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Aaron Swartz Indicted in Attempted Piracy of Four Million Documents

MegaFur Re:being an asshole does not merit 35 years in pri (174 comments)

That's not the definition lawyers use. Or rather--that probably is the definition that lawyers use, but they define "property" in such a way that copying any artistic or technical work that's in a fixed form (including electronically stored movies, songs, and computer programs) does count as "taking" the property without permission.

Now you can disagree with that definition if you want. That's fine. I'm not saying that I necessarily agree with that definition either. But the concept of copyright (literally the legal RlGHT to make COPIES of artistic or technical works in any fixed form--look it up) is written into the Constitution itself.

If you ever get hauled into court by the RIAA, MPAA or some other over-powered Big Corp acronym and you try to tell them your 1.5 TB collection of mp3s and avis doesn't constitute stolen property because nothing was ever "removed", they'll laugh you right out of the court room while they hit you with a massive, massive fine just like all those little FBI warnings on DVDs have been promising you your whole life.

more than 3 years ago

Aaron Swartz Indicted in Attempted Piracy of Four Million Documents

MegaFur Re:being an asshole does not merit 35 years in pri (174 comments)

Read the indictment itself. IF the indictment is factually correct, Aaron's method of acquiring the articles included stashing a laptop in a wire closet directly connected to a switch. IF the indictment is factually correct, he did more than merely violate a EULA. He went well out of his way to get copies of these articles--at various times causing the JSTOR service to be unavailable to everyone else on MIT's network because the servers were busy trying to meet all the requests from Aaron's laptop.

I agree that I don't know if the guy actually deserves 35 years in prison. I don't know if he even deserves one year in prison. But IF the indictment is factually correct, then this guy DID download a plethora of documents that he wasn't supposed to be able to download. And he went to some great lengths to circumvent the mechanisms that JSTOR and MIT had in place to prevent such activity. That would be Computer Fraud and whether we like it or not, that's a criminal offense.

One of the nasty points about trying to actively fight the government is that a lot of the folks that are really passionate about it wind up breaking the law at some point. The problem is that, that opens them up to counter-attack from said government.

You should definitely not trust the spin coming from Demand Progress. They're public statement is biased almost to the point of being useless, or at least it was when I read it 6 hours ago. You should check out the actual indictment document itself and read all the bits where Aaron is alleged to have been seen sneeking in a side door to get to the wiring closet with his bicycle helmet held up over his face so the camera can't see his face.

If that's what really happened, then IMHO the dude has opened himself up to a whole world of criminal prosecution. It's a bad time to be Aaron Swartz.

more than 3 years ago

Apple To Shut Down Lala On May 31

MegaFur Re:No duh? (438 comments)

Yes, monopolies always tend to operate that way. That's why they're bad (for everyone except the monopoly.)

more than 4 years ago

The End of the PC Era and Apple's Plan To Survive

MegaFur Re:will we finally get beyond http, then? (549 comments)

    Desktops may be dying out....but we're not switching the entire world to the cloud anytime soon.

  - Eric

1. You are probably right, but
2. It appeared to me the FA was written by someone not in the U.S. where broadband doesn't suck (like it does here in the U.S.)
3. Again, I agree you're probably right, but please also note that
4. The FA kept touting saying "in five years". Please remember
5. A *lot* can change in five years.

I really don't care if the PC market craters. AFAIK, I don't have a personal stake in whether the PC industry lives on healthy or gets turned into a barely sustainable market as the FA implied.

However, I really *would* like to see the U.S. (where I live) get much better, much less crappy broadband. Wouldn't you? So let's all get with the prediction and help spread goofy mobile gadgets that need data connections. 'cause if we're lucky, we can get the public hooked on them, and then use all that public support to force the big telcos to fix their da** networks.

Sorry, that post sort of got away from me. Hey, ya know "from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint [time] is sort of a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff." I love that episode. I think that's the most sense anyone's ever made when trying to explain time.

more than 4 years ago

Command Lines and the Future of Firefox

MegaFur Re:I was so excited, for like ten seconds (360 comments)

Well, yeah actually trying to *do* anything on C64 beyond playing games was a form of masochism.

What I think the parent poster is looking for is something closer to a Natural Langauge Interface (the "holy grail" of all computing).

