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The 2014 Hugo Awards

jratcliffe Re:Informative winners list (83 comments)

"the book is shit, or pompous, or written specifically to woo often sophisticated, pedantic jury members into giving the award."

Over 3,500 people voted on the Hugos this year, not exactly a tiny jury.

21 minutes ago
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Comcast Training Materials Leaked

jratcliffe Re:Just don't deal with Americans (235 comments)

Basically, yes. There's also the problem that the interests of the consumer and the entity which writes the franchise agreements (the city) aren't always aligned. For example, if city X said "when the franchise comes up for renewal, we'll waive the franchise fee (or eliminate the requirement that you show city council meetings, etc. etc.) if you cut prices by the same amount," most cable companies would go for it (would effectively lower their price, helping volume, without taking any net cash out of the cable company's pocket). Oddly enough, cities aren't inclined to do that.

There are also equality issues involved. Take Baltimore, for example. Verizon wanted to only build FiOS in certain areas (wealthier areas, where they can expect higher take rates, and better returns) - Baltimore said "no, you have to cover the whole city," Verizon said "well, then, we're not going to do it at all, never mind."

Seems to me the most straightforward solution to the natural monopoly problem is municipal fiber builds, but they're expensive, and there's a legitimate debate about whether they're a good use of tax money. Certainly, though, the FCC's move to override state laws that try to prohibit them is the right move: if the citizens of city X decide they want to build a municipal fiber network, I'd be pissed off if I were the cable company or telco in town, but, fundamentally, I've got no real grounds to complain, any more than a cab company would have a right to complain if a city launched new public bus service. It might not be a _good_ expenditure of tax dollars, but it's certainly something that a city _can_ decide to spend its dollars on.

yesterday
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Google Receives Takedown Request Every 8 Milliseconds

jratcliffe Re:Faulty logic (146 comments)

"There are plenty of citations available to back my statement."

Really? There are plenty of citations to support your claim that "most requests have nothing to do with illegal content. The overwhelming majority of the take down requests are for censorship purposes"?

I went ahead and googled (as you suggested) "DMCA bogus requests." Google has 33k hits. Even if every one of those represents a case of censorship, and even if, for every link, there are 1,000 cases of censorship that don't come up, you're at 33 million cases of censorship. That compares to (at the current rate) 2.9 billion takedown requests a year. So, again, even assuming (absurdly) that there were 33 million cases of censorship, and they all took place in the past year, then 99% of takedown notices were related to illegal content, not censorship.

Are there claims where people try to misuse the act? Certainly (a few are cited below).
Are there cases where the claim isn't justified (either because the content isn't what it was thought to be, the algorithm screwed up, or the use was fair use)? Certainly.
Is there any evidence to contradict the idea that the the vast, vast majority of takedown notices are targeted at infringing material? Not that I've seen.

yesterday
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Google Receives Takedown Request Every 8 Milliseconds

jratcliffe Re:Faulty logic (146 comments)

Not in the slightest. There certainly are requests that constitute censorship (BronsCon's case appears to be). The claim made was that "most requests have nothing to do with illegal content." I'm really skeptical that anywhere near "most" of those one million links have anything to do with censorship.

yesterday
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Google Receives Takedown Request Every 8 Milliseconds

jratcliffe Re:Very, very easy to fix (146 comments)

You should have stuck around until after the credits - they went hat-map-tree-GI-MAP! Totally blew my mind.

yesterday
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Google Receives Takedown Request Every 8 Milliseconds

jratcliffe Re:Faulty logic (146 comments)

I'm also incredibly skeptical, unless s.petry includes defines fighting copyright infringement as censorship.

yesterday
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Google Receives Takedown Request Every 8 Milliseconds

jratcliffe Re:Very, very easy to fix (146 comments)

All takedowns have to be sworn under penalty of perjury. Next time google gets one that points to a page with no infringement (just happened) (just happened again) (oops, and again, okay, I'll stop counting now) whoever sent it needs to be prosecuted for perjury. The infringement notice bots would be shut down in 10 minutes when those behind them are suddenly facing prosecution.

As I've said time and again: we don't need a new law - we need to enforce what we've got.

They're under penalty of perjury, but only that the submitter is acting in good faith that they actually own the copyright to the content. If there's a link to a torrent of Cap_America_Winter_Soldier.mp4, and Disney files a takedown request based on the filename, they're fine, even if it turns out that the file is actually four public domain images of a baseball hat, a map of the US, a tree with snow on it, and a GI, all on a loop for two hours.

yesterday
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Comcast Training Materials Leaked

jratcliffe Re:Just don't deal with Americans (235 comments)

You're very welcome! Doesn't really make things any better for the consumer (still stuck with just one cable company), but at least you know why. :)

yesterday
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Comcast Training Materials Leaked

jratcliffe Re:Just don't deal with Americans (235 comments)

Except in a VERY few instances (essentially, housing developments), there are no exclusive franchises or right of way agreements in the US. They're (again, with a very small number of exceptions) prohibited by law (see 47 U.S.C. 253(a)). Comcast and Time Warner cable don't compete with each other because, again, it's a terrible business model. The standalone operators (RCN being the best example) who have tried it have almost universally gone bankrupt in the process. The only ones who have done it/are doing it (i.e. Verizon with FiOS, Google with Google Fiber) are either (a) not making a return on their investment (i.e. if they were a standalone business, they'd have gone bankrupt), or (b) have been able to negotiate very attractive terms without things like citywide buildout requirements, allowing them to cherry-pick areas where the service can be profitable.

yesterday
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Comcast Training Materials Leaked

jratcliffe Re:Just don't deal with Americans (235 comments)

Those rights of way ARE available to other providers, and to new providers. You want to build network and launch your own ISP? Go right ahead. You'll have to show the municipality that you have the financial resources to be viable, of course, and, if you want to offer TV service, you'll need to reach a franchise agreement (including a revenue share with the city, typically free services to schools, city hall, etc. etc., and public access channels), but you can do it. You may also need to agree to wire up the entire city, rather than just certain sections of it, but that's negotiable.

It's a terrible business model, and you're almost guaranteed to lose money, but you can do it.

yesterday
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Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

jratcliffe Re:Microsoft Products "Just Work" (568 comments)

I certainly agree with you on Mac vs. Windows. Again, though, that's not really the key issue. The key issue is MS Office. For the vast majority of the world, their computer is the applications they run. They don't know, and they don't care (and shouldn't have to), what the OS is. If MS Office ran on Linux, then that would be the optimal solution, but it doesn't.

yesterday
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German Intelligence Spying On Allies, Recorded Kerry, Clinton, and Kofi Annan

jratcliffe Re:Bottom line... (168 comments)

Much as with credit ratings. All voluntary transactions include a mutually agreeable arbitrator in case of contract dispute. If you fail to fulfill your contract, the arbitrator marks it as such on your contract fulfillment rating. Fail to abide by the arbitrator's corrective directives, and your contract rating falls more severely, to the point you have to accept very bad terms on future contracts until you repair your rating. That's the anarcho-capitalist, totally government-free version of the solution.

This scenario doesn't do much for the party injured, however. If your roofer caused your house to collapse, the fact that it's going to be a black mark in his book, and make it harder to get contracts going forward, doesn't help you keep the rain out of your living room.

2 days ago
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Nuclear Regulator Hacked 3 Times In 3 Years

jratcliffe Skydrive? (66 comments)

"to convince them to click a link that led to a malware site hosted on Microsoft's cloud storage site SkyDrive, now called OneDrive"

Why on earth would the NRC (or any company or government entity, for that matter) not block access to all cloud storage providers, except those which are explicitly authorized?

2 days ago
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Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

jratcliffe Re:Microsoft Products "Just Work" (568 comments)

And "normal people" are used to it because as sheep, they are familiar with the product.

This highlights a key problem: thinking of people whose jobs aren't inherently technical as some form of lower species.

For the vast majority of people, computers, tablets, smartphones, etc. are TOOLS. People want them to work. If you're going to change from what they're familiar with, and what they're used to, there better be a good reason, _from their perspective_. Saying "it's open" gets you nowhere - people don't care about the principle. Saying "it's cheaper" might make them put up with the change, but only in the same way that a technical person might put up with turning the office a/c up to 80 degrees to save on electricity.

2 days ago
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Sniffing Out Billions In US Currency Smuggled Across the Border To Mexico

jratcliffe Re:Wont matter (158 comments)

That wasn't TSA, it was CBP (Customs and Border Patrol).

about a week ago
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Sniffing Out Billions In US Currency Smuggled Across the Border To Mexico

jratcliffe Re:Clearly... (158 comments)

Um, HSBC _is_ a foreign bank.

about a week ago
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Sniffing Out Billions In US Currency Smuggled Across the Border To Mexico

jratcliffe Re:Wont matter (158 comments)

There's no limit on how much cash you can carry across the border - you just need to declare it if you have over $10k.

about a week ago
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DEA Paid Amtrak Employee To Pilfer Passenger Lists

jratcliffe Re:How is that possible? (127 comments)

Amtrak runs from Philly West to Pittsburgh, and from there north toward Cleveland and south toward DC. Lots of stops through central PA. There's also commuter rail (SEPTA) in the Philadelphia area.

about two weeks ago
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The Fiercest Rivalry In Tech: Uber vs. Lyft

jratcliffe Re:Regulations (125 comments)

In NYC, they have. Both Uber and Lyft in NYC operate as standard "black car" service companies, using only Taxi & Limo Commission licensed vehicles and drivers. They don't operate the "ride sharing" part of the business here.

about two weeks ago

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