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Comment: Re:Python for learning? Good choice. (Score 1) 388

by Kjella (#47413153) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

I'll disagree on that. We use white space to communicate our programs' block structure to other humans. Why should we use a different syntax to tell the compiler the same information?

IMHO it's far easier to logically get it right with braces and pretty-print it for proper indentation than fiddling around with whitespace.

Comment: Re:more leisure time for humans! (Score 1) 514

by Kjella (#47409439) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

That's revisionist history, ludicrously so. Marx never foresaw anything of the sort. He believed firmly in the labor theory of value, and as such all economic power derived from human labor, not from mechanical power. Communism was about combating the concentration of economic power in the hands of a few people who owned the means of production, at the expense of the masses who provided the labor (and hence the real value).

It is not very hard to re-frame Marx in terms of the knowledge worker, where the owner of the means of production like the [e-tail site/online bank/search engine/social networking site] exploits the individual developers who produce the system but alone are insignificant and replaceable leading to a race to the bottom where providing the labor is greatly underpaid while stock owners and other capital holders make off with the profits. That does of course not exclude the possibility that capital owners will pay off unique individuals and start-ups that threaten to shift the competitive landscape or compete with the existing companies, but more of a global mutual interest among all companies to depress wages.

Even in the absence of formal collusion it's not hard to reach a form of unwritten understanding in direct and transparent competition of substitute goods. For example on the way to work there are two gas stations quite literally across the road from each other, if one drops the price of course the other will follow. So what makes them profit most, both high or both low prices? Now apply the same to store clerk wages, of course neither has an interest in raising the general wages. It is really the same when you see Google/Apple/Microsoft/whatever involved in anti-poaching agreements, surely they could just poach back but it'd raise the wage costs for everyone so better if they don't.

I do agree though that he thought the actual value lay with the labor, not the machinery but I guess you can equally apply this to software, doesn't really all value of the code stem from the one who developed it? Granted, he got paid for it but whether that pay is fair is another matter. Remember, Marx never claimed the workers were forced to work anywhere at gun point. What he said was that all the choices were bad ones and workers were exploited no matter who they worked for. It's not like market economists dispute that companies would lower labor costs if they could either, they just refuse to do something about it. If the supply and demand don't add up to a wage you're comfortable with do something else.

Of course we won't run out of jobs as such, but when there's more people wanting jobs than there are jobs, real wages start trending downwards as workers undercut each other. The relative wealth between those with capital and those who work for a living diverges and it becomes harder and harder to join them as their holdings increase faster than any savings you can make. As long as human labor remains essential to the function of society, we can still unite and strike for higher wages though. If we're no longer essential and the system runs on robotics, software and a few scabs until we go back to work, well then we're in deep shit.

Comment: Re:C++ wins the day again. (Score 2) 84

by Kjella (#47406191) Attached to: KDE Releases Frameworks 5

KDE and Qt are synonymous with C++. They prove that C++ is the best language around

LOL, the only reason C++ is tolerable is Qt and only if you avoid screwing with resources yourself and let QObjects handle the mess, it's still full of leftover ugly from the 70s that neither Java, C# nor Swift choose to handle the same way. The problem is that creating a good language, a good compiler and a comprehensive system library (practically a must today IMO) is a huge job and without a big company like Sun/Oracle (Java), Microsoft (C#) or Apple (Swift) backing it you'll never get off the ground.

Comment: Re:501(c)(3) Classes (Score 4, Insightful) 228

by Moryath (#47362567) Attached to: The New 501(c)(3) and the Future of Open Source In the US

Most open-source "foundations" have been operating in a "give away the razor, sell the blades" mentality.

Give away the razor (base software), sell the blades (support contracts / phone support / specific pay-for-implementation requests / etc).

I can see why the IRS is having a hard time taking claims of being a nonprofit or public-benefit company seriously when that's examined. It's kind of taking the "how to make money off FOSS" instructions constantly published in the community at face value.

Comment: Re:Two things (Score 1) 85

by Tom (#47344287) Attached to: The Game Theory of Life

(or is it discovered inside the human mind? I'll let you figure that one out).

There's not even an argument there. Current scientific knowledge indicates strongly that our brains are wired for language processes, but not for a specific language.

What you're referring to as the creation of an algorithm is simply the creation of the description of the algorithm which is a different thing to the creation/discovery of the algorithm.

No. You are trying to introduce some kind of strange sideways category. Or maybe it is the word "algorithm" that's causing the confusion here. I've described my view, how about you describe yours?

Comment: Re:The actual Guides (Score 4, Informative) 286

by mpoulton (#47335187) Attached to: What To Do If Police Try To Search Your Phone Without a Warrant

Since the summary links you to a stupid news article and not the guides themselves, here is the ACLU Guide and EFF Guides here.

The EFF guide you linked has not been updated yet to reflect the Riley decision. Some of those answers need to be changed because they are incorrect now. The ACLU "Know Your Rights" manual does not appear to have been updated either, but it simply doesn't address the issue of cell phone searches incident to arrest at all.

Comment: Re:The key distinction in the ruling (Score 1) 484

by cpt kangarooski (#47316847) Attached to: Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

So basically, if they just shift from LIVE to a TIME DELAYED model, they could go right on transmitting and not be considered "performing" under the current act.

As J. Scalia points out, the 'standard' the Court has chosen is unclear. Maybe that would be legal, maybe it wouldn't be. We'll never know until either 1) Congress amends the law to be clear about that; 2) Someone tries it and the Court reverses this opinion in a useful way; or 3) Someone tries it and the Court rules squarely on that in light of this opinion.

One thing is for sure: Only someone with lots of resources and a lot of daring will even attempt to find out by actually trying it.

Comment: The key distinction in the ruling (Score 5, Informative) 484

by cpt kangarooski (#47315793) Attached to: Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

This case boiled down to one major issue: Whether the allegedly infringing conduct in this case was engaged in by either Aereo, or by its users. Don't get hung up on the public performance v. private performance issue; it was really certain that if Aereo was liable, that the performance was public; if it were the users, it would be private.

J. Scalia's dissent does a good job of explaining the issue:

There are two types of liability for copyright infringement: direct and secondary. As its name suggests, the former applies when an actor personally engages in infringing conduct. Secondary liability, by contrast, is a means of holding defendants responsible for infringement by third parties, even when the defendants âoehave not themselves engaged in the infringing activity.â It applies when a defendant âoeintentionally induc[es] or encourag[es]â infringing acts by others or profits from such acts âoewhile declining to exer- cise a right to stop or limit [them].â

Most suits against equipment manufacturers and service providers involve secondary-liability claims. For example, when movie studios sued to block the sale of Sonyâ(TM)s Betamax videocassette recorder (VCR), they argued that Sony was liable because its customers were making unauthorized copies. Record labels and movie studios relied on a similar theory when they sued Grokster and StreamCast, two providers of peer-to-peer file-sharing software.

This suit, or rather the portion of it before us here, is fundamentally different. The Networks claim that Aereo directly infringes their public-performance right. Accordingly, the Networks must prove that Aereo âoeperform[s]â copyrighted works, Â106(4), when its subscribers log in, select a channel, and push the âoewatchâ button. That process undoubtedly results in a performance; the question is who does the performing. If Aereoâ(TM)s subscribers perform but Aereo does not, the claim necessarily fails.
The Networksâ(TM) claim is governed by a simple but profoundly important rule: A defendant may be held directly liable only if it has engaged in volitional conduct that violates the Act. ...

A comparison between copy shops and video-on-demand services illustrates the point. A copy shop rents out photocopiers on a per-use basis. One customer might copy his 10-year-oldâ(TM)s drawingsâ"a perfectly lawful thing to doâ" while another might duplicate a famous artistâ(TM)s copyrighted photographsâ"a use clearly prohibited by Â106(1). Either way, the customer chooses the content and activates the copying function; the photocopier does nothing except in response to the customerâ(TM)s commands. Because the shop plays no role in selecting the content, it cannot be held directly liable when a customer makes an infringing copy.

Video-on-demand services, like photocopiers, respond automatically to user input, but they differ in one crucial respect: They choose the content. When a user signs in to Netflix, for example, âoethousands of . . . movies [and] TV episodesâ carefully curated by Netflix are âoeavailable to watch instantly.â That selection and arrangement by the service provider constitutes a volitional act directed to specific copyrighted works and thus serves as a basis for direct liability.

The distinction between direct and secondary liability would collapse if there were not a clear rule for determining whether the defendant committed the infringing act. The volitional-conduct requirement supplies that rule; its purpose is not to excuse defendants from accountability, but to channel the claims against them into the correct analytical track. Thus, in the example given above, the fact that the copy shop does not choose the content simply means that its culpability will be assessed using secondary-liability rules rather than direct-liability rules.

So which is Aereo: the copy shop or the video-on-demand service? In truth, it is neither. Rather, it is akin to a copy shop that provides its patrons with a library card. Aereo offers access to an automated system consisting of routers, servers, transcoders, and dime-sized antennae. Like a photocopier or VCR, that system lies dormant until a subscriber activates it. When a subscriber selects a pro- gram, Aereoâ(TM)s system picks up the relevant broadcast signal, translates its audio and video components into digital data, stores the data in a user-specific file, and transmits that fileâ(TM)s contents to the subscriber via the Internetâ"at which point the subscriberâ(TM)s laptop, tablet, or other device displays the broadcast just as an ordinary television would. ...

The only question is whether those performances are the product of Aereoâ(TM)s volitional conduct.

