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Comment Re:Illegal Age-ism Admitted in the Press! (Score 1) 183

The same goes for his other "inventions". The Air Blade hand dryer and the bladeless fan were not invented by him. He did an Apple on those, making improvements on existing technology and turning them into viable products (some would argue the "viable" part).

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 351

It doesn't. Here in the Netherlands, downloading was actually legal until recently, regardless of where the download was from. Uploading of copyrighted material always has been punishable. Meaning that using Torrent to get these movies is illegal whether you already own a copy or not, since you're "helping piracy".

Which is true in a way. I see that as a hearty FU to the media companies for their customer-hating tactics in hopes they will change their ways. That's how far my ethics go. That, by the way, was also the policy of Dutch lawmakers for a good while: their stance was to not make downloading illegal, or to decline to prosecute downloads of any content that isn't reasonably available for download from a legal source. (reasonably meaning: released in a timely manner, priced at or below the physical medium, allowing time shifting and offline playback). Sadly they dropped that stance and kowtow to the "intellectual property" camp.

Comment Just eliminate messaging and mentions (Score 2) 104

One way to fix Twitter would simply be to eliminate mentions and messaging. IMHO, the use-case for Twitter is to allow people to receive broadcast (one-way) messages from others.

For example, if I follow Bob, then I (and everyone else who follows Bob) would receive Bob's tweets. If EvilJerk also follows Bob, he can be as outraged and tweet about it as much as he wants -- nobody except those who opted-in to follow EvilJerk would get his tweets.

Problem solved.

Comment Re:Spotify? (Score 2) 71

Pay the fee and go ad-free. I actually like that model a lot: a free, ad-supported service with the option to pay to have ads removed. My only issue is that the temptation to keep adding more and more ads to the free service often proves too great, or they try and sneak in ads into the paid service.

Comment Re:No (Score 2) 351

Got a bunch of Blurays but never played them, in fact most are still in the wrapper. I only get them because legal digital download-to-own doesn't exist (not really). So I "steal" movies via torrent and buy the Blurays as a license for the ones I want to keep. Everything is played from a NAS, music as well, haven't bothered with CDs in ages.

Comment Re:No problem here (Score 3, Interesting) 91

It would be nice to set some legal ground rules for EULAs. Such as: they cannot be changed without prior notice, the text should fit on 4 A4-sized sheets in 12 point font, and you can only use the words in this dictionary ("the ten-hundred most used words").

Last year I got a mortgage for a commercial property, and was pleasantly surprised by the terms and conditions: written in very plain and succinct language, and especially lacking in those unbelievable run-on sentences found in regular legalese. It is possible to write agreements that can actually be read and understood. Time to make that a requirement if companies want to have them legally enforced.

Comment Re:Laissez Faire Capitalist Here... (Score 1) 203

Direct government control isn't required. The good capitalist solution is not that different to the socialist solution: make homeowners own the last mile (fibre from your house to the cabinet is yours, though you may jointly own some shared trunking with your neighbours). The connections from the cabinets should be owned by public interest companies, with the shares owned by the homeowners. Providing Internet connectivity to the network would be something that you'd open to tender by any companies (for-profit or non-profit) that wanted to provide it.

The situation in most of the USA is that it's been done using the worst possible mixture of laissez-fair capitalism and central planning. Vast amounts of taxpayer money have been poured into the infrastructure, yet that infrastructure is owned by a few companies and they have geographical monopolies and are now owned by their customers, so have no incentive to improve it. Oh, and regulator capture means that it's actually illegal to fix the problem in a lot of places. You can provide an incentive in several ways:

  • Tax penalties or fines for companies that don't improve their infrastructure. Big government hammer, and very difficult to enforce usefully.
  • Try to align the ownership of the companies with their customers. Companies have to do what their shareholders want and if their shareholders want them to upgrade the network because they're getting crap service then they will.
  • Ensure that there's real competition. This is difficult because it's hard to provide any useful differentiation between providers of a big dumb pipe and the cost for new entrants into the market is very high.

