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Comment Here's a business idea (Score 1) 104

Are you worried that law enforcement, border control or even the prospective in-laws could want to take a look at your Facebook, your Twitter, your Instagram? We have the solution for you!

We whitewash your official social media pages, keep them updated with goodie-two-shoes stories (your choice how much saccharine is to be added) to make it look active and not a fake profile, while you open up your very own, private social media account where you can be yourself all you want. Your future mother-in-law wants to get access to your private Facebook pages, locked from public viewing? Your future employer wants to violate your privacy and demands you hand over your Facebook details? Now you can show them what they want to see. And decide what they should see.

We can even make it appear that you're friends with key people in your business, our SEO-professionals are standing by!

Comment Re:Uh.... what? (Score 1) 104

2. Collective or other shared accommodation, often combined with studies.

It's pretty common to move accommodation for each year of a degree, so this can easily be 3-4, more if you do a PhD or similar (though people often find a place for the whole of their PhD). I can remember the second and third places I lived as a student (I stayed in the same place for two years of undergrad and then for the whole of my PhD), but the first was university-owned accommodation and I don't recall the exact address - I certainly don't remember post codes for all of them.

Comment Re:"vacation" (Score 1) 104

It's been over a decade since the US tightened the visa restrictions so that everyone wanting to come into the country as a practicing journalist must have a visa, even if they're from one of the visa-waiver countries. You can bet that if you tick that box, you're already going to come under a lot of extra scrutiny (and if you don't, but then publish anything written about your time in the USA, expect to be denied entry the next time).

Comment Re:Digital Rights? (Score 1) 215

But by alienating your customer base more and more you only drive more and more of them into piracy. Allow me to use an, admittedly, anecdote example, but it illustrates well what's going on.

A person, let's call him Peter, likes computer games. He's by no means a geek, but he enjoys playing games. So he goes and buys them. Because that's what you do to get them. Peter doesn't know much about torrents or copying or even cracking, and he doesn't really care that much. Sure, 60 bucks a game is quite an amount of money, but Peter thinks that's fine. He gets quite a bit of entertainment out of it, so the price is justified.

Peter buys a game. He installs it, and then he notices that it doesn't run because the server he has to be connected all the time to play the game is overloaded. Maybe he can play for a few minutes before the connection breaks down and closes the game, frustrating Peter because he couldn't save his game. He may not even know (or care) about the always online thing, what he does know is that the game crashes every 10 minutes.

He talks with his friend Fred, who is a geek. Fred has the game too, but he didn't pay for it. He torrented it, along with the crack. And Fred tells Peter that he has no problem playing the game, it works great. He also shows Peter how to download it and crack it. And Peter realizes that, hey, that's easy. And cheaper. And most of all, it works.

And Peter joins the ranks of those that don't buy and instead copy.

Respect is not given freely. It is earned. I have exactly zero respect left for EA, UBIsoft and the like. My solution is to simply not buy their crap. I switched to other games, mostly from Indie developers who actually respect me enough to consider me a business partner instead of a potential criminal, or simply accusing me of being one without any reason other than "I want more money from you for nothing at all".

Comment Re:So now we need warning labels on jobs??? (Score 1) 426

The problem is the race to the bottom. Given enough pressure, you'll get people working for less than it costs them to recover the cost, working for just enough money to cover running costs but not cover for the investment (i.e. their car in this example). Any businessman working like this WILL go out of business eventually when his machines break down and he only tried to recover running costs but never fixed costs.

People do not know that. And even if they do they cannot afford to take it into consideration because according to your model, they only have the choice between accepting that they will be starving in 2 years when their car breaks down and they cannot replace it or starve today by not accepting it.

Comment A way better solution (Score 3, Informative) 42

The maybe best solution ever I've seen in Austria. Here is a quick comparison between US vs. Austrian traffic lights.

Basically, their lights flash green 5 times before they go to yellow, giving you ample time to know that the green period ends. Also, before switching to green, it shows red and yellow for about a second or two to give you an idea that you should put your car into gear and prepare to accelerate, thus improving the reaction time of people and improving the usage of the green phase.

All in all, a WAY better solution. Of course their law also says that there is ZERO grace period for entering with a red light. You have ample time to know it's going red. Actually, I don't even know whether there isn't already some kind of provision that you're supposed to not enter when it goes yellow.

