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CS Professor Announces Run For VT State Senate On a Platform of Internet Polling

SiMac Re:A fantastic idea (226 comments)

Week 1: "Zimmerman's guilty, hang him!"
Week 10: "Oh, maybe he wasn't, unhang him. We can't? Oh..."

While I certainly don't agree with GP's (sarcastic) position, this is really an argument against capital punishment, which, (barring invasive mind-reading technology) will always kill innocent people.

more than 2 years ago
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New Targeted Mac OS X Trojan Requires No User Interaction

SiMac Re:Missing from summary (322 comments)

I'm not sure what you're talking about here. If you have access to a user's account, you can set a binary to run when a user logs in on Linux without administrator privileges. You can call gksudo to put up a dialog asking for administrative privileges so you can modify other users' files as well, or just put up the dialog yourself and hope the user enters their password. This is exactly the same level of security as on OS X. If there's a reason this doesn't work on Linux, you have not communicated it.

It's unclear to me where the .so comes in, as opposed to a regular binary, but you are aware that you can set LD_PRELOAD and LD_LIBRARY_PATH to whatever you want, right?

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Life After Firefox 3.6.x?

SiMac Re:Waterfox 64bit (807 comments)

Waterfox is a bad idea. It's like 32-bit Firefox, but with comparatively little testing. A test failure on 64-bit Windows isn't reason to back out a patch on mozilla-central, and the number of nightly/aurora/beta testers is much smaller than the number of testers for 32-bit Firefox. Firefox's JavaScript engine is actually as a 32-bit build than as a 64-bit build. If I were you, I'd wait until there's an official 64-bit build, unless you have some very good reason not to.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Life After Firefox 3.6.x?

SiMac Re:Why the anxiety? (807 comments)

Of course, I think I can't upgrade because the latest firefox doesn't support Windows 2000 anymore, and this machine running XP probably won't happen (I don't think XP SP3 works on 512MB anymore).

Fx 10 supports Windows 2000. There was talk of dropping it in some later release, but that hasn't happened yet, and Fx 10 ESR will be supported for a full year.

Of course, on other systems, I play around with profiles a lot, and FF4 got rid of the profile manager. They made it separate trial download, and I'm not sure if they ever re-incorporated profile manager back in.

This simply isn't true. I do development work with Firefox and I don't remember the profile manager ever disappearing during the entire Fx4 beta cycle. It's definitely been there from Fx4 final to Fx10.

more than 2 years ago
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Google Chrome: the New Web Platform?

SiMac Re:No meat to this story (290 comments)

"Google has offered Native Client and Dart to compete performance-wise, but those are non-standard, Google-specific technologies..."

The conditions surrounding the use of these technologies are no different then SPDY, which is being adopted by Amazon and Mozilla, and is on its way to becoming standardized.

No one wants to use Dart because it doesn't provide any benefits that couldn't also be provided by extending JavaScript, which is something Mozilla, MS, and Google are all working on. This is why no one else wants to implement it, and Google knew no one else wanted to implement it before it was even announced. I'm not even sure if Google intends for Dart to be used, as opposed to using it to try to push specific features through TC39.

No one wants to use Native Client because it will tie the web to specific CPU architectures. Comparing this to ActiveX is appropriate in some way, because it puts additional restrictions on what devices can access the web. If Native Client had come of age at the same time as JavaScript, real smartphone platforms would be probably still not exist, since websites would require x86 processors to run. Intel has only recently announced x86 chips that can provide decent performance while fitting the power profile of a mobile device, and only after getting their ass kicked for many years as the mobile market has continued to grow.

more than 2 years ago
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Google Chrome: the New Web Platform?

SiMac Re:Apps, native clients - what's the difference? (290 comments)

Gotta agree, native networked apps have some big advantages - fast local processing, local gfx elements, cached local data, richer GUI etc.

The only advantage NaCl has is that it's faster. localStorage supports cached local data. Graphics and UI are the same as any other web app.

But a NaCl (or similar) app could work just as well as a mobile app does.

A web app could work just as well as an NaCl app does, except that anything computationally intensive would either happen more slowly or need to be done server-side. I don't think this is really a huge limitation. It seems better to me than locking all mobile devices to one platform forever.

more than 2 years ago
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Google Chrome: the New Web Platform?

SiMac Re:What technical advantages? (290 comments)

If NaCl would become a standard across browsers, then we would also have an explosion in new, proprietary, closed-source web libraries and applications that work only on certain platforms. The current state of the web forces just about everything to be open source and work everywhere. This is a good thing!

