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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 (178 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.

2 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 (178 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.

2 days 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 (312 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.

2 days ago
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Customers Creating Fake Amazon Pages To Get Cheap Electronics At Walmart

Obfuscant Re: wont last (268 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.

2 days ago
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UNSW Has Collected an Estimated $100,000 In Piracy Fines Since 2008

Obfuscant Re:Piracy fines? (91 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."

2 days ago
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Customers Creating Fake Amazon Pages To Get Cheap Electronics At Walmart

Obfuscant Re:wont last (268 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.

2 days ago
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UNSW Has Collected an Estimated $100,000 In Piracy Fines Since 2008

Obfuscant Re:Piracy fines? (91 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.

2 days 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 (102 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.

2 days 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? (102 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.

2 days ago
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Does Being First Still Matter In America?

Obfuscant Re:Put your money where your mouth is. (233 comments)

If Congress really wanted to increase computational ability, they would apportion more money to NOAA earmarked for that purpose.

Agencies come up with their budgets and go to Congress to get the money. Congress telling the agency how to spend the money they give them is doing it backwards. Congress isn't in the best position to determine the needs and how to get there, the agency is.

What Congress SHOULD do is tell the agency it needs to improve computational resources and come back with a plan to do that. THEN Congress should give them the money they ask for.

But just handing an agency a check (that they didn't ask for) and telling them to spend it wisely is really bad management, especially for governments.

It's easier to get mad and shake your fist than write a check.

And it should be impossible to write a check without a budget that needs it. Budget and a plan.

2 days ago
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"Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

Obfuscant Re: LOL ... w00t? (541 comments)

Actually, the use of "he" as a gender-unspecified pronoun does not work at all well. At best, it is ambiguous. In contrast to "mechanic...he", how many times have you seen "nurse...he"?

That's because the author assumes that nurses must be female, which is the author's issue to deal with. Being "ambiguous" is an important property because it allows the author to leave the gender of irrelevant actors as irrelevant. In the shopkeeper example, if it isn't important that the gender of the shopkeeper be known, why make it an issue by specifying it is a she?

In fact, one of the short stories I enjoyed the most recently didn't nail down the gender of the protagonist until halfway through, and it made me realize the assumptions I had been making that weren't correct and shouldn't have made. That was a good author, in my opinion.

For that matter, how about "mother...he"?

Well, now you've just used an inherently gender-specific noun with the wrong gender pronoun.

If you can't use "he" to refer to a role that's almost certainly female (not quite certain; a mother could get a sex-change operation), then it's not a very good gender-neutral pronoun, is it?

"Nurse" is a non-specific noun. "Mother" is much more specific, but true, a female mother could have a sex change and become a male mother. In fact, saying "mother ... he ..." says that's what has happened. You have a male mother. Otherwise you'd say "mother ... she ...". In this example, you don't want the genderless pronoun.

The fact that you can't read contemporary writing reflects a lot more on you than on the writing.

Where did you get the idea I cannot read contemporary writing? It's writing where the author has chosen to display ignorance of the language that causes problems. Any author who displays ignorance of the language he's using to craft his work causes awake readers problems.

Not just contemporary, by the way, since people have used "they" as singular gender-unspecified pronoun for quite a long time now.

Seeing "they" where it should be "he" or "she" isn't a serious problem, and I automatically assume that the author doesn't know his plural from a hole in the ground. ("They" always has been genderless.) I certainly don't wonder if there was something I missed about "the shopkeeper" when I later see him referred to as "they", because the singular and plural for "shopkeeper" are different. The author has a clear way of specifying a plural "shopkeeper" and did not, thus he is not. But when "the shopkeeper" is later "she", I do wonder why the specificity was necessary and did I miss something that would have announced it earlier. By using the specific gender pronoun "she", it is as if the author is creating a red herring in the plot-- something the author is saying is important to know that turns out not to be important at all because the character never appears again. That's the sign of a bad author. But using "she" everyplace that "he" should be used is the sign of an ignorant, arrogant author who wants to teach people a lesson about his incorrect belief in the sexism of language in a context where it is not relevant.

2 days ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

Obfuscant Re:Here we go again (480 comments)

Now that this is no longer true, people have less, not more, incentive to commit crimes.

While it is true that the incentive to commit the crime of "selling" or "possession" is now reduced or eliminated, the crime of "stealing" to get the money to pay for the now-legal drug has not been.

Other than drug deals gone bad, the only other visible effect of drug-related crime has been robbery and burglary to get money to pay for them. The former criminal activity is criminal-on-criminal and, well, criminals who help take care of the crime problem by eliminating each other are helping society. It's the latter kind of crime where innocent victims pay that is a more serious concern, and that crime is not managed simply by making the crime of possession of a drug legal.

In fact, there is actually a new incentive for the crime of illegal sales, since there are those who object to paying "the man" taxes on his vices. By buying bootleg pot, they're "sticking it" to him. If you think this isn't going to happen, I'll refer you to the continuing activity of moonshiners (to avoid the liquor taxes), and to past busts for cigarettes with fake tax stamps.

So, the claim that "crime will go down" when legalizing pot is rather disingenuous since it is 1) a tautology in part and 2) refers to a kind of crime that has been decriminalized but not to the other crimes attributable to the drug traffic.

2 days ago
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"Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

Obfuscant Re: LOL ... w00t? (541 comments)

Interestingly, the AC's political movement may be in part responsible for changing the language to prefer the plural over just using male pronouns.

