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Comment: The law makes no allowances for irony. (Score 2) 21

by hey! (#49158485) Attached to: Craig Brittain (Revenge Porn King) Sues For Use of Image

Nor should it.

So this guy has *exactly* the same privacy rights as any other public figure has, neither more nor less. These rights are fewer than those enjoyed by non-public figures, but they are not zero. He can't stop people from using his image and name, any more than Kim Kardashian can. While in a sense she owns her public persona, she doesn't own every image of her that is taken in public. In other words people can't use her image to sell things as if she endorsed them, but they can use and even sell the image itself.

If this guy owns the copyright to an image, he can reasonably file a DMCA takedown. If the image is taken in a situation in which a public figure would have a reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g. inside his house), then he can take other legal steps, even though allowing that to happen would be poetic justice. The law doesn't deal in poetic justice, and judges aren't allowed to stop enforcing the law just because it would be cool.

Comment: Re:We need hardware write-protect for firmware (Score 1) 153

by hey! (#49158449) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

That's a bit like saying that having a portcullis in the castle gate doesn't help you if the enemy is already inside the walls, which is unquestionably true, but misses the point that having the portcullis makes it harder (although not impossible) for the enemy to do that.

I agree that a more secure way to update firmware, but we have to be realistic in that this would also tend to create new targets for malware writers (e.g. stealing signing keys).

I suspect what we really need is stuff that will occur *outside the box*, such as better vendor of firmware downloads and some kind of police agency tasked with discovering and investigating dodgy firmware. But of course the objection remains -- such an agency itself would be a potential source of problems.

Comment: Re:Hashes not useful (Score 1) 153

by hey! (#49158411) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

Seagate is correct. Putting a hash on the website doesn't improve security at all because anyone who can change the download can also change the web page containing the hash.

While I agree just slapping a hashtag on a webpage doesn't necessarily improve security, it doesn't follow that it can't.

Security is a holistic property; it's a property of a system as a whole. An important part of that is detecting when you've been hacked and knowing in advance what you're going to do. There are many scenarios under which publishing the hash codes of downloads improves security, but that *always* depends on people doing certain things, many of which can be automated on the vendor end.

Comment: Re:Of Two Minds on This (Score 1) 142

by swb (#49158143) Attached to: As Big As Net Neutrality? FCC Kills State-Imposed Internet Monopolies

The most sensible government broadband propsals seem to only involve the government in the layer 1/2 aspect of the network and any layer 3+ services are simply using the municipal network as a transport layer and are actually provided by third parties. Even management of the layer 2 side could be outsourced to a third party on some kind of basis where they just make it work for some kind of fixed margin for a period of time.

The metaphor that makes the most sense to me are municipal roads. The government is just tasked with building and maintaining the roads -- nobody expects the government to deliver pizzas or get you to the airport. A municpal network would just provide connectivity, it would be up to individuals to contract with an ISP or teleivision vendor to provide services over the network.

I would expect that there would be some attempt to provide a minimal service over a municpal network in the same way that the government is involved in public transportation, like maybe you could get access to city web sites without buying ISP service, but it hardly seems like these would squeeze out private ISPs from selling service on a municipal network anymore than the city bus system has put the auto industry or the hired car services out of business.

Open Source

Xfce 4.12 Released 35

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
motang writes: After two years of hard work (and much to the dismay of naysayers who worried the project has been abandoned), the Xfce team has announced the release of Xfce 4.12. Highlights include improvements to the window switcher dialog, intelligent hiding of the panel, new wallpaper settings, better multi-monitor support, improved power settings, additions to the file manager, and a revamped task manager. Here is a quick tour, the full changelog, and the download page. I have been running it since Xubuntu 15.04 beta 1 was released two days ago. It is much improved over 4.10, and the new additions are great."

Comment: Re:Can someone explain this? (Score 1) 66

by swb (#49158089) Attached to: Oracle Sues 5 Oregon Officials For 'Improper Influence'

I think the only thing that matters here is the timing of the suit after the governor's resignation. Once the governor resigns, even if the allegations surrounding the resignation turn out to be true, the governor has a cloud over his head making it trivial to tie anything and everything to his "corruption" even if the actual allegations have nothing to do with ancillary claims made against him, such as Oracle's suit.

"Let's blame Oracle" also sounds like a lousy political strategy that would motivate few voters as well as leave the door open to questions about selection of Oracle as a vendor to begin with and quesitons about the competency of the vendor oversight. I doubt any politician would base much of their voter appeal on something like that lest it turn around and bite them.

Comment: How much CPU power & storage in HDD controller (Score 2) 153

by swb (#49158043) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

How much CPU power is in HDD controllers and how big is the flash storage on the controller?

I'm mostly just curious, but I wonder how much "elbow room" there is to do something nefarious like blocking updates or protecting boot sectors without compromising drive performance significantly.

Is there a mechanism for running software on the drive controller -- passing input, getting output, etc?

Comment: Re:science, art, businesses (Score 1) 38

by swb (#49158017) Attached to: Genetic Data Analysis Tools Reveal How US Pop Music Evolved

There seems to be a widely accepted school of thought within music journalism/critcism that gives significant weight/credit to obscure artists having a disproportionate influence to trends in music. Groups like the Velvet Underground, Big Star, the Replacements never had major popularity in terms of record sales and radio airplay but are often cited by music critics and other musicians as having been influential on bands and genres that were popular later on, in some cases 20 years later on.

Tapping the Billboard 100 doesn't seem to take into account these "opinion leaders" influence, whether it was the music itself that was the inspiration or whether it was just the influence of music critics.

It's pretty debatable whether a specific artist, especially one who had little popularity in their years of recording and performing, actually has this kind of influence or whether it just becomes kind of an orthodoxy of opinion that they had that influence.

But often times it does seem that there can be breakthrough artists who manage to have outsize influence on artists who later go on to popularize a genre.

Comment: Re:Back-end image file manipulation? (Score 1) 340

by swb (#49157939) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?

Yes, I realize that the sort of Occam's Razor kind of explanation is that it is a result of a bad picture that exposes some kind of color processing ambiguity and not a result of some kind of manipulation.

That being said, I think it's not unrealistic at all in era of clickbaiting and relentless social media trolling that someone would want to experiment with a scheme for manipulating social media memes or figuring out a way to amplify their views. As far as I know, money can still be made on web advertising, drive-by downloads, tracking, etc.

And as the AC poster who also replied said, there ARE organizations with a vested interest in manipulating socal media, whether its "merely" for advertising purposes or for more nefarious reasons.

Comment: Re:science, art, businesses (Score 2) 38

by Alain Williams (#49157895) Attached to: Genetic Data Analysis Tools Reveal How US Pop Music Evolved

Defining "pop music" as whatever is on the Billboard Top 100, especially now, is reductive. I understand it's quantifiable and that's the best idea they had for a quantitative definition of pop. However, Billboard's charts are virtually irrelevant when trying to ascertain what people **actually listen to by choice**

Correct: it is talking about the sales of new records/CDs. This tends to disfavour long lasting styles such as classical music and boosts the here-today, gone-tomorrow junk that fills the 'pop parade'. This is exactly what the music industry wants, they need churn in taste and bands/performers/... to keep people buying their output.

Money may buy friendship but money cannot buy love.