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Showing posts from November, 2014

Sleep-walking to a Bloody Revolution

According to The Guardian, the EU is about to tighten legislation on user tracking to apply to other means than just cookies . However, no-one reads those cookie popups or EULAs anyway and you can't do much on the net if you don't blindly accept them. And I mean "blindly" since even though you could read them (most of us don't), you can assume that most users don't have a combined law and computing degree sufficient to be able to understand the implications of them regardless. I like to think that I understand the computing aspects of these things but I also know that new techniques are developed daily to try to leverage more revenue from the end-user and place more responsibility on them than I can keep up with (or have the mental capacity to understand). The  likes of Google, Twitter and Facebook are continually trying to capture more data about us and do so through the development of what appears to be "free" services. These services may seem nice

Amazon v Amazon

I was reading up a while back about how Amazon (and others) do differential pricing depending on who you are (or who they think you are) including factors such as the type of computer you use. As a very quick test I decided to do two searches... One (let's call it "open") from my own laptop via my default browser used for everyday activity, logged in to Amazon, full of tracking cookies and history etc.... The other ("closed") from a TOR'ified Linux VM running a clean browser, privoxy and appearing (for now) to be surfacing out of Liberia. Both searches were for "macbook air" (not that I intend on buying one but they're common and relatively expensive). Results were pretty much the same, but not quite and the example below shows a difference... From "open":   From "closed": £686 v £669... So, if proof were needed.... you can't get Amazon Prime in Liberia! (at least not from Because that's really the

Tyre Swing and Architectural Artefacts

Using the legendary tree swing cartoon analogy of the IT industry for my own utility... How does this sort of thing pan out in a naive project environment? (they're not all like this). Analyst sits down with client for a chat about what's needed. A mental picture (right or wrong - let's assume right for now) is formed in his/her head. A blueprint of how it will work is drawn up (only mentally since we reckon the problem is simple enough). A few questions come up when considering this; how heavy the user? how high the tree branch? etc. Solution proposal is verified with client - via a chat over a pint because it's all pretty obvious and he's a mate. Worked out what items are needed (tree, rope, tyre). Worked out how to build it (again, only mentally because it's pretty straight-forward)... Identified where to source the items from - rope from DIY shop, tyre from scrapyard, tree in back-garden (even checked that there was one!). Took client to sc