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Comment Re:Miranda (Score 2) 768

Bingo. This is what I was thinking too. All the rules put in place DO eliminate pretty much every reason for a 5th Amendment but they also eliminate the usefulness of many other rights. For example, requiring police to have a warrant before searching absolutely benefits the guilty more than the innocent but you're not arguing to do away with search warrants. Almost all the restrictions on police power benefit the guilty disproportionately but they DO benefit the innocent as well and so that is the price we pay. If you want to create a set of rules like that you can basically justify unlimited police power, the "if it saves even one life we should do it" argument. See for example, the massive data collection being undertaken by the government.

Comment Re:Can't agree (Score 1) 384

I do agree that documents for widespread consumption should take the path you suggested with content and design separate. Let's be honest though, word processing software is not about creating beautiful documents and is not supposed to be real publishing software (which DOES usually separate the two). Word processing software is really a replacement for the typewriter, and viewed in that light it offers marvelous advantages. Documents done on a typewriter were quite ugly and misaligned as well. The problem is that some people, usually those on a tight budget of time and/or money, mistakenly use a word processor as a replacement for a graphic designer and publishing software. You are simply never going to get people to write every informal document in a program which separates content and design. While it admittedly makes for a higher quality end product it also takes longer or at least more skill (and thus is more expensive). For some jobs the only need is to get the information onto the page, presentation is of little concern.

Comment Re:Will it be adequate training for Cisco cert exa (Score 1) 128

That is typical of what you get when computer science people teach networking classes. It is certainly not the case that all computer scientists and programmers look down on infrastructure people and concepts...but a lot of them'll find that the case on Slashdot as well. People who program don't see the level of training in theory and practice that is important for network engineers and (good) system administrators. They just don't see low level protocols as interesting. Of course, my experience is that these people are often responsible for some horrible networks lacking redundancy, full of inefficiency, etc. The ability to set up a really good enterprise class network is not something that is simple or intuitive, it is programming and design in it's own right. I respect your ability to write software but I find it tedious myself but you don't see me looking down on you...

Comment Re:Will it be adequate training for Cisco cert exa (Score 2) 128

I really dislike that argument. The truth is that to really tech you useful skills I have to show you how to do it using somebody's thing. To a large extent it doesn't matter who's stuff I use but I can't really just talk about it abstractly and expect you to be able to actually do anything when you're done. An analogous situation in computer science is that you should be taught ONLY general concepts and no particular programming language...ever...that would be up to you to figure out by yourself. The truth is that you probably need to be shown how to do it in at least one language by someone and then you can translate the concepts to other languages. The same is true for the networking area. If I explain the concepts and then show you how to do it on Cisco equipment you can probably figure out how to do it on just about any equipment. This is also why we don't just explain literary concepts abstractly, almost all literature teachers will use particular books as examples of the concept. Most people learn much better if there is an example...whether it's networking or literature. If that's not you great, but you're in the minority.

Comment Use off the shelf hardware for control if you can (Score 5, Interesting) 135

Having some experience in this area my suggestion is to use off the shelf hardware if you at all can. For most of these specific market "black box" control applications you'll never sell enough to bring the cost low enough to do a ground-up design at a reasonable price, plus it locks you in to the current state of capabilities. It will be much more cost effective to use existing Android tablets, write an app for them to do your control and talk back to your black box over a network (a private network if you must). This will allow you much more flexibility than linking the control interface directly with the black box. In the pro a/v and automation category where I do some of this work almost everything has gone this direction and it makes it much easier and faster to design/upgrade.

Comment Re:University Owns It (Score 1) 211

The trick is to get someone to pay for it, but not the institution. Particularly in high-expense research areas (biomedial, sciences) you can usually find federal funds (NIH, NSF, etc.) which will make it clear that you own the copyright but that you have to provide a copy for free distribution through some clearinghouse. My suggestion (and experience) is to avoid funds coming directly from the institution, there are too many strings attached as you have noted. Finding money for good research is not as tough as it might seem. I would go so far as to suggest that if you're paying your own tuition (definitely for a PhD and probably for a masters) you're probably doing something wrong. Writing grants is a key part of future academic work so you may as well figure out how the system works now...and negotiating so that you retain copyrights is part of that.

Comment Re:Creative commons! (Score 1) 211

They're mostly concerned with you using their facilities extensively, many times that is not the case. Also, you'll see exceptions if you bring any money/resource into the picture with it's own strings attached (NSF funding is specifically called out). For a terminal MS this is probably less common but in the PhD world you almost always bring your own pot of money to the table and thus can make some of your own demands. I suspect that in the end MIT only ends up owning the rights to a very selective number of theses compared to the total number submitted in any given time period.

Comment Re:University Owns It (Score 1) 211

All of this applies only to my experience in the US... At the schools where I've taught and the schools where I've been a student there are no such forms which state those things. Even if there were as you say it might be that they can use it but I would really enjoy seeing such a form which actually turns over all of the rights and are not joint ownership, etc.

Just because there are grants does not mean that ownership is automatically turned over. In fact, most grants explicitly state that ownership resides with the grantee. Sometimes (many times with federal grants) there are requirements to disseminate the research freely but that's the opposite of what's being talked about and that too would never be implied, it would be clearly spelled out in the agreement accepting the grant. As for the use of labs, equipment, etc. the university usually takes a hefty "administrative cost" off the top of money coming in to cover those things and usually any fixtures, equipment, etc. you purchase with the grant become school property.

Academics vigorously protect that their intellectual property belongs to them and not to anyone else. Most contracts for faculty, for example, go so far as to clearly spell this out...even to the extent that at many schools syllabi are property of the faculty and the school may require a record of it but cannot distribute it without permission. Patentable sponsored research, especially in the areas of biotechnology and plant genomics, are some special cases which may be governed by special agreements about who owns the intellectual property of the research, but even there the rights to the report itself is usually owned by the researcher.

Comment Re:Creative commons! (Score 1) 211

That would not fly in the US. I do believe that in some countries universities may have copyright claim on student work but this is simply not the case in the US unless there is a contract and funding making it a work for hire or copyright assignment. I am not aware of any US schools which have such requirements and I study and practice in the field of education.

Comment Re:University Owns It (Score 1) 211

What country and field is this in? If they are sponsoring the research...maybe. In my experience though it is exactly the opposite. Unless you sign a contract making something a work for hire I am aware of no legislation in the US which would give the university any rights to your work at all (other than fair use of course).

Comment Re:Creative commons! (Score 1) 211

I did this for my PhD (in 2009) too and my school (University of Minnesota) didn't blink over the copyright being CC at all. I also agree with Danah that you should try to make it as available as possible. Even with a CC license it's important that people be able to find it so they can use it. Luckily in my field there is a clearinghouse (ERIC) which will host theses, papers, and articles and distribute them indefinitely. I also allowed the University Archives to post it online. Interestingly, ProQuest later submitted the copy I sent to them to the same database (of course they didn't submit the full text, just a reference link to there site where you can buy it).

Your institution and department don't have any claim to your work (unless they are directly paying for it, but even so giving up the rights to it would be rather unusual) and should not be telling you how you can and cannot copyright it. Worst case you just re-release it after the fact with whatever license you want. Academia is the last place that closed licenses belong!

If you're interested you can see what I did at:

Comment Not a new discussion (Score 4, Insightful) 706

This is not a new discussion... there have been people thinking about this for some time. In March of 2006 I wrote an article on my blog about it (reproduced below) which eventually led to me consulting with Public Radio on a show they were doing at the time about online public information (you can listen to an archived copy of that at October 12, 2007: Your Exposed Life on MPR

My Original Article 3/24/2006:

I've often wondered who will be able to run for political office in forty or fifty years. People, especially youg people, seem to be so naive about posting things online. For years online forums and message boards have been a place where people vented. Now sites like Myspace, Facebook and others are creating such a low barrier to entry that almost every middle and high school child in the United States has some kind of web presence. What many fail to understand is that once something is posted or "said" on the internet it never goes away...ever. The internet is also quite easy to search if you know what you're doing. This dangerous combination means that everything you write to a message board can be found at some point in the future and "can and will be used against you". Any kind of off-color comment or joke you ever made online, even if your intention wasn't to hurt anyone, is public knowledge.

Employers already know about this. BusinessWeek recently ran an article called "You are what you post" that talked about some of the implications for job seeking but I think the arena where this will really get the consultants salivating is politics. There are so few people who are able to hold their tongue and never offend anyone. In the past politicians have relied primarily on obscuring and making it difficult to find embarrassing things about their past. When today's teens start running for political office these things will only be an internet search away. Remember that posting to that email discussion list about STDs you made when you were 15? How about that time someone on a message board got you mad and you called them a racial slur? You may have forgotten these incidents but the internet has not and neither will your enemies.

I wonder if the politicians of the future will need to be groomed from birth to have no defects and think very, very carefully before ever speaking. On the other hand our society may end up becoming more accepting of faults which would not be an all bad outcome. This remains to be seen but in the meantime those of us who have always tried to think about how what we say today could come back (for better or worse) in the future are going to be much better off than the indiscriminate masses.

Comment Re:Good news...? (Score 5, Insightful) 296

Maybe because the web is a medium and not a place?

I'm all for requiring public physical places to be designed with the needs of the disabled in mind. This only makes sense and I think has made a tremendous difference for both the legally disabled and our generally aging population but I don't think the web is the equivalent of a public place. I think it's a medium more akin to a newspaper or book.

Would it make sense to REQUIRE all book publishers to publish extra copies in braille for example? I can certainly see the value of regulations which said that if the publisher (or website author) doesn't do it themselves a third-party service provider must not be prevented from (legally) making the information accessible but to require all websites to do it themselves would put a huge burden on website authors and may just cause a lot of people to stop putting information on the web unless they need to or their is a compelling commercial reason to do so.

Let's look at a project to scan in material from old books and make it available in image/pdf format for research. If the information were required to be accessible it would add a significant amount of work and cost to the (already expensive) digitization process. In my own case where I am putting up some very specific historic and technical material which I am making no money on I might just stop doing it. This would be a net loss for the spread of knowledge.

These types of regulations work best when they encourage people to do the right thing but do NOT just stop anything from happening. eg. If people stopped building public places because of the expense of ADA compliance the ADA would not make sense on a societal level as public places have value. The same goes for websites.

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