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Comment Re:Do some ballot measures... (Score 1) 178

Fuck yeah!! ^ This guy civics.

Basically, all we need from the feds is to get out of the way, or use them as muscle if corrupt state government keeps cities from being able to legally do this. (And really, before we do that, we should just start voting in our state elections so that they don't have to be as corrupt anymore.)

Comment Re:Unfettered capitalism at work (Score 1) 346

A boycott - even if successful - only ensures they get sneakier about future attempts at the same goal

Even the click-through-EULA apologists haven't yet gotten rid of the click-through. While they've shown plenty of criminal intent by moving the "agreement" to after the sale, they still haven't yet gotten rid of the pretense of "agreement" altogether. As warped as our law is, there really are limits to contracts of adhesion: if they try to hide the existence of the contract completely, any court will say there's no contract at all.

What I'm getting at is: when they attack you, they're always going to show you a EULA. There might be a lot of fraud about what, exactly, you "agreed" to but the attack will be visible even if you don't know exactly what the attacker is trying to pull.

They simply can't be sneaky enough, if you adopt the best practices of rejecting all EULAs. Any time you see a EULA, decline. You know it's an attack, and there's virtually no chance that it's not an attack. It's just a question of details and severity.

If you want to change the law, ok. But don't focus on this one little example niche problem. Solve the general case. Make it a federal offense to manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in software intended to make hardware work against the interests of its owner.

You'll be solving lots of problems by doing that. The only downside is that it'll make us run out of things to whine about on Slashdot.

Comment Re:This isn't news (Score 2) 62

Once you give up physical access to your device, you give up security.

And when it comes to phones, that happens before you even buy it. The idea of a phone's security being subverted is laughable. It never had any security! It was always someone else's computer.

Granted, you would probably prefer your phone to have n masters above you, rather than n+1. But for high values of n, the more you care about that, the less sense it makes. You should probably worry more about n and less about the +1. Solve the real problem, and you'll solve the fake problem too.

Comment WTF happened in the Ceti Alpha system?! (Score 2) 435

I guess it's time to bring this up. I have been waiting a many years, but I think the day has arrived.

Ceti Alpha Six exploded?! And everyone just glosses over that and accepts it?! WTF. Planets don't just explode. But this one did? Uh huh. Why? How? What happened?

"The shock shifted the orbits?" WTF. I'm supposed to believe that not only did a planet explode (how?!) but there was a shockwave through the medium of space .. ? .. and it travelled across interplanetary distances losing energy at inverse-square rate, and it hit Ceti Alpha Five so hard that it changed its orbit. Um.. okay. So, I think we are probably talking about an event with considerably more energy than a nova. Depending on the distance, this might be a bigger deal than a supernova.

And nobody in the federation happened to notice that it happened.

But, years later, they sent people to the Ceti Alpha system for possible Genesis testing. And they not only didn't notice a missing planet and nothing being where it's supposed to be (and if you're not using old pre-explosion charts, then how were you counting up to 6 to guess which planet was Ceti Alpha Six?), but they didn't notice there's probably a new asteroid belt, etc. It's going to be a very interesting looking system to any astronomer.

I think Khan's story doesn't add up. It's so bullshit. They were on Ceti Alpha Six. So how did Khan and team get there?

Comment Re:How about people ? (Score 1) 430

Because someone suggested involuntary population control. If you can justify that, then you can justify anything. And I kind of thought my example of a negative number, instead of 1, illustrated it. Once you decide that it's worth using force (i.e. set a "policy" for the country) and then try select an optimum growth setting, you might end up anywhere.

Comment Re:One thing's always bothered me RE online gamlin (Score 1) 44

Are there any regulations in place to ensure... the odds are fair?

Hopefully not! Why would there be such regulations? It's not supposed to be fair. If it were fair, nobody would do it. Nobody would offer it. There would be no point.

If you force it to be fair, you're killing it. Making it be fair is a bad thing. If you want to gamble, you need to work to prevent regulations from making it fair. Whoever tries to make it fair, probably has a "gambling is a sin and the lord told me to fight it" agenda.

Personally, I am hard-pressed to think of anything as boring as gambling, but even I wouldn't try to kill it. I know people who enjoy it, and they enjoy it with the full knowledge that they lose money. On the bright side, they sometimes treat me to a casino buffet with their "free" (omg, I so have to suppress my laughter when I hear that word) points.

Please, don't take away my buffet.

Comment Re:My phone is too puny (Score 1) 151

So please explain how my suggestion to use your phone instead of the iPod nano or iPod shuffle will negatively impact the amount of music you can carry around?

