Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Not Quite (Score 1) 66 66

For many software patents, I'd agree with you.

The problem with video compression is that many of the patents involved do represent real research, the expensive kind. They aren't one-click shopping patents. They're fundamentally pushing forward the state of the art. The people who do that work are expensive and need a lot of time, so, there has to be some way to pay for their efforts. Google's approach of subsidising all research via search ads is perhaps not as robust as one might hope for, even though it's convenient at the moment.

I don't know if DASH specifically is complex enough to deserve patent protection, but if you look at the massive efforts that go into the development of codecs like h.264, h.265 etc, the picture gets more complex. It's not pharmaceutical level research budgets but it's probably the closest the software world gets.

Comment Re:Closed Ecosystem (Score 1) 91 91

No, the issue is that it's open source and carriers customise the components. Android had a working online update infrastructure since day one, actually since before Apple did. But that's no use when the first thing OEMs do is repoint those mechanisms at their own servers and make huge changes to the code.

The comparisons with Linux are especially strange. Guess what? Upstreams who develop software for Linux and see it get repackaged by distributors are in exactly the same boat as Google. They see their software get packaged up, distributed, bugs possibly introduced and then upgrades may or may not make it to users. Yeah yeah, Debian say they backport security fixes. That's great when it's a popular package and a one liner. When the security fix in question is a major architectural upgrade, like adding a sandbox to an app, then users just get left behind on old versions without the upgrades because that's the "stable" version.

And of course many users are on Linux distros that stop being supported pretty quick. Then you're in the same boat as Android: old versions don't get updates.

Comment Re:Under what authority? (Score 1) 298 298

I don't think police take people into custody without asserting some law has been broken - however wrong they may be. That's why the court is there. Fighting the police in real time is the worst way for an individual to change the system without ending up a martyr at best. Smart people don't fight the police directly...they change the leadership over time.

I agree wholeheartedly that smart people don't argue with cops, because you will lose every time, regardless of the merits (that seems to be what happened in the recent unpleasantness with the woman who may or may not have hanged herself in jail--she failed to, in the words of Eric Cartman, respect his authoritah, and as a result went to jail for the crime of failing to signal while changing lanes).

Whether or not this is the smart play does not, however, make it the just one. In a JUST society, we would discipline those who casually abuse their authority in an attempt to simply cut off debate about whether or not they are correct in their actions, and not argue about whether the victim of that abuse deserved it or not. Imagine a world where Rosa Parks simply obeyed the order to go to the back of the bus, that civil rights marchers simply obeyed the orders to disperse, and everyone else in that era simply did what they were told--because in the end, this is what "smart" people are advocating.

Once upon a time, our smartest people did not simply accede to the demands of power. Today, we do. You get the government you deserve.

Comment Re:Will this slow down the Internet? (Score 1) 317 317

Looks like Akamai did their homework and put up a good delivery system.


That was what I came here to say. To be fair, MS did "do their homework" by outsourcing their CDN to someone who actually knows what they are doing. That said, I can't help but wonder how they can claim to be competent to host something like Azure when they won't even run their own services on their platform (it's like back when they used to run Hotmail on BSD).

Comment Re:Under what authority? (Score 1) 298 298

It is absurd on its face to suggest that a policeman should be able to take you into custody without being able to tell you what law you broke (because it doesn't exist). To suggest otherwise allows any policeman anywhere in the US to take anyone into custody for any reason ("I didn't know that sitting on your porch drinking lemonade was not a crime, my bad").

I agree with you that we have too many laws and that no one (no matter what legal experience they may have) can know them all. However, in a JUST system, the outcome of this is that the police do not enforce laws they are ignorant of, or that they do not understand, rather than enforcing "laws" that do not exist.

Comment Re:Under what authority? (Score 5, Informative) 298 298

The cops enforce the law selectively, incorrectly, or in ways they know to be blatantly false.

Your rant is dead on, but the above portion of it is accurate in even more ways than you might suspect--for example, the Supreme Court recently said that it;s OK for a police officer to arrest you, because of something that he THINKS is illegal, even if it isn't, because (and to quote Dave Barry here, "I am not making this up") it is unreasonable to expect a police officer to know all the laws they are enforcing.

So if you, Joe Citizen who has no training in law or any intersection with it, do something illegal that you did not know it was illegal, you can be charged, because "ignorance of the law is no excuse." If Joe Policeofficer arrests you for sitting on your lawn when that activity was perfectly legal, that's ok, because police can't be expected the know the law.

Honestly, the US today is like Franz Kafka, Joseph Heller, and George Orwell all got together and wrote a manual called "How to Fuck Up Democracy" and some assholes in government made it required reading.

