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Comment Re:No. Give the control to the users (Score 1) 259

Too late.

The genie is out of the bottle. Now consumers are realizing that they don't have to see things they don't want to. In the old days the browser did whatever the site owner wanted, so we got pop-ups and java advertisements and auto playing flash. The internet started out being a place where ideas were conveyed mostly by text because putting a double handful of advertisements would make the page take several minutes to load with a 2400 baud modem. Those websites that tried to put a lot of advertising failed because nobody was willing to wait for them to load. Then Phoenix (look up the history of Firefox if you don't remember it) came out and it didn't run javascript or Flash and it blocked pop-ups and it loaded everything in tabs in a single window and it freakin' took off. As internet connection speed increased across the board for the average consumer, more and more advertising could be loaded in the few seconds it took the page to load. As a result, ads started taking up more bandwidth than content and loading more pop-ups than any consumer was willing to swallow, which in turn made pop-up blocking ever so much more desirable, so much so that eventually all the browsers started supporting it, and then eventually by default.

So the consumers won, as they always do, because whatever gets them the content they want without the stuff they don't gains popularity until it becomes the standard. But consumers wanted javascript and java and Flash and it became standard even in the new Phoenix, next called Firebird, now Firefox. Bandwidth and processing speed continued to rise, allowing yet more advertising to be loaded and new techniques to cause pop-unders and interstitial ads. Add-ons came along to block all advertising as a direct result and Firefox continued to rise, then the same came out for Chrome and even Internet Explorer because with a broadband connection there was no other way to limit the flood of advertising that could be loaded in time consumers were willing to wait for content.

Decent people didn't want to block advertising because they wanted to screw over content providers, but they didn't want to deal with the crap. The technology to force people to see something they didn't want was obliterated because the consumers always win. In a war between people wanting content and advertisers wanting to force unwanted ads, the tides turned so much that every advertiser is being blocked regardless of how respectful or unobnoxious they behave.

We've come the point where advertising has to be insanely pushy to get past the average adblocker. The only ads that work are the ones that are going to be blocked in a few months because they're trying so hard to force themselves on the consumer. The consumer will, eventually, always win anyway. Advertising as the standard way to provide funding for content is dying and the war has gone on too long for the tide to turn now.

I still see and feel sympathy for the indignant content providers who just wanted a fair business trade where some reasonable amount of advertising is acceptable by the consumer. It's too late because the consumer won't ever go back to allowing the obnoxious advertising or incidentally the reasonable content providers. I know, it sucks, because good content is dying as a result.

Eventually, there will be another balance. Some way to fund websites will succeed. Here's hoping it isn't every site requiring its own app.

Comment What about portable? (Score 1) 106

I always liked portable edition because I would prefer not to have someone point to an installed program as proof I have something to hide. Portable TrueCrypt didn't require admin privileges so there wouldn't be a potential privilege escalation issue. The ability to run as an unprivileged user was the biggest thing I missed when I switched over to bitlocker.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Voyage to Earth 1

"How you been, old man?"
"Wild Bill! I haven't seen you since... damn. You haven't aged a day!"
"I've been in space, you quit. You know space travel slows aging. So how've you been? I've been doing runs to Titan since the discovery."
"Bill, it's fantastic. My beer is the best selling beer on Mars, and they want us to import it to Earth. Can you believe it? And I have the cost down really low si

Comment Re:Why only say Obama? (Score 1) 142

Yup. I've explained before how law makers could have access, and how much I distrust them. The facts are that they could get what they say they want, and get it securely, but what they really want is illegal.

Legal access could be managed securely, but not without limiting government and law enforcement to a legal process. They don't want that, and that's the reason they dropped this. So they say.

The problem we have is that we already know we've been repeatedly lied to by our government, and even government agencies lie to each other about what they're doing. No rational person accepts that our government will tell us when they're spying on us illegally. If they've decided to go ahead and do it, odds are that we won't know until the next Snowden if we're lucky, but more likely we'll never know.

Comment Re:Honestly - piracy is an inalienable right (Score 1) 279

The ability to have your intellectual property protected with the force of law is akin to having your life protected by the full force of law.

