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Comment: Re:Tracking Needs to be Illegal (Score 2) 189

by PTBarnum (#45895509) Attached to: Carmakers Keep Data On Drivers' Locations From Navigation Systems

Getting a signature on a piece of paper is a bit impractical in the internet age, don't you think?

Would this prevent sites from counting how many visiters their site received? How about the number of visiters using Comcast? How about the number of visiters using Comcast in Dallas? The number of visiters with IP

Would this mean that Amazon's fraud team would have to shut down, because they look for suspicious pattens of activity? For that matter, would credit card companies be able to do fraud analysis on your purchase history? Would they even be able to send you a bill?

The right to be forgotten is a good goal, but there are a lot of messy details to be worked out.

Comment: Re:Obligatory note: the USPS is intentionally brok (Score 1) 258

by PTBarnum (#45393623) Attached to: US Postal Service To Make Sunday Deliveries For Amazon

As I understand it, for regulated services USPS is not allowed to offer any negotiated prices to any company. Sunday delivery is presumably an unregulated add-on, but for normal weekday package delivery Amazon has to pay the same prices as any other shipper. One way Amazon gets around that is by using their own trucks to move packages as close to the consumer as possible, then mailing the package only a short distance. The post office can also unofficially rebate money by doing joint advertising.

Comment: Re:Sunrise (Score 4, Interesting) 545

by PTBarnum (#45312663) Attached to: A Plan To Fix Daylight Savings Time By Creating Two National Time Zones

Of course if we start schools later, parents will want their work schedules later too. And if we do that, stores will need to adjust their hours to accomodate both employees and customers, and evening entertainment will probably want to start later. Coordinating all of that sounds tricky, so what if we just get together and chose an arbitrary date on which we will all start things an hour later?

Comment: NSA doing its job (Score 1) 242

by PTBarnum (#45181393) Attached to: NSA Hacked Email Account of Mexican President

Spying on foreign governments is pretty much the job description of the NSA. Spying on domestic communications is something they get away with, spying on foreign communications is what they were created to do.

I imagine the Mexican government will be publicly shocked to learn these details, but their counterintelligence teams have likely privately detected and thwarted other US hacking attempts.

Comment: Re:Covering butt (Score 2) 125

by PTBarnum (#44589349) Attached to: Amazon Forbids Crossing State Lines With Rented Textbooks

Oddly enough, computers are not typically good at making complex judgement calls, like determining whether or not a given product is "food" under the arcane definitions in various cities, counties, and states. That requires a person to research the product, research the law, and apply the latter to the former.

Years ago, before Amazon changed to supporting sales taxes, there was an effort by several online retailers to negotiate with states to create a uniform set of taxable categories, so products could be classified once, and only the tax rate would be variable from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Regrettably, this effort did not succeed.

Comment: Re:why? (Score 1) 778

by PTBarnum (#44157107) Attached to: Firefox 23 Makes JavaScript Obligatory

Are you confusing Firefox with NoScript? I haven't looked recently, but the whole reason I installed NoScript was that Firefox only allowed enabling or disabling JavaScript globally, and disabling it globally broke too many sites. So I partially agree with the GP that turning off Javascript entirely removes some of the motivation to upgrade the browser.

On the other hand, the concept of trust circles is also somewhat flawed, because there are sites that I've trusted and that have used JavaScript for good reasons, that have been hacked and had malicious Javascript inserted. Maybe that's just my poor choice of who to trust, but judging somebody's security from the outside is hard.

Comment: Re:bollocks (Score 1) 678

by PTBarnum (#43654371) Attached to: US Senate Passes Internet Tax Bill 69 To 27

That sounds fine to me, since you are clearly the kind of person who has never relied on anyone else for help. God created you as a fully formed human being in the middle of the wilderness, and everything you have you made for yourself, never seeing or talking to other humans. Therefore, you can proudly claim to owe nothing to human society.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 121

by PTBarnum (#43620039) Attached to: The Smart Grid Has Arrived

One upon a time, power utilies ran their lines underground. One result of this is that idiots in backhoes and other similar events would disrupt power.

Underground lines may be less vulnerable to disruption, but they are not immune. Plus, I don't think very many countries have their high voltage distribution lines underground for long distances.

I'm not sure how the "smart grid" is supposed to reduce power outages; most outages are caused by the last mile medium and low voltage systems, and I don't think that has enough redundancy to route around damage. Maybe they can use the smart grid to pinpoint damage more accurately? I suppose the TFA probably explains that, but this is slashdot so I didn't read it.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas