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Comment IP legislation is a monster (Score 4, Interesting) 203

It seems that these days IP legislation tries to swallow everything. Nothing is safe from IP laws.

It's time to reverse that trend, most of the DMCA should be considered unconstitutional anyhow. If someone sold me a device, why can't I tear it apart to see how it was built?

Patents and copyrights exist for making sure no one needs to keep trade secrets. The intent of those laws is to let people learn about the technical details behind the technology.

Having laws that restricts the liberty of learning goes against every principle of a civilized society.


Obama Administration Supports Journalist Arrested For Recording Cops 238

New submitter SplatMan_DK writes "Ars Technica reports that the Obama Administration has filed a brief in support of a Maryland photojournalist who says he was arrested and beaten after he took photographs of the police arresting two other men. The brief by the Justice Department argues that the U.S. Constitution protects the right to photograph the actions of police officers in public places and prohibits police officers from arresting journalists for exercising those rights. Context: 'Garcia says that when Officer Christopher Malouf approached him, Garcia identified himself as a member of the press and held up his hands to show he was only holding a camera. But Malouf "placed Mr. Garcia in a choke hold and dragged him across the street to his police cruiser," where he "subjected him to verbal and physical abuse." According to Garcia's complaint, Malouf "forcibly dragged Mr. Garcia across the street, throwing him to the ground along the way, inflicting significant injuries." Garcia says Malouf "kicked his right foot out from under him, causing Mr. Garcia to hit his head on the police cruiser while falling to the ground." Garcia claims that Malouf took the video card from Garcia's camera and put it in his pocket. The card was never returned. Garcia was charged with disorderly conduct. In December 2011, a judge found Garcia not guilty.'"

Comment Re:I doubt it (Score 5, Insightful) 393

consoles are NOT a good buy

Consoles are anachronistic by now. They are remnants of an age when there was a TV set in the living room and the family gathered there to watch. Back in those old days, a color monitor was an expensive item, so much that it made sense to use the family TV as a monitor.

Today, when people carry in their pockets a device with a screen that offers much better resolution than the TV screen did, consoles make no sense at all, at least not for the consumer.

There is only one group that benefits from the console system today, the game publishers. Consoles are what enables them to save money in development, because the range of hardware that they must support is limited, while at the same time allowing them to pump the prices up, by using DRM.

Comment Proportional voting == bad idea (Score 1) 642

Let me godwin that for you: Hitler was elected by proportional voting. Nazis rose to power in Germany in one of those convoluted negotiations that countries with proportional voting do all the time.

An extremist has little chance of being elected when candidates are chosen to represent a district. In any given geographical area, there are different sorts of people, therefore moderates are much more likely to get elected.

Under a proportional system, things are different. It's easy to find enough supporters for any extremist view, if you count votes all over the country. And when you try to make a coalition with extremists, who do you think will end with all the power?

A coalition government often has 45% of moderate politicians for one side, 45% of moderates for the other side, and the power ends in the hand of the 10% of extremists who can choose to support one or the other side.

Comment "He did it" "Yes, I did it" (Score 1) 626

Imagine if one and only one of them is lying. Which one?

If the guilty one is lying, they are both claiming the other one did it.

If the innocent one is lying for the other one, then they both agree that the not guilty one did it!

So, in your theory, the one who says he didn't do it is guilty of rape, and the one who admits he did it is guilty of conspiracy?

Comment Brazilian law != US law (Score 5, Informative) 263

they did not DEFEND the trademark for the first 5 years

Are you a Brazilian lawyer? If not, how do you know Brazilian trade mark law requires that?

The decision to deny Apple the use of the iPhone trade mark was made by the Brazilian federal agency for intellectual property, one must assume they know what they are doing.

Comment The year of Linux in the pocket top (Score 1) 241

Who cares about the desktop, desktop computers are dead and gone.

The current trend is about phones and tablets, Microsoft spent so much effort in dominating the desktop that right now they have a monopoly on a fading trend.

Free software will adapt, it can follow and lead trends like commercial software cannot.

Right now, Linux is starting to dominate the phones and tablets segment, like it has dominated the server and big scientific machines for several years already.

Comment Re:It would be fair... (Score 1) 475

As long as you pay for two years of service (or an ETF), they are getting they're subsidy back.

Let's put it this way, suppose you signed a contract to work for $50,000 a year. What if your employer told you you can survive for $25,000, therefore that's what they will pay you?

A deal is a deal, that's life. If you signed a contract you should respect it.

The contract Is too long and complicated for you to understand? Get a lawyer.

If you don't want to accept that, then just pay the full price for an unlocked phone.

Comment Re:It would be fair... (Score 1) 475

Should I have the right, if I visit the UK this summer, to put in a local prepaid SIM card so I can use my own phone without paying my normal carrier their insane international roaming fees?

The whole question is that, if you do that, you are paying your carrier less. If you want to avoid paying roaming fees, then you should have bought an unlocked phone at a higher price.

Roaming fees are one of the ways the company recovers the cost they pay up front when they subsidize the phone.

I really can't understand why people complain about this. Read the contract before signing it, if there's something you don't like there, get another plan or go to another carrier.

Comment Re:Punishment to fit the crime (Score 1) 390

There's no evidence that Ortiz' actions pushed him to suicide

There's corpus delicti, the fact is that he did commit suicide while being harassed by Ortiz. She had the motive, the means, and the opportunity,

If she were anyone else but a federal prosecutor, she would be in custody right now, she would have been indicted, with a mugshot and fingerprints filed at the county jail.

Ortiz certainly scared Swartz, but that's her job

It's not her job to scare someone to death.

Her job is to promote justice, not to cater to the media industry by being their scarecrow.

Comment Swartz didn't "break into" anything (Score 0) 390

Swartz is a lousy poster boy, because physically breaking into a network and committing massive copyright violation

He did nothing of the sort. If you just RTFA you would know that the only thing he did wrong was to use a script to download the papers, instead of getting them one by one.

He had the right to download those papers, he never passed them to anybody else, he did not commit copyright violation.

The only effect of his actions was that, because he downloaded a lot of documents, the system was stressed more than it would ordinarily be.

Essentially, it was like being prosecuted for clicking on too many links in a web page. Or, as his lawyer put it, for checking out too many books from a library. He did nothing he didn't have the right to do, only he did it more often than was expected.

Comment Interfaces (Score 1) 354

What do you mean, "augment"?

Do you mean by inserting special devices in the body? Or just creating some sort of interface between brain and computer?

In any case, that's much harder and more expensive than creating computers. Think artificial heart vs. water pump. Anything that goes inside a human body must be made with an extreme degree of reliability, and it must not react with body fluids or create any sort of adverse effect.

I think we will have augmented human beings only after we have human-like AI. It will take longer to develop devices that can be used in a harmless way to augment a human brain than to develop chips with super-human data handling capacity.

Not to mention the price, of course. Given the choice between having a bunch of very cheap robots or paying a fortune (that I cannot afford) to augment my brain, I would take the first option.

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