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Comment: Article author is confused (Score 1) 385

The author is confused. See this discussion on HN where a lawyer or two explain what is actually going on.

Basically, nothing is changing concerning the substantive requirements for a warrant. All that is changing is which judges can issue a warrant after the police have satisfied all the requirements of the Constitution and of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Suppose a crime took place in district X, using a computer in district Y. Before, the police would have to go to a judge in district Y. After the change, they will be able to go to a judge in district X if and only if something like TOR or VPN was used that prevents them from determining Y.

Comment: Re:Contract issue (Score 1) 153

by harlows_monkeys (#48254971) Attached to: Can Ello Legally Promise To Remain Ad-Free?

There are substitutes for consideration. The magic words used to hand wave away a need for traditional consideration are "promissory estoppel" or "detrimental reliance".

I think a bigger problem for the $1000 trick would be that a court might see that as effectively a liquidated damages clause, and find it invalid because it was not chosen as a rough approximation of the actual damages likely to befall the user if Ello started running ads.

Comment: Re:Nonsense. Again. (Score 1) 432

What is the difference between selective breeding and genetic modification?... nothing.

Wrong. Genetic modification allows for a greater range of modification in a shorter time than can be achieved with selective breeding.

As Ben Parker wisely noted many years ago, "With great power comes great responsibility". Does our current food industry collectively have the great responsibility to wisely handle the great power of GMO? They have pretty clearly demonstrated that they do not.

Comment: Re:Just do SOMETHING (Score 4, Informative) 190

He was a cable lobbyist (sort of--he was head of the largest cable trade association, and that association did do lobbying among other things) 30 years ago, when cable was the underdog trying to provide an alternative to the big broadcasters, and there was no such thing as a cable ISP because the public internet did not exist yet.

He worked for the wireless trade group 10 years ago.

Also in there he founded or was a heavy investor in several companies that were more on the content provider side of things, and would be hurt by a lack of net neutrality. There is no evidence that he is any more influenced by his very old (and irrelevant to internet) cable association or his more recent but still old wireless association than by his association with those other companies that were on the content side of things.

Comment: Re:Why is sales tax based on the buyer's location? (Score 1) 165

by harlows_monkeys (#45309017) Attached to: Why Amazon Fights State Sales Tax, But Supports It Nationally

Suppose I live in a state with a low sales tax and travel to one with a higher rate. I pay with a credit card, just as I would if I were at home making a payment to an online reseller. Do I get charged my home-state tax rate? NO.

It depends on the states. If you are a resident of Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, American Samoa, Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, or the Yukon Territory and you are visiting Washington, you are not charged sales tax on tangible personal property, digital goods, and digital codes purchased in Washington if they are for use outside Washington. You show the merchant picture ID that shows your address, and they ring up the sale without sales tax.

Comment: Re:Can't understand how they are still in business (Score 1) 165

by harlows_monkeys (#45308989) Attached to: Why Amazon Fights State Sales Tax, But Supports It Nationally

I never bought anything from Amazon, simply because they want to charge me the additional 27% VAT of my own country, while on the Internet they should charge none and I'd pay it at the customs when it arrives. If I paid them, would they return the tax money to our government later? I don't think so.

Yes, they would turn the tax money over to your government.

Comment: Re:Could be a honest mistake from IT-people... (Score 2) 266

I'm in IT myself, and I know how difficult it is to come up with good test-data for your testing...so what's better than production data?

I'm not saying it is so, but it could very well be that the testers have loaded into it this years candidates, made up some likely result, and run the software to see that it works...

And apparently it did! ;)

Yup. Generally people doing election-related software have to test with data that is as similar to what will be in the live election as possible, including names of candidates and parties. See this comment in the HN discussion of this, from a developer of election reporting software that has been used in the US and other countries, for details on why and how this sort of thing can happen.

In fact, this same thing happened in the US in the 2012 Illinois Republican primary. The reporting company providing the data to many news organizations accidentally marked the test feed as live for a couple hours the day before the election, and a couple of TV station websites, which were set up to automatically publish updates from the live feed, published this.

The problem in the present case is that it took place in Azerbaijan, which has a long history of widespread corruption and election fraud. It is quite believable that someone has in fact pre-generated the actual election results, and those accidentally got pushed early.

