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Comment: Re:Why not? (Re:No. Just no.) (Score 1) 201

by pla (#48270263) Attached to: Is the Outrage Over the FBI's Seattle Times Tactics a Knee-Jerk Reaction?
Ok, that's better. But have you read that law

Have you, other than to find a misleading snippet from a subsection that, as you point out, doesn't apply? You might want to reconsider subsection (d) before going too far out of your way to flog that (a)(1) strawman.

There is no such law. I asked for a citation — please, be exact.

Not here to do your homework for you, dude; but given that I've had a boring morning... Try 18 USC 1028. "No such law"? Well, not until late 1998, perhaps...

Comment: Re:No surprise here (Score 1) 365

by pla (#48270003) Attached to: Cutting the Cord? Time Warner Loses 184,000 TV Subscribers In One Quarter
Yes, but their "solution" seems to be lobby Congress to preserve their sixty year old business model, not actually innovate.

Not really much congress can do about this one (short of requiring everyone to pay for cable TV or incur a tax penalty).

People will simply no longer put up with ever-increasing prices for enormous bundles of services they don't want. How often do we hear people bemoan the fact that they watch three channels but pay for three hundred? Well, at some point, people realize that they effectively pay $40 a month per channel they watch; for lighter TV viewers, that can easily come out to $40 a month per series they watch. And hey, even ignoring options like Netflix and Hulu, I can outright buy entire boxed sets of most TV series for half that per season (never mind per month), ad-free, and 100% on-demand.

If congress really wants to try to save the cable TV industry, they need to do something that will cause some pain on the short term - Force the cable industry to offer 100% a la carte programming - Which would in turn require forcing upstream content providers to do the same, rather than subsidizing pro sports by forcing anyone who wants Animal Planet to also pay for ESPN (and vice-versa, forcing sports fans to pay for Nickelodeon if they just want ESPN). That might save the cable industry, as long as they don't get stupid with the price per channel (at $5/channel/month, I might even sign back up. At $20/channel/month, I need to ask myself if I religiously watch more than 12 programs per channel, because I could just buy them on DVD instead).

Comment: lest we forget (Score 1) 140

by epine (#48264231) Attached to: Verizon Launches Tech News Site That Bans Stories On US Spying

@namespace url(;

@-moz-document domain("") {

body:before {
  content: "Forbidden from covering American spying or net neutrality by Verizon's corporate sponsorship";
  color: #FF0000;
  display: block;
  text-align: center;
  font-size: 3vmax;
  padding-top: 10vh !important;
  padding-bottom: 10vh !important;


Comment: Re:Yes, but (Score 1) 201

by pla (#48264089) Attached to: Is the Outrage Over the FBI's Seattle Times Tactics a Knee-Jerk Reaction?
Nope, much of the outrage is coming from the Seattle Times who had their website spoofed.

As the owners of the Seattle Times' tarnished trademark (and depending on the quality of the spoof, quite likely the copyright holders to a significant number of infringements on that front as well to "decorate" the spoofed site), they have more right to outrage here than anyone.

Beyond, of course, the righteous outrage of a population which has granted its government certain limited powers in the interest of maintaining a functional civil society, only to have that government routinely flaunt its willfully overstepping those powers. But then, that whole constitution thing went out of fashion long before we invaded a sovereign Iraq because a group of Saudi nationals blew up one of our buildings.

Comment: Re:Why not? (Re:No. Just no.) (Score 0) 201

by pla (#48263983) Attached to: Is the Outrage Over the FBI's Seattle Times Tactics a Knee-Jerk Reaction?
Please, cite the violated law. Thank you.

Identity theft. "Corporations are people too", remember? Thus spake Mittens, and whether we like it or not, the courts have largely agreed.

Or more practically, try trademark dilution by tarnishment: "Typically, the only relief available for trademark dilution is injunctive relief. However, if the defendant 'willfully' intended to trade on the owner's reputation or to cause dilution of the famous mark, the owner of the mark may also be entitled to other remedies, including the defendant's profits, damages, attorneys' fees, and destruction of the infringing goods."

Comment: Less repetition in the USELESS subject line (Score 3, Funny) 145

by pla (#48262295) Attached to: Researchers At Brown University Shattered a Quantum Wave Function


Sorry, I knew too many Brownies back in my uni days. More likely, they just forgot about "bigger bottom, better borrow" and broke the wave function the old fashioned way. ;)

/ I could also have gone with "paid daddy to break it for them", but took the high ground... this time!

Comment: Re:If Its Online (Score 2) 98

by pla (#48262209) Attached to: Hackers Breach White House Network
I am willing to bet some joe-blow intern infected the network with someone doing some amazingly easy social engineering to him/her.

Who needs social engineering? Just drop an infected flash drive somewhere near the front door, and sooner or later (usually sooner) someone will pick it up and plug it in.

"Nuh-uh", you say? "They certainly have stupid things like autoruns turned off on the Whitehouse network!"

"Hmm, what do we have on here... Random spreadsheet crap, OSHA regulations Powerpoint crap, launch code crap, more random crap, okay some mostly-geezer music I'll check out later, RNC 2016 strategy crap, even more random crap... Hmm, Oooh, awesome, I never did get that on last leaked pic of her!" *click*

Comment: Re:Thanks Balmer! (Score 3, Insightful) 98

by pla (#48261989) Attached to: Hackers Breach White House Network
Powerpoint has been a weapon against clear thinking, preparing for a meeting, and keeping people interested in what you're saying for a long time.

No one has ever cared about what the presenter had to say at meetings.

It just took more effort before Powerpoint - Both by the presenter, who had to actually prepare instead of cutting and pasting Wikipedia into a slideshow; and by the audience, who had to actually look at the presenter (thereby risking eye-contact) rather than glazing over while staring blankly at a projector screen.

Really, we should thank Microsoft for Powerpoint. Instead of meetings dragging on and on and on as the presenter rambles and people ask stupid questions in a futile effort to remain awake, now the meeting only lasts as long as the slideshow, no one asks any stupid questions, and everyone can go back to doing actual work that much sooner.

Comment: And? (Score 5, Insightful) 140

by pla (#48259713) Attached to: Verizon Launches Tech News Site That Bans Stories On US Spying
And I care about one more crappy corporate-controlled portal site why? Other than the "will they set up a GeoCities page next"-esque shock-value that any company in 2014 still believes their customers give the least damn about their ISP's home page, of course.

If Verizon doesn't want news about the ways the intelligence community and Verizon conspire to rape us all, hey, their portal. And if I want actual news, hey, not their portal. It all balances out.

Comment: Seriously? This again? (Score 1) 153

by pla (#48253675) Attached to: Can Ello Legally Promise To Remain Ad-Free?
Can we get over this, please?

The fact that a supermajority vote can potentially allow Ello to someday run ads still leaves Ello 167% less obnoxious than Facebook.

Seriously, this reminds me of the 2004 election again, where a draft dodger managed to successfully demonize the war record of an actual veteran. WTF, seriously - Does The Zuck write copy for Slashdot now?

Comment: Re:Um... (Score 1) 145

by pla (#48249979) Attached to: Here's Why Apple Rejected Your iOS App
Apparently, you meant the work "presumably". ;)

But my point still holds - It doesn't count as cherry picking to quote the actual summary, even if the author wrote what he wrote speculatively.

If I say "in my opinion, dogs are better than cats", and someone points out my hypocrisy for having two cats and zero dogs, I can't then weasel out of it on the grounds that I said "in my opinion".

Comment: Re:So.... (Score 1) 582

by pla (#48249837) Attached to: Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"
So do land-line telephones, websites, and Furbies. None of them are "intelligent". The only thing we have to fear from Google is ethical violations (which are a valid concern), not that it will ever become intelligent. You are really just reinforcing the point: so far no attempts at creating "artificial intelligence" actually work, and the things that actually work aren't anything like artificial intelligence.

You've ignored a critical distinction between "websites" and "spam filtering".

The former follows a specific human-designed set of instructions to serve up deterministic content in the manner intended.

The creator of the latter doesn't even know its final behavior. That programmer wrote a schema that allows for classification of information, which the end user trains, and exactly what it ends up doing depends on the subset of an incomprehensibly huge problem space it gets to see up to any particular decision it makes.

Cool trick, BTW - Did you know you can train your spam filter to do things totally unrelated to spam? For laughs, about five years ago I trained one to recognize male vs female authors from RSS feeds. Did pretty well, too, I got it over 80%, but beside the point - It "learned" something that its creator never had any intention of it doing.

That doesn't mean I'll name my spam filter and carry on a cheesy romance with it, but it most certainly does use AI techniques.

Comment: Re:So.... (Score 4, Insightful) 582

by pla (#48244647) Attached to: Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"
I'd like to suggest that those are not samples of actual AI. At least not in the sense that anyone with a serious background in AI would consider them to be.

I respectfully disagree, in that the "AI community" doesn't have a single unified viewpoint. In fact, they have pretty tidily bifurcated into two major camps.

One group says that "real" AI needs to pass the Turing test, needs to think like us, needs to recognize its own consciousness, needs the ability to tell a joke.

The other group has given us voice recognition, spam filtering, NetFlix recommendations, Google, and countless other "AI lite" technologies; technologies that might not have the ability to discuss Nietzsche with us, but unlike "real" AI, they actually work.

A CONS is an object which cares. -- Bernie Greenberg.