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Comment: Re:On this 4th of July... (Score 1) 349

by laird (#47388213) Attached to: Qualcomm Takes Down 100+ GitHub Repositories With DMCA Notice

There's an important difference that you're missing, in that the DMCA was passed in to law, and it completely changed the situation.

Before the DMCA the parties met in court as equals, and a judge (or jury) had to rule as to whether the claim of infringement was valid. Because this required effort to prove, and because courts really hate having their time wasted, this tended to prevent baseless claims from being made. And until the claim was proved to be valid, the site was unaffected.

The DMCA completely shifted the balance in favor of any claim of infringement. All claims of infringement are presumed to be valid, and that the ISP/Site must immediately take down anything claimed to be infringing (the "safe harbor"). And then, after the site is down, the burden is on the site to prove that the content is not infringing.

So looking at the Qualcomm / Github situation, before DMCA Qualcomm would have filed claims in court and Github would make the case against the claims, and the claims would have to be proven, with the repository owners able to defend themselves from the claims, before any repositories were taken down. That is, the burden of proof is on the person claiming infringement, and nothing happens until they make a case in court. And if the claims are baseless, all that happens is that Qualcomm wastes a bunch of money, and pisses off the court, and likely has to pay Github's expenses.

Under DMCA, Qualcomm files claims, Github has to immediately take the repositories down, and then each repo owner has to prove that their repo is not infringing to bring it back up. So Qualcomm has, without any proof at all, forced tons of repositories down, and even if they've done nothing wrong it could be months until they're back up, damaging those projects and wasting huge amounts of their time and money.

Those aren't the same.

Comment: Re:Awesome! (Score 0) 276

by laird (#47314129) Attached to: Federal Judge Rules US No-fly List Violates Constitution

Article I, Section 6, of the Constitution provides that "Senators and Representatives . . . shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place."

You're right that Congressmen can be arrested for breaking the law, by the police, as a part of a court case. But that's not the case here, we're talking about preventing a Congressman from flying. If a Congressman is traveling to or from Congress, or is flying as a course of Congressional business, they can't be interfered with by anyone other than the Congressional Sergeant at Arms. Unless you want to argue that the Congressman is guilty of "Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace" because they have the same name as someone anonymously placed on a list, with no accuser, no evidence, no trial and no means of challenging the list or even knowing that you're actually on it. That seems like a pretty weak legal argument.

Comment: Re:Here's the Solution (Score 0) 276

by laird (#47312187) Attached to: Federal Judge Rules US No-fly List Violates Constitution

Add in the constitutional issue that the executive branch is not allowed to interfere with the Congress' travel, so whatever idiot stopped a Congressman from flying should have ended up in jail. The branches aren't allowed to interfere with each other's ability to function, for the fairly obvious reason that otherwise the executive branch could arrest Congressmen to throw votes, could arrest judges who rule against them, etc. The branches need to police themselves - that's why Congress has a Sergeant at Arms.

Comment: Re:Nice (Score 0) 276

by laird (#47312147) Attached to: Federal Judge Rules US No-fly List Violates Constitution

Ironically related to "I understand that Bin-Laden should have probably been on some "no fly list"." keep in mind that the first thing that Bush did after 9/11 was covertly fly every member of the Bin Laden family out of the US to make sure that they couldn't be detained and questioned. Presumably because Saudis who control lots of oil are your golfing buddies, not "terrorists". Once you've ensured that the people who knew the mastermind behind the attacks best in the world couldn't be questioned, there's not much logic in stopping anyone else, much less stopping random people with the same names as people who were rumored to be terrorists. And since the people on the "no fly list" aren't accused of any crime, they can just leave the airport and then do whatever they like, only they're more pissed off. So I don't see how that would prevent any terrorism - I'd think that irritating suspected terrorists but not charging or arresting them would just encourage more terrorism..

Comment: Re:Awesome! (Score 0) 276

by laird (#47312099) Attached to: Federal Judge Rules US No-fly List Violates Constitution

And, of course, there's the "separation of powers" thing. The TSA is under the executive branch, so they can't really do anything to judges - the judicial branch has to police itself. For pretty much the same reason that the executive branch can't do anything to Congress - the police are constitutionally not allowed to arrest a congressman, because if they could, then the executive branch could (legally) take over the government by physically arresting Congress to prevent votes, etc.

Comment: Re:A major liberator from opressive laws... (Score 1) 104

by laird (#47304793) Attached to: 3-D Printing with Molten Steel (Video)

You can make a better "gun" than the Liberator using a piece of wood and a drill, faster and cheaper than a 3D print. The US doesn't suffer from a shortage of guns or the ability to make guns.

The only reason to 3D print a gun is because you really like guns and want to use 3D printing to get some press.

Comment: Re:Interesting but not new (Score 1) 104

by laird (#47304773) Attached to: 3-D Printing with Molten Steel (Video)

Sure, there would be regular supply schedules. But that means that the part arrives weeks or months after it's ordered. Which means either maintaining a large inventory of spares before they're needed, or waiting weeks or months while equipment is out of commission.

With an SLS printer, they could have the part in a few hours. So if the value of time is high, it's worth the cost of the SLS part.

Comment: Re:Interesting but not new (Score 1) 104

by laird (#47304765) Attached to: 3-D Printing with Molten Steel (Video)

You're right that SLS printers are slow and expensive, but they're still faster than physically shipping parts (hours vs. days), and if the value of time is high then it's worth using an expensive process to get the part faster. And it lets the unit be more self-sufficient, which is valuable when traditional shipping breaks down - many wars have been lost over control over supply lines.

