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Comment: "Ends justify the means" is usually meant to imply (Score 1) 125

by Lord Bitman (#48456593) Attached to: 2014 Hour of Code: Do Ends Justify Disney Product Placement Means?

"Ends justify the means" is usually meant to imply that the means are bad, but potentially excusable.

What exactly is wrong with the "means" here? I hate Disney's copyright practices, but other than that, I can't fault them. They have a dedication to quality which I wish were seen elsewhere.

Comment: SEO (Score 1) 120

by Lord Bitman (#44629179) Attached to: Obama, Romney Data Scientists Strike Out On Their Own

Search Engine Optimisation all boils down to, in the end, "make websites that humans want to find, and search engines will tend over time to detect sites like yours". The SEO best-practices change all the time, but the ones which stick around tend also to be general usability best-practices.

There doesn't seem to be a similar rule for elections, ie "make candidates that humans want to govern them, and people will tend over time to elect candidates like yours".

Perhaps this is because nobody has actually tried such a strategy, but I expect it has more to do with the ideas that:
  1. having lots of choices and few choosers (the choosers being chosen by the masses) tends to work-out better than having lots of choosers (the masses) and few choices
  2. letting people benefit from more than one "winner" tends to work-out better than picking the top choice and throwing out everything else.

Comment: Re:Solution: Use standard charger (Score 1) 457

by Lord Bitman (#44389405) Attached to: After a User Dies, Apple Warns Against Counterfeit Chargers

I came here to say exactly this. Apple is the one who ensured that the only manufacturers selling chargers for their products were those with no accountability.
If they did not use absurd proprietary designs, then most consumers would buy chargers from companies which have such qualifications as "an address" and "a name".

Comment: Really surprised (Score 2) 135

by Lord Bitman (#44358895) Attached to: Google Launches Cloud Printer Service For Windows

As someone who's been trying to use Cloud Print since it launched, I had assumed that the project was abandoned long ago. It has always been extremely flakey, it never "just works", etc. When it works, it's great. When it doesn't, you are left staring at a screen identical to when it does, with no diagnostics, and no sign of potential progress.

There are also some rather insane missing features, like the inability to rename printers (eg: if two of your friends have an HP DeskJet 1050a, and they both left it with the default name, have fun trying to decide which one to print on. Or if they both renamed their printers, but gave them sensible names like "HP (Upstairs)")

CloudPrint was a nice idea which Google has given zero attention. I do not expect things to suddenly work now that Windows is in the mix.

Comment: Re:Crap, the sky is falling (Score 3, Insightful) 334

by Lord Bitman (#43708405) Attached to: Last Forking Warning For Bitcoin

This isn't an issue of "two different currencies". What other time in history has a government issued a new currency, exchanged the "old currency" for the "new currency", and *let you keep* the "old currency" when handing you new currency?

The inability to deal with prolonged netsplits sanely is a fundamental limitation of the Bitcoin protocol.

Comment: Re:Use Firefox? Get Self Destructing Cookies add-o (Score 1) 98

by Lord Bitman (#43619489) Attached to: Even the Ad Industry Doesn't Know Who's Tracking You

Wow, a post about cookies from a privacy nut which I actually agree with!

Expiring at the end of a browser session is indeed a good default cookie policy, and I see nothing wrong with a pop-up at the top of the browser window, similar to the "Do you want to save your password?", ActiveX warnings, etc, which states "The website at[NOT VERIFIED] would like us to send data [view data] whenever this site is accessed, until September 1st, 2013. It gives the reason "Enhanced Browsing Experience". Do you want to allow this? [Yes] [No] [Send data, but forget it when I close my browser]"

Comment: The problem with DRM: Enforcement (Score 1) 447

by Lord Bitman (#43546499) Attached to: What's Actually Wrong With DRM In HTML5?

The only problem with DRM is the attempt to enforce the decisions made by the system.

I would have no problem with a DRM system which indeed *managed* rights. ie: allowed you to register your right to watch movie x because you own it and would like to format-shift. I would even be okay with it all connecting to a central database to notify you that "you have license for viewing this from a single screen, but it looks like your wife is watching it at home right now. Our system does not believe that you have the right to do this". So long as it didn't also include a system for taking over your computer to ensure that your viewing habits agree with its opinion of your rights.

I would absolutely *love* that kind of system

Comment: Re:News at elleven (Score 1) 290

That is a ridiculous lie.

Selling someone a cheap phone by subsidising the cost via a 2-year contract at $49/mo doesn't become any less viable with an unlocked phone.

Maybe selling someone a cheap phone by subsiding the cost via a 2-year contract of [nominal fee]+overage charges/mo would be violated by unlocking the phone, but the monthly fee on a 2-year contract doesn't change when you decide not to use the service. That's why it's called a contract.

Comment: Re:not much better (Score 1) 394

by Lord Bitman (#43462537) Attached to: Netflix Wants To Go HTML5, But Not Without DRM

To extend this to the general case, and ignoring the fact that DRM is an impossibility / runs contrary to basic laws of physics:

DRM requires that the output device, the final end-point, be known in advance.

This runs contrary to everything that the web is about, and so no web standards body should have anything to do with it.

Imagine if somehow HTTP had a Copyright-control mechanism which was able to enforce the fact that certain content could not be printed. Being devised in the time when HTTP was simply intended as, as it says, a "Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol", this mechanism could have been implemented as a restriction that certain content should only be output directly to a terminal.

This type of restriction would have made HTTP, and therefor the web, useless. It would be restricted to its original goals and intended scope. There is no point in creating a web standard which does not have the ability to have new uses applied to it.