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Comments

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Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

johnlcallaway Re:COBOL (380 comments)

I did COBOL for 15 years. It's not difficult to learn if someone already knows another language. It only takes about 6 months to become proficient in it, maybe a year or two to become an expert for someone who is good.. Many shops are maintaining old code for the most part, so no one has to design something new. Even if they do, there are probably tons of examples.

We still use COBOL at the company I work at on the IBM systems. Who would I pick given the choice between a COBOL programmer with 20 years experience and a Java programmer that just learned it?? It would depend on what I wanted them to do, what the work split was, and what the salary requirements were. I might be more interested in their experience working on code other people wrote than their programming skills in a specific language ... I don't think I would want somebody who has only worked on new projects to suddenly jump in and work on a 20 year old system, no matter what their experience level.

Given the choice between a Java programmer and a Java programmer with COBOL knowledge, I would choose the COBOL guy, all things being equal. He will be more flexible and deserve a larger paycheck.

Our COBOL programmer works remotely and rarely has to come into the office.

However ... anyone that does this needs to keep current. It's very easy to fall into the rut of doing your job and then losing other skills. I know plenty of COBOL programmers who felt their jobs were safe and never made the transition out of the mainframe world, and are now not programmers anymore. Anyone who doesn't know two or three languages and can't work in a couple of different OSs is a fool.

about a week ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

johnlcallaway Re:Something's gotta give (812 comments)

They will never rebel because the alternatives all suck in the US. Cross-country train travel is as expensive as flying and takes days, buses are cheaper and just as slow trains, but their depots are often in the bad parts of towns so any layover also sucks. Driving yourself takes less time than flying or a bus, but unless you want to sleep in your car their is the added cost of a motel. For one person, driving is almost as expensive as flying.

I don't fly very often, but I don't see what the big deal is. The cost of the flight is the cost of the flight, either I can afford it or not. If I can't .. I don't go. I always check a bag, so I just plan on paying for it. It usually makes travel so much easier, I'd rather drop my bag off and pick it up at the baggage check than deal with having to find space for it and pulling it down afterward.

Overall, in my 35 years of adult flying, I've rarely had a bad flight. But I do this thing called 'planning'. I try and plan layovers at airports that I like. For instance, terminal F in Atlanta is a great place for a 2-3 hour layover. I always keep layovers to at least an hour to allow for baggage transfers and a leisurely walk to the gate. I always know what the next available flight out of an airport is so I can book it right away if there are issues.

And I never, *EVER* take a carry on. I have a courier bag that is big enough for a couple of magazines, a change of clothes (in case my bag doesn't make it), and food and water (that I buy after I go through security) so I don't have to depend on the flight attendants.

It's amazing how when one stops depending on other people to do things for you, plan more for what is offered instead of what one would like, and take more responsibility that airplane travel can be a lot less painful.

about two weeks ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

johnlcallaway Re:business travel rules need to change (812 comments)

Or maybe you a) should find a company more to your liking, b) pay the difference yourself, or c) find a different line of work.

It's self-centered jerks like you that are the problem .. always expecting others to change. It's one thing to discuss it with your company and express your desire. It's another to hold it against them when YOU are the one that can make so many choices but refuse to do so.

about two weeks ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

johnlcallaway Biased much??? (812 comments)

The article comment 'Disputes over a tiny bit of personal space might seem petty, but for passengers whose knees are already banging into tray tables, every bit counts.' shows what the problem really is ... people who think they have the right to tell the person in front of them whether or not they can recline their chair.

They can recline it .. get over it. It's their seat. If you don't like it, fly first class. If you can't afford it, don't fly or shut the fuck up you inconsiderate, selfish loser.

It's one thing to ask nicely, it's another to expect someone to give up something they have every right and expectation to be able to do. I'm a pretty big guy, and never recline my seat out of consideration for the people behind me. But I've also never admonished the person in front of me for choosing to do so.

It's like the mothers who expect other children to share. It's their ball, they got it first, they don't have to share. I'm so sick and tired of all these people who expect other people to adjust their lives to suit them, how selfish is that. They only have the right to politely ask and walk away muttering to themselves if things don't go their way.

But of course, one only has to look at politics to see the problem echoed back. Anti-abortion activists (no .. you are not pro-life, you are anti-abortion. Get over it) want to force other people to not have something they don't want to have anyway. Anti-gun groups (yes ... you are anti-gun if you want to take guns away, your pretty words don't change that) want to force people to give up things they have never used in a crime so they feel safe. (Not are safer .. just feel safer). Anti-gay marriage groups (yes .. that is what you are, there is no sanctity of marriage outside of your head and maybe your church) want to tell gay people they can't live together. They can't do that, so instead they want to tell them that they can't have the same government benefits that others have.

