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Submission + - EFF Asks FTC To Demand 'Truth In Labeling' For DRM (techdirt.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Interesting move by Cory Doctorow and the EFF in sending some letters to the FTC making a strong case that DRM requires some "truth in labeling" details in order to make sure people know what they're buying. The argument is pretty straightforward (PDF): "The legal force behind DRM makes the issue of advance notice especially pressing. It’s bad enough to when a product is designed to prevent its owner from engaging in lawful, legitimate, desirable conduct — but when the owner is legally prohibited from reconfiguring the product to enable that conduct, it’s vital that they be informed of this restriction before they make a purchase, so that they might make an informed decision. Though many companies sell products with DRM encumbrances, few provide notice of these encumbrances. Of those that do, fewer still enumerate the restrictions in plain, prominent language. Of the few who do so, none mention the ability of the manufacturer to change the rules of the game after the fact, by updating the DRM through non-negotiable updates that remove functionality that was present at the time of purchase." In a separate letter (PDF) from EFF, along with a number of other consumer interest groups, but also content creators like Baen Books, Humble Bundle and McSweeney's, they suggest some ways that a labeling notice might work.

Comment Re:well, shitlord... (Score 4, Informative) 73

Which raises the age-old question: Has Qubes been written by competent developers?

What's really rich about that question is that if you read their advisory, the Qubes developers couldn't figure out how to exploit the vulnerability when handed a patch that changes the problematic behavior. If not spotting the issue without having it handed to them makes the Xen developers incompetent, what does that say about the Qubes developers?

The fact is, though, that the vulnerability is actually quite hard to spot. It's not surprising at all that experienced security researchers would fail to spot it even when given a pretty big clue; much less that the initial developers would fail to spot it.

Comment Clicking on attachments (Score 3, Insightful) 212

After a recent debacle where Symantec apparently didn't get the proof-of-concept exploit sent to them by a security researcher because the mail filter automatically opened the document and crashed, I friend of mine joked that antivirus software was actually a tool to "automatically click on attachments for you".

Comment Re:Those... (Score 2) 208

Is the Rust language low level enough to know what the machine code will be produced from the language at a glance?

You apparently haven't looked at the output of C compilers recently. The output is less and less predictable from looking at the C code.

The biggest issue with C at the moment isn't actually bounds-checking (although that would be nice) -- it's the fact that it's a minefield of constructs which look perfectly sensible but are in fact "undefined", in which case the compiler is authorized to do absolutely anything it wants. For instance, the C standard explicitly states that all pointers point to valid memory, and that having a pointer that points into non-valid memory is "undefined". This means on super-high-performance loops the compiler can make simplifying assumptions to get 5% speed increases; but it also makes it very difficult to write security checks that the complier won't just optimize out without telling you.

Comment Re:Math doesn't work out (Score 1) 1023

In every single case (22 times) where the federal minimum wage was raised by law, economic growth and standards of living went up faster than inflation. Every single time.

Do you have a good reference for this? I would dearly love to be able to post this exact sentence, with a link, every time anyone posts anything about raising minimum wage putting workers out of jobs...

Comment Re:As An AI Researcher (Score 1) 173

RTS are exactly the same as checkers, chess, go, etc... except you have more pieces, more board positions, and more than one piece can be moved per turn.

...but more importantly, limited information. In checkers, chess, go, &c all players have perfect information. In Starcraft, you have the "fog of war", which adds a different dimension to the gameplay (i.e., the importance of scouting and the possibility of deception).

Comment Very useful but very expensive (Score 5, Informative) 359

My wife works for Apple, and at the end of last year they had a deal to allow Apple employees to buy an Apple Watch for nearly half the retail price. She didn't really want one, so she bought one for me.

TLDR: Definitely useful, but I doubt I would pay full price to replace it.

The biggest feature for me, actually, is the notifications. Basically, with just a phone, you have the choice between cranking up the volume on notifications and having them be super-loud when you're in a quiet environment, or turning them down and miss missing them if you're in a loud environment. The watch has a dynamo that actually taps your wrist when you get a notification; so you're likely to notice it no matter how loud the environment is, but in a quiet environment the sound isn't too disruptive. (When I mention this to people they say, "But I wouldn't want to get notified all the time" -- no of course you don't, that's why you limit the notifications to only things you actually care about.) The notification aspect is handy when you're driving as well -- it gives you a little tap before you're supposed to turn to "wake you up".

The watch faces are pretty cool, with lots of pretty well thought-out features. It's nice being able, for example, to see what the temperature is like outside by just glancing at your wrist; and with the 2.2 update there's a watch face that cycles through photos from a designated photo album, so every time I look at the time I see photos of something that makes me happy.

The heart-rate monitor is pretty useful, but it seems like it's only mainly accurate for aerobic sports -- when I'm weightlifting it will often report obviously incorrect numbers (like, 40 BPM after I've just done a set of lifts and am breathing heavy).

The timer is quite handy, particularly with the "Hey Siri" feature -- "Hey Siri, set a timer for 5 mintues". The "Hey Siri" functionality is quite useful in a number of other situations as well: "Hey Siri, remind me when I get home to put the garbage out."

The Dick Tracy-style phone is a bit gimmicky, IMHO -- it's actually quite uncomfortable to try to talk to someone with your wrist held in front of you. It's almost always worth the 3 seconds of effort to just pull the phone out of my pocket / bag instead.

