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Odds and Ends

AnyoneEB Useful programs (9 comments)

My general strategy for performing simple tasks like generating a barcode or merging PDF files is to just do a search on my distro's package manager and there's usually a tool to do what I want (although it sometimes takes a bit of guesswork to figure out what it would be called). I don't remember what I used last time I needed to generate a (non-QR) barcode, but Debian only has one package simply named "barcode" which can probably generate whatever type of barcodes you need (also, there's tons of websites that will do it for you as well). For merging PDFs, I believe I've previously used pdfshuffler, which works fine.

about 9 months ago
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Obama Praises Amazon At One of Its Controversial Warehouses

AnyoneEB Re:good high wage jobs (435 comments)

Gah, replying to undo accidental negative moderation.

about a year ago
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The Balkanization of Chatting

AnyoneEB Re:Decentralize Chat (242 comments)

As much as I like the idea of decentralized protocols, the problem with decentralizing chat is that most of the nodes we are talking about are mobile devices and decentralized protocols tend to require a lot more communication---and therefore battery power---than centralized protocols where you leave the organization to the servers. Any decentralized protocol would probably have to handle that by somehow offloading the extra communication and computation to devices that are currently plugged in.

There is the additional problem that authenticating users in a decentralized fashion means that the is no equivalent to password recovery, but users might be okay with an account tied to their physical phone.

about a year ago
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Mozilla: Unlike FB and Twitter Single Sign-in, Persona Protects User Privacy

AnyoneEB Re:Not google? (81 comments)

Wikipedia's article on Mozilla Persona (which links to "How BrowserID differs from OpenID") clarifies that. While the site you are authenticating to gets the same information it would get via OpenID, the authentication provider doesn't know what sites you are using. Due to the indirection of storing the cryptographic credentials in the browser, the OpenID provider doesn't need to be contacted for every login and therefore doesn't know what sites you are logging into.

This is related to the design of Persona being browser-based instead of web-based, which also provides additional security (harder to fake a password entry box if it's normally generated by the browser).

about a year ago
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Why Do So Many Liberals "Like" Mitt Romney On Facebook?

AnyoneEB Re:Issues (376 comments)

The 47% figure is rather misleading because it only refers to the percentage of people paying federal income tax. It turns out there are multiple federal taxes on income, only one of which is called the federal income tax. Most of those 47% pay the payroll tax which is a regressive income tax. For detailed numbers see this chart which Google image search found on this CNN Money video. For those that don't want to click the link, the breakdown according to CNN is 53.6% pay income tax and the rest not paying income tax are split up as 28.6% pay payroll tax, 10.3% elderly with no income tax, 6.9% non-elderly with income under $20,000, and 1% other.

Once you eliminate people paying income/payroll tax and the retired elderly, that leaves at most 8% not retired but not making enough money to owe federal taxes. Some of those are unable to work. Some of those are unable to find a job. Some small proportion might really be lazy and leeching off the system like you are worried about... but that is almost certainly much less than 8% of the population and definitely a lot less than 47% of the population.

On top of that, remember this entire discussion is only about federal taxes. There are also state taxes, which are pretty universally regressive. Particularly, most states have a sales tax which hits the poor much harder as anyone earning so little they aren't paying income tax is probably buying necessities with all the money they do earn and therefore immediately paying sales tax on a large proportion of their income.

This article that I came across while searching for those figures tells a similar story with more exposition and citations.

about 2 years ago
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Google Bars Site That Converts YouTube Songs Into MP3s

AnyoneEB Re:Funny block... (177 comments)

Posting to remove accidental negative moderation.

I agree. Computer users should not need to know the inner details of how everything works on their computer in order to use it. Also, this goes back to my sig: having (effectively) a single video sharing website on the internet is bad because it can unilaterally do things like this.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What If Intellectual Property Expired After Five Years?

AnyoneEB Re:Windows XP (577 comments)

I'm actually not clear on exactly how copyright works for the source code of closed-source products. My understanding was that the source is never published, so it is never copyrighted. Instead, I would expect it to be protected as a trade secret. That said, copyright of the binaries of a published product should be the same as the copyright on the source code, but presently there is no incentive for Microsoft to release the source code when their copyright expires (as that won't be for a very long time, they will have likely lost the source or simply no longer exist by the time that happens anyway).

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What If Intellectual Property Expired After Five Years?

AnyoneEB Re:it would work as intended. more resources for f (577 comments)

The siblings have covered a lot of the issues with your suggestion. Wikipedia's page on philosophy of copyright might be informative as well. Other common arguments include the tragedy of the anticommons (having rightsholders for everything means doing anything new requires negotiating with too many different rightsholders) and the general fact that essentially all creative works build on prior creative works in some way, either direct retellings like many of Disney's movies or more indirectly like many fantasy books have elves that look a lot like those in Tolkien's Middle Earth.

There is also the complication that IP covers a lot of different things. Particularly I think there is a difference between artistic works like a novel and utilitarian works like Windows (and that there is not necessary a clear line between the two), but they are both covered by copyright under the exact same terms. Having copyright act differently for different works sounds messy and should probably be avoided in order to keep the law sensible, but both types of work have to be considered when arguing for how copyright should work.

For artistic works, the idea is that any published work is part of the collective culture and anyone should be able to build on it... with the exception that the author should have a limited monopoly on it in order to make money off of it. By having that time get too long, you get absurdities like the copyright status of the song "Happy Birthday to You" where the song has become part of American culture.

For utilitarian works, I think the argument might be closer to patents: the government wants to give some protection to new inventions in order to ensure a profit motive for developing them, but other companies should have access to old inventions in order to build on them. This doesn't quite work with software because there is no requirement tor release source code in order to get copyright on software. Of course, binaries alone can be useful and with effort can be modified to some extent if necessary.

The correct time-frame for both of those arguments is subjective and may be different, so the number that appears in copyright law should be a compromise between the two.

more than 2 years ago
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Slashdot Coming Attractions

AnyoneEB Re:Block Annoying Users (410 comments)

I am not sure if this is exactly what you want, but you could get pretty close by setting your foe modifier to -6 (assuming you never browse at -1, of course) and marking those users as foes (and perhaps removing them from your foes list later if you think they might write something you would want to read in a later discussion). You can set modifiers here, which I got to by clicking on the score of a comment and clicking the edit link next to a modifier. Also, if you do want to block any comments from the sibling poster, you can set your anonymous modifier to -6.

more than 2 years ago
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Mobile Operators: Creating Artificial Demand For Capacity?

AnyoneEB Re:An old, old story (268 comments)

Corn means maize in the US and some other places, but elsewhere it is a generic term for cereal crops. Perhaps the parent (or the author of the parent's source) is from one of those other countries.

more than 2 years ago
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Canadian Police Recommend Online Spying Tax For Internet Bills

AnyoneEB Re:Police Services are a scam (110 comments)

I wish they had built a big RESET button into the US Government. I would be pushing the SHIT out of it right now.

There is one. It's called a convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution. If two-thirds (34) of the state legislatures call for a constitutional convention, then Congress is obligated to arrange for a national convention during which any arbitrary amendments to the constitution can be proposed (the legality of the "arbitrary" part is not entirely clear due to the lack of precedence). They do not go into effect unless ratified by 3/4th of the states, though. See also: Second Constitution of the United States.

more than 2 years ago
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OpenMoko's FreeRunner Rises From the Ashes

AnyoneEB Re:Maybe (133 comments)

I am curious about your experiences with the Nokia N9 as I was planning on buying one in part due to liking the Nokia N810 and being able to use it as a pocket-sized Linux computer (I never got an N900). I had thought it was pretty easy to get access to a root terminal and do whatever on it just like the N810. Is this not the case?

more than 2 years ago
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IBM Eyes Brain-Like Computing

AnyoneEB Re:WARNING: Off topic post ahead (100 comments)

O_o How did I manage to double post? I did get a "resource not valid" error the first time I tried to post, but I reloaded the thread and my post wasn't there...

more than 2 years ago
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IBM Eyes Brain-Like Computing

AnyoneEB Re:WARNING: Off topic post ahead (100 comments)

This is certainly not a new idea. It is sometimes referred to as the "rapture of the nerds" version of a technological singularity. Ray Kurzweil is a big fan of the idea and one of the major proponents.

