It is entirely unimportant whether he's a coward or not. He released information that needed to be released, and that had an effect.
"anyone with half a brain realizes that the very definition of a spy agency is that it spies on people" -- of course, but there are some important bits here:
1. For a long time, people thought it only spied on foreigners. Americans supposedly had a right to privacy and needed a court order
2. Then people figured out that Americans were spied on too, and tried to go to the courts to stop it. But the courts refused because you need to have evidence of it happening. And how do you get evidence of that a secret government program is spying on you?
It's ridiculous to pretend that Snowden didn't release anything new. If he didn't, why are we talking about this? Why is there a panel, and why is the industry trying to convince the US President to have it stopped?
I see more than a few F-250s that don't have a spec of dirt on them, no equipment near them, wheels and shocks in a configuration completely unsuitable for doing any work. As a matter of fact, most of the trucks that I see that aren't directly used to carry landscaping or construction equipment have never been near any work or towing.
Now, why they have an 8051 hardwired to the USB bus that accepts arbitrary firmware uploads without even having to elevate beyond user permissions, I can only blame stupidity.
Heard this one before. On Slashdot, even. Yes, you can do it. No, you don't want to. Remember when LCDs came with a few dead pixels? There used to be a market for DRAM with bad bits for phone answering machines and buffers in low-end CD players. That's essentially over.
Working around bad bits in storage devices is common; just about everything has error correction now. For applications where error correction is feasible, this works. Outside that area, there's some gain in cost and power consumption in exchange for a big gain in headaches.
Bitcoin has a legitimate purpose; a truly portable store of value
As a store of value, Bitcoin has trouble holding its value for a week. Some days, hours. This limits its usefulness for transactions.
But it's an interesting lesson to see an authoritarian authorship system like that end up irrelevant and forgotten, because this is the sort of road current copyright maximalists would love to lead us down.
I know. Most of the Xanadu people were libertarians of the "markets are the solution to everything" persuasion. The World Wide Web might have turned out that way. There was a previous generation of paid online information businesses - Minitel, Nexis, Lexis, etc. - where you did pay for almost everything you looked at. Xanadu was supposed to be a better implementation of that model.