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Comment A Clarification (Score 1) 1452

Let me clarify. Even though I disagree with Stallman over the necessity of all things being user accessible, I appreciate the point and believe that his is an important voice to hear. It's just there's a time and place for everything and clumsy formulations such as Jobs as Mayor Daley or "malign influence on computing" are counter-productive as he tries to build the world he wants. That's his problem and I don't believe the FSF has to respond to what he says as an individual.

Comment What's the Beef (Score 1) 1452

Well, I know some of the answer. That there is something along the lines of device freedom, though we don't ask that of the microprocessors in the microwave. (Though some clever folks have put the os of their choice on appliances.) This is an elite freedom, in that most of the world could not make use of the freedom if it was available. The ironic thing: people are putting their own code onto their iPhones and iPads, so I guess this is about Apple having to support customizations. That doesn't make sense to me.

The FSF and Apple had a kerfuffle over Objective-C and gcc over a decade ago. The FSF won and Apple became a well-behaved licensee, meeting the terms of the license. Apple didn't start talking about Communism and if they needed functionality under a different license, they got the code or wrote it. Exactly what we tell those folks who pop up now and then and try to exploit work that is available through the GPL.

Should the FSF distance itself from Stallman because of this tasteless compulsion to express a polemic with the thinnest veneer of humanism? No. Why start now?

Comment Re:Wait a second (Score 1) 376

Didn't read the article, mea culpa, but how was he going to receive the photos his program took? How can Apple assume that photos are all that his application does and nothing else is transmitted or a control channel isn't opened? The Secret Service is the federal agency for investigating credit card fraud, so, they're called in, you betcha, to verify that idiot, self-entitled, privacy-hating, condescending artist is the reality and not the brilliant disguise.

Comment Re:Admin Privs?? (Score 2) 376

Why is this marked interesting? ~/Applications/ is on the path. "Installation" is copying the executable to a directory and "running" is invoking from the command line using a fully qualified path. Put an entry in the login items and the program will run again at account login. No admin rights needed as Unix lets a user control her directories and run programs. This security hole is found every where. It's actually considered a feature, as in, "I have the right to run whatever program I want on hardware I own."

As far as a program turning on the camera, getting the stream, and turning off the camera, this is provided by the apis and I would be stunned to find that any environment, OS X, Windows, Linux, etc., would require setuid for access.

Finally, at the end — no, scratch that — at the beginning of the day for any discussion of security, the moment unfettered physical access comes up, somebody does the "Game over, man." schtick.

As to the escalation to the Secret Service, this guy put software on all the computers that was transmitting data to a point outside the store. Maybe it was just photos, but what if it was also data which could be used for identity theft or credit card fraud or to put the store's Macs on his botnet?

Comment Re:In Defense of the Liberal Arts (Score 2) 913

Isn't this our encounter with Sherlock Holmes, unable to see the merit in knowing that the Earth revolves around the sun? At the end of the day, if he does not subscribe to the theory that an educated person knows something other than their trade, or if he has no room for the linguistics which led Larry Wall to perl, or ascribes no value to learning about the aesthetics which motivated Donald Knuth to explore problems of computing, or care that "Alice in Wonderland" and Monty Python — with their absurdity constructed from rigorous logic — are so often referenced by computer folks, or even that the people from the field that he knows about were whip smart and could write, well, it's his life.

If the question is more accurately framed "How can I go to college without having to do college-y things?" then, why go to college? To have something on a piece of paper? To put a check on the form?

It may not help my code or my employability that I may compare and contrast John Steinbeck, Thomas Malory, and a Broadway play. I had that conversation recently, and, indeed, I did not get my points from some college course, now over 30 years from my past, but I did get a framework for discussion, for how to engage with ideas and debate and uncertainty and patterns. It may not help. It doesn't hurt.

Arthur Conan Doyle probably understood Watson and Holmes could be compared with Sancho Panza and Don Quixote. Because the stories suggest some research into and familiarity with science, psychology, and the art of medical diagnosis, it's hard to imagine that the author would have been successful had Sir Arthur limited his field of knowledge to literature featuring two male characters who embody a duality.

I think Doyle suggests that the cost of Holmes' singular focus was a miserable purposelessness which manifested in addiction when the game was not afoot. In fiction, this need not be pursued, especially as the stories were adored as puzzles and not as verisimilitude. Were Holmes real, he would have been a footnote footnoted with the sordid details of tragic dissipation. In the real world, people need the well to be refreshed, and so often the insight comes, as with Archimedes, when the mind is engaged "off-topic."

