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Comment Re:Deja Vu (Score 1) 404

My problem with DRM is not that I'm a pirate -- I'm not. I try whenever possible to abide by copyright law. But it DRM legitimately gets in the way of getting things done.

Consider, a few days ago, my VirtualBox drive with windows XP died (primarily human error, admittedly.). Restoring to a previous point didn't fix it, so I had to reinstall. But -- Oh Noes! -- I had used my product key too many times. Even if they don't give a limit, there clearly is one -- the same key stopped working. (For the record: I purchased this copy of XP.)

I had to turn to an activation hack to get my legally purchased, still functional, still useful software running. Microsoft, of course, won't restore my key.

This is why I steadfastly avoid any and all DRM-crippled software whenever and wherever I can. The End-Of-Life from the company's standpoint is likely to be long before I think the product is dead.

Comment Re:Fake? (Score 1) 258

While I generally agree, it should be noted that, in practice, bitcoin is already marginalized, and any connection to criminal activity could shed a bad light on it. If it loses reputation this early in the game due to bad/inaccurate reporting, or the inability of irrational sheep to distinguish the currency from the means of obtaining it, then that would be very bad for bitcoin.

Comment Re:Stupid (Score 1) 413

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Wayland doesn't claim to replace X -- at least not entirely. It's suggesting that X should be an add-on component, rather than the core process.
From the FAQ:

This doesn't mean that remote rendering won't be possible with Wayland, it just means that you will have to put a remote rendering server on top of Wayland. One such server could be the server, but other options include an RDP server, a VNC server or somebody could even invent their own new remote rendering model. Which is a feature when you think about it; layering on top of Wayland has very little overhead, but the other types of remote rendering servers no longer requires, and experimenting with new protocols is easier.

It sounds to me like X is supposed to be an optional component, to support legacy code and/or remote machines, etc. -- but isn't the only option. Wayland just takes over the one particular part of the process (just compositing on screen).
Admittedly, I haven't read a lot about wayland. Until this article, I'd never heard of it (perhaps showing how little I've kept up on tech news lately). But, out of genuine curiosity, how is this going to ruin the flexibility of X?

Comment Re:Thus spoke Ben (Score 1) 553

They are not, actually, antonyms of one another. Consider a web of trust, using pseudonyms. That is an anonymous system. You are accountable based on who is willing to trust you -- if you behave badly, and lose your reputation, you lose trust in your communications. Even if this isn't explicitly coded, it happens almost by accident -- common forum dwellers are known by their handles, and trusted for their previous work, for example.

What anonymity implies is a lack of ability to provide civil/criminal/physical accountability -- psychological and social accountability still remain.

Or, phrased another way, it's a question of who you are accountable to. If you need to have accountability from the government, educational institutions, corporations, etc. -- then, of course, anonymity is impossible to maintain. However, if you need behavioral accountability, accountability to the community (whatever community that may be), then reputation is sufficient, along with filtering or web-of-trust-type systems to enforce it. Anonymity does not prevent this.

Comment Re:Yes. Reputation matters, not ID (Score 1) 213

A) The rest of the solution would be to use reputations, cryptographic keys (optionally), and so forth. Reputations seems to be sufficient, most of the time.

B) Well, an easy way would be to prevent one IP address from registering more than one username per, say, a day -- which would be fine for a household of users that want accounts, but not useful to spammers.

If someone is willing to put up the effort to run a botnet and register on that many different accounts -- well, why wouldn't they just use automated software like Rig to create 1,000,000 fake identities that are equally acceptable as a real name (leaving aside impractical requirements like presenting a passport to get an account). Not much you can do to stop someone determined enough to spam, but then you just rely on reputation to weed out the bad accounts, as per A) above.

Comment Re:A better question: Do we need social networking (Score 1) 213

I have generally felt that social networks are besides the point. Real Life(tm) is the ultimate social network, and any communication medium -- be it forums, e-mail, snail mail, talking on the sidewalk, or phoning a friend -- all contribute to that network, without the assistance of Facebook or the like.

If you want to find a person, Facebook (may be) a free way to do it, assuming they use it and were willing to give their real name to them. But other methods exist -- including: Search engines, public networks, potentially shared acquaintances (finding someone from high school? Try asking other friends from high school. Or their parents, if you're that sort of person.)

Pseudonyms do NOT interfere with this. If I tell my friends that I am "jakykong" online, they can tell their friends to contact Jakykong for something. Thus the two-step distant people don't know my real name, but the one-step distant people do. No technology involved, and no real name required.

Of course, our modern concept of social networks that allow you to search for someone by name, rather than by common acquaintances or activities, probably need the real name to facilitate that. But I don't require that functionality -- the ability to meet my friends' friends is useful, whether or not I know their names. Facebook and now Google+ deny this functionality when they deny pseudonyms.

Comment Re:Ubuntu (Score 1) 279

Easier: an alias in your ~/.profile. alias "sudo=/home/user/.hidden/script-that-acts-like-sudo would probably be sufficient, and, if written right, it'd get the user to type their password, convince the user that they made a typo, and then remove any trace that it was there, except that now it has a record of the password. This would work no matter what terminal the user prefers, even if it's ssh, and it doesn't require anything except a simple shell script to be run with user-level privileges to inject it.

Of course, it depends on the user not noticing the alias in their .profile, but how often do you actually look at that file these days?

Comment Re:Attendence in college? (Score 1) 554

That's probably true. But the lecture classes I've been in (granted, community college, not university (yet)) have had instructors that could tell, if not to the day, at least how frequently a student tended to appear. In a class of 60-70 students, this isn't much of a problem for the instructor to intuit. In a class of 300-400 students, the instructor probably isn't doing most of the tutoring anyway, leaving it to the TA's.

In short, you generally don't need to track attendance for an instructor to figure out whether a student shows up regularly or not. (And it may be irrelevant anyway, depending on how the instructor is payed for such questions.)

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