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+ - U.K. Cabinet Office Adopts ODF as Exclusive Standard for Sharable Documents->

Submitted by Andy Updegrove
Andy Updegrove (956488) writes "The U.K. Cabinet Office accomplished today what the Commonwealth of Massachusetts set out (unsuccessfully) to achieve ten years ago: it formally required compliance with the Open Document Format (ODF) by software to be purchased in the future across all government bodies. Compliance with any of the existing versions of OOXML, the competing document format championed by Microsoft, is neither required nor relevant. The announcement was made today by The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude. Henceforth, ODF compliance will be required for documents intended to be shared or subject to collaboration. PDF/A or HTML compliance will be required for viewable government documents. The decision follows a long process that invited, and received, very extensive public input – over 500 comments in all."
Link to Original Source

+ - UK to use Open Document Format for government documents->

Submitted by sfcrazy
sfcrazy (1542989) writes "UK has decided to use ‘open standards’ for sharing and viewing government documents. The announcement was made by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude. One of the primary objectives of this move is to create a level playing field for suppliers of all sizes. The move must put some pressure on Google to offer full support for ODF in Chrome, Android and Google Docs."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Key Point Missing (Score 2) 34

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#47234405) Attached to: Appeals Court Finds Scanning To Be Fair Use

The summary misses a key point. Yes they scan and store the entire book, but they are _NOT_ making the entire book available to everyone. For the most part they are just making it searchable.

Agreed that it's not in the summary, but as you correctly note, it's just a "summary". Anyone who reads the underlying blog post will read this among the facts on which the court based its opinion: "The public was allowed to search by keyword. The search results showed only the page numbers for the search term and the number of times it appeared; none of the text was visible."

So those readers who RTFA will be in the know.

+ - Appeals Court finds scanning to be fair use in Authors Guild v Hathitrust

Submitted by NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) writes "In Authors Guild v Hathitrust, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has found that scanning whole books and making them searchable for research use is a fair use. In reaching its conclusion, the 3-judge panel reasoned, in its 34-page opinion (PDF), that the creation of a searchable, full text database is a "quintessentially transformative use", that it was "reasonably necessary" to make use of the entire works, that maintaining maintain 4 copies of the database was reasonably necessary as well, and that the research library did not impair the market for the originals. Needless to say, this ruling augurs well for Google in Authors Guild v. Google, which likewise involves full text scanning of whole books for research."

+ - Councilman/Open Source Developer submits Open Source bill->

Submitted by NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) writes "New York City Council Member Ben Kallos (KallosEsq), who also happens to be a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) developer, just introduced legislation to mandate a government preference for FOSS and creating a Civic Commons website to facilitate collaborative purchasing of software. He argues that NYC could save millions of dollars with the Free and Open Source Software Preferences Act 2014, pointing out that the city currently has a $67 million Microsoft ELA. Kallos said: "It is time for government to modernize and start appreciating the same cost savings as everyone else.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: A little late, but welcome (Score 1) 136

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#47119749) Attached to: Federal Court Pulls Plug On Porn Copyright Shakedown
A cynic might argue that the key difference in this case was that, for a change, the ISP's, and not merely defendants, were challenging the subpoenas; but of course we all know that justice is 'blind'.

An ingrate might bemoan the Court's failure to address the key underlying fallacy in the "John Doe" cases, that because someone pays the bill for an internet account that automatically makes them a copyright infringer; but who's complaining over that slight omission?

A malcontent like myself might be a little unhappy that it took the courts ten (10) years to finally come to grips with the personal jurisdiction issue, which would have been obvious to 9 out of 10 second year law students from the get go, and I personally have been pointing it out and writing about it since 2005; but at least they finally did get there.

And a philosopher might wonder how much suffering might have been spared had the courts followed the law back in 2004 when the John Doe madness started; but of course I'm a lawyer, not a philosopher. :)

Bottom line, though: this is a good thing, a very good thing. Ten (10) years late in coming, but good nonetheless. - R.B. )

Comment: Re:I'd rather not use (Score 1) 521

by American AC in Paris (#47075321) Attached to: Goodbye, Ctrl-S

a text editor that is so error prone that *needs* to autosave constantly("continuously"). Or software in general, for that matter.

You've got it backwards--it ain't an error-prone text editor, it's an error-prone human. Even conscientious, process-driven users make stupid mistakes and forget to save their work (especially when they're on a roll.) This protects us from ourselves, not the machines we're working on.

Now, you may be among that handful of people who never forgets to save--in which case, I congratulate you on being in one of the outlier cohorts that software engineers really shouldn't ever spend their time worrying about. :D

Comment: Timeline (Score 1) 49

Year 1: "You guys, this is even better than [current industry leader]'s tech! Amazing!"
Year 2: "Hardly anybody who has updated to version 5.4 still bleeds from their eyeballs. [current industry leader] hasn't updated their tech for months!"
Year 3: "Samsung is the undisputed leader in virtual reality headsets! They've shipped five times as many units as [current industry leader], and there's no stopping this tidal wave!"
Year 6: "Hey, you should really check out the high-end Samsung VR units. They're every bit as good as [current industry leader] nowadays."

