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Comment Don't be overjoyed yet... (Score 4, Informative) 155

Yes, iiNet won and the studios lost. Now here's the reaction from the studos' media representative (

AFACT [*] managing director Neil Gane said the group would lobby for changes to copyright laws following the decision.

"Now that we have taken this issue to the highest court in the land, it is time for government to act," Mr Gane said.

"The Government has always maintained that content is the key driver of digital economic growth. I'm sure the Government would not want copyright infringement to continue unabated across Australian networks, especially with the National Broadband Network soon to be rolled out."

[*] AFACT is the Australian equivalent of the RIAA/MPAA, or rather, as some Wikileaks memos have shown, they are the Australian arm of the RIAA/MPAA, the control directly coming from the States.

So, the copyright industry's attitude is that "if what we demand is unlawful, we will lobby/bribe/force the government to change the law to our favour". Knowing the Australian parliament, probably they will succeed in a reasonably short time.

Comment Re:Steve's impact on the world (Score 1) 1027

I'm with you on this one. I personally would be all for scrapping patents all together and quite possibly copyright as well.

The mouse on its own had little effect. The big deal was the GUI, the concept of windows. Had the mouse not been invented, some other form of pointer device would have (light pen was used already), and evolution would have led to the mouse sooner or later. Interestingly, the GUI as a concept was not patented and it allowed a very nice competition: from the mid 80-s everybody had their own windowing system (Amiga, Macintosh, Atari all had a GUI in '85, even the C64 had GEOS, Windows 1.0 came out and, of course, there was X). Then came the patents and litigation, from the XOR-cursor to the trashcan icon, petty little games for market share.

The more I read about the history of patents and copyright, the more I am convinced that they are not helpful. Among others, Dr Luigi Palombi's book, Gene Patents is a very interesting read. The first half of the book is about the fairly detailed history of patents and the politics behind every legislative change regarding to the patent law of individual countries. It's fascinating, and there's one thing which is obvious: it has never been the inventor what the patent system was all about. It was market control, through and through. Killing the competition, not to further innovation.

The Military

Top General: Defense Department IT In "Stone Age" 155

CWmike writes "U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James 'Hoss' Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was sharply critical Tuesday of the Defense Department's IT systems and said he sees much room for improvement. the department is pretty much in the Stone Age as far as IT is concerned,' Cartwright said. He cited problems with proprietary systems that aren't connected to anything else and are unable to quickly adapt to changing needs. 'We have huge numbers of data links that move data between proprietary platforms — one point to another point,' he said. The most striking example of an IT failure came during the second Gulf War, where Marines and the Army were dispatched in southern Iraq, he said. 'It's crazy, we buy proprietary [and] we don't understand what it is we're buying into,' he said. 'It works great for an application, and then you come to conflict and you spend the rest of your time trying to modify it to actually do what it should do.'"

US Wiretap Report Released 48

sTeF writes "According to the 2010 Wiretap Report (Pdf), released today by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC) federal and state requests for court permission to intercept or wiretap electronic communications increased 34% in 2010 over 2009. California, New York, and New Jersey accounted for 68% of all wire taps approved by state judges."

Comment Re:Who is it for? (Score 1) 325

> And who is Robert Louis Kemp anyway?

You can find his autobio at

> Where is his PhD from?

He doesn't have any. As he says:

"I know that there are some readers that would ask, why does Kemp not have a PhD? The truth is reader, I did not want to waste years trying to convince others of my ideas, or doing research for someone else, when my own personal research required that same enormous time."

According to his autobio, he has a Masters in electronics from Tuskegee University and he had all sorts of jobs at all sorts of companies from radar systems designer at Raytheon to webdesigner at Disney. The company list is impressive, NASA JPL, Hughes, Northrop.

This book must be the culmination of this process:

"Then, in the fall of 1989, I was led by the Holy Spirit within, to drop out of school for six months; thus I locked myself in a room and studied only physics and the Bible. And for a total of two years all I did was study physics and the Bible."

Comment Re:The ASP (Score 0) 169

"Australian society [...] the majority of people well educated"

Um, you are kidding, right?

The majority of Australians are shamefully undereducated. There are severe problems with basic literacy skills among university entrants (including the true-blue Aussie, Anglo-Saxon whites). Australia is a country where 'academic' or 'intellectual' are derogative terms. The prominent social consensus is that academic elitism is to be persecuted by every means (of course, elitism is most welcome in sports). Arts are mostly a fringe interest of the "latte drinking lefties" and being an "artsy-fartsy" puts you into that group automatically. There are suburbs in Sydney with not a single bookstore or library.

We might be well-educated compared to some (but by no means all) third/second world countries and possibly one particular first world country but we're a far cry from most European countries.

Comment Re:Eliminate Patents. (Score 1) 155

"If you nullify software patents, then you call into question all that is hardware patents, because there is NOTHING that can be done in software, that can't be done in hardware."

You say that anything that can be done is SW can be done in HW too. Yes, that's true. On the other hand, if there are things that you can do in HW that you can not do in SW, then that means that unpatentability in SW still leaves a part of HW to be subject to patent.

A new way of doping the Si is a HW process that has no equivalent SW solution. It's not a mathematical abstraction, it's applying chemistry and physics in a novel way. So nullifying SW patents have absolutely nothing to do with it. If the Si doping is too low level, you can start coming up on the HW scale and at every level you will find HW solutions that have no SW equivalent. You can compile SW into
gates (and you can realise any logic circuit as SW), but anything to do with how you create gates, how you (physically) connect them and so on are things that has no equivalent in SW.

Comment Re:Wrong security model (Score 1) 306

"That's not what he said. I suggest you read his stuff. Obscurity is an aspect of security."

I *did* read his stuff. He says that one can argue that using obscurity increases your security because it is an other step that your adversary has to overcome. However, if you keep reading, he shows that the above argument has many problems. In the last paragraph of his famous 2002 article he says:

"Kerckhoffs' Principle generalizes to the following design guideline: minimize the number of secrets in your security system. To the extent that you can accomplish that, you increase the robustness of your security. To the extent you can't, you increase its fragility."

In the same article he points out cases where keeping algorithms secret has a place. Not because it increases your security, for it does not. But keeping the algorithm secret might have benefits *other than cryptographic security* that outweigh the cryptographic security benefits of publishing the algorithm. One of his examples is missile guidance systems. The benefits of publishing your algorithms is nil, but it would give information to your enemies, which has zero or negative benefit. So you keep it secret. However, that does *NOT* make your guidance system more secure. You must assume that the enemy does know the algorithm. If without that assumption your system is vulnerable, then it is flawed. You use obscurity so that you inconvenience the enemy, not because you believe that that makes the system safe.

So, yes, he said that. Security by obscurity does not work. Obscurity is not part of security. Obscurity is a different concept, which may or may not be beneficial for your overall goal, but it is not beneficial for your security. As I mentioned, I read his stuff and it's there.

Comment Conroy (Score 1) 218

Senator Conroy is a religious nutjob with an agenda.
He wants his net filter with a secret blacklist assembled by an organisation that is appointed by politicans and over which the public has no control whatsoever. Obtaining the blacklist would be a criminal issue.

He would go to bed with anyone who would further his vision of total control. Since that's the vision of the copyright industry as well, albeit from a profit motive rather than megalomania, they are natural allies for him.

Unfortunately, he's not the only one. In every party (with the possible exception of the Pirate Party of Australia) we have a healthy dose of these moral pillars of society, who want to dictate how and what we should see, hear and think - that's the nature of politicians.

The only time a politician is willing to let his/her power to slide is when the pitchfork is already in his/her chest. Which, in the case of a 'her' should be well bosomed, because according to our opposition leader, an other religious nutcase, small boobs encite paedophylia (well, in case of models anyway).

So, let's save the children, fight terrorism and most importantly, let's privatise legistlating, so that finally market forces would enter and bring efficiency to the so-far uncharted territory of law and order business.

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