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Comment Re:Don't evolve your business model (Score 1) 210

I'm inclined to agree that that *should* be the case but this is, still, private property with the various rights associated with it ...

I don't see this as a property-rights issue. You're sending them a message with a request for one or more URLs; they're sending messages back with the content. At no point do you have possession of or control over any of their property. Their property is doing exactly what they deliberately programmed it to do: send their content to any arbitrary unauthenticated user on the Internet who requests it. If they did require authentication and you claimed to be someone else in order to gain access then a case could be made for fraud. However, so long as they send out the content to anyone who asks for it, I don't see any problem with making the request.

Comment Re:Target audience (Score 1) 210

The comment was addressed not to Axel Springer, but to the advertisers, who now have more ad "impressions", but probably no more sales than before. They're advertising to people who were willing to pay money to avoid seeing their ads. Those users were doing the advertisers a favor by removing themselves from the viewer pool. Rather than simply not being seen, those ad impressions will now create negative associations for their brands.

Unfortunately there's a delay in the feedback, allowing sites to profit from this for a while at the advertisers' expense. Eventually, though, this effect will cause the payment per ad impression to drop, leading sites to show even more ads to compensate, which in turn drives the price per ad down even further while simultaneously alienating what users they had left.

Comment Re:Don't evolve your business model (Score 1) 210

I'm of the mind that they're free to say that I can't access their site unless I disable my adblocking software. It's their property and they should be able to set the terms and conditions for accessing that property. I am, of course, free to abide by those choices or simply press the back button.

That is, of course, one option. However, I'm of the mind that by setting up a server on the public Internet which responds to arbitrary unauthenticated HTTP requests, they've effectively given permission to access their site to everyone on the Internet, regardless of any claims to the contrary in their terms of service.

If they want to enforce terms and conditions, they are welcome to require users to register and log in before presenting any content.

Comment Re:Nothing to hide (Score 1) 75

I would have found out about it when the collection agencies banged on my door for payment and they wouldn't be likely to take "But I didn't open that account or spend that money" as an excuse for not paying "my" debts.

But they really should.

The creditors are responsible for this situation through their lax authentication measures, even more so than the ones directly committing the fraud. The single most effective thing that could be done to prevent this type of identity fraud would be to void any attempt to collect on a debt (and consider it libel to include the debt in your credit history) unless the creditor can show that the target of the collection was the one that took out the loan—and obviously knowledge of public information like SSN, date of birth, etc. is not sufficient to prove that it was actually you.

Comment Re:Reinvestment ? (Score 1) 358

I'm all for a reasonable tax on corporations, but not by offloading their tax burden onto the rest of us.

You're already paying that tax burden, plus the extra burden of the departments full of accountants needed to keep track of it all. Businesses operate at a relatively fixed level of economic profit. Below that point they go out of business; above that point competition increases and profit margins shrink. To a business, taxes are just another cost, and one way or another that cost gets passed on to you, the customer, either in the form of increased prices (due to decreased supply) or goods and services which are simply unavailable because the taxes would make them uneconomical.

Perhaps as an incentive, allow business to claim a tax deduction for money they put back into the business ?

That's how it already works. Corporate taxes only apply to the profits, after expenses. Money which is reinvested into the business is not taxed. Unfortunately, the resources which you must spend to earn your paycheck are not treated the same way; a fair accounting would let you deduct essential personal expenses such as food, clothing, shelter, travel, and education, without which you would be unable to perform your job.

Comment Re:Patent reform can fix this problem (Score 1) 358

After 3 years, patents issued to foreign based or owned companies can't be enforced against US owned companies making products in the US that utilize them. Patents issued to American owned companies using the patent to make a product in the US can enforce them for the normal time against anyone.

This would just result in another kind of loophole. (1) US-owned company applies for a patent. (2) US company licenses the patent to foreign-owned company, essentially for free, while maintaining responsibility for enforcement. (3) Foreign company sublicenses the patent back to US-owned manufacturer(s). (4) Foreign company collects the profits.

Just give up on corporate taxes already. Flexible jurisdiction is only one of their many problems.

Comment Re:I Should Be A Judge (Score 1) 769

Yes, it was designed to look like typical bomb from a movie.

That's a rather low bar, since a "typical bomb from a movie" is nothing but a bunch of random electronics thrown together—plus, typically, a block of modeling clay meant to represent "explosives". (Perhaps they should be investigating the art department instead.) As a result, you can't ban "things that look like fake movie bombs", sans anything resembling an explosive, without banning electronics projects generally. Granted, this device did include the stereotypical digital clock, but it was counting up, not down. And both count-up and count-down clocks are standard training circuits for beginners in electronics.

Comment Re:If you don't like the textbooks, (Score 1) 337

How do you propose society manage the kids that don't have parents or guardians that care enough to get the kid into and kept in one of the many private schools that would exist and fit the kid's educational needs? Are you going to step in to help these kids? Probably not. How would you manage the kid's need to get to and from school even when the private school that fits is located across town? Are you going to give these kids a ride to their school? Probably not.

Do you really think that these problems are difficult to solve? Probably not.

Putting aside the fact that kids with uncaring parents are unlikely to benefit as much from school in the first place, parental involvement being one of the key requirements for success, I never said that the requirement to see to it that your kids attend some school should be lifted. Whether the parents care or not, their kids will go to one of the available schools.

Arranging transportation is the parents' responsibility. Most cities already provide public transit, and more than a few rely on it for getting kids to and from school. For those few cases where the only schools that fit are outside of commuting range, there are always boarding schools.

It can also accomplish this at real cost, not cost-plus-profit. It seems to me that the private sector normally operates with earning a profit as the highest priority.

There is nothing wrong with having a profit motive; it ensures that you have an interest in providing the best value, as perceived by those paying the bills. In any case, "private" does not have to mean "for profit". An education co-op, for example, is a perfectly viable model for a private school system.

A government-run public school system doesn't need the same level of oversight and regulating given that the system likely is as it specifies.

Do you really believe that? The cost of regulation still exists, as someone still has to define the standards the school is expected to meet, and if you're not bothering to have an outside party enforce the standards, a public school is just as likely to cheat on them as any private school.

In your system, the tax payer is still paying for the education of every kid through scholorships[I read vouchers]

Vouchers imply that the public schools are the default, and those going elsewhere get a portion of the funds that would be spend on their child to attend some other school. Without the public schools there would be no point in calling them vouchers.

Externalizing the cost onto the taxpayer is an inevitable consequence of trying to ensure that every child can attend school regardless of the family's financial state, without relying on (private, voluntary) charity. That is a problem, but it's not one I was trying to solve here.

Again, I believe it is in society's best interest to do what society can to prepare every kid, within reason, for the future. I believe the better prepared a kid is, the less likely the kid is to be burden to society down the road.

I agree with you here. This is why we can't afford to leave education to the public school system.

Comment Re:If you don't like the textbooks, (Score 1) 337

A problem with your approach is that a parent can only employ your so-called solution for his or her own kids. He or she can't also send someone else's kids to a private school. Yet, these other kids are also to be a part of society's future and, potentially, shaping it in a significant way.

So send everyone to the private schools. Instead of having separate public and private schools, just set up a scholarship program good for any accredited private school. The cost-per-student of private schools is not very different from public schools; the reason private schools seem to cost more (to the parents) is merely that the public schools are subsidized with taxes. Get the government out of the business of running the schools, and limit their role to defining accreditation standards and seeing to it that everyone gets a chance to attend.

Comment Re:If you don't like the textbooks, (Score 1) 337

How do I profit from other people getting a degree? Since I'm not running a business that needs educated employees, ...

You profit from the fact that there are people out there with the necessary skills to invent and supply goods and services that benefit you. However, that is not to say that you should be paying for those degrees directly, any more than an employer should be paying for its employees' degrees directly; you pay for the goods and services you use (just as an employer pays its employees' wages), and a portion of that money eventually ends up in the hands of those who paid for their training in the necessary skills. This ensures that the students are motivated to choose worthwhile courses of study and to take advantage of the educational opportunities afforded by their tuition—since they're the ones who will be paying off those loans by putting the fruits of their training into practice.

Comment Re:"Fire" in a crowded theater? Fighting words? (Score 1) 275

That's a good question. If the government is saying that the person who threw the first punch isn't liable (civilly) for the resulting damage because the victim used "fighting words", then I would consider that a punishment imposed on the victim as a direct result of their exercise of free speech. The victim has the right to seek redress for damages, and that right is being violated because of what the victim said.

Put another way, if a government announced that anyone who said something "disloyal" to the regime could be killed or otherwise injured or deprived of property without penalty, is that not a violation of the freedom of speech merely because the government isn't the one carrying out the punishment?

It would be another matter if the government simply stood back and refused to get involved, permitting the victim to seek compensation through other arbiters and defense services. But private enforcement generally isn't permitted, so the government refusing to uphold your rights is equivalent to denying them altogether.

Comment Re:"Fire" in a crowded theater? Fighting words? (Score 1) 275

I was taking that into account. Even in 1919, while rushing to the exits would be reasonable give the risk posed by a fire in an all-wood theater, trampling others to save yourself would not be.

In any event the famous "fire in a crowded theater" case wasn't really about fires in theaters, it was about justifying the imposition of censorship. The government wanted to stop people from publicly advocating for dodging the draft. In other words, the ruling was in support of restrictions on political speech. The only reason it was upheld at all was that the administration threatened to stuff the Court with its own lackeys until it obtained a favorable ruling (this being before the number of Supreme Court justices was fixed at nine).

Comment Re: Oh, goody (Score 1) 91

You have as much right to use airspace as you have a right to a public road.

The biggest problem with that analogy is that public roads are a relatively small space which the government either homesteaded or purchased—perhaps using eminent domain, which is a whole other issue, but at least paying some compensation to the former owner. You can drive however you want on private property (with the consent of the owner), including private roads. But the government claims every bit of above-ground outdoor as "public airspace" under their jurisdiction, leaving nothing for private use.

There should be an explicit exception in the law (not just FAA regulations) for airspace below a reasonable altitude—at least 400 feet, higher in remote areas away from any common flight paths. Some, but not all, of that space will be privately owned; the rest would be available for any non-harmful use by any member of the public without interference from the FAA.

No airport exceptions: if they want that airspace to be clear to ground level they can very well go out and buy it themselves, or negotiate an easement.

The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities."