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Comment Re:Could be argued differently... (Score 2) 188

Wireless transmissions take place on publicly owned airwaves. Jamming these airwaves is theft of publicly owned bandwidth.

They don't jam the signals (in the sense of broadcasting noise). They turn the building into a big faraday cage. I stayed at one of these hotels and my phone's reception went from 4 bars outside to 0-1 bar inside. I tried standing next to a window and still was barely getting a signal. Later I found out they make conductive film you can put on the windows - optically transparent but makes for a seamless faraday cage.

It is my understanding that that would be legal (though still sleezy). As long as the building materials do not emmit radio waves, the FCC has no authority. But, you're right, they are not broadcasting noise. They are spoofing packets from the 'rogue' wireless access points. These packets tell the clients that they are being kicked off and the clients disconnect. It is a highly efficient and effective form of jamming.

The hotels fined for doing this complain that they should be allowed to do it because they are using FCC approved equipment. But that is missing the point. That is like saying that you should not have gotten a traffic ticket for speeding because your car is roadworthy. It is not enough for the radio transmitter to be legal. You must also use it in a legal way. Programming the WIFI controller to send jamming packets using the FCC approved transmitter is illegal.

Comment Re:Yes? (Score 1) 674

Technically it's theft. You've cost the rail company money (pittance though it may be) and potentially risked a fire by plugging an unknown device into an electrical socket.

Saying it is a pittance is an understatement. If the rate is 17p/kwh, his phone charger draws 10 watts, and he kept it plugged in for half an hour then he 'stole' 0.085p. This is the price of half a paper towel from a public toilet. It is the cost of leaving the light on in the toilet for three minutes. It is the cost of filling a 0.5 litre bottle from the tap in the public toilet. It is 1/3500th of the price of an Underground ticket.

Comment Re:Also, stop supporting sites with poor encryptio (Score 4, Insightful) 324

My bank still insists on using RC4 ciphers and TLS 1.

If Firefox were to stop supporting the bank's insecure website, it would surely get their attention better than I've been able to.

As others have pointed out, they might claim that the latest Firefox was defective and encourage users to stay at an old version or switch browsers "until it is fixed". Once such decisions are written into policy, front line workers unwittingly protect the decision makers from having to find out that they were wrong. They will simple 'teach' the users one-by-one to 'fix the problem' by installing a different browser.

It would be better to have Firefox warn that the site had "outdated security" or something like that. The warnings could start out hardly noticeable and gradually become more conspicuous. It could start with a subtle change in the lock icon, then a mild click through warning, then a warning with a scary graphic and phrases such as "proceed at your own risk".

The idea is to get the message in front of as many Firefox using customers as possible before the businesses are aware of it. This makes it instantly a "a well-known security flaw in our website" rather than a "known problem with a version of Firefox used by two customers".

At that point they can either fix their website or block Firefox. But now if they block Firefox the reason will be widely known and the bank subject to public ridicule.

Comment Re:Too bad for CNNIC (Score 1) 176

1. All that will happen is that CCIN will disappear and magically pop up again with a new name, different premises, different phone numbers, but with the same slimeballs in charge. The companies will whine, if they find out about it, to the Chinese government. The Chinese government will open an alleged investigation and that will be last anyone will hear the investigation. Meanwhile, the companies will again become frustrated, do to the new entity what they did to CCIN. Go to 1.

Ah, but as we see from this story, it is not the Chinese government which gets to decide if they will be allowed to do that, it is the the makers of web browsers and similar software. If popular software is not configured to trust their certificates, they will be useless.

Comment Re:Lawful rights and interests? (Score 1) 176

What 'rights and interests', exactly is CCIN blathering about? Google has changed absolutely nothing about any certain they have issued, the hierarchy will be precisely as it was, they just decided that 'being untrustworthy' was incompatible with being among the trusted CAs. Is this just swagger, or are they attempting the theory that CAs have some sort of right to be trusted?

If their certificates are not trusted by major browsers, then they are worthless blobs of bits. This will hurt the 'rights and interests' of the customers who paid for them and whose web servers will (as far as the customer can see) stop working. CCIN is trying to transfer the blame to Google.

