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Comment Re:back up again (Score 1) 85

There needs to be heavy punitive measures against this sort of thing.

There ARE punitive measures against this sort of thing - they were added to counter concerns that content rights-holders would abuse the DMCA for just this sort of purpose.
Putting it in simple terms, the problem is that the person/organisation receiving the DMCA takedown has to (a) file an appeal against the takedown, and then in order for the punitive measures to kick in, they have to (b) prove that the organisation issuing the DMCA notice did so maliciously, knowing that they had no right to demand take-down of the subject material.
In other words, to avoid the punishment for falsely sending out DMCA notices, all the sender has to do is say "doh, silly me... sorry - I had no idea that I was not allowed to do that..."

Comment Broken window falacy, again? (Score 4, Insightful) 116

Quoting from Ofcom on the suibject...
"Ofcom said that the aim of the auction was not to generate revenue for the government, but to promote competition that will ensure consumers will benefit from the rollout of 4G services."

However, I would be willing to bet my mortgage and my left testicle that the mobile carriers will say "this service is x% better than the 3G network, so we need to charge the consumer at least x% more than they paid for 3G services" irrespective of the relative cost of the 3G and 4G services to the provider.
Ofcom's approach is a nice idea, if the savings from reduced licence cost are passed on to the consumer, but in related news it has been discovered that the problems with the Curiosity rover on Mars are caused by the fact that the water we were hoping to find there is actually Champagne, and the rover is currently detoxing in a Martian Alcoholics Anonymous facility before resuming its place as a productive member of Martian society...

Reducing the cost to big business in the hope that there is a trickle-down effect will not see all of those savings go in Management bonuses at the mobile companies, but considering that the expected revenue will now have to be made up by the British taxpayer, the net result will be a win for the business and a loss for the man in the street.

Comment Re:Does not "evaporate" (Score 1) 93

There's a big difference between scanning all messages passing through an exchange on fishing expeditions and looking in the phone of somebody who's already under arrest for criminal activity.

When you're under arrest as a drug dealer the police can search you and your belongings. They can even look up your ass if they want to.

When under arrest, the police certainly can search you and examine your belongings. However, the scope of their investigation is quite heavily restricted under law, and from a quick spin through the article (sorry /., I failed you... I read the original article, sorry for not following the traditions of this community) my non-legal opinion is that most of the actions that the police performed relating to the mobile phone were illegal, unless the first suspect voluntarily gives the police access to the phone in an unlocked state.
However, for the police to then use that mobile phone and impersonate the first suspect to arrange a meeting with the second suspect smacks to me of entrapment against that second suspect.
As an aside, if one of my friends sent me a sms along the lines of "dude, let's meet in 20 minutes at X, I want to sell you some drugs", I would (a) know that it is not one of my friends, because no-one would call me "dude", and (b) I would assume they were joking about the drugs so I would go along to the meeting place thinking he had a fight with his girlfriend and needed to get drunk... getting there and meeting the police would take me somewhat by surprise. Having said that, would a "suspected drug dealer" be among my list of friends, and would I still react i the same way if the person who wanted to meet was a suspected drug dealer?

But as a SMS is a point to point communication medium, I would expect a judge who understands technology (I hear these do exist, and they live at the North Pole with Santa Claus) to rule either that SMS messages are electronic letters and there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, or that they are private if the receiving phone has a passcode lock enabled and public if a passcode lock is not enabled. But enforcing that conditional privacy clause would be a nightmare.

Comment Re:Dear lawmakers (Score 2) 162

So you are saying that the IP *DOES* uniquely identify "something" even if not a person, thus proving the original AC to be an idiot, which was my point.

