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Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County

Obfuscant Re:Never left paper ballots (122 comments)

We switched to permanent absentee voting the moment they introduced electronic ballots in our county.

We're still using all-paper balloting and we've been "permanent absentee voting" for several years now. Welcome to Oregon, where elections run for two weeks or more, political robocalls happen at least twice a day for the entire time, and if you want to vote just go to the post office and look in the trashcan for a discarded ballot.

2 days ago
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Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County

Obfuscant Re:I always insist on paper for vote (122 comments)

And meanwhile, states are pushing voter-ID laws to combat a problem of which there are only a handful of incidents in the past 12 years.

Yeah, the "empty the cemetery" voting drives that the Daley machine in Chicago used to run on election day just can't possibly happen anymore. Especially when undocumented aliens can be found for $5 a pop at the local Home Depot and it costs almost nothing to drive a busload of them around to the polling places.

Anyone who doesn't think it happens is naive, and anyone who thinks it shouldn't be necessary to prove you have the right to vote someplace is asking for unauthorized votes.

2 days ago
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Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County

Obfuscant Re:open-source voting machines. (122 comments)

there will be little room for 2000-style "dimpled chad" and "interpreting the voter's intentions".

There should already be little room for this. "Voter demonstrates intentions by poking hole in piece of paper. No hole, no intention to vote." Very simple. The failed assumption is that every person who cast a ballot intended on voting for every position and if there wasn't a hole there was a mistake. People who had no intention of voting for any candidate got their vote counted anyway.

This voting system was approved by both parties prior to the election. It wasn't a surprise dropped out of Heaven on an unsuspecting public. The time to say "gee, it's too hard to poke a hole" was before the election, not after.

We shouldn't have to find an excuse for preventing that kind of nonsense. It should be SOP that people can refuse to vote for a particular office and have it honored. It should be SOP that those who followed the instructions get their votes counted and those who don't don't.

2 days ago
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Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA "More Seriously"

Obfuscant Re:He definitely did know and understand the risk. (143 comments)

Of course they would. They'd make a profit, too.

Who is being disingenuous here? Why would they make a profit when anyone who does a quick google for what they're selling would find it for half price or even less from someone else? Other people can sell for those prices because they didn't have the production costs -- it costs almost nothing to dupe a DVD, but it costs a lot of money to produce a good quality movie. Nobody who is smart enough to have a couple of million dollars to spend on producing a movie would be dumb enough to accept the nonsense that he'll make anything back on it if anyone who wants to can copy and distribute it for him for free. That's why it isn't a standard model for movie production, not any "copyright cartel" stopping him.

It's not about prevention. It's about not being able to compete with someone who is successfully gaming the system.

What competition? If you can make a quality movie under CC licensing, then what competition is there? Oh, yes, the competition from people who will copy your movie and sell it for you, keeping the profit instead of giving it back to you. But there's no competition from the "copyright cartel". They can't stop you from making your movie or distributing it. So what if they make other movies that compete for eyeballs with yours? You've made the movie, you're distributing it. It doesn't matter if they are CC or analy-restrictive licensed -- under either licensing scheme their movies will compete for sales with yours, so how it is licensed doesn't matter.

It's odd that you think that you as a producer of a CC movie would have competition enough to stop you from other movie producers, but that you wouldn't have significant direct and immediate competition from other people selling your movie for you. That's just, well, weird. We live in a world of Chinese knock-offs causing significant damage to US technology firms and yet you think allowing everyone to knock-off a major motion picture would not harm the original investors at all.

2 days ago
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Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA "More Seriously"

Obfuscant Re:He definitely did know and understand the risk. (143 comments)

We are trying to honor copyright as conceived and written. Old and abandoned works are "free".

I have no argument with you when it comes to truly "old and abandoned" works where there is no possible way the original copyright holder could benefit from copyright protections. But I don't believe that the latest episode of Dr. Who, or the finale to Breaking Bad, or most of what is pirated today, are "old and abandoned" in any sense of the word. I've yet to hear the excuse "the copyright holder isn't selling that movie made 40 years ago anymore, so I feel it's ok to pirate it". What I do hear is "the copyright holder doesn't want to sell that current content in my region, or in the format I want it in, so I feel it's ok to pirate it. I'd happily pay for it, but the seller doesn't want my money!"

I think it's a bit disingenuous to imply that the piracy issue is all about "old and abandoned works", and I don't think any of the case against KDC has anything to do with content that has been abandoned or is older than 20 years, much less old enough to be public domain under previous versions of the copyright law. I don't think the **AA has gone after anyone for pirating "It's A Wonderful Life" or "Zero Hour", but they seem to find a lot of targets for violations of modern, currently published work's copyright.

