Microsoft Hides Firefox Extension In Toolbar Update
How can you be running a browser without something like NoScript these days? It's almost as bad as running a Windows machine without anti-virus software.
I tried Chrome for a while, but the "work around" for the lack of NoScript was just annoying. It certainly isn't as robust as I'm used to with NoScript. So I barely use it anymore. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone until a good NoScript solution gets worked into the system.
Anti-Speed Camera Activist Buys Police Department's Web Domain
I agree with you completely. Let's take away the money from fines and donate it to the homeless shelters in the city (if you let the city have it it just becomes part of their budget and the incentives for how fines are generated don't change).
Now, how much of a tax increase can I put you down for? Police departments aren't cheap you know, and recently it's become a fact of life that money from fines has to replace money lost from income and property taxes. Especially with unemployment high and people losing their homes. So - a 5% increase in your city taxes? 3%? How much extra are you willing to pay to recover the budget money lost from losing those fines?
Although I completely agree from an ideological perspective that the whole thing is stupid, I'm also perfectly content to drive the speed limit religiously in areas that I either don't know well OR know to be speed traps/covered with cameras and let the fools who like to take chances make up for my tax money. I'd be willing to go along with a tax increase to cover my own ideological problems with the whole setup - I have no ideological problems with paying money for services, and a functional police department actually provides a valuable service to a community - but I doubt I could get my neighbors to go along with it. For some reason they hate taxes more than they like cops.
The End of the Dr. Demento Show On Radio
I can't stand to listen to NPR either, but it's mostly because ever since sometime shortly after 2000 they became another branch of cheerleaders for the so-called "centrist" Democrats and the GOP who want to bend over every time Wall Street asks for something. They're like CNN, only slightly more pompous about it. They may be somewhat harsh on the neo-"Know Nothings" who have been trying to take over the GOP in recent years, but that doesn't mean that they're liberal.
If you seriously think that NPR is liberal you need to expand your horizons a bit. NPR is barely left of center, let alone liberal. The only brand of socialism NPR advocates these days is corporate socialism - bail out the banks and the big money guys on Wall Street and gut Social Security as much as you can to pay for it! That's been NPR's unofficial motto for years.
Except maybe Car Talk. Those guys are totally rampant Maoists.
What browser are you using?
Why should Adobe care? As far as their history goes, I think Adobe would love it if they didn't need to support a flash plug-in. They certainly don't seem to want to invest a lot of time/money into keeping it up-to-date.
Adobe makes their money on Flash development tools. They give the plug-ins away for free to sell more dev kits. I could see them kicking up a fuss over open source compilers, but not interpreters.
FSF Asks Apple To Comply With the GPL For Clone of GNU Go
Not really. The GPL says you may place no restrictions on redistribution of source or binaries that have been licensed under the GPL. Apple places a restriction on redistribution of binaries - as in "you're not allowed to redistribute the binaries at all". Doesn't get more restricted than that. Therefore it's a violation of the GPL. It's pretty cut and dried, actually, and if the guy who ported the game had understood the GPL he would have realized it was a problem. A lot of people don't "get" the GPL and think it's just a source code license - it isn't. It covers far more than source.
The solution is either Apple opens up their walled garden for GPL programs and allows redistribution OR Apple doesn't distribute GPL programs in the first place. I can almost guarantee with 100% certainty that Apple will choose the latter, because the GPL subverts their business model. What's more, the GPL was designed to subvert business models like Apple's - anyone who's read the essays that RMS wrote when the GPL was first being floated around knows that he built it with the specific intent that software developed under the GPL can't be contained by a single company/entity and must always be freely distributable so that no single entity has control over the source OR the binaries. If you don't like it, the alternative is to not sell GPL software. Everyone's always free not to use GPL software after all.
Tetris Clones Pulled From Android Market
Get yourself a lawyer. If you're running a business of almost any kind, you should have a good relationship with a lawyer. If you're running a software business it's even more important because software is a freaking minefield of legal actions these days and you need an expert to help you wade through the crap. Even if "conventional wisdom" tells you that you should be in the clear, you should have an expert examine their claims against you. You may actually not be in the clear despite what conventional wisdom and your review of layman websites suggests. Having a lawyer look over what your game does and what their claims against you are can protect you in a lot of ways. He'll be able to point out ways that you might be in violation and how you can fix it (for example if you're using their trademarked name "Tetris" in your advertising or your descriptions of the game, you may not be violating their trademark). And if you are in the clear he can craft a response to them bullet-pointing exactly why you're not in violation and why it isn't a problem. That way their lawyers know that you're serious about protecting yourself and that if they want to take it further you're going to be competently represented and that they're probably not going to have an actual case.
If you can't afford a lawyer, you may want to seriously reconsider your business model. Writing clones of games is a nice exercise for learning how to program, but if you're selling them you are definitely opening yourself up to the potential for legal action. Even if the legal action is frivolous, if you can't defend yourself it doesn't matter. That's not how it's supposed to work ideally, but it's a cold hard fact of life (at least in the US) that the business world is mostly a "might makes right" arena and "might" is measured in dollars. You could end up wasting a lot of time and money over something that isn't worth wasting the time and money on if you aren't careful.
Bill Joy On Sun, Microsoft, Open Source, and Creativity
I think this comment just made me feel old. Very, very old.
US Air Force To Suffer From PS3 Update
You think the backlash is going to cause Sony to not put the capability of using Linux on the next gen of Playstations?
News flash - once Sony decided to remove the option from devices that already had it installed, they committed themselves to not having Linux boot as an option on any of their future PS models. There's no way in hell you can use that as a marketing point when everyone knows that Sony can revoke it any time they feel like it and there's not a damn thing you as a customer can do about it.
If they'd just said "not supported on the new slim models" then the OtherOS option might have still shown up on the PS4. But by actively screwing with the models people had already purchased and removing the functionality, they pretty much ended any ability they have to market a PS* model as "capable of running Linux". Which means the whole point of offering it is killed dead - if you can't use it as a selling point for the device, what purpose does it have?
Possible Breakthrough In Hydrogen Energy
That's wasting money, and no self-respecting capitalist pig would let that happen!
I hope that you meant that as a joke because right now as we speak money is being wasted into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate that makes capitalist pigs the world over weep in pain. Short term profits will often trump long term gains, and if you're losing a few pennies off into space but it would cost you a few million to fix the system, the system isn't likely to get fixed outside of a government regulation requiring it. And then they start weighing how likely it is they'll get caught and what the size of the fine will be if they do...
EA Introduces "Online Pass" To Get In On Used Games Market
What the hell are you talking about?
With used games the copyright holders already got paid - by the person who bought the game new. They played it, finished with it, and got rid of it. They no longer have the ability to use the game, so there's no "stealing" from the authors here - just a passing on of ownership from one person to the next.
To make the obligatory car analogy - this is like saying that a car dealer selling used Mustangs is taking money that rightfully belongs to Ford. Or that if I sell my TV on craigslist I'm stealing money that rightfully belongs to Magnavox. How is selling my copy of Mario Kart to Gamestop any different?
Scroogle Has Been Blocked
The linked article does use the title "Scroogle has been blocked" when, really, they haven't been blocked at all. They're free to change their code to work with the various other methods of accessing Google - like perhaps using the publicly available API that Google provides. Since I've never used the API I'm not sure exactly what technical limitations it imposes that make screen scraping a better alternative to the API for privacy concerns. Anyone have an idea why they would need to use a screen scraper to anonymize connections instead of using the API?
Scroogle Has Been Blocked
What's more, the link they were scraping off of [www.google.com/ie] seems to be related to Google's support of Internet Explorer. Since it's been replaced with a "go get IE 8" page, it's probably been dumped to encourage people to dump their older versions of IE and get something newer.
Twitter Bug Lets Users Force Others To Follow Them
Whether or not this would be useful for spam, it would be more profitable for Twitter to be able to control it, rather than letting individuals force other people to follow them. This is clearly a bug - there's no financial benefit to Twitter with this and if it went on for too long they'd lose users (which is probably why they shut off the follower mechanism as soon as the bug was publicized).
Not to say Twitter couldn't introduce their own advertising scheme. Just that if they did they'd want it to be one they controlled - and took payments for - not one that random spammers could exploit for free.
3rd-Grader Busted For Jolly Rancher Possession
And continuing on in the very article you posted:
The superintendent also noted the state's school nutrition policy bans certain foods of minimal nutritional value, including candy and gum.
Which is completely irrelevant to the discussion unless the superintendent intends to falsely make the "my hands are tied - the state is forcing me to do this" argument. It reads more like the superintendent changed his story when he decided to go "on record" because someone told him that blaming the state government was idiotic.
3rd-Grader Busted For Jolly Rancher Possession
saying the school was abiding by a state guideline that banned 'minimal nutrition' foods. 'Whether or not I agree with the guidelines, we have to follow the rules,' said school superintendent Jack Ellis."
Except that the state guideline is intended to restrict what the school provides to students, not what students bring into the school themselves. It's about making sure that the school is meeting nutritional requirements in the lunches it provides and not that it's taking state and federal funding dollars to provide the students with pizza bought from the Domino's franchise owned by the principal's brother. It's actually explicit even in the linked article without having to read the linked statute, and the administrators dance around it as "well the parent didn't provide it - it came from another student". Still didn't come from the school - still not covered by the law.
The school administrators making this claim are either idiots or liars. They could, I suppose, be idiots - plenty of idiots get moved into administration positions where they can do less harm to students than in front of a chalkboard. But it's more likely that they're liars who think that if they "blame the government" they can divert attention away from themselves. They don't want candy in school? That's fine - when I was a kid the administrators at my elementary school had the same rule. But they didn't try to pretend like they were conforming to some fictional government requirement to restrict candy in the school. They just said "no candy in school" and that was that. And if the parents had a problem with it they could bring it up at the school board meeting and get the school board to change the policy.
A Call For an Open, Distributed Alternative To Facebook
Government buy it? Why? Is there some compelling reason that Facebook needs to exist? It's not like a loss of Facebook would cause massive unemployment or be a giant hit to the economy. (Hell, losing Facebook might actually lead to productivity GAINS for the economy overall.)
Better to have the government pass a law that says "you know those licenses you click on that say 'we can change the terms any time we feel like it'? Yeah - those are invalid. Stop doing it or you open yourself up to a lawsuit. You need to give your customers 90 days notice of changes to your privacy terms and conditions, you need to actually send them via a paper trail (to make the company actually have to expend some money to change their minds about something), and you need to provide a bullet-pointed summary of everything you intend to sell, everything you intend to make public and everything you intend to keep private every time you do this in addition to the legalese that you provide. When you do that, you need to provide a simple way for customers to decide to leave your system and you need to delete all of their personal data on your servers immediately at their request. And if you fail to do these things, the FTC has authority to prosecute you for criminal fraud - in addition to the civil lawsuits your customers will be able to file against you."
There are many other ways to go about it, but the key ingredients are that customers should always be notified of what information the company is going to be selling or providing public access to, how they can terminate their accounts if they object, and give them a period of time between when the changes are announced and when they are implemented to get their account removed from the system if they choose. Those are the kinds of things that companies should be doing anyway, but without a law on the books there's no incentive for them to do so.
Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Online Fansite
Somehow, I doubt that Games Workshop's shitty attitude towards their customers just comes from their legal department. The guys at the top at least have to sign off on it - if they aren't the ones who are pushing the policy in the first place.
Lawyers are rarely the ultimate cause of problems from corporations. They're usually enablers, not decision makers. They get more credit than they deserve for bad decisions because part of their job is to be the designated asshole for a company, but the decisions come from the top at any company that isn't completely dysfunctional. (And in companies that are completely dysfunctional the decisions come from HR anyway, not from legal.)
9/11 Made Us Safer, Says Bruce Schneier
TFA addresses this. Well, not TFA but the FA that TFA links to. In fact, Schneier points out something I've been saying for going on a decade now:
The death of innocents and the destruction of property isn't the goal of terrorism; it's just the tactic used. And acts of terrorism are intended for two audiences: for the victims, who are supposed to be terrorized as a result, and for the allies and potential allies of the terrorists, who are supposed to give them more funding and generally support their efforts.
An act of terrorism that doesn't instill terror in the target population is a failure, even if people die. And an act of terrorism that doesn't impress the terrorists' allies is not very effective, either.
That's some QFT right there. No matter how many people the terrorists kill, if an act of terrorism doesn't make the target population afraid it has failed. Conversely even if the terrorists commit an act where no one dies, if the target population freaks out anyway then they win. This is why our national response to 9/11 was so fucked up - we gave the terrorists exactly what they wanted. They wanted the population of the US to be afraid and they got what they wanted. For a while, anyway.
Schneier gets into all of your objections, BTW. You may not agree with his analysis, but he has answers for why we haven't seen more examples like the one you put down. It mostly comes down to the fact that despite what movies and 24 want us to believe, terrorism is actually somewhat difficult to pull off successfully and has more complex logistics than people want to believe. Especially when you're trying to commit a terrorist act in a country where the majority of the population is openly hostile towards your goals. (Terrorism is a hell of a lot easier in an occupied state like Ireland or Iraq or Afghanistan than it is in the US precisely because in those places a good-sized chunk of the population agree/agreed with the terrorists in ideology if not in the means they were using to achieve their goals.)
Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Online Fansite
Games Workshop is a strange beast. They've been like this for a long time. They treat their fans fairly poorly all around in general, and the fans generally put up with it.
From what I understand, it's mostly a social network thing. There's a critical mass of gamers in a local area and while they might all at any point in time be severely pissed off at GW over something, it's not enough for them to dump their expensive investment in GW games and start doing something else. They'll complain about it, but it doesn't impact them directly enough to do more than that. Warhammer - and moreso Warhammer 40k - has been around long enough and people have enough of a financial and emotional investment in the game that GW seems to think that they don't need to worry about what the fans think of their business actions. Which at least for the moment seems to be true. Longer term GW might piss off fans enough that this bites them in the ass, but there seems to be something fairly compelling about the Warhammer 40k property (that I don't see myself, I guess) that keeps even the most angry 40k gamer coming back for more.
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