Amazon review system rigged

It’s nothing new. Once businesses saw the benefits of a bunch of five star reviews, an industry to game the review systems was bound to spring up.

It’s not just Amazon — Trustpilot is also mentioned in the article — but Amazon’s system has been set up for rigging for a long time now. Not only can a company buy a review, but then Amazon’s platform allows them to up-vote their own fake reviews and down-vote everyone else’s proper reviews via the “Was this review helpful to you” buttons?.

In fact, it has the look of a system that was specifically designed to allow review fraud.

The trouble with anything like this is automation. Amazon want a self-moderating system but that leaves it open to both fraud and stupidity. There’s the fraudsters we’ve already mentioned but there are also the stupid, where people up or down-vote a review based on whether or not they agree with it rather than whether or not it’s a good review.

A good review stands alone, whether you agree with it or not. It will be analytical, truthful and it will justify what it says. That would make for a good review even if my own opinions and experiences of the product were the complete opposite. Honestly, you see five star reviews being up-voted where the only thing a person has said in the review is “fine”.

The only way they’ll prevent review fraud is to remove the voting buttons and use humans to moderate all reviews, but they won’t do that because they simply won’t pay for the manpower.

So I think we’re stuck with it, which is a shame because good, honest personal reviews are really helpful when making product choices.

Facebook profits and revenues up despite privacy scandal

Watching some of Zuckerberg's testimony about the privacy issues, I got the impression he was only concerned about it to the extent it might affect his income. It seemed that privacy in and of itself didn't interest him, which is understandable from a financial perspective because Facebook's whole business model is based upon invading privacy.

But I'm convinced this is far from the end of things. It has served to highlight privacy issues with the general public but there's more to come. We largely ignored these things when social media took a hold but I believe there are many more privacy breaches and scandals to come and, slowly, we'll demand more control of our personal data. This in turn will (again slowly) lead to more legislation to protect us and that'll be a big problem for a lot of the internet giants.

I could be wrong of course. I was wrong once back in 1976 when I swore I'd always wear flares.

A monkey can’t sue. Surprised?

How does something like this ever even get to court? Well of course somebody somewhere has to be trying to get some money out of it and in this case that was PETA. They claimed to be the monkey’s friend and as such, no doubt, the people who should get the monkey’s copyright fees.

That anyone should think a monkey is entitled to copyright casts doubt on which is the most intelligent species after all. It’s certainly not lawyers.

I know the world went mad somewhere in the late 80s or early 90s but this sort of thing beggars belief.

Props to the monkey though — great selfie.

Zuckerberg wants good privacy for Facebook, as long as it doesn’t affect profits

Astonishing, really. Giving people more control over their privacy is undoubtedly a good thing, yet Zuckerberg is going to try and exclude as many users as possible from the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

He’s essentially saying that he’ll only comply with good privacy regulations where he absolutely has to, otherwise he’ll sell your data on to all and sundry, without your permission, as he sees fit.

It further demonstrates he is really only paying lip service to the scrutiny he’s under following the Cambridge Analytica debacle.

Privacy’s a nice idea … as long as it doesn’t interfere with profits.

It’s just greed because it’s perfectly possibly to have privacy and profits. Give users the control they deserve and then tempt them to hand over their data voluntarily. There’ll still be millions of takers and it can all be done in a transparent and morally justifiable way.

Regulation can be a double-edged sword that often creates more problems than it solves, but we need to regulate the shit out of a lot of these internet giants that surreptitiously abuse our privacy. If that’s their only business model then they deserve to fail.

How to actually get work done on an iPad

This article is interesting but when Whitson Gordon at Endgadget says:

It won't totally replace a laptop, but it can come surprisingly close.

I disagree. I’ve almost transitioned from a MacBook Pro to an iPad Pro in a little less than a month. The only thing I need my MacBook for is an app I wrote myself and it’s entirely my fault I didn’t create an iOS version of it. I can now go many days without powering up my MacBook and even then it’s usually to use the aforementioned app or to take a Time Machine backup.

Of course it depends what you do. There’s no xCode on iOS, for example, so if you’re a developer and that’s your environment of choice you’re going to need something with MacOS. That’s probably true for other bits of software too. And of course that are evil app developers who think iOS should have a cut down versions of MacOS software.

In principle, though, iOS should be able to handle pretty much everything and I think for most people it can indeed replace a laptop.

Citation
How to actually get work done on an iPad by Whitson Gordon on Endgadget.

Ulysses review - the best writing app for macOS and iOS?

My review of Ulysses, in which I wax lyrical about it and determine that, as far as I'm concerned, it's the best writing app available for the MacOS and iOS platforms. Alas, after writing this I switched over to Bear Writer and I explain why in the addendum of this article.

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MoneyWiz review - macOS/iOS personal accounting software

A review of MoneyWiz, the personal accounting software for MacOS and iOS (and Windows and Android as it happens) created by Silverwiz Ltd. I started using this to replace the iBank/Banktivity setup I was using before.

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Why Zuckerberg's 14-Year apology tour hasn't fixed Facebook

A really good overview of how Facebook has abused users’ privacy over the years. They’re finally being called to task over some of this stuff, but how much difference will it really make when it has all blown over?

I suspect privacy issues will crop up more and more in the future and eventually it’ll be subject to much heavier regulation. Maybe the day will come when we own our own data and can trade it as a commodity, taking a payment for providing these companies with our location, our hobbies and interests or whatever. Maybe we’ll get our cut of the pie.

Currently they harvest our data for free and then make a profit on the back of it. In return they allegedly provide a service for us that we desperately need or want. They are reluctant to stop doing that and instead charge a fee for the use of their services because they know people would probably soon find out they could quite easily live without the service after all.

Ironmaster IM2000 review — awesome, essentially

I love my Ironmaster IM2000, as will be apparent from this review. I have a small area I can set aside for workouts and a full-blown power rack (with a cable system too) was just too big to fit. The IM2000 is a perfect alternative and it earns itself a five star review from me.

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Owner-occupiers in an RTM management company

In a diversion from my normal sorts of article, this one looks at the rights of owner-occupiers v landlords in a building management company set up under Right To Manage (RTM) legislation. It's something I've been heavily involved in over the last few years as an owner-occupier myself.

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Reconfiguring Jekyll processes for iOS

The software that drives this blog is Jekyll and when a MacBook Pro running MacOS was my main computer, I could install Jekyll locally and do all my builds on MacOS. However, there is no version of Jekyll for iOS and I needed to rethink my blog maintenance procedures. This article describes how I reconfigured my Jekyll processes for iOS.

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Switching from a MacBook Pro to an iPad Pro

I have been thinking about switching from using a MacBook Pro to using an iPad Pro as my main computer for some time now. After six months of research and indecision I decided to take the plunge today. In this article I explain why I'm making this switch and how I assessed my requirements. I then ordered the hardware.

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Ironmaster Super Bench review

A review of the Ironmaster Superbench. I really rate Ironmaster's workout equipment. I have an Ironmaster IM2000 and I bought an Ironmaster Superbench as part of the package, which is what I'm reviewing here. I think this is one of the best multi-purpose, flat-incline-decline benches on the market.

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CPanel AutoSSL renewal problems

Since adding a new domain to my CPanel server, I've had AutoSSL renewal errors. These have been emailed to me via the AutoSSL check that runs overnight. Anyway, the problem (at least in my case) sits with the .htaccess file and here's my solution.

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Powertec Workbench LeverGym review

Powertec Workbench LeverGym review

A review of the Powertec Workbench LeverGym. This is the first bit of workout kit I bought when I moved from a five-bedroom house with a garage to a two-bedroom flat. I needed something with a fairly small footprint.

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Body-Solid Series 7 Smith Master System review

A review of the Body-Solid Series 7 Smith Master System. Back in my youth I did a lot of weight-training but then life got in the way and I took a 20 year layoff. When I was 46 I took it up again and this is the kit I originally used for my weight-training when I restarted.

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The Fast and The Furious 8 (The Fate of The Furious) review - complete tosh

A review of the 8th film in 'The Fast and The Furious' franchise. No, just no.

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