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Comment: Re:BAh, (Score 1) 115

...just radio "on the Internet", with the logical efficiencies that unicast delivery can provide.

...as much bullshit as every one of the patents that demanded rent for some existing thing and then added "on the Internet" on the end.

What, exactly, are these "logical efficiencies" that can be applied to "just radio" ?

Can I tune my old car radio to it? I have some of those nice pop-out buttons for the 8-track, AM, FM... is there now a button labeled "IP"? No? Do I perhaps need some other device, like an FM transmitter on my cell phone? I suppose we should consider the cell phone, towers, multiplexers, phone OS, and various interfaces as well... those certainly aren't simple enough to be ignored. On the "just radio" side, there are the stream generators, broadcast gateways, relays, and support infrastructure in place, all of which is wildly different from putting, for example, a simple website "on the Internet".

Some engineer had to figure this all out, and test it, debug it, update it, and otherwise ensure that the system actually works well enough to put on the market. At one point, that engineer was me. I used to work for a traditional radio station as the "Internet Guy" on the engineering team. Since this was back before Internet-based radio was a popular thing, I only pushed a single stream to about five or six listeners, but that was also just about all our budget could handle, thanks to the limitations of the traditional licensing model.

See, the way our station was licensed, we were charged by the size of our listening area. A certain number of people could possibly be listening to our broadcast, so we paid licensing fees for them. If we apply that model to our Internet streaming, our half-dozen listeners would have been counted as a few million, and the licensing fees would have exploded similarly, easily consuming our budget for the Internet experiment.

I know it's easy to simply say "on the Internet", and assume that the engineering will fall into place, but the reality is that putting something online and making it work is often rather difficult, and that affects the balance of effort put forth. It is ridiculous to think, then, that the same licensing model should apply when the underlying technology is so different.

Comment: Re:Done in movies... (Score 2) 224

by Sarten-X (#49550483) Attached to: Allegation: Philly Cops Leaned Suspect Over Balcony To Obtain Password

Let's not forget that this is a typical Slashdot hivemind-feeding story... Everything in TFS apparently comes from testimony (which may or may not be accurate, and may or may not be accepted as a fact by the court), and let's also not forget that even lacking a search warrant, officers are allowed to do a sweep of the area to ensure their safety.

Even if we accept that the accused officers did violate their suspect's rights, and they did search excessively without a warrant, and they did threaten him, they've been indicted for it. They got caught being bad cops, by other cops, and now they get to go through the whole justice process from the other side. The system isn't perfect, but it's not beyond hope.

Comment: Re:The best encryption: No encryption (Score 1) 224

by Sarten-X (#49550465) Attached to: Allegation: Philly Cops Leaned Suspect Over Balcony To Obtain Password

I tried it a while ago

You just admitted to using TrueCrypt.

I think I still got a version on a stick somewhere

You just gave them enough for a search warrant.

don't ask me just where in my mess that stick is ... but you have a warrant

Now you've admitted to concealing evidence, and you've acknowledged the warrant.

Granted, these are all slight stretches and distortions of what you actually intended to say, but they're all things to be argued in court. I'm usually one to give the police the benefit of the doubt, but if you're involved in anything where they're looking for passwords (or any other situation where you're not free to walk away at any moment), you need a lawyer and a closed mouth.

Comment: Re:Chimp interview ... (Score 1) 335

by Sarten-X (#49519511) Attached to: Update: No Personhood for Chimps Yet

What you fail to understand about the legal system is that written law doesn't really matter. Precedent doesn't really matter, and your precious perfect logic doesn't matter.

The only thing that matters is what a judge thinks (or can be assumed to think, without contest) about a particular situation at a particular time. Everything else serves only to influence how the judge decides. Legal precedent gives the judge a background of similar decisions to compare against, written laws provide a basis for how legislators (and by representation, the society at large) think the decision should go, and logic (as presented by the lawyers in the court) is simply a means to convince the judge which of the conflicting opinions really best fits the situation.

