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Comment: Is this really what the Constitution is for? (Score 1) 388

by Archtech (#49154377) Attached to: Verizon Posts Message In Morse Code To Mock FCC's Net Neutrality Ruling

"...In 2012, it insisted that the very idea of Net neutrality squished its First and Fifth Amendment right..."

As a foreigner I'm probably completely wrong. But isn't the Constitution getting to look very much like a Bill of Rights for immense corporations to enrich themselves by any means they choose? Just asking.

Comment: It's harder in a democracy (Score 1) 183

by Archtech (#49101509) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can Technology Improve the Judicial System?

It's funny that the summary starts with "One of the cornerstones of any democracy is its judicial system". That's true of all forms of society/government; it is absolutely not limited to democracies. So why bring democracy into it - except that it's one of the holy words of our society, a word that stuns everyone into instant acquiescence and worship?

One can make a strong case that justice is particularly hard to come by in a democracy, as opposed to a monarchy or a true aristocracy. The distinguishing feature of real democracy is that the people as a whole wield supreme power. So a majority can carry out any act, no matter how illogical, unethical, or downright disgraceful. Such as the execution of Socrates, for instance. Or the decision to execute the admirals of the Athenian fleet after the battle of Arginusae - which was rescinded the following day, when the people changed their minds.

You can see a similar pattern in the USA, where many prosecutors are elected by the people. This leads them to pursue popularity at all costs - and, in a populous society where most electors will never get to meet the actual candidate, popularity is usually sought by lighting up the media with sensational news. How many miscarriages of justice have been perpetrated because a prosecutor wanted to make a name for himself? And of course the prosecutor is not held responsible, because his job is only to argue the case for conviction. If someone is wrongly found guilty, that is the fault of the defence, the jury, the judge, the police who made up evidence or concealed exonerating evidence... and anyway, it's all forgotten the next week.

Probably the best place to start constructing a good judicial system is with a genuine concern for justice. It has been well observed that, in any country that has a Ministry of Justice or something similar, justice itself will be conspicuous by its absence. (Just as any corporation that has an "ethics committee" has probably forgotten what the word "ethics" means). Honest people know what's right, but given enough bureaucracy and laws - assisted by thousands of career-minded functionaries - we get today's situation where any lawyer can tell you that the law has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with justice.

Comment: Re:Tough decision (Score 1) 136

Definitely bricked. It's axiomatic that your data is more valuable than your hardware - since you have it all backed up, you just buy new hardware and you are set. (Although you might want to consider changing your OS).

In fact, I have heard security professionals opine that a brick is the ideal secure IT system. It can't store any data, it can't do any computing, and it doesn't do you any good except as part of a wall (or something handy to throw at a politician). But it is VERY secure indeed.

Comment: Re:Something Truly Innovative (Score 1) 162

by Archtech (#48802061) Attached to: What are you most interested in seeing out of CES?

" At the core, sales & marketing are just con artistry".

When I was a bit younger - I'm really old and creaky now - I might have said exactly that. And I still feel that way, a lot of the time.

The thing is though, even if those skills are just con artistry, maybe they are necessary or even indispensable. In a perfect world, as Dr Sheldon Cooper might see it, everything would be decided by pure facts and logic. Everyone would have perfect information, and would instantly see all the consequences and ramifications of every fact.

Needless to say, your average human being (even Sheldon, actually) is not much like that. One of the greatest weaknesses of economics has always been its understandable inclination to over-simplify reality through entirely unjustified assumptions such as perfect information, perfect rationality, and a complete lack of empotions or any other motives than maximizing monetary property.

So salesmen and marketroids do fulfil a useful function - like dung beetles and bacteria, if you will - by partially compensating for our lack of imagination and logic. It would be far better if we could do without them, but sales would be a lot slower - causing manufacturing to slow down, workers to be laid off...

Comment: Re:Something Truly Innovative (Score 3, Informative) 162

by Archtech (#48765103) Attached to: What are you most interested in seeing out of CES?

Jobs was truly innovative - but he thought in terms of applications, not basic technology. It's true that he didn't make any original technical inventions (AFAIK), but he was brilliant at finding attractive ways to market what others had invented.

