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Comment Re:How Facebook innovated (Score 1) 307

facebook didn't innovate anything, they just provided a popular version of something that already existed

In your opinion, has anyone ever innovated anything?

Got an example? Feel free to draw from the entire sphere of endeavor, for all of human history.

Can you guess what I'm going to do, to any example that you cite? ;-)

Comment Re:Oh please! (Score 1) 161

The law should just ban the manufacture, import, sale, rental, or lease of any cable box equipment with cameras and microphone built in.

You are you, to say my HTPC can't double as a phone?

The best way to solve this problem is to outlaw DRM and any other proprietary licensing needed in order to manufacture these computer systems. That would allow competition (and "promote progress" if I may lapse into a little constitutionese). The competition created by ending receiver lock-in, would put users (buyers) in the drivers seat as to what features/bugs are desirable. Then if users don't want to be spied upon, they won't buy the spies-on-you-boxes.

Right now we can't have that market, because the DRM, both through DMCA (i.e. a gun pointed at your face) and also trade secrets, make it so there can't be competing boxes; users are a captive audience and have to accept whatever features/bugs come with The One Box that they're allowed to use.

(The DMCA aspect is particularly infuriating; the government isn't even neutral or laissez-faire in this issue, they're actually neck-deep committed to an anti-consumer position.)

Imagine if it worked the way it ought to (and how it did a decade ago, when many of us subscribed to analog cable TV) : would you decide to include a camera and a mic in your MythTV build, and if you did, and would you write (or even bother to install) the plugin which would forward those inputs to your cable company? Or if you didn't want to build it yourself and instead you preferred to buy it from someone who did that, would you pay extra for the ones that spied on you?

It's absurd when I put it that way, isn't it? That's how simple it is, and how awful it is that you're not allowed to be in control of what this computer does.

This problem can totally solve itself, if we can get government to reverse its pro-DRM position. There's no need to prohibit things like cameras and mics; just legalize consumers' Just Say No strategy for dealing with hostile computers.

Comment Re:Glass??? (Score 2) 307

people that have an IQ above 40 knows it has a big bright light on it when the camera is active

*sigh* Yes, but people with an IQ above 60 know that you can't ever trust someone else's computer.

I don't have Glass (nor do I think that particular product lies in my future) but I bet I'll have some kind of wearable within a decade. And rest assured, any light it ever shines, is going to be for my purposes, not other people's purposes. If I'm not in control of the machine, then: no sale. My wearable most certainly will have what most people consider to be a "perv mode."

I'm not at all interested in looking at other dudes' junk, but I also don't expect any random dude to know that about me. The real reason I won't get punched (I predict) is that 1) people won't know the camera is there at all 2) people won't give a fuck, because they'll have had a few years acclimating to it, thanks to the social pioneers who walk around with Glass and things like it which are inevitably coming.

Cameras are ubiquitous. People will eventually accept it, whether they want to or not. Those who around with Glass opening displaying their cameras, are teaching the public about something that is already there. They're paving the way for the social acceptance of .. 1990s(?) .. camera technology.

Comment How Facebook innovated (Score 5, Interesting) 307

I'll tell you what Facebook innovated. (You're not going to like it, though, because we tend to think of innovation as synonymous with "progress" and progress is usually measured in terms of end user utility. And what I'm about to say is totally not that.)

Facebook somehow had a website that was popular (that's not a part of the innovation, but it's an extremely important prerequisite) and then got a million other websites to embed references to Facebook resources into theirs, like Google did with Google Analytics. Since most browsers, by default, are happy to load any embedded resource referenced on a page, that gave Facebook an incredible number of "hits" from diverse sources.

Most classical (i.e. naive) 1990s-thinking web people would see these "hits" as totally valueless, because they're not pageloads, they aren't showing ads that you got paid to run, or whatever. The clever people, though, saw that you use this sort of thing with a cookie and combined with referer[sic], to build marketing profiles.

The mid-late 1990s clever people knew that too, but their references were ads themselves (e.g. doubleclick). They had to pay to get other webmasters to embed this crap. Nobody is going to embed a doubleclick image (i.e. an ad for something) unless you give them money.

You don't get paid to embed Google Analytics javascript, though. You don't get paid to embed a Facebook "like" button. So Facebook can do all the same "spying" that doubleclick.net could do a decade earlier, but without paying for it.

And webmasters embed these things for free, because they feel they get something out of it. With Google Analytics, you get the reports and analysis. Sure, you could get a lot of that from your own logs, but not all of it (Google knows some things about your visitors, that you might not, and this is their business, they're able to "keep up") and GA is easy and there and waiting for you. With Facebook like buttons, discussions, etc, webmasters are counting on the popularity of Facebook, to make it so that people who use their own site, will generate events on their Facebook profiles which will be seen by other Facebook users who don't use their own site, and maybe someone will curiously click through and you get a new visitor.

