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Comment Re:Really, this happens in America? How?? (Score 1) 180

Exactly how would a municipality provide the transport layer without a lease/contract/partnership and thus not running afoul of the law? And why would incumbent phone/cable companies want to give up their line monopolies and participate in such a scheme?

I mean, we've already been through that sort of scenario. In the 90s, the FCC forced phone companies to lease lines to competitors for DSL service.
Life was slightly better. The only thing was DSL generally sucked and cable companies weren't forced to lease their lines.
Then in the mid-2000s the FCC changed it back so that providers were no longer required to share their lines (the argument was that phone companies were delaying infrastructure upgrades because it would give their competitors a 'free' upgrade).

So now we are back to the same old regional phone and cable company monopoly with very few markets having any competition. And that was the history before municipalities tried doing partnerships or even their own ISP utilities and prompted incumbents to lobby for the laws restricting what municipalities can do.

Local mayors and council critters are blameworthy in many places but they're certainly not to blame for businesses going over their heads to state legislatures.

Comment Re:Really, this happens in America? How?? (Score 1) 180

Except, of course, in the 38% of states who have laws that "protect" incumbent franchise holders and make it harder for municipalities to do that.

Even your example of a "partnership/joint venture" is expressly prohibited in Louisiana under state law (which was created through lobbying after AT&T and Cox failed to block, with lawsuits, a certain city from creating a municipal fiber utility).

The law does provide a process for cities to do things their own way but it also involves a vote. And who do you think is going to have the budget for advertising to win that campaign?
And even after that, they can't really charge lower rates because part of the law addresses that too.

And if local governments were to ignore a vote on the issue then incumbents are no longer obligated to provide services, even under existing contracts, the moment any citizen within that area is provided service by that proposed colo facility.

Comment a lot of people already have worked hard at it (Score 1) 250

You really can't build games like you build bank systems.

Banks don't care about things like smooth game play in the face of latency, dropped packets, server main loop update bottlenecks, etc.
Yes, a bank can implement a proper client-server architecture that never trusts the clients.

Given the limitations of the speed of light and modern computers you really can't do that for games and have an enjoyable entertainment experience.
In my experience, multiplayer games have to trust the client to some degree and are much better off doing deferred cheating checks, memory scanning anti-cheat, and statistics to get rid of cheaters after they cheat rather than make the game unplayable for everyone and prevent cheating in the first place.

Just imagine having an fps game that had a captcha you had to fill out every time you tried to shoot your gun so that you could prove you were a human.

Comment Re:How is it different for offline (Score 1) 76

I assume you'd have to pay without insurance but I can't see any reason why you couldn't use any name you like at a doctor's office.
It's not like they do background checks. And celebrities go to hospitals under pseudonyms sometimes, right?
IANAL but, as long as you paid your bill, I assume it wouldn't be fraud.

Any sane person can see the CFAA is broad and overreaching and I get the feeling that this is just another angle the ACLU thinks might work to attack it.

Did we really need a specific law for computer-related crimes? Are existing definitions for things like fraud/wire fraud and property damage not good enough?
And does it even actually help deter crime in any way? I certainly haven't noticed fewer phishing attempts in my spam box...

Comment Re:WTF is happening (Score 3, Interesting) 198

Just because it'll be "made available" doesn't mean any school boards or teachers will actually buy it or waste a significant amount of time on this.
They might or they might not. And Slashdot should have said "marketed" rather than "sold".

In terms of games in school, educational games can be highly useful. For example, games like Mario Teaches Typing.
My dad has used computers for longer than I've been alive and still can't touch type while public schools taught me to do it early (grades 1-3).
I think I played Oregon Trail as well (in 2nd grade?) in school, though I'm not sure what the teacher's reasoning for that was.
Maybe it was a rainy day and we couldn't go out for recess.

I could maybe see a highly modified educational version of Civ being useful for teaching history or as a reward just to keep kids busy on a day when you have a substitute teacher and the faster kids already did the busy work. Probably not but maybe.

And if computers led to unproductive class time for you then really it was your teacher that was at fault.
My High School computer science classes were highly productive because the teacher didn't just send students to the computers and then ignore them.
He kept tabs on students, and I believe, had remote monitoring software so he could tell when students were off task.
And, with the tasks given, there wasn't enough class time to waste much if you wanted to pass.

Kids who are determined not to learn aren't going to learn anyway. They'll sleep through class or doodle or read books or play with their phone or whatever.
I really don't think technology has changed this in any meaningful way and I'm fairly certain that every adult in every generation has wondered "Are schools becoming time waste institutions?".

Yes, they always have been time waste institutions.
Every time there's a PA announcement it interrupts class and wastes time.
Every time teachers have to reteach subjects because classes from previous schools didn't properly prepare students it wastes time.
Standardized test preparation wastes tons of time.
When the teacher is sick or needs a personal day and you have a substitute teacher who gives busy work it wastes time.
All of the little interruptions and deviations from schedule waste time.

But, in my experience, teachers generally do the best they can and schools are, obviously, still worth it.
They certainly do a better job than I think most parents would. Most parents don't even take parenting classes, let alone get education certifications/degrees.

Comment Re:The Broken MS Windows fallacy. Try 250 accounts (Score 1) 104

There have been so many major database leaks at this point that I feel it's a given that your name, address, SSN, etc are probably in the hands of nefarious people.

Remember when Slashdot reported multiple databases holding detailed information on millions of U.S. voters were publicly available online?
One had 154 million voters with names, addresses, social networking accounts, etc.

If you google database leaks you'll see leaks involving hundreds of thousands of records that include social security numbers.

Comment Re: The shifter is always in the same position (Score 1) 365

Here's how my car works if I leave it in first and start it:

A) Press clutch and turn the ignition: car starts. It goes nowhere because of the clutch (and brakes).
If I ride the clutch (and unset the parking brake and take my foot off the brake) then, sure, it'll go forwards very slowly on a flat surface.
But if I take my foot all off clutch completely without feeding it gas it's going to stall.

B) Don't press the clutch and turn ignition: car doesn't start. It goes nowhere.

Comment Re: The shifter is always in the same position (Score 1) 365

I'm pretty sure you have to do that? Isn't there a clutch safety switch or something that requires the clutch to be engaged for the starter to work?

After looking into what other people do, apparently some owner's manuals say to leave the car into 2nd when parked. Interesting.

Comment Re: The shifter is always in the same position (Score 1) 365

I think it's disingenuous to say that automatic drivers have a lesser understanding of how to operate their vehicle. And I learned on automatic and later switched to manual so I've personally done both sides.

I think it's more that a MT forces you to use a parking brake and, in my experience, the parking brake is usually a more pronounced hand brake rather than a foot pedal. If AT vehicles didn't have "park" and required the parking brake then people would use that more.
You can't really tell if a foot pedal is set from a glance and possibly not even from tactile feedback.

And as a MT driver, I leave my car in neutral when I park. Because you start the car in neutral, and even though I check before starting it, it still seems like a good habit.
I could see an argument for leaving the car in gear if you park on an incline, or if you park on a street where you think you might be hit from behind and want less of a chance of hitting the car in front of you. Personally, I try to avoid parking on inclines.

Manual is a lot more fun to drive (usually) but I'm of the firm opinion that automatic is safer to drive because your attention isn't as divided.
Sure, shifting is basically muscle memory after a while but I still feel like it takes away some attention from your surroundings.

And then there are things like stop-and-go traffic on an incline...

Comment Re:Super majority (Score 1) 634

Though it did get a super-majority: 67% voted to join/stay in and every single region of the UK voted in favor (though as low as 52% in favor in places like Northern Ireland and turnout overall was lower at 64%.)

I'd be really curious to see demographics from the 1975 vote.

I wonder if the world war survivors in 1975 were for a stronger, united Europe and voted to join.
Now that they're mostly dead, their children certainly seem to favor a more isolated, nationalist UK.

Comment Re:Democracy restored (Score 5, Interesting) 1592

I thought that wasn't true, post-Treaty of Lisbon? I'm an American so I could be uninformed on the issue. This is my impression:

Voters directly elect their Members of European Parliament. And I assume they directly elect their heads of state, which make up the European Council members.

The Council, those elected heads of state, nominate the Commission President, who then has to be approved by the directly elected MEPs.
The Council nominates Commissioners, with the agreement of the President. Then the Parliament, through directly elected MEPs, has to approve them. Basically to me Commissioners are like U.S. Executive branch Cabinet members.

Commissioners propose legislation to the Parliament but the Parliament has full power to pass, modify, and/or deny legislation.
The only thing I've seen that looked shady was that Commissioner-proposed legislation can maybe pass on Parliament inaction.
And maybe some cases where the elected heads of state can bypass Parliament and approve Commission proposals but I think the European Court of Justice has cracked down on both of those?

Mostly it seems very much in keeping with democratic republic ideals. At least as much as the U.K. parliament.
I don't get why people focus on the Commissioners when it really seems like the power struggle has been between the Council and Parliament, with the Lisbon Treat increasing Parliament's power and thus decreasing the Council's.

Comment Re:No need to (Score 2) 292

Someone who has that level of access to your computer could certainly install drivers themselves.

And if it runs an Intel or AMD chip then you probably have remote management hardware/firmware inside your processor that can operate outside of your operating system and, at least to some extent, while your computer is "off".
Theoretically that's all very secure but blocking light from entering the lens seems like a low effort high reward security practice.

If you think I'm spouting nonsense about the remote management stuff then look up presentations by people like Igor Skochinsky (HexRays/IDA) and Joanna Rutkowska.

Comment Re:Too Bad He's Shown His True Colors (Score 2) 412

I don't think there is a law that says that there must be an NSA.

Wikipedia says that originally the NSA was via a National Security Council Intelligence Directive, which I believe was authorized under the National Security Act of 1947.

It looks like later the National Security Agency Act of 1959 gave official authorization for the President to keep running the NSA but it's all "is authorized to" or "may do this" and I don't see a whole lot that could be strictly interpreted as requiring an NSA.

I'm not a lawyer though. I could be very well be wrong. I think at worst the President would be required to maintain certain Director positions and a minimum amount of surveillance but, certainly, he wouldn't be required to have the NSA spying on everyone.

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