Comment Re:WWJD? (Score 1) 1168

So you are you saying that your views on homosexuality are based on "reason" whereas oposing views are based on "faith" and therefor are not valid a basis to refuse to provide expressive services (such as photographs or a video). But because your views on the same subject are objectively valid they can serve as a valid basis for refusing to provide expressive services and society should respect that. Do I understand that correctly?

You also seem to be saying that gays are harmed when people who disapprove of gay weddings refuse to bake cakes for them or to come and take pictures. But are they really harmed or merely offended? As you said earlier, "Society has no obligation to protect you from being offended."

How would you balance the right to equal treatment with free speech rights? At what point does the harm done to gays outweigh the free-speech rights of their critics?

Comment Re:WWJD? (Score 1) 1168

If you force an individual to take part in something to which they have a religious objection how are you not violating the first amendment?

How is it forcing when said individual CHOOSE to open a business/choose a profession that might put them in situations where they're exposed to things they religiously object?

And you choosing to find something religiously objectionable was your choice. Society has no obligation to protect you from being offended.

If he opens a resturant, yes gay people will come in and he will have to serve them even if he finds it distasteful. The market convention for that type of business is that he will serve anyone who walks in the door and can pay. Nobody could possibly believe he is endorsing or participating in the views or behaviors of the paying customers sitting in his dining room.

But it can be different when the goods or services are order specifically to support a particular activity. Businesses routinely refuse to perform services which they believe would support an improper cause or hurt the reputation of the business. A lawyer might refuse to represent a particalar corporate client in what he regarded as a meritless and oppressive lawsuit. A printer might refuse to print a brocure containing what he considered to be hate speech. A video streaming service might refuse to host material they considered degrading to women. A public relations firm might refuse to design a campaign for a religious organization. They refuse because, while acknowledging that these activities might be perfectly legal, they do not wish to participate and do not want their names associated with them.

The bakers and photographers in these cases appear to be willing to provide the first kind of service, but not the second. They almost certainly regard the gay community the way you seem to regard religion: as a misguided and harmful social movement. In their minds they are not discriminating against gays as persons, they are refusing to participate in a rally (i.e., the wedding) for a movement they do not agree with.

Similiarly if you refused to make a promotional video for a christian treatment center where they claim to cure homosexuality, you likely argue that you were not discriminating against christians, but rather refusing to participate in a something you found abhorent. What if they wanted some photos for their website? What if they wanted a cake with a congradulatory message for someone who was "cured"? At what point would your connection be weak enough that you would provide the service? Would you accept a catering contract for the party?

I would not tell a religous person that he "chooses" to believe that homosexuality is a problem. Would it be reasonable or helpful to tell someone that he "chooses" to believe in global warming or that he "chooses" to believe that tobacco smoking is harmful to health? It doesn't matter if the view is right or wrong, telling someone that he is at fault for believing there is a problem will only convince him that you are in denial.

Comment Re:Parody (Score 1) 255

One that does NOT ONE DAMN THING to detract from the "actual" Power Rangers.

I'm incredibly anti-copyright law, but even to me that's obviously not true. Every time a certain fictional character is used, people's perception of that character changes. By showing the Power Rangers this way the video's creator is changing our perceptions of the Power Rangers.

The more this film changes the viewer's perception of the Power Rangers, the stronger the fair use defense becomes. If it depicted the power rangers as they had been depicted before, it would be a market substitute for possible new Power Rangers episodes. It would infringe the exclusive right of the copyright owner to exploit his characters commercially. But if the film causes the viewer to see the Power Rangers story in a completely new light, then it is a commentary and likely enjoys fair use protection. Since commentary is protected free speach, the effect of the commentary on the future marker for licensed Power Rangers material is not relevant.

An unauthorized film depicting Mickey Mouse doing things which would harm his wholesome reputation would likely not be fair use. Associating Mickey Mouse with random things he doesn't actually do is not a commentary about Mickey Mouse. It probably isn't a commentary about cartoons in general. The use of the name and likeness of Mickey Mouse does not serve a legitimate purpose.

Comment Re:FCC? (Score 1) 194

While I know it would never happen, I would love to see the FCC get involved in this. Spectrum is kinda their domain

But the FBI use of spectrum is not.

Why is that? Is there an exception to the law or to FCC rules which allows police officers to operate unlicensed radio transmitters? If so, when may they do so?


Godot Engine Reaches 1.0, First Stable Release 54

goruka writes "Godot, the most advanced open source (MIT licensed) game engine, which was open-sourced back in February, has reached 1.0 (stable). It sports an impressive number of features, and it's the only game engine with visual tools (code editor, scripting, debugger, 3D engine, 2D engine, physics, multi-platform deploy, etc) on a scale comparable to commercial offerings. As a plus, the user interface runs natively on Linux. Godot has amassed a healthy user community (through forums, Facebook and IRC) since it went public, and was used to publish commercial games in the Latin American and European markets such as Ultimo Carnaval with publisher Square Enix, and The Mystery Team by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

Comment Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 368

Exactly. It's a bit like traveling to other countries and foreign cultures today. Languages, daily habits and circumstances of living can be very different from the outside, but once you've get to know them people are essentially the same everywhere - worrying about jobs, love, passions, etc.

If you'd be catapulted into the 15th Century, you'd be able to connect immediately to the people without any problems except for the language and some external habits (norms of politeness, classes, way to dress) that can indeed change drastically over time. (And you cannot change the latter arbitrarily as an author, because you would not be understood and you're writing for today.)

Sure, the fundumental human needs would be the same, but your ideas about the best way to go about satisfying them would be very different. All cultures are disfunctional in some way. We are blind to the disfunctions and absurdities of our own culture or see them as things which cannot be changed. Anyone from the 21st century sent back even to the 19th century would spend a lot of time in in frustrating and ultimately futile arguments.

You would find that you could not even make persuasive arguments for ideas commonly accepted in the 21st century. Your new friends would say things like: "Why shouldn't children drink beer? How are you going to send girls to cooed universities? You do know what the boys would do to them, don't you? So you are saying that we should keep the enlightenment of our culture to ourselves? Stop embarassing the servants by pretending they are your equals. And stop making those tastless jokes about how your house in the 21st century is mortgaged and your parents are divorced. It's not funny! Of course it's stuffy in here and I am about to faint, but if we open the window we'll all get sick and die. Shortening the hours of factory workers and paying a living wage is just idealist clap-trap. You know perfectly well that they would use the extra time and money to drink. Why would I give my children meat and vegetables? Everyone knows such food is too rich for children. They should eat toast and jam."

Sure, your new friends would be the same as people everywhere in that they would want to be loved, respected, successful, and live in confort. But their ideas on how to achieve these goals and what constituted success would likely be very different.

If we would read about real people from 500 years in the future, many of their decisions and behaviors would be puzzling. They would be well ahead of us in many ways, but they would also consider some societal ideas which we see as advanced and liberated to be backward and misguided.

Comment Re:Huh? What does this reveal? (Score 1) 114

no, the note says they make claims they aren't sure about (LIES), and have a plan in case they are found out (EVIL)

I think you are misunderstanding what happened here. The plan was to verify the claim before releasing the document.

If furthur research found even one place where Comcast and Time Warner were offering service to the same households, they planned to tone-down the statement before release. So instead of saying "not one customer will lose competition" they would say something like "fewer than 0.01% of customers will lose competition". They are trying to forstall hair spliters who would label a statement which is true for all practical purposes a lie.

This hair splitting distracts attention from the real problem: that there is almost no overlap between the service areas of cable companies in the USA. That is why they are able to charge $50/month for 6Mbps service.

Comment Huh? What does this reveal? (Score 5, Insightful) 114

This is a goof, but it doesn't reveal anything interesting. The note says that they have to make sure that the number of places where they compete with Time Warner for the same customers really is zero and not just very low.

What is more revealing is the statement which stayed in: that the market is not competitive.

Comment Re:Hello I have a seach warrant for your computers (Score 1) 148

The problem is more that someone may show up in their office (the ones that "rent out" the space to the cloud company), suddenly that cloud server you rented is gone and now try to prove that it's your data and that you have actually nothing to do with the company they raided.

Easy. If you rented it out, there will be a contract. You put the servers behind a locked door with the name of the cloud company on it. Now that room is legally not part of the premises being searched. A policeman with a warrant for the host company's office can no more go in there than he can go into an office down the hall from the one being searched.

It would be different if they just put their servers in a rack in the host company's server room. They would quite likely would get swept up in a general seizer of the host company's servers.

In Nature there are neither rewards nor punishments, there are consequences. -- R.G. Ingersoll