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Comments

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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

Theaetetus Re:Slashdot comments indicative of the problem (961 comments)

There's also the part where she's declaring harassment because people are trying to find out the truth about whether or not she unethically used an intimate relationship with a games journalist to promote Depression Quest. The fact that she had an intimate relationship with Nathan Grayson is a big deal, especially considering that they officially started dating less than a week after Grayson's article was published, and there is evidence that the relationship may have existed before that but was kept away from public view.

Ah, yes, would that be the games journalist who never wrote a review, or even a single word, about Depression Quest? The journalist who wrote an article about a reality show, months before Depression Quest was even created, and hasn't published anything since?

4 hours ago
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

Theaetetus Re:What lessons are the video games teaching? (961 comments)

Mod this up please...

Not sure why. Most people on Slashdot should realize that screenshot of a web browser showing a page that says "12 seconds ago" doesn't necessarily mean that the corresponding message was created 12 seconds before the screenshot, but just that the page was refreshed 12 seconds after the message... and then the page could have sat, displayed from local RAM, for minutes or hours before a screenshot was taken.

4 hours ago
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Google Wins $1.3 Million From Patent Troll

Theaetetus Re:That's all? (33 comments)

Just $ 1.3 million for attorney's fees? And I've been telling clients they should have $ 3 million set aside for fees if they want to pursue a patent lawsuit.

But, I guess this is more breach of contract than a real patent suit, so maybe the "low" fees aren't too surprising.

That - this suit didn't really have anything to do with patents, there was no claim construction or Markman hearing, there weren't prior art searches, invalidity contentions, expert reports, etc. It was just a straightforward breach of contract.

9 hours ago
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Google Wins $1.3 Million From Patent Troll

Theaetetus Not really over patents (33 comments)

This was a breach of contract suit over a settlement between Google and Beneficial, under which Beneficial wasn't supposed to bring infringement suits against Google customers. They did, hence the breach. The settlement included a provision under which a prevailing party could get attorney's fees after a breach, and this was just the judge awarding those fees.

That's not to say that there aren't people winning money from patent trolls - there are, in other cases, and the lower standard for awarding fees to the defendant is a result of the Supreme Court's decision in Octane Fitness last April. But this isn't one of those - this is more like Google suing the guy who paints the fences at the Googleplex for doing a shitty job, and then getting attorney's fees under their existing contract.

12 hours ago
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DoT Proposes Mandating Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communications

Theaetetus Re:the purpose is tracking cars (248 comments)

Forget the happy horseshit about super-safe robot cars. We don't have those, and they won't work when we do. This is about the ability to track all the vehicles in the world, either by private entities who will backdoor the info to government and political groups, or straight-up security force tracking. Not just here, but all over the world. We are building turnkey police state infrastructure. If you can't grasp this, you might want to contemplate how privileged you are not to ever feel endangered by cops or polical opponents like Scientology or the Moonies. Do not give the monkeys the key to the banana plantation. Once you are in a worldwide prison, there is no escape.

Now go on and tell us about how the fringe on the flag means that the country is really a corporation.

yesterday
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DoT Proposes Mandating Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communications

Theaetetus Re:WRONG (248 comments)

This is the wrong way to go about it. The government should not be involved in this at all.

Mandate the standard not the use of the technology. i.e. "IF you are going to implement this safety feature, communication with the other vehicle must happen via RF (or whatever) on X frequency. Pulse Y indicates speed, pulse Z indicates direction..." etc...

Did you not even bother reading the summary, much less the article? "NHTSA believes that V2V capability will not develop absent regulation, because there would not be any immediate safety benefits for consumers who are early adopters of V2V"
Under your proposal, why would any consumer pay extra for a car that "implement[s] this safety feature", considering it doesn't work unless everyone else around has one too?

Anti-government nuttery aside, this actually is one of the areas were regulation and required use make sense.

yesterday
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U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

Theaetetus Re:The death of leniency (587 comments)

The problem with this is that if all cops feel like they're being audited all of the time, they're less likely to let you off the hook for a minor violation. Then since they have to charge you with something, and there's supporting evidence, you're not going to get a plea or reduction from a mandatory sentence in court.