Comment Re:BS (Score 1) 165

Android and iOS have very different philosophies. Android devices aim to be general-purpose computer, iOS devices aim to be extensions to a general-purpose computer. I have an Android tablet and an iPad, and I find I get a lot more use from the iPad because it doesn't try to replace my computer. There's a bunch of stuff that I can do on the Android tablet that I can't do on the iPad, but all of it is stuff that I'd be better off doing on my laptop anyway (with the one exception of an IRC client that doesn't disconnect when I switch to a different window). I still use Android for my phone, because OSMAnd~ (offline maps, offline routing, open source, and good map data) is the killer app for a smartphone for me and the iOS port is far less good.

Comment Re: The anti-science sure is odd. (Score 1) 674

Alas, it's a shame that it doesn't mean anything. The point here is that the Earth has undergone many shifts in its climate, sometimes in a startlingly short period of time

Except that the difference in temperature between the peak of the Medieval Warm Period and the bottom of the Little Ice Age were significantly smaller than the difference between the current temperature and the bottom of the Little Ice Age. The last time we saw an increase in temperature equivalent to the last 200 years it was over a period of tens of thousands of years.

Go and read a news story about an area of science that you know about and compare it to what the original research actually claimed. Now realise that press reports about climate change are no more accurate than that and go and read some of the papers. The models have been consistently refined for the last century, but the predictions are refinements (typically about specific local conditions and timescales), not complete reversals. Each year, there are more measurements that provide more evidence to support the core parts of the models.

Oh, and I don't think the words objectivist or dualistic mean what you think they mean. You can't discard evidence simply by throwing random words into a discussion.

Comment Re:Standard protocol (Score 2) 102

Considering that the entire selling point behind Signal is that it's supposed to be resistant to "an adversary like the NSA," I would think their ability to trivially associate a key with a real person would kind of turn that on its head.

Any global passive adversary can do traffic analysis on any communication network. Signal's message encryption should stand up against the NSA unless there are any vulnerabilities in the implementation that the NSA has found and not told anyone about or unless they have some magical decryption power that we don't know about (unlikely). Protection of metadata is much harder. If you connect to the Signal server and they can watch your network traffic and that of other Signal users, then they can infer who you are talking to. If they can send men with lawyers, guns, or money around to OWS then they can coerce them into recording when your client connects and from what IP, even without this.

In contrast, Tox uses a DHT, which makes some kinds of interception easier and others harder. There's no central repository mapping between Tox IDs and other identifiable information, but when you push anything to the DHT that's signed with your public key then it identifies your endpoint so a global passive adversary can use this to track you (Tox over Tor, in theory, protects you against this, but in practice there are so few people doing this that it's probably trivial to track).

No system is completely secure, but my personal thread model doesn't include the NSA taking an active interest in me - if they did that then there are probably a few hundred bugs in the operating systems and other programs that I use that they could exploit to compromise the endpoint, without bothering to attack the protocol. I'd like to be relatively secure against bulk data collection though - I don't want any intelligence or law enforcement agency to be able intercept communications unless at least one participant is actively under suspicion, because if you allow that you end up with something like Hoover's FBI or the Stazi..

Comment Re:Luddites, beware! (Score 2) 60

Currently, lorry drivers have to take statutory breaks. In the EU, they can only drive for 4.5 hours before having to take a 45-minute break. They can also only drive 9 hours per day. If you have a self-driving lorry that's only good enough for motorways (predictable traffic, well-marked lanes) and the driver can be out of the driving seat resting (even sleeping) then the vehicle can drive itself for 20 hours a day and the driver can be a passenger except when it approaches built-up areas. That would dramatically reduce the number of drivers that you'd need for a haulage fleet.

Comment Re:Standard protocol (Score 2) 102

Signal is probably secure, but all communication goes via OpenWhisperSystems' servers, as does registration (which ties your identity to your account). They can't be forced to MITM your connections (probably - unless someone finds a vulnerability in the protocol), but they can unilaterally delete your account and they can be coerced into doing so. In contrast, Tox is completely decentralised (no central servers, it's a pure peer-to-peer network). Your identity is just a public key, so the only people who can identify you on the network are people that you have told your public key to through some out-of-band mechanism (or people who can view enough of the network that they can associate a public key with something else - i.e. an adversary like the NSA).

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