You gotta give Facebook some credit for that. I get how Google turns their spying into money, but I still don't really understand how Facebook does. (Apparently Wall Street doesn't understand it either, judging from the ever-falling stock price.) But there's probably an angle, and however it can be used, Facebook has very successfully put into place at least half of it already. Getting so much of the web to embed your script or iframe (and without having to pay them for it) -- holy crap, I totally can't imagine that happening fifteen years ago.

So it's innovation. Just not the kind users like to see happen.

Comment Re:if he is lying... (Score 1, Insightful) 749

Because the lies, which Snowden pull out of his ass, were classified. When he exposed the stuff that he had made up out of thin air, he jeopardized the programs which don't do those things. Dozens of terror threats have been foiled by this thing which lacks the capability to discover terror threats, and now it may no longer have the ability to not do that.

And finally, the biggest reason Snowden's lies should be swept away, is that prior to the Guardian story, bad guys didn't know that NSA was trying to intercept their communications. Now the bad guys know it, and they may take countermeasures, thanks to Snowden falsely misleading them into thinking it's true.

If bad guys set a new trend where usage is shifted from systems and methods which aren't spied upon, to those which are spied upon, the mass mainstream may follow their trend. That could put US Citizens' civil liberties at risk.

Comment Re:Protecting the arts and artists (Score 5, Funny) 442

I have a plan for changing this at the basic political level, finally getting rid of absurdly-long copyright terms. (And coincidentally, my plan should work for addressing the overbroadness domestic surveillance powers, too.)

The plan is to vote for Republicans or Democrats. (I haven't yet decided which; that's a minor detail.) This way, I can get Republicans or Democrats into key policy-making positions, where they will finally be able to enact the changes they have been promising.

Everyone, if you think the current laws are unfair and ridiculous and you want to Do Something about it, November 2014 will be your first big chance: vote to finally get some Republicans or Democrats into congress. And then in November 2016 vote for a Republican or Democrat president too. (Can you imagine the changes we would see at DoJ, if only we were to have a Republican or Democrat president? Can you imagine the reforms we would see in copyright law, if only we have a Republican or Democrat majority in the houses? Can you imagine what limits would be imposed upon the NSA by the president, if only we were to elect a Republican or Democrat to that job?)

CHANGE CAN HAPPEN, if you do what is necessary to make it happen. For that, the parties (Republicans and Democrats) who are against the status quo, and instead, support common-sense reform, need your support. These parties have never had the opportunity to show their colors, and if only we would give them the chance, I'm sure they wouldn't let us down.

Comment Re:I agree with Lewis Black (Score 4, Insightful) 383

When you're an old asshole, you'll learn to understand why we all get that way. At 54, there are physically a lot of things I just can't do nearly as well as only a few years ago. Most of us end up in some sort of chronic pain...knee and shoulder for me. We're pissed off that the inevitable end is nearing. And, we have to put up with young assholes, who think they know everything, when they've had very little life experience.

Now, get the fuck off my lawn.

Comment /dev/null (Score 1) 45

Concerned taxpaying patriot citizens should opt in to helping the NSA on a volunteer basis.

NSA should provide a spec for device driver writers to make alternative null devices, such that machines which opt to use this driver, anything written to the null device would be automatically sent to NSA. Then all software could be changed to divert a copy of all streams to the null device. For people who don't opt in, there's no privacy risk. For concerned taxpaying patriots who wish to share with NSA, they just run the new null device. For performance-nut patriots, you could have a special hardware null device to reduce the load on your machine and its own network connection. And for performance-nut privacy-nuts, your hardware null device would .. um .. well, certainly be faster than our lame software-emulated null devices.

And of course, if you're a real performance nut, then whether you're a patriot or an al Qaida sympathizer, you have several hardware null devices, striped.

Comment Re:So what is the problem? (Score 1) 282

The reason a phone should be different, is that it is technologically and functionally different. A wallet, cash, watch, TV(*) etc do not broadcast. Those things do not "write" to the world, saying "here I am." Phones do.

(*) Well, ok, you're old TV. Actually, I don't think it would be insane for us to have different expectations about next-gen TVs. Well, I mean, yes, it's insane that they'll talk to the world, but given the fact that they will, we ought to expect them to be recoverable. Sanity within the insanity. ;-)

Comment Re:Seems like overkill (Score 1) 307

Having been born in Detroit 54 years ago, I'll tell you that the city's troubles revolve around many issues that are completely unrelated to what you're seeing in other locations in China or elsewhere. Detroit, the entire Metro area, is one of the most segregated (if not the most) city in the world, with the highest per capita murder rate in the country. The entire economy revolved around the production of vehicles. So, with the outsourcing of parts, and eventually entire plants, to other countries, you end up with where Detroit and Flint are today.

You pointed to the rise and fall of the Japanese economy. When you have cheap labor, it's all fine until everyone starts moving up in pay. Japan lost business to Korea, Philippines, Malaysia, etc. The same thing happened with Korea when I lived there in the mid-80s to early 90s. The average pay increased dramatically, making them less competitive with other countries.

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