Comment Re:That's stupid. (Score 2) 42

It depends on how you arrange the lights. In the UK, there's a delay in between one set of lights going red and the next going green. In a number of US cities that I've visited, one set turns green at precisely the same instant that the other turns red. This means that going through the lights as they turn red is potentially very dangerous, because you will still be crossing the intersection while cars from other directions go. Adding a small delay, larger than the grace period, would likely improve safety considerably.

The USA has 7.1 fatalities per billion km driven, whereas the UK has only 3.6. It's tempting to blame the drivers (and the difference in driving tests in the two countries lends some support to this), but the road designers have a lot to blame. The US statistics are likely even worse for in-city driving, because the totals are skewed by the fact that you can drive far further in the US without encountering another vehicle than in the UK.

Comment Re:I'm all over this (Score 1) 122

So you're saying you don't even want to watch the film, you just want to be able to talk about it later (but only in the next few days)? The problem with that idea is that it only works if you surround yourself with other keep-up-with-the-Joneses types who insist on watching the latest blockbuster as soon as it comes out and have limited other conversational topics.

Comment Re:Municipal/County Fiber (Score 1) 168

That's pretty funny, since I'm looking at my last CenturyLink (telecom) bill and it contains a specific line item fee for "franchise at 3%."

Apparently my city can, and does, franchise the local telecom, despite this special "federal regulated" status they hold.

No..... For a Telecom, that is basically also what they call part of the basic permitting necessary for access to rights of way. FCC S-253 has allowed municipalities to impose their building codes, construction schedules, etc and charge a nominal fee to recover no more than their costs of managing the public right of way. The municipalities are not able to impose further obligations, For example, they cannot set out any questions or requirements about services, they cannot require financial information, They cannot make Approval or Denial based on the discretion of officials in the muncipality.

n Bell Atlantic-Maryland, Inc. v. Prince George's County, 49 F. Supp. 2d 205
(D.C. Md 1999)

Comment License management tools: good, bad, or ugly? (Score 1) 215

From me in 2001 posted to gnu.misc.discuss:

I definitely do not want to see a future world of only proprietary
intellectual property where basically everything I want to do requires
agreeing to endless licenses and royalty payments, such as described in
"right-to-read". My wife and I released a six person-year effort under
the GPL (a garden simulator application) around 1997 ...
so I am obviously sympathetic to encouraging free sharing of some
information and allowing derived works of some things.

However, on a practical basis, living in our society as it is right now,
any software developer is going to handle lots of packets of information
from emails to applications to program modules under a variety of
explicit or implied licenses. If a developer is going to do this in a
way that makes his or her work most useful to the community (under the
terms he or she so chooses), proper attention must be given to the
licensing status of all works received and distributed, especially those
that form the basis for new derived works to be distributed. Note that
even in the case of purely GPL'd works, one still needs to know that a
user contributing an extension to a GPL'd work was the original author
and/or he or she has permission to distribute the patch (if say an
employer owns all the contributor's work).

My question is: should software tools, protocols, and standards play a
role in easing this required "due diligence" ...
license management work (at least as far as copyright alone is
concerned)? ... Usually license management tools (e.g. for music or DVDs) are thought of
as keeping the end user from doing something they might wish to with
content they have paid for. Does it make sense as well to look at
license management tools from the perspective of allowing
(non-technical, non-lawyer) casual users to do things they otherwise
might not be legally sure they can do? Similarly, would such tools help
someone filter out proprietary content with licenses he or she does not
approve of (and would this provide incentives for artists to release
free versions if they want to reach people through those filters)? And
most of all, would such tools allow creative people to be more certain
that they could legally use certain freely licensed materials found on
the internet in making derived works? Would this provide a legitimate
defense of due diligence to minimize copyright infringement suit costs
(or reduce related liability insurance costs)?

For example, when you get an email it could come with a machine-readable
license (e.g. "redistribution OK in entirety", "for your eyes only",
"open content", "GPL"). Likewise, what if every file or zip archive came
with a specific machine-readable license? In effect, this would make the
license a fundamental part of the work.

In part, you may think, perhaps correctly, this it the "right-to-read"
nightmare. Such information could be used to prevent you from making
copies of things you might want to copy (legally or not) under some
notion of "fair use" ...
if the system enforced the license by preventing say you forwarding or
quoting an email that comes in with a license of "for your eyes only" or
with no explicit license at all. Perhaps the feeling that copy
protection systems will prevent fair use underlies much of the
resistance to such automation. It is not my point in this note to
advocate either for or against the enforcement of licenses by the end
user's system. Obviously though, enforcement would certainly be made
easier by machine-readable licenses, and this is a problematical issue
as far as "fair use" is concerned.