Comment Re:Nonsense law still can't be ignored (Score 1) 157 157

This is not something new at all, and not at all at odds with the 4th amendment. The 4th amendment protects you from "unreasonable searches" - not *all* searches, and they can't issue the warrant in the first place without probable cause (as determined by a judge who signs the warrant). Lastly, the place to be searched (Facebook) and the things to be seized (photos and comments) are well specified. Where is the 4th amendment violation?

In the situation we are discussing, Facebook cannot argue that the search is unreasonable, because they lack standing. I agree completely that the government has the power to search (when properly sanctioned by the courts) but when an argument hinges on what is, or is not, reasonable, how you can say this protection is not violated by the prevention of the argument? The government has further ensured a situation where there is no one to argue the point, since the target of the warrant is not informed, either.

The thought experiment below ("someone else stolen a fictional pig) is quite similar to something I had started to write in my post above, but abandoned because my construct was not clear and muddied my argument. Thanks to the AC for making the argument for me.

Rights must be read broadly, and powers narrowly, lest the state (which has effectively unlimited resources) run roughshod over the people.

Comment Re:"Pocket dialed"? (Score 2) 179 179

I'm sorry. I have a bonnet full of beans this morning because I have a stomach ache.

I had a doctors appointment this morning, and he did things to me that customarily involve at least dinner and a movie under normal circumstances, so I, too, feel the need to be technically correct (the best kind of correct!)

The idiom you're looking for is "bees in your bonnet" not "beans." The reference is to having a head full of ideas, though I believe you are using the more modern usage relating to irritation (which I believe comes from a time when women might wear floral arrangements in their headgear, which quite probably would attract pollinating insects. Having a bee in your bonnet would be quite distressing if it were literal. I do not, however, have any sourcing for this, it is merely an inference on my part).

Comment Re: Makes sense to me (Score 2) 157 157

The abuse of information obtained by secret warrants is a known fact and not up for discussion just because you're a government shill.

I agree wholeheartedly with your general points, but the above is simply unhelpful. People can have legitimate differences of opinion on a topic--or be ignorant of certain facts--and not be a "shill" for either side. Simply claiming that anyone you disagree with is involved in some conspiracy on the other side is not the way to win an argument.

Comment Re:Nonsense law still can't be ignored (Score 1) 157 157

2) Even if the warrant was improper, Facebook isn't the defendant here and isn't the right person to challenge it anyways. Let's say the prosecutors suspect that you used rat poison bought at the local mom & pop general store to poison somebody. And the mom & pop store doesn't have any computers - you paid cash and they just took an old fashioned carbon copy imprint of your credit card. So they get a warrant to go through all those paper receipts to prove that you bought the rat poison. The mom & pop store isn't in the position to challenge that warrant, only you are. This case with Facebook is the same thing just "on a computer"

This might be case law, but is entirely at odds with the plain language of the 4th amendment. You might be searching for information about the suspects, but you are searching the papers and effects of the mom & pop to do so! What about THEIR legal protections? Coupled with wonderful things like the good faith doctrine, and the above is, frankly, terrifying since the police could use anything they find against Mom & Pop, because they weren't searching for it when they found it.

It is apparent that the US is, if not already a police state, fast becoming one. Allowing the government even more power in criminal justice matters is a very bad idea, and we should weigh VERY heavily what we believe is acceptable.

Comment Re:Whose law? (Score 3, Interesting) 91 91

There are countries (including the US) that do consider certain acts committed outside of their borders, not by their citizens, that only indirectly affect their country or citizens, as full crimes, to be persecuted and the guilty to be extradited, regardless of laws of the countries where these "crimes" were committed.

So, if given country has a law against aiding unauthorized entities from spying on their citizens, and the firm sells the software to these entities, it is committing a crime. And while extradition or direct consequences are unlikely, they are not impossible, especially if employees of the firm ever visit the country in question.

Comment Re:Is it 64-bit yet? (Score 1) 132 132

Sounds like the answer is "64 bit is hard work and we'd rather do other things + it'd break our plugins". Same issue everyone else faced when porting to 64 bit. And apparently it's easier to port code to run on the .NET VM than port it the old fashioned way whilst keeping it as unmanaged C++?

Secondly, from a cost perspective, probably the shortest path to porting Visual Studio to 64 bit is to port most of it to managed code incrementally and then port the rest. The cost of a full port of that much native code is going to be quite high and of course all known extensions would break and we’d basically have to create a 64 bit ecosystem pretty much like you do for drivers. Ouch.


But the .NET 64 bit JIT has historically been very low throughput, and the CLR is a less advanced VM than the JVM which can run code in an interpreter until compiled code is ready, so slow compiler == slow startup and high latencies on loading new screens, etc. Not good for a desktop app.

It is much easier to suggest solutions when you know nothing about the problem.