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Comment And now maybe we'll know why ... (Score 5, Interesting) 106

And now maybee we'll know why it's been so hard for Open Source developers to get information on writing their own against-the-metal drivers for telephony radios and startup modules (BIOS, EFI/UEFI, etc.)

It has long been suspected that was not just proprietary info-walling, but to reduce chances of discovery of backdoors and persistent threats imposed in the name of spying.

Comment Pity, since I can't accept the EULA (Score 1) 144

Google's Chrome browser, on the other hand, remained unhackable during the contest.

Unfortunately for me, I can't accept Chrome's EULA.

It incorporates Adobe's, which (if I recall correctly from my AT&T Android-based smartphone) has several clauses I can't abide - including a never-compete, don't block updates, don't work on circumvention tools, we can change the license without notice, ...

I don't intend to do anything that might come back to limit my future software work or employability. Clicking through such a license (even if every bit of it is struck down by the courts - which I'm not holding my breath expecting), especially on a device that "phones home" in a way that is easily identified with my true name, is an invitation for an all-versus-one gladiatorial match with two multibillion-dollar corporations' legal departments.

Comment GitHub is in California (Score 1) 75

I struggle a bit to understand why this isn't a bigger issue. ... I wonder why some politician hasn't attempted to differentiate themselves by even mentioning the stifling effect on innovation [company-owns-all-your-inventions] policies impose.

Because it's already been adressed, long ago.

GitHub is in San Francisco, which is in California and governed by California labor law.

California labor law says that (paraphrasing from memory):
  - As a compelling state interest
  - overriding anything in the employee agreement
  - if an employee invents something
  - while not on company time or using company resources
  - and that invention is not in the company's current or immediately foreseeable business
  - then the invention belongs to the employee
  - (and the employment agreement must include a copy of this information as an appendix.)

(IMHO that law is THE reason for the explosive growth and innovation in Silicon Valley and why other states have been unable to clone it. Invent something that your current company won't use, get together with a couple friends, maybe get some "angel funding", rent the office across the street, and go into business with your new shiny thing. So companies bud off new companies like yeast. And innovators collect where they can become the inventor, the "couple of friends", or the early hires, creating a pool of the necessary talent to convert inventions into companies when they happen.)

What GitHub has apparently done is say to the employees:
"For the purposes of us claiming your IP, your lunch time and breaks are your time, even on company property, and your use of our computers and disk storage for things like compiles, storing code, and web research in aid of your project, does not count as 'using company resources'."

In other states, and other companies even within CA, that might be a big deal. For a company in CA, whose whole business model is providing archives for other people's software projects - and giving it away free to small groups, while charging large groups (or small groups that grow into large groups), it's not a big deal, and right IN their business model.

Comment Re:Doctors hate us... (Score 1) 181

If you're an addict you're borderline withdrawal all the time anyway. You've paid on the installment program. But it looks like you're arguing that withdrawal is a good reason to keep using. That's no the argument I'm making at all. Some people kick and never, ever go back. Some people die before they kick. Addiction is not a constant variable. Everyone is different even if the daily dose is exactly the same.

Comment Re:Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proo (Score 1) 246

The difference between an e-Cat and an EM drive is that the plans for how to make an EM drive are free to anyone wanting to do so, and it appears several labs around the world annoyingly keep finding it works.

The e-Cat on the other hand is surrounded by secrecy with nobody allowed to know how the device works or what it looks like on the inside, and certainly no independent verification of it working.

That is the e-Cat is classical snake oil stuff with lots of secrecy. The EM drive however is the complete opposite.

Comment Re:Doctors hate us... (Score 1) 181

Addiction is a complex problem. You want to blame the chemical compound, but it involves aspects of genetics, education, and psychology. How come people can take heroin for years and then suddenly stop? How come some people can try heroin once and be hooked, and others can do it occasionally and never spiral downwards, while still others can try it and NOT LIKE IT and never do it again? It's easy to blame the drug. That makes it simple. It's the drug's fault. The drug is evil. Ban the drug! The reality is that life is not that simple. Less so when you involve religion, morality and politics, because then you get "solutions" that have no relation to, let alone impact on, the real problem.

Comment Re: I guess /. still approves this crap (Score 0) 268

You are seriously comparing the Fed to Zimbabwe while harping how Bitcoin is so far superior to the US dollar? The only little problem with your theory is that reality has bitcoin fluctuating in value over 30% a day whereas the US dollar is still (despite 60 years of doom and gloom prophecies) the world's go to reserve currency. If I had a good I wanted to sell in Bitcoin I have NO FUCKING CLUE how to price my good, since I don't know how much bitcoin will be worth tomorrow. Call me when you can buy a car or a house in Bitcoin.

It's ok to live in a theoretical world if your models fit reality somewhat snugly to reality. However when your theoretical world has no connection to reality it's called FANTASY.

Comment Re:Just two (of many) problems ... (Score 1) 130

The "problem" with the Eurofighter is that it was designed as an interceptor, and when it first came into service the argument was there was no need for an interceptor anymore because the cold war was over.

Thing is that Eurofighters are now being scrambled on a regular basis (well I was more aware exactly how often till they moved them out of Leuchars because you bloody well know when they take off on scramble) to intercept Russian planes flying around the coast of the UK.

So while it looked like an unneeded plane when it when into service, it is in fact required for exactly it's design purpose, at which it is pretty decent.

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