For this particular case, the judge has decided that it's reasonable to consider the chimpanzees to be legally-recognized entities, because that allows for the most reasonable context in which to consider the remainder of the case. Issues like marriage, taxation, and voting rights are all matters for another case, to be decided if or when such a dispute reaches a court. Having a legal decision "in a vacuum" is not actually a problem.

Comment: Re: It Has Begun! (Score 3, Interesting) 53

by Sarten-X (#49501009) Attached to: Resistance To Antibiotics Found In Isolated Amazonian Tribe

Four comments in, and this discussion is effectively over.

Yes, random mutations happen randomly. Sometimes they happen in hospitals using antibiotics, but usually they happen anywhere else. Sometimes, those mutations happen to survive long enough to become widespread through a population. Sometimes that population is isolated, and the mutation becomes common. Sometimes a particular antibiotic (natural or synthesized) affects the balance of variants in the population.

Very rarely, we humans have suitable circumstances to actually notice.

Comment: Re:Substantiate "biggest vendor" (Score 1) 110

Despite the common misconception, there is actually no general legal requirement that corporations must act to the benefit of their shareholders. Rather, United States law holds only that the company act according to its charter, which may actually have practically any terms the founders see fit. There may be no terms, permitting executives to have free reign over the company, or there may be very restrictive terms detailing precisely how the corporation is to be run, which is particularly useful for incorporated charities.

With that out of the way, why should there be any question about giving away anything for free? I can't recall any large company whose marketing department didn't get a wide variety of samples or freebies to promote the brand. For anything with an engineering department, the offer to make an expensive system work with other expensive systems has been a common sales tactic. These ideas are not new or questionable at all.

Also falling into the "not new" category is Microsoft's ongoing strategy. For the last two decades, Microsoft's primary business model has been to attach their products to existing business dependencies, encourage their use (forming new dependencies), then drop support for the original dependencies in favor of their own new products, leaving their own product as the only upgrade path for a now-locked-in customer.

For several years, Microsoft has clung to a few bad decisions (most notably ignoring the Internet until it was too late, then ignoring the business need for easy provisioning), leaving room for open-source solutions to grow. Having now completed their compatibility phase, Microsoft moves on to encouraging their products' use. A low initial price tag helps that effort.

Comment: Re:Substantiate "biggest vendor" (Score 1) 110

Reading through TFA, the justification seems to be that Microsoft contributes to a large number of open-source projects:

...made it easier for Linux, Java, and other developers to use Azure...

...helped bring Microsoft’s services and APIs to iOS and Android...

...brought Office 365 to the Moodle learning platform...

...collaborating with the industry on standards for HTML5, HTTP/2, and WebRTC/ORTC...

In other words, Microsoft is still Microsoft. They've firmly established the "extend" part of their usual strategy, and now it's time to start slowly dropping support for those old, outdated open technologies in favor of the newest crap spewing forth from Redmond.

Comment: Re:What? Why discriminate? (Score 1) 700

by Sarten-X (#49487729) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

If I contribute to an open source project which forms part of the infrastructure for cancer research... do I get tax-exempt status..

If you can convince the government that your open-source project should fall into the 501(c)(3) category (which will involve a good deal of paperwork on your project's behalf), then yes.

What if that work were also part of my day job?

I'm not sure. Ask a lawyer and/or tax professional.

Comment: Re:Wikipedia is convenient, not accurate (Score 1) 186

by Sarten-X (#49485523) Attached to: How Many Hoaxes Are On Wikipedia? No One Knows

My opinion was always that Wikipedia should be treated as a single interview with an expert in a field. It is generally accurate, but almost certainly wrong on a few details, that other unrelated sources should be used to verify.

From that perspective, it's certainly a good starting point for learning about the "unknown unknowns" in a field, and getting a path for further study. It might even be suitable as the main source for a select few kinds of research.

Comment: Re:What? Why discriminate? (Score 2) 700

by Sarten-X (#49479231) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

You say "privilege", but the usual word is "freedom".

I am free to choose to support my local homeless shelters more than my local roads, rather than entirely accepting the distribution that my elected representatives have chosen.

It's still not a unilateral election, because to qualify as a "charity", organizations must jump through several bureaucratic hoops to get approval, effectively giving the government a means of control over what's a society-supporting charity or not.

