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Comment The stupid, it burns (Score 1) 126

The proposal above will do nothing to stop oppressive governments from taking advantage of blacklists created by western companies. These adversaries can simply request updates from fully-supported jurisdictions and forward them privately to filters running on their gateway routers. The filters are made up of bytes. Bytes can be copied. If adversaries are already pirating the software itself, they can certainly pirate updates to the software.

Yes, yes, you can try using some kind of traitor tracing technique to figure out who might be leaking blocking lists --- but it's a cat and mouse game, and these regimes have more resources than you do.

Look: in a larger sense, antipathy toward western hardware and software companies is misplaced. To internet censors, filtering is an existential imperative, especially in light of the recent unrest in the middle east. No cost is too great. If our adversaries need to sign up with multiple expensive dummy accounts in order to receive filter lists, they will. If they need to break DRM, they'll do it. And if all that becomes too expensive, they'll just switch to open source and home-grown filtering solutions. Currently, they use these filtering products because they're cheap, not because they're essential.

We all want to stop internet censorship, but haranguing individual companies over the misuse of their software won't do it. Circumvention works. Alternative routing works. Political pressure works.

Internet censorship is a real problem. While it may feel good, hysterically screaming at corporations does nothing to solve it. Let's talk about thing we can to actually help.

(Note: I have a bit of experience in this area.)

Comment Re:Credit card fees (Score 1) 187

Any market with a large barrier to entry will not exhibit competitive behavior in the long run. The presence of a big network effect is one of the more common causes of high barriers to entry. Regardless of the cause, incumbents corporations go on to become "natural monopolies"* and are able to charge monopoly prices higher than would otherwise be possible. The excess profit is called economic rent and causes an inefficient allocation of resources, effectively impoverishing us all.

In the past, we'd take a sober look at these situations and either regulate these markets or outright nationalize them. Today, we've been so thoroughly swayed by Laissez-faire economic ideas that we're reluctant to remedy an obvious injustice in an environment we intellectually know is not amenable to free competition.

In short, the big credit card processors have no effective competition because small players can't really enter the market, and as a society, we can choose between regulating them for the benefit of all or allowing them to skim a disproportionate amount of wealth from the rest of society. I would prefer to outright nationalize the entire financial system and run it as a public utility for the benefit of the real economy, but barring that, regulation helps.

* or oligarchies, which are indistinguishable from an economic perspective from monopolies

Comment Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (Score 1) 135

We just gave an $800 billion tax breaks to millionaires, and even before that, our tax rates were some of the lowest in the industrialized world. We can certainly afford these programs. We merely need to decide what's more important: millions for a few, or safety, comfort, and happiness for millions. Personally, I'm on the side of humanity.

Comment Re:Domestic oil is an alternative (Score 1) 314

Bullshit. EROEI isn't everything, or even the dominant factor in extraction.

EROEI > 1 makes perfect sense when you think about it. Petroleum is even more useful as a chemical feedstock than it is as a fuel, and even as a fuel, petroleum products are portable and convenient in a way unmatched by any alternative. We'll see extraction continue far past EROEI > 1, with the excess made up by nuclear, wind, solar, and so on.

Comment Re:Let the windows hate begin (Score 2) 82

Don't bother. It's practically an article of faith around here that Windows is badly-made, that Microsoft is a malicious, profiteering drag on innovation, and that Windows OS security is responsible for the spread of malware. This view might have been partially accurate 15 years ago, but in 2011, the worm has turned. Companies are made up of people, and people change and mature. Microsoft is trying to be a good corporate citizen these days, and frankly, I'd be far more worried about Apple, both from a technical-security perspective and from a market lock-in perspective.

Comment Re:What about stability and known-working releases (Score 4, Insightful) 236

First of all, kudos to Google for finally going with MSI. It's like providing an RPM and makes everyone's life easier.

Now, that said, the situation with respect to delayed updates is fundamentally different because Chrome hasn't provide security updates for older versions. You're essentially running snapshots all the time. Any IT department would have be bonkers to follow that model.

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