That sort of creativity is extremely valuable, but it is slightly different from what I think we were discussing. To put it very simply, someone like Jobs could not succeed unless other people (mostly unsung heroes of technology) had previously done the spadework. On the other hand, their work would not have been nearly as fruitful without Jobs' clever marketing touch.

To my way of thinking, he could be compared (in a sense) with a brilliant Web site designer who produces a wonderful interactive site using the standard ingredients of HTML, CSS, scripting, etc. Everyone has access to the same palette of technology, but most designers do routine uninspired work, while some make a dreadful mess. And a select few have the talent to leave out whatever isn't essential, thus creating a work of art.

Comment: Re:Something Truly Innovative (Score 1) 162

by Archtech (#48754149) Attached to: What are you most interested in seeing out of CES?

Thanks, lazarus. My comment was heartfelt and I deeply believe that it is correct. As they say, "you get what you measure"; or, perhaps more accurately, "you get what you reward". Earning profit is rewarded and respected; making creative or technical breakthroughs is not, except sporadically in places such as /.

Comment: Re:Something Truly Innovative (Score 5, Insightful) 162

by Archtech (#48753449) Attached to: What are you most interested in seeing out of CES?

"Anything where the designers have cared more about making something amazing than making a ton of money".

Unfortunately, in our particular system those who care about making something amazing tend to go bankrupt or, at best, be acquired. Whereas those who consciously and deliberately set out to make a ton of money - by any and all means, and without caring how - often wind up running giant corporations.

This isn't just a casual complaint. I have observed the software industry professionally for about 30 years, and earned a living by writing about software vendors and their ways for over 10 years. I couldn't count the wonderful creative, innovative, dedicated companies founded and staffed by really, really smart people that I saw appear, flourish briefly, and then wink out. Meanwhile people like Bill Gates and Larry Ellison steadily built up immense fortunes by making absolutely sure that everything their corporations did was directly geared to support continuous long-term profit growth. They may have done some good things along the way, but that was purely coincidental.

Comment: Re:Anyone remember "The Manchurian Candidate"? (Score 2) 231

by Archtech (#48723961) Attached to: US Slaps Sanctions On North Korea After Sony Cyberattack

"There is no doubt about it because the rebels announced the news themselves to the whole world before they realized their mistake".

Thank you for your polite expression of dissent. It's fortunate that information like that could never be faked by any group of vicious, self-seeking propagandists who habitually lie about everything. (Which could equally well describe the current "Ukrainian government" or the current US government - it makes no difference as the first is operated by the second).

Unluckily for your conspiracy theory, we know for sure that there were jet fighters within firing range immediately before MH17 went down; that there was no smoke or noise indicating a BUK launch; that the BUK unit captured by rebels (if any) was incomplete and incapable of shooting down an airliner at 10 Km height; that photographs clearly show the cockpit section riddled with cannon holes; that the Ukrainian authorities deliberately diverted MH17 directly over the fighting, for no good reason; and that mysteriously the highly detailed US military satellite images of the attack have never been released. Apart from which the Russians and Novorussians had every reason not to shoot down a civilian airliner, while Kiev had everything to gain from staging a false-flag attack.

Your faked "social media" evidence loses hands down.

Comment: Re:Turn about is fair play (Score 1) 231

by Archtech (#48723939) Attached to: US Slaps Sanctions On North Korea After Sony Cyberattack

" Most of the free world profits from trade with the US".

In the sense that they receive lots of minty-fresh new dollars, hot off the printing press, in return for their valuable goods and services - maybe. But do you think that situation can go on for ever? Seriously??

And by the way, what is this "free world" of which you speak? Do you mean those nations that have democratic constitutions, defined as solemnly holding elections every few years in which the suckers, er people, can choose which of two gangs of corrupt millionaires they want to be ruled by for the next few years? Or do you refer to our "free markets", which are systematically rigged by banks, oil companies, and other wealthy corporations - as well as governments, of course?

Freedom is not an absolute: it's a matter of degree. In a nation with literally tens of thousands of restrictive laws and regulations (and more every year, at a steadily increasing rate) there is precious little freedom except the freedom of the rich to do what they want.

"Nature is very un-American. Nature never hurries." -- William George Jordan