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Submission + - Container ship breaks in two, sinks

Cliff Stoll writes: Along with 7000 containers, ship MOL Comfort broke in half in high seas in the Indian Ocean. The aft section floated for a week, then sank on June 27th. The forward section was towed most of the way to port, but burned and sank on July 10th. This post-panamax ship was 316 meters long and only 5 years old. With a typical value of $40,000 per container, this amounts to a quarter billion dollar loss. The cause is unknown, but may be structural or perhaps due to overfilled containers that are declared as underweight. Of course, the software used to calculate ship stability relies upon these incorrect physical parameters.

Comment Make it easy for them (Score 1) 205

Writing a good bug report is not easy, and users should not be expected to know what information the developer will need to find and fix the bug. They only want to report that there is a problem, and that they'd like it fixed.

That said, you can guide them to give more useful information. I found that making a form to fill out with all the details broken out into separate pieces gave us more useful information. Want to know how to reproduce the bug? Make that an individual question on the report. Which component where you using, or what web page were you on? Make that a specific question. A real person can follow up if necessary to get other information, and then they can file the "official" bug report in the form that the developer can understand and use.

Comment Re:Cryptocat (Score 1) 144

I'd say we definitely need something besides Cryptocat:

"Cryptocat is run by people that don't know crypto, make stupid mistakes, and not enough eyes are looking at their code to find the bugs. Cryptographers know the minimums or at least know you should look them up. Cryptocat tried PBKDF2, RSA, Diffie-Hellman, and ECC and managed to mess them all up because they used iterations or key sizes less than the minimums. There was a bug in the generation of ECC private keys that went unchecked for 347 days."

(As far as the competence of the people behind heml.is, I can't say one way or the other.)

Comment What's the meaning of the 2nd "T" in AT&T ? (Score 1) 205

My first job was delivering telegrams (by bicycle) in downtown Buffalo during the 1960's.
My Western Union office had its hours posted on the door: "We Never Close". The building's been torn down, so, in a sense, the message turned out to be true.

Question: what'll happen to the American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation?

Here in Berkeley, one of the main drags is Telegraph Avenue and a cell-phone store is named "Telegraph Wireless"

Comment Beauty of Math; Beauty of Computer Science (Score 4, Interesting) 656

I work in computing; a meter away is a mathematician.

He knows real math: group theory, complex analysis, Lie algebras, topology, and, yes, differential equations. To him, math isn't about numbers ... it's about rigor, elegance, and beauty.

No surprise that his code is rigorous, elegant, and beautiful. When he showed me how to use Cheetah to build templates in Python, he explained things with an clarity and parsimony. In his world, clumsy coding is as bad as a clunky math; a clear mathematical proof is as fascinating as a tightly written function.

This man is the go-to guy for the 100 person business. Soft spoken and never argumentative, his advice and opinions carry weight. I'm honored to work alongside him; not a week goes by that I don't learn from him.

Comment Can't wait to see YouTube's attorneys fee motion (Score 2) 49

When you win a copyright case you may be awarded your attorneys fees. I can't wait to see YouTube's attorneys fee motion. It's going to make my firm's bills seem like chicken feed.

But the defendant's lawyers have done a great job of beating back the Evil Empire, and in so doing have accomplished an important victory for the vitality of the internet.

Comment Re:That's a new one... (Score 1) 49

Right, I had figured that was who it meant, but I'm not sure I understand how that makes them 'content' maximalists. Is it just a typo like someone else suggested and it should read 'copyright' maximalists instead? If that's not it, then it seems a bit ambiguous. I want as much content as possible to be out there, wouldn't that make me a 'content' maximalist too?

Actually, you're 100% right. I think I was trying to decide between the phrase "content cartel" and "copyright maximalists", so my aging brain settled on "content maximalists". Would you change that to "copyright maximalists" for me, please :)

Comment Re:That's a new one... (Score 1) 49

Content maximalists? In context it's obviously supposed to refer to Viacom et al, but I'm not sure what that means. They want maximum content? Doesn't quite sound right.

It means the big old school content "gatekeeper" companies, and their trade groups like the MPAA, RIAA, ASCAP, etc., whose economic power is being eroded by digitalization and the internet, and who are fighting back by taking extremist positions in defense of their copyright ownership.

Submission + - YouTube wins again 3

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: Once again YouTube has defeated Viacom and other members of the content cartel; once again the Court has held that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act actually does mean what it says. YouTube had won the case earlier, at the district court level, but the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, although ruling in YouTube's favor on all of the general principles at stake, felt that there were several factual issues involving some of the videos and remanded to the lower court for a cleanup of those loose ends. Now, the lower court — Judge Louis L. Stanton to be exact — has resolved all of the remaining issues in YouTube's favor, in a 24-page opinion. Among other things Judge Stanton concluded that YouTube had not had knowledge or awareness of any specific infringement, been 'willfully blind' to any specific infringement, induced its users to commit copyright infringement, interacted with its users to a point where it might be said to have participated in their infringements, or manually selected or delivered videos to its syndication partners. Nevertheless, 5 will get you 10 that the content maximalists will appeal once again.

Submission + - Jammie Thomas Denied Supreme Court Appeal (theverge.com)

sarysa writes: The Supreme Court has refused to hear the latest appeal of the 7 year old Jammie Thomas case, regarding a single mother who was fined $222,000 in her most recent appeal for illegally sharing 24 songs. Those of us hoping for an Eighth Amendment battle over this issue will not be seeing it anytime soon. In spite of the harsh penalties, the journalist suggests that: "Still, the RIAA is sensitive about how it looks if they impoverish a woman of modest means. Look for them to ask her for far less than the $222,000."

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