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Comment: Re:high/free/motorway analogy (Score 1) 39

If it's anything like a real highway, the slow lane will actually be the fast lane as everyone immediately goes to the passing lane and clogs it up, meaning people with half a brain end up undertaking everyone else using the slow lane.


Comment: Re:many sites still dumb (Score 1) 39

by martin-boundary (#47804225) Attached to: Hackers Behind Biggest-Ever Password Theft Begin Attacks
That's not a real problem, though. For every special character, just type out it's name in English at the point where you would use it. You'll get a longer password, therefore stronger, without special characters. The real problem is when a site limits the total length of a password.

Comment: Re:If the Grand Ayatollah's against it.... (Score 1) 448

Hey! Be respectful to your elders. If 300 baud was good enough for the prophet Muhammad, then it's good enough for you! Besides, teletype printers can't print ASCII pr0n faster than that anyway, and if they did, you'd run out of ink real fast. Now get off my carpet and out of my tent!

Comment: Re:Okay... and? (Score 1) 316

by martin-boundary (#47740505) Attached to: For Microsoft, $93B Abroad Means Avoiding $30B Tax Hit

But shouldn't that be up to the foreign countries where the money is earned? If a country doesn't want to tax earnings in its borders, that's their business. It doesn't mean the US or any other country should have a claim on it.

It makes perfect sense if you think of Americans as property.

For example, suppose you're this guy in America, and you buy a very expensive mainframe system. Now for various reasons, you decide to send it to Sweden, maybe you have a friend there and you're in business together. So the friend uses your mainframe for his shop 24/7, and makes lots of money. It's all happening in Sweden, using Swedish electricity, Swedish premises, Swedish sysadmins, etc.

But it's your mainframe, so you'd like a cut of the profit or at least some rent money. If your Swedish friend doesn't want to collect the money in Sweden and send it to you, that's his business, no?

Now replace you and friend with America and Sweden, and replace mainframe with you.

Comment: Re:Simulations are limited by imagination (Score 1) 173

by martin-boundary (#47735337) Attached to: Google Wants To Test Driverless Cars In a Simulation

Sure, but the article isn't taking about simulations vs real life. It's talking about simulations vs contrived but legally required tests on manufacturer test tracks. Both are limited by imagination but simulations are more thorough, at least according to Google

Google wants to replace expensive, real testing with inexpensive, fake (aka "simulations") testing. The two aren't comparable, and the danger is that Google can lobby to change the laws to allow simulations to replace real life testing. Which is great for them, but bad for us.

Why aren't the two comparable? A simulated software environment is a development tool. It's great for working out the kinks in algorithms, but it is hopeless at working out the real manufacturing kinks in real life. In a simulation, the car performs correctly 100% of the time, repeatably. In real life, there's a screw that happens to touches one of the leads causing a short circuit in damp conditions, and the car screams to a halt in the middle of traffic.

Here's a software analogy (since we're talking about cars, we can't use a car analogy here...): simulation testing is like when you're tracing some code paths on paper, just to see if you're on the right track on the logic. It's a simulation, because you assume that the implementation has no bugs, the compiler has no bugs, the OS has no bugs, and there are no cosmic rays or DDOS attacks or the disk isn't making clicking noises. Real life testing is when your compiled code passes actual test cases in a full production environment, and has to cope with real inputs and outputs.

Comment: Re:Patent Trolls arent just little companies (Score 0) 97

by martin-boundary (#47711015) Attached to: How Patent Trolls Destroy Innovation

If I get the idea for a new valve design that uses some obscure property of gasoline to make direct injection engines five percent more efficient then I deserve to be rewarded for that.

If I get the idea for a new valve design that uses some obscure property of gasoline to make direct injection engines five percent more efficient then I should pay you for the privilege? No. No, I should not.

Just say no.

Patents are evil. There's no reason that inventors who pay for a little piece of paper 5 minutes before everyone else should receive money from other inventors for the same idea. That's what patent licensing is.

Comment: Re:How the Patent System Destroys Innovation (Score 3, Funny) 97

by martin-boundary (#47710673) Attached to: How Patent Trolls Destroy Innovation
Extra! Extra! This just in! New research proves that patent "trolls" actively reduce wasted "R&D" attempts by sad deluded companies aiming to reinvent by themselves and worsen already existing ideas! WIPO economic policies vindicated! Simplification within reach! Coming soon: the Golden Age of the One, Single And Perfect Idea Of Everything (a.k.a. "the Wheel") ! Thanks "trolls", your country owes you a debt of gratitude!

Comment: Re:Bottom line... (Score 1) 170

On balance, that is a GOOD THING. Exactly 100 years ago, the German Army was marching through Belgium, the Russians were preparing to invade East Prussia, and millions of men were being mobilized all over Europe. World War One was a result of a series of diplomatic blunders, secret treaties, and severe misjudgements by many leaders of the intentions of both enemies and allies. It is quite likely that it could have been avoided if better intelligence had been available. Voluntary mutual transparency would be best, but spying is still better than secrecy.

No it's not a good thing. You're making an elementary mistake of confusing the means to an end with the end itself. While it's on balance a good thing to know more about what is going on in the world rather than less (that's the end), the means to achieve this (secretly spying) is not a good thing.

Because spying is a secret way of obtaining information, the use of that information by decision makers is necessarily also secret (otherwise the secrecy would be broken and the spying activity would be undermined). But decision makers making decisions using secret information means that their decisions cannot be audited, and cannot be directly argued against in the open, by anyone who isn't privy to the secret information, eg the public. Therefore, such decision makers are all powerful, and unaccountable, ie undemocratic.

So if you think spying is a good thing, then you implicitly believe that unaccountable government is a good thing. In truth, voluntary mutual transparency would be best, but spying is equivalent to secrecy.

Forty two.