Four short links: 1 January 2019

Amazon Tricks, Public Domain, Blocking Telegram, and Approximate Spreadsheets

By Nat Torkington
January 1, 2019
  1. Amazon Marketplace ScamsAs Amazon has escalated its war on fake reviews, sellers have realized that the most effective tactic is not buying them for yourself, but buying them for your competitors—the more obviously fraudulent the better. A handful of glowing testimonials, preferably in broken English about unrelated products and written by a known review purveyor on Fiverr, can not only take out a competitor and allow you to move up a slot in Amazon’s search results, it can land your rival in the bewildering morass of Amazon’s suspension system. (via Marginal Revolution)
  2. Growing Public Domain — the public domain now includes “In the Orchard” and “Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street,” by Virginia Woolf; “The Ego and the Id,” by Sigmund Freud (original German version); “Towards a New Architecture,” by Le Corbusier (original French version);
    “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” and “The Murder on the Links,” by Agatha Christie; “The Lurking Fear,” by H.P. Lovecraft; “Duino Elegies,” by Rainer Maria Rilke (original German version); “Safety Last!” and “Why Worry?,” by Harold Lloyd; M. C. Escher—”Dolphins”; Pablo Picasso—”The Pipes of Pan” and “Paulo on a Donkey”; and Paul Klee—”Architecture, Tightrope Walker, and Masks.”
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  4. Russia vs. Telegram: Technical Notes on the Battle — a CCC talk. Spoiler alert: Russia didn’t succeed, and in trying, they also banned IP addresses of major local businesses (VKontakte, Yandex, and others), presumably, by mistake. A flaw in the filter was exploited to bring one of the major ISPs down for a while. Moscow internet exchange point announced that a like flaw of the filter could be used to disrupt peering.
  5. Guesstimateopen source spreadsheet for things that aren’t certain where you can create Fermi estimates and perform Monte Carlo estimates. I’ve linked to this before, but I hadn’t realized it’s open source. Development has slowed, the founders are busy elsewhere, but it’s a promising idea.
Post topics: Four Short Links