Attila Dimedici writes: Richard Fernandez talks about the various issues around privacy in the 21st Century. He states that the biggest problem on this front is that people do not know the value to them of privacy, nor the cost to them of losing it. He touches on a lot of the issues related to privacy which we discuss on this forum but, to me, the key paragraph was this:
The classic solution to the problem would be to establish a market in privacy because it is the most efficient known mechanism for allocating valuable items. If one could know the true costs and benefits of keeping a secret then most rational consumers would choose the level of privacy that suits them. However, this runs counter to the basic instincts of bureaucracy. For example, the European high court has decided to give a relatively obscure bureaucrat in Paris to the mandate "to lead an increasingly powerful group of European privacy regulators" to decide who gets access to what.
Attila Dimedici writes: In a new Rasmussen poll, 75% of American adults would rather read a book in traditional print format than in an ebook format. Only 15% prefer the ebook format (the other 10% are undecided). The latter is a drop from the 23% that preferred the ebook format in Rasmussen's 2011 poll. In addition, more say they buy their books from a brick and mortar store that say they buy books online (35% from brick and mortar, 27% online). I suspect that the 27% who buy online buy more books, but these results are interesting and suggest that the brick and mortar bookstore is not necessarily doomed.
Attila Dimedici writes: I am in the process of implementing a Email Encryption Gateway for my company. I checked with my various contacts in the industry and came away with Voltage as the best solution. However, as I have been working with them to implement a solution, I have been sadly disappointed by their lack of professionalism. Every time I think I am one question away from being ready to pull the trigger, I discover something that my contact with them had not mentioned before that has to be ironed out by the various stakeholders on my end. So, my question for Slashdot Users is this, what is your experience with implementing an Email Encryption Gateway for your company and who what solution would you recommend?
Attila Dimedici writes: There have been several reports of voting machines changing for Mitt Romney to votes for Obama in several states that have Early Voting, Ohio, North Carolina, Kansas. So far, I have not seen any reports of voting machines doing the opposite. Is this just user error? Or happenstance? Or is this the case of someone fiddling with the calibration of the voting machines to favor their preferred candidate? If it is just random error, why are all the reports just showing votes being changed in one direction?
I am not ready to declare that this is voter fraud, but these are the types of stories that people need to pay attention to if voter fraud is to be stopped.
Attila Dimedici writes: Word has just come out that Disney is buying LucasFilm for just over $4 billion and that it intends to make new Star Wars movies, ultimately a new one every two to three years.
I will let that news sink in for those of you hearing this for the first time.
Okay, I’m just thinking out loud here.
My first reaction was horror. I joked on twitter about “Herbie the Love Bug as R2D2 and “Lord Vader, we have received reports that the Apple Dumpling Gang is on the ice planet Hoth.”
But then I thought, “Who cares?” it’s not like Disney could do more to sully the franchise than Lucas already has. I mean, so what if Justin Timberlake plays Luke Skywalker and Johnny Depp plays C3P0? And what’s the big deal if Jar-Jar Binks gets his own sitcom on ABC?
Attila Dimedici writes: The U.S. Supreme Court is going to be hearing a case this fall that could overturn the "first-sale" doctrine for goods not manufactured in the U.S.. The back story (which I think has been discussed on slashdot before) is that a Thai student at Cornell discovered that textbooks were sold significantly cheaper in Thailand than in the U.S.. So, he set up a business where his family bought textbooks in Thailand, shipped them to him in the U.S., where he sold them on Ebay. John Wiley and Sons sued him for copyright infringement. A lower court ruled in favor of the publisher.
Attila Dimedici writes: The U.S. government told a federal appeals court Thursday that it still has the right to place Global Positioning System tracking devices on cars without obtaining a search warrant—despite a January Supreme Court ruling that the warrantless installation of such a device violated the Constitution. Another article on the subject points out that despite claiming that a warrant is not necessary the Justice Department has instructed agents and prosecutors to obtain one going forward. Is the Justice Department correct that since the Supreme Court did not explicitly say that this particular usage of GPS tracking without a warrant was unconstitutional they have leeway to do so? Or should the Justice Department be staying away from constitutional gray areas in order to be sure that they are not violating it?
