weeks to file an appeal, only one of which I was going to be in the country. That's filing, it doesn't mean it's resolved within two weeks. Also, unfortunately I only noticed the ticket under the wipers after driving off. So I didn't take a photo of where I was parked. Apparently the guy who issued the ticket is supposed to take a photo, but I have no idea how to see it (probably can't).

There doesn't seem to be any online appeals process. I was told I'd have to send them a letter by the post. If there was an online process I might have been tempted to use it. The City of Santa Cruz website only has the ability to pay tickets, not file an appeal or complaint.

Comment Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (Score 5, Insightful) 507

I don't think it's just Florida that's abusing traffic citations for profit. I visited Santa Cruz, CA on Sunday and parked by the beach. There were cars on either side of me, white space dividing lines and a meter right in front of the space where I parked. I got a $48 citation for "parking in a red zone". So I called them up and asked what this meant, it means "no parking at any time under any circumstances". That means the ticket was quite obviously wrong as no-parking zones don't have parking meters in them.

I don't see any way this can be an honest mistake. You can't write out a ticket saying a car parked in a no parking zone whilst standing next to a meter with plenty of time left on it.The ticket itself, their contact line and their website all make the appeals process rather prominent so apparently they get a lot of appeals. Unfortunately you only get two weeks to appeal, I'm not staying in California, I'll be on vacation next week and then I return to my home in Europe. So I'll probably just pay the $48, there's no way it makes sense to appeal a parking ticket for a rental car from the other side of the world whilst on vacation.

This whole incident leaves a bad taste, it appears to be open and unchecked corruption on the part of municipal governments. The kind of thing I expect in a banana republic, not America.

Comment Re:That webpage is not the whole story. (Score 2) 302

Um, you have no clue what you're talking about. Mt Gox has bent over backwards to comply with all these rules. They not only do ID verification, they freeze accounts suspected of criminal activity, they have co-operated with the police in the past (notably, the German police), they do risk analysis of transactions and all the other things that banks do. This is by no stretch of the imagination "not even pretending to comply with the law". If you're really going to try and paint Mt Gox as some kind of rogue outfit, all you're arguing is that AML rules are so opaque, complex and difficult to comply with that it's impossible for a small company to work with money no matter how good their intentions are.

Comment Re:Crap, the sky is falling (Score 1) 334

Actually that's not the case. For apps running on your phone, they are using simplified payment verification in which the contents of the blocks are not validated (the block headers themselves are). So they are agnostic to the kind of issue that led to the unexpected hard fork. Yes this kind of consensus failure is pretty disastrous but it didn't actually affect many end users, and will only get rarer in future as testing improves.

Comment Re:It's not a full node (Score 5, Informative) 150

A full node is a really, really large amount of work. I feel that lots of people don't realise this, get enthusiastic and think, "I love Bitcoin! I love Go! I'll write Bitcoin in Go" where for Go you can substitute basically any language that's fun or popular. Then they write the easy bits (like wire marshalling) and eventually the project dies around the time that it's time to implement the wallet or Bloom filtering or robust test suites. Possibly Conformal is different, we'll have to wait and see, but the feature set they advertised in their blog is very much what has been seen many times before. In particular there's no handling of the block chain, re-orgs, no wallet and they haven't got any infrastructure to test edge cases.

One reason implementing Bitcoin properly is not fun is an entire class of bugs that doesn't exist in normal software - chain splitting bugs - which can be summed up as "Your software behaves how you thought it's supposed to work rather than how the original bitcoind actually does work". Bitcoin is highly unusual in that it implements group consensus - lots of nodes have to perform extremely complicated calculations and arrive at exactly the same result in lockstep, to a far far higher degree of accuracy than other network protocols. This means that you have to replicate the same set of bugs bitcoind has. Failure to do so can lead to opening up security holes via consensus failure which can in turn lead to double spending (and thus your users lose money!).

Being compatible with the way bitcoind is written (bugs and all) may require you to break whatever abstractions you have introduced to make the code cleaner or more elegant or whatever reason you have for reimplementing Bitcoin. Here's a trivial example - signatures in Bitcoin have an additional byte that basically selects between one of a few different modes. It's actually one of three modes plus a flag. So a natural way to implement this is as an enum representing the three modes plus a boolean for the flag. But that won't work. There is a transaction in the block chain which has a sighash flag that doesn't fit any of the pre-defined values (it's zero) and because Satoshi's code uses bit testing it still works. But if you turn the flag into an enum, when you re-serialise the mode flags you'll re-serialise it wrong and arrive at an incorrect result. So you have to pass these flags around as integers and select via bit testing as well.

Bitcoin is full of these kinds of weird edge cases. Eventually you come to realise that reimplementing it is dangerous and probably whatever benefits you thought it had, it probably doesn't. Some people believe there should be independent reimplementations anyway and I can understand and respect that, but doing it safely is an absolutely massive piece of work. You have to really, really, really believe in diversity to do it - the features of language-of-the-day aren't good enough to justify the effort.

Comment Re:Why explain himself? (Score 1) 176

Because I don't believe MPs are really in need of random company executives to teach them how their own laws work? And this is random - lots of companies sell into the UK, have offices there, and book profits in some other, including one that Hodge is herself involved with. So how are these people picked ... well, by how well known their brands are. So Hodge can look tough in the tabloids. I am struggling to see what other rationale there could be.

I agree that they need to learn about the issues in order to construct well thought out changes. If Margaret Hodge is confused about how corporation tax works, she could go talk to the experts who work for HMRC and they will happily talk to her all day. Or alternatively just spend some time reading articles about it on the internet.

Comment Re:Why explain himself? (Score 3, Interesting) 176

That's not how the law is written. The money that is being charged for the ads are paid to the Irish subsidiary. Therefore Irish taxes apply. There's no legal definition for what it means to "make a sale" in that regard and the location of the first person you talk to on the phone makes no difference. Otherwise if you call up a company and your purchase is handled by an Indian call center, is the sale suddenly taxable in India now even if you're a Brit and pay a British company? No, that's not how tax works.

If someone thought the law was actually being broken, then the right thing to do is for HMRC to prosecute. Not summon random executives to "explain themselves" to Parliament. That's a waste of time that is guaranteed to achieve nothing.

Comment Re:Why explain himself? (Score 1, Interesting) 176

Also, there's nothing really to explain here. Nobody is claiming the law has been broken or tax was mispaid. Hodge is just an idiot who wants to spend more money to make herself more popular and is holding "show trials" of companies who she believes somehow are too good at taking deductions. This is hilarious because she herself has a stake in a large company that uses exactly the same tax strategies.

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