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Comment Re:EULAs (Score 1) 384

It is the biweekly OS updates since this problem, each with an EULA warning, which may are may not be different from the original one (and if it is the same is a complete waste of time to read again)

I diff EULAs upon upgrading various software for that reason. You can probably find the latest text on Sony's website.

Comment Re:Sigh... (Score 1) 283

I read more of the ensuing conversation and heard that they admitted in their EULA to using GPLed code. This company doesn't come across as being as innocent as my hypothetical organization.

Back to a hypothetical - If you have tens of millions of dollars invested in a software application and it turns out that you're legally obligated to give that application away due to the inclusion of GPLed code by a freelance consultant then there is generally no way that by suing the consultant you're going to get back anything close to what was spent on development, and that's not considering the lost profits, market share, etc. I understand your position. By the letter of the law you may be correct in many cases (I'd say not necessarily all cases because you may still end up with a scenario where a project includes code under the GPL and other proprietary code that you're not legally allowed to release and then it's not clear cut since there is no solution that satisfies all licenses). I'm not suggesting that you're wrong by the letter, but rather the spirit of "sue them to oblivion" is a little harsh if applied broadly to all GPL violations. But I suppose that you were speaking specifically to this theft, and I can understand the outrage.

I doubt, however, that suing them into oblivion has any reasonable chance of success, as I also read that they're a Russian company.

Comment Re:Sigh... (Score 1) 283

It is of course true that if GPL code was used then the resultant product must be GPLed itself. I have no contention with you there. But as far as hoping that the company gets sued into oblivion, your indignation may be overzealous. The situation is not necessarily that simple. Imagine that you own a company. Maybe it's a large company or maybe it's a startup. You hire some developers to build a project for you. You invest in development, marketing, legal, production, etc. You may have put thousands of your own hours into meticulously guiding your beloved dream idea. Everyone does their job adequately except for one or two rogue developers who steal GPL code. Maybe your developers are incompetent and they steal to give the illusion of competence. Maybe they are ignorant about the terms of the GPL and they aren't ethical enough to bounce it off of the legal department before they take the code. In any case on a team of ten, dozens, or maybe hundreds a couple of guys download some code. Nobody knows about it. They project reaches prime-time. The owners of the copyright notice some similarities and investigate it. Now you, the owner of the company who has tried to do everything by-the-book, are suddenly accused of stealing code, you're flamed on the internet, you're under legal threat, and you're told that the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars that you've invested are now potentially wasted because you need to give your software away for free. This could force you to breach other contracts and so it may not even be possible to legally satisfy everyone.

I haven't read the article. I know nothing of this product or of this company. In any case, I think that the anger may be a little exaggerated because the owners of this company could be victims along with the owners of the GPLed code. It could come down to a couple of unethical and/or ignorant developers.

Comment I don't fly (Score 1) 264

I've stopped flying as a result of the TSA's violations of privacy. Next month I have a 1,600+ mile drive from Texas to Pennsylvania and then another 1,600+ miles back from Pennsylvania to Texas that I normally would have flown. Is there any end in sight to their pat-downs and scanners?

Comment Password Nostalgia (Score 1) 336

My first account was with Yahoo! back in the days when they allowed a three letter dictionary word for a password. I kept the password until a year or two ago. They had long since mandated more secure passwords but they didn't force existing users to choose new passwords. I suppose that I may have been more secure with a three letter animal name than with changing it. After all, who is going to guess that sort of password in a system that forces a password of at least eight characters and which doesn't match a dictionary word.

I changed it anyway just in case anyone would be ignorant/insightful enough to try it.

Comment Re:| Dream (Score 1) 374

This. The problem here is that the suggestion should not be expected to simply attract people who make the game more enjoyable, but rather the expected effect is that people try to become that more enjoyable person. The pricing algorithm actually changes people's behavior. You could end up with a lot of fairly shallow people.

At the risk of starting a videogames are/aren't the reason for social ills thread I'll say that the reward given for this shallowness could potentially be carried beyond the game and what started as an idea to pull in a fun community could damage the community in the game and society outside of the game. I doubt that the learned behavior of forced friendliness will be easily turned off in a real world setting. In some ways we do well at compartmentalizing things but I think that our social behaviors can't be easily isolated in the absence of a force that pressures them to be. For example, if I'm in the military I will learn to modify how I interact socially because there are consequences to not doing so. In this case there is a reward for being friendly, whether sincerely or artificially, in the game and no pressure in real life to turn that off.

I'm not a psychologist and the above is off the top of my head, but I think that it may be a good theory.

Comment Failed Design (Score 1) 137

In my mind it seems like a failure in security to have this quantity of personal information on a laptop. If someone needs quick access to it then it should be in a database back in home base with some canned queries for whatever functions are typically needed. This approach should be sufficient anywhere that an internet connection exists. I've never used one myself but my understanding is that these days you can purchase USB sticks that connect to the internet from anywhere in reach of a cell tower and so it should be an especial rarity for a business such as BP to find themselves hindered by a lack of connectivity.