They are not. Unlike video-on-demand services, Aereo does not provide a prearranged assortment of movies and television shows. Rather, it assigns each subscriber an antenna thatâ"like a library cardâ"can be used to obtain whatever broadcasts are freely available. Some of those broadcasts are copyrighted; others are in the public do- main. The key point is that subscribers call all the shots: Aereoâ(TM)s automated system does not relay any program, copyrighted or not, until a subscriber selects the program and tells Aereo to relay it. Aereoâ(TM)s operation of that system is a volitional act and a but-for cause of the resulting performances, but, as in the case of the copy shop, that degree of involvement is not enough for direct liability.

In sum, Aereo does not âoeperformâ for the sole and simple reason that it does not make the choice of content. And because Aereo does not perform, it cannot be held directly liable for infringing the Networksâ(TM) public-performance right.

However, that's not the decision that the Court reached. Instead, J. Scalia describes the Court's opinion as:

The Courtâ(TM)s conclusion that Aereo performs boils down to the following syllogism: (1) Congress amended the Act to overrule our decisions holding that cable systems do not perform when they retransmit over-the-air broadcasts;4 (2) Aereo looks a lot like a cable system; therefore (3) Aereo performs. ...

Making matters worse, the Court provides no criteria for determining when its cable-TV-lookalike rule applies. Must a defendant offer access to live television to qualify? If similarity to cable-television service is the measure, then the answer must be yes. But consider the implications of that answer: Aereo would be free to do exactly what it is doing right now so long as it built mandatory time shifting into its âoewatchâ function. Aereo would not be providing live television if it made subscribers wait to tune in until after a showâ(TM)s live broadcast ended. A subscriber could watch the 7 p.m. airing of a 1-hour program any time after 8 p.m. Assuming the Court does not intend to adopt such a do-nothing rule (though it very well may), there must be some other means of identifying who is and is not subject to its guilt-by-resemblance regime.

Two other criteria come to mind. One would cover any automated service that captures and stores live television broadcasts at a userâ(TM)s direction. That canâ(TM)t be right, since it is exactly what remote storage digital video recorders (RSâ"DVRs) do, and the Court insists that its âoelimited holdingâ does not decide the fate of those devices. The other potential benchmark is the one offered by the Gov- ernment: The cable-TV-lookalike rule embraces any entity that âoeoperates an integrated system, substantially dependent on physical equipment that is used in common by [its] subscribers.â The Court sensibly avoids that approach because it would sweep in Internet service providers and a host of other entities that quite obviously do not perform.
That leaves as the criterion of cable-TV-resemblance nothing but thâ(TM)olâ(TM) totality-of-the-circumstances test (which is not a test at all but merely assertion of an intent to perform test-free, ad hoc, case-by-case evaluation). It will take years, perhaps decades, to determine which automated systems now in existence are governed by the traditional volitional-conduct test and which get the Aereo treatment. (And automated systems now in contemplation will have to take their chances.)

The Court's opinion states that it doesn't have an effect beyond Aereo and Aereo-like services:

Aereo and many of its supporting amici argue that to apply the Transmit Clause to Aereoâ(TM)s conduct will impose copyright liability on other technologies, including new technologies, that Congress could not possibly have wanted to reach. We agree that Congress, while intending the Transmit Clause to apply broadly to cable companies and their equivalents, did not intend to discourage or to control the emergence or use of different kinds of technologies. But we do not believe that our limited holding today will have that effect.

For one thing, the history of cable broadcast transmis- sions that led to the enactment of the Transmit Clause informs our conclusion that Aereo âoeperform[s],â but it does not determine whether different kinds of providers in different contexts also âoeperform.â For another, an entity only transmits a performance when it communicates contemporaneously perceptible images and sounds of a work. ...

And we have not considered whether the public performance right is infringed when the user of a service pays primarily for something other than the transmission of copyrighted works, such as the remote storage of content.

But, as J. Scalia points out:

The Court vows that its ruling will not affect cloud-storage providers and cable- television systems, but it cannot deliver on that promise given the imprecision of its result-driven rule.

Comment: Re:Socialism is not working (Score 5, Interesting) 710

by Kjella (#47311503) Attached to: Workaholism In America Is Hurting the Economy

This country is losing it. Don't know if you realize it my fellow citizens, but you are getting your ass kicked in the world. Socialism is not working.

That's because whenever you try something socialist-ish it's implemented as corporate welfare. Instead of taxing the corporations and helping the people you're bailing out the corporations and handing the bill to the people. Your version of Robin Hood would involve trying to get a trickle-down effect by handing the sheriff of Nottingham more money so he could hire more tax collectors and guards. Or to use a car analogy it's like stabbing the tires and pouring sugar in the gas tank, then comparing it to a horse.

Comment: Re:work life balance is a myth (Score 5, Insightful) 710

by Kjella (#47311305) Attached to: Workaholism In America Is Hurting the Economy

The intersection between stuff I'd love to do and the stuff people would pay me to do = Ø, particularly if I got paid to do it. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with my job (37.5 hour work week, decent pay with overtime, 5 weeks vacation, interesting and meaningful work) but I don't love it and it's not something I'd do without the paycheck. If you can't really think of anything else to do than work, you must have a very gimped imagination. I'm sorry.

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