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Comment Inspections (Score 1) 658

In the region where I live, there is an annual inspection required in Washington, D.C. and Virginia requires them. Maryland only requires an inspection when the vehicle is first registered or on transfer of registration, and the inspection is good for the life of the registration. If the vehicle is never sold, never moves to another state and is eventually junked without ever changing registration, in Maryland - and possibly other states - it will never see another inspection. Also, Virginia does not require re-inspection if the vehicle is not in Virginia. As it turned out my brother-in-law, who lived in Virginia, loaned me his car on a more-or-less permanent basis to use it to commute to work. I drove the car and paid for everything. But I could not buy insurance; I had to have him buy it, list me as an authorized user. And even though the vehicle was operated exclusively in and garaged in Maryland by a person with a Maryland license, where was the car required to registered and the tags issued by? Virginia, of course, where the owner resided.

It's the same rule with corporations. I lived in Virginia and started a corporation for my software company. Later I moved back to Maryland, and I had a choice, I could spend $120 to register a new corporation in Maryland or spend $100 to authorize my existing corporation to do business in Maryland. So I chose the latter. If the corporation is ever sued over its operations in Maryland where its only office and headquarters are located, what law will a state court in Maryland use to determine the corporate affairs of the corporation? Virginia, where the corporation is chartered.

Comment Re:The cost-benefit tradeoff. (Score 1) 70

To raise the cost of being able to forge a digital document beyond what an attacker is willing to pay the cost of legitimate use becomes greater than the benefit.

Exactly why we have spam. Make sending forged address and spammy e-mail require prepaid costs such that it was as expensive as snail mail and spam would drop from 90% of mail to less than 0.1%. It's only because it costs nearly nothing either directly for small quantities (like phishing scams) or via botnets to send huge quantities of spam (for bulk ads for fraudulent products including erectile disfunction drugs) that so much can be generated. We have some partial solutions but the entire solution requires better tools to manage the movement and transfer of email.

As for security of e-documents and other electronic transmissions, we need good tools to seamlessly handle authentication (proof the sender is who they claim they are) and non-repudiation (proof that you signed [or authorized] the document and that you are unable to claim you didn't - or the recipient has proof you did - authorize the document)

Repudiation is extremely critical to claim fraud or to stop a transaction, like when you claim a credit card charge is not authorized or the merchant stiffed you and you want a chargeback, or when you want to stop payment on a check. Non-repudiation is critical if you verified the recipient, provided the goods and services, and want to guarantee you get paid and the recipient can't falsely file a chargeback when they legitimately did receive the merch.

For ordinary transactions using paper documents we have notary publics who provide both and the notary affixes their seal and signature, essentially countersigning the signature for original signed documents or verifying certified copies of documents. Some organizations like stock certificate issuers require more, and so there is Medallion Signature Guarantee, where the authenticating official certifies the identity of the party to the document and agrees to cover any financial loss to the recipient of the document if the person who was guaranteed is not the correct individual (or agent if they're signing as attorney in fact or signing on behalf of an entity like a corporation or LLC.)

I am a notary public, licensed in two states. (A notary's license, or commission is, with minor exceptions only valid in the state of issue.) The jobs of a notary. in general, include the certification of documents, authentication of signatures, and taking oaths and affirmations (and some states don't include all of these or add special extras; notaries in Maryland can't certify copies of documents like contracts, while in Ohio, notaries have the power to issue subpoenas.). All done on paper and the job of a notary hasn't changed from essentially the way it was done 200 to 500 years ago. There are provisions for notaries to authenticate electronic documents but they're not uniform from state-to-state (some states don't even allow it or have the standards on how it is to be done) and the infrastructure to support it (including proper software and/or hardware for document certification and authentication) aren't there yet.

Until we have well-defined electronic equivalents like notaries public and guarantees like Medallion, we're going to continue to have a problem with those very issues of authentication and/or non-repudiation (plus security when the document must be kept private like certain contracts or secret like classified material.)

Comment You don't even have to do that (Score 1) 211

You don't even have to state the work is copyrighted; copyright notices became optional in the U.S. in 1988 when we became a member of the Berne Union. The only issue is that if you don't have a notice the person who is sued can claim 'innocent infringement' and reduce damages.

Also, the term 'all rights reserved' is completely deprecated. This notice gives special protection under the Buenos Aires Convention, a special copyright convention from around 1912. As of about 1990 every member of the Buenos Aires Convention was also a member of the Berne Union, which doesn't require copyright notices at all, therefore the term 'all rights reserved' is now completely superfluous. (There are very limited technical exceptions regarding when a copyright expires which doesn't apply for most people because copyrights last for life plus many years, either 50 or 70 depending on which country has stayed with the old version of the Berne Convention or the newer version.)

Comment Re:You don't own it (Score 1) 211

It doesn't matter what you want to put on your thesis, you university owns the copyrights to it.

I'd suggest you contact your Uni and put the same question to them, rather than 6 million /. Subscribers.

This is not correct. Unless you are an employee of the university and you are hired to do this sort of work, it is not the university's property. Even if you wrote the paper using university computers and university resources. You're paying the university and therefore you're entitled to use of the facilities. This point is very clear that unless you are doing this as a 'work for hire' you own the work, and for it to be considered a work for hire means you either have to be a contract or salaried employee of the university to be considered creating a 'work for hire' for them to own the work. A student of the university is not an employee of the university and the university has no ownership right whatsoever. This has been a standard rule since the U.S. became a member of the Berne Convention and eliminated copyright notices more than twenty years ago.

Comment Use Creative Commons (Score 1) 211

If you want attribution you cannot use Public Domain because you cannot impose any conditions at all, it is completely open. You probably want Creative Commons share alike non-commercial, which means people can use or quote your work, but if they want to use it for commercial purposes such as resale then they have to get your permission. Sounds like you probably want this one:

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 241

You don't have the right to not be photographed in public,

But the photo can't be used for commercial purposes.

You don't have the right to 'privacy' over something that can be viewed from public land or public right-of-way.
You don't have the right to stop people from saying bad things about you.

As long as what they say is true. If someone calls you a bastard pedophile, as long as they can prove your parents weren't married before you were born and you engage in unacceptable private meetings with kids, that's perfectly legal to say. Otherwise they can be held to damages.

Procter & Gamble, the soap manufacturer, had a big problem with people who were claiming the company supported Satanism and their 'Man In The Moon' logo was a Satanic symbol. (What this has to do with the quality of their products is beyond me.) One rumor was that the President of P&G appeared on a Saturday edition of Phil Donohue and admitted that the company supported Satanism, despite the fact that (1) He'd never appeared on the show; (2) Donohue did not do Saturday shows; (3) No such show ever happened. Apparently it was some Amway distributors who were trying to besmirch P&G's spotless reputation with libelous insults. P&G sued and got a large judgement.

You don't have the right to punish people who don't break any laws and can call you out with proof of what a huge lair, criminal adulterer pig cop you are.

Again, only if it's true. Libel is not only a civil offense - the party who has been defamed can sue - but it's also a crime. Usually not invoked unless you say something really bad about someone or you malign a dead person who has a good reputation. Claiming Mother Theresa died of a venereal disease or was a hooker, that George Washington was a coward, or that FDR was faking he was crippled because he was actually collaborating with the Nazis, are the sort of things that if you tried to claim were true, might be serious enough if some prosecutor was offended to get you tried for criminal libel and if convicted, jail time. Libeling dead people is considered very bad because they can't respond and if they have a good reputation it damages it. Now you can libel Saddam Hussein or Stalin or Hitler all you want, their reputation is so bad they basically are considered undefamable.

Comment Re:This would be illegal in Texas (Score 1) 241


(1) "Electronic or mechanical tracking device" means a device capable of emitting an electronic frequency or other signal that may be used by a person to identify, monitor, or record the location of another person or object.

(2) "Motor vehicle" has the meaning assigned by Section 501.002, Transportation Code.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly installs an electronic or mechanical tracking device on a motor vehicle owned or leased by another person.

The car was owned by the person who installed the device, ergo this statute does not apply and it's legal in Texas. You can always put tracking equipment on vehicles you own. This was humorously treated in the cartoon King of the Hill (which coincidentally takes place in Texas) where the drivers got mad because Mr. Strickland, the owner of the propane company, had installed 'tattlers' on the trucks he owned to see where the drivers were taking the vehicles. Drivers didn't like it and complained, but the practice is perfectly legal. They're his trucks, he has every right to monitor them. If it's my car, I can monitor it if I choose to do so.

Comment The whole point here is very simple (Score 1) 241

If it's my computer, I can install a keylogger to record all keystrokes, or spying software to determine what places were visited; it's not illegal and any evidence collected is legally admissible. Even the police do not need a warrant to install such things on their own computers. If it's my car - or I'm co-owner - I can install a 'bumper beeper', a tattler to determine where the vehicle went, or a GPS tracking device; it's not illegal and any evidence collected is legally admissible. Even when car rental companies did something similar to this a while ago, the only thing that was illegal about it was they couldn't use the information to impose a 'fine' on renters who drove vehicles faster than the speed limit.

