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Comment Re:Sad but unavoidable (Score 1) 162

Do you think there's a difference between "can run" and "runs stable and performing"?

Semantically, sure, but the AOSP builds for the Nexus phones are stable and performant. The differences between AOSP and the official Google firmware images are mainly skin-deep, in the form of UI themes and preinstalled apps. In other words, things which do not require a great deal of work to port to each new version of Android.

Are you trying to tell me the Nexus system image is exactly the same as AOSP?

Google has their own customizations and add-ons just like the other manufacturers. You can build and install fully functional AOSP images on Nexus devices, but they don't ship with stock AOSP. However, Google's changes are layered on top of the system using the AOSP mechanisms designed for that purpose, which reduces the porting effort considerably compared to other phones which need proprietary binary drivers (and thus specific kernel versions) and deep modifications to core AOSP components.

Comment Re:Sad but unavoidable (Score 1) 162

Since you obviously know more about this and I, maybe you could let me know what big name smart phones or Android devices are built in this manner. Please make it one that has shipped 100k's of units.

The Nexus line of smartphones has over 100k units sold (more like millions, actually) and can run AOSP out of the box with no patches.

Comment Re:Is this legal? (Score 1) 244

I suspect legally companies are free to tweet anything they want as long as they don't include terms specifically trademarked by the IOC, much as advertisers referred to the Superbowl as "the big game" instead of the trademarked "Superbowl" term.

Even if they did use the trademarked terms, the use of trademarks for purely descriptive purposes is not trademark infringement, whether or not you have the trademark holder's permission. Trademarks only exist to prevent confusion, not to censor discussion.

Calling your own event "the Superbowl"—trademark infringement.

Accurately referring to the Superbowl as "the Superbowl"—not infringement.

Comment Re:Sad but unavoidable (Score 1) 162

Every single change you made in the previous release needs to be ported to the new release and tested. And it's more likely than not that the files have changed and it's not simply applying a patch. If you are unlucky, the kernel changes and you need updated version of your drivers. Sometimes you don't even have the source for those so you need to go contract with chip maker or a 3rd party to rework the drivers.

This is why you upstream everything and choose hardware with open-source drivers. If you have to apply proprietary in-house patches to get the latest AOSP running on your device, you're doing it wrong.

Comment Re:It's not money (Score 1) 150

Gold is rare. The argument is null.

The situation described was that one was offered a handful of gold or a handful of seeds. Under those circumstances gold could not be considered rare. In any case its rarity is orthogonal to its utility as a raw material.

You're only proving my point that gold only develops value in the context of a society/economy (i.e. your trade) that can provide the basics of survival and has the sophistication to turn the gold into a useful tool.

The same could be said of the seeds—or did you think that the knowledge of how to grow, preserve, store, and prepare a proper harvest from a handful of seeds somehow comes by instinct? That, too, is a form of technology learned by society over a very long period of trial and error. Without that knowledge acquired from society you might manage a single meager meal, provided the seeds are of an edible variety.

You need to define "easily." Because most people don't have spare metal extruders lying around or the parts and skill to assemble one.

It doesn't take a great deal of capital equipment to draw wire, and gold has a relatively low melting point. A deserted island would most likely have everything you need provided it's survivable at all. Gold sheets are even simpler and can be hammered out with rocks if you're patient enough.

Comment Re:It's not money (Score 1) 150

Gold is not an appropriate material to make clothes or shelter.

You could if it weren't so rare. Gold can easily be extruded into fine thread and woven into cloth, or hammered into thin sheets to make walls or shingles. It's a very versatile material. We don't use it this way because an all-gold suit would require at least a few million dollars' worth of gold, not because the material properties of gold make it unsuitable.

Or another way to think of it... if you were stranded alone on an island with no hope of rescue and trying to survive, which would you prefer to have: a handful of gold or a handful of viable seeds for crops?

If this is a one-time either/or proposition, obviously the seeds. Gold has no nutritional value and little else matters when faced with the prospect of starvation. Given a more flexible situation, however, I might be willing to trade some of those seeds for an equivalent volume of gold for the sake of making tools. As a raw material it's highly ductile, malleable, conductive, and corrosion-resistant; I'm sure I could find some practical use for it even without any prospect of trade.

