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Comment Re:What, exactly, are they suing for, again? (Score 2) 304

Fingerprinting, it seems. I guess even relaying a MAC (the unique identifier attached to network interface cards) address would infringe on this patent.

It's basically what programmers did back in the day to check whether the processor was supported by their program, or to conditionally execute floating point instructions, if the platform had a floating point unit. The *only* difference here is that the same information is used to form an identifier to check whether the system platform has changed since the last time the program started, and it stores this information somewhere to run a comparison against.

It's kind of reminiscent of the public key system.

Comment it's still theft (Score 1) 125

So, if I make a copy of a database with user names and passwords, then set the bits of the database to all zeroes on the server; it's theft? Because I now moved a "painting" from one area of space to another?

The thing is, the original state was reconstructed somewhere else without the permission of the property owner (the one/ones who arranged the original state), and that's what theft is. It's the same as moving a painting (a collection of state) to another region of space, but it's not easy to replicate a painting, so it gets exclusivity as well, but it's still the same concept; one thing appearing somewhere else in space.

The less obvious part is that you always HAVE to destroy (change) some other region of space in order to replicate the state you want a copy of, but you don't have to destroy the state in the source space. Due to the ease at which one can copy state within the realm of digital computers, the default behavior is to leave the state in tact, or you may not even have access to modify the source space.

As with the painting; less energy is required to move the state from one location in space to another, compared to replicating the state. This naturally adds exclusivity to the state, but still, you did not have permission to move the state, and that's what you are doing when you copy; you move state (not in a cut/paste manner) from one region of space to another.

Comment How is anything not a physical property? (Score 1) 125

Everything is a collection of state in space.
The property concept comes from the "shell" we perceive to surround a collection of state so that we can tell things apart; an egg is a property, but is it really no different from a file?

When you download a file, an exclusive region of space must be reserved on your end to hold it, which is then synched to match the state of the source space.

It's free, if you disregard the energy required to synch the state or keep it, but someone arranged the state to begin with.

Comment Other factors are cloud services and anti-spam (Score 1) 75

Businesses--or rather small businesses that are more prone to vulnerabilities due to poor maintenance--are largely going over to cloud services which filter outbound and inbound e-mail. The cloud service anti-spam engines gain more data for heuristics which applies to all customers.

IT administrators have probably also become more aware of restricting outbound SMTP traffic at the firewall or client level.


Submission + - 7 Essential Free Linux Speech Tools (linuxlinks.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Speech synthesizers are text-to-speech systems used with computers. This type of software is programmed to include phonemes and the grammatical rules of a language, so that words are pronounced correctly.

This article identifies the finest open source speech synthesizers that are available for the Linux platform. This category of software is particularly useful for increasing the accessibility of the internet, but there are many other applications for speech synthesizers.

This article also highlights the best speech recognition software for Linux. Speech recognition is the translation of spoken words into text. This type of software helps users to operate their computer by speaking to it, and is a real blessing for anyone who finds it difficult to type, such as the elderly, or people with physical disabilities. Using speech recognition software, users can easily write emails, surf the net, manage their finances, chat to other users online, and perform many other computer activities.

Comment GUI is expensive to develop (localization, design) (Score 1) 780

This move is about the complexity of programming computers. By removing the GUI dependency, you simplify the life of the developer, not to mention the savings you get from not having to design, program, localize, and test a GUI in various builds.--MicroSoft is free to repeat the mistake with Excel, though--localizing function names and keywords.

        That said, you're always going to have a GUI anyway (if you're sane), like forms for user account creation, but then you'd have to roll your own (fragmented), and since you're rolling your own, you are going to make mistakes or miss something at some level, and all of these mistakes are multiplied by the number of scripters, but at least you'd have the freedom to do so.

        Scripts are about removing the concept of applications (to some degree) and focus on services and functionality. This is a good thing, since you can now roll your own user interface. ;)

Comment Misconception about in-code documentation? (Score 1) 545

The purpose of in-code documentation is to bring awareness to the various situations surrounding certain parts of a program. Contracts, parameters, and protocols already have a place in documentation of its own.

        You simply need to realize that the human mind goes through a lot context changes when doing programming--it's not likely that anyone has the same mindset the next time they touch the same logic.

        Documentation in this sense is to write as much or as little required to bring awareness to assumptions, consequences, etc--it's not like writing the philosophy of the API, defining its parameters and protocols. You may have already written that, as it's the reference for both your own code, and for the users of the API, and other programmers.

Comment You're not Itesus (Score 1) 347

It's business, you're not supposed to care, but people won't stop you from feeling guilty.
Nobody cares about you getting stressed or losing sleep over some unsolved problem.
If they can make you feel bad without even trying, then they're not going to stop; it's working to their advantage.

You're there because they don't know the quirks of the "let's just ship it" piece of shit software we have to make work or troubleshoot at times.

Also, if they can't afford to pay what it costs to have an IT person, then why give them the advantage over other businesses by working for a substantially lower pay?

Of course, unless you're living at home with your parents, you can't really be that choosey.
That's also the fundamental flaw that keeps certain shitty businesses alive.

Comment I make hints or tell the client directly (Score 2, Informative) 230

Working in IT, you're bound to come across pirated software from time to time.

a) When I find some pirated software or license misuses, I could for instance tell the client that "I'm not the police, but..."
I might also make them aware that there is this company that looks out for software vendors--the business software alliance, for instance.
b) When a client is aware that they're asking me to do something illegal, like ignoring license agreements etc, I tell them that I don't care what people do privately (nor do I assist them in that case either), but this is not the act of doing serious business--or tell them sorry, and explain that the company I work for won't allow me to do this, etc. If they still insist, they are a lost cause. You can only spend so much energy on these matters.

I'd prefer that more commercial business software would come with some activation mechanism. I've seen cases where clients have ordered one license, then gone ahead installing the software on most every PC, and when confronted about this, they've argued that only one of them uses it at the time--but the license agreement does not allow it to be installed on more than one PC.

You'll most often find that objectivity is the first thing to be sacrificed in business, so hang on to it, tight, or lose it.

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