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Comment Re:Tech news? (Score 2) 150

And this matters? No it is News for Nerds this is News for bankers and stock brokers.
Heck it is even tagged Business!

yes, a possible change in the leadership of a company that is very influential in politics, news and entertainment matters -- at least to me, and probably most nerds who care about government or entertainment, which is probably ~100%.

Slashdot is dead.

/me checks poster's id

cry me a river, kid. people have been complaining about /. going downhill since forever. if you don't like it, quit bitching and read something else.


Comment this is great news (Score 2) 33

i've just started working with openstack recently, and my university is adopting it in a big way. so it's great to see it get a little independence from rackspace. not they had ever done or said anything that had me worried, but any time a project is controlled by a single vendor (whose interests might diverge from mine at any time), it makes me a little worried. so having that resolved make me even happier about working with open stack.

Comment This is the FIRST step (Score 1) 74

What I think a lot of people are missing is that these are the necessary first steps in the process of stopping tracking:

1. Provide technical infrastructure for users to express their prefs.
2. Provide advertisers the tools to see those prefs, how to handle them, etc.
3. A few ethical advertisers implement those tools and demonstrate that it's feasible.
4. Make it illegal to ignore the prefs.
5. FTC comes down like a ton of bricks on anybody who tracks people who opted out.

Comment In Defense of the Liberal Arts (Score 2, Insightful) 913

While these fields are useful and perhaps enriching, they will not contribute to making me better at my job.

That's where you're wrong. Speaking as a developer with a BA in English, I can tell you that your English, History, and Art classes will make you better at your job. They will make you better able to relate to people outside IT fields, better able to reason and argue logically, and give you a broader perspective of your (and your code's) context.

I can't tell you how many CS graduates I've seen at my workplace, lamenting how worthless their CS classes were because the tools we work with, and the problems we're trying to solve, bear no resemblance to their coursework. I've never heard the same from a liberal arts graduate, because everybody knows the point of a liberal education is to make you able to think critically, and give you the foundation you need to learn anything you need to learn later in life.

Comment Dead End (Score 1) 1162

Why would you buy into a format like Blu-Ray when it's such an obvious technological dead-end? When DVDs came out, they were so much better than VHS, that people pretty much switched over when the price got low enough for them. But with the Blu-Ray, the advantages are much subtler, you really need HDTV (which already excludes a big chunk of the market), and DVD quality is good enough. And with the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray format war, I think many people who might have adopted Blu-Ray sat on the sidelines waiting for that to be settled. By the time Blu-Ray finally emerged victorious, it seemed pretty clear that it was already obsolete.

Sure, there are a lot of problems with online video services right now, and the quality is not as good as Blu-Ray. But physical media is obviously going to be replaced by online video in the near future, and the quality and selection problems will work themselves out with scale. So unless you're not bothered buying into something only to throw it out in a year or two, I can't imagine adopting Blu-Ray now (and if that applies to you, you've probably already done so).

Comment Not what I think of... (Score 2) 168

This isn't what I think of when I think of "insecure by design". This term is usually applied to things like DRM, where it would be impossible, or very very difficult, to fix, and would require completely redesigning how the access control system works.

In this case, dropbox writes a sqlite db after authenticating, and then doesn't check to make sure that it's valid later on. So you can alter the db file to access other people's accounts without having to re-authenticate.

It would be trivial for dropbox to update their app to at least check that the sqlite db is internally-consistent, and require re-auth if not. So there is no giant design issue preventing them from fixing this.

Comment Re:do-not-meddle-in-the-affairs-of-greedy-offsprin (Score 2) 337

Why? Because copyright is a bargain. We temporarily give up our right to copy an artist's work in exchange for that work eventually going into the public domain (and not just being squirreled away unread in an attic somewhere).

In the last generation, copyright holders have systematically broken this bargain, extending copyright terms to insane lengths, expanding copyright scope, stifling fair use, etc. Using the threat of legal harassment to deter new writers from writing about long-dead public figures is just another in a long chain of abuse of wealth, power and a broken copyright regime.


Comment Re:Ok, someone who understands this stuff... (Score 3, Insightful) 360

I doubt very much they are trying to argue that he's doing too good a job of defending people. My guess is that they are going after him for providing legal advice to people where he's lot licensed, providing legal advice to people he's never talked to, or some similar rule that's setup to prevent lawyers from ripping off clients. The amount of money they are asking for is probably justified as recouping their expenses that came from his "malpractice".

I don't know the details of the case, or have any idea if he's technically in violation of some rule or not. I do know that retail-packaged legal advice (like make-your-own-will computer software) sometimes runs into problems in some jurisdictions, so it's not that big of a stretch to think this might stick.

Comment Re:Have a little pity on the magazine (Score 1) 290

You are making a false equivalence between different kinds of copyright violations. Private individuals downloading copyrighted music for non-commercial use is against copyright law. But it doesn't deprive musicians of much (if any) income, since they make most of their income from performance and merchandise sales anyway. But when a magazine publishes articles from a writer without attribution, they are profiting off the writer's work and depriving her of the income (since selling articles to magazines for publication is how a lot of writers earn their living).

Granted, this magazine was a shoestring operation, not some big multinational conglomerate that had a legal team to cover all the ins-and-outs of copyright law. If they had legal advice or a decent understanding of copyright law, they obviously wouldn't have done this. But that's just the thing: music companies are suing private individuals who accidentally shared a few songs, and getting hundreds of thousands of dollars of damages. Their ignorance of copyright law doesn't get them out of jail free.

And just to be clear, I think copyright law should be abolished, and replaced with a requirement for attribution. I think downloading music and movies is fine, and artists should find a new way to make a living, because charging for copies is untenable now. But I think artists, writers, etc. should get credit for their work. So I think it would be fine to take a book, change the last paragraph because you don't like the original ending, and publish it, as long as you make it clear that it's a derivative work. So you might not agree with my opinion, but it's perfectly consistent to be for non-commercial downloading, but also against magazines ripping off writers.

I am also sick of the "slashdot thinks X and slashdot thinks Y, so slashdot is a bunch of hypocrites" line of reasoning that crops up on almost every copyright story. slashdot is made up of hundreds of thousands of people. Maybe the people who are all for downloading are mostly different from the people are against ripping off writers. Or maybe most people think non-commercial downloading is OK, but ripping off a writer for commercial gain isn't. Who knows? If you want to accuse a person of hypocrisy, go ahead. But slashdot isn't a coherent entity to have an argument with, and it doesn't have to have a consistent opinion on anything.


Comment Re:Return on Investment (Score 1) 405

So instead of getting into trouble in the afternoons, kids would get into trouble in the morning, and then skip school, too. I think we should just make the school day to 9-5, and use the extra time to add back the art, music, exercise, etc. that's been cut to make more time for test prep. Of course, that would cost real money, so it's not going to happen any time soon...

Comment Re:In *England* (Score 1) 347

Yes, and assuming England is still located in the UK (I haven't been over for a few years, and I understand there have been some changes recently...), then saying they manage sites in the UK is correct, if inexact.

Granted, your average American doesn't know the relationships between England, Wales, Scotland, Britain, Northern Ireland and the UK. But I would think you could save your snark for when they actually say something wrong, which is often enough.

Comment Re:It's really simple, copyright expires. (Score 2, Insightful) 347

I could understand if English Heritage wanted to instate a new policy that required permits for commercial photography. They really want to improve the tourist facilities at the site, and have had trouble getting the money to do so. I think they'd have a very hard time of it, since Stonehenge is clearly visible from public roads and the air. So unless they want to build a giant dome over it, they really couldn't control access.

But trying to retroactively apply that policy to photos taken before the policy was in place is stupid.

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