As to the actual feasibility, I ran across Whole Brain Emulation: A Roadmap a little while ago, which discusses the possibility given our current knowledge of how the brain works. It provides dates on how long Moore's Law would have to continue based on varyingly optimistic assumptions about how much work is necessary to actually emulate a brain.

Overall, I think there are two main problems with expecting immortality via brain uploading: (1) 40+ years is a very long time to assume Moore's Law for and (2) even if we can emulate a human brain, scanning an existing one and transferring it into a computer may not be possible.

more than 2 years ago
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IBM Eyes Brain-Like Computing

AnyoneEB Re:WARNING: Off topic post ahead (100 comments)

This is certainly not a new idea. It is sometimes referred to as the "rapture of the nerds" version of a technological singularity. Ray Kurzweil is a big fan of the idea and one of the major proponents.

As to the actual feasibility, I ran across Whole Brain Emulation: A Roadmap a little while ago, which discusses the possibility given our current knowledge of how the brain works. It provides dates on how long Moore's Law would have to continue based on varyingly optimistic assumptions about how much work is necessary to actually emulate a brain.

Overall, I think there are two main problems with expecting immortality via brain uploading: (1) 40+ years is a very long time to assume Moore's Law for and (2) even if we can emulate a human brain, scanning an existing one and transferring it into a computer may not be possible.

more than 2 years ago
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Scientists Make Biochem "Brain" From DNA Strands

AnyoneEB Re:I always wondered (63 comments)

The GP is referring to the Physical (or "strong") Church–Turing thesis which says that all physical processes (including, say, any computation done by the human brain) are Turing-computable. I do not know if Turing or Church actually suggested that version or if only later computer scientists came up with it. It cannot actually be proven without a much better understanding of physics, but it is generally believed to be true.

about 3 years ago
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Mozilla BrowserID: Decentralized, Federated Login

AnyoneEB Re:Okay... (179 comments)

But what exactly does this get me over SSL Client Certificates?

Less importantly, e-mail verification: the third party is providing a federated e-mail verification service, which Mozilla hopes is a service which will be done by the e-mail provider but is also providing themselves (as well as allowing any other third-party to offer).

More importantly, by taking the [very common] assumption that control of the e-mail address for an account is equivalent to control of an account, this appears to essentially give the decision of which public keys are tied to an account to whoever controls the e-mail address. That means that having multiple devices with different keys is easy, and, more importantly, losing all of your private keys is not a problem as the public keys can be changed as long as you can still log into your e-mail. Of course, the downside to this is that, as far as I can tell, your e-mail provider can now log into any of your accounts without resetting the password. In fact, I am not seeing why this would not give Mozilla (or any other trusted third-party) the ability to log into any account supporting this. (Of course, to be fair, an OpenID provider has the same power and this has the additional advantage that the provider does not need to be told which websites the user is logging into.)

Using SSL Client Certificates, either each host you use would have to have the same certificate or each service you use would have to know about every public key you use. Or, I guess, you could give the service a public key used to sign the keys you do use, but then you would still have the problem of needing to use e-mail verification to recover if you lost your keys.

about 3 years ago
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Apple Store Employee Attempts To Form Union

AnyoneEB Re:Unionize this (1008 comments)

You are thinking of the story Manna by Marshall Brain.

more than 3 years ago
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DOJ Could Ban Texas Flights Over Anti-Patdown Law

AnyoneEB Re:Update on this story (377 comments)

I think the number you want is the "Illicit Drug Use in Lifetime" for people 18 and over. This table (part of a much larger report) gives the number as 49.3% in 2009, so not quite 50% (although if you scroll up to Table 1.11B, you can see that people 60 and above are pulling the average below 50%).

I am not really sure where to look for data on ill effects or even exactly how you would quantify them, but the same study does make some attempt to do so. For example this table shows (past year, not lifetime) rates of dependence and abuse for both illicit drugs and alcohol.

more than 3 years ago
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Assange: Facebook 'the Most Appalling Spy Machine' Ever

AnyoneEB Re:Make up his mind, please (520 comments)

I am well aware of how Facebook actually works and do not post any information about myself (other than the occasional friend request) on Facebook for that reason. I was trying to argue that the expectation of privacy on Facebook is reasonable, not that it actually corresponds to reality.

more than 3 years ago

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