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Comment: SMS Server Slashdotted? (Score 1) 149

by RobertB-DC (#37351724) Attached to: App Enables Surfing Over SMS/MMS Through T-Mobile

I went straight to the Market to download the browser for my Android. Fired it up... now I'm stuck at "Request sent. Waiting for response..."

I suspect that every other T-Mobile Android user on Slashdot is doing the same, and the poor guy's SMS gateway is now a smoldering heap of slag.

Interestingly, the Market reported that the download count was "10+". Obviously, there's some latency there...

Comment: Re:Henry Mencken was right (Score 1) 348

by RobertB-DC (#37144442) Attached to: AT&T Kills $10 Texting Plan, Pushes $20 Plan

I think for my first Android software project I'm going to come up with a text message like program that uses your data plan. I could make a killing on something like that if it took off. Although I'll probably get my ass sued off by patent trolls so I may not bother.

Right after you build your time machine to go back in time 4 years before the 100+ other people already made apps that do just that for Android / iOS.

Yeah, but he'll still have a niche, in the 45 minutes between when his app hits the Market and when the process server brings the patent lawsuit papers.

Comment: Browser ID and the short attention web (Score 1) 201

by RobertB-DC (#36121686) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Alternatives To Tor Browser Bundle For Windows?

Your point is well-constructed... but it also shows that you have a bias towards content over presentation.

The fact that it's all one long paragraph, is missing occasional letters, and may have small grammatical errors is absolutely irrelevant to the point that you are making. You used concrete examples and came to a logical conclusion.

But the rest of the world is biased toward presentation over content. It's sad, sure... but it's been that way since the Eternal September, and it's not going to change. In fact, the short-attention-span web is hurtling forward 140 characters at a time, thanks to look-a-birdy sites like Twitter and Facebook.

And in that web, you have to know what browser your visitor is using, so that you can give them the brain candy they want before they lose interest and look, a birdy.

Comment: Ahead of the curve (Score 5, Interesting) 162

by RobertB-DC (#35361538) Attached to: High-Bandwidth Users Are Just Early Adopters

The cell phone companies are way ahead of the curve on this one. They've been working on ways to screw us over for years now... and the more you know about making the sausage (from sites like HoFo), the more you know how bad you're getting it. Especially in the US.

Just a few days ago, I got a text message from T-Mobile saying, "Texas Recovery Fee now included on monthly bill." Oh for crying out loud. Does the grocery store charge me a "Municipal Services Recovery Fee" to get back the cost of their food service license? Even the tire store doesn't charge the "tire disposal fee" if I tell them to load 'em up in the back seat. I'd drop 'em in a minute if it weren't for two things: 1) Everyone else is just as bad or worse, and 2) T-Mo makes it easy and *cheaper* to stay *out* of a contract, which actually makes me *more* likely to stay.

Comment: Re:Confused (Score 1) 469

by RobertB-DC (#35248898) Attached to: Goodbye, HD Component Video

A society where we try to eliminate 100% of the wrongness-- I mean honestly TRY-- is a horrible society. We have to accept some loss; at a level we must take some serious steps to curb that loss, but below that we have to accept it as a price of living in a pleasant, civilized society with something we like to call "freedom." Those of us who are upstanding citizens are essential to maintaining this "freedom," and even those of us that aren't but only occasionally lean across the ethical barriers we normally respect are keeping the system healthy by not building our house over on that side or making regular visits.

Agreed. That's why I'd rather "the authorities" focus on the actual bad guys, selling counterfeit merchandise, than on a bunch of college students who will some day want to get paid themselves.

In reply to the increasing number of posts that claim I'm a tool for linking "piracy" with "drug running" -- you haven't *been* to an inner-city flea market, have you? But I can see his point... the maf-IAA will make that linkage without the caveat, and extort a few thousand bucks from some suburban kid with a lot of bandwidth.

Comment: Re:Confused (Score 1, Insightful) 469

by RobertB-DC (#35248010) Attached to: Goodbye, HD Component Video

So... this prevents someone copying a BD disk with a VCR? Or a TV capture card?

I'm actually confused here. Do people actually copy digital media this way any more? What does this prevent?

The only experience I've had with actual "piracy" is from my kids' friends, who don't know or care about "digital rights" or their "management". I'm very picky -- I obtained every movie and .mp3 file I have legally, because as a content generator (computer programmer) I kinda like getting paid. My kids' friends... not so much.