The one thing all of these anti-something people have in common?? They want someone else to give up something so they can have what they want.

And they are all selfish and self-centered if they expect other people to do it.

about two weeks ago
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Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money

johnlcallaway Re:Not worth it (161 comments)

Maybe his education isn't in editing you self-righteous gibbon.

about two weeks ago
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Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money

johnlcallaway Re:Not worth it (161 comments)

I agree 100% .. my son-in-law hasn't even finished his state-school engineering doctorate and already has 3 big-money job opportunities. He AND his wife were both able to go to college without any debt (she has a BA in molecular biology), and managed to raise a child the last year, buy a house, pay off a car, and not have any credit card debt. He's got the opportunities partly because he is very smart and very personable, two qualities they don't teach in college. While I'm sure his degree gave him the knowledge they were after, his other qualities got him the job offers of other people. Not the school he went to.

People who go into long-term debt to go to college are too stupid to go to college, they aren't clever enough to find ways to do it and probably can't even do real-life math. With very few exceptions, no one really cares what school you went to. We hired an MIT grad at my last job, worst programmer ever .. I'll never pay any attention to degrees ever again.

I'll grant at there are exceptions .. if someone wants to be a professional student and just work in a college or university the rest of their lives doing research .. have at it. Depend on the whims of government funding for the rest of your life.

Or .. if someone really wants to delve into some specific area because it truly fascinates them and it makes no difference to them what they make for a living, as long as they are happy .. have at it.

My daughter-in-law is a marine biologist. Probably will never be rich. But she gets to travel (went to Cuba legally on some foundations dime) and is very happy doing what she loves for not much money. She and my step-son live in a small home and live based on what they make and are quite happy living their lives within their means.

I have no issues with people going to college. I have issues with the lie that people have been told that they have to and that they have to make lots of money to be happy.

I was told something once that has always stuck with me .. happiness isn't getting what you want, it's wanting what you have.

No one needs a degree to appreciate the world and people around them, they just need common sense.

about two weeks ago
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Facebook Blamed For Driving Up Cellphone Bills, But It's Not Alone

johnlcallaway Re:Is there any way to stop auto-play? (131 comments)

And my eyes can detect when it's on and reset it again.

Start putting the blame on stupid people for going over their data limits. There are plenty of tools to monitor usage and alert when the limits are reached. At most, it should only happen once to somebody. After that, they are either too lazy to do anything about it, or too stupid to own such a complex device.

about two weeks ago
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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Says Switching ISPs Is Too Hard

johnlcallaway Re:Seriously? (145 comments)

* Install one of the many email programs on your local machine and start using it instead of your providers software or web page.
* Add a rule to automatically reply to names in your address list that your email address has changed and what the new one is.
* Start moving over any business emails that you get.
* After a month or two, every time you get an email, click on 'unsubscribe', go to their web site and change your profile, or make sure they got an auto-reply.

I did this a couple of years ago for my Cox cable account, and have almost no emails that go to it anymore. I could switch carriers tomorrow if there was one I wanted to switch to.

about two weeks ago
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

johnlcallaway Re:THESE PEOPLE? (1262 comments)

Biased?? You think??? I didn't see any mention about how MEN are depicted. First, there are the warrior types, often a bit raw. Large muscles, overly broad shoulders, thin waists, chiseled jaws. Often superhuman endurance and strength.

Then their are the slovenly types, often balding, with unkempt facial hair, dirty clothes, poor posture, and overweight. Usually of poor moral fiber.

There are two good male stereotypes to introduce gamers to, that handsome men can are rugged with strength and stamina that is unbounded, and uncouth. And overweight, balding men uncouth, have no morals, and don't follow good hygiene.

Or course, there are many other stereotypes of men in games .. the sexist pig, the gang member, etc. I've yet to see a game that has a normal father type in it. But isn't that the purpose .. to escape the real world for a bit and put yourself into a role you could never do in real life??

She obviously has a chip on her shoulder, last time I checked, no video game out there accurately portrayed male figures either. But she has chosen to ignore that and claim that games are sexist and only portray women in a manner that isn't accurate.

about three weeks ago
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California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

johnlcallaway So sad ... (233 comments)

... that we have to pay for features based on the lowest common denominator. Another law from the idiots in California that impact everyone, regardless of where they live.

Wish that San Francisco earthquake had been just a little bit stronger .. and sliced San Diego, LA and San Francisco into the ocean. Ok .. maybe not San Francisco, it's a pretty cool town. The other two are cesspools and I try to avoid them whenever I have to make trips that way.

about three weeks ago
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Calif. Court Rules Businesses Must Reimburse Cell Phone Bills

johnlcallaway What BS (161 comments)

Following that logic, they should also be required to help pay for my network at home, part of the cost of my desktop, and my work clothes, since they have required me to have all three.

My compensation requirement when I look for a job is dependent upon my work requirements, I don't have to work for a company that won't pay for my internet connection, provide a support computer, or pay for business wear. I choose to work for the company I work for because they compensate me enough that I can take care of those requirements. I'm not one of those people that see 'free stuff' in these rulings. Instead, I see increased costs that will be passed on to the consumer.

Several years ago, a company paid for my relocation. Instead of having a list of onerous rules and requiring detailed record keeping, they gave me a flat fee based on my salary. Funny thing about that, I found the cheapest way to move and pocketed the rest. May or may not have saved the company money, but it sure made my life easier. And no one at the office had to deal with the paperwork, pouring over every receipt to make sure it was allowed. My guess is that the company found, in the long run, that it was cheaper to do it that way. It was their choice, their freedom to decide how to handle relocation. As most company benefits (including medical) should be. That's how a free market economy works, by providing choices and letting competition settle things. Companies with the best benefits/pay/work environment get the brightest and smartest. If someone works for a company with poor benefits/pay/work environment ...maybe it's their lack of marketable skills or motivation that keeps them there.

My company currently does provide support phones because some idiot in security won't let us use Touchdown on our Android phones to get our email. So they give me a useless piece-of-shit iPhone (small screen, no back button, can't install apps on it because of security). Which sits on my desk at home, plugged into a charger and never used. I setup Google voice to forward calls to my Android phone, and setup rules to forward emails from important people to my Android phone. The company spends $$ a month for phones for many employees that don't even use them. I'm can get an iPhone through my service provider, and they will pay for the monthly service if I choose to. But then I have to have a phone with fewer useful features than my Samsung S4, which I prefer (as do many ex-iPhone users that I know of).

Yet more bullshit rules from the land of nanny-government.

about a month ago
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Why the Public Library Beats Amazon

johnlcallaway Define 'beat' (165 comments)

'Trumps' means there are a list of requirements and measurable facts. Since I haven't been to a library in years, they don't 'trump' Kindle for me.

The library may have more books, but as long as there are books I want to read on Amazon, it's kinda irrelevant. When I can carry a large selection of reference books and entertainment inside every device I have, Amazon wins. I'm sure both places offer items not offered by the other one. The library has rarely carried technical books for anything related to computers that was anything near current. I might be able to look at a book covering the history of computers, but it's doubtful they will have the latest Oracle or Java or iOS or Android development book for the latest release. I'm sure other people in other fields (medical, legal, etc) probably have similar issues with the library.

The library serves a tax-supported purpose by providing a place for those without means or skills the opportunity to read a wide variety of material and have access to a wide range of technical, educational, and self-improvement resources with assistance. It also provides a place for people who like books and can buy them, to not have to buy them. Saves building up stockpiles of dead trees in the basement.

But it only 'trumps' Amazon within a very constrained requirements list created by one person that identifies a small group of people that benefit from the library. A person that probably decided to prove that libraries are still relevant (they are) and wanted to justify that cause. While I agree her argument is valid when used to justify funding libraries, stating that libraries 'trumps' Kindle is a personal opinion and not a fact.

about a month ago
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Giant Greek Tomb Discovered

johnlcallaway Re:meh (164 comments)

It is expensive and has low return trying to convert 95% (statistic made up) of a country's population to another standard. Both systems are taught both in school, and people choose to use the one that is most prevalent, although both units show up in many products. Both systems require rote memorization and can be confusing (deca/deci for example).

And of course, those in favor of the metric system often conveniently forget to mention that conversions are not all purely powers of ten. When dealing with data, it's often powers of 2, making conversion not so simple there either. And time is still difficult to deal with. It seems the advocates are willing to deal with some difficult conversion, but can't do math well enough in their head for others.

It may be simple for you to shift decimal points, but it's also rarely necessary to convert feet to yards, let alone inches to miles. No one needs to determine how many feet/hour or inches/second while they are driving. Try converting kilometers/hour to meters per second in your head, you can't just shift decimal points.

One conversion used the most by Americans is in cooking, converting cups to quarts or teaspoons to tablespoons. But even that is rarely used since it's pretty damn easy to measure out 4 cups instead of 1 quart. Doubling recipes is pretty easy, although some are fraction-challenged. Tripling or quadrupling can be difficult, but most rarely need to do it.