I know that doesn't sound like a big deal but cops let thousands of people off per day on minor things where people just need a warning.

Frankly, I'm a little less concerned with the "problem" of cops letting off people who do commit minor infractions, than the problem of cops falsifying evidence or destroying exculpatory evidence, beating or torturing suspects, and lying on police reports in order to arrest people who haven't committed any crime. You getting out of a speeding ticket for going 60 in a 55 is less important than Joe Innocent getting arrested for walking in the wrong part of town while black, having a gun with defaced serial numbers planted on him, and suddenly facing 10 year felony charge with an "option" to plead guilty and only get a year (and a felony record).

yesterday
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California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

Theaetetus Re:Why hasn't it happened already? (233 comments)

iPhones have had the ability to be remote wiped for a long time. Yet I have not heard of a pandemic of hacker-led mass bricking of iPhones.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/27/...

Now you have.

According to the Ministry the criminals used two “well-established schemes.” One of them was hacking users’ email accounts and elaborate phishing pages to glean victims’ Apple ID credentials. The second scheme – which may or may not related to the Oleg Pliss scam – allegedly bound devices to prearranged accounts and used “various internet resources to create ads.” Those ads promised access to Apple ID accounts that contained “a large amount of media content.” As soon as someone accepted the offer and linked their device to the account, attackers hijacked the devices.

Phishing to obtain email credentials and then presenting yourself as the legitimate user, or offering access to free media to suck in greedy people. Social engineering - not the same thing as hacking the bricking/remote wipe protocol.

2 days ago
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Is Dong Nguyen Trolling Gamers With "Swing Copters"?

Theaetetus Re:Hye, how about this... (112 comments)

Not quite what's happening here. These aren't people just copying designs. They're usually trying to pose as the original work, including the developer name, to trick people into installing their version.

Slight modification to the GP post, then:

Put another way, the ask is that Google/Apple create a private patent and trademark system.

3 days ago
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Airbnb To Hand Over Data On 124 Hosts To New York Attorney General

Theaetetus Re:Of course they'll downplay it.. (145 comments)

OK, but in both cases you need a fire alarm, right? And in neither case is someone legally allowed to disable the alarm, right?

I still don't see any difference.

From the post you're replying to:

The requirements for a hotel should be stricter. If you are renting a room for the night, you should not have to check the batteries in the fire alarm. If you have a three year lease on an apartment, it is reasonable for that to be your responsibility, rather than the landlords.

Add to that that hotels have mandatory annual inspections, with a fire inspector who walks through and checks all of the alarms and extinguishers. You don't do that in your apartment, I'm sure, and yet it's something a hotel tenant relies on.

3 days ago
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Smartphone Kill Switch, Consumer Boon Or Way For Government To Brick Your Phone?

Theaetetus This story paid for by AT&T and Verizon... (298 comments)

If the authorities want to stop you from calling, they can already tell the providers to block your IMEI. They can also track you as you move between towers, listen in to your phone calls if they want, and read your SMS messages. But seriously, the providers can already "brick" your phone - otherwise, how do you think they shut off service when you stop paying your bills? How do you think they know to charge you for your long distance calls? And similarly, the police/NSA/CIA/FBI/whomever already has all of those abilities, simply by telling the phone company to give them whatever they want.

Enabling a kill switch is not really creating a new kill switch... It's simply giving you, the purchaser, the right to tell the phone company to block the IMEI using the same tools that law enforcement does now. It literally costs them nothing to allow, since it already exists, but, as noted in the Summary, will result in a huge drop in the number of re-purchased phones after theft/breakage... phones that are frequently re-purchased at full price, due to the multi-year contract lock-ins. This is all about money, not freedom.

about a week ago
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WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon"

Theaetetus Re:Diplomatic pouch? (299 comments)

Do the British regularly search suspicious human-sized boxes coming out of the Venezuelan Embassy?