Comment Hot dog vendor paying 10% in trans. cost? Get real (Score 1) 391

As I noted on the original article (and expanded here) , if I give a hot dog vendor $3 for a hot dog and a soda, the vendor gets the whole $3. First, a vendor is not going to accept being charged 35c to process a $3 transaction. (Based on the typical transaction cost of 34c+3% of the transaction, which is what Google Payments or Paypal charges me, which would be a minimum of 35c) Get that down to 10-12c and it will probably be acceptable. Second, we need to have nationwide ubiquitous wireless internet to allow our prototypical hot-dog vendor to be able to handle transactions where they would need to handle it through some sort of system that doesn't charge a fee for message processing, unlike cellular networks who would ding the vendor for a text message fee to and from the charge processor. Third, the price to have the processing equipment has to come down, a hot dog vendor is not going to accept a minimum $30 per month service charge to be able to swipe credit cards when they can handle cash for free.

Comment Re:That's odd (Score 1) 104

"I've read elsewhere that it's already below 50% on weekends"

That disparity is because China and Korea heavily use IE 6 and 7 which skew the numbers higher for IE. In North America IE had less than 50% marketshare for awhile. It is even lower in Europe.

Most machines in China are pirated and therefore do not get Windows Updates which mean they use IE. Korea is IE because all banks and e-commerce sites force users to use activeX controls due to the lack of SSL thanks to US export controls with encryption.

(1) Firefox supports SSL. (2) The U.S. no longer has export controls upon COTS (commercial, off-the-shelf) applications. If it's sold or given away publicly it's not export controlled. This has been the case for at least four or five years. See the government's rule page at for more details.


Submission + - Internet Explorer use below 55% (

rfc1394 writes: "Infoworld reports in this article "Internet Explorer's market share continues to drop like a rock. Net Applications published its numbers for May, and Internet Explorer's total share declined yet again, from 55.11 percent in April (see note at bottom) to 54.27 percent in May, a drop of 0.84 basis point in one month. Contrast that with Google's Chrome, which rose from 11.94 percent in April to 12.52 percent in May, an increase of 0.58 basis point. In the past year, IE's share of browser usage has dipped from 60.32 percent to 54.27 percent." So the article asks the question, "How long before IE usage drops below 50%?""

Comment Re:Funny, I just installed iBooks app and thought. (Score 1) 445

Funny, I just installed the iBooks app today and expected all the prices to be $.99.

Why would you expect that though? At iTunes, you don't expect to get the new $MUSICAN album for 99 cents, do you? Individual songs, sure, but not the album. A song is not a novel, it's a chapter.

When did writers become the absolute bottom of society when it comes to value of their work? A musician gets $10 or $12 for an album (assuming it's actually worth buying all the songs from it),

Actually on the typical album the musician gets ZERO. First, the music label contract makes the recording a 'work for hire' of the record company so they own it, not the musician. Now the record company pays the musician an advance. The album is charged for all costs in its production. There is supposedly a percentage of the profit that comes back after it makes the costs. If it doesn't make back the advance and all costs to produce the album, the musican gets nothing from it. Also, the advance is against all royalties the performer's work generates. So it means if a performer gets $10,000 as an advance, the record costs $150,000 to produce, it sells 20,000 copies at $20 of which, say, half goes to the distributor and retail seller and the musician is supposed to get a 10% royalty, it means the record company made $200,000 of the $400,000 the record made. From that they take the $160,000 and now the record only made $40,000. 10% of that is $4,000 so the performer still owes the record company $6,000 since his advance wasn't recouped!

So the musician basically becomes a chattel slave of the record company. Most of them only make money from performing, not from their records. You either have to have the will to walk away unless you get a good contract or be a big star before you make any money. Or start your own record label. A&M Records, for example, stands for "(Herb) Albert and (Chuck) Mangione", who probably got sick of being screwed over by other record companies (and decided to do some screwing over! :) .)

Comment Re:This Changes Nothing (If Anything, It's Better) (Score 1) 445

On the other hand, they can offer all of these. An inexpensive version you read on the Kindle. A more expensive printed version (because of the extra costs). A slightly more expensive audiobook. A more expensive enhanced printed edition, perhaps including the audiobook. Signed Limited Editions. There can be something for everyone.

Comment I love the comment Locke has on his website (Score 1) 445

In my opinion, this is how you sell books:

1. Identify your target audience
2. Find out where they live
3. Shove your book down their throats

I wish I'd thought of it! This is much better than the typical Slashdotian satirical "1. do this. 2. do that. 3. Profit!" remark. I have been trying to figure out how to get people interested in the books I've written, I never thought of pricing them as low as it is possible to sell them and still get some money out of them. I think if I had known you could sell books on Kindle for 99c I might have done that myself. I think I will.

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