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Comment would be good to clarify criminal hacking vs. test (Score 1) 161

It would be good for everyone to have it very clear where the line is. I have my name on some CVEs, so I qualify as a "security researcher", I suppose. Also, I'm paid to protect my client's systems, so I understand the costs of criminal hacking. I see both sides and from my perspective it would be good to know that I'm protected from frivolous prosecution if I follow responsible disclosure practices, while not giving a free pass to the criminals attacking us.

We have to be careful though - DMCA was designed to be a balance between creators' need to protect their work and service provider's need to provide hosting etc without undo liability, along with _some_ protection against frivolous claims via counter claims. It works well most of the time, but the lack of penalty for bogus claims means it's also abused too often.

Comment if your car is unlocked, stealing your stereo is o (Score 1) 161

So by your thinking, if you leave your car unlocked, which is a dumb thing to do security-wise, it's okay for someone to steal your stereo?

Sure, a programmer or two at AT&T did something dumb.
That's orthogonal to what Weev did.

In fact, by your logic, if a 16 year old girl walks down a dark street at night (failing to have proper security), the rapist has done nothing wrong. After all, she should have had better security . Perhaps she should have, but that doesn't make it okay to victimize someone.

Comment Penalty too high, and amicus brief silly (Score 1) 161

The penalty in this case was too high, even for a repeat offender.

I read the amicus brief with interest and it first it seemed like they had some good points. After thinking about it, I realized their arguments are kind of silly.

Their argument hinges on the idea that Weev couldn't have known that downloading the personal of hundreds of thousands of people was unauthorized. Seriously? They imply that because Weev COULD access it over the web, he thought he was supposed to. His statements afterwards make it very clear he knew it was unauthorized access and therefore illegal.

They also pretend that they missed Criminal Law 101, where they learned about criminal intent, known as mens rea. They pretend to believe that Consumer Reports testing toasters is the same thing as hacking people's professional information, over 100,000 times, then distributing that personal data. Anyone with a grain of common sense can plainly see they are completely different.

Comment one does lead to another (Score 1) 343

The current total tax rate on the AVERAGE American is over 45%. Income tax, FICA x 2, gas tax, property tax, death tax, business personal property tax, sales tax, car registration tax ...

Increasing it another 25% on productive people, as progressives wish to do, brings the total to around 70%. It just so happens that if you intend to take everything people have worked for, you're going to have to imprison or kill many of them to do it.

Comment We all lose our lives. For what? MLK, declaration (Score 1) 343

The Declaration of Independence closes with the words "we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."
The founders understand that some things are of greater value than their own life.

They knew that we ALL die. The only question is, what will you die FOR? Cigarettes? To drive a little faster? To avoid exercise?
Martin Luther King died for something WORTH dying for, something bigger than himself.

What will YOU die for? If you want to make it worth it, to trade your life for something more valuable, something bigger than you is called a "principle".

Comment All starting with years of QWERTY training (Score 1) 258

The studies you mentioned all started with people who were trained in QWERTY and had used it daily for many years. They discovered that several days of training (on Dvorak) part better than many years of training (on QWERTY).

For people who haven't been using QWERTY for 25 years, learning Dvorak instead likely makes sense. (Aka young people.)

Comment 'cept for the ones who can't read the Bill of Righ (Score 1) 89

> People in every state likely have the same needs and desires when it comes to things like education, healthcare, and abortion, or freedoms

Connecticut is one of only four states with a law specifically allowing abortion, explicitly saying your GF has the right to murder your child.
Texas is currently passing a law saying that more than five months into a pregancy, abortion is illegal. So the citizens of the different
states don't have the same desires in terms of abortion, for sure.

Healthcare? Show me a Texan who desires Obamacare and I'll show you an Austinite, who probably came from California (meaning they're not a real Texan).
Maybe that's a bad example, because in the last poll, 56% of DEMOCRATS nationwide said Obamcare is unconstitutional.

Education? Some local school boards in Texas, at the behest of the parents in the community, teach that the Genesis story may
have hints of how the universe was actually created.* Would people in San Francisco desire that to be taught?

* and interestingly, every new scientific find is consistent with the idea that the old testament is indeed based on actual events,
    in the same way that Saint Nick the Christmas character is based on a real guy.

Comment No, Austin is much different from College Station (Score 1) 89

An Aggie, eh? I happen to be typing this on a computer owned by the Texas A&M System. I'd much prefer to let the Austinites
have their coed public restrooms in Austin, and we can keep our "Men's Room" signs up. Tomorrow, I'll be shooting fireworks, which
are illegal in many parts of the state. I happen to be a pyro geek, spending hundreds of dollars and many hours preparing my show.
As I enjoy the beautiful chemistry in the sky, I'll be glad that Houston politicians can't stop me. They can do it their way in their city.

> and there'll be many in Houston, Dallas, etc. who would absolutely love it if Austin and others were controlled top-down by a more politically aligned state.

Not so much that I've seen. We may joke about the tea sips and their hippy ways, but we're glad to let them be them, in Austin.
Besides, if Austin is to their liking, fewer of them will come here to College Station. :)

Comment No, he attributed non-progress to lack thereof (Score 1) 87

> You seriously contribute *everything* humanity has ever done in the last 300 years to patents? Are you serious?

