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AT&T Stops Using 'Super Cookies' To Track Cellphone Data

jthill Hear something similar from Verizon? Riiight. (60 comments)

They believe being "compelled" to carry traffic with the content of which theydecide to disagree is a violation of their first amendment rights.

If you're like me, you flat-out rejected that statement, on sight. Right? There is simply no way that statement isn't some overhyped overheated drama? Clickbait or karma whoring or somebody nursing a grudge?

about two weeks ago
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How To End Online Harassment

jthill Re:The right to offend ... (834 comments)

Talking about raping or killing someone isn't offensive speech, it's threatening to do bodily harm, which is illegal

I think part of the point -- well, no, it simply is part of the point, no "I think" about it here no matter what my .sig says -- that pretending anything not actually illegal must be allowed, is a position advanced only by exactly the sorts of people for whom open, unilateral, ostracism -- to the point of simply silencing them, deleting their posts and banning them by whatever identification can be mustered, without warning and without appeal -- is exactly the right thing to do.

To anyone feeling some outraged right to some civil response, to demand some accounting for ~oh, but what about those nasty nasty People Not Like Me, they're just as bad, what are you going to do about _them_~ ... fuck you. I don't care how you do it, kill yourself. There is no rationalization for what you do. Kill yourself. It's the only way to save your fucking soul. Suck a tailpipe, fucking hang yourself, borrow a gun from a yank friend, I don't care how you do it, it's the only way to rid the world of your evil fucking machinations.

But until you man up, finding some alternate way to silence you, to rid at least the public world of any trace of your utterly worthless self, is a perfectly workable, desirable and effective option. _That's_ the point here.

about two weeks ago
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Computer Scientists Ask Supreme Court To Rule APIs Can't Be Copyrighted

jthill Re:like my mom calling me a SOB (260 comments)

You're equivocating again. Still.. Stop. "API" is also idiom for headers nobody human ever looks at except to check their memory of facts, i.e. headers that let compilers and linkers connect code to an external (and valuable) implementation of the API itself. Nobody who habitually discusses these things ever gets confused, because the distinction, in context, is always clear to adequately rested and caffeinated professionals.

Oracle's copyrights on Java material subsist in its implementations of the Java API, and its descriptions of it, its expressions of it, each "fixed in a tangible medium" which can, hence, be, you know, copied.

There are many expository, meaningful descriptions of that API, from at least dozens of authors, "fixed" in a medium. They can be copied.

There are Implementations of that API, from maybe as many as a dozen implementors, "fixed" in a medium. They can be copied.

The API itself is an abstraction. Only descriptions or implementations of it can even so much as constitute a particular offering and arrangement of (purported) "facts" about it. You go find anybody a true "copy of the Java API" fixed in a tangible medium of expression, and then go find any scrap of a copy of it in Google's offering. Oracle already tried, with a hundred million dollars on the line. It, umm, it didn't go very well for them.

Copyright interest in any particular implementation or description does not grant Oracle a monopoly. Yes, the Java API itself is extremely valuable. It's good work. It can't. itself be copied. Expressions of it, descriptions or implementations of it, can be copied. Many, many different attempts to express that API can be and have been "fixed in a tangible medium of expression". The relevant ones are, demonstrably and generally obviously not copies of each other, utterly different attempts trying to express the same thing. Once you've fixed your attempt, your work, you've got your own implementation or description. Someone else comes up another, that's their version.

You might argue anything and everything that attempts to express that API is a "derivative work", and hence Oracle have copyright interest in every attempt at expression, every book, every implementation, every website, that takes a crack at it, that Oracle can demand whatever license fees they think they think they can cart off from every one of them. The only problem is,

The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material.

"Does not affect or enlarge the scope etc. of any copyright protection in the preexisting material." Oracle tried to find some, any, of their own preexisting material in Google's expression of the Java API. They tried. Hard. That, umm, that didn't go very well for them.

