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Comment: Re:Quantitative? I'll take a shot at it. (Score 5, Informative) 394

by MakinBacon (#37499610) Attached to: EPA Bans CFC-Based Asthma Inhalers
I take it you've never used any of the environmentally friendly inhalers before, because they are fucking terrible. I've been using them for a few years (The EPA went apeshit insane on albuterol a few years ago, and I had no idea that there was an OTC alternative), and they get routinely clogged up by both dust and even dried medicine, and I can ensure you that this was never a problem with the old inhalers. Thankfully, my asthma is really mild and I rarely need these, but if I ever have a real emergency, I'm fucked.

Comment: looks like fun... (Score 1) 101

by MakinBacon (#37369922) Attached to: <em>Code Hero</em>: Play and Learn

But I'm not sure I would want to use this as a learning tool if I didn't already know how to program computers. From what I can tell based on the video, it teaches you by showing you snippets of code and allowing you to see what they do, which could be confusing for somebody with no prior coding experience. In addition, it seems that code snippets in this game require a basic understanding of vector math/linear algebra - something that's an essential part of games and simulation, but might serve only to increase the learning curve for somebody new to all this.

At any rate, it does look like an interesting way to engage somebody who already knows how to code but doesn't do it unless required by work/school. I definitely plan to try this out and pass it on to my friends if it's as fun as it looks.

Comment: Re:typing class in school (Score 1) 362

by MakinBacon (#37299932) Attached to: Weak Typing &mdash; the Lost Art of the Keyboard

I took a similar class in elementary school (except using computers 'cause it was the 90's), and I can honestly say that I didn't learn a damn thing. I was still "hunting and pecking" until I taught myself C when I was in high school.

The moral of this story: people will learn to touch-type if they need to. People who use computers a lot will unconsciously memorize the keys until they realize that they no longer need to look at the keyboard when they type as I did. People who don't use computers a lot will probably keep hunting and pecking for their entire lives, which is totally fine because they don't use computers a lot.

Comment: Re:Possessing stolen goods == crime (Score 1) 372

by MakinBacon (#37259516) Attached to: Publicly Shaming Laptop Thieves Catches Bystanders in the Crossfire

Suppose somebody else didn't steal the device. Suppose the owner loaned it to them, then used LoJack to take pictures of them in their bedroom. Sounds pretty illegal to me -- just because the owner "authorized" LoJack to take the pictures doesn't mean it's not an illegal wiretap.

I'm unsure as to whether or not that's illegal or not (definitely unethical), but it doesn't matter because it's a different circumstance, and what's legal can change depending on the circumstances. For example, it would be illegal for me to pull out a knife and stab somebody under normal circumstances, but if I can prove that I was defending myself then it's alright. In a similar vein, borrowing a computer from somebody is different from stealing it because somebody who borrows a computer has the owner's knowledge and consent.

Comment: Re:Evidence (Score 1) 372

by MakinBacon (#37259424) Attached to: Publicly Shaming Laptop Thieves Catches Bystanders in the Crossfire

She is being punished, her private pictures are being distributed around without her permission.

No they aren't, because the only people with access to the photos are lojack, the cops, and (probably) the judge and jury. That doesn't qualify as the photos being "distributed around", that's the photos being presented as evidence for a court case. I agree that these photos are super-private and all, but they're still evidence because she couldn't have taken them without possessing the stolen computer.

And they where not evidence in a criminal case. All they need was location.

No, they need all the evidence they can get. When you watch court proceedings on TV, you will rarely see the prosecution present only a single article because more evidence == stronger case. All the location does is prove that the laptop was used to access the internet from her house, which could mean anything. The defense could argue that the perpetrator might have figured out how to connect to her wifi network, or maybe lojack screwed up and somehow got the wrong IP address. If the prosecution also presents pictures that the defendant took of herself using the webcam, then the prosecution has a much stronger case because they now have evidence that the defendant actually came in contact with the laptop.

Comment: Re:Evidence (Score 4, Insightful) 372

by MakinBacon (#37258544) Attached to: Publicly Shaming Laptop Thieves Catches Bystanders in the Crossfire

Have you ever bought second hand stuff? How do you know that second hand stuff wasn't stolen? In fact, you can't even know for sure in shops.