No, the person I replied to attributed the fast paced progress a thousand years ago to the LACK of patents.
I pointed that progress has accelerated greatly since patents began to be commonly used, so he was wrong
to say that the creation of patents a few hundred years ago caused progress to stop.

Additionally, in places where patents were strong, such as the US, those were exactly the places doing most of the
invention in the last 300 years. (Of course the US lead in innovation had begun to wither in the last 25 years or so.)

> And more recently they've been a tool of choice for abuse

Which is my point. Recently, in the last 5-10 years or so, certain people have started abusing them in a specific way.
What you want is to get back to the system that worked so well from Edison in 1859 to Shockley and to Noyce in 1956.
Edison didn't spend years trying thousands of different prototypes for usable light bulb because he had nothing better to do.
He hoped to invent a workable electric light so that he could live off the earnings his R&D would produce. We should keep
that, while getting rid of the recent "business plan" of systematic abuse.

Comment and there are alot of us. Federal or state? (Score 0) 89

We are Texans, and there's a spread shitload of us.
So the question for you in Connecticut or wherever is this:

Do you want millions of Texans telling you how to live , through federal legislation, or do you want your state's citizens to decide how you do things there in Connecticut, and we can do it our way in Texas?

Comment Oh the irony (Score 0) 87

> Let me guess - you dont understand software

ROTFL at the irony. You didn't notice who you were replying to, did you. Hint - you're talking to a kernel contributor, and an Apache contributor.

> Patents are not meant to provide a means of extorting other businesses nor are they meant to last for ever. ... Patents are also required to be unique

Agreed.

> We dont allow patenting mathematical constructs because they are far too logical and replicable.

A common misconception. We don't allow patenting the laws of nature of of mathematics, because they predate their "invention" - mathematical equations which are "true" are discovered, not actually invented. On the other hand, using a few pages of newly created math to say, detect and eliminate Slashdot trolls, is patentable. 1 = 2 -1 isn't patentable because it's a mathematical fact. On the other hand:
trollscore = sin(posts) / cos(points) ... days * replies .... blah blah
isn't mathematically true, it would be a newly invented way of rating trollishness, and therefoe patentable.

> Anyone looking to do the same thing will logically take the same path with no knowledge of any prior art.

We can quickly determine whether or not that's true. Consider how you'd make a captcha, a web device to prevent bots from posting spam all over slashdot al day long. If you know anything at all about programming, in about 30 seconds you can sketch out how you might do that in your head. if you're intellectually honest, take 30 seconds to think about so we can see if you're right that you and I come up with the same implementation. I'll wait a few line feeds while you do that.

30 seconds later ...

Having seen a captcha before, you might have imitated prior art and make a really annoying captcha. This is what I came up with:
http://bettercgi.com/images/face-turing-captcha.png

In testing, everyone has been able to quickly solve my captcha while standing ten feet away. It leverages a skill that's been very finely tuned for millions of years - spotting attractive women. Did you come up with the exact same thing? Of course not. ChickCAPTCHA is a new invention. It happens to be implemented in software.

Gears and pulleys can be put together in the same old ways to build the same old machines. Gears and pulleys can also be used to make completely new inventions. The same is true of for loops and if statements - most of the time, they are used to build traditional software. Occasionally, they are used to build entirely new inventions which are much better than what was available before. ChickCAPTHA is an example - it's much, much less annoying than old fashioned captchas, much quicker and easier, and therefore better.

It took significant R&D time to figure out what humans are incredibly good at, much better at than computers. (It turned out we're very, very good at spotting hot babes). Then more time figure out just the right way to use that so it was really easy for humans, but hard for computers. (Subtleties in the images make it harder for computer vision than you might think). I think it's fair than instead of Microsoft or Google ripping off my research, they have to throw me a bone if they want to start using ChickCAPTCHA on gmail. (WIth a reasonable time limit, as you said.)

PS - if any readers think ChickCAPTCHA is cool, don't steal it, contact me. I'll do a very reasonable license if contacted. If you steal my R&D/idea, I will ask my friendly lawyer to help me find some truly evil lawyers.)

Comment agreed, patent terms should be shorter now (Score 1) 87

Agreed, in 1850, people were using thousand year old technology for the most part , so a twenty year lead was reasonable.
  These days, 3 years might give a roughly equivalent advantage. The only problem is, since the patent office is government bureaucracy, it takes three years for them to approve it.

Comment think about what you said. progress (Score 2, Interesting) 87

Think about that for a second. You want to trade the pace of progress in the sciences and useful arts that we've had for the last 300 years for the rate of progress for two thousand years before that? Really?

Three hundred years ago, 1713, life was much the same as it was in 300 BC. Our quality of life has improved so much more in the last few hundred years than it improved in the thousands of years before. Are you really wanting to go back to the days when everyone just worried about feeding themselves, because there was no hope of changing your life by creating something new that everyone could benefit from?

Granted, there were certain times, in certain places, where people made real progress long ago. Greece, for example, was unusually productive. It was also unusual in that Greece had patents 2,500 years ago, and it had citizens rather than subjects.

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