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"ExamSoft" Bar Exam Software Fails Law Grads

DRJlaw Re: Really? (97 comments)

[Computer programmers] are not necessary to maintain [computer programs]. They are useful only when [a computer program] is written by and presided over by other [programmers], for [programmers].

That is, they are a solution to a problem they create.

The same critique applies to the the general sort reading this site. You can look back at just about every society for most of human history and find that they're unnecessary... right?

If you want to create complex systems to automate data processing and other tasks, you're going to have specialist programmers. If you want to create complex regulations to prevent pollution, unsafe products, financial fraud, etc. you're going to have specialists enforcing those regulations and specialists advising how to comply with the regulations. In either case, you do not simply have lay persons making it up as they go along, with little or no documentation concerning what is happening so that very few people know what to expect.

The more complicated the scope of human activity, the more complicated the regulations, and the more you need specialists to deal with the. Ad hoc rules and ad hoc exceptions to the rules are the definition of "mob rule," at least so long as you prefer a putative democracy to a putative dictatorship -- if not, simply substitute "strongman rule."


Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

DRJlaw Re:child casualties (840 comments)

Can someone explain what is happening in that video? I see some children, and an old guy ducking down below then, and someone setting up some piece of equipment I don't recognize. Call me naive, call me stupid, whatever: but seriously, please explain.

The kindhearted individual in the front at 0:08 drops a sizable mortar down a mortar tube and runs for the hills. The next :20 consist of the children and old guy waiting for the mortar to drop the length of the tube and the time delay fuse to expire. At 0:28 the mortar fires, apparently correctly, launching the mortar in the general direction of the kindhearted individual's target.

Of course, if the mortar fired incorrectly or exploded within the tube, that clearly visible collection of children would likely be within the shrapnel zone. Funny how the old guy appears to be keeping them there.

Also of course, if you want to destory the mortar, you're faced the with small problem that you have children gathered within the blast radius of your tank shell, opposing mortar, guided demolition unit (a.k.a air-dropped bomb), or the like.

So that would be what's happening in that video.

The set up and take-down time for that mortar system are also substantially longer than the recorded :30.

2 days ago

Verizon Now Throttling Top 'Unlimited' Subscribers On 4G LTE

DRJlaw Re:1 or 1 million (271 comments)

Unlimited bandwidth is not possible. You can make it illegal all you want. It doesn't trump physics.

Nobody sane claimed that Verizon was offering unlimited bandwidth. Bandwidth was quite obviously limited to 3G speeds, and then subsequently LTE speeds.

Verizon offered unlimited "data," as in no artificial limit on the amount of data that you could download using that bandwidth. Verizon subsequently imposed artificial limits on the amount of data that users could download per month on other plans. Verizon is now limiting bandwidth based upon the amount of data one has downloaded combined with a somewhat arbitrary measure of congestion -- they don't bother to specify what utilization threshold a cell base station has to cross to be considered "congested" so as to trigger the limitation.

Physics has nothing to do with that limitation. Physics does not dictate that a shared resource be preferentially allocated to those not on an "unlimited" plan because the provider quite badly wants to push users onto pay-per-quantity plans without taking the PR hit necessary to actually terminate the now month-to-month unlimited contracts.

5 days ago

Cable Companies: We're Afraid Netflix Will Demand Payment From ISPs

DRJlaw Re:not likely (200 comments)

You're missing the fact that revek is part of a microISP which serves a county that has a population of about 20,000, out of a county seat with a population of about 10,000.

Netflix is somehow responsible for his cost issues with buying bandwidth from a real telecommunications company, and his lack of scale sufficient to justify co-locating a content server to serve such a small population.

about a week ago

Cable Companies: We're Afraid Netflix Will Demand Payment From ISPs

DRJlaw Re:not likely (200 comments)

They are dreaming. We are thinking about throttling them here right now. Why should we let all those other sites suffer due to one service using nearly 75% of our bandwidth. Let them fix their busted streaming model to include some caching ability.