Large part of the issue here is whether the school teacher could be reasonably expected to know the laptop was stolen given the low $60 price she paid for it.

I feel no pity for criminals, but punishing somebody innocent is worse than not punishing somebody guilty.

I feel no pity for criminals, but punishing somebody innocent is worse than not punishing somebody guilty.

She's not being punished; TFA clearly states the charges against her were dropped. She's now suing Absolute and the police for violation of privacy, which is crazy because those photos were taken with the authorization of the laptop's owner and they were legitimate evidence in a criminal case.

Comment: Re:Possessing stolen goods == crime (Score 1) 372

by MakinBacon (#37258330) Attached to: Publicly Shaming Laptop Thieves Catches Bystanders in the Crossfire

Doesn't matter, it's still a violation of her rights. Just because the original owner authorized it, does not mean that they have the right to violate the wiretap laws involved. And in a case like this, the employees that opted to obtain the extra images ought to be prosecuted for doing the illegal wiretapping. Had they just stopped with the location of the device, they would be fine legally.

The owner of the device authorized lojack to gather evidence by accessing the owner's device. Just because somebody else possessed the device doesn't change who the owner is. And these photos were legitimate evidence because they were pictures of the people who possessed the stolen laptop.

I realize that people don't understand that, but this isn't any different than if a landlord puts a secret camera in an apartment. Just because it's your property doesn't mean that you get to wiretap it all you like.

Totally different. When I rent an apartment, I sign an agreement with my landlord which basically gives me the right to treat the apartment as my own so long as I do not damage it, bother the neighbors, etc. A more appropriate analogy would be if I broke into somebody else's house and then complained of wiretapping because his security camera recorded video of me.

Comment: Re:Its China. (Score 1) 170

by MakinBacon (#37249794) Attached to: Turning Chinese Piracy Into Revenue

Most of the time I read titles like this as "Turning Chinese into Westerners". Applying western values to a Chinese culture (especially business culture) and expecting it to stick is naive at best. Western companies need to adapt to Chinese way of doing things to operate in China.

And how exactly would they do that? It's impossible to compete with somebody giving out free copies of your software when you're footing the cost for development.

Comment: Re:Priorities (Score 1) 614

by MakinBacon (#37197424) Attached to: More Schools Go To 4-Day Week To Cut Costs

Great to see the US has its priorities straight. Spend money on war and other nonsense but don't spend it on your kids and society. What a joke.

One less cruise missile could keep 100 schools open all week for a whole year.

The state of South Dakota does not shoot cruise missiles at people, although it would be pretty badass if they did.

Comment: Re:This trend will accelerate... (Score 2) 165

by MakinBacon (#37184224) Attached to: Canadian Firm Gave Libyan Rebels Surveillance Drone

Like many things the movement of technology getting cheaper and easier to use will impact how things like wars unfold in the future. Pretty soon the US's dominance in drones and automated warfare will be countered by adversaries with similar means. I think it's only because the current two wars were against essentially backwards nations that the US has escaped relatively unscathed, but what happens when they start flying their own armed drones?

That's how military technology works: Somebody invented a spear, so somebody else invented a shield. Then another person made a bow. Fast forward a few thousand years and we have robot planes that blow people to kingdom come before they even see them coming.

It's inevitable that the rest of the world will get their own version of the drones eventually, so Uncle Sam's just going to have to keep building better weapons like he always does. The entire history of mankind is little more than a massive arms race.

Comment: Re:NO ONE CARES (Score 1) 614

by MakinBacon (#37184164) Attached to: 5.8 Earthquake Hits East Coast of the US

If this didn't happen in such a rural county, there could have been major damage. Virginia doesn't get earthquakes very often, and our buildings aren't made to with stand them. There were some reports of buildings that caved in in Mineral - imagine what would have happened if the epicenter was in a more urban area like Arlington or Richmond.

Not only that, but our emergency crews aren't prepared to respond. Most of our people have never even felt earthquakes.

You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the Titanic had paying customers.

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