But why? Nevermind. It's said clearly enough, and I don't have anything new to add, but thanks for presenting the other side.

Comment Re:Honestly - piracy is an inalienable right (Score 1) 279

The basic question I am asking is whether intellectual property should be property. I'm not asking whether it is defined (by law) as property. If the law changes or I move beyond it's jurisdiction, then it ceases to be property. (Sorry if I mislead with my attempt at humor.) Under current law, copying illegally deprives you of the opportunity to profit due to governmental created and enforced scarcity. You're also deprived of the opportunity to buy and sell people, but it wasn't always that way. Maybe it shouldn't be that way for intellectual property either.

What I make is mine and I have ownership of it. You're not free to make a copy unless I give you that right

What you make is yours and you have ownership of it, but if you allow me to observe it, I have a right to make a copy unless somebody takes that right away.

I know, it looks like semantics, but in this case, where the governments create and enforce an artificial scarcity of constructs that exist as ideas rather than physical things, it's really more accurate to say that.

If you refuse to speculate on how a society would work if we transitioned to law without copyright, then your argument boils down to "this is the best way because it is working" and mine boils down to "imagine it working differently, it would be better." The world was different when copyright was invented in 1710. Importing slaves was still legal in the US in 1710. Society's values, norms and laws change. You say intellectual property is property. I agree. I say it shouldn't be and you ignored that issue.

We both know the reasons people use to argue both sides, so I'll turn your previous challenge back on you. I've yet to see a viable, reasoned, argument that supports the idea that copyright is good for humanity in the long run.

Comment Re:Honestly - piracy is an inalienable right (Score 1) 279

I've yet to see a viable, reasoned, argument that supports the idea that my constructs, be they as minimal as an idea, become someone else's property.

Now there's a challenge. How about "property is theft." That has a nice ring to it, can't believe I just made that up, maybe I can get a copyright or trademark on it.

I've deliberately avoided the term natural law, even though the idea of inalienable rights are tied so closely to it because I think it's so fuzzy to define. I'm inclined a little toward stoicism so maybe I should work harder at learning to defend the idea. But I'm lazy, so not today. I bring it up only to ask if you're quite solidly against the idea that natural law exists, cause it sounds that way and I'm reconsidering whether I can support the idea of any inalienable right without that common ground. If natural law is common, then I can argue that depriving mankind of the right to copy and share is against it. Our society and laws have created a construct to protect information as property where none should rationally or naturally exist because, like fiat money, it makes progress easier. Laws that run counter to natural law are bad, not because they have no good effect, but rather because they will always be broken by the majority. Heck, performing happy birthday in public was a big frigging deal to me, but most people had no idea it was illegal; most still don't even after all the news stories about it.

Assuming I can't find that common ground, then I think I'd revert to the societal good argument. Sharing information benefits society but depriving people of the freedom to make copies of work benefits society too. They have different benefits, but one of them is being handled by laws designed to handle papers and movable type. For societal benefit, the laws need to be changed. Not rapidly, that way lies pain and anarchy, but with great forethought. I do free programming to build a reputation, which gets me a job with a paycheck. Redhat makes money in essentially the same way. It's obvious that innovation and good can come with free information, but less obvious what the world would look like without copyright.

I'm thinking it is an inevitable thing, obviously not everyone agrees, but if you were in charge of changing the laws to make it happen (eventually, like say by 2200,) how would you go about it?

That, by the way, I think is my best answer to the challenge, the constructs that belong to you only belong to you so long as you don't share them with anyone, unless the law creates an artificial restriction. There is no logical argument against that because the law is the definition of what you can own (see slavery discussion.) If there is no law to prohibit copying your work, every copy belongs to the person who has it.

Comment Re:Honestly - piracy is an inalienable right (Score 1) 279

Interesting questions. Let me fire up my crystal ball and peer a couple hundred years in the future to get some answers.

If everyone gets to see the movie for free if it gets made, why would anyone pay money up front?

They pay for the same reason people vote now. It doesn't cost much to be a contributor to something you hope will happen. They'll contribute what we'd think of as our movie budget now in the hopes it will be created.

Most seriously, how would you encourage more experimental or controversial movies if they were dependent on pre-funding based on people's pre-conceived ideas of what they want to see?

