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Comment: Cognitive disconnect (Score 1) 749

by SmokeSerpent (#44008713) Attached to: Snowden Is Lying, Say House Intelligence Committee Leaders

The HIC and the NSA keep glossing over the fact that even IF the protection of a secret unaccountable rubber-stamp court was enough to make sure the data isn't being used badly (for now), they are not gathering data AFTER being approved by the court, they are gathering data essentially randomly (The NSA stated that they have a 51% ability to determine "foreignness") and THEN getting court approval to look at the data. The data is still there, accessible by any successive administration under different and circumstances.

It's like the quantum version of search and seizure. The NSA and Congress are claiming that as long as they don't LOOK at the data, they didn't unconstitutionally collect it, which is BS.

Comment: Copyright of IDEAS is ridiculous (Score 4, Interesting) 210

Can we all just agree that idea of "copyrighting" characters is ridiculous? Trademark is one thing, but characters created without trademark should be considered travelers within the realm of culture, IMO. Actual direct digital copying of DRAWINGS of said characters, of course, falls under copyright.

Comment: Just a (maybe mistaken) restructuring decision (Score 5, Insightful) 299

by SmokeSerpent (#43350661) Attached to: Disney Closes LucasArts

LucasArts hasn't *created* anything in nearly a decade. It's been a licensing wing of Lucas for years, and Disney's being financially smart to roll it into their other licenses. However, it's a strong name in the gaming industry for a reason, and for historical reasons, they'd have done better to keep the name while rolling it into another division.

Comment: Re:Wife or private investigator? (Score 1) 241

by SmokeSerpent (#36697242) Attached to: NJ Judge Rules GPS Tracking of Spouse Legal

This ruling is very backwards IMO. This is the part that bothers me the most:
"many of whom hire private investigators" AND "investigators make sure GPS devices are installed in cars on public streets and not private areas"

I don't have a problem with a wife installing one on her husband's car while it's on their private property. I don't even have a problem with an investigator installing it there as long as the wife is present at the time. If you're married, the car is partially hers anyway. If you can't stand the thought of something like that happening, don't get married (or live together), and your stuff will never be partially hers.

However, I have a big problem with anyone messing with someone else's car while the car is on public streets. Does anyone else think this is completely backwards?

It's hard to say for certain without asking the person who was quoted, but I think they are talking about installs when the spouse who hired them is not present. If the suspected spouse is gone and the car being tracked is at a shared house while the spouse who hired them is present, I doubt the investigator would have a problem with doing the install. Like as not they are talking about situations for the most part wherein the couple is already living separately. New Jersey is not a no-fault only state and this evidence would be used to file on grounds of adultry.

Comment: Why are we trusting Wikileaks' backstory? (Score 1) 973

by SmokeSerpent (#31768794) Attached to: How Did Wikileaks Do It?

Everyone is so quick to believe that the government has covered up willful **murder** of civilians, but nobody cares to do any oversight on Wikileaks?

I'm not talking about the content of the video, etc... but all this stuff about being followed and having encrypted military videos that they somehow were able to decrypt in such a short time smells very funny. ...and hot on the heels of a big drive for donations? I'm skeptical.

Comment: Not a netbook/iPad/laptop competitor (Score 2, Interesting) 230

by SmokeSerpent (#31378320) Attached to: Microsoft "Courier" Pictures

This is a special-purpose device. It's competing with paper notebooks and binders, or at best, with a laptop + pen input for specific applications.

This isn't for watching movies, playing games, or *really* browsing the web. It's for taking notes, gathering reference materials, and collaborating.

The question isn't whether it can be a better tablet than the iPad and other coming products, but whether Microsoft can convince people in the design business that this will be quicker/more convenient enough for them than their current way of doing things to justify investing in the device.

For the typical consumer, this will be too expensive and not convergent enough to be worth buying, the question is whether it is useful and divergent enough for the target market.

Comment: Re:Palm's Zawinski Contradicts Palm SDK License (Score 1) 174

by SmokeSerpent (#29606821) Attached to: Open Source Not Welcome At Palm App Catalog
And as I mentioned in my response in the original slashdot thread linking directly to jwz's post, based on the time frame and description Jaime gives, he should have had the current agreement in his hands at the same time as he was throwing his fit about open source.

Comment: Misrepresentation (Score 1) 332

by SmokeSerpent (#29581903) Attached to: The Kafka-esque Nightmare of Palm App Submission

Jamie misrepresents several things in his rant

His apps were definitely not the first two 3rd-party apps submitted. Palm approached some developers and vendors in the fall of 2008 and had them in process already. One of the apps that came out of that process was the Spaz twitter client. If Jaime had bothered to pay more attention to things besides porting dali clock to yet another platform, he would know that it is an open-source app that has been available both in the catalog and as source since long before he had his freakout over the "no other distribution" clause. My own app is open source, and Palm hasn't given me any trouble about it. The newest agreement specifically mentions distributing source code as acceptable as long as you don't charge for it.

The way it reads to me, the reviewer contacted him about the ipk (closest thing there is to a binary file for webOS) being available on his website, not about source code. Aside from the financial incentive issues, a malicious developer could get a clean copy of an app onto the catalog and then distribute an ipk that included malware, and users could be duped into thinking the file was okay since it was also listed on the catalog. Rather than discussing the issue with the reviewer or anyone else or presenting his concerns or questions, Jaime threw a fit.

The fee is certainly an issue people can debate all day. It comes down to two things, a filter to reduce the number of "my first app"s being submitted and reduce the flood of apps to just those who are at least a little serious about it, and a way for Palm to cover some of the costs involved. Even if it's a free app, it still has to be vetted, and then there are the hosting costs. $8.25 a month is hardly a bloodletting, and the entire development environment is provided for free even if you choose not to pay the fee and submit app through Palm's channel. Perhaps more important, Jaime conveniently doesn't mention that the current fee being charged for developers already in the process is only $5 for the first year. Not wanting to use Paypal is another issue, and it's a reasonable question as to why Palm chose only one method of paying the fee and verifying the developer as a "real person". On the other hand, the alternative would be for Palm to develop their own payment site and some sort of step to make sure there was an actual entity responsible for the legal obligations of the agreement.

Jaime also very much misrepresents the homebrew side of things. First of all, Palm has been at least hands-off, and if anything supportive of the homebrew community. Several free apps have already made the jump from homebrew distribution to Palm's app catalog, and one developer that I know of who was using undocumented internal api's was told by Palm to keep distributing it as homebrew until he either removed the offending portion or the api's were opened up. The biggest part of this aspect though, is that the homebrew installation process is not hard for users at all. You download a little app and type in one string on your phone then plug it in. After that, you can browse all the homebrew apps on your phone and download them as easily as the official catalog.

Comment: Password rotation sure, but... (Score 1) 247

by SmokeSerpent (#29003751) Attached to: Poor Passwords A Worse Problem Than Poor Antivirus
Enforcing "difficult" passwords is really only valid against the possibility of someone trying to brute force your passwords, so if one knows that ABC Credit Card Services requires everyone to have a password 8-16 characters in length with one capital and one number in it, isn't that effectively a smaller search space than if the employees are allowed to use any combination of letters and numbers up to 16 characters in length?

Comment: Re:does an iphone.... (Score 2, Insightful) 582

by SmokeSerpent (#28306117) Attached to: Does the Wii Provide A "Watered-Down" Game Experience?

1) The Wii was designed with gameplay in mind, not to push more pixels faster with fancier effects. Blu-ray and high-def television aren't even drawing in film and television viewers in droves, because the difference between 480 and 1080 is a place of serious diminishing returns for living room content display.

2) You mean Nintendo launched the Wii at a sustainable pricing model instead of gouging early adopters and then dropping the price later to pick up stragglers? The audacity! A "bunch" more controllers? A pulse-sensor that will be for specific games, and a better motion sensor to keep up with the competition does not a bunch make. Oh, I would also have to buy a new controller to get the same functionality on a PS3 or Xbox as Wii owners will get with a new controller without the existing catalog of motion-based games? What is a "killer title"? The newest high-poly first person shooter that boys rush out to buy and then discard after a few weeks? The newest series of cut scenes that passes for an adventure game these days? Yeah it's a shame we don't have a new one of those every month or two on the Wii and are stuck with our growing collection of replayable fun games.

3) (Didn't you already use up your "killer title" card in #2?) Could it possibly be that the top 14 games are proprietary because Nintendo makes damn good games and other developers should thank their lucky stars that Nintendo still designs for their own hardware and isn't instead kicking their butts on every other system? It's not Nintendo's fault that most 3rd party developers either make half-hearted attempts to utilize the Wiimote as a gimick or whine about not being able to pull the same "look at our big levels and abundant polygons" wool over players' eyes as they can on the PS3.

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