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Comment: Re:This is the wrong attitude (Score 1) 56

by langelgjm (#48027041) Attached to: California Governor Vetoes Bill Requiring Warrants For Drone Surveillance

Can you point to a modern governor's race in which the governor does not run on a platform chock-full of legislative initiatives?

Some people say the same thing about the President - that it's Congress' job to pass laws, so the President shouldn't be proposing legislation. Technically true, but that is not how our government actually works in practice.

Comment: This is the wrong attitude (Score 5, Insightful) 56

by langelgjm (#48026233) Attached to: California Governor Vetoes Bill Requiring Warrants For Drone Surveillance

The bill's exceptions, however, appear to be too narrow and could impose requirements beyond what is required by either the 4th Amendment or the privacy provisions in the California Constitution.

Wait, so we reject it because it provides more protections than the bare minimum required by law?

Comment: The alternative is not a crapware-free phone (Score 3, Insightful) 359

The alternative is a phone filled with either the OEM's additions, or the carrier's crappy branded apps.

The cleanest phone you can buy is probably the Nexus 5.

Those of us who want more control will be smart buyers and purchase hardware that is easy to load with custom ROMs, then we can decide exactly how much of gapps we want.

Comment: Re:You have to have a car payment to drive? (Score 1) 903

by langelgjm (#47997419) Attached to: Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running
The GP is referring to the common provision in many rental agreements that specifically states you won't do vehicle repair on the property. They usually exempt changing flat tires. I ignored it and did all the work I wanted on my motorcycles, usually on summer weekends with a beer (literally a shadetree mechanic, did it underneath the shade of a tree). But I suspect they would have objected to serious work on a car.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 471

by langelgjm (#47977263) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

OT, but do you see consulting firms hire social scientists? It's a career path I'd never really considered until another recent PhD from my program told me he was applying to such positions.

In my case, my work is not exclusively quantitative, but does involve some statistics, and I've published work that uses regression. I'd be applying after finishing a postdoc at a top law school.

Comment: Why did you get a PhD? (Score 4, Interesting) 471

by langelgjm (#47975773) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

I'm in a totally different field, but I just finished a PhD, and I'm currently in a two-year postdoc.

Why did you get a PhD? You said you already worked as a software developer before, so it's not like you went straight through school because you didn't know what else to do. You also said your thesis was on a technical topic without practical application, so it doesn't sound like you were aiming for a non-academic job.

What kind of job did you want when you started? An academic job, then changed your mind? If so, you will have to be very intentional about selling yourself to employers. Frame the PhD as giving you experience in how to do research. It's going to be the rare employer who actually cares about what you did specifically.

It sounds like you are just firing off online job applications. Have you networked? Does anyone from your department know folks in industry? Did you apply for postdoctoral positions, research fellowships, etc.? If you are just looking at standard development positions, you are probably going to be rejected as being overqualified.

Comment: It's called "puffery" (Score 1) 147

If I were selling a moving service, and I put out ads showing us moving an elephant, how on earth could I complain when a customer actually asked us to move an elephant? That's what was advertised, that's what they should deliver. End of story.

In your example, the ad showing the elephant would certainly be considered mere puffery and not give you a valid claim in court. See, e.g., Leonard v. Pepsico (in which a plaintiff tried to sue Pepsi for failing to deliver a Harrier jet as the prize in a contest based an a TV ad showing the jet as a prize).

The question is whether "unlimited" is a claim whose truth or falsity can be demonstrated, and what kind of expectations reasonable people have.

Comment: Wiretap laws are anachronistic (Score 1) 368

by langelgjm (#47657223) Attached to: Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

Besides, would you really want this to be a prevalent feature on smartphones?

Yes. With virtually every other form of electronic communication we have today, we know that it can be (and likely is being) recorded and archived. E-mail, SMS, Facebook messages, video camera footage (without audio), license plate location details through ALPR, credit card usage information, utility usage information through smart meters... heck, even WHO you call and for how long is being recorded by the phone company and shared with law enforcement, no warrant required, since that's "just metadata" recorded by a "pen register" and doesn't fall under wiretap laws.

Now, ask yourself, who benefits from that fact that it's difficult for the average citizen to record their phone calls? And why is it that every entity with any significant power or revenue records their phone calls, and simply informs you of that fact without offering any choice? How exactly does it benefit me that all my interactions with Comcast or AT&T are recorded and kept by them and I have nothing?

Maybe you think there should be more protections for all the other forms of communication and data, but that's not going to happen. And just like it was in the interest of law enforcement for them to be able to record you, but not for you to be able to record them, I think you need to think hard about whether you really want to preserve an illusion of privacy, or actually be able level the playing field.

Comment: If it's that important to you... (Score 1) 218

by langelgjm (#47591009) Attached to: The Great Taxi Upheaval

Obviously with license plate scanners driving a car doesn't solve the anonymity problem. If being anonymous is that important to you, ride a bicycle or use public transit. Even where public transit doesn't directly accept cash, you can almost always purchase the RFID or smart card with cash. There will be a record of your trips, but it won't be linked to you.

FYI, public transit is often the transportation mode of choice for the marginalized.

Comment: The knowledge works both ways (Score 1) 218

by langelgjm (#47590999) Attached to: The Great Taxi Upheaval

Yes, records of the customers should make drivers safer. That knowledge also works in the other direction:

Last night I got a safety alert message from my university in DC saying that a female student had hailed a cab, and the driver had tried to sexually assault her. She escaped, and the driver took off and has not been found. The only description of the cab was a "silver van".

I've heard lots of worries that with Uber, "you don't know who's driving you" - but that's even more true with a regular cab. If this incident had happened with Uber, there would have been an electronic record of the hail, GPS tracking of the vehicle, etc. Maybe if you happen to get the cab number you can check in with the company to see which driver was operating at the time, but who is going to remember a cab number when they're being assaulted?

Comment: Taxicabs (Score 4, Insightful) 928

But are you actually proposing that a carrier of human cargo not be allowed to refuse service?

The idea isn't nearly as absurd as you make it sound. Regulated taxicabs in many cities are not allowed to refuse service - they must pick you up and take you where you want to go.

Comment: Advertising =/= scientific research (Score 1) 219

by langelgjm (#47349299) Attached to: Facebook's Emotion Experiment: Too Far, Or Social Network Norm?

It's different from A/B testing in that the experiment is explicitly designed to cause harm to half of the participants.

Presumably most A/B testing would be designed to figure out which choice performs better on a set of metrics. But going in, there is little evidence to point to one or the other, and the "harm" caused would simply be in user experience. In this experiment, the researchers had a prior theory about which choice would cause harm, and the harm is emotional and psychological.

All that aside, if this was purely internal research at Facebook, it would still likely be unethical but probably nothing out of the ordinary. The fundamental different is that this is being presented as scientific research. It's published in PNAS. It involve three co-authors from various universities. There are standards, both legal and ethical, that must be followed when engaging in scientific research, and the concern is that such standards were perhaps not followed.

Manipulation and even inducing harm may be widespread throughout the advertising industry, but that's advertising, not science.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson