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Comment Re:Sounds like he was arrested for shooting. (Score 1) 1045 1045

In general anything that creates a hazard for bystanders would be a bad idea. So even if there isn't a specific ordinance against shooting bows-and-arrows in the city limits, I'm sure the authorities would take a dim view of your clout shooting into your neighbors' yards.

What there should be is a legally mandated remote radio kill switch anyone can trigger that will cause the drone to land, or in the case of the more sophisticated models to return to base. If the switch worked within say a 50' radius it'd pretty much only work on drones buzzing your residence.

Comment HLS will win if DASH is patented (Score 1) 63 63

HLS already dominates by streamed hours of content, is implemented in every connected device stack, is patent free due t using MPEG Transport Streams and M3U8 playlists, and is much simpler to implement than DASH. If the MPEG-LA and the DASH-IF wants DASH to fail, they should take a good look at why they're trying to grab for more money.

Comment wheel of fortune with no pegs (Score 1) 578 578

The word "the" is a notorious trickster.

They say "running away from the consequences" when what they really mean is "running away from one particular set of consequences where we get all the photo ops wearing the stick".

The problem with this image is that greater society doesn't usually hand the stick to men wearing B&W, pin-stiped, double-breasted pygamas. He who breaks the law finds the stick slippery.

The consequences is presently enduring are already pretty unpleasant: notoriety he can never live down, and de facto house arrest without so much as a landlord-tenant act to protect his interests.

I'd also suggest that his marriage, family, and career prospects are not what they once were.

Of course, the vast majority of the American population would jump at the chance to throw over marriage, family, and career for the least chance to stick it to The Man, so we better add another heaping helping of grim before all hell breaks loose.

Comment Re:Is it going to matter much? (Score 1) 162 162

COW filesystems would have no problem with that scenario, especially when they have dynamic block sizes.

What file system do you have in mind? It's certainly not ZFS.

Furthermore, supporting dynamic block size poses real problems for efficient random access. For this reason, almost all file systems support fixed-size payload blocks, and only provide for dynamic on-disk storage size after compression.

If you have any clue what you're talking about, this file system technology is news to me.

Comment Re:I have no fear of AI, but fear AI weapons (Score 1) 294 294

Well, robbery would be a bit tougher than general mayhem. In the foreseeable future you'd probably need a human in the loop, for example to confirm that the victim actually complied with the order to "put ALL the money in the bag." Still that would remove the perpetrator from the scene of the crime. If there were an open or hackable wi-fi access point nearby it'd be tricky to hunt him down.

This kind of remote controlled drone mediated crime is very feasible now. It wouldn't take much technical savvy to figure out how to mount a shotgun shell on a quadcopter and fly it to a particular victim (if you have one). That's a lot less sophisticated than stuff terrorists do already; anyone with moderate technical aptitude could do it with off-the-shelf components. I'm sure we'll see our first non-state-actor controlled drone assassination in the next couple of years. Or maybe a hacktivist will detonate a party popper on the President or something like that.

Within our lifetime it'll surely be feasible for ordinary hackers to build autonomous systems that could fly into a general area and hunt down a particular victim using facial recognition. People have experimented with facial recognition with SBCs like the Raspberry Pi already.

You can forbid states from doing this all you want, but as technology advances the technology to do this won't be exotic. It'll be commonplace stuff used for work and even recreation.

Comment Re:Same likely holds true... (Score 1) 253 253

The same thing could likely be said of all obtrusive advertising: it is a nuisance not a benefit.

They aren't exactly the same, because interstitial ads aren't just obtrustive, they're interfering. You can't simply mentally resolve to ignore them; if you want to continue you've got to either follow the ad or find a way to dismiss it. This presents the user with a Hobson's Choice: physically respond to the ad, or go back.

A lot depends on how motivated you are to get at the content. If it's something you've clicked out of idle curiosity, you'll back away. If it's something you really want to see you'll fight your way through. Since so much traffic on the Internet is driven by idle curiosity, the 69% figure doesn't surprise me at all. What would be interesting is to disaggregate that figure by types of target content.

Comment Re:How much is an AG these days? (Score 1) 251 251

yet most people somehow attribute to "whore" a worse meaning


Our market-value vigilance over who is zooming whom dates back a good six-million years.

Nowadays we get more upset when someone unworthy buys a home on our street, but the underlying sentiments were once the same.

This modern "whore" make-over as a small proprietor with high integrity is primarily a byproduct of dense urbanization, where there's an infinite number of fish in the sea to whitewash our old instincts—instincts pre-dating fire, language, cities, and agriculture.

"Somehow" you sound like you just fell off the turnip truck, five minutes ago.

Comment Re:Too big to fail (Score 1) 251 251

That is, the Australian government has $498 billion to spend on whatever, but Walmart gives most of its $468 billion on suppliers.

That's the least comprehension of "whatever" I've ever seen. But you're not first. It's a 100,000-way tie.

The vast majority of government expenditures are written into law, and the benefits go right back to the same people who provided the revenues. A government enjoys great discretion in how it expends, but not much discretion at all concerning what it expends upon.

Certainly in the circular flow, the government's "friends" skim a lot of cream. And why shouldn't they? They're all upstanding businessmen (and businesswomen) engaged in the profit motive, possessed of the oldest, most conservative, barnyard business model:

1) Pick winning horse.
2) Milk cow.

Comment Re:Can't be true (Score 5, Interesting) 174 174

No, you have Margaret Wente of the Globe and Mail, so I think consider the source is alive and well.

She's the Alfred E. Neuman of why the bees collapsed in the first place. What, me worry?

In this very article, she's right up there with Ronald Reagan saying "Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do."

Do trees pollute the atmosphere?

In hot weather, trees release volatile organic hydrocarbons including terpenes and isoprenes - two molecules linked to photochemical smog. In very hot weather, the production of these begins to accelerate.

True, but it's all part of a long-term biological equilibrium that didn't seem horrible until after industrial-scale human pollution was added to the mix as a driving factor. I don't recall Cicero damning the trees.

Here's Wente:

The biggest threats to bees appear to be natural pathogens and varroa mites.

Once again, natural pathogens which the bees have presumably been contending with for thousands of years. I also don't recall Cicero orating on missing bees, or Shelley's ode to a collapsed colony.

If there was a forcing factor, it was probably the dang pesticide, which after all was explicitly designed to kill insects, selectively if possible, but that might be easier said that done.

Her entire piece is written in distractor mode, touching on who is cranky with whom laced with speculation about nefarious or misguided agendas, while she can't even bother herself to distinguish (possible) industrial forcing terms from established biological baselines.

Yes, indeed, consider the source.

Comment Re:There's Very Few Things (Score 3, Insightful) 80 80

You are conflating a world that is becoming warmer with a world that just *is* warmer. It may be true (I take no position) that a world that is 4-5 C warmer is better for certain classes of poor people (e.g., subsistence farmers). But a world that is changing rapidly is a calimity to poor people tied to the land, especially in a modern world with national boundaries and private property where you just can't pick up and move like our paleolithic ancestors would have.

Comment Re:Why pro-this or pro-that? (Score 1) 250 250

The GPL style started having fights in the early 1980s as soon as it came into existence.

You think a license invented with the express agenda to become the one true license might spark controversy right at the outset? Who would have guessed?

I've always liked the GPL (v3 not as much). And I've always hated the notion that it was anything more just another license.

The reality is that others might choose to behave in thousands of different ways, the vast majority of which should be none of my business.

The art of regulation is to limit specific freedoms in order to grease other freedoms. In a free market economy, the principle purpose of (good) regulation is to ensure that ever venture has a graceful failure mode (i.e. that a bad aftermath of bad decision making doesn't effectively socialize risk). The secret of the free market is the graceful failure mode. Nice try, GreedCorp, sorry it didn't work out for you, please play again (uh, no, we're not dipping into the public purse to clean up your mess, but we will be pursuing your former stakeholders to accomplish the same.).

I swing towards a libertarian position on the issue of the GPL. I don't see any necessary reason to inflate the concept of "freedom" to include this additional public good.

Futhermore, the concept of "software" as distinct from other forms of property never worked for me. Information is a spectrum for all of us, from the most personal to the least personal. Software lives all across that spectrum.


90% of everything is crap. Regulation is no different, here. The problem is that bad regulation has the power of law, and is a harder class of crap to prudently ignore.

What needs to happen politically is that regulation needs to have a test suite. When regulation starts to fail items in the test suite, the courts should become leery about imposing sanctions. The constitution (in countries who pay any attention to the ones they have) already functions as a kind of last-resort test suite, but I think we can do better.

In fact, perhaps legislation should begin by writing the test suite before they write the legislation itself. Even better if there is a separation of electoral term.

Comment actually had this on my list today (Score 4, Interesting) 157 157

The unofficial official FreeBSD security posture: two layers, where the outer layer has a singular purpose in life.

Protecting sshd using spiped

Like many system administrators, I used to restrict access to port tcp/22 on most of my servers based on source IP address; this provided some protection from "zero-day" exploits against OpenSSH, as well as eliminating the annoying "log spam" caused by brute force attacks. This worked fine as long as I always connected from the same location, but heading off to conferences meant that I needed to either tunnel SSH connections over other SSH connections or make temporary changes to my firewall rules.

Comment bling unbound (Score 1) 319 319

I let my Linux Mint desktop slide way out of the support envelop while I waited for PC-BSD to become a viable replacement. I had a single FreeBSD machine running ZFS as my server, which had been rock solid, but I'd never run a BSD desktop before. Then in a single week it was "BSD everywhere" on my home network.

I embrace change on my own terms (which is not change caused by the Gnome developers becoming bored of their own architecture, or Canonical deciding that tablets are the new shit). PC-BSD features boot environments. This amounts to an "undo" key for your operating system. Batch patch? Nuke the fucker.

I can temporize for years, then jump in with both boots if the time seems right.

It's one of the worst things about computing culture that we still collectively tolerate: the notion that capability upgrades are welded at the hip to work flow "innovation". Install a new OS, you're guaranteed to get a mixture of both.

I'd vastly prefer the tick-tock model as practised by Intel (or the alternating new airframe / new engine model as practised by Boeing) where releases that muck with the established user interface change no underlying features / capabilities at all (so the only reason anyone installs the GUI refactor release is because you actually want to partake in the bling rebinding).

Hopefully BSD won't someday lose its mind like Linux did, in which your trusty tighty-whities suddenly becomes a full-body support corset (with no-one asked). Personally, I can handle the change from tighty-whities to rc.d boxer shorts just fine, thank you very much.

Real programmers don't bring brown-bag lunches. If the vending machine doesn't sell it, they don't eat it. Vending machines don't sell quiche.