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Comment Re:I gues you deserve what you get... (Score 1) 276

The major one is you lose all your emails when your webmail provider shuts down.

A lot of people switched to free email services so that they wouldn't lose their email address when they switch providers (may that be a consumer ISP or institutional provider). In this respect, I suspect most people benefited. The popular services have been available for approximately 10 to 20 years. How many people have had the same ISP for that time?

(Yes, I know there are other ways of handling this. None of those ways are particularly cheap or accessible. On top of that, at best, they just insulate you from a provider shutting down. That is to say, you still have to scramble to find a new provider when one shuts down even though you may be able to keep your address.)

Comment Re:What a coincidence! (Score 1) 420

I wholeheartedly agree.

My first exposure to Star Wars came when I was 20 years old, when a coworker was shocked that I never saw it and lent me his tapes. When I told him what I thought of it, he conceded that it wasn't a very deep story and that you probably had to watch it as a kid to like it.

But my favourite assessment was by Robert Sawyer who noted, among other things, that the good guys weren't very good. (Better than the empire, to be sure. But that's not a very high level to aspire to.)

Comment Re:Differentiate? (Score 1) 136

I am left wondering about that claim as well. Even people who are okay with the lawful interception of communications are unlikely to buy a phone for this reason, and people who deal with confidential (albeit legal) communications will not want be able to purchase these phones for that reason. Then there are people who expect their privacy to be respected, who are almost certainly going to avoid these devices for that reason. Then you have the paranoid crowd who won't touch it. And all of that is before you consider people who are breaking the law who, admittedly, BB probably doesn't want as customers purely from the perspective of their business' image.

Comment Makes sense as a campaign issue ... (Score 1) 118

Looking at the issues mentioned in the summary:

- economy: the government does not have direct control over the economy. At best, they can hope to attempt to influence economic development. Yet they cannot make promises.
- illegal immigration: the government does not have direct control over illegal immigration. At best, they can hope to attempt to deter illegal immigration through expensive or draconian policies. Again, they cannot make promises.
- terrorism: the government does not have direct control over terrorism. At best, they can make the life of terrorists harder but they cannot hope to stop terrorist activity and detecting it is extraordinarily difficult. Once again, they cannot make promises.

- space: the government does have direct control over federal agencies (e.g. NASA) and its contractors. While they cannot violate the laws of physics, they can certainly have fairly reliable results if they consult with scientists, engineers, and administrators to ascertain what is realistic. In other words, they can make promises.

Incidentally, none of this is specific to space exploration. Figuring out what you have some degree of control over should be one of the things that anyone considers when evaluating campaign promises.

Comment Re:Let's just throw out all the rules of English t (Score 1) 151

I'm actually surprise that "they (singular)" wasn't already in the dictionary, and never really understood why some people opposed it. It sure beats all of the debates over using "he/she", or people saying that the use of "he" or "she" is not meant to imply gender, or people arguing that "it" is valid or disrespectful. Not only is "they (singular)" in common use, there is enough redundancy in the English language that you can figure out whether it is singular or plural, it avoids the politics of "he/she", it does not require explanations of inclusivity, and it does not use a word that is typically associated with inanimate objects.

Comment Re:Typical Liberal Thinking (Score 3, Insightful) 109

Read the bloody article.

The first hint that this isn't purely about "liberal demoncrap" is that it is filed under business, not environment. The second hint is that they're talking about aging plants that won't be shut down if they are upgraded with carbon capture. It is also possible that other upgrades or maintenance is necessary, but unmentioned. In other words, cost is a factor here. The third hint are mentions of economic and political issues, such as energy security.

There are other subtle (as in subtle as being hit by a sledgehammer) issues being mentioned, none of which indicate that environmental considerations are secondary issues.

Comment Re:So averaging things which look like a face... (Score 1) 103

Maybe. Maybe not.

I suspect what they're saying is: take a bunch of inanimate objects that are identified by an algorithm as having the properties of a human face then average them together. What you end up with is something that looks more human than any given image.