Go ahead and snipe all you like, I'm done. Oracle doesn't have a copyright on the API, they don't have a patent on it, nobody could confuse Google's offering for Oracle's (nobody who might conceivably be confused even knows about it, everybody else knows the difference) so whatever trademark interest they may have isn't being infringed.

about two weeks ago
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Computer Scientists Ask Supreme Court To Rule APIs Can't Be Copyrighted

jthill Re:correct, sort of. Claim that it's nothing (260 comments)

Except nobody with a brain is making that claim. Stop equivocating. The headers aren't the API you;re talking about. They don't even amount to a functional description of it. Nobody could produce a functional description of Java, of the real API, from the headers. Google didn't copy the API you're talking about. Google _implemented_ it.

A textual explanation of what you're talking about, a human-language text that explains the effects of using the parts, separately and in endless combinations, of a functioning Java implementation -- that's a genuinely valuable and creative piece of work. It's copyrightable. Google didn't copy it.

An implementation of what you're talking about, the code that implements something that fits that human-language description, that actually produces the described effects when you use those parts in those endless combinations -- that's a genuinely valuable and creative piece of work. It's copyrightable. Google didn't copy that, either. They wrote a new one, themselves.

You can't point to _anything_ remotely valuable that Google is distributing that they copied from Oracle. The one relevant thing they did actually copy is completely worthless by itself. It has no value. No one can use it, no one can start with just that and learn or build anything valuable, It isn't even an actual description of anything valuable. It's "this knob here", endlessly repeated. Whatever structure it has is absolutely mandated by the actually valuable parts they didn't copy, by a Java API description, which Google didn't copy, and Google's implementation of it, which they didn't copy.

The ISO has a copyright on its language standards. Language implementations have to use the standards' headers, the same names, the same class layouts, everything. By Oracle's logic, every language implementation on Earth (and no doubt Mars, by now) is violating the ISO's copyright. If it wasn't so utterly beneath contempt, it would be a farce.

about two weeks ago
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Computer Scientists Ask Supreme Court To Rule APIs Can't Be Copyrighted

jthill Re:As any developer worth their salt knows (260 comments)

You're equivocating. The headers aren't the API you're talking about.

You go ahead and try to learn or implement X or Open GL or Win32 given only bare, comment-stripped headers.

If Oracle has any copyright interest here, it's in those headers, and absolutely none of the value you're describing can be found there.

about two weeks ago
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Computer Scientists Ask Supreme Court To Rule APIs Can't Be Copyrighted

jthill Re:API was worth taking, risking (260 comments)

Yes, and when I stop by and eat at the Pantry downtown, it's usually very late or very early (the lines are far too long other times), there are often beggars outside who ask for money. It's easier and kinder to give them some. I set myself a limit of $5 a day for that kind of charity. If some self-entitled prick of a beggar demanded more than I'm glad to charitably give, I'd tell him to fuck off and walk on by. Oracle's demanding control as if there were a full implementation on offer, not something they couldn't get anyone to pay for if offered alone. Google certainly wasn't stupid enough to pay that kind of money, and now Oracle's whiiiiiiiiining about it.

about two weeks ago
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Computer Scientists Ask Supreme Court To Rule APIs Can't Be Copyrighted

jthill Re:A Google Engineer about APIs' importance (260 comments)

I propose other solutions, like a basic income and rolling back copyright.

Because nobody can get anyone to pay anything for what want to get paid for, right? Because it couldn't matter less how much precious and endearingly precocious effort you put into an API, it's worth exactly nothing without an implementation.to back it up. In combination with a good implementation, it's very valuable. In combination with a pile-of-crap implementation, it's a pile of crap. Alone, it's worthless. It's the 99%-perspiration part that has always constituted the valuable things in this world. Here. Have a Lollipop.

about two weeks ago
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Computer Scientists Ask Supreme Court To Rule APIs Can't Be Copyrighted

jthill Re:APIs can be creative works; we need another pla (260 comments)

The value in those APIs is not in the names and parameter types of the prototypes, it is in the semantics, in how they actually work. You'll notice that he did provide proof-of-concept implementations. Why would he do that, if the function-call prototypes had any considerable value on their own?

about two weeks ago
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Computer Scientists Ask Supreme Court To Rule APIs Can't Be Copyrighted

jthill Re:As any developer worth their salt knows (260 comments)

Because once you've got that, all the valuable work's done, right? Because what's left is just a SMOP?