The IP identifies a communication end-point on the ISP's network, but unless the ISP has allocated that as a static IP address, the allocation is done on a DNCP basis and is time-sensitive.
If you want to put this in terms of physical locations, that DHCP address is like saying that a bomb was mailed from a particular hotel room, and the hotel has given the authorities a list of the people who booked that room during the period in which the bomb might have been posted. The authorities then go and charge all of those people with a terrorist offence, rather than finding out which of them actually did it.
A copyright infringement shakedown to all of those individuals takes much less effort and will probably get better results than actually going through the process of determining which specific individual was responsible for the offence. In fact, I would not be surprised if there are a few trolls out there with teams cruising neighbourhoods for open wifi hotspots, who stop for an hour to leech that wifi connection, so that the troll can generate addittional "infringers" - they can probably find 8-10 open wifi hotspots per team member per day, and at the low low price of $7500 per infringement to make the problem go away, $60-75k per person per day is quite a good profit, even with lawyers fees. Not that I am saying Voltage Pictures are pulling that one... but I am not the world's most paranoid conspiracy theorist so I am fairly sure that someone has come up with that as a business model.

Comment Re: Response (Score 5, Insightful) 104

Wikipedia is almost nothing without contributors, and french government can put a heavy presure on french contributors.
What wil be the result if each government acts the same way ?

This is the core problem in this case. If the French government, or in deed any government outside the US, wanted to go after Wikipedia, they would find that for all the Wikimedia Foundation is not a money making machine, there are plenty of legally trained people willing to leap to its defence. Plus it would be a great bit of American flag-waving, with the forces of Goodness, Truth and The American Way protecting US Citizens from the corrupt/socialist/communist/feminist/European/Chinese/Arab/terrorist/non-Hollywood/pirate/non-Christian (delete as appropriate) evils.
If the US government wants to shut it down, one call from any number of unaccountable officials in shadowy agencies could pretty much bury the whole thing.

On the other hand, if a government wants to go after the contributors, they are much less likely to have any legal training, backup or knowledge of how the law works, and a couple of big guys with official-looking badges suddenly become very effective at getting the contributor censored.

Comment Re:Manslaughter (Score 1) 115

Throwing the book at them (preferably an authentic replica of the stone tablets that the 10 Commandments were written on) would be very satisfying, but arguing premeditation would be a challenge - there are definitely elements to the scam that suggest it could be made to stick, but the defence would also have plausible arguments.
Manslaughter or culpable homicide would be easier to argue for, and given that you would almost certainly be looking at more than one death, the results should amount to a similar time in gaol (jail, to the American-English speakers among us).

Comment The ID-10-T problem (Score 1) 284

The security of a computer is only as strong as its weakest link, and that weakest link is almost always the 6 inch gap between the ears of the computer user. And because the compromise of an entire network is easier to achieve once a single computer on the network is compromised, that makes the security of the corporate network only as strong as the weakest link... and every time you think you have found your company's dumbest user, you find another one who makes your previous candidate look like an IT geek.
So you almost have to plan for "when we have a breach, how are we going to mitigate it and recover" instead of "if we have a breach, how do we hide the evidence", while knowing that the company management will almost certainly shoot down your plan on cost grounds and then fire your ass when the breach occurs. :)

Comment Re:When will the non-DRM version of sc5 be availab (Score 4, Informative) 427

I have a hard time accepting that. Rollercoaster Tycoon, released 14 years ago, was able to simulate a theme park with 1,000s of actors without too much difficulty. I remember the game was able to run pretty well on my Pentium 2 at the time.

Comparing the processors, I see that today's i3s run about 100x more flops than p2. (i3 ~ 25 Gflops, p2 ~ 0.23 Gflops).

Given the resources that EA/Maxis has (compared with 1 developer programming the whole thing), I think they probably could have programmed it to simulate ~100,000 citizens at acceptable speed on midrange hardware. So I think it probably boiled down to more a question of priority than possibility.

