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Comment Re:Amazon Silk + SSL = MITM? (Score 1) 249

If this is only at the TCP level, essentially forwarding all encrypted traffic unaltered, then there is no issue.

But looking at the content is very serious. If the browser shows that it sends the data encrypted to example.com, but in fact it sends them in cleartext to proxy.amazon.com, it's a ridiculous security hole. I doubt they are doing this.

Comment Re:All Smart Phones Infiringe (Score 1) 148

I totally agree that it's completely impossible to create a product without infringing patents, especially software patents. The whole system is absurd.

Still, the issue here is whether Google knew about the _specific_ patents that Oracle is suing about. That's the point the judge is trying to make.

Hopefully the whole thing will be irrelevant if the patents are shown to be invalid (Google found lots of prior art).

Comment Re:Let the flame war begin! (Score 1) 333

It doesn't matter how this free / not free debate goes. One is a formal ISO standard, the other is whatever Google decides. How that makes H.264 somehow not open escapes me, but...

Here's my personal view on the issue. Abstract words without a proper definition mean nothing. What I find essential from a video format for the web is to be a "Free and Open Standard" based on this definition (main points: vendor neutral, freely available, no-patents). Ideally I would like such a standard to be published by W3C and included in the HTML5 spec (which currently does not specify a video format, so the "video" tag is essentially useless).

H.264 is clearly not a free and open standard. WebM is clearly not one either. Theora is "more or less" free and open based on this analysis.

Now, if the question is a preference between H.264 and WebM I would support WebM for 2 reasons. First, the freedom to implement a standard is IMHO far more important that being vendor-neutral. I cannot possibly imagine a Web where you need to pay someone to publish content or create a standards-compliant browser. Second, WebM has some realistic chances of becoming vendor-neutral if Google submits it to a standards organization. On the other hand H.264 has close to 0 chance of becoming patent-free.

Comment Re:A global remote kill switch in our computers (Score 1) 399

The only useful scenario I could possibly imagine is that you use hard-disk encryption and your laptop is stolen while it's on, so the key is in memory. If you can shut it down the disk becomes useless.

But this is science finction (and there are known
attacks for this scenario anyway). The kill switch idea sounds at best stupid, at worst goverment sponsored.

Comment Re:The question is about priorities (Score 1) 458

I am a slashdot regular for years now and I can generally identify (oh crap) with the average slashdot user. Yet, I am completely shocked by this poll and comments.

First, all these arguments about backups are ridiculous, of course that's not the point.

But even more important: the idea of comparing beloved people to possessions and data is just outrageous! Possessions? Really? Like what, a car, a painting, jewelery? Or data? Do you mean the only copy of Shakespeare's complete work or your porn collection?

Try to name something specific instead of "possessions" or "data" and you'll understand immediately how crazy this is. I lost my father a year ago and I would happily give all my possessions and data to bring him back. Without a second thought.

To the 15% who didn't put loved ones first: either you are alone in life (at least I can understand that) or there's something seriously fucked up about your priorities.

Comment Re:Does the Bear poop in the woods ? (Score 1) 378

Same thing happens with corporations. Behaving purely "selfishly" (i.e. do everything to maximize profits) can have the opposite effect. (i.e. you have to pay a lot higher saleries if you want to hire the best and brightest, you lose customers because they think you are evil, etc)

Your argument is simply that if you try to maximize profits in a "bad way" you mind end up not actually maximizing them. So the company should stop behaving in that way. This only strengthens the view that the ultimate goal is maximizing the profits. You fail to provide an example where a company would knowingly choose an action that decreases their profit, based on a goal that is unrelated to profit (such as the benefit of society in general).

A large company will always act in a way that maximizes its profit. Every single time. The only positive thing, on which capitalism is based, is that the action that maximizes the company's profit _might coincidentally_ be the same that offers a benefit to society in general. Unfortunately this coincidence is often inexistent.

Comment Re:So obvious question... (Score 3, Insightful) 388

They will look at Oracle and say they didn't get the code (because libreOffice is quickly taking that) and they didn't get the people (because they all split) so what did they get for all that money? Office furniture? I predict in less than 3 years the ONLY ones you'll see buying FOSS companies are patent trolls hoping to milk the IP.

I agree with your argument. But seeing the same argument from a positive perspective, a prospective buyer will understand that all they're getting is office furniture unless they're willing to respect the product they bought and the community behind it, and use it to their advantage. So I predict that in 3 years the only ones buying FOSS are companies who understand FOSS, which is great.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 313

Lets face it, its nice to know when the reign of King George III started, but unless that is your field of expertise, you should simply know the skills needed to Google the question.

Memorization by itself is indeed useless, but in education it is the means not the goal (at least it should be). And especially for history it does a reasonably good job.

We need to make clear what is the purpose of education. On the one side there are things we learn that have a practical use, in the sense of being directly applicable to our life (as you say, "in the real world"). On the other hand, a big part of education (arguably the biggest) is about cultivating human beings, raising people that are not barbarians. It's about how we think, behave and react in general, and not about dealing with practical problems.

Now think about the King George example, or to make the point stronger think about World War II. It's clear that you cannot be called a civilized human if you don't know anything about the existence of WWII. The important thing here of course is not the ability to recall information, the important thing is to have read and thought about WWII. Reading and thinking about it changes your mind even if you barely remember the basic stuff afterwards.

So if the goal was to retrieve information, a history course could be summarized as "google: WWII". But the goal is to make students read and think about it, and asking to memorize it is a reasonable goal to achieve this.

Of course in other areas the goal is different, and I completely agree with you that memorizing is useless.

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