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Comment: Re:More religious whackjobs (Score 1) 282

Have you actually read it yourself beyond the title? It doesn't permit the US government from granting anyone titles of nobility. It doesn't prevent anyone from holding or claiming such a title on other grounds.

I suspect that you're confusing it with the Titles of Nobility amendment, which went further by stripping citizenship from anyone who would accept a title from a foreign country (so even under it self-claimed titles wouldn't count) - but that amendment was never ratified and is not standing law. Some people claim that it "has actually been ratified", and hence is part of the Constitution "that the government doesn't want you to know about" - usually this is claimed by fringe right-wingers, the type of guys to the right of the Tea Party.

Comment: Re:skating on the edge of legal? (Score 1) 228

by Actually, I do RTFA (#49632793) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

No one gives a shit about most laws, until they are affected by the negative consequences that those laws were designed to prevent. Wait until an Uber driver smacks into your car, and his insurance refuses to cover commercial activity. Depending on your uninsured motorist coverage, you could be okay. Except, cities without well regulated mandatory insurance for cars tend to have insurance death spirals, so good luck having that 3 years from now.

If you want to call laws outdated and out of place, you have to understand why they were created and how to prevent those same issues from coming about when you repeal the law.

Comment: Licensing, mostly (Score 3, Insightful) 107

by swillden (#49632065) Attached to: Why Was Linux the Kernel That Succeeded?

It was because Linux more or less worked, and people could use it and add to it because of the GPL. The competitors all had problems:

* Minix was cheap but not free, and couldn't be redistributed with modifications. People worked around that by maintaining patch sets, but that was even more painful then than it is now (we have better tools now).
* The BSDs were in a quagmire of legal uncertainty and competing claims. Nobody knew for sure if BSD was free or not, so everyone assumed it wasn't.
* Xenix: Not free.
* Microsoft: Are you kidding me?
* SYSV: Not free
* HURD: Didn't work, and had such an elegant architecture that it wasn't clear if it could ever work.

That was the space when Linus Torvalds started hacking around (except HURD didn't even exist yet). If he'd been able to hack on Minix, he would have. But the license prevented it, so he took the opportunity to start his own. Lots of other people saw exactly the same situation and joined him in hacking on something that (a) worked, more or less and (b) they could hack on.

It's not that Linux lucked out and the rest of the competition failed. There was no other competition that satisfied the requirements of being free and hackable. It was also important that Linus was an excellent Benevolent Dictator that gave people few reasons to fork. Actually, on that last point it's rather impressive that Linus is still in charge, even after it's become an incredibly valuable property, used and contributed to by lots of megacorps.

Comment: Re:this already exists (Score 1) 268

by ultranova (#49631227) Attached to: USBKill Transforms a Thumb Drive Into an "Anti-Forensic" Device

Which opens you up to all kinds of high circumstantial evidence prosecution. Evidence that you may have been involved in a crime coupled with a psychotic behavior in which you put your computer data at severe risk to handle an unexpected seizure?

How do they prove removing the USB drive caused the shutdown? The script is on the computer and thus unvailable with all other data. The USB drive itself can contain any data, giving you a perfectly nonpsychotic reason to keep it attached to your wrist.

+ - Prenda Law's 9th Circuit Appeal Does Not Go Well->

Submitted by UnknowingFool
UnknowingFool writes: In May 2013, US District Court Judge Otis Wright issued a blistering and Star Trek referencing sanctions order against copyright troll Prenda Law fining them for $80,000 for conduct and referring them for criminal action. Since then the firm has dissolved but their lawyer appeared before three judges of 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to have them overturn the decision and the now $250,000 fine ($80,000 plus accrued penalties). It did not go well for their lawyer Daniel Voelker who at times evaded basic questions about who ran the firm and a forged document irking judges Pregerson and Tallman. Mr. Voelker kept repeating his argument that since Judge Wright threatened criminal penalties and denied a witness to appear, his clients were denied due process and thus everything should be remanded back for criminal contempt. Judge Nguyen seemingly rebuffed this argument stating that the fines were civil and not subject to criminal proceedings and tried to focus Voelker on legal arguments on the amount of the fines. Judge Tallman also expressed incredulity that Voelker was asking the court for criminal contempt as the maximum penalty for that was life imprisonment and not the $250,000 fine that was owed. Judge Pregerson at one point explicitly stated that Prenda had engaged in extortion.

Part of Prenda's Law problem was that Judge Wright had written much about their operations in his Findings of Fact which is rarely overturned by higher courts as opposed to the Findings of Law which can be scrutinized by higher courts. The court's first question to Voelker expressly asked that for the appeal court to rule in his client's favor they would have to find clear error in the Findings of Fact which he characteristically dodged again and again.

Morgan Pietz representing the opposing side did better on answering the Judges' questions. For example in doubling the original fine which may have crossed the line between criminal and civil, Pietz responded that deterrence is an important element of sanctions and doubling the fine was justified. Pietz also argued that a separate criminal proceeding could still be held without voiding the civil result.

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Hmmm ... (Score 1) 408

by bill_mcgonigle (#49628559) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

Essentially he has no statistics to back his claims

I don't think you need statistics in a world where Java rules as a primary language for software development.

I've said here for years that Java is a great language for the 80% of average programmers because it tells you what's wrong most of the time, makes you do things right, and generally doesn't fall down unpredictably (J2EE FactoryFactoryFactories might be a different issue).

The top 10% can argue viscously about whether Python or Ruby or Haskell is the One True Language (shut up, LISP fanatics) - but in the meantime millions of developers are cranking out order inventory code in Java.

The top 1% of developers can deftly move back and forth among all of these, to suit the task.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 228

by bill_mcgonigle (#49628455) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

and a host of other legal requirements that are supposed to ensure the safety of the passengers.

Supposed to but they don't. Apparently you've never experienced an insane taxi driver.

Uber lets customers easily leave feedback on individual drivers, which is communicated out to the client base, unlike any government model.

As well, the drivers can leave feedback on the passengers, improving cabbie safety. Cabbie murder is a real problem an medallions are not bullet-proof shields.

This bill does real harm because it eliminates the real safety gains of Uber over the government regulation model. The trouble with government models is they only need to have intent, not results. A competitive market does not have that fatal flaw.

Of course if an Uber operator were to try to continue, the police would draw their guns as well - really illustrating the risk imbalance.

Comment: Re:Is this Google's fault? Yes. (Score 2) 355

by swillden (#49628363) Attached to: Google Can't Ignore the Android Update Problem Any Longer

They can prioritize all they want, but no one wants to pay for the carrier certification of thee modified SDRs, particularly when using a T-Zone on a Snapdragon chip in order to run the baseband, and the FCC demands that the SDR be certified as a unit (software + hardware). That's a carrier certifiiation per carrier, per country, per device, per version update.

Heh. That isn't the problem. Unfortunately, I can't explain in more detail, because my conversations with carriers are confidential.

Also no carrier using a contract lock-in revenue model is going to provide an update that doesn't lock you into a new contract

Also not the problem, and I also can't explain. I'll just point out that the carriers have so successfully branded Android as their own that many consumers see the failure to upgrade as the carriers' fault. The carriers aren't blind to this, or what it costs them.

You should also be aware that the image that's shipped by the OEM is often not even buildable by Google engineers

Why yes, Terry, as a Google Android engineer I'm quite aware of this :-)

Except you should replace "often" with "never". Or at least "almost never". There may be some exceptions, though I've never heard of one.

apart from the fact that the devices used during development are generally signature neutered

A bigger issue is that the devices used during development are Nexus devices, not OEM devices. We never see those, either the hardware details, or the code that OEMs build after all of their customization.

