Jeroen Hellingman's Techdirt Profile

Jeroen Hellingman

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  • Jan 11, 2022 @ 11:42pm

    Re: Seller beware

    Never underestimate the addictive qualities of money for nothing (and the chicks for free) nor the creativity of an army of lawyers in finding rent seeking arguments when they are front-loaded with such money. The counter argument is of course that such artists cash in at the moment they know their army of fans is getting close to retirement, and in a moment of nostalgia revisit the idols of their youth with their now significant funds and free time. Any such rise in popularity can be expected to die out with their fans, while the youth will look for something their parents abhor, for that very reason.

  • Jan 12, 2022 @ 12:31am

    How will they establish what to fill in on that form. It isn't true that you can simply establish the fictional concept that "race" is in the US by just looking at a person. Under the racist "one drop of blood" theory, even somebody with a lily-white skin can be considered "black". For me the only viable way to establish "race" is by asking the person in question. In that case I would answer something completely ridiculous, like "Klingon" or "Ferengi", depending on my mood (realizing that many alien species in Star Trek carry somewhat modified names of South-East Asian peoples, and Farang is actually a Thai word for white people, while Kling or Keling is a SEA term for Indian).

  • Dec 08, 2021 @ 12:08am

    Blue Privilege

    This is what blue privilege looks like. Thinking you can get away with the most outrageous behavior because you wear a uniform. Similar past behavior and dubious legal outcomes thanks to QI won't help, except in attracting the wrong types to the profession and driving the good ones away. For a police officer, claiming to be confused after an incident like this should be damning as well, as officers should be selected and trained on how to deal with and de-escalte crisis situations.

  • Nov 19, 2021 @ 06:38am

    Maybe some companies will learn that if it is easier to cancel, it also may be easier to convince people to subscribe.

    In my country, we had similar rules introduced a few years ago (cancelling must be as easy as subscribing, and automatic renewals can be cancelled every month). Some services actually saw an uptick of new subscribers who didn't dare to subscribe due to past experiences.

    Note that this is the same argument companies use when it is about hiring and firing people: "it shouldn't be too hard to fire someone, because that will make us reluctant to hire someone."

  • Nov 16, 2021 @ 03:19am

    For such loaded meetings, it always helps to record the entire meeting. Normally, I would request permission as a precondition for holding the meeting at all, but in my jurisdiction, it is perfectly legal to secretly record a meeting you yourself take part in, even if the other participants object.

  • Nov 10, 2021 @ 02:06am

    Re: Whooosh....

    Agree with your first two points rebutting the china-troll. But there is a legal issue: China is willfully violating an international treaty it made with the United Kingdom about the return of Hong Kong. We may not have the military clout or will to do something about it, but it should be a strong reminder of China's commitment to international law and our willingness to be dependent on such a country's for essential supplies. The current developments in China increasing reveal the hidden costs of "cheap" Chinese products.

  • Oct 22, 2021 @ 07:34am

    Re: Re: Friday deep thoughts

    The suppression of speech critical of the Chinese government is probably at the behest of the Chinese government, using Chinese students who have been fed with nationalism and who use the currently popular "your hurting our feelings and are not respecting us: this is hateful and discrimination" trend.

  • Oct 22, 2021 @ 07:10am

    Re: Friday deep thoughts

    You're offering a false choice. Goods made in China are not cheap: you will be paying the full price in due time, in the form of higher costs for defense, suppression of free speech (see this article), environmental damage, more conflicts and refugees, and so on. Support for a tyrannical system never ends well. WW2 ought to have taught us that. Also, in a sense, cheap and underpaid labor (in China, or where ever) is a disincentive for automation. Automation is a good thing, because it will free up people to do more rewarding things. The only problem is how to allocate the benefits of automation. If they only go to the owners of the machines, and not return to the people at large, little will be gained, and the system becomes unsustainable, as nobody will be able to buy the output of those automated factories.

  • Oct 19, 2021 @ 06:48am

    I've avoided all-in-one printer-scanners for various reasons, this is one. Given my usage, they have quite different live-cycles. I have scanned hundreds of old books for Project Gutenberg, so I used about 10 different scanners over the last 20 years, and just 3 printers, always laser printers because inkjet require too much care.

  • Oct 18, 2021 @ 11:41pm


    Why not in the US or (for us Europeans) in Europe? Labor costs for assembly are only a small part of the total costs, and easily offset by the huge costs of giving China the upper hand.

  • Oct 14, 2021 @ 02:06am

    Basically, I think LinkedIn has two options 1.) Block the accounts, or 2.) leave the Chinese market.

    Given the current behavior of China with regard to human rights and international aggression, I think option 2 becomes more reasonable by the day.

    If the a country implements a law forbidding compliance with these Chinese laws, their options will simply be reduced to only option 2. If you want to do that, such a law should be consistent, in applying to all companies, which no western country can do at this time, due to a far too large dependence on (cheap, but neo-colonialism and slavery attached) labor and a near monopoly on certain rare natural resources. To resolve this issue, ending the dependency on cheap labor and affected natural resources is of the highest urgency.

  • Oct 12, 2021 @ 06:10am

    One other reason to still advise VPNs: if they are commonplace, people who have a special need for VPN don't attract extra attention. If VPNs are rare, the fact that you use one may invite extra scrutiny.

    I think we're currently covered enough by corporate VPNs for people working at home to at least partially cover that aspect.

  • Oct 06, 2021 @ 01:01am

    Re: Re:

    Steven Pemberton already promoted having your own website a very long time ago, in 2008 he wrote this: It is still valid today, and so very easy. I run my own stuff from a NAS, but even a Raspberry PI can run impressive things nowadays. I think with the right software, you could even run a website from your smartphone.

  • Sep 27, 2021 @ 01:46am

    Re: Re: many things you are omitting

    This is not about trademarks, this is about the EU's bastard child of trademarks, the protected designation of origin scheme, which hijacks generally accepted generic names for products, and gives a monopoly to a certain region to produce those products under those names, causing head-ache for producers of similar products outside that region, which now have to invent some new name for the product (example, feta cheese, which an now only be produced in Greece under that name). There is nothing about quality control in the regulations, only about location. Producer outside the privileged location are not only forbidden to name the product as such, but often also prevented from mentioning the name at all (e.g. saying it is an alternative for feta). I normally try to avoid such products, because the scheme makes them more expensive. I wouldn't object against requiring actual geographic indications on products to be truthful (and not misleading), but this is just about monopolizing common, well-established names for products that can produced everywhere.

  • Sep 23, 2021 @ 01:24am


    Pretty easy if they want to work that way: they can still instruct court officials not to allow the filing of civil cases based on this law, or judges to handle such cases. Pretty easy. They are probably trying to save both the cabbage and the goat, and in the process let the wolf run wild.

  • Sep 19, 2021 @ 11:43pm


    Not so, but they might be able to use a Russian keyboard and get "РЕТА" through the filter.

  • Sep 10, 2021 @ 02:44am

    Re: Re: Re:

    There is indeed a group of immune-compromised people who would have to take special care. That is, unfortunately, nothing new to them. You also have the risk of new mutations to develop, but most vaccines so-far protect reasonably well against those as well: remember that the mRNA vaccine aims at the virus' weapon, its spikes, a mutation to those is far more likely to make the virus less effective (that is also why the vaccine in most cases works better than natural immunity: your natural immunity could attack some other aspect of the virus, good enough to heal you, not good enough to arm you against mutations on those aspects). We already have to be on the look-out for mutations of many other viruses that are out in the wild. With vaccinations, we basically restore the status-quo from before 2020.

  • Sep 10, 2021 @ 02:38am

    Re: Hypocrisy

    Wouldn't it be better for them to move to Afghanistan, where the Taliban has already established such a state? (with a sufficient flexible definition of what it means to be white)

  • Sep 10, 2021 @ 02:16am

    The problem here is that under the guise of AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and CFT (Combating the Financing of Terrorism), governments force private parties to exclude customers, which governments themselves cannot do, due to legal requirements for due process. These AML/CFT measures are a large financial burden to institutions, and the risk of fines is huge, so they rather err on the side of overblocking than underblocking.

    Financial institutions would love it, if there would be a government organization to which they could send all their customer applications and transactions, and get a OK/NOK back, so they can offload trying to interpret a terrorist list that includes such things as: "a person with 'JAN' in his name is a suspected terrorist".

  • Sep 09, 2021 @ 02:49am


    I think we will have to live with the virus for the foreseeable future: we cannot root it out, only reduce its impact. We also cannot maintain the current rules for much longer, however, seeing that vaccination is highly effective at preventing deaths, I think we should simply drop all restrictions once everybody has had a reasonable chance to vaccinate themselves (except for hospitals and a few other places where immune-compromized people come together), keep a close eye on possible dangerous mutations, work on updating vaccines if needed, and accept that people who refuse the vaccine from that point on are mostly a danger to themselves -- and that fear of that danger will be the only thing that will enable them to overcome their fear for needles. We can nudge them, help them by having mobile vaccination services that work discretely, but not force them.

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