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Comments

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Obama, Romney Data Scientists Strike Out On Their Own

Lord Bitman SEO (120 comments)

Search Engine Optimisation all boils down to, in the end, "make websites that humans want to find, and search engines will tend over time to detect sites like yours". The SEO best-practices change all the time, but the ones which stick around tend also to be general usability best-practices.

There doesn't seem to be a similar rule for elections, ie "make candidates that humans want to govern them, and people will tend over time to elect candidates like yours".

Perhaps this is because nobody has actually tried such a strategy, but I expect it has more to do with the ideas that:
  1. having lots of choices and few choosers (the choosers being chosen by the masses) tends to work-out better than having lots of choosers (the masses) and few choices
  2. letting people benefit from more than one "winner" tends to work-out better than picking the top choice and throwing out everything else.

about a year ago
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Have eBooks Peaked?

Lord Bitman My purchasing has certainly peaked (323 comments)

The last five books which I attempted to buy were not available for purchase in eBook format. (two of them previously were, but no longer are!)

Can someone please explain to me why it is that "publishers" don't want free money?

about a year ago
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After a User Dies, Apple Warns Against Counterfeit Chargers

Lord Bitman Re:Solution: Use standard charger (457 comments)

I came here to say exactly this. Apple is the one who ensured that the only manufacturers selling chargers for their products were those with no accountability.
If they did not use absurd proprietary designs, then most consumers would buy chargers from companies which have such qualifications as "an address" and "a name".

about a year ago
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Google Launches Cloud Printer Service For Windows

Lord Bitman Really surprised (135 comments)

As someone who's been trying to use Cloud Print since it launched, I had assumed that the project was abandoned long ago. It has always been extremely flakey, it never "just works", etc. When it works, it's great. When it doesn't, you are left staring at a screen identical to when it does, with no diagnostics, and no sign of potential progress.

There are also some rather insane missing features, like the inability to rename printers (eg: if two of your friends have an HP DeskJet 1050a, and they both left it with the default name, have fun trying to decide which one to print on. Or if they both renamed their printers, but gave them sensible names like "HP (Upstairs)")

CloudPrint was a nice idea which Google has given zero attention. I do not expect things to suddenly work now that Windows is in the mix.

about a year ago
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Congress Demands Answers From Google Over Google Glass Privacy Concerns

Lord Bitman Re:I would love it if (201 comments)

I would love it if google responded by saying it infringes no more than eyeballs do.

about a year ago
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Last Forking Warning For Bitcoin

Lord Bitman Re:Crap, the sky is falling (334 comments)

This isn't an issue of "two different currencies". What other time in history has a government issued a new currency, exchanged the "old currency" for the "new currency", and *let you keep* the "old currency" when handing you new currency?

The inability to deal with prolonged netsplits sanely is a fundamental limitation of the Bitcoin protocol.

about a year ago
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Federal Magistrate Rules That Fifth Amendment Applies To Encryption Keys

Lord Bitman Re:Last Sentence (322 comments)

That sounds more like the fourth amendment than the fifth, though.

about a year ago
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Today Is International Day Against DRM

Lord Bitman Re:Need DRM Labeling Law (256 comments)

... grab a random DVD off the shelf behind you. Look at the back of the box.

So, the market has spoken?

about a year ago
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Even the Ad Industry Doesn't Know Who's Tracking You

Lord Bitman Re:Use Firefox? Get Self Destructing Cookies add-o (98 comments)

Wow, a post about cookies from a privacy nut which I actually agree with!

Expiring at the end of a browser session is indeed a good default cookie policy, and I see nothing wrong with a pop-up at the top of the browser window, similar to the "Do you want to save your password?", ActiveX warnings, etc, which states "The website at xnd.garbledgunk.adserver.goo[NOT VERIFIED] would like us to send data [view data] whenever this site is accessed, until September 1st, 2013. It gives the reason "Enhanced Browsing Experience". Do you want to allow this? [Yes] [No] [Send data, but forget it when I close my browser]"

about a year ago
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What's Actually Wrong With DRM In HTML5?

Lord Bitman The problem with DRM: Enforcement (447 comments)

The only problem with DRM is the attempt to enforce the decisions made by the system.

I would have no problem with a DRM system which indeed *managed* rights. ie: allowed you to register your right to watch movie x because you own it and would like to format-shift. I would even be okay with it all connecting to a central database to notify you that "you have license for viewing this from a single screen, but it looks like your wife is watching it at home right now. Our system does not believe that you have the right to do this". So long as it didn't also include a system for taking over your computer to ensure that your viewing habits agree with its opinion of your rights.

