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Comment: Useful programs (Score 1) 9

by AnyoneEB (#45176413) Attached to: Odds and Ends

My general strategy for performing simple tasks like generating a barcode or merging PDF files is to just do a search on my distro's package manager and there's usually a tool to do what I want (although it sometimes takes a bit of guesswork to figure out what it would be called). I don't remember what I used last time I needed to generate a (non-QR) barcode, but Debian only has one package simply named "barcode" which can probably generate whatever type of barcodes you need (also, there's tons of websites that will do it for you as well). For merging PDFs, I believe I've previously used pdfshuffler, which works fine.

Comment: Re:Decentralize Chat (Score 1) 242

by AnyoneEB (#43603205) Attached to: The Balkanization of Chatting

As much as I like the idea of decentralized protocols, the problem with decentralizing chat is that most of the nodes we are talking about are mobile devices and decentralized protocols tend to require a lot more communication---and therefore battery power---than centralized protocols where you leave the organization to the servers. Any decentralized protocol would probably have to handle that by somehow offloading the extra communication and computation to devices that are currently plugged in.

There is the additional problem that authenticating users in a decentralized fashion means that the is no equivalent to password recovery, but users might be okay with an account tied to their physical phone.

Comment: Re:Not google? (Score 3, Insightful) 81

Wikipedia's article on Mozilla Persona (which links to "How BrowserID differs from OpenID") clarifies that. While the site you are authenticating to gets the same information it would get via OpenID, the authentication provider doesn't know what sites you are using. Due to the indirection of storing the cryptographic credentials in the browser, the OpenID provider doesn't need to be contacted for every login and therefore doesn't know what sites you are logging into.

This is related to the design of Persona being browser-based instead of web-based, which also provides additional security (harder to fake a password entry box if it's normally generated by the browser).

+ - European Court of Human Rights finds against copyright law-> 1

Submitted by admiral snackbar
admiral snackbar (2559943) writes "The European Court of Human Rights has declared that the copyright monopoly stands in direct conflict with fundamental Human Rights, as defined in the European Union and elsewhere. This means that as of today, nobody sharing culture in the EU may be convicted just for breaking the copyright monopoly law; the bar for convicting was raised considerably."
Link to Original Source
Science

+ - Ants Use Sound to Communicate->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "A new study shows that even ant pupae—a stage between larvae and adult—can communicate via sound, and that this communication can be crucial to their survival. The young insects have a specialized spike along their abdomen that they stroke with one of their hind legs, similar to dragging the teeth of a comb along the edge of a table. This noise serves primarily as an emergency beacon, allowing the ants to shout for help when being threatened by a predator."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Issues (Score 1) 376

by AnyoneEB (#41623437) Attached to: Why Do So Many Liberals "Like" Mitt Romney On Facebook?

The 47% figure is rather misleading because it only refers to the percentage of people paying federal income tax. It turns out there are multiple federal taxes on income, only one of which is called the federal income tax. Most of those 47% pay the payroll tax which is a regressive income tax. For detailed numbers see this chart which Google image search found on this CNN Money video. For those that don't want to click the link, the breakdown according to CNN is 53.6% pay income tax and the rest not paying income tax are split up as 28.6% pay payroll tax, 10.3% elderly with no income tax, 6.9% non-elderly with income under $20,000, and 1% other.

Once you eliminate people paying income/payroll tax and the retired elderly, that leaves at most 8% not retired but not making enough money to owe federal taxes. Some of those are unable to work. Some of those are unable to find a job. Some small proportion might really be lazy and leeching off the system like you are worried about... but that is almost certainly much less than 8% of the population and definitely a lot less than 47% of the population.

On top of that, remember this entire discussion is only about federal taxes. There are also state taxes, which are pretty universally regressive. Particularly, most states have a sales tax which hits the poor much harder as anyone earning so little they aren't paying income tax is probably buying necessities with all the money they do earn and therefore immediately paying sales tax on a large proportion of their income.

This article that I came across while searching for those figures tells a similar story with more exposition and citations.

Comment: Re:Funny block... (Score 1) 177

by AnyoneEB (#40372949) Attached to: Google Bars Site That Converts YouTube Songs Into MP3s

Posting to remove accidental negative moderation.

