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Comments

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Wi-Fi Patent Victory Earns CSIRO $200 Million

freepay Re:Patent trolls (267 comments)

They're NOT patent trolls at all. $200 million isn't much, and CSIRO can make good use of it.

But there is a problem when major industry standards like 802.11 a,g and n can somehow end up patented, after years of work and negotiation by many different companies and individuals, who now have to pay to use their own collective, public work. Whether the problem in this case is carelessness by the companies, or corruption of the U.S. patent system, or both, I don't know.

In any case we do have a problem, and it could bite much worse in the future.

more than 4 years ago
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3 of 4 Charges Against Terry Childs Dropped

freepay Hazardous-duty pay for computer security work? (189 comments)

Clearly Terry Childs does not belong in jail. Maybe what happened is that San Francisco's mismanagement finally realized that having only one person with access to so critical a network was intolerable. But then, instead of discussing a way forward, it began with a secret investigation, as if Childs was a criminal, and the situation escalated from there, with both sides handling it badly. There are enough cases like this, of sysadmins and security experts charged with hacking for doing their jobs after a dispute with management, that professional education should include a section on how to stay out of trouble. Either that, or add hazardous-duty pay if jail is an unavoidable risk of this work.

more than 5 years ago
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English DJ Claims Wi-Fi Allergy

freepay Clothing could be designed to block the signal (515 comments)

If it is real, then long underwear with fine wire mesh built in could block most of the signal. A cap or other reasonable head gear could also be designed. Maybe fabric could be woven with some of the fibers conducting.

The problem does seem easy to test. And if anyone can reliably feel when a wi-fi signal is on, in a shielded laboratory, then it would be easy to research the problem, starting by changing the frequency. Perhaps a biological mechanism could be discovered.

But there's some systemic issue that makes it hard for people with industry-related illness complaints to be treated with respect. I saw this when our office moved into a new space with strong a strong formaldehyde odor. Two people complained of illness; the boss couldn't take it seriously, and a lawsuit resulted. I don't know the outcome, but such cases often get thrown out, because the judge assumes the complaint is a crock.

more than 5 years ago
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Rosetta Stone Sues Google For Trademark Violation

freepay Re:Yes but it is a valid concern (213 comments)

One personal experience on the other side: I was looking for OpenDNS, and thanks to a Google ad found a competitor I'm glad to know about -- since it advertises strength worldwide, maybe useful in future travels. In the end I stayed with the free Open DNS service. It's been great for improving WiFi reception -- especially at college coffeehouses, where DNS usually seems to be the critical bottleneck. So I'm not jumping the line on anyone else, but probably improving their WiFi connection as well.

more than 5 years ago
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Audio Watermarks Could Pinpoint Film Pirates By Seat

freepay Why local theater required assigned seats? (336 comments)

Maybe that's why years ago a new Philadelphia movie complex started selling assigned seats for the movies. It was awful; a staffer actually made me move back to a noisy crowd of patrons, when the theater was more than 80% empty. I haven't been back, so don't know if they are still doing it.

more than 5 years ago
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Windows 7 Lets You Uninstall IE8

freepay IE removal will not affect MS monopoly (474 comments)

How many users will bother to uninstall IE? Microsoft will safely keep its corporate monopoly by having IE show up automatically on new systems. Corporate IT policies will do the rest. It's just easier to keep what's already there -- and safer to standardize and not let anyone install anything else on their own. MS need only sweeten its deals with Dell, etc. -- or end up with an IE-less system that's even less reliable than Windows is already.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Google hit by "Earth Day" spam

freepay freepay writes  |  more than 5 years ago

John S. James writes "A Google search for
"Earth Day" Corvallis
has 7 of the first 10 results pointing to sales pages that have little to do with Earth Day, as of 5:30 a.m. Eastern time on April 18 (Earth Day). A few hours ago it was worse; 9 of the first 10 results of the above search were not real. Somebody registered a bunch of .us pages, filled them with ads, and got them a high page rank on Google. Corvallis (Oregon) may have been picked because it's known as a "green" city.

It's unlikely that the perp made any money. People looking for Earth Day events are unlikely to respond to aimless sales pitches."
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Big Skype-surveillance leak in China

freepay freepay writes  |  about 6 years ago

John S. James writes "From John Markoff's New York Times article: "We were able to download millions of messages that identify users," said Ronald J. Deibert, an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto. "This is the worst nightmares of the conspiracy theorists around surveillance coming true. It's 'X-Files' without the aliens."
See http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/02/technology/internet/02skype.html"
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freepay freepay writes  |  more than 6 years ago

freepay writes "In a weird case with implications for personal autonomy, The Daily Pennsylvanian student newspaper reported that the University of Pennsylvania wanted Google instead of Microsoft to replace its crash-prone email system — but selected Microsoft instead. According to the article, the key issue was that Google did not want to include applications such as Blogger within the contract.

"'We felt that it was appropriate to keep a separation between the information that administrators would have access to in Google Apps and some of the more consumer applications that students would want to use and control in their personal lives,' Rajen Sheth, product manager for Google Apps for Education, wrote in an e-mail."

"Microsoft, on the other hand, was extremely easy to work with...""
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freepay freepay writes  |  more than 7 years ago

freepay writes "According to The Daily Pennsylvanian (the student newspaper at the Ivy-League University of Pennsylvania, January 24, 2007), all students anywhere with .edu email addresses and Windows will soon get free access to music through Ruckus Networks, which has 2.1 million Microsoft-DRM-protected songs. Those with (free at U Penn) Ruckus registration will also get free TV shows and movies. Movies can only be downloaded on campus, even by paid users.

Ruckus promotes itself as a legal way for college students to get free or very low cost downloads. It is not available at any price to the general public.

Problem: Industry grants special relief to a large elite (college students, some professors, staff, and former students) to help it get away politically with forcing unworkable DRM on everybody.

http://media.www.dailypennsylvanian.com/media/stor age/paper882/news/2007/01/24/News/For-Missed.Tv.Sh ows.Ruckus.Has.It.Covered-2671063.shtml
http://www.upenn.edu/computing/music/faq.html
http://www.ruckusnetwork.com/"
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freepay freepay writes  |  more than 7 years ago

freepay writes "For grassroots ecommerce, online accounts could REPRODUCE at their owner's command, inherit dozens or hundreds of services and settings at birth, and EVOLVE in everyday use — as each owner's changes are passed on like mutations, and the most useful accounts are most likely to reproduce. This design will help independent musicians and others make a living from their online art and information, without DRM. Instead, anyone in the world who can pay online could buy access to the art in bulk, and sponsor prepaid free downloads for social networks of their choice. The sponsor could email a URL that is a clickable, public account containing any number of prepaid downloads (and a message from the sponsor, if desired). Anyone can recharge this URL, which therefore can circulate and pay the artists indefinitely, while finding new fertile ground for their work. So pirate copies must compete against legitimate free copies that do pay the artists, which fans will usually prefer.
See http://www.smart-accounts.org/"

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