If the Venezuelans send these boxes regularly, and the British don't usually search them, then the Venezuelans could slip Assange into one of the boxes.

Or, they could throw each box into temporary quarantine in a vacuum chamber (or one filled with an inert gas) for 10 minutes "to be safe against the unintentional transportation of undesirable bacteria". How long can Assange hold his breath?

about two weeks ago
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WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon"

Theaetetus Re:Diplomatic pouch? (299 comments)

There must be a way to do it. Maybe they could appoint Assange a diplomatic courier.

Once they ship a big box, with a diplomatic seal on it, the host country can't open it. It's like a Fourth Amendment protection.

That's like saying the police can't search you without a warrant, because it's a fourth amendment violation. Sure they can, they just can't use anything they find against you in court. For example, if they search you and find a crack pipe and destroy it but never charge you with possession, you're going to have a really tough time alleging a violation of your civil rights without first admitting that you were carrying.

Similarly, the host country can open the diplomatic bag, find the drugs/weapons/person, and destroy them... leaving the sending country in the unenviable position of either letting it go, or claiming that their rights were violated regarding a diplomatic bag that itself violated the Convention. It's like those Russian tanks that Ukraine destroyed - sure, it was an act of war to blow them up... but it was an act of war for them to be in the Ukraine in the first place, so Russia sure isn't going to be the one to complain.

about two weeks ago
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WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon"

Theaetetus Re:Diplomatic pouch? (299 comments)

Suppose they drove a van into the embassy, Assange got in (or didn't get in), and they drove it out to an airport.

Your plan is close, but you would actually need a man-sized diplomatic pouch, large enough for Assange to crouch within, with the zipper fully closed with a diplomatic seal. He'd need to stay in the pouch until his plane was outside territorial airspace.

The "diplomatic pouch" concept comes from the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, art. 27:

Art. 27(3): The diplomatic bag shall not be opened or detained.

However, the next section kills your plan:

Art. 27(4): The packages constituting the diplomatic bag must bear visible external marks of their character and may contain only diplomatic documents or articles intended for official use.

Diplomatic pouches have been opened in the past when they contained, for example, mines, drugs, and even a person - and they weren't violations of the Convention, because they were no longer diplomatic pouches.

about two weeks ago
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Every Day Is Goof-Off-At-Work Day At the US Patent and Trademark Office

Theaetetus Re:Shenanigans (327 comments)

I should've also noted his use of "originality", a copyright term that has no meaning with patents. And "manager" instead of primary or SPE.

about two weeks ago
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Every Day Is Goof-Off-At-Work Day At the US Patent and Trademark Office

Theaetetus Shenanigans (327 comments)

As a reviewer for USPTO, I can tell you... I just diarrhea though my queue, spending less than 10 seconds on a typical application... 2: Applications that are a refile of a previously rejected one.

No Examiner calls themselves a "reviewer"; it takes more than 10 seconds even to approve an application; and no Examiner would refer to continuations or RCEs as "refiles".

Suspicious post from anonymous poster that just happens to confirm every anti-patent bias is suspicious.

about two weeks ago
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A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

Theaetetus Re:Belief (379 comments)

I was a block away from the Beersheva preschool hit in Dec 2008 which first taught me about what rocket attacks were like. It sounded like a suitcase dropping on the ground... Here's a picture from Wiki of that Qassam hit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P......

You must have a much heavier suitcase than I do.

about a month ago
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A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

Theaetetus Re:Subject bait (379 comments)

Hamas fires inaccurate artillery rockets, unlikely to actually hit anything

Huh? What are you smoking? They're 100% gaurunteed to hit something as what goes up must come down.

"That's not my department." - W. von Braun

about a month ago
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Google, Dropbox, and Others Forge Patent "Arms Control Pact"

Theaetetus Re:Double edge sword. (73 comments)

TinyTower and DreamHeights are very different than Theme Hotel and SimTower. Two of these "games" (aka psychological manipulators) are designed to get you to buy inapp purchases, the other two are actual games.