I can't. I was explaining that phones aren't very good as portable music players, not comparing them to iPods. Now that you mention the amusing/stunning limitations of the iPod, my argument basically just comes down to: I don't use a phone because they're just as bad as iPods. (In terms of storage. iPods have other problems, too.)

Even in 2003 my music player had a 30 GB hard disk. From looking at 2.5" drive prices, a modern music player ought to have 500GB-1TB. Problem is, I can't find a modern one! Everyone keeps saying to use phones, but all of today's phones still have storage roughly on par with late 1990s computers.

Comment This is all just about sponsored results, right? (Score 1) 362

The more I read their decision, the more I'm convinced this is completely about "sponsored results." At least after a few test searches, a couple things are clear to me:

This statement in the decision is true..

Google has systematically given prominent placement to its own comparison shopping service: when a consumer enters a query into the Google search engine in relation to which Google's comparison shopping service wants to show results, these are displayed at or near the top of the search results.

..and this statement in the decision is false..

Google has demoted rival comparison shopping services in its search results: rival comparison shopping services appear in Google's search results on the basis of Google's generic search algorithms. Google has included a number of criteria in these algorithms, as a result of which rival comparison shopping services are demoted. Evidence shows that even the most highly ranked rival service appears on average only on page four of Google's search results, and others appear even further down. Google's own comparison shopping service is not subject to Google's generic search algorithms, including such demotions.

..unless it's all about the sponsored results (i.e. the results that most users unconsciously skip over; I was doing it before I realized I needed to pay attention to it, in order to understand the EU decision).

It's that simple, right? EU wants Google to include unpaid ads by competitors in their sponsored results? (And for those ads to be as broadly targeted as Google's own ads, to the point of being comically irrelevant most of the time.)

Comment Re:Not sure how that works (Score 1) 362

Click the 'Shopping' tab.

Whoa. Holy shit. I think I might be misunderstanding, so I just want someone to sanity-check me or test my reading comprehension. Surely I have made a hilariously stupid mistake in basic reading comprehension, and if there is one thing I trust the Internet for, it's for telling me how stupendously wrong I am about something:

My understanding was that this EU fine was about generic search. It's not about if a user does more than enter the name of a product; it's not about if a clicks deeper into Google's services with a specific, explicit request made to Google for Google to help them shop for an item.

Now I am seeing someone mention this shopping tab, and my opinion is changing rapidly. EU has a problem with that?!

Please, someone tell me I have absurdly misinterpreted the situation (and it reflects poorly on my character, intellect, and family background), and really, this is about generic search. Right? Right?! Please, someone on the Internet, tell me I'm a moron for suspecting this case is about explicit shopping searches. Please?

Comment Re:Ship of Theseus? (Score 1) 153

Widget X comes with a free network service

TANSTAAFL. It's shady offer, like a buffet or unmetered internet. I'm not saying it's necessarily bad but everyone needs to be looking at stuff like that as shady and exceptional. I'm not sure I care much which side government policy favors, in the conflict that such a deal will inevitably create.

Yes, I'm actually bothering to reply to a question with "I don't care." Wait! This doesn't necessarily make me an asshole. (I was an assole long before I replied, ha ha.) My point is that there are way easier and black-and-white situations where right to repair really matters. Let's not dwell on buffet-like examples, where the premise is that the customer is going to scam the scammer. ("If I pay to get into the buffet, and then I undergo mitosis while I'm in the restaurant, do my two descendants get to eat?")

If I had to pick a side (if "fuck you both" wasn't accepted), then...

I think policies shouldn't be doing anything to encourage unmetered stuff. Unmetered stuff is all about putting the two parties into zero-sum conflict where they're each hoping the other side mis-estimates what's going to happen. That's not a healthy situation; it's not the kind of economic activity that lifts all ships. (There's always going to be a loser, and I like transactions where both sides win.)

The vendor probably has more information, and therefore an advantage, over the customer. The vendor is initiating the shady deal. The customer does consent and therefore becomes party to the "crime" (ok, that's too strong a word, I'll admit) but they were led there. Therefore, if I had to pick a side, I'd make policy work against the vendor's interests. Yes, your two Widget Xs should get free service. Not because it's fair (it's not!), but to encourage companies to stop trying to scam the public with shit like Widget X. Decouple services from devices. (To be a little hyperbolic: "Free" things suck because we know they're not free, and the people who offer them are fucking liars and we should take pleasure in their misfortune.) If you happen to be getting good use out of yours, it's only because someone else got ripped off and their Widget X is in a landfill, not using the service that they paid for.

Again, that's if I had to pick sides. I hate the example, though, and right to repair is far bigger and is relevant in a much wider selection of transactions.

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