I would absolutely *love* that kind of system

about a year ago
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HTC Does What Google Wouldn't: Sell an LTE Phone That Sidesteps AT&T

Lord Bitman Re:News at elleven (290 comments)

That is a ridiculous lie.

Selling someone a cheap phone by subsidising the cost via a 2-year contract at $49/mo doesn't become any less viable with an unlocked phone.

Maybe selling someone a cheap phone by subsiding the cost via a 2-year contract of [nominal fee]+overage charges/mo would be violated by unlocking the phone, but the monthly fee on a 2-year contract doesn't change when you decide not to use the service. That's why it's called a contract.

about a year ago
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Netflix Wants To Go HTML5, But Not Without DRM

Lord Bitman Re:not much better (394 comments)

To extend this to the general case, and ignoring the fact that DRM is an impossibility / runs contrary to basic laws of physics:

DRM requires that the output device, the final end-point, be known in advance.

This runs contrary to everything that the web is about, and so no web standards body should have anything to do with it.

Imagine if somehow HTTP had a Copyright-control mechanism which was able to enforce the fact that certain content could not be printed. Being devised in the time when HTTP was simply intended as, as it says, a "Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol", this mechanism could have been implemented as a restriction that certain content should only be output directly to a terminal.

This type of restriction would have made HTTP, and therefor the web, useless. It would be restricted to its original goals and intended scope. There is no point in creating a web standard which does not have the ability to have new uses applied to it.

about a year and a half ago
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Best Buy Follows Yahoo in Banning Remote Work

Lord Bitman These moves are one thing and one thing only (317 comments)

The *only* reason for these new policies is to fire people without needing to admit that these people are being fired.

Why lay off 800 people due to financial difficulties when you can lay off 400 and say that 400 chose to leave for unrelated reasons?

about a year and a half ago
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Warner Bros Secures Commercial Control of Superman

Lord Bitman Re:Just imagine if copyright had reasonable limits (196 comments)

Imagine if Trademark Law were limited to ensuring that producers of goods and services could be easily identified and distinguished and that such laws had no bearing on the distribution of creative works so long as such distinction were honestly made.

about a year and a half ago
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Third Party Debates Moderated by Larry King: Discuss

Lord Bitman Re:It's all in a name (221 comments)

The problem with "approval" voting is that it asks me which candidate I approve of.
Looking down the list of all candidates, no matter the party, I don't see one that I approve of.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Working With Awful Legacy Code?

Lord Bitman Ask to see the code. (360 comments)

Offer to sign an NDA, but don't ever take over someone else's codebase without making sure you see the code.

Employers: Don't hire anybody who offers to take over someone else's codebase without having seen the code.

This is a complete no-brainer.

about 2 years ago
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Astronomers Search For Dyson Spheres of Alien Civilizations

Lord Bitman Re:Flawed assumptions. (686 comments)

and we'd need every one of them in order to build a dyson sphere, too

about 2 years ago
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After 7 Years In Court, Google Settles With Publishers On Book Scanning

Lord Bitman Re:Intensely idiotic (127 comments)

Is this a trick question? How is "fair use" not applicable?
This is absolutely no different from the "scanning" and "putting up" that google does of every other part of the internet. Why should the fact that it started out in a grossly inefficient medium be any distinction whatsoever?

about 2 years ago
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Advertisers Blast Microsoft Over IE Default Privacy Settings

Lord Bitman Re:Survey says... (558 comments)

Have you actually tried doing any research, or are you just assuming that consumers don't want to be tracked?

Ask 50 people, "Would you prefer to see ads which advertisers had determined were more-likely to be of interest to you, instead of a random selection of ads?", and report back.

about 2 years ago
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The History of 'Correlation Does Not Imply Causation'

Lord Bitman Re:Correlation != causation. (223 comments)

The correlations are NOT "false". The relationships between the numbers are (almost always) NOT "conterfeit".

"Correlation does not imply causation" means exactly that. If the sky is dark and people are carrying around umbrellas, this does NOT imply that darkness causes umbrellas, or that umbrellas cause darkness. The causal relationship between two numbers is not determined by how often one number changes at the same time as another.

To put it another way: correlation is an *observed* behaviour, causation is a *tested* behaviour.

about 2 years ago

Submissions

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Valve seeks Software Engineer for Linux ports

Lord Bitman Lord Bitman writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Lord Bitman (95493) writes "So the rumors are true: looks like Valve is looking for a new Senior Software Engineer, with responsibilities including "Manage the operation of large clusters of machines running both Windows and Linux in a highly available system." and "Port Windows-based games to the Linux platform.""
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