Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment Not according to the State of California (Score 1) 183

You cannot get in your car, drive to their house and then shoot them, as you are nolonger being threatened by said intruder. Hacking back is exactly that.

Not according to the State of California.

According to the State of California, if I go out on the Internet to the web site of a company in Texas and purchase an item, and have it shipped to me in California, the transaction took place in my home. This is their legal rationale for being able to collect sales tax on the transaction without violating the Interstate Commerce Clause of the US Constitution.

Therefore, if I "hack back" someone who has hacked me, their initial hacking took place wherever they are located, but my "hack back", in defence of the computer located in my home, took place in my home.

So this is precisely the same as if someone broke into my house and tampered with my machine to steal bank account and other information, and during the tampering, I, in my home, shot them.

It really doesn't matter that the bullet landed somewhere in Taipei, the transaction happened in California in my hose, just as if I had purchased something.

Comment Public Domain (Score 1) 356

Yes, but the implicit license is no license (copyright law). If you want to freak out the lawyers call it Public Domain and be done with it. Sure way to short-circuit a lawyer's brain.

It's a way to short-circuit your lawyers brain, since then you are not held harmless from damages arising from the use, misuse, or abuse of the software.

To the people who might want to use the code, their lawyers see it as a nifty scapegoat, should damages arise from use, misuse, or abuse of their product which incorporates your software. When apportioning damages to the plaintiff, should they win their case, it'd be up to your lawyers and their lawyers to argue about it, only their layers get to see your code, and your lawyers don't get to see their code.

Seriously, you can not disclaim association with the code, unless things were amended so that declaring something to be "Public Domain" transferred the liability to the public at large, and there was an implicit "hold harmless" clause for the author of the work.

So effectively, only stupid people declare things to be "in the public domain" these days.


Crowd-Funded Radio Beacon Will Message Aliens 196

astroengine writes "In the hope of uniting people around the globe in a long-duration project to send a radio 'message in a bottle' METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) signal, a crowd-funded project utilizing a refurbished radio telescope in California has begun its work. Lone Signal is a project initiated by scientists, businessmen and entrepreneurs to set up a continuous radio beacon from Earth. To support the operations of the Jamesburg Earth Station radio dish in Carmel Valley, Calif. (a dish built to support the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969), a crowd-funding effort has been set up so that for a small fee, users can send images to the stars. If you're content with sending a text message, your first message is free. The radio dish's first target is Gliese 526, a red dwarf star 18 light-years from Earth, but the project will be considering other stellar targets believed to be harboring habitable worlds."

German Parliament Tells Government To Strictly Limit Patents On Software 75

jrepin writes "On Friday the 7th of June the German Parliament decided upon a joint motion to limit software patents. The Parliament urges the German Government to take steps to limit the granting of patents on computer programs (PDF, German; English translation). Software should exclusively be covered by copyright, and the rights of the copyright holders should not be devalued by third parties' software patents. The only exception where patents should be allowed are computer programs which replace a mechanical or electromagnetic component. In addition the Parliament made clear that governmental actions related to patents must never interfere with the legality of distributing Free Software."

Comment It causes bad drivers (Score 1) 160

It causes bad drivers.

The place I see this effect is driving home from the AMC 20 in Santa Clara on 101, and the idiots in the rice rockets who (A) thing they are playing a video game, (B) think that video game physics perfectly mirror reality, so things that work there work in the meat word, and (C) think everyone else drives the same way they do, so it's OK to drive that way because the only people who will get in accidents are the people who don't play the game as well as they play it.

Personally, If I were a CHP, I'd fill my monthly no-such-thing-as-a-quota on Friday and Saturday night, and maybe Sunday, if it was a 3 day weekend, and then take the rest of the week off and windsurf. Instead, these guys simply don't get pulled over.

The reason professional race car drivers don't drive like assholes on the freeway is they realize that not everyone is a professional race car driver.

Comment Re:HP may not be smiling as brightly as they think (Score 1) 438

Your father has some slipshod Visual BASIC scripts in place instead of a real application. His business deserves its failure for being run so stupidly.

If by "stupidly", you mean it as a synonym for "using Microsoft products in such a way that Microsoft could yank the rug out from under them in the first place", then yes. If by "slipshod", you mean "thrown together by idiots", then no. It was the best available component technology of its day.

It's also why so many companies don't want to give up using XP, and are giving the finger to Microsoft, HP, and so on, for as long as they can get away with giving them the finger.

Most of the businesses with these attributes were acquired with the business systems in place as charity to keep them afloat, and the people who work there employed. So it's not like my father personally made the decision to use the Microsoft products.

The only people who profit from building the same vertical market business practice solution over and over and over are the assholes of the world, like Oracle, EDS, and IBM Global Services, whose business model is predicated on giving the customer exactly what they ask for, as opposed to solving their business practice problem for them. Then they iteratively charge them a fortune to make changes until they get to a successive approximation that's still mediocre but "good enough" for the business to limp along. Both the accounting and moving industries are famous for having systems like this.

Frankly, I'd rather see the SMBs use commercial components and glue code than tithe to those assholes.

Also you should realize that the VB involved is compiled VB, in as much that Java or Dalvic or Go or C# apps can be said to have been compiled: interpreted bytecode is interpreted bytecode, so if you were going to do something dumbass and suggest Java as an alternative, VB is no worse than Java, and is in many ways better, since there's no Larry Ellison involved with doing things like dropping timezone patching to keep the license fees for new runtimes flowing in.

