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Comment: Re:On what grounds could one sue? (Score 1) 56

by macs4all (#49360927) Attached to: Google Loses Ruling In Safari Tracking Case

You don't have Class Actions in the UK? How telling...

It's not so simple. The following is an amateur explanation of how things work. Perhaps someone can explain it better? The UK has loser pays on legal fees. Once one person wins a lawsuit on a common basis, others can expect to win also. If the company lost those cases in court (as would now be very likely), the company would be liable for both sides' legal bills in lots of individual cases. So, after losing one representative case in what would be class action in the USA, a defendant has a very strong incentive to settle the others. People who would be in a class in the USA can band together to fund the initial representative case.

Thanks for the explanation, that does help.

But I still don't like the "Loser Pays" rule, when there is a big difference between the resources of an individual trying to sue a well-heeled company (let alone the government) with the sheer legal might to run roughshod over almost any arguments or experts the lowly individual might bring to the bar. But that's a discussion for another time.

Comment: Re:On what grounds could one sue? (Score 1) 56

by macs4all (#49358163) Attached to: Google Loses Ruling In Safari Tracking Case

People seem to forget a lot of the time that when you bring a civil suit you need to show at least two things: evidence that the party you're suing did wrong and that you suffered in some way as a result which allows you to seek relief through the courts. I think its going to be hard for anyone to show how Google's actions hurt them.

You are wrong. At least in the U.S.

Doing wrong = Liability.

Harm to the Plaintiff = Damages.

They aren't the same. But having said that, the Defendants (Respondents) will likely move for either Summary Judgment or a "Directed Verdict" if the Plaintiff cannot allege actual harm.

Comment: Re:On what grounds could one sue? (Score 1) 56

by macs4all (#49357977) Attached to: Google Loses Ruling In Safari Tracking Case

On what grounds could one sue? I imagine it would be quite hard to prove real damages with a price-tag attached.

Also, we don't have class-action lawsuits in the UK.

Perhaps "Breach of Contract"? I am SURE, even without looking, that, buried deep down on Google's site, is some document that starts "By using this service, you agree to the following terms and conditions..."

You don't have Class Actions in the UK? How telling...

Comment: Re:Google's attourneys should be kicked out of the (Score 0) 56

by macs4all (#49357953) Attached to: Google Loses Ruling In Safari Tracking Case

If people opted out and were still tracked, that's fair game for suing.

Now what's the damages? A government trying to duplicate Chrome + Google search engine could not do so, and you'd probably have been taxed a hundred pounds per taxpayer in a failed attempt to do so.

So I'd offer to settle to keep allowing you to use Chrome and Google for free, or get the hell off and go to IE and Bing.

Spoken like a true "Glad to be surveilled" Brit.

Comment: Re:A Bit Fishy (Score 1) 352

by macs4all (#49357887) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

And to answer itzly's comment below, NO ONE (that expects to walk away) is going to be landing a passenger airliner in "terrain"

Depends on what you call "terrain". Not so long ago, US 1549 made a successful landing in Hudson River. Would you want the computer to prevent that ? If not, how are you going to stop a suicidal pilot to hit a bridge support instead ?

The point is that with current state of technology, it's better to trust the judgement of an experienced pilot than a computer system. Look at Turkish Airlines 1951 for instance. The computer messed up and landed the plane a mile north of the runway due to faulty radio altimeter, killing 9 people on board. Mechanical problems are still more common than suicidal pilots.

Both good points. I'm not sure we are at the point in autopilot design that could have fully "understood" US1549's dilemma, other than the fact that I think there were several warning alarms going off in the cockpit (like engine failure, stall warning, and icing warning) PRIOR to when the Pilot would have "requested" the autopilot to disengage. I think that even now, that autopilot software could be written to allow manual control in that situation, without exposing too many cases where a rogue Pilot could set-up those kinds of conditions PRIOR to disengaging the autopilot.

And, OTOH, I very much doubt that, other than the low-altitude and proximity-alarms, that there was much that the Germanwing's avionics was upset about even seconds before the co-Pilot screwed the pooch... Maybe I'm wrong; but I still think that even a fairly primitive system could tell the difference between a pilot attempting to regain control of an aircraft that was in distress from a pilot that was simply trying to drive into a mountain.... Or a skyscraper.

As for the Turkish Airlines flight, I DO think that GPS and inertial-guidance-assisted positioning, coupled with on-board mapping, even of the "Car Navigation Computer" quality, could have prevented THAT tragedy. IOW, the computer should have had some "redundancy" in its position-determination software. That one COULD have been avoided without having to graft a homing-pigeon-brain into the autopilot!

Comment: Re:Remote opening? (Score 1) 352

by macs4all (#49356657) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

Seems like the easiest thing in this situation is to have the ability for someone on the ground (flight control, the airline, etc.) to be able to override any locks on the cockpit and open the door. Just put some sort of satellite communication device outside, near the door of the cabin.

This would be available in a situation like the Germanwings flight, or if the pilot became legitimately incapacitated.

And then, a tech-savvy Terrorist Group hacks the comm. protocol and unlocks the door for the awaiting hijackers already on the plane...

Nearly every solution has a potential for misuse, unfortunately.