Then again, that probably isn't surprising. You would expect the algorithm to identify things as human faces if the computed values are within some range, with the range being roughly centred on the average. The natural consequence being that the average will appear more human than any given image when the algorithm is fed any unbiased sample. I suspect that the noise sample was trying to suggest that isn't the case by showing that the average of the images identified as faces does not necessarily produce an image that looks like a face. If that is the case, it probably doesn't prove what they were trying to prove. It probably shows that the face identification algorithm focusses upon the eyes and mouth, so those where the only vaguely identifiable features in the averaged images. On the other hand, the inanimate object sample was pre filtered by people, and those people probably took additional features into consideration (e.g. the general shape of the face). Since the average was applied to a subset of those images, the result naturally showed more facial features.

Comment Re:Do-it-themselves (Score 3, Insightful) 202

More to the point, setting up a secure communications network requires technological know-how. While almost everyone uses some form of encrypted communications, very few people have the means to assess how secure those communications are. The end result is that the whole system is based upon trust. We trust that the underlying encryption algorithms are secure. We trust that the software that implements those algorithms is secure. We trust that the people who generate certificates are trustworthy. We trust that the means of distributing and verifying certificates is secure. We trust that everyone in the chain knows what they are doing so that a simple misconfiguration doesn't diminish the value of the whole system. And that is before you consider malice.

Create your own network, and red flags are raised. The people responsible for investigating those networks are going to look at each potential weakness in the chain, and exploit them if they can.

Comment Re:Game chat (Score 1) 202

You don't even need to use the itself to plan out attacks. The nature of some games is probably enough to make sorting out idle chatter from terrorist planning difficult, particularly if the intent is to gather evidence to apprehend people.

While intelligence agencies may act as though they are above the law, and they certainly twist the law to serve their purposes, they are ultimately accountable to the law. Making the wrong interpretation of chatter and having it end up in front of a judge would create much due scrutiny that they probably don't want to deal with.

Comment It's a tricky situation ... (Score 1) 137

Every jurisdiction has the rights to create laws within its mandate. In Canada, gambling seems to fall partially or entirely into the mandate of the provinces. Now you have a technology that makes it both possible and convenient to circumvent the laws by placing the activity in a jurisdiction where it's legal while allowing participants to remain in jurisdictions where it is illegal (may that be due to outright prohibition or it needing to fulfill certain legal requirements). Now you have law enforcement in one jurisdiction trying to figure out how to uphold the law, while law enforcement in the other jurisdiction doesn't have anything to act on since the activity is legal. And that is assuming that law enforcement in that second jurisdiction even cares. In most cases they won't.

Now there are a variety of ways to deal with that. One is to change the laws in either jurisdiction, which is likely a non-starter since the laws are what they are for a reason (even if you don't agree with the reason). It is also possible to criminalize the activity of the participant, which may involve very undesirable consequences such as surveillance. A third option is to try to block the activity at the border (so to speak). While there are issues with that, including the ability to circumvent such blocks, it is likely the least of all evils. Well, I suppose there are other options. You could try to freeze the offending company's assets within the jurisdiction where it is illegal or prevent the transfer of funds between the company and the participant, but that may not be in the jurisdictions mandate. You could try to arrest employees of the company if they ever enter the jurisdiction where it's illegal, but that assumes that they even have an interest in crossing borders. Every possible solution has issues.

Enforcing the law when it takes place in multiple jurisdictions is a tricky problem. It was prior to the Internet. It was prior to the telephone, when people actually had to move across borders for laws to become entangled. We never really had a good solution to that problem, but now the problem is orders of magnitude larger.

Comment I saw an interactive ad before ... (Score 1) 242

I saw an interactive ad before and it was effective. I haven't been to any of the TV network sites to watch programming since. I was already annoyed by many of the networks that refused to let the viewer pause commercials, which meant that I couldn't pause the programming at "natural" breaks. Then they had the audacity to expect me to get off my ass when I was perfectly willing to sit through the commercials. Good grief. If they insist upon being that controlling, then it's better to go elsewhere for entertainment.

"We shall reach greater and greater platitudes of achievement." -- Richard J. Daley