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Submission + - Twitter Trends Ignore Student Protests (

cheesethegreat writes: Over the last few years, Twitter's role in activism has been growing. Trends and hashtags have been used as a way to spread information on protests all over the world. Strange, then, that in the last few weeks the UK student protests, making heavy use of the #demo2010 hashtag, failed to trend on Twitter. Was there something untoward going on, or was it (what seems more likely in the light of this article) an artifact of Twitter's trending algorithms.

Comment Free isn't Easy (Score 2, Insightful) 272

To be fair, it's not exactly easy to find a legit free AV programme. Downloading my poinson of choice, AVG, for example, requires you to navigate through the website, locate the tiny "free version" link on a series of pages, and wind through and around a whole lot of annoying screens designed to baffle/frustrate/bully you into buy a pay version.

And worse, you then have to go through this whole process again every six months when they release a new version that isn't covered by the auto updater.

I definitely consider the behaviour of companies like AVG to be partially responsible for people getting confused, frustrated, and resorting to less legitimate means.

Comment Re:Tampering! (Score 1) 262

It's not a part of the contract of sale, which is an agreement between you and the retailer. It's a component of a separate contract which you enter into with Microsoft. That contract is governed by the terms of the SLA/EULA. That contract is accepted via act by using the product. If you don't want to accept the terms of the licence contract as listed by the SLA/EULA, you have to make a counter-offer in an appropriate manner (many SLA/EULA contain a "No Counter-Offers" clause, which is not uncommon or necessarily illegal).

As has been discussed EXHAUSTIVELY, you are not purchasing a good. You are purchasing a licence to use a good. Fundamental difference.

Don't like it? Change the law.

IAAL, but I am not your lawyer. None of this is proper legal advice. Cheers.

Comment IAAL but IANAIL (Score 5, Interesting) 637

(I am a lawyer but I am not an immigration lawyer)

Immigration law "airside" is complex. You are right to say that you are not yet on USA soil. However, that doesn't mean that the agents are entitled to act without limit. Their actions can still be reviewed by a court, and they cannot act beyond the powers given to them. For example, they are undoubtedly empowered to detain a person where necessary to determine their immigration status (for example, they suspect a US passport may be forged). However, the power to detain is also going to have limits. For example, an agent who detained an individual because they were wearing a hat from a rival baseball team may well be exceeding their powers, and that decision could be found illegal on review.

So, as the above poster mentioned, if they had a "hunch" that the person was entering illegally, then they may well be allowed to detain them. But this hunch seems based on the idea that the person might be involved with a criminal activity. Are the Border Patrol entitled to decline entry/detain a US citizen suspected of crime? I don't know. And what empowered US Army representatives to speak to the man? Again, I'm unclear. If Border Patrol were done with him, and they detained him to enable Army reps to speak to him, they would, possibly be using their powers for a purpose not authorised by the empowering instruments.

I would be very interested to hear exactly what grounds the individual was detained under, and whether it was within the scope of the empowering instrument. I suspect that this may have been pushing the boundaries, but without knowing the laws I can't possibly say for sure.

I look forward to being corrected by anyone with more knowledge than me.

Comment IAAL but IANACL (But here's my view) (Score 3, Informative) 319

To be clear, I'm not a criminal lawyer. Crime is far, far away from my specialism. I am also not your lawyer. This is not a researched opinion. Cheers.

This would absolutely (in my opinion) be a criminal offence in the jurisdiction.

Common assault - includes any non-consensual contact or the causing of non-consensual contact through another object. This could easily be analogised to the cases involving leaving a trap or poking with a stick.

Much more serious:

Sexual assault - SOA 2003 s(3) - AFAIK this includes touching through another object, so the offense would be available

Infliction of GBH with intent - GBH requires common assault (see above) and the rupturing of membranes, which lice do when they suck blood (this potentially hold a sentence of lifetime imprisonment, and is an extraordinarily serious offence in the UK)

The Crown Prosecution Service generally charges less than the most serious crime chargeable, but it is quite feasible to imagine an assault or sexual assault charge being made if this were used. Also, the site owners are doubtless on the hook for all sorts of conspiracy and assistance offences, but I know little to nothing about them. Also, this may well come under the remit of Operation Sapphire (the London police operation on rape and sexual offences. I know some of the outstanding officers involved, they're like dogs with a bone once they get a suspect in their sights.) or could be viewed as domestic violence, which elevates sentencing in the courts (and opens up the possibility of elevation to Crown Court sentencing).

All sorts of wonderful civil options even if the CPS didn't prosecute, with trespass against the person and negligence high on the list.