Comment: Re:A Bit Fishy (Score 1) 352

by macs4all (#49355929) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

Feel free to put on the Tin Foil Hat, but something has been bugging me about this whole thing.

It seems to me that one of the many primary directives of a flight control system would be prevent controlled flight into terrain. Knowing where you are, where you are pointed and what's in front of you terrain wise is pretty stand stuff. Airbus planes already actively prevent pilots from doing stupid stuff that could overstress the aircraft. So how was this guy able to "program" a decent into a fucking mountain range? Makes no sense. Either something is off, or someone needs to file one hell of bug report or enhancement request.

That's exactly what I was thinking.

And to answer itzly's comment below, NO ONE (that expects to walk away) is going to be landing a passenger airliner in "terrain". You'd might as well crash it neatly into the side of a mountain, because your death will be more certain and quicker.

However, I think that autopilots are now getting "smart" enough that an overarching "rule" could be created to take control of the aircraft FROM THE PILOT if the present flight trajectory places the plane (and its meatsack cargo) in imminent danger, and simultaneously send a distress message, including the aircraft's position, to a satellite. The AutoPilot would then attempt to (safely) return the plane to its pre-programmed flight-path (of course obeying things like the ICARS system). Details of how the system could be "convinced" to return the plane to in-cockpit control would have to be worked-out, and the actual equipment would have to be substantially hardened against attack/destruction; but that might possibly avoid the "Crazy Pilot has the last word" problem.

Comment: Re:Leave then (Score 1) 861

by macs4all (#49347305) Attached to: Gen Con Threatens To Leave Indianapolis Over Religious Freedom Bill

Hobby Lobby is a recent example of businesses which are run by people with specific beliefs that have affected how they do business, Chick-Fil-A is another. Both businesses are closed on Sunday out of deference to their religious beliefs. Are you implying they should NOT be free to do that?

Entirely a different argument.

In the case of those two businesses imposing their own private "blue laws", there is absolutely NO DISCRIMINATION against a CERTAIN CLASS of the population. NO ONE can shop at those two businesses; it isn't just the "heathens" that are excluded.

In the case of the Religious Bigotry Protection Act, we have actually CODIFIED an Entanglement between Religion and Government, without even the slightest scintilla of "Overriding Public Interest" in endorsing this discriminatory behavior UNDER COLOR OF LAW.


Can't Buy Alcohol/Cigs until Age/Sell Alcohol/Cigs to those under that Age: Public Health Interest.

Can't Vote Until Age of Majority: Fits in with longstanding doctrine of many proscribed behaviors by Minors.

Don't Have to Serve Someone who Doesn't Agree with Your Religion (without having to CLEARLY POST your Religion): Where's the Public Interest?

Comment: Re:Leave then (Score 1) 861

by macs4all (#49347101) Attached to: Gen Con Threatens To Leave Indianapolis Over Religious Freedom Bill

Forcing people to do business with people in situations where they object, does NOT seem like freedom to me.

Sure it is.

Those people who are offended by having to serve persons who's private behavior does not comport with their world-view have the FREEDOM to not engage in business with the PUBLIC.

If they want to exclude certain persons, then they need to open a PRIVATE CLUB, not a PUBLIC BUSINESS.

And, isn't it odd that Conservative Republicans (who, make no mistake, are the driving-force between this regressive legislation) are always trumpeting the phrase "Less Government Regulation; Smaller Government!" and "Let the Free Market Sort It Out!", are the first to run to the Legislature to ram-through this barely-Constitutional steaming pile of Government Entanglement in Religious Matters?

Oh, and this is brought to you by the ONLY State in the U.S. that STILL has a ban on Sunday Alcohol Sales (which just got defeated YET AGAIN a few weeks ago).

I am ashamed to be a Hoosier at this point. But I gotta tell you, I wouldn't want to actually EAT the cake that was baked by a baker who didn't want to be baking it...

The possibility of all kinds of "interesting" extra-ingredients comes immediately to mind...

By the way, one of the facts that probably isn't making the National News, is that there is actually some push-back from certain Government officials. For example, the Mayor of Indianapolis has stated publicly that he does NOT want Governor Pence to sign the bill into law today. but alas, just checking a local news site, I guess the bastard did just that. Sigh.

Comment: Re:Running only Windows on a Mac (Score 1) 208

by macs4all (#49321871) Attached to: For Boot Camp Users, New Macs Require Windows 8 Or Newer

Speaking to the quality of Apple's input devices specifically, I find the lack of key travel and mildly idiosyncratic layout on Apple's own branded keyboards uncomfortable for serious typing in exactly the same way the Surface Type-style keyboard is. I also question the ergonomics of the palmrests on its notebooks and the insistence on comically oversized touchpads as input devices.

What is "mildly idiosyncratic" about Apple's keyboard layout, that isn't echoed a dozen different ways in every other laptop? And if you're talking about on-screen keyboards, then I think there is even LESS consensus on what is the "proper" layout.

As to palmrests on notebooks, I believe they are more ergonomically-correct; but I do wish they wouldn't get as warm as they do; so we'll call that a "draw".

But I think that you're in the minority in calling Apple's trackpads "Comically-oversized". It seems to be the consensus that, as far as TrackPads go, Apple has the only one worth using.

I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them. -- Isaac Asimov

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