Of course we still can't even come close to that today, but Google tries pretty hard. It has "did you mean?", a bunch of conversions, and a variety of other rarely used features all crammed into one search box. But then, that's the sort of thing that's possible with good ol' text.

Text is a very flexible and powerful form of communication. If we can get a computer interface to even *barely* interpret text commands (not that crappy C64 stuff from back in the day), well then a CLI might actually be a good thing instead of a bad thing.

Don't worry, the graphical representation of your system will still be there, but you'd be able to pop up a box and type something like,

"find all files less than 5mb created from last week to now"

or something and, instead of have it barf out an error message, it would actually chug along and return what you wanted.

more than 5 years ago

Command Lines and the Future of Firefox

MegaFur In other words... (360 comments)

it's time for the Natural Language interface to hurry up and get here. Or, more realistically, it's time for the CLI to be reborn into a more user friendly version with a concept of synonyms, and a google-style "did you mean?" and rich interactive help.

(note to CS-ish folks--yes I know there are examples of this sort of CLI in existence that have been around for years, but AFAIK, none of these has ever caught on. What I'm saying is, maybe now it's got a chance.)

It's a good idea. Will anyone program it?

more than 5 years ago

Command Lines and the Future of Firefox

MegaFur oh yeah that... (360 comments)

Man, I remember when I thought Ubiquity was totally awesome. Yeah, that high lasted about a day. And then I remembered there was Google Chrome out there. And then I realized that people aren't actually making gobs and gobs of commands for Ubiquity.

Of course that's not to say that this won't take off and become the Next Big Thing. It could. It probably won't though. I guess we'll see.

more than 5 years ago

$100 Linux Wall-Wart Now Available

MegaFur Re:Sounds like a great industrial espionage device (464 comments)

If you've got physical access to the guts of the network, you can do all kinds of nefarious/black-hat-like things. Admittedly gadgets like this might make it easier.

more than 5 years ago

You Are Not a Lawyer

MegaFur Re:Legal standards of search and seizure (693 comments)

Note to Lumpy: In the following post, anyplace that I used the word "you", this is not meant to apply to you, Lumpy. I agree with what you said. I just wanted to "mee too" with my own version. I agree with you, and with the original "You Are Not A Lawyer" guy that there are far too many folks out there that don't get how the legal system really works.

I wanna make a few points:
1. It's not that the police/judges/lawyers hate you, it's just that they really *don't* care about you *at all*. I mean you really are just another number to them. The good ones out there, they care that you get the legal definition of a "fair" trial, but that's all. And, btw, it's entirely possible for you to have a legally defined "fair" trial and for you to still get totally screwed over and railroaded. If you don't believe this, you're living in a fairy land. I hope fairy land is still working for you when you get locked up in Oz.

2. On point 5: yes, I totally agree.
3. On point 6: If you're going to do something illegal, first BEFORE you start, find out exactly what the consequences and eventualities will be for if you *do* get caught--because it's impossible to be absolutely sure that you can avoid being caught. See my earlier point about fairy land.
4. On point 7: I agree. This almost, but not quite, guarantees that you won't be going to jail for anything. (You could still get falsely accused and wrongfully imprisoned. Please don't talk to me about how that doesn't bother you because then, in the end, you'll make a fortune off the movie rights or something. The plain fact is that spending five years in prison is going to fundamentally change who you are and what you're like for the rest of your life.)
5. If the police ever bring you in for questioning on anything, don't talk to them without a lawyer present. I don't care how innocent you are, and I don't care how polite the police are. If something really bad happened, it is the police and prosecutor's job to eventually hold someone accountable for the bad thing that happened. If no other more "worthy" suspects pop up, they might just choose to put it on you. This can happen even without the police being corrupt, and that's why there's that pesky rule about you being allowed to have legal council present. Of course, even that is no guarantee that you won't get falsely accused and wrongfully imprisoned, but if you go talking to the police sans legal council you are seriously screwing yourself over. Don't be a dope. Demand a lawyer.

In summary: The legal system isn't really out to get you, but it's much bigger than you are and it tends to be capricious and merciless--kind of like an uber-deity tripped out on mescaline and crystal meth. You really don't *ever* want to be on the wrong side of it. Because of all this, even though it isn't out to get you (most of the time), you'll be safer if you act as though it is.

more than 5 years ago

Stand-Up Comic Makes Science Funny

MegaFur Re:Funny Clip of him on YouTube (126 comments)

Thank you for doing this.