Interestingly, every pronoun ever used must have an antecedent. That means "noun that it is referring to, either explicitly or implicitly". Those things you call "male pronouns" aren't -- the gender depends on the antecedent. If "he" is used to replace a male noun ("The man who fixed the car ... he ...") then it assumes a masculine gender. However, if the noun is gender non-specific ("A mechanic ... he ...") the pronoun is neuter. It forces neither masculine nor feminine upon the antecedent, because "he" has both possible meanings. "She", however, is gender specific, always. It forces a gender upon any non-specific noun it replaces. "The mechanic ... she ..." is referring exclusively to a female mechanic.

The use of "he/she" in the context "The mechanic ... he/she ..." is, in essence, saying "the human mechanic or the female mechanic ...", which means that "female" is not considered to be a member of the class "human". People who use "he/she" either aren't aware that they are insulting women by doing that, or don't care.

I can't tell you the time I've had to waste rereading something when some author exhibits his stupidity by using "she" instead of "he" (possibly to make a statement of his ignorance about pronoun gender by protesting his belief in the exclusively masculine meaning of "he"). I have to go back to see if I missed some part of the text where the antecedent was identified as female, or to determine if the author has a sexist bias ("A teacher ... she ..." implies that only women are teachers), or finally if the author is the aforementioned idiot. When you're reading a story and you see something like "I paid the shopkeeper for the candy bar and she gave me my change .." you have to wonder if the shopkeeper being a woman has some significance to the story or not. Why was the author specific about it?

Replacing singular pronouns with plurals because you don't understand the meaning of the singular pronouns just shows the world that you don't understand the difference between singular and plural AND the meaning of the word "he". A two-fer display.

2 days ago
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Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans

Obfuscant Re:The Government Doesn't think like a Person (317 comments)

You are reasoning about the "government" as though it were a person, when you begin "The government is well aware...".

No, sorry, I'm using a shorthand method of referring to the people who make up the government, and most people would understand that because we all know that "the government" isn't just one person. Thanks for your lecture. Sorry I confusedyou.

So now, as Davester666 said, "gov't defines anybody they kill as "the bad guy".

So now YOU are referring to "government" as if it were a person, aren't you? And your own quote contradicts you. There is a difference between "all military-age males in a strike zone" and "anybody they kill". And, of course, you're using a statement from Mr. Obama, who has been known to lie on occasion.

Davester666 was referencing a govenment definition,

There is no such government definition, and quoting Mr. Obama's opinion does not make it one.

2 days ago
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Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans

Obfuscant Re:I think (317 comments)

The gov't defines anybody they kill as "the bad guy".

Nonsequitor, and nontrue. The government is well aware that there are innocent casualties in many attacks, just that the benefit of killing the actual bad guy outweighs the cost. Just as many bad guys believe the cost of killing innocents is less important than protecting themselves, and that's why bad guys often set up shop next to schools or hospitals -- or even inside them when possible.

But none of that deals with the leap from "killing Americans on American soil" means that the government approves of killing "good guys".

3 days ago
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Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans

Obfuscant Re:I think (317 comments)

According the government it's not a problem if they kill good guys either - they are now authorized to kill Americans on american soil if so inclined for instance.

Your statement assumes that "Americans on American soil" are automatically "good guys."

3 days ago
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Head of FCC Proposes Increasing Internet School Fund

Obfuscant Re:More Smoke and Mirrors (104 comments)

The gas taxes should cover the cost of required infrastructure, no more.

"Should" is a word unknown to regulators. Gas taxes should first of all be used for roads. Unfortunately, gas taxes now, at least where I live, go straight into the general fund and are used for whatever pet projects the local government wants to spend them on, and any road improvements show up as a "transportation maintenance fee" on our local water bill.

Think about the taxes on cigarettes that also pay for children's health care... if they worked and everyone stopped smoking, where would the money come from for children healthcare?

Increased gas taxes.

3 days ago
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Head of FCC Proposes Increasing Internet School Fund

Obfuscant Re:More Smoke and Mirrors (104 comments)

Why should a car license registration pay for the MTA??

Because someone decided that it would be better for you to ride a train to work, even if you don't work where any trains go, than to drive. Fees on what "someone" doesn't want you doing are intended to dissuade you from doing it.

A lot of people want much higher gas taxes -- make gas cost what it costs in Europe, for example, by raising the cost artificially -- to persuade people to stop using their cars. Tax cigarettes. Tax liquor. Tax ... you get the idea.

This is the flipside of the social engineering done through the tax code with "credits" for doing socially appropriate things.

3 days ago
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Microsoft Releases Out-of-Band Security Patch For Windows

Obfuscant Re:So... (176 comments)

You're missing my point. It's not "to share" at all. Yes, they have your data. And if you hate that they use that to send you targeted ads, well, then don't use gmail - or google search - or the rest.

My only option in the matter would have been to leave an ISP I've been using for more than a decade. And I didn't expect them to HAVE four years of deleted email on hand to give to Google, so I didn't know Google was going to get it all until WAY too late.

But don't go claiming that they're sharing the info they have - they're not.

Citation required.

4 days ago
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Microsoft Releases Out-of-Band Security Patch For Windows

Obfuscant Re:So... (176 comments)

"For the bazillionth time, Google is not "sharing all your data in the world".

Technically, I think you are correct.

Yes, technically correct.

When my ISP decided to drop their own email services and start funneling all their customer's email through Gmail, it wasn't technically "all my data" that they handed over to Google to index and root around through, it was just the last four years of deleted email they got to play with. Yes, email I deleted four years ago showed up on Gmail. So, technically, because I have some other email accounts that don't go through that ISP, I mean didn't go through them, Google doesn't have ALL my data to share. Just a significantly large enough fraction of it.

4 days 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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