Comment Re:TFA is not terribly clear... (Score 3, Informative) 230

Why is my phone not protected because I used a fingerprint while your phone is because you used a passcode?

The phone is not legally protected in either case. If they can find a way in, they can use the data. What is protected in the latter case is the fact that you know the passcode. If there is anything incriminating on the device then knowing the passcode which unlocks it would be tantamount to an admission of guilt. (Note that the passcode is generally not protected if they can separately prove that you have the ability to unlock the device, since at that point you would not be revealing anything incriminating.)

The principle behind the prohibition on self-incrimination is that no one who has not already proven guilty should be placed in a catch-22 where their only options are to confess their guilt or be punished for failing to do so. Allowing records to be taken of your physical characteristics does not even amount to providing testimony, much less testifying against yourself.

Comment Re: TFA is not terribly clear... (Score 1) 230

And if they compel me to provide fingerprints ... it should be up to them to convert my fingerprint into a useful tool to actually unlock the phone.

Sorry, but that's simply not a reasonable restriction. If they can compel you to provide fingerprints, they can compel you to provide them by placing your finger(s) on the scanner of the iPhone they already seized as evidence. There is no rational cause to limit fingerprint collection to ink transfers on paper, or their own imaging equipment.

At most you could argue that the fingerprint scanner in the iPhone cannot be trusted to uniquely identify its user. That would be a difficult argument to win at the best of times, however, and they may just want access to the data—either because they already know that it's your device or because they expect to be able to prove as much from the contents once it's unlocked.

A reasonable case could be made for limiting the number of times one can be required to provide one's fingerprints. Two or three times per finger would probably be sufficient; much more than that would be unduly burdensome. If they want to brute-force a system requiring both a password or PIN and a fingerprint simultaneously they'll need to come up with something more imaginative than making the suspect put their finger on the scanner repeatedly for the hours/years/centuries/eons it would take to stumble onto the right code.

Comment Re:QL'EB? (Score 1) 421

EVERY device sold is carrier locked

That shouldn't be a problem so long as the SIM cards are from the same carrier. Moreover, I know that statement isn't true universally because I bought my own phone with no carrier lock (a Nexus 5 purchased directly from Google). There may be markets where it's impossible to buy unlocked phones, in which case your only realistic option is to move somewhere less oppressive.

Especially if you want to be able to use a phone number as well which doesn't change with each SIM swap.

That is a bigger problem. I'm not sure whether the dual-SIM phones are capable of using both SIM cards at once, one for voice and one for data. If not, the only option would be to get some mobile WiFi hotspots and use those instead of mobile data. While not exactly cheap, they would more than pay for themselves in avoided overage charges within the first month.

Comment Re:QL'EB? (Score 1) 421

Where I live the absolute largest data plan you can even buy is 40GB and that costs $150/mo.

Can you switch SIM cards easily? If so, just buy the 40GB plan for three different SIMs and switch cards when you get close to the limit. That would give you 120GB for $450/mo.

For that matter, even using three separate devices would be cheaper than paying those overage fees. You could make two of them dedicated WiFi hotspots to avoid paying for extra voice packages.

Comment Re:There's an excellent reason for that. (Score 1) 93

We all agreed to the law

We certainly did not all agree to the law. I'm one of those who never agreed to it; I'm certain there are plenty more.

or at least, in theory a majority of us enacted this law

Closer, but still not accurate. There was no popular vote on this specific issue, and no expression of active support by a majority of the population.

Now, we have the DMCA - a law we must collectively have agreed to, as it is no long merely a bill but a law.

Only if by "must collectively have agreed to" you actually mean "supported by a majority of voting representatives, selected in many cases by a plurality (not majority) of voters in their districts on the basis of a variety of issues having nothing to do with the DMCA".

The public never agreed to this law. The public was never consulted. Our role in the process was merely a lack of active resistence to a law introduced by and supported by a vocal minority of copyright maximalists, back at a time when this seemed like a niche issue of little concern to the average person—before computers (and DRM) had invaded every aspect of everyday life.

If you put copyright—the whole system—up to a straightforward single-issue popular referendum right now, there is a decent chance that it would be repealed, or at least severely curtailed. For the DMCA in particular that probability goes from "likely" to "almost certainly". A significant portion of many politician's jobs (from their employers in the pro-copyright lobby, not their nominal constituents) comes down to making sure the issue is never put before the public in such simple terms.

Comment Re:Amazon is awesome for knockoffs! (Score 1) 346

Sure - if Greece had actually collected the taxes due, rather than just saying "meh" and relying on debt, they'd be in a better situation than they are now.

You could say the same for reducing spending, rather than collecting more taxes. The problem was going into debt.

If they had raised the taxes it would have required a corresponding reduction in private spending. There is little evidence for (and plenty of economics against) the idea that it would have been better to spend this money on the public programs selected by the government rather than what the citizens chose to spend their money on voluntarily, or would have chosen to spend it on had those programs not existed.

Comment Re:Amazon is awesome for knockoffs! (Score 3, Insightful) 346

The problem is that we have accepted, in a large number of cases, ignoring laws we don't like, and people think that is how it is supposed to work for all laws. You cannot say we are going to ignore laws we don't like, and at the same time want people to uphold / follow laws we like, but they don't.

No, the real problem is that there are far too many laws. The law is supposed to be something that nearly everyone actively agrees with, in its entirety. It also needs to prescribe responses which are proportional to the offense; that's where its legitimacy comes from. Things like "if you commit murder you can be locked up (and maybe killed)", "if you steal then the property can be taken back and you can be fined"... these are accepted by almost everyone, being impossible to dispute coherently. Turn about is fair play; the murderer or thief can hardly object to being subjected to the same treatment they practiced against others.

What we have, however, is a vast array of laws too large for any one person to comprehend, most of which carry disproportionate punishments. Most of which, in fact, have no proportional punishment, because there is no victim whose rights were violated, and thus nothing to be proportional to. Such laws have no legitimacy.

This isn't a matter of laws we like or don't like. Treating the law as if it were determined by some sort of popularity contest is actually part of the problem. The distinction is between laws which have a sound moral and ethical basis, vs. ones that have merely been made up by legislators for reasons of social engineering, demogogy, and/or personal profit.

Comment Re: Justice? (Score 0) 300

Please explain what makes some land your property? Because you say so?

Because he put it to productive use at a time when no one else had any prior claim to it, or someone else did so and then voluntarily transferred their rights to him. (The process is called "homesteading"; look it up. It's the basis for any legitimate claim to ownership of private property.)

The idea of property pre-dates government; they didn't invent the concept, and are not necessary for its implementation.

Why should anyone else care about that? Because you'll kill them if they don't?

Mostly because if you choose to ignore others' property claims, they'll be free to ignore yours. It's extremely difficult to argue that someone else is wrong to do to you what you did to them first. Of course if you want to engage in war then that's your decision, but don't expect to receive a lot of help. Alliances among aggressors tend to be fleeting at best. The majority who prefer a more stable and civilized environment will band together to fight you, and you'll probably lose. In the end you'll most likely find that it would have been easier and more productive to simply earn what you wanted instead of trying to take it by force.

Because, in the absence of a government, what's stopping them?

Natural law. Going to war is expensive, and ultimately self-defeating. Even the more successful empires founded on conquest tend to self-destruct when they inevitably run out of "barbarians" to pillage. Civilizations based on voluntary coexistence are more stable and sustainable, and thus tend to dominate over the long term.

Comment Re:Companies are not people (Score 1) 416

But whether you should be allowed to use the machinery of a limited liability company to spread those views ..., that's a different ball of wax altogether.

What difference does it makes that the company is limited liability? No one is likely to experience any liability for their political speech. This is just a group of people using their commonly-owned property and connections to spread their views. Whether the corporation is limited liability is irrelevant.

Just because you're allowed to publicly state your opinion doesn't mean you're allowed to use a megaphone to do it at all hours of the night.

The use of a megaphone "at all hours of the night" is (sometimes) prohibited on the basis of the noise level, regardless of the content of the speech. The same rules would prohibit reciting your grocery list or playing loud music at a late-night party. The fact that it applies to all speech (all noise) equally is what prevents this from being a First Amendment violation. In contrast, corporations are allowed to run commercial advertisement, or pretty much any other form of speech they care to engage in short of outright fraud. Even in the case of fraud it's not the false speech which is prohibited so much as taking commercial advantage of the deception; or in a word, theft. The fact that political speech alone is prohibited is absolutely a First Amendment issue, because it is a prohibition on speech with certain content.

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