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Comment Re:The best part of the article is at the bottom (Score 2) 555

True, but when the government decides to regulate corporations, they have a right to speak, like the individual person does.

You start from the incorrect premise. You assume that non-natural persons, or corporations from here on, have an inherent right to exist. They do not. They are convenient legal fictions, meant to simplify the relationships between allied actors.

Corporations exist exclusively because we the people, through the government, allow them to. The government issues a charter, and thus has the inherent right to regulate them, however it is seen fit. The corporation that is beyond the rule of national law is a relatively new, and dangerous, concept that is sadly propagating because people don't seem to understand that corporations are a legal convenience and have no inherent right to exist.

If the government didn't provide for the corporate charter, people would still be free to associate and to spend money together to produce goods and services. The corporate charter is a convenience that allows more structured laws surrounding the formation, operations, taxation, liability, and dissolution of these alliances of people. It also makes resolving disputes between interested parties a little easier. But because people choose to obtain a corporate charter, for the favorable tax status and liability status, for example, they absolutely are agreeing to be regulated by the chartering entity. And that regulation can, and should, include restrictions on spending money for political purposes, an activity that should be retained exclusively by natural persons. The natural persons who freely entered into such convenient alliances are (and should always remain) free to speak at will.

Comment Re:Privacy advocates are targettng the wrong thing (Score 2) 294

You are definitely correct here. Anecdote time...

I saw a talk by a guy at NASA that was working on some bit of atmospheric research. He said that until recently, much if the in situ measurements were gathered by a human piloted modified U2 spyplane. Of course, there were big problems with this, namely cost per flight hour and limited flight hours due to fuel and the fact that the pilots would need to get out after 8 or so hours.

Their solution was to get a 'civilian'-grade GlobalHawk, which he said served their purpose perfectly. It was much cheaper than the manned aircraft and could stay in flight for 24+ hours (I thinkk...) and I think he said that it could even fly around the globe.

The problem is, they had to plan all of their research around US airspace. He said the FAA was more difficult to get permits from than the Russians or the Chinese. So a US agency owned aircraft doing US funded research couldn't make use of US airspace, in any practical sense. This is why these regulations are necessary.

Regarding the surveillance issues, the OP is 100% on target.

Comment Re:Try making them suck less. (Score 1) 1040

FoxIt PDF reader is another one. The UI in the newest version is one of the biggest pieces of shit I've seen. Five different colored skins took precedence over features that people actually wanted. Moreover, the skins didn't fit in with any typical window decorations, so the program was _always_ out of place.

Comment A little late, but U of I student here (Score 1) 168

The message we got actually said "BUILDING / INTERSECTION NAME" as the location of the alleged incident. To anyone with half a brain it was more than obvious that it was sent in error. I just waited and waited for the explanation. I never actually expected a corrected version with an actual location.

The bigger issue is the use of this system at all. It has been used twice so far (not including yesterdays bout of criminal stupidity). The first was for an "impending tornado" that never touched down. We already have a warning system for that. There are big loud sirens that everyone should be listening for when a nasty storm is rolling through and a watch/warning has already been issued by a non-university organization. The second was just earlier this week for a fire in a non-campus building to warn university employees based in nearby buildings. Who were already evacuated.

The university has now cried wolf three times. Time to file the alerts directly to spam.

Comment Re:Status Bar??? (Score 3, Informative) 537

The issue with the awesome bar was never the functionality, it was the interface. Without the oldbar plugin, the awesome bar takes up way too much vertical screen space to be useful. The extra whitespace surrounding the URLs in the list was completely unnecessary, ugly, and a pain in the ass. Also, awesome bar was (and still is) a stupid name.

People wouldn't have rebelled as much against a slight change in functionality (as you said, it proved to be useful). But massive UI changes for no real reason are going to cause fits for people as anal retentive as most /. readers.

Submission + - Google has "bing-ified" their homepage... ( 1

NIN1385 writes: I was just wondering why there isn't a story on /. yet about the awful thing Google has done to their homepage. They are forcing users to use their Bing-like homepage with background images for at least 24 hours and their forums are full of ticked off people. Seems like they are worried Bing may be stealing their market share. I for one miss the simple old Google homepage that just got things done, does anyone else agree?
The Internet

Safari Beta Takeup Tops Firefox, IE and Chrome 342

nk497 writes "The release of the beta for the next version of Apple's Safari browser last week helped drive Apple's market share above ten per cent. The Safari beta has gained users at a rate of about 0.5 per cent a day since its release, topping one per cent by day four. For comparison, Microsoft's beta of IE took six months to hit one percent, Chrome needed almost a month, and Firefox 3 took a week."

Comment Re:more paper == more trees (Score 2, Insightful) 299

"It's hypocritical for us to clearcut our forests while telling other nations, Don't do what we do."

But it is wise for us to say, "Don't make the same mistakes we made." I've lived east of the Mississippi most of my life in the US and driven across a good bit of it. I've often wondered what it would have looked like 500 years ago with all the trees still there. I live in Illinois right now, and the lack of trees and long grass prairie is really depressing. I would have liked someone to be able to tell us, "Don't make the same mistakes we made."


Tech Firms Oppose Union Organizing 715

cedarhillbilly passes along a piece from on the chilly reception that tech firms and lobbying groups are giving to a bill promoting union formation, which has a chance of passing in a more strongly Democratic congress and with a Democratic president. "Up to now, large tech groups have been on the sidelines in what is likely to be one of the roughest fights in Congress next year. A few, however, are preparing to weigh in. That makes other tech lobbyists nervous that, by doing so, the industry could sacrifice relatively good relationships with Democrats and, therefore, jeopardize some of their other legislative priorities."

BT Silences Customers Over Phorm 196

An anonymous reader writes "The Register reports that BT, the UK's dominant telecom and internet service provider, has 'banned all future discussion of Phorm and its "WebWise" targeted advertising product on its customer forums, and deleted all past threads about the controversy dating back to February.' Phorm is a controversial opt-out system for delivering targeted advertising that intercepts traffic passing through an ISP in order to profile subscribers via an assigned unique ID based on their online activities. Subscribers can opt-out at the Webwise website but are opted-in again if the Phorm cookie is cleared. Firefox users can install Melvin Sage's Firephorm add-on to manage their interaction with Phorm and Webwise."

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray