Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Overstamp twice. (Score 1) 133

by Altrag (#49103735) Attached to: Crystal Pattern Matching Recovers Obliterated Serial Numbers From Metal

What they really need to do is figure out a way to etch the serial number inside the metal.. similar to how they laser-etch diamonds. That way it could essentially only be removed by melting the weapon down.

Of course while they could probably figure out a way to manufacture it, I'm not sure how easy it is to scan the internals of the metal. Maybe encode it in some sort of magnetic material that could be encased in the metal during casting? Of course it would have to be something that couldn't get "overwritten" by holding it next to a speaker magnet or whatever.

Comment: Re:Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard (Score 1) 129

by Altrag (#49022927) Attached to: The Technologies That Betrayed Silk Road's Anonymity

Why would you ever keep data in plain text even if the hard drive is encrypted?

Because its very hard to read when its in encrypted form. That's why they had to nab him after he had everything unlocked and fast enough that he wouldn't have the opportunity to lock it again.

Just think of how many people they would have had to have just sitting around moving the mouse every couple of minutes around the clock to ensure that the laptop didn't go into screen saver mode and auto-lock itself again lol (well ok probably only long enough to copy the HDD to an unencrypted external drive.)

Comment: Re:More than a little retarded (Score 2) 129

by Altrag (#49022903) Attached to: The Technologies That Betrayed Silk Road's Anonymity

Sounds like the FB link was used more for correlation than direct evidence -- they even included an example (the FB account had pictures from Thailand posted at approximately the same time that DPR was bragging about a trip to Thailand on some other forum.) Its unlikely he did anything like posting "come see my illegal website!" on his real-name account. (Of course they did mention that he used his own name for a reply address so who knows..)

Comment: Re:It's all about the incentive (Score 1) 227

by Altrag (#48987389) Attached to: Canada, Japan Cave On Copyright Term Extension In TPP

That goes back to the "good of society" angle.

Whether or not I ever read his writing does a whole lot of nothing for society either way. Twain artificially inflating his copyright terms on the other hand damages society in two ways: First, the public domain is harmed by lacking a work it would otherwise contain and secondly, Twain's kids and grandkids would have less incentive to contribute to society themselves as they could just live off the coattails of their grandfather's work.

(Of course I have no idea how much royalties Twain's kids and grand kids actually received -- it just happened to be the example used in the thread so I've continued with it for the sake of argument.)

I suppose you could claim that the public domain is useless or even destructive to society and then definitely my argument falls flat, but I think most people would disagree with such a claim.

Comment: Re:Reasonable royalty (Score 1) 32

by Altrag (#48987367) Attached to: Dept. of Justice Blesses IEEE Rules On Injunctions and Reasonability

"Profits".. Samsung pays Apple for rounded corners. Apple pays Samsung for rectangular screens. Total profit = $0.

Both pay lawyers to argue about this shit. Total profit = $-a lot.

Nobody wins except the lawyers in these stupid patent wars when all contenders hold something that the others need. And of course all that wasted time and effort just gets passed on to the consumer as part of the "R&D" justification for selling $150 worth of electronics for $700. (Not that that justification is completely bogus by any means -- but it generally includes a hell lot of useless "development" of the lawyering kind and similar money sinks that only exist because patents and other such systems are completely broken.)

Comment: Re:Quit your belly aching! (Score 2) 227

by Altrag (#48984193) Attached to: Canada, Japan Cave On Copyright Term Extension In TPP

Because politicians are only shitty when they brand themselves republican or democrat.

Thank god we don't have either of those up here in Canada. The conservatives absolutely wouldn't cave to corporate pressure on anything like copyright extensions!

If the US ends up with a third (major) political party, the only thing that will really change is that you've got a third group to bitch about when they make laws that go against public interest. The reason small parties can make all sorts of grandiose claims about how they'll fix the system is because they're not in any sort of position to do that -- they don't understand how hard it is and more importantly, they don't understand the kinds of pressures they'll face against change. Compare pre-presidency pictures of Obama to now and see the effect of trying to change the system on the one guy who's (theoretically) most able to do so. Sure its been 7 years but holy hell has that guy aged.

Comment: Re:how stupid (Score 2) 227

by Altrag (#48984061) Attached to: Canada, Japan Cave On Copyright Term Extension In TPP

No. Copyright should be a fixed term from time of publication, period. Having a potential cash cow is a (theoretically) good reason for an author or artist to produce a work. Having that cash cow dry up is a better reason for them to produce a second work than just "more money on top of what I've got."

Of course very few works are still profitable after 15-20 years anyway so the "dry up" phase is mostly implicit regardless and the perpetual copyright terms effectively accomplish nothing except screwing the public domain.

Comment: Re:It's all about the incentive (Score 1) 227

by Altrag (#48983913) Attached to: Canada, Japan Cave On Copyright Term Extension In TPP

That depends.. are you suggesting that he wouldn't have written his auto-biography at all if he wasn't able to do that?

Not to mention the issue of whether or not its right or good for society to be providing for Twain's grand kids -- the only thing they "did" to deserve it was having the right paternal lineage. Why should Twain's grand kid get to benefit from his grandfather's writing while I don't get any benefit from my grandfather's days in the coal mines? How does that scenario benefit society as a whole?

Comment: Re:It's all about the incentive (Score 1) 227

by Altrag (#48983831) Attached to: Canada, Japan Cave On Copyright Term Extension In TPP

Its worse than that. Just try to find any work from prior to about 5-10 years ago that didn't hit its respective top 100 list. Not only is the benefits after 15-20 years marginal, the products often aren't even for sale by that point making the marginal profits exactly zero.

