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Comment Re:Politics aside, is this a copyright violation? (Score 1) 455

each email is a creative work by the author

Yes, good point! Without the government sticking their guns in everyone's faces and enforcing the email-writer's monopoly on commercially profiting from their blood, sweat, and tears, what incentive would party members have to communicate with each other?

If we don't properly enforce this monopoly, party members will give up and stop emailing each other! Then where will be be?

Comment Re:There in good company. (Score 1) 70

mail account .. with a paltry 1TB of storage.

Which just goes to show, FUSE makes it viable for people to use any protocol, even IMAP, as a filesystem.

/home/dude# cd /mnt/imap/imap.yahoo.com/inbox/movies/msgid48D5A4EC-8B93-4DAB-8D6D-740DA165E63E@example.com /mnt/imap/imap.yahoo.com/inbox/movies/msgid48D5A4EC-8B93-4DAB-8D6D-740DA165E63E@example.com# mpv attachment1/Robocop\ \(1987\).mkv

Comment Re:Two separate topics? (Score 1) 86

It's got to be some stupid script "helping" the editors.

Imagine you were serving content-contextual ads. You could show an Amazon ad here. So some idiot figured "if it's close enough for the advertising department, then it's close enough for the editorial department." The problem is that they never tested it, and nobody at Slashdot actually reads Slashdot so they're unaware how ridiculous it looks.

Let this be a lesson, folks: if you don't eat your own dog food, then you have to test your dog food in the lab. But FFS don't just throw it out into the world with nobody looking at it, or everyone's going to be staring at you.

Back to on-topic: I don't understand how there's even a question here. The entire point of Amazon's Echo is that it's a bug in your home, that you're wilfully giving up privacy to have someone else's computer constantly listening to you. If it weren't listening, it couldn't work.

This is like someone saying "I didn't have a flight but I forged a boarding pass, and then bribed the TSA worker with a hundred dollar bill, saying 'rectal exam, please.' His fingers were so cold! Anyway, the next day, I couldn't get anyone to tell me whether or not my privacy has been compromised. Why are they so suspiciously silent?"

This is opt-in surveillance. The only problem I have with opt-in surveillance is that The Truth (people are idiots) makes me feel uncomfortable. But knowledge is a good thing, whether I'm comfortable with it or not.

Comment Users shouldn't like middlemen (Score 1) 456

The reason for the content disappearing and missing seasons or episodes are licensing issues. Hollyweed is too greedy and thinks that their content is worth far more than it really is worth.

Why does anyone want to get this content from a middleman? What's wrong with Netflix selling you only the "Netflix original" shows, NBC selling you theirs, HBO selling you theirs, etc? There's no reason anyone should want to get Hollywood's show from Netflix or Amazon. It's just going to be marked up. You have The Internet now!! You can communicate with anyone. Deal direct.

Turns out there's answer to the above question: because most people are still using these stupid proprietary applications, instead of standard interfaces, to watch TV. So if you personally had a dozen TV vendors, then you'd have to switch between a dozen apps, and that's going to totally suck no matter what. Even if someone's app is ok (and that's usually about as good as they get, huh?) you still can't have Netflix shows on the same alphabetical menu as Amazon and HBO shows.

(Unless you pirate, because once the content is liberated, it has a standard interface, which means you can pipe to any interface you want.)

So fuck 'em. Standard interfaces or else No Sale. (And seriously: is a standard interface such a burdensome thing to ask?! Can you think of any endeavor where it's not considered both the ideal and the common-sense way things should be?) If a vendor can get onboard with doing things right, they can get paid.

But if they say "use my software" (sometimes disguised as "use my box" or "use one of these supported devices" but we're computer people so we know this hardware is just for running their shitty software) then they are trying to create one of two futures:

  1. Where people have to switch between multiple un-integrated UIs to access basically that same type of data. That's guaranteed to be a UI fail.
  2. Where people have a single database UI presented by a middleman who has to license-for-resale everything. That's guaranteed to be expensive and also guaranteed to have severe selection problems (since they won't really be able to get anywhere close to "everything" no matter how hard they try).

Both are absurd dystopias that you can't possibly want. Netflix is currently just changing their blend between these two hells, and I guess people were used to the devil-they-knew. But what you don't hear anyone talking about, is Netflix actually trying to solve the problem, because nobody's making them do it. So stop paying them until they'll sell you the .mkvs. (Or standard streams, if you're convinced that local storage is just too .. expensive? Ok, whatever, an argument for another time.)

Comment Re:Only as safe as the sandbox (Score 1) 167

you should be old enough to have seen a number of "magic" new languages, tools and coding techniques only to have them all fall flat on their faces.

Of course I've seen plenty of failures and stupid ideas! I don't see that (or your cherry-picked list) as important, though. In any human endeavor if you're around long enough, you'll see that happening. I'm sure in 4999 BC some numbnuts or con-artist had a really stupid idea about how to make farming work better. I don't care about him. Lots of people try things, and there are plenty of crackpots and real-but-nevertheless-mistaken geniuses. It doesn't mean things aren't getting better, though. I've also seen successes.

