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Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

Sarten-X Re:The Alliance of Artists should lose this suit (302 comments)

The madness doesn't end there.

Every song is a copyrighted work. The CD is a derivative work containing an encapsulation and encoding of the original works*. You don't actually get a license to anything, so you're not allowed to copy the works in any part, beyond the bare-minimum on-the-fly temporary copies made for decoding, and even those are debatable**. In essence, storing any part of a CD at any stage of decoding is prohibited without a license, even for personal or educational use***.

...Or so it was until the DMCA.

Under the DMCA, the Librarian of Congress periodically receives comments from the public and declares what is or is not exempt from the DMCA's restrictions. During the most recent review process, the argument in favor of medium-shifting was rejected, because it basically boiled down to the commenters saying they didn't want to pay separately for both a CD form and a downloaded form, while the industry groups put forth a long argument citing legal precedent regarding the derivative-work perspective.

In short, what you buy when you buy a CD is the physical copy. You are not buying the information contained on that copy, so you aren't permitted to copy or transform**** it in any way. This is the key detail that so many Internet users seem to have trouble understanding. Just because you have access to information does not give you the legal basis to do anything you want with it.

* Several notable music groups have fought their albums being sold as individual tracks, because they don't see their music as just songs. They view the album as the whole creative work, and argue that the artistic message is lost when it's broken up.

** I recall arguments over whether anti-skip buffering counted as copying. I don't recall much about them other than being a bad omen.

*** "Fair use" does not actually make copying legal. Rather, it's a defense to the accusation of copyright infringement. You still infringed the copyright and did something prohibited, but there's no punishment for it.

**** By "transform", I mean an actual change to the work. Decoding (as a CD player) and understanding (as in reading a book) are not considered transformative.

yesterday
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Sarten-X Re:Lies and statistics... (559 comments)

Nobody's claiming that it's more efficient. Insurance carries overhead.

However, your alternative options are missing a far more common situation: Unexpectedly requiring extensive services that cost more than one can pay off "on time".

I've worked in the medical industry. It's hard for an outsider to understand just how expensive modern health care is. The days of a lone doctor with his trusty medical bag are long gone, replaced by million-dollar machines and wholly-disposable sterile tools. Of course, we can't forget the army of nurses, assistants, and aides all helping the doctors, and those doctors all have malpractice insurance to cover the inevitable lawsuits. Every patient visit costs the hospital hundreds of dollars, even if they're in perfect health. If the doctors actually have to do anything, the costs climb into the thousands. For a complicated case, a cost in the millions is not unheard of.

I'm not talking about fraud, or unnecessary tests. This is just the cost of doing business.

For a middle-class American, keeping a few hundred dollars around for emergencies isn't unreasonable. A few thousand dollars in a safety fund is acceptable for many who've had decent fortune, but is it reasonable to demand that people pay off a million-dollar medical bill "on time"? Is it reasonable to demand that the medical staff work for free to make sure they're not putting someone in debt?

Very few people will ever have a million-dollar disease, and most will never come out ahead by buying insurance. That's not the point, though. For a small portion of our society, insurance is the only reason they aren't in (deeper) debt. It's a small and manageable expense spread out over time, but ensuring that a larger amount of money is available from the start of coverage, to pay for those rare-but-devastating disastrous cases. Having insurance means that expenses are more predictable, at the cost of the overhead. For most Americans, that's a trivial opportunity cost in the long run.

2 days ago
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Microsoft's Nokia Plans Come Into Better Focus

Sarten-X Same as usual, then (149 comments)

In other words, the sale of a smartphone is a means to other sales.

Naturally.

Sales of Office lead to sales of Windows which leads to sales of Windows Server which leads to sales of Exchange which leads to sales of Office... Vendor lock-in has been Microsoft's core business model for decades. Why should it be different with phones?

3 days ago
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A Router-Based Dev Board That Isn't a Router

Sarten-X Re:A ton of BS (53 comments)

It's a $35 drop-in networking robot controller.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Would You Do With Half a Rack of Server Space?

Sarten-X Re:Keep It Ready (206 comments)

I'm going to go out on a limb and say you're not a business manager.

There are several reasons to switch to cloud services. Reducing current costs is one, but there are others.

