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Comment: Many bad analogies make comparisons useless (Score 1) 580

by sirlark (#46765741) Attached to: How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

"Many eyes makes bugs shallow" applies not only to people working on the buggy code itself, but also all the developers who use the code. Bugs are almost always almost found because of software behaviour, and in general bugs in closed or open software are equally likely to be discovered by end-users. Bug are far more likely to be found by developers though. Consider some different scenarios: (1) A bug is discovered because following the documentation on how to use some API doesn't work exactly as expected; a really bad bug because behaviour under normal conditions is wrong. (2) A bug is discovered because a developer makes an invalid call to an API and it doesn't error out gracefully; still a bad bug, but most developers are going to correct their code to use the API correctly, and maybe file a bug report if the problem is bad enough to break their software. In case (1) someone is always going to file a bug report, closed or open source doesn't matter. In case (2) is different; chances are a developer isn't going to bother submitting a bug report if the buggy code is closed source, they'll just write some validation around the API call to avoid the bug before it happens. If open source, this validation will probably be submitted as a patch upstream, or at least someone is likely to report the bug. But then there's case (3), heartbleed. What you've got here is a bug that for correct input works, no bug to file, for incorrect input appears to still work, so still no apparent bug, but for incorrect input it does extra stuff you don't know in advance to check for. A developer with a case (3) bug is far less likely to discover that bug. If the library is open, a developer debugging their code might step into the library code and see the problem, slightly increasing the likelihood of the bug being found in open source as compared to closed.

The point is that downstream developers count as 'eyes', and probably make up the majority of those eyes. Because of lower barriers to entry, open source projects when compared to their equivalent closed-source counter parts tend to have many more downstream developers. Even is the case of non-library, end-user application projects, other devs are write plugins, extensions etc. so this remains mostly true. The argument that the eyes don't exist is not true. The eyes may not be looking directly at the code, but the code's behaviour is being tested in a variety of other ways. Case (1) bugs are going to be found and reported regardless of whether the source is open or not. Case (2) bugs are probably equally likely to be found, but far more likely to be reported and fixed if the buggy code is open source if there is a downstream workaround. Case (3) bugs are hard to find either way, but are MUCH easier to fix in the open source world.

Comment: Re:One word... (Score 3, Informative) 76

by Samantha Wright (#46735151) Attached to: Can Web-Based Protests Be a Force for Change?
Well, here's the tl;dr of TFA: Social media is the starting point. Hence the Arab Spring—you use Facebook or Twitter or whatever to spread your message and/or propaganda, and then accrue those with personal willingness to march and coordinate action through the net. Five dictators have been overthrown in the Middle East since December 2010 (as well as uprisings and protests in more than a dozen other countries) following social media germination, so clearly it's viable for that. Unfortunately this means it's also a single point of failure, as shown in Egypt when they depeered from the rest of the network in early 2011, easy to infiltrate and possible to manipulate.

3D Display Uses Misted Water 65

Posted by Soulskill
from the bring-an-umbrella dept.
An anonymous reader points out work at the University of Bristol into interactive, 3-D displays created by projecting light on misted water. "These personal screens are both see-through and reach-through. The see-through feature provides direct line of sight of the personal screen and the elements behind it on the tabletop. The reach-through feature allows the user to switch from interacting with the personal screen to reaching through it to interact with the tabletop or the space above it. The personal screen allows a range of customisations and novel interactions such as presenting 2D personal content on the screen, 3D content above the tabletop or supplementing and renewing actual objects differently for each user."

Comment: Re:Because you think Google is any better? (Score 1) 218

by Samantha Wright (#46684689) Attached to: Why No One Trusts Facebook To Power the Future

I was actually thinking of large platform developers such as Zynga. The fee and labour cost is potentially significantly higher, which makes it only attractive to a smaller number of companies prepared to do the work of scraping information itself, but the opportunity for information transfer still exists, doesn't it?

I believe you when you say the company's trying to improve its image in this regard, but, well, when you have a history of putting things like "Facebook does not screen or approve Platform Developers and cannot control how such Platform Developers use any personal information" in your privacy policy, that sours users' perception of your brand. It shouldn't really come as a surprise that people assume such things continue.

Comment: Re:Won't work with false ownership claims (Score 1) 306

Yes, that's what I said... "This particular case is very different". SONY don't own the copyright, and as far as I can tell, their not even claiming that they do. SONY didn't even take the clip down themselves, or issue a take down notice as far, again as far I can tell. Does the automation system actually file a take down notice technically, or does it just "take it down"? Does SONY corp fully control what's on the list of things to compare against for take downs? These are all questions that need answers before we can say exactly what happened. If google/youtube just assumes that anything in SONY controlled channels is owned by SONY (quite possible), then SONY didn't assert copyright ownership. Google/youtube asserted that SONY owned it, which is doubly fraudulent. This is a fuck up. It's a complicated fuck up, and it's a fuck up because google/youtube swings to far in favour of big media/MAFIAA. I'm not saying it's right, but this time, it's doesn't look direct malice.