They colocate content servers with telecommunications providers. Just not with podunk microISPs who boast that they host seven whole websites.

Throttle Netflix and you can kiss your residential customers (if you have any substantial number) goodbye. You don't have the scale or technology required to create a virtual monopoly around your customers. They'll drop you in a heartbeat in favor of the next service to offer DSL or point-to-point wirless.

about a week ago

Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

DRJlaw Re:PCI-DSS (217 comments)

Who says they're holding the PAN in plaintext? They can decrypt it to send it to the Feds as needed without keeping it in plaintext in their systems.

So your argument is that they're reconstructing the PAN within the remarks section of the PNR by inserting decrypted credit card information back into the record?

I was most surprised to see my credit card detailsâ"full card number and expiration dateâ"published unredacted and in the clear. Fortunately, that credit card number has long expired, but I was nonetheless appalled to see it out there. American Airlines, which had created that particular PNR in 2005, did not immediately respond to my request for comment on how or why such detailed personal information would show up here. (In other instances, the majority of the number was Xâ(TM)d out.)

And they're doing it voluntarily...

Line 4 revealed my long-expired and since changed credit card number, in full. As a security precaution, we've redacted it here.

[Cannot link directly to first PNR graphic in TFA, but look at lines 4 and 5] And they're doing it in a field/line that looks like it cannot be differentiated from the immediately following name information...

Pull the other leg.

about two weeks ago

Can the Multiverse Be Tested Scientifically?

DRJlaw Re:String theory is not science (147 comments)

No, it's a computer model. A compute model is often (in engineering for example) a conceptual representation of real entities. However in many cases the model is more a conceptual representation of the biases and assumptions of the people who made it, being unreal in that sense. It isn't science and math isn't science either.

But it is. Both.

You've confusing hypothesis with observation. This does not purport to be observation. This is an element of the hypothesis -- identifying what sort of tests and observations might be performed, so that the tests can be performed and/or the observations scheduled. Actual tests. Actual observations. Outside of the computer model.

I.e., this is a computer-assistend Gendankenexperiment, similar to other more simple ones which came before which came before.

From TFA:

"Weâ(TM)re trying to find out what the testable predictions of (the multiverse) would be, and then going out and looking for them," said Matthew Johnson of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

"We start with a multiverse that has two bubbles in it, we collide the bubbles on a computer to figure out what happens, and then we stick a virtual observer in various places and ask what that observer would see from there," said Johnson.

So yes, it is science. The fact that you cannot invest 5 minutes of your time to understand it is your flaw, not theirs.

about two weeks ago

$10 Million Lawsuit Against Wikipedia Editors "Stragetically" Withdrawn

DRJlaw Post is being withdrawn (51 comments)

This page has been marked for speedy delete due to WP:NOR and WP:NPOV violations.

Please take all discussion to the Talk page.

about two weeks ago

Google To Stop Describing Games With In-App Purchases As 'Free'

DRJlaw Re:Really people? (139 comments)

They're free for you the end user.

So you agree that they're free in the sense that everyone in the discussion has been using the word "free."

So no, those things you listed aren't free.

I'm confused. You admitted that they're free "for you." Who has been arguing that they are costless for all? Who has defined "free" as costless for all? How do you reconcile costless for all with "free for you?"

Actually, I'm not confused at all. You've constructed a pseudo-syllogism using a false proposition in an attempt to belittle the GP while making yourself feel authoritative and smart.

Free doesn't mean what you think it means. You're not even a pedant, you're simply wrong. Go away.

about two weeks ago

DC Entertainment Won't Allow Superman Logo On Murdered Child's Memorial Statue

DRJlaw Re:What (249 comments)

You do realize that a logo is a trademark issue, not copyright, and trademarks don't expire as long as they are in use?

You do realize that trademark law concerns the exchange of goods and services, not the appearance of symbols on sculptural works constructed as permanent momuments to the dead, don't you?