Oh, come on, that's a distinction without any teeth. I'd say the bigger difference is that the first two are one unit per level, while the latter two allow horizontal expansion. The fact that two have microtransactions and the other two don't is mostly irrelevant.

about a month and a half ago
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Google, Dropbox, and Others Forge Patent "Arms Control Pact"

Theaetetus Re:Clear Cut Collusion (73 comments)

This is a clear cut instance of collusion. They should be forced to continue to defend their patents or to release the patents to everyone on the same terms. Patent groups, from this shit to MPEG to BluRay to whatever, destroy innovation more than any individual patents do.

Collusion isn't bad, in and of itself. Say you hire someone to paint your house - you're technically "colluding". The issue is when it becomes an anti-trust violation. And the DoJ has looked at patent pools and determined that they're not always automatically anti-trust violations. They certainly can be, but the mere fact that the participants are "colluding" doesn't make it any worse than any other contract. Instead, there has to be things like illegal patent extension or unfair licensing based on market share or some other feature.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Supreme Court unanimous: replanting patented seeds is patent infringement

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  about a year ago

Theaetetus (590071) writes "Farmer Vernon Bowman used Monsanto's patented Roundup Ready (herbicide-resistant) soybean seeds for his first planting of the season, but had a bright idea for his second planting: he bought commodity seeds from a grain elevator knowing that most of his neighbor farmers also used Roundup Ready seeds. Bowman planted those seeds and used Roundup herbicide to kill off all of the non-resistant seeds, leaving him with only Roundup Ready seeds, which he then replanted. When Monsanto found out, they sued for patent infringement.

Bowman argued that the doctrine of patent exhaustion applies: similar to the copyright "first sale" doctrine, once a patented article is first sold, the patent owner loses further rights with respect to that item. According to Bowman, since the beans were sold to the grain elevator, he can purchase and replant them freely, right?

Not so, says a unanimous Supreme Court: "Under the patent exhaustion doctrine, Bowman could resell the patented soybeans he purchased from the grain elevator; so too he could consume the beans himself or feed them to his animals. Monsanto, although the patent holder, would have no business interfering in those uses of Roundup Ready beans. But the exhaustion doctrine does not enable Bowman to make additional patented soybeans without Monsanto’s permission (either express or implied).""

Link to Original Source
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Illustrated Guide to Apple-HTC Patents

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Theaetetus writes "Gizmodo has a illustrated guide to the patents Apple is asserting in the pending Apple v. HTC infringement suit. Readers should bear in mind that what is shown, however, is the title, abstract, and representative figure from each patent; the claims, which define the invention, are not shown, so immediate claims of obviousness based on the titles should be taken with a grain of salt."
Link to Original Source
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5th Amendment and PGP: are passwords testimony?

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Theaetetus writes "In a ruling in favor of privacy advocates, a federal Magistrate has quashed a subpoena that would have forced a defendant in a child pornography case to reveal his PGP password. "If [the defendant] does know the password, he would be faced with the forbidden trilemma: incriminate himself, lie under oath, or find himself in contempt of court," the judge said. Under prior case law, courts have distinguished between requiring a defendant to produce a key to a safe, which is constitutional, and requiring a defendant to reveal a safe combination, which is "testimonial" evidence covered by the 5th Amendment. More here and here."
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DNA co-discoverer claims blacks less intelligent

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Theaetetus writes "In a move that will surely raise angry debate, James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, has claimed that "black people are less intelligent than white people and the idea that 'equal powers of reason' were shared across racial groups was a delusion." Criticism has been widespread, with some anti-racism groups calling for Watson's remarks to be looked at in the context of racial hatred laws. Watson has previously found controversy with pronouncements that sex drive is linked to skin color, that "stupidity" could one day be cured through selective breeding, and that exposure to sunlight could make women slutty."
Link to Original Source
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Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Theaetetus writes "In an interview with USA Today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed there is "no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." He then added that it had less space than a Nomad and was lame."

