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Comment Re:Catfish (Score 2) 106 106

Yes, verbing wierds language, as Watterson wrote, but on the other hand; What word do you propose we use to mean "to swindle by assuming a false identity online"?

Language evolves as new words are needed, and just because a word is already a noun, there's no rule saying it can't become a verb. (To "fish" is a verb.)

Comment Re:Drones (Score 1) 307 307

The main difference would be that humans operators can testify at a war crimes tribunal. We know that the Bush-Cheney administration was sufficiently scared of ending up in front of a tribunal that they felt the need to introduce the American Service-Members' Protection Act. It seems reasonable to assume that this fear also reduced the number of drone killings that they authorized.

The Obama administration tried to make the programs more secret, but that backfired again due to human operators. Stories like that of Brandon Bryant has received significant attention in Europe if not in the United States.

Use a bunch of AI drones to commit atrocities, and you can literally wipe their memories afterwards. I'm sure a lot of small-time dictators are drooling over this possibility.

Comment Re:No kidding. (Score 1) 257 257

During your rant, I couldn't help but think, 'But they DO have a standardized app for accessing all the websites', and it's called the browser!

More specifically, there are web apps! This gives the look-and-feel of an app, including an icon on the homescreen and offline access. All you need to do is add a few extra files to your existing website. Users won't have to go through the app store, and updates happen automatically.

This was the only kind of app on the original iPhone.

Also: obligatory xkcd

Comment Re:It is the oppressive governments that are uneth (Score 1) 70 70

So how is Hacking Team different than a company that sells grenades to Syria?

They're not quite as evil.

Are all companies that make grenades unethical, because there is no non-violent application for hand grenades? What if they're used for defense purposes?

If they are knowingly doing more harm than good, then they're assholes. Selling grenades to Syria definitely makes you an asshole, regardless of which side you're selling to. Both sides are attempting genocide on the other, and any company that sends weapons to the region is making the situation worse for the civilians there.

If cattle prods are used for an off-label application (torture of humans), is it ethical to sell them to someone you suspect might be using them for torture, even if they don't explicitly say "we want to buy 10 cattle prods for our Glorious Leader's Torture Squad"?

If you think that someone is going to use your product for torture, and you do business with them anyway, then you're an asshole, even if you would not be breaking the law in some countries.

Comment Re:It is the oppressive governments that are uneth (Score 1, Troll) 70 70

Nope. If you do something that harms innocent people (to a larger extent than it is doing good), then you're an asshole. Even if what you're doing is legal and you're only doing your job.

"I was only maximizing profit" is not an accpetable defense in my opinion.

Comment Re:if you ask a geek (Score 1) 363 363

LT crashes outnumber RT crashes 3 to 1 - Then if you have to make three right turns to make up for a left turn... do you come out the same?

Only if people turn left and right equally often. If more than 50 % of turns are to the right (which we can probably assume) then the risk per right turn is less than 1/3 of the risk per left turn.

Comment Please, someone imlement this: (Score 4, Funny) 122 122

From TFA: "[Pay Pal's] general counsel, Louise Pentland, wrote in a blog post last week that its customers can choose not to receive autodialed or prerecorded message calls by contacting customer support."

So, could someone, please, build a system where anyone can fill out a web-from and it robo-calls PayPal support using text-to-speech. The call would go something like this.

This is to inform you that your customer. John. Smith. Is requesting not to receive automated phone calls.
The user name of. John. Smith. is. J. S. M. I. T. H. 1. 2. 3. He, or she, is requesting not to receive automated phone calls.
The reason that. John. Smith. has given is: Go. Fuck. Yourself.

Message repeats. This is to inform you that your customer. John. Smith. Is requesting not to receive automated phone calls.
The user name of. John. Smith. is. J. S. M. I. T. H. 1. 2. 3. He, or she, is requesting not to receive automated phone calls.
The reason that. John. Smith. has given is: Go. Fuck. Yourself.

Message repeats...

If the system is not able to reach customer support, then it could switch to Pentland's home number instead.

Comment Re:But why??? (Score 1) 77 77

Let me send you this link on Skype. Oh wait, you don't have Skype. No, I don't have WhatsApp. Facebook? No. Okay, I'll email it to you.

So, you're saying the problem is that there are currently too many messaging apps, and no agreed upon standard? And the solution to that problem is to create yet another messaging app?

As for communicating with someone who is nearby without having to type an email address or user name: Apps like Bump have been around for years. Oh wait, you don't have bump? No I don't have Google Tone. How about OkCupid?
 

Comment Re:"Hacking" goes a little far here.. (Score 4, Interesting) 142 142

So, the question is: Is it illegal to issue HTTP GET requests (that conform to all specifications and obey the robots.txt of the site in question) if the owner of the site didn't intent for the content at that URL to be available to you?

In other words: Is requesting a (non password-protected) webpage equivalent to representing yourself as someone who is authorized to access than page?

The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else doing it wrong, without commenting. -- T.H. White

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