On the other hand, license management tools might force everyone to be
explicit about licenses for things they redistribute. Some authors would
explicitly choose free or open licenses. That might mean that when you
get free software (or open source software or anything else) you would
know what you at a minimum can and can't do with it. That clarity and
sense of peace of mind might help promote use and more derived works.

For example, even if MIT puts its course material on-line, that does not
necessarily mean you can make derived works from them or even share them
with a friend (other than by telling them to look at the MIT site). Yet,
without a good free license management system, that fact might not be
obvious to users and a truly free course library may never arise. (Note:
I don't know whether the MIT courses will permit derived works, so MIT
may surprise me.)


Being explicit about licensing (especially in a machine-readable way)
may have great benefits. For one thing, you might decide to set your
email receiver to reject email from most people unless it came with an
acceptable (to you) license. There might be a "license negotiation"
protocol at the start of all transmissions of all works.

For example:
Sender: PERMISSION TO SEND "Windows NT Source" BY "misguided kiddy";
Receiver: WHAT LICENSE?;
Receiver: REJECT;

or perhaps instead:
Sender: PERMISSION TO SEND "GNU/Linux kernel mods" BY "Linus Torvalds";
Receiver: WHAT LICENSE?;
Sender: LICENSE: GPL-2;
Receiver: ACCEPT;

If you ran a peer-to-peer file server, such a protocol might help ensure
only legally redistributeable works were redistributed on it (making it
legally safer to run one). Obviously, people could lie about the license
status of works when they inject them into the system -- but the point
is, it forces such people to explicitly lie, as opposed to just being
careless or neglectful. (Obviously, carelessness and neglect could
affect the system as well if the person injecting the information is
just confused, hopefully other factors like community awareness could
minimize this.) Nonetheless, it might gives users a legal defense from
extreme copyright infringement awards if they screen incoming data. This
in turn might make insurance for such situations affordable. Defenders
of such a file sharing system (in court) could then admit to there being
a few "bad apples" and take efforts to route out such illegally
contributed material in the same way people now use virus scanners or
other filters. This might make it more likely such systems would
prosper, with other attendant benefits for democracy or an open society.

To be clear: I personally am not for supporting sharing of material that
for legal or copyright reasons can't be shared (it's the law; change the
law peacefully if so desired). I instead want to make sure that it is
easy to share material that it is legal to share, and likewise I want to
ensure it easy to make derived works with clear legal titles from
material it is legal to make derived works from.

In the case of software, with such a system, when you build free
software packages (or "open source" ones), you could ensure that all
contributions were under an acceptable license, because that licensing
information would be already there in a machine-readable form (perhaps
including information pointing to works and their licenses from which
you made derived works). Presumably, if someone emailed you a
contribution using such a system, you could see at a glance from the
email record what license it (or the code part) was under. In addition,
information could also come along that was the equivalent of a statement
of either originality for the work or a statement the author had
permission to incorporate other works they used into the new work under
the license chosen. Such information might include an audit trail of all
works and licenses used by various authors in making the final product." ...

Comment Why this is immoral and should be illegal (Score 1) 32
"Foundations, other grantmaking agencies handling public tax-exempt dollars, and charitable donors need to consider the implications for their grantmaking or donation policies if they use a now obsolete charitable model of subsidizing proprietary publishing and proprietary research. In order to improve the effectiveness and collaborativeness of the non-profit sector overall, it is suggested these grantmaking organizations and donors move to requiring grantees to make any resulting copyrighted digital materials freely available on the internet, including free licenses granting the right for others to make and redistribute new derivative works without further permission. It is also suggested patents resulting from charitably subsidized research research also be made freely available for general use. The alternative of allowing charitable dollars to result in proprietary copyrights and proprietary patents is corrupting the non-profit sector as it results in a conflict of interest between a non-profit's primary mission of helping humanity through freely sharing knowledge (made possible at little cost by the internet) and a desire to maximize short term revenues through charging licensing fees for access to patents and copyrights. In essence, with the change of publishing and communication economics made possible by the wide spread use of the internet, tax-exempt non-profits have become, perhaps unwittingly, caught up in a new form of "self-dealing", and it is up to donors and grantmakers (and eventually lawmakers) to prevent this by requiring free licensing of results as a condition of their grants and donations."

Longer version:

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You mean you didn't *know* she was off making lots of little phone companies?