How about "higher level" languages with memory-safety and/or garbage collection? There was a time when these things were new kids on the block, too, and even looked down upon. I can get some things finished far sooner in Python than in C, because I'm not having to think about some details far below the abstraction of my problem. Had I dismissed Python out-of-hand because it didn't have pointers, I'd be worse off today.

How about tools like git? (You wouldn't believe the amount of my time as a human I sometimes spent in the 1980s merging someone's changes into a "main" version.)

You don't think these things are letting people get more stuff done, in less time? We don't call them magic, we call them technological progress.

One of the things that many programmers know would help them, even if they disagree on all the details, would be to communicate with the compiler just a little better, so that certain theoretically-automate-able things can get actually automated (e.g. generate warnings to catch certain types of bugs sooner, "automagically" parallelize some types of loops, etc). It's just a matter of time and creativity, until someone really gets this done well (e.g. so procedural programmers don't have to think like functional ones).

I don't think we have reached the full practical potential for programming languages. I'm not saying Rust is the next thing, but there will be a next thing. If we're all joking about Rust and Go and Swift in 20 years (like how we joke about Ruby now), fine! But it's reasonably likely that something will have happened in that period, making a 2036 programmer more productive than a 2016 one. It'll happen because programmers have real, and increasingly well-understood, meta-problem that repeat themselves over and over again. People are aware of it and trying all kinds of things to address them.

Comment Re:Google drops the ball...again (Score 1) 48

I think it just points out that the idea of a central repository doesn't make sense with proprietary software. I basically trust the Debian repo (or OpenBSD ports, etc) because there's at least a chance that someone checked the software out to see if it's intended to work for the users instead of someone else.

With the bullshit repos from Google, Apple, etc you know they aren't auditing the software, due to one really simply fact: they can't audit it. Binaries are submitted, not source. So whatever "vetting" happens, you damn well know it's not intended to be the in users' interest. At best, all users have going for them is that sometimes a barn door will get closed after the horses get out.

If you're going to run proprietary software, there's no point in using a store. You might as well just get it from the makers themselves.

Comment Re:Only as safe as the sandbox (Score 1) 167

And, because they are "safer", languages with safe memory usually come with less competent coders, which often nicely eliminates any advantage gained.

Ah, the nobody can make things better argument, because if you improve things, someone will (should!) use up the extra slack they're given. You're basically arguing that software needs to have a certain amount of bugs, because if it has too few, the programmer market is being inefficient by not cranking out shittier code faster/cheaper.

I don't buy it. I think it's possible for things to be better, that net gains are possible.

I cite the entirety of humanity's technological progress as my evidence. Someone said, "You can't improve on gathering! If your 'farming' idea takes off, people will just fuck up the food supply some other way, in order to stay incompetent." That person was wrong.

My prediction is that Rust will do nothing security-wise as soon as attackers actually start to attack it.

Okee dokee. I'm betting on the other side. I guess we'll revisit this in a few years, then.

Comment Re:Get better skills (Score 0) 482

I never knew about H1Bs until I joined Slashdot approximately when you did. H1Bs weren't on my radar. And here is what I learned:

The objection to H1Bs wasn't "they're coming to take our jobs" but rather, that the imported workers were abused. Their residency is a function of having a job (a pretty damn un-American way to treat anyone, IMHO) so their employers have an unusual amount of power over them, compared to the more equitable power relationship that naturalized citizens have with their employers. And it could be addressed by fixing our immigration policy: make citizenship be a lot cheaper/faster/easier, thereby obsoleting the visas.

I was glad to get more informed about what was happening to some of my fellow computer dorks.

But somewhere along the last 15 years, the "they're coming to take our jobs" crybabies started taking over the discussion.

I think the demographics of "computer people" have changed since the good old days. More casuals, fewer passionate lifers. Damn IT-immigrants! Why don't they go back to the industries they came from?! They're diluting our traditionally libertarian-leaning values!

(Whoa.. this can happen in any scope, can't it?)

Comment Please, just stop using that one word. (Score 1) 387

There's nothing wrong with entertaining all these crazy (or really neat-o) ideas. There's nothing wrong with developing them. There's nothing wrong with suspecting one of them might be right.

But please, for fuck's sake, stop calling them fucking Theories!

That word already meant something. Your completely untested hypothesis, no matter how cool it is, is not a Theory. If you're going to call the string and multiverse ideas "theories" then (I am dead serious) you might as well let Creationism into the fold too. Creationism is no worse, because you've taken away everything that makes science be science.

Now, is that a price you want to pay? Hell no. So watch your mouth and stop using the the "T" word so lightly. (You can still sound cool and use a fancy word to the press, if you want. Watch: "String Hypothesis." See? That wasn't so hard.)

Comment "The peasent will be forced to keep voting..." (Score 2) 621

"...until they pick the alternative the ruling class prefers."

That worked before on EU votes. I don't think it will work this time.