Copyright is one of the few things that DC Comics could plausibly assert if this is a one off produced by an artist -- i.e., the logo does not attempt to designate a good, service, or source of such goods and services.

You'll notice that the summary takes a shot in saying that the logo "should be public domain," not that it is, and that DC does not actually claim that trademark law is involved. Thanks for offering the trademark theory, if only because it provides an opportunity to show non-lawyers that trademarks are not equivalent to never-expiring copyrights.

about three weeks ago

Amazon Fighting FTC Over In-App Purchases Fine

DRJlaw Re:um... how bout... (137 comments)

If Amazon's updates cause resetting of in-app purchase flags, learn to deal with it. Part of dealing with it is to inform Amazon that their policy is broken, but it's their policy to make; if you don't like it, move on to the next or learn how to deal with it to fit your needs.

No, it's not their policy to make. You may wish it was, but (1) that's your individual opinion, (2) that's not the law, and (3) there are quite a number of people who disagree with you which, even in a representative democracy, goes quite a way to ensuring that your opinion is unlikely to become the law.

Quite a number of states, alongside the FTC, have laws governing unfair and deceptive trade practices. They've had them for quite a long time. Your ultralibertarian viewpoint does not reflect the way the world works, or apprecitate the difficulty even above-average customers have in finding good information about how a product or service actually works before purchasing it, or consider that 'learning to deal with it' or 'moving on to the next' have substantial after-the-fact costs, or actually demonstrate why we should permit a practice like 'resetting in-app purchase flags' on a routine basis.

You're perfectly happy assigning responsibility to the parents, yet you're willing to give the manufacturer/service provider a complete pass even after parents have learned the technology they use, and used the very mechanism provided by the manufacturer/service provider to deny the ability to make such purchases, only to see their efforts actively thwarted by manufacturer once they are 'on the hook'? It makes no sense.

Although we warn people 'caveat eamptor,' we do not endorse that as an absolute governing principle of business. You can neither intentionally design in nor conceal a material product defect, whether its a lock mechanism in a car or a parental control in an app store, and expect the public to say "well we just have to learn how to deal." Once you design in that sort of mechanism, it has to actually work as a reasonable person would expect it to. Otherwise, you become liable under any governing philosophy, whether it's Austrian school laissez-faire capitalism or European-style consumer protection regulation.

about a month ago

Site of 1976 "Atomic Man" Accident To Be Cleaned

DRJlaw Re:Faith in God (299 comments)

Why does every discussion of anything nuclear related almost immediately turn into a straw man argument against some imaginary, fearful hoards of idiots?

Are you contending that the horde of idiots doesn't exist at all -- and is thus imaginary -- or that the horde of idiots is not right here right now and therefore not worth addressing, i.e., 'imaginary.'

I've never met a native Swede and none are right here right now, but I'd hardly call them imaginary.

about a month ago

Former NSA Chief Warned Against Selling NSA Secrets

DRJlaw Re:Smacks of Carmack (138 comments)

But is *everything* they learned on the job is a secret?

1. When you've worked at a very high level the NSA;
2. When you are selling security information/services; and
3. When your asking price is far higher than competitive services by people who've worked at it far longer than you outside of the NSA,

What do you imagine lies in between publicly known and classified that justifies the price premium? Was he developing security procedures on his own time or at his second job?

about a month ago

New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

DRJlaw I'm going to go buy fuel... for my meth lab. (380 comments)

Many catalysts can effectively crack ammonia to release the hydrogen, but the best ones are very expensive precious metals. This new method is different and involves two simultaneous chemical processes rather than using a catalyst, and can achieve the same result at a fraction of the cost. ...

Professor Bill David, who led the STFC research team at the ISIS Neutron Source, said "Our approach is as effective as the best current catalysts but the active material, sodium amide, costs pennies to produce.

