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FCC Fights To Maintain Indecency Policy

TomXP411 Re:Great news everyone.... (602 comments)

Here are specific answers to your questions...

So, do tell me, upon what do you base this belief that the government holds such a right?

Courts have ruled over and over that obscenity isn't protected speech.

What makes you think I want to see "disgusting filth"? Is the scene from Titanic where Rose poses for a portrait without a top on "disgusting filth"? Further, what damage do you feel would be caused to children who see this? What makes you think all nudity should be treated the same as hard-core pornography?

I didn't say it was. I don't care about specific content. I care that the FCC (or someone) has the right to block obscene or indecent content. Quite frankly, I don't think that her being nude added anything to the scene, and I think that 90% of the nudity I've seen in movies is unnecessary - it's there purely to sell tickets. I don't think nudity is automatically pornographic, however. But my opinion of nudity doesn't matter; what matters is whether someone has the right to make that determination

The government didn't take away James Cameron's right to present Titanic over the air without censorship?

He has every right to present it, but having the right to make and present a movie is not the same as having the right to transmit it over the airwaves. The constitution preserves the right to speech, not radio transmission.

So what are you saying here? Due to the fact that a child *might* stumble into adult programming, none should be allowed?

I'm saying that you have the right to watch what you want, but I don't think that right extends to the public airwaves.

Put it any way you want, but I don't think the right to free speech includes all forms of expression in any place at any time. When it comes to specific forms of "expression", there are things you're not allowed to do in public, and there's nothing more public than shooting a radio transmission from the top of a mountain with 50,000 watts of electricity.

more than 4 years ago
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FCC Fights To Maintain Indecency Policy

TomXP411 Re:Great news everyone.... (602 comments)

Should a 9 year old be able to buy Hustler at the local grocery store? Of course not.

If a minor can't buy Hustler magazines at the newsstand. How is that not a constitutional issue, under your definition? Doesn't Larry Flint have the right to free speech?

Courts have stated over and over again that "free speech" doesn't mean indecent or obscene material. Yes, people can and have gone to jail for downloading obscene material, even though the constitution protects free speech.

more than 4 years ago
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FCC Fights To Maintain Indecency Policy

TomXP411 Re:Great news everyone.... (602 comments)

So what's the better alternative... no regulation of television content at all? Allow any unregulated content on the radio (which has no V-chip)?

Again, I'm not talking about specifics of what's allowed or not. I just don't think that removing the FCC's ability to enforce standards set up by the Federal government is a good idea.

You want to change those standards? I'm all for common-sense changes, if need be. But to eliminate them altogether just doesn't seem like a good idea.

more than 4 years ago
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FCC Fights To Maintain Indecency Policy

TomXP411 Re:Great news everyone.... (602 comments)

I guess that what it comes down to is that broadcast television and radio are free: they are free, unencumbered signals that can be picked up by any compatible receiver. Because of that, the FCC, which is the legal entity established to govern the airwaves, has jurisdiction.

Cable signals can't be: you don't have the legal right to jack in to a cable system without permission, and so the cable company gets to decide what they carry.

By the same token, the city I live in gets to say what we can do in a public park, and I get to say what you can do in my house...

And I like it that way. Someone needs to be in charge, or it'll be a nightmare.

more than 4 years ago
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FCC Fights To Maintain Indecency Policy

TomXP411 Re:Great news everyone.... (602 comments)

I don't think a graphic depiction of someone getting shot in the chest is any more acceptable than a graphic depiction of a woman baring her chest. However, our society does have standards of decency, and the government has the legal right to uphold those standards. Your indignation doesn't change that fact. You have every right to watch whatever disgusting filth you want, as long as you do it where kids can't see it. Nobody's taking that right away from you, but if you think it's acceptable expose children to the kind of material that can only be found on pay TV channels, then there's something seriously messed up about your grasp of right and wrong.

more than 4 years ago
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FCC Fights To Maintain Indecency Policy

TomXP411 Re:Great news everyone.... (602 comments)

Your argument hinges on the idea that society should have to seek to avoid indecent material, that nudity, sex, profanity, and violence should be the default, and that parents should have to take proactive measures to avoid those things in the media.

But that's not the case. State and Federal laws make it clear that children should not be exposed to that kind of material. It's against the law to sell a Playboy to a minor, and it's against the law to expose children to "immoral acts".

Broadcast television and radio are different than cable television for one simple reason: its signals are unencrypted and available to all. There's no way to control who can see and hear those signals, as long as they have a receiver, and even my 6 year old daughter knows how to work a radio and a television set. In fact, she had found my portable TV and tuned to a broadcast of The Family Guy before I even knew she had it.

The First Amendment says you can have channel 651, but decency standards say that you have to take extra steps to get it. You have to ask your cable company for a box that can decode that encrypted signal, and once you have the ability to decode that signal, you have the legal obligation to prevent minors from watching that material.

Imagine for a moment that the industry did police itself. Would that be a better situation than we have now? Would there be less indecent material on the air? Considering how many times Howard Stern was fined for content on his show, I think we can all agree the answer would be "No."

I don't like government over-regulation more than anybody else, but I just don't see a solution that works without the involvement of the FCC (or a government body that does the same job.)

more than 4 years ago
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FCC Fights To Maintain Indecency Policy

TomXP411 Re:Great news everyone.... (602 comments)

You're missing the point.

PUBLIC airwaves belong to us, the people of the United States, and Federal law states that television is a public service, not a commercial venue.

Part of being a public service is requiring that all TV and radio stations do a certain amount of public service programming. They're also required to hold to certain standards of decency, to ensure that television programming is safe for anyone to watch at any time. Federal law requires this.

If you want to see and hear material the rest of us consider offensive, then you have plenty of options. You can buy DVD's, you can subscribe to cable, or you can find it on the Internet. But children should not be exposed to excessive violence, sex, or profanity on the PUBLIC airwaves.

more than 4 years ago
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Why You Shouldn't Worry About IPv6 Just Yet

TomXP411 Re:Torrenting (425 comments)

I know. My point is that they can be completely eliminated. Why pay for a VoIP service when you can go completely P2P?

more than 4 years ago
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Why You Shouldn't Worry About IPv6 Just Yet

TomXP411 Re:VPNs for privacy, SIP for connection management (425 comments)

I don't think VPN technologies are necessary for small applications - such as getting to your home computers while at work. I would never suggest eliminating VPN's for corporate or government access, since there's a lot to be gained by tunneling. As you pointed out, privacy is the biggest deal.

But I still think the killer app for IPv6 is VoIP. I am not confusing SIP and Skype. I know the difference. In fact, services like Skype, AIM, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, and ICQ could all be replaced by IP Messaging clients.

The biggest advantage to IPv6 is that you CAN give every computer a global address, even if it's behind a firewall. You can even set up portable addresses, so that you can take a mobile device to a different network, and it'll still be available. If every device can be available directly via IP, without the need for NAT traversal, then most of the functionality of SIP goes away. All the connection-management stuff doesn't have to be done by an SIP server; it can just as easily be done directly between the two clients. And you don't need a PBX to route data; we have things called routers that are already smart enough to not route 500 calls on a pipe designed for 24 calls.

I used to frequently make voice and video calls on NetMeeting. It did a fantastic job of providing VoIP services over an IP network with no need for a presence provider. There's no reason that a stand-alone IP phone couldn't be designed for similar peer to peer communication, rather than relying on a SIP provider to route the call. (Keep in mind that I'm NOT talking about PSTN interconnectivity. That would certainly still require a third party to route the call.)

Poking around the Internet, I'm still seeing similar services: things like IP Messenger and WASTE can perform pure P2P communications with no presence provider. WASTE is particularly interesting: users exchange public keys between their clients to authenticate each other.

more than 4 years ago
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Why You Shouldn't Worry About IPv6 Just Yet

TomXP411 Re:Torrenting (425 comments)

Well, leaving torrenting itself aside, for a moment, I can think of several things that would benefit from the expanded address space and NAT-free environment IPv6 would give us. VPN as we know it would also become unnecessary, since you could simply directly access the servers you need to talk to. In fact, a lot of the technologies we use in our current network infrastructure rely around the need to conserve address space. Even instant messaging gets easier, since you wouldn't need a presence provider: just the host name for your buddies' endpoints. But I think my favorite application is VoIP. Rather than mess with VoIP providers and SIP proxies, we could simply hook our phones to an IP network and connect directly to a host name. Forget phone numbers, just call me at tomxp411.somedomain.com. Right now, the only reason we need SIP servers for IP to IP calls is to act as a NAT traversal proxy. IPv6 gives us all that for free. Come to think of it, I can see why providers are resisting this. It pretty much trashes the traditional model for voice calling; if you could call anyone via direct IP messaging, what is there left for the phone companies to do but be dumb pipes?

more than 4 years ago
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Cambered Tires Can Improve Fuel Economy

TomXP411 Re:No fuel efficiency bonus (317 comments)

The core problem with this idea is that the tire is essentially a cone. So when the tire is rolling in a straight line, the outside edge will be turning faster than the inside edge. This will produce more tire wear and more rolling resistance than a cylindrical tire, sort of defeating the purpose.

The best way to improve handling would be to design a suspension system that introduces camber when the vehicle rolls into a turn, but does not introduce extra camber when the vehicle is carrying additional weight. GM attacked this problem 20 years ago with their automatic ride system: the car is equipped with air shocks and a compressor that automatically levels out the rear end when you put a load in the trunk (or the back seat).

more than 4 years ago
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iPhone Jailbreak Uses a PDF Display Vulnerability

TomXP411 Re:GSview (289 comments)

Yeah, I regretted that particular turn of phrase as soon as I said it. :-) I got sidetracked while writing up the post, and I keep forgetting that /. doesn't have an Edit button.

Actually, it's kind of weird that one of the most frequented sites on the web doesn't have better commenting and editing capabilities...

more than 4 years ago
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iPhone Jailbreak Uses a PDF Display Vulnerability

TomXP411 Re:PDF (289 comments)

Probably not; the jailbreak crowd has been around for a while... the fact that they're using a PDF vulnerability amuses me, though. That font bug has been around since the beginning; I remember hearing about it more than 2 years ago, and apparently Apple never fixed it.

It just goes to show you how trivial it is to break even supposedly secure operating environments.

more than 4 years ago
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iPhone Jailbreak Uses a PDF Display Vulnerability

TomXP411 Re:PDF (289 comments)

Yeah... I probably could have worded that better. :) My point was that PostScript can be used to create digitized versions of documents, but it's primarily a printer and image language, not a language for creating portable documents like PDF is.

more than 4 years ago
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iPhone Jailbreak Uses a PDF Display Vulnerability

TomXP411 Re:PDF (289 comments)

I thought it was "Portable Document Format", so-named because everything needed to display the document (except the viewer) was built in to the file. HTML relies on external fonts and images. Word processor files also rely on external fonts. PostScript files may not render on certain devices, such as non-PostScript printers. Image files are too large and bulky, especially when stored in high enough resolution to be useful for printing (at least 300dpi, which would be 7.5 megapixels (22 MB RAW) for a single page. On the other hand, PDF's (theoretically) render the same on any OS and hardware: it should look reasonably similar on a screen and on any printer...

more than 4 years ago
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Too Much Multiplayer In Today's Games?

TomXP411 Why is it always competitive? (362 comments)

I've played a lot of games on consoles, PC's, handhelds, and in the arcade.

I keep seeing the same problems with multiplayer: they often ARE added in as an afterthought, and on too many games, the multi-player play is missing some vital element of the single-player mode. A big problem for me is when a game doesn't have a co-op mode, or when co-op is somehow gimped.

For example, Doom was probably the first effect multi-player game with deathmatch and co-op play, but co-op mode would suffer when you ran out of ammo: you'd spawn at the start point and try to take down massive monsters with the shotgun. Despite that, my friends and I loved playing through the game in co-op.

On the Playstation, I loved the Need for Speed series, but I got frustrated by the fact that I had to play through and unlock tracks in single-player mode before I could compete on them in multi-player mode. Mario Kart on the Wii is the same way. Why is there no multi-player quest mode that lets my kid and I unlock new tracks by playing together?

On the other hand, when you get in to MMO's, they tend to require multiple users in order to complete objectives. You can't do everything there is to do in most MMO's if you're not part of a regular group.

I think there are places for both styles of play, and they often overlap. Diablo is a good example of a game that handles both MP and solo play well: you can play co-op, PVP, or solo and have a good experience in any of the three modes. It could be better (I can think of better ways to scale difficulty than the way Diablo does it, for example), but it may be the only game I can think of that has balanced game play in any mode.

I'd like to see more developers follow this example.

more than 4 years ago
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Cell Phone Interception At Def Con

TomXP411 Re:Just be careful (95 comments)

You're almost right. You can intercept non-encrypted, non-cellular communications.

Actually, the FCC has specific laws in place regarding phone calls on cellular networks. You cannot, under any circumstances, listen in to a cell phone conversation without permission. That is why all radio scanners sold in the United States are required to block the AMPS cellular phone frequencies.

Aside from cell phones, it's legal to intercept any open transmission you can receive, as long as it's not encrypted. I would assume you need permission of one or both parties to decrypt encrypted communications.

From what I can tell, the OP is going to be using a femtocell modified base station that will basically act as a cellular tower. For the duration of the presentation, anyone within range of the base station will have their calls routed through his base station, rather than their regular cellular carrier. The legality of this is dubious, but it is a security seminar and presentation. It would be far safer (but less dramatic) if they staged the call, rather than actually pulling up the conversations of random people at the convention.

more than 4 years ago
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A Windows Phone 7 For Every Microsoftie

TomXP411 Re:They should expand the program (298 comments)

That only makes it easiest for people who are already familiar with those tools. If you're familiar with Java then perhaps you'll prefer Android

I'm sorry, but the Eclipse GUI development environment (I don't mean Eclipse's GUI, but the environment for building GUI's) can't hold a candle to Visual Studio for ease of use.

more than 3 years ago

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