2 days ago
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Clarificiation on the IP Address Security in Dropbox Case

Obfuscant No. Go away, babblemouth (147 comments)

Judge Egan correctly wrote that all the IP addresses did was "identify specific computers used to access Dropbox" (actually, of course, computer IP addresses can change, and if the computer is behind a proxy server then it will be the proxy server's IP address that shows up in the log; but that's close enough, let's give it to him).

No, moron, let's not "give it to him", unless "it" refers to "a firm tongue lashing for getting it wrong wrong wrong." He's just created exactly the precedent that you don't want created: "the IP address identifies specific computers". It's not "close enough" when **AA claims it in court, it's not "close enough" when a judge says it regarding a FOIA case.

2 days ago
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Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA "More Seriously"

Obfuscant Re:He definitely did know and understand the risk. (143 comments)

Freedom of speech is the freedom to communicate without being harassed by government thugs.

Just because you cannot distribute other people works without their permission doesn't mean you are not free to "communicate", you just have to communicate your own speech.

Whether they're your own words or data is irrelevant.

If is isn't your speech, then why do you think you should have a right to repeat it when the person who did say it says you can't? It is quite relevant if the words are your own or not.

I think it's rather absurd to say that your freedom of speech should be restricted merely because other people don't want you to quote them or transfer data they assembled.

What you think is absurd isn't relevant. The concept of "freedom of speech" is what we're talking about here. If the words belong to someone else, they aren't yours to exercise "freedom of speech" over, they're someone else's. If it isn't your "person, papers, or property", then you can't claim your fourth amendment rights are being violated when the cops confiscate your neighbor's car. You can jump up and down and yell about hey they violated HIS fourth amendment rights, but they didn't violate yours.

Humans make copies of things all the time; it's in their nature.

What a remarkable red herring. Making copies of things has nothing to do with "freedom of speech", especially when it isn't your own speech you are copying, and when the issue isn't copying but distributing.

2 days ago
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Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA "More Seriously"

Obfuscant Re:He definitely did know and understand the risk. (143 comments)

Then go for it and show that it's a viable model.

I don't know if it is, yet, because of the successes of the copyright cartel.

Cop out. Nothing in the "copyright cartel" (whatever that is supposed to be) stops you from producing a big-budget motion picture under CC licensing, nor does it stop anyone else. You'll claim that it is a viable model, but when challenged to use it you'll admit that you don't know that it is because nobody else has done it yet. The fact nobody else has done it yet is your excuse it cannot be done.

What does stop people from doing this is the knowledge the people who actually have the money to do such a thing have: that they'd be spending a lot of money and never get it back. They couldn't charge for a DVD of the movie because lots of someone's who didn't have a huge up-front cost of producing the movie could undercut their pricing. Any "merchandising" opportunities would be filled by a similar large number of companies where the costs of developing the characters and advertising the initial concepts didn't need to be recouped from the chachkis. Some people would go to see the movie in theaters, but many more would simply wait for it to appear for free on TV, just like what happens today.

No, it isn't a viable model. THAT'S why nobody has done it yet. Not because of some mythical "copyright cartel" that prevents someone from doing it.

2 days ago
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Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA "More Seriously"

Obfuscant Re:He definitely did know and understand the risk. (143 comments)

Then what is it when websites are taken down for copyright infringement, or when people are punished for using their own equipment to send data around?

Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to reproduce the speech of others when those others do not wish you to do so. It means the freedom for YOU to speak YOUR WORDS, not using a copy of a movie produced through a great deal of hard work and much money by someone else.

2 days ago
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Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA "More Seriously"

Obfuscant Re:He definitely did know and understand the risk. (143 comments)

Well, the short answer is that in the long run I would prefer a society not based on artificial scarcity,

of something that has artificial value. None of the pirated video or audio has any real intrinsic value, it is only valued for its transient entertainment value. It's the "new hobbit movie" or "hot band's latest track". It's the final episode of a series that didn't enrich society in the long run anyway. It's the latest Henry Potter or vampire/zombie/apocalypse book. People who think they are owed a copy of such works and will take them for free if the copyright owner doesn't see fit to sell it to them, well. The work cost money to produce, it costs the user nothing if they never get to view or hear it.

Do all of those deserve copyright protection? Of course, simply because you don't want government determining what is "valuable" enough to merit protection and what isn't.

so that people aren't so worried about getting a piece of what I've got.

If you don't want people to worry about getting "a piece of what you've got", you are free to give it all away for free. (Use of the word "free" in both major senses, intentional.) Of course you aren't free to demand that others give away what they've got for free. If you've accepted a license that says you won't give away what they've given you from their stash of "got", then you aren't free to give that away for free, either.

2 days ago
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Married Woman Claims Facebook Info Sharing Created Dating Profile For Her

Obfuscant Re:Zoo what? (188 comments)

To charge lonely men money for the privilege of sending "flowers" or "notes" to women that cost nothing to create in the database.