Don't go to college for the check mark, it's really the employers who care about that. Go for the experiences and ideas that one doesn't expect or that one dismisses without consideration. And do not discard the liberal arts. Those folks write, write, and write. If one doesn't go to college and write thousands and thousands of mush-headed words, one, arguably, wasted the money and most surely postponed writing the blather until the moment one's nascent career is on the line.

Comment Re:Don't be evil (Score 1) 472

I suppose my first thought is, just be a label, don't buy a big one. You'll overpay for their catalogs, skewed toward Boomers, and which have a plausible licensing revenue stream for twenty years. Go back to the 50s, 60s, and even 70s and you'll see the key labels for generating decades spanning artists were led by independent music and business savvy folks. (Columbia is an exception, but it had an exceptional A&R man in John Hammond.)

We are now well into the first decade of blogs. Google can catalog them and find the bloggers who first spotted the talent that is moving up the food chain. Hire them as scouts. Hire the successful independents as executives. Go back to the basics of the pre 1990s record industry. Lower advances, give the artists a greater share of revenues, and use the money to develop the artists' careers. Get them performing, performing, performing. Promote via YouTube. Be international. Rhythms melody and groove can transcend language. Open up a music store and ignore the labels' catalogs. "We are selling tomorrow not 1974." If you can't have more, have better. Don't be hung up on licensing the petty crap. Oh yeah, get licenses for uses in film and movies, but don't worry if that YouTube video just got mashed up. (The kids probably aren't saying that any more, are they?)

Funny thing is, do that, be about the music that is about to explode, and the music fans among the labels' suits will be clamoring to be part of the excitement. Probably start their own things utilizing the web and, dare we say it, Google's advertising.

Apocryphally, a lot of people get their music from YouTube. Owning the place where people know to go is such a huge first step. Take the next. Be Temps. Keep on walkin' and don't look back.

Comment Re:Hmmm ... (Score 1) 755

You should note how in recent updates interpreted and compiled languages have had syntax and semantic extensions in order to assist with the concurrency and parallel problems. C++0a for C++ immediately comes to mind. Scala and Clojure both run on the jvm, so their programs may use java libraries and objects, but they use functional paradigms first and foremost. The problem with objects is mutable state, which means extra and complex overhead is required in order make sure that each thread, which may not bring the object into scope in the exact sequence the programmer intended, still gets with minimal delay the appropriate version of the object for reading or writing.

I daresay the faculty at The University of Waterloo are thinking about this.

Now, this is still the First College Programming Course problem. MIT a couple of years back changed from Scheme to python. The bright kids who are admitted to top CS schools have written lots of code before they arrive on campus. The top CS schools will still, in the course of the undergraduate program, teach OOP, procedural, assembly, and functional programming approaches, compilers, formal languages, discrete mathematics, and data structures. The freshman language is an implementation detail.

Comment Cable (Score 2) 742

Cable channels used to be about narrowcasting to targeted demographics. About eight years or so back, the channel owners started to rethink that strategy. So The Nashville Network (country-targeted) went to TNN and then became Spike, aiming its programming against a broader male demographic and de-emphasizing and abandoning an explicit connection to the music genre. Unless a cable channel has a lock-hold on a very loyal demographic with a great profile for advertisers, it will go to diversifying its programming and slug it out with general interest programming with a more subtle skew.

Comment Re:Here come the "its not better than XP" posts (Score 1) 404

As to Point 13 and specifically "eventually," if that moment is 2012, then maybe one could go from XP to the no-doubt-better-successor to Windows 7. Is the cost of XP to Win7 and Win7 to Win8 really going to be less expensive than XP straight to Win8? If it were, then people will choose to stick with XP. Costs and applications trump the underlying benefits of the new operating system, unless those benefits are realized with little user intervention. XP to Win7 was not such an upgrade.

Comment Re:What these Democrats don't realize... (Score 1) 1128

"Experience" is one of these bogus points that one side will bring up when they think they have an advantage and ignore when they don't, even as the other side starts singing the tune. I voted for Obama and am absolutely convinced that he was and remains a better choice than John McCain. I am also pretty certain that where I disagree with Obama's policies, Hillary Clinton would not have acted differently, so I don't regret my primary election vote, either.

Any way, in 2008, experience worked, probably, against Obama. In 2012? Well, isn't he going to be the only person in the race with experience as President of the United States? Which is why, for the Republicans, mentions of comparative experience will not be heard in 2012 at all.

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