Comment: Re:Won't work with false ownership claims (Score 2) 306

Read the GP Again... "claimant's copyright that was reportedly infringed immediately turned over to public domain". The claimant must, even with the fucked up copyright laws we still have, specify what copyright they own is being violated. So even in a false claim, Asshat Corp asserts you've violated their copyright on A, in your work B, they lose copyright on A. Your work, B, is unaffected. This particular case is very different from your normal take down request though, since Asshat Corp has taken your work, B, and included it in their line up (possibly legally if your work was creative commons without a non-commercial clause). Now an automatic system, which is fact totally one sided, has determined your B is the same as their B, and because it always assumes Asshat Corp own everything and everyone else is thief (because that reflects reality ) your B gets taken down. The problem here is the automation. The system should, when a potential infringing case is identified, check the licence of Asshat Corp's claimed infringing content. In this case it would have been CC, so no need to take down. If Asshat corp had CHANGED the license, and the original was CC-SA, then the blender guys would have a very good reason to file suit.

Comment: Re:Because you think Google is any better? (Score 1) 218

by Samantha Wright (#46672605) Attached to: Why No One Trusts Facebook To Power the Future

I've gotten quite a few random spam messages from Chinese industry, despite being a software engineer at an academic institution with absolutely nothing to do with any product development or manufacturing whatsoever. I've gotten offers for piping, ceramics, and a wide variety of plastics. At this very moment, I am reading a spam message from Kevin, who informs me he represents "one of the best digital images retouching/editing professionals located in China."

They seem like very good deals, and I'm almost saddened that I can't take them up on what appear to be very genuine, heartfelt attempts at mass mailing in an age where most unsolicited e-mail is about "your urgent Cooperation in transferring the sum of $11.3million immediately to your private account" and unauthorized activity notifications from Bl1zzard Entertanmnt on my several hundred accounts.

If you ever figure out what kind of plastic it was, let me know, and I'll check to see if I got the same e-mail!

Comment: Re:Because you think Google is any better? (Score 3, Insightful) 218

by Samantha Wright (#46672555) Attached to: Why No One Trusts Facebook To Power the Future

Facebook's position on providing large amounts of user data to its business partners has been the subject of scrutiny a few times. It remains unclear exactly how much stuff developers like Zynga have been able to access. There was also a series of events a couple of years ago where privacy controls were updated and set to overly permissive defaults—which is either spectacularly bad management (given how much bad PR it generated each and every time) or a bribed enablement of data-scraping.

As for sending email to a Gmail user, that's what I meant by "passive" use of Google's services, although I should note that if your e-mail never gets read, it cannot make Google money, just like a site with Google ads on it that never gets visited. You're really only an incidental bystander in that situation.

Comment: Re:Because you think Google is any better? (Score 5, Interesting) 218

by Samantha Wright (#46671699) Attached to: Why No One Trusts Facebook To Power the Future

Well, there's at least one sentence that's essentially different: "even when you die, Facebook can still make money off you."

Google doesn't (as far as I know) sell user information to advertisers. They exclusively use their own analytics; all an advertiser can do is submit their target demographics and keywords, and let Google do the math. While they're both huge storehouses of personal information, the big G is monolithic and generally non-porous—unless you're a malignant security agency, at least. If you're not using their services (at least passively), you're definitely not making them money.

This doesn't make them Totally Cool Groovy Guys You Should Trust With Anything, but it does make them naive ideologues surfing along the edge of a slippery slope rather than the outright thuggery of Facebook and other traditional advertisers—FB is more like a spam subscription; once you get signed up, you can be certain that your private information will propagate across the cosmos for eternity.

Comment: Re:Not "thousands" (Score 1) 53

Oh, don't worry, I double-checked Wikipedia too. :) If those were truly multicellular (and the evidence is inconclusive as to whether or not some of them were even cells) then it's very likely they developed it independently. Continuing to quote Wikipedia:

Multicellularity has evolved independently at least 46 times,

...and that's without discussing pluripotency, which is the ability to differentiate various kinds of cells. It's very unlikely that Metazoa separated from Protozoa more than a billion years ago.

(Better luck next round, hero.)

Time is an illusion perpetrated by the manufacturers of space.