I expect it won't be that much different than it is now. A producer gets to produce something if he can convince people it's a good idea or has the money to do it himself. Few experimental or controversial movies get a big budget now, and when they do it's because they've built a reputation for success with the people who have the money to invest. The big changes will really be in how the middle men work. Private funding won't disappear, but it will be overtaken by public funding. Kickstarter will be looked back on as the cute simplistic precursor. They're already producing movies but in the future there will be many other organizations doing it on a massively larger scale with a whole different set of laws supporting them.

Comment Re:Honestly - piracy is an inalienable right (Score 1) 279

When we say we've not stolen anything, we have. We've stolen the potential sale when we share it, enable sharing, or make a copy without paying it. The potential has been reduced.

Totally agree and couldn't have said it better. I would add however, that intellectual property only exists as a construct of society and government as opposed to physical property which exists naturally. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, and indeed a lot of the society I appreciate depends on it now. I am saying that it's unnatural and is contrary to human nature.

You don't have an inalienable right to it because we, as a society, have determined that such doesn't exist.

That's where we diverge. I don't think society gets to determine what inalienable rights are, just freedoms, restrictions and protected rights.


Whether or not it was your intent, I'm thinking through the idea that maybe what determines man's natural state and inalienable rights are malleable and determined by society. A child born into slavery in 1600 had no expectation of a right to liberty. I'd like to say that it is the natural state of that child and every such slave child to expect liberty as a natural right and rebel against having it denied. I'd like to say that, but I don't think history supports that view. Maybe that child didn't actually have a right to liberty. It doesn't sit well with me to accept the idea, but there could be truth there I just don't like to admit. I really wish I could sit down with Jefferson and have him explain what he really thought and then maybe ask Sally Hemings what she thought about his views.

Comment Re:Honestly - piracy is an inalienable right (Score 1) 279

In the future, regardless of attempts to prevent it, free sharing of information is inevitable.

That's not a statement of preference, it's an observation of what I think is an irreversible trend. I doubt I'll be alive to see that time but I hope that law evolves ways to handle it. You seem to be in the majority in thinking I was advocating piracy and I can see how it can come across that way, but really I don't, just like I don't advocate setting all prisoners free just because liberty is an inalienable right.

The internet would be illegal according to the original reading of copyright laws because the act of viewing content on your own computer makes a copy, usually several, on your computer. The laws and their interpretations have evolved to consider making a copy, even many copies, as a part of the normal and intended use, legal. It wasn't and still isn't without conflict. People have been sued for linking to someone else's page and had that protected, but sharing links to files, even without ever copying the file is often illegal. As noted by someone else, the law cares about intent. Eventually, I expect the law will evolve to handle free sharing of information, but I recognize that I don't really know what that society will look like or how the law will evolve.

Comment Re:Honestly - piracy is an inalienable right (Score 1) 279

The point about intent is a good one. I'm also not arguing that the laws, even copyright laws, are without merit. I enjoy the fruits of those laws too and wouldn't suggest they should be unilaterally repealed. Despite the apparent common consensus by people responding to my original post, I don't even advocate piracy. I do think that there is room for improvement in the law and I do advocate for that, but that's not the topic I intended to discuss.

Speaking of math though, I keep being bothered by an idea. There is a number that could be used to represent an ISO of The Little Mermaid. I suspect any irrational number would contain it, but lets use Pi for this thought experiment. Somewhere in Pi, there is a number which can be easily translated to a binary description of that ISO, lets call that number Pi-TLM. If I have the computing power to find Pi-TLM, and I distribute the necessary description in order to allow others to use Pi-TLM to reproduce ISOs, then I'm clearly in breach of the intent of copyright laws. Most numbers can be reduced and referenced by a shorter notation, so I'd expect Pi-TLM would be the same, probably by factorization, exponents or a formula. Communicating that formula would probably also violate the intent of copyright laws. But what if you didn't communicate the whole representation, leaving a couple hundred thousand possible interpretations out, which would be trivial for a computer to go through in order to identify the actual candidate. I have no idea what Pi-TLM would be, but pretend it's 42â'â'â'â'^237+650^10^23994-4. (Those ugly characters are entered as up arrows, to denote Knuth's up-arrow notation, but the slashcode mangled version works just as well for this discussion.) Obviously I can say "there is a number Pi-TLM" without breaching copyright and I can say that I found it and I can even say it's in the range greater than 42â'â'â'â'^237.