A business may be facing a market change. The IT needs may grow or shrink rapidly, depending on external factors. Rather than hiring extra personnel and planning servers for needs that might arise, and adding training to the burden of the existing admins, it may just be simpler to migrate to a cloud provider while needs are worked out, then possibly even move back in-house to reduce overhead and external risks.

Clouds also offer more flexible expertise. When archival data starts to outgrow what basic storage will support, will there be enough spare time for a sysadmin to become a SAN expert to build an in-house storage system? Or would it be better to use outside expertise that's available now, without waiting through the delay of a hiring process?

4 days ago
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eSports Starting To Go Mainstream

Sarten-X Re:I'll believe it when it actually happens. (116 comments)

That's part of the challenge and appeal.

Some of the old games like Starcraft are still honored at sporting platforms, because those are the games where you can see the "old masters" play their refined strategies against each other, as is expected in a game of chess. In newer games, the strategy isn't a refined battle plan, but a more volatile response to counter the opponent's particular style, more akin to a boxing match.

about a week ago
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AirMagnet Wi-Fi Security Tool Takes Aim At Drones

Sarten-X Re:Makes Perfect Sense (52 comments)

It's more than a signature ID. Apparently it also will interpret movement commands and intercept the video stream to show admins what the drone is looking at.

about two weeks ago
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Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

Sarten-X Re:Why do you want pieces of plastic (353 comments)

Over 70% of homes in the US have broadband access

That's the thing... I have "broadband", but it tops out at 3Mbps downstream, and is noisy enough that it often drops under 1Mbps..

I know I would never live in a home without access to non-satellite broadband [faster than 3Mbps]

I once thought so, too, but the rest of the situation is, as noted, practically perfect. That's was the gist of my post: connection speed is just one of many factors to consider in a house. To hold such an absolute hard line on it is silly, in my opinion.

The scenario you describe is a very rare one, if you are being truthful that is.

The only thing I'm not being truthful about is the implication that my housing cost is low for the area. I live in one of the least-inflated metropolitan areas in the United States, in a very old suburb. Since everything about the area is cheap, that includes taxes and the salaries needed to get good teachers. The downside, as noted, is that the buildings are old.

about two weeks ago
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Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

Sarten-X Re:let me correct that for you. (617 comments)

That said, All world wars have started in Europe. So Europe is a good example that we just aren't there yet.

Two data points is not a statistically meaningful sample size.

The argument could also be made that it was the United States leading the persecution of Germany after WWI, directly causing the nationalism that triggered WWII.

about two weeks ago
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Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

Sarten-X Re:Why do you want pieces of plastic (353 comments)

I wouldn't live in a place with inadequate bandwidth for a simple video stream.

Wow. You're quite picky.

I live in one of the nicest neighborhoods in my city, with good neighbors, great schools, and near one of the best fine arts districts in the world. My house is a three-story colonial, with a finished basement, which costs me around $900/month.

Now, the house is old enough that the phone company's disconnect is in the middle of that finished basement, so replacing the wiring to support a faster connection isn't really an option, there's no cable service on the little side street, and the state forest next to me interferes with satellite service.

I guess I should just give up my otherwise-perfect home and move, because I can't get that all-important bandwidth.

about two weeks ago
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Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

Sarten-X Re:Alternate view (353 comments)

This is Slashdot. We'll take any excuse we can to get outraged.

about two weeks ago
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AirMagnet Wi-Fi Security Tool Takes Aim At Drones

Sarten-X Re:Makes Perfect Sense (52 comments)

It's a crappy story, but the real threat is that cheaply-available drones are an easy way to bypass physical security layers.

Apparently, this update just adds specific identification for the Parrot AR, providing sysadmins with information about its location and video stream.

about two weeks ago
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Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

Sarten-X Re:let me correct that for you. (617 comments)

If you looked at libertarian socialist societies them you'd likely find they are less likely to cheat thanks to a high degree of social trust. Also, in a capitalist society, you'll find that the rich are more likely to cheat.

[citation needed]

I'd more easily believe that the libertarians would cheat more, because they assume the rules don't prevent it, and that rich capitalists would actually cheat less, but they'd exploit every nuance of the rules to their advantage.

about two weeks ago
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New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

Sarten-X Re:Warrants are supposed to be narrow (150 comments)

Let's fix it: a nosy neighbor reports you to the police for luring the underaged to your house, and so the cops get a warrant and search it.

A tip usually isn't enough for a search warrant. There's a spectrum of how much proof is required. A search requires less than an arrest, but there's still a significant threshold to pass.

So they remove all your photo albums and find the pictures of you sitting on a couch made out of bags filled with marijuana

...and that might be enough for a new search warrant to look for drug paraphernalia.

and bring you up on drug charges

...which would require an arrest warrant, with an even higher burden of proof, and a prosecutor that thinks they can make a case on more than just a few pictures of you not even taken in your house.

That's not very Scottish, either.

about two weeks ago
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New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

Sarten-X Re:Warrants are supposed to be narrow (150 comments)

It always seems like you're on the side of the government, whether it's the NSA or what have you.

Often, yes. You see, I actually understand the design of the US government. It's built to continually revise and improve, and it's been doing so for over 200 years. On the other hand, your opinions have been forming for less than a century, and since you're only a single person, you've undergone far fewer revision cycles, all of which have been from a very limited perspective.

For example:

Also, any warrant asking to just search the entire house should be rejected, too.

Is that just, though? It may appeal to your sense of privacy, but would it appeal to your sense of justice to know that any criminal could effectively conceal evidence by simply putting it in a large enough box? How would your neighbors feel about it, knowing that you could be seen kidnapping their children, and the police could do nothing because they wouldn't know what room they're being held in?

Sure, the examples are hypothetical, but the underlying issue of deciding what is right predates your consideration by quite a long while. The best we have so far is a system where certain activities are absolutely permitted, and certain activities are absolutely forbidden, and deciding which category a given situation fits into falls to a judge whose primary interest is to bring the legal precedent closer to a state that everyone considers to be fair. It's not perfect, and likely will never be perfect, but it's closer than having Random Internet Guy simply decide that privacy trumps justice, because he says so.

about two weeks ago
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New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

Sarten-X Re:Warrants are supposed to be narrow (150 comments)

The investigation is for money laundering. It's not hard to imagine setting up a laundering channel months or years in advance, by conspiring with someone to accept a transfer of money and forward it on to some other conspirator.

about two weeks ago
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New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

Sarten-X Re:Warrants are supposed to be narrow (150 comments)

Specific place to search: the email account (or the house, in my example). Specific items to be searched for: evidence of money laundering (or a murder weapon).

about two weeks ago
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New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

Sarten-X Re:Warrants are supposed to be narrow (150 comments)

Could be. If several witnesses see an assailant bludgeon someone on the sidewalk with an obscured object, then run into a house, the police may not be able to ascertain exactly what the weapon is, but they'd certainly have enough evidence for a search, and they could keep a record of any potential weapons seen in the house in case forensics can later get them a better description of the weapon used. As in this case, they'd have to get as narrow a warrant as possible, specifying that they're searching for the weapon and not, say, evidence of tax fraud. Of course, if they found readily-visible evidence of such fraud during the course of the authorized search, they are not required to ignore it.

about two weeks ago
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New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

Sarten-X Re:Stop copying hard drives too! (150 comments)

A neutral 3rd-party should copy the drive, perform an appropriate search, then erase the copy.

The police are that neutral third party. Clearly they are not you, and they are also not the people who accuse you (or the prosecutor representing the people).

A large part of our justice system is focused on keeping them neutral. The fact that the investigators did not erase their copy, but rather retained it, is why the appeals court in that case reversed the judgement.

about two weeks ago
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New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

Sarten-X Re:Warrants are supposed to be narrow (150 comments)

Ummm, isn't that PRECISELY the point?

No. The point of the fourth amendment is to prevent investigators from harassing people looking for reasons to prosecute and persecute.

What seems to be happening here is that there is already evidence enough to justify a search, but the details are not specific enough to be able to ask someone else to execute it. As a physical analogue, there's enough evidence to search a house for a murder weapon, but the investigators don't know it's taped to the bottom of the third dresser drawer. In the case of email, I'd expect the investigators don't know all aliases that might have been used, or in what timeframe the relevant emails might have been sent.

about two weeks ago

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