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Comment Skype Doesn't Claim Otherwise (Score 3, Insightful) 40

I feel like Amnesty International has failed to put these various services in context.

Skype makes no claims that it is an anti-government service. It is subject to and complies with Lawful Intercept in the US and other countries. You should not treat it any differently than the local telco, because that's all Skype is trying to be.

Comment Re: I wonder... (Score 1) 199

CSB - I just taught a Kodi class to 50 adults who wanted it bad enough to demand that it be an authorized use of their continuing education funding. I didn't campaign for it and I didn't specially discuss anything more dubious than the Fusion Installer and Kodimaster repos. They can figure out Exodus and Sportsdevil on their own, but they were still glad to get the class.

Comment Re:For them theoretically hacking a private org? (Score 1) 352

For them theoretically hacking a private org?

It's not that it's a public organization or a private organization that matters. What matters is that another nation-state is attacking a US entity.

One of the most important jobs of the federal government is to protect us from other nation-states; to "provide for the common defence." The US would mobilize a defense/counterattack if Russia bombed your warehouse, so is it really so hard to imagine they'd do the same if Russia attacked your data warehouse?

That Russia apparently went after a political organization certainly makes things expedient. But even if they had gone after something else, when you have a nation-state attacking, you take action. If nothing else, what the heck is a single corp/org/person supposed to do against the entire cyberwarfare division of Russia?

Comment Re:Facebook is entertainment, not news (Score 1) 113

Facebook is entertainment, not news

It's not about what it's designed for, it's about how it's used. And people are increasingly treating whatever trends at Facebook as actual news.

Facebook is news if enough of the population treats it as such.

Comment Re:Let's teach critical thinking (Score 1) 212

It's a sad indictment of American intelligence that we have citizens who actually believe the government wants to be paid in iTunes gift cards.

There are almost 300 million people in the US over the age of 14. And to steal a line from George Carlin, consider how dumb the average person is, and then realize that half the population is dumber than that.

When you have a sample size that large, there are going to be some people who, if nothing else, came up short in the genetic lottery when it comes to intelligence. There's nothing "American" about it; some people just aren't blessed with the intelligence of the average Slashdot reader. And this is why we have consumer protection laws, because their limits make them vulnerable, especially to much smarter people.

Comment OK. Sure. Cede some market to Amazon (Score 1) 116

Alexa is available for all Android devices.
Prime Subscribers already get unlimited Photo Storage and ridiculously cheap ($50/year) truly unlimited Cloud storage accounts.

Sure, you're trading your privacy off to a different internet giant, but if I'm looking for the particular feature set available with a Pixel phone, it seems like I can get them just fine from Amazon's apps and services without having to buy Google's phone in particular.

Likewise, I already know the Pixel doesn't have hardware features I legitimately want to see, like a card reader and a removable battery. I'd rather get the hardware I want and mess around with adb commands to kill the handset/carrier vendor's bloat than deal with hardware that's inadequate to begin with.

This doesn't seem like a compelling option at all and is even less so for trying to create exclusivity in the OS.

Comment Re:HDD price milking (Score 3, Interesting) 161

The HDD pricing situation pre-flood was unsustainable. Everyone was losing money in a madcap attempt to hold on to their market share and have the other guy go out of business first.

If not the flood, then something else would have happened to reset prices. The HDD market is still a big market, but you can't make a business of it by losing money. Current prices are (unfortunately) about where they should be for a mature market given the operating costs and SSDs eating into higher profitability high-performance drives.

Comment Is Google Cast just an Android Intent? (Score 2) 60

Two things that come to my mind are that Miracast is a standard remote display technology that lots of things support, including many Smart TVs and STBs.

The other thing is that I've run across several non-Google platforms that enable some sort of media casting, using an Android Intent (the Share button, basically) to show media on another device and definitely works with Android to Kodi or Plex Clients or from the desktop with a browser plugin. As far as I know, there's no special Google magic in it.

What's so special about Google Cast in any of this?

Comment Was Already Approved For "Generic" Tier Rebates? (Score 2) 198

As much fun as it is to use Mylan as a punching bag these days, there's a final point in the Ars article that leads me to think this is hardly in the bag for the Feds.

The question of whether Mylan had misclassified EpiPens came up during a recent Congressional hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, defending the company's prices at the hearing, stood by the classification. She noted that EpiPen was classified as a generic before Mylan bought the drug in 2007.

And if that's true - that Medicare was already applying the âoenon-innovator multiple sourceâ rebate schedule to the EpiPen back in 2007 - then that makes this case a lot murkier. The Feds would then have to make a case as to why the drug can and should be reclassified at the higher âoesingle sourceâ tier. It's clear that in practice the EpiPen is a single source device, but the conflict at the heart of this is one of bureaucracy and not medical practices; the Feds would need to justify both the higher rate now, and why they're not culpable for approving the lower rate in the first place.

Given how long that this is going on, I suspect that this isn't an easy case to prove, otherwise the Feds would have done it already. Instead it's probably being brought back up now to either apply additional pressure to Mylan, or to strike while the political iron is hot.

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