Journals

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Submitted: Sci-Fi channel pulls Arnold movies

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  about 11 years ago From a story in the BBC, the Sci-Fi channel has cancelled an All-Arnold Schwarzenegger day that was planned prior to the announcement of his candidacy. Spokeswoman Kat Stein said "we're pulling our Arnold marathon in deference to the electoral process," citing rules that say that all candidates must be given equal airtime.

Instead of the All-Arnold day, viewers will see a day of California disaster films.

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Apple iPod AIFF playback issue (which Apple won't admit to)

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  more than 11 years ago Just in case this story isn't accepted by the editors...

I've recently been involved in a round of returns/repairs with Apple for a 20 GB iPod centering around an issue that is common to all models, including the new ones... but an issue that Apple has conveniently avoided mentioning, and instead taken misleading approaches when dealing with it.

This is a problem that not many people will encounter, but can be very annoying to those who do. When playing an uncompressed audio track (WAV or AIFF) from an iPod, it will stop every 2 minutes and 17 seconds for a few seconds, then continue playback... For another 2:17.
WAV and AIFF playback is supposedly supported: Audio formats supported: - Mac: AAC (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 Variable Bit Rate (VBR), WAV, AIFF, Audible (Mac only) - Windows: MP3 (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 Variable Bit Rate (VBR), WAV [from Apple's iPod spec sheet] so what's the deal here?

The explanation: 2:17 of stereo 44.1kHz, 16-bit audio (what's encoded on a regular CD) is nearly exactly 24 MB... It seems that this is the size of the RAM cache in the iPod (it's actually 32 MB, but the other 8 are used for the system and temporary data, such as volume and EQ settings).
Apparently, what happens in the iPod is that it reads 24 MB at a time off the hard drive into the RAM cache, and then shuts down the hard drive (to prevent skips and save battery). Understandable and reasonable. However, here's the clincher - it only spins up the hard drive and refills the RAM cache AFTER it's emptied.
Rather than doing a refill at say 23 MB or so, giving you a seamless playback, they wait until the buffer is completely used, and then they dump it and do a full refill.

Most people won't notice this issue, since at 160 kbps MP3, you've got 25 minutes before the RAM buffer needs refilling, and a two second skip every 25 minutes is not noticed by most people (particularly since most people will skip to a new song at some point in there, thus resetting the buffer).

However, we've got a couple of misleading things here: Apple never actually lists what the RAM cache is. Instead, they list 'up to 25 minutes of skip protection', without mentioning what the rate used for that is - it could be much more, if you're using mono 32kbps.
Second misleading point is calling it 'skip protection' at all. The other place that term is encountered is in portable CD players - which read-while-writing to the RAM buffer, and have ever since the beginning (back when the RAM buffer was only 5 seconds or so).
Third misleading point is the statement that the iPod supports AIFF and WAV playback... when they should specify that that's only if your files are under 2 minutes in length.

The iPod is still a good piece of hardware, but this cuts down its usefulness as a high-quality playback device, and should be noted by anyone interested in purchasing one for professional playback. Incidentally, none of this is mentioned yet anywhere on Apple's knowledge base.

-----------

UPDATE: Reportedly, this is fixed in Gen 3 iPods. I'm going to buy one and see.

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Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  about 12 years ago I guess I should introduce myself, really quick, just in case anyone ever reads this.

I'm a 24 year-old audio engineer currently working in the broadcast industry, with 11 years of professional experience within the audio industry (including studio recording and sound reinforcement). I'm the assistant chief engineer of a decent-sized radio group that serves as the NPR outlet for two major market cities. My work is mainly repair/maintenance of electronics, audio gear, and transmitters.
It's the most low-stress job I've ever had.

Aside from the fact that they're a rich non-profit and they pay well, they also appreciate me and my skills as a talented problem solver who can rush in and put out fires before they grow too large. Every day, I get to point to something (or several somethings) and say "I fixed that. It is better for my having been here." While the money is nice, that sense of accomplishment and respect (both self- and from other people) is highly valuable.

If you have any questions regarding audio, electrical engineering, RF, radio/television/film, production, or music, feel free to ask. If you have any opinions regarding politics, religion, or philosophy, feel free to debate.

Thanks,
-T

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