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Comment: Re:Media (Score 1) 199

by jd (#47773019) Attached to: Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

Yeah, I can see you do great on statistics, too.

Death stopped being binary some years back (suggest you read medical news) but this isn't about that. This is simple numbers. If device X kills N times out of 100 and device Y kills M times out of 100, where N != M, the lethality of the devices is not the same.

Comment: Re:Media (Score 4, Insightful) 199

by jd (#47772299) Attached to: Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

Cops are not doing a good job. Estimates range from 400-1000 unjustified deaths a year. To put it into context, since 9/11, there may well have been 4 times as many unjustified deaths by cops in America as unjustified deaths by Al Queda.

That isn't acceptable by any standards.

Or perhaps if you'd like, I can put it another way. There have been three times as many incidents of manslaughter and murder by American cop per capita of population than there have been incidents of manslaughter or murder in Britain in total.

That number is WAY unacceptable.

Cops carrying guns confer no benefit to those in the area (80% of bullets fired by police handguns miss their target, they don't vanish and they do hit passers-by, sound crew, hostages, etc).

Cops carrying guns confer no benefits to law and order, since alternatives from stun guns to pain rays (microwave stimulation of nerve endings, if you prefer) to teargas (which isn't great but is less lethal than a lump of lead) already exist and criminals are less likely to carry when running is a more practical option than a shoot-out. That has always been the British experience, which is why you now get regular shoot-outs where British cops are stupid enough to carry where you'd previously have had maybe one a decade versus an armed response unit.

Cops carrying guns confer no benefits to the cop, since dead weight can result a cop becoming dead, accidental shootings are very likely to produce retaliation, and "utility" belts stop utilizing when they terrify locals, intimidate visitors, but bolster thugs who gain greater mobility and dexterity from not wearing them.

Look, this is all very simple. Too simple for nutters, perhaps, but simple nonetheless.

First, preventing crime by eliminating prime environmental and psychological causes is a good start. If there's no crime, there's nobody to shoot and nobody shooting back.

Second, preventing cops turning bad by preventing them developing a "them vs us" attitude is essential and you don't achieve that by giving them scrutineering powers and not those they are scrutinizing. It has to be a two-way street to prevent that kind of mindset.

But that requires one additional ingredient to work properly:

Third, preventing cops turning bad by preventing them from being have-a-go heros. They should work with the community, be a part of the community, guard it from within. And, like all good guards, they should NOT be on constant alert. They should be constantly engaging on a social level, not a paramilitary one. If a crime happens, let the criminal go somewhere where there ISN'T a huge danger to others. Inanimate objects can look after themselves, people need a bit more effort.

It is better to let a gang "get away" from the scene, with no bullets fired, be tracked safely and then be apprehended INTACT when it is safe to do so. Going in there guns blazing will cause excessive damage, risk the lives of those supposedly protected and served, and for what? Some carcases. No trial, no determination of the chain of events, no proof even that the dead body is the guilty party. It can't exactly answer questions in the dock, can it?

No, disarm the cops, give them high-res cameras (and maybe girls gone wild t-shirts, I dunno), and let them be what cops should be - good citizens. They are NOT the army, they should NEVER be allowed military-grade weapons, they should deal with matters calmly, quietly and sensibly.

If they're not capable of that, they're incapable of good. Of any kind.

Comment: If a ruggedized camera breaks (Score 2) 199

by jd (#47772225) Attached to: Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

Then it wasn't an accident. Simple as that. People seem to forget that you can build these devices to withstand any force a cop's skull is likely to take, and more besides.

Storage is a non-issue because you don't need to store a lot locally. Local storage can be limited to the time the cop is outside of radio contact plus the time to clear enough buffer that no information is lost. So unless the cop is riding a motorbike in a cage, it's just not enough to create serious issues.

Battery will be a bigger issue. It'll take a lot of batteries to keep transmitting at a decent resolution. However, as cops with guns cause more trouble than they prevent, that's also easy to fix. Sufficient batteries will consume no more weight than a sidearm plus extra ammunition.

Actually, it might not be that bad. With the proposed mandate for vehicle-to-vehicle communication, a cop radio could turn the entire road network into a gigantic adhoc wireless network. You don't need as much power for a short-range transmission. Might as well get some value out of these stupid ideas.

Comment: Re:Developers prefer Ubuntu? (Score 1) 230

by jd (#47771989) Attached to: How Red Hat Can Recapture Developer Interest

Why would developers want/care about long-term support?

There are a tonne of packages out there that will grab source from a repository and compile in a root jail. You now have binaries for every permutation of dependencies ever produced. Test harnesses (you remember those, the things developers are supposed to use) can give you a list of regressions and compatibility bugs within minutes of a commit.

Long term support encourages developers to be lazy, to presuppose things that may not be true.

Developers are best supposing nothing, testing everything and isolating the conditional (which they should be doing anyway, good software design). If you don't have time to be competent, then you certainly don't have time to be incompetent. So find time.

Comment: Re:Developers prefer Ubuntu? (Score 0) 230

by jd (#47771969) Attached to: How Red Hat Can Recapture Developer Interest

As a developer, I categorically state I hate Ubuntu for development work. It is horribly sub-optimal, poorly organized and package management is unstable and space inefficient. It also doesn't run on several of my white box PCs. Very standard, old white boxes.

Red Hat is only marginally better on efficiency, but recovery is ugly.

Gentoo would be ok, except that compiler flags are a bother. I can't use utilities for using profiles to calculate optimal flags when those flags will vary down the dependency chain.

