• when can you crawl a site ?

    A researcher and startup founder saw that he could crawl all facebookpages because there was no interdiction in the robot.txt. So he did, collected the data from facebook and began with his research (who spoke to who for example).

    When it was all ready to go public, he got a call from the legal department of Facebook

    Their contention was robots.txt had no legal force and they could sue anyone for accessing their site even if they scrupulously obeyed the instructions it contained. The only legal way to access any web site with a crawler was to obtain prior written permission.

    But as the lonely guy would found himself broke, he couldn't test it in court (if there was even a judge to understand it correctly).

    So he obeyed (having a lawyer from such an international company makes you very nervous indeed - especially if you have responsabilities)

    But the main question stays, if robot.txt has no legal status and the only status are the rights that are formulated in a 'user agreement' what does this mean for Google and all the other searchengines and researchtools ?

  • Ebay and skype at war : where will it end ?

    Skype is now used by half a billion users worldwide and is the absolute marketleader in consumer VOIP. It has been bought by Ebay for some billions of dollars during the second internethype. But those people with more money than brains forgot to get hold (ownership) of all the code from A to Z and find themselves in a very daring situation.

    Because according to the Skypeversion Ebay has not done enough to integrate Skype into Ebay (which was the Ebay-Skype-Paypal hype) or because according to the Ebayversion Skype was not ready and good enough to make the money it needed (or was expected) and to fulfill the functions that were planned the minds and people of Ebay and Skype parted.

    As divorces have a tendency to become a legal battleground Ebay is now finding itself in court to try to get hold of the code that is the P2P basis of SKype. The founders of Skype built Napster before and used the same code to construct this very fast VOIP application. Without it Skype wouldn't work the way it does and wouldn't be so competitive. What the people of Ebay didn't understand was that the P2P code is the real routing basis of the Skype application and without out Skype wouldn't be worth a penny. Not getting hold of the code is the same as buying an empty bag. This goes well as long as all the parties go along but can bring everything down when war breaks out between the parties.

    Ebay has more to lose as they are on the stock market and need to valorize their Skype investment to keep their investors happy. It is naturally a pitty for the sellers on Ebay that their leadership got so distracted by these big dreams that they now have less time and money to give them a better service in daring times.

    source bloomberg

  • scrap Yahoo : only Microsoft and Google are relevant

    After they refused the 40 billion plus from Microsoft, Yahoo has gone under and in its frantic search for a way out that was not there, they have just given up and are nothing more than one (scrappy) social site among others with some salespeople. Luckily their mailservice is still excellent although becoming somewhat dated. I hope they don't mess that one up. But on search, they are out and Bing is IN.

    "The data on computer users' online search and buying habits would ultimately reside on Microsoft's computers, thereby improving its ability to automatically serve up the most relevant ads. "If Microsoft is running the underlying ad technology, it doesn't matter who is selling the ads," Sullivan says. "In the end, Microsoft will hold all the cards."

    Now, the real battle with real money and maybe real new inventions and functions may start. Luckily for us Google is no Netscape but you shouldn't underestimate Microsoft and neglect Google's overconfidence.

  • Opel Antwerp : the announced death

    Plan RHJ "The plan would entail up to 11,000 job cuts, with the Opel plants in Eisenach, Bochum and Antwerp being under threat",1518,626662-2,00.html

    Opel's labor representative Klaus Franz said hard times are ahead for Opel, and in particular for plants in Luton, Antwerp and Bochum. The aim of the labor council is to prevent forced layoffs and factory closures, he added, but couldn't offer any guarantees.

    It's still questionable whether that could actually happen at German plants. With an election just months away, it is unlikely the German federal government would allow a plant here to be shut down -- it's just too politically unpalatable at a time when the country is about to choose its next leader.

    "I think it's going to happen in Antwerp," said Pieper, referring to Opel's Belgian plant. "The workers there don't have much of a political lobby."

    But if the governments of Belgium and the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia end up injecting money into Opel, the company will hardly be able to close its plants in those areas. Besides, the group needs to find a partner in the auto industry to be able to finance necessary long-term investments. And no such partner is in sight

    You have the internet, so why don't you read some news from elsewhere ?



  • the illegal movie business

    Some sites aren't giving the ripped films for free anymore but want some money. Some have the 'download as much as you want for x dollar a month' and some want money for each download.

    It makes it in fact easier for law enforcement. Follow the money.

    Here are some examples

    and lots more

    and if you thought that paying such a low sum, a friend of mine did that and his credit card was compromised after that. So don't say you didn't knew.

  • the changing online music environment since music clips invaded the web

    Before music clips it was not easy to find hard to find music that was a bit out of the ordinary. But with millions of music clips available now there are ways to get the soundpart of the file and so millions of songs are becoming available that before were not available and so it has become a great time to change your records by downloads (and keep these files out of P2P systems and stock your records somewhere as proof).

    It is in any case a scandal that the music industry asks as more money for downloads than for collection cd's (100 songs for 5 Euro's with Itunes I have 5 of them). There are smarter ways to make money from old stuff and make legal downloads just as easy as paying for films online with our digital tv.

  • playing with wolframpalpha



    but there are some practical things to use

    Euro - dollar

    price barrel of oil (not real time

    The absence of the real time monitoring is a missed opportunity in an embedded world



  • Belgian minister wants more attention for accessable internet

    This is not a secure internet, but an internet that is also usable for people with handicaps (or older or mobile surfing material). Fine by me only

    this was already mentioned by the government in 2004 I think and with deadlines that all governmental sites should have a label and so on....

    up to the next declaration of intention ....


  • Comcast limits netuse to 250GB per month

    We in Belgium have 25 to 30 GB a month- if we pay 30 Euro's each month that is

    "Comcast has announced that effective October 1, 2008, they will impose a 250 GB/month bandwidth cap on their users. Their web page about the policy states that "he median data usage by Comcast High-Speed Internet customers is approximately 2-3 GB each month," Comcast "Excessive Use" FAQ, and it is very likely that the average usage is a couple times higher, judging by the Japanese experience mentioned above. (Comcast says that fewer than 1% of their users exceed the 250 GB/month limit.) "