3 days ago
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Obama's Immigration Order To Give Tech Industry Some, Leave 'Em Wanting More

Obfuscant Re:I bet Infosys and Tata are dancing in the stree (186 comments)

Eventually Obama is going to be a civilian again. If he pleases the right people, he (or his immediate family) can make tremendous amounts of money as a lobbyist, consultant, guest speaker, etc...

Without lifting a finger, after he leaves office, his family will make $221,700 a year for life: his presidential pension ($201,700) plus another $20,000 for Michelle. His family will receive free lifetime secret service protection. He will have a fund of $150,000 a year to pay for staff ("Here Malia, file these papers for Daddy, ok?") for the first 30 months, and $96,000 per year after that. ("Sharpen these pencils for Daddy, sweetheart...").

Just his pension alone will put him well into the top 5% of wage earners in this country according to 2009 data. Adding the staff money, where he can hire who he wants and pay them what he wants up to the limit, including children, would put his family in the top 1%.

I don't think he has to worry about pleasing anyone. And I don't think that those who helped fund his political career from the beginning will hesitate to hire him at those "tremendous amounts of money" rates for speeches, etc, no matter what he does now.

about a week ago
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Obama's Immigration Order To Give Tech Industry Some, Leave 'Em Wanting More

Obfuscant Re:I bet Infosys and Tata are dancing in the stree (186 comments)

As of two weeks ago, he's been freed of all political consequences to any of his actions. He can finally do what he thinks is right.

That statement actually is insightful, but not because it supports Obama. What it points out is that he's free to do what he wants because he doesn't need to worry about re-election. Any worry about being re-elected would be because what HE wants to do is NOT what the people who voted for him want him to do.

In other words, he can do anything he wants because the people who elected him no longer matter at all. They no longer have a say in the matter. That's not a good way to run a democracy, I think.

about a week ago
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Harvard Scientists Say It's Time To Start Thinking About Engineering the Climate

Obfuscant Re:We've been doing it for a long time (367 comments)

"why would some intentional geoengineering be so bad?" If it fails, not much.

There are two ways it could fail. Only one would result in "not much bad". The other would be catastrophic.

Given the history of man's failures in managing large scale environment and ecological issues, don't rule out the catastrophic failure modes (not all of which we even know or can readily predict) of geoengineering. Geoengineering that results in the equivalent of The Australian Rabbit Infestation but on a global scale would be, well, pretty not good for everyone.

about a week ago
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Customers Creating Fake Amazon Pages To Get Cheap Electronics At Walmart

Obfuscant Re: wont last (284 comments)

yes it's okay to take advantage of people. that's how capitalism works.

What I wrote was in the context of "if they decide that all it takes is showing a checkout clerk a printed page that says someone else sells the same thing for less". You have to believe that SOMEONE in the Walmart organization in the chain of command that made that decision would think "wait a minute, we SELL computers and printers that can be used to print out anything the customer wants" and put some better limits on the process. They chose not to. That there are valid reasons to make that choice doesn't remove the fact they did choose.

I'll also say that I see a difference between "deserves to be" and "is legal and appropriate for someone to do to them". Does Walmart deserve to have it happen to them based on their decision? Does that make it right for people to do it to them? No.

What's interesting about your comment is that you refer to the Walmart corporation as "people". In the comment just above yours on my page I see:

People and their companies are evil, not companies.

Which is an interesting contradiction. "People and their companies" includes "companies", so how can it be wrong to refer to companies as evil? And how can anyone believe that a reference to "companies" doesn't include the people who are necessary to create and run them? Until Bender or Colossus start filing incorporation papers, people are an inherent part of any company and in any reference to the ethical nature thereof.

about a week ago
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UNSW Has Collected an Estimated $100,000 In Piracy Fines Since 2008

Obfuscant Re:Piracy fines? (98 comments)

I meant the case of using University bandwidth to download content for personal use,

I doubt that any university has a prohibition against students downloading things for "personal use". I know mine doesn't. There are policies against personal use of departmental systems for employees, but not students. We have a policy against commercial use, and a student running his online business out of his dorm room was cut off, but that's well beyond "for personal use".

If they are fining people for piracy, then the policy will be against piracy, not simply "anything for personal use."

about a week ago
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Customers Creating Fake Amazon Pages To Get Cheap Electronics At Walmart

Obfuscant Re:wont last (284 comments)

This. It doesn't take an Amazon account of any kind to create a dummy web page saying whatever you want, including "sold and fulfilled by Amazon.com" or any other magic. Simply "save as" the HTML and then modify to your heart's desire. If all it takes is a printout of the web page, then Walmart are fools and deserve to be taken to the cleaners.

about a week ago
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UNSW Has Collected an Estimated $100,000 In Piracy Fines Since 2008

Obfuscant Re:Piracy fines? (98 comments)

If the latter, then students downloading free content (eg material covered by a Creative Commons licence) for personal use should also be liable.

Liable for what? Downloading copyright content without authorization? Does the Creative Commons license not allow downloading the material covered by it? How quaint.

Mis-use of University resources is defined by the University, and it can quite easily include clauses regarding unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material, etc.

about a week ago
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Apple Swaps "Get" Button For "Free" To Avoid Confusion Over In-App Purchases

Obfuscant Re:How about NOT demanding a credit card upfront (103 comments)

Thanks for the handy link. I actually read it. Here's what it says, in short.

If you have already created an Apple ID, you MUST enter a payment method before you can access anything. You can THEN remove the payment information. So, you have to give them a way to charge you for things and then hope they forget it when you tell them.

If you haven't created an Apple ID yet, you have to go through a process with iTunes to buy something that is "free", and then you create an Apple ID. During that process, you MAY be shown a "none" payment option, but you might not. If you aren't shown that option, you MUST enter payment information.

So, it's not a given that you can create an ID without payment information. Further, if you change your region (country) you MUST enter payment information again, but then you can go remove it afterwards. You have to tell them how to charge you, and then you have to hope they forget it when you tell them to.

I just went through this "create an Apple ID" process so I could download xcode for work. I wasn't offered a "none" payment option, and I don't have a credit card I can throw into Apple's data repository (not a corporate card, anyway), so that Apple ID didn't get created.

about a week ago
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Apple Swaps "Get" Button For "Free" To Avoid Confusion Over In-App Purchases

Obfuscant Re:What about Free and no in-app purchases? (103 comments)

"Flappy Crushbird Saga is no longer free! If you update Flappy Crushbird Saga, you may now be charged for in-app purchases!

This is just silly. "Flappy Crushbird Saga" is still free. It's the purchases you make while using the free app that cost money. You don't have to make those purchases.

Changing "free" to "get" is removing information from the consumer. "Get" applies to apps that aren't free, too. "Free" means "get" and "you don't have to pay to get"; "get" simply means "click this to get the app" -- what you pay for it is revealed later.

I don't see what's so challenging about this. "Free" should mean the app costs me nothing to install/use, and I cannot incur any charges using it.

Free should mean you don't have to pay to get the app. It should have nothing to do with optional purchases you make after you get the app. The app is free. What you want to add to the app later might not be.

You wouldn't call "fraud" if someone said they'd come to your house to give you a free estimate on installing new carpet and then charged you for installing new carpet, would you? Of course not. The fact that you can hand them a huge chunk of money for actually doing the work does not mean that their visit wasn't free.

If it says "Free," then whatever I do in the app, I pay nothing.

That's not what "free" means. You get the app for free. If you use that app to buy something, then you pay. Using your definition, the Amazon "app store" app is not free because you can use that app to buy other apps. It is the ultimate in "in-app purchases". But I've paid not a penny using the app store app -- it truly is free. I've gotten free game apps, and the fact that they will allow me to buy more levels when I've finished the ones the free app came with doesn't change the fact that the app itself is free. Extra stuff might not be free, but the app itself is.

Now, I could see your argument if the app did nothing at all after you got it for "free" except demand more money to do something. That's not how the "free" apps I use do things, and I doubt many of them do it that way. That truly would be fraud because the app does nothing without money. But if it does what it claims to do without costing anything, then it deserves to be called free, even if you can, if you choose, buy things with it.

about a week ago

Submissions

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Comcast encrypting basic digital cable

Obfuscant Obfuscant writes  |  about 5 years ago

Obfuscant (592200) writes "Comcast of Oregon, the friendly cable company that once allowed people with ClearQAM-equipped TVs to eavesdrop on other people's On-Demand programs, has decided to encrypt even the Digital Starter channels it was carrying in the clear. These are the channels that anyone paying for digital service gets. The reason: to prevent signal theft.

They're claiming that they cannot simply trap out the digital channels from those getting the analog Basic service, even though the digital goodies start way up at channel 64 and the analog tops out at 30. "Traps don't work", according to customer service. (Someone please explain why RF traps care what modulation is on the frequencies they filter out, or how a trap that makes analog signals undetectable will provide a viewable digital signal when even an unfiltered digital signal drops out on a regular basis.) This is the same cable company that used to be able to trap out channels 31 and above if you didn't have Expanded Basic.

They point the finger at the program providers — like ESPN and SyFy. "It's a contractual requirement" for people who are paying for the programs to be prevented from using their own DVRs to record them for later use. "Of course we'll rent you a Comcast DVR..."

Perhaps it's time to dust of those old copies of the Cable Consumer Protection Act of 1992, which deals specifically with this issue."

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