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Comment A symptom of the North American cellular market (Score 5, Insightful) 249

This is what happens when stupid consumers let carriers control the market for phones by insisting that $500 is too much to pay upfront, opting instead to sign on for three-year $3000 contracts. But the phone is free, right?

Carriers should be dumb pipes, selling an interchangeable and undifferentiated service, viciously competing against each other on the price of data and the quality of service. This is the future they desperately fear, so instead they try to market the phones as if they themselves had anything at all to do with the services you can access or the software that Google wrote. They give their phones idiotic carrier-specific names like the the Incredible, the Enlighten, or the Illusion, trying to cultivate their own little brands.

Innovation happens at HTC, Google, Samsung, LG, etc. Carriers have exactly nothing to do with it, and need to be put into their proper places as vendors of connectivity. The next time you buy a phone, buy unlocked. Don't be afraid to pay a little more up-front: beating a small discount out of the sales droid will more than make up for it, and you'll get a phone that hasn't been fucked with.

You wouldn't buy a laptop from your ISP; why the hell would you buy your handheld computer from one?

Comment Re:Vote third party (Score 1) 302

You cannot vote for a third party without weakening your side's position. Fragmenting the liberal vote while the conservative vote is unified has cost the liberal side the electoral victory in the very recent past. You cannot vote for a third party under a first-past-the-post voting scheme. A two-party state is a stable and inevitable endpoint of first-past-the-post voting.

The only answer is electoral reform.

Comment Good idea... (Score 1) 569

If you think about it, this makes a lot more sense than vaccinating girls... ... mainly because American christian hypocrisy is much more comfortable with the idea of boys having sex than with girls doing the same. Vaccinating our good old boys against crotch-rot is more politically acceptable than vaccinating little Suzie against the risks of the sex she's not supposed to have.

Comment Re:They can't find you if.... (Score 1) 233

You could just spoof your MAC address. Many wireless cards, through their windows drivers, allow you to do so directly from the device property page. I'm sure there are other solutions on every platform.

Also, paying cash... what, as if the store logged the MAC addresses of wireless cards and tied them to customers' credit card numbers?

Comment Umm, .net anyone? (Score 1) 117

Obviously VBA, descended as it is from VB6, needs to die. But .net made VB a respectable programming language, so why wouldn't microsoft simply move office macro development to that newer version instead? The learning curve would be pretty easy to climb for existing users, and there are a great many of those: entire businesses run on half-assed collections of excel macros.

Comment Re:Developer Ethical Dilemma? (Score 1) 384

Indeed, as an atheist, you'd have no sense of right / wrong, and without fear of judgment and damnation, you'd have no desire to be a decent human being. You'd make a rational calculation that their paying you what you consider to be unsatisfactory wage justifies fraud and theft.

If, on the other hand, you had your belief in Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Son of the LORD God in Heaven, you'd have the sort of strong moral fiber that would preclude your involvement in any such sociopathic actions. It's widely known that Christians do not sin.

Comment Re:Prima facie evidence? (Score 1, Interesting) 519

And if you don't comply with the audit you've supposedly agreed to, what's their recourse? They can try to sue for breach of contract... a contract that they can't actually prove you've entered into.

There's pretty much no way the BSA's tactics can actually be legal. It seems to me like they put on a big show and take on a threatening posture, hoping that you'll be convinced to let them gather the evidence they need and then pay them whatever they're asking.

A bit of common sense: can a random individual or company come into your house or place of business and demand to see proof that you're complying with a private contract?

The BSA has no law enforcement powers.

Comment Security fail (Score 2) 225

Obviously there's no legal protection for the data on your phone - not that there shouldn't be, but your privacy rights only go one way in modern society, so don't hold your breath - but where are the technical measures? We've seen that police use forensics devices that attach the data port on the phone to give them immediate and complete access to the entire file system.

There's always a tradeoff between convenience and security, and it's time cell phones at least gave you the option to choose a bit more of the latter. How about not allowing read access via the USB port when the phone is locked? That's just basic common sense, but phone manufacturers and OS vendors don't take physical security seriously yet. How about cutting power to the phone when the back cover is removed? How about having a power-on password in addition to a lock-screen password, so the phone can't simply be put into recovery mode?

On a PC I can set a BIOS password, a hard drive password, and use full disk encryption of a sort that nobody will ever be able to break. If the machine is running but locked, suspended, or hibernating, even windows will ensure that there's no way to get at my data without actually having the proper credentials. There's no way to recover my passwords or encryption keys from memory, except for the rather technical, obscure, and time-sensitive technique of physically freezing the RAM and trying to read back its contents after a reboot. Compare this to joke that passes for file system encryption on the iphone.

In a lot of ways, smartphones store more valuable data than PCs do, and yet the options for protecting that data are virtually nonexistent.

Comment Canada? (Score 1) 277

Funny, I haven't seen any bazaars filled with $1 DVDs around here, which is the sort of thing that characterizes the rest of the entries on the list (except possibly Spain).

We have a cable / satellite duopoly for broadcast TV (nobody uses free OTA here; reception is nonexistent for most) that extracts $80-100/month out of almost every Canadian household - the same duopoly that supplies broadband internet to 90% of the population. Our communications regulator is a puppet of said duopoly: it recently approved regulations that dictate that nobody may offer better or cheaper internet service than the incumbents. We have the most expensive broadband and cellular in the developed world, and it's getting more expensive rather than less: the duopoly has started charging punitive rates for overages above caps that are set so low as to make streaming video services impossible to use.

What more does the USTR want? What more does it demand that Canada do to support the content industry's bottom line? Why are American special interests so butthurt over the state of the Canadian content market?

I think I know: no private citizen has gone before a court in this country over a copyright violation. Our court system doesn't permit the procedural tricks that allow thousands of people of unknown identity to be sued. Hollywood can't stand this.

Comment lolwut (Score 2) 152

The full title of this software is actually GREEN DAM YOUTH ESCORT.

For guarding of the youth, to making safe and happy social harmony. Great and capable software for glorious ten thousand year nation. Code is not stolen; developed by brilliant engineers at November 23 People's Collective Software Refinery.

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