Because, at this point, I *want* to like the guy, but the articles that talk *about* him are so excruciatingly bland it's all I can do to not press Ctrl+W / Alt+F4 reflexively.

more than 5 years ago

Stand-Up Comic Makes Science Funny

MegaFur Video sites (126 comments)

I don't know if there are good futurama sites, but I'll tell you who (or rather what) can:
It's a list-of-lists for sites with video content of all forms.

more than 5 years ago

The Environmental Impact of Google Searches

MegaFur BigCompany == EasyTarget (516 comments)

Any large company or other organization is always an easy target for criticism. If it costs X amount of CO2 to do a search on Google, isn't it likely to cost a similar amount if you do any other kind of web search as well?

more than 5 years ago

The Environmental Impact of Google Searches

MegaFur Re:Wrong Comparison (516 comments)

Yeah an' the wooden Google servers have to be hand crafted by Salt o' the Earth Amish folks too.

Just like those super-high-tech space heaters I've seen advertised on TV recently.

I mean c'mon--wtf!? Yes, yes, I *believe* them when they say that Amish people created the frame, but do they really expect me to believe that the tech that makes the Magic Log o' Rama work was create, built, and installed by Amish folks? I'm just not seein' it.

more than 5 years ago

Flying Car Ready To Take Off

MegaFur trying not to pessimize (315 comments)

I want to not say that this is junk. I really want to. I mean, maybe *someday* something cool will come out of this project.

But this car isn't it. See, the thing is, actually flying a plane can easily get many orders of magnitude more difficult than driving a car. Why? Well, because if you mess up while driving a car, cliffs notwithstanding, all of the things you might crash into are generally *in front* of you. With a plane, they could easily be above or below you. Oh yes, and there's *always* the ground.

If you run out of gas in a car, you're screwed, but you will probably be ok with walking. If you run out of gas in a plane, you're really, *really* screwed.

Before any pilot takes a plane into the air, they are expected to complete a pre-flight check list of the plane to mitigate the chance of crashing in a fire-y ball of death. That usually doesn't happen with cars.

Still, if enough people get these things, then maybe we'll create an auto-fly system like in Back to the Future 2. That was pretty cool.

Furry cows moo and decompress.

more than 5 years ago

Twitter Hack Details Revealed

MegaFur Re:Compromise One Password, Compromise Them All (222 comments)

Yes, in general, if you compromise one password, you might be compromising them all. In this specific case however, the "hacker" in question never got the passwords himself. He got the password-reset tool to help out a user who has forgotten their password. So that's one happy out of the whole thing--there was a good security practice there that actual passwords are a little harder to get at than that.

more than 5 years ago

The 2008 Malware Challenge

MegaFur eh? (29 comments)

I know that Malware is a superset of computer viruses, but most virus scanners are more like malware scanners these days. I understand that the spirit of the challenge is to reverse engineer code that malware checkers currently don't catch, but isn't this a little like giving away for free that which some company down the street is charging money for? Maybe I'm still not getting it.

more than 5 years ago

The US economy is heading toward ...

MegaFur Re:Barter as a way of life... (873 comments)

IMHO, you should go for distilling alcohol instead. It's either legal or closer to legal.

more than 5 years ago

The US economy is heading toward ...

MegaFur Re:Great Depression? (873 comments)

The concept of CDS starts out as insurance, sure. But since third parties that have nonthing to lose if the default should occur can also take out "policies" and since there is no regulation requiring that the agency selling the CDS "insurance" actually have the assets on hand to pay-up should the potential defaulter default... well, actually it turns out that CDSes are *a lot* different than insurance. In fact, CDSes are pretty damn stupid (read: financially risky and dangerous). I'm sure it all seemed like a good idea at the time though.

more than 5 years ago


MegaFur hasn't submitted any stories.



a reminder to some bad electrical puns

MegaFur MegaFur writes  |  more than 8 years ago

This isn't really an entry for the world, but feel free to read it anyway. *shrug* There were some very good (bad) puns in this thread, and I'm using this as a link-note so I can find those puns again when I want to unleash them on unsuspecting people in public.

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