Comment: Re:What? Why discriminate? (Score 3, Insightful) 700

by Sarten-X (#49478257) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

Why should charity be deductible, for churches or anyone?

Because the point of government is to support the general welfare of the population, and that's what taxes are supposed to be for. If you're doing your share of social support directly, it's rather unfair to also require you to contribute the full amount to the government pool.

Comment: Re:Feds (Score 2) 184

At one point, my job was getting data out of one EHR system and putting it into another.

The standard you're looking for is HL7. Like most standards, it would do its job well enough if everyone agreed to implement it in the same way.

The real problem, however, is finding the data in the first place. A doctor can ask a patient "Who holds your medical data?" and receive a dozen different answers. Pharmacies hold some, hospitals hold more, and a giant corporate data warehouse holds a lot. Patients aren't going to remember the name of their data store, and they certainly aren't likely to remember their identification information. If they've lived in different states, they may not be legally able to even use the same identifier.

Then, of course, there's that whole privacy issue... The patient may authorize a new doctor to get their old records, but they may or may not have authorized their old doctor to release those records. In some jurisdictions, that authorization may not even be perpetual, so the patient might say their records are at a particular warehouse, but when prompted, that warehouse can't even confirm the patient has ever worked with them.

It's easier, cheaper, and usually safer to just ask patients to fill out the forms repeatedly and have a clerk type them in.

Comment: Re: Zoloft is a 1000 times worse (Score 4, Interesting) 187

by Sarten-X (#49469327) Attached to: Acetaminophen Reduces Both Pain and Pleasure, Study Finds

...a psychiatrist told me that the drugs were about balancing the chemicals in the brain, but I eventually realized that he had taken no measurements or anything before throwing any of them at me.

So what balance was out of whack? What effect would the medications have? Oh wait, he didn't know.

He's likely even more annoyed about it than you are.

The problem is that the imbalances may be located in a small part of the brain, and may be on the order of a few dozen molecules, from any of a few thousand chemicals. Thanks to the blood-brain barrier and the localized nature, the only way to actually measure such chemicals is with very invasive (and probably-lethal) brain surgery. There just isn't a simple test where the doctor can prick your finger, put a drop of blood in a magic machine, and tell you which of your neurons are misbehaving.

For much the same reasons, there are no direct treatments. We can't just poke your amygdala until it works like everyone else - and even if we could, the rest of your brain may not accept the change, and your problems could get worse.

Psychopharmacology is not engineering. The cause-and-effect relationships are not simple or direct. Rather than study in vain all of the chemical interactions in your brain, your doctor has studied in depth all of the medications he prescribes, memorizing all of their many side effects (with incidence rates) and known relationships to other medications.

For the actual treatment, yes, it is purely educated guesswork. In your particular case, you may have showed symptoms of X but not Y, so you're a good candidate for treatment 1. That didn't work at all, so treatments 2 and 3 are ruled out, because they work on the same principles. Treatment 4 might be an option, but it only treats symptom Z, which you don't have, but in a certain percentage of cases it does absolutely nothing for Z and causes inverse symptoms to X and Y. Now, that treatment only begins to work after a three-month buildup, so let's start you on that while also trying treatment 5, which starts working immediately and doesn't interfere with treatment 4. Unfortunately the improvement from treatment 5 is very mild, but it can be improved with treatment 6 which amplifies the effects of 5, but does interact negatively with 4.

These concerns were dismissed and antagonized. I was merely a patient, I needed to learn to obey the doctor. So what did I learn?

We learned that you think you know psychopharmacology better than the person who's studied it for several years.

Only sheer chance got me out with relatively little harm.

Or your stubborn attitude provided the push to develop a coping mechanism on your own, which is also a perfectly valid (though sometimes risky) treatment. When done intentionally (usually involving the field of psychiatry, rather than psychopharmacology), it's more an attempt to change the person to fit their condition, rather than fixing the condition to fit the person.

The UNIX philosophy basically involves giving you enough rope to hang yourself. And then a couple of feet more, just to be sure.

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