Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur
jducoeur

Tech News: Facebook TOS Redux and The Casino iPhone Problem

The main news today is the same as yesterday's main news: the fact that Facebook changed their Terms of Service a couple of days ago, to give them the right to use your "content" in perpetuity.

Today's update is that Mark Zuckerberg is speaking out about it, and frankly isn't saying anything surprising. His blog post indicates that the point here was that, once you've shared stuff with people, they want to be able to keep seeing it. (It's actually very reminiscent of the still-outstanding question of who "owns" a CommYou conversation, the initiator or the whole community -- sooner or later, we're going to have to wrestle with that, and I'd bet there's no good answer.) He does tacitly admit that the wording could have been handled better.

That said, the Between the Lines blog has an interesting take on it. Their point is that the TOS *are* unreasonable, but not for the reason that's setting everyone off. Rather, they argue, the real problem is that the TOS allows them to *change* those terms without notice at any time. They've got a point: if you think of Facebook as a major utility (and increasingly it is), those TOS will become ever-more-valuable and important.


On the lighter side: last night on the TV news, one of the headlines was, "Casinos want to keep your iPhone out -- we'll tell you why", and I immediately said, "Ah -- someone's come out with a card-counting app, have they?" Sure enough, according to Ars this morning, that's exactly what happened.

Still, I have to wonder how useful this really is. As I understand the common technique, it seems like the tricky bit is tracking all the cards efficiently as they come out, paying attention to them. But the counting itself seems to be mostly straightforward +1 / -1 stuff, which isn't all that hard even for me. (It sounds much easier than the card-watching I routinely do in a number of poker variants, which requires actually remembering which ranks and suits have been exposed.) So I'm slightly surprised that an iPhone app, even a clever one, provides enough benefit to be worth the bother...
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