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Comment: Re:Holy buckets! (Score 1) 141 141

And guess what: if you search either for the politician or his son, the article is still found (first hit on the BBC site, in fact):
* https://www.google.com/search?...
* https://www.google.com/search?...

So neither the politician nor his son had the search results removed. Although if it had been removed when searching for the son's name, I would understand it. While politicians are public figures and cannot have such search results removed under the ruling (because there is a public interest in those results), I'm not sure the same holds for their family (it's not the son's choice that his father is a politician).

Comment: Re:Kind of half-assed... (Score 4, Insightful) 180 180

Apart from the pretty colors, it's pretty badly designed. There's only the one video explaining why it's bad, no text, no in-depth analysis, no outside opinions, no nothing. There isn't even (that I could find) a link to the text of the TPP.

Even members of the US Congress only get extremely limited access to the text of the TPP:

Only members of the House and Senate are currently allowed to view the text of the deal, and even they are forbidden from discussing what it contains. As a new report from Politico published Monday details, "If you’re a member who wants to read the text, you’ve got to go to a room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center and be handed it one section at a time, watched over as you read, and forced to hand over any notes you make before leaving."

You basically have to be a negotiator or a representative of large business interests to get full access. Some chapters (5 out of 31) of the text have been made available via Wikileaks until now.

Anyone know and want to elaborate on what this TPP is?

The best, and definitely the most enjoyable, primer on the potential for abuse of the TPP (based on abuse of previously negotiated similar trade agreements) and the underhanded way it's being negotiated, is probably John Oliver's segment on it.

Comment: Re:I'm European and I don't care. EU is hypocritic (Score 1) 147 147

It's very nice to hear the system worked for you.

There is no external "system" system entity that works or does not work for us. We are all part of what I what would rather call "democratic society". It's true that there are entities with lots of money and influence, but "regular people" tend to severely underestimate their ability to achieve anything. We won for a large part because we were not cynical enough to "know" that we could not win anyway.

But you have to accept that the whole environment lined up for a favorable conclusion. At quick glance I identify: you were not alone, as you ganged up a scientific group with relevant background on the matter at hand (even if students);

You are never alone. Of course you have to find like-minded people. But as my simple email demonstrates, even an action by one person can achieve a lot (it doesn't mean that it always does), of course).

you admittedly wasted a lot of effort for a single measure in your professional area;

I did not waste anything, it was a very enlightening and educational experience, that went way beyond my professional area (both in terms of experience and in terms of effect).

you are also Belgium-based, which does have an influence, be it by language barriers, or the simple fact that if a member of EU counsel needed an in-person technical assertion, it would be much easier to just holler a local.

We were maybe 4 Belgians in a core group of about 50 people. We were from all over the EU, including from Portugal.

And in my defense, I didn't say there was nothing we could do to influence such decisions - I said it was difficult.

You said that your condition "simply does not allow me to have that influence in communitary law-making". That is what triggered my reaction, because I know from experience it's not true.

Again, your own argument assumes that difficulty. I'll give you my example: I'm a 26yo CS Researcher based in Portugal, and I vape. I have no background on vape research except articles I read for personal development, which tell me vaping is so much better than smoking. I did what I could, and what I knew was relevant for EU anti-vaping directives to not go ahead - I signed petitions that nobody cared about.

Petitions can help, but only if accompanied by "real action": starting actual discussions with MEPs by mailing them, setting up websites collecting information and presenting it in a clear form, analysing amendments etc. Those petitions can then be used to attract attention to the "meat" that you have to offer. Note that personally, I have no real opinion on vaping, since I'm a smoker nor a vaper (I do wonder what the long term effects are of inhaling liters of formaldehyde though).

I'm not saying we are not to act. I am stating there are people for that. Elected officials are supposed to be those people, or the ones who connect the relevant parties so they can provide appropriate input (your specific case).

And the people *those people* get their input from. Getting elected does not make you all-knowing. Being an advisor, or group of advisers, to a politician doesn't either. It is part of our democratic duty to help inform those that have been elected ("duty" in the sense that if you don't do it, democracy doesn't work). While in part this is done by unions, NGOs, lobbyists etc, individuals also have an import part to play here.

But I know, for a fact, there are things worth investing your time, and others you might as well live with them. The privacy rights I lose to a US based company called Facebook are not one of them.

Maybe you don't mind, but the erosion of privacy rights is definitely harmful to society as a whole. Even if only because if companies are allowed to get away with it, then the extremists in the "intelligence community"/police a fortiori will get their way (if only by requiring those companies to give up all the data they collected, or hacking into it).

Additionally, putting everything down to personal responsibility, especially in an environment where it's impossible to have full control (since Facebook also tracks people who don't have Facebook accounts) and where they make it difficult on purpose for users to control their privacy settings, is just not healthy for society.

Comment: Re:I'm European and I don't care. EU is hypocritic (Score 4, Insightful) 147 147

I do not disagree with you in your last 3 sentences. Other than that, I accept the fact that my social condition (that of a working, middle-class citizen, i.e. one vote) simply does not allow me to have that influence in communitary law-making.

As a 25 year old PhD student, together with a bunch of like-minded people that had no political clout or connections (many of which were students or PhD students), I managed to help block the EU software patents directive back in 2009. This directive had the full support of the European Commission, and initially also of the majority of the largest groups in the European Parliament (the Christian Democrats and the Socialists). Big IT companies (IBM, Microsoft, Nokia, ...) spent over 4 million euro on lobbying. And yet in the end (after 7 years of procedure) they all decided to go for cancelling the directive rather than risking it might get amended do something we may like and they might not.

For me, it started in a very silly way: I sent a mail to all Belgian MEPs, explaining them my view on the directive and on software patents. A week later, I got a call from an assistant of a number of MEPs telling me it was the first mail on the topic that made any sense to her, and asking me (a random student that just mailed them) how they should vote on the report that was being tabled the next week. I kind of panicked, told her I'd get back to her, looked on the Internet who could help me with that, ended up at the FFII and the rest is history.

Seriously, politicians and their aides are also also just people, and if you say something that makes sense, many of them will pay attention. There are of course always those who have made up their mind and won't care, but in my experience of 5 years of talking with them, I did not come to the conclusion that it's the majority of them. Not even close. Especially at the European level, where they are often happy that finally someone from the home country actually cares about what they're doing (as long as you're not sending template mails).

And yes, in the end it did cost lot of effort. But it is patently (hah!) false that there is nothing you can do influence or achieve at the EU level.

Democracy allows me this vote every now and then

That is just one part of democracy. It's an important one, but still just a part. A functional democracy requires way more effort than just voting every couple of years. And you can do it just as well as anyone else.

Comment: Re:Nothing to do with software patents (Score 1) 42 42

It doesn't make software patents legal - and in fact, software patenting is explicitly not allowed in Europe already, and this doesn't change anything about it

Formally, it doesn't. In practice, just as the European Patent Office creatively reinterpreted the European Patent Convention (EPC) over the years and as the US C.A.F.C. kept broadening software patentability (until the Supreme Court reigned it in a bit again — and yes, I know they started it in the first place), it is unlikely that a an incrowd of patent people will forever be very stringent regarding interpreting the boundaries of patentability (hammers, nails and all that).

And since the Unified Patent Court would be the highest authority regarding the interpretation of the EPC (the EPC is not EU law and hence would not be subject to appeals at the European Court of Justice), there would not be a body of people outside the patent system to overrule them. There is no need to look for conspiracies or bad faith in this. It's just that if you have a lot of deeply specialised people together that basically decide themselves about the rules governing their own domain, you get bad rules due to the narrow field of vision (no matter how openminded the people involved may be). Getting the EPC renogotiated would be even harder, and given that the people involved are mainly the specialists from national patent offices, it's mostly decided by the same incrowd anyway.

Comment: Re:EA got too greedy (as usual) (Score 1, Insightful) 256 256

Automatically getting your account blocked and all of your games disabled if you log in again after having been offline for a very long time (regardless of what the reason was) has nothing to do with paranoia.

Apart from that, I just think I should have full control over with whom I want to share when and what I play, without any major or minor inconveniences. Juggling Steam copies and whatnot should not be necessary. Seriously, I already paid for the games.

Comment: Re:EA got too greedy (as usual) (Score 5, Insightful) 256 256

You can connect once, buy the game, put Steam in offline mode and never connect again.

At least if you never ever want to buy a game on Steam again. Otherwise, as soon as you connect again, it will automatically upload to Steam statistics regarding how much you've played the game, what "achievements" you've unlocked etc (even if you disable SteamPlay/auto-synchronisation).

And if you have bad luck, Steam will have blocked your account in the mean time because you haven't logged in for over a year and when the Steam application detects that, it will block all games you have locally because it no longer has valid cached credentials (you can't got back to offline mode). And then you can't play anymore until you've contacted support to have them unblock/reset your account. And yes, that happened to me.

It's true, you don't have to be online all the time. But you better be online either regularly or never again at all.

Comment: Re:Does this give us anything Raspberry Pi didn't (Score 1) 35 35

But is there really a point of having ARM64 on an ultra low cost system? Its not like you are gonna be using the increased bandwidth or large memory amounts that 64bits brings to the table on a sub $150 SoC, hell I seriously doubt the board will have enough bandwidth on its I/O to even saturate a 32bit pipeline.

I think the main point is to have a low-cost development board that people can use to port their software to AArch64 and/or test it on that platform (as said by the AC I originally replied to). I'm also sure that even with bandwidth limitations, the octocore will prove its worth when running our compiler test suite.

Additionally, the AArch64 instruction set has been redesigned from scratch and a lot of historical baggage and special cases have been thrown out (e.g. no more arbitrary changing the PC with half of the available instructions, and no more two different instruction sets with dynamic switching between them), so it wouldn't surprise me if over time AArch64 processors could actually become more power-efficient than regular ARM cores. Right now the AArch64 cores still include the ability to run regular ARM code too, but I'm pretty sure that over time this functionality as well as the entire regular ARM line will be dropped in favour of AArch64.

Comment: Re:Does this give us anything Raspberry Pi didn't (Score 4, Interesting) 35 35

This is the first low-cost aarch64 silicon on the market. There are piles of piles of developers that will get it just for porting their software for arm64

This. Just logged in because I wanted to say exactly the same. Until now, afaik the cheapest option was actually a jailbroken iPad Mini 2 (and you obviously can't run Linux on that).

Comment: Re:Pascal (Score 1) 648 648

It teaches good habits (but with the demise of Turbo Pascal I am unable to suggest a worthy compiler).

May I suggest the Free Pascal Compiler with Lazarus as IDE. There's even a Lazarus add-on to automatically configure it for pupils/beginners.

Disclaimer: I am and have been one of the FPC developers for the past 17.5 years (also starting originally with Turbo Pascal, and then moving on to FPC once it became clear Borland wouldn't come out with a 32 bit DOS version).

Comment: Re:To curb terrorism (Score 1) 219 219

If you are convinced that part of the population has the destruction of a lot of what you hold dear as their secret agenda

How it is a secret agenda? It seems pretty out in the open to me.

Well, I thought that in case of the moderate muslims it could be a secret agenda in your view. In any case, feel free to ignore the "secret" in that sentence.

Mirrors should reflect a little before throwing back images. -- Jean Cocteau

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