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Comment: trivial! (Score 1) 143

That's trivial. It's like saying, there are only two numbers, "zero" and "many". It simply isn't true that all languages and all platforms are full of bugs in any meaningful sense. Some platforms are more buggy than others. This is a function of how old the platform is, how serious the creators are about preventing bugs, etc. That's meaningful.

For example, the well known OpenBSD aims to be much more secure than other OSes. The well known Windows family doesn't care about security, only as an afterthought. The difference is striking and very well known.

A good way to estimate which systems are likely to have fewer bugs is to understand the motivation of the application developers and of the OS creators. For example, if your focus is advertising, then you have a natural blind spot where advertising bugs are ignored. If your focus is doing "easy to use" software, then you have a blind spot where security practices are compromised in favour of GUI issues.

Comment: Re:Not a Slippery Slope (Score 2) 181

All great ethical questions have the quality of slippery slopes, and this is, IMHO, one of the most fundamentally important questions of the 21st century. About as important as the legal concept of personal property - can you own it, can others steal it or damage it, can you sell it, can people inherit it, etc.

The fact is that information is, today, more valuable than money. Indeed, look around you, companies are perfectly willing to take people's information in lieu of money. They know that they can always convert information into money later down the track.

Yet we don't have a concensus on who owns the information, for lack of a better metaphor. Is my full name and likeness my own, or some hollywood company's ? Do my weekend party antics belong to Facebook? Does Google have the right to claim and organize all the rumours about me ? If I generate information just by existing and living my life, and this information has a monetary value, isn't it mine in all its forms? Should I not have the right to control it, as well as the responsibility of it. I have such rights with my children, and such responsibilities, also with my everyday actions in conducting my life (which is exactly the information that ends up being collected).

These are not easy questions, but they are vital, and the EU / Google skirmish is a very important one. I'm a humanist. I believe laws and ethics should always be chosen by human beings, and favour human beings, at the expense of robots and legal entities such as companies and organisations, all else being equal. Of course I oppose Google on this.

The human species is going to have to grow up a little. First as an audience and consumer of the net, and realize that just because it's on the internet (or even wikipedia) doesn't mean it's true. It also has to realize what people said in the past doesn't always pose a true reflection of their current selves - that people change and evolve. Especially from a younger age like 13.

It doesn't work like that, which is part of the complexity. For making everyday decisions, people must make a choice all the time on what to trust, on the internet. Why? Because people's actions occur on the internet. It's the same medium. People buy things, apply for jobs, deal with their governments, and hang out among friends. On the internet. It's a wild mix of truth and false. Have you ever been on a public place early in the morning? There are janitors who clean up the trash. Otherwise we'd be knee deep in shit everywhere, everyday. Growing up and holding your nose is not an option. The internet is starting to smell. It needs janitors.

Second, it will have to grow up as individuals and realize, when you put it out there, you put it out there. And no nanny state can fix it.

It's not as simple as you think. You haven't thought of the other side of the coin. When others put it out there (about you), it's out there too. And Laws must fix it. This is nothing new. Do you think the Jews put out stories in the world that they themselves are evil, are thieves, have crooked noses, and live like rats in filthy houses, shitting in their own kitchens while they eat? They did not, the Nazis did. And because the Nazis put it out there, it became true. As true as necessary to make ordinary people believe it, and do their bidding.

Google collects all these stories about everyone indiscriminately. Some are true, some are not. Google's actions must be stopped. There must be an ethical, legal way to clean up information over time, and it must apply to all companies, Google, your local comic book store, etc. It is an important issue, and a very difficult one. Google can stay in business, but there must be some limits. And when in doubt, I favour human beings over companies, always. YMMV, but to say it's bullshit or a non-issue is putting your head in the sand.

You suggest people should just accept the new reality, that we should live in a world where anybody can say anything about anybody, true or not, by writing it in a web page or a SQL database. Where this information can be sold, can be used to discriminate against people, can be used for statistics to make up facts and political discourses, etc. You're worried we'll end up in a nanny state if this isn't allowed. Well, I'm worried we'll end up in a Goebbelsian paradise. Thus the slippery slope. For better or for worse, information is the new environment in which we live, in the 21st century. This environment fills up with (information) wasted, like every other environment where people live. It's starting to smell, and we must give people the right to clean it up.