Probably the most difficult is converting square or cubic measurements, since those tend to gum up the works pretty well. Converting cubic inches to cubic feet, or cubic feet to cubic yards is cumbersome. When I want accuracy, I use the calculator that is on my phone.

Exact values probably aren't always necessary when converting between systems either It's pretty simple to estimate from one system to the other. One can multiply or divide by 2 to convert kilograms and pounds, a meter and a yard are pretty close, as are a liter and a pint. Convert Kilometers to miles is the hardest at 0.6, but it's pretty simple to convert miles to kilometers (add half again as much).

But we rarely have to do that in the US because everything is labeled in imperial units. If you are reading our stuff, learn to convert.

And the same goes for Americans reading your stuff. We no more need to cater to you than you need to cater to us.

about a month ago
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Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

johnlcallaway Re:They are the rich (442 comments)

And the show really isn't that funny.

Penny has nice tits though.

Another reply from the 'I'm a nerd who lives in my mom's basement' crowd. Show ring a little too true for your tastes?? Do you really think coffee means coffee?? Have no social life?? Look forward to your trips to the comic book store???

Or is it just a little too much over your head that you don't get the jokes.

I personally find it hilarious, even though I suffer from sometimes feeling like parts of my life are being made fun of. I once told a girl who asked me back to her apartment for coffee that I prefer tea, and proceeded to go home. That stings a little bit whenever I see the episode about the guys not knowing that coffee doesn't always mean coffee.

about a month and a half ago
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Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

johnlcallaway Re:They are the rich (442 comments)

In some states, checks expire after 6 months, at which time the cash and name of the person issued must be turned over to the state. At that point, they are considered 'abandoned', and the state keeps a record of who it belongs to. The state publishes those names in newspapers, and now on web sites. I have received money myself from finding my name in a newspaper and contacting the state, it was a check I either never cashed or possibly never received.

Several years ago, I worked for a company in Maine that routinely had it's payroll audited by the state to make sure they were turning the funds over. There was a guy that worked on the shop floor that routinely did not cash his paycheck, the company was constantly reissuing him checks because they expired.

I don't know what happens if someone cashes a check that's been turned over to the state. I assume that when those funds are turned over, the check has a stop put on it. So while a bank might still initially accept it for deposit, it might be rejected by the issuing bank and cause all kinds of grief.

about a month and a half ago
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The CIA Does Las Vegas

johnlcallaway Or maybe ... (124 comments)

... most people really don't give a shit about what Snowden revealed. Most people already suspected it and didn't give a shit. A few privacy-fanatics cared and screamed a lot. I wasn't surprised by it, and understand how it's being used and am not terribly upset.

It's funny .. 60 years ago, when people went to the store, people loved it when the store owner stocked their favorite things because he knew they bought them. Everyone in the neighborhood watched our kids, and if little Johnny did something wrong, they told his parents. We all knew everyone, and news spread through town like wildfire. We had party lines that people could listen into our conversations without us knowing it. It was considered rude, but people still did it.

Sixty years later, everyone demands privacy. Google is evil if they scan our emails and provide ads for what we want. Cameras on the street corner are evil because we don't want to be watched. License plate scanners are an invasion of privacy and are just evil incarnate.

I get it that it's because it's the government or a large businesses instead of our neighbors or the store down the street. And the ability to do bad things with all that data exists.

But let's look at other things. Because of the government keeping private information, we now have a huge database of people convicted of sex crimes available telling anyone where they live. It doesn't make any difference how small their crime was, it's available for the rest of their life. No one seems to mind that invasion of privacy. We can go online and see what major contributions Bill Gates makes, or anyone that makes contributions over a certain amount. I can see how many times that house across the street has been sold, what they pay for property taxes, and what it's worth. License plate scanners routinely catch people without car insurance, I have been one of them (actually .. I did have it, it was a clerical error.) Everyone has a camera phone now, and anyone can have their picture taken with a time stamp and GPS location at any time.

Oh wait .. that's all OK because it's for the 'common good'. And 'transparent government'. Or because people love to take selfies.

We let the privacy genie out of the bottle decades ago, we've just gotten much better at it since then. The people whining are only whining about the lack of privacy for things they are sensitive about, and I'm sure take advantage of other aspects of loss of privacy and don't think twice about it because it doesn't affect them.

