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Comment: Re:Seems good to me. (Score 2) 146

by SydShamino (#47779197) Attached to: The American Workday, By Profession

I'd do it as mandatory triple pay for anyone working on a secular U.S. holiday: Memorial, Labor, Thanksgiving. The only people who need to be working are police and emergency services, and we can pay enough in taxes to cover this.

I know, some people want to work on holidays, and some businesses want to be open. But it's too easy to coerce an employee who doesn't work into working, so laws that mandate "employees can't be punished for refusing to work" are harder to enforce than those that mandate "triple pay if they work, whether they wanted too or not".

I suspect Walgreens and CVS and a few gas stations would stay open on those days, but most everywhere else would close. That's okay.

Comment: Re:Thirty-three months? (Score 2) 463

by SydShamino (#47730025) Attached to: 33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater

If you're going to divide sentence by number of crimes, then shouldn't you divide his 33 months by [number of physical sales x scaling factor for profiting + number of downloaded copies]? If the 700k downloads number isn't totally made up by the studio (I'm making no judgement here) and ignoring the physical sales entirely, then he was actually sentenced to less than 2 minutes per infringement. That makes murder about 69 thousand times worse than contributing to copyright infringement.

Comment: Re:The real crime here (Score 3) 463

by SydShamino (#47729935) Attached to: 33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater

What if the offender's employer refuses? What if the offender's employer doesn't have a bank account? What if the offender's employer's customers refuse? What if it's turtles all the way down?

Physical confinement is a good deterrent for white collar crime - far better than it is as a deterrent to violent crime, in my opinion, because the type of people who use violence tend to have minds better able to shut off emotions and critical thought as needed, whether than need is for 10 minutes while shooting and robbing someone or 15 years behind bars.

Comment: Re:Less likely government (Score 1) 171

by SydShamino (#47729651) Attached to: Why Chinese Hackers Would Want US Hospital Patient Data

>> I don't think that the name "Identity theft" puts the blame on the victim, though, any more than "car theft" puts the blame on the owner of the stolen car.

I think there is a distinction, though, because in the case of "car theft", you rarely have to prove that it was not you using the car. Imagine if every time a car was stolen, the owner never noticed until it was used in a robbery (or driven through a red light camera), and you were assumed guilty until you proved it was not you driving. That would make it a comparable car analogy.

In the case of the red light camera, you probably are assumed guilty, but fortunately most car thieves don't want to run red lights, so the frequency of occurrence is rare, whereas most people using a borrowed ID intend to use it in a way that will hurt its credit.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 2) 441

by SydShamino (#47729533) Attached to: Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

I am an engineer. I appreciate the folks from other countries I work with, who are smart and capable engineers.

Now, I have no idea why my employer chooses to recruit at certain international engineering schools, nor do I know why they choose to sponsor some people for work VISAs. I interview who I'm told and make no distinction in my recommendations based on their national origin (because I'm a professional, not just because it could be illegal). Those I recommend for hire based on their technical skills, and end up working in my department with me, are very good engineers. I do want to work with smart people, and the foreign nationals I work with are very good at their jobs.

It's possible to generalize people as "citizens" and "foreigners", but when you are talking about actual people, individuals, I'm as ambivalent on national origin as I am on gender or sexual orientation or anything else irrelevant to someone's skill as an engineer. I suppose whether that means I'm "supportive" or not is based on your point of view.

Comment: Re:Less likely government (Score 5, Interesting) 171

by SydShamino (#47703495) Attached to: Why Chinese Hackers Would Want US Hospital Patient Data

I'm amazed at how skillfully the finance and corporate community has ingrained "identity theft" into consumer's minds. (And yes, I'm using "consumer" instead of "citizen" on purpose.)

If someone uses a fake credit card to buy items from a store, they have defrauded the store and the credit card company. It should be irrelevant whether the name on that card is fake, or belongs to some other uninvolved third party.

And yet, the industry has managed to redirect the mindset and conversation to shift much of the blame onto that uninvolved third party, making them feel like they are the ones violated by this process, and leaving them with the mess to clean up while those defrauded only write off their losses after the third party goes through hoops to "prove" their own innocence. Meanwhile, there's rarely effort to go after the actual criminal at all.

I understand the reasons why there is a credit market, but I reject the notion that what was once called fraud, perpetrated against a business that is responsible for their losses, is now theft against an unrelated third party that is guilty until proven innocent by the corporate megaliths that run the financial world.

Comment: Re:Not the latest trend (Score 1) 235

by SydShamino (#47685761) Attached to: Email Is Not Going Anywhere

And lest someone rebut that email in 1995 was open, remember that only the subset of people who had chosen to "log into cyberspace" or "take the on ramp to the information superhighway" or whatever other stupid phrase was used at the time had access to email. Even then, unless you knew someone in person or had some other means to contact them (like the postal service), there wasn't an easy way to know what their email address was.

I don't think I know the email address of any non-work person I've met since, say, 2008. I either know them through a message board and contact them that way, or through Facebook, or exchanged phone numbers so we could text.

Comment: Re:Not the latest trend (Score 1) 235

by SydShamino (#47685727) Attached to: Email Is Not Going Anywhere

That's like saying "the postal service is not going anywhere", because you need a mailing address to get a credit card, and you need a credit card to pay for internet service, and you need internet service to access your email. Sure, that's all true, but postal mail is clearly no longer the relevant means of communication for almost anyone. Given the general disdain for it among many people of even my generation, one might even argue that "postal mail is dying" despite it being a standard, universally used, and still necessary for vital functions.

To paraphrase the summary, written in 1995:
"Postal mail is actually a tremendous, decentralized, open platform on which new, innovative things can and have been built. In that way, the mail represents a different model from the electronic-only ecosystems like email we see proliferating across our computers and devices. Postal mail is a refugee from the public, accessible, more private 'pre-web world we lost'. It's an exciting landscape of freedom amidst the electronically walled gardens of email and AOL."

Comment: Re:"Does adding commentary give rights" (Score 1) 226

So if I'm commenting on a movie, and I talk about the motivations of the character, it is infringement to show a clip of that character doing something? I'm talking about the actions of the character, not the angle and lighting at which they were filmed doing it.

By your logic, video would never be subject to fair use except when critiquing the cinematography. That is clearly not true.

Comment: Re:5.5k for a Marimba? (Score 1) 137

by SydShamino (#47678145) Attached to: Chicago Mayor Praises Google For Buying Kids Microsoft Surfaces

In my non-professional understanding, the only way to get a flute up to $50k is to go for solid gold, compared to the solid silver of a $25k flute.

Solid gold is a much softer timbre. But no, I doubt anyone who was not listening to a head-to-head comparison would know the difference. Then again, I doubt 99% of the audience at any classical music concert would notice if one instrument was slightly out of tune, or if a few notes were played wrong here and there. That doesn't make being sloppy acceptable to the musicians, any more so than it should for any other (semi-)professional.

There's no such thing as a free lunch. -- Milton Friendman