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Diego Elio
Works at Google Inc
Attended ITIS C. Zuccante
Lives in Dublin, Ireland
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Diego Elio

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Diego Elio

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Finally posted the first entry on this one. And I also found the best avatar for it (without using Adobe's trademarks.)
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Janne Grunau's profile photoDiego Elio “Flameeyes” Pettenò's profile photoMatteo Bernardini's profile photo
 
excellent choice of avatar
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Diego Elio

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So turns out that the only bank that seems to accept I may have a foreign phone number is… Chase. I now find myself needing to receive SMS from time to time for both my Italian and UK phone numbers (yes I have a UK phone number, sort of.)

Suggestions for a cheap dual-sim phone?

I would ask +Vladimir Pantelic but by the time things might actually ship it might be a bit late… :P
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Google Voice :P
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So I'm starting to ponder learning scheme just to write some custom reporting on my gnucash data.

Particularly, the normal expense reports do not really tell me the kind of information I need because it does not consider savings or loan repayments (which are not expenses but are "where the money goes".)
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+Maciej Piechotka do you happen to know if I'm missing something for it to just resolve refunds by collapsing them? It's a tad strange to see money coming from expense accounts :P
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Diego Elio

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Douglas Adams, predicting the annoying motion controlled Samsung Smart TVs, some thirty years before launch...

"For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive— you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure, of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same program."

Start reading this book for free: http://amzn.to/1Iu8mY5
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Expanding on how Big Content puts the middle-tier of people ready to pay, but wanting region-free content, at risk.
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Apple and Privacy, Just like Google

One thing that really annoys me about Apple is how it is using its reality distortion field to twist the message about privacy. Only a week ago, Tim Cook said this:

”I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information. They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be. So we don’t want your data. “

“We don’t think they’re worth have your email or your search history or now even your family photos data-mined and sold-off for God-knows-what advertising purpose.”

And then, at the WWDC Keynote, they announced the new Apple News app. What does this app do? Well… I quote from their product page:

”The stories you really care about. The more you read, the more personalized the News app becomes, refining the selection of stories delivered to your screen so they are relevant to you. Easily share articles with others and save them to read offline. News stays on top of the stories you’re interested in. So you can, too.”

So… how can Apple learn what it is that you are interested in, and deliver that information to you without tracking people?

Granted, at the keynote, Craig Federighi also displayed a slide pointing out the privacy features for Apple News. These included:

Anonymous
Not associated with Apple ID
Random identifier
Not linked to other Apple services
Not shared with third parties
You’re in control

Clearly pointing their fingers at Google.

First of all, this is a weird way of doing things. Not having the news targeting data linked to your Apple ID means that it can’t be used across devices. Your iPhone and your iPad won’t know which is which. And if you buy a new iPhone, you will have to teach your news app all over again from scratch.

What’s the point of that? That’s not a privacy issue. That’s just terrible UX. 

It’s also not linked to other Apple services, meaning that Apple won’t be able to show you news from where you are in Apple Maps, compared to your personal interests. That seems like a weird limitation, and again, poor UX.

Finally, we have the “Not shared with third parties”.

It’s so annoying. Why, because neither is Google
It’s the same thing. Google isn’t sharing anything. No advertiser sees any user data, ever.

It’s like when you advertise in a newspaper. You pay the newspaper to display the ad in the right section. But as an advertiser, you have no clue as to who it reaches. You just know it has been targeted right.

That’s how Google Adwords work.

More to the point, tools like Google Analytics work almost exactly like Apple News. It too is anonymous, not associated with people’s Google IDs, uses randomized identifiers, not linked to other Google services, nor is it shared with third parties. 

Granted, you can add aggregated demographic data to this as well, in which case it does link to Google Adwords, but it’s still anonymous, and you have no way to track that on an individual level.

I get so annoyed by this. Apple is promoting itself as the savior of privacy online, bashing Google and others with vaguely misleading statements along the way.

That said, there are genuine concerns about privacy as well.

For instance, there is a real problem around the whole industry of data brokers. These are companies who are buying and selling user data to the highest bidder, from anywhere. For instance, when you go into Target to buy a t-shirt, they will end up knowing your age, income, social status, your food preferences, and sometimes even your medical history. 

Similarly, when I then go into another store a week later, then they suddenly also know that I bought a T-shirt.

That’s not right. That’s terrible! It should be illegal for companies to buy/sell/share their data. (and indeed it is in my country).

If I go into a store, whatever I do and whatever I buy in this store should be kept between the store and me. It is a massive violation of trust when that store sells this information to others. 

That is a real privacy problem.

This also extends to websites. If I visit a newspaper, what I read should not be bought and sold by other companies. That is an interaction purely between me and the newspaper. 

The newspaper can target me all it wants based on the interaction that has taken place between us. But when I then visit another newspaper, they shouldn’t be allowed to know what topics of articles I read elsewhere. 

This is the whole concept of privacy. 

Apple is doing this right because what it tracks is kept within Apple. Which is good. And that is also how Google works. Whatever you do on Google, stays with Google.

But the rest of Apple PR bashing about privacy is just that, PR.

Look at Apple Music, which will be available on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows and Android. Here you can create your own playlists, follow artists, like, comment and share things.

The only way they can do that is by linking your actions to your Apple ID. How else would it be able to show you the playlist on your phone that you just created on your Mac? How else would it be able to keep track and notify you across devices when there is an update to something you engage with?

So, Apple is using your data, just like everyone else. As Apple says on their site (about Apple Music)

“Enjoy recommendations handpicked just for you or explore everything they find that’s new and noteworthy in the world of music. It’s all yours.”

“Even with a library this massive, finding the music you’re looking for is easy. The intelligent search engine remembers whether you’re looking in your local library or the Apple Music library, so you get results from the place you expect. You can also browse music you’ve looked for previously, and see what searches are trending.”

”Tell us what you like. Discover something you’ll love. When you tell us the genres and bands you’re into, we’ll bring you more suggestions from our experts who know and love music. They’re out at the big shows and the small gigs, combing scenes to bring you emerging artists and deep cuts, and creating playlists that feel like they’re coming from a friend who knows exactly what you want to hear.”

”The more you listen, the better we hear you. When we make recommendations, we consider what you tell us you like. Whether you love a song or not, your feedback helps our suggestions get better and better. But we also pay attention to what you actually play. So if you’re an EDM fan with a secret affinity for big band music, we’ll find you more stuff that swings. And drops the beat.”

How is this not exactly the same as what Google is doing with their services?

Oh, you say. But Apple isn’t using this to sell advertising. Really? 

Here is the description of ad targeting for the Apple News app:

”Monetization of Apple News Format content is simple with iAd, Apple’s advertising platform. When monetizing with iAd, you’ll have access to iAd’s segmentation capabilities, so your advertisers can reach just the right audience within your content. iAd targeting is accurate and scalable, and based on registration data from hundreds of millions of validated Apple users.”

So, when Apple said that Apple news was anonymous, not associated with Apple ID, uses a random identifier, nor linked to other Apple services, that apparently only applies to all the things that aren’t iAds. Because with iAds, they can accurately target your content to millions of Apple users.

Again, just like Google.

Add that Apple recently announced they will support ad blockers in Safari on the iPhone, thus blocking newspapers from earning money that way. While iAds does work in their own news app... well...

This is why I get so annoyed when I hear Apple’s PR machine talk about privacy. First, we have Tim Cook saying: “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be. So we don’t want your data.“

Then they launch two new services; Apple Music and Apple News, both featuring individual targeting, tracking and tailoring. Including integration to iAds.

I call shenanigans. 

Both Apple and Google track what you do. Both companies use that information. And both companies that keep information within themselves, thus ensuring your privacy stays intact. 

There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, as they both show, doing this creates much better products for you and me.

Let’s instead focus on the much more important issue of data brokers, and how data from one site is sold or given to others, thus causing one company to know what you did in another store. 

That is the real issue we should be dealing with. Not how data is used between us and the individual companies that we have chosen to be a part of.
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Everything else I wrote stands, though: I enjoy almost anything you write.
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Diego Elio

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If somebody still hasn't heard of Transferwise, and moves money between currencies (GBP, EUR, USD, AUD, …) I can wholeheartedly recommend the service.

Today I used it for the first time for EUR→GBP between my two Ulster Bank accounts (ROI→NI). The whole transfer was completed (including reimbursement of the extra disbursement, and the credit on the GBP account) within an hour.

I'm not sure if it's because Ulster Bank/RBS are the circuit they base themselves upon here in Europe, but they surprised me a lot.
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So a wire transfer within the US is still $25 for most accounts. Non-Euro wires with most Irish banks are easily 20 euros.

I have admittedly not checked Ulster RI/NI direct transfers, but I know that Sterling transfers are not free, and last I spoke with Derek GBP-EUR is also not free for him.

HSBC might be a bit better in that regard — unfortunately they don't have final customer service in IE :(
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Diego Elio

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The drunken people having the loudest party ever at 2am don't really surprise me that much.
Nor does the fact that Garda can do next to nothing.
The fact that I was the first (or only) person calling both them and the property management, does.
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Not surprising at all. Yes to drunken people, and empty bottles everywhere in parks, but no OMG YOU CRAZY to pets. And here I rest my case.
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A mostly quiet Starbucks off the touristy areas, a Ian Fleming novel and a mostly decent latte.

I should just get used to this and let all the worry in the world wash over me. 
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There's Nine Worlds in London. That's where I'm going. 
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+VLC​ had some problems with garbage collection. #vlcspotting
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Try recycling the JVM ;-)
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How region-locking becomes a very good source of income for shady businesses…
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Currently
Dublin, Ireland
Previously
Zelarino, Mestre, VE, Italy - Hermosa Beach, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Work
Occupation
System Engineer
Employment
  • Google Inc
    Systems Engineer, Site Reliability Engineering, 2013 - present
  • Self-employed
    Consultant and MSP, 2009 - 2013
Education
  • ITIS C. Zuccante
    2003
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Other names
Diego Pettenò, Flameeyes
Apps with Google+ Sign-in
  • Best Fiends
  • Bejeweled 3
  • Shazam
Diego Elio's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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