Yawn .. nothing new to see here. Move along.

about a month and a half ago
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Dropbox Head Responds To Snowden Claims About Privacy

johnlcallaway What idiocy (176 comments)

Anyone that posts anything on the Internet (i.e. on another person's computer and network) and demands privacy or security is a moron. You can ask .. but no one is obligated to give it to you. Becoming indignant or angry because they won't is just about the most self-centered and egotistical thing I can think of, thinking someone else owes you something. Why should they?? Because you demanded it?? What do you have to offer in return beyond shutting your mouth??

It's their decision and theirs alone. You want things private and secure, keep them on your own computer. Unplugged from any network.

Anything else is up for grabs.

about 2 months ago
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States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

johnlcallaway When y ou find the other study ... (778 comments)

... the one that was done with a 'double blind' testing system, I'll pay attention to the results. Until then, there are far too many factors to establish any true cause/effect.

But I do know this ... living on a minimum wage salary has NEVER, in my entire 35 years in the labor force, been a 'living wage'. That's why most people learn new stuff and don't stay in it for more than a few months.

Or until they get motivated enough to find something else so they can move out of their mom's basement.

I have little sympathy for someone that can't find anything but a minimum wage job and then have to stay in it. I remember a few years ago when I saw a sign at a local fast-food place advertising a starting salary over $9/hour, a full $2 higher than the minimum wage at the time. When I looked behind the counter, I understood why, the staff was actually WORKING. The owner could afford the higher salary because he needed fewer people because they worked harder.

People with good attitudes and a willingness to learn don't make minimum wage for very long. People with limited skills who aren't very self-motivated do.

That's called 'competition' and it works very well. Subsidies (that is, paying more for something than it's worth) rarely work in the long term. They become crutches and excuses. The US has a long history of such failures .. student loans (increases tuition costs, created a price spiral, saddled thousands with high debt), housing subsidies (increased house prices and created a bubble), Cash for Clunkers (didn't do a damn thing), farm subsidies (can't get rid of the hidden tax that all US citizens that pay taxes pay for that ends up costing 50% of the population almost 3 times what the actual subsidy would be to them in terms of taxes and national debt), etc.

Too bad we haven't learned from these mistakes..

about 2 months ago
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UN Report Finds NSA Mass Surveillance Likely Violated Human Rights

johnlcallaway And in other news ... (261 comments)

... the UN will continue to be inconsequential in any affairs other than sucking funds from wealthy countries and offering crazy world leaders a place to get publicity.

about 2 months ago
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Geographic Segregation By Education

johnlcallaway And in other news ... (230 comments)

... people that make more money buy nice things, live in nicer houses, and send their kinds to nicer schools.

Someone actually spent money on this?? Go to Maine and look at old mill towns like Saco/Biddeford and Lewiston/Auborn. Mill towns, where the wealthy lived on one side of the river, and the mill workers lived on the other.

I would say it's obvious to most people and no study was needed, but I guess someone has to justify their wasted college education by getting paid with government subsidized studies so they can live in the nicer part of town.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Google removes guns and ammo from Google Shopping

johnlcallaway johnlcallaway writes  |  more than 2 years ago

johnlcallaway writes "Google has decided to remove guns and ammo from it's Google Shopping system. From the article:
Google sent out an email to Google Adwords customers saying that they are going to pull all Google Shopping results for guns, ammunition, gun optics and gun accessories (Shopping results, not general search results).

I tried 'rifle sling' and was able to get results. But 'beretta' and 'ruger' yielded nothing. I'm not sure what reason they have, part of the letter sent to vendors talks about safety and legal items, yet knives and cricket bats still show up, and the last time I checked, people can kill other people with those items. And I think guns and ammo are legal in all 50 states, to varying degrees.

So what is the real reason?? Something as innocent as an over-reaction to complaints from users about accidental display of gun related ads maybe?? Or someone just forcing their beliefs on everyone else?"

Link to Original Source
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Google does not hand tune search rules

johnlcallaway johnlcallaway writes  |  more than 6 years ago

johnlcallaway (165670) writes "Cnet has this short article about a google fellow blog. Amit Singhal posts an introduction to Google ranking and points out three Google philosophies:
  • Best locally relevant results served globally.
  • Keep it simple.
  • No manual intervention.

Which begs the question ... if an algorithm is hand-tuned, is that manual intervention?? Amit answers that question this way.

The second reason we have a principle against manually adjusting our results is that often a broken query is just a symptom of a potential improvement to be made to our ranking algorithm. Improving the underlying algorithm not only improves that one query, it improves an entire class of queries, and often for all languages. I should add, however, that there are clear written policies for websites recommended by Google, and we do take action on sites that are in violation of our policies or for a small number of other reasons (e.g. legal requirements, child porn, viruses/malware, etc).

"

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