On top of this, if you are doing something so processor-intensive that empscripten or a transpiler isn't satisfactory, then you probably shouldn't be doing it in a web browser. NaCl isn't platform-independent, and PNaCl isn't any less of a hack than emscripten, just a bit faster.

more than 2 years ago
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Unauthorized iOS Apps Leak Private Data Less Than Approved Ones

SiMac Re:Profit. (179 comments)

Why are we talking about contact lists? According to the article, very few App Store and Cydia apps leaked your address book. The only things more than 1% of apps "stole" were your device ID and your location. And WRT to the address book, the difference between the App Store and Cydia isn't statistically significant.

more than 2 years ago
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Unauthorized iOS Apps Leak Private Data Less Than Approved Ones

SiMac Re:Because there isn't a logical fallacy (179 comments)

Works for sale under copyright (or otherwise available to the public and controlled by copyright) are not private. My contact details are. After all, you do NOT get copyright on your contact details, do you.

Therefore there is no logical fallacy in decrying privacy violation but decrying piracy's mischaracterisations by the content industry.

I agree.

There's also the little fact that piracy isn't stealing, so even if you want even stronger copyright, you will only be honest if you refute the statement that piracy is stealing.

I also agree. But you are completely ignoring the point I'm trying to make, which is that submitting device information to a server described in this article isn't stealing either and it's equally misleading characterize it as theft no matter how you feel about it.

A third reason is that none of these, either your misrepresentations, or the facts, are logical fallacies.

Look up "false analogy" in your dictionary. If it doesn't have it, try Wikipedia.

more than 2 years ago
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Unauthorized iOS Apps Leak Private Data Less Than Approved Ones

SiMac Re:Profit. (179 comments)

Don't be obtuse. Whatever your stance on obtaining a copy of a more or less freely available* item of media, it's completely different from obtaining data about an individual without their consent.

I completely agree, but I also think that obtaining data about an individual without their consent is completely different from theft, especially when that data comes in the form of a device ID, which is not really about an individual, but about a device that the individual owns.

more than 2 years ago
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Unauthorized iOS Apps Leak Private Data Less Than Approved Ones

SiMac Re:Profit. (179 comments)

I'm not trying to equate invasion of privacy with piracy. They aren't the same thing, and I don't think they are.

I'm asking why many people make the (correct, in my view) observation that piracy isn't stealing, but then make the same logical fallacy when it comes to privacy.

In particular, I think it's absurd that GP thinks that submitting the device ID, which isn't much more personally identifying than an IP address, is theft.

more than 2 years ago
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Unauthorized iOS Apps Leak Private Data Less Than Approved Ones

SiMac Re:Profit. (179 comments)

Why is it that the same people who claim that pirating movies isn't stealing claim that copying your data is?

(And in this case, "steal your data" mostly means send your device ID to a server, which has arguable legitimate uses.)

more than 2 years ago
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Apple Launches New Legal Attack On Samsung

SiMac Re:Apple vs Samsung. (490 comments)

Consider what Samsung has done for LCD technology. There are many other areas where they've innovated similarly. Apple's hardware "innovation" is basically deciding how to arrange the components they buy from the people who are actually doing new science, like Samsung.

Apple does very little R&D compared to many other companies, but outside of a few areas (pharmaceuticals come to mind), private enterprises do very little R&D compared to research institutions. As a scientist, this pisses me off to some degree, but I've learned to live with it.

more than 2 years ago
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Apple Launches New Legal Attack On Samsung

SiMac Re:More to follow? (490 comments)

Lax attitude towards patents? SOFTWARE SHOULD NOT BE PATENTED. Google just happens to be on the right side of that issue.

I happen to believe that marijuana should be legalized, but that doesn't mean I can expect to walk down the street smoking weed without getting stopped for it.

more than 2 years ago
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Apple Launches New Legal Attack On Samsung

SiMac Re:Voice Search (490 comments)

It makes Android that much more dangerous for Apple, because it's the antithesis of what Apple stands for, and how Apple operates. A free (speech) and open system will always triumph over a closed system assuming the same features. All parties know this.

Then why are most people's desktops running Windows?

more than 2 years ago
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Apple Launches New Legal Attack On Samsung

SiMac Re:Voice Search (490 comments)

Though what is interesting is, *for Apple to do this*, must mean that they are scared. Very scared. Can't compete with inferior tech, so let's litigate.

So is Motorola Mobility (aka Google).

I don't like it either, but I don't think it indicates anything besides that corporations are scumbags, which we already knew.

more than 2 years ago
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TSA Makes $400K Annually In Loose Change

SiMac Re:Jeff Miller is stupid (289 comments)

But then the TSA just asks for $400,000 more from the federal budget. No less money goes to the TSA, but $400,000 more goes from taxpayers' pockets to the USO.

If the point is to discourage the TSA from taking the money, why not just make them put it back in the federal budget?

more than 2 years ago
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TSA Makes $400K Annually In Loose Change

SiMac Jeff Miller is stupid (289 comments)

Why doesn't he just create a bill to give $400,000 of taxpayer money to the USO? It's the same thing financially as redirecting this money that currently goes into the general budget to a private organization, but I guess it sounds better the way he puts it?

Then again, $400,000 is not that much money in the first place. He and a couple wealthy friends could almost certainly cover it.

more than 2 years ago

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