And an SLS printer and metal powder is much simpler to warehouse and keep supplied than a complete inventory of all needed metal parts. I suspect that the complete supply chain optimization is pretty impressive when you add it all up. Mass production is very efficient, but add in massive manufacturer markup, then all of the wearhousing, shipping, security, inventory, etc., logistics to manage and move everything around, and "print in the field on demand" is probably pretty appealing.

I'd bet that the the only thing holding it up would be negotiations with manufacturers - I'm sure that the manufacturers will want to get paid tons of money even if all they're doing is licensing the design files (i.e. not actually making or shipping anything). So the $500 specialized wrench would continue to cost $500.

But if the army guys had SLS printers in the field, how rapidly do you think they'd model their own parts that are better than the ones from the vendor? Those guys are quite ingenious at making things work with whatever they have available, and with an SLS printer, they sky's the limit!

Comment: Re:Moore's Law (Score 1) 143

by laird (#47299403) Attached to: Researchers Unveil Experimental 36-Core Chip

Not just 'tried to', but actually delivered. Thinking Machines CM-1 and CM-2 had routers on chip with 32 CPUs per chip. In the hybercube architecture, the 5 lowest bits of CPU address routed on-chip, and the rest of the CPU address routed between chips. It worked quite well, and was the fastest computer on the planet for several years running.

Comment: And again... (Score 1) 137

by laird (#47245115) Attached to: BMW, Mazda Keen To Meet With Tesla About Charging Technology

Sounds like pretty much every time there's a new industry standard, where the major players all come up with their own incompatible option, trying to be the one that wins and gets to charge everyone else licensing fees for their patents and trademarks. And so, as usual, the innovative new field is fragmented, confusing consumers, wasting money, and delaying or even killing the new industry. These sorts of format wars happen so often that I can only think of one case (CDs) where it didn't happen. You think that after wasting so many years, and $billions, on these pissing contests, and seeing that the one time they didn't screw it up it was a huge success making everyone rich for decades, that businesses would learn that it's better to cooperate on standards rather than compete. But I guess they're so competitive that they do it every when it's a consistently bad strategy.

Comment: Re:Programming language in 2 hours ? Yeah, right. (Score 1) 466

by laird (#47243945) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

You can learn some languages that have clean/consistent designs in a few hours. Lisp, C, Lua, Smalltalk ... those languages are simple, clean languages that you can learn the syntax of in a few hours.

That begin said, to really get work done you need to understand the runtime environment, GUI and other frameworks, database/persistence, messaging, performance characteristics, etc., and that's vastly more complex than the syntax of the language. Even if you learn Python in a few hours (you can), there's no way you're going to understand the frameworks and how to get real work done in a real application in a few hours. Even in an environment that takes care of most of the details (like Google App Engine) it takes a few weeks to wrap your head around the High Availability Data Store, Google's APIs, etc.

I suppose you have a chance, if all your code needs to do is run on a command line, process stdin and generate stdout with no persistence. But that doesn't describe most applications these days.

Comment: Re:Because IRS has never heard of exchange servers (Score 1) 372

You're picking random numbers to try to make a comparison that's not meaningful. 292 groups applying for tax-exempt status had names contained "tea party", "patriot", or "9/12", who were all given more scrutiny, and only 20 groups applying for tax-exempt status had names contained "progress" or "progressive". Of course, those numbers you care about are only about a third of the groups given deeper scrutiny - the large majority of groups investigated for possibly being political groups (and this not allowed to claim tax exempt status and hide their donor lists) weren't right-wing groups, they had terms like "Democrat", "Occupy" or "Israel" in their names, and only a third of the groups were right-wing groups, so the scrutiny wasn't politically biased against right-wing groups. If anything, it affected more left-wing groups than right. It was still a bad idea to use a list of terms to trigger deeper investigation, of course, but as the "BOLO list" system was put in place by a conservative Republican who was trying to make the system more efficient and consistent, and was applied to groups across the political spectrum, and the outcome was that only a third of the groups affected were right-wing, the evidence suggest that it wasn't politically biased against the right-wing.

The political bias that is most obvious is that the Inspector General's office in charge of the IRS audit had been asked by House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) "to narrowly focus on Tea Party organizations". And, of course, Issa kept most of the testimony secret, selecting a few bits to try to distort the program as anti-right-wing.

The reality is that using a list of terms to watch for is a bad mechanism, because it's substituting a mechanical rule for human judgement in making a determination about a group's being political vs. social, and that's wrong. But if you ignore the rhetoric, the facts don't support the accusation that the BOLO lists were aimed purely at right-wing groups. The real problem is that Congress passed a law requiring the IRS to make an extremely vague determination ("primarily political") so the IRS came up with a system for making that determination that pissed people off.

Looking at the lists, I can't see how most of them were ever granted tax exempt status. How can a group with a political party in its name, that raises money for and donates time to political candidates, not be a political group? The IRS should have rejected far more of the groups, both Republicans/Tea Party and Democrats, and instead of seems like all they did was ask a lot of questions and then approve almost every application, which seems a bit pathetic.

Comment: Re:It's all about ERROR rates (Score 1) 396

by laird (#47238523) Attached to: One Developer's Experience With Real Life Bitrot Under HFS+

I used to work in supercomputing, and with terabytes of RAM and Petabytes of data I/O, you *bed* everything had ECC and parity bits every step of the way (yeah, extra parity bits in the RAM). And cosmic rays really do flip bits in RAM from time to time, and when you're running a $10M machine running a 2 month computation, you really do care about being able to detect the error, restore the machine's state to the previous snapshot, and keep running.

It's amusing to me that consumers now have enough data that this stuff starts affecting them. It'll be interesting to see if consumers start paying extra for the reliability.

"But this one goes to eleven." -- Nigel Tufnel