Water soluble catalyst. Which means anhydrous ammonia. Which means that your local fuel station is going to be dispensing anhydrous ammoinia in bulk to everyone with such a vehicle.

What else is anhydrous ammonia used for? I don't know... Nothing detrimental, anyway...

about a month ago

San Francisco Bans Parking Spot Auctioning App

DRJlaw Re:Is it also illegal.. (404 comments)

To a 3rd party observer there is no difference. Person A gives money to Person B who moves their car so A can take their spot. How are you going to prove B would have moved earlier if not for A? Reading their mind?

You're assuming a secret offer from B to A and secret acceptance from A to B. But B has published their offer on the app -- which can be shown to the third party observer -- and no mind reading is involved.

The legal basis for regulating this out of existence is, quite simply, keeping the peace.

Person C can deny person A the right to take the spot from person B. Easily. Person C can use the app to locate the parking spot, drive to it, and then refuse to move away in order to let person A assume the spot. To avoid blocking traffic, person C could even drop a passenger off at the spot to occupy it the moment that person B actually leaves, thus securing the spot for person C. Anyone can be person C simply by using the app and refusing to pay.

Oh the battles that would generate... so we don't let it. Publishing the offer to move is against the law. End of story.

about a month ago

Virginia DMV Cracks Down On Uber, Lyft

DRJlaw Re:Seems reasonable... (260 comments)

People are voting with their dollars and their feet EVERYDAY. What is your "democratically elected" government worth in the face of that? How representative...

People vote with their dollars and their feet for dumping in unlicensed landfills and on abandoned property EVERYDAY. That doesn't make it a remotely good idea.

about 2 months ago

Game of Thrones Author George R R Martin Writes with WordStar on DOS

DRJlaw Re:Amen, brother Amen! (522 comments)

Your problem is only that you don't know how to change the default search engine. I sympathize, but it's still not the devil.

Says you. In fact I do. You'd do well to notice the part in my post about every other thing that you install trying to change it to another one...

about 3 months ago

Game of Thrones Author George R R Martin Writes with WordStar on DOS

DRJlaw Re:Amen, brother Amen! (522 comments)

This is because, as a developer, you're a user who understands and knows what you want. Microsoft is writing software for the kind of people who'd type google into the google search bar to get to google.

I've done that, intentionally. Do you know why? Because between Microsoft deciding that anything that isn't at least a second level domain is a search request intended for bing and Time Warner deciding that anything that isn't immediately properly resolveable should be DNS redirected to their own god-awful search-like landing page, that can be the most reliable way to get to where I actually want to go.

I usually have set my DNS to OpenDNS, but if I've rebuilt the machine or traveled and stayed somewhere that mysteriously breaks my manually-specified DNS server, I may have reverted the notebook to use whatever is automatically set by DHCP.

I usually uncheck software's constant attempts to make [insert name here] my new default search agent, or to activate some added search suggestion do-hickey, but I'm not perfectly vigilant.

Nevermind that this browser will automatically assume "www." and that browser will automatically assume ".com" and maybe, but not consisntently, if you type "google" you'll actually get to the Google front page.

The kind of people who type google into the google search bar to get google are the kind of people who are not so technologically savvy that they can consistently prevent the ever-loving war to redirect any user typing something into what should be a URL entry field to some random "search engine" because user traffic = middleman $$$.


The Bing toolbar, Google toolbar, or what have you can be ugly clutter, but it can't be subtly screwed with by the other devils.

And that is why you get people typing google into the google search bar to get to google.

about 3 months ago

USPTO Approves Amazon Patent For Taking Pictures

DRJlaw Re:Our patent system is totally broken (152 comments)

Saying that the word " infinity cove" doesn't include a description of lighting doesn't add much value, and frankly I am not going to waste my time researching which of 16,000 search results they meant when they can't even provide their own link.

The burden of persuasion lies with the person citing (if you can even call it that) the prior art...

about 3 months ago


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