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Comment Re:So... (Score 5, Insightful) 180

The problem is that these devices will further alienate the police from the communities that they are ostensibly supposed to be serving. It's already a problem that there are hardly any cops that walk a beat anymore. Instead they are in their patrol cars the whole time and only get out when something is going down. This means that cops are no longer interacting with members of a community. No one has any positive interactions with police as the only time they interact with an officer is when he is hassling or arresting someone.

If police drones, especially armed ones, become commonplace, my fear is that it will only deepen the police/civilian divide. It will be only a matter of time before we hear about kids getting tasered for "walking while black".

Comment Re:XB1 and PS4 Integration? (Score 1) 94

Until there's an app on both of these platforms, this is going to be an also-ran.

I'm sure console integration is something they thought about. But in any case to me it feels like most of the big streaming games are either eSports-type multi-player titles (MOBAs, Starcraft, CS:GO) or indie PC let's plays. If you look on twitch, there are plenty of console games in the top 25, but not many console exclusives. I think the PC streaming market alone is big enough to sustain a competing PC-only service at least until Google can work out a deal with the console makers.

I think the bigger obstacle right now is that the site isn't even loading for me right now: it just sits at a black screen forever. I guess even Google's servers aren't immune to launch hiccups.

Comment Re:Overkill for MOBAs (Score 1) 85

I'm sorry but someone with a Mac Pro doesn't have the right to talk about "stock hardware" being more than enough.

It's not about the fact that it's a Mac Pro. Mac's have shit out of date GPUs. If a GPU that was out of date and under-powered 4 years ago can comfortably run today's MOBAs, then one can infer that a reasonably current budget PC with stock hardware can as well.

Comment Overkill for MOBAs (Score 3, Insightful) 85

If this is targeted at MOBA players, then it is probably overkill. I've got a 2011 Mac Pro with a Radeon 5870 (850Mhz GPU, 1GB VRAM). Playing League of Legends at 1920x1200, 60fps is no problem for this setup. These games are not graphically intensive, nor do they require much CPU horsepower. If you are going to drop money on hardware for MOBA gaming, spend it on a nice keyboard/mouse and the lowest latency ISP you can find. If your machine is less than 5 years old, whatever came stock is more than enough to play the game.

Comment Re: not shock (Score 4, Insightful) 182

How are issues with odors and other types of pollution resolved by the tort law as it stands now? Would a factory that started spewing poisonous gases be liable for any downwind damages? You are right though that "own air" is a poor choice of words.

If my lungs are destroyed by your factory, it's not much solace to me if my heirs get some money 5 years after I'm dead. I'd much rather have a strongly enforced regulation that prevents you from doing it in the first place.

Comment Re:Groklaw Needed More Than Ever (Score 4, Insightful) 457

It's not the end of the world. Use of an interface for purposes of interoperability has been declared fair use. The Google vs Oracle case is still in court, trying to decide if Google's use of Java is fair use.

It's a serious blow to interoperability and to open source in general. Fair use is and affirmative defense, not an absolute right. It's very subjective. In order to even assert fair use, you have to be sued, refuse to settle, go to court, and convince a judge that the fair use defense applies... and then you have to actually litigate the case, with the risk you will lose, be out potentially millions in your own legal costs, plus damages, plus maybe paying the plaintiff's costs. This is a huge burden for anyone but a massive corporation to meet.

It is impossible to write a non-trivial Java application without extending or overriding some API "owned" by Sun/Oracle. This means that basically every Java application and by extension, every program that implements a public, non-open-source API or is written in a proprietary language exists at the sufference of the API/language creator. Maybe you could go to court and try to assert "fair use", but good luck doing that if you are not Google.

Comment Re:Groklaw Needed More Than Ever (Score 5, Informative) 457

And the difference between this and the MS Java case is...what exactly? Because the only difference I can see is Google pulled a name out of their ass, which means all MSFT had to do was call it "MS Coffee" and it would have all been golden.

The difference is trademarks. Microsoft called their unauthorized implementation Java(tm). You don't get to do that without passing Sun's certification process. MS never implemented the entire Java specification. They modified some parts and left others out (embrace and extend). So someone who wrote a Java program against the Sun JDK and brought it to the MS platform would potentially see it fail out of the box. Due to these issues Sun used it's trademark to sue for relief from having its brand damaged.

This is different from unauthorized implementations that did not claim to be official Java products. Indeed, prior to Sun open sourcing the HotSpot JVM, there were quite a few open source unofficial implementations: e.g. GNU Kaffe, Apache Harmony, GCJ, etc. Claiming ownership over interfaces/API is a new and treacherous behavior that came along with Oracle.

And what if somebody was to do this to Linux? After all they have access to the code, should be easy enough to just rip it off and take it proprietary by following the Google model, what would the difference be? None at all.

None. Linus owns the Linux trademark in many countries. Assuming someone didn't copy the source code and just re-implemented the APIs, it would be totally kosher as long as you didn't call it "Linux". How do you think Linux was allowed to exist in the first place? It's just an unauthorized implementation of a bunch of POSIX APIs, but because Linus didn't call his kernel a UNIX(tm) system or claim POSIX(tm) compliance, he didn't run afoul of trademark law.

Comment Re:false premise (Score 1) 38

Computer Science can be taught to people with basic reading and math skills. Some experience typing is helpful but not necessary. I am working with my seven year old daughter on various tech skills.

I would break it down into:

1. Critical thinking/problem solving
2. Basic math (e.g. algebra, some trig)
3. Set theory/boolean algebra

I think the biggest gap in our schools is with #1, largely because they're too busy teaching to some irrelevant standardized test rather than helping kids learn how to learn, which is probably the most valuable skill anyone can get out of a primary education.

Comment Re:Security Clearance Revocation (Score 1) 676

background checks would be done beforehand. For an appointment, you don't even start the job until the check comes back.

I'm talking about an elected official. There is no legal basis to "unelect" them or even prevent them from appearing on the ballot just because they failed the background check.

Comment Re:Security Clearance Revocation (Score 3, Interesting) 676

Any normal person would have their security clearance revoked after a breech of much lesser magnitude, which interestingly makes you unable to perform a job that requires handling classified material, it's one of the few ways to actually get fired from a government job.

This is an interesting dilemma. Suppose someone is elected by the people and their office requires the handling of classified material. Then suppose their background investigation reveals problems that, if they were an ordinary bureaucrat or contractor, they would not be issued a clearance. Or suppose they had previously mishandled classified information and had too many black marks on their record.

What can you do in that situation? The law and constitution outline specific circumstances where you can remove someone from office, and I don't think "not approved by clearance investigator" is one of them.

Comment Re:My big hope (Score 1) 321

Everything is easy when you know how to do it.

I'm not saying it's as easy as it should be, and it is really dumb that the environment is so buried. I was just responding to the notion that that MS is continuously shifting around the location of the environment settings. They're not: it's been in the same, albeit obscure, location for a long time.

Comment Re:My big hope (Score 2) 321

My big hope is that this version's Environment Variable easter egg is buried under a few more layers of indirection.

With each new version, one must spend several extra minutes figuring out where the Double Secret Super Duper Advanced Don't Try This At Home Brutal Power User Steel Cage Death Match Of Dh00m dialog is located, merely to set the PATH.

Since Windows XP (and maybe 2000) up through Windows 7, you could just right click on Computer in Explorer, select Properties..., and click the "Advanced" button, and click "Environment Variables..." button. Yeah, it's perhaps too many steps, but they haven't changed the route to get there significantly in 15 years.

The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else doing it wrong, without commenting. -- T.H. White