A lesson of the past few days is the danger of groupthink. Along with the major international institutions, the assembled might of establishment opinion – in the CBI and TUC, massed legions of economists and a partisan Bank of England – was confident that the existing order here and in Europe would be preserved by promises of unspecified reforms. Until around 2am on the morning of Friday 24 May, the bookies and currency traders followed the playbook that had been given them by the authorities and the pollsters. Then, in a succession of events of a kind that is becoming increasingly common, the script was abruptly torn up. A clear majority of voters had reached to the heart of the situation. Realising that the promises of European reform that had been made were empty, they opted for a sharp shift in direction. The consequences can already be observed: rapid political change in Britain and an accelerating process of unravelling in the European Union. The worldwide impact on markets and geopolitics will be long-lasting and profound.

There are sure to be concerted efforts to resist the referendum’s message. The rise of the hydra-headed monster of populism; the diabolical machinations of tabloid newspapers; conflicts of interest between baby boomers and millennials; divisions between the English provinces and Wales on the one hand and Scotland, London and Northern Ireland on the other; Jeremy Corbyn’s lukewarm support for the Remain cause; the buyer’s remorse that has supposedly set in after Remain’s defeat – these already commonplace tales will be recycled incessantly during the coming weeks and months. None of them captures the magnitude of the upheaval that has occurred. When voters inflicted the biggest shock on the establishment since Churchill was ousted in 1945 they signalled the end of an era.

Predictably, there is speculation that Brexit will not happen. If Britain can vote for Brexit, it is being argued, surely anything is possible. But those who think the vote can be overturned or ignored are telling us more about their own state of mind than developments in the real world. Like bedraggled courtiers fleeing Versailles after the French Revolution, they are unable to process the reversal that has occurred. Locked in a psychology of despair, anger and denial, they cannot help believing there will be a restoration of an order they believed was unshakeable.

Still, the Europhilic ruling class is exceptionally cross that mere citizens would dare to express opinions that differ from their elite betters:

Many liberal journalists, representing elites throughout the advanced world, have reacted with indignation to the fact that 52 percent of U.K. voters (many without degrees) have rejected the EU system of supranational government of which the elites approve. Naturally, these journalistic spokesmen argue, the common people could not possibly have good reasons for such an act of multinational vandalism. So they must be inspired by, er, racism, xenophobia, fear of globalization, and related other thought-crimes.

That account doubtless condenses and oversimplifies the elites’ response to the Brexit shock, which is just one small skirmish in a new class war in advanced societies between geographically mobile, liberal, skilled, high-earning professionals and more rooted, communitarian, particularist, and patriotic citizens (or what British journalist David Goodhart calls “nowhere” people and “somewhere” people). “Nowhere” people simply didn’t grasp the outlook of “somewhere people” in the referendum, not seeing that many decent people who voted for Brexit had such respectable anxieties as loss of community or, one step up, the transformation of their country as motives for casting their votes. So the elites thought the worst. They were still making the same mistake in their television and columnar explanations of the result on Friday morning. But what was remarkable was the Darwall-McArdle thesis that in other countries the elites reacted to the Brexit shock as if personally or spiritually affronted in their own lives. Alarmed, they asked: Why weren’t we told that they might vote for Brexit?

It’s a hard question to answer.

One aspect of it, however, is ideologically fascinating. Among the central arguments of those favoring Brexit was that the Brussels system was dangerously undemocratic and that British voters and MPs had lost the power to propose, amend, or repeal failed or oppressive laws. This was a passionate concern among English people who had grown up in a self-governing democracy, who may have fought for it in wars, and who simply couldn’t understand why the loss of their democratic rights didn’t worry their opponents. Yet again and again liberal journalists treated this passionate belief as either abstract or a cover for more primitive emotions and bigotries. Democracy as such was rarely given weight in Remain or liberal debates on the cost/benefit analysis of Brexit. They treat multinational political institutions as such unalloyed goods that it would be impolite to raise questions about such defects as a democratic deficit. Has the knowledge class/meritocracy/cognitive elite/nowhere people/etc., etc. developed not only an intellectual snobbery towards the rest of society, but even an impatient, dismissive contempt for democracy that cannot be openly avowed but that does influence its other political attitudes?

Predictably, the losing side seems to have doubled-down on calling their opponents racists:

Bigotry! Nativism! Racism! That’s what elites in Britain, Europe and here have been howling, explanations for why 52 percent of a higher-than-general-election turnout of British voters voted for their nation to leave the European Union.

But there is plenty of bigotry, condescension and snobbery in the accusations and the people making them. And it’s incoherent to claim, as some do, that it’s undemocratic for voters to decide. That amounts to saying that ordinary people should be content to be ruled by their betters.

Comment Police Abuse of Power (Score 0) 393

Just wait.

You haven't seen anything yet if that Clinton gets a hold of the Executive Branch.

Your not only going to have more police militarization, they will finally do away with most of the civil amedments in the constitution.

The only thing you will be able to defend yourself with is harsh language.

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