Comment: Re:Driverless Cars Are Boring (Score 1) 255

by American AC in Paris (#47051437) Attached to: The Sci-Fi Myth of Robotic Competence

So they drive like I do. Safely. I have zero tickets. I've never even been pulled over.

Those "laws" and "signs" aren't arbitrary guidelines out to ruin your day. If everybody would actually follow them then accidents -

Hold on, another point here. The word accident is bullshit. Accidents imply that the situation was unavoidable. 99.999% of vehicle collisions are entirely preventable by simply following the rules. (Properly maintaining your vehicle is part of the law too)

Oh, I do--haven't had a moving violation in 7+ years, back when I was younger and stupider.

That said, I got nailed by a car that decided to try to make a right turn through my car last November. I was in the right lane, going the speed limit, didn't have anyone in front of me, and even saw the other driver overtaking on my left--but there was no way on this green-and-blue earth I could have reacted any faster than I did. A robot -probably- could have, and may well have saved the annoyance of having to go to a body shop to have the other guy's insurance fix it.

From my own perspective, I'm hard-pressed to see how I could have avoided this collision. And frankly, it doesn't really matter that the other driver could have--that doesn't do me a whole lot of good. I don't get to pick and choose who drives next to me.

Comment: Driverless Cars Are Boring (Score 5, Insightful) 255

by American AC in Paris (#47049555) Attached to: The Sci-Fi Myth of Robotic Competence

There was an article a short while ago written by a journalist who rode in a driverless car for a stretch. There was one adjective that really stood out, an adjective that most people don't take into consideration when talking about driverless cars.

That one word: boring.

Driverless cars drive in the most boring, conservative, milquetoast fashion imaginable. They're going to be far less prone to accidents from the outset simply because they don't take the kind of chances that many of us wouldn't even begin call "risky". They drive the speed limit. They follow at an appropriate distance. They don't pull quick lane changes to get ahead of slowpokes. They don't swing around blind corners faster than they can stop upon detecting an unexpected hazard. They don't nudge through crosswalks. They don't cut off cyclists in the bike lane. They don't get impatient. They don't get frustrated. They don't get angry. They don't get sleepy. They don't get distracted. They just drive, in a deliberate, controlled, and entirely boring fashion.

The problem with so, so many of the "what if?" accident scenarios is that the people posing said scenarios presume that the car would be putting itself in the same kinds of unnecessarily hazardous driving positions that human drivers put themselves in every single day, as a matter of routine, and without a moment's hesitation.

Very, very few people drive "boring" safe. Every driverless car will. Every trip. All the time.

Comment: Re:How do you pull over a driverless car? (Score 1) 626

by American AC in Paris (#47049365) Attached to: Driverless Cars Could Cripple Law Enforcement Budgets

Would it pull over if it sees the blinking lights / siren behind it?

Probably, yes--after all, a strobing emergency light is fairly easy to detect, and as automated cars grow in number, you'd likely see more elegant mechanisms for alerting driverless vehicles of the presence of emergency vehicles. I'd imagine that manufacturers would keep some form of the "big red button" emergency stop button we've seen in a number of prototypes, as well.

Could you spoof it with a bunch of blinking xmas lights on the side of the road?

Unless you have some pretty heavy-duty strobing Christmas lights, probably not. That said, there'll probably any number of ways you could spoof the behavior of an official vehicle. In doing so, though, I'd imagine that you'd fall afoul of the same impersonation laws that exist and work quite effectively today.

Comment: Re:Creative Suite Six will be Adobe's XP (Score 1) 74

by American AC in Paris (#47019369) Attached to: Adobe Creative Cloud Is Back
Don't overlook Flash--the development tool, not the plugin environment. Flash CC now does a decent job of exporting timeline animations to HTML5 without the overhead of converting to video. It's quirky, and there's still a lot more they can do there, but I suspect Flash-the-authoring-environment will continue to be the 800-pound gorilla in the web animation department for some time to come.

Comment: Re:Frequent hurricanes? (Score 1, Interesting) 627

Actually, the Dust Bowl was mostly caused by human actions, but please don't let _facts_ cause you to pull your head out of the sand.

Oh, sure, next thing you'll be trying to tell us that we're going to have a massive, multi-year drought because some East-coast scientists say that farmers are planting their crops wrong. You:

1. Clearly know nothing about farming,
2. are obviously a shill for the Roosevelt administration, and
3. want us to throw out generations of farming wisdom and spend huge amounts of money on a problem that doesn't even exist.

Only an idiot could look at the past decade of incredible crop yields and scream that everything's going wrong. Get off the telegraph, moron.

Josiah H. Blough (Dust-Bowl-skeptic)

The most delightful day after the one on which you buy a cottage in the country is the one on which you resell it. -- J. Brecheux

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