Gorobei's point is that the simulation approach to SC5 is fundamentally different to the older "Sim" games - the older games, as you say, modelled the entire organism (theme park, in the case of Rollercoaster Tycoon) and generated the actors within that simulation based on a group of relatively simple statistical behaviours - a certain percentage will head for the next ride, a certain percentage will puke as they come off the rollercoaster (always a goal of mine when playing that game), some will go and eat, and so on. The graphics are then generated to put a visual representation on those statistical behaviours.
SC5, on the other hand, turns that model upside down - now, instead of having a single simulated organism (the theme park or city) with a small number of centres for behaviour collection (rides in the theme park, city zones/buildings/events in Sim City) for which to generate the statistical behaviours that your actors will show, now each individual actor is their own organism - the model is too complex to resort to "averaging" and modeling the overall system, but it is not complex enough to give each actor enough behaviours to be able to form creative solutions such as taking a detour around a road block.
In that sense, SC5 is going in the right direction, but until the models for the actors are complex enough that they can appear semi-intelligent, the gameplay result is going to feel inferior to what it has replaced.

Comment Re:30 years for a non violent crime. (Score 5, Insightful) 127

Madoff had a serious impact on the lives of thousands of people who invested in his investment vehicle/Ponzi scheme, including a large number of people who could not afford to lose their investment money.
If you want to be an idiot and assume that only rish people invest money, then I suggest you avoid reading this WSJ article on the arftermath of the Madoff scandal.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324339204578171422302043906.html

Comment Re:Not sure if it's a conflict (Score 1) 34

Funny, but even that would not work in this case. The "conflict of interest" element is not about whether Autonomy would fiddle the results, but about the fact that the investigating party (the Serious Fraud Office) already has a financial relationship with one of the parties involved in the investigation.
That creates a situation where the SFO cannot be guaranteed to be impartial - if they investigate and find that Autonomy did not artificially and fraudulently inflate their value, then HP have the option of crying that the pre-existing relationship predisposed the SFO toward that verdict.

Comment Career advancement for you, ROI for the company (Score 2) 117

Bottom line, there is no law that says an employer has to reimburse you, unless that reimbursement is covered in your employment contract.
Most employers will take a flexible approach unless they are in a cost-cutting phase (even then, if you can show that your training course will allow you to do both your job and that of the smelly antisocial guy next to you that the manager hates, the manager will probably swing to the cost of the certification materials, on-the-job training time and exam, with a contract caveat that you will be liable for those costs if you voluntarily leave the company within 2-3 years), but it is a relatively simple balancing act:
What added value will this certification provide to the company vs. what is the cost of the certification process in materials, lost work hours and financial expenditure.
Also, how easy is it to replace you with a lower/same paid person if you decide to leave should the training request be turned down; or will this training course make you more likely to stay with the employer/more likely to leave or be head-hunted.

Working as a consultant, certification in relevant and recognized skill areas helps my company open opportunities with other clients, or new areas within the same client. However, if the company does not get any more per-head revenue for those areas then I am not going to see any direct financial benefit (maybe something unofficial, that the company can write off against tax, but that is about it).
Fundamentally, the company has to earn enough from my contract to pay me and make my mandatory benefits contributions. If the contract mandates 40 man-hours per week for X, then that sets a ceiling for my remuneration. If my certification does not enable the company to renegotiate the cost of the contract, then my employer has to reduce their share of the pie (make less profit) in order to reward me. However, if that certification makes me more attractive to another potential client who is willing to cover my contract at 40 hours per week for 1.5*X, then the employer can move me to the new client, give me a pay rise, and bring in a new body to replace me. The old client may not be too happy to lose me, but the contract is not for MY services at 40 hours per week, it is for 40 man-hours.

Comment Re:How much access and monitoring? (Score 3, Insightful) 105

The other problem is how much access are you going to give the suspect? Would the police be allowed to monitor everything in case the suspect tries to tamper with evidence or influence people?

The question is an interesting one - police are (in most countries, at least, including Canada afaik) not allowed to monitor communications between a lawyer and their client, with that "no monitoring" also extending to their initial attempts to locate/contact their lawyer. Presumably if the police allow the accused to log into their gmail account to email a lawyer, they would not be allowed to retain those login details for future evidence searches. Of course, if the internet access is used purely to find a directory of lawyers and go down them one by one to find one willing/able to represent the accused, that is another thing. But if a police officer offered me a PC and said "just login to your email account here, find a lawyer and send them an email asking for help", I am not sure if I would laugh or cry at such a bad attempt at password phishing.

