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Comment: When everyone is guilty... (Score 3, Insightful) 103

There used to be a saying, something about it being better to let ten guilty men go free than to imprison one innocent one.

Tragically, in today's culture of politics dominated by fear, it almost seems like everyone is presumed to be guilty of something. That means the idea that it might be necessary to protect someone who might actually be innocent, or simply to leave them alone to live their lives without interference, is not given a lot of thought.

Comment: Security is a yes/no question (Score 1) 103

Your position seems reasonable enough from an ethical/moral standpoint. Unfortunately, in reality, a device or communication channel is either secure against a certain attack or it isn't. There is not and never can be a middle ground of being secure against a certain attack unless that attack has been lawfully authorised by a competent court.

In short, if the government wants access to your encrypted information, even with appropriate oversight, then it must require your information to be insecure and therefore vulnerable to other parties accessing it as well. If the government wants to encourage security in communications, then it must accept that covert interception of those communications will no longer be possible. You can't eat your cake and have it.

Comment: Re:grandmother reference (Score 1) 438

I suspect that in fact we probably agree on most of this issue then. The difficulty in this sort of case is that merely having a copy of software or other digital work (and thus fitting in just fine with traditional copyright law) is not sufficient to make that work useful if it has been artificially crippled with some sort of phone home functionality.

By its nature, that functionality might depend on a third party. That third party might have had nothing to do with the original sale to the person using the software/digital work. They may or may not want to make the software/work usable by the purchaser for commercial reasons. Most importantly at present, they may have no actual legal obligation to make the work useful even if every other deal in the process has been completely above board.

This creates a potential problem of abuse with DRM schemes, leading to the sort of case we've been discussing. It's also a real liability in terms of lots of things breaking if the authorising system is taken off-line and potentially its owning organisation isn't even there any more to be held responsible and make amends.

Sadly, I suspect there are about three elected representatives in the universe who are even close to understanding these issues. They have nowhere near enough influence to raise this issue at high levels within their legislative bodies alone, and even if they did, they'd be up against Big Software and Big Media concerned about copyright infringement and bribing other officials with substantial contributions to look that way first.

Comment: Re: Not really. (Score 1) 189

by dave420 (#48922971) Attached to: Gamma-ray Bursts May Explain Fermi's Paradox
The Skylon project is aiming to reduce the price to ~$1000 per kilo (to begin with), and then further reduce that through the life of the project. They've made some amazing progress, and they don't need to use nuclear fuel (just hydrogen), which means there's less for anyone to complain about. Couple that with being entirely reusable (and possibly capable of flying a second mission within 2 days), and it looks simply genius.

Comment: Re:And all this without Jobs (Score 1) 316

by DigiShaman (#48922671) Attached to: Apple Posts $18B Quarterly Profit, the Highest By Any Company, Ever

Inertia.

Jobs had many products and ideas already in the pipeline prior to his death. To my knowledge, the only thing new is iPhone+. There's nothing magical about that decision. By the numbers, the market was clear in that people wanted a phablet. So they took an iPhone and increased the size; BFD.

I'm convinced the Apple Watch will be a flop. But then again, the R&D spent can be applicable in other future products. That's part of the cost of doing business; absorbing and learning from failures and moving on.

Comment: Re:Finaly. (Score 0) 201

by dave420 (#48922347) Attached to: YouTube Ditches Flash For HTML5 Video By Default
You really don't understand how the web works, do you? You are saying that everyone needs to write and maintain an app for each and every OS out there, instead of having an interface which they can support, which in turn is supported by each and every OS. You are calling for the web to return to the incredibly-limited mid-90s. "How it should be" for you is not how the rest of the world wants it.

+ - Apple posts $18B quarterly profit, highest ever by any company

Submitted by jmcbain
jmcbain (1233044) writes "Today, Apple reported its financial results for the quarter ending December 31, 2014. It posted $18 billion in profit (on $74 billion in revenue), the largest quarterly profit by any company ever. The previous record was $16 billion by Russia’s Gazprom (the largest natural gas extractor in the world) in 2011. Imagine how much better Apple could be if they open-sourced their software."

+ - Computer chess created in 487 bytes, breaks 32-year-old record->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The record for smallest computer implementation of chess on any platform was held by 1K ZX Chess, which saw a release back in 1983 for the Sinclair ZX81. It uses just 672 bytes of memory, and includes most chess rules as well as a computer component to play against.

The record held by 1K ZX Chess for the past 32 years has just been beaten this week by the demoscene group Red Sector Inc. They have implemented a fully-playable version of chess called BootChess in just 487 bytes."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Armchair engineering at its finest (Score 4, Insightful) 212

by mcrbids (#48920923) Attached to: Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

I'm probably going to lose some karma for this...

I, too, could come with a half-dozen answers that would be "far superior" to what 100+ years of the finest minds in the industry could come up with. But in reality, I really, seriously doubt that my designs would hold up because there's a *reason* that things are done the way they are.

Mechanical engineering is a *very old* industry, and any radical, new design would have significant hurdles to pass before it could be accepted and used in a real scenario. The cost of failure is very high and there are real lives on the line.

My first thought was to use something like a caterpillar drive along the sides of the shaft, each of which would operate like a mini elevator for perhaps 10 floors. But, very quickly, I can see that this type of system would have many, many more moving parts and consequently many more points of failure.

So, I think it *might* be best to trust that 100+ years of experience are, in fact, at work, and that we should first understand that there is *real knowledge* at work before assuming that our half-baked and thoroughly unproven ideas hold any merit in reality.... ?

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