Horse shit. As a copyrightable work, a bare API is grossly incomplete. With just the API, you've got _nothing_. It doesn't work. You can't make it work. You have to actually create or acquire the thing it describes to make it work. All of it. The converse is true, too. You have to have both parts to actually use the work. When judging whether copyright has been infringed, two of the major considerations are what fraction of the work has been copied, and what effect the allegedly infringing work has on the market for the original. It's simple: if I distribute _just_ the headers, nobody's going to want to come to me to get what I've copied, because it's a useless pile of shit without that implementation backing it. It's nothing. They get that part right along with the actual copyrightable work, for free. The part I copied resembles the whole about as much as a book's table of contents and index resemble the book -- Google even stripped the blurbs.

Personally, I think the EFF's concern (and the appeals court's distinction) are in error, that they lend credence to a distinction that has no right to so much as exist. The law says that fair use does not infringe. It doesn't say it's infringement but it's permissible. It says that fair use is not an infringement at all. It says that copyright does not, by statute law, extend to cover fair use. Alsup said you can't copyright APIs because they're simply functional descriptions, which aren't copyrightable. Whether or not the Supreme Court accepts his opinion on the legal basis, he's right: distributing just the API is also intrinsically fair use because it is intrinsically, by nature, wholly incomplete, to the extent that it's utterly unusable, completely unmarketable, of no value whatsoever without an actual work that usefully matches its description. Copyright simply doesn't have the reach to cover it.

about two weeks ago
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Labor Department To Destroy H-1B Records

jthill Re:US Citizenship (190 comments)

So the government can say?

So the government can set wages?

about a month ago
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When Snowden Speaks, Future Lawyers (and Judges) Listen

jthill Re: Snowden (221 comments)

\All I said was that China and Russia call him a patriot and asked if you could be a patriot for more than one country.

"Patriot" is a characterization. That makes it a matter of perception, rarely if ever debatable among people who disagree. If I call the last Bush patriot or coward, venal shill or statesman, does that make any of them true? Skeins of the Russian and Chinese elite are known for self-serving characterization far more preposterous to American sensibilities than the most blatant jingoist blather dribbled out over the media here. Does any so much as remotely considerable number of U.S. citizens rely on foreign judgement of an American citizen's acts? Frankly, I think everyone here knows the answer to that.

So, if you believe what he did was defend the Constitution in the service of humanity as a whole, what word would you apply?

about a month ago
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Law Lets IRS Seize Accounts On Suspicion, No Crime Required

jthill Re:Time for a revolution (424 comments)

I think if you look through my posting history you might start to suspect I was trying to make a different point. I do see how what I said could be taken that way, though. Sorry about that, my bad, but _really_ not where I was going with that. Think about what's going on with the widely-perceived corporate takeover of government, I think that should be enough context.

about a month ago
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Law Lets IRS Seize Accounts On Suspicion, No Crime Required

jthill Re:Time for a revolution (424 comments)

Can anyone make a serious argument that Comcast et al. are any better, and if so even remotely likely to stay that way?

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Aging and Orphan Open Source Projects?

jthill Re:More specific (155 comments)

Well, if I'm reading my hits right that's a shame. GraphViz is distributed under the EPL, it's not compatible with either GPL and not at all easy to relicense to any of the biggies.

about a month ago
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Facebook To DEA: Stop Using Phony Profiles To Nab Criminals

jthill Re:Government Dictionary (239 comments)

Erm, no.

Theft, when conducted in person while carrying a firearm, is felony armed robbery. In every state in the union.