Comment The Interesting Question is... (Score 3, Interesting) 197

Here is the interesting hypothetical:

Assume this lie-detector is right 80% of the time, and that its success/failures are randomly distributed (e.g. not associated with socio-economic background).
Assume also that false conviction rates are at 21% (so only 79% of convictions are correct), and that there is substantial evidence that this is not evenly distributed (e.g. that false convictions are associated with low socio-economic status).

Would you be willing to entirely replace the system of jury trials with trial by lie detector?

Comment Possible Future of Marketing Franchises? (Score 5, Interesting) 131

Releasing the one-before-last as freeware seems a pretty sensible move for anyone marketing a franchise (yes, I know that MS aren't the ones pushing the new MW to market, but this is still relevant).

Releasing Bioshock 3? Put Bioshock 1 out as freeware. You're not going to lose any money, the people who were going to buy it won't wait 3 years just to get it free (especially when you've already released 2). All you do is potentially pull more people into the game who will take a look at it and think "hmm, if I like this one that's 3 years old, maybe I'll like the one they're about to release".

Developers are starting to talk about not wanting to release demos, and instead going with payware. This would allow multiple tiers of demo-type experience for the consumer. For example, with Mass Effect 3, it could work like this:

Tier 1: Freeware of ME1, released onto BitTorrent or equivalent to minimize distribution cost
Tier 2: Payware demo from the current release (perhaps including a full-access version of ME 2)
Tier 3: Full-cost version of ME3

This may be the way forward. I might be okay with losing demos, if I'm going to be able to see previous versions of the game in freeware form.

Comment Hospital Procedure, Property Rights (Score 1) 11

The story itself might not seem particularly geek/news/thought-worthy until you start thinking about it.

Hospital Procedure:
What procedures are there to protect property in hospitals? Having worked in an ER, it was often "get a hospital volunteer to put clothes in a brown paper bag and write illegibly what is in there". Surely we could find better and more secure ways of doing this. We're talking about property, wallets, rings etc of a person who may be unconscious and is definitely vulnerable. Can't we do better than a brown bag?

Property Rights:
This goes to questions over tissue rights over removed organs (always a confusing area of law), who is responsible for the property of an unconscious person, and who is responsible for property attached to removed tissue (or a removed arm for that matter).

I'd say it's sufficiently geeky, if you think about it.

Comment In Other News: Biology Lab Techs Shot by SWAT (Score 3, Interesting) 136

I used to work in a genetics lab, and this is a terrifying thought. Imagine 20 lab techs working with chemicals in the same room, easily enough to set off the "low levels indicating danger and not a drill" alarm. Assuming that this is set to detect chemicals that are not yet at dangerous levels, merely anomalous levels, how do they propose to avoid raiding GlaxoSmithKline on a daily basis?

Comment My tags for this story (Score 2, Insightful) 351

This is obviously absurd, as pointed out by plenty of the above posters. What I'm more concerned about, is why this got posted to the Slashdot front page. We have the Digital Economy Bill about to be passed without debate in the UK, various stories on the LHC's full power experiments, all sorts of lunacy in the US with patents, and we get a "hey guys, what about this idea" from a random slashdotter.

If this were coming from a noted astronomer, a major figure in disaster relief, or GWB, then it would be Slashdot-worthy. But seriously, what value did this Ask Slashdot add?

Also, the previous story on the sun-chandelier was such a non-story as to be shocking.

I've now started tagging stories: ohnoitskdawson

Operating Systems

Submission + - Multi-Platform App Created Using Single Code Base

andylim writes: Christian Cantrell, a technical product manager at Adobe, has created an app for multiple platforms including OSX, Windows 7, Ubuntu, Android, iPhone OS, iPad OS. What's amazing is that all the apps use the same code base. "The application is called iReverse, and it's is a fully functional Reversi game (complete with a pretty decent AI). Although iReverse is fun to play, the most amazing thing about the project is the fact that it runs in all these different environments completely unchanged. In other words, the exact same code base is used to build versions for five different environments. There's no other platform in the world that can boast this level of flexibility — not even close."

Submission + - Freenet 0.7.5 Released (

cheesethegreat writes: The latest version of Freenet has hit the tubes. For those who don't know, Freenet allows for anonymous, attack-resistant and content-deniable communication between peers for file sharing and communication. Why do we care? In a time where governments outside of China and Iran are filtering and blocking internet traffic, this sort of tool will become a necessity. Will Freenet save freedom of speech on the internet? Maybe. Maybe not. But somebody has to, and the more people who try, the better. The more peers in the Freenet system, the more resistant it is to attack, and the faster it runs for those who need it.

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