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Edward Snowden is ...

Simply Curious Re:Wrong by law (601 comments)

So, someone stumbling upon information is allowed, but someone seeking after that information is not? If someone believes that what the NSA does is objectionable, then the best course of action is to put a stop to it. If that means taking the job deliberately to expose it, then that is still the moral route.

about a year ago
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UK Passes "Instagram Act"

Simply Curious Re:lol wut? (230 comments)

I would love to see this used as a legal basis for abandonware.

about a year ago
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NYC Police Comm'r: Privacy Is 'Off the Table' After Boston Bombs

Simply Curious Re:no problem (508 comments)

Privacy vs. no privacy is a false dichotomy. In my own home, I can reasonably expect that no one will observe me. On a podium in front of a crown, I can reasonably expect that everyone will observe me. Walking down the street, I can reasonably expect that people will see me, notice me, but that I will be one of many, unrecognized other than by those who directly know me. It is this last expectation that is violated by omnipresent cameras.

about a year ago
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Stephen Hawking Warns Against Confining Ourselves To Earth

Simply Curious Re: Earth isn't delicate, (414 comments)

A plague of locusts swarms outward, consuming everything in its path. A swarm of humans, on the other hand, would swarm outward, terraforming planets and increasing habitability. One leaves the area less able to support life, the other leaves the area more able to support life. The pristine state of the universe is not the best for supporting life, and so we should feel no obligation to keep it as it is.

about a year ago
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Court: 4th Amendment Applies At Border, Password Protected Files Not Suspicious

Simply Curious Re:It's still smart to look clean... (194 comments)

Or, since you're already going that route, just use a one-time pad.

about a year and a half ago
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A New Version of MS Office Every 90 Days

Simply Curious Re:Changing the "every other version sucks" model? (292 comments)

Still disliking screen real estate being used by uselessly large, annoyingly nested menus that change on the fly? Yup. I can use either. That doesn't mean that both are equally well-designed.

about a year ago
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Is the Concept of 'Cyberspace' Stupid?

Simply Curious Re:Exception to Betteridge's law!! (292 comments)

Physical distance, while providing a valid metric, is useless for gaining any understanding. Packet transmission time is not a constant, and so does not satisfy the requirement for a metric.

about a year and a half ago
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Is the Concept of 'Cyberspace' Stupid?

Simply Curious Re:Exception to Betteridge's law!! (292 comments)

Not really sure what gives that impression. Neither adding nor scalar multiplication of a server location yield anything useful. I cannot think of a way to define an inner product between two servers, nor any relevant information that could be gained from it. What would be the distance between two servers? In short, a mathematical space has nothing to do with the concept of "cyberspace".

The closest mathematical structure I can see would be an unordered set whose elements are individual servers, but this is so generic of a structure as to be entirely useless.

about a year and a half ago
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Is the Concept of 'Cyberspace' Stupid?

Simply Curious Re:Exception to Betteridge's law!! (292 comments)

Metaphors are there to give insight into concepts that are difficult to understand. If a metaphor provides correct understanding by giving intuition based on the metaphor, then it is a good metaphor. If a metaphor provides wrong answers when applying it, then it is wrong as a metaphor.

about a year and a half ago
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Is the Concept of 'Cyberspace' Stupid?

Simply Curious Re:Exception to Betteridge's law!! (292 comments)

It isn't a lack of imagination that causes one to see cyberspace as idiotic. Rather, those who see cyberspace as a useful concept have a lack of understanding. It is an incorrect metaphor, because it implies connections that do not exist. For example, it implies that someone must be physically located somewhere in order to affect a location. It implies that a person cannot affect multiple locations at the same time. It implies that a person is capable of littering without the permission of the owner. It implies that borders can be enforced. It implies that there are neighboring areas. (My address being 1 away from yours implies that I have the house next to yours. My IP address being 1 away from yours implies that they were purchased as part of the same lot.)

I'm all for metaphors when they are accurate and increase understanding. When they are outright wrong, then the metaphors are idiotic, and should be dropped.

about a year and a half ago
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AT&T: Don't Want a Data Plan for That Smartphone? Too Bad.

Simply Curious Re:An iPhone just to make calls? (798 comments)

I have wifi available everywhere except in transit. I have no need of a data plan whatsoever. It would be nice, however, to have my phone be more user-friendly, able to notify me of mail, and have a few games on it for passing the time.

Of course I would be doing more with it than just making calls. However, I would not be doing more on the network than making calls. The requirement of a data plan prevents that.

about a year ago
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The Scourge of Error Handling

Simply Curious Re:The third option (536 comments)

I would say that it is much less verbose in the case where errors need to be propagated upward. This is exactly why not every function call has a try/catch around it. Suppose I am writing a function that accepts a filename, interprets the text in the file, and then returns some modified version of the text. With error codes, I would need to explicitly check that open_file has returned a valid file handler. I can't do anything without a valid file, so I then need to propagate the error upward. On the other hand, with exceptions, I could simply not catch that exception from open_file. I can't do anything to recover, so I should let the exception propagate upward to wherever called me, and then let them deal with it.

about a year and a half ago
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USPTO Head: Current Patent Litigation Is 'Reasonable'

Simply Curious Re:Can we have a little less bias in the summaries (153 comments)

While there may be two sides to every story, I do not believe that they should be presented equally. I would expect someone who insists that the time is a cube to be laughed out of any rational discussion. Equally, I would expect someone who insists that our patent system is the "envy of the world" and that increasing the prevalence of lawsuits are evidence of a well-functioning patent system to be laughed at.

about 2 years ago
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Apple Patents Page Turn Animation

Simply Curious Re:The facepalm is strong with this one. (192 comments)

The problem is that there is then no indication of which way the page has turned. If I had a physical button, I would agree. However, with touch screens being the current fad, there is ambiguity in knowing whether the machine knows which direction you have turned the page. An animation as the page turns displays this.

about 2 years ago
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A Free Internet, If You Can Keep It

Simply Curious Re:4th A applies to email and posts hosted elsewhe (102 comments)

Words that are arranged are not owned. Rather, you are given a limited monopoly on the reproduction of those words, for a limited time. This monopoly is society's way of saying "Thank you" for having contributed to society, and is the way by which incentive is given to enrich society.

You are not given absolute control, nor is the control you are granted to last forever.

about 2 years ago
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The Privacy Illusion

Simply Curious Re:What people really want (198 comments)

I would argue that there is a right to privacy, and that it exists regardless of whether it is explicitly mentioned in the Constitution. As a justification, I point to the Ninth Amendment, which states "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." A right does not need to be in the Constitution to be had. No rights are granted. Rather, the Constitution states that rights already existing may not be infringed.

about 2 years ago
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The IDE As a Bad Programming Language Enabler

Simply Curious Re:Word (586 comments)

In addition, you then do not need to have the deadly fear of public attributes that permeates Java programming. If I want a boolean configuration for some class, I can just make a public boolean value to be modified. If I later decide to add some extra processing whenever that value is changed, I can make it into a property, without changing the outward-facing interface. This change from publicly accessible variable to a function is impossible in Java without changing the calling code, and so you end up with the common wisdom that everything must be accessed through getters and setters in case you want to change it later.

about 2 years ago
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Election Tech: In Canada, They Actually Count the Votes

Simply Curious Re:Perfect (500 comments)

I count once, and come up with a number. I count again, and come up with a different number. Obviously there is a margin of error in my counting.

about 2 years ago

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