It's hard to imagine being a police officer ordered to do this. Their choice is between facing homelessness and turning vicious, amoral thug.

about a month ago
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Court Rules Parents May Be Liable For What Their Kids Post On Facebook

jthill Summary is _grossly_ wrong. (323 comments)

Among the "undisputed facts"::

The unauthorized profile and page remained accessible to Facebook users until Facebook officials deactivated the account on April 21, 2012,, not long after the Bostons filed their lawsuit on April 3, 2012 [3]. During the 11 months the unauthorized profile and page could be viewed, the Athearns made no attempt to view the unauthorized page, and they took no action to determine the content of te false, profane, and ethnically offensive information that Dustin was charged with electronically distributing. They did not attempt to learn to whom Dustin had distributed the false and offensive information or whether the distribution was ongoing. They did not tell Dustin to delete the page. Furthermore, they made no attempt to determine whether the false and offensive information Dustin was charged with distributing could be corrected, deleted, or retracted.

[...]
[3] Indeed, Facebook's records showed that, months after Dustin's principal notified the Athearns that Dustin had been disciplined for creating the unauthorized account, the fake persona continued to extend or accept requests to become Facebook Friends with additional users and that other users viewed and posted on the unauthorized page until the day before Facebook deactivated the account.

From the court's discussion of the legality of the lower court's grant of summary judgement in favor of the Athearns:

Under Georgia law, liability for the tort of a minor child is not imputed to the child's parents merely on the basis of the parent-child relationship. Parents may be held directly liable, however, for their own negligence in failing to supervise or control their child with regard to conduct which poses an unreasonable risk of harming others.

Since the parents knew for almost a year that their child had posted (no kidding, chase the link) grossly offensive, defamatory, libelous information and admit they not only did nothing, at all, ever, to even so much as look at it, they didn't even tell the kid to take it down, the appeals court's reversed the summary judgement in their favor, because it seems apparent that a jury might find them negligent for that.

about a month ago
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FBI Director Continues His Campaign Against Encryption

jthill He's right that FDE will protect criminals. (284 comments)

It's a good thing that government demanding and getting limitless, secret access to every accessible detail of everyone's life has no history of being used for political vengeance and oppression, otherwise he'd be advocating for policies that have an unbroken, horrifying, outrageous, infamous track record.

about a month ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

jthill Re:This looks like a nasty trick. (839 comments)

So, your ECON 101 course left you with the impression that saving can't be immoderate? That it never crosses a boundary and becomes refusal to spend? That excessive not-spending is somehow not a defining symptom of a depression? It would seem times have changed.

Do the math. Hell, it doesn't take econ 101 to do this math, anybody with google and high-school math skills can do it: under those conditions, what happens to M0 if there is no new money being printed? What happens to M0 even if new money is being printed, and still those who already possess the vast majority of M3 are limitlessly ratcheting up that share? Either, over time, all those who possess the existing money spend it and on average do no better than break even (proportionately, including any new money being printed to cover an expanding economy), or M0 dries up. The big question is, what's a good target?

At some point somebody's going to have to admit in public, and national policy is going to have to revert to being based on the acknowledgment, that a free market is nothing more than a tool, one that can be nudged or with some teamwork directed by those with substantial influence over it toward many ends.

As it stands, enough of the wealthy in this country are working to produce a world nobody else wants to live in — are openly claiming that a person's worth is the least amount of money they can get away with paying for his labor, that because so many people can produce the vast majority of the world's simple wealth and services, as a necessary and right and just and good consequence the few that are needed to actually do it deserve to and should live like slaves, that those who aren't deserve to and should live worse "to encourage them to get jobs", — that they're succeeding.

about a month ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

jthill Re:This looks like a nasty trick. (839 comments)

I don't think a progressive consumption tax would reduce inequality since investment wouldn't be taxed at all it would probably promote inequality even more than our current system does. Either Bill Gates didn't think it through or he did and decided he wants a system that promotes inequality to the maximum extent possible.

That part, we agree on.

Where we differ is the belief that wealth accruing in (in particular) stocks is somehow not being sucked out of the economy, is somehow doing any considerable good for anyone but the already-(relatively)-wealthy. Please don't carp about the boundary between wealthy and not, it's enough that there is such a boundary. If you want to argue anything along the lines of there is no such boundary, or that it's so fuzzy that nothing of consequence follows, I'd be at least interested enough to read it.

Demand pushes up price. The stock market goes up because people are pouring money into it. That money's coming from somewhere, and the only time it's an actual investment is when the company offers shares.

People selling one stock in favor of another contribute _nothing_. People selling stock to actually produce goods and services with the proceeds take that money out of the stock market, they deflate it. When the stock market as a whole drops, whether the market slides gently or a bubble bursts, money in the affected stocks is destroyed, money spent buying the stocks is just gone -- from the assets of the already-wealthy. When the stock market rises, money is created -- as new assets for the already-wealthy. But during the periods that money that could be spent elsewhere is instead spent buying secondhand shares, it no longer forms any part of, it has been sucked out of, the productive economy

People who aren't wealthy enough to afford the time and expense of financial counseling or education -- let alone find, invest and preserve the necessary capital -- have no chance of accumulating any considerable wealth. Their only hope, currently, is social security and medicare -- and social security for those below that "enough" bar above can't really be considered even a subsistence living.

about a month ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

jthill Re:Overrated... (839 comments)

Presenting a substantial and coherent set of sound arguments in a public debate while simply omitting the idle chatter, the trolls, the other idiots is a valuable service. Necessary, even; it's a way of hosing dirt off the debate. By all accounts (including yours) he did a very, very good job of it.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Microsoft Stores and Accesses Every HTTPS URL You Skype.

jthill jthill writes  |  about a year and a half ago

jthill (303417) writes "The H is reporting something lots of the security-watchers noticed: Skype has been storing and, several hours later, accessing every https: url you send in Skype. It's hard to imagine they'd do something that so perfectly fits the cynics' predictions, but there's no doubt. The did stop doing it shortly after it was reported, but the damage may be done."
Link to Original Source
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All Oracle databases vulnerable to injected listeners

jthill jthill writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jthill (303417) writes "A horrible miscommunication has led to the premature publication of the complete details of a critical security hole affecting every production Oracle database.. The bug was reported in 2008. Oracle said it had been fixed, and it has — on the development branch. There's no patch."
Link to Original Source
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Eight point seven five terapixels of the night sky

jthill jthill writes  |  more than 3 years ago

jthill (303417) writes "The BBC reports that the Sloan Digital Sky Survey has provided data release 8, now comprising complete access to their dataset. The image data is the least of it. The SkyServer interactive viewer links from the image to the object data for everything you see. That's 260 million stars and 208 million galaxies (and 12682 unknown objects), covering about a third of the celestial sphere. When you click upon a star, their somewhat busy servers soon hunt down the rest of it."
Link to Original Source
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Hari Seldon is starting to look less fictional

jthill jthill writes  |  more than 3 years ago

jthill (303417) writes ""Psychohistory" is the basis for the eentirentire Foundation series. Hari Seldon is a university mathematician, develops models good enough to predict social developments the same way engineers can predict physical ones: given enough individuals, probabilistic aggregate behavior becomes all but completely predictable.

So now some mathematicians at Cornell have developed a probabilistic model that behaves like real social groups. Karate clubs. Republicans and Democrats. From the article:

They plugged in data on international relations prior to World War II and got almost perfect predictions on how the Axis and Allied alliances formed.

"

Link to Original Source
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jthill jthill writes  |  more than 8 years ago

jthill writes "and that's not all. Characterizations that get dismissed as fanboi worship or braggartry (is that a word?) are, it turns out, spot on — or in some cases nearly British in their understatement. Bruce Lee almost certainly did not strike with snake-like speed; smart money says he was at least four times quicker, because that's what they clocked a guy doing just recently.

All hail motion-capture.

Fight!"

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