Comment: Re:Generation Y's unusual sense of "responsibility (Score 0) 362

by harlows_monkeys (#45049129) Attached to: 'Dangerously Naive' Aaron Swartz 'Destroyed Himself'

What about the prosecutor that threatened Mr. Swartz with 30 years in jail for actions that most civilized people think should have been dealt with by the University administration, or maybe by the civil courts. Was it responsible to threaten a person with 30 years in jail for disregarding an EULA?

He wasn't facing anywhere near 30 years. The prosecutors told Swartz that they thought the judge might go as high as 7 years. That was if he went to trail, lost, and the prosecutor's largest damage number was accepted. If he pled guilty, the most he was facing was 6 months. See Orin Kerr's detailed analysis.

Comment: Re:Probably not, but if it does, good (Score 2) 282

by harlows_monkeys (#44965295) Attached to: Will New Red-Text Warnings Kill Casual Use of Java?

Technically a Linux based OS should be called GNU/Linux implying that it is a GNU OS running on top of a Linux kernel.

That's historically not accurate. Here's a cut/paste of a comment of mine from another forum on the matter of naming the system that is commonly called Linux:

Historically, naming rights for an OS go to whoever actually puts together and distributes the complete system. For instance, if a workstation company licensed Unix from AT&T and ported it to their workstation, they got to name that OS whatever they wanted. A couple examples of this were Uniplus+, which was UniSoft's Unix, and 386/ix, which was Interactive System Corporations Unix. Both were Unix systems--they used a Unix kernel and Unix utilities--but that wasn't their names. Half the fun working at a Unix workstation company in the early '80s was thinking of a neat name for your Unix port. :-)

For the complete systems distributed by Canonical, Red Hat, and the like, they are the ones who get to name the operating systems that they distribute. Ubuntu calls their OS the "Ubuntu operating system". Red Hat calls their OS "Red Hat Enterprise Linux".

Yes, they are also GNU systems, but if we want to be historically accurate, the most correct way to view this would be to view "GNU system" and "GNU/Linux" as specifications for a specific Unix-like userspace and for an OS that runs the GNU system on a Linux kernel, respectively. The Ubuntu operating system complies with the GNU system specification and is a GNU/Linux system, but it is named Ubuntu operating system.

Comment: Re:Conversion? (Score 1) 129

by harlows_monkeys (#44842823) Attached to: Feynman Lectures on Physics Vol. 1 Released in HTML Format

HTML works better in this case. PDF is better when you need the formatting to be the same on all the devices, but that is not the case here.

With HTML, the user can adjust the size and have the text reflow, and can separately scale all the math (see the MathJax context menu on any equation to access the math scaling settings).

For instance, the HTML edition is quite usable on even my iPhone, with my poor 50+ year old eyes. For a PDF to be usable on such a device, they would have had to format it in such a way that it would look ridiculous on a desktop system.

Comment: Re:Stimulus This! (Score 4, Interesting) 827

by harlows_monkeys (#44587903) Attached to: The College-Loan Scandal

I have friends graduating with engineering degrees that have 30k in debt from a STATE SCHOOL. This isn't an Ivy League school, but a state university. How does that compute?

It "computes" BECAUSE they went to a state school. If they had gone to an Ivy League school, they would probably have much less debt, if any.

For most students, a good state school is more expensive than Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and so on. That's because the Ivy League schools (and non-Ivy top private schools like Stanford, Chicago, MIT, Caltech and such) have large endowments per student that generate lots of income that they use to provide generous need-based non-loan aid. At Stanford, for instance, if your family makes under $100k, tuition is waived. Under $60k, and Stanford also waives room and board.

State schools, on the other hand, do not have large endowments per student. If their state has budget problems, one of the first things to go is need-based non-loan aid.

This is probably the oddest thing about American higher education. It is actually possible for someone to legitimately say "I could not afford to send my kids to Cal State Fresno, so I sent them Harvard".

Comment: Re:Disappearance of E-Ink (Score 3, Funny) 323

by harlows_monkeys (#44529515) Attached to: Have eBooks Peaked?

No, the Paperwhite readers (and Kobo Glo) use frontlighting not backlighting. Much less eye-strain, and one research study suggests less disruptive to sleep when used in the evening.

My Kindle Paperwhite is much less disruptive to sleep than my iPad, but it has nothing to do with the lighting. It has to do with the weight. The iPad is heavy enough that falling asleep and dropping it on my face hurts enough to wake me up. The Kindle is light enough that I can take one to the face and keep sleeping.

Time-sharing is the junk-mail part of the computer business. -- H.R.J. Grosch (attributed)