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FCC Backs Net Neutrality, Chairman's Full Speech Posted

dlthomas Smart-phones? (270 comments)

Will this apply to application restrictions?

While not phrased in terms of packets, Apple's prohibition of Google Voice and T-Mobile's ban of tethering apps are quite clearly designed to restrict traffic by application.

more than 5 years ago
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Placebos Are Getting More Effective

dlthomas Re:WTF (349 comments)

That guy misses the point.

There is an apparent change here, evidenced by the fact that new tests of old drugs are giving poorer relative results while giving similar absolute results.

It may be due to better testing methods. It may be that there was fraud in the earlier tests which has been gradually weeded out. It may be that people in studies are culturally more eager to please and so are (consciously or unconsciously) making larger lifestyle changes when they enter the study. It may be (as stipulated in TFA) an increased confidence in pharmacology leading to a larger impact of those "other less clear and tangible effects" that PalMD nods to. It is not simply representative of the failure of pharma to find worthwhile new drugs - the fact that old drugs wouldn't pass muster puts the lie to that. What is interesting is that standards have implicitly risen, and no one understands why. This is news, this is interesting, and this should be investigated.

more than 5 years ago
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MPAA Pushes Once Again To Close the Analog Hole

dlthomas Re:Like any partially treated wart (275 comments)

IMHO, a better strategy is a short, definite length (say, 14 years - the original maximum term?).

My reasoning is that we can therefore look at something that says "(C) 1994" and know that it's out of copyright, and something that says "(C) 1996" and know it's not (unless the author's placed it in the public domain earlier).

more than 5 years ago
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MPAA Pushes Once Again To Close the Analog Hole

dlthomas Re:Like any partially treated wart (275 comments)

They aren't bound by law to take the job in the first place. If they feel their duty to the shareholders in their position is requiring them to act unethically, they should quit. Their duty to the shareholders cannot require them to act illegally (although they may be replaced if they don't, in a lax regulatory climate).

more than 5 years ago
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How To Survive a Patent Challenge?

dlthomas Re:hire a lawyer IS a practicle step. (221 comments)

But if you know of a vaguely related patent, and in your expert opinion deem it to be unrelated, you're placing yourself at the mercy of the court - if they decide differently, you're liable for treble damages.

My understanding is that the "correct" thing to do is to hire a lawyer, before you set about inventing anything. Have them do a thorough search, and never look at any patents yourself until they expire.

Of course, this means that inventing anything costs at least the price of a patent lawyer, shutting out the small players - which is why patents should only apply to industries where the cost of research is so high that it dwarfs the price of the patent lawyer (so, y'know, NOT SOFTWARE) and probably not a few other areas as well.

more than 5 years ago
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Woman Says Officer Tried To Sell Her Stuff On Craigslist

dlthomas Conspiracy? (35 comments)

What would it be if he simply walked onto their property himself and hauled the stuff to the dump? It's conspiracy to do that.

more than 5 years ago
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How 136 People Became 7 Million Illegal File-Sharers

dlthomas Re:Story meaning? (313 comments)

It does not "obviously" amount to theft. It *is* illicit, and it may be immoral (see Free Rider Problem), but it is not theft. If I steal 10 M&Ms from you, you have 10 fewer M&Ms - not the case if I download your song, in which case you have less than you otherwise would have *if and only if* I would otherwise have paid for it. This clearly is not the case for, say, college students with tens of thousands of dollars "worth" of media on their hard drive.

As for legal uses of "file-sharing" technologies, well - how about the entire world-wide web? We're sharing files...

Specifically P2P file-sharing technologies? Linux ISOs and WoW updates, to name two common legal uses.

Finally, I for one have an emotional reaction to assertions that technology should be restricted unless I can make you understand what it is for - and I don't even personally use any P2P software at the moment.

more than 5 years ago
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Habitual Multitaskers Do It Badly

dlthomas Re:When I multitask... (386 comments)

That strip shows polling behavior, not interrupt driven. Interrupts are my preferred method of dealing with the world. How much time have you wasted checking email or Slashdot when there was nothing new? I know the figure is pretty high for me... That said, context switches are indeed expensive.

What I find works best for me is an unobtrusive notification, that I can address when I've wrapped up my current train of thought - the CS analogue would be a top-half/bottom-half split in my interrupt handler. The top half notices that my phone has beeped, and I schedule it for later.

more than 5 years ago
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Habitual Multitaskers Do It Badly

dlthomas Re:When I multitask... (386 comments)

A good example of why windows shouldn't steal focus, but rather irrelevant to the subject at hand...

more than 5 years ago
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Goldman Sachs Code Theft Not Quite So Cut and Dried

dlthomas Re:Holy JESUS (306 comments)

Actually, it's a little known fact that 1996 was only 6 days long.

more than 5 years ago
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Goldman Sachs Code Theft Not Quite So Cut and Dried

dlthomas Re:open source... Likely defence (306 comments)

To some degree you attack a straw-man here. The bewilderment expressed in these comments is at the apparent waste of resources - setting up a means of informing security when the burner is used is significantly harder than simply removing/disabling the burner, and no easier than selectively enabling it. I question the notion that burning CDs may have been a regular part of business - they surely don't quarantine a section of the office in response to routine behavior. It is precisely the fact that they went to such lengths and seem to care so much and yet aren't taking what seem to be more reasonable precautions that leaves us confused.

more than 5 years ago
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Goldman Sachs Code Theft Not Quite So Cut and Dried

dlthomas Re:Copyright law applies to internal distribution (306 comments)

I don't think it would. Consider the last sentence of the passage you quoted.

In this case, too, no GPL-covered code is being distributed under an NDA, or under any additional restrictions.

This is manifestly not the case when I am given a modified version of GPLed code and told I cannot distribute it.

Note specifically that in the examples above, it's a question of what someone agrees to do with code he has written. In our example, it's a question of restricting what someone agrees to do with GPLed code they were provided. If - a big if - the employees are taken to be recipients of the software, the employees are either implicitly licensed the software under the GPL or the company is in violation of copyright.

more than 5 years ago
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Goldman Sachs Code Theft Not Quite So Cut and Dried

dlthomas Re:Copyright law applies to internal distribution (306 comments)

Actually, I think it's only partially incorrect.

Point 6 of the GPL:

6. Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to these terms and conditions. You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein.

The question is whether an employee asked to use the software can be considered a "recipient" of the software. For this, I can see arguments both ways - and I do not believe it's been tested in court.

more than 5 years ago
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FCC Reserves the Right To Search Your Home, Any Time

dlthomas Re:Knowing Government "Intelligence"... (589 comments)

I've been saying for a while now that precedent should be taken as bug reports - if there is room for interpretation, the original law was unclear, and should be amended.

more than 5 years ago
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Should Developers Be Liable For Their Code?

dlthomas Deployment. (517 comments)

Liability should fall with whoever deploys the software - they are the only ones in a position to know of the potential downsides. Contract can shift liability after that point, and insurance can get involved at any point, but that's where it should start.

For FOSS, this means that you're using it at your own risk, unless you're paying someone to take that risk on for you (a business opportunity in its own right). This seems appropriate.

more than 5 years ago
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Trademarks Considered Harmful To Open Source

dlthomas Trademark is well founded. (226 comments)

Trademark exists to prevent fraud and protect reputation. Unlike data (protected by copyright, patent, and trade secret), reputation cannot be trivially reproduced - the value of a mark derives from its ability to inform, which evaporates if there are no restrictions on what the mark can apply to. While flaws in the current system are sometimes abused, and there is unquestionably room for improvement, the existence of trademark does not geometrically decrease the value in the system (as the other forms of "IP" do). I suspect this is why there is less railing against trademark than against copyright or patent - it's simply *less* broken.

more than 5 years ago
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How do you get to work?

dlthomas Walk. (887 comments)

Ten minute walk through the woods. Win.

more than 5 years ago
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Nerve-tapping Neckband Allows 'Telepathic' Chat

dlthomas Re:Oh great (205 comments)

Amusing, as I'm sure was the intent, but misleading. 419s, spam, and phishing are not people *pretending to send email* - they are actual email with fraudulent content (headers included).

more than 6 years ago

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