Seriously, one of the smartest things that Apple did was keep the baseband processor separate from the application processor so that there was no telecom recertification required, unless they were explicitly hacking the baseband for some reason

That does make a lot of sense, but I don't think it's actually relevant to the problem. The carriers validate a lot more than just telecom functionality on devices that carry their brand.

Comment: Re:My experience (Score 1) 355

by swillden (#49628225) Attached to: Google Can't Ignore the Android Update Problem Any Longer

So, is mute still under power button? Cause it does not make sense to move airplane mode from there and leave mute, data network mode and the rest there. Airplane mode is a mute for the radio.

No, mute was moved to the volume button, and enhanced to allow silencing of all but alarms (which is what mute always did) or complete silencing. I think it makes sense to put muting of audio on the audio volume control.

Comment: Re:Is this Google's fault? (Score 1) 355

by swillden (#49628209) Attached to: Google Can't Ignore the Android Update Problem Any Longer

Didn't older Nexus devices get releases at the same time we heard about them? My Nexus 6 and 7 did not. That took months. Hell, I bought these two Nexus devices (in part) because I thought it'd mean I'd get stuff promptly. Though, for perspective, AT&T and Samsung took well OVER A YEAR to release Android updates... which compelled me to switch.

You apparently completely missed my point. No, Google doesn't arrange to upgrade the Nexus devices as soon as the new release is announced, for the reasons I explained.

The state of it all is really quite absurd, either way.

Actually, with all respect, it's your expectations that are absurd. I understand why you have them, because you see other single-player device lines (notably iOS devices) which can delay announcement until the release is ready for devices. But there's really no way that could work in the Android ecosystem. Engineering takes time, and there's quite a lot of work to be done after the core OS version is fully baked. Google can't use its position as the source of the core OS to give the Nexus line too much of a leg up because the Nexus devices compete with the partners' devices.

Comment: Re:Is this Google's fault? (Score 1) 355

by swillden (#49628163) Attached to: Google Can't Ignore the Android Update Problem Any Longer

If Google is going to hold back on pushing updates to appease partners, why bother having them in the first place?

It's a balance. Google walks a fine line with its partners, and the Nexus line is a major potential conflict point, because Google is competing directly with its partners, and doesn't care about making a profit (though the OEM that actually manufactures the device wants one). So, yes, Nexus is Google's tool for pushing the OEMs around, but it has to be applied with sensitivity.

They are *great* tablets (except for the new 9" model which, IMHO, is a dog.)

I quite like my Nexus 9. Though maybe I'd like it less if I had to pay for it, not sure. I still have my N7 around, but I find I use it less and less.

Comment: Re:Is this Google's fault? (Score 1) 355

by swillden (#49628111) Attached to: Google Can't Ignore the Android Update Problem Any Longer

But the development process is closed, the problem is that they develop the software and don't work with the hardware vendors, this is part of the problem.

We do work with the hardware vendors and they have access to the under-development code. But most of them (quite sensibly, IMO) hold off doing very much until quite late in the product cycle, because change is fast and furious and they don't want to spend a lot of time spinning doing work they just have to redo.

If the OEMs were involved in the development process you would have the hardware and software components better matched and optimized and also a more timely release.

I don't know what you mean by "better matched". Android is specifically not tailored to any particular hardware. That's by design, and it's a good thing. Certainly there are some down sides, but its what makes the vibrant, competitive ecosystem possible, and that ecosystem is why Android's market share is what it is, because it serves consumers.

As for a more "timely" release, I think we already do pretty much everything that can be done, short of inviting all of the vendors to participate in design process. Many of my colleagues previously worked for various hardware vendors before joining Google, and they assure me that would be an absolute disaster for various reasons, not least because design by committee doesn't work -- especially when many of the committee members are deeply self-interested and mutually antagonistic.

Google has a lot of smart people who fully understand these problems and want to find solutions. You can be pretty certain that all of the low-hanging fruit was picked long ago.

If it wasn't for Newton, we wouldn't have to eat bruised apples.