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Comment Gentle reminder about security (Score 5, Insightful) 235

I think these gentle reminders about security are great and are part of the spirit of hacking.

Which would the USA rather have: (a) goofball hackers create a zombie panic, or (b) our next enemy uses a coordinated attack to create actual panic?

Reminds me of the infamous "War of the Worlds" broadcast by Orson Welles.

Comment Part of free markets is brand protection (Score 1) 611

I can see Ron Paul's side of things.

He needs to control his brand, and to own it outright. Thus, he benefits not only from having ownership, but having his legal right made clear.

When we first look at this story, it's like "LOL irony afoot. Free market, bitches!"

But after some sober contemplation, one can see the wisdom of the Ron Paul team's position.

I still think that, were Ron Paul to adopt the foreign policy outlook of his son Rand, he would be electable overnight.

Comment Aim for "low cost" instead of "free" (Score 1) 60

Used to live in a city with "free wifi". It was horrendously slow because everybody used it and most still paid a normal provider.

If you make a public resource, you have what economists call a "free rider" problem: most people aren't obligated to pay in to it, so they simply take advantage of it without paying in.

This causes the quality of service to decline. It is related to the "Tragedy of the Commons" where overconsumption of a public resource results in its depletion.

A better option to "free" internet might be aiming to lower costs and improve performance, and then allow local residents to use additional bandwidth to provide free local hotspots.


Submission + - Six months without Adobe Flash, and I feel fine (

hessian writes: "As documented on /., six months ago I de-installed the Adobe FlashTM player on all my browsers.

This provoked some shock and incredulity from others. After all, Flash has been an essential content interpreter for over a decade. It filled the gap between an underdeveloped JavaScript and the need for media content like animation, video and so on."

Comment Insight into Google's legislative future. (Score 2, Interesting) 183

Here's a hypothesis:

Google beat the last challenge from the antitrust attorneys from Texas, but it can't count on the future.

Specifically, other states or federal entities could attack it, and then there's all of the EU, which traditionally takes a harder line on privacy violation and monopoly.

Schmidt is no dummy and so he's divesting a reasonable amount (less than half) of his stock to hedge against a potential catastrophic future decline.

Remember what happened to Microsoft. They basically floundered hard after an assault by the department of justice. If the same happens to Google, they'll have to put most of their plans on hold for a decade as well.

Comment It may be a win for the corporate world. (Score 1) 109

For Apple, and the rest of the corporate world, it's bad news, because it seems it's getting harder and harder to use patents as weapons.

I think this could have a positive effect including for the corporate world. The end of patents-as-weapons will make it easier to introduce new products without getting sued, and mean companies spending less time in expensive courtroom battles.

If I want to introduce the next iPod or Xbox 360 or just about anything, someone out there has a patent that covers something on it, from simple stuff like "the power button flashes twice when the power goes on" to the inner workings. Having less patent power could be a good thing.

Then again, I'm not sure that's what this case is about. The patents themselves were found to be improperly constructed at trial. Thus, this case deals with those patents alone, although I like your spin on it :)

Comment Let the USPS run itself as a business (Score 2) 564

Whenever the USPS has money, the Congress puts more rules on it. The most recent was the rule about having to pay forward its health care expenses:

The pensions, union rules and other government regulations are strangling this once-great postal service, and it can't keep up. Removing these rules would allow it to be competitive again.

Comment Three cheers for Firefox (Score 1) 167

If you're using Firefox, one problem is that they've been very tardy with H.264 support, for ideological reasons.

I understand some of their reasoning and am not critical of it.

If anything, I think every FireFox user should try it without Flash. There just are not crashes. It's inspiring.

Comment People are not equal (Score 1) 214

People will still write, will still sing, and will still make movies.

Yes, but will we get the same quality of work?

Ernest Hemingway was able to devote his life to his writing because it not only paid the bills, but paid comparable to work as an attorney or doctor.

If writing pays nothing, he'll take those other jobs instead, and not have the time to write the masterpieces he would do otherwise.

Comment Is copyright obsolete? (Score 1) 214

That said, I don't agree with how copyright is used/abused these days and I think it's an outdated idea. Human culture and advancement has always been built on the basic human desire to share good ideas/music/art/recipes etc.

I think this is the core of the issue.

On one hand, sharing information is a great thing.

On the other hand, that information will not get developed if it doesn't pay off handsomely.

My concern is making sure we can continue to fund quality books, movies, etc. We can find people to do it for free, but people who get paid to do it can do it full time and may do a better job.

Comment My report: 6 months without using Flash (Score 4, Interesting) 167

Some time ago, after the last round of Flash exploits, I de-installed it and resolved to live without it.

There are glitches: I can't get most video content, and Flash-only sites are inaccessible. However, this ended up being not a big issue.

One reason for this is that many YouTube videos play in HTML5 on Firefox. (If you find a video you can't play, try embedding it; this sometimes produces a workable version.)

Overall, the playback on HTML5 is better than Flash. There are fewer random slowdowns and stall-outs. On the downside, not every video is in HTML5.

The most amazing this is that browser crashes have dropped to near zero, either one or zero during this time. Most of what I thought was FF and Opera being buggy was in fact Flash being buggy.

There's not yet enough content switched to HTML5 from Flash to navigate everything, but during my 6 months without Flash, I've noticed that more firms are going away from the Flash-only navigation school of design.

YMMV. For me, life without Flash has been better, although I do miss out on some things.

Comment Unhappiness and dysgenics (Score 1) 179

I would add unhappy to your list of qualities that make up the bulk of social site users. Many of the people I know who are regular users remain in contact with old flames even though they are now like Al Bundy. Here's to hoping these extra opportunities to procreate don't result in the psychologically healthy being out-bred by this genotypical subset.

I've noticed this as well. People tend to try to "justify" their lives using lifestyle and/or perceived success. For example, a recent survey of Facebook friends found that almost 3/4 of the profile pictures contained either (a) alcohol or (b) children. It's like saying "See what I have, I'm doing quite well."

I don't think that sort of pre-emptive bragging happens when people are actually happy. Instead, as you've observed, there are signs of misery. Lots of scheming and pseudo-romance. It's creepy.

The dysgenic effects will undoubtedly be felt by future generations. It's as if we're breeding humanity into obese deskbound drama queens that know how to look successful on Facebook, but not succeed at real-life things like happiness and fidelity!

Comment I keep trying to use Facebook. (Score 5, Insightful) 179

I've come to the conclusion that social networking is screwed up because the people who use it most are the people who are least invested in reality.

Every time I try to use Facebook, I get driven away by the behavior of its users. Not the Instagram dinner plate updates, or the personal drama, because I've already filtered out those people.

It's the sensitivity. People take anything seriously. I posted an article showing that divorce really screws up kids. I got back a half-dozen replies, all from people who'd had divorces, defending their own decisions. When I said that it wasn't personal, they said they still felt attacked.

There were other instances of similar behavior too. People hover around Facebook, looking for some reason to cause a scene. Why was this, I wondered.

It seems to me that if you have found something worth doing in life, you're mostly doing it. That doesn't mean your job. If your job sucks, you've probably got a project on the side. You're not going to devote your time to screwing around, which is what most people on Facebook do.

This means that social networking including Facebook selects out the people who have any direction in life, and leaves the resentful, bored, unemployed, disabled, upset, insane, teenage, etc. and concentrates them in large numbers. This is why so much of the response is crazy.

I should amend the post title. I used to keep trying to use Facebook (and MySpace, Digg, Reddit, Friendster, Pinterest, etc.). But now, I don't. These aren't places where healthy people hang out.

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