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Comment Re:I'm scared to speak out against child porn laws (Score 1) 118

To be fair, I'm not sure that "child pornography for gain" should be decriminalized. And if "child pornography" were sufficiently narrowly and precisely defined it would probably be reasonable. (Nothing wrong with pictures of children, no matter what they aren't wearing. The nude picture of a naked child on a bear rug should only raise the hackles of conservationists. Etc. Pictured of forcible penetration, OTOH, are probably reprehensible outside of academic courses on abnormal psychology...and to be handled with restraint even there.)

Then we come to the totally stupid question of whether a drawing of a child engaged in erotic(?) activity is pornography. Unless you can show that the drawing was made from life there's no question of any child being damaged in the creation of the work. So that should totally NOT be considered "child pornography", even though it may clearly be pornography. The sole purpose of child pornography laws should be to protect children, and even then mainly against those who are more powerful than they are. (I am willing to consider mobbing behavior to be criminal, I just think it needs a different class of laws.)

Comment Re:Won't someone think of hurting the children?? (Score 1) 118

Those are legitimate ways to use the terms, but not the only legitimate ways. Minor does, indeed, have a precise definition that varies from place to place, and is based on the foolish notion that there is a sharp difference (other than legal consequences) between one tick of the clock and another. (Usually in application it isn't quite that absurd, but sometimes it is.) Child, on the other hand is a lot fuzzier.

Childe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In the Middle Ages, a childe or child [Old English Cild > "Young Lord"] was the son of a nobleman who had not yet attained knighthood, or had not yet won his ...

Comment Re:Won't someone think of hurting the children?? (Score 1) 118

I don't know what country you lived in. Perhaps Australia? That sounds like stories out of the Ozarks from the 1920's, or perhaps earlier.

I *do* know that in the 1950 many of those things were illegal for 14 year olds in the locales where I lived, except that if your family owned a farm they could use you as unpaid labor. And give you an "allowance" that was de facto payment. I also know that migrant laborers never had that kind of rule applied to them, being expected to work if they were going to be present. Usually piecework in a way that was later called illegal.

That said, they *would* often call us young men and women when they wanted something out of us.

As for what your parents would have insisted on... well, if they never did, all I have is your expectation. If they did I would call them abusive. Paying your debts is one thing, getting something on your record and being subject to the abuse of the "criminal justice" system is something totally else.

Comment How It Works (Score 2) 25

The coating lives water and repels oil. Pull it thru an oil-water mix and the water flows thru the holes but the oil doesn't.

Pull it out and it contains a puddle of oil. Rinse it with a little water and the oil comes right off, ready for reuse.

This isn't that uncommon in these types of filters. What is new is that this works dry. Other filters of this type have to be thoroughly wet before they work. This one is oleophobic when dry as well. So no fancy prep to get it to work.

Comment Re:Probably not (Score 2) 65

Thing of it is, it's not the phone that's interpreting the voice, it's servers at the other end of a long network connection that take the recorded sound bite and convert it into text.

So no, right now it's not terribly feasible because there are not enough servers to handle more than specific requests.

Besides, how narcissistic is it to document every moment, and who's going to want to review all of that? The only use that I see for such technology is to spy on everyone Stasi-style. Think of the scenario proposed in one of the Christian Bale Batman movies, but instead of the Caped Crusader only looking for keywords and discarding the rest, it would be the government archiving everything worse than the Telescreens did in 1984, to later review for precrime or thoughtcrime prosecution.

No thanks.

Comment Re:$400/mo for 10,000Mbps, $45/mo for 50 (Score 1) 138

I've actually considered this; I'm in a neighborhood that might become a Google Fiber expansion area. Wouldn't be that difficult to run wireless point-to-point to connect neighbors.

Probably won't, I'm more concerned about the liability if a neighbor does something illegal or otherwise legally challengable, but the idea appeals.

Comment Re:Speed isn't Everything (Score 1) 138

If they don't offer static addressing, then it's a waste of time.

Anything can be negotiated if the money is right.

Back when it was common to get one's DSL Line through the phone company, but to have one's service provided by a third-party ISP, I had my line through what's now Centurylink and my service through a local ISP that evolved from an old Macintosh User's Group, which provided me with a /29 so I had five usable static IP addresses with complete forward and reverse DNS resolve at my disposal. Was pretty awesome.

Residential customers probably can't expect static IP addresses unless the ISP offers an option to pay a little extra, but then again, if it's cheap residential service they might not permit the subscriber to host much in the way of services or might not want to offer static IPs. Business customers will obviously be able to get static IPs.

Comment Re:Best solution: (Score 2) 432

You mean, when altruistic visionary Elon Musk enables self-drive so that the cars now can chauffeur the passengers around and can then go self-park unassisted to make door-service really slick for the car owner, or when evil overlord Elon Musk activates the feature that makes all Teslas start attacking the population a'la The Racer?

Comment Re:Totally enforceable! (Score 1) 235

When the license plate on the car is their ham radio callsign, they are hams.

There are three of them in the neighborhood that I work in. I think one of them took it too far, he had gone to the extent of putting large "EMERGENCY Call 911" decals on his quarter panels behind the wheel wells, a few weeks later the seal on the door, the REACT TEAM marking, the lightbar, and the EMERGENCY Call 911 logos were all removed, and "UMBRELLA CORPORATION" had replaced them, painted on the quarter panels between the tail lights and the rear door. The callsign license plate is still on the car.

I don't see that many obvious CB installations around here anymore. Most are on heavy trucks, some are on obviously offroad-used SUVs and light trucks, but never on cars or vans or crossovers. I see non-crown-vic cars with ham radio rigs, obvious because of the number of antennas for different frequencies, and usually with a callsign plate or window decal, or occasionally a simplex frequency decal, and I see a decent number of minivans and trucks with rigs, usually using the roof of the minivan as a ground-plane or a headache rack on a pickup as a mounting point, and occasionally on SUVs too. Probably more ham radio setups than CB.

I only have a tech-no-code license, and I'm only at that point because I didn't feel like learning Morse code. Now that one can go much higher with license class without code though, I suspect that a lot of people that would have been CB users that want to feel like they have some kind of authority have gone the ham route now that it's much easier without the Morse code requirement. It also seems to be quickly becoming a bastion of alternative "news" like infowars and other questionable outlets, which I find ironic given that there is a government licensing requirement in the first place, and that all transmissions are to be unencrypted and listenable to all.

Comment Fix the documentation (Score 3, Insightful) 578

We have Googling and trial&error because documentation of APIs is universally deficient.

I just spent two days trying to figure out why my OpenGL 3.2 context would not initialize on Linux. In the end I found it was because I was not using a private colormap. It doesn't make any kind of sense to me, even now, and even knowing what to look for I wasn't able to find any kind of warning in what is laughably called a "manual" (it sure looks like a quick list of function calls without any structure and barely any explanation to me, but YMMV).

How many times do we have to see this:

int CreateContext (int, void*)

"this function creates a context. The first parameter is flags. The second is used to pass additional information."

and are left wondering:

- what _is_ a 'context', what do I need one for, and what is its lifetime?
- what flags can I pass? What do they do, _in detail_?
- what "additional information" can I pass? Is it mandatory? Is it flag-dependent? What structure should it have?
- can there be errors? How do I see them? How do I decode them into something human-readable?
- if I delete the context, will it take any associated items with it, or do I need to free those manually?
- what sort of thread-safety can I expect?

The problem is not skill level, although it certainly helps to be equipped with knowledge of other APIs and the right level of paranoia. It is, for a very large part, badly designed and even badlier documented APIs. And it really doesn't matter where it comes from, amateurs or pros, open source or closed, it's all painfully bad. The best you can usually hope for is a list of function calls, but almost never any sense of how it hangs together, good explanations of parameters and return codes, and let's not even start about thread safety...

As an example of good documentation, I'd like to point out Postgres. These guys really work hard on documentation, and it shines as a result. MSDN, assuming you can find what you were looking for to begin with, is not bad either. And on the other end of the scale we have things like OpenSSL, where I believe lack of documentation is in fact part of their business model. That alone should be reason to avoid it...

Comment Re:BINGO (Score 1) 123

Your solutions are not solutions at all. You are basing everything on a combination of trust, and techniques of dubious real-world value. That's fine for a few very specific domains, but in the real world things like "time to market" also matter.

Whitelisting is bullshit. I should not have to rely on a "trusted" list of applications; I should trust that the OS has containers that stop any damage from being done in the first place. And I don't want to give an application either nothing, or the keys to the kingdom, which is essentially what UAC or sudo ask you to do. Let me choose what it gets on a case by case basis: network access, full screen access, access to specific devices and directories, etc.

Can you write malicious software in Ada or Java? Of course, and it's trivial. Can a person with a CS degree write bad software? Don't make me laugh, I see it every day. Those are not solutions at all.

The answer is not trust, it is containers with specific, easily understood access rights.

Comment The final straw (Score 4, Funny) 123

The software Checkpoint makes already prevents any kind of useful work from being done on a machine. Now it takes the logical final step, and just completely stops the CPU from doing anything at all! Our IT department will love it for sure. Anything they can do to slow down actual business processes.

Seriously. We use Checkpoint at work. On a fast machine with an SSD, compiling takes longer than on machines with a normal harddisk...

Comment Re:Major disconnect from layers (Score 4, Insightful) 439

You can physically look at a plane. You can touch the plane. You can even conduct real-world experiments like windtunnel tests with smoke introduced to observe with the naked eye how the machine might fly, and you can grab the wings and pull them in different directions to see if the fuselage cracks.

With computers and telecommunications equipment the bulk of what actually makes it special is in the abstract. You can see devices and cables, but what actually makes the processing and traffic flow function properly cannot be touched, and in some cases isn't well-represented even when data is captured and plotted, and worse, seemingly small changes in this abstract layer can have far-reaching consequences.

That's the problem when someone that doesn't understand the technology dictates technological decisions for IT, they have no idea what it takes, so they cannot evaluate if their IT people are honestly telling them of the minefield in front of them or if the IT people actually are lazy; they fall into MBA-whip-cracker mode to make it happen, and the IT workers are left with the stress of being between the unstoppable force and the immovable object.

Comment Re:Best solution: (Score 1) 432

Prohibitions are generally only on fairly urban limited-access freeways. There are usually no prohibitions on such transportation on rural highways, even the limited-access type. Same rules govern long-distance running on highways, bicycling on highways, and other non-automotive use.

I suspect that the prohibitions in urban areas are only enforceable because there are other avenues, pun intended, of getting around without using the limited-access freeways.