I agree. Computer users should not need to know the inner details of how everything works on their computer in order to use it. Also, this goes back to my sig: having (effectively) a single video sharing website on the internet is bad because it can unilaterally do things like this.

Comment: Re:Windows XP (Score 1) 577

I'm actually not clear on exactly how copyright works for the source code of closed-source products. My understanding was that the source is never published, so it is never copyrighted. Instead, I would expect it to be protected as a trade secret. That said, copyright of the binaries of a published product should be the same as the copyright on the source code, but presently there is no incentive for Microsoft to release the source code when their copyright expires (as that won't be for a very long time, they will have likely lost the source or simply no longer exist by the time that happens anyway).

Comment: Re:it would work as intended. more resources for f (Score 1) 577

The siblings have covered a lot of the issues with your suggestion. Wikipedia's page on philosophy of copyright might be informative as well. Other common arguments include the tragedy of the anticommons (having rightsholders for everything means doing anything new requires negotiating with too many different rightsholders) and the general fact that essentially all creative works build on prior creative works in some way, either direct retellings like many of Disney's movies or more indirectly like many fantasy books have elves that look a lot like those in Tolkien's Middle Earth.

There is also the complication that IP covers a lot of different things. Particularly I think there is a difference between artistic works like a novel and utilitarian works like Windows (and that there is not necessary a clear line between the two), but they are both covered by copyright under the exact same terms. Having copyright act differently for different works sounds messy and should probably be avoided in order to keep the law sensible, but both types of work have to be considered when arguing for how copyright should work.

For artistic works, the idea is that any published work is part of the collective culture and anyone should be able to build on it... with the exception that the author should have a limited monopoly on it in order to make money off of it. By having that time get too long, you get absurdities like the copyright status of the song "Happy Birthday to You" where the song has become part of American culture.

For utilitarian works, I think the argument might be closer to patents: the government wants to give some protection to new inventions in order to ensure a profit motive for developing them, but other companies should have access to old inventions in order to build on them. This doesn't quite work with software because there is no requirement tor release source code in order to get copyright on software. Of course, binaries alone can be useful and with effort can be modified to some extent if necessary.

The correct time-frame for both of those arguments is subjective and may be different, so the number that appears in copyright law should be a compromise between the two.

Comment: Re:Block Annoying Users (Score 1) 410

by AnyoneEB (#39601041) Attached to: Slashdot Coming Attractions
I am not sure if this is exactly what you want, but you could get pretty close by setting your foe modifier to -6 (assuming you never browse at -1, of course) and marking those users as foes (and perhaps removing them from your foes list later if you think they might write something you would want to read in a later discussion). You can set modifiers here, which I got to by clicking on the score of a comment and clicking the edit link next to a modifier. Also, if you do want to block any comments from the sibling poster, you can set your anonymous modifier to -6.

Comment: Re:Police Services are a scam (Score 1) 110

by AnyoneEB (#39399535) Attached to: Canadian Police Recommend Online Spying Tax For Internet Bills

I wish they had built a big RESET button into the US Government. I would be pushing the SHIT out of it right now.

There is one. It's called a convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution. If two-thirds (34) of the state legislatures call for a constitutional convention, then Congress is obligated to arrange for a national convention during which any arbitrary amendments to the constitution can be proposed (the legality of the "arbitrary" part is not entirely clear due to the lack of precedence). They do not go into effect unless ratified by 3/4th of the states, though. See also: Second Constitution of the United States.

Comment: Re:Maybe (Score 1) 133

by AnyoneEB (#38233340) Attached to: OpenMoko's FreeRunner Rises From the Ashes
I am curious about your experiences with the Nokia N9 as I was planning on buying one in part due to liking the Nokia N810 and being able to use it as a pocket-sized Linux computer (I never got an N900). I had thought it was pretty easy to get access to a root terminal and do whatever on it just like the N810. Is this not the case?

+ - FBI investigates grade change hacking->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A Twitter post from an undergraduate student at Santa Clara University has prompted the school to acknowledge that it asked the FBI to investigate how a few dozen grades were electronically altered."
Link to Original Source

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