The idea that bothers me is this: Is it possible to define the point at which I give too much information?

Comment Re:Honestly - piracy is an inalienable right (Score 1) 279

I don't think I said rights and freedoms are the same thing.


I'd agree that freedoms and rights aren't the same thing. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are all things that can be taken from someone, but the fact that they can be taken doesn't keep them from being rights. Freedom is a right, an inalienable right, that can be taken away. The natural state of man is to expect freedom and to rebel if deprived of it. Sure, you're free to kill me, but it's not a right, but then neither is it the natural state of man to expect that right or to rebel if deprived of it.

I actually read quite a bit about freedoms and rights and what it is that makes those we consider inalienable different from those we impose and restrict for the good of society. Obviously people (I'm a little shocked how many) will take the time to disagree. I welcome disagreement because it's often the best opportunity I have to learn something new.

I'm going to need a little more from you in order to change my mind. You're marked as a friend because I've found your opinions insightful in the past, so perhaps you can manage it.

Comment Honestly - piracy is an inalienable right (Score 2, Interesting) 279

There is a conflict between the natural and inalienable rights of people and the attempts of governments to curtail the resulting actions. It's neither novel nor resolvable.

Ones and zeros. Any series of ones and zeros can be represented as a number, understandable by human minds. It is the natural and inalienable right of humans to communicate, thereby sharing, numbers. Humanity, throughout history, has attempted to suppress the ability of others to communicate freely. Every attempt to curtail communication is a battle against the natural state of humanity's need to communicate. Attempting to suppress a natural right always, always, always results in greater suppression of rights or failure.

Most of us appreciate the outcome of limiting sharing in order to concentrate value. We like multi-million dollar movies. What we don't like are the inevitable outcomes where people are punished in ways that seem unreasonable. The problem is that the two issues are inextricably linked.

Possession of a number, and sharing of that number should never logically be illegal. Making sharing a number illegal goes against natural human nature. Thus we have a conflict with the historical approach to encouraging innovation and creativity and the natural law that humans must be free to share information. Technology hasn't created this problem, but has made it more obvious. Human nature is also to acquire power so we're pitting two natural human activities against either. Of course the natural right to communicate will eventually prevail over the power acquisition impulse, but not without conflict. Right now the impulse to acquire power is grounded in government enforcement, but the natural right to communicate will always find an expression, thus government censorship (copyright enforcement) is destined to fail.

In the future, regardless of attempts to prevent it, free sharing of information is inevitable. Acquisition of power will adjust. Movies will be paid for by trailers created in order to generate pre-creation funding. You'll see trailers for movies that haven't been created yet, based on subjects you're interested in and directors you trust. If you like the trailer you see, you'll pledge money taken in escrow. If all goes well, you'll get to see the movie, but otherwise you'll get your money back with a trivial amount of interest. Everyone will get to see the movie for free if it gets made, nobody will make movies that flop and nobody will be punished for sharing numbers.

It won't happen soon. It won't happen without conflict. Laws will come and go. People will be unfairly punished, movies will fail. Inalienable rights will eventually prevail because law cannot suppress human nature.

Unchecking "Post Anonymously" because I've had just enough beer to stop caring if people are upset by the truth.

Comment Re:Word (Score 1) 3

Yes, I should have, but it turned out OK anyway. There's no way I know of to do it properly, Microsoft won't let you. But regardless, even if it could have been a clean install it still would have been butt-ugly and with no extra functionality.

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Journal Journal: Stealth

It was a beautiful spring day on the riverfront. Pleasant temperatures, white puffy clouds floating in a bright blue sky, and the bright sunshine gleaming off of the enormous arch made it seem the perfect day and spot for a picnic. There were a lot of people there, enjoying the weather, walking, having picnics.

Work expands to fill the time available. -- Cyril Northcote Parkinson, "The Economist", 1955