Disney in particular is really odd, and I suspect the popular lore isn't complete. "Mickey Mouse" isn't a copyright -- its a trademark. If Steamboat Willy enters the public domain umm.. so what? Does Disney really make that much off of a 100 year old fairly terrible film? Its not like SBW going into the public domain would have any effect at all on their more recent (and presumably still profitable) works, including any more recent Mickey Mouse films.

Comment: Re:Shocker (Score 5, Insightful) 227

by Altrag (#48983637) Attached to: Canada, Japan Cave On Copyright Term Extension In TPP

That's natural and fine. A good democratic society is a majority rules as its impossible for everyone to have everything they want all at the same time.

The problem comes in when a small minority has the ability to push for laws that are against the benefit of the majority and the majority isn't given the opportunity to fight back in any meaningful sense.

Copyright is exactly a prime example of this -- a small number of major copyright holders keep pushing for extensions and they usually get them because while a lack of public domain is terribly for society as a whole, it has very little impact on any individual person and the majority ends up not even realizing what they're losing until its too late, never mind being able to put up a meaningful fight against these perpetual extensions.

We do have groups like the EFF and OpenMedia nowadays who are fighting back a little bit, and even having some success in certain areas, but Disney's politician buying power dwarfs the combined resources of all those groups put together, likely many times over. Add in Sony and Universal and whoever else and the playing field is still pretty unbalanced even with public interest groups taken into account.

Comment: Re:The solution is obvious (Score 1) 579

Yep. Exactly how Windows and Linux work, just with a much shorter cycle time. Try to get an official patch for Windows 98 or Redhat 6 and see how far you get.

It would be nice if the Android support phase were lengthened.. 12 or 18 isn't really long enough when the average phone replacement cycle is two years, and a quick Googling suggests that its even longer in other parts of the world. That means there's a hell of a lot of vulnerable devices in the world.

And I realize that Google doesn't have much say over what HTC/Samsung/whoever do. But there's things they could do to promote a better global atmosphere:
- Add a licensing requirement that derivatives must always be capable of being imaged back to the base OS install (well on a rooted phone at least.. this wouldn't be the place to restrict software lock-ins even if Google wanted to.) Losing the functionality of non-core features would be allowed as long as the base system runs (ie: if HTC adds a blood sugar monitor for example that isn't supported in the core OS, then it would be fine for that to just not work when the core OS image is installed -- as long as it doesn't prevent the core features from working.)
- Develop an extremely strict driver structure that can, with a high degree, guarantee that old devices will continue to work with new OS versions. Similar to how modern versions of Windows and Linux can still be made to run on absolutely ancient hardware (albeit slowly.)

The first point means a user could always (with rooting) revert to the core OS, and the second point means that they could always update that core OS to the latest version. They may lose functionality and it may run like a snail but they COULD do it whereas right now its a shot in the dark at best and an insta-brick at worst.

But it will likely take the kind of customer pushback that MS faced after XP to push Google into a more structured distribution model. And that in turn will likely require a high-profile, user-visible virus to come as a wake up call to the masses. Viruses that just take up a couple of cpu cycles but otherwise remain invisible tend to not be noticed by anyone outside of the tech community.

In the meantime, Cyanogenmod is the only real savior for older devices.

Comment: Sweet (Score 1) 392

So.. if we don't let them spy on our digital communications all willy-nilly their threat is that they will.. have to do things the old fashioned way?

Unless warrantless home/business invasions become a thing, I would consider this to be exactly what we want (which after reading TFA is what they suggest as well.)

Of course, it wouldn't overly surprise me if he's suggesting warrantless home invasions.. but I suspect that would be a significantly harder political fight than warrantless wiretapping (and that's already pretty hard thanks to Snowden and others.)

Then again, even warranted home invasions could be troublesome if the whole "encryption=presumption of guilt" bullshit that's been bandied around (by the same people of course) actually takes hold.

Comment: Re:Why are they punishing the law abiding citizens (Score 1) 219

by Altrag (#48845763) Attached to: European Countries Seek Sweeping New Powers To Curb Terrorism

the same governments that provide universal health care

No. It may strike you as odd, but governments change over time. I have serious suspicions that universal health care was founded based on the kind of fear we're seeing dictate our laws these days. It seems that every law that comes out these days in every country amounts to "give police and/or governments as much power as we can squeeze in on the vague chance that it will be useful, and to hell with any sense of privacy."

And honestly, a lot of those laws would make great sense -- under one condition: That they're not going to be abused. Unfortunately that condition is 100% impossible to fulfill. And in fact its worse than that -- any law with the potential to be abused has a near-100% chance of being abused, and often sooner rather than later. And to really seal the deal, there's usually little to no oversight applied (not that oversight would completely stop abuse -- its still near-100% chance.. just hopefully a lot fewer individual incidents over the same time period.)

essential liberty

I consider presumption of innocence to be a fairly essential liberty in our world, and most of these privacy-invading measures tend to require presumption of guilt (particularly the dragnet-style warrantless data collection measures.)

Of course you can argue when exactly the presumption of guilt takes effect -- most of us consider the moment our data is gathered without our knowledge to be the moment that guilt is presumed.. but you could claim that presumption of guilt is only applied at the moment the data is reviewed, otherwise its just unknown bits that could be anything. That gets back to the potential for abuse though -- if its available, it WILL be abused.

Dreams are free, but you get soaked on the connect time.