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Comment Re:How does he fit in a diplomatic bag? (Score 1) 847

The Vienna convention states that the items inside diplomatic bags must be items intended for use for diplomatic purposes. Therefore, one used for any other purpose, is not a diplomatic bag.

Consequently, it is a generally accepted principle among nations that if a host country suspects that a diplomatic bag contains some item being used for some other purpose, they can request that the diplomat confirm the contents. For example, if a bag is said to contain documents, the diplomat would have to show that it does contain documents. They don't have to reveal _which_ documents but they would have to demonstrate that it holds documents.

Or the way one author put it: if a man-shaped diplomatic bag is seen emerging from the Ecuadorean Embassy and we prod it with a pitchfork to confirm that it contains only diplomatic items, a squeak of 'Ouch!" would give us all the legal options we need to ask the Ecuador Embassy politely to undo it and show us what or who is therein.

Comment newspapers of the past did have different ideas (Score 1) 245

And it is most likely true that to some extent the notion of authorship with regards to news was much more fungible in the 18th century America than it was today.

It is also true that development of practices and technologies recognizeable as print syndication didn't really develop until th e19th century.

But it is also true that various publishers and authors did get their panties in a twist when their competitors stole their output word for word. Were this not the case, the US Constitution would not have explicitly given Congress the right to set terms for patents and copyrights.

Moreover, the English word plagiarism repleat with most of its current connotations dates back at least to the 17th century. And it's based on Latin that seems to have been coined in the 1st century. It is not a new idea. It's rigorous application to journalism and academia may be new but all you have to do is read letters from various newspaper publishers from the Revolutionary era to see that those being plagiarized did not feel as warm as fuzzy about the practice as those doing the plagiarizing.

Comment Re:And now, the long wait (Score 1) 923

There is that. But there is also a longstanding custom of charging political dissidents with common criminal charges. And, arguably, that is the case here. Ecuador has stated that it would gladly hand Assange over to be extradited if there is assurance that Swedan will not extradite him to the US.

The only reason that this doesn't fit the typical case is that the nation that wants Assange for allegedly political reasons is not the nation that wants him for common criminal charges.

Comment Re:This is hideous (Score 1) 1065

You're jumping to conclusions. The link to the beeb has a bit of the text of the letter. It basically alleges that Ecuador is in violation of the Geneva Conventions and that the UK has access to certain remedies for that.

It's Ecuador that read the letter as a threat to storm the embassy.

And, well, some embassies around the world are already militarized. Other not so much.

Comment Re:He REALLY pissed off governments.... (Score 4, Informative) 1065

Exactly right, the actual wording of the letter can be found in box at the link to TFA.

Foreign minister Ricardo Patino said the letter from the UK to Ecuador stated: ``You need to be aware that there is a legal base in the UK, the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, that would allow us to take actions in order to arrest Mr Assange in the current premises of the embassy.

``We sincerely hope that we do not reach that point, but if you are not capable of resolving this matter of Mr Assange's presence in your premises, this is an open option for us.''

It went on: ``We need to reiterate that we consider the continued use of the diplomatic premises in this way incompatible with the Vienna Convention and unsustainable and we have made clear the serious implications that this has for our diplomatic relations.''

So, for example, the UK could end its recognition of Ecuador's diplomats so that they all go home and the embassy is no longer an embassy. At this point, the UK could storm the building but the building would no longer be Ecuador's diplomatic mission to the UK.

Comment Re:As a Wisconsinite (Score 2) 757

Yeah, even the man who put Palin on McCain's radar, Steve Schmidt, has apologized for his role in the affair and has obvserved that some things are worse than losing such as putting someone as obviously as unfit to hold office as Palin in a position where she could conceivably end up in the oval office.

Comment There was a very real risk (Score 1) 666

The gun is illegal to have in DC. He could have been arrested just for having it on his porch. Worse, if the police had found out about it before he called them, they could have come in with weapons drawn.

Or, worse yet, since it was left unattended, it could have been stolen, used in a crime, and then the gentleman may have been liable even though he did not order the gun or even know that it was there.

Those things aside, however, I do agree that an unloaded rifle in a box isn't very dangerous all on its own.

Comment I don't think it was an OS update or the machine (Score 1) 665

With each new point release of Safari, it would run faster. With each new point release of Firefox, it would run slower. Other apps were pretty much unchanged. Although, I'm not quite sure how you measure speed in LaTeX. If I used my laptop for 3D rendering or some such thing, I guess that I would have a better metric.

Likewise at work, my Dell would run Chrome pretty quickly, Firefox not so much. And at work there was certainly no slowdown for other apps.

So I'm fairly confident that Firefox was the problem back then. And if you look at comments about Firefox from those years, you'll see that my complaint was not uncommon. IMO, one of the chief reasons that Chrome took off like it did was that many, if not most, Firefox users were unhappy with Firefox at the time when Chrome was released.

Comment I haven't thought about Firefox in some time now (Score 1) 665

Between work and home, I almost never have a reason to fire Firefox up. Usually I use Chrome. There are a few websites that I need to access at work that are pretty much IE only. Every now and then I need a second browser running to troubleshoot something so I'll launch Safari.

This trend started about 2009 or so. Firefox just kept running more and more slowly whether I used it on my Mac or at work on my Dell laptop. Once my PowerPC Mac was stolen and I bought an Intel powered replacement, I started using Chrome at home in addition to work. I've never had any desire to look back.

Comment Yeah, like everything, chat has its bad points, (Score 2) 228

The elephant in the room with regards to support is that THERE IS NOT A SINGLE WAY TO PROVIDE SUPPORT THAT DOES NOT HAVE DRAWBACKS.

Take on-site visits. Tech shows up. Problem is intermittent and doesn't occur while the tech is there. Tech's time is wasted. User's time is wasted. No one is happy. Or tech shows up to find that user doesn't have database/network/etc. rights and there is nothing tech can do. Techs have to take extra steps to document what was going on during the visit.

Take phone calls. Hold times. Bad accents. VOIP over spotty networks. The phone call doesn't exist unless the tech properly logs it with an accurate description of the call.

Take email. You've got most of the defects mentioned in TFA that apply to chat combined with a gap between messages that could span days or even weeks.


Depending on the environment, some of the defects mentioned above might be a deal breaker. Which defects are the most critical will vary depending on what sort of support is being offered. Moreover, each of the methods above also have different advantages.

Take chat, since the TFA was about chat. Many vertical software vendors are starting to build chat into their apps in a way that is an incredible aid to support teams. If a user can click the chat button and drag a problem record to the chat window, the support analyst now has access to a wealth of information that would take eons to get a user to properly describe over the phone or through email. More sophisticated tools might include a way for the analyst to access a log of actions the user took last to see what sequence of events triggered the problem or a way for the analyst to share the application screen of the user.

But, of course, there will still be times when a 60 second phone call can hash out something that would take 10 minutes in a chat session or trading 15 or 20 emails. It all depends on what kind of support is needed and the people on either end of the communications link.

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