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Comment: Applicability of technology to other sites? (Score 2, Insightful) 144

by vampire_baozi (#30929216) Attached to: Twitter Developing Technology To Thwart Censorship

While noone in China uses twitter enough to care even if Twitter found a way to "uncensor itself", if they could succesfully find a technical workaround that required no effort from end-users, it might be worth talking about (if my reading of TFA is right, any site could use such hacks to unblock itself, even google or dissident websites). However, if it forces end-users to install software to route around firewalls (a la Freedomgate and other already available software), the sites will remain unaccessible to the majority of users, who just don't care enough to bother.
I'm honestly very curious as to what technical methods are out there for opening access through government firewalls that would not involve illegal and nearly impossible invasions into foreign computer networks. The Chinese and Iranian governments control the "pipes"; what software solutions could twitter possible be thinking of? Nice goal, but technically possible, beyond current "hacks/proxies"?

Comment: Re:Gee, let's outsource governing to private firms (Score 1) 151

by laddiebuck (#30928750) Attached to: NASA To Propose Commercial Space Initiative
Because in the 21st century we no longer care about the Rule of Law?
Nice try, but no. Because in the 21st century, an "on-demand" army or a volunteer militia doesn't work. In fact, it hasn't worked since the 19th century. Wars now involve much greater degrees of technology, distance and speed. Therefore if you have the remotest plans to be in a war, whether defensive or offensive, you must have a standing, well-trained army, established command, technological parity with or superiority over your possible opponents, and stockpiles of weapons. In most cases you also need nuclear weapons.

I'm not arguing with you how the change to the Constitution must be implemented, whether by silently ignoring it or trying an amendment each time (a very laborious and politically difficult task -- one of the reasons the US constitution is so brittle). But the fact is, if you took the current text and all its amendments at face value, you could not run a modern country -- you could run something at the level of Somalia. Times change and circumstances change.

If we can't muster the political will for an amendment, well, perhaps we should consider what that means.
It means that it was ill-designed. I don't know how long the US will survive with the constitution at its nominal core, but the "Constitution" is now only a small part of and often in contradiction with its real constitution, i.e. the body of written law, common law and political precedent that really determine how it is run. The fact that this is so is really a reflection on the fact that it was designed to be too brittle. This was intended as a precaution against its modification, but of course paper cannot stand against human will. If the people want a liberal system, they will keep one; if they don't, they won't, and the authority of the Constitution is merely a fiction, as powerful as the amount of belief in it. Today, belief in some parts of it is strong because it agrees with what we think should be right -- freedom of association, for instance. Belief in other parts of it is nonexistent -- the parts about a standing army, the separation of church and state. Free press/speech is in the middle -- some people believe in it and some don't -- and that's why the state of free speech and press is pretty murky in this country today.

I don't mean to cruelly burst any bubbles, but you know perfectly well that that's reality -- words on paper are only as strong as the amount of belief in them.

Comment: Re:What is the point? (Score 1) 1713

by H0p313ss (#30926544) Attached to: Apple's "iPad" Out In the Open

Let me Google that for you... in short assisted GPS is where you use the cell towers known physical position, along with the current time, to quickly locate and identify available satellites to speed up location acquisition.

Many devices that support AGPS will still work when cell towers are not available, but some won't.

In your defense, the only reason I know about this is having participated in the Openmoko mailing lists when the FreeRunner shipped and there was an initial issue with the GPS antenna picking up interference off one of the capacitors (?) connected to the microSD slot.

Comment: Re:Safe Harbor Limits for Fair Use (Score 1) 335

by be-fan (#30899454) Attached to: Universal, Pay Those EFFing Lawyers

Laws are written by lawyers, voted in by politicians (80% of which are/were lawyers), and judged by judges who were lawyers.

Loopholes and vague wording are things that lawyers are GOOD at creating in our system. They are lawyers, they are supposed to be smart enough to make laws very clear; yet wherever you look, laws are written with loopholes and vague wording that permit loads of points of contention to which lawyers must be hired to resolve...

The law tries to be clear, but it never can be because it's fundamentally trying to encode all sorts of fuzzy human emotions/motivations/tendencies, etc.

Let's take your lawyer-free utopia. Rules are crystal clear and the process of checking whether a rule has been followed is straightforward and mechanical. How do you handle something like a fair use rule? A 30 second time limit? What if it's a 35 second clip that's on quietly in the background of an Indie movie? What if it's a 15 second clip of an advertisement lifted directly from a competing company's ad?

Look at laws that have crystal clear applications: statutory rape laws. Did they have sex? If yes, is she under 17? If yes, then guilty! No mind that it was her 18 year old boyfriend. How about drug possession? No need for judges to do the sentencing, we can simply make sentencing mechanical. 10 years for 10 grams, 100 years for 100 grams. No need to consider stuff like that the same amount of LSD can weigh a ton more when it's dissolved in sugar cubes rather than blotter paper.

The criminal justice system is one of those areas where lawyers and judges have been taken out of the loop, with 95% of cases being disposed of quickly through plea bargaining and sentencing being dictated by tables and formulas. It is also one of the most completely messed up, random, and downright unfair areas of the law.

Comment: Re:Worthless. Completely Worthless (Score 1) 353

by Lehk228 (#30899412) Attached to: Researchers Claim "Effectively Perfect" Spam Blocking Discovery

You advocate a:
( ) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based (x) vigilante

approach to fighting spam. The idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to the particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) Users of email will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
(x) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

(x) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
( ) Asshats
( ) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
(X) Extreme profitability of spam
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
( ) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

( ) Ideas similar to this are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email
(x) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about them:

(X) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and they're a stupid people for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0les! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

Comment: Re:Violation to freedoms of Free Software (Score 1) 396

by Lehk228 (#30899246) Attached to: SourceForge Clarifies Denial of Site Access
blockquote>The "source code" for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it.



if it were lost then the "best" available source would be a c / asm decompile, so distribute that. far less than optimal, but it should suffice for complying in that circumstance, and if enough people want better source a bad enough dude could come along and remake a more legible source file.

Comment: Re:Not sure in USA but in Spain... (Score 1) 945

by Arthur Grumbine (#30898990) Attached to: The Apple Paradox, Closed Culture & Free-Thinking Fans

Mac users are bought

Where do I get one? Is there a code word I have to use at the Apple store? When I get it home, will it, like, you know, do "stuff" to me?

In answer to your questions:
1) At the Apple Store.
2) Code Phrase: "I have a prototype iSlate back at my place".
3) It will, but the "stuff" it does may not be what you're thinking. Think "Different".

FORTRAN is for pipe stress freaks and crystallography weenies.

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