Linux From Scratch is good, it's essentially how I put together my own systems between the last of the MCC builds and the first Red Hat I considered tolerable enough.

Look, I don't expect miracles immediately. Only after the updates from the repository. There simply isn't any reason for so much broken code and suboptimal configs. Not when Ubuntu is run by a billionaire who can afford a few extra hard drives for high-end builds.

Comment: Re:Every place that has implemented it has done gr (Score 1) 589

by Overzeetop (#47768219) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

This is why it isn't common.

I think, though, that this is more of a temporary hurdle. Once it's in place, IF it's used properly, there's really no issue. Every bank teller in America has a camera on them at all times, as does nearly ever cashier and casino worker. Most every cube-dweller is subject to email and web tracking software at work as well, watching ever online click and transaction. For most everyone it's not an issue, and in this case there are more reasons - as a cop - to want it than not in the long run because it has the opportunity to make their job easier when it happens to be the hardest.

Comment: Welcome to the free market (Score 1) 328

by jd (#47762443) Attached to: Comcast Tells Government That Its Data Caps Aren't Actually "Data Caps"

Where providers are free to gouge and customers are free to... well... complain on Slashdot, but that's about it.

It's only actually free when there's freedom. Freedom to choose between genuinely different providers is a start. If they go to the same tier 2 provider, then the that will define the prices and services, so isn't a choice at all. If they ARE the tier 2, then they're the ultimate source of services and pricetag for all the tier 3s out there.

But there has to be more, since bandwidth throttling dictates bandwidth availability downstream. You can't sell what isn't there - unless you're Time-Warner or Comcast, of course. Try that with a physical product ("It'll cost you $elebenty, payable now, no refund, and if it doesn't do what we claim, that's not a lemon, that's the fault of some unidentified someone doing something somewhere somehow and we'd rather screw you than bother them"). So, freedom to know what you're actually buying and freedom to use statuary rights to obtain that product or a refund.

This is actually one reason I'm a little unhappy with free software. It has been telling vendors that it's ok to not provide what is offered. Not so much by actually doing that - free software has been, in general, superb about being up-front about what it can and cannot do, known defects and limitations, etc. More by saying in the license that the producer is entitled to lie through his teeth without consequence. A quick look at Oracle's conduct shows that vendors have paid very close attention to that clause.

Free Software relies on there being a viable alternative, that users can go elsewhere if dissatisfied. The resilience to fixing bugs in GCC and GLibC, in present and prior administrations, demonstrate that when viable alternatives are scant, such software is too complex to fork or replace unless it gets really, really bad. Which it has occasionally done.

When it comes to cable companies, it's infinitely worse. You're not in a position to run fibre from your home to an alternative tier 2 in another State. Partly because of expense, partly because laws governing interstate activities make it impossible for private individuals, and partly because the cable companies would raise all hell, three quarters of bloody murder and a dash of pint of high water to stop you. Which would not be hard for them, all they need to do is to persuade the tier 2 provider to not sell the capacity. If that failed, they could keep you tied up in knots with the FCC over whether you were an unlicensed telecom operator or not. Mind you, some of you might like knots. I dunno. If all else failed, they could SWAT the people running the cable, get you listed for suspected terrorist ties, or just repeatedly run a backhoe through your cable until you got the message.

You have no choice. You have no freedom. The cable operators have been redefining "monopoly" and "telecommunications" to whatever serves their purpose, not yours, and on multiple occasions. They have been free to do so because everyone likes simplified services and nobody in the States is going to vehemently oppose the "market at work". Even when it clearly doesn't. Not until it is far, far too late to stop things happening.

And we're way past it being too far. It was too far when telecos started replacing copper for fibre at select spots. Supposedly to improve service (which never improved). The reality was that DSL companies competing with the teleco all went out of business where this happened. No great surprise, you can't run DSL over fibre and everyone knew it. It was too late when telephonic "service of last resort" stopped being mandatory in many States. It was too late when ADSL was all private users could buy, SDSL was only sold to select businesses.

It was too late when rival multistate networks got bought up by the Big Telecos with not a murmur from anyone.

It was not because these were fatal in themselves, it's because people had become too stupid and too utterly dependent on being spoonfed by corporate giants (who are far less efficient than any big government ever thought of being, except at defrauding customers). The time for people to learn to think had passed. There wasn't anything left to think about. There were no examples to learn from. All that was left was a self-inflicted oblivion.

It's as if a hundred billion endpoints all screamed out and then fell silent.

And no Consumer Jedi to notice or care.

Comment: Re:How long will it be before script kiddies (Score 1) 233

by Overzeetop (#47760915) Attached to: California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

That's kind of my point - it already exists. And it exists on the most gullible user, cash-rich platform ever - iOS. Find My iPhone would allow an attacker to send a message to the user informing him or her of a complete wipe of their data unless they paid up. These are folks who would have no idea if they've backed up their phone or not, and even if they had half of them done' know how to reinstall what they lost. Tens of millions of phones with owners who would drop $100 in a heartbeat not to lose their friends texts or pictures of their grandkids. And yet it's not happening.

Comment: Already (mostly) exists (Score 1) 233

by Overzeetop (#47756223) Attached to: California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

You do realize that both Android and iOS have this feature baked in, right? You can remotely wipe your phone, and with a court order the police can coerce you to do it as well (if you worry about such things). All that's required is the device lock, which is fairly trivial given the propensity for modders to brick phones accidentally.


If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson