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Comment: Re:Ban censorship, except the stuff that offends m (Score 1) 106

by Bongo (#48924073) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

Well many of these regimes talk about free speech as if it was a "Western" thing, but it only happened to arise there.

Free speech is a universal principle, and the reason it is universal is that the individual human being is not a Moslem or an American or Chinese, he or she is a human being. The individual. And that's who has the rights. This is why Mullahs or Bishops shouldn't be able to dictate what you say.

Then, again considering all people across the planet, what things are universally limits on free speech? Well, children, across the world, need to grow up in a safe environment and likewise, adults, all over the world, don't want to be caused to stampede out of a cinema, and so on.

Modernity is universal, a principle discovered in certain countries, but you don't hear anyone claim that Islam can't be taught in Germany because it was invented in Arabia. No, they pretend to universal influence also. So the principles have to work for everyone, and that means, criticising those who try to impose pre-modern standards onto the modern world.

Comment: Re:It is hard to know what to think (Score 2) 323

by swb (#48922533) Attached to: Apple Posts $18B Quarterly Profit, the Highest By Any Company, Ever

It feels strange that Apple is making such a profit with a rather smallish that may be 12% of the market and no particularly eye-popping new products since the Steve Jobs era, just a series of well-engineered refinements.

I think you underestimate the "eye-popping" value of the 6 Plus screen size among consumers. I've owned every new iPhone since the 3GS and despite waiting a couple of months after the release date, still had a backorder time of 6 weeks when I ordered a 6 Plus. That hasn't happened for any other model.

It may not have been an eye-popping change in absolute technology terms or geek credibility, but what would be and would consumers care? There's too many constraints on size and battery life for more much more than incrementalism.

Plus I think all smartphone vendors want to maintain the current niche paradigm for these devices -- the consumer understands the "role" of the smartphone in their larger electronics ecosystem.

I think it will take someone willing to gamble on the idea of a dockable phone that can be used with KVM as a PC and/or tetherable to a "screen only" tablet to really shift the paradigm a lot. Apple could do it since they control the whole ecosystem but likely want to protect their product segments from sales loss, x86 is too power hungry and Windows failed on RISC and with Metro.

Google seems likely since they aren't specifically tied to given CPU and so much of Chrome is web-focused. Maybe Project Ara is sort of the start of this to sort out the modularity aspect so that you can assemble an Android/Chome system from parts or dock components with other components.

Comment: This incident seems fishy (Score 2) 224

by swb (#48916383) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

The NY Times' article on this said a "government employee" (no name, no affiliation) had come forward to claim the drone and said he was flying it recreationally and that the Secret Service had interviewed him and said that all evidence indicated this was the case.

This seems odd -- who flies a drone recreationally in the vicinity of the White House at 3:30 AM? Or anywhere in DC for that matter. And a government employee? If you were a government employee, wouldn't you generally choose to avoid flying your drone around ten zillion government buildings

Why was he identified as a "government employee"? How likely is that the Secret Service is going to just accept a "oops, my bad" explanation?

Something about this seems off.

Comment: How about a shotgun? (Score 2) 224

by swb (#48915537) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

A shotgun firing light shot (like #9, commonly used for skeet) can powder a clay target but quickly loses energy.

Where I used to shoot clay targets they had a duck tower, basically a target thrower mounted on tower of 25' or so. You'd shoot the targets from various stations around the tower. The idea was to simulate shooting flying ducks, so everyone shoots up at a steep angle.

Back out front of the clubhouse you would occasionally hear pellets hitting the metal roof of the building and once in a while feel one hit you. It felt like someone had tossed a small pebble in the air, almost not noticeable. The max shot they allowed was #7.5 target loads which is what we used on games with the most distant targets like the duck tower. #9 was better for skeet because of the short ranges and larger shot pattern.

I know people who have been hunting pheasant (relatively more powerful loads, like #4 shot) and been downrange of other hunters and hit by shot loads fired into the air. I forget what the distances where, but they described it as feeling like a light rain.

Comment: Re:Cam-tastic (Score 1) 150

by swb (#48914147) Attached to: DEA Cameras Tracking Hundreds of Millions of Car Journeys Across the US

Do you think some kind of IR strobe would work? Strobing fast enough to keep the auto-contrast/brightness from being able to keep up?

I also wonder if you couldn't borrow some of the technology from those laser light shows where they can "draw" on the side of a large object. I wonder if its possible to adapt the scanner technology to basically "paint" an object behind you with IR illumination

The only thing I would worry about is if any/many squads have IR cameras linked to displays visible within the squad car. The guy whose car is lit up in IR like Las Vegas is gonna get pulled over and harassed no matter what, and unless your build is so clean it can't be detected and can be easily and transparently disabled, they will drum up some kind of "defeating law enforcement technology" charge against you.

Comment: Re:We don't all live in the USA. (Score 3, Insightful) 326

by swb (#48912883) Attached to: Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away!

I think the problem is you can't pack up a whole economy and move it.

If your wealth is dependent on the US domestic economy and it tanks because of civil unrest, a lot of wealthy people will be unwealthy before they can even reconsider relocating.

There's also the question of "what is money?" and are you really rich still if you have to convert your money to another currency with a different local buying power, especially if your native currency dives or is sinking when you try to convert it.

There's also the question of competition for safe overseas havens; if the availability is limited, you're now competing with just the rich, so unless you're elite rich, you may lose out altogether.

And what kind of haven are you expecting? A self-sustaining kind of pre-20th century British estate of farms and light industry? At the end of the day it sounds like a mash-up of a Ralph Lauren ad with survivalism.

Comment: Re:There's a whole industry based around Elite Pan (Score 1) 326

by swb (#48912841) Attached to: Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away!

I seem to remember reading something about the risks of the low profile merely wealthy, people who aren't famous or especially politically connected and whose wealth is never-work-again kinds of money but not Glided Age, family dynasty wealth and isn't tied to control of a specific corporation or revenue-generating entity.

Apparently they are targeted at many levels because they have limited options for their liquid assets. They're at risk from being ripped off by their investments, at risk from embezzlement, targeting by the IRS for tax problems, even possibly targeted by crooked cops and politicians.

When I'm fantasizing about winning the hundreds of millions lottery, I sometimes wonder how someone like me with little understanding of "real" money would structure the money so that it would be harder to get ripped off. Like hiring multiple investment advisors for chunks of money, hiring auditors to check up on the investment advisors and various lawyers kept independent from each other, all of it designed to be a series of checks and balances.

After a while, I can see where the paranoia comes from. It's kind of like being a dictator who has several security services he uses to spy on the others, hoping that it breeds enough insecurity to keep them all more or less honest.

Comment: Re:Simple solution (Score 3, Insightful) 436

by MikeBabcock (#48909529) Attached to: Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

We don't; have you ever even tried to get involved in your community's police decisions? Its hard. The police convince citizens that certain things are important; we use them as the experts to determine their own worth and then pay them for that expertise and for the work in question. Police services are very rarely doing what citizens have asked them to do but instead what they've determined is the best way to keep their jobs.

Comment: Re:BULLSHIT (Score 1) 553

You obviously don't write software for a living. It takes effort to redirect people to an unmaintained code base and have them both write and investigate possible side-effects of their patch and then deploy it in a format that's usable by all the manufacturers with devices out there. Its an actual cost to an actual company doing actual business that just isn't worthwhile.

Being an open OS, there's nothing stopping Motorola, Samsung or LG from patching their own versions of 4.3 either, just as they modified it with their UI and other extensions. Feel free to whine to them instead; unless you bought a Nexus device, they sold you the phone, Google didn't.

"It's a dog-eat-dog world out there, and I'm wearing Milkbone underware." -- Norm, from _Cheers_