The awkwardness of holding up your wrist for long periods is the reason I don't use many of the other apps as well -- stocks, weather, browsing maps -- most things are much better just done by taking out your phone.

All in all, I'm glad I have it; and if it was like $150 I'd definitely recommend people buy it. But at the current price, it's a bit steep for what it provides.

Comment Re:Might be other reasons... (Score 1) 1092

Doesn't your company allow you to have packages received at work, rather than have you work from home all day and hope the carrier actually finds your house and doesn't get lost? (Or worse, doesn't bother to knock and just shoves the "pick it up from the post office" slip through your door? Or puts it in your garbage can and you don't notice before trash day?) If they don't your company stinks. The month before Christmas in my office the place is practically a post office. I haven't bought alcohol over the internet yet, but I probably will here in a little bit, and if I do I'll have it delivered to my office, just like everything else.

Comment Re:Here we go. (Score 1) 432

And that isn't even what I'm talking about.

But it is what I'm talking about. I'm saying there are be circumstances under which "asking someone out" actually is harassment (morally, not legally), and why "there should not normally be a problem" is a reasonable answer from a lawyer: because actions never exist in a vacuum. Most of the time guys only ask a girl out if they've been given social cues to indicate that the answer may be "yes"; some of the time guys are a bit clueless and ask even though they've not been given any cues, or if they've been given "no" cues; but there are circumstances in which a guy asking is just one instance of a pattern of obnoxious behavior.

Another example, same person, was there was a fellow who brought work in some times, and managed to "accidentally" touch her butt a number of times.

I can understand why your coworker didn't want to report it to HR. But seriously, that guy was in the wrong. Your coworker managed to deal with the situation (by calling in another guy to help), but she shouldn't have had to deal with it at all. Don't you agree?

Comment Re:Here we go. (Score 1) 432

He told her the truth, that he was sexually attracted. I think his is much better than if he had thought of a fake reason for her to leave his courses, e.g. to give her bad grades so that she chooses another department to specialize later on.

You still haven't given me indication that you've tried to look at things from a woman's perspective. As I asked -- wouldn't you be pissed if you went to work for a company, and after being there 6 months the manager asked you to move to a different department (or to find another job) because they were sexually attracted to you (when you had done nothing but be polite)?

In the past they said that the university isn't the place for women. We now got to the point to say that this is wrong. You say that the university isn't the place for men who occasionally fall in love with one of the students of their sexual preference? Isn't that similar thinking to above? Yes, I do agree that we should close university's doors for people who get emotional with every woman and can't hold it back, but there really should be a reasonable compromise.

So yes, we he have two exclusive options here:

  • 1. Allow men who cannot maintain professional conduct with female students to work as professors, and make the women work around the problem by moving around to different advisors until they find one that can. This is good for men who have that problem, and bad for all women.
  • 2. Insist that only men who can maintain professional conduct with female students work as professors, and make men who have difficulty doing so find another job. This is bad for men who have that problem, but good for all women.

On the whole I think #1 is both more fair and more desirable than #2.

Do note that it's "maintain professional conduct", not "never experience emotional or physical attraction".

Comment Re:Here we go. (Score 1) 432

But we can already see how the story would play out if the genders were inverted.

Things that have only happened in your mind are not data points. :-)

Your model of the universe looks very different than mine; in my model, "advisor forces PhD student to move because of their incompetence" doesn't generally involve sexual harassment lawsuits (which is what you seem to imply), regardless of the gender of the advisor or student, unless some sort of harassment actually took place.

Comment Re:Here we go. (Score 1) 432

So that's what counts has "harassment" in the pro radical feminist society now-a-days. The argument is tired but it doesn't make it less true: If the supervisor was an attractive guy or if she was interested in him, those exact same words would be perfectly acceptable.

Um, no it wouldn't? If you're forced to throw away your research and start over again because your advisor isn't able to do his job, it sucks no matter what they look like. Even if there were mutual romantic attraction, it's never acceptable for a manager to have a romantic relationship with an employee (or an advisor with a student, for similar reasons). This has nothing to do with the gender of either party.

Comment Re:Here we go. (Score 3, Insightful) 432

In a world where many young women believe if a man asks you out and you don't like him, it is sexual harassment, it gets a little hazy as to what sexual harassment is. Sometimes trying to pick up a simple friendship might be harassment.

Have you ever been given unwanted romantic / sexual attention? Or seen it happening? Isn't it uncomfortable? And shouldn't people be able to work without it?

I'm a heterosexual man, and I've got a male coworker who is bisexual, who once when (in a group of coworkers) discussing a particularly smart outfit I was wearing, said "You're making me hot just looking at you." He genuinely meant it as a compliment, but given that we had never had more than a professional relationship, it was inappropriate.

Now he hasn't really made any further comments, so it hasn't been much of an issue (although I am much more circumspect about how I interact with him now). But suppose he said something like that once a month. Or that he kept asking me over to his place or to go see movies 1-1. That would make me pretty uncomfortable -- and I shouldn't have to put up with that at work.

That's not to say you can never ask anyone out at work. It's to say that you should be aware that the other person is unusually constrained. It's not like a party where they can just mingle somewhere else: they're stuck working with you unless one of you finds a new job. You should always be reasonably sure that the question itself will not be unwelcome, even in a merely social situation; at work, the level of "how sure should I be" is higher -- not because of the risk of being fired, but because of how much more constrained the other person is in how they can respond if they're not interested.

Doesn't that make sense? This seems like basic human consideration to me.

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