Comment Options, with no suggestion of which to choose (Score 1) 347

Option 1: Agree, and pay up. However, the licence agreement you sign will probably be walled and worded so that only the one patent under discussion is covered in the settlement. When the troll comes back with another vague-sounding patent, because you paid up on the first without a fight, you are back in the same situation.
Option 2: Tell them to print a copy of the licence agreement, scrunch it up and insert it into an appropriate cavity on their CEO.
Option 3: Ignore it. The troll has probably sent out quite a few of these letters, and the best way to get their attention is to send back some kind of a response (either the "yes we will pay" or "no we will not pay" type).
Option 4: Several people have already listed a few law firms with people specialized in IP law, and asking around will typically find you one who is able/willing to take on a case like this on a pro-bono or no win-no fee basis. However, I would suggest asking what happens in the event that you win the case and the troll is required to pay your costs, but the troll gets wound up on the day of the judgement as a shell company with no assets.

One other thing - I would suggest contacting the maker of the wi-fi gear you are using. On the up-side (ideal world), they should be willing to get their legal people to deal with the issue as it will directly affect their future product sales. If they say "your lawsuit, your problem", then you know they are a bunch of idiots not deserving of your money, so you know not to buy their stuff in future.

Comment Vote on it... but not necessarily enact it (Score 2) 103

6/7 years ago, the Finnish parliament voted in the current "pussi paskaa" copyright law. Now, assuming that more than 1% of the population adds their names to a poll in favour of that law being amended (probably a racing certainty), the Finnish parliament has to vote yes/no on the question "did we make a huge mistake here?".

Given that Finland is part of the Euro currency group within the EU, there will probably be significant pressure from political groups within the EU that are backed by the European copyright lobby, as well as significant pressure generated by the RIAA/MPAA. There will also be pressure domestically from the Finnish copyright lobby, which was powerful enough to get the law passed in the first place.

So unless the number of people signing up for a review of the law exceeds 50% (probably not even then... 75% or even 90% might be needed) of the population of Finland, I doubt there is much chance of a vote on the subject gaining the required parliamentary support to overturn or amend the law.

Comment Release schedule driven solely by Product people? (Score 1) 366

If by "Product" people, the OP means sales/marketing people, then this will be a constant problem, the development team will always be to blame, and you will always feel like a cross between Sisyphus and a dung beetle.
First, you will need a development manager with the authority to hold the release of a product version.
Second, you will need a development manager with the backbone to stand up to pressure from the "product" people and push back.
Third, you will need a development manager who protects you from the "product" people who are used to coming to you directly and dropping tasks on you.
Fourth, you will need a development manager who will inspire your development team to change their coding habits from fighting fires to development based on a plan. Whether than inspiration comes from higher pay, a kick up the arse, threat of firing or good old-fashioned physical intimidation/sexual innuendo is dependent on whatever works on the individual developers.
Finally, you need all of those development managers to be the same person.
Once you have that person in place, they need to adopt a specific development methodology - Scrum, Agile, fundamentally it does not matter at this point. You are starting from such a low level of code quality that it sounds as though just about anything will be an improvement, as long as all the developers are pulling in the same direction.
The development manager sits down with the "product" people, establishes a list of required features for the next version, and either talks to the team about estimated development times or comes up with that figure themselves. Add time for comprehensive testing and bug fixing (not all bugs, just the major ones), plus a little extra time. That gives the release date. Product people want it sooner? Fine... what features shall we take out? Once the feature list and timeline is established, if the product people want to add features or change their mind, then either the release date is moved or those changes are held over to the next version, or other pre-agreed features that have not yet been developed are held over.
The development manager will be the most hated person in the office for about 6 months, and (s)he will need the full backing of the company directors because you can be sure that the product people will be on the directors' cases 24x7 complaining about the obstructive person. It is not an easy job, it is not a nice job, but it is one that I have done at a couple of companies, and once the product people see a release come out on time and relatively bug-free, they will start to come around.

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