There was one particularly memorable experience, when my daughter's friend brought over her DVD of the "Freaky Friday" remake... the weekend after it opened in theaters. Her mom got it at the local flea market.

It was an obvious bootleg, and darn near unwatchable (even if you liked the movie). It really did look like it was the result of a guy with a cheap digital camcorder set up in the back of a movie theater, with scratchy sound patched in. It wasn't HD quality... heck, it wasn't even VHS-on-the-car-dashboard quality. But the teens thought it was great.

That's the sort of "piracy" I'd like to see the maf-IAA focusing on, because it has actual consequences for real people. Those bootleg DVDs, their little brothers the bootleg CDs, their cousins the bootleg shoes, and their close friends the stolen goods, fund the same underground economy that supports drug running and other nasty social ills.

Applying strongarm tactics there would be good for society... but probably wouldn't generate as much profit as shaking down college kids.

Comment: Self-selecting for failure (Score 3, Interesting) 196

by RobertB-DC (#35234626) Attached to: 80% of Browsers Found To Be At Risk of Attack

So eight out of 10 browsers running the test failed it? That's not terribly surprising, since I have to install a plugin to run the test.

I don't know Qualys from Quantas, so I'm highly unlikely to install their plugin just to find out whether my browser has vulnerabilities. In fact, I'm not terribly likely to install any plugins at all (though I'm enjoying Ghostery immensely).

Now, let's assume for a moment that I'm the type to install any plugin that asks nicely and looks shiny. Gee, is it any surprise that Qualys' plugin isn't the first one I've accepted? And is it any surprise that I've got other issues?

This test suffers from a terrible self-selection bias. Those most likely to take the "test" are the ones most likely to fail it.

Comment: Re:Wrong order. (Score 2) 178

by RobertB-DC (#35204622) Attached to: Motorola Adopting 3 Laws of Robotics For Android?

As the user/owner of a non-self aware device, it should obey me, even if my intention is to use it to destroy itself, or others.

The problem is that this is the situation we already have. Our machines obey us, even if we have been socially engineered to instruct our machines to perform tasks that are malicious. A zombie PC damages itself, its owner, other machines, and their owners.

This application of the mythical "Three Laws" seems designed to protect us from ourselves.

Now, this is going to annoy the living crap out of me, and I will definitely want to find a way to disable the directives. Especially that Fourth Directive. Oh, sorry, I keep thinking of John Murphy's Prime Directives:

1. "Serve the public trust"
2. "Protect the innocent"
3. "Uphold the law"
4. (Classified)

Comment: Re:How to Mess with OnStar (Score 2) 599

by RobertB-DC (#35095968) Attached to: 'Death By GPS' Increasing In America's Wilderness

Hey, I never suggested that running out of gas in the middle of West Texas in the summer (or winter, or fall or spring for that matter) is a Good Thing, even if you've kidnapped the Gasoline Fairy and thrown her in the trunk for the trip. It's definitely up near the top of "The stupidest things RobertB has ever done."

What OnStar did in that case was rescue me from my stupidity. Which in a strictly Darwinian sense would be bad, I suppose... but from my RobertBinian perspective, not dying of heat stroke and dehydration is indeed a very Good Thing. Chances are, if I never used OnStar again, I'd keep my subscription just because of "that time that they saved my bacon."

Comment: Re:How to Mess with OnStar (Score 4, Funny) 599

by RobertB-DC (#35095364) Attached to: 'Death By GPS' Increasing In America's Wilderness

Talk to the nice lady from India (or Southern California) who has never seen ice in any amount larger than a water pitcher, and tell her you're kind of lost.

No need to work that hard, just do what I did. Run out of gas in West Texas, say between Childress and Quanah. Make it on a sunny 100-degree-plus Sunday afternoon in the middle of summer. You, too, can have a conversation with OnStar like I did!

Me (sheepish): I ran out of gas.
OnStar: We'll send someone right out.

Time passes...

OnStar: Sir, we show you near Childress, Texas, but I don't have any facilities there. What's the nearest larger town?
Me: This is West Texas, Ma'm. There are no larger towns.

They ended up sending out the county sheriff with a five-gallon jug of gas.

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