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Comment: Re:Hexidecimal (Score 1) 169

by TuringTest (#47829913) Attached to: Steve Ballmer Authored the Windows 3.1 Ctrl-Alt-Del Screen

Actually, the message in that OS version is fairly acceptable for its purpose and context. It identifies the nature of the problem using understandable words, offers a course of action for recovering from it, and explains the potential outcomes of following it. That's pretty much what the user needs to know.

If you want to debug it you should use the logs anyway, so the message for the end user is better written in plain English.

Comment: Re:Coding at that level becomes art (Score 1) 172

by TuringTest (#47605093) Attached to: Psychology's Replication Battle

There's a very basic level of hygienic measures that are are taught to first graders and nobody disagrees with. Things like don't overuse global variables, don't build one-mile-long procedures, avoid spaghetti code by banning goto, declare the type of your parameters in C.

For other rules of style, yes, every house has their own rulebook.

Comment: Re:Institutional hypocrisy (Score 1) 186

Anyone claiming that the Streisand effect somehow harmed this guy because of the original information is now widely known , doesn't understand a damn thing about the case.

The man didn't want to hide that he was once in debt to the point of having his home auctioned - had that been his only goal, starting a legal case on it would be idiotic. The point was to remove a very prominent display that implied the false impression he was still in debt, that was shown without any context to antone who Googled his name.

Anyone looking for him now will know about tge corrections he made. As this was his goal, it's a net win for him.

Comment: Re:I still can't understand this insanity. (Score 1) 186

There is no, cannot be any, justification for removing indexes of factual reference

Suppose someone covers the walls all over your neighbourhood with signboards saying "See at <URL> photos of ReekRend [your real name here] picking his nose/drunk as a skunk/bathing nude at the beach that night/whatever" that is factual but inconsequential, though makes you and your loved ones ashamed of something in your past, up for anyone visiting you to see them. Would you want those to be removed, or would you be OK with those being a permanent feature of your street?

Now does it make a difference if the signboards are virtual?

Comment: Perspectives on End-User Development (Score 1) 30

by TuringTest (#47426891) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Juan Gilbert About Human-Centered Computing

With today programming languages, creating new new software requires learning a complex syntax with very specialized rules on how to combine words, even for creating very simple software (for example, web pages with trivial interactions such as folding and dragging items).

Some approaches to allow end users to build automated behavior exist, but they can only go so far. There are "drag and drop" interface builders for building web pages with forms, and graph languages for transforming data. But they only allow reusing pre-defined components which are built with traditional languages. Any behavior not supported by those components can not be added to the program.

There are also rule-based visual systems like Agentsheets that allow defining new behaviors without a strict complex syntax, but those are difficult to reason about when behaviors depend on several levels of nested rules.

My question is: what would be your preferred approach to achieve the goal of allowing end users build their own simple software programs? This assumes that we define "program" in a loose way, not necessarily in the traditional way but referring to any software artifacts for defining repeatable processes to handle information such as:
* building and classifying collections of related data, transforming the shape of parts of a document...
* or for automation of actions in time (turning on and off lights and engines at particular times or in a pre-defined pattern, sending messages to groups of people that follow certain criteria under some triggering condition)...

All this without requiring that the user learns a scripting language or otherwise needs to form a mental model of how exactly the program's execution evolves in time within the machine components.

Comment: Re:Why "clear commercial use"? (Score 1) 108

by TuringTest (#47120151) Attached to: Wikia and Sony Playing Licensing Mind Tricks

I didn't suggest that activities activities which are sometimes done for money are always commercial.

I meant that activities for promoting commercial products should always be considered commercial (even if the promotion itself is not paid), as they're always intended to produce a sale; which is different.

Comment: Re:Copyright owners (Score 1) 108

by TuringTest (#47120073) Attached to: Wikia and Sony Playing Licensing Mind Tricks

Did you get that in writing? If not, don't treat it as a gift. If you include it in the GPL code without explicit permission, you may taint the whole project. In fact, many people contribute to FLOSS and Open Knowledge projects with the explicit expectation that it won't be relicensed, and we refrain from contributing to such projects without those guarantees - so yes, there's a strong expectation that contributing to a GPL project is done under GPL terms and no others. The GPL was explicitly designed with that goal in mind.

You're not the copyright owner of content you didn't write, period. And if you didn't write it you can't relicense it without written permission. The FSF requests that contributors assign them their copyrights because of this very reason.

Comment: Re:Copyright owners (Score 3, Informative) 108

by TuringTest (#47119433) Attached to: Wikia and Sony Playing Licensing Mind Tricks

You'd better as hell request an explicit permission to distribute the code from any contributor to your code base, and clarify in the post forms the conditions under which any contribution can be used.

what they actually did was contribute to a codebase - a codebase under my control, and one that I can slap any which license on that I like.

Utterly wrong. Under copyright laws, you can only relicense content that you created, or for which you've been given explicit ownership permissions; if Somebody gave you the code only under the original GPL and didn't assign copyright to you, in order to relicense the code you must first remove any such contribution, so that the result only contains the parts you wrote - otherwise, you'll break their copyright.

This is what is going on in both wikis - the only license under which they published their work at first was the CC-BY-SA (or CC-BY-NC for some Wikias), which is the reason for the sites becoming popular in the first place as many users wouldn't bother to contribute under more restrictive licenses; and neither site requested ownership rights until recently.

Comment: Re:Assignment of copyright (Score 4, Informative) 108

by TuringTest (#47119323) Attached to: Wikia and Sony Playing Licensing Mind Tricks

TV Tropes Foundation NOW claims that contributors provide provide their contributions not under the License but instead under assignment of copyright

It does it now, but it didn't do it then. That's the core of the matter at both Wikia and TV Tropes. The large majority of both websites was only contributed to them under a Creative Commons license.

So either tvtropes is clueless,

TV Tropes is clueless. They made the license change because they discovered that someone had created a (partial) fork, and were outraged when they learned that they couldn't legally put it down. Since then, another fork has been created containing the complete content of the last version released unambiguously as CC-BY-SA in summer 2012, including all the content that was censored because of Google Ads. It's a fascinating story, really.

Comment: Re:Why "clear commercial use"? (Score 1) 108

by TuringTest (#47119197) Attached to: Wikia and Sony Playing Licensing Mind Tricks

It depends on whether they plan to use this feature to sell more TVs.

Merely allowing the site to be accessed through the product features is not commercial by itself, but if the links are included by default in a prominent place (and we know they will), that counts as product placement and branding; and it can definitely be considered a commercial purpose - people pay money to that kind of placement.

Comment: Re:CC-BY-NC are excluded (Score 2) 108

by TuringTest (#47119103) Attached to: Wikia and Sony Playing Licensing Mind Tricks

However, the "Commercial Use Waiver" still allows Wikia any form of commercial use for any derivative work.

There was in the Forum a proposal to change the wording and "make it clear that the scope and purpose of the waiver is for the placement of ads", however that clarification never arrived to the LIcensing page. What happened to those good intentions?

All life evolves by the differential survival of replicating entities. -- Dawkins

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