Attila Dimedici writes: The House Appropriations Committee is considering a draft report that would forbid the Library of Congress to allow bulk downloads of bills pending before Congress. The Library of Congress currently has an online database called THOMAS (for Thomas Jefferson) that allows people to look up bills pending before Congress. The problem is that THOMAS is somewhat clunky and it is difficult to extract data from it. This draft report would forbid the Library of Congress from modernizing THOMAS until a task force reports back. I am sorry that I cannot write a better summary of these articles, but I think this is an important issue about improving the ability of people to understand what Congress is doing. I am pretty sure that the majority of people on slashdot agree that being able to better understand how the various bills being considered by Congress interact would be good for this country.
Attila Dimedici writes: Researchers at the University of Chicago say that men are better at solving brain teasers when they have had a couple of beers than when they are stone-cold sober. They discovered that at.07 blood alcohol level men were better problem solvers than when they were sober. Additionally, they found that men were better at solving problems in groups of three rather than in groups of two.
How many of you already knew this?
Attila Dimedici writes: This article is rather alarmist about the way this ruling opens the door for warrantless searches of cellphones. However, the police in this case only went so far as to determine the phone numbers of the cellphones. They then used that information to obtain a warrant for the call histories of those phones. This does not seem overly intrusive to me and the judge in his ruling seems to me to say that deeper searches of the phone without a warrant would be inappropriate (although he does not draw a clear line as to what qualifies as a deeper search).
Attila Dimedici writes: "Eric Peters makes the case that hybrids have been over-hyped. His argument is that in order to sell people on hybrid cars, automakers have emphasized the energy efficiency of hybrids in ideal conditions and failed to tell people that in most ordinary driving conditions they will not come close to meeting the numbers given. He refers to a recent case where an individual has chosen to forego membership in a class action law suit and has instead chosen to go to small claims court. He suggests that there is a significant chance that she will win there and that this will open up all of the manufacturers of hybrid vehicles to similar lawsuits.
The article was on a rather partisan website so I am curious as to what factors he has chosen to overemphasize to make his case? Or what factors he has chosen to ignore to the same end? I know that slashdot has a large contingent of hybrid and EV supporters who are well educated on the subject (as well as a large contingent of those who are not so well educated)."
Attila Dimedici writes: This story talks about the discovery of the first known hybrid between two shark species. The article itself is an interesting hybrid of junk science views of both Global Warming and evolution. It implies that the sharks are planning ahead by "evolving" through interbreeding with another species of shark in order to deal with the changes brought on by global warming. More importantly, it completely ignores the question of whether they will be more capable of being equiped with lasers than either of the parent species
Attila Dimedici writes: I came across a an article this morning that suggests that the Nook and the Kindle have changed things in such a way that schools are becoming obsolete. His premise is that the ideal way to teach children is by a tutor. Schools arose because those who were not well enough off to afford tutors pooled their resources to hire a tutor (teacher) for all of their children. Schools further developed because they offered the opportunity for society to indoctrinate children in the values society considered important. Until today, the indoctrination has become more important than the education.
The author's premise is that the Nook and the Kindle have allowed large amounts of written material on many different subjects to become accessible enough that parents can tutor their children at a price that just about everyone can afford.
Attila Dimedici writes: "In this article, Daniel Gellenter talks about the various ways that Google uses to keep track of your location. He discusses an new Android app, Lattitude, that installs as part of a system update and how Google lets you know about it with an email that many people will overlook as spam. He then talks about how difficult it is to disable this app. He further talks about the other ways that Google tracks the location of Android users."
Attila Dimedici writes: "What do slashdotters think of Herman Cain's candidacy for President since he is arguably one of us (he has a Masters Degree in Computer Science)? This would quite possibly make him the first Presidential candidate with an understanding of technical issues. I wonder, does anyone know what his position is on patent reforn?"