Comment: Re:Cloudy, chance of rain (Score 2, Insightful) 175

by martin-boundary (#47520757) Attached to: Dropbox Head Responds To Snowden Claims About Privacy
How is that insightful? You've completely missed the whole point of privacy laws. In law, your hard drive in your computer is yours, and it is not public unless you go out of your way to make it so. In particular, anyone who uses ssh to access your hard drive breaks the law, unless you've specifically authorized them to do so. Lots of people, some slashdot readers, have gone to jail for doing just that.

Also, your hard disk, in your computer, in your house isn't searcheable by law enforcement unless they have a warrant. So keep your stuff at home, and you'll be better off than leaving it on Dropbox (*).

(*) I can see you're unconvinced. Let me spell it out for you: if your file is on Dropbox, then a properly worded warrant needs to be served to Dropbox, and they'll allow searches and copies of anything their hard drives contain. Including your file, your neighbour's file, everybody's files. If everybody keeps their own files at home, then a warrant needs to be served to you, to see your files, but it won't work for your neighbour's files. Another warrant needs to be served to the neighbour to see his files. And it won't work for everybody else. A warrant needs to be served individually to everyone, just to get the same access that Dropbox can give with a single properly worded warrant.

Comment: Re:Ink? Nope. (Score 1) 78

by martin-boundary (#47520701) Attached to: Researchers Print Electronic Memory On Paper
On a side note... I've recently bought an Intel NUC, and when I opened the packaging the box started playing the Intel Jingle (*). Totally creepy and wasteful, I couldn't believe it. Intel definitely jumped the shark IMHO. I don't buy crap that often, is this common already?

Oh and if any Intel engineers are reading this post, I'd love to hear what you think about that particular piece of genius.

Comment: Re:ads (Score 5, Insightful) 175

by martin-boundary (#47514247) Attached to: Privacy Lawsuit Against Google Rests On Battery Drain Claims
MUCH more importantly, though, ads are draining your BANDWIDTH. It's important, because it's also a simple demonstrable harm. If you pay $30 per month for your internet bandwidth, and the ads use up half of it (conservative estimate), then ads are harming you at the rate of $15 per month. Because Google purposely don't allow you to block the ads in android (*), that is a clear, monetary, demonstrable, harm.

(*) Google should be forced to put a big red button on their settings that will block all ads coming into the android device, and all in-app advertising traffic, if the user presses it. It should be force to do so or else be held as an accomplice on bandwidth theft. (**)

(**) Yes, I know, I'm dreaming. But I'd support a class action suit that would aim to accomplish this.

Comment: The problem with criticism (Score 1) 424

by martin-boundary (#47464567) Attached to: French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review
The problem with criticism in general, both positive and negative, is: how does anyone know if it's truthful?

It's easy to make up a story about going to some restaurant, and maybe you even actually went there, and if you did, who knows if you had a great service or not, maybe you were off your meds, and then for the hell of it, you write a scathing review. Or a great one as a prank for your friends.

On the internet, anybody can be a blogger and there's no quality control, just look at the kind of comments we get on Slashdot at -1. So while blogging is great and all, and saying whatever you like as a blogger is also great, if you're a blogger you should still put your neck on the chopping block like any normal journalist.

If you're going to say something, you'd better have definite proof, not just some random opinion. And if you get sued once in a while, accept it. It happens to professional journalists a lot. The trick is to back up your blogging claims with proper facts that you can actually show to a judge if asked.

Comment: Re:So instead of "free" why don't they say "covere (Score 1) 309

So you are saying that Amazon has somehow found a way to actually ship items for free, to both the user and itself?

No, I'm saying that the cost of shipping cannot be accounted for as an integral part of the product price, rather it must be accounted for separately. If it is nevertheless accounted for as part of the price, then Amazon would be doing a bunch of illegal things.

Comment: Re:Killing the employees seems a bit harsh (Score 1) 89

They just wanted to save the hassle of sending in the nukes. Do you know how much paperwork they make you sign for each obliterated virus outbreak these days? It's like initial this pdf to get the plane, sign that fuel requisition, assisinate two pesky reporters, on and on! I kid you not.

Uncompensated overtime? Just Say No.