Hopefully the drive on the laptop was encrypted but even if it was the wrong way to handle this sort of data. Haven't these people been through enough from BP already?

Comment Re:First sale doctrine (Score 1) 775

I like to believe that personhood transcends legality, but given that we're in a discussion of law the law does need to distinguish between persons and things. I'd say that there is currently a huge amount of disagreement surrounding this topic.

It most often comes up in discussion of human biology with lesser mental faculties. Basically that includes coma patients, brain-dead humans, and humans who have not yet been born. I'm in favor of giving personhood to all humans at the point of conception with maybe a few caveats for humans that are so genetically damaged that they could never under any circumstances develop a brain. Brain dysfunction later in life probably needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If a person is injured but could maybe possibly theoretically be restored if everything goes perfectly and we develop a super brain reconstructor then they still have a shot at life and should still be treated as a person. If a person cannot be restored to consciousness even under that aforementioned one in a bazillion condition then they're dead and cease to be a person.

That's my thinking. It obviously leaves a lot of detail unaddressed. In any case personhood isn't universally agreed upon. We probably need a constitutional definition for it.

When Your Company Remote-Wipes Your Personal Phone 446

Xenographic writes "NPR has a story about someone whose personal iPhone got remotely wiped by their employer. It was actually a mistake, but it was something of a surprise because they didn't believe they had given their employer any kind of access to do that. This may already be very familiar to Microsoft Exchange admins, but the problem was her iPhone's integration with MS Exchange automatically gives the server admin access to do remote wipes. All you have to do is configure the phone to receive email from an MS Exchange server and the server admin can wipe your phone at will. The phone wasn't bricked, even though absolutely all of its data was wiped, because the data could be restored from backup, assuming that someone had remembered to make one. But this also works on other devices like iPads, Blackberry phones, and other smartphones that integrate with MS Exchange. So if you read your work email on your personal phone or tablet, you might want to make sure that you keep backups, just in case."

One Giant Cargo Ship Pollutes As Much As 50M Cars 595

thecarchik writes "One giant container ship pollutes the air as much as 50 million cars. Which means that just 15 of the huge ships emit as much as today's entire global 'car park' of roughly 750 million vehicles. Among the bad stuff: sulfur, soot, and other particulate matter that embeds itself in human lungs to cause a variety of cardiopulmonary illnesses. Since the mid-1970s, developed countries have imposed increasingly stringent regulations on auto emissions. In three decades, precise electronic engine controls, new high-pressure injectors, and sophisticated catalytic converters have cut emissions of nitrous oxides, carbon dioxides, and hydrocarbons by more than 98 percent. New regulations will further reduce these already minute limits. But ships today are where cars were in 1965: utterly uncontrolled, free to emit whatever they like." According to Wikipedia, 57 giant container ships (rated from 9,200 to 15,200 twenty-foot equivalent units) are plying the world's oceans.

Comment Re:I agree. (Score 2, Insightful) 271

What the great-grandparent is getting at is that though the thing may give output similar to the output of a human being it lacks the experience that comes from being human, and particularly in this case daydreaming. It has no qualia. To the machine everything that is input into it is simply a value to be shunted through its algorithms. Nothing has been programmed to actually cause the experience of qualia or true appreciation. Great-grandparent is using an the idea of an image sitting in RAM to represent the qualia of the heads-up-display that we experience with our vision. I'd say that this image would still fail to actually cause the experience of qualia because it's just an image in RAM, there is still no mechanism in the software to sense qualia.

Even if a robot looks and behaves exactly like me in every circumstance then that doesn't mean that it actually has qualia like I do.

Comment Problems with Study (Score 3, Insightful) 174

This study seems presumptuous.

1) My wife, a statistician, gets irritated when studies say that they have proven things. When trying to draw conclusions from data you always run the risk that your data is not indicative of reality. You get around this with large sample sizes and by receiving data that points to the same trends on repeated studies. This study has a small sample size, 26 people total, and has no mention of repeated results.
2) The friendly article claims that the study has "proven" that action games train people to respond quickly and accurately. The article is overstepping the study in that the conclusion of the study was that people who play action games had the same level of accuracy as those who played The Sims II. The article should have said "quickly without losing accuracy".
3) The author of the study claimed that "People who play these action games make informed, better decisions than those who don't". The study only compared people playing two FPSs to people playing The Sims II. There is no mention of a control group that did not play any video game. The conclusion needs to be a bit more humble and only make statements between people who play FPSs and people who play ... whatever narrow genre The Sims II falls into.

I frequently enjoy Alien Swarm. I played Portal and my wife and I are slowly meandering our way through Uru. I used to be hooked on Starcraft, Myth II, Myth, Master of Orion II, and others. I believe that these games have shaped my neurological development and given me advantages in problem solving, strategy, coping with unexpected setbacks, and more. I also believe that they've cost me in self-discipline, my attention span, humanity (desensitization to violence and beyond that enjoyment of violence). My point is that I want the conclusions of this study to be true to give some legitimacy to what is otherwise an unproductive diversion but the study feels a little shoddy.

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