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Comment Re:agents provocateurs (Score 2) 566

It's actually even more complex than that. Police are now basically being required to do their own recording merely to provide evidence of their own side of the argument, to prevent any 'provocateurs' from rabble-rousing.

This leads to pressure in law enforcement to deploy even more invasive surveillance. We could have officers then being required to keep their own personal cameras running constantly merely to prevent them from self blatantly self censoring footage that is not advantageous to their own point of view. And while I'm not strictly against police officers being under additional scrutiny, I'm not sure how I'd feel if every officer showing up to a public or domestic disturbance call needs to be wearing personal video surveillance. How much public privacy are we willing to sacrifice in order to keep everyone honest?

Comment Re:I am windows free and proud (Score 1) 417

I run Linux at home AND work you insensitive clod! And my girlfriend borrows a Linux machine when... well, not really. She's happy off in Mac land. But my home has been Windows free since the last drive running Windows ME died back in 2003ish. And ME was what really convinced me to stay off Windows for good. And I can't say I miss it.

I won't lie, I certainly became less of a gamer as a result. But console games and Wine fill the need that the small but slowly increasing handful of Linux released games can't fill. And I'd also like to think I've become a much better developer/system administrator/alpha geek as a result.

Seriously, what's to be surprised about? What do you really think you can do under Windows that we poor Linux users can't manage with our cryptic command line ways?

Comment Re:Not really a free speech ruling (Score 4, Informative) 96

I'm not saying this isn't a free speech issue. I think these ICE domain seizures are total bullshit.

I'm merely pointing out that the part in the rules which says you can declare something a violation on First Amendment grounds hasn't happened yet. This is a ruling on a petition which is covered by the same rules that ICE used to seize the domains in the first place. And that section of law declares that after the domain Nazis seize your domains, you get to file this petition to declare the seizure bogus.

In the petition, you can appeal to the judge on several different grounds. The specific part of law they're claiming in their petition is that they that they're suffering an undue financial hardship. On those grounds the judge says he's denying the petition and letting the case move forward.

They haven't yet reach the part in the court drama where they get to ask the judge to throw out the case on First Amendment grounds. It's still coming up after the next few commercials.

Comment Not really a free speech ruling (Score 4, Informative) 96

The actual ruling here is on a specific provision of the law where a seized domain owner to petition the courts to have the domains returned.

(Relevant part of the code here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/983.html)

The judge is merely ruling here that this provision doesn't meet the requirements of this specific provision.

The Judge continues, "Although some discussion may take place in the forums, the fact that visitors must now go to other websites to partake in the same discussions is clearly not the kind of substantial hardship that Congress intended to ameliorate in enacting 983. See 145 Cong. Rec. H4854-02 (daily ed. June 24, 1999) (statement of Rep. Hyde) (“Individuals lives and livelihoods should not be in peril during the course of a legal challenge to a seizure.”). Puerto 80 may certainly argue this First Amendment issue in its upcoming motion to dismiss, but the First Amendment considerations discussed here certainly do not establish the kind of substantial hardship required to prevail on this petition."

Comment Re:Payment processors need RICOing (Score 1) 117

Well, towards that end, it's not just payment processing that remains a sink hole for fraud.

Identify Theft could also be mitigated by the banks, yet at present they have no financial incentives to make any changes. This is because when a bank allows a criminal to open a credit line in your name, it remains your problem rather than a problem for the bank.

Comment Re:Like the cloud... (Score 1) 153

It's far worse than that. Anyone can apply the "Anonymous" moniker to anything, and there can be no way to prove or disprove such a relationship. Because, at the end of the day, "Anonymous" resolves into exactly what it sounds like... anonymity.

Which is not to say that there aren't individuals acting collectively under the name "Anonymous" that could be identified. Merely that you can't identify someone as solely being a member. You need to tie them back to specific actions to give them a 'real' identify, such as posted on a specific forum with a given user name, or participated in a given DDoS from a given IP address.

Which becomes even more confusing when people want to attribute press releases to "Anonymous" which is analogous to saying "someone, somewhere posted this and we don't know who."

Comment Re:Skinner Boxes (Score 1) 162

Certainly, the gaming industry is not immune to the march of 'progress'. But neither is any other. Advertising continues to become more effective as new techniques emerge that allow them to be more targeted and tantalizing. So, too, do games that want to charge you by the month instead of a lump sum up front become better at luring their players back for just one more numerical increase. And there are certainly a host of creepy psychological factors at work, being taken into account when designing new games or television series or grocery store advert.

But I have to take exception with the idea that an MMO is an 'inherently amoral business'. Escapism isn't some new concept created by the video game industry. The entertainment industry has been feeding off society's desire to escape from the banality of reality since the dawn of art. They've just gotten better at it over the years.

More specifically, if you want to point out the large downside in the growth of all this new and compelling entertainment content, is the growing need many people feel for it. Not because the entertainment is getting better... which, to be sure, it is. But because the reality of their lives is getting worse, and they feel powerless to change things. And this change in society has very little to do with the entertainment industry, and more to do with greed in general.

Comment Re:I hate it when this happens (Score 3, Insightful) 91

Actually, this was was part of the entire point behind the creation of copyright law. In the US, the 'for a limited' clause was there so that the author could benefit by monetizing a short term monopoly on their work, and then the copyright would expire and it would revert into the public domain.

Of course, this was in the days of hand written scribes and latter of movable type presses. The concept of digital information transmission did not yet exist, nor with it the idea that information could be shared near instantly at a fraction of the cost.

Since then, copyright laws have increased in duration from the original 'Statute of Anne' which provided 14 years, with an additional 14 years of the copyright was renewed. Compared to the current US version which protects from 70 years after the death of the author, or for corporate owned works, 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication.

We've also moved away from the publication of plain text works, to the new age of computer binary code. So even if the copyright on a computer program would expire, there are no provisions that the author need also provide the original source code. So the US copyright on Lineage should expire in 2093 (should no further extensions be added, and NCSoft is South Korean, so foreign copyrights can get even tricker) then we would be freely able to distribute the compiled client code... but without access to the never published source code or server software... well, doubtless 95 year old software would only be of any interest to historians anyways. Who could freely view the copyright code all that wanted, even during the duration of the copyright... just as long as they didn't distribute it amongst themselves for study.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 1) 742

Yes, you can make money in the world of Science Fiction and Fantasy entertainment, and history is fraught with such examples.

And while LOTR and Harry Pottery are notable examples of commercial successes, there are plenty of examples of Sci-Fi failures in the market place. For those looking to invest their money in a profitable adventure, your safer investment is with reality television, as you can generate the greatest amount of market share for the least cost. Fantastical scenes tend to require a significantly higher investment in terms of set design and special effects than your typical Rom/Real/Sit/Com.

Capitalism is not a system designed for making entertainment, it's designed to make money. And so long as entertainment continues to be funded by those who would rather make money than good entertainment, they will continue to happily cater to those market bases that generate the most revenues for the least cost.

If fans of science fiction really want their fix, they will likely need to put together their own content industry where they are willing to spend more and generate less revenue in lieu of getting the quality content they desire.

Comment Re:The problem in the US... (Score 1) 298

After posting, I realize I colored my comment with a bias towards the government funding of science, and for that I apologize. For the purposes of the story in question, it doesn't really matter where the funding comes from. Certainly, for government funding, public opinion matters more. Yet, even in private industry venture capitalist/CFOs/PHBs are going to be more inclined to green-light speculative research when they have some common culture on which to bias their decisions. For instance, a handful of notables involved in the rise of wireless communication (such as Martin Cooper, father of the handheld mobile phone) remarked on being influenced by the communicators used in Star Trek.

Comment Re:The problem in the US... (Score 4, Insightful) 298

It's not just about inspiring kids to grow up and become scientists. It's also about how much the next generation will care about investment in a new fancy science fiction future. There are plenty of reason to want to cut government spending. And if you care nothing about space exploration and travel, you could easily see the budget of a government organization like NASA or the National Science Foundation as completely superfluous.

Pure science needs pure funding. If your lab is forced to spend more time worried about how to monetize an idea than to explore it's scientific ramifications, you end up in compromising positions of wanting to cut corners and fudge the numbers.

Comment Re:I'm sitting this one out (Score 1) 836

In my ward, there were a total of 9 positions up for vote. Only three positions had names on the ballot there weren't a Republican or Democrat. Two positions were incumbents running unopposed. So when I went to vote today, I only voted on 5 of the positions. Three independents who made it on the ballot, one was an independent running as a write in, and one was a Democrat that I don't dislike.

I do agree that there are a lot of lousy names on the ballot. In the handful of hours I spent looking up the candidates who would be on the ballot in my district and listening to their public radio interviews, there was only one that I genuinely liked. So mostly I'm just voting on candidates I don't hate. On the plus side, when I first started voting, there was some 300 votes cast for independent candidates. Two years ago, my distract had just under 10% of the votes going to independents.

Comment Re:Blizzard Jumped the Shark (Score 1) 385

If you want fair multi-play online, you can't let the participants host their own games. Because then, as you say, the host always knows what everyone is doing. What you need is an intermediate network to host the games, a neutral third party service to keep things fair. Something that never sends any information to the client it doesn't need. Of course, this then requires that the host be trusted by the players to do all the heavy lifting on it's side to validate all the inputs being received. Which, again, as you say, would likely suggest a monthly subscription fee to host such a network.

If you don't do this, and instead trust the network to play wack-a-mole and verify that everyone is running a validated copy of the client binary without any untrusted third party software running, you're going to have cheaters.

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