Finally, you should know that Google, Twitter, Facebook, and so on are all using JavaScript and Python and, yes, occasionally ActionScript interpreted bytecode (read: Flash) to run their businesses, because it allows them to make changes to business logic quickly. Only when *they* do it, you'd probably call it "being agile", right?

So those "stupid" people using VB are in pretty damn good company.

Bottom line is that these SMBs have no fucking way of affording updating all their systems at once just so they can hire a new employee, and anyone who says otherwise, including an asshole who thinks they should be exposed to second system syndrome in the process, is a pretentious prick.

Have a nice day.

Comment HP may not be smiling as brightly as they think. (Score 1) 438

"You're forgetting about that whole Windows software compatibility thing."

My fathers businesses continue to use XP precisely because of software compatibility.

The business systems in place have business logic built in Visual BASIC which glues together a bunch of (mostly Microsoft) components. Change a component, and the component breaks; change the OS, and the glue breaks, and EVERYTHING dies.

HP is looking at a cash cow of significant reinvestment in hardware; Microsoft, by EOLing XP in the first place, is looking at a cash cow not only new OSs, but new component sales. SMB (small and medium business) is looking at astronomical costs to keep their workflows running. I have no idea why Microsoft, HP, et. al. think that SMB is the cow from which they are going to be able to get milk, given that larger businesses have established a regulatory environment in which most SMB is barely scraping by as it is.

Personally, I can think of at least three companies where my father will just close the doors, rather than facing a significant reinvestment. At best, he will not grow them or hire new employees to run the XP machines which he can no longer purchase in order to incrementally add the next new employee. In fact, thinking of it that way, as hardware slowly fails, it's more likely he will just lay off one employee per one dead XP machine, at least in the most marginal of these businesses.

HP may not be smiling as brightly as they think.

Comment interesting quote (Score 1) 584

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty." --Benjamin Franklin

This is a rather extreme sentiment, but it has a point.. Democracy is an experiment, one that is easily broken. People and governments are fickle creatures. Seasons change, and one might find themselves under unwanted scrutiny. A lot of lives were destroyed because of their political affiliations (Frank Oppenheimer lost his physics professorship, etc) Nixon has his enemies list, and now we find out that the IRS specifically targeted Tea party organizations. I can understand the want and need for information, but it can too easily be abused. Perhaps now so much in our current environment, but it can set a bad future precedent.

Comment This blogger does not get it. Big time. (Score 1) 321

This blogger does not get it. Big time.

Jailbreaking did not come about for bypassing security or stealing iPhones. It came about because Apple wouldn't sell their GSM-capable phones on vendors other than AT&T, which meant that they also could not be used outside the US, which is the only place the things were being sold. So some Russian hackers came up with a jailbreak, but it wasn't so they could run arbitrary applications, it was so they could run a single application to rewrite the SIM vendor check, disable the carrier lock, and use the damn things on GSM carriers other than AT&T. T-Mobile in the US is one such carrier, and AT&T had demanded, and got, the carrier lock in exchange for letting Apple demand infrastructure changes to AT&T's network for things like "Visual Voice Mail".

The vast majority of these iPhones were legally sold for the full price in the US; Apple put a limit on the number of iPhones you could buy, in order to thwart this thriving export business, because technically, the carrier networks are fairly fragile things, and the phones had not been certified to the carrier networks on which they were being used, or by the regional equivalent of the FCC -- hence they were called "gray market" iPhones in these countries.

The benefit to Apple turned out to be immense, since with tools available for writing *an app* for the unlocking, it was relatively easy to classdump the objC files, and use the other APIs -- and apps were born. Steve actually didn't *want* Apps on the iPhone: he was deathly afraid of building another Newton, and the Apps he gave you were the ones he thought you needed, and no more. He didn't even want there to be ringtones that he and Jon Ivy hadn't approved (a pain in the ass when there are a small number of ringtones, 11,000 employees, and about half of them ate lunch in Cafe Macs in a two hour window).

For six months, many engineers inside Apple, including myself, were jailbreaking our own phones, and using the hacker tools because there *was no* formal API or dev kit. I personally wrote an X Code plugin for making iPhone Apps using the hacker tools, and we passed it around internally at Apple.

A startup was going to make a business of selling an SDK for the iPhone -- Apple _bought them_, and *that's* where Apple got their formal SDK, which they then went through and cleaned up APIs, and partitioned the data you could access from one app to another.

Everything that people jailbreak the things for these days is to get around data partitioning or carrier usage restrictions, i.e. things like using the phone as a WiFi hotspot for a laptop, without paying additional fees or metered rates to the carriers for the greater laptop bandwidth usage capability, or to be able to do the carrier unlock to get around per-region carrier lock-in contracts that Apple had signed.

The bottom line is that Apple could have avoided almost of of the hacking that happened fairly early on by not putting the carrier lock in the baseband firmware, which was a dumbass design decision based on the Samsung baseband chip having the feature implemented already, and having it up in user space in the commcenter program instead.

And their device would be a lot less interesting, and Android might have followed that lead, and been a lot less interesting as well. And Apple wouldn't have made tons of money on Apps because there would be no AppStore.

But as long as there are carrier locks, and more or less absurd carrier restrictions on bandwidth for phones s. hotspots (yes, Sprint, I'm talking to you), there will be jailbreaking. This is a DRM issue, and if jailbreaking is the only way to bypass DRM, then jailbreaking will happen.

Bottom line philosophy lesson: There will always be people who say "These devices are made of atoms. I paid for these atoms. I own them. They will God Damn Well Do What I Tell Them To Do".

Slashdot Top Deals

If you can't learn to do it well, learn to enjoy doing it badly.