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Comment: Re:"If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns (Score 1) 116

by Lobo42 (#48668053) Attached to: How Laws Restricting Tech Actually Expose Us To Greater Harm

"Even if a law is passed that makes it illegal to 3D print guns, there should not be a law that forces 3D Printer manufacturers to produce 3D printers that refuse to print components that might be used for a gun."

Perhaps so! I wasn't arguing about the virtue of this specific theoretical legislation, I was taking on the broader argument made by the OP:

"If your computer has deliberately been designed with a blind spot, the bad guys will use it to evade detection by you and your antivirus software. That's why a 3-D printer with anti-gun-printing code isn't a 3-D printer that won't print guns—the bad guys will quickly find a way around that. It's a 3-D printer that is vulnerable to hacking by malware creeps."

I don't believe this is necessarily true. Will someone find a way around the gun restriction? Sure, some number of users will always want to hack restrictions away from their devices. But will having the gun restriction in place make the 3D printer more vulnerable, from a technical standpoint, to being hacked? I don't see how. Slashdot filters out various HTML tags from my replies - I don't think this filtering mechanism makes Slashdot more or less likely to be hacked. Doctorow is making a jump from "bad guys will find a way around that" (probably true) to "makes your unit more vulnerable to hacking." To me, this seems like a leap.

But perhaps there is some technical aspect to gun-design-filtering that I am unaware of?

Comment: Re:"If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns (Score 1) 116

by Lobo42 (#48667723) Attached to: How Laws Restricting Tech Actually Expose Us To Greater Harm

Sure, there are absolutely differences between regulating bombs and regulating guns. That was my point - the virtue of legislating technology is highly dependent upon the specific technology being legislated. The article and OP are arguing, as far as I understand, that all attempts to legislate technology should be assumed to be harmful.

Comment: "If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns!" (Score 1) 116

by Lobo42 (#48667465) Attached to: How Laws Restricting Tech Actually Expose Us To Greater Harm

I'm not onboard with this reasoning. Yes, deliberately placing backdoors in software is security-undermining and stupid. And any unenforcable legislation is bad legislation.

But I not all restrictions on technology are unenforcable or bad. It is generally illegal for private individuals to make bombs. Yes, this means that the only people who make bombs are criminals, but only because you have changed the semantics to make it so. There is still less bomb-making overall by dint of bomb-making being illegal.

I don't know if there is a correct legislative solution to the problem of 3D-printed guns or not, but we should not assume there cannot be one. The specifics of the technology are relevant.

Comment: Don't get a liberal arts degree (Score 1) 392

by Lobo42 (#47919053) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

As someone who has a CS degree from a (respected!) liberal arts college, I can say that, career-wise, it was a mistake. One of the first things that came up in any interview I had during those first few years out of college was "Why did you get a BA instead of a BS?" which launched me into a whole discussion of the fact that I went to a liberal arts college where they only issue BAs....anyway, it was not a conversation that screamed "hire me!"

People love to ask for candidates with "critical thinking skills" but I think that's just code for "people who think like I do and agree with me."

Comment: Re:*Dons asbestos suit* (Score 1) 1262

The most fascinating aspect of this whole incident is the intense divide between games industry and media insiders and the consumers who make their industry possible. It's as if all the developers and journalists, having spent the last 30 years making money off of one set of prejudices and preferences of their audience, have suddenly grown DISGUSTED with them, the people spending money on products *they themselves produced and marketed.* "We have spent thirty years producing sexism and selling it to you, what is wrong with you morons for buying it?" I don't really know how to categorize it. Elitism? Self-hatred? Both?

One possible theory is that this represents what happens when two industries - the video game industry and the media/journalism industry - collide, and fight it out to see who is stronger. It would appear that media/journalism is, but what's surprising is how many members of the games industry seem to have been secretly wishing to be on the other side for a long time.

Comment: Re:Obvious question (Score 1) 1003

by Lobo42 (#32413874) Attached to: Google Reportedly Ditching Windows

Yeah, seriously. Not to mention testing all their web applications in IE6, IE7, IE8, ...

I suppose they could either run Windows in a VM, or bravely try and do some testing using Wine, but, uh, realistically, if they're continuing to develop software for Windows (and Windows is definitely the lead SKU for most of their desktop apps,) then they're going to need a whole bunch of Windows installs lying around. Maybe they're not counting virtualized copies of Windows?

Comment: Re:1984 (Score 4, Insightful) 1238

by Lobo42 (#32232732) Attached to: Texas Schools Board Rewriting US History

I doubt that any of the "facts" in the Texas curriculum are undocumented. The problem lies in the making of a textbook. There's only so many days in the school year, and only so many pages in a history textbook. Choosing which facts make it to print and which do not is necessarily a judgment call. Which